Vain Fortune eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 219 pages of information about Vain Fortune.

’Yet he talks charmingly, with vivacity and intelligence, and he is so full of appreciation of Shakespeare, Goethe, and such genuine love for antiquity.’

‘I’ve heard him talk Shakespeare, Goethe, and Ibsen,’ said Harding, ’but I never heard him say anything new, anything personal.  It seems to me that you mistake quotation for perception.  He assimilates, but he originates nothing.  He has read a great deal; he is covered with literature like a rock with moss and lichen.  He’s appreciative, I will say that for him.  He would make a capital editor, or a tutor, or a don, an Oxford don.  He would be perfectly happy as a don; he could read up the German critics and expound Sophocles.  He would be perfectly happy as a don.  As it is, he is perfectly miserable.’

‘There was a fellow who had a studio over mine,’ said Thompson.  ’He had been in the army and used to paint a bit.  The academy by chance hung a portrait, so he left the army and turned portrait-painter.  One day he saw a picture by Velasquez, and he understood how horrid were the red things he used to send to the academy.  He used to come down to see me; he used to say, “I wish I had never seen a picture, by Gad, it is driving me out of my mind.”  Poor chap, I wanted him to go back to the army.  I said, Why paint? no one forces you to; it makes you miserable; don’t do so any more.  When you have anything to say, art is a joy; when you haven’t, it is a curse to yourself and to others.’

Philipps, the editor of The Cosmopolitan, turned towards Harding, and he said—­

’I cannot follow you in your estimate of Hubert Price.  I don’t see him either mentally or physically as you do.  It seems to me that you distort the facts to make them fit in with your theory.  He is tall and thin, but I do not think that his nature is hard and dry.  I should, on the contrary, say that he was of a soft rather than a hard nature.  The expression of his face is mild and melancholy.  I do not detect the dry, hard, rocky basis of which you speak.  I should say that Price was a sentimental man.’

‘I have never heard of him being in love,’ said Harding.  ’I should say that he had been entirely uninfluenced by women.’

’But love of women is only one form of sentimentality and not the highest, nor the deepest,’ said Philipps.  ’I can imagine a man being exceedingly sentimental and not caring about women at all.’

‘What you say is true,’ said Harding.  His face showed that he felt the observation to be true and was interested in it.  ’But I think I described him truly when I said he was like a rock overgrown with moss and lichen.  There is not sufficient root-hold for any idea to grow in him, it withers and dies.  Examine his literature, and you’ll see it is as I say.  He has written some remarkable plays, I don’t say he hasn’t.  But they seem to be better than they are.  He gets a picturesque situation, but there is always something mechanical about it.  There’s a

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Vain Fortune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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