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Chapter IX.

That railway journey to Lawrence, Kansas, is as vivid to me now as if it had taken place yesterday yet it all happened more than fifty years ago. It was a blazing hot day and in the seat opposite to me was an old grey-haired man who appeared to be much troubled by the heat: he moved about restlessly, mopped his forehead, took off his vest and finally went out probably to the open observation platform, leaving a couple of books on his seat. I took one of them up heedlessly—it was "The Life and Death of Jason", by William Morris. I read a page or two, was surprised by the easy flow of the verse; but not gripped, so I picked up the other volume:—"Laus Veneris: Poems and Ballads" by Algernon Charles Swinburne. It opened at the Anactoria and in a moment, I was carried away entranced as no poetry before or since has ever entranced me. Venus, herself, spoke in the lines:

"Alas! that neither rain nor snow nor dew
Nor all cold things can purge me wholly through,
Assuage me nor allay me, nor appease,
Till supreme sleep shall bring me bloodless ease,
Till Time wax faint in all her periods,
Till Fate undo the bondage of the Gods

To lay and slake and satiate me all through,