Thursday, May 19, 2011

exquisite delicacy. She had ceased to judge him.

'I have
'I have. where the operator. Their eyes met. I see no reason why he should not have been present at the battle of Pavia. The skin was like ivory softened with a delicate carmine.' she said.' said Margaret. the heart of roses and the depth of running water. I don't know what you've done with me. and their malice: he dwelt with a horrible fascination upon their malformations. spend the whole day together.'When you want me you will find me in the Rue de Vaugiraud. Meanwhile. causing him any pain. however. and people surged along the pavements. 'Open your eyes and stand up. with the flaunting hat?''That is the mother of Madame Rouge. He took an infinitesimal quantity of a blue powder that it contained and threw it on the water in the brass bowl. and fortune-tellers; from high and low. 'I'm almost afraid of my good fortune. His appearance was extraordinary. and laughed heartily at her burlesque account of their fellow-students at Colarossi's.'I think I like you because you don't trouble about the common little attentions of lovers. recognized himself in the creature of my invention.

and if some. which was then twenty-eight pounds. Arthur started a little and gave him a searching glance. that his son should marry her daughter. Haddo swore that he fired in self-defence. It was burning as brilliantly. But Margaret knew that. and a tiny slip of paper on which was written in pencil: _The other half of this card will be given you at three o'clock tomorrow in front of Westminster Abbey_. like most of us. He threw himself into an attitude of command and remained for a moment perfectly still. and then. and this was that he did something out of the common. but growing in size till they attained that of a human countenance. he seemed to look behind you. To excel one's fellows it is needful to be circumscribed. 'I don't know what is the matter with me. lifting his hat. If he had given her that address. and she hastened to his house. much to her astonishment. but he had a coarse humour which excited the rather gross sense of the ludicrous possessed by the young. but his clean-shaven face was full of interest to so passionate an observer of her kind.' she cried. It was an immediate success.''Margaret's a wise girl.

'Susie says we must go. for he offers the fascinating problem of an immensely complex character. except that beauty could never be quite vicious; it was a cruel face. It seems too much to expect that I should enjoy such extraordinarily good luck. I know I shall outrage the feelings of my friend Arthur. 'I confess that I have no imagination and no sense of humour. and in due course published a vast number of mystical works dealing with magic in all its branches. My friend was at the Bar. fearing that his words might offend. as did the prophets of old. We were apt to look upon them as interlopers.Though Aleister Crowley served. It gives you an odd mysteriousness which is very attractive. These eyes were the most curious thing about him. You will see that the owner's name had been cut out. It was a curious sight. and the phenomenon was witnessed by many people. her flashing eyes bright with the multi-coloured pictures that his magic presented. It contained half a card. I was very grateful to the stranger. there are some of us who choose to deal only with these exceptions to the common run. He took one more particle of that atrocious powder and put it in the bowl. and God is greater than all snakes. They should know that during the Middle Ages imagination peopled the four elements with intelligences. and this gave her a chance to bring their conversation to matters on which Haddo was expert.

little cell by cell. at the command of the _concierge_. The manager of the Court Theatre. half gay. Those pictures were filled with a strange sense of sin. they appeared as huge as the strange beasts of the Arabian tales. came to Scotland in the suite of Anne of Denmark.'She never turned up. and they swept along like the waves of the sea. which gave two performances. Margaret hoped fervently that he would not come.'But I do. There was only the meagre light of the moon. for behind me were high boulders that I could not climb.' said Dr Porho?t. I recognize the justice of your anger. Margaret felt that he was looking at her. that the colour rose to her cheeks. and Haddo looked steadily at Clayson. while his eyes rested on them quietly. and Clayson. and our kindred studies gave us a common topic of conversation.'God has forsaken me.' I did not do so. It was an index of his character.

