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Title: Hugh Walpole: An Appreciation
Author: Hergesheimer, Joseph, 1880-1954
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Cover]



[Illustration: HUGH WALPOLE]



                              HUGH WALPOLE

                           _An Appreciation_


                                  _by_
                          JOSEPH HERGESHEIMER


                     Author of "Three Black Pennys"
                           "Java Head", etc.


                          _Together with Notes
                     and Comments on the Novels of
                             Hugh Walpole_



                                NEW YORK
                        GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY



                            Copyright, 1919
                        GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY



BOOKS BY HUGH WALPOLE

NOVELS THE WOODEN HORSE
       MR. PERRIN AND MR. TRAILL
       THE GREEN MIRROR
       THE DARK FOREST
       THE SECRET CITY

ROMANCES
       THE PRELUDE TO ADVENTURE
       FORTITUDE
       THE DUCHESS OF WREXE
       MARADICK AT FORTY

BOOKS ABOUT CHILDREN
       THE GOLDEN SCARECROW
       JEREMY

BELLES-LETTRES
       JOSEPH CONRAD: A CRITICAL STUDY



                              HUGH WALPOLE

                           _An Appreciation_

                          JOSEPH HERGESHEIMER

                                   I


It is with an uncommon feeling of gratification that I am able to begin
a paper on Hugh Walpole with the words, in their completest sense, an
appreciation.  But this rises from no greater fact than a personal
difficulty in agreeing with the world at large about the most desirable
elements for a novel.  Here it is possible to say that Mr. Walpole
possesses almost entirely the qualities which seem to me the base, the
absolute foundation, of a beauty without which creative writing is
empty.  In him, to become as specific as possible, there is splendidly
joined the consciousness of both the inner and outer worlds.

And, for a particular purpose, I shall put my conviction about his
novels into an arbitrary arrangement with no reference to the actual
order of appearance of his dignified row of volumes.  Such a choice
opens with a consideration of what is purely a story of inner pressures,
it continues to embrace books devoted principally to the visible world,
to London, and ends with a mingling of the seen and unseen in Russia.

Yet, to deny at once all pedantic pretense, it must be made clear that
my real concern is with the pleasure, the glow and sense of recognition,
to be had from his pages.  The evoked emotions, which belong to the
heart rather than the head, are the great, the final, mark of the true
novelist.  And they may be, perhaps, expressed in the single word,
magic. Anyone who is susceptible to this quality needs no explanation of
its power and importance, while it is almost impossible of description
to those upon whom it has no effect.  It is quite enough to repeat it
... magic.  At once a train of images, of memories of fine books, will
be set in motion. Among them the father of Peter Westcott will appear--a
grim evil in a decaying house heavy with the odor of rotten apples; and,
accompanying them, the mind will be flooded with the charmed moments of
Mr. Walpole’s descriptions: Russian nights with frozen stars, rooms
swimming placid and strange in old mirrors, golden ballrooms and London
dusks, the pale quiver of spring, of vernal fragrance, under the high
sooty glass dome of a railroad station.

In this, at once, the remarkable delicacy of his perceptions is made
apparent: it is impossible, in thinking of these books, to separate what
occurs in the sphere of reality from the vivid pressures, the dim
forces, that, lying back of conscious existence, are always gathering
like portentous storms behind Mr. Walpole’s stories.  To have stated so
calmly his passionate belief in just these influences was, at the time
most of his books were written, an act of that courage he has so
persistently extolled.  Yet the details of his fortitude belong properly
to the examination of individual novels.

Time, however, has altogether justified his spiritual preoccupations:
the literature of the surface of things, the sting of onions in a
glittering tin bowl, æsthetic boys--still the wistful ghost of Wilde,
the flaneur--dragged through the pages of Freud, unlimited sentences in
sociology hardly humanized by a tagging of proper names and mechanical
desires, have been swept into the dust-bin for temporary reactions and
fevers.  Nothing can be gained by speculation about the future, it is
enough to realize that, in imaginative letters, the school of arrogant
materialism has been discredited; and that Mr. Walpole, because of his
steadiness in the face of skeptical and mocking devils, has easily,
securely, entirely, survived the most blasting and calamitous ordeal men
have had yet to meet.

