Oswald Sickert

AT a little after nine o'clock one evening towards the end of
August, Mrs. Lee-Martin, her daughters Eva and Clara, her
niece, Katharine Shinner, and a kind of cousin, Huddleston, were
all sitting in the vestibule attached to the ball-room of the Dieppe
Casino. A waltz had just been played, and the next dance was
the "Berline," an invention of the dancing master's which the
Lee-Martins did not know, so they had an interval for watching
and discussing the people.

They had been in Dieppe a week, and the chief object of their
discussions was a young man of twenty, a Mr. Reynolds, whom
they all disliked. He was not tall, he had dark brown curly hair
which parted well in the middle, a taking face with clear complexion
and clean features ; he dived and danced admirably ; he was
always exquisitely dressed, his manners were easy, and he was a
great favourite with his partners. Eva and Clara had quarrelled
with everything about him, including his long brown overcoat
with a waist, which was so effeminate. Huddleston, who dressed
very quietly, generously defended him. Mrs. Lee-Martin did not
fancy the style of some of the girls with whom Reynolds danced,
and she was just as well pleased her girls did not like him.

Kathy exceeded the rest of the party in her objection to


180 Kathy

Reynolds ; indeed she felt so strongly on the subject that she
could not bring herself to join in the perpetual discussions of his
faults, vexed that her two grown-up cousins should talk so much
of him—he was so very far removed from her ideal of what a man
should be. And now she talked to her aunt rather than watch
him dancing the "Berline." She was an orphan and just sixteen,
very sensitive, sometimes a little oppressed by her position as
guest of the Lee-Martins, a poor relation with no particular
prospects ; though she was wise enough to see that they gave her
no reason for this feeling, probably never thought about her
position except with the wish to help freely and gaily. But she
was altogether sensitive and troubled by a pride which had come
upon her early.

Meanwhile Reynolds was saying to himself every five minutes :
"I really must dance with the younger Miss Lee-Martin to-night."

He had been settled in Dieppe a good fortnight when the Lee-
Martins arrived, and so he had not thought it his duty to dance
with the girls after his first introduction at the tennis-club.
They were to his mind unnecessarily English : they walked about
all day in men's straw hats, the eternal shirt or blouse and serge
skirt. However, he had played in a set with Clara that afternoon,
so he really would have to dance with her.

He was thoroughly enjoying his stay in Dieppe ; it was his
first independent outing, and everything, including his overcoat,
had been successful. The first time he went out in it he had felt
shy : it was just the latest thing, and he hardly knew yet whether
he was the kind of person who could afford to dress fashionably.
However, it had turned out all right. He especially liked the
way in which the brown sleeve sat over the white shirt cuff, and
contrasted with the dress gloves when he wore the coat in the
evening. He had been in Dieppe many times before ; but he


By Oswald Sickert 181

had not done the whole business properly, and he was delighted to
find that he had fallen on his feet, that he could do all that was
wanted as well as or better than any one else, and that therefore
he was in request everywhere. He had never been so unreservedly
light-hearted, so filled with the joy of existence.

He had danced the first dances with his usual partners, for he
always put off" a change ; but at last he came round to the Lee-
Martins' corner, and asked Clara for a dance. Kathy was sitting
behind her, intensely interested ; Clara had a good chance now of
being distant to him.

"I'm sorry I'm engaged for the next, and after that comes the
entr acte, and we don t stay for the second part."

Kathy was filled with glee at the answer ; but she did not
think Clara looked very happy as Reynolds walked away and her
partner came to fetch her, and she was decidedly silent walking
back to the hotel.

At the next ball, Clara bowed and smiled so charmingly to
Reynolds right at the beginning of the evening that he
immediately asked her for a dance, and Kathy was shocked to see
her start off with him in evident delight. She watched them
dancing. Reynolds had conquered.