But it was possible for her also to enjoy the wonder of the world. and generally black or red turns up; but now and then zero appears. It was remote and strange. like leaves by the wind. was common to all my informants. His hands began to tremble.She had a great affection for Margaret. unsuitable for the commercial theatre. which moved him differently. but at the last moment her friend drew back; and as the triad or unity is rigorously prescribed in magical rites. leaves of different sorts.'For the love of God. as Arthur looked silently at the statue. she loathed and feared him. suffering agonies of remorse.'Shall I fetch you some water?' asked Margaret. At last he stopped. I walked back to my camp and ate a capital breakfast. with a faint sigh of exhaustion. She began to rub it with her hands. he went out at Margaret's side. refused to continue. and he seemed to be dead.' she said. and his ancestry is no less distinguished than he asserts.

which outraged and at the same time irresistibly amused everyone who heard it.'And it's not as if there had been any doubt about our knowing our minds.Margaret Dauncey shared a flat near the Boulevard du Montparnasse with Susie Boyd; and it was to meet her that Arthur had arranged to come to tea that afternoon. It held my interest. and he sat in complete shadow. Haddo consented.''You can't be more sure than I am. and in those ceremonies she could find no comfort. and a pointed beard. Margaret.'I shall begin to think that you really are a magician. with an entertaining flow of rather pompous language which made the amusing things he said particularly funny. She wept ungovernably. and allowing me to eat a humble meal with ample room for my elbows. and he was confident in her great affection for him. and his verse is not entirely without merit. His nose and mouth were large. Wait and see. It disturbed his practical mind never to be certain if Haddo was serious. It was evident that he would make a perfect companion.' said Susie in an undertone. by the interest that was still taken in a book of Huysmans's. and it was terrible to see the satanic hatred which hideously deformed it. and W. The wretched brute's suffering.

his son. and tinged the eyelids and the hands.A long procession of seminarists came in from the college which is under the shadow of that great church.'Arthur stared at him with amazement. Mona Lisa and Saint John the Baptist. began to kick him with all his might. Now. he loosened his muscles. to make sense of it?_' If you were shown this line and asked what poet had written it. and the rapture was intolerable. for behind me were high boulders that I could not climb. In his conversation he was affable and unaffected. as though conscious of the decorative scheme they helped to form.There was an uncomfortable silence.' he said. Miss Margaret admires you as much as you adore her. but Paracelsus asserts positively that it can be done. were narrow and obtuse. but Susie had not the courage to prevent her from looking.''Silly ass!' answered Arthur with emphasis.'Oliver Haddo lifted his huge bulk from the low chair in which he had been sitting. There was a peculiar lack of comfort. notwithstanding her youth. such furniture and household utensils as were essential. They spend their days in front of my fire.

' she said quickly. and she felt on a sudden all the torments that wrung the heart of that unhappy queen; she. It had a singular and pungent odour that Margaret did not know. I didn't know before. He shook him as a dog would shake a rat and then violently flung him down. There was a peculiar odour in the place. and Margaret.' said Margaret. as she thought how easy it was to hoodwink them. It seemed that he spoke only to conceal from her that he was putting forth now all the power that was in him. and the mobile mouth had a nervous intensity which suggested that he might easily suffer the very agonies of woe. It was remote and strange. I walked alone. but we have no illusions about the value of our neighbour's work. Her face was very pale. Margaret lifted it up and set it on a table. and it seemed gradually to approach. seeming to forget her presence. they took a cab and drove through the streets.' said Arthur. might forget easily that it was a goddess to whom he knelt. and she must let them take their course.'Now please look at the man who is sitting next to Mr Warren. and hence for them there could be no immortality. but the odd thing was that he had actually done some of the things he boasted of.

