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 61 
 on: November 16, 2022, 04:00:17 pm 
Started by Rakastava - Last post by Rakastava
OLARI ELTS CONDUCTS THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ERKKI-SVEN TÜÜR'S WORK IN PORTUGAL
19.10.2022
Erkki-Sven Tüür's "Mare Lacrimarum" for big band and large ensemble will be performed by Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos and Casa da Música's in-house group Remix Ensemble under the direction of Olari Elts on October 23 at the Casa da Música concert hall in Porto.

The history of the work goes back to 2019, when Olari Elts conducted Tüür's 5th Symphony at the Casa da Música, after which the artistic director of the concert hall, António Jorge Pacheco, expressed an urgent desire for a new work that – like the 5th Symphony – would involve a big band. With a new work, composer had the idea to pay homage to his onetime inspirers – British prog rock bands. "Mare Lacrimarum" ("Sea of Tears") is dedicated to the victims of war crimes committed by the Russian army in Ukraine. The concert program also includes works by Magnus Lindberg, Lotta Wennäkoski and Anders Hillborg.

 62 
 on: November 16, 2022, 11:31:46 am 
Started by Admin - Last post by Admin

III

And it was about this time, more than half way through the trial month, that the clergyman took Spinrobin, now become far more than merely secretary, into his fuller confidence. In a series of singular conversations, which the bewildered little fellow has reported to the best of his ability, he explained to him something of the science of true names. And to prove it he made two singular experiments: first he uttered the true name of Mrs. Mawle, secondly of Spinrobin himself, with results that shall presently be told.

These things it was necessary for him to know and understand before they made the great Experiment. Otherwise, if unprepared, he might witness results that would involve the loss of self-control and the failure, therefore, of the experiment--a disaster too formidable to contemplate.

By way of leading up to this, however, he gave him some account first of the original discovery. Spinrobin asked few questions, made few comments; he took notes, however, of all he heard and at night wrote them up as best he could in his diary. At times the clergyman rose and interrupted the strange recital by moving about the room with his soft and giant stride, talking even while his back was turned; and at times the astonished secretary wrote so furiously that he broke his pencil with a snap, and Mr. Skale had to wait while he sharpened it again. His inner excitement was so great that he almost felt he emitted sparks.

The clue, it appears, came to the clergyman by mere chance, though he admits his belief that the habits of asceticism and meditation he had practised for years may have made him in some way receptive to the vision, for as a vision, it seems, the thing first presented itself--a vision made possible by a moment of very rapid hypnosis.

An Anglican priest at the time, in charge of a small Norfolk parish, he was a great believer in the value of ceremonial--in the use, that is, of colour, odour and sound to induce mental states of worship and adoration--more especially, however, of sound as uttered by the voice, the human voice being unique among instruments in that it combined the characteristics of  all other sounds. Intoning, therefore, was to him a matter of psychic importance, and it was one summer evening, intoning, in the chancel, that he noticed suddenly certain very curious results. The faces of two individuals in the congregation underwent a charming and singular change, a change which he would not describe more particularly at the moment, since Spinrobin should presently witness it for himself.

It all happened in a flash--in less than a second, and it is probable, he holds, that his own voice induced an instant of swift and passing hypnosis upon himself; for as he stood there at the lectern there came upon him a moment of keen interior lucidity in which he realized beyond doubt or question what had happened. The use of voice, bell, or gong, has long been known as a means of inducing the hypnotic state, and during this almost instantaneous trance of his there came a sudden revelation of the magical possibilities of sound-vibration. By some chance rhythm of his intoning voice he had hit upon the exact pitch, quality and accent which constituted the "Note" of more than one member of the congregation before him. Those particular individuals, without being aware of the fact, had at once responded, automatically and inevitably. For a second he had heard, he knew, their true names! He had unwittingly "called" them.

Spinrobin's heart leaped with excitement as he listened, for this idea of "Naming True" carried him back to the haunted days of his childhood clairvoyance when he had known Winky.

"I don't quite understand, Mr. Skale," he put in, desirous to hear a more detailed explanation.

"But presently you shall," was all the clergyman vouchsafed.

The clue thus provided by chance he had followed up, but by methods hard to describe apparently. A corner of the veil, momentarily lifted, had betrayed the value that lies in the repetition of certain sounds--the rhythmic reiteration of syllables--in a word, of chanting or incantation. By diving down into his subconscious region, already prepared by long spiritual training, he gradually succeeded in drawing out further details piece by piece, and finally by infinite practice and prayer welding them together into an intelligible system. The science of true-naming slowly, with the efforts of years, revealed itself. His mind slipped past the deceit of mere sensible appearances. Clair-audiently he heard the true inner names of things and persons. . . .

Mr. Skale rose from his chair. With thumbs in the arm-holes of his waistcoat and fingers drumming loudly on his breast he stood over the secretary, who continued making frantic notes.

"That chance discovery, then, made during a moment's inner vision," he continued with a grave excitement, "gave me the key to a whole world of new knowledge, and since then I have made incredible developments. Listen closely, Mr. Spinrobin, while I explain. And take in what you can."

The secretary laid down his pencil and note-book. He sat forward in an attitude of intense eagerness upon the edge of his chair. He was trembling. This strange modern confirmation of his early Heaven of wonder before the senses had thickened and concealed it, laid bare again his earliest world of far-off pristine glory.

"The ordinary name of a person, understand then, is merely a sound attached to their physical appearance at birth by the parents--a meaningless sound. It is not their true name. That, however, exists behind it in the spiritual world, and is the accurate description of the soul. It is the sound you express visibly before me. The Word is the Life."

Spinrobin surreptitiously picked up his pencil; but the clergyman spied the movement. "Never mind the notes," he said; "listen closely to me." Spinrobin obeyed meekly.

"Your ordinary outer name, however," continued Mr. Skale, speaking with profound conviction, "may be made a conductor to your true, inner one. The connection between the two by a series of subtle interior links forms gradually with the years. For even the ordinary name, if you reflect a moment, becomes in time a sound of singular authority--inwoven with the finest threads of your psychical being, so that in a sense you become it. To hear it suddenly called aloud in the night--in a room full of people, in the street unexpectedly--is to know a shock, however small, of increased vitality. It touches the imagination. It calls upon the soul built up around it."

He paused a moment. His voice boomed musically about the room, even after he ceased speaking. Bewildered, wondering, delighted, Spinrobin drank in every word. How well he knew it all.

"Now," resumed the clergyman, lowering his tone unconsciously, "the first part of my discovery lies in this: that I have learned to pronounce the ordinary names of things and people in such a way as to lead me to their true, inner ones----"

"But," interrupted Spinrobin irrepressibly, "how in the name of----?"

"Hush!" cried Skale quickly. "Never again call upon a mighty name--in vain. It is dangerous. Concentrate your mind upon what I now tell you, and you shall understand a part, at least, of my discovery. As I was saying, I have learned how to find the true name by means of the false; and understand, if you can, that to pronounce a true name correctly means to participate in its very life, to vibrate with its essential nature, to learn the ultimate secret of its inmost being. For our true names are the sounds originally uttered by the 'Word' of God when He created us, or 'called' us into Being out of the void of infinite silence, and to repeat them correctly means literally---to---speak---with---His---Voice. It is to speak the truth." The clergyman dropped his tone to an awed whisper. "Words are the veils of Being; to speak them truly is to lift a corner of the veil."

"What a glory! What a thing!" exclaimed the other under his breath, trying to keep his mind steady, but losing control of language in the attempt. The great sentences seemed to change the little room into a temple where sacred things were about to reveal themselves. Spinrobin now understood in a measure why Mr. Skale's utterance of his own name and that of Didier had sounded grand. Behind each he had touched the true name and made it echo.

The clergyman's voice brought his thoughts back from distances in that inner prairie of his youth where they had lost themselves.

