Himalaya: Listen. Learn. Grow.
When I wasushered into the drawing-room I found that Mrs. Strickland had a visitor, andwhen I discovered who he was, I guessed that I had been asked to come at justthat time not without intention. The caller was Mr. Van Busche Taylor, anAmerican, and Mrs. Strickland gave me particulars with a charming smile ofapology to him.
"You know,we English are so dreadfully ignorant. You must forgive me if it's necessary toexplain. " Then she turned to me. "Mr. Van Busche Taylor is thedistinguished American critic. If you haven't read his book your education hasbeen shamefully neglected, and you must repair the omission at once. He'swriting something about dear Charlie, and he's come to ask me if I can helphim. "
Mr. Van BuscheTaylor was a very thin man with a large, bald head, bony and shining; and underthe great dome of his skull his face, yellow, with deep lines in it, lookedvery small. He was quiet and exceedingly polite. He spoke with the accent ofNew England, and there was about his demeanour a bloodless frigidity which mademe ask myself why on earth he was busying himself with Charles Strickland. Ihad been slightly tickled at the gentleness which Mrs. Strickland put into hermention of her husband's name, and while the pair conversed I took stock of theroom in which we sat. Mrs. Strickland had moved with the times. Gone were theMorris papers and gone the severe cretonnes, gone were the Arundel prints thathad adorned the walls of her drawingroom in Ashley Gardens; the room blazedwith fantastic colour, and I wondered if she knew that those varied hues, whichfashion had imposed upon her, were due to the dreams of a poor painter in aSouth Sea island. She gave me the answer herself.