George Moore, The Untilled Field (1903)

[Note: Text digitised by Charles Franks, Robert Rowe et al., at Gutenberg Project in 2011 - online; edited for RICORSO by BS - 20.10.2015; updated 24.03.2023.]

I. In the Clay VIII. The Wedding-gown
II. Some Parishioners IX. The Clerk’s Quest
III. The Exile X. ”Alms-giving”
IV. Home Sickness XI. So On He Fares
V. A Letter To Rome XII. The Wild Goose
VI. Julia Cahill’s Curse XIII. The Way Back
VII. A Playhouse in the Waste
[ Note that the above index is reproduced for each story in this edition - the story in hand being unlinked and printed in bold. Each preceeding and succeeding story can be reached through the index or the links at the bottom of the page. ]

Chapter I: In the Clay

It was a beautiful summer morning, and Rodney was out of his bed at six o’clock. He usually went for a walk before going to his studio, and this morning his walk had been a very pleasant one, for yesterday’s work had gone well with him. But as he turned into the mews in which his studio was situated he saw the woman whom he employed to light his fire standing in the middle of the roadway. He had never seen her standing in the middle of the roadway before and his doors wide open, and he instantly divined a misfortune, and thought of the Virgin and Child he had just finished. sThere was nothing else in his studio that he, cared much about. A few busts, done long ago, and a few sketches; no work of importance, nothing that he cared about or that could not be replaced if it were broken.
 He hastened his steps and he would have run if he had not been ashamed to betray his fears to the char-woman.
 “I’m afraid someone has been into the studio last night. The hasp was off the door when I came this morning. Some of the things are broken.”
 Rodney heard no more. He stood on the threshold looking round the wrecked studio. Three or four casts had been smashed, the floor was covered with broken plaster, and the lay figure was overthrown, Rodney saw none of these things, he only saw that his Virgin and Child was not on the modelling stool, and not seeing it there, he hoped that the group had been stolen, anything were better than that it should have been destroyed. But this is what had happened: the group, now a mere lump of clay, lay on the floor, and the modelling stand lay beside it.
 “I cannot think,” said the charwoman, “who has done this. It was a wicked thing to do. Oh, sir, they have broken this beautiful statue that you had in the Exhibition last year,” and she picked up the broken fragments of a sleeping girl.
 “That doesn’t matter,” said Rodney. “My group is gone.”
 “But that, sir, was only in the clay. May I be helping you to pick it up, sir? It is not broken altogether perhaps.”
 Rodney waved her aside. He was pale and he could not speak, and was trembling. He had not the courage to untie the cloths, for he knew there was nothing underneath but clay, and his manner was so strange that the charwoman was frightened. He stood like one dazed by a dream. He could not believe in reality, it was too mad, too discordant, too much like a nightmare. He had only finished the group yesterday!
 He still called it his Virgin and Child, but it had never been a Virgin and Child in the sense suggested by the capital letters, for he had not yet put on the drapery that would convert a naked girl and her baby into the Virgin and Child. He had of course modelled his group in the nude first, and Harding, who had been with him the night before last, had liked it much better than anything he had done, Harding had said that he must not cover it with draperies, that he must keep it for himself, a naked girl playing with a baby, a piece of paganism. The girl’s head was not modelled when Harding had seen it. It was the conventional Virgin’s head, but Harding had said that he must send for his model and put his model’s head upon it. He had taken Harding’s advice and had sent for Lucy, and had put her pretty, quaint little head upon it. He had done a portrait of Lucy. If this terrible accident had not happened last night, the caster would have come to cast it to-morrow, and then, following Harding’s advice always, he would have taken a “squeeze,” and when he got it back to the clay again he was going to put on a conventional head, and add the conventional draperies, and make the group into the conventional Virgin and Child, suitable to Father McCabe’s cathedral.