When the waltz was over and Reynolds brought Clara to her
seat again, he was begging her to stay after the entr'acte—then
was the best time. Towards the end of the evening the room
became empty, and only the superior people stayed. Clara turned
round and looked at her mother while Reynolds stood in front of

"I don't know whether mother would care to stay."

"Oh, I think we had better go back, dear ; we shall be so

But Kathy knew the opposition would not last for ever, and at


182 Kathy

the next ball the party stayed on till the end. Kathy, thinking
she might be an obstacle—her aunt would certainly wish her to go
to bed before eleven—suggested of her own accord that Huddleston
should see her back to the hotel after the first part. She felt as if
Huddleston were being wronged by Clara's sudden conversion
to Reynolds. Till now he had been the mainstay of the three
girls at the balls, dancing regularly with them all ; he had not
even troubled to be introduced to any other partners, although
there were plenty to be had. It was true he did not dance well,
but he was such a good honest fellow, unselfish and simple. He
had always been about with them, and they were grateful, for it is
agreeable to have a cavalier. He was well-intentioned and equally
polite to all four ladies ; but Clara was the more charming of the
two sisters, and it was evidently she who made their company
pleasant to him. Now Kathy saw that he would continue to do
everything he could for them ; but that Reynolds might step in at
any moment and perform the pleasanter duties. So she talked
cheerfully to Huddleston during their walk back to the hotel,
making him tell her about his plans and the kind of work he would
like to do when he was ordained.

Reynolds had been surprised to find that Clara Lee-Martin
danced well, better than any of his former partners ; and instead
of being bored with his duty, he danced with her more and more,
found that she was pretty, and that she liked his company. So
he saw a great deal of her, bathed with her, and made her come to
the end of the wooden pier and dive off instead of going into the
water from the beach, sat near the Lee-Martins at concerts, and
went with them to eat cakes at all the confectioners down the
Grande Rue. They still talked of Reynolds a good deal, but
no longer with disapproval. Clara would repeat his good stories,
and they would wonder what his people were like: his father


By Oswald Sickert 183

and mother were at Carlsbad, two elder brothers fishing in
Norway, and they were all to meet in Paris towards the end of

On the Sunday, ten days after their first dance, Reynolds was
wondering at lunch-time whether he should be able to find Clara
Lee-Martin anywhere in the afternoon. She would probably be
going out for a walk, and he might join her. Sunday managed to
be rather a blank day, even in Dieppe, chiefly because most of the
English colony would not dance in the evening, and as Reynolds
did not go to either of the churches, he never knew where the
people had got to. He felt shy of walking into the hotel to ask
for her ; but she was often on the balcony outside her window,
and anyhow, if she were going out, he could watch for her.
After waiting about near the hotel for a quarter of an hour,
thinking what a fool he was to cling to so small a chance, she
appeared at her window. He walked back quickly towards the
hotel and saluted her, and then came up close under the balcony.

"Are you going for a walk this afternoon ?"

"Yes, we're going to Pourville."

"Might I come with you ? "

She nodded her head, smiling, and went in. Reynolds moved
away and looked at a bicycle shop further on. That was a piece
of good luck ! He imagined how empty he would have felt all
the afternoon if chance had not turned so well and given him the
occupation he wished for. After a few minutes Huddleston
appeared from the hotel and sat down at one of the little iron
tables. Reynolds was doubtful what to do ; he thought Huddle-
ston probably did not approve of him, and probably too he would
not be over pleased to know that he was going to join them ; but
it seemed too silly to roam about close to him and say nothing,
and he was in good spirits and well-intentioned towards everyone,


184 Kathy

so he went up to him and began talking pleasantly. Soon he saw
Clara coming downstairs, she was turning her head back, calling
out something to her sister. She smiled when she saw Reynolds,
went to the edge of the pavement to look at the sky, and asked
Huddleston his opinion on the weather, which he gave as an
authority. Her mother was going to call on the English curate's
wife. Eva and Kathy came out together. Kathy was disgusted
to see that Reynolds had calmly made himself one of the party.

