After much patient thinking, the English have come to the conclusion
that there is but one branch of literary art, and that its name is
Fiction. And by fiction the English really mean the six-shilling novel.
I do not think it is too much to say, that since the six-shilling novel
was first thrust upon our delighted attention it has never brought
within its covers six shillings’ worth of reading. The high priest
and the high priestess who serve to the right and left of the altar
of six-shillingism are, as every one knows, Mr. Hall Caine and Miss
Marie Corelli. Each of them wears a golden ephod, with a breastplate of
jewels arranged to spell out the magic figures, One Hundred Thousand.
All the other priests of the Tabernacle look with awe and envy upon
these two, because the other priests’ breastplates have hard work to
spell out fifty thousand, and some of them do not even achieve one
thousand five hundred. Burnt-offerings of Caine and Corelli therefore
fill the place with savour. A pair of sorrier writers never was on sea
or land. Everybody knows it, nobody denies it, and nobody seems sad
about it. The six-shilling novel is an established English institution.
Caine and Corelli are its prop and stay, and the rest do their best to
keep in the running and pick up the minor money-bags.

The perusal of six-shilling fiction is practically a sort of mania. It
has seized in its grip the fairest England has to show, particularly
matrons, the younger women, and stockbrokers. For the Englishwoman the
daily round would lose its saltness did she not have handy the newest
six-shilling novel by Mr. Caine, Miss Corelli, or the next literary
bawler in the market-place. There are shops called “libraries,” to
which the Englishwoman repairs for her supplies of literary pabulum.
Here the six-shilling novel has a great time. Strapped together
in sixes, or packed in boxes of dozens, it is handed forth to the
carriages of its fair devourers, and taken right away to its repose
in the cultured homes of Bayswater and Kensington. From morning till
night many Englishwomen do little but read this precious stuff. What
they get out of it amounts in the long run to hysteria and anæmia. It
brings about a general deadening of the mind and a general jaggedness
of the emotions, coupled with an utter incapacity to take any save an
exaggerated view of the facts of life. Discontent, disillusionment,
ennui, boredom, ill-temper, a sharp tongue, and a cynical spirit are
other symptoms which the six-shilling novel is prone to evoke. The
habit is worse than opium or haschisch or tea cigarettes. It is just
the devil, and that is all you need say about it. The persons employed
in the opium traffic are supposed to be very wicked. To my mind, the
persons employed in the fiction traffic are as wicked as wicked can
be. When the foul disease began first to make its ravages obvious,
there were not wanting persons who would have checked it and provided
remedies for it. These persons squeaked somewhat, and nothing more
has been heard of them. So the thing goes on unrestrained, and even
applauded by press and pulpit alike; and the Englishwoman has become
a confirmed, inveterate, and incurable fiction-reader. If a man have
an enemy to whom he would do an abiding injury, let him persuade that
enemy to obtain the six more popular six-shilling novels of the moment,
and read them through. If the man’s enemy sticks to his bargain–at
which, however, he will probably shy in the middle of the second
volume–the chances are that he gets up from that reading a broken and
spiritless man. His brain will be as saggy as a sponge full of treacle,
and his vision as unreliable as that of the alcoholist who always saw
two cabs, and invariably got into the one that was not there.

Seriously, however, what is there about this English fiction–or,
for that matter, about Scottish fiction–that men and women should
buy it and devour it to the exclusion of all other literary fare?
It is ill-written, it is not original, it is not like life, it is
not beautiful, it is not inspiring, it does not touch the profound
emotions, it means nothing, and it ends nowhere. The reason of its
popularity is, that it appeals to an indolent habit of mind, and, as a
general rule, is calculated to excite the passions, and particularly to
open up questions which experience has shown to be best left alone. In
nine cases out of ten, where a popular work of fiction is concerned,
it is always possible to put one’s finger on the chapter or passages
on which its popularity is based; and in nine cases out of ten that
chapter or those passages have to do with sexual matters. The questions
which arise out of the relation of man and woman are no doubt vitally
important and most interesting; but that they should be discussed in
an unscientific, irresponsible, and catch-penny way by everybody who
can trail a pen is something of a scandal. If an author can succeed in
inventing a sexual situation which could not by any possible chance
exist for a moment in real life, or if he can put a glow and a gloss on
the tritenesses of love and lust, his success as a fictionist is to all
intents and purposes assured. What is sometimes spoken of as wholesome
fiction scarcely exists–anyway, nobody reads it. It is the carefully
constructed book about sex that sells and is read. Such a book need
not be flagrant, as was once thought to be the case; it can be “a work
of art”–a thing of veiled suggestion, delicate, unobjectionable, and
seemingly meet to be read.

