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Down below me the barristers were talking. The King's Advocate pulled out a puce-colored bandana, and waved it abroad preparatorily to blowing his nose. A cloud of the perfume of a West Indian bean went up from it, sweet and warm. I had smelt it last at Rio, the sensation was so strong that I could not tell where I was. The candles made a yellow glow on 32 FORD MADOX FORD S NOVELS the judge's desk; but it seemed to be the blaze of light in the cell where Nichols and the Cuban had fenced. I thought I was back in Cuba again.
But most of all I owe to him" the strong faith in the conception of the novel as a work of art —"that in our day THE HISTORICAL NOVELS 39 and hour the writing of novels is the only pursuit worth while for a proper man. "1S In the experience of collaborating with Conrad, therefore, Ford plunged deeply into the mysteries of his art. As a craftsman, he came out with enormously heightened competence. And as a consciousness he had been rubbed in daily contact with a personality of whose force he was in considerable awe.
For the moment, however, we can gain an accurate sense of Ford's later Impressionism by looking at a 1924 critical passage written to exemplify the method of the school. In Joseph Conrad, he wrote: Life does not say to you: In 1914 my next-door neighbour, Mr. Slack, erected a greenhouse and painted it with Cox's green aluminum paint. . If you think about the matter you will remember, in various unordered pictures, how one day Mr. Slack appeared in his garden and contemplated the wall of his house.