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Vanishing Roads and Other Essays   By: (1866-1947)

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Vanishing Roads And Other Essays

By

Richard Le Gallienne

1915

TO

ROBERT HOBART DAVIS

DEAR BOB: It is quite a long time now since you and I first caught sight of each other and became fellow wayfarers on this Vanishing Road of the world. O quite a lot of years now, Bob! Yet I control my tendency to shiver at their number from the fact that we have travelled them, always within hailing distance of each other, I with the comfortable knowledge that near by I had so good a comrade, so true a friend.

For this once, by your leave, we won't "can" the sentiment, to use an idiom in which you are the master artist on this continent, but I, at least, will luxuriate in retrospect, as I write your name by way of dedication to this volume of essays, for some of which your quick firing mind is somewhat more than editorially responsible. You were one of the first to make me welcome to a country of which, even as a boy, I used prophetically to dream as my "promised land," little knowing that it was indeed to be my home, the home of my spirit, as well as the final resting place of my household gods; and, having you so early for my friend, is it to be wondered at if I soon came to regard the American humourist as the noblest work of God?

There is yet, I trust, much left of the Vanishing Road for us to travel together; and I hope that, when the time comes for us both to vanish over the horizon line, we may exit still within hail of each other, so that we may have a reasonable chance of hitting the trail together on the next route, whatever it is going to be.

Always yours, RICHARD LE GALLIENNE.

Rowayton, December 25, 1914.

For their discernment in giving the following essays their first opportunity with the reader the writer desires to thank the editors of The North American Review , Harper's Magazine , The Century , The Smart Set , Munsey's , The Out Door World , and The Forum .

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. VANISHING ROADS II. WOMAN AS A SUPERNATURAL BEING III. THE LACK OF IMAGINATION AMONG MILLIONAIRES IV. THE PASSING OF MRS. GRUNDY V. MODERN AIDS TO ROMANCE VI. THE LAST CALL VII. THE PERSECUTIONS OF BEAUTY VIII. THE MANY FACES THE ONE DREAM IX. THE SNOWS OF YESTER YEAR X. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF GOSSIP XI. THE PASSING AWAY OF THE EDITOR XII. THE SPIRIT OF THE OPEN XIII. AN OLD AMERICAN TOW PATH XIV. A MODERN SAINT FRANCIS XV. THE LITTLE GHOST IN THE GARDEN XVI. THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE XVII. LONDON CHANGING AND UNCHANGING XVIII. THE HAUNTED RESTAURANT XIX. THE NEW PYRAMUS AND THISBE XX. TWO WONDERFUL OLD LADIES XXI. A CHRISTMAS MEDITATION XXII. ON RE READING WALTER PATER XXIII. THE MYSTERY OF "FIONA MACLEOD" XXIV. FORBES ROBERTSON: AN APPRECIATION XXV. A MEMORY OF FRÉDÉRIC MISTRAL XXVI. IMPERISHABLE FICTION XXVII. THE MAN BEHIND THE PEN XXVIII. BULLS IN CHINA SHOPS XXIX. THE BIBLE AND THE BUTTERFLY

Vanishing Roads

I

VANISHING ROADS

Though actually the work of man's hands or, more properly speaking, the work of his travelling feet, roads have long since come to seem so much a part of Nature that we have grown to think of them as a feature of the landscape no less natural than rocks and trees. Nature has adopted them among her own works, and the road that mounts the hill to meet the sky line, or winds away into mystery through the woodland, seems to be veritably her own highway leading us to the stars, luring us to her secret places. And just as her rocks and trees, we know not how or why, have come to have for us a strange spiritual suggestiveness, so the vanishing road has gained a meaning for us beyond its use as the avenue of mortal wayfaring, the link of communication between village and village and city and city; and some roads indeed seem so lonely, and so beautiful in their loneliness, that one feels they were meant to be travelled only by the soul... Continue reading book >>




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