Definition, we waited, and whenever a circle of men and women drew round a fire, the subject of the Playboy was discussed. Yeats had communicated it so that we might be prepared to accept a parricide as a hero, and a Mayo village as nothing loath to do the same. At first sight the subject seemed wildly improbable, having no roots in human nature, but it was defended on the ground that brigands have always been popular heroes. And when the play was produced, our little group discovered extenu ating circumstances for Christy Mahon. Into an ex tremely ingenious paradoxical story, Synge had brought real men and women, and amazed we asked each other how it was that Synge, who had never before shown any sense of form, should suddenly become possessed of an exquisite construction. We fell to wondering how the miracle had come about, and we continued wondering, and myself was still head-scratching in Vale, asking how Synge had sprung at once out of pure board-school English into a beautiful style, finding it in an idiom that had hitherto been used only as a means of comic relief. Tricks of speech a parrot can learn, but it is impossible to learn through a crack how character acts and reacts upon char acter. Never before did anyone hear that the intelligence may be lifted through eavesdropping on to a higher plane. Yeats told us that Synge read only Racine and Clement Marot; but we turned up our noses at these herrings, and the history of The Playboy was wrapped in unsearchable mystery until I began to read The Untilled Field for this new edition, and found myself thinking that if perchance any of my writings should survive me for a few years, as likely as not it would be these stories. And as this little vanity dispersed, I became more and more inter ested, for it seemed to me that I had come upon the source of Synge's inspiration. The Untilled Field was a land mark in anglo-irish literature, a new departure, and Synge could not have passed it by without looking intoxiv.