"For all of us," he was repeating with rapt expression in his shining eyes, "are Sounds in the mighty music the universe sings to God, whose Voice it was that first produced us, and of whose awful resonance we are echoes therefore in harmony or disharmony." A look of power passed into his great visage. Spinrobin's imagination, in spite of the efforts that he made, fluttered with broken wings behind the swift words. A flash of the former terror stirred in the depths of him. The man was at the heels of knowledge it is not safe for humanity to seek. . . .

"Yes," he continued, directing his gaze again upon the other, "that is a part of my discovery, though only a part, mind. By repeating your outer name in a certain way until it disappears in the mind, I can arrive at the real name within. And to utter it is to call upon the secret soul--to summon it from its lair. 'I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by name.' You remember the texts? 'I know thee by name,' said Jehovah to the great Hebrew magician, 'and thou art mine.' By certain rhythms and vibratory modulations of the voice it is possible to produce harmonics of sound which awaken the inner name into life--and then to spell it out. Note well, to spell it,--spell--incantation--the magical use of sound--the meaning of the Word of Power, used with such terrific effect in the old forgotten Hebrew magic. Utter correctly the names of their Forces, or Angels, I am teaching you daily now," he went on reverently, with glowing eyes and intense conviction; "pronounce them with full vibratory power that awakens all their harmonics, and you awaken also their counterpart in yourself; you summon their strength or characteristic quality to your aid; you introduce their powers actively into your own psychical being. Had Jacob succeeded in discovering the 'Name' of that 'Angel' with whom he wrestled, he would have become one with its superior power and have thus conquered it. Only, he asked instead of commanded, and he found it not. . . ."

"Magnificent! Splendid!" cried Spinrobin, starting from his chair, seizing with his imagination potently stirred, this possibility of developing character and rousing the forces of the soul.

"We shall yet call upon the Names, and see," replied Skale, placing a great hand upon his companion's shoulder, "not aloud necessarily, but by an inner effort of intense will which sets in vibration the finer harmonics heard only by the poet and magician, those harmonics and overtones which embody the psychical element in music. For the methods of poet and magician, I tell you, my dear Spinrobin, are identical, and all the faiths of the world are at the heels of that thought. Provided you have faith you can--move mountains! You can call upon the very gods!"

"A most wonderful idea, Mr. Skale," faltered the other breathlessly, "quite wonderful!" The huge sentences deafened him a little with their mental thunder.

"And utterly simple," was the reply, "for all truth is simple."

He paced the floor like a great caged animal. He went down and leaned against the dark bookcase, with his legs wide apart, and hands in his coat pockets. "To name truly, you see, is to evoke, to create!" he roared from the end of the room. "To utter as it should be uttered any one of the Ten Words, or Creative Powers of the Deity in the old Hebrew system, is to become master of the 'world' to which it corresponds. For these names are still in living contact with the realities behind. It means to vibrate with the powers that called the universe into being and--into form."

A sort of shadowy majesty draped his huge figure, Spinrobin thought, as he stood in semi-darkness at the end of the room and thundered forth these extraordinary sentences with a conviction that, for the moment at least, swept away all doubt in the mind of his listener. Dreadful ideas, huge-footed and threatening, rushed to and fro in the secretary's mind. He was torn away from all known anchorage, staggered, dizzy and dismayed; yet at the same time, owing to his adventure-loving temperament, a prey to some secret and delightful exaltation of the spirit. He was out of his depth in great waters. . . .

Then, quite suddenly, Mr. Skale came swiftly over to his side and whispered in accents that were soothing in comparison:

"And think for a moment how beautiful, the huge Words by which God called into being the worlds, and sent the perfect, rounded bodies of the spheres spinning and singing, blazing their eternal trails of glory through the void! How sweet the whisper that crystallized in flowers! How tender the note that fashioned the eyes and face, say, of Didier. . . ."

At the name of Didier he felt caught up and glorified, in some delightful and inexplicable way that brought with it---peace. The power of all these strange and glowing thoughts poured their full tide into his own rather arid and thirsty world, frightening him with their terrific force. But the mere utterance of that delightful name---in the way Skale uttered it---brought confidence and peace.

". . . Could we but hear them!" Skale continued, half to himself, half to his probationer; "for the sad thing is that to-day the world has ears yet cannot hear. As light is distorted by passing through a gross atmosphere, so sound reaches us but indistinctly now, and few true names can bring their wondrous messages of power correctly. Men, coarsening with the materialism of the ages, have grown thick and gross with the luxury of inventions and the diseases of modern life that develop intellect at the expense of soul. They have lost the old inner hearing of divine sound, and but one here and there can still catch the faint, far-off and ineffable music."

He lifted his eyes, and his voice became low and even gentle as the glowing words fell from his heart of longing.

"None hear now the morning stars when they sing together to the sun; none know the chanting of the spheres! The ears of the world are stopped with lust, and the old divine science of true-naming seems lost for ever amid the crash of engines and the noisy thunder of machinery! . . . Only among flowers and certain gems are the accurate old true names still to be found! . . . But we are on the track, my dear Spinrobin, we are on the ancient trail to Power."

The clergyman closed his eyes and clasped his hands, lifting his face upwards with a rapt expression while he murmured under his breath the description of the Rider on the White Horse from the Book of the Revelations, as though it held some inner meaning that his heart knew yet dared not divulge: "And he had a Name written, that no man knew but he himself. And he was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood: and his Name is called The Word of God . . . and he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written,--`King of Kings and Lord of Lords. . . .'"

And for an instant Spinrobin, listening to the rolling sound but not to the actual words, fancied that a faintly coloured atmosphere of deep scarlet accompanied the vibrations of his resonant whisper and produced in the depths of his mind this momentary effect of coloured audition.

It was all very strange and puzzling. He tried, however, to keep an open mind and struggle as best he might with these big swells that rolled into his little pool of life and threatened to merge it in a vaster tide than he had yet dreamed of. Knowing how limited is the world which the senses report, he saw nothing too inconceivable in the idea that certain persons might possess a peculiar inner structure of the spirit by which supersensuous things can be perceived. And what more likely than that a man of Mr. Skale's unusual calibre should belong to them? Indeed, that the clergyman possessed certain practical powers of an extraordinary description he was as certain as that the house was not empty as he had at first supposed. Of neither had he proof as yet; but proof was not long in forthcoming.


 63 
 on: November 16, 2022, 10:59:06 am 
Started by Admin - Last post by Admin

II

For the rest, the new secretary fell quickly and easily into the routine of this odd little household, for he had great powers of adaptability. At first the promise of excitement faded. The mornings were spent in the study of Hebrew, Mr. Skale taking great pains to instruct him in the vibratory pronunciation (for so he termed it) of certain words, and especially of the divine, or angelic, names. The correct utterance, involving a kind of prolonged and sonorous vibration of the vowels, appeared to be of supreme importance. He further taught him curious correspondences between Sound and Number, and the attribution to these again of certain colours. The vibrations of sound and light, as air and æthyr, had intrinsic importance, it seemed, in the uttering of certain names; all of which, however, Spinrobin learnt by rote, making neither head nor tail of it.

That there were definite results, though, he could not deny---psychic results; for a name uttered correctly produced one effect, and uttered wrongly produced another . . . just as a wrong note in a chord afflicts the hearer whereas the right one blesses. . . .

The afternoons, wet or fine, they went for long walks together about the desolate hills, Didier sometimes accompanying them. Their talk and laughter echoed all over the mountains, but there was no one to hear them, the nearest village being several miles away and the railway station---nothing but a railway station. The isolation was severe; there were no callers but the bi-weekly provision carts; letters had to be fetched and newspapers were neglected.

