A Prisoner in Fairyland HTML version

Chapter 29
Think with passion
That shall fashion
Life's entire design, well planned.
Woman of the Haystack.
'You are looking so wonderfully well, Mr. Rogers,' Minks observed at Charing
Cross Station, 'the passage across the Channel, I trust, was calm.'
'And yourself and Mrs. Minks?' asked Rogers, looking into the equally sunburned
face of his secretary, remembering suddenly that he had been to the sea with his
family; 'Frank, too, and the other children? All well, I hope?'
'All in excellent health, Mr. Rogers, thanks to your generous thought. My wife---'
'These are the small bags,' the other interrupted, 'and here are the keys for my
portmanteaux. There's nothing dutiable. You might bring them on to the flat while
I run over to the Club for a bit of supper, Minks.'
'Certainly, with pleasure, Mr. Rogers,' was the beaming reply. 'And Mrs. Minks
begged me to tell you---'
Only Rogers was already in his taxi-cab and out of ear-shot.
'How well he looks!' reflected Minks, dangling the keys, accustomed to these
abrupt interruptions, and knowing that his message had been understood and
therefore duly delivered. These cut-off sentences were like a secret code
between them. 'And ten years younger! Almost like a boy again. I wonder if---' He
did not permit himself to finish the thought. He tried to remember if he himself
had looked like that perhaps in the days of long ago when he courted Albinia
Lucy--an air of joy and secrecy and an absent-minded manner that might any
moment flame into vehement, concentrated action. For this was the impression
his employer had made upon him. Only he could not quite remember those far-
off, happy days. There was ecstasy in them; that he knew. And there was
ecstasy in Henry Rogers now; that he divined.
'He oughtn't to,' he reflected, as he hurried in another taxi with the luggage. 'All
his yearnings would be satisfied if he did, his life flow into a single channel
instead of into many.'
He did not think about his own position and his salary.
'He won't,' he decided as the cab stopped at the door; 'he's not that kind of man.'
Minks had insight; he knew men. 'No artist ever ought to. We are so few, and the
world has need of us.' His own case was an exception that had justified itself, for
he was but a man of talent, and talent did not need an exclusive asceticism;
whereas his employer was a man of genius, and no one woman had the right to
monopolise what was intended to sweeten the entire universe.
By the time the luggage had been taken up, he had missed the last tram home,
and his sleep that night must in any case be short. Yet he took no note of that.
One must live largely. A small sacrifice for such a master was nothing at all. He
lingered, glancing now and again at the heap of correspondence that would
occupy them next morning, and sorting once more the little pile that would need