intensely irritable at times and impatient of contradiction, but that I think was rather the gnawing uneasiness of sanity than any mental disturbance. But I find it hard either to judge him or convey the full development of him to the reader. I saw too much of him; my memory is choked with disarranged moods and aspects. Now he is distended with megalomania, now he is deflated, now he is quarrelsome, now impenetrably self-satisfied, but always he is sudden, jerky, fragmentary, energetic, and—in some subtle fundamental way that I find difficult to define—absurd.
There stands out—because of the tranquil beauty of its setting perhaps—a talk we had in the verandah of the little pavilion near my work-sheds behind Crest Hill in which my aeroplanes and navigable balloons were housed. It was one of many similar conversations, and I do not know why it in particular should survive its fellows. It happens so. He had come up to me after his coffee to consult me about a certain chalice which in a moment of splendour and under the importunity of a countess he had determined to give to a deserving church in the East-end. I in a moment of even rasher generosity had suggested Ewart as a possible artist. Ewart had produced at once an admirable sketch for the sacred vessel surrounded by a sort of wreath of Millies with open arms and wings, and had drawn fifty pounds on the strength of it. After that came a series of vexatious delays. The chalice became less and less of a commercial-man's chalice, acquired more and more the elusive quality of the Holy Grail, and at last even the drawing receded.
My uncle grew restive. . . . "You see, George, they'll begin to want the blasted thing!"
"What blasted thing?"