A tall and blond young officer, blue-eyed if possible.
Such is my Traumprinz.
Now D.H. Lawrence created a supporting character that fits astonishingly into this mold, over-used in my works of fiction.
Major Charles Eastwood.
So young, and yet, a veteran of the Great War (whose centennial is celebrated his year)!
He's married to an open-minded Jewish divorcée and the stepfather of her children... AND IT'S HE WHO DOES THE HOUSEWORK!
She advanced, dressed in a sleek but bulky coat of sable fur. A man
followed, in a blue great-coat; pulling off his
fur gloves and pulling out a pipe.
“It looked so tempting,” said the woman in the coat of many dead
little animals, smiling a broad, half-condescending,
half-hesitant simper, around the company.
No one said a word.
She advanced to the fire, shuddering a little inside her coat, with
the cold. They had been driving in an open
She was a very small woman, with a rather large nose: probably a
Jewess. Tiny almost as a child, in that sable coat
she looked much more bulky than she should, and her wide, rather
resentful brown eyes of a spoilt Jewess gazed oddly out
of her expensive get-up.
She crouched over the low fire, spreading her little hands, on which
diamonds and emeralds glittered.
“Ugh!” she shuddered. “Of course we ought not to have come in an open
car! But my husband won’t even let me say I’m
cold!” She looked round at him with her large, childish, reproachful
eyes, that had still the canny shrewdness of a
bourgeois Jewess: a rich one, probably.
Apparently she was in love, in a Jewess’s curious way, with the big,
blond man. He looked back at her with his
abstracted blue eyes, that seemed to have no lashes, and a small smile
creased his smooth, curiously naked cheeks. The
smile didn’t mean anything at all.
He was a man one connects instantly with winter sports, skiing and
skating. Athletic, unconnected with life, he slowly
filled his pipe, pressing in the tobacco with long, powerful reddened
The Jewess looked at him to see if she got any response from him.
Nothing at all, but that odd, blank smile. She
turned again to the fire, tilting her eyebrows and looking at her small,
white, spread hands.
He slipped off his heavily lined coat, and appeared in one of the
handsome, sharp-patterned knitted jerseys, in yellow
and grey and black, over well-cut trousers, rather wide. Yes, they were
both expensive! And he had a magnificent figure,
an athletic, prominent chest. Like an experienced camper, he began
building the fire together, quietly: like a soldier on
“We’re on our honeymoon,” said the little Jewess.
She spoke in a rather high,
defiant voice, like some bird, a jay, or a crook, calling.
“Yes! Before we’re married! Have you heard of Simon Fawcett?”— she named
a wealthy and well-known engineer of the
north country. “Well, I’m Mrs. Fawcett, and he’s just divorcing me!”
She was an
honest little thing, but perhaps her honesty was TOO rational. Perhaps
it partly explained the notorious unscrupulousness
of the well-known Simon Fawcett.
“Yes! As soon as we get the divorce, I’m going to marry Major
Her cards were now all on the table. She was not going to deceive
Behind her, the two men were talking briefly. She glanced round, and
fixed the gipsy with her big brown eyes.
He was looking up, as if shyly, at the big fellow in the sparkling
jersey, who was standing pipe in mouth, man to man,
“With the horses back of Arras,” said the gipsy, in a low voice.
They were talking war. The gipsy had served with the artillery teams,
in the Major’s own regiment.
“Ein schöner Mensch! (A beautiful person!)” said the Jewess. “A handsome man, eh?”
For her, too, the gipsy was one of the common men, the Tommies.
The Major came back, and slung himself into his coat.
“Come!” called the Jewess to the peeping children, as the blond man
wheeled away the bicycle. “Come! Come here!” and
taking out her little purse, she held out a shilling.
“Come!” she cried. “Come and take it!”
The old woman called hoarsely to the children, from the
enclosure. The two elder children came stealing forward. The Jewess gave
them the two bits of silver, a shilling and a
florin, which she had in her purse, and again the hoarse voice of the
unseen old woman was heard.
The gipsy descended from his caravan and strolled to the fire. The
Jewess searched his face with the peculiar
bourgeois boldness of her race.
“You were in the war, in Major Eastwood’s regiment!” she said.
“Imagine you both being here now!— It’s going to snow —” she looked
up at the sky.
“Later on,” said the man, looking at the sky.
He too had gone inaccessible. His race was very old, in its peculiar
battle with established society, and had no
conception of winning. Only now and then it could score.
But since the war, even the old sporting chance of scoring now and
then, was pretty well quenched. There was no
question of yielding. The gipsy’s eyes still had their bold look: but it
was hardened and directed far away, the touch of
insolent intimacy was gone. He had been through the war.
The little Jewess, mother of two children, was taking her wealth away
from the well-known
engineer and transferring it to the penniless, sporting young Major
Eastwood, who must be five or six years younger than
The blond man returned.
“A cigarette, Charles!” cried the little Jewess, plaintively.
He took out his case, slowly, with his slow, athletic movement.
Something sensitive in him made him slow, cautious, as
if he had hurt himself against people. He gave a cigarette to his wife.
“Well goodbye!” said the Jewess, with her odd bourgeois free-masonry.
“Thank you for the warm fire.”
The little Jewess had only to wait
three months now, for the final decree. She had boldly rented a small
summer cottage, by the moors up at Scoresby, not
far from the hills. Now it was dead winter, and she and the Major lived
in comparative isolation, without any
maid-servant. He had already resigned his commission in the regular
army, and called himself Mr. Eastwood. In fact, they
were already Mr. and Mrs. Eastwood, to the common world.
The little Jewess was thirty-six, and her two children were both over
twelve years of age. The husband had agreed that
she should have the custody, as soon as she was married to Eastwood.
