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An Interrupted Conversation
by [?]

“I must fall back on the personal then,” said Sitgreaves, now really at bay, “and say that I am less moved and interested when Moore is describing Evelyn Innes, than when he tells of his affair with Doris at Orelay.”

“I am glad that you mentioned ‘Evelyn Innes’ again,” I said, “because it is in this very book that he is said to have painted so many of his friends. Ulick Dean is undoubtedly Yeats. It has been suggested that Arnold Dolmetsch posed for the portrait of Evelyn’s father. Dolmetsch’s testimony on this point goes farther. He says that he dictated certain passages in the book….”

“What is it, then? What is the difference? There is some difference, of that I am sure….”

“The difference is–” I began when the door opened and Marcel entered, the most amazingly comprehensive smile on his countenance. ” Mademoiselle vous attend,” he said, and he looked the question. “Shall I bring her in here?”

Sitgreaves answered it immediately, ” Je viens.” And then to me, “Wait,” as he vanished through the doorway…. I walked to the window, drew aside the red curtains, and looked out into the fountain-splashed court below….

* * * * *

“What is the difference?”

“I suppose it is that you prefer the new Moore to the old Moore, the author of the later and better written books to the author of the earlier ones. ‘Evelyn Innes’ was many times rewritten. Moore has said that he could never get it to suit him, but he has also said, recently, that he would never rewrite another book (a resolution he has not kept). ‘Memoirs of My Dead Life’ and ‘Hail and Farewell’ do not need rewriting. They are written to stand. ‘The Brook Kerith,’ perhaps, you will find equally to your taste. It will be the newest Moore….”

“You have explained to me,” said Sitgreaves, “the difference: it is one of development. Now that I think of it I don’t believe that Anatole France could write ‘The Brook Kerith.’… It would be too symbolical, too cynical, in his hands. Moore will perhaps make it more human, by knowing the characters. I wonder,” he continued musingly, as we left the room, and descended the stairs, “if he told you whether that hair on Paul’s chest was red or black….”

February 1, 1915.