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A NEW BOY IN FICTION.

By giving to his new story the title of 'Sentimental Tommy,' Mr Barrie sanctions an interpretation of his intention therein which all discerning readers will have hit upon, although many dull ones, doubtless, will have missed it. The celebrated Tommy first comes into view on a dirty London stair at the age of five, and he is only fifteen, we may take it, when he disappears from us and from Grizel down the road that leads from Thrums to the Dubb of Prosen and the herding; yet he holds the field among all the men and women and children of this story, a "magerful" boy, by reason of qualities no less distinctive, no more rare, and (Mr Barrie would seem to wish us to believe) scarce more worthy, than those by which his father, Magerful Tam, broke the heart of Jean Myles and made Aaron Latto the "scunner of God and man." These qualities Mr Barrie has summed up in the one word "sentimental"; and as he pursues and catches and pins upon his paper the flying sentimental qualities in the making Tommy, as you might prepare a sheet of British butterflies, it becomes clear to us that they all belong to one genus, the genus "artist." 'Sentimental Tommy,' then, is admittedly the study of the artistic temperament at its springs. But it is more. In it, as it appears to us, Mr Barrie seeks to suggest, if, indeed, he does not profess to determine, the moral relation of art to emotion.

We meet Tommy first in London, whither his mother, Jean Myles,

has been brought by her husband, Magerful (Masterful) Tam. Jean was to have been married to Aaron Latto, in Thrums. They had been cried twice, and one night before the third Sabbath they went into the Den, and sat together on the Shoaging Stane, at the Cuttle Well. "She was a good happy lassie that gaed into the Den that moonlight night wi' Aaron's arm round her, but it was another woman that came out." Magerful Tam had been breaking her in to him by admiring masterful ways, and now this night he came down to the Cuttle Well and cowed Aaron and claimed Jean, and she went away with her master, and had no will to resist him. That is how Tommy came to be a London boy. A year or two later, when his father and mother are dead, he and his sister Elspeth are brought by Aaron to Thrums. Hitherto Tommy's companions, besides Elspeth, had been Reddy, "the laughing little girl from the more fashionable street," and Shovel, and a Cockney following: his playground the dirty stair and the doleful streets around it, and the enchanted colony of Thrums folk in London. Now, he is in Thrums itself, once more with a following and bodyguard, Corp of Corp second in command instead of Shovel; and he leads them. through all the adventures of the Hanky School, the Muckley, the Jacobite Rising, Cathro's, and the Hugh Blackadder. All these characters and incidents, in London and in Thrums, affect Tommy's development, as such characters

1 Sentimental Tommy: the Story of his Boyhood. By J. M. Barrie. Cassell

& Co.

and incidents will; but it is not to show their influence on Tommy, but to show Tommy's attitude towards them, that they are introduced. They are all designed as mediums for the exhibition of Tommy's sentimental qualities,

which Mr Barrie marks down so mercilessly.

He marks them shining in the wistful hungry boy, with the ininscrutable face and smiling at his own pretty thoughts, who is forbidden to ask for things upon the stair, and carries out the injunction with almost unnecessary spirit, declining offers before they are made. Even thus early they lead Tommy to perceive that in that street, where kids are a disgrace, a deader is a distinction, and he reigns (though the shortest of reigns) over Shovel by proclaiming his mother a corpse. Again, for weeks Tommy enjoyed a glow from a benevolent dropping of a penny into a charity-box, and then, when that sensation paled, he picked it out with a thread and a bent pin. For Reddy the youthful artist dressed up stories of Thrums - his mother's stories adorned tenfold, yet Jean was no mean romancer; and when Reddy was gone he felt a great want, the want of some one to applaud him. When Tommy got his shilling (by deceit) from Reddy's father, he spent it on a present for his mother-a coloured picture of Lord Byron swimming the Hellespont. "It was noble of you," she said, to spend all your siller on me." "Wasn't it, mother?" he crowed; "I'm thinking there ain't many as noble as I." A whimsical fear kept him from Reddy now, until he got into trousers, and then he went prancing up and down the street before her windows. But Reddy was dead, and her father took him in

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and told him so; and when Tommy knew that Reddy was a deader he cried bitterly, and the man said very gently, "I am glad you were so fond of her." ""Tain't that," Tommy answered, with a knuckle in his eye, "'tain't that as makes me cry... It's them! . . . She can't not never see them now," he sobbed, "and I wants her to see them, and they has pockets!" After that all the use the memory of Reddy had for him was as a bogey for Elspeth when she was obstreperous. Elspeth wept while Tommy told her sternly about Reddy. "Then followed a scene in which Tommy called himself a scoundrel for frightening his dear. Elspeth, and swore that he loved none but her." But the Sentimental Tommy had his first great gallop in the affair of the S.R.J.C.