 This was the last statue he would do in Ireland. He was leaving Ireland. On this point his mind was made up, and the money he was going to receive for this statue was the money that was going to take him away. He had had enough of a country where there had never been any sculpture or any painting, nor any architecture to signify. They were talking about reviving the Gothic, but Rodney did not believe in their resurrections or in their renaissance or in their anything. “The Gael has had his day. The Gael is passing.” Only the night before he and Harding had had a long talk about the Gael, and he had told Harding that he had given up the School of Art, that he was leaving Ireland, and Harding had thought that this was an extreme step, but Rodney had said that he did not want to die, that no one wanted to die less than he did, but he thought he would sooner die than go on teaching. He had made some reputation and had orders that would carry him on for some years, and he was going where he could execute them, to where there were models, to where there was art, to where there was the joy of life, out of a damp religious atmosphere in which nothing flourished but the religious vocation.
 “Good Heavens! How happy I was yesterday, full of hope and happiness, my statue finished, and I had arranged to meet Harding in Rome. The blow had fallen in the night. Who had done this? Who had destroyed it?”
 He fell into a chair, and sat helpless like his own lay figure. He sat there like one on whom some stupor had fallen, and he was as white as one of the casts; the charwoman had never seen anyone give way like that before, and she withdrew very quietly.
 In a little while he got up and mechanically kicked the broken pieces of plaster aside. The charwoman was right, they had broken his sleeping girl: that did not matter much, but the beautiful slenderness, the grace he had caught from Lucy’s figure — those slendernesses, those flowing rhythms, all these were gone; the lovely knees were ugly clay. Yes, there was the ruin, the ignoble ruin, and he could not believe in it; he still hoped he would wake and find he had been dreaming, so difficult is it to believe that the living have turned to clay.
 In front of him there was the cheval glass, and overcome though he was by misfortune he noticed that he was a small, pale, wiry, and very dark little man, with a large bony forehead. He had seen, strangely enough, such a bumpy forehead, and such narrow eyes in a Florentine bust, and it was some satisfaction to him to see that he was the typical Italian.
 “If I had lived three hundred years ago,” he said, “I should have been one of Cellini’s apprentices.”
 And yet he was the son of a Dublin builder! His father had never himself thought to draw, but he had always taken an interest in sculpture and painting, and he had said before Rodney was born that he would like to have a son a sculptor. And he waited for the little boy to show some signs of artistic aptitude. He pondered every scribble the boy made, and scribbles that any child at the same age could have done filled him with admiration. But when Rodney was fourteen he remodelled some leaves that had failed to please an important customer; and his father was overcome with joy, and felt that his hopes were about to be realised. For the customer, who professed a certain artistic knowledge, praised the leaves that Rodney had designed, and soon after Rodney gave a still further proof of his desire for art by telling his mother he did not care to go to Mass, that Mass depressed him and made him feel unhappy, and he had begged to be allowed to stay at home and do some modelling. His father excused his son’s want of religious feeling on the ground that no one can think of two things at once, and John was now bent on doing sculpture. He had converted a little loft into a studio, and was at work there from dusk to dusk, and his father used to steal up the ladder from time to time to watch his son’s progress. He used to say there was no doubt that he had been forewarned, and his wife had to admit that it did seem as if he had had some pre-vision of his son’s genius: how else explain the fact that he had said he would like to have a son a sculptor three months before the child was born?
 Rodney said he would like to go to the School of Art, and his father kept him there for two years, though he sorely wanted him to help in the business. There was no sacrifice that the elder Rodney would not have made for his son. But Rodney knew that he could not always count upon his father’s help, and one day he realised quite clearly that the only way for him to become a sculptor was by winning scholarships. There were two waiting to be won by him, and he felt that he would have no difficulty in winning them. That year there was a scholarship for twenty-five pounds, and there was another scholarship that he might win in the following year, and he thought of nothing else but these scholarships until he had won them; then he started for Paris with fifty pounds in his pocket, and a resolve in his heart that he would live for a year and pay his fees out of this sum of money. Those were hard days, but they were likewise great days. He had been talking to Harding about those days in Paris the night before last, and he had told him of the room at the top of the house for which he paid thirty francs a month. There was a policeman on one side and there was a footman on the other. It was a bare little room, and he lived principally on bread. In those days his only regret was that he had not the necessary threepence to go to the cafe. “One can’t go to the cafe without threepence to pay for the harmless bock, and if one has threepence one can sit in the cafe discussing Carpeaux, Rodin, and the mysteries, until two in the morning, when one is at last ejected by an exhausted proprietor at the head of numerous waiters.”
