THE LAY FIGURE. SPORT, ART, painting arm," suggested the Man with a Clay
AND ART STUDENTS. Pipe. " Hockey would be better. It's a ladies'
game now, and I'm old enough to play it myself."
"Don't talk to me about sport," lisped "But," continued the Lay Figure, " what I am
the Minor Poet; " it's a hateful thing—a form of driving at is this : that the atmosphere of a painting
war, indeed, having its own lists of killed, wounded, class, with its dead heat and its smell of oil paint
and maimed. When men have become gentler, drying, is a bad thing for students ; so let its
thoroughly civilised, they won't harm one another unwholesome influence be counteracted by regular
for the sake of exercise, nor will women-" exercise in the open air. The aim of a school of
" Leave the women alone," sneered the art should be that of turning youngsters of real
Journalist. " Man alive ! the gentler sex happens talent into healthy as well as clever craftsfolk ; but
to be also ' the belligerent sex,' as Mr. Lang warns at present, unhappily, the health part of this
you, and you'll get yourself into boiling hot water programme is neglected, all kinds of temptations
if you attack their sports." to overwork being thrust upon the attention of
" Why be rude in a discussion ? " the Philosopher ambitious students."
asked calmly. "The Poet is perfectly right in his "How true that is!" cried the Art Critic. "I
remark that sport is a form of war ; only he forgets, could name case after case in which temptations to
like most of us, that all human pleasures and overwork have had the effect of ruining the health
businesses exact the same battle-toll of maimed, of students. Clever girls are the first to suffer."
wounded, and killed. Yes, like it or not, the sum " Naturally," said the Lay Figure. " Women
of life is war in a thousand forms; and peace—well, never do anything by halves. Indeed, it is
peace is but a dream, a delusion of minds which commonly their misfortune to defeat their own
do not try to think truly. Our friend the Poet has ends by doing too much, by being far too
clearly a good inkling of the truth, and he is also enthusiastic; and certainly it is high time that
right when he says that, as civilisation advances public attention should be drawn to the encouraged
and men become more sensitive, the love of sport excess of work from which girls suffer in some
grows tamer in its manifestations." schools of art. South Kensington should look
" Tamer, yes ! " said the Lay Figure, " but not into this matter."
necessarily nobler. For example, when in Italy " I agree with you there," said the Art Critic,
and Spain a bull fight was a sort of tournament " but the whole truth has yet to be spoken. Here
between knights of the best families and savage in England the system of art education is bad
bulls, and when, as happened usually, the knights throughout, for it is in absolute antagonism with
fared much worse than their antagonists, the pluck all other kinds of education. Instead of bringing
displayed in this form of sport had something students into close touch with their country's life
admirable about it; but that something certainly and traditions, it isolates them from the outside
vanished when the knights, to save their own world, and confines them in a mere hothouse of
skins, became heroes at second-hand, paying men academicism, where they are apt to sprout rapidly
of the lower classes to do their fighting. And, by into prigs of the least amusing type."
the way, our British delight in sport has begun to "In other words," said the Lay Figure, "we
exhibit itself more in gate money than in games. need in art schools a public spirit of manliness
We, too, are becoming athletes by proxy." equal to that which is found at Oxford and
" Still, that's better than nothing," said the Art Cambridge. And this is all the more necessary
Critic, "and I wish all our artists had even a second- because the artistic temperament in men is not
hand interest in sports and games; for their work a masculine gift; it is androgynous, as Coleridge
would gain in vigour—would, in fact, lose the pointed out. At the present moment its feminine
tendency it now has towards a boudoir-like senti- qualities are being pampered far too much in the
ment—if they took pleasure in watching those art schools; and so I should like to see it
games which require great physical strength and invigorated by the influences of sport."
stamina." "Stunning!" cried the Journalist. "Think of
" I have thought myself," said the Lay Figure, a cricket match between the Students of the
" that in all schools of art great encouragement Royal Academy and Eton or Harrow! That
should be given to cricket, tennis, football, would indeed help to popularise art in England."
racquets, and fives." "And in all countries that have national sports,"
" Surely, football would be too dangerous for the said The Lav Figure.