At length in going a journey comes a time when one tiredly shrinks from the work of speech, when observation dozes, and thought lolls like a limp sail that only idly stirs at the passing zephyrs; the legs like piston-rods strike on; when the pleasure is like that almost of dull narcotics; one realises only dimly that one is moving. At such times as these, coming from one knows not whence, and one feels too weak to search back to discover, there flit across the mind strange fragments, relevant, as they seem, to nothing whatever present.
When a journey has been made one way, the trick has been done; the superfluous energy which inspired it has found escape; the way to return is not by walking. A friend to fatigue is this, that in walking back one is not on a voyage of discovery; one knows the way and very much what one will see on it; one knows the distance. In fact, the fruit has been plucked: the bloom is gone; to walk back would be like tedious marching with a regiment. One should return resting. On trains one returns from a journey.
Whoso hath life, one thinks as his journey draws to its close, let him live it! What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and never know his own soul?
GOING TO ART EXHIBITIONS
There are two opposing views as to going to art exhibitions. And much with a good deal of reason may be said on both sides. There is one very vigorous attitude which holds that the pictures are the thing. This, indeed, is a perfectly ponderable theory. But it may be questioned whether in its ardour it does not go a little far. For it affirms that people are a confounded nuisance at art exhibitions, and should not be permitted to be there, to distract one’s attention from the peaceful contemplation of works of art, and to infuriate one by their asinine remarks in the holy presence of beauty. I have heard it declared with very impressive spirit, and reasoned with much force, that only one person, or at most only one person and his chosen companion, should be allowed in an art gallery at a time. It is debatable, however, whether this intellectually aristocratic idea is altogether practicable. On the other hand, was it not even Little Billie who found the people at art exhibitions frequently more interesting than the pictures?
Anyhow, persons who write about art exhibitions confine themselves exclusively to the subject of art. When they gossip it is about the pictures, the painters, and the sculpture. True, of course, this is their job, and then, these persons go on press days and so only see, outside of that which is intentionally exhibited, other critics.