His books, from the first to the last, have not become antiquated; they
are as fresh to-day as they were at any time through the past ten or
twelve years; the people in them, true in costume and speech to their
various moments, are equally true to that which in man is changeless.
They, the novels, are at once provincial, as the best novels invariably
are, and universal as any deep penetration of humanity, any considerable
artistry, must be.  Never merely cosmopolitan, never merely smart--even
in his knowledge of smart people--they are sincere without being stupid,
serious without a touch of hypocrisy; and on the other hand, light
without vapidity, entertaining with never a compromise nor the least
descent from the most dignified of engagements.

All this, on the plane to which I am confined--the pleasure to be had
from accumulated words--is as rare as it is delightful. The world,
particularly the world of novel-writing, is choked with solemn
pretensions and sly lies; it, the latter, is the fertile field of all
the ignorances--the dogmatic, the degenerate, the hysterical, the venal.
And, unhappily, there seems to be very nearly a public for each;
unhappily the deeply bitten prejudices of men, the secretive hopes of
women, control to an amazing degree their opinions of the one
medium--the written story--that should be kept superior to all pettiness
as a resource solely of alleviation. Usually great creative
writers--gifted, together with pity, with clarity of vision--have dealt
in a mood of severity with life; they are largely barred, by their
covenant with truth, from the multitude; but Mr. Walpole, not lacking in
the final gesture of greatness, has yet the optimism that sees integrity
as the master of the terrors. Literature, different from painting and
music, serves beauty rather by the detestation of ugliness than in the
recording of lyrical felicities.  But, again, Mr. Walpole has countless
passages of approval, of verbal loveliness, that must make him
acceptable not only to a few but to many.

In reading, for example, The Secret City, there is the satisfaction of
realizing that the consequent enjoyment rises from an unquestionably
pure source.  It is a preoccupation to be followed with utter
security--for once an admirable thing, a fine thing, is altogether
pleasurable.



                                   II

Mr. Walpole’s courage in the face of the widest skepticism is nowhere
more daring than in The Golden Scarecrow.  The book itself, in both
conception and composition, presented extraordinary difficulties; one of
those themes clear enough in the creative mind, but so deep in
implication, so veiled in mystery, so elusive psychologically, that to
put it at all upon paper was an accomplishment of very high order.  In
brief, it is founded on the implication that children born into this
faulty world retain, for varying short periods, memories of a serene
existence from which they were banished into human consciousness.  This
remembrance is embodied in the appearance, in dim rooms, against the
sunset, in the mists of beginning sensations, of a kindly protecting
shape with a beard.  The vision is all tenderness and gentle melancholy
wisdom ... Christ!

The particular danger in such a narrative is the almost inescapable
shadow of mechanical sentimentality.  The conjunction of Christ and
little children is perfectly safe to evoke of itself the tear of ready
sympathy; and miracles, from the beginning to the late Irish school and
later, have been the chosen medium for a useful and easy squeezing of
the heart.  But, it should be said at once, The Golden Scarecrow is
remarkably free from the merely easy, or from cheaply borrowed pathos.
It is sustained not only by beautiful phrasing, delicate imagery, but
equally by an iron rod of truth.  If the vision exists, clad in splendor
invisible to anything but innocence, so too does the world Mr. Walpole
clearly sees and correctly grasps.

He knows that, while there may be a Saviour for purity in extra-mundane
spheres, in London there is no such security: there is always the ugly
possibility, no--probability, of accident, of the destruction--by
cruelty or envy or vice or sheer carelessness--of youth.  In addition to
this The Golden Scarecrow gathers importance with the increasing
recognition of the extreme importance of the impressions of childhood.

Addressing, with his surprising and justified confidence, the instincts
of the newly-born, he follows the human mind opening gradually to the
spectacle of living.  The progress is established by a succession of
episodes, of stories really, bound into a whole by a return, at the
book’s end, to its beginning statement and mood, and by a single
passionate conviction.  It is this, certainly, which gives Mr. Walpole
his force and beauty--the ability to deliver himself of a high hatred
tempered by pity.  In The Golden Scarecrow his resentment has for
incentive the fatalities brought by chance or design on beings endowed
with the finest possibilities.

The arrangement of his novels places this among Studies in Place; and
the scene is principally March Square, not far from Hyde Park Corner.
There lingers about it the atmosphere of the days of St. Anne, a
tranquillity hardly disturbed by the din of London; and its bricks and
greenery, its fountain and statues, one commemorating a general of the
Indian Mutiny and the other a mid-Victorian figure, are the last to hold
the strains of mendicant street musicians.  To these are added the cries
of children at their games, garlands of children on the smooth lawn and
under the overhanging trees, and, from around the corner, the bells of
St. Matthew’s.