 Rodney’s resolutions were not broken; he had managed to live for nearly a year in Paris upon fifty pounds, and when he came to the end of his money he went to London in search of work. He found himself in London with two pounds, but he had got work from a sculptor, a pupil of Dalous: “a clever man,” Rodney said, “a good sculptor; it is a pity he died.” At this time Garvier was in fairly good health and had plenty of orders, and besides Rodney he employed three Italian carvers, and from these Italians Rodney learned Italian, and he spent two years in London earning three pounds a week. But the time came when the sculptor had no more work for Rodney, and one day he told him that he would not require him that week, there was no work for him, nor was there the next week or the next, and Rodney kicked his heels and pondered Elgin marbles for a month. Then he got a letter from the sculptor saying he had some work for him to do; and it was a good job of work, and Rodney remained with Garvier for two months, knowing very well that his three pounds a week was precarious fortune. Some time after, the sculptor’s health began to fail him and he had to leave London. Rodney received news of his death two years afterwards. He was then teaching sculpture in the art schools of Northampton, and he wondered whether, if Garvier had lived, he would have succeeded in doing better work than he had done.
 From Northampton he went to Edinburgh, he wandered even as far as Inverness. From Inverness he had been called back to Dublin, and for seven years he had taught in the School of Art, saving money every year, putting by a small sum of money out of the two hundred pounds that he received from the Government, and all the money he got for commissions. He accepted any commission, he had executed bas-reliefs from photographs. He was determined to purchase his freedom, and a sculptor requires money more than any other artist.
 Rodney had always looked upon Dublin as a place to escape from. He had always desired a country where there was sunshine and sculpture. The day his father took him to the School of Art he had left his father talking to the head-master, and had wandered away to look at a Florentine bust, and this first glimpse of Italy had convinced him that he must go to Italy and study Michael Angelo and Donatello. Only twice had he relaxed the severity of his rule of life and spent his holidays in Italy. He had gone there with forty pounds in his pocket, and had studied art where art had grown up naturally, independent of Government grants and mechanical instruction, in a mountain town like Perugia; and his natural home had seemed to him those narrow, white streets streaked with blue shadows. “Oh, how blue the shadows are there in the morning,” he had said the other night to Harding, “and the magnificent sculpture and painting! In the afternoon the sun is too hot, but at evening one stands at the walls of the town and sees sunsets folding and unfolding over Italy. I am at home amid those Southern people, and a splendid pagan life is always before one’s eyes, ready to one’s hand. Beautiful girls and boys are always knocking at one’s doors. Beautiful nakedness abounds. Sculpture is native to the orange zone — the embers of the renaissance smoulder under orange-trees.”
 He had never believed in any Celtic renaissance, and all the talk he had heard about stained glass and the revivals did not deceive him. “Let the Gael disappear,” he said. “He is doing it very nicely. Do not interfere with his instinct. His instinct is to disappear in America. Since Cormac’s Chapel he has built nothing but mud cabins. Since the Cross of Cong he has imported Virgins from Germany. However, if they want sculpture in this last hour I will do some for them.”
 And Rodney had designed several altars and had done some religious sculpture, or, as he put it to himself, he had done some sculpture on religious themes. There was no such thing as religious sculpture, and could not be. The moment art, especially sculpture, passes out of the domain of the folk tale it becomes pagan.
