Veiled (Believe Series Book 2)

Beyond the Veil
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If all these men were a little like becalmed ships, there was certainly one man whose sails were full. He was our daily comedy. In this fairly numerous company—there were others though no other face rises before me—my father and York Powell found listeners for a conversation that had no special loyalties, or antagonisms; while I could only talk upon set topics, being in the heat of my youth, and the topics that filled me with excitement were never spoken of.

Bedford Park had a red brick clubhouse with a little theatre that began to stir my imagination. I [Pg 10] persuaded Todhunter to write a pastoral play and have it performed there. He wrote his Sicilian Idyll , which I have not looked at for thirty years, and never rated very high as poetry, and had the one unmistakable success of his life. The little theatre was full for twice the number of performances intended, for artists, men of letters and students had come from all over London.

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I made through these performances a close friend and a discovery that was to influence my life. Heron Allen and Florence Farr read poetry for their pleasure. While they were upon the stage no one else could hold an eye or an ear. Their speech was music, the poetry acquired a nobility, a passionate austerity that made it seem akin for certain moments to the [Pg 11] great poetry of the world.

When they closed their mouths, and some other player opened his, breaking up the verse to make it conversational, jerking his body or his arms that he might seem no austere poetical image but very man, I listened in raging hatred. I kept my seat with difficulty, I searched my memory for insulting phrases, I even muttered them to myself that the people about might hear. I had discovered for the first time that in the performance of all drama that depends for its effect upon beauty of language, poetical culture may be more important than professional experience.

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And yet there was scarce another gift that she did not value above those three. We all have our simplifying image, our genius, and such hard burden does it lay upon us that, but for the praise of others, we would deride it and hunt it away.

She could only express hers through an unfashionable art, an art that has scarce existed since the seventeenth century, and so could only earn unimportant occasional praise. She would dress without care or calculation as if to hide her beauty and seem contemptuous [Pg 12] of its power. If a man fell in love with her she would notice that she had seen just that movement upon the stage or had heard just that intonation and all seemed unreal.

If she read out some poem in English or in French all was passion, all a traditional splendour, but she spoke of actual things with a cold wit or under the strain of paradox. Wit and paradox alike sought to pull down whatever had tradition or passion and she was soon to spend her days in the British Museum reading room and become erudite in many heterogeneous studies moved by an insatiable, destroying curiosity.

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How can you be a character actor, you who hate all our life, you who belong to a life that is a vision? I used in my rage to compare her thoughts, when her worst mood was upon her, to a game called Spillikens which I had seen played in my childhood with little pieces of bone that you had to draw out with a hook from a bundle of like pieces.

Her sitting room at the Brook Green lodging house was soon a reflection of her mind, the walls covered with musical instruments, pieces of oriental drapery, and Egyptian gods and goddesses painted by herself in the British Museum. She vexed my father by praise of war, war for its own sake, not as the creator of certain virtues but as if there were some virtue in excitement itself. I supported her against my father, which vexed him the more, though he might have understood that, apart from the fact that Carolus Duran and Bastien-Lepage were somehow involved, a man so young as I could not have differed from a woman so beautiful and so young.

Her complexion was luminous, like that of apple blossom through which the light falls, and I remember her standing that first day by a great heap of such blossoms in the window. In the next few years I saw her always when she passed to and fro between Dublin and Paris, surrounded, no matter how rapid her journey and how brief her stay at either end of it, by cages full of birds, canaries, finches of all kinds, dogs, a parrot, and once a full-grown hawk from Donegal.

Once when I saw her to her railway carriage I noticed how the cages obstructed wraps and cushions and wondered what her fellow travellers would say, but the carriage remained empty. It was years before I could see into the mind that lay hidden under so much beauty and so much energy.