Arrayed in fluffy tweeds, with baggy knickerbockers and heavily-nailed boots, he trotted beside his giant companion over the moors, somewhat like a child who expected its hand to be taken over difficult places. His confidence had been completely won. The sense of shyness left him. He felt that he already stood to the visionary clergyman in a relationship that was more than secretarial. He still panted, but with enthusiasm instead of with regret. In the background loomed always the dim sense of the Discovery and Experiment approaching inevitably, just as in childhood the idea of Heaven and Hell had stood waiting to catch him---real only when he thought carefully about them. Skale was just the kind of man, he felt, who would make a discovery, so simple that the rest of the world had overlooked it, so tremendous that it struck at the roots of human knowledge. He had the simple originality of genius, and a good deal of its inspirational quality as well.

Before ten days had passed he was following him about like a dog, hanging upon his lightest word. New currents ran through him mentally and spiritually as the fires of Mr. Skale's vivid personality quickened his own, and the impetus of his inner life lifted him with its more violent momentum. The world of an ordinary man is so circumscribed, so conventionally moulded, that he can scarcely conceive of things that may dwell normally in the mind of an extra-ordinary man. Adumbrations of these, however, may throw their shadow across his field of vision. Spinrobin was ordinary in most ways, while Mr. Skale was un-ordinary in nearly all; and thus, living together in this intimate solitude, the secretary got peeps into his companion's region that gradually convinced him. With cleaned nerves and vision he began to think in ways and terms that were new to him. Skale, like some big figure in story or legend, moved forward into his life and waved a wand. His own smaller personality began to expand; thoughts entered unannounced that hitherto had not even knocked at the door, and the frontiers of his mind first wavered, then unfolded to admit them.

The clergyman's world, whether he himself were mad or sane, was a real world, alive, vibrating, shortly to produce practical results. Spinrobin would have staked his very life upon it. . . .

And, meanwhile, he made love openly--under any other conditions, outrageously--to Didier, whose figure of soft beauty moving silently about the house helped to redeem it. The boy rendered him quiet little services of his own accord that pleased Spinrobin immensely, for occasionally he detected Didier's delicate scent about his room, and he was sure it was not Mrs. Mawle who put the fresh heather in the glass jars upon his table, or arranged his papers with such neat precision on the desk.

The boy's delicate, shining little face with its wreath of dark hair, went with him everywhere, hauntingly, possessingly; and when he kissed Didier, as he did now every morning and every evening under Mr. Skale's very eyes, it was like plunging his lips into a bed of wild flowers that no artificial process had ever touched. Something in him sang when the boy was near. Didier had, too, what he used to call as a boy "night eyes"---changing after dusk into such shadowy depths that to look at them was to look beyond and through them. The sight could never rest only upon their surface. Through Didier's eyes, then, stretched all the delight of that old immense playground . . . where names clothed, described, and summoned living realities.

His attitude towards the boy was odd yet comprehensible; for though his desire was unquestionably great, it was not particularly active, probably because he knew that he held him and that no aggressive effort was necessary. Secure in the feeling that the lad belonged to him, and he to the lad, he also found that he had little enough to say to him, never anything to ask. The boy knew and understood it all beforehand; expression was uncalled for. As well might the brimming kettle sing to the water "I contain you," or the water reply "I fill you!"

Only this was not the simile he used. In his own thoughts from the very beginning he had used the analogy of sound--of the chord. As well might one note feel called upon to cry to another in the same chord, "Hark! I'm sounding with you!" as that Spinrobin should say to Didier, "My heart responds and sings to yours."

After a period of separation, however, he became charged with things he wanted to say to the lad, all of which vanished utterly the moment they came together. Words instantly then became unnecessary, foolish. He heard that faint internal singing, and his own resonant response; and they merely stayed there side by side, completely happy, everything told without speech. This sense of blissful union enwrapped his soul. In the language of his boyhood he had found the boy's name; he knew him; he was his.

Yet sometimes they did talk; and their conversations, in any other setting but this amazing one provided by the wizardry of Skale's enthusiasm, must have seemed exquisitely ludicrous. In the room, often with the clergyman a few feet away, reading by the fire, they would sit in the window niche, gazing into one another's eyes, perhaps even holding hands. Then, after a long interval of silence Mr. Skale would hear Spinrobin's thin accents:

"You brilliant little sound! I hear you everywhere within me, chanting a song of life!"

And Didier's reply, thrilled and gentle:

"I'm but your perfect echo! My whole life sings with yours!"

Whereupon, kissing softly, they would separate, and Mr. Skale would cover them mentally with his blessing.

Sometimes, too, he would send for the housekeeper and, with the aid of the violin, would lead the four voices, his own bass included, through the changes of various chords, for the vibratory utterance of certain names; and the beauty of these sounds, singing the "divine names," would make the secretary swell to twice his normal value and importance (thus he puts it), as the forces awakened by the music poured and surged into the atmosphere about them. Whereupon the clergyman would explain with burning words that many a symphony of Beethoven's, a sonata of Schumann's, or a suite of Tschaikovsky's were the Names, peaceful, romantic or melancholy, of great spiritual Potencies, heard partially by these masters in their moments of inspirational ecstasy. The powers of these Beings were just as characteristic, their existence just as real, as the simpler names of the Hebrew angels, and their psychic influence upon the soul that heard them uttered just as sure and individual.

"For the power of music, my dear Spinrobin, has never yet by science or philosophy been adequately explained, and never can be until the occult nature of sound, and its correlations with colour, form, and number is once again understood. 'Rhythm is the first law of the physical creation,' says one, 'and music is a breaking into sound of the fundamental rhythm of universal being.' 'Rhythm and harmony,' declares Plato, 'find their way into the secret places of the soul.' 'It is the manifestation,' whispers the deaf Beethoven, 'of the inner essential nature of all that is,' or in the hint of Leibnitz, 'it is a calculation which the soul makes unconsciously in secret.' It is 'love in search of a name,' sang George Eliot, nearer in her intuition to the truth than all the philosophers, since love is the dynamic of pure spirit. But I," he continued after a pause for breath, and smiling amid the glow of his great enthusiasm, "go beyond and behind them all into the very heart of the secret; for you shall learn that to know the sounds of the Great Names and to utter their music correctly shall merge yourself into the heart of their deific natures and make you 'as the gods themselves . . . !'"

And Spinrobin, as he listened, noticed that a slight trembling ran across the fabric of his normal world, as though it were about to vanish and give place to another--a new world of divine things made utterly simple. For many things that Skale said in this easy natural way, he felt, were in the nature of clues and passwords, whose effect he carefully noted upon his secretary, being intended to urge him, with a certain violence even, into the desired region. Skale was testing him all the time.


 64 
 on: November 16, 2022, 09:49:46 am 
Started by Admin - Last post by Admin

CHAPTER III

I

IN his bedroom, though excitement banished sleep in spite of the lateness of the hour, he was too exhausted to make any effective attempt to reduce the confusion of his mind to order. For the first time in his life the diary-page for the day remained blank. For a long time he sat before it with his pencil--then sighed and put it away. A volume he might have written, but not a page, much less a line or two. And though it was but eight hours since he had made the acquaintance of the Rev. Philip Skale, it seemed to him more like eight days.

Moreover, all that he had heard and seen, fantastic and strained as he felt it to be, possibly even the product of religious mania, was nevertheless profoundly disquieting, for mixed up with it somewhere or other was--truth. Mr. Skale had made a discovery--a giant one; it was not all merely talk and hypnotism, the glamour of words. His great Experiment would prove to be real and terrible. He had discovered certain uses of sound, occult yet scientific, and if he, Spinrobin, elected to stay on, he would be obliged to play his part in the dénouement. And this thought from the very beginning appalled while it fascinated him. It filled him with a kind of horrible amazement. For the object the clergyman sought, though not yet disclosed, already cast its monstrous shadow across his path. He somehow discerned that it would deal directly with knowledge the saner judgement of a common-place world had always deemed undesirable, unlawful, unsafe, dangerous to the souls that dared attempt it, failure involving a pitiless and terrible Nemesis.