"On the stair Shovel showed him a yellow card with this printed on it: 'S.R.J.C.-Supper Ticket'; and written beneath, in a lady's hand, 'Admit Joseph Salt.' The letters, Shovel explained, meant Society for the somethink of Juvenile Criminals, and the toff's what ran it got hold of you when you came out of quod. Then if you was willing to repent they wrote down your name and the place what you lived at in a book, give yer a ticket for the blow-out night. This was blow-out night, and that were Shovel's ticket. He had bought it from Hump Salt for fourpence. What you get at the blowout was roast-beef, plum-duff, and an orange; but when Hump saw the fourpence he could not wait.

and one of them came to see yer and

"A favour was asked of Tommy. Shovel had been told by Hump that it was the custom of the toffs to sit beside you and question you about your crimes, and lacking the imagination that made Tommy such an ornament to the house, the chances were that he would flounder in his answer and be rejected. Hump had pointed this out to him after pocketing the fourpence. Would Tommy,

therefore, make up things for him to say; reward, the orange.

"This was a proud moment for Tommy, as Shovel's knowledge of crime was much more extensive than his own, though they had both studied it in the pictures of a lively newspaper subscribed to by Shovel, senior."

Tommy accordingly became patronising at once, and rejected the orange as insufficient, and ultimately worked upon Shovel to allow him to enter with the ticket, which he would drop out of the window, so that Shovel might join him inside. ...

"I love my dear father and my dear mother and all the dear little kids at 'ome. You are a kind lady or gentleman. I love yer. I will never do it again, so help me bob. Amen.'

"This was what Shovel muttered to himself again and again as the two boys made their way across the lamplit Hungerford Bridge, and Tommy

asked him what it meant.

"My old gal learned me that; she's deep,' Shovel said, wiping the words off his mouth with his sleeve.

"But you got no kids at 'ome!' remonstrated Tommy. (Ameliar was now in service.)

"Shovel turned on him with the fury of a mother protecting her young. 'Don't you try for to knock none on it out,' he cried, and again fell amumbling.

"Said Tommy scornfully, 'If you says it all out at one bang you'll be done at the start.' Shovel sighed. 'And you should blubber when yer says it, added Tommy, who could laugh or cry merely because other people were laughing or crying, or even with less reason, and so naturally that he found it more difficult to stop than to begin.

...

"But what was we copped for, Tommy?' entreated humble Shovel.

"Tommy asked him if he knew what a butler was, and Shovel remembered, confusedly, that there had been a portrait of a butler in his father's news-sheet.

"Well, then!' said Tommy, in

spired by this same source, 'there's a room a butler has, and it is a pantry, so you and me we crawled through the winder and we opened the door to the gang. You and me was copped. They catched you below the table and me stabbing the butler.'"

Shovel wished to stab the butler, or to bite him in the leg at the least, but Tommy thought that wouldn't be safe: Shovel would forget about the repenting, and brag about it. "I'm better at repenting," Tommy said.

"I'll tell yer, I'll cry when I'm repenting.' Tommy's face lit up, and Shovel could not help saying with a curious look at it

"You-you ain't like any other cove I knows,' to which Tommy replied, also in an awestruck voice

"I'm so queer, Shovel, that when I thinks 'bout myself I'm-I'm sometimes near feared.'

"What makes your face for to shine like that? Is it thinking about the blow-out?'

"No, it was hardly that, but Tommy could not tell what it was. He and the saying about art for art's sake were in the streets that night looking for each other."

It had been Shovel's intention to strip Tommy of the ticket at the door, but the spectacle in front dazed him, and he stopped to tell a vegetable-barrow how he loved his dear father and his dear mother and all the dear kids at home. Thereupon Tommy darted forward and was lost in the crowd, and Shovel was aloft upon a full-grown man sufficiently long to see Tommy give up his ticket and saunter into the hall. Half an hour later a magnificent lady, such as you see in wax-works, appeared in the

vestibule and made some remark to a policeman, who then shouted, "If so there be any lad here called Shovel, he can step forrard."

"If you are the real Shovel,' the lady said to Tommy's victim, who had

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"It's true, I tells you. That lady as is my one, she's called her ladyship, and she don't care a cuss for boys as has repented.'

...

"When I saw that,' Tommy continued brazenly, 'I bragged 'stead of repenting, and the wuss I says I am, she jest says, "You little monster," and gives me another orange.'

"Then I'm done for,' Shovel moaned, for I rolled off that 'bout loving my dear father and my dear mother, blast 'em, soon as I seen her.'

"He need not let that depress him. Tommy had told her he would say it, but that it was all flam.