One has hesitation in asserting that such books ought not to be written
or ought not to be circulated. It is difficult to justify any attitude
of intolerance in such a matter; yet the fact remains that the maids
and matrons of England, together with the men who have the leisure and
sufficient lack of brains to read fiction, are being stuffed season by
season and year by year with about the most undesirable kind of sexual
philosophy that could well be placed before them. Of any Englishwoman
of the leisured class above the age of sixteen years it may be said,
as was said of the late Professor Jowett in a different sense, “What
I don’t know isn’t knowledge.” And the instructor in all cases is a
fictionist. If a man took his notion of business, or politics, or art,
out of six-shilling novels, he would be set down for a fool. Yet most
Englishwomen get their view of love and the married relation from these
extraordinary works, and it is taken for granted that nobody is a penny
the worse. For my own part, I should incline to the opinion that the
only persons who are a penny, not to say six shillings, the worse, are
the English middle and upper classes as a body.

Much has been said in derision of what the English call the Kailyard
school of fiction–Kailyard fiction being, I need scarcely say, a
brand of fiction written by Scotsmen usually in Scotland, and sold in
the English and the American markets. Everybody of taste and judgment
cheerfully admits that Kailyarders are not persons of genius. For
the delectation of the Southerner they have made a Scotland of their
own, the which, however, is not Scotland. They have made a Scottish
sentiment, a Scottish point of view, a Scottish humour, a Scottish
pathos, and even a Scottish dialect, which may be reckoned quite
doubtful. At the same time, one looks in vain to the Kailyarders for
anything that is worse than slobber–anything really noxious and
dreadful, that is to say. One might read Kailyard for ever and a day
without coming to great moral grief. Indeed, I would point out that,
on the whole, the Kailyard system of ethics partakes somewhat of the
character of the system of ethics which used to be unfolded in the
melodrama of our grandfathers’ days. Virtue rewarded, vice punished,
is the moral upshot of it. And in any case, and let it be as bad
and as meretricious and as greatly to be deprecated as one will, we
must always remember that the Kailyard book is a work invented and
manufactured, not for Scotsmen, but for the Anglo-Saxon–the Englishman
and his offshoots.

Some months back a considerable hubbub arose in English literary
circles because M. Jules Verne had been saying to an interviewer,
at Amiens of all places in the world! that the novel as a form of
literary expression was doomed, and would gradually die out of popular
favour. It is safe to say that, in the eyes of sundry critics of
pretty well every nationality, the novel has been doomed any time this
last fifty years. Yet the novel comes up smiling every time. Since it
was reduced in price to six shillings in England it has undoubtedly
deteriorated, not only as a piece of writing, but also in the matter
of ethical intention. So long as it remains the prey of some of its
latter-day exploiters, so long will it continue to deteriorate. So
long as the English mind continues to be feeble and unwholesome, and
to yearn for artificial thrills and undesirable emotions, so long will
English fiction continue to be of its present decadent quality. As the
capitalist says, it is all a question of supply and demand. The great
aim of writers of fiction, or at any rate of ninety-nine per cent. of
them, is to produce an article that will sell. You must turn out what
the public want, and they will assuredly buy it. The knack of hitting
the public taste looks easy to acquire, and the fictionist strives
after it with all his might. Many are called to make fortunes out of
novel-writing: few are chosen. But nobody can examine the work of those
few without perceiving that for weal or woe–principally for woe–they
know their business.

Of course, it goes without saying that a very considerable amount of
fiction is published in England which is just as mild and just as
innocuous as tinned milk. To this puling variety of fiction, however,
the English do not appear to be very greatly drawn. It crops up with
great regularity every publishing season, it is solemnly reviewed in
the critical journals, and it even stands shoulder by shoulder with
stronger meat in the bookshops. But the fact remains that it does
not sell; to see “Second Edition” on it is the rarest occurrence. In
fine, the English will have their fiction spiced, and highly spiced,
or not at all. Mealy mouthed writers, over-reticent, over-blushful,
over-austere writers, they do not want; neither have they any
admiration for a writer who is plagued with a feeling for style, and
who may be reckoned an artist in the collocation of words. Their
much-vaunted Meredith has never had the sale of a Crockett or a Barrie
or a Hocking, or, for that matter, of a J.K. Jerome. The English have
little or no literary taste, little or no literary acumen, and they
expect their fictionists to give them anything and everything save what
is edifying.