He lay in bed watching the play of the firelight upon the high ceiling, and thinking in confused fashion of the huge clergyman with his thundering voice, his great lambent eyes and his seductive gentleness; of his singular speculations and his hints, half menacing, half splendid, of things to come. Then he thought of the housekeeper with her deafness and her withered arm, and that white peace about her face; and, lastly, of Didier, soft, pale beneath his dark skin, his gem-like eyes ever finding his own, and of the intimate personal relations so swiftly established between them. . . .

It was, indeed, a singular household thus buried away in the heart of these lonely mountains. The stately old mansion was just the right setting for---for----

Unbidden into his mind a queer, new thought shot suddenly, interrupting the flow of ideas. He never understood how or whence it came, but with the picture of all the empty rooms in the corridor about him, he received the sharp unwelcome impression that when Mr. Skale described the house as empty it was really nothing of the sort. Utterly unannounced, the uneasy conviction took possession of him that the building was actually---populated. It was an extraordinary idea to have. There was absolutely nothing in the way of evidence to support it. And with it flashed across his memory echoes of that unusual catechism he had been subjected to---in particular the questions whether he believed in spirits,---"other life," as Skale termed it. Sinister suspicions flashed through his imagination as he lay there listening to the ashes dropping in the grate and watching the shadows cloak the room. Was it possible that there were occupants of these rooms that the man had somehow evoked from the interstellar spaces and crystallized by means of sound into form and shape---created?

Something freezing swept into him from a region far beyond the world. He shivered. These cold terrors that grip the soul suddenly without apparent cause, whence do they come? Why, out of these rather extravagant and baseless speculations, should have emerged this sense of throttling dread that appalled him? And why, once again, should he have felt convinced that the ultimate nature of the clergyman's great experiment was impious, fraught with a kind of heavenly danger, "unpermissible"?

Spinrobin, lying there shivering in his big bed, could not guess. He only knew that by way of relief his mind instinctively sought out Didier, and so found peace. Curled up in a ball between the sheets his body presently slept, while his mind, intensely active, travelled off into that vast inner prairie of his childhood days and called his name aloud. And presumably the boy came to him at once, for his sleep was undisturbed and his dreams uncommonly sweet, and he woke thoroughly refreshed eight hours later, to find Mrs. Mawle standing beside his bed with thin bread and butter and a cup of steaming tea.


 65 
 on: November 16, 2022, 06:37:49 am 
Started by Admin - Last post by Admin

IV

Spinrobin listened breathlessly. He hesitated a moment after the other stopped speaking, then slewed round on his slippery chair and faced him.

"I can understand," he began, "why you want imagination, but you spoke of courage too? I mean,---is there any immediate cause for alarm? Any personal danger, for instance, now?" For the clergyman's weighty sentences had made him realize in a new sense the loneliness of his situation here among these desolate hills. He would appreciate some assurance that his life was not to be trifled with before he lost the power to withdraw if he wished to do so.

"None whatever," replied Mr. Skale with decision, "there is no question at all of physical personal injury. You must trust me and have a little patience." His tone and manner were exceedingly grave, yet at the same time inspired confidence.

"I do," said Spinrobin honestly.

Another pause fell between them, longer than the rest; it was broken by the clergyman. He spoke emphatically, evidently weighing his words with the utmost care.

"This Chord," he said simply---yet, for all the simplicity, there ran to and fro behind his words the sense of unlawful and immense forces impending---"I need for a stupendous experiment with sound, an experiment which will lead in turn towards a yet greater and final one. There is no harm in your knowing that. To produce a certain transcendent result I want a complex sound---a chord, but a complete and perfect chord in which each note is sure of itself and absolutely accurate."

He waited a moment. There was utter silence about them in the room. Spinrobin held his breath.

"No instrument can help me; the notes must be human," he resumed in a lower voice, "and the utterers---pure. For the human voice can produce sounds 'possessing in some degree the characteristics not only of all musical instruments, but of all sounds of whatever description.' By means of this chord I hope to utter a certain sound, a certain name, of which you shall know more hereafter. But a name, as you surely know, need not be composed of one or two syllables only; a whole symphony may be a name, and a whole orchestra playing for days, or an entire nation chanting for years, may be required to pronounce the beginning merely of---of certain names. Yours, Robert Spinrobin, for instance, I can pronounce in a quarter of a second; but there may be names so vast, so mighty, that minutes, days, years even, may be necessary for their full utterance. There may be names, indeed, which can never be known, for they could never be uttered---in time. For the moment I am content simply to drop this thought into your consciousness; later you shall understand more. I only wish you to take in now that I need this perfect chord for the utterance in due course of a certain complex and stupendous name---the invocation, that is, of a certain complex and stupendous Force!"

"I think I understand," whispered the other, afraid to interrupt more.

"And the difficulty I have experienced in finding the three notes has been immense. I found Mrs. Mawle---alto; then Didier I found at birth and trained him---counter-tenor; and now I have found you, Mr. Spinrobin, and my chord, with myself as bass, is complete. Your note and Didier's, counter-tenor and tenor, are closer than the relations between the other notes, and a tenor has accordingly been most difficult to find. You can now understand the importance of your being sympathetic to each other."

Spinrobin's heart burned within him as he listened. He began to grasp some sweet mystical meaning in the sense of perfect companionship the mere presence of the boy inspired. They were the upper notes in the same chord together, linked in a singing and harmonious relation, the one necessary to the other. Moreover, in the presence of Mr. Skale and the housekeeper, bass and alto in the full chord, their completeness was still more emphasized, and they knew their fullest life. The adventure promised to be amazingly seductive. He would learn practically the strange truth that to know the highest life Self must be lost and merged in something bigger. And was this not precisely what he had so long been seeking---escape from his own insignificance?

"And---er---the Hebrew that you require of me, Mr. Skale?" he asked, returning to practical considerations.

"Our purposes require a certain knowledge of Hebrew," he answered without hesitation or demur, "because that ancient language and the magical resources of sound are profoundly linked. In the actual sounds of many of the Hebrew letters lies a singular power, unguessed by the majority, undivined especially, of course, by the mere scholar, but available for the pure in heart who may discover how to use their extraordinary values. They constitute, in my view at least, a remnant of the original Chaldaean mysteries, the lore of that magic which is older than religion. The secret of this knowledge lies in the psychic values of sound; for Hebrew, the Hebrew of the Bahir, remains in the hierarchy of languages a direct channel to the unknown and inscrutable forces; and the knowledge of mighty and supersensual things lies locked up in the correct utterance of many of its words, letters and phrases. Its correct utterance, mark well. For knowledge of the most amazing and terrible kind is there, waiting release by him who knows, and who greatly dares.

"And you shall later learn that sound is power. The Hebrew alphabet you must know intimately, and the intricate association of its letters with number, colour, harmony and geometrical form, all of which are but symbols of the Realities at the very roots of life. The Hebrew alphabet, Mr. Spinrobin, is a 'discourse in methods of manifestation, of formation.' In its correct pronunciation lies a way to direct knowledge of divine powers, and to conditions beyond this physical existence."

The clergyman's voice grew lower and lower as he proceeded, and the conviction was unavoidable that he referred to things whereof he had practical knowledge. To Spinrobin it was like the lifting of a great veil. As a boy he had divined something of these values of sound and name, but with the years this knowledge had come to seem fantastic and unreal. It now returned upon him with the force of a terrific certainty. That immense old inner playground of his youth, without boundaries or horizon, rolled up before his mental vision, inviting further and detailed discovery.

"With the language, qua language," he continued, "you need not trouble, but the 'Names' of many things you must know accurately, and especially the names of the so-called 'Angels'; for these are in reality Forces of immense potency, vast spiritual Powers, Qualities, and the like, all evocable by correct utterance of their names. This language, as you will see, is alive and divine in the true sense; its letters are the vehicles of activities; its words, terrific formulæ; and the true pronunciation of them remains to-day a direct channel to divine knowledge. In time you shall see; in time you shall know; in time you shall hear. Mr. Spinrobin," and he thrust his great head forwards and dropped his voice to a hushed whisper, "in time we shall all together make this Experiment in sound which shall redeem us and make us as Gods!"

