Author Topic: Neil and Tintinnabulum  (Read 2617 times)

Dani1923

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Neil and Tintinnabulum
« on: April 26, 2022, 07:17:50 PM »
Text of “Neil and Tintinnabulum”, a short story written by Barrie from “The Flying Carpet”, a book compilation of poems and short stories by various writers compiled by Cynthia Asquith and published in 1925. Barrie wrote this short story about Michael:

Neil and Tintinnabulum
AN INTERLUDE FOR PARENTS
By J. M. BARRIE

I. Early Days
In writing a story a safe plan must be to imitate your favour-
ite author. Until he was nine, when he abandoned the calling,
Neil was my favourite author, and I therefore decide to follow
his method of dividing the story into short chapters so as to make
it look longer.
When he was nine I took him to his preparatory, he prancing
in the glories of the unknown until the hour came for me to go,
"the hour between the dog and the wolf,"
and then he was
afraid. I said that in the holidays all would be just as it had been
before, but the newly-wise one shook his head; and on my return
home, when I wandered out unmanned to look at his tool-shed, I
found these smashing words in his writing pinned to the door:
THIS ESTABLISHMENT IS NOW PERMANENTLY CLOSED.
I went white as I saw that Neil already understood life better
than I did,
Soon again he was on the wing. Here is interesting autobio-
graphical matter I culled years later from the Ay-leaf of his Cesar:
"Aetat 12, height 4 ft. Ir, biceps 8¼, kicks the beam at 6-2."
The reference is to a great occasion when Neil stripped at
his preparatory (clandestinely) for a Belt with the word
"Bruiser"
on it. I am reluctant to boast about him (this is untrue), yet
must mention that he won the belt, with which (such are the ups
and downs of life) he was that same evening gently belted by his
preceptor.
It is but fair to Neil to add that he cut a glittering figure in
those circles: captain of the footer, and twenty-six against Juddy's.
" And even then,
his telegram to me said,
"I was only
bowled off my pads.
A rural cricket match in buttercup time with boys at play, seen
and heard through the trees; it is surely the loveliest scene in
England and the most disarming sound. From the ranks of the
unseen dead, for ever passing along our country lanes on their
eternal journey, the Englishman falls out for a moment to look over
the gate of the cricket field and smile. Let Neil's 26 against
Juddy's, the first and perhaps the only time he is to meet the stars
on equal terms, be our last sight of him as a child. He is walking
back bat in hand to the pavilion, an old railway carriage.
An
unearthly glory has swept over the cricket ground. He tries to
look unaware of it; you know the expression and the bursting
heart. Our smiling Englishman who cannot open the gate waits
to make sure that this boy raises his cap in the one right way
(without quite touching it, you remember), and then rejoins his
comrades.
Neil gathers up the glory and tacks it over his bed.
"The End," as he used to say in his letters.
I never know him quite so well again. He seems henceforth
to be running to me on a road that is moving still more rapidly
in the opposite direction.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2022, 11:17:11 PM by Dani1923 »

Dani1923

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Re: Neil and Tintinnabulum
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2022, 11:09:31 PM »
2. The First Half
The scene has changed. Stilled is the crow of Neil, for he
is now but one of the lowliest at a great public school, where he
reverberates but little. The scug Neil fearfully running errands
for his fag-master is another melancholy reminder of the brevity
of human greatness.
Lately a Colossus he was now infinitely less than nothing.
What shook him was not the bump as he fell, but the general
indifference to his having fallen.
He lay there like a bird in the
grass winded by a blunt-headed arrow, and was cold to his own
touch.
The Bruiser Belt and his score against Juddy's had accom-
panied him to school on their own legs, one might say, so
confident were they of a welcome from his mantelshelf, but after
an hour he hid them beneath the carpet.
Hidden by him all
over that once alluring room, as in disgrace, were many other
sweet trifles that went to the making of the flame that had been
Neil; his laugh was secreted, say in the drawer of his desk;
his pranks were stuffed into his hat-box, his fell ambitions were
folded away between two pairs of trousers, and now and then a tear
would mix with the soapy water as he washed his cheerless face.
In that dreadful month or more I am dug up by his needs
and come again into prominence, gloating because he calls for
me, sometimes unable to do more than stand afar off on the playing
field, so that he may at least see me nigh though we cannot touch.
The thrill of being the one needed, which I had never thought to
know again. I have leant over a bridge, and enviously watching
the gaiety of two attractive boys, now broken to the ways of school,
have wished he was one of them, till I heard their language and
wondered whether this was part of the necessary cost.
Leaden-footed Neil in the groves that were to become so
joyous to him.
He had to refashion himself on a harsher model,
and he set his teeth and won, blaming me a little for not having
broken to him the ugly world we can make it.
One by one his
hidden parts peeped out from their holes and ran to him, once
more to make his wings ;
stronger wings than of yore, though
some drops of dew had to be shaken off.
By that time my visits were being suffered rather than acclaimed,
It was done with an exquisite politeness certainly, but before ]
was out of sight he had dived into some hilarious rumpus. Gladly
for his sake I knew my place.
His first distinct success was as a gargler.
"You remember how I used to hate gargling at home,
says
an early letter,
"and you forced me to do it. Jolly good thing
you did force me."
His first
"jolly" at that school.
At once I
began to count them.
"Everyone has to gargle just now," he continues,
"and we
all do it at the same time, and it must sound awfully rum to people
passing along the street.
We generally gargle a song, and there
was a competition in
'Home, sweet Home
among the scugs at
m
tutor's, and the judge said I gargled it longest,
Soon afterwards he had the exultation of being recognised as
an entity by one of the masters.
"I was walking with Dolman mi.'
» his letter says,
"and we
met a new beak called Tiverley and he pretended to fence with me
and said
"Whose incomparable little noodle are you?'»
This,
apparently, was all that happened, but Neil adds with obvious
elation,
"'It was awfully decent of him.
(Hail to thee, Tiverley,
may
"a house"
anon be thy portion for heartening a new boy in
the dwindling belief that he exists.)
Dolman mi. evidently had no run on this occasion, but he is
older and more famous than Neil (which makes the thing the more
flattering). It is a school whither many royal scions are sent, and
when camera men go down to photograph the new one, Dolman
mi. usually takes his place.
He has already been presented to
newspaper readers as the heir to three thrones.
Of course it is
the older boys who select, scrape and colour him (if necessary) for
this purpose, but they must see something in him that the smaller
boys don't see.
Neil's next step was almost a bound forward ;
tanning from the head of the house.
he got a
This also he took in the
proper spirit, boasting indeed of the vigour with which Beverley
had laid on.
(Thee, also, Beverley, I salute, as the Immensity
who raised Neil from the ranks of the lowly, the untanned.)
Quite the amiable, sensible little schoolboy, readers may be
saying, but that Neil was amiable or sensible I indignantly deny.
He was merely waiting; that shapely but enquiring nose of his
Was only considering how best to strike once more for leadership.
5o when the time came he was ready; and he has been striking
ever since, indeed, there is nothing that I think he so much resembles
as a clock that has got out of hand.
All the other small boys in his house had the same oppor
tunity, but they missed it.
It was provided by some learned man
(name already tossed to oblivion) who delivered unto them a
lecture entitled Help One
Another. The others behaved in
the usual way, cheered the lecturer heartily when he took a drink
of water, said
"Silly old owl!?
as they went out and at once forgot
his Message.
Not so Neil.
With the clearness of vision that
always comes to him when anything to his own advantage is toward, he saw that the time and the place and the loved one
(himself) had arrived together. Portents in the sky revealed to
him that his métier at school was to Help Others. There would
be something sublime about it had he not also seen with the same
vividness that he must make a pecuniary charge of threepence.
He decided astutely to begin with W. W. Daly.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2022, 08:35:17 AM by Dani1923 »