 One of Rodney’s principal patrons was a certain Father McCabe, who had begun life by making an ancient abbey ridiculous by adding a modern steeple. He had ruined two parishes by putting up churches so large that his parishioners could not afford to keep them in repair. All this was many years ago, and the current story was that a great deal of difficulty had been experienced in settling Father McCabe’s debts, and that the Bishop had threatened to suspend him if he built any more. However this may be, nothing was heard of Father McCabe for fifteen years. He retired entirely into private life, but at his Bishop’s death he was heard of in the newspapers as the propounder of a scheme for the revival of Irish Romanesque. He had been to America, and had collected a large sum of money, and had got permission from his Bishop to set an example of what Ireland could do “in the line” of Cormac’s Chapel.
 Rodney had designed an altar for him, and he had also given Rodney a commission for a statue of the Virgin. There were no models in Dublin. There was no nakedness worth a sculptor’s while. One of the two fat unfortunate women that the artists of Dublin had been living upon for the last seven years was in child, the other had gone to England, and the memory of them filled Rodney with loathing and contempt and an extraordinary eagerness for Italy. He had been on the point of telling Father McCabe that he could not undertake to do the Virgin and Child because there were no models. He had just stopped in time. He had suddenly remembered that the priest did not know that sculptors use models; that he did not know, at all events, that a nude model would be required to model a Virgin from, and he had replied ambiguously, making no promise to do this group before he left Ireland. “If I can get a model here I will do it,” he had said to himself. “If not, the ecclesiastic will have to wait until I get to Italy.”
 Rodney no more believed in finding a good model in Dublin than he believed in Christianity. But the unexpected had happened. He had discovered in Dublin the most delicious model that had ever enchanted a sculptor’s eyes, and this extraordinary good fortune had happened in the simplest way. He had gone to a solicitor’s office to sign an agreement for one of Father McCabe’s altars, and as he came in he saw a girl rise from her typewriting machine. There was a strange idle rhythm in her walk as she crossed the office, and Rodney, as he stood watching her, divined long tapering legs and a sinuous back. He did not know what her face was like. Before she had time to turn round, Mr. Lawrence had called him into his office, and he had been let out by a private door. Rodney had been dreaming of a good model, of the true proportions and delicate articulations that in Paris and Italy are knocking at your door all day, and this was the very model he wanted for his girl feeding chickens and for his Virgin, and he thought of several other things he might do from her. But he might as well wish for a star out of heaven, for if he were to ask that girl to sit to him she would probably scream with horror; she would run to her confessor, and the clergy would be up in arms. Rodney had put the girl out of his head, and had gone on with his design for an altar. But luck had followed him for this long while, and a few days afterwards he had met the pretty clerk in a tea-room. He had not seen her face before, and he did not know who it was until she turned to go, and as she was paying for her tea at the desk he asked her if Mr. Lawrence were in town. He could see that she was pleased at being spoken to. Her eyes were alert, and she told him that she knew he was doing altars for Father McCabe, and Father McCabe was a cousin of hers, and her father had a cheese-monger’s shop, and their back windows overlooked the mews in which Rodney had his studio.
 “How late you work! Sometimes your light does not go out until twelve o’clock at night.”
 Henceforth he met her at tea in the afternoons, and they went to the museum together, and she promised to try to get leave from her father and mother to sit to him for a bust. But she could only sit to him for an hour or two before she went to Mr. Lawrence, and Rodney said that she would be doing him an extraordinary favour if she would get up some hours earlier and sit to him from eight till ten. It was amusing to do the bust, but the bust was only a pretext. What he wanted her to do was to sit for the nude, and he could not help trying to persuade her, though he did not believe for a moment that he would succeed. He took her to the museum and he showed her the nude, and told her how great ladies sat for painters in the old times. He prepared the way very carefully, and when the bust was finished he told her suddenly that he must go to a country where he could get models. He could see she was disappointed at losing him, and he asked her if she would sit.
 “You don’t want a nude model for Our Blessed Lady. Do you?”
 There was a look, half of hesitation, half of pleasure, and he knew that she would sit to him, and he guessed she would have sat to him long ago if he had asked her. No doubt his long delay in asking her to sit had made her fear he did not think her figure a good one. He had never had such a model before, not in France or in Italy, and had done the best piece of work he had ever done in his life. Harding had seen it, and had said that it was the best piece that he had done. Harding had said that he would buy it from him if he got rid of the conventional head, and when Harding had left him he had lain awake all night thinking how he should model Lucy’s head, and he was up and ready for her at eight, and had done the best head he had ever done in his life.