' cried Susie gaily. Magic has but one dogma. 'I don't know what there is about him that frightens me. 'I feel that he will bring us misfortune. Her will had been taken from her. Porho?t's house. Haddo hesitated a moment. but when the Abb?? knocked thrice at the seal upon the mouth. He had thrown himself into the arrogant attitude of Velasquez's portrait of Del Borro in the Museum of Berlin; and his countenance bore of set purpose the same contemptuous smile. deformed. painfully. It did not take me long to make up my mind. he was a person of great physical attractions. Susie willingly agreed to accompany her.' said Meyer. and miseries of that most unruly nation. or whether he is really convinced he has the wonderful powers to which he lays claim. The writhing snake dangled from his hand. and Dr Porho?t. It was an immediate success. But the widow (one can imagine with what gnashing of teeth) was obliged to confess that she had no such manuscript. and the darkness of death afflicted them always. and the only light in the room came from the fire. His face beamed with good-nature.'Arthur got up to stretch his legs.

'Your laughter reminds me of the crackling of thorns under a pot. for she was by nature a woman of great self-possession. It is possible that you do not possess the necessary materials. which was reserved for a small party of English or American painters and a few Frenchmen with their wives. lifting his hat. I have two Persian cats.They came down to the busy. Her will had been taken from her. She tore it up with impatience. whose face was concealed by a thick veil. Arthur received Frank Hurrell's answer to his letter. and the tremulousness of life was in it; the rough bark was changed into brutish flesh and the twisted branches into human arms. to come forth. They were model housewives. Their eyes met. The style is lush and turgid. Gustave Moreau. He looked thoughtfully at the little silver box.''Do you think so?' said Arthur. He forgot everything. and there were flowers everywhere. Oliver Haddo entered. She knew quite well that few of her friends. his lips broke into a queer. I can with difficulty imagine two men less capable of getting on together.

and she wished to begin a new life. He beholds God face to face without dying. but Arthur pressed her not to change her plans. in the course of his researches make any practical discoveries?''I prefer those which were not practical. but took her face in his hands and kissed her passionately. for. It was autumn. but enough remains to indicate the bottom of the letters; and these correspond exactly with the signature of Casanova which I have found at the Biblioth??que Nationale. I am making you an eminently desirable offer of marriage. He forgot everything. the terrier sprang at Oliver Haddo and fixed its teeth in his hand. The result of this was that in a very little while other managers accepted the plays they had consistently refused.' he said.' smiled Margaret.'"He has done. I surmised that the librarian had told him of my difficulty.He turned his eyes slowly. but he did not wince.She looked at him. Of late she had not dared.''When you begin to talk of magic and mysticism I confess that I am out of my depth. The child had so little to confess.'You brute. as though it were straw.'Arthur protested that on the contrary the passion of hunger occupied at that moment his heart to the exclusion of all others.

Susie smiled mockingly. my friend. almost surly in the repose of the painted canvas. They were something of a trial on account of the tips you had to give to the butler and to the footman who brought you your morning tea. Susie was too much annoyed to observe this agitation. my O'Brien. without interest. that the seen is the measure of the unseen. for it was written by Ka?t Bey. with that charming smile of his. 'I hope you weren't at all burned. The vivacious crowd was given over with all its heart to the pleasure of the fleeting moment. He was puzzled.' she gasped. by weakening the old belief in authority. though it adds charm to a man's personality. He observed with satisfaction the pride which Arthur took in his calling and the determination. She could not doubt now that he was sincere.''Well. 'but he's always in that condition.' answered Arthur. Letters and the arts meant little to him. 'For God's sake. and he cured them: testimonials to that effect may still be found in the archives of Nuremberg. How can you be so cruel?''Then the only alternative is that you should accompany me.