Dani1923

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Re: Neil and Tintinnabulum
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2022, 11:10:09 PM »
As we write these words an extraordinary change comes over
our narrative. In the dead silence that follows this announcement
to our readers you may hear, if you listen intently, a scurrying of
feet, which is nothing less than Neil being chased out of the story.
The situation is one probably unparalleled in fiction.
3. Tintinnabulum
Elated by your curiosity we now leave Neil for a moment
(say, searching with his foot for a clean shirt among a pile of cloth-
ing on the floor), mount to the next landing and enter the second
toom on the left, the tenant of which immediately dives beneath
his table under the impression that we are a fag-master shouting
"Boy.” We drag him out and present him to you as W. W. Daly.
He is five feet one, biceps 7¾, and would probably kick the beam
at about 6½ stone.
He is not yet celebrated for anything except
for being able to stick pins into his arm up to the head; otherwise
a creature of small account who, but for Neil's patronage, would
never have risen to the distinction of being written about, except
perhaps by his mother.
W. W.'s first contact with school was made dark by a strange
infirmity, an incapacity to remember the Latin equivalent for the
word
"bell.?
Many Latin words were as familiar to him as his
socks perhaps even more so, for he often wears the socks of
others), and those words he would give you on demand with the
brightness of a boy eager to oblige; but daily did his tutor insist
(like one who will have nothing for breakfast but eggs and bacon)
on having
"bell"' alone.
Daily was W. W. Aloored.
It is now that Neil appears with his sunny offer of Help. He
took up the case so warmly that he entirely neglected his own
studies, which is one of his failings. True he charged threepence
(which we shall henceforth write as 3d., as it is so sure to come
often into these chronicles), but this detracts little from his grandeur,
for the mere apparatus required cost him what he calls a bob.
His first procedure was to affix to the bell-pull a card bearing
in bold letters the device
"'T'intinnabulum."
This seems simple
but was complicated by there being no bell in W. W.'s room.
Neil bought a bell (W. W. being
" stony
), and round the walls
he constructed a gigantic contrivance of wire and empty ginger-
beer bottles, culminating at one end in the bell and at the other
end in W. W.'s foot as he lay abed. The calculation, a well-
founded one, was that if the sleeper tossed restlessly the bell would
ring and he would awake. He was then, as instructed by Neil,
first, to lie still but as alert as if visited by a ghost, and to think
hard for the word. If, however, it still eluded him he was to turn
upon it the electric torch, kept beneath his pillow for this purpase
and borrowed at Id. per week from Dolman mi., spot the tricky
-'Tintinnabulum" in its lair and say the word over to himself
a number of times before returning to his slumbers, something
attempted, something done to earn a night's repose.
All this did W. W, conscientiously do, and if there was delay
in bringing Tintinnabulum to heel the fault was not that of Neil,
but of inferior youths who used to substitute cards inscribed
Honorificabilitudinitatibus,
Porringer,
"Xylobalsamum,
Beelzebobulus,
* and other likely words.
Eventually he achieved; a hard-won ribbon for his bene-
factor whom we are about to call Neil for the last time.
There was a feeling among those who had betted on the
result that it should be celebrated in no uncertain manner, and a
dinner with speeches not being feasible (though undoubtedly he
would have liked it), he was re-christened Tintinnabulum, and the
name stuck.
So Tintinnabulum let it be henceforth in these wandering
pages. Neil the disinherited may be pictured pattering back to
me on his naked soles and knocking me up in the night.
"Neil," I cry (in dressing gown and a candle),
"what has
happened? Have you run away from school?"
" Rather not,
says the plaintive ghost, shivering closer to
the fire, "I was kicked out."
"By your tutor? I ask blanching,
"No, by Tintinnabulum.
He is becoming such a swell
among the juniors that he despises me and the old times. And
now he has kicked me out.
*Drink this hot milk, Neil, and tell me more. What are those
articles you are hugging beneath your pyjamas?"
"They are the Bruiser Belt and the score against Juddy's.
He threw them out after me."
"Don't take it so much to heart, Neil. I'll find an honoured
place for them here, and yo and I will have many a cosy talk by
the fire about Tintinnahulum,
"I don'E want to talk about him," he says, his hands so cold
that he spills the milk, "I would rather talk about the days
before there was him."
Well, perhaps that was what I meant.
Cruel Tintinnabulum,
+. The Best Parlour Game
Soon after the events described in our last chapter I knew
from Tintinnabulum's letters that he was again Helping. They
were nevertheless communications so guarded as to be wrapped
in mystery,
His letters from school tend at all times to be more full of
instruction for my guidance than of information about where he
stands in his form. I notice that he worries less than did an older
generation about how I am to dress when I visit him, but he is
as pressing as ever that the postal order should be despatched at
once, and firmly refuses to write at all unless I enclose stamped
envelopes. On important occasions he even writes my letters
for me, requesting me to copy them carefully and not to put in
any words of my own, as when for some reason they have to be
shown to his tutor. He then writes,
"Begin
*Dear T. (not
*Dearest T.),
"and end
*Yours affec.
• (not
"Yours affection-
ately)."
The mysterious letters that preceded the holidays were con-
cermed with W. W. Daly, whom I was bidden (almost ordered)
to invite to our home for that lengthy period,
"' as his mother is to
be away at that time on frightfully important business in which
I have a hand.”
I was instructed to write
"Dear Mrs. Daly (not "dearest"),
I understand that you are to be away on important business
during the holidays, and so I have thé pleasure to ask you to allow
your son to spend the holidays yith me and my boy who is a
general favourite and very diligent.
Come, come, I will take no
refusal, and I am, Yours affec
T did as I was told, byé as I now heard of the lady for the
first time I thought it wisest not to sign my letter to her
"Yours
affec." Thus did I fall a victim to Tintinnabulum's wiles.
What could this frightfully important business of Mrs. Daly's
be in which he "had a hand"?
You may say (when you hear of his dark design) that I should
at once have insisted on an explanation, but explanations are
barred in the sport that he and I play, which is the greatest of all
parlour games, the Game of Trying to Know Each Other without
asking questions. It is strictly a game for two, who, I suppose, should in perfect conditions be husband and wife; it is played
silently and it never lasts less than a life-time.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2022, 08:35:49 AM by Dani1923 »

