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Fenwick's Career   By: (1851-1920)

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First Page:

FENWICK'S CAREER

by

MRS HUMPHRY WARD

1910

TO

MY DEAR SISTER

J.F.H.

MAY, 1906

[Illustration: Robin Ghyll Cottage ]

A PREFATORY WORD

The story told in the present book owes something to the past, in its picturing of the present, as its predecessors have done; though in much less degree. The artist, as I hold, may gather from any field, so long as he sacredly respects what other artists have already made their own by the transmuting processes of the mind. To draw on the conceptions or the phrases that have once passed through the warm minting of another's brain, is, for us moderns, at any rate, the literary crime of crimes. But to the teller of stories, all that is recorded of the real life of men, as well as all that his own eyes can see, is offered for the enrichment of his tale. This is a clear and simple principle; yet it has been often denied. To insist upon it is, in my belief, to uphold the true flag of Imagination, and to defend the wide borders of Romance.

In addition to this word of notice, which my readers will perhaps accept from me once for all, this small preface must also contain a word of thanks to my friend Mr. Sterner, whose beautiful art has contributed to this story, as to several of its forerunners. I have to thank him, indeed, not only as an artist, but as a critic. In the interpreting of Fenwick, he has given me valuable aid; has corrected mistakes, and illumined his own painter's craft for me, as none but a painter can. But his poetic intelligence as an artist is what makes him so rare a colleague. In the first lovely drawing of the husband and wife sitting by the Westmoreland stream, Phoebe's face and look will be felt, I think, by any sympathetic reader, as a light on the course of the story; reappearing, now in storm, as in the picture of her despair, before the portrait of her supposed rival; and now in tremulous afterglow, as in the scene with which the drawings close. To be so understood and so bodied forth is great good fortune; and I beg to be allowed this word of gratitude.

The lines quoted on page 166 are taken, as any lover of modern poetry will recognise, from the 'Elegy on the Death of a Lady,' by Mr. Robert Bridges, first printed in 1873.

MARY A. WARD.

CONTENTS

PART I. WESTMORELAND

PART II. LONDON

PART III. AFTER TWELVE YEARS

NOTES ON THE ILLUSTRATIONS

FENWICK'S COTTAGE

This cottage, known as Robin Ghyll, is situated near the Langdale Pikes in Westmoreland. It is owned by Miss Dorothy Ward, the author's daughter. The older part of the building served as the model for Fenwick's cottage.

HUSBAND AND WIFE

From an original drawing by Albert Sterner.

EUGÉNIE

From an original drawing by Albert Sterner.

PHOEBE'S RIVAL

From an original drawing by Albert Sterner.

'BE MY MESSENGER'

From an original drawing by Albert Sterner.

ROBIN GHYLL COTTAGE

A nearer view of Miss Ward's cottage. (See frontispiece.)

FENWICK STOOD LOOKING AT THE CANVAS

From an original drawing by Albert Sterner.

All of the illustrations in this volume are photogravures, and except where otherwise stated, are from photographs taken especially for this edition.

INTRODUCTION

Fenwick's career was in the first instance suggested by some incidents in the life of the painter George Romney. Romney, as is well known, married a Kendal girl in his early youth, and left her behind him in the North, while he went to seek training and fortune in London. There he fell under other influences, and finally under the fascinations of Lady Hamilton, and it was not till years later that he returned to Westmoreland and his deserted wife to die.

The story attracted me because it was a Westmoreland story, and implied, in part at least, that setting of fell and stream, wherein, whether in the flesh or in the spirit, I am always a willing wanderer. But in the end it really gave me nothing but a bare situation into which I had breathed a wholly new meaning. For in Eugénie de Pastourelles, who is Phoebe's unconscious rival, I tried to embody, not the sensuous intoxicating power of an Emma Hamilton, but those more exquisite and spiritual influences which many women have exercised over some of the strongest and most virile of men... Continue reading book >>




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