Page:Triangles of life, and other stories.djvu/136

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
124
LETTERS TO. JACK CORNSTALK

Nelson, on a tall column in Trafalgar Square, an effect which is greatly admired by the Americans who patronize Morley's Hotel on the Strand side of the Square. There is a similar—or even more so—effect in the statue of Captain Cook in Sydney, seen from one point of view. It's strange that these things are never foreseen. The sculptors must have had a rough time amongst their friends.

The Misguide Book says: "Generally speaking, the monuments in the Cathedral are more interesting from personal associations than from great artistic merit but some of the groups display vigorous action, and the likenesses are well preserved," etc., etc. You've read the same sort of stuff before. If the likenesses are preserved, then most of the heroes must have been born idiots. From my point of view, most of the statuary in St. Paul's is crude and—no, not theatrical—it doesn't even deserve that term. Reversing time, I would say that it belongs to the concert hall, living-picture school—the whole business has a concert-hally atmosphere. And I needn't have reversed time either, for the sentiment of the British Empire of to-day is popular concert hall sentiment. We can't get any lower, and that's some comfort.

When I look at a stone angel I mostly see a shallow-brained, soulless artist or sculptor's model in part of a sheet, and with a pair of wings. The stone angel business has been carried to a sickening extent in St. Paul's. If it were not so concert-hally, and thus beneath contempt, I would call it—well, Jack, I would call it blasphemy—and you know I'm no saint. To