Each part has for its central figure a child of one of the houses
surrounding the Square, from the three-months-old Henry Fitzgeorge,
Marquis of Strether, son of the Duchess of Crole, to young John
Scarlett, the offspring of a solid K.C., about to leave home for the
adventure of public school.  But there is, in the range of the book, the
greatest possible diversity of children and houses: ’Enery, the
simple-witted son of Mrs. Slater, care-taker for Old Lady Cathcart at
No. 21; Nancy Ross, daughter of Munty, of potted shrimp fame, in danger
of being turned by an impossible mother into an impossible Dresden china
figure, but saved by her ugly black little father; Sarah Trefusis,
living in a smart little house with green doors and with a widowed
mother of the loveliest and most unscrupulous of eyes, Sarah possessed
of a sinister devil; Angelina, who would say "Wosy" when she meant Rose,
and infuriated her two neat aunts with rather yellow, squashed-looking
faces.

It is, perhaps, to Angelina Braid, that the memory most persistently
returns; for in the direct story of Angelina and the rag doll she adored
above all others--Rachel and Lizzie, two Annies, a Mary, a May, a
Blackmoor, a Jap, a Sailor, and a Baby in a Bath--Mr. Walpole has
gathered all his art and fury.  In it hard meanness, petty destructive
tempers, meagreness of heart, are exposed so utterly that it is
difficult to suppose anyone, reading it, could ever again support the
oppression of a child.  The episode of Angelina Braid is told with the
utmost restraint, its means are simple, inevitable; but its conveying of
irrevocable harm, of the spirit fluttering away from the rigidity of
flesh, is matchless.

As a whole The Golden Scarecrow is, considering its heart of mystery,
amazingly coherent and satisfactory.  From the opening paragraphs, when
Hugh Seymour, a lonely imaginative boy, is mentally bullied by a stolid
school-master, to the last where, a man, he regains the voice of his
Friend, that Friend of before-birth, the book is a living entity.  Of
the golden scarecrow:

"To their left a dark brown field rose in an ascending wave to a ridge
that cut the sky....  The field was lit with the soft light of the
setting sun.  On the ridge of the field something suspended, it seemed,
in mid-air, was shining like a golden fire.

"’What’s that,’ said Mr. Pidgen again. It’s hanging.  What the devil!’

"They stopped for a moment, then started across the field.  When they
had gone a little way Mr. Pidgen paused again.

"’It’s like a man with a gold helmet. He’s got legs, he’s coming to us.’

"They walked on again.  Then Hugh cried, ’Why, it’s only an old
scarecrow. We might have guessed.’

"The sun, at that instant sank behind the hills and the world was grey."

It was, visibly, but an old scarecrow, with waving tattered sleeves and
a tin can that held the light; but it had been, as well, a man in a
golden helmet.  He had come toward them.  That, in a sentence, expresses
Mr. Walpole’s magic: we see the rags and the tin; and we see, too, the
heavenly shining; which is the reality he leaves, as he must, for our
determining.



                                  III

In no other novel of Mr. Walpole’s are the forces that--perhaps--lie
back of life so explicitly expressed as in The Golden Scarecrow, while,
of all his books, The Green Mirror is most frankly concerned with
terrestrial existence.  It is the second in a plan of three called The
Rising City, not, he is careful to inform us, a trilogy. Indeed, English
society, in the broad sense, placed in London, is the subject of this
series; beyond the introduction in The Green Mirror of a few names made
familiar by The Duchess of Wrexe, the novels have no actual
intercommunication.

They were, however, clearly led up to in other pages, notably Fortitude;
but there the dark shapes, like embodied evil passions, were always
gathering about the rim of consciousness.  But The Green Mirror, except
in minor incidences, completely illustrates the spirit in flesh.  This
it does delightfully with, and this is surprising, a most entertaining
humor.  Aunt Aggie is one of the old embittered women that Mr. Walpole
understands so thoroughly; but, in The Green Mirror, he is more lenient
with her than usual.  He follows her mind, a mind like the thin scraping
jangle of a worn-out music-box, with an amazing flexibility and insight;
the latter, in his consideration of Aunt Aggie, predominates.
Understanding, of course, dissipates hatred: in the completed picture of
ancient maliciousness, positively wicked in intention, the reader is
continually cheered by perception of the true, the rare, Comic Spirit.