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Henley, and I, like many others, began under him my education. His portrait, a lithograph by Rothenstein, hangs over my mantelpiece among portraits of other friends. He is drawn standing, but because doubtless of his crippled legs he leans forward, resting his elbows upon some slightly suggested object—a table or a window-sill. His heavy figure and powerful head, the disordered hair standing upright, his short irregular beard and moustache, his lined and wrinkled face, his eyes steadily fixed upon some object, in complete confidence and self-possession, and yet as in half-broken reverie, all are there exactly as I remember him. I have seen other portraits and they too show him exactly as I remember him, as though he had but one appearance and that seen fully at the first glance and by all alike. I disagreed with him about everything, but I admired him beyond words.

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I wanted the strongest passions, passions that had nothing to do with observation, [Pg 15] sung in metrical forms that seemed old enough to be sung by men half-asleep or riding upon a journey. Furthermore, Pre-Raphaelism affected him as some people are affected by a cat in the room, and though he professed himself at our first meeting without political interests or convictions, he soon grew into a violent unionist and imperialist. I meant that he was like a great actor of passion—character-acting meant nothing to me for many years—and an actor of passion will display some one quality of soul, personified again and again, just as a great poetical painter, Titian, Botticelli, Rossetti, may depend for his greatness upon a type of beauty which presently we call by his name.

Irving, the last of the sort on the English stage, and in modern England and France it is the rarest sort, never moved me but in the expression of intellectual pride and though I saw Salvini but once I am convinced that his genius was a kind of animal nobility. Half his opinions were the contrivance of a sub-consciousness that sought always to bring life to the dramatic crisis and expression to that point of artifice where the true self could find its tongue.

How could one resent his prejudice when, that he himself might play [Pg 16] a worthy part, he must find beyond the common rout, whom he derided and flouted daily, opponents he could imagine moulded like himself?

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They say Ireland is not fit for self-government, but that is nonsense. It is as fit as any other European country, but we cannot grant it. It would have expounded the Gaelic propaganda then beginning, though Dr Hyde had, as yet, no league, our old stories, our modern literature—everything that did not demand any shred or patch of government.

We gathered on Sunday evenings in two rooms, with folding doors between, and hung, I think, with photographs from Dutch masters, and in one room there was always, I think, a table with cold meat. Would I think it a wise thing if he bolted with Mrs B——? We might have a different ground of quarrel, but the result seemed more important than the ground, and his confident manner and speech made us believe, perhaps for the first time, in victory. And besides, if he did denounce, and in my case he certainly did, what we held in secret reverence, he never failed to associate it with things or persons that did not move us to reverence.

Once I found him just returned from some art congress in Liverpool or in Manchester. Henley, who hated all that Ruskin praised, thereupon derided Turner, and finding the city councillor the next day on the other side of the gallery, admiring some Pre-Raphaelite there, derided that Pre-Raphaelite. The third day Henley discovered the poor man on a chair in the middle of the room staring disconsolately upon the floor. He terrified us also and certainly I did not dare, and I think none of us dared, to speak our admiration for book or picture he condemned, but he made us feel always our importance, and no man among us could do good work, or show the promise of it, and lack his praise.

Stevenson, art critic and a famous talker, George Wyndham, later on a cabinet minister and Irish chief secretary, and now or later Oscar Wilde, who was some ten years older than the rest of us. But faces and names are vague to me and [Pg 18] while faces that I met but once may rise clearly before me, a face met on many a Sunday has perhaps vanished.

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When I think of him, the antithesis that is the foundation of human nature being ever in my sight, I see his crippled legs as though he were some Vulcan perpetually forging swords for other men to use; and certainly I always thought of C——, a fine classical scholar, a pale and seemingly gentle man, as our chief swordsman and bravo. When Henley founded his weekly newspaper, first The Scots , afterwards The National Observer , this young man wrote articles and reviews notorious for savage wit; and years afterwards when The National Observer was dead, Henley dying, and our cavern of outlaws empty, I met him in Paris very sad and I think very poor.