Through the town and up the Faubourg they walked all pretty
evenly together ; but when they reached the division in the road,
where the houses stop, and the short cut goes straight up, narrow
and overhung with trees, the party divided naturally; Huddleston
walked in front with Eva and Kathy, and Reynolds a few feet
behind with Clara. Kathy was angrier than ever ; poor, manly,
honest Huddleston had only two more days in Dieppe and this fop
had appropriated Clara. Reynolds was chattering and Clara
laughing incessantly. He talked of parents and their ways till
Clara had to stand still for laughing ; then of schoolmasters, and
Kathy would have laughed herself as she overheard him, if she
had not been so angry and so sorry for Huddleston—he was talk-
ing with Eva about the train service between London and
Haslemere. Reynolds evidently overhead them, for he began an
absurd description of Waterloo station and its difficulties ; there
seemed no end to his drivel—indeed Reynolds was in very good

They reached the top of the hill and walked on the high road a
few hundred yards till Reynolds said from behind that they must
go by the cliff, so they turned off the road to the right. Reynolds
declared that it was one of the most exhilarating and inspiring
spots in the world, and made Clara stand still and look about her.
Of course every one knew that the cliff path to Pourville was


By Oswald Sickert 185

lovely, and it was just like Reynolds' impertinence to pose before
Clara as a discoverer. Kathy wondered how Clara could be so
easily satisfied with this man's conversation and dictatorial ways of
amusing her.

Huddleston stopped to show Eva a pretty and rare kind of
butterfly on their path—he was learned in science, and the butter-
fly was one of his strong points. Before, Clara had always shown
interest in Huddleston s explanations ; but now she passed by
talking to Reynolds.

Kathy now had Reynolds in front of her as they began to go
down hill into the valley, and she was acutely sensible of the
differences between Reynolds' and Huddleston's appearance. She
noticed how Reynolds' coat sat well round the collar, Huddleston's
came up too far behind in a point so as almost to hide it ;
Reynolds black straw hat made a successful angle on his head,
Huddleston was wearing an old yellow straw trimmed with the
colours of some out-of-the-way school ; the crisp curls of
Reynolds' dark hair left off clean at the neck, Huddleston's
short fair hair had no definite ending ; Huddleston's nose reached
some way beyond the shade of his hat, hence it was scarlet
with the sun ; Reynolds' complexion was deliciously clean and
pale—in fact he was a dark man, and she came to the conclusion
that a fair man, however good looking, could never look smart.
The comparison made her angrier still.

Reynolds and Clara raced laughing down the last few yards,
which ran very steep : Huddleston began trotting in a feeble way,
and Eva followed. Kathy would not run, make a fool of herself
just because Reynolds had chosen to set the example.

When they reached the road again which crossed the valley
parallel to the beach, Kathy was some way behind the two
couples. She saw Reynolds and Clara stand on the little iron


186 Kathy

bridge and watch the stream, and then turn to the right and
clamber over the high shelf of shingle which hid the sea from
view. Eva and Huddleston stood for a moment uncertain whether
to follow them ; finally they did. Kathy came up to the bridge
and leant over, fascinated by the rush of the stream into the tunnel
under the shingle ; she would wait till the others came back.
However they were longer than she had expected, and as they
were hidden by the shingle bank, she thought they might be
walking along the beach, so she scrambled up the shifting
mountain of pebbles and found them all four standing on the end
of a long wooden box which enclosed the stream for someway
after its reappearance. She walked along the slippery uneven
planks ; it certainly was a fascinating place, with the water rush-
ing below her feet. They were discussing tea.