Dani1923

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Re: Neil and Tintinnabulum
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2022, 11:11:14 PM »
In panegyrics on
love (a word never mentioned between us two players), the game
is usually held to have ended in a draw when they understand each
other so well that before the one speaks or acts the other knows
what he or she is going to say or do.
This, however, is a position
never truly reached in the game, and if it were reached, such a
state of coma for the players could only be relieved by a cane in
the hand of the stronger, or by the other bolting, to show him that
there was one thing about her which he had still to learn.
No, no, these doted lovers when they think the haven is in
sight have set sail only.
Tintinnabulum and I have made a
hundred moves, but we are well aware that we don't know each
other yet; at least, I don't know Tintinnabulum, I won't swear
that he does not think that he at last knows me.
So when he
brought W. W. home with him for the holidays it was for me
to find out without inquiry how he had been helping Mrs. Daly
(and for what sum). He knew that I was cogitating, I could see
his impertinent face regarding me demurely, as if we were at a
chess board and his last move had puzzled me, which indeed was
the situation.
All I knew of her was that she had lately remarried and that
W. W. had been invited to spend his holidays with us while she was
away on her honeymoon.
Good heavens, could Tintinnabulum have had some Helping
part in the lady's marriage? This boy is beginning to scare me.
I studied him and W. W. at their meals and stole upon
them at cheir play. There could not have been more cherubie
SQue then I romembered the two cherubic faces I had watched
from a bridge.
5. Tintinnabulum Eats an Apple
I went to Tintinnabulum's bed-chamber and told him ]
could not rest until I knew what he had been doing to that lady.
in the days of Neil it had been a room of glamour, especially the
bed therein, where were performed nightly between 6,15 and 6.30
precisely, the brighter plays of Shakespeare, two actors, but not
a sign of them anywhere unless you became suspicious of the
hump in the coverlet.
Never have the plays gone with greater
merriment since Mr. Shakespeare made up
" A Midsummer
Night's Dream
»° in his Tudith's hump.
No glamour of course in the room of a public school-boy,
unless it was provided by his discarded raiment, which lay like
islands on the for. However, I found Tintinnabulum in affable
humour, sitting tailor-like in bed, dressed in half of his pyjamas,
reading a book and eating an apple. He had doubtless found
the apple or the book just as he was about to enter the other half
of his night attire.
"What could I have been doing to her?"
he asked invit-
ingly.
(He likes to be hunted.)
The robing of him having been completed, I said with
humorous intent,
"You may have been luring her into matrimony
against her better judgment."
"She is nuts on him,"
mark seriously.
Tintinnabulum said, taking my re-
"But you can't have had anything to do with it?"
He nodded, with his teeth in the apple.
"Of course this is nonsense," I said, though with a sinking,
"you don't know her.
"I didn't need to know her for a thing like that."
I tried sarcasm.
"I should have thought it was essential."
He shook his head.
"I heard W. W. say to-day,
'› I continued in the same vein,
"that she is spending the honeymoon on the Riviera;
you are
not implying, are you, that it was you who sent her there?"
"At any rate, if it hadn't been for me," he replied, taking a
good bite,
she wouldn't be on the Riviera and there wouldn't be
a honeymoon.
I became alarmed.
"Take that apple out of your mouth
and tell me what you mean."
The mysterious boy of the so open countenance, as he told me
the queer tale in bed that night, was superbly unaware of its queer-
ness, and was more interested in standing on his head to see how
far his feet would reach up the wall. He far exceeded the record
that had been left by Neil.
"I wasn't the one who made her fond of the chappie," he
said by way of beginning.
"She did that bit herself."
"Very generous of you to give her that amount of choice," I
conceded.
"But she stuck there,
said he.
"It was W. W. who told
me how she had stuck.
W. W. has a sister called Patricia.
Their
mother's name is Mildred.
That is all I know about her,
?? he
added with great lightness of touch,"
except that I worked the
marriage.
This was the first time I had heard of W. W.'s having a
sister
"He doesn't speak about her much," Tintinnabulum explained,
"because they are twins.
I say, don't let on to him that I told
you he was a twin."

