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He did. He dashed through a garden "What do you mean?” snapped the hedge (leading by a few yards only), policeman. clattered a moment in the yard, and “Don't get red in the face,” said the next instant a door slammed. Nibby, who had put off his suavity and When the officer reached the back door looked saucy. "You forget I'm your of the inn it was fast. He thundered mate an' you've clouted me once an' I a moment, and then tore round to the may be gettin' tired." front entrance as furiously. (Nibby, "Ten o'clock, ten o'clock," said the safely in the rear, made another short landlord sharply. “No row 'ere; outpause about the inn yard.)
side, please. I wonder you don't set a The taproom was a haze of smoke better example, constable.” The policeand a reek of earthed clothes, and had man glared, but he ushered John Ragg seven or eight men in it. The con through the front door promptly. stable looked round savagely and saw “You've picked your winnin' post, John Ragg panting hard.
anyway,” said Nibby approvingly, "It's you!” he said, gripping him by when everybody was out in the moonthe collar. "Look at your boots! light. The Flower Pot stood on the There, I don't want everybody to swear corner of a space at the end of the he ain't just rushed in, because I know village where three roads met. It was different. I've run this man with a not a green, for the landowner whose hare from the squire's land," he ex- estate touched there had planted trees plained to the landlord, while John ex- where children used to play, and enclaimed in surly denial. “This man closed them with an iron fence. Nibby bears witness," he said, as Nibby lolled back against this fencing with entered.
a quart measure in his hand. He had "What was 'e doin'?” asked the land put his jacket on, and looked more lord.
swollen than formerly. "I'll bring the "Watchin' with me."
mug back in the mornin',” he told the “Oh!" said the landlord. The com- landlord. “I trust's I'm not transgrespany tittered, and Nibby behind winked sin'?” he said, holding the pot up to the indescribably.
constable. "Then good 'ealth and bet"I cou'n't swear to my own mother," ter temper." he said advancing. He was in his “Will you come quiet, or shall I shirt sleeves and had his jacket search you now?” said the constable to bunched under his arm. “What is it, John Ragg. John? 'as 'e pitched on you? Well, . "You've no right,” said John sullenly. there's no accountin' for some folks. “An' you might 'ave begun elsewhere." 'E looked at me a bit back as though “Sarch the lot,” said Nibby, advanc'e thought I'd got a brace o' pheasants ing as the policeman hesitated, for in my weskit pocket.”
John had stiffened himself. “Sarch 'em "You looked swelled," said the police all, I say. 'Ere, stand in a row, you man sharply.
chaps." "I was troubled near my 'eart," said The men waggishly ranged themNibby chuckling. “You 'eard ?”
selves into line from John Ragg and "I heard your row.".
the policeman. They knew Nibby, who "That was my 'firmity," said Nibby, placed himself at the other end, pot in chuckling more. “I only 'opes you'll hand. “Shall I give the word ?” he never ketch nothing o' the sort. I asked, touching his cap to the conshould ’umor 'im, John; you see 'ow the stable. "My superior officer,” he expoor thing is."
"Go home!" said the policeman humming and rejoicing under the hotly. “I've had enough o’ your jaw.” mounting moon. They made a dense
"When I'm savin' of you trouble," ring with Nibby and the constable in said Nibby reproachfully. "Dress!" the centre. Amid a hush of curiosity he said sharply to the line. The men the policeman felt Nibby's pocket outstraightened themselves. “On-dress," side, inside. “'Ave you done?" asked said Nibby, “an'shake!" The men Nibby, as his captor withdrew his hand guffawed, and the constable swore and receded sullenly. "Then now allow
"Let 'em peel an' shake theirselves," me." said Nibby persuasively. "I shall see Nibby took off his coat, and from an if anything falls. ... Very well. Trim immense pocket produced a big wisp yer buttons, men. Right about! Dis-! of hay. “For my complaint,” he said, Well, young man,” explained Nibby shaking it aloft. “Don't go, young loftily, "you can't search 'em against man; your master the squire 'll 'ear in their will, none of 'em. I puts 'em on the mornin'. Don't hurry." their honor. That's the worst o' police- The furious constable was squeezing men, you allus 'ave to teach 'em the through the jeering crowd with diffilaw. You see (patting his bulging coat culty. absently), you didn't ketch them out “'E pressed me to 'sist 'im in the side."
