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Lafcadio Hearn

ISSUE:  Summer 1927

Some of us whose memories reach back to fin de siècle days can recall from the nineties the occasional mention of a strange and exotic literary name and the recurrence of a new and mysterious political term. The name had the lilt of a fragment of verse, and the term insinuated itself into the consciousness of the elect with the quiet insistency of drifting leaves in Autumn. We heard the name and the term over and over again with the uneasy suspicion that maybe there were people who knew what they meant, and that we ourselves might be able to learn if only we should try for a moment; but the suggestions in them were subtly remote, and the more urgent subjects of Kennan’s Siberian exposures and the Dreyfus affair and the Boer War and the beef scandal drove them into the backgrounds of our minds where we were willing to let oblivion take the hindmost.

So we allowed them to drift by in print and dinner-table talk—Lafcadio Hearn and Imperialism—and we connected them in an association of ideas that was not altogether false, for both of them would have carried us beyond the confines of America if we had been ready to go; but most of us were unready. In matters literary and political we were anything but worldly then; we lived to ourselves, and at best we were neighborly and at worst Bohemian. We oscillated between Old Chester and the Latin Quarter. As neither of them was concerned with Imperialism we forgot about it; and we either forgot about Hearn or vaguely tried to fit him into the Latin Quarter, not realizing that he had moved away, from all that sort of thing years before we had heard of him, and had become a citizen of the world who knew what Imperialism was and had very little use for it.

A few people read his books and bought them—actually enough to bring him modest literary returns before his death. He was writing about Japan when we found him out. But we were interested in the new Japan that was whipping China and Russia, and he was writing about the old one; so the vogue did not spread very far. If we were to go to the Orient at all most of us wanted to see the Orient down-to-date, the Orient of open ports and cantonments, the tenuously bridged abyss between East and West, or the opera bouffe Orient of Kipling. Yet some of Hearn’s readers continued because they wanted really to understand some part of the Orient as seen by one who loved it. And others continued because they found that this observer had the soul of a poet and wrote a beautiful prose. One little volume after another came out and had its little posthumous day, for the writer had died early, in the new century; until finally with a weariness for an occidental world which had come to its logical climax in the great War, a larger public, who turned away from daily circumstance with Hudson and Conrad and O’Brien and Maugham and the rest, have rediscovered Hearn as they have rediscovered Melville, so that at last he has achieved the distinction of a mortuary monument in sixteen volumes and a large paper edition.

If Hearn had not suffered so from his biographers it would be intriguing to pose his case incognito to a eugenist, a psycho-analyst and a literary critic. Specifications: an Irish father, surgeon in the British army, and a Greek mother; loss of both parents in early childhood; upbringing under the bony and featherless wing of a prosperously Victorian great-aunt; schooling in Roman Catholic seminaries; college in newspaper offices, first, in a transplanted New England town on the banks of the Ohio, and then in a Gulf port where the last traditions of the Creoles were waning before the up-and-coming makers of the New South; at thirty-seven, three years of travel, or rather of foreign sojourn, mostly in the French West Indies; and finally fourteen years of writing and teaching in Japan, and death at the age of fifty-four. Given these experiences to a little half-blind and supersensitive man, what would Ireland, Greece, the Middle-West, the isles of tropic seas and a Japan filled with invading aliens contribute to his culture? And what would his culture contribute to ours ?

Yet psychological data are so elusive and their interpretation so debatable that it is better to remain on familiar ground. Literary, amateurs in psycho-analysis seldom fail to be interesting if they have any gift with the pen, but they seldom succeed in carrying any conviction with them. They are too much like the zestful traveling man who has mastered the psychology of salesmanship, in twenty lessons, and feels that all human life is compassable in a few pat phrases. On the other hand the scientific gentry who can reduce art to the behavior of the optic nerve or the adrenal gland are usually so learned in nerves and glands that they, have either misconceptions of art or no conception at all. Lafcadio Hearn long ago suffered much at the hands of one of these; and as if that were not enough, a new biographer, twenty years after Hearn’s death, laboriously wrought together a fabric of purple patches in a spirit that was even more ghoulish than Gould’s.

