‘If you’re going to be rude,’ said Reginald, ‘I shall dine with you tomorrow night as well. The chief vice of the Academy,’ he continued, ‘is its nomenclature. Why, for instance, should an obvious trout-stream with a palpable rabbit sitting in the foreground be called “an evening dream of unbeclouded peace,” or something of that sort?’

‘You think,’ said the Other, ‘that a name should economise description rather than stimulate imagination?’

‘Properly chosen, it should do both. There is my lady kitten at home, for instance; I’ve called it Derry.’

‘Suggests nothing to my imagination but protracted sieges and religious animosities. Of course, I don’t know your kitten—’

‘Oh, you’re silly. It’s sweet name, and it answer it—when it wants to. Then, if there are any unseemly noises in the night, they can be explained succinctly: Derry and Toms.’

‘You might almost charge for the advertisement. But as applied to pictures, don’t you think your system would be too subtle, say, for the Country Cousins?’

‘Every reformation must have its victims. You can’t expect the fatted calf to share the enthusiasm of the angels over the prodigal’s return. Another darling weakness of the Academy is that none of its luminaries must “arrive” in a hurry. You can see them coming for years, like a Balkan trouble or a street improvement, and by the time they have painted a thousand or so square yards of canvas, their work begins to be recognised.’

‘Some one who Must Not be Contradicted said that a man must be a success by the time he’s thirty, or never.’

‘To have reached thirty,’ said Reginald, ‘is to have failed in life.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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