watchin',” said Nibby loudly. “I be"I can search you," said the mad. lieve 'e set the trap an' put the crittur dened officer, gripping Nibby suddenly. in for a draw. An' 'e clouted me when
But Nibby was ready. He writhed I slipped an'accidental upset 'im and jerked himself, and the constable gently, an' 'e spilt my beer as I paid received the contents of the quart pot for, an' 'e insulted my complaint, an' in his face and over him. While he then 'e tried to take my character away gasped and dashed it out of his eyes afore my neighbors. Young man," deNibby made off round the railings. clared Nibby solemnly, “I shall go The policeman sprang after him and 'ome an' pray for you, an' I shall take the group yelled,
John Ragg with me. Why," he asked Nibby made the circuit, leading. As shrilly, "where is John? John Rag-g!" he came round he shouted, “Clear the The policeman had got clear and was course! Clear the course!” and as he several yards off, but he stopped. John passed the inn he brandished the quart Ragg was missing. pot and flung his arms in extravagant “What have you done with 'im, young burlesque of frantic speed. “Back yer man?” called Nibby. “Do you think fancy!" he yelled, "back yer fancy!” 'e's gone to see what it was 'ollered The spectators roared and clapped their when you met me fust? Or what it hands; they straggled out to watch; was that man dropped in the water they rocked and swayed in mirth; they when we run 'im wi' that 'are? Do made curious half-doubled shapes under you think that was a bundle of 'ay?" the moon. Cottage doors clicked round The policeman went off definitely; the space, and lighted openings blocked Nibby went; the company went. But with dark forms showed. A running the policeman did not again see John fire of laughter and cheering followed Ragg that night, and John Ragg did Nibby as he went.
not find the bare he had thrown into It couldn't last. Nibby was caught the brook. And next morning Nibby opposite the Flower Pot, where an Silks had for disposal two bares, which eager crowd clustered, for other inns he declared ought to be worth an extra had emptied, and it seemed that half sixpence each. “They're 'ares with a the village was there, buzzing and 'istory,” said he. The Cornbil Magazine.
W. H. Rainsford.
THE POETIC QUALITY IN LIBERALISM.
Suppose, for the sake of argument, tragedies would not be tragic. If life that a man were turned into a mack- begins by taking things for granted, erel. His sentiments touching the poetry answers by taking things away. change may not be a matter for urgent, It may be that this is indeed the whole but they cannot fail to be a matter for meaning of death; that heaven, knowclarifying consideration. There are ing how we tire of our toys, forces us many things that he would lose by to hold this life on a frail and romantic passing into the fishy state; such as tenure. the pleasure of being in the neighbor- If a man were to say that science hood of a Free Library, the pleasure stands for barbarism and religion for of climbing the Alps, the pleasure of civilization, he would in these days be taking snuff, the pleasure of joining accused of a mere trick of topsy-turvey. a heroic political minority, and also, I dom. Yet there is one sense, at least, suppose and hope, the pleasure of hav- in which this is unquestionably true. ing mackerel for breakfast. But there The generalizations which science is one pleasure which the man made makes true or false are of necessity mackerel would, I think, lose more limitations of human hope. The laws completely and finally than any of which science deduces, fairly or unthese pleasures: I allude to the pleas- fairly, are necessarily, like all laws, a ure of sea-bathing. To dip his head restraint of liberty. The nearer a man in cold water would not be something is to an ordered and classified being, sacred and startling; it would not be the nearer he is to an automaton. The to have all stars in his eyes and all nearer he is to an automaton, the song in his ears. For the sea-creature nearer he is to a beast. The lowest knows nothing of the sea, just as the part of man is that which he does in earth-creature knows nothing of the accordance with law, such as eating, earth. This forgetfulness of what we drinking, growing a beard, or falling have is the real Fall of Man and the over a precipice. The highest part of Fall of All Things. The evil which him is that which is most lawless: infects the immense goodness of exist- spiritual movements, passionate atence does not embody itself in the tachment, art. Had science found fact that men are weary of woes and laws for all the human processes, the oppressions. It embodies itself in the end would not be lucidity and meloshameful fact that they are often dious order. Neither would it be weary of joys and weary of generos- anarchy and blasphemy. It would be ities. Poetry, the highest form of mere drifting dulness, like that of a literature, has here its immortal func- cow slouching through a meadow, or tion; it is engaged continually in a a hog half asleep in the sun. Man's desperate and divine battle against life would be a life of blank receptivethings being taken for granted. A ness and unchanging custom; that is to fierce sense of the value of things lies say, it would be the life of a savage. at the heart, not merely of optimistic Government would succeed Governliterature, but of much of the best ment mechanically, as man pulls on his literature which is called pessimistic. boots. Nation would conquer nation Assuredly it lies at the heart of trag- unconsciously, as a man digests his edy; for if lives were not valuable dinner. All functions, being defined,
would be systematized; being system- everything, that it may be natural and atized, they would be forgotten. The expected. Art isolates a thing from records would be written by imbeciles; everything, that it may be unexpected, the streets would be full of somnam- that it may be supernatural. bulists. Against this nightmare of per- There may be some so wedded to the fect knowledge it is the everlasting superstitious word “law," that they business of literature to protest. will doubt if this making of an object