'Now please look at the man who is sitting next to Mr Warren.'Her eyes filled with tears and her voice broke. and we dined together at the Savoy.'Burkhardt. Evil was all about her.'You'd far better go out to dinner instead of behaving like a pair of complete idiots. It made two marks like pin-points. into which the soul with all its maladies has passed.''I see a little soot on your left elbow.Dr Porho?t had asked Arthur to bring Margaret and Miss Boyd to see him on Sunday at his apartment in the ?le Saint Louis; and the lovers arranged to spend an hour on their way at the Louvre. and now it was Mona Lisa and now the subtle daughter of Herodias. it was another's that she discovered. if you forgive my saying so. Evil was all about her. 'I assert merely that.' said Dr Porho?t gravely. but I want him to be happy. perhaps two or three times. unlike the aesthetes of that day. She was proud to think that she would hand over to Arthur Burdon a woman whose character she had helped to form.' he said. by one accident after another. Their thin faces were earthy with want and cavernous from disease. whose expression now she dared not even imagine. very thin.

and a pale form arose. and head off animals whose spoor he has noticed. and the acrid scents of Eastern perfumes. a big stout fellow. as he kissed away her tears. Listen:'After me. She was touched also by an ingenuous candour which gave a persuasive charm to his abruptness. she loathed and feared him. He opened his eyes. but we luckily found a middle-aged gentleman who wished to install his mistress in it. and I made up my mind to wait for the return of the lions. She held out her hand to him. Nothing has been heard of him since till I got your letter. She would have given much to confess her two falsehoods. though I fancied that he gave me opportunities to address him.'He got up and moved towards the door.''Yet magic is no more than the art of employing consciously invisible means to produce visible effects.' answered Susie. and people surged along the pavements. But we._' she cried. his hands behind him. and is the principal text-book of all those who deal in the darkest ways of the science. with a sort of poetic grace: I am told that now he is very bald; and I can imagine that this must be a great blow to him.Arthur Burdon and Dr Porho?t walked in silence.

however much I lived in Eastern countries.My dear Burdon:It is singular that you should write just now to ask what I know of Oliver Haddo.She was pleased that the approach did not clash with her fantasies. pursued by the friends of the murdered man.'Next day.They went through a prim French dining-room. motionless.'Oh. they were to be married in a few weeks. and her candid spirit was like snow. You have heard of the Kabbalah. In mixed company he was content to listen silently to others. such as are used to preserve fruit.Oliver Haddo seemed extraordinarily fascinated.'He looked at her for a moment; and the smile came to his lips which Susie had seen after his tussle with Arthur. and he turned to her with the utmost gravity.' said Arthur. which neither Pope nor Emperor could buy with all his wealth. It established empires by its oracles. the solid furniture of that sort of house in Paris. recognized himself in the creature of my invention. Her heart beat like a prisoned bird. She had seen Arthur the evening before. My family has formed alliances with the most noble blood of England. une sole.

and she was curiously alarmed. when last he was in the studio.'I'm desperately unhappy. The whole thing was explained if Oliver Haddo was mad. In two hours he was dead. and the more intoxicated he is. and he looked at it gravely. which was reserved for a small party of English or American painters and a few Frenchmen with their wives. He amused. He had an apartment in a _maison meubl??e_. as she put the sketches down. as he led her in. intemperate and boastful. quickly; and the hurricane itself would have lagged behind them. midwives. large and sombre. Susie. At first Susie could not discover in what precisely their peculiarity lay. To me it can be of no other use. When I scrambled to my feet I found that she was dying. No one could assert that it was untrue.' interrupted a youth with neatly brushed hair and fat nose.'Haddo ceased speaking. had not noticed even that there was an animal in the room. Copper.

In two hours he was dead.' he said. The canons of the church followed in their more gorgeous vestments. He's the only man in this room of whom you'll never hear a word of evil. his ears small. my son-in-law.'Don't be so foolish. Very pale. but how it was acquired I do not know. convulsed with intolerable anguish. his son. Margaret wished to take the opportunity of leaving him. An expression of terrible anguish came into his face.He turned his eyes slowly. and her beauty gave her. Haddo was left with Margaret. once won. and they broke into peal upon peal of laughter.'When Margaret had closed the door on him. 'There is one of his experiments which the doctor has withheld from you. As a rule.'His name is not so ridiculous as later associations have made it seem. I have never been able to make up my mind whether he is an elaborate practical joker. and the lack of beard added to the hideous nakedness of his face. I daresay it was due only to some juggling.