So far as I can gather; W. W. Keeps the existence of his girl
win dark from boys in general in case it should make them thirt
less of him.
Pire didn't ask me to help him out till things were in an
awful mess at home, and then he showed me some of Patricia's
9$
letters
"If I were cross-examining you," I pointed out,
"I should
say that your statement is not quite clear. Tell the Jury what
you mean, and don't blow the apple pits at the portrait of your
uncle the bishop.
"I bet you I get him in the calves twice in three shots,
"' he said.
"An ignoble ambition,
2) I told him ;
"answer my question."
"Well, you see, Patricia had found out all about her mother's
being fond of the man. His name begins with K, but I forget
the rest of it."
I ventured to say that the least he could do for a man whose
life he had so strangely altered was to remember his name.
"W. W. will know it, he said with the carelessness of genius.
"'Even now," I pressed him,
"I don't see where you come in.
Did Patricia object to Mr. K.?*
"Oh, no, she thinks no end of him.
So does W. W.»
He
added handsomely,
"I wouldn't have let her get married if they
had shied at it.”
"In that case—“
"It wasn't Patricia that was the bother,” he explained, running
the apple up and down his arm like a mouse,
"it was Mrs. Daly.
You know how funny ladies are about some things.
"I do not," I said severely.
"Well, it was about marrying a second time.
Mrs. Daly
couldn't make up her mind whether it would be fair to W. W. and
Patricia. She knew they liked him all right, but not whether they
liked him as much as that."
"Tell me how Patricia found all this out, and don't bump
about so much.
"She was watching,
"he replied airily.
"She is that kind.
I daresay the thing wasn't difficult to find out if all the stuff she
said in her letters to W. W. was true. They were awful letters,
saying her mother was in anguishes about what was the best thing
to do for her progeny.
One letter would say,
Mr. K. made a
lovely impression on mother to-day and I don't think she can
resist much longer.
Then the next would say,
"I fear all is up,
for they have been crying together in the drawing-room, and when
he left he banged the door,
"Their mother hadn't a notion,
23 Tintinnabulum assured me,
making an eyeglass of the apple,
" that they knew there was any-
thing in the wind."
"Nor would they have had any such notion," I rapped out,
"if they had been children of an earlier date.
"I suppose we are cleverer now
» he admitted. He became
introspective.
"I expect the war did it.
It's rummy what a
difference the war has made.
Before the war no one could hold
two eggs in his mouth and hop across a pole. Now everyone can
do it.
I requested him to stick to the point.
"Why didn't Patricia the emancipated go to her mother and
inform her that all was well?*
"That is the very thing W. W. and she bickered about in
their letters.
He was always writing to her to do that, but she
said it would be unladylike.
"Very un-shingled of her to trouble about that," I got in.
"But had she any proposal to make to W. W.?"
"Rather. She was always badgering W. W. to write to
their mother saying they knew all and wanted her to go at it blind.
She thought it would come better from him, being male.
That
was what made him come *paine,in the end. He told me all abrue
d and what was your reply p» I asked with some interes
upanit' tell' me," I added hurriedly. (we were back at the pitt
you sec), "I want to guess. You said immediately,
He approved.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2022, 08:36:54 AM by Dani1923 »