"Of course there s only one possible place," Reynolds was say-
ing. "You can't go anywhere else but the Casino—surely you've
been there ? Oh, but it's immense, you must see it ! The pro-
prietor is a famous cook, and has a telephone to Dieppe, so that
people may order dinner and lunch and then come out to eat it.
And the big room is a sort of picture gallery ; there are two
magnificent Monets there, portraits of the proprietor and his wife.
You must come ; it's one of the sights of Normandy."

They walked on to the Casino. Kathy admitted to herself that
it was strange, but very ugly and stupidly arranged. You could
not see the sea at all ; the Casino, which was really a restaurant,
faced another building which evidently contained the kitchen ; a
few carriages stood in the yard at the end of the space between
the two buildings, and people were sitting about at tables. The
famous picture-gallery was a ridiculously ugly room with dreadful
pictures on the walls, little tables all the way up on each side, an
old and dusty petits-chevaux machine at the top ; and the two


By Oswald Sickert 187

magnificent portraits were absurd. As they turned to walk out
again, Reynolds pointed to a group of people playing cards in a
little side room ; the old man sitting with his wife at the head of
the green baize table, he said, was the proprietor, and Kathy had
to own to herself that the portraits were wonderfully like. They
took a table outside and ordered tea, Reynolds insisting on having
a galette you—couldn't come to Pourville and not have a galette,
it was the proper thing to do—and he explained that it was
no question of whether you liked galette or not, you had to
have it.

"My dear, you ll have to do many things in life which you
don't like."

During tea, Kathy noticed more than ever on what easy terms
Reynolds and Clara stood after so short an acquaintance. He
had taken to calling her "Miss Claire," in imitation of a French-
man whom he had overheard asking her for a dance ; and the
name suited so well, besides overcoming the confusion between
the sisters, that all her partners, even Huddleston, had caught
up the habit. But Kathy was most shocked at this sign of

Miss Claire had a way of yawning, when she was bored, in
a subdued fashion, without opening her mouth. Reynolds had
noticed this at once at a concert, and had caught her eye and
made her smile, and this had grown to be a joke between them.
Reynolds was always catching her eye during a yawn, and made
her smile every time. He was certainly very quick, and was so
gay and polite that he did not appear exactly impertinent. But
Kathy did not like this secret understanding between them, and
wished he had come across a girl who would have made things a
little more difficult for him.

After tea they started back again, walking abreast along


188 Kathy

the road. Huddleston gave them mathematical puzzles, guessing
numbers :

"Odd or even ? How many sevens in it ?"

Or else :

"Reverse the order of the pounds shillings and pence, subtract,
add ... ."

Climbing the cliff, the party divided as before. When the
three reached the top, Huddleston stopped and said he would try
the height of the cliff. He took out his watch and let a stone drop
upon the beach below. He had done it before. Clara and
Reynolds came up and stood by, Reynolds pretending interest in
the operation, though Kathy felt that he thought it stupid.
Huddleston, as usual, found some difficulty in his trick, because
he could not tell when the stone reached the bottom, so he
made Eva watch for it and call out "Now." After he had worked
out the sum, and Reynolds had said it was very clever, they
walked on again all together. Clara and Reynolds had evidently
been discussing pictures on their way up. Clara had no particular
opinions of her own in this matter ; but Reynolds' admiration for
the ugly old lady s portrait at Pourville had led her to the usual
statement about ugly subjects. Reynolds, of course, had begun by
arguing that because a face was, humanly speaking, ugly, that did
not prevent its being a beautiful subject for a picture; and he went
on to the more general statement that the painter was not in the
least concerned with the ordinary human meaning of his subject.

"A painter I know was making a sketch in the Brompton
Road ; a man watched him for a moment, and then said : 'Why,
you re drawing Tattersall's !' Without stopping work the painter
answered in a vague, innocent voice : 'Oh, am I ?' The man
almost shrieked with amazement and indignation : 'What ! You
don't even know what you re drawing ?'"


By Oswald Sickert 189

Clara laughed, Kathy laughed too ; she saw it was a good
illustration ; she looked at Huddleston's face—perhaps he had not
quite followed.