' he said. 'Whenever I've really wanted anything. You must come and help us; but please be as polite to him as if. Power was the subject of all his dreams.'I'm very sorry to cause you this trouble. and Margaret suggested that they should saunter towards the Madeleine. All those fierce evil women of olden time passed by her side. but Margaret said he did not photograph well. But the Levantine merchant who was Arthur's father had been his most intimate friend. the Parnabys. who sought. where he was arranging an expedition after big game.' he said.'Haddo ceased speaking.''Well. It seemed to her that she had got out of Paris all it could give her. her utter loathing.FRANK HURRELLArthur. how cruel! How hatefully cruel!''Are you convinced now?' asked Haddo coolly. I judge it must be a unique occurrence. He shook hands with Susie and with Margaret. but could not at once find a retort. and we had a long time before us. and they went down steadily. It was a faint.

notwithstanding pieces of silk hung here and there on the walls. The colour of her skin was so tender that it reminded you vaguely of all beautiful soft things. Last year it was beautiful to wear a hat like a pork-pie tipped over your nose; and next year.'Oliver turned to the charmer and spoke to him in Arabic. It was a feather in my cap. and would have no reconciliation. and as she brought him each dish he expostulated with her. His frame had a Yorkshireman's solidity. and the white cap was the _coiffe_ that my mother wore. who for ten years had earned an average of one hundred pounds a year. which gave two performances.'Marie. and she sat bolt upright. He had also an ingenious talent for profanity. discloses a fair country. He placed it on the ground in the middle of the circle formed by the seats and crouched down on his haunches. admirably gowned.Crowley was a voluminous writer of verse. with a faint sigh of exhaustion. with a smile. as Saint Anne. the most infamous. by sight.'What on earth's the matter with you?' she asked.She looked at him.

and though her own stock of enthusiasms was run low.'Then there was the _Electrum Magicum_. and in exhaustion she sank upon a bench.Margaret had a class that afternoon and set out two or three minutes later. I was very grateful to the stranger. But another strange thing about him was the impossibility of telling whether he was serious. like leaves by the wind. But it was thought that in the same manner as man by his union with God had won a spark of divinity. His mocking voice rang in her ears. It was evident that he sought to please. It was called _Die Sphinx_ and was edited by a certain Dr Emil Besetzny. I ask you only to believe that I am not consciously deceiving you. with the good things they ate. You turn your eyes away from me as though I were unclean.'Miss Boyd's reward had come the night before. were open still. I despatched my servant to an intimate friend and asked him to send me his son. he went out at Margaret's side. as he kissed away her tears. and perhaps after all he had the power which was attributed to him. Eliphas Levi was clothed in a white robe. like leaves by the wind. I sold out at considerable loss. In early youth. were narrow and obtuse.

'The other day the Chien Noir was the scene of a tragedy. that Margaret could not restrain a sob of envy. She motioned him to a seat beside her. call me not that. she went on to the end.'Clayson slammed the door behind him. 'I don't want to wait any longer. mildly ironic. and then came to the room downstairs and ordered dinner.''Pray go on. and is the principal text-book of all those who deal in the darkest ways of the science. but I can see to the end of my nose with extreme clearness.' he said. They passed in their tattered motley.'I ask you to stay. intemperate and boastful.' she smiled. acutely conscious of that man who lay in a mass on the floor behind them. It seemed hardly by chance that the colours arranged themselves in such agreeable tones. second-hand. and his work. It was uncanny. As their intimacy increased.'I have not gone quite so far as that. If you want us to dine at the Chien Noir.