Of old–that is to say, twenty years ago–the great majority of the
English people suffered from a mental and general disability which was
termed “provincialism.” If you hailed from Manchester, or Liverpool,
or Birmingham, or Edinburgh, or Glasgow, the kind gentlemen in London
who size people up and put them in their places assured you that you
were a provincial, and that you would have to rub shoulders a great
deal with the world–by which they meant London–before you could
rightly consider yourself qualified to exist. Against the epithet
“provincial,” however, not a few persons rebelled, when it was applied
flatly to themselves. Most men of feeling felt hurt when you called
them provincial. In the world of letters and journalism to call a
man provincial was the last and unkindest cut of all, and it usually
settled him, just as to say that he has no sense of humour settles
him to-day. Then up rose Thomas Carlyle and Robert Buchanan and a few
lesser lights, who said, “You call us provincials: provincials we
undoubtedly are, and we glory in the character.” This rather baffled,
not to say amazed, the lily-fingered London assessors, and gradually
the term “provincial,” as a term of opprobrium, passed out of use.

It is admitted now on all hands that the provincial is a very useful
kind of fellow; and when the metropolis feels itself running short of
talent and energy, the provincial is invariably invited to look in.
Latterly, however, the Londoner and the dweller in English provincial
cities have begun to exhibit a distinctly modern disorder, which may be
called, for want of a better term, “suburbanism.” In London, which may
be taken as the type of all English cities, suburbanism is pretty well
rampant. It has its origin in what the Americans would call “location.”
A man’s daily work lies, say, in the City or in the central quarters of
London. For various reasons–such, for example, as considerations of
health, expenditure, and custom–it is practically impossible for him
to live near his work. He must live somewhere; so he goes to Balham,
or Tooting, or Clapham, or Brondesbury, or Highgate, or Willesden, or
Finchley, or Crouch End, or Hampstead, or some other suburban retreat.
London is ringed round with these residential quarters, these little
towns outside the walls. A visitor to any one of them is at once struck
with its striking and painful similarity to all the others. There is
a railway station belonging to one of the metropolitan lines; there
is a High Street, fronted with lofty and rather gaudy shops; there is
a reasonable sprinkling of churches and chapels; there is a brand-new
red-brick theatre; and the rest is row on row and row on row of villa
residences, each with its dreary palisading and attenuated grass-plot
in front, and its curious annex of kitchen, or scullery, behind. Miles
and miles of these villas exist in every metropolitan suburb worth the
name; and though the rents and sizes of them may vary, they are all
built to one architectural formula, and all pinchbeck, ostentatious,
and unlovely. No person of judgment, nobody possessed of a ray of the
philosophic spirit, can gaze upon them without concluding at once that
the English do not know how to live. Take a street of these villas, big
or little, and what do you find? You note, first, that nearly every
house, be it occupied by clerk, Jew financier, or professional man,
has got a highfalutin name of its own. The County Council or local
authority has already bestowed upon it a number. But this is not enough
for your suburbanist, who must needs appropriate for his house a name
which will look swagger on his letter-paper. Hence No. 2, Sandringham
Road, Tooting, is not No. 2, Sandringham Road, Tooting, at all; but
The Laurels, if you please. No. 4–not to be outdone–is Holmwood;
No. 6 is Hazledene; No. 8, The Pines; No. 10, Sutherland House; and
so forth. Then, again, if you walk down a street and keep your eye on
the front windows of this thoroughfare of mansions, you will note that
every one of those windows has cheap lace curtains to it, and that
immediately behind the centre of the window there is a little table,
upon which loving hands have placed a green high-art vase, containing a
plant of sorts. And right back in the dimness of the parlour there is a
sideboard with a high mirrored back.