"And if you enlarge upon the story, it comes out very well.
The old critics are standing in front of a picture ; 'How dis-
gusting ! The man s painted a dung-heap !' One of them adds :
'Ah, but there s a flower on it ; that redeems the picture.'
People think that s good. The young critics come up and say :
'Of course a dung-heap, why not ? A dung-heap is delight-
ful, just as good as a bed of roses. Everybody cheers and repeats
the discovery. At last the painter comes and looks at it, and says
to himself, 'Yes, I suppose it is a dung-heap ; I never thought
of that before. How clever people are !'"

But Kathy found a way out of the difficulty. What Reynolds
had said was clever, of course. It would do well in an article. But
it wasn't original ; he had picked it up somewhere. That settled
it. Huddleston was not amusing ; but at any rate he was manly
and not a humbug, pretending to know about all sorts of things of
which he was ignorant. But was Huddleston s trick with the
stone and the cliff original, she suddenly thought. He hadn't
discovered that ; some one must have taught him. Was the only
difference then really that he was dull and Reynolds was amusing?
She gave up the argument ; but only felt the more indignant with

The morning after Huddleston had left, Mrs. Lee-Martin,
Clara and Kathy were sitting on the terrace. Eva had stayed at
home to write letters. Reynolds had a cold and was not going
to bathe ; he was standing between Clara and her mother
talking. After some discussion Clara decided to bathe, and she
walked off to get her ticket ; she turned back and said to her
cousin :


190 Kathy

"Perhaps I'd better leave you my watch and things. Do you
mind taking them ?"

Kathy laid her book on the parapet, and Clara pulled out her
watch and gave it into her hands and then threw two gold
bracelets and a ring into her lap and went off. Kathy laid the
watch on her lap, took up the ring and slowly put it on her finger.
Reynolds was looking at her. How was it he'd never noticed
before that she was very pretty ? He watched her face as she pushed
the first bangle over her hand ; her colour had risen, her eyes
were sparkling with delight and her lips were parted in a smile.
She did look lovely. Just because she had her hair down and wore
a simple black dress, he had taken no notice of her, and how
handsome her yellow hair looked all about her shoulders with one
curl coming across her flushed cheek. It was pretty to see the
girl's delight, and Reynolds was smiling too out of pure pleasure.
When Kathy was just slipping the second bracelet over the
knuckles of her left hand, she became aware that Reynolds had
been watching her j she stopped and looked up at him quickly
and found sure enough that he was watching and smiling. She
twisted the bracelet for a second upon her hand as if she were in
no hurry, and then drew it off and then the other and the ring.
She was furious, she could have thrown the things over the parapet;
but she let them lie on her lap and took up her book. Reynolds,
of all people in the world, that detestable fop, was smiling at the
childishness of the poor girl who had no trinkets.

Reynolds saw her blush ; she was shy, perhaps he had been rude
to stare so. He spoke a few words to Mrs. Lee-Martin and went
down to the beach, thinking how pretty the niece was—prettier
than anyone there. It showed how boyishly stupid he was ; because
she wasn't grown up and still had her hair down, he'd never
looked at her attentively. And now there was so little time left—


By Oswald Sickert 191

they were going on the morrow. The days had passed so easily,
spent in pleasant intercourse with pleasant people ; and now just
at the end was he going to be tormented by the regret that he
had neglected this beautiful girl, and by the sudden desire to talk
to her, when he had had the opportunity a dozen times a day for the
last weeks ? That evening there was a ball ; it was his only
chance, for he was engaged for a tennis-party all the available part
of the afternoon. Instead of being light-hearted he would leave
Dieppe with a sting in his mind.

