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Three Weeks

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(1907)


Author's Introduction:


I feel now, when my "Three Weeks" is to be launched in a new land, where I have many sympathetic friends, that, owing to the misunderstanding and misrepresentation it received from nearly the entire press and a section of the public in England, I would like to state my view of its meaning. (As I wrote it, I suppose it could be believed I know something about that!) For me "the Lady" was a deep study, the analysis of a strange Slav nature, who, from circumstances and education and her general view of life, was beyond the ordinary laws of morality. If I were making the study of a Tiger, I would not give it the attributes of a spaniel, because the public, and I myself, might prefer a spaniel! I would still seek to portray accurately every minute instinct of that Tiger, to make a living picture. Thus, as you read, I want you to think of her as such a study. A great splendid nature, full of the passionate realisation of primitive instincts, immensely cultivated, polished, blasé. You must see her at Lucerne, obsessed with the knowledge of her horrible life with her brutal, vicious husband, to whom she had been sacrificed for political reasons when almost a child. She suddenly sees this young Englishman, who comes as an echo of something straight and true in manhood which, in outward appearance at all events, she has met in her youth in the person of his Uncle Hubert. She perceives in him at once the Soul sleeping there; and it produces in her a strong emotion. Then I want you to understand the effect of Love on them both. In her it rose from caprice to intense devotion, until the day at the Farm when it reached the highest point—a desire to reproduce his likeness. How, with the most passionate physical emotion, her mental influence upon Paul was ever to raise him to vast aims and noble desires for future greatness. In him love opened the windows of his Soul, so that he saw the fine in everything.

The immense rush of passion in Venice came from her knowledge that they soon must part. Notice the effect of the two griefs on Paul. The first, with its undefined hope, making him do well in all things—even his prowess as a hunter—to raise himself to be more worthy in her eyes; the second and paralysing one of death, turning him into adamant until his soul awakens again with the returning spring of her spirit in his heart, and the consolation of the living essence of their love in the child.

The minds of some human beings are as moles, grubbing in the earth for worms. They have no eyes to see God's sky with the stars in it. To such "Three Weeks" will be but a sensual record of passion. But those who do look up beyond the material will understand the deep pure love, and the Soul in it all, and they will realise that to such a nature as "the Lady's," passion would never have run riot until it was sated—she would have daily grown nobler in her desire to make her Loved One's son a splendid man.

And to all who read, I say—at least be just! and do not skip. No line is written without its having a bearing upon the next, and in its small scope helping to make the presentment of these two human beings vivid and clear.

The verdict I must leave to the Public, but now, at all events, you know, kind Reader, that to me, the "Imperatorskoye" appears a noble woman, because she was absolutely faithful to the man she had selected as her mate, through the one motive which makes a union moral in ethics—Love.—ELINOR GLYN.


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Elinor Glyn