If you made acquaintance with half a dozen of the occupiers of these
houses, and were invited into the half dozen front rooms, you would
find in each, in addition to the sideboard before mentioned, a piano
of questionable manufacture, a brass music-stool with a red velvet
cushion, an over-mantel with mirrored panels, a “saddle-bag suite,”
consisting of lady’s and gent’s and six ordinary chairs and a couch;
a centre-table with a velvet-pile cloth upon it, a bamboo bookcase
containing a Corelli and a Hall Caine or so, together with some
sixpenny Dickenses picked up at drapers’ bargain-sales, Nuttall’s
_Dictionary_, _Mrs. Beeton’s House Book_, a Bible, a Prayer Book,
some hymn-books, a work-basketful of socks waiting to be darned, and
a little pile of music, chiefly pirated. At night, when Spriggs comes
home to The Laurels, he has an apology for late dinner, gets into
his slippers, and retires with Mrs. Spriggs, and perhaps his elder
daughter, into that parlour. There he reads a halfpenny newspaper till
there is nothing left in it to read; then he talks to Mrs. Spriggs
about that beast So-and-so, his employer; and Mrs. Spriggs tells him
not to grumble so much, and asks the elder daughter why she doesn’t
play a chune to ‘liven us up a bit. “Yes,” says Spriggs, “what is the
good of having a piano, and me buying you music every Saturday, if you
never play?” Whereupon the elder daughter rattles through _Dolly Gray_,
_The Honeysuckle and the Bee_, and _Everybody’s Loved by Some One_;
and Spriggs beats time with his foot till he grows weary, and thinks we
had better have supper and get off to bed.

This kind of thing is going on right down both sides of Sandringham
Road–at Holmwood, at Hazledene, at The Pines, and at Sutherland House,
as well as at The Laurels–every week-day evening between the hours of
eight and midnight. In point of fact, it is going on all over Tooting.
It is the suburban notion of an ‘appy evening at home; and, hallowed as
it is by wont and custom, everybody in Tooting takes it to be the best
that life can offer after business hours. Perhaps it is. Just before
supper, or haply a little afterwards, however, Spriggs says that he
believes he will take a little stroll “round the houses.” He puts on
a straw hat in summer and a tweed cap in winter, and proceeds gravely
down the Sandringham Road until he reaches a break in the long array
of villas, and is aware of a rather flaring public-house. Into the
saloon bar of this hostelry he walks staidly, nods to the company,
and asks the barmaid for a drop of the usual. “Let me see,” says that
sweet lady; “Johnny Walker, is n’t it?” “Well, you know it is,” says
Spriggs, as he hands over threepence. With the glass of whisky in his
hand he retires to the nearest red plush settee, and looks listlessly
at the illustrated papers on the little table in front of him, drinks
somewhat slowly, smokes a pipe, exchanges a word about the weather with
the landlord of the establishment, says there’s time for another before
closing time, has another, and at twelve-thirty trots off home.

The seven or eight other men in the saloon bar being respectively the
occupiers of Holmwood, Hazledene, The Pines, Sutherland House, etc.,
have done almost exactly as Spriggs has done in the way of drinks and
nods and illustrated papers and having a final at twenty minutes past
twelve. But during the whole evening they have not exchanged a rational
word with one another. They have nothing to talk about; therefore they
have not talked. They are neighbours, and they know it; but they all
hold themselves to be so much superior to one another that they have
scorned to speak to each other, except in the most cursory and casual
way. Next morning, at a few minutes to nine o’clock, they will all be
scooting anxiously along the Sandringham Road with set faces, damp
brows, and a fear at their hearts that they are going to miss their
train. They will travel in packed carriages, half of them standing up,
while the other half growls, to Ludgate Hill or Moorgate Street, as the
case may be, and then rush off again to their respective offices, in
fear and trembling this time lest they should be three minutes late and
the “governor” might notice it.

This is the life of the males in the Sandringham Road year in and
year out. Through living in the same houses, in the midst of the
same furniture, listening to the same pianos, drinking at the same
public-houses, going to business in the same trains, they become as
like one another as peas. They are all anxious, all dull, all short of
sleep, all short of money. In brief, they have become suburbanized.
The monotony and snobbery and listlessness of their home life are
reflected in their conduct of the working-day’s affairs. There is not a
man amongst them who has a soul above his job. Each of them sticks at
business, not because he loves it or likes it, but simply because he
knows that, if he were discovered in a remissness, he would get what he
calls “the sack.” Each of them “lunches”–oh, this English lunch!–at
the bar of a public-house on a glass of bitter beer and a penny Welsh
rare-bit. Each of them feels a bit chippy and not a little sleepy of
an afternoon, and each of them races for his train in the evening,
chock-full of worry and bad-temper. You must live in the suburbs if you
are to live in London at all, and there is no escape from it.

