Jaffery eBook

William John Locke
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 393 pages of information about Jaffery.
was deplored as the greatest loss sustained by English letters since Keats.  The press could do nothing but hail the new book as a masterpiece.  Barbara and myself, who, alone of mortals, knew the strange history of the two books, did not agree with the press.  In sober truth “The Greater Glory” was not a work of genius; for, after all, the only hallmark of a work of genius that you can put your finger on is its haunting quality.  That quality Tom Castleton’s work possessed; Jaffery Chayne’s did not.  “The Greater Glory” vibrated with life, it was wide and generous, it was a capital story; but, unlike “The Diamond Gate,” it could not rank with “The Vicar of Wakefield” and “David Copperfield.”  I say this in no way to disparage my dear old friend, but merely to present his work in true proportion.  Published under his own name it would doubtless have received recognition; probably it would have made money; but it could not have met with the enthusiastic reception it enjoyed when published under the tragic and romantic name of Adrian Boldero.

Of course Jaffery beamed with delight.  His forlorn hope had succeeded beyond his dreams.  He had fulfilled the immediate needs of the woman he loved.  He had also astonished himself enormously.

“It’s darned good to let you and Barbara know,” said he, “that I’m not a mere six foot of beef and thirst, but that I’m a chap with brains, and”—­he turned over a bundle of press-cuttings—­“and ‘poetic fancy’ and ‘master of the human heart’ and ’penetrating insight into the soul of things’ and ‘uncanny knowledge of the complexities of woman’s nature.’  Ho! ho! ho!  That’s me, Jaff Chayne, whom you’ve disregarded all these years.  Look at it in black and white:  ’uncanny knowledge of the complexities of a woman’s nature’!  Ho! ho! ho!  And it’s selling like blazes.”

It did not enter his honest head to envy the dead man his fresh ill-gotten fame.  He accepted the success in the large simplicity of spirit that had enabled him to conceive and write the book.  His poorer human thoughts and emotions centred in the hope that now Adrian’s restless ghost would be laid forever and that for Doria there would open a new life in which, with the past behind her, she could find a glory in the sun and an influence in the stars, and a spark in her own bosom responsive to his devotion.  For the tumultuous moment, however, when Adrian’s name was on all men’s tongues, and before all men’s eyes, the ghost walked in triumphant verisimilitude of life.  At all the meetings of Jaffery and Doria, he was there smiling beneath his laurels, whenever he was evoked; and he was evoked continuously.  Either by law of irony or perhaps for intrinsic merit, the bridges to whose clumsy construction Jaffery, like an idiot, had confessed, had been picked out by many reviewers as typical instances of Adrian Boldero’s new style.  Such blunders were flies in Doria’s healing ointment.  She alluded to the reviewers in disdainful terms.  How dared editors employ men to write on Adrian’s work who were unable to distinguish between it and that of Jaffery Chayne?

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Jaffery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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