waved his hands. We grew impatient. into an alleyway, to reappear after an We came to the point of demanding instant, radiant of face, in possession of either his music or our money. He made a small, wriggling, black man, into whose us a spiritual prostration and relin- hands he thrust the guitar. Light broke quished our shilling in pain. Perhaps upon us; the whole trouble was that we there was some law. There was no time had mistaken the impresario for the for investigation or for bickering, and, virtuoso. had there been, this serene and ancient And it was this small black man who town was not the place for it.

drove us out of that delectable city. We went away, and he followed us He played, but his playing was neither through one street and another, racked

exotic nor cloying; it was melancholy by that obscure inhibition. We tried to and lugubrious to a degree, and of so get rid of him, but so great was his desire nerve-racking a monotony that we took to give us the thing we wanted, and so to our car in the end and fled, along strangely thwarted, that he clung to us the narrow, many-colored streets, up as a shadow. And then, just as we had the winding hill road, and away across come to the pitch of violence, he dived the inland sea of

the inland sea of sugar-cane.

Sacred Idleness


? --do
The gracious face of heaven a surly wrong,
Bright day so manifestly made for song,
And sweep of freedom's wings into the blue.
Divinely idle, rather let us lie,
And watch the lordly unindustrious sky,
Nor trail the smoke of little busy cares
Across its calm- Work? Not to-day! Not I!
Work? Why, another year-one never knows
But this the flowering last of all our years;
Which of us can be sure of next year's rose?
And I, that have so loved them all my days,
Not yet have learned the names of half the flowers,
Nor half enough have listened to the birds.

Nay! while the marvel of the May is ours,
Earth's book of lovely hieroglyphic words
Let's read together, each green letter spell,
And each illuminated miracle,
Decking the mystic text with blue and gold-
That Book of Beauty where all truth is told.

Let's watch the dogwood, holding silver trays
Of blossom out across the woodland ways,
Whiter than breast of any mortal girl's;
And hark yon bird flinging its song like pearls,
Sad as all lovely things foredoomed to die
Work? Not to-day! Ah! no-not you, not I.

The Poet


VEN in Mesopotamia caught in an enfilading machine-gun fire we had hints of the and literally, spat out of existence. case of Eric Jermyn, the Every commissioned officer was either “soldier poet."

Lon- killed or wounded, with the exception don, as it appeared, or, of Jermyn. He had not participated in more strictly speaking, the charge, was, in fact, found nerveless

certain circles in Lon- and staring, lying half in and half out don, had made Jermyn an issue. Two of the trench. Either he was actually armed camps, speaking in the sense shell-shocked—the front-line trenches of social metaphor, held for the one had been under heavy artillery fire-or or the other, while the War Office he was an extraordinary actor. It is looked on sardonically silent. I had no simple matter to fake shell-shock. never met Jermyn, but his reputation They suspected him at the field hosbefore the war as leader of a group of pital; but the surgeons were divided in brilliant decadents was universal. He their opinions; their differences became had gone into the O. T. C. at the out acrimonious as Jermyn day after day break of hostilities behind a perfect bar- persisted-whether consciously or otherrage of vers libresome of it his own, wise—in his symptoms. Cowardice in more and yet more of it the outpouring the face of the enemy, of course, means of his circle. A line or two still lingers: death. There's no way out; the name

is read to the army and the firing-squad At the altar of Hate—an Altar but purified is assembled. It is simply inexorable. In blood, the stripling singer Stands to wedlock with an embattled harri- Jermyn just missed it. The court mardan.

tial couldn't quite make it a case of sheer

cowardice, so instead of the brick wall The rest escapes me.