Kathy had felt the necessity of taking up arms against Reynolds
and vindicating her sex. A fop vain of his fashionable clothes,
contented with his looks, always dangling about with ladies,
evidently thinking of nothing else, he was all a man should not
be. It was a duty to crush this odious type of man, and as others
did not do it, the duty fell upon her. Sometimes she was oppressed
because an opportunity did not come ; surely it would be her own
fault if she did not find one. It was a duty ; but it would be
sweet too, sweet and exciting to rise to the height of her scorn for
him and show him that though she was only a girl of sixteen, and
he had never asked her for a dance, had hardly even spoken to her,
she was the one with a clear idea of what a man should be. This
would pay for the eternal conversation her party had carried on
about Reynolds. The consideration of possible occasions when
she might crush him weighed on her mind; she was always either
making herself indignant against him or acting her part at some
splendid opportunity. But that morning's incident had given her
an acute personal feeling against Reynolds.

In the evening Reynolds got out of an engagement to dinner,
and came early to the Casino. He knew the ball would not begin
for half an hour, and that it was no use being there, and yet he
could not have kept away any longer. He was troubled by the


192 Kathy

peculiar restlessness attaching to the hope of meeting and talking
to one particular person in an assembly. He had wandered in and
out of the rooms and corridors, and he finally sat down on one of
the leather sofas in the petits-chevaux room, whence he could see
into the vestibule of the ball-room every time a person passed
through the swing-doors. He had determined not to look again
until twenty people had passed through. The twenty-first showed
him the Lee-Martins walking into the ball-room. They evidently
were not going to occupy their usual row of chairs in the vestibule ;
it was no longer very hot and the dances were not crowded, so
they were going inside. But he had not seen Kathy. He jumped
up and pushed open the doors, and found her in the corner on his
left hand talking across the counter of the cloak-room. She was
explaining in charming French about an umbrella she had lost.
She did not turn round, and Reynolds waited till the woman left
the counter and dived into a remote corner of her little place. He
had thought over his sudden liking for Kathy, the obvious question
which would arise in her mind was, "Why didn't he ask me
before ?" and she might well be offended. He had tried to
defend his neglect of her ; but it was plain that if he had wanted,
he would have asked her long ago. He said humbly :

"Miss Shinner, could you give me a dance this evening ?"
Kathy had glanced to the side when the door swung open, and
had seen Reynolds. She took no notice of him and went on explain
ing her business, pleased that her French was so superior. She was
surprised when she felt that he stopped beside her ; she thought
of course he would go on into the ball room. When she heard
her name she felt a great leap in her throat, she turned to him—

"Thanks, no—" and looked him down, from top to bottom.
He was wearing his fine long coat and white evening gloves, his


By Oswald Sickert 193

right hand rested on a silver-headed stick and held his soft black
hat. The poor boy bowed his head, murmured "Thank you"
and went back through the swing doors into the petits-chevaux
room. When Kathy was sitting in her seat next to her aunt she
recognised how excited she had been ; her hands were trembling
and her knees felt weak ; the excitement continued for a long
time. The music began and she wondered how Reynolds would
look when he came in—he always danced the first dance with
Miss Claire. He had told her that he liked to begin the evening
well, for then he came on to the less satisfactory partners in good
spirits, and ever since that compliment Clara had never been late.
Kathy became uneasy as the waltz drew to a close and Reynolds
did not appear. They were all talking as if nothing were the
matter ; but Kathy knew how disappointed Clara must be at the
unexpected breach of one of those little arrangements which are
so precious and give such an intimate excitement to life.
Two more dances passed and still Reynolds was not there. Eva
said :

"Mr. Reynolds' cold must be worse."

"He was playing tennis with the Sandeman party this after-
noon," Clara added ; "perhaps that made it worse."

Kathy was relieved ; she had not known whether the Lee-
Martins had seen Reynolds with her or not.

"It isn't like Mr. Reynolds to stay away from a dance for a
cold," Clara went on, " and I know he specially wanted to come
to-night. He said yesterday evening that the last ball wasn't such
a melancholy occasion when all the party were leaving on the same
day ; and he s going to Paris to-morrow."