 Good God! that head was now flattened out, and the child was probably thrown back over the shoulders. Nothing remained of his statue. He had not the strength to do or to think. He was like a lay figure, without strength for anything, and if he were to hear that an earthquake was shaking Dublin into ruins he would not care. “Shake the whole town into the sea,” he would have said.
 The charwoman had closed the door, and he did not hear Lucy until she was in the studio.
 “I have come to tell you that I cannot sit again. But what has happened?”
 Rodney got up, and she could see that his misfortune was greater than her’s.
 “Who has done this?” she said. “Your casts are all broken.”
 “Who, indeed, has done this?”
 “Who broke them? What has happened? Tell me. They have broken the bust you did of me. And the statue of the Virgin — has anything happened to that?”
 “The statue of the Virgin is a lump of clay. Oh, don’t look at it. I am out of my mind.”
 She took two or three steps forward.
 “There it is,” he said. “Don’t speak about it, don’t touch it.”
 “Something may be left.”
 “No, nothing is left. Don’t look at me that way. I tell you nothing is left. It is a lump of clay, and I cannot do it again. I feel as if I never could do a piece of sculpture again, as if I never wanted to. But what are you thinking of? You said just now that you could not sit to me again. Tell me, Lucy, and tell me quickly. I can see you know something about this. You suspect someone.”
 “No, I suspect no one. It is very strange.”
 “You were going to tell me something when you came in. You said you could not sit to me again. Why is that?”
 “Because they have found out everything at home, that I sat for you, for the Virgin.”
 “But they don’t know that — ”
 “Yes, they do. They know everything. Father McCabe came in last night, just after we had closed the shop. It was I who let him in, and mother was sorry. She knew he had come to ask father for a subscription to his church. But I had said that father and mother were at home, and when I brought him upstairs and we got into the light, he stood looking at me. He had not seen me for some years, and I thought at first it was because he saw me grown up. He sat down, and began to talk to father and mother about his church, and the altars he had ordered for it, and the statues, and then he said that you were doing a statue for him, and mother said that she knew you very well, and that you sometimes came to spend an evening with us, and that I sat to you. It was then that I saw him give a start. Unfortunately, I was sitting under a lamp reading a book, and the light was full upon my face, and he had a good view of it. I could see that he recognised me at once. You must have shown him the statue. It was yesterday you changed the head.”
 “You had not gone an hour when he called, and I had not covered up the group. Now I am beginning to see light. He came here anxious to discuss every sort of thing with me, the Irish Romanesque, the Celtic renaissance, stained glass, the possibility of rebuilding another Cormac’s Chapel. He sat warming his shins before the stove, and I thought he would have gone on for ever arguing about the possibility of returning to origins of art. I had to stop him, he was wasting all my day, and I brought over that table to show him my design for the altar. He said it was not large enough, and he took hours to explain how much room the priest would require for his book and his chalice. I thought I should never have got rid of him. He wanted to know about the statue of the Virgin, and he was not satisfied when I told him it was not finished. He prowled about the studio, looking into everything. I had sent him a sketch for the Virgin and Child, and he recognised the pose as the same, and he began to argue. I told him that sculptors always used models, and that even a draped figure had to be done from the nude first, and that the drapery went on afterwards. It was foolish to tell him these things, but one is tempted to tread on their ignorance, their bigotry; all they say and do is based on hatred of life. Iconoclast and peasant! He sent some religion-besotted slave to break my statue.”
 “I don’t think Father McCabe would have done that; he has got me into a great deal of trouble, but you are wronging him. He would not get a ruffian to break into your studio.”
 Rodney and Lucy stood looking at each other, and she had spoken with such conviction that he felt she might be right.
