The Magician eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 220 pages of information about The Magician.
when I dined out, in tails and a white tie, as was then the custom, I went and came back by bus.  I was asked to spend week-ends in the country.  They were something of a trial on account of the tips you had to give to the butler and to the footman who brought you your morning tea.  He unpacked your gladstone bag, and you were uneasily aware that your well-worn pyjamas and modest toilet articles had made an unfavourable impression upon him.  For all that, I found life pleasant and I enjoyed myself.  There seemed no reason why I should not go on indefinitely in the same way, bringing out a novel once a year (which seldom earned more than the small advance the publisher had given me but which was on the whole respectably reviewed), going to more and more parties, making more and more friends.  It was all very nice, but I couldn’t see that it was leading me anywhere.  I was thirty.  I was in a rut.  I felt I must get out of it.  It did not take me long to make up my mind.  I told the friend with whom I shared the flat that I wanted to be rid of it and go abroad.  He could not keep it by himself, but we luckily found a middle-aged gentleman who wished to install his mistress in it, and was prepared to take it off our hands.  We sold the furniture for what it could fetch, and within a month I was on my way to Paris.  I took a room in a cheap hotel on the Left Bank.

A few months before this, I had been fortunate enough to make friends with a young painter who had a studio in the Rue Campagne Premiere.  His name was Gerald Kelly.  He had had an upbringing unusual for a painter, for he had been to Eton and to Cambridge.  He was highly talented, abundantly loquacious, and immensely enthusiastic.  It was he who first made me acquainted with the Impressionists, whose pictures had recently been accepted by the Luxembourg.  To my shame, I must admit that I could not make head or tail of them.  Without much searching, I found an apartment on the fifth floor of a house near the Lion de Belfort.  It had two rooms and a kitchen, and cost seven hundred francs a year, which was then twenty-eight pounds.  I bought, second-hand, such furniture and household utensils as were essential, and the concierge told me of a woman who would come in for half a day and make my cafe au lait in the morning and my luncheon at noon.  I settled down and set to work on still another novel.  Soon after my arrival, Gerald Kelly took me to a restaurant called Le Chat Blanc in the Rue d’Odessa, near the Gare Montparnasse, where a number of artists were in the habit of dining; and from then on I dined there every night.  I have described the place elsewhere, and in some detail in the novel to which these pages are meant to serve as a preface, so that I need not here say more about it.  As a rule, the same people came in every night, but now and then others came, perhaps only once, perhaps two or three times.  We were apt to look upon them as interlopers, and I don’t think we made them particularly welcome. 

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The Magician from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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