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A Case in Camera by Oliver Onions

A CASE IN CAMERA

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THE MACMILLAN COMPANY NEW YORK . BOSTON . CHICAGO DALLAS . ATLANTA . SAN FRANCISCO

MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED LONDON . BOMBAY . CALCUTTA MELBOURNE

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD. TORONTO

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A CASE IN CAMERA

by

OLIVER ONIONS

Author of "The Compleat Bachelor" "In Accordance with the Evidence" "The Debit Account"

New York The Macmillan Company 1921

All rights reserved

Copyright, 1920 and 1921, By the Macmillan Company Set up and electrotyped. Published March, 1921

TO OLE LUK OIE

"Our Life is like a curious Play Where each doth strive to hide himself. One Mask doth to another say 'Let us be open as the Day' The better to conceal himself."

PART I

WHAT HAPPENED IN LENNOX STREET

A Case in Camera

I

The tale I am setting out to tell has to do with the killing, on a May morning of the year 1919, of one young man by another who claimed, and still claims, to have been his friend. The circumstances were singular--perhaps even unique; the consequences affected a number of people in various interesting ways and byways; and since the manner of telling the story has been left entirely to me, I will begin with the breakfast-party that Philip Esdaile gave that morning at his studio in Lennox Street, Chelsea.

II

Philip had at least two good reasons for being in high feather that morning. The first of these was that barely a week ago, with a magnificent new quill pen, he had signed the Roll, had shaken august hands, and was now Philip Esdaile, A.R.A., probably the most gifted among the younger generation of painters of the pictorial phenomena of Light.

I and his second reason for contentment happened to arrive almost simultaneously at the wrought-iron gate that opened on to his little front garden. We all knew that for many months past our barrister friend, Billy Mackwith, had been tracking down and buying in again on Philip's behalf a number of Philip's earlier pictures--prodigal pictures, parted with for mere bread-and-butter during the years of struggle, and now very well worth Philip's re-purchase if he could get them into his possession again. (I may perhaps say at once that I don't think Philip owed his Associateship to his pictures of that period. It is far more likely that the artist thus honored was Lieutenant Esdaile, R.N.V.R., sometime one of the Official Painters to the Admiralty.)


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