For the gossip-monger there is more or less to gloat over in the first two-thirds of Hearn’s career; he can find a little here and there in the remainder. Hearn was undersized, homely and near-sighted. The chronicler of his “American Days” harps on these facts with an insistence that approaches malignity. In the early part of his literary career Hearn was at times morbid in his interests, and as a bohe-mian he passed through a succession of affairs with women. On these his biographer dilates with disgusting delight. Hearn was fickle, irritable and sometimes ungrateful—facts which a prosecutor might introduce at the expense of a defendant, though they are critically irrelevant. Hearn was egregiously the artist, but his biographer seems not to have been interested in this. The hiatus between his artistry and his life was rather greater than in the case of Poe. Yet what Rufus Griswold did to befoul Poe is quite equalled by the inquiries and opinions of Messrs. Gould and Tinker. Seeing him with myopic eyes they lost sight of his mind and the depths of life and the heights of beauty that his mind’s eye revealed.

Hearn was a romanticist who found his double impulse in a distrust of the theology under which he was brought up, and the sordid life into which he was thrust, his philosophical support in the teachings of Herbert Spencer, and his release in a lifelong search for beauty.


His earliest memories of baby-boyhood were of being nightly, condemned to the Child’s Room, and of being locked there in the blackness—the light turned out for the sapient reason that the Child was afraid of the dark. Ghosts came and he was forbidden to talk about them, because they did not exist and could not hurt him. But as his benignant elders invoked the Holy Ghost he was impelled in due time to inquiries about God, and to hideous information about a malevolent deity who was chiefly the God of hell. The beauty of the surrounding world was obliterated for him.

Then came the revelation, through some finely illustrated books on art, of the splendid, virile and lovely deities of Greek mythology. It was a thrilling delight—”the contrast between that immortal loveliness and the squalor of the saints and the patriarchs and the prophets” of his religious pictures—the contrast between heaven and hell. This fresh delight was soon assailed, however, when his pagan leanings were discovered and Christian propriety edited the pictures. The naiads, dryads, graces and muses were rendered breastless, and modest garments were put on gods and cherubs—”large, baggy, bathing drawers, woven with cross-strokes of a quill pen, so designed as to conceal all curves of beauty,” with the result of affording the boy problems in restoring the hidden lines of grace. Finally an honest confessional admission that he had desired the devil to come to him in the form of a beautiful woman, was met with such dire admonitions that he was filled with joy at the hope that the temptation might actually be achievable. It was the final confirmation of his paganism; he never forgave Christianity. Not mature enough for speculative philosophy, he applied the pragmatic test, and was content to reject the religion on the authentically scriptural ground of judging it by such fruits as he could know. Subsequent schooling in Roman Catholic seminaries did not bring him back to the arms of the church; and disowning by his rich relatives and the poverty of his later boyhood failed to reconcile him to the grimmest realities of a Christian civilization—the realities of the slum and the workhouse. He had the solidest of grounds for his later “inclination to believe that Romanticism itself was engendered by religious conservatism.”

The revolt begun against dogma was re-inflamed by circumstances. From his late teens until his late twenties he was living from hand to mouth as an unknown. He suffered penury and hunger. It was the kind of life that often drives men into crime; it seldom keeps them immaculate from vice, for the conventions are best conserved in conventional circumstances. During these years Hearn became acquainted with much that was horrible; and he wrote about some of it. His celebrated report of the “Tan-Yard murder” revealed his powers, and shocked some of his later critics. He had simply come to the point of such emotional numbness that only a violent stimulus could stir him to utterance. For a while he was a frank sensation seeker. His steeple-jack ascent of a church spire was in search for another thrill—and he got it and transmitted it to paper. He described himself at the time as “the sensational reporter.” “To produce qualms in the stomachs of other people,” he wrote of himself, “affords him especial delight. To borrow the picturesque phraseology of Jean Paul Richter, his life path was ever running down into vaults and out over graves.” But as an extremist, and an amusing one to his observing self, he believed not only in the “Revoltingly Horrible” but also in the “Excruciatingly Beautiful.” In a little more serious mood he wrote to a friend ten years later, “I think a man must devote himself to one thing in order to succeed; so I have pledged me to the worship of the Odd, the Queer, the Strange, the Exotic, the Monstrous. It quite suits my temperament.”

Yet before long he had come to a change of heart, possibly through the experience of feeling more certainty as to where the next meal was coming from and more stability as to his position among men. As “the sensational reporter” in Cincinnati he had liked to be shocking. It had been a lark to be bold and bad in print, and when he had been prevented, through rejection or expurgation, he had reveled in the luxury of persecution, for he had wanted to go the whole route with the French school of sensation. He might have known all the complacent joy of martyrdom—though his particular martyrdom was only muzzledom—if he had not somewhat suddenly become conscious of reviving Saxon inhibitions. He went over to the camp of the beautiful and was ready, to out-Herod Herod in his abuse of the naturalists.

