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Ulysses McCleod / hold that thought

Justus Miles Forman’s “Ulysses McCleod” appeared in the The Windsor Magazine volume 23 (December 1905-May 1906) in six parts. (The story does not appear to have been published as a book.) The Pennsylvania State University scan is available at hathitrust. The six parts are listed and linked below.

  1. The Passing of Richard Carter / 93-98 : link
  2. A Dinner at Bertolini’s / 322-328 : link
  3. Ogygia / 443-450 : link
  4. Miramar / 566-572 : link
  5. Torre Dormitor / 650-656 : link
  6. On the Canal Grande / 793-799 : link

Each one of the six sections (chapters?) ends with the hero (variously referred to as Carter, The cook’s mate, and Ulysses) leaving for a distant port. No one seems broken-hearted at this, realizing that it is his character and destiny. Closing (and some other) passages from each chapter are presented below, followed by some contextual information about Forman, The Windsor Magazine, and his circle.

  1. The Passing of Richard Carter
    conclusion :
    Young Carter dug his fists into the deep pockets of his ulster and turned east, away from the river. His thoughts were upon the Peruvia 2,200 tons, bound for Mediterranean and Adriatic ports, and, far down the block, the singing voice followed him, oddly prophetic, as it were —
          Lover to the good four winds,
                And brother to the sea.             106
  2. A Dinner at Bertolini’s
    conclusion :
          “I don’t know, I’m sure. I never saw him before, I think. He was rather handsome, was he not?”
          Then the heart of the cook’s mate broke within him, and the world before his eyes turned all at once into quite absurd fireworks, and he turned away laughing.             328
  3. Ogygia
    stops in Malta —
          “And you — oh, you’re so different from all the others, Ulysses! You— well, you’re rather the sort one dreams of, and — and all that. You’re like a man in a book. It seems hardly [450] possible that you can have seen and done all those things, and still be — what you are.”

    conclusion :
          “No—Ulysses, you won’t come back,” she said very low.
          A few hours later, the Peruvia, 2,200 tons, slipped out into the night under the great red eye of For Ricasoli. And the cook’s mate, standing beside the rail, looked back to the huddled mound of lights which rose over Malta harbour. There as an odd little, wistful smile upon his face.
          “I wonder ——“ said the cook’s mate slowly, “I wonder — —“ And did not finish his sentence. Then presently he gave his shoulders a shake and turned his face into the warm salt wind towards Trieste, North-by-West.             450

  4. Miramar
          “...You will make a new life? Yes?”
          “Yes,” said he. “Oh, yes, I suppose so. Why?” He looked up rather curiously into the Princess Anina’s face, for it seemed to him that she had some thought behind her words, something she did not voice.
          “W’y?” she repeated. “Oh, nothing, [571] Cartaire. I ju’s asked to ask. Bot w’at will you do now? You will not always sail about on a little cargo steamship? W’at will you do, mon cher?
          The cook’s mate shook his head wearily.
          “I don’t know, my lady,” said he. “I do not look ahead. I drift. Sometime I shall strand somewhere, I expect. For the present, I drift. It is not so bad. It gets into one’s blood curiously. I know, now, how the tramp feels — the habitual vagabond. It is a fever, sort of. Yes, it gets into one’s blood. It is the gipsy instinct.”

    conclusion :
          ...His racked and lonely soul cried out to this haven which opened to it. His heart shook him from head to foot, for he had, at one time, come very near to loving the Princess Anina.
          But all at once, as he stood there staring out over the blue sea, he became aware that he was staring at something definite, the Lloyd Steamer Graf Wurmbrand, Dalmatia-bound, which was leaving the harbour beyond. His thoughts flew to her like a homing bird, and to the ports she was to make — Zara, Sebenico, Ragusa, Cattaro. He found himself picturing the strange, fertile coast, mountain-backed, the men in Turkish breeches, the women in queer head-dresses, and aprons like an Eastern rug — bazaars — market-places — strings of donkeys wineskin laden —
          He gripped his hands sharply and turned back to the Princess Anina. His heart jumped as he met the look in her eyes, but even as his eyes flashed in answer he was thinking of the Graf Wurmbrand, South-bound.             572 (same, clearer scan at google : link)