Dani1923

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Re: Neil and Tintinnabulum
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2022, 11:17:58 PM »
' All right?"
"Did it ever strike you," I enquired curiously,
might not be able to help?"
" that you
"I can't remember,
» the unfathomable one answered.
say, would you like to see me do a dive over your head p»
"T
Offer declined.
«You see,
" he continued, "W. W. is rather-rather-
))
"Rather a retiring boy when there is trouble ahead." I
suggested.
"Well, what did you devise?"
"I said I couldn't do anything until I knew the colour of
Patricia's hair and eyes."
This took me aback, though it is quite in Tintinnabulum's
manner.
"How could that help?" I had to enquire instead of risking
a move.
"I couldn't get a beginning,
"he insisted doggedly,
"till I
found out that.
(To this day I don't know what he meant.)
"No difficulty in finding out from W. W.
, I said.
Here I was wrong.
W. W. had no idea of the colour of his
dear little sister's eyes but presumed that, as he and she were twins,
their eyes must be of the same hue. There followed a scene,
undoubtedly worthy of some supreme artist, in which, by the light
of a match, Tintinnabulum endeavoured to discover colour of
W. Was eyes, W. W. being again unable to supply desired informa,
tion. The match always going out just as Tintinnabulum was
on the eve of discovery, it was decided by him that W. W. should
White to his twin for particulars (letter dictated by Tintinnabulum).
Patricia's reply was,
"Who is it that wants to know? Eyes too
expressive to be blue, too lovely to be grey,»
and it irritated the
two seekers after truth.
"We didn't ask her what colour they were not,"
Tintinna-
bulum said to me witheringly,
"but what colour they were."
In the end, rather than bother any more with her, they risked
putting her eyes down as browny black. This determined, Tintinna-
bulum apprized his client that Patricia was to write the letter that
would make their mother happy.
This nearly led to a rupture.
W. W. (silting, as they say in the plays, though he might as
well be standing) : She can't write a letter to mother when they
are living in the same house.
Tintinnabulum (rising, because W. W. sat); It would be a
letter to you.
W.WV. (contemptibly) : That brings me into the thing again.
Tintinnabulum: Shut up and listen,
The letter isn't to be
posted.
Your mother will find it lying open on Patricia's desk
and read it on the sly.
W. W. (nobly) : My mother never does things on the sly.
Tintinnabulum (comprehensively) : Oh.
W. W. (hedging): What would the letter say?
Tintinnabulum: It would show her that you and Patricia knew
what she was after and both wanted her to marry the chappie, and
then she could put it back where she found it and never let on that
she had seen it and make all her arrangements with a happy heart.
W.W.: That is what we want, but mother wouldn't read a
letter on the sly.
Tintinnabulum (after thinking it out when he should have been
doing his prep.) : Look here, if she is so fussy we can tell Patricia
to leave the letter open on the floor as if it had blown there, and
then when your mother picks it up to put it back on the desk she
can't help taking a look at it.

NEIL AND TINTINNABULUM
W. W. Would that not be reading it on the sly?
'Fistinnabulum (with cheorful cynicism) Not for a woman.
P:.. depressed.Ite will be an awfully difficult letter to wite.
Tintinnabulum (exultant) : Fearfully.
W. TV.a I don't think Patricia could do it.
Tintinnabulum:
Not she. I'll do it. Then you copy my
letter and she copies yours.
W. W.: 3d?
Tintinnabulum: Tons more than that.
This scheme was carried out, Tintinnabulum, after a thoughtful
study of Patricia's epistolary style, producing something in this
manner, no doubt with the holy look on his face that is always
there when he knows he is concocting a masterpiece. (I regret
that he has forgotten what he said in the introductory passage,
which dealt in an artful feminine manner with her garments and
was probably a beauty.)
'Darling Doubly Doubly,
oh dear, I am so unhappy because I fear the match
between darlingest mummy and Mr. K. is not to be hit off. Oh
dear, she blows hot and cold and it makes me bleed to see the
poor man's anguishes, and you and me wanting it so much. If
only I could think of a lady-like way to tell mummy that we know
she wants it and that we want her to go ahead, but I cannot, and
it would need a wonder of a man to do it. Oh dear, how
lovely it would be, oh dear, how I wish I knew some frightfully
clever person, oh dear
'"I stopped there," Tintinnabulum told me.
"I meant to put
in a lot more before I finished, but I wouldn't let myself go on
"Why ?" I asked eagerly, aware that he had reached a great
moment in his life.
"Because,
» he said heavily,
"I saw all at once that I had
come to the end."
(We are so undemonstrative that I did not
embrace him).
The letter was left as arranged, on Mrs. Daly's floor, and I
may say at once that everything went as planned by the Master.
Can we not see Mildred (all authors have a right to call their heroine
by her Christian name), opening the door of that room? Her
beautiful face is down-cast, all the luckier for Tintinnabulum and
Co., for she at once sees the life-giving sheet. She picks it up,
meaning to replace it on the desk whence it has so obviously
uttered, when a word catches her eye, and not intending to read
she reads.
An exquisite flush tints her face as she recognises
Patricia's inimitable style.
The happy woman is now best left
to herself (Come away, Tintinnabulum, you imp).
Dear (not dearest) heroine, you little know who is responsible
for your raptures, the indifferent lad now trying to twist one leg
round his neck as he finishes his apple.
Grudge us not the few
minutes in which for literary purposes we have snatched you from
the shores of the blue Mediterranean.
Thither we now return
you to cloudless days and to your K., roses in your cheeks (Tintin-
nabulum's roses).
And you, O lucky K., when you encounter
boys of thirteen, might do worse than have a mysterious prompting
to give them a franc or so.
I wish you both very happy, and I
am, yours affec.
"Shall I send them your love?? I almost hear myself saying
to Tintinnabulum,
"'If you like," he replies, preoccupied with what is left of
an apple when the apple itself has gone. For it must be admitted
of him that he has not boasted of his achievement.
His only
comment was modesty itself, "Two bob," he said.
It is almost appalling to reflect that no woman who knows
Tintinnabulum (and has two
bob) need remain single.
And