His reaction was no less violent than unpredictable. He protested at the “raw and bloody pessimism” of Zola, whose stories were a “putrid mass of realistic fiction . . . literary fungi begotten of social rottenness.” It all indicated to him an underlying national degeneracy. The French language encountered his wrath: it was peculiarly adapted to enshrouding the most awful forms of human depravity with exquisite art. The French masters were especially endowed for the deftest dissections in morbid anatomy. With the unction of a recent convert Hearn thanked his stars that literary conservatism still reigned in England and the United States. He was grateful for the prevailingly “brawny moral tone” that characterized Dickens and Thackeray; the power of self-control among English and American writers; the retention of the primal purpose of fiction, which was to recreate minds that were weary of the toil and strife of the world. The sensational reporter who had anticipated the fin de siècle decadents in pursuit of the horrible and the monstrous was become an ethical romanticist.

In this reaction against the world of Christian creed, the actual world of circumstance, and the artistic realm of naturalism and realism Hearn continued to the end. In the life that surrounded him as a journalist he saw no more to admire in New York than in London, or in Cincinnati than in New York. Even in New Orleans the human city of the day was buried under a lava flood of sordid chicane. The golden sunlight of eternal summer shone for him on a charnel house of corruption. He was ready to abandon himself to cynical scepticism—was, in fact, abandoned to it—when he found himself under the spell of Herbert Spencer, thenceforth his literary superman.


The experience of Spencerolatry is a common one in literary history, but in Hearn’s case it was an experience with a difference. Often the effect was to deprive the young believer of a comfortable faith. “The ‘Data of Ethics’ and ‘First Principles’ ” said Theodore Dreiser, for example, “nearly killed me, took away every shred of belief from me, showed me that I was a chemical atom in a whirl of unknown forces . . . I went into the depths and am not sure that I have ever got entirely out of them.” But for Hearn, who was deep in the center of indifference, the effect was more like a positive redemption: “I . . . learned what an absurd thing positive skepticism is. I also found unspeakable comfort in the sudden and, for me, eternal reopening of the Great Doubt which renders pessimism ridiculous, and teaches a new reverence for all forms of faith.” In a word, what Hearn derived from Spencer was an approach to the study of human experience and a stimulus to pursue the study for himself.

The result of the study was a new artistic trinity, of romanticism, idealism, and moralism. The mini, wearied by toil and strife, could be recreated only in escape from reality; the escape should be to an ideal world; but this was not preeminently a sensuously beautiful world, it was rather a morally beautiful world. As surely as there was a law of progress a new idealism must arise. The morals of the present world, he held, are avenues to the fulfilment of human possibilities. It is for this sound reason that the common sense of the mass always condemns any attempt to overthrow the moral code. Yet for the educated the new teaching of ethics should substitute a rational for an emotional morality, though it is fitting that for the mass the old emotional reactions towards the virtues should preserve the moral balance of the world. In the ideal world, however, this balance will be preserved through inherited instinct, and only, in a social order where this prevails can the consciousness of the code be allowed to sleep. Short of this millennium, therefore, moral idealism must be sought and practised because of its necessity as a regulating force.

In arriving at these conclusions, though he never strayed far from the trail blazed by his teacher, Hearn was not wholly preoccupied with following the marks. His eyes were open to the whole path and his imagination reached on to the end of the journey. So it developed that Spencer’s dicta interested him not as finalities so much as reopenings of the Great Doubt. He saw what otherwise intelligent people are continually failing to see—that any doubt may lead the way to fine adventure, and that it is anything but a doubt that precludes all but one possibility. As a consequence, without clearly articulating his procedure, he moved on to the scientific theory of multiple hypotheses. He was already on guard against the Jack Horner type of philosophizing that leaps to fond conclusions derived from a single plum. He was willing to admit that to human vision truth is an iridescent thing, changing hues as the light plays upon it; that an old principle may turn out to be not quite true, and yet to contain an evident measure of truth that may not be rejected; that in the explanations of life an order of ideas, temporarily out of fashion, may come back into favor if it is found to offer a better explanation than the set which is in vogue.