The lines of the female suburbians are cast in more or less pleasant
places. They do not need to go to town every day. There are shops
galore, filled with just the goods they want, round the corner; and
there is always the next female on both sides to gossip with. For,
unlike the male suburbian, the female suburbian will talk to her
neighbours. Her conversation is of babes, and butchers’ meat, and the
piece at the theatre, and the bargains at the stores in the High Road,
and “him.” He, or “him,” means the good lady’s husband. She never by
any chance refers to him either by his Christian name, or his surname,
or as “my husband.” It is always, “He said to me this morning,” or, “As
I was saying to him before he went to business,”–which, I take it,
is a peculiarly English habit. The female suburbian goes out to tea
sometimes, usually at the house of some suburban relative. Her dress is
a curious blend of ostentation and economy. She will be in the fashion;
and, being an Englishwoman, “expense is no object,” providing she can
get the money. She has no notion of thrift; she is perennially in
arrears with the milk and the insurance man; and when money gets very
tight indeed, she lectures her husband on his wicked inability to make
more than he is getting. The whole life, whether for male or female, is
dreary, harried, unrelieved, and destructive of everything that tends
to make life affable and tolerable.

In view of the obvious evils suburbanism has brought about in the
English metropolis, it might have been expected that the English
provincial cities would have done their best to avoid similar troubles
in their own areas. So far from this being the case, however, the craze
for suburbanism is making itself apparent wherever one turns. City
and borough councils lead the way by erecting, at the public expense,
artisans’ and clerks’ dwellings well out of the town. They hold that
fresh air, the open country, and cheap railway fares are all that is
wanted to make the English citizen’s life a perennial joy to him.
Yet the dwellings they erect are of the shoddiest and least homelike
kind, the fresh-air which is to do the worker and the children so
much good is a doubtful quantity, and the cheap railway fares are
bragged about without regard to the time taken up in travelling and the
hurry and anxiety to catch trains. Suburbanism as a stereotyped and
soul-deadening institution is of purely English origin. In no other
country in the world do convention and what other people will say so
rule the lives of men as they do in England. Suburbanism is in many
ways the most obvious of the many products of English convention. It
is at once an indication of brainlessness, want of intelligence, and
incipient decay. Apparently there is to be no limit to it. Outside
London new suburbs spring up almost weekly. But their newness brings no
changes in its train. Each new suburb is mapped out and built exactly
on the lines of the old ones; each is destined for the reception of
exactly the same kind of stupid people; each will be the living-ground
of generations of people still more stupid.

The English man-about-town–and I am not acquainted with any other
sort–is, to put it mildly, a devil of a fellow. Who he may be, how
he gets a living, whether he gets a living, how and why he became a
man-about-town, and whether, after all, he is really a man-about-town,
are matters which are wrapt in mystery. Everybody knows him, yet nobody
knows much about him. You meet him everywhere, yet nobody can tell
you how he gets there. His acquaintance is astonishing, ranging from
dustmen to dukes, as it were; he cuts nobody, though he is intimate
with nobody; he is familiar with his world and all that it expects of
him; and he plays the game skilfully, correctly, and as a gentleman
should. There are droves of him in London; probably no other city in
the world could, with comfort, accommodate so many of him. He lives
in the sun; he is the joy and pride of the restaurateurs’ and the
café-keepers’ hearts; no billiard-room is complete without him; he
shines at bars of onyx; music-halls and theatres could not get on
without him; and, on the whole, it is his useful and pleasing function
to keep the West End of London and its offshoots going. What the West
End of London means to the man-about-town is a large question. It means
clubs in the morning, with a tailor, a hatter, a bookmaker or two,
thrown in; it means expensive lunches, lazy, somnolent afternoons, big
dinners, hard drinking, cards, night clubs, and a day that ends at
three o’clock in the morning. Nobody but an Englishman could stand the
racket; nobody but an Englishman could find satisfaction in so doing.