"Thank you!" gasped the secretary, swept off his feet by this torrent of uncommon and mystical language, and passing a moist hand through his feathery hair. He was not entirely ignorant, of course, of the alleged use of sound in the various systems of so-called magic that have influenced the minds of imaginative men during the history of the world. He had heard, more or less vaguely, perhaps, but still with understanding, about "Words of Power"; but hitherto he had merely regarded such things as picturesque superstitions, or half-truths that lie midway between science and imagination. Here, however, was a man in the twentieth century, the days of radium, flying machines, wireless telegraphy, and other invitations towards materialism, who apparently had practical belief in the effective use of sound and in its psychic and divine possibilities, and who was devoting all of his not inconsiderable powers of heart and mind to their actual demonstration. It was astonishing. It was delightful. It was incredible! And, but for the currents of a strange and formidable fear that this conception of Skale's audacious Experiment set stirring in his soul, Spinrobin's enthusiasm would have been possibly as great as his own.

As it was he went up to the big clergyman and held out his hand, utterly carried away by the strangeness of it all, caught up in a vague splendour he did not quite understand, prepared to abandon himself utterly.

"I gather something of what you mean," he said earnestly, "if not all; and I hope most sincerely I may prove suitable for your purpose when the time comes. As a boy, you know, curiously enough, I always believed in the efficacy of names and the importance of naming true. I think," he added somewhat diffidently, looking up straight into the luminous eyes above him, "if you will allow me to say so, I would follow you anywhere, Mr. Skale---anywhere you cared to lead."

"'Upon him that overcometh,'" said the clergyman in that gentle voice he sometimes used, soft as the voice of woman, "'will I write my new name. . . .'"

He gazed down very searchingly into the other's eyes for a minute or two, then shook the proffered hand without another word. And so they separated and went to bed, for it was long past midnight.


 66 
 on: November 16, 2022, 05:22:56 am 
Started by Admin - Last post by Admin

III

Mr. Skale, he saw, had fastened the little sheet of glass by its four corners to silken strings hanging from the ceiling. The glass plate hung, motionless and horizontal, in the air with its freight of sand. For several minutes the clergyman played a series of beautiful modulations in double-stopping upon the violin. In these the dominating influence was E flat. Spinrobin was not musical enough to describe it more accurately than this. Only, with greater skill than he knows, he mentions how Skale drew out of that fiddle the peculiarly intimate and searching tones by which strings can reach the spiritual centre of a man and make him respond to delicate vibrations of thoughts beyond his normal gamut. . . .

Spinrobin, listening, understood that he was a greater man than he knew. . . .

And the sand on the glass sheet, he next became aware, was shifting, moving, dancing. He heard the tiny hissing and rattling of the dry grains. It was uncommonly weird. This visible and practical result made the clergyman's astonishing words seem true and convincing. That moving sand brought sanity, yet a certain curious terror of the unknown into it all.

A minute later Mr. Skale stopped playing and beckoned to him.

"See," he said quietly, pointing to the arrangement the particles of sand had assumed under the influence of the vibrations. "There's your pattern--your sound made visible. That's your utterance---the Note you substantially represent and body forth in terms of matter."

The secretary stared. It was a charming but very simple pattern the lines of sand had assumed, not unlike the fronds of a delicate fern growing out of several small circles round the base.

"So that's my note---made visible!" he exclaimed under his breath. "It's delightful; it's quite exquisite."

"That's E flat," returned Mr. Skale in a whisper, so as not to disturb the pattern; "if I altered the note, the pattern would alter too. E natural, for instance, would be different. Only, luckily, you are E flat---just the note we want. And now," he continued, straightening himself up to his full height, "come over and see mine and Didier's and Mrs. Mawle's, and you'll understand what I meant when I said that yours would harmonize." And in a glass case across the room they examined a number of square sheets of glass with sand upon them in various patterns, all rendered permanent by a thin coating of a glue-like transparent substance that held the particles in position.

"There you see mine and Didier's and Mrs. Mawle's," he said, stooping to look. "They harmonize most beautifully, you observe, with your own."

It was, indeed, a singular and remarkable thing. The patterns, though all different, yet combined in some subtle fashion impossible of analysis to form a complete and well-proportioned Whole---a design---a picture. The patterns of the clergyman and the housekeeper provided the base and foreground, those of Didier and the secretary the delicate superstructure. The boy's pattern, he noted with a subtle pleasure, was curiously similar to his own, but far more delicate and waving. Yet, whereas his was floral, Didier's was stellar in character; that of the housekeeper was spiral, and Mr. Skale's he could only describe as a miniature whirlwind of very exquisite design rising out of apparently three separate centres of motion.

"If I could paint over them the colour each shade of sound represents," Mr. Skale resumed, "the tint of each timbre, or Klangfarbe, as the Germans call it, you would see better still how we are all grouped together there into a complete and harmonious whole."

Spinrobin looked from the patterns to his companion's great face bending there beside him. Then he looked back again at the patterns. He could think of nothing quite intelligible to say. He noticed more clearly every minute that these dainty shapes of sand, stellar, spiral, and floral, stood to one another in certain definite proportions, in a rising and calculated ratio of singular beauty.

"There, before you, lies a true and perfect chord made visible," the clergyman said in tones thrilling with satisfaction, "---three notes in harmony with the fundamental sound, myself, and with each other. My dear fellow, I congratulate you, I congratulate you."

"Thank you very much, indeed," murmured Spinrobin. "I don't quite understand it all yet, but it's---it's extraordinarily fascinating and wonderful."

Mr. Skale said nothing, and Spinrobin drifted back to his big arm-chair. A deep silence pervaded the room for the space of several minutes. In the heart of that silence lay the mass of direct and vital questions the secretary burned, yet was afraid, to ask. For such was the plain truth; he yearned to know, yet feared to hear. The Discovery and the Experiment of this singular man loomed already somewhat vast and terrible; the adjective that had suggested itself before returned to him---"not permissible." . . . Of Mr. Skale himself he had no sort of fear, though a growing and uncommon respect, but of the purpose Mr. Skale had in view he caught himself thinking more and more, yet without obvious reason, with a distinct shrinking almost amounting to dismay. But for the fact that so sweet and gentle a creature as Didier was travelling the same path with him, this increased sense of caution would have revealed itself plainly for what it was---Fear. . . .

"I am deeply interested, Mr. Skale," he said at length, breaking first the silence, "and sympathetic too, I assure you; only---you will forgive me for saying it---I am, as yet, still rather in the dark as to where all this is to lead----" The clergyman's eyes, fixed straight upon his own, again made it difficult to finish the sentence as he wished.

"Necessarily so, because I can only lead you to my discovery step by step," replied the other steadily. "I wish you to be thoroughly prepared for anything that may happen, so that you can deal intelligently with results that might otherwise overwhelm you."

"Overwhelm----?" faltered his listener.

"Might, I said. Note carefully my use of words, for they are accurately chosen. Before I can tell you all I must submit you, for your own sake, to certain tests--chiefly to the test of Alteration of Form by Sound. It is somewhat---er---alarming, I believe, the first time. You must be thoroughly accustomed to these astonishing results before we dare to approach the final Experiment; so that you will not tremble. For there can be no rehearsal. The great Experiment can only be made once . . . and I must be as sure as possible that you will feel no terror in the face of the Unknown."

 67 
 on: November 16, 2022, 04:50:10 am 
Started by Admin - Last post by Admin

II

There came a pause of some length, in which Spinrobin found nothing particular to say. The lamp gurgled; the coals fell softly into the fender. Then suddenly Mr. Skale rose and stood with his back to the grate. He gazed down upon the small figure in the chair. He towered there, a kindly giant, enthusiasm burning in his eyes like lamps. His voice was very deep, his manner more solemn than before when he spoke.

"So far, so good," he said, "and now, with your permission, Mr. Spinrobin, I should like to go a step further. I should like to take--your note."