Herbert Spencer might very likely have seemed to his new disciple an approach to infallibility even if Hearn had lived out his life in America; but the influence was doubled when Hearn found in the history of Japanese culture a multitude of confirmations for what Spencer had derived from other sources on the nature of individual and social life. His whole volume, “Japan: an Attempt at an Interpretation,” is interspersed with allusions to Spencer’s generalization and the corresponding facts in Japanese life. Near the beginning is the acknowledgment that “the evolutional history of ancestor worship, much the same in all countries, offers in the Japanese cult remarkable evidence of Herbert Spencer’s exposition of the law of religious development.” There are citations of Spencer in reference to the spirits of the dead, the longevity of religious dynasties, the intensity of patriotism in militant societies, the vague character of the Shinto hierarchy, the theory that the greater Gods of a people represent the later forms of ancestor worship, even the thesis that elaborate pronominal distinctions prevail where subjection is extreme. The chapter on “The Higher Buddhism” is a running commentary on Spencerian doctrines, the book is appended with Spencer’s advice to the Japanese nation on the proper policy, toward occidental intruders, and the last reference to him in the text calls him the wisest man in the world.

Hearn’s sex philosophy, if it deserves so formal a name, was not unrelated to the Spencerian influence and was interwoven with his Japanese experience. It was not until he had attempted to think life through that his instinctive reactions became convictions and his convictions were translated into words. Until then his impulse seems to have led him to shroud in reticence every phase of sexual emotion or sexual experience. His reticence was not because the subject was holy, and not because it was base, but simply because it was intimately personal. It belonged to himself— though perhaps not quite as normally as the appetite for food and drink—but it was no more to be dwelt on than were the details of the digestive process.

Just this reticence he found in Japan; and as a teacher he found himself under the necessity of explaining to his students the depth and width of the difference between Eastern and Western thinking when he attempted to give them some understanding of the prevalence of love as a theme in English literature. “It is all very unfamiliar to you,” he said in substance to them, “English literature is permeated with references to romantic love. You don’t talk about such matters over here. You will be surprised, but you needn’t be horrified. It is actually respectable enough, if only you understand it. You see, women in the Occident . . .” To these boys he did not express himself as freely as to one of his old New Orleans friends: “We live in the murky atmosphere of desire in the West—an erotic perfume emanates from all that artificial life of ours —we keep the senses perpetually stimulated with a million ideas of the eternally feminine, and our very language reflects the strain. The Western civilization is using all its arts, its science, its philosophy in stimulating and exaggerating and exacerbating the thought of sex. . . . It now seems, even to me, almost disgusting.”

He inclined to be satisfied with the Japanese way, of despatching the problem by removing artificial obstacles. The social order belonged to the dominant male whose interests were divided between the worship of his ancestors and the perpetuation of his line. As there was no economic barrier to marriage he mated early, knew no suppressed desires, enjoyed the devoted subjection of his wife, and desired no intimacy of companionship, but held her in abiding respect as the lamp of the ever-burning flame of life, Everything was done decently and in order—or at least if it was not so done, when the order was violated it was agreed not to complicate the social theory by acknowledging the violation. To the alien observer there were two notable exceptions to the code: the geisha, and the romantic love of folk and fairy tale. These were not even dismissed from the discussion. They were ignored; presumably as being unpertinent—obviously, either too gross or too sublimated.

Yet withal in Japan Hearn felt that the golden mean was to be found somewhere between where he was and where he had been. There was something of himself in the Western life that he almost abhorred. There was something negatively unsatisfactory in the ruthlessly regulated life of the East. The overstimulated sense of sex “cultivates one’s aesthetic faculty at the expense of all the rest. And yet-perhaps its working is divine behind all that veil of vulgarity and lustfulness. It is cultivating also, beyond any question, a capacity for tenderness the Orient knows nothing of.”

As a good philosopher Hearn did not find in the romantic impulse any excuses for repudiating the obligations of life. His constancy to Spencer’s leadership was equalled only, by his constancy to his family; and they are of one piece. Deep in a disgust with a surrounding world which in his latter years was choosing to blast him as “an atheist, a debauchee, a disreputable ex-reporter” he analyzed himself as Spencer might have: “My dear friend, the first necessity for success in life is to be a good animal. As an animal you don’t work well at all. Furthermore you are out of harmony mentally and morally with the life of society; you represent broken-down tissues. There is some good in the ghostly part of you, but it would never have developed under comfortable circumstances. Hard knocks and intellectual starvation have brought your miserable little animal into some sort of shape. It will never have full opportunity to express itself, doubtless, but perhaps that is better. It might otherwise make too many mistakes; and it has not sufficient original force to move the sea of human mind to any storm of aspiration. Perhaps in some future state. . . .”

