A Prisoner in Fairyland HTML version
All we have willed or hoped or dreamed of good shall exist;
Not its semblance, but itself; no beauty, nor good, nor power
Whose voice has gone forth, but each survives for the melodist
When eternity affirms the conception of an hour.
The high that proved too high, the heroic for earth too hard,
The passion that left the ground to lose itself in the sky,
Are music sent up to God by the lover and the bard;
Enough that he heard it once: we shall hear it by and by.
Abt Vogler, R. BROWNING.
Some hours later, as Rogers undressed for bed in his room beneath the roof, he
realised abruptly that the time had come for him to leave. The weeks had flown;
Minks and the Scheme required him; other matters needed attention too. What
brought him to the sudden decision was the fact that he had done for the moment
all he could find to do, beginning with the Pension mortgages and ending with
little Edouard Tissot, the vigneron's boy who had curvature of the spine and could
not afford proper treatment. It was a long list. He was far from satisfied with
results, yet he had done his best, in spite of many clumsy mistakes. In the
autumn he might return and have a further try. Finances were getting muddled,
too, and he realised how small his capital actually was when the needs of others
made claims upon it. Neighbours were as plentiful as insects.
He had made all manner of schemes for his cousin's family as well, yet seemed
to have accomplished little. Their muddled life defied disentanglement, their
difficulties were inextricable. With one son at a costly tutor, another girl in a
Geneva school, the younger children just outgrowing the local education, the
family's mode of living so scattered, meals in one place, rooms in several others,-
-it was all too unmethodical and dispersed to be covered by their small uncertain
income. Concentration was badly needed. The endless talks and confabulations,
which have not been reported here because their confusion was interminable
and unreportable, landed every one in a mass of complicated jumbles. The
solution lay beyond his power, as equally beyond the powers of the obfuscated
parents. He would return to England, settle his own affairs, concoct some
practical scheme with the aid of Minks, and return later to discuss its working out.
The time had come for him to leave.
And, oddly enough, what made him see it were things the children had said that
very evening when he kissed them all good-night. England had been mentioned.
'You're here for always now,' whispered Monkey, 'because you love me and can't
get away. I've tied you with my hair, you know.'
'You'll have no sekrity in London,' said Jimbo. 'Who'll stick your stamps on?'
'The place will seem quite empty if you go,' Jane Anne contributed, not wishing to
make her contribution too personal, lest she should appear immodest. 'You've
made a memorandum of agreement.' This meant he had promised rashly once to
stay for ever. The phrase lent an official tone besides.