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And did this explain a little the spell that caught him in this Jura village, perhaps? Were these children, weaving a network so cunningly about his feet, merely scouts and pilots? Was his love for the world of suffering folk, after all, but his love for a wife and children of his own transmuted into wider channels? Denied the little garden he once had planned for it, did it seek to turn the whole big world into a garden? Suppression was impossible; like murder, it must out. A bit of it had even flamed a passage into work and patents and 'City' life. For love is life, and life is ever and everywhere one. He thought and thought and thought. A man begins by loving himself; then, losing himself, he loves a woman; next, that love spreads itself over a still bigger field, and he loves his family, his wife and children, and their families again in turn. But, that expression denied, his love inevitably, irrepressibly seeking an outlet, finds it in a Cause, a Race, a Nation, perhaps in the entire world. The world becomes his 'neighbour.' It was a great Fairy Story. ...
Again his thoughts returned to that one singular sentence ... and he realised what his cousin meant. Only a childless Mother, some woman charged to the brim with this power of loving to which ordinary expression had been denied, could fill the vacant role in his great Children's Play. No man could do it. He and his cousin were mere 'supers' on this stage. His cousin would invent her for his story. He would make her come. His passion would create her. That was what he meant.
Rogers smiled to himself, moving away from the window where the sunshine grew too fierce for comfort. What a funny business it all was, to be sure! And how curiously every one's thinking had intermingled! The children had somehow divined his own imaginings in that Crayfield garden; their father had stolen the lot for his story. It was most extraordinary. And then he remembered Minks, and all his lunatic theories about thought and thought-pictures. The garden scene at Crayfield came back vividly, the one at Charing Cross, in the orchard, too, with the old Vicar, when they had talked beneath the stars. Who among them all was the original sponsor? And which of them had set the ball a-rolling? It was stranger than the story of creation. ... It was the story of creation.
Yet he did not puzzle very long. Actors in a play are never puzzled; it is the bewildered audience who ask questions. And Henry Rogers was on the stage. The gauzy curtain hung between him and the outside point of view. He was already deeply involved in Fairyland. ... His feet were in the Net of Stars. ... He was a prisoner.
And that woman he had once dreamed might mother his own children-- where was she? Until a few years ago he had still expected, hoped to meet her. One day they would come together. She waited somewhere. It was only recently he had let the dream slip finally from him, abandoned with many another personal ambition.
Idly he picked up a pencil, and before he was aware of it the words ran into lines. It seemed as though his cousin's mood, thought, inspiration, worked through him.
Upon what flowering shore,
Her voice I may not hear,
If ever signs were sure,
What in the world was this absurd sweetness running in his veins?
He laughed a little. A slight flush, too, came and went its way. The tip of the pencil snapped as he pressed too heavily on it. He had drawn it through the doggerel with impatience, for he suddenly realised that he had told a deep, deep secret to the paper. It had stammered its way out before he was aware of it. This was youth and boyhood strong upon him, the moods of Crayfield that he had set long ago on one side--deliberately. The mood that wrote the Song of the Blue Eyes had returned, waking after a sleep of a quarter of a century.
'What rubbish!' he exclaimed; 'I shall be an author next!' He tore it up and, rolling the pieces into a ball, played catch with it. 'What waste of energy! Six months ago that energy would have gone into something useful, a patent--perhaps an improvement in the mechanism of--of--' he hesitated, then finished the sentence with a sigh of yearning and another passing flush--'a perambulator!'
He tossed it out of the window and, laughing, leaned out to watch it fall. It bounced upon a head of tousled hair beneath, then flew off sideways in the wind and rattled away faintly among the vines. The head was his cousin's.
'What are you up to?' cried the author, looking up. 'I'm not a waste- paper basket.' There was a cigarette ash in his beard.
'Sending you ideas, he answered. 'I'm coming myself now. Look out!' He was in high spirits again. He believed in that Fairy Princess.
'All right; I've put you in already. Everybody will wonder who Cousinenry is. ...' The untidy head of hair popped in again.
'Hark!' cried Rogers, trying to look round the corner of the house. He edged himself out at a dangerous angle. His ears had caught another sound. There was music in the air.
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A Prisoner in Fairyland -by- Algernon Blackwood