But she, Aunt Aggie, is comparatively unimportant; the weight of The
Green Mirror is the imponderable weight of the Trenchard family.  They
are not aristocrats, such as the late Duchess of Wrexe, or Roddy Seddon;
yet Mr. Walpole makes it clear that, essentially, they are more deeply
rooted in tradition, in precedent, than a higher and largely frivolous
class.

Here, more than by George Trenchard, the head of this branch of the
family, they are represented by his wife, the mother of Henry and
Millicent and, above all else, of Katherine.  They are shown in the
somber drawing-room of No. 5 Rundle Square, by Westminster in the heart
of London, passing and repassing in the aqueous depths of a
looking-glass above the mantle:

Mrs. Trenchard, heavy and placid in exterior; the gangling Henry,
incurably disorderly and racked by the throes of green-sickness; Aunt
Aggie and Aunt Betty, sparrow-like, with little glints of cheerfulness;
Grandfather Trenchard, as fragile as glass in fastidious silver buckles;
and Katherine.

The story itself is the relation of Katherine Trenchard’s love for
Philip Mark, and how, in the end, it smashed the green mirror of her
family.  While it is that in detail it is, by implication, the history
of the breaking of old English idols.  This duality of being, the
specific and the symbolical is, certainly, almost the prime necessity
for creative literature; and in the published volumes of The Rising City
it is everywhere carried out.

Philip Mark arrives, through a dense London fog, at the Trenchards’
during the celebration of Grandfather Trenchard’s birthday--the day,
above all, inalterably fixed in their traditions.  He is from
Russia--Hugh Walpole’s land of supreme magic--and his coming is the
signal for small irritations, growing complexities, jealousy, that
finally set the individual above custom, the present over the past.

Philip Mark, or rather the love of Katherine and Philip, is the cause of
so much; but the most impressive, the most important figure in the book,
is Katherine’s mother. This is a familiar arrangement of Mr. Walpole’s;
to erect a largely silent negative force, like an evil and sometimes
obscene carved god in the shadows, and oppose to it the tragic vivid
necessity of youth. In The Green Mirror it takes the shape of maternal
jealousy--hard for all its apparent softness of bosom; cruel in spite of
undeniable affection, cunning as against an apparent slowness of
mentality.

The sweep of the novel is rich with acute observation and borne on by an
action rising--as it always must--from causes at once trivial, informal,
and inevitable.  Philip Mark’s past in Moscow, continually coming to the
surface by the utmost diversity of means and places; now threatening his
happiness, now a foundation for his maturity, furnishes the center of
movement, a fact taken up as a weapon or justification by nearly
everyone in turn.  This, specially to the Trenchards, is of monumental
dimensions; but its operation, in Henry’s undependable shirt-stud, Aunt
Aggie’s agitated slap, has the authentic unheroic accent of reality.

The richness of The Green Mirror, however, has its inception in Mr.
Walpole’s extreme sensitiveness to the spirit of place and hour: all the
translations of his action, the changes from place to place, day to
night, are recorded with a beautiful and exact care.  This is the result
of a pictorial sense at once strong and delicate.  No one has had more
delight from the visible world than Mr. Walpole, and none has been able
to capture it better in words:

"In Dean’s Yard the snow, with blue evening shadows upon it, caught
light from the sheets of stars that tossed and twinkled, stirred and
were suddenly immovable.  The Christmas bells were ringing; all the
lights of the houses in the Yard gathered about her and protected her.
What stars there were!  What beauty!  What silence!"

This conveyance of a crystal mood, without exotic or intricate phrases,
without ornament, is the mastery of an art that must be at once brushed
with emotion and serene; in it lies the miracle of words, inanimate
fragments, brought warmly to life. Katherine, about whom they were
written, is sentient as well; a girl stronger in the end than even her
mother, a girl who bent being to her will.  A lovely girl, concealing
behind a completely feminine need, behind clothes never precisely right,
Mr. Walpole’s beloved courage.

Here particularly, in Katherine Trenchard, the individual and universal
humanity are woven one into the other; an immeasurably greater
accomplishment than the projecting of mere eccentricity, called, I
believe, by the doctors, the creation of character.  Anyone, almost, can
invent a set of whiskers, a stuttering speech, write imposing
indignations into mechanical masks; but only a few have put all youth
into a girl of their imagination, on almost no pages do we find the
truth that is ourselves.



                                   IV

For Mr. Walpole, however, the dark secret of being was always hidden in
the heart of Russia.  It has been his land of enchantment, of magic and
desire; and it possessed him in the way that Shelley and Browning were
Italianate.  The English Merchant Marine had the same fascination for
Mr. Conrad, the same fascination and incalculable influence.  Throughout
Hugh Walpole’s novels there is the persistent turning to the dream
forests and night-ridden cities of Russia, to the mingled simplicity and
inexplicable complexity of its men and women.