"Her ladyship returned and the boys held by their contract, but of the dark character Tommy seems to have been let not these pages bear the record. Do you wonder that her ladyship believed him? On this point we must fight for our Tommy. You would have believed him. Even Shovel, who knew, between the bites, that it was all whoppers, listened as to his father reading aloud. This was because another boy present half believed it for the moment also. When he described the eerie darkness of the butler's pantry, he shivered

involuntarily; and he shut his eyes once-ugh that was because he saw the blood spouting out of the butler. He was turning up his trousers to show the mark of the butler's boot on his leg when the lady was called away, and then Shovel shook him, saying, ‘Darn yer, doesn't yer know as it's all your eye?' which brought Tommy to his senses with a jerk.

"Sure's death, Shovel,' he whispered, in awe, 'I was thinking I done it, every bit!'"

And now a change came over Tommy. He remembered that Elspeth, for whom he had filled his pockets, was praying for him ("I'm thinking as I'll need it sore," he had told her, in anticipation of this night's work), and he broke into a hysterical laugh, and immediately began to sob.

rose to

"When the Rev. Mr pray in a loud voice for the waifs in the body of the hall, Tommy rose at the same moment, and began to pray in a squeaky voice for the people on the platform. He had many Biblical phrases, mostly picked up in Thrums. Street, and what he said was distinctly heard in the stillness, the clergyman near being suddenly bereft of speech.

"Oh!' he cried, 'look down on them ones there, for, oh, they are unworthy of Thy mercy, and, oh, the worst sinner is her ladyship, her sitting there so brazen in the black frock with yellow stripes, and the worse I said I were the better pleased were she. Oh, make her think shame for tempting of a poor boy, forgetting "Suffer little children." Oh, why cumbereth she the ground? Oh

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Tommy was expelled the hall.

Shortly after this, his mother died, and at the end she told him the story of her life. And she asked him to add this to his

nightly prayer, "O God, keep me from being a magerful man!" That night Tommy said reverently, "O God, keep me from

being a magerful man!" Then he opened his eyes to let God see that his prayer was ended, and added to himself, "But I think I would fell like it."

Tommy comes to Thrums, Mr Barrie still pursuing. When Elspeth was eager for the first sight of those wonders she had learned of from his own glowing pictures, Tommy led her from the Den to the beauty stairs, and from there to the town house, and from the town house to the Auld Licht Kirk (which he had sworn was lovelier than St Paul's), and from the Auld Licht Kirk to its minister (a "terrible big man")—from paling glory to paling glory; and then, when all had failed her, "Never mind, Elspeth," he said, "you have me yet," and got round the girl, as he well knew how, "until she affected not to mind, and then he deserted her, conscience at rest, which was his nature." The very first meeting with the Painted Lady's daughter, when he rescued her in melodramatic fashion from her schoolboy tormentors, presaged all the relations between the sentimental Tommy and the splendidly truthful Grizel :—

"When it was all over, Tommy looked around triumphantly, and though he liked the expression on several faces, Grizel's pleased him best. It ain't no wonder you would like to be me, lassie !' he said, in an ecstasy.

"I don't want to be you, you conceited boy,' retorted the Painted Lady's child, hotly, and her heat was the greater because the clever little wretch had read her thoughts aright."

From this triumph of his emotionalism sprang his consciousness that he could always "find a w'y"; and find it he did in the Three P's; and ("the Providence that watched over Tommy until

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it tired of him came to his aid in the nick of time") in presenting the Painted Lady with the gold packet, which he might not give to Elspeth because of Grizel, nor to Grizel because of Elspeth,—the artist always in difficulty with his womankind; and in representing Corp in his interesting fits ("Oh, Corp, if I had these fits of yours," he had exclaimed, greedily); and in the case of Francie Crabb's Sword. He "found a hundred w'ys" in the romantic episodes of the Jacobite Rising and the Siege of Thrums. But it was in the scholar that Tommy stood fully revealed. Miss Ailie, in whose senior class he was, had come to Aaron to tell him that there was something wonderful about Tommy. Aaron had heard him saying something of the kind to Elspeth. But the result was that Tommy got his chance, and he was placed with Mr Cathro to be crammed for a bursary. A bursary or the herding it was to be, said Aaron, who hated Tommy. In a short time Cathro had come to hate him still more -as was natural, for Cathro was a clever man, and of all the characters in the book the ablest to fathom one part at any rate of Tommy's emotionalism. "He has a devouring desire to try on other folk's feelings, as if they were SO many suits of clothes," he described the nature of the sacket. Further

"To be candid,' he said, 'I don't think he could study, in the big meaning of the word. I daresay I'm wrong, but I have a feeling that whatever knowledge that boy acquires he will dig out of himself. There is something inside him, or so I think at times, that is his master, and rebels against book-learning. No, I can't tell what it is; when we know that, we shall know the real Tommy."

Yet he had a hope for Tommy.

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