to be more than a spectator. His interest was in life, not in ideas. He was new to that particular kind of life. Afterwards, when I had come to know him, I heard him sum up every person there with extraordinary point and sparkle. Often since then, eager to hear more of my friend, I have asked men who met him casually for a report of him. So often they have said, “He was a looker-on at life. He came in and sat down and looked on. He gave nothing in return. He never talked, he only listened. I never got much out of him. I never got to the real Synge. I was never conscious of what he felt. Sometimes I felt that there was nothing in him. I never knew him respond. I never knew him do or say anything to suggest what he was in himself.” When I hear these phrases, I know that those who utter them really met Synge. His place was outside the circle, gravely watching, gravely summing up, with a brilliant malice, the fools and wise ones inside.
A week, or perhaps a fortnight, later, I met him again at the same place, among the same people. He was talking brightly and charmingly