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Prose Fancies   By: (1866-1947)

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First Page:

[Illustration]

PROSE FANCIES

BY RICHARD LE GALLIENNE

WITH A LITHOGRAPHED PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR BY R. WILSON STEER

[Illustration]

LONDON ELKIN MATHEWS & JOHN LANE G.P. PUTNAM'S SONS NEW YORK 1894

TO MY DEAR WIFE MY PROSE FOR HER POETRY IN MEMORY OF TWO HAPPY YEARS OCTOBER 22, 1891 DECEMBER 6 1893

CONTENTS

A SPRING MORNING A CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE LIFE IN INVERTED COMMAS FRACTIONAL HUMANITY THE WOMAN'S HALF PROFITS GOOD BISHOP VALENTINE IRRELEVANT PEOPLE THE DEVILS ON THE NEEDLE POETS AND PUBLISHERS APOLLO'S MARKET THE 'GENIUS' SUPERSTITION A BORROWED SOVEREIGN ANARCHY IN A LIBRARY THE PHILOSOPHY OF 'LIMITED EDITIONS' A PLEA FOR THE OLD PLAYGOER THE MEASURE OF A MAN THE BLESSEDNESS OF WOMAN VIRAGOES OF THE BRAIN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER TRANSFERABLE LIVES THE APPARITION OF YOUTH THE PATHETIC FLOURISH A TAVERN NIGHT SANDRA BELLONI'S PINEWOOD WHITE SOUL

NOTE

The reader will, doubtless, feel the greater confidence in the following essays, from the fact that they have already passed their first and second readings through the hands of the editors and subscribers of The Speaker , The Star , The Illustrated London News , and The Sketch . To the several editors of these papers I am indebted for their kind permission to reprint, and I take this opportunity of expressing my thanks to Mr. CLEMENT SHORTER for many other kindnesses. I venture also particularly to thank my friend Mr. T.P. GILL but for whose kind incitement many of the following 'Fancies' had not been written at all.

PROSE FANCIES

A SPRING MORNING

I

Spring puts the old pipe to his lips and blows a note or two. At the sound, little thrills pass across the wintry meadows. The bushes are dotted with innumerable tiny sparks of green, that will soon set fire to the whole hedgerow; here and there they have gone so far as those little tufts which the children call 'bread and cheese.' A gentle change is coming over the grim avenue of the elms yonder. They won't relent so far as to admit buds, but there is an unmistakable bloom upon them, like the promise of a smile. The rooks have known it for some weeks, and already their Jews' market is in full caw. The more complaisant chestnut dandles its sticky knobs. Soon they will be brussels sprouts, and then they will shake open their fairy umbrellas. So says a child of my acquaintance. The water lilies already poke their green scrolls above the surface of the pond; a few buttercups venture into the meadows, but daisies are still precious as asparagus. The air is warm as your love's cheek, golden as canary. It is all a clink and a glitter, it trills and chirps on every hand. Somewhere close by, but unseen, a young man is whistling at his work; and, putting your ear to the ground, you shall hear how the earth beneath is alive with a million little beating hearts. C'est l'heure exquise.

Presently along the road comes slowly, and at times erratically, a charming procession. Following the fashion, or even setting it, three weeks since yon old sow budded. From her side, recalling the Trojan horse, sprang suddenly a little company of black and tan piglets, fully legged and snouted for the battle of life. She is taking them with her to put them to school at a farm two or three miles away. So I understand her. They surround her in a compact body, ever moving and poking and squeaking, yet all keeping together. As they advance slowly, she towering above her tiny bodyguard, one thinks of Gulliver moving through Lilliput; and there is a touch of solemnity in the procession which recalls a mighty Indian idol being carried through the streets, with people thronging about its feet. How delicately she steps, lest she hurt one of the little limbs! And, meanwhile, mark the driver for though the old pig pretends to ignore any such coercion, as men believe in free will, yet there is a fate, a driver, to this idyllic domestic company. But how gentle is he too! He never lets it be seen that he is driving them. He carries a little switch, rather, it would appear, for form's sake; for he seldom does more with it than tickle the gravely striding posteriors of the quaint little people... Continue reading book >>




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