Here the voice of Spencer ceases and Hearn takes up the theme in his own person: “I think civilization is a fraud because I don’t like the hopeless struggle. If I were very rich I should think perhaps quite differently — or, what would be still more rational, try not to think at all about it . . . I am already deemed the ‘moral plague-spot’ of Japan by the dear missionaries. Next week I’ll try them with an article on ‘The Abomination of Civilization.’” “But I have at home a little world of about eleven people, to whom I am Law and Light and Food. It is a very gentle world. It is only happy when I am happy. If I even look tired, it is silent and walks on tiptoe. It is a moral force. I dare not fret about anything when I can help it — for others would fret more. So I try to keep right.”


Throughout his career Hearn, the artist, was pulled by rival forces. He wanted to prepare himself for writing and to write what would last. He had had enough of making copy under pressure for newspapers. At the same time he entertained none of the illusions of the lazy-inspired. He must fill his mind and plan his work and lay out ambitious programs and submit to the “Foul Fiend Routine.” And always he must keep his sensibilities alert and wait patiently for the flash of perception that would reveal a broad prospect or thrill him with the inevitable word. Nothing that could be known or felt was inexpressible—but the right expression might come—and for subtle feelings should come —as a happy surprise. He must be an aeolian harp or a sensitized plate, a medium prepared with slow solicitude to respond to the gentlest zephyr or the first gleams of dawn.

His journalistic writing, to judge from the best of it that has been recently, reprinted, was facile and fluent and obvious in its effects as such writing should be. At that it was strikingly literary for the columns of the daily press, even for the unyellowed American press of the 1880’s. Hearn’s contributions passed from horrors to oddities and from oddities to fantasies. There was a measure of scrupulous translation from the French and an element of leaves from stranger literatures—Egyptian, Persian, Indian, Chinese, Finnish. There was a good deal of erudition in some of the papers. It sounds encyclopedic and some of it may have been drawn from thesauruses; but the titles in his own exotic library go far toward proving that he was a genuine delver in quaint lores. His liking for the recondite cropped out all through his career, sometimes as in the charming chronicle of Pere Labat, the Martinique pioneer, and sometimes as in the perfunctory literary and entomological summaries for which a Japanese student had done the preliminary drudgery. But the best of his writing, the part that is beyond chance of confusion with any one else’s, is the writing in which out of his vivid first hand experience, or out of his delicately sympathetic interpretation, he preserves the evanescent charm of scenes and episodes and cultural traditions that are alien to Anglo-Saxondom.


From the time when Hearn went to New Orleans as an aged young man to the end of his short career his life was a succession of infatuations with places and peoples. In this aspect his romantic impulse was of the most elemental sort. The spirit of the quest was in it, but it sprang superficially from restlessness, the feeling that beyond the horizon was something fervently, to be desired. The Creole life of the Gulf port first stirred him as woodland and stream stirred the hoy Wordsworth, needing no supplement unborrowed from the eye. . . . Then the sensuous experience fulfilled itself as the dream became every-day reality, and he hungered for new scenes. If he went away, he said, to bleak climes, he could long for New Orleans again; but romance in one’s grasp ceases to be romance. Or he could choose a less austere recourse and seek the sunlit life of unfamiliar places. It might be in Florida, the West Indies, southern France. Somewhere else he must feel the thrill of fresh sensation. “Whenever I go down to the wharves, I look at the white-winged ships. O ye messengers, swift Hermae of Traffic, ghosts of the infinite ocean, whither will ye lead me?” And again, “If I could only become a consul at Bagdad, Algiers, Ispahan, Benares, Nippon, Bangkok, Nish-Binh—or any part of the world where ordinary Christians do not like to go! Here is the nook in which my romanticism still hides.”