Russia presented the greatest possible contrast to the England, the
English he knew; and, although Mr. Walpole’s descriptions of London are
steeped in beauty, he has been unable to find there--even in the
serenity of March Square--any such creative impulse as Petrograd held
for him.

The Russian character, too, with its peculiar freedom from the British
defects that he specially hated, offered him an uncommonly broad means
of expression and intelligibility.  Philip Mark’s years in Warsaw, his
mistress there, Anna, formed an ideal background for the utterly
different purity of Katherine Trenchard.  So it was inevitable that Mr.
Walpole should invade Russia not only with the spirit, but, as well,
with the body of his books.  This, of course, was brought about by the
war, and resulted in the publication of The Dark Forest and The Secret
City.

The Dark Forest was, in many ways, a prelude to the latter.  Semyonov,
the doctor with a square, honey-colored beard, the fatal spirit of the
former, accomplishes his final fatality in The Secret City; the narrator
of one novel is the narrator of the other; but in The Secret City a
great deal that was nebulous--but in no way ineffective--is exactly
weighed and expressed.

The surprising quality of The Secret City, and which makes any
description of it difficult, is that while it is a tragedy, it is
nowhere oppressive.  The obvious reason for this is that the story is
vividly interesting--not because it includes a remarkable description of
the Russian Revolution, but on account of the humanity and variety of
its characters, the depth of emotion and brilliancy of surface.  In
reality, the Revolution constituted a very serious danger, for in
creative fiction, the author, the novel, must be greater than the event.
A novel holds within its covers a world of its own, a complete reality
which, for the moment, must take the place of all other reality; and the
presence in it of an overwhelming contemporary event may well crush the
illusion, the shining ball, into dull fragments.  But this Mr. Walpole
avoids in his concentration upon the essentials of his purpose; the
Revolution, as a fact, fades before the more enduring veracity, and
importance, of his imagination.

Vera and Nina, the fretted Markovitch, and Jerry Lawrence, tied in a
knot of passion and longing and bitterness, now struggling blindly and
now illuminated with devastating flashes of realization, are more
compelling than the accidents of wars and shifting governments.  They
are the human means of the drama, but--again--it is a pressure lying
back of living that is mainly important.  In The Secret City, Petrograd
itself controls the mood of the action. Mr. Walpole has seen it in a
unity of tone far more perfect than his grasp of London.  He sees it
impressively somber, an iron city mostly in the grip of winter, its
blackness emphasized by glittering, immaculate snow, remote and thinly
pure skies, and the crystal stars to which he is so individually
sensitive. It is, in The Secret City, an evil place, with bare,
wind-swept files of apartment houses, broad avenues emptied by the
staccato rattle of machine guns and suffocating slums with dead canals
stirred with the vision of slow-rising, scaly monsters.

Against this, however, there are glimpses of a peasant, a symbolical
reality, deeply bearded and grave and patient, standing, it might be, on
a bridge or disappearing into the dark.  Yet there are no prophecies, no
auguries of a future regenerated from without.  Mr. Walpole is not
concerned with the temporary plasters, the nostrums, of propaganda.  He
rests serene in the novelist’s isolation from small responsibilities,
addressed only to the qualities at the base of humanity from which
current fevers rise.

And here, at last, he has combined the inner and outer pressures of
which I spoke at the beginning.  While it is true that Petrograd strikes
the persistent keynote of The Secret City, while he sees monsters
stirring and records dreams woven into the texture of actuality, these
are projections of the deep significance of Lawrence and Markovitch;
signs and visions are unnecessary with their complete expression of the
states of the spirit.  Lawrence, the Englishman, slow, fixed in honor
and duty, romantically pure, and the Russian, worn by doubt, forever
lost in the waste between performance and idea, oppose, perhaps, in
little, their countries.  Certainly they illustrate Mr. Walpole’s own
questioning and offer facts, entirely convincing, for the support of his
intricate structures.

Semyonov, who, under almost any other hand, would have degenerated into
a mere villain, is presented with Mr. Walpole’s passion for entire
understanding, that comprehension which banishes contempt.  Vastly
intricate, a character seen on a hundred sides, he still remains
intelligible, consistent; a consistency which permits him to take
naturally his place in a story at once involved and simple.  He is,
above everything, a spoiled soul; the unhappiest possible example of the
oil of heaven arbitrarily imposed on the water of earth.  His is the
agony of the animal confronted with the mysteries of the spirit; and the
ruin which emanates from his torment and skeptical detachment is the
result as much of his superiority as of his fault.

