The Eroticism of Fat Men
Atherton’s friend, another novelist called Horace Annesley Vachell who was at the Gloanec, was distressed to see the state Dowson was in. He said:
It hurts me to see him so cowed and wretched. He really is a genius — and what a fate! Only twenty-nine and already an outcast! If one could only keep him from drinking he might pull up and become a brilliant figure in London. He is terribly poor, but what he was written has been received with such acclaim by the critics that anything he wrote would be well paid for, and he could soon reinstate himself. But he won’t even write. I am sure.
Vachell inveigled Atherton into agreeing to see Dowson, pandering to her vanity. He said ‘It must be years since he has spoken to a decent woman — if he ever knew one! If he thought you took an interest in him…who knows?…it might mean a rebirth.’