When the choice came, a ship bore him to Martinique, where the opulent exuberance of life enthralled him for a little. After the subtle reticences of the vanishing Creole tradition this island of the West Indies confronted him like an extravagant whimsy of nature. There was an ostentation of wealth as of a nouveau riche among staid aristocrats; and an engaging naïveté. The silver-smith’s bracelets were displayed on his young wife’s shapely brown arms, or around the chubby wrists of the baby who was carried naked on his mother’s hip. But the excess of stimulant enfeebled his imagination; the color display numbed his senses; the myriad rush of new impressions dulled him to any single one of them; the heat smothered him like a narcotic; concentration was impossible. Yet a retreat to the farthest contrast from all this—a northern city—did not bring the expected longing made articulate. In New York there was no emotion recollected in tranquillity, because there could be no tranquillity for him in Babylon. He was so filled with horror for the confusion worse confounded that he had no room for happy memories. He had written that he needed new vitality after two years in the tropics. He found it, and with it a new and vitalized vocabulary: “I want to get back among the monkeys and parrots, under a violet sky among green peaks and an eternally lilac and lukewarm sea—where clothing is superfluous and reading too much of an exertion —where everybody sleeps fourteen hours out of the twenty-four. This is frightful, night-marish, devilish! Civilization is a hideous thing. Blessed is savagery! . . . I came in by one door as you went out the other. Now there are cubic miles of cut granite and iron fury between us. I shall at once find a hackman to take me away. I am sorry not to see you—but since you live in hell—what can I do?”

What he did eventually do was by a happy accident to go to another hemisphere. The nearest thing to a haven of permanent refuge was offered him by chance and accepted as confidingly as in the nursery formula of opening your mouth and shutting your eyes and getting something to make you wise. Harper’s Magazine wanted “copy” on Japan and Japanese life that might serve as the vehicle for special illustrations. When Hearn landed across the Pacific he had reached Japan never to leave it, for he found there all the best that had intrigued him in New Orleans and Martinique; the fine manners of a seasoned culture filled with speechless dignities, loveliness of sky and sea and vegetation, freedom from the brute massiveness of Occidental life. Added to these a temperate climate which neither sapped nor over-stimulated, and topping all, a domestic life which, though it brought its happily acknowledged burdens, surrounded him with comfort and harmony and ensured him peace of mind.

Once more, in Japan more slowly than in the West Indies or New Orleans, the first high fervor of enthusiasm waned. After the omnipotently beautiful splendor of the tropics the quiet grey and blue beauty of these gentler islands stilled and soothed him. The people were simple, charming, kindly; their games and their dances and their legends and their superstitions were immemorially old. Even when some of the inland villagers affronted him, they did it like harmless, naughty children. But all too soon he began to find out that in the gentleness of the people there was a baffling effacement of individuality; that the charm of all their half fights and half shadows was paid for at the cost of all brilliancy; that the immemorial customs had begotten an insuperable reticence, and that where there were no angers there were no hilarities—only the blue and grey levels of beautifully, developed amenity and decorum.

At first Japanese life had seemed one with Japanese painting in its strange and curious and magical vividness, and he wondered why they both seemed so ghostly, until he discovered that it was because of the absence of shadows. Spiritually, too, they seemed to see life without shadows. “But not long ago,” he wrote indignantly, “the West burst into their Buddhist peace, and . . . Japan learned how to see shadows in Nature, in life and in thought. . . . Then Japan wondered at the shadows of machinery and chimneys and telegraph poles; and at the shadows of mines and factories, and the shadows in the hearts of those who worked there; and at the shadows of houses twenty stories high, and of hunger begging under them; and shadows of enormous charities that multiplied poverty; and shadows of social reforms that multiplied vice; and shadows of shams and hypocrisies and swallow-tail coats; and the shadow of a foreign God, said to have created man for the purpose of an auto-da-fé. Whereat Japan became rather more serious and refused to study any more silhouettes. Fortunately for the world she returned to her first matchless art; and, fortunately for herself, returned to her own beautiful faith. But some of the shadows still cling to her life; and she cannot possibly get rid of them. Never again can the world seem quite as beautiful as it did before.”

Nowhere in his sojournings had he found abundance of beauty and abundance of creative energy too. Everywhere life was compounded of unequal values. Under the most elementary of romantic impulses, the mere impulse of restlessness, he had strayed about the world, and with the larger impulse of the life-quest he had hoped as he went, somewhere to find force and beauty, in balance. In his home in Japan he seemed to have come to an anchorage; but not for long. He must take his boy back to the West for his education; if only to see Japan from a distance he must leave his family provided for and return for a while to the civilization he hated but could not resist. He was buoyed by this prospect when he died.


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