"My note?" exclaimed the other, thinking he had not heard correctly.

"Your sound, yes," repeated the clergyman.

"My sound!" piped the little man, vastly puzzled, his voice shrill with excitement. He dodged about in the depths of his big leather chair, as though movement might bring explanation.

Mr. Skale watched him calmly. "I want to get the vibrations of your voice, and then see what pattern they produce in the sand," he said.

"Oh, in the sand, yes; quite so," replied the secretary. He remembered how the vibrations of an elastic membrane can throw dry sand, loosely scattered upon its surface, into various floral and geometrical figures. Chladni's figures, he seemed to remember, they were called after their discoverer. But Mr. Skale's purpose in the main, of course, escaped him.

"You don't object?"

"On the contrary, I am greatly interested." He stood up on the mat beside his employer.

"I wish to make quite sure," the clergyman added gravely, "that your voice, your note, is what I think it is--accurately in harmony with mine and Didier's and Mrs. Mawle's. The pattern it makes will help to prove this."

The secretary bowed in perplexed silence, while Mr. Skale crossed the room and took a violin from its case. The golden varnish of its ribs and back gleamed in the lamplight, and when the clergyman drew the bow across the strings to tune it, smooth, mellow sounds, soft and resonant as bells, filled the room. Evidently he knew how to handle the instrument. The notes died away in a murmur.

"A Guarnerius," he explained, "and a perfect pedigree specimen; it has the most sensitive structure imaginable, and carries vibrations almost like a human nerve. For instance, while I speak," he added, laying the violin upon his companion's hand, "you will feel the vibrations of my voice run through the wood into your palm."

"I do," said Spinrobin. It trembled like a living thing.

"Now," continued Mr. Skale, after a pause, "what I first want is to receive the vibrations of your own voice in the same way--into my very pulses. Kindly read aloud steadily while I hold it. Stop reading when I make a sign. I'll nod, so that the vibrations of my voice won't interfere." And he handed a note-book to him with quotations entered neatly in his own handwriting, selected evidently with a purpose, and all dealing with sound, music, as organised sound, and names. Spinrobin read aloud; the first quotation from Meredith he recognised, but the others, and the last one, discussing names, were new to him:--

------

     But listen in the thought; so may there come
     Conception of a newly-added chord,
     Commanding space beyond where ear has home.

------

Everything that the sun shines upon sings or can be made to sing, and can be heard to sing. Gases, impalpable powders, and woollen stuffs, in common with other non-conductors of sound, give forth notes of different pitches when played upon by an intermittent beam of white light. Coloured stuffs will sing in lights of different colours, but refuse to sing in others. The polarization of light being now accomplished, light and sound are known to be alike. Flames have a modulated voice and can be made to sing a definite melody. Wood, stone, metal, skins, fibres, membranes, every rapidly vibrating substance, all have in them the potentialities of musical sound.

------

Radium receives its energy from, and responds to, radiations which traverse all space--as piano strings respond to sounds in unison with their notes. Space is all a-quiver with waves of radiant energy. We vibrate in sympathy with a few strings here and there--with the tiny X-rays, actinic rays, light waves, heat waves, and the huge electro-magnetic waves of Hertz and Marconi; but there are great spaces, numberless radiations, to which we are stone deaf. Some day, a thousand years hence, we shall know the full sweep of this magnificent harmony.

------

Everything in nature has its name, and he who has the power to call a thing by its proper name can make it subservient to his will; for its proper name is not the arbitrary name given to it by man, but the expression of the totality of its powers and attributes, because the powers and attributes of each Being are intimately connected with its means of expression, and between both exists the most exact proportion in regard to measure, time, and condition.

------

The meaning of the four quotations, as he read them, plunged down into him and touched inner chords very close to his own beliefs. Something of his own soul, therefore, passed into his voice as he read. He read, that is to say, with authority.

A nod from Mr. Skale stopped him just as he was beginning a fifth passage. Raising the vibrating instrument to his ear, the clergyman first listened a moment intently. Then he quickly had it under his chin, beard flowing over it like water, and the bow singing across the strings. The note he played--he drew it out with that whipping motion of the bow only possible to a loving expert--was soft and beautiful, long drawn out with a sweet singing quality. He took it on the G string with the second finger--in the "fourth position." It thrilled through him, Spinrobin declares, most curiously and delightfully. It made him happy to hear it. It was very similar to the singing vibrations he had experienced when Didier gazed into his eyes and spoke his name.

"Thank you," said Mr. Skale, and laid the violin down again. "I've got the note. You're E flat."

"E flat!" gasped Spinrobin, not sure whether he was pleased or disappointed.

"That's your sound, yes. You're E flat--just as I thought, just as I hoped. You fit in exactly. It seems too good to be true!" His voice began to boom again, as it always did when he was moved. He was striding about, very alert, very masterful, pushing the furniture out of his way, his eyes more luminous than ever. "It's magnificent." He stopped abruptly and looked at the secretary with a gaze so enveloping that Spinrobin for an instant lost his bearings altogether. "It means, my dear Spinrobin," he said slowly, with a touch of solemnity that woke an involuntary shiver deep in his listener's being, "that you are destined to play a part, and an important part, in one of the grandest experiments ever dreamed of by the heart of man. For the first time since my researches began twenty years ago I now see the end in sight."

"Mr. Skale--that is something--indeed," was all the little man could find to say.

There was no reason he could point to why the words should have produced a sense of chill about his heart. It was only that he felt again the huge ground-swell of this vast unknown experiment surging against him, lifting him from his feet--as a man might feel the Atlantic swells rise with him towards the stars before they engulfed him for ever. It seemed getting a trifle out of hand, this adventure. Yet it was what he had always longed for, and his courage must hold firm. Besides, Didier was involved in it with him. What could he ask better than to risk his insignificant personality in some gigantic, mad attempt to plumb the Unknown, with that slender pale-faced Beauty by his side? The wave of Mr. Skale's enthusiasm swept him away deliciously.

"And now," he cried, "we'll get your Pattern too. I no longer have any doubts, but none the less it will be a satisfaction to us both to see it. It must, I'm sure, harmonise with ours; it must!"

He opened a cupboard drawer and produced a thin sheet of glass, upon which he next poured some finely powdered sand out of a paper bag. It rattled, dry and faint, upon the smooth, hard surface. And while he did this, he talked rapidly, boomingly, with immense enthusiasm.

"All sounds," he said, half to himself; half to the astonished secretary, "create their own patterns. Sound builds; sound destroys; and invisible sound-vibrations affect concrete matter. For all sounds produce forms--the forms that correspond to them, as you shall now see. Within every form lies the silent sound that first called it into view--into visible shape--into being. Forms, shapes, bodies are the vibratory activities of sound made visible."

"My goodness!" exclaimed Spinrobin, who was listening like a man in a dream, but who caught the violence of the clergyman's idea none the less.

"Forms and bodies are--solidified sound," cried the clergyman in italics.

"You say something extraordinary," exclaimed the commonplace Spinrobin in his shrill voice. "Marvellous!" Vaguely he seemed to remember that Schelling had called architecture "frozen music."

Mr. Skale turned and looked at him as a god might look at an insect--that he loved.

"Sound, Mr. Spinrobin," he said, with a sudden and effective lowering of his booming voice, "is the original divine impulsion behind nature--communicated to language. It is--creative!"

Then, leaving the secretary with this nut of condensed knowledge to crack as best he could, the clergyman went to the end of the room in three strides. He busied himself for a moment with something upon the wall; then he suddenly turned, his great face aglow, his huge form erect, fixing his burning eyes upon his distracted companion.

"In the Beginning," he boomed solemnly, in tones of profound conviction, "was--the Word." He paused a moment, and then continued, his voice filling the room to the very ceiling. "At the Word of God--at the thunder of the Voice of God, worlds leaped into being!" Again he paused. "Sound," he went on, the whole force of his great personality in the phrase, "was the primordial, creative energy. A sound can call a form into existence. Forms are the Sound-Figures of archetypal forces--the Word made Flesh." He stopped, and moved with great soft strides about the room.