It was the sheer- he was invalided home, the commanding est futurist rot. Major Miles-Dorgan, general subscribing somewhat grudgingwho had a voice, used to quote it at ly, as it seemed, to the verdict. Later mess, until in self-defense we made an he was gently discharged from the army antiphonal chant of it.

on the rather vague charge of disability When Jermyn emerged with a lieu -not qualified even for home service. tenant's commission there was further I am inclined to think Jermyn was burning of incense, no whiff of which secretly overjoyed; but the opportunity reached me, fortunately, I at the time was too good for a congenital poseur to being en route eastward.

miss. He wandered about London with At the Horse Guards, at all events, the stride and deep-set melancholy of they seem to have been unimpressed. Hamlet glowing in his dark eyes, a tarHe was set to drilling recruits in Hyde get, or an inspiration, as the case might Park, and they kept him at it nearly a be, for the editor, the paragrapher, or year, when, in a moment of aberration, the tea-table. It must have been stiror inspiration, as one may feel about it, ring. An eminent therapeutist diaghe was sent to France with a London nosed Jermyn's chief, in fact his only regiment.

malady, as a lack of manly intestines; Consequences were immediate, or an equally eminent physicist gestured practically so. Following a charge of the opinion aside with booming scorn. the Scotch and English—including Jer So much had reached us when I demyn's regiment-a unit,which went over parted from the land of the Turk on the top to clean up, did its work badly, my first extended leave, bearing homewith the result that the Londoners were ward a few honors, more or less cheaply


gained, and a wound which had just accomplished, her dinners and evenings ceased to be troublesome.

at her beautiful house in Portland Place I found London made to order-su had developed into quite the rage, and premely and unwearyingly delightful an invitation bearing her name was a even to an American who, after ten cachet either of rank or artistic indiyears of almost complete expatriation viduality. This was beginning when I as a London playwright, and three years entered the war; further particulars as a British officer, had returned from had come by hearsay, or through the the turmoil with a poignant longing for breezy columns of the Sketch and the the lights of New York and the em Tatler. Personally, the war had taken braces of loved ones. Yes, New York, me quite out of her life—but not out of which had refused my plays until the her recollection, as her radiant smile time came when it had to take them attested. second hand from London.

“Leslie Gaunt-or Captain Gaunt, However, leave was short and London V. C., of course!" she cried. “This is would do-quite. It was May-last really delightful. We heard you were a May, to be precise; the city in her dead hero then a live one; which is loveliest investiture of vernal green, and ever so much nicer.” She smiled again, bud and blossom and delicate sunlight nodding. "We've missed your pen; but and balmy windrush, of which I drank we couldn't have done without your as though it were the elixir of Paracel sword.” sus; and, indeed, as may be imagined, Which was very handsome, of course, it had all the stimulating and revivify even though it left me fuddled and withing effect attributed to that fabled out a word. So completely had she decoction.

filled the picture, so overwhelming the There was, you may be sure, no renewal of her dynamic spell, that I thought of Eric Jermyn as I took my had marked the presence of a third perway through the thoroughfares, bound son very much as one marks a vague nowhere in particular, thinking of noth street-lamp in a fog. Now as I turned ing in truth, unless it was that the peo awkwardly to the man, for, of course, ple one doesn't meet in the West End it was a man, in a groping effort for one doesn't meet anywhere. Piccadilly, some diversion which would enable for example, was one solid stream of me to approximate a less school-boyish those whom one knew-or would like poise, I found myself facing still another to know-in attire ranging from olive undoubted personality. drab and the somber garb of officialdom He was a beautifully slender man, but to the most inspiring gowns and most it was the face that held me. It was beautiful of faces.

dark, mobile, effeminate-painfully temProgressing, as though in air, saluting, peramental, a quality enhanced by raven or returning a salute, now and again hair of something more than the conpausing for a handclasp or a word, I at ventional length, and slumbering brown length turned down Bond Street and eyes, beautiful as those of a stag and ran full upon Sybil Dauriac (Miss Par yet something in them, something vague tington in "The Modern Camelot" at and impalpable, constituting perhaps the Savoy), whom I had known when more of an impression than anything she first took London by storm early in tangible—withal something that never 1912-a dark-haired, keen-eyed girl was in the orbs of

any whose fire and intelligence on the stage It was a face, a figure for the velvet were held to be altogether anomalous suit, the slouch-hat, the glowing tie of the to an avocational indulgence in litera minor poet, the minnesinger; or perture of the pastel sort—delicate as rare chance the painter of miniatures of lace, and as beautiful—which had, in. lovely women. I glanced inquiringly conjunction with her professional pres at Sybil, who gestured, as though in tige, given her an extraordinary position annoyance. in the metropolis.

