Page:The Wheel of Time, Collaboration, Owen Wingrave (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1893).djvu/141

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133
COLLABORATION

"It will cost me everything!" said Felix Vendemer, in a tone I seem to hear at this hour. "That's just the beauty of it. It's the chance of chances to testify for art—to affirm an indispensable truth."

"An indispensable truth?" I repeated, feeling myself soar, too, but into the splendid vague.

"Do you know the greatest crime that can be perpetrated against it?"

"Against it?" I asked, still soaring.

"Against the religion of art, against the love for beauty, against the search for the Holy Grail?" The transfigured look with which he named these things, the way his warm voice filled the rich room, was a revelation of the wonderful talk that had taken place.

"Do you know—for one of us—the really damnable, the only unpardonable, sin?"

"Tell me, so that I may keep clear of it!"

"To profane our golden air with the hideous invention of patriotism."

"It was a clever invention in its time!" I laughed.