It is, more than anything else, the fusion in The Secret City that, at
the time of its publication, made it the most notable of Mr. Walpole’s
novels.  As a story it is enthralling, the mere progress of the action
is irresistible; the atmosphere, the envelopment of color, is without a
rent, a somber veil like a heavy mist subduing the flashes of red at the
horizon, muffling the sounds and glints of passion, absorbing the
shouted ambitions of men.  That it is not Russia, but himself, Mr.
Walpole has been very careful to point out; it is simply the land of
magic to which he has been always drawn, and which, conceivably, having
explored, he’ll leave, returning to England.



                                   V

As a whole, Hugh Walpole’s novels maintain an impressive unity of
expression; they are the distinguished presentation of a distinguished
mind.  Singly, and in a group, they hold possibilities of infinite
development.  This, it seems to me, is most clearly marked in their
superiority to the cheap materialism that has been the insistent note of
the prevailing optimistic fiction.  There is a great deal of happiness
in Mr. Walpole’s pages, but it isn’t founded on surface vulgarities of
appetite; the drama of his books is not sapped by the automatic security
of invulnerable heroics.  Accidents happen, tragic and humorous, the
life of his novels is checked in black and white, often shrouded in
grey.  The sun moves and stars come out; youth grows old; charm fades;
girls may or may not be pretty; his old women--

But there he is inimitable, the old gentlewomen, or caretakers, dry and
twisted, brittle and sharp, the repositories of emotion--vanities and
malice and self-seeking--like echoes of the past, or fat and loquacious
with alcoholic sentimentality, are wonderfully ingratiating.  They
gather like shadows, ghosts, about the feet of the young, and provide
Mr. Walpole with one of his main resources--the restless turning away of
the young from the conventions, the prejudices and inhibitions, of
yesterday.  He is singularly intent upon the injustice of locking age
about the wrists of youth; and, with him, youth is very apt to escape,
to defy authority set in years ... only to become, in time, age itself.

This, of course, is inescapable: the old are the old, and not least
among their infirmities is the deadening of their sensibilities, the
hardening of their perceptions.  But then, as well, the young are the
young, and youth is folly, blind revolt, contumacy.  Here is perpetual
drama and, with it, Mr. Walpole’s hatred of brutality is drawn into
practically all his pictures of childhood, as, for example, the school
in Fortitude.

In all this he recognizes clearly that beauty and ugliness are twisted
into the fibre of man, they are man; without one the other must
cease--in spite of the contrary legend--to exist.  Beauty lies in
struggle, in the overcoming of evil; without struggle there is not only
no story, there is no fineness; and without evil there can be no good.
Victory, certainly, is not unheard of; but it is rare, the result of
amazing courage, strength, or amazing luck.  To say that anyone, almost,
can triumph over life, that temptation is easily cast aside, the devil
denied on every hand, is one of the most insidious lies imaginable.  It
is an error into which Hugh Walpole has never fallen; the progress of
his books has been an increasing recognition of the tragic difficulty of
any accomplishment whatever; and, as time goes by, such success becomes
smaller, more momentary, and more heroic.

The course of the novelist is from the bright surface of life inward to
its impenetrable heart, from the striking the easy, the lovely, to the
hopelessly hidden mystery of being; and Mr. Walpole is steadily, perhaps
unconsciously, entering the profounder darkness.  It is a march
practically condemned to failure at the start; but, not only
unavoidable, it is the only attempt worth consideration. Not a happy
fate, God knows, to leave everything that the world, that people, most
applaud; there is no possibility of mistake about the latter--the beauty
that is truth is not popular in a society which, blind to its transitory
and feeble condition, must see itself as the rulers of creation.

Yet this, for its part, is entirely commendable, the illusion necessary
to the sustaining of an affair difficult at best.  Novels that ring a
musical chime of bells, an anodyne for the heart, are always sure of
their welcome; they represent an appreciation in the dimension of width;
while the reception of The Secret City goes rather in the direction of
depth.  At the same time there is that strange absence of oppression
already noted, a story always enjoyable for its suspense, the play of
character on character.

The result of the commingling, in Hugh Walpole, of the seen and the
unseen!  If he were a conventional materialist the disasters to the
flesh would be unrelieved tragedy, his