While the worship of law and gen- solitary and surprising be so wise or eralization would make everything con- so philosophical as the scientific tinuous and calm, literature would method. But they will not be poets; make everything separate and startling. and I do not think they will be the While order would make the Cabinet best kind of philosophers. For, when Minister appear as automatic as the we isolate a thing, we make it a percow, literature would, on the other fect symbol of the universe. For the hand, make the cow appear as disturb. universe is of necessity the perfectly ing and incredible as the Cabinet Min- lonely thing. You may state the eterister. The man of science would con- nal problem in the form of saying: sider the absorption of a small nation- “Why is there a Cosmos ?” But you ality as a thing as silent, as necessary, can state it just as well by saying: and as mechanical, as the digestion of "Why is there an omnibus?" You can his breakfast. The poet, on the other say: "Why is there everything?" You hand, would ask him to regard the di- can say instead: “Why is there any. gestion of his breakfast as in itself thing?" For that law and sequence something as thrilling or romantic as and harmony and inevitability on the battle of Colenso, as something which science so proudly insists are which had in it the two eternal ele- in their nature only true of the relaments of the epic-beauty and danger. tions of the parts to each other. The For the whole meaning of the strange whole, the nature of things itself, is not thing called Art is merely this, that by legal, is not consecutive, is not harcopying a thing, by making it over monious, and not inevitable. It is wild. again, and above all by making it over like a poem; arbitrary, like a poem; again with a slight difference, we can unique, like a poem. The existence of see something of the primary wonder the law itself is a solitary phenomenon, of it, a spasm, as it were, of the en- an incomparable phenomenon, and, in during astonishment of God. Any one, that sense, therefore, a lawless phenomfor instance, who has ever looked with enon. We and all the stars and certain feelings at a child's dolls'. winds may be riding in rigid ranks house, knows the thing of which I under the orders of the captain; but he speak. The very fact that the dolls'. is leading us on we know not how wild house is small, makes us realize with a raid. For our captain is a despot; surprise that houses can be so large. and a despot is of necessity an anThe very fact that it is not real makes archist. us remember, with a sort of shock, It is the function, then, of literature that houses are real. We see the thing to liberate a subject, or a spirit, or an at second hand; and then only we real- incident, or a personality, from those irize it at first hand. In this the dolls' relevancies which prevent it, first from house is the symbol and seed of the being itself, and, secondly, from becomwhole of art. Art, as I have said, has ing perfectly allegorical of the essence exactly the opposite aim to the aim of of things. Everything about the cow science. Science connects a thing with in our daily experience of it which accidentally prevents us from realizing by that desolation one may win the its deeper magic, such, for instance, as god-like pleasure of being surprised at our happening to be an old lady and a man. It is in this setting of a thing afraid of cows, or our being an impe- in freedom, and ringing it with sanccunious farmer and obliged to sell the tity, it is in this snatching it out of cow, or even (though this is less likely) the tedium of law and the inevitable, an ox and obliged to regard the cow that literature is nearest to faith and with more specialized and perhaps divine things. It is in this freeing it more passionate sentiment-anything from larger coercions that literature is I say, in the brute details of life, which most antagonistic to modern science; hampers the particular sentiment we and it is in this that it comes nearest, wish to regard her with, must in litera- again and again in human history, it ture be eliminated. We must, if neces- is in this indeed that it is at great mosary, put the cow in greener fields of ments supremely wedded, to the spirit fairy land, and under a sun that is which we call Liberalism. strange to men. We must set her dark Liberalism is a vague word, because against an impossible sunset, like the it is a good word; but recent and unend of the gods-or breast deep amid fortunate events have made it a much flowers of Paradise; if only so we can vaguer word than it need in any case make her seem more utterly cowish, have been. In current and recent Engand therefore more utterly mysterious. lish politics, indeed, the word LiberalWe must put her in Eden; we must ism is not so much vague as definitely put her in Elysium; we must put her self-contradictory. It would be useless in Topsy-turveydom. To sum it all up for me to attempt even to indicate the in a word, we must put her in a book, kinship of which I wish to speak bein a book where her rounded cowish- tween the spirit of literature and the ness will be safe from impertinences spirit of Liberalism without making and side issues, from bulls who regard some such attempt towards saying her as a female, and farmers who re. what I mean by Liberalism, similar gard her as a property-and old ladies to the attempt I have just made towho regard her as the devil. Similar wards saying what I mean by literamethods, I need hardly say, are needed ture. And here we are brought face to preserve the rounded humanity of to face with a difficulty, wbich has by the Cabinet Minister..
most people perhaps been only dimly Literature at its best, then, is essen- felt, but which I think most politicians tially a liberation of types, persons, have felt so keenly that they spent all and things; a permission to them to be their time in passionately denying its themselves in safety and to the glory existence. It seems to me totally futile of God. It offers a fuller considera- and absurd to deny any longer that tion of a man's case than the world Liberalism in our time means, not can give him; it offers, to all, noble only two different things, but two possibilities of fuller growth than is mutually exclusive and directly antagpracticable upon earth; it offers to the onistic things. An enlightened Liberal meanest soul whom it studies the Imperialist, with a theory of Empire, is divine emptiness of an uncreated not a weaker Liberal than I; nor am I world. It gives a man what he often a weaker Liberal than he. I am not a longs for more than houses or gardens paler shade of his blue; be is not a -deserts. For from the highest and pinker tone of my red. He means one most spiritual standpoint it is worth thing by Liberalism; and, in the light while to go many days in the desert, if of that, legitimately considers me no
LIVING AGE. VOL. XXVI. 1387