Henley often revised my lyrics, crossing out a line or a stanza and writing in one of his own, and I was comforted by my belief that he also rewrote Kipling then in the first flood of popularity. At first, indeed, I was ashamed of being rewritten and thought that others were not, and only began investigation [Pg 19] when the editorial characteristics—epigrams, archaisms, and all—appeared in the article upon Paris fashions and in that upon opium by an Egyptian Pasha.

I was not compelled to full conformity for verse is plainly stubborn; and in prose, that I might avoid unacceptable opinions, I wrote nothing but ghost or fairy stories, picked up from my mother or some pilot at Rosses Point and Henley saw that I must needs mix a palette fitted to my subject matter. My first meeting with Oscar Wilde was an astonishment. I never before heard a man talking with perfect sentences, as if he had written them all over night with labour and yet all spontaneous.

That very impression helped him, as the effect of metre, or of the antithetical prose of [Pg 20] the seventeenth century, which is itself a true metre, helped its writers, for he could pass without incongruity from some unforeseen, swift stroke of wit to elaborate reverie. What is King Lear but poor life staggering in the fog?

I have known men come to London full of bright prospects and seen them [Pg 21] complete wrecks in a few months through a habit of answering letters.

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I told my lads to attack him and yet we might have fought under his banner. Stevenson, who frequented both circles, was the better talker. Wilde had been trussed up like a turkey by undergraduates, dragged up and down a hill, his champagne emptied into the ice tub, hooted in the streets of various towns, [Pg 22] and I think stoned, and no newspaper named him but in scorn; his manner had hardened to meet opposition and at times he allowed one to see an unpardonable insolence.

His charm was acquired and systematized, a mask which he wore only when it pleased him, while the charm of Stevenson belonged to him like the colour of his hair.

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If thought failed him we would not combat what he had said, or start some new theme, but would encourage him with a question; and one felt that it had been always so from childhood up. I saw a good deal of Wilde at that time—was it or ? He had, before our first meeting, reviewed my book and despite its vagueness of intention, and the inexactness of its speech, praised without qualification; and what was worth more than any review he had talked about it and now he asked me to eat my Christmas dinner with him believing, I imagine, that I was alone in London.

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Learn how your comment data is processed. Veiled ends one happy ending and gives hope to finding a new one. The twist is unexpected and shocking. To start things off this is book is based on Jenny and its one month before the wedding she really busy organizing everything for her big day, her and Rich are ok but there is some think up Jen can not put finger on. However, when the veil in the Temple was torn from top to bottom it meant the true sacrifice had been offered up to the LORD God and accepted by Him as the perfect offering for sin. MouseOver Bible Options.

He had just renounced his velveteen, and even those cuffs turned backward over the sleeves, and had begun to dress very carefully in the fashion of the moment. He lived in a little house at Chelsea that the architect Godwin had decorated with an elegance that owed something to [Pg 24] Whistler. There was nothing mediaeval, nor Pre-Raphaelite, no cupboard door with figures upon flat gold, no peacock blue, no dark background. It was perhaps too perfect in its unity, his past of a few years before had gone too completely, and I remember thinking that the perfect harmony of his life there, with his beautiful wife and his two young children, suggested some deliberate artistic composition.

Only when he spoke, or when his writing was the mirror of his speech, or in some simple fairy tale, had he words exact enough to hold a subtle ear. He alarmed me, though not as Henley did, for I never left his house thinking myself fool or dunce. Wilde looked grave and I was plunged into the shame of clumsiness that afflicts the young. When I asked for some literary gossip for some provincial newspaper, that paid me a few shillings a month, he explained very explicitly that writing literary gossip was no job for a gentleman.

I was abashed before him as wit and man of the world alone. I remember that he deprecated the very general belief in his success or his efficiency, and I think with sincerity. One form of success had gone: he was no more the lion of the season and he had not discovered his gift for writing comedy, yet I think I knew him at the happiest moment of his life. No scandal had touched his name, his fame as a talker was growing among his equals, and he seemed to live in the enjoyment of his own spontaneity.

The other carpenters noticed that henceforth, for some unknown reason, he kept his hands covered.