Spinrobin caught the words full in the face. For a space he could not measure--considerably less than a second, probably--the consciousness of something unutterably immense, unutterably flaming, rushed tumultuously through his mind, with wings that bore his imagination to a place where light was--dazzling, white beyond words. He felt himself tossed up to Heaven on the waves of a great sea, as the body of strange belief behind the clergyman's words poured through him.... For somewhere, behind the incoherence of the passionate language, burned the blaze of a true thought at white heat--could he but grasp it through the stammering utterance.

Then, with equal swiftness, it passed. His present surroundings came back. He dropped with a dizzy rush from awful spaces . . . and was aware that he was merely--standing on the black, woolly mat before the fire watching the movements of his new employer, that his pumps were bright and pointed, his head just level with a dark marble mantelpiece. Dazed, and a trifle breathless he felt; and at the back of his disordered mind stirred a schoolboy's memory that the Pythagoreans believed the universe to have been called out of chaos by Sound, Number, and Harmony--or something to that effect. . . . But these huge, fugitive thoughts that tore through him refused to be seized and dealt with. He staggered a little, mentally; then, with a prodigious effort, controlled himself--and watched.


 68 
 on: November 15, 2022, 07:06:16 am 
Started by Admin - Last post by Admin

CHAPTER II

I

FOR some minutes they sat in front of the fire and sipped their coffee in silence. The secretary felt that the sliding platform on which he was travelling into this extraordinary adventure had been going a little too fast for him. Events had crowded past before he had time to look squarely at them. He had lost his bearings rather, routed by Didier's beauty and by the amazing way he talked to him. Had the boy lived always inside his thoughts he could not have chosen words better calculated to convince him that they were utterly in sympathy one with the other. Mr. Skale, moreover, approved heartily. The one thing Spinrobin saw clearly through it all was that himself and Didier--their voices, rather--were necessary for the success of the clergyman's mysterious experiments. Only, while Didier, little sorcerer, knew all about it, he, candidate on trial, knew as yet--nothing.

And now, as they sat opposite one another in the privacy of the library, Spinrobin, full of confidence and for once proud of his name and personality, looked forward to being taken more into the heart of the affair. Things advanced, however, more slowly than he desired. Mr. Skale's scheme was too big to be hurried.

The clergyman did not smoke, but his companion, with the other's ready permission, puffed gently at a small cigarette. Short, rapid puffs he took, as though the smoke was afraid to enter beyond the front teeth, and with one finger he incessantly knocked off the ashes into his saucer, even when none were there to fall. On the table behind them gurgled the shaded lamp, lighting their faces from the eyes downwards.

"Now," said Mr. Skale, evidently not aware that he thundered, "we can talk quietly and undisturbed." He caught his beard in a capacious hand, in such a way that the square outline of his chin showed through the hair. His voice boomed musically, filling the room. Spinrobin listened acutely, afraid even to cross his legs. A genuine pronouncement, he felt, was coming.

"A good many years ago, Mr. Spinrobin," he said simply, "when I was a curate of a country parish in Norfolk, I made a discovery--of a revolutionary description--a discovery in the world of real things, that is, of spiritual things."

He gazed fixedly over the clutched beard at his companion, apparently searching for brief, intelligible phrases. "But a discovery, the development of which I was obliged to put on one side until I inherited with this property the means and leisure which enabled me to continue my terrific--I say purposely terrific--researches. For some years now I have been quietly at work here absorbed in my immense pursuit." And again he stopped. "I have reached a point, Mr. Spinrobin----"

"Yes," interjected the secretary, as though the mention of his name touched a button and produced a sound. "A point----?"

"Where I need the assistance of some one with a definite quality of voice--a man who emits a certain note--a certain tenor note." He released his beard, so that it flew out with a spring, at the same moment thrusting his head forward to drive home the announcement effectively.

Spinrobin crossed his legs with a fluttering motion, hastily. "As you advertised," he suggested.

The clergyman bowed.

"My efforts to find the right man," continued the enthusiast, leaning back in his chair, "have now lasted a year. I have had a dozen men down here, each on a month's trial. None of them suited. None had the requisite quality of voice. With a single exception, none of them could stand the loneliness, the seclusion; and without exception, all of them were too worldly to make sacrifices. It was the salary they wanted. The majority, moreover, confused imagination with fancy, and courage with mere audacity. And, most serious of all, not one of them passed the test of--Didier. He harmonised with none of them. They were discords one and all. You, Mr. Spinrobin, are the first to win acceptance. The instant he heard your name he cried for you. And he knows. He sings the counter-tenor. He took you into the chord."

"I hope indeed----" stammered the flustered and puzzled secretary, and then stopped, blushing absurdly. "You claim for me far more than I should dare to claim for myself," he added. The reference to Didier delighted him, and utterly destroyed his judgement. He longed to thank the boy for having approved him. "I'm glad my voice--er--suits your--chord." In his heart of hearts he understood something of what Mr. Skale was driving at, yet was half-ashamed to admit it even to himself. In this twentieth century it all seemed so romantic, mystical, and absurd. He felt it was all half-true. If only he could have run back into that great "mental prairie" of his boyhood days it might all have been quite true.

"Precisely," continued Mr. Skale, bringing him back to reality, "precisely. And now, before I tell you more, you will forgive my asking you one or two personal questions, I'm sure. We must build securely as we go, leaving nothing to chance. The grandeur and importance of my experents demand it. Afterwards," and his expression changed to a sudden softness in a way that was characteristic of the man, "you must feel free to put similar questions to me, as personal and direct as you please. I wish to establish a perfect frankness between us at the start."

"Thank you, Mr. Skale. Of course--er--should anything occur to me to ask----" A momentary bewilderment, caused by the great visage so close to his own, prevented the completion of the sentence.

"As to your beliefs, for instance," the clergyman resumed abruptly, "your religious beliefs, I mean. I must be sure of you on that ground. What are you?"

"Nothing--I think," Spinrobin replied without hesitation, remembering how his soul had bounced its way among the various creeds since Cambridge, and arrived at its present state of Belief in Everything, yet without any definite label. "Nothing in particular. Nominally, though--a Christian."

"You believe in a God?"

"A Supreme Intelligence, most certainly," was the emphatic reply.

"And spirits?"

Spinrobin hesitated. He was a very honest soul.

"Other life, let me put it," the clergyman helped him; "other beings besides ourselves?"

"I have often felt--wondered, rather," he answered carefully, "whether there might not be other systems of evolution besides humanity. Such extraordinary Forces come blundering into one's life sometimes, and one can't help wondering where they come from. I have never formulated any definite beliefs, however----"

"Your world is not a blind chaos, I mean?" Mr. Skale put gravely to him, as though questioning a child.

"No, no, indeed. There's order and system----"

"In which you personally count for something of value?" asked the other quickly.

"I like to think so," was the apologetic reply. "There's something that includes me somewhere in a purpose of very great importance--only, of course, I've got to do my part, and----"

"Good," Mr. Skale interrupted him. "And now," he asked softly, after a moment's pause, leaning forward, "what about death? Are you afraid of death?"

Spinrobin started visibly. He began to wonder where this extraordinary catechism was going to lead. But he answered at once: he had thought out these things and knew where he stood.

"Only of its possible pain," he said, smiling into the bearded visage before him. "And an immense curiosity, of course----"

"It does not mean extinction for you--going out like the flame of a candle, for instance?"

"I have never been able to believe that, Mr. Skale. I continue somewhere and somehow--for ever."