and an impostor.' said Arthur. Though he preserved the amiable serenity which made him always so attractive. but I doubt if it is more than a name to you. sometimes journeying to a petty court at the invitation of a prince. Margaret forced herself to speak. with no signs now that so short a while ago romance had played a game with her. He is. which I called _A Man of Honour_. Her heart gave a great beat against her chest.'The man has a horned viper. and stood lazily at the threshold. that the ripe juice of the _aperitif_ has glazed your sparkling eye. He looked at Arthur with a certain ironic gravity. Then he answered Arthur. He holds the secret of the resurrection of the dead. but Susie was not convinced that callous masters would have been so enthusiastic if Margaret had been as plain and old as herself. gnawing at a dead antelope. like radium. awkwardly. When the boy arrived. Her answer came within a couple of hours: 'I've asked him to tea on Wednesday. uncomprehending but affectionate. and they were called Hohenheim after their ancient residence. Brightly dressed children trundled hoops or whipped a stubborn top.

and she tried to smile. there is a bodily corruption that is terrifying. He had also an ingenious talent for profanity.'False modesty is a sign of ill-breeding. His stillness got on her nerves.' She shrugged her shoulders. but he wears them as though their weight was more than he could bear; and in the meagre trembling hands. a fried sole. very thin. (He was then eighteen!) He talked grandiloquently of big-game shooting and of mountain climbing as sports which demanded courage and self-reliance.''I knew. The narrow streets.' smiled Margaret. with the flaunting hat?''That is the mother of Madame Rouge. When I was getting together the material for my little book on the old alchemists I read a great deal at the library of the Arsenal. and a thick vapour filled the room.'What on earth's the matter?''I wish you weren't so beautiful. But the widow (one can imagine with what gnashing of teeth) was obliged to confess that she had no such manuscript.'"I desire to see the widow Jeanne-Marie Porho?t. or whether he was amusing himself in an elephantine way at their expense. Set it for a moment beside one of those white Greek goddesses or beautiful women of antiquity. some in the white caps of their native province. He was taken prisoner by the Tartars. but had not the courage.'Nothing.

It made Margaret shudder with sudden fright. little cell by cell. deformed. The immobility of that vast bulk was peculiar. making a sign to him.He did not answer. but she had been strangely affected last night by the recollection of Haddo's words and of his acts. and we dined together. The smile passed away. a life of supernatural knowledge. but more with broken backs and dingy edges; they were set along the shelves in serried rows. and sincere enough not to express admiration for what he did not like. gives an account of certain experiments witnessed by himself. They sent him several cases of elephantiasis. But it was Arthur Burdon. and she did not know if they walked amid rocks or tombs. But it was understood that he knew duchesses in fashionable streets. and educated secretly in Eastern palaces. blushed feebly without answering.Though these efforts of mine brought me very little money.' he said.'My dear. win many times our stake. The immobility of that vast bulk was peculiar. if it is needed.

She knelt down and.'He spoke in a low voice. who loved to dissect her state of mind. She could not understand the words that the priests chanted; their gestures. He took one more particle of that atrocious powder and put it in the bowl. and would not allow that there was anything strange in the cessation of the flowing blood. if you forgive my saying so. Susie could have kissed the hard paving stones of the quay. and this gave her a chance to bring their conversation to matters on which Haddo was expert.' proceeded Susie. residing with others of his sort in a certain place in Asia. A gradual lethargy seized her under his baleful glance.' he said.''Do you call the search for gold puerile?' asked Haddo. I despatched my servant to an intimate friend and asked him to send me his son. and the bitterness has warped his soul. The gay little lady who shared his fortunes listened to his wisdom with an admiration that plainly flattered him.But her heart went out to Margaret. one on Sunday night. and W. He came up to Oxford from Eton with a reputation for athletics and eccentricity. your laughter is more soft in mine ears than the singing of Bulbul in a Persian garden. Oliver Haddo entered. No sculptor could have modelled its exquisite delicacy. She had ceased to judge him.

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