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The Tale of Lal A Fantasy   By:

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THE TALE OF LAL

A FANTASY

BY

RAYMOND PATON

AUTHOR OF "THE DRUMMER OF THE DAWN"

BRENTANO'S CHAPMAN & HALL LTD. NEW YORK LONDON

1914

AN EXPLANATION AND AN APOLOGY

Upon behalf of Ridgwell and Christine the author has been urged to explain that three things facts, common sense, and probability have of necessity been throughout entirely omitted in relating this story. The children, however, have comforted the author by declaring that these particular things are not required at all in any book of the present day, but are merely an old fashioned survival of the past, which is gradually dying out.

One of the sole remaining examples we possess of fact, common sense, and probability being the celebration of the 5th of November, which has somehow become a day of national thanksgiving, and is without doubt one of the most important dates in the calendar, and very dear to the hearts of the English people.

A PREFACE

The aspect of Trafalgar Square, like everything else in the world, depends largely upon how it is viewed, and through whose eyes it is seen.

A Japanese artist, for instance, visiting London, immediately selected Trafalgar Square seen by night time as a subject for a picture. He thoughtfully omitted any suggestion of either omnibuses, taxi cabs, or the populace.

He likewise decided that all the statues were most unpicturesque, and the varied and flashing electric advertisements to be seen hung up on high around the Square were not only hideous but impossible.

Consequently this imaginative being flung upon his canvas a mysterious blue space, void of anything save the brilliantly coloured lanterns of his own land, swung upon bamboo poles, trembling in the darkness at picturesquely convenient distances. The effect was quite beautiful, but of course it could not in any way be considered as a reasonable likeness of this particular Square.

A French artist also selecting this portion of London for a picture, determined at once that it would be more becoming, not to say diplomatic, to paint only one end of the low stone wall surrounding the Square; yet entertaining doubts afterwards that it might not perhaps be recognised, he added the central stone cupola of the National Gallery, appearing over all like a hastily bestowed blessing, but covered the remaining space upon his canvas with imaginary stalls of glowing flowers, and even more imaginary flower sellers. His picture was greatly admired, and very much resembled the Market Square in Havre upon a Monday morning.

A Spanish artist chancing to pass the same way, likewise hastily completed a picture of Trafalgar Square as he wished to see it, adding by way of a decorative effect a lattice work of trellised vines like unto his beloved vineyards of Andalusia. Dwarf oranges grew in profusion and hung their coloured golden globes over the squat stone walls. A brilliant Southern sun beat upon both, baking the walls red hot and ripening the oranges at one and the same time. This picture the artist named Trafalgar Square when the Sun Shines.

A Cubist painter, not to be outdone with regard to his point of view of such a subject, covered an immense canvas with wonderful heaving squares of ochre and green, viewed from a background suggesting endless mud. This suggestion, however, may have been in the nature of a small tribute to the usual condition of the London streets. This production which the Cubist artist was optimistic enough to name simply Trafalgar Square, was instantly bought by a famous geologist, who to this day indulges in the beautiful belief that he possesses the only indication of what this particular portion of the world was like before ever the earth was made.

Last of all arrived a Futurist painter, who painted everything in Trafalgar Square, and nothing that did not appear in it. The painter, however, selected a really wonderful aspect of the Square, seen from a most strange angle, a sort of bird's eye view of it, which could only have been obtained from a balloon... Continue reading book >>




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