The man-about-town is the last expression of an unhealthy plutocracy;
he is the child of means, the son of his father, the pampered darling
of his mother; and he has never understood that life was anything more
than a frivolous holiday. Whether he has money or happens to have spent
it all, he sets the standard of expenditure for everybody who would be
considered in the movement. He also sets the fashion in hats, coats,
trousers, fancy waistcoats, shoes, walking-sticks, and scarf-pins for
Englishmen at large. It never occurs to him that he does this, but he
does it. He it is, too, who is the prime supporter and patron of the
manly English sports, horse-racing, glove-fighting, coaching, moting,
polo, shooting, fishing, yachting, and so forth. In these exercises he
finds great delight. When he is not busy dining and wining and painting
the town red, sport is the mainstay of his existence.

He is usually young till he reaches the age of thirty, when he begins
to decline rapidly. But the older he gets the younger he gets. Although
he may lose his hair, and be compelled to have resort to false teeth
and elastic stockings, his spirits are invariably of the cheerfullest,
his laugh is boisterous, his interest in life acute, and he continues
to be passionately fond of food and drink. It is not till his locks
become hoar, his purse well-nigh empty, and the number of his years
well over threescore-and-ten that he begins to droop. Englishmen will
point him out to you in cafés, and say with hushed voices, “You see
that man,–the one with the frowsy beard and his hat atilt–well, he
spent a hundred and fifty thousand twice! A hundred and fifty thousand,
my boy! What did he do with it? Oh, well, what do people do with money?
There’s a man, sir, that’s seen life: used to have a house in Berkeley
Square; has owned three Derby winners; built the Thingamybob Theatre
for Miss Jumpabouty; knows everybody; has hobnobbed with the King when
he was Prince of Wales; used to be hand-in-glove with the Duke of —-
and that crowd; and now, damme! he hasn’t a pennypiece.”

All this with the air of a person who is showing you something worth
seeing. It is the English fatuity, first of all, to admire the man who
is possessed of wealth; secondly, to admire a man who is throwing his
money away; and, thirdly, to look with respectful awe upon the man who
has thrown it away. It warms the English heart and fires the English
imagination to see the son of a recently deceased provision-dealer
playing the prince at the best hotels, plunging at Ascot and Monte
Carlo, buying up the stalls at the Frivolity at the behest of Lottie
Flutterfast, and generally flinging to the winds the hard-earned and,
to a great extent, ill-gotten estate of his late lamented parent.
By all the best people–by all the best English people, that is to
say–such a youth is received and made welcome, if not exactly taken to
the bosom. Englishmen ask him to dinner simply because he has money.
They are aware that his courses will not bear examination, that his
tastes are gross, that his intellect is none of the brightest. He has
nothing to say for himself; he is neither entertaining, nor amusing,
nor instructive. The Englishman has no ulterior designs upon him; he
does not hope to get him into this or that financial swim, neither does
he desire to marry his daughter to him; he simply feels that it is well
to be friendly with money and the man-about-town.

Even a bankrupt or “broke” man-about-town is better to the Englishman
than none at all. With such a person he will foregather and be pleasant
in the sight of all men. “Old So-and-so,” he says, “is a dear old
sort. He is broke, of course, and sometimes he rather worries one
for sovereigns. But I have never deserted a pal in adversity in my
life, and I am not going to begin with Old So-and-so.” Thus your good
snob Englishman would lead you to believe that he was on terms of
intimacy and affection with Old So-and-so in Old So-and-so’s palmy
money-squandering days. Whereas, in point of fact, he never clapped
eyes on the man till he had spent his last farthing.

It is all very English, and to a mere Scot a trifle astonishing. The
Scot, if I know him at all, takes no joys of spendthrifts, however
prettily dressed, and, least of all, can he be brought to court the
society of a man who has reduced himself to beggary by extravagance and
riot. The bare gift of prodigality and the bare reputation of having
been wealthy are nothing to the Scot. If he wants men to admire, he
can find men of solider quality. The Englishman, on the other hand,
has no great love for either solidity or worth; the first makes him
envious; the second bores him. Though he may himself be a person of
judgment and sober life, he likes to have about him men who are going
or who have gone the whole hog, and who pursue their pleasures without
restraint, remorse, or fear. Hence the man-about-town will always
figure interestingly in English society. There is romance about him. He
has been foolish, and perhaps even wicked; but he belongs to the select
coterie of people who, when all is said, make the gay world go round.