what character apples have, even when being consumed; if I
Nad given him an orange or a pear this chapter would be quite
different.
With such deep thoughts I put out his light, and
took away the other apple which he had hidden beneath his
pillow.
6. Nemesis
As the holidays waned (and after W. W. was safely stowed
away in bed) Tintinnabulum gratified me by being willing to talk
about Neil. If you had heard us at it you would have sworn that
those two had no very close connection, that Neil was merely some
interesting whipper-snapper who had played about the house
until the manlier Tintinnabulum arrived. Me was always spoken
of between us as Neil, which obviously suited Tintinnabulum's
dignity, but I wonder how I took to it so naturally myself. I hope
I am not a queer one.
By that arrangement Tintinnabulum can make artful enquiries,
not unwistful, into his own past, and I can seem (thus goes the
game) not to know that he is doing so. He can even commend
Neil.
"Pretty decent of him,
" he says, discussing the Bruiser Belt
and the score against Juddy's.
"I didn't think he had it in him,
is even stronger about the
sea-trout Neil had landed and been so proud of that he would not
lie prone till it was put in a basin by his bedside. He had then
slept with one arm over the basin.
Strongest of all is to say that Neil was mad, at present a term
not only of approval but even of endearment at the only school
that counts (Tintinnabulum speaking).
Sometimes we talk of the
dark period when Neil, weeping over his first Latin grammar,
used to put a merry tune on the gramaphone to accompany his
Woe. He continued to weep as he studied, but always rose at the
right time to change the tune.
This is a heart-breaker of a memory
to me, and Tintinnabulum knows it and puts his hand deliciously
on my shoulder (that kindest gesture of man to man).
" The gander must have been mad, quite mad,
"'hesays hurriedly.
How Neil would like to hear Tintinnabulum saying these
nice things about him.
Perhaps we all have a Neil. Have you ever wakened suddenly
in the night, certain that you heard a bell ring as it once rang
or a knocking on your door as only one could knock or a voice
of long ago, quite close?
Sometimes you rise and wander the
house; more often, after waiting alert for a repetition of the
sound, you decide that you have been dreaming or that it was
the creaking of a window or a board. But I daresay it was none
of these things.
I daresay it was your Neil.
Perhaps you have become something quite different from what
he meant to be. Perhaps he wants to get into the house, not to
gaze proudly at you but to strike you.
Some drop their Neil deliberately and can recall clearly the
day of the great decision, but most are unaware that he has gone.
For instance, it may have been Neil who married the lady and you
who gradually took his place, so like him in appearance that she
is as deceived as you.
Or it may be that she has found you out and
knows who it is that is knocking on the door trying to get back to her.
You might be scared if you knew that though she is at this moment
attending to your wants with a smile for you on her face, her passionate
wish is to be done with you,
On the other hand, you may be the
better fellow of the two. Let us decide that this is how it is.
The last week of the holidays was darkened for Tintinnabulum
and W. W. by the shadow of a letter demanded of them by their
tutor. It had to be on one of three subjects:
(a) Your Favourite Walk.
(b) Your Favourite Game.
(c) What shall I do next Half?
A nasty tag attached to m' tutor's order said " the letter must be
of great length."
Tittle had they troubled about it till the end
loomed, but then they rumbled wrathfully ; well was it for their
tutor he heard not what they said of him.
Tintinnabulum of course was merely lazy,
or on principle
resented writing anything for less than 3a. Grievous, however,
was the burden on W. W., whose gifts lie not in a literary direction.
He is always undone by his clear-headed way of putting every.
thing he knows on any subject into the first sentence. He had a
shot at (a), (b) and (c).
Attempt on (a).
"My favourite walk is when I do not have
far to go to it.
Here he stuck.)
Attempt on (b).
"The game of cricket is my favourite game,
and it consists of six stumps, two bats and a ball."
After wander-
ing round the table many times he added, "Nor must we forget
the bails."
(Stuck again.)
Attempt on (c).
"Next half is summer half, so early school
will be half an hour earlier."
(Final stick.
He then abandoned hope and would, I suppose, have had to
run away to sea (if boys still do that) had not Help been nigh.
For a consideration (and you can now guess exactly how much
it was) Tintinnabulum offered to write W. W.'s letter for him.
I did not see it till later (as you shall learn), indeed the episode
was purposely kept dark from me.
The subject chosen was "My
Favourite Walk,'
because Tintinnabulum had a book entitled
Walks and Talks with the Little Ones, which never before had he
thought might come in handy. Of course such a performer
by no means confined himself to purloining from this work, though
he did have something to say about how W. W. wandered along
his walks carrying a little book into which he put "interesting
plants."
Anything less like W. W. thus engaged I cannot conceive,
unless it be Tintinnabulum himself.
The miscreant also carefully misspelt several words,
vaS
being natural to W.
W. Unfortunately (his fatal weakness)
he could not keep his own name out of the letter, and he made
W.
W. say that the favourite walk was
"near the house of my
kind friend Tintinnabulum, and you know him, sir, for he is in
your house, and I mess with him, which is very lucky for me,
all the scugs wanting to mess with him and nobody wanting me.
Could brainy critics, peeled for the pounce, read that human
document they would doubtless pause to enquire into its hidden
meaning. On the surface it was written (a) to get 3d. out
of W. W., (b) to give relief to Tintinnabulum's ego. To the
ordinary reader (with whom to-day we have no concern) this
might suffice, but the digger would ask, what is the philosophy
of life advanced by the author, is the whole thing an allegory
and if so, what is Tintinnabulum's Message; in short,
is he,
like the commoner writers, merely saying what he says, or, like
the big chaps, something quite different?
Had his tutor considered the letter thus, we might have had
a most interesting analysis of it and no one would have been more
interested than Tintinnabulum). But though a favourite of mine
(and also of Tintinnabulum) his tutor is just slightly Victorian,
and he went for the letter like one of the illiterate.
It was not seen by me until the two hopefuls returned to
school, when I received it from their tutor with another one which
is uncommonly like it. Investigation has elicited the following
data, for which kindly allow me to use (a), (b) and (e) again, as
Thave taken a fancy to them.
(a) Letter is read and approved by W. W.
(b) W. W. on reflection objects to passage about the honour
of messing with Tintinnabulum.