 “But who else could do it except the priest? No one had any interest in having it done except the priest. He as much as told me that he would never get any pleasure from the statue now that he knew it had been done from a naked woman. He went away thinking it out. Ireland is emptying before them. By God, it must have been he. Now it all comes back to me. He has as much as said that something of the temptation of the naked woman would transpire through the draperies. He said that. He said that it would be a very awful thing if the temptations of the flesh were to transpire through the draperies of the Virgin. From the beginning they have looked upon women as unclean things. They have hated woman. Woman have to cover up their heads before they go into the churches. Everything is impure in their eyes, in their impure eyes, whereas I saw nothing in you but loveliness. He was shocked by those round tapering legs; and would have liked to curse them; and the dainty design of the hips, the beautiful little hips, and the breasts curved like shells, that I modelled so well. It is he who blasphemes. They blaspheme against Life … . My God, what a vile thing is the religious mind. And all the love and veneration that went into that statue! There it is: only a lump of clay.”
 “I am sure you are wronging Father Tom; he has his faults, but he would not do such a thing as that.”
 “Yes,” said Rodney, “he would. I know them better than you. I know the creed. But you did not finish your story. Tell me what happened when he began to suspect that you sat for the statue.”
 “He asked me if I had seen the statue of the Virgin in your studio. I grew red all over. I could not answer him, and mother said, ’Why don’t you answer Father Tom?’ I could see from his manner that he knew that I had sat for the statue. And then he said he wanted to speak to father and mother. Mother said I had read enough, that I had better go to bed.”
 “And you went out of the room knowing what the priest was going to say?” said Rodney, melting into sympathy for the first time. “And then?”
 “I waited on the stairs for a little while, long enough to make sure that he was telling them that I had sat for the statue. I heard the door open, father came out, they talked on the landing. I fled into my room and locked the door, and just as I locked the door I heard father say, ’My daughter! you’re insulting my daughter!’ You know father is suffering from stone, and mother said, ’If you don’t stop I shall be up with you all night,’ and so she was. All the night I heard father moaning, and to-day he is so ill the doctor is with him, and he has been taken to the hospital, and mother says when he leaves the hospital he will turn me out of the house.”
 “Well,” said Rodney, “great misfortunes have happened us both. It was a cruel thing of the priest to tell your father that you sat for me. But to pay someone to wreck my studio!”
 Lucy begged of him not to believe too easily that Father McCabe had done this. He must wait a little while, and he had better communicate with the police. They would be able to find out who had done it.
 “Now,” she said, “I must go.”
 He glanced at the rags that had once covered his statue, but he had not the courage to undo them. If his statue had been cast the ruin would not be so irreparable. It could be put together in some sort of way.
 Who would have done it but the priest? It was difficult to believe that a priest could do such a thing, that anyone could do such a thing, it was an inhuman thing to do. He might go to the police as Lucy had suggested, and the police would inquire the matter out. But would that be of any satisfaction; a wretched fine, a few days’ imprisonment. Of one thing he was sure, that nowhere except in Ireland could such a thing happen. Thank God he was going! There was at least satisfaction in knowing that only twelve hours of Ireland remained. To-morrow evening he would be in Paris. He would leave the studio as it was. Maybe he might take a few busts and sketches, a few books, and a few pictures; he must take some of them with him, and he tried to formulate some plan. But he could not collect his thoughts sufficiently to think out the details. Would there be time to have a case made, or should he leave them to be sold, or should he give orders that they should be sent after him?
 At that moment his eyes went towards the lump of clay, and he wished that he had asked the charwoman to take it out of his studio. He thought of it as one thinks of a corpse, and he took down a few books and tied them up with a string, and then forgot what he was doing. He and his country were two thousand years apart, and would always be two thousand years apart, and then growing superstitious, he wondered if his country had punished him for his contempt. There was something extraordinarily fateful in the accident that had happened to him. Such an accident had never happened to anyone before. A most singular accident! He stood looking through the studio unable to go on with his packing, thinking of what Harding and he had been saying to each other. The “Celtic renaissance!” Harding believed, or was inclined to believe, that the Gael was not destined to disappear, that in making the Cross of Cong he had not got as far as he was intended to get. But even Harding had admitted that no race had taken to religion quite so seriously as the Celt. The Druids had put aside the oak leaves and put on the biretta. There had never been a religious revolution in Ireland. In the fifth and sixth centuries all the intelligence of Ireland had gone into religion. “Ireland is immersed in the religious vocation, and there can be no renaissance without a religious revolt.” The door of the studio opened. It was Lucy; and he wondered what she had come back for.