Kathy's astonishment had changed to an uncomfortable guilty
feeling, and finally to indignation. The fop was offended because
she would not dance with him, and so his lordship in a huff would

The Yellow Book—Vol. X. M


194 Kathy

not dance with her sweet cousin, though he must know that she
depended on him for the enjoyment of her last evening. He
simply had no right to behave so ; it was scandalous. No doubt
he did it on purpose, knowing that she would be vexed and feel
guilty if he did not come and dance with Clara. That would be
like Reynolds—always catching on to girls weaknesses, no doubt
flattering himself upon his insight.

The Lee-Martins left at the entr'acte. Only two of their
partners were still dancing, and they were chiefly engaged with
another party ; besides, they were of no account in Clara's eyes.
Kathy felt deeply for Clara's disappointment as the little party
walked silently back to the hotel ; she knew better than any one
how much such a thing as a last ball meant to her.

When he left Kathy, Reynolds had dropped into his sofa again,
with a pain across his chest. He did not remember ever to have
been so hurt as he was by her refusal ; he had asked so humbly.
She had a perfect right to be offended with him for having put off
asking her until the very last day. What could he do to make
amends ? How pretty she had looked. The music began, but
he could not make up his mind to go into the ball-room. It was
Miss Claire's dance ; she would be disappointed. It was shame-
ful not to go in and dance with her ; and yet, if he could bring
himself to do so, Kathy would think he was callous and did not
mind. He was tormented with doubt. He went outside and
looked through a window into the ball-room and saw the girls
sitting. He wondered whether they had seen him talking to
Kathy ; at any rate, Kathy would probably say that she had spoken
to him. What right had he to disappoint Miss Claire because he
was sulky ? He would go and dance the second dance. He went
and looked round the door and came back. It was not sulkiness ;
he was so hurt at Kathy's refusal. The second dance finished.


By Oswald Sickert 195

Now it would really be awkward for him to go in, and yet he
knew he ought. The third dance passed. How dreary it was
wandering about ! Each time a dance began he made up his
mind to get the better of his mood ; but they all passed, and he
was too weak to overcome his discomfiture. And it was the last

He saw them leave after the first part, and he knew he had
behaved abominably to his gracious companion of the last weeks.
He wandered about inconsolably until the end of the ball, and then
went miserably to bed.

The next morning he hardly knew how he could face the Lee-
Martins ; yet he must go to the Casino and see them. They were
leaving at one o'clock, and he at four.

It was a wonderfully still day, sunny and misty. The lazy flag
near the bathing-place drooped motionless at the masthead. That
flag, the first point to which his eye was always directed on enter-
ing the Casino, was the symbol of numberless happy mornings ;
but never had he enjoyed Dieppe so much as this year. The
morning air was sweet with the scent from the thickly packed
flower-beds. He leant in at one of the open windows of the hall,
and listened to M. Anschütz playing. The piano rang out with
bell tones in the empty room. The music and the sight of
the artist wrapped up in his work, playing alone in the cool, dimly
lighted hall (for the blinds were drawn all along the sunny side),
brought tears to his eyes ; and he wished his stay in Dieppe could
have ended well, and sighed as he took his arms ofF the window-
sill. He walked round the building, and stood for some time
looking at the terrace. Only a thin line of people were sitting in
the shade of the long awning. Everything was still. A little
fleet of fishing-boats lay motionless outside the harbour ; they
might have been floating in the sky, for there was no horizon. He


196 Kathy

had never seen the sea so calm. It was early yet, and the Lee-
Martins would be still packing. He hoped they would come ;
and yet why should he be tormented in his mind, prevented from
enjoying the melancholy sweetness of his last morning ?

It was a quarter to twelve before they appeared, and Reynolds
had been growing anxious. The three girls were alone ; Mrs.
Lee-Martin had evidently not thought it worth while to come
down for a quarter of an hour.

