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warmth, no vibration. You feel that for her colour is simply paint, without
life or rhythm. And presently Lily is caught thinking to herself: “Beneath
the colour there was the shape.” It recurs: “One colour melting into another
like the colours on a butterfly’s wing; but beneath the fabric must be clamped
together with bolts of iron.” You cannot paint a picture, or write a novel
with form and colour separated in this violent way; they are interpenetrative.
And it is noteworthy that Mrs. Woolf is at her best in such descriptions as
that of the empty house, all twilight shadows and whispers; where there
is no occasion for distinct form or decided colour; where, since the whole is 
quite rightly one continuous slight tremolo, inaccuracy of pitch is not noticeable 
as it is when a clear note, long and full, must be struck, and any departure
from the exact middle of the note is discordantly apparent. And so with her 
human characters; she can portray their half-lights, too; but definite individuality, 
whole, not half thoughts, completeness—these are beyond her.
And so her characters are all indeterminate; not alike, and yet indistinguishable, 
merging into each other in a fluid, unstable way, so that you are never 
sure where one ends and another begins.

If Mrs. Woolf is not a writer of creative fiction, Mr. Gerhardi, like Miss
Arden, decidedly is; though his new book may not show an advance. “There
is an anxiety, a curiosity, in what one feels for Emma. I wonder what will
become of her. . . . It would not be a bad thing for her to be very much in
love with a proper object. I should like to see Emma in love, and in some
doubt of a return; it would do her good.” I feel that Mr. Knightley’s
remarks would apply equally well to Mr. Gerhardi. He had the misfortune
to make a hit with Futility, which was a brilliant and unusual book, and
showed him to have a brilliant and unusual mind. His success has provided
him with a label; he is now “the pet of the Intelligentsia”; a distinction
which no doubt he values about as much as Emma valued Mr. Elton’s declaration 
of love. At least, it seems unlikely that anyone who has the true and
active admiration which he feels for Goethe and Tchehov will be led to attach
any false importance to it. A “clever” writer might have his head turned;
but Mr. Gerhardi, if “clever” enough, is a good deal more, and it must 
irritate his instinctive and accurate sense of values. He knows better than
those who want to make a pet of him what his writing is worth; and a man
does not read, and know, as Mr. Gerhardi does know, Goethe and Tchehov,
without acquiring a definite standard for his own writing; compared with
which standard this sort of thing is—what its name and dedication indicate:
a frivolous trifle, thrown at the Intelligentsia by its slightly petulant pet.
One hopes that, having worked it off, Mr. Gerhardi will settle down to his
real job. But it is not fair to complain that the book is slight, and to regret
that he wasted his time on it. I think Mr. Gerhardi, whether by instinct
or conscious choice, knows what he is about. There is more in him of the
young Goethe—the real one, not M. Maurois’s clever but inaccurate sketch—
than of the young Tchehov. He is one who must live himself into a philosophy
of life, not one who writes himself in. It is far safer form him to mark time
with a book like this, or even like that queer, formless Polyglots, than to
attempt a serious Werther. The one story, A Bad End, which is “different”
in the book, corroborates this view. It is not a good story; it is inconsistent,
full of holes, and a monstrosity of composition; and yet there is that about
it which shows that Mr. Gerhardi is living himself into a philosophy of life,