SHADOWS

Another good reason why we ought to leave blank, unvexed, and unencumbered with paper patterns the ceiling and walls of a simple house is that the plain surface may be visited by the unique designs of shadows. The opportunity is so fine a thing that it ought oftener to be offered to the light and to yonder handful of long edges and rushes in a vase. Their slender gray design of shadows upon white walls is better than a tedious, trivial, or anxious device from the shop.

The shadow has all intricacies of perspective simply translated into line and intersecting curve, and pictorially presented to the eyes, not to the mind. The shadow knows nothing except its flat designs, having no third dimension. It is single; it draws a decoration that was never seen before, and will never be seen again, and that, untouched, varies with the journey of the sun, shifts the inter-relation of a score of delicate lines at the mere passing of time, though all the room be motionless. Why will design insist upon its importunate immortality? Wiser is the drama, and wiser the dance, that do not pause upon an attitude. But these walk with passion or pleasure, while the shadow walks with the earth. It alters as the hours wheel.

Moreover, while the habit of your sunward thoughts is still flowing southward, after the winter and the

-188-

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Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Winds and Waters 1
  • Ceres' Runaway 3
  • Wells 7
  • Rain 12
  • The Tow Path 15
  • The Tethered Constellations 19
  • Rushes and Reeds 22
  • In a Book Room 27
  • A Northern Fancy 29
  • Pathos 35
  • Anima Pellegrina! 38
  • A Point of Biography 43
  • The Honours of Mortality 48
  • Composure 50
  • The Little Language 55
  • A Counterchange 61
  • Harlequin Mercutio 67
  • Commentaries 71
  • Laughter 73
  • The Rhythm of Life 78
  • Domus Angusta 82
  • Innocence and Experience 86
  • The Hours of Sleep 89
  • Solitude 93
  • Decivilized 99
  • Wayfaring 103
  • The Spirit of Place 105
  • Popular Burlesque 110
  • Have Patience, Little Saint 114
  • At Monastery Gates 120
  • The Sea Wall 126
  • Arts 133
  • Tithonus 135
  • Symmetry and Incident 142
  • The Plaid 152
  • The Flower 156
  • Unstable Equilibrium 159
  • Victorian Caricature 161
  • The Point of Honour 165
  • The Colour of Life 169
  • The Colour of Life 171
  • The Horizon 176
  • In July 181
  • Cloud 184
  • Shadows 188
  • Women and Books 193
  • The Seventeenth Century 195
  • Mrs. Dingley 201
  • Prue 207
  • Mrs. Johnson 213
  • Madame Roland 219
  • The Darling Young 225
  • Fellow Travellers with a Bird 227
  • The Child of Tumult 235
  • The Child of Subsiding Tumult 242
  • The Unready 247
  • That Pretty Person 252
  • Under the Early Stars 259
  • The Illusion of Historic Time 262
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