" How are you this morning, Mr. Reynolds ? " Clara asked as
he came towards them, " I was so sorry you didn't come to the
dance last night."

" Oh thanks, I think I'm all right again. I didn't feel at all fit
for dancing yesterday evening."

Then they stood against the parapet looking at the sea.
Reynolds felt very humble and penitent and so kindly disposed
towards the three girls, he would have liked to do something to
show them his warm feelings ; but they talked of the calm
passage to Newhaven, and when he would come back from Paris,
and of such matters. Eva and Clara had to fetch their things
from the bathing-woman, so Reynolds followed the two girls down
the steps, and stood about at some distance from the woman's
cabin. Then he wondered whether he could go up again and
just have a word with Kathy ; he was longing to speak to her.
He moved back slowly, then ran up the steps and came towards
her. She stood still, taking no notice of his approach ; she
simply detested him, and his behaviour the night before had
completed her scorn for him. He said very humbly :

"Miss Shinner, I'm so sorry if I've offended you. I wish you'd
tell me what I ve done."

"You owe me no apologies. You weren't in a position to
offend me," she began hotly ; then she stopped, she was trembling


By Oswald Sickert 197

so violently with excitement and her head began to whirl ; but
she distinctly felt vexed that her cousins came up just at that
moment and put an end to the scene. The boy felt a great lump
in his throat ; he couldn't think of anything to say in the short
time left for him, only in a thick voice "You judge very hardly ;
I suppose you have the right to. . ."

He turned to Clara and Eva and told them he was waiting to
see some one, so he would say good-bye there. Kathy had hardly
noticed his answer, she was so indignant and excited ; but she
could scarcely believe her senses when she saw that his eyes looked

*                *                *                *                *

A week afterwards, on the morning of September 22nd, Kathy
was standing in the dormitory near the chest of drawers at her
bed-side. She had never been away to a boarding-school before.
She had arrived the previous afternoon, leaving the Lee-Martins
happily settled in their home in London, engrossed in shopping
and other interesting occupations, and she did envy them their
happiness. Every one else had such exciting lives. Here she was,
at school in Eastbourne, among all these strange girls who knew
the place so well and had laughed and chatted contentedly. And
her coming to this school forced her to look forward to no
comforting prospect ; she would have to work very hard and fit
herself for earning her livelihood. What a drop from the free
careless life she had led with her cousins ! And all the regret for
the exciting holiday with its golden glamour centred in Reynolds.
A week ago she had been in a position to crush a universal
favourite ; now she was one of forty school girls with nothing but
dreariness before her. It had seemed quite natural then to be on
such a pinnacle ; now she was here and of no account in any one's
eyes. How was that possible ? The more she thought over her


198 Kathy

behaviour the more incredible it seemed. How could she have
dared to sit in judgment and feel fully entitled to tell him she
disapproved of him? "You judge very hardly. I suppose you
have the right to." She had not noticed his answer at the time ;
but since that day it had always been in her mind.

And in her present lowliness she felt ashamed of her impertinent
righteousness yes, and pride and excitement at feeling herself
at last in power. Her cheeks burned to think of it. But happily
he had not seen it so. She really had possessed the power and
had humbled him and made his voice come thick and brought
the tears to his eyes, and he had thought she had a right to do so.
And she pictured Reynolds in Paris, in brilliant society, enjoying
himself, driving in carriages, going to balls and the opera and
she leant over the open drawer, and a sudden great fit of crying
seized her, just as the desolate sound of the unhomely bell came
to her ears, ringing the girls to breakfast.

MLA citation: Sickert, Oswald. "Kathy." The Yellow Book 10 (July 1896): 179-198 The Yellow Nineties Online. Ed. Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra. Ryerson University, 2013. Web. [Date of access]. http://www.1890s.ca/HTML.aspx?s=YBV10_sickert_kathy.html