So there they were, this queer couple, the tiny, finely-formed little
Jewess with her big, resentful, reproachful
eyes, and her mop of carefully-barbered black, curly hair, an elegant
little thing in her way, and the big, pale-eyed
young man, powerful and wintry, the remnant surely of some old uncanny
Danish stock: living together in a small modern
house near the moors and the hills, and doing their own housework.
It was a funny household. The cottage was hired furnished, but the
little Jewess had brought along her dearest pieces
of furniture. She had an odd little taste for the rococco, strange
curving cupboards inlaid with mother of pearl,
tortoiseshell, ebony, heaven knows what; strange tall flamboyant chairs,
from Italy, with sea-green brocade: astonishing
saints with wind-blown, richly-coloured carven garments and pink faces:
shelves of weird old Saxe and Capo di Monte
figurines: and finally, a strange assortment of astonishing pictures
painted on the back of glass, done, probably in the
early years of the nineteenth century, or in the late eighteenth.
In this crowded and extraordinary interior, a whole system of
stoves had been installed into the cottage, every corner was warm,
almost hot. And there was the tiny rococo figurine of
the Jewess herself, in a perfect little frock, and an apron, putting
slices of ham on the dish, while the great snow-bird
of a major, in a white sweater and grey trousers, cut bread, mixed
mustard, prepared coffee, and did all the rest. He had
even made the dish of jugged hare which followed the cold meats and
The silver and the china were really valuable, part of the bride’s
trousseau. The Major drank beer from a silver mug,
the little Jewess had champagne in a lovely glass, the Major
brought in coffee. They talked away. The little
Jewess had a burning indignation against her first husband. She was
intensely moral, so moral, that she was a divorcée.
The Major too, strange wintry bird, so powerful, handsome, too, in his
way, but pale round the eyes as if he had no
eyelashes, like a bird, he too had a curious indignation against life,
because of the false morality. That powerful,
athletic chest hid a strange, snowy sort of anger. And his tenderness
for the little Jewess was based on his sense of
outraged justice, the abstract morality of the north blowing him, like a
strange wind, into isolation.
As the afternoon drew on, they went to the kitchen, the Major pushed
back his sleeves, showing his powerful athletic
white arms, and carefully, deftly washed the dishes, while the woman
wiped. It was not for nothing his muscles were
trained. Then he went round attending to the stoves of the small house,
which only needed a moment or two of care each
I am really amazed by this couple.
"The most extraordinary
people!” And a detailed description.
“I think they sound rather nice!“I like the Major
doing the housework, and looking so frightfully
Bond-streety with it all. I should think, WHEN THEY’RE MARRIED, it would
be rather fun knowing them.”
The very strangeness of the connection between the tiny Jewess and
that pale-eyed, athletic young officer made me envy her.
Eastwood piqued my fancy. Such a smart young
officer, awfully good class, so calm and amazing with a motor-car, and
quite a champion swimmer, it was intriguing to see
him quietly, calmly washing dishes, smoking his pipe, doing his job so
alert and skilful. Or, with the same interested
care with which he made his investigation into the mysterious inside of
an automobile, concocting jugged hare in the
cottage kitchen. Then going out in the icy weather and cleaning his car
till it looked like a live thing, like a cat when
she has licked herself. Then coming in to talk so unassumingly and
responsively, if briefly, with the little Jewess. And
apparently, never bored. Sitting at the window with his pipe, in bad
weather, silent for hours, abstracted, musing, yet
with his athletic body alert in its stillness.
"What about it?” he said, taking his pipe from his mouth, the unemotional
point of a smile in his eyes.
“I’m perfectly all right today, and I shall be all right tomorrow,” he
said, with a cold, decided look. “Why shouldn’t
my future be continuous todays and tomorrows?”
His anger was of the soft, snowy sort, which comfortably muffles the
“I!” bawled the tiny Jewess. “I! My goodness, don’t I!” She looked with
reflective gloom at Eastwood, who was smoking
his pipe, the dimples of his disconnected amusement showing on his
smooth, scrupulous face. He had a very fine, smooth
skin, which yet did not suffer from the weather, so that his face looked
naked as a baby’s. But it was not a round face:
it was characteristic enough, and took queer ironical dimples, like a
mask which is comic but frozen.
“Is there never any man that makes you feel quite, quite different?”
said the Jewess, with another big-eyed look at
Eastwood. He smoked, utterly unimplicated.
“A cat may look at a king,” calmly interposed the Major, and now his
face had the smiles of a cat’s face.
“I think,” said the Major, taking his pipe from his mouth, “that
desire is the most wonderful thing in life. Anybody
who can really feel it, is a king, and I envy nobody else!” He put back
The Jewess looked at him stupefied.
“But Charles!” she cried. “Every common low man in Halifax feels
He again took his pipe from his mouth.
“That’s merely appetite,” he said.
“I didn’t say marry him,” said Charles.
Charles smoked for some moments.
“That gipsy was the best man we had, with horses. Nearly died of
pneumonia. I thought he WAS dead. He’s a resurrected
man to me. I’m a resurrected man myself, as far as that goes. I was buried for twenty hours under
snow,” he said. “And not much the worse for it, when they dug me out.”
There was a frozen pause in the conversation.
“They dug me out by accident,” he said.
And he put back his pipe.
The half-divorced Mrs. Fawcett and the maquereau Eastwood... “A young sponge going off with a woman older than himself, so
that he can live on her money! The woman leaving her home and her
children! I don’t know where you get your idea of
honesty. — And you seem to be very well acquainted
with them, considering you say you just know them.
Where did you meet them?” Their detractors say this about them.
To me, he is neither a maquereau nor a young sponge.