(c) Ultimatum issued by Tintinnabulum that the passage
must be retained.
(d) MS. haughtily returned to the author.
(e) The author alters a few words and sends in letter as his
(f) W. W. has made a secret copy of the letter and sends it
in as his, with the objectionable passage deleted.
(g) Their tutor smells a rat.
(h) He takes me into his confidence.
(i) Days pass but I remain inactive.
(j) He puts the affair into the hands of Beverley, the head of
the house.
(k) Triumph of Miss Rachel.
Miss Rachel who is an old friend of ours is slight and frail,
say 5 ft. 3, her biceps cannot be formidable and I question whether
she could kick the beam however favourably it was placed for her.
She is such an admirer of Tintinnabulum that he occasionally
writhes, in his fuller knowledge of the subject.
Having led a quiet and uneventful life (so far as I know),
Miss Rachel suddenly shoots into the light through her acquaint-
ance with the Beverleys of Winch Park, which is, as it were, nothing;
but the great Beverley, Beverley the thunderous, who is head of
m' tutor's house, is a scion of that family; and now you see what
a swell Miss Rachel has become. When Neil (as he then was)
was entered for that great school she wrote to Beverley-fancy
knowing someone who can write to Beverley_-telling him (to
Neil's indignation) what a darling her young friend was and hoping
Beverley would look after him and make him his dear little fag.
Months elapsed before a reply came, but when it did come it really
referred to Tintinnabulum and contained these pregnant words :
"As to the person in whom you are interested, I look after him a
good deal, and the more I see of him the more I lick him.”
Miss Rachel showed me the letter with exultation.
So kind
of him, she said, though she was a little distressed that a strapping
fellow like Beverley should spell so badly.
More recently I had a letter from Tintinnabulum, which I
showed to her as probably denoting the final transaction in the
affair of the letter.
W. W. and I," it announced very cheerily,
"saw Beverley
yesterday in his room and he gave each of us six of the best."
"How charming of Beverley!" Miss Rachel said.
"The best what!" she enquired, but I cannot have heard
her, for I made no answer.
I learn that sometimes she thinks it was probably cakes and
at other times fives balls, which she knows to be in great demand
at that school.
I shall not be surprised if Miss Rachel sends a
dozen of the best to Beverley.
7. How to Write a Collins
I note that the dozen of the best shared by these two odd
creatures seems to have made them pals again.
The proof is that
though they began the new half by messing with other youths
they are now once more messing together.
"That priceless young cub, W. W."
occurs in one letter of
Tintinnabulum's.
"W. W. is the lad for me," he says in the next.
Again, I have a note of thanks for hospitality from W. W. in
which he remarks,
"'Tintinnabulum is as ripping as ever."
This,
however, is to be discounted, as, though the letter is signed W. W.
Daly, I recognise in it another hand, I recognise this other hand
so clearly that I can add a comment in brackets (3d.),
Yes, I can do so (because of a game I have long been playing),
but any other person would be deceived, just as m'
tutor was at
first deceived by the epistles on the favourite walk. He told
me that these were so fragrant of W. W. that he had thought Tin-
tinnabulum must be the copy_cat. Indeed, thus it was held until
w.W. nobly made confession.
What I' must face is this, that Tintinnabulum, being (alas) an
artist, has been inside W. W. Not only so, he has since his return
to school been inside at least half a dozen other boys, searching for
Collinses for them.

