The Fosters
Young Hungry

Death of a Hero (Penguin Classics) by Aldington Richard

Death of a Hero (Penguin Classics) by Aldington Richard

Author:Aldington, Richard [Aldington, Richard]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Penguin Group US
Published: 2013-02-25T20:00:00+00:00


During 1913 life ran on very pleasantly and happily for George and Elizabeth. As in the cases of the fortunate nations without a history, there appears to be very little to record about this year. I make no doubt that it was the happiest in George’s life. He was, as they say, “getting on,” and had less need to worry about money. In the spring they went to Dorsetshire and stayed at an inn. Elizabeth did a certain amount of painting, but apart from a few sketches George did not attempt landscape, especially the picturesque landscape—he wanted his painting to be urban, contemporary, and hard. They walked a good deal over Worbarrow Down and the rather desolate heath land round about. On more than one occasion they traversed the very same piece of land where George was afterwards in camp with me, a coincidence which seemed to make a great impression upon him. Certain aspects of a familiar landscape always call up the same train of thought; and as people are never weary of telling us what particularly strikes them, so George rarely failed to convey this piece of stale news to me as we walked out of camp by what had once been the rough cart-track he and Elizabeth had followed in less desolate days. He seemed to think it remarkable that he should be so miserable in exactly the same place where he had once been so happy. As I pointed out, that showed great ignorance of the ironic temper of the gods, who are very fond of such genial contrasts. They delight to lay a corpse in a marriage bed, and to strike down a great nation in the fullest flush of its pride and power. One might think that happiness was “hubris,” the excess which calls down the vengeance of Fate.

They returned to London for a few weeks, and then went to Paris. Elizabeth adored Paris, and wanted to live there permanently; but George was against it. He had got some bug about the best art being “autochthonous,” and declared that an artist ought to live in his own country. But the real reason was that Parisian life seemed so pleasant and the town so full of artists more gifted and more advanced than himself, that he found it almost impossible to work there. It was easier to feel important in the comparative desert of London. So they returned to London; and in the autumn George had his first “show,” which was not altogether such a failure as he had expected.

When autumn turned to winter, and the yellow leaves of the plane-trees drifted down into heaps in the London squares, lying miserably sodden under the rain, the everlasting London drizzle, Elizabeth got very restless. She wanted to get away, anywhere under blue skies and sun. Her throat and lungs were rather sensitive, and when the weather turned foggy she nearly choked in the heavy, soot-laden, stifling air. They talked about going to Italy or Spain, but George knew only too well that he could not afford it.


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