"Leslie, forgive me! I thought, of Rarely original in her social conceits, course, you—but evidently—you don't. and daring and interesting as well as ... Captain Gaunt-" She fixed me with

noble stag.

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her eyes, burning intensely now, study- under my undivided attention to Sybil ing me with an expression I did not Dauriac, and, like the bud unfolding to understand. “Captain Gaunt, this is rain, he opened to my first signification Mr. Jermyn... Eric Jermyn, you know?" of regard for him as a living personality. she added, with rising inflexion. I He talked burning, smoldering talknodded and reached out my hand, a bit almost Irvingesque. I had heard about mechanically I'm afraid, while she hur- him of course— He eyed me jealously, ried on in a manner very unlike her: accusingly, I thought, until Í nodded “I'm having sort of a rag' at Portland affirmatively. Place to-night a week, after the theater Thenceforward, until the motor was -rather out of the ordinary, I hope. within a short distance of Portland You're not leaving London to-day?" Place, the eternal ego knew no cease,

I laughed. “Having just arrived, soaring on lurid wings. The voice was certainly not. But even if I were I couched in low, monodical strain so should wait over—that is, if I'm to that for aught I knew he might have understand I'm bidden"

been reciting his plaints and pæans in "Why, of course," she interrupted, blank verse — something long ago sharply. Her face Alushed. “General thought out and shaped into measure. Cavendish will be there, and Sir Derric There was undoubtedly the design to Cecil — the War Office, you know?' transmit an impression of a soul fiercely And Lady Jane Ketchell; you'll know stalwart under martyrdom, and superthem all. . . . Mr. Jermyn, of course ficially this idea was conveyed; but She laid subtle emphasis upon the last. only superficially. For beneath all I “Oh, you'll see. I'm hoping you will had the sense of Jermyn's absorbing find it quite in the old manner.

enjoyment of his plight, a deep-seated “ Jolly! I know I shall—with a cer satisfaction in the rôle he was playing. tain inimitable improvement. 14” His peroration I recall—I don't really

“Leslie,” she interpellated, in a char know why-but I recall it word for word, acteristically abrupt departure from con although for the life of me I cannot versational relationship, moving closer to now say whether it was apropos of preme with that extraordinary undulatory ceding outbursts or not. step of hers, wafting before her an elusive Gaunt," he said, "there is that courperfume which was less an odor than a age which suggests to me lilies in an personal essence. “Leslie, have you

alabaster vase;


courage which been to your club, any of


I conceive as red roses in a sang de boeuf any place where you've talked jar—the one white, innocent, pure; heard —?”

the other bloody, swashbuckling, half "Heard?" I regarded her dazedly. swank and half instinct—the sort alone

"Oh, any of the things one does hear that most men recognize, or at least in London. Gossip

understand. Can you understand the I gestured an interruption. “Dear former? If you can, perhaps I have not lady, I arrived in London late last night. spoken in vain." Aside from my rooms-I've been nowhere. He leaned back wearily and closed As a matter of fact, I was just bound his eyes while I, who had uttered no for—"

word, nor even nodded, quite dazed in A second later, through a thauma- fact by the luxuriance of metaphor and turgy which was all Sybil's own, I was simile, turned to Sybil Dauriac. She, bound for her motor at a near-by curb. at least, had followed him. Now,

She was strangely silent as we rode Aushed, her lips parted, she was watchto Portland Place, which gave me some ing him intently, her expression someopportunity to know Jermyn. Heaven thing, I decided, that required interknows I had no preconceived prejudice pretation. against the fellow; throughout, I mean But for the moment the man obsessed in Mesopotamia, I had been, I think, It wasn't his pyrotechnics - I rather sorry for him, an emotion, as it didn't mind them; no, beyond all that speedily developed, utterly wasted. he was unhealthy, not at all in the usual

For Jermyn, frankly, had been sulking sense of the term as applied to a man

clubs or



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