Page:Twilight.djvu/85

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77
TWILIGHT

tell you upon whom it was based. Although why not? Perhaps you will recognise the portrait. A little pot-bellied person, Jewish or German, with a cough, or a sniff, or a sneeze, a suggestion of a coming expectoration, speaking many languages badly and apparently all at once; impressed with his own importance, talking Turgenieff and looking Abimelech. Why Abimelech I don't know; but that is the hero of whom he reminds me. I met him at a literary garden party to which I was bidden after "The Immoralists" had been so favourably reviewed. It was given by a lady who seemed to know everybody and like no one, a keen two-bladed tongue leapt out among her guests, scarifying them. She told me Mr. Rosenstein was not only a publisher but an amorist. He looked curiously unlike it; but an introduction and a short interview turned me sceptic of my own impression, inclined me to the belief in hers.

I have wandered from my theme—your kindness, my nervousness. I shall try to do credit to your penetration. You said that you were sure I should make a success of anything I undertook! I wonder if you were right. And if my Staffordshire book will prove you so? I am going to try and make it interesting, not too technical! But my intentions vary all the time. A preliminary chapter on clays was in my first scheme, I now want instead to tell of the family history of half a dozen potters. From this I begin to dream of stories of the figures; the short-waisted husband and wife a-marketing with their basket of fruit and vegetables, the clergyman in the tithe piece, a benignant villain this, with a chucking-his-parishioners-under-the-chin expression.