 “It wasn’t Father Tom. I knew it wasn’t,” she said.
 “Do you know who it was then?”
 “Yes, my brothers, Pat and Taigdh.”
 “Pat and Taigdh broke my statue! But what did they do that for? What did I ever do to them?”
 “I saw them whispering together. I could see they had a secret, something inspired me, and when Taigdh went out I got Pat by himself and I coaxed him and I frightened him. I told him that things had been broken in your studio, and that the police were making inquiries. I saw at once that he knew all about it. He got frightened and he told me that last night when I went to my room he and Taigdh came out of their room and had listened on the stairs. They did not understand everything that was said, they only understood that I had sat for a statue, and that the priest did not wish to put it up in his church, and that perhaps he would have to pay for it, and if he did not the Bishop would suspend him — you know there has always been talk about Father Tom’s debts. They got talking, and Taigdh said he would like to see the statue, and he persuaded Pat to follow him, and they climbed along the wall and dropped into the mews, and got the hasp off the door with the kitchen poker.”
 “But why did they break the statue?” said Rodney.
 “I don’t think they know why themselves. I tried to get Pat to tell me, but all he could tell me was that he had bumped against a woman with a cloak on.”
 “My lay figure.”
 “And in trying to get out of the studio they had knocked down a bust, and after they had done that Taigdh said: ’We had better have down this one. The priest does not like it, and if we have it down he won’t have to pay for it.’”
 “They must have heard the priest saying that he did not want the statue.”
 “Very likely they did, but I am sure the priest never said that he wanted the statue broken.”
 “Oh, it is a great muddle,” said Rodney. “But there it is. My statue is broken. Two little boys have broken it. Two little boys who overheard a priest talking nonsense, and did not quite understand. I am going away to-night.”
 “Then I shall not see you again,… and you said I was a good model.”
 Her meaning was clear to him. He remembered how he had stood in the midst of his sculpture asking himself what a man is to do when a girl, walking with a walk at once idle and rhythmical, stops suddenly and puts her hand on his shoulder and looks up in his face. He had sworn he would not kiss her again and he had broken his oath, but the desire of her as a model had overborne every other desire. Now he was going away for ever, and his heart told him that she was as sweet a thing as he would find all the world over. But if he took her with him he would have to look after her till the end of his life. This was not his vocation. His hesitation endured but a moment, if he hesitated at all.
 “You’d like to go away with me, but what should I do with you. I’m thirty-five and you’re sixteen.” He could see that the difference of age did not strike her — she was not looking into the remote future.
 “I don’t think, Lucy, your destiny is to watch me making statues. Your destiny is a gayer one than that. You want to play the piano, don’t you?”
 “I should have to go to Germany to study, and I have no money. Well,” she said, “I must go back now. I just came to tell you who had wrecked your studio. Good-bye. It has all been an unlucky business for both of us.”
 “A beautiful model,” Rodney said to himself, as he watched her going up the mews. “But there are other girls just as good in Paris and in Rome.” And he remembered one who had sat to him in Paris, and this gave him courage. “So it was two little boys,” he said, “who wrecked my studio. Two stupid little boys; two little boys who have been taught their Catechism, and will one day aspire to the priesthood.” And that it should be two stupid little boys who had broken his statue seemed significant. “Oh, the ignorance, the crass, the patent ignorance! I am going. This is no place for a sculptor to live in. It is no country for an educated man. It won’t be fit for a man to live in for another hundred years. It is an unwashed country, that is what it is!”

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