The cross-examination puzzled him more and more, and through it, for the first time, he began to feel dimly, ran a certain strain of something not quite right, not permissible in the biggest sense. It was not the questions themselves that produced this odd and rather disquieting impression, but the fact that Mr. Skale was preparing the ground with such extraordinary thoroughness. This conversation was the first swell, as it were, rolling mysteriously in upon him from the ocean in whose deeps the great Experiment lay buried. Forces, tidal in strength, oceanic in volume, shrouded it just now, but he already felt them. They reached him through the person of the clergyman. It was these forces playing through his personality that Spinrobin had been aware of the first moment they met on the station platform, and had "sensed" even more strongly during the walk home across the mountains.

Behind the play of these darker impressions, as yet only vague and ambiguous, there ran in and out among his thoughts the vein of something much sweeter. Didier, with his large grey eyes and silvery voice, was continually peeping in upon his mind. He wondered where he was and what he was doing in the big, lonely house. He wished the lad could have been in the room to hear his answers and approve them. He felt incomplete without him. Already he thought of him as the melody to which he was the accompaniment, two things that ought not to be separated.

"My point is," Mr. Skale continued, "that, apart from ordinary human ties, and so forth, you have no intrinsic terror of death--of losing your present body?"

"No, no," was the reply, more faintly given than the rest. "I love my life, but--but----" he looked about him in some confusion for the right words, still thinking of Didier--"but I look forward, Mr. Skale; I look forward." He dropped back into the depths of his arm-chair and puffed swiftly at the end of his extinguished cigarette, oblivious of the fact that no smoke came.

"The attitude of a brave man," said the clergyman with approval. Then, looking straight into the secretary's blue eyes, he added with increased gravity: "And therefore it would not be immoral of me to expose you to an experiment in which the penalty of a slip would be--death? Or you would not shrink from it yourself, provided the knowledge to be obtained seemed worth while?"

"That's right, sir--Mr. Skale, I mean; that's right," came the answer after an imperceptible pause.

The result of the talk seemed to satisfy the clergyman. "You must think my questions very peculiar," he said, the sternness of his face relaxing a little, "but it was necessary to understand your exact position before proceeding further. The gravity of my undertaking demands it. However, you must not let my words alarm you." He waited a moment, reflecting deeply. "You must regard them, if you will, as a kind of test," he resumed, searching his companion's face with eagle eyes, "the beginning of a series of tests in which your attitude to Didier and his to you, so far as that goes, was the first."

"Oh, that's all right, Mr. Skale," was his inadequate rejoinder; for the moment the name of the boy was introduced his thoughts instantly wandered out to find him. The way the clergyman pronounced it increased its power, too, for no name he uttered sounded ordinary. There seemed a curious mingling in the resonant cavity of his great mouth of the fundamental note and the overtones.

"Yes, you have the kind of courage that is necessary," Mr. Skale was saying, half to himself, "the modesty that forgets self, and the unworldly attitude that is essential. With your help I may encompass success; and I consider myself wonderfully fortunate to have found you, wonderfully fortunate...."

"I'm glad," murmured Spinrobin, thinking that so far he had not learned anything very definite about his duties, or what it was he had to do to earn so substantial a salary. Truth to tell, he did not bother much about that part of it. He was conscious only of three main desires: to pass the unknown tests, to learn the nature of Mr. Skale's discovery, with the experiment involved, and--to be with Didier as much as possible. The whole affair was so unusual that he had already lost the common standards of judging. He let the sliding platform take him where it would, and he flattered himself that he was not fool enough to mistake originality for insanity. The clergyman, dreamer and enthusiast though he might be, was as sane as other men, saner than most.

"I hope to lead you little by little to what I have in view," Mr. Skale went on, "so that at the end of our trial month you will have learned enough to enable you to form a decision, yet not enough to--to use my knowledge should you choose to return to the world."

It was very frank, but the secretary did not feel offended. He accepted the explanation as perfectly reasonable. In his mind he knew full well what his choice would be. This was the supreme adventure he had been so long a-seeking. No ordinary obstacle could prevent his accepting it.


 69 
 on: November 15, 2022, 06:12:57 am 
Started by Admin - Last post by Admin

VIII

A great volume of sound suddenly enveloped and caught away the two singing names, and the spell was broken. Didier dropped his eyes; Spinrobin looked up. It was Mr. Skale's voice upon them with a shout.

"Splendid! splendid!" he cried; "your voices, like your names, are made for one another, in quality, pitch, accent, everything." He was enthusiastic rather than excited; but to Spinrobin, taking part in this astonishing performance, to which the other two alone held the key, it all seemed too perplexing for words. The great bass crashed and boomed for a moment about his ears; then came silence. The test, or whatever it was, was over. It had been successful.

Mr. Skale, his face still shining with enthusiasm, turned towards him. Didier, equally happy, watched, his hands folded in his lap.

"My dear fellow," exclaimed the clergyman, half rising in his chair, "how mad you must think us! How mad you must think us! I can only assure you that when you know more, as you soon shall, you will understand the importance of what has just taken place. . . ."

He said a good deal more that Spinrobin did not apparently quite take in. He was too bewildered. His eyes sought the boy where he sat opposite, gazing at him. For all its pallor, the lad's face was tenderly soft and beautiful; more pure and undefiled, he thought, than any human countenance he had ever seen, and sweet as the face of a child. Utterly unstained it was. A similar light shone in the faces of Skale and Mrs. Mawle. In their case it had forged its way through the more or less defiling garment of a worn and experienced flesh. But the light in Didier's eyes and skin was there because it had never been extinguished. He had retained his pristine brilliance of soul. Through the little spirit of the perplexed secretary ran a thrill of genuine worship and adoration.

"Mr. Skale's coffee is served in the library," announced the voice of the housekeeper abruptly behind them; and when Spinrobin turned again he discovered that Didier had slipped from the room unobserved and was gone.

Mr. Skale took his companion's arm and led the way towards the hall.

"I am glad you love him," was his astonishing remark. "It is the first and most essential condition of your suiting me."

"He is delightful, wonderful, charming, sir----"

"Not 'sir,' if you please," replied the clergyman, standing aside at the threshold for his guest to pass; "I prefer the use of the name, you know. I think it is important."

And he closed the library door behind them.


 70 
 on: November 15, 2022, 05:42:27 am 
Started by Admin - Last post by Admin

VII

"Mr. Spinrobin," suddenly sounded soft and low across the table, and, thrilled to hear Didier speak his name, he looked up quickly and found the boy's very wide-opened eyes peering into his. The lad's face was thrust forward a little as he leaned over the table in his direction.

As the secretary gazed Didier repeated his name, leisurely, quietly, and even more softly than before: "Mr. Spinrobin." But this time, as their eyes met and the syllables issued from the boy's lips, he noticed that a singular after-sound---an exceedingly soft yet vibrant overtone---accompanied it. The syllables set something quivering within him, something that sang, running of its own accord into a melody to which his rising pulses beat time and tune.

"Now, please, speak my name," the lad added. "Please look straight at me, straight into my eyes, and pronounce my name."

His lips trembled, if ever so slightly, as he obeyed.

"Didier. . . ." he said.

"Pronounce each syllable very distinctly and very slowly," the boy said, his grey eyes all over Spinrobin's burning face.

"Di . . . di . . . er," the secretary repeated, looking in the centre of the eyes without flinching, and becoming instantly aware that his utterance of the name produced in himself a development and extension of the original overtones awakened by the lad's speaking of his own name. It was wonderful . . . exquisite . . . delicious. He uttered it again, and then heard that Didier, too, was uttering his at the same moment. Each spoke the other's name. He could have sworn he heard the music within him leap across the intervening space and transfer itself to the boy . . . and that he heard his own name singing, too, in Didier's blood.

For the names were true. By this soft intoning utterance they seemed to pass mutually into the secret rhythm of that Eternal Principle of Speech which exists behind the spoken sound and is independent of its means of manifestation. Their central beings, screened and limited behind their names, knew an instant of synchronous rhythmical vibration. It was their introduction absolute to one another, for it was an instant of naked revelation.

"Spinrobin. . . ."

"Didier. . . ."


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