Dani1923

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Re: Neil and Tintinnabulum
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2022, 11:18:31 PM »
A Collins, as no one, perhaps except Miss Austen, needs to
be told, is the fashionable name for a letter of thanks for hospitality
to a host or hostess,
Thus W. W.'s letter to me was a Collins.
Somehow its fame has spread through his house, and now
Tintinnabulam is as one possessed, writing threepenny Collinses
for the deficient.
They are small boys as yet, but as the quality
of his Help is trumpeted to other houses I conceive Fields,
Blues and Choices knocking at his door and begging for a Collins,
It will be a great day for Tintinnabulum when Beverley
applies.
The Collins letter is a fine art in which those who try
the hardest often fall most heavily, and perhaps even m' tutor
or the Provost Himself, at his wit's end how to put it neatly
this time, will yet crave a 3d. worth. It may even be that readers
grown grey in the country's service, who quake at thought of the
looming Collins, would like to have Tintinnabulum's address.
It is refused; but I mention, to fret them, that his every Collins
is guaranteed different from all his other Collinses, and to be so
like the purchaser that it is a photograph,
If you were his client you could accept Saturday to Monday
invitations with a light heart. But don't, when he is at your
Collins, go near him and the babe lest he clutch it to his breast and
growl. He has the great gift of growling, which will yet make him popular with another sex.
His concentration on the insides of others is of course very
disturbing to me, but I should feel still more alarmed if I heard
that he had abandoned the monetary charge and, for sheer love
of the thing, was turning out Collinses gratis.
To-day there comes a ray of hope from a harassed tutor, who
writes that Tintinnabulum has deserted the Collins for googly
bowling, the secrets of which he is pursuing with the same terrific
intensity.
I can picture him getting inside the ball.
8. He and I and Another
You readers may smile when I tell you why I have indited
these memories and fancies.
It was not done for you but for me,
being a foolish attempt to determine, by writing the things down
(playing over by myself some of the past moves in the game),
whether Tintinnabulum really does like me still. That he should
do so is very important to me as he recedes farther from my ken
down that road which hurries him from me. I cannot, however, after
all, give myself a very definite answer.
He no longer needs me of
course, as Neil did, and he will go on needing me less.
When I think
of Neil I know that those were the last days in which I was alive.
Tintinnabulum's opinion of himself, except when he is splash-
ing,
is lowlier than was Neil's; some times in dark moods
it is lowlier than makes for happiness.
He has hardened a little
since he was Neil, coarsened but strengthened,
I comfort myself
with the curious reflection that the best men I have known have
had a touch of coarseness in them.
Perhaps I have made too much of the occasional yieldings
of this boy whom I now know so superficially.
The new life is
building seven walls around him.
Are such of his moves in the
game as I can follow merely an expert's kindness to an indifferent
player?
On the other hand, I learn from a friendly source that he has
spoken of me with approval, once at least, as “mad, quite mad,” and I know that my battered countenance, about which I am very
"touchy”
excites his pity as well as his private mirth.
On the
last night of the holidays he was specially gruff, but he slipped
beneath my door a paper containing the words
"I hereby solemnly
promise never to give you cause for moral anxiety,
and signed
his name across a postage stamp to give the document a special
significance.
Nevertheless, W. W. and he certainly do at times
exchange disturbing glances of which I am the object, and these, I
notice, occur when I think I am talking well. Again, if I set off
to tell a humorous story in
company nothing can exceed the
agony on Tintinnabulum's face.
Yet I am uncertain that this is
not a compliment, for if he felt indifferently toward me why
should he worry about my fate?
During those holidays a master at his old preparatory sent
me a letter he had received from Tintinnabulum (whom he called
Neil), saying that as it was about me he considered I ought to read
it. But I had not the courage to do so.
Quite likely it was
favourable, but suppose it hadn't been.
Besides, it was not
meant for me to see, and I cling to his dew-drop about my being
mad.
On the whole, I think he is still partial to me. Corrobora-
tion, I consider, was provided at our parting, when he so skil-
fully turned what began as a tear into a wink and gazed at me from
the disappearing train with what I swear was a loving scowl.
What will become of Tintinnabulum? There was a horror
looking for him in his childhood. Waking dreams we called them,
and they lured Neil out of bed in the night.
It was always the
same nameless enemy he was seeking, and he stole about in various
parts of the house in search of it, probing fiercely for it in cup-
boards, or standing at the top of the stairs pouring out invective
and shouting challenges to it to come up. I have known the
small white figure defend the stair-hend thus for an hour, blazing
rather cham afraid, concentrated on some dreadful matter in which,
tragically, none could aid him. I stood or sat by him, like a man
in an adjoining world, waiting till he returned to me, for I had been
advised, warned, that I must not wake him abruptly. Gradually
I soothed him back to bed, and though my presence there in the
morning told him, in the light language we then adopted, that he
had been
"at it again" he could remember nothing of who the
enemy wis.
It had something to do with the number 7; that
was all we ever knew. Once I slipped from the room, thinking
it best that he should wake to normal surroundings, but that was
a mistake. He was violently agitated by my absence. In some
vague way he seemed on the stairs to have known that I was with
him and to have got comfort from it; he said he had gone back
to bed only hecuuse he knew I should be there when he woke up.
I found that he liked,
"after he had been an ass," to wake up seeing
me
"sitting there doing something frightfully ordinary, like
reading the newspaper," and you may be sure that thereafter that
was what I was doing.
After he had been a year or two at his preparatory, Neil
did a nice thing for me; one of a thousand.
I had shaken my
head over his standing so low in Maths, though he was already
a promising classic, and had said that it was "
"great fun to be good
at what one was bad at.
A term or two later when he came home
he thrust the Maths prize into my hand.
"But it wasn't fun,
he growled. (It was Neil's growl before it was T'intinnabulum's.)
He came back to blurt out,
"I did it because in those bad times
you were always sitting there with the newspaper when I woke."
By becoming Tintinnabulum he is not done with his unknown
foe, though I think they have met but once. On this ocension
his dame had remained with him all night, as he had been slightly
unwell, and she was amused, but nothing more. to see him, without
observing her, rise and search the room in a fury of words for
something that was not there.
The only word she caught was
"seven."
TIe asked them not to tell me of this incident, as he
knew it would trouble me.
I was told, and, indeed, almost
expected the news, for I had sprung out of bed that night thinking
"Theard Neil once again defending the stair, By the time I reacher
Tintinnabulum it had ceased to worry him.
" But when I woke
I missed the newspaper," he said with his adorable smile, and
again putting his hand on my shoulder.
How I wished
"the
newspaper
could have been there.
There are times when a
boy can be as lonely as God.
What is the danger?
What is it that he knows in the times
during which he is shut away and that he cannot remember to tell
to himself or to me when he wakes? I am often disturbed when
thinking of him (which is the real business of my life), regretting
that, in spite of advice and warnings, I did not long ago risk waking
him abruptly, when, before it could hide, he might have clapped
seeing eyes upon it, and thus been able to warn me. Then, knowing
the danger, I would for ever after be on the watch myself, so that
when the moment came, I could envelop him as with wings. These
are, of course, only foolish fears of the dark, and with morning
they all fly away.
Tintinnabulum makes very merry over them.
I have a new thought that, when he is inside me, he may leave them
there deliberately to play upon my weakness for him and so increase
his sock allowance.
Is the baffling creature capable of this enor-
mity? With bowed head I must admit he is.
I make a note, to
be more severe with him this half.