  5. Torre Dormitor
    conclusion :
          But in this last the one-eyed Boris proved wrong, for that Fate which had played at cat-and-mouse with the young American had still a long part for him to enact, and he could not die.
          A gentle maestrale was blowing from the north-west, and it bore the unguided boat before it far down the coast, and beaced it carefully near that monastery which lies by Spizza. Here, two lay brothers, walking beside the sea, found it with its unconscious burden, and carried the man to a chamber, and nursed him through weeks of delirium back to strength and bttier sanity.
          Then Fate took him once more by the hand and led him abroad.             656
  6. On the Canal Grande
    798 :
          “Do you want to go, Dick?” said she. “Have I been wrong? “Do you want this — this sort of thing more than you want — me? Oh, Dicky, tell me the truth! It’s more important than you know. Do you mean that you’re not wretched and desperate and hunted in your exile as I thought you’d be? Are you better alone with your ships and your wars than as if I should come to you and make a home for us both? Tell me the truth!”
          “It’s — stronger than I am,” said young McCleod simply. “It has grown upon me till I couldn’t live without it. It’s like — drink or drugs, I expect. I tell you,” he cried, “I never lived until these last two years! I was a was a wax figure of a man, an automaton, a tame cat! I tell you, Eleanor, it’s the breath of life to me, ‘my ships and my wars,’ as you call them. I live with real men. I do real things. I expect there’s some gipsy blood in me somewhere, a drop of the Wandering Jew. I think I should die if I tried to stop at home.”

    conclusion :
          “And so,” said he, “I go to my painting to-morrow, and you go to Bellairs. It’s better so, girl. Upon my soul, it’s better so! Here we are at the quay.”
          “Good-night, Dicky,” she said at the door of the hotel, “and good-by. Oh, thank God we met to-night!”
          Ulysses McCleod turned away, squaring his shoulders, and a keen, alert little scowl came between his brows. He pulled out his watch and looked at it. [799]
          “Eleven-ten,” said he thoughtfully. “Bill to pay; box to pack; four hours’ sleep.” He nodded out towards the gloom of the lagoon.
          “Good-night, Theodoros,” said he. “I shall rejoin you shortly after four o’clock. I wonder if Demetrius remembered those cutlasses.” 798-799

    painting —
    painting refers to repainting an island, currently coloured pink on the map, to yellow “a deep, permanent, orange-yellow.”


  1. “Ulysses McCleod” appears to have been illustrated by J(ames). Ayton Symington (c1856-1939)
    wikipedia : link

    Catherine Vaughan-Pow, in her Introduction to the Victorian Fiction Research Guides entry for The Windsor Magazine (1895-1901), writes :

    The magazine was copiously illustrated, with regular contributions from well-known magazine artists of the day such as Maurice Greiffenhagen, Hilda Cowham, Harold Copping, Frederick Pegram, Henry Austin, Stanley L. Wood, Cecil Aldin, S.E. Waller and Harry Fumiss, all of whom published in a wide variety of journals, and whose illustrations accompanied much of the fiction that appeared in the Windsor. Indeed, certain of these artists became associated with a specific type of writing, so that Maurice Greiffenhagen’s sombre style featuring massively drawn figures that dominate the picture invariably illustrates dramatic stories such as Mary Cholmondeley’s “The Understudy,” Justus Miles Forman’s The Quest and Rider Haggard’s Ayesha: the Return of She.
    VFRG No. 32 : link

    VFRG lists many inclusions of Forman in the Windsor : link

  2. The expressions romantic and even libertine (not to mention melodrama) come to mind, while reading through “Ulysses McCleod” and about its author’s life. He seems to have lived in a privileged, “hotel society” milieu in which romantic adventures — and/or personal chaos — were a norm. He was enough within the circle of E. Nesbit, Fabian, poet and writer of books for children (e.g., The Railway Children, 1906), to be one of the two dedicatees of (a second edition of) her book The Incomplete Amorist (1906) : link.
  3. on E. Nesbit (1858-1924), see:
    wikipedia : link
    Sarah Watling’s review of Eleanor Fitzsimon, her The Life and Loves of E Nesbit (2019) in The Guardian, 26 October 2019 : link, and
    Julia Briggs, her A woman of passion : the life of E. Nesbit, 1858-1924 (1987), borrowable at archive.org : link (see in particular pages 239-40 for Forman)
  4. The aetiology of this post involved
    (1) this passage from an article on cosmology : “eventually there will not be enough energy in the universe to hold a thought.”

    “Who Will Have the Last Word on the Universe? / Modern science suggests that we and all our achievements and memories are destined to vanish like a dream. Is that sad or good?”
    Dennis Overbye, The New York Times (May 2, 2023) : link (paywall)

    (2) a result-less search for “hold that thought” + “puttering” but/and
    (3) numerous results for “hold that thought puttering (without quotes),” Windsor Magazine among the first of these.

    my “process”, as it were.

  5. Justus Miles Forman (1875-1915)
    wikipedia : link
    died on Lusitania, see
    The Lusitania Resource :
    Saloon (First Class) Passenger List : Justus Miles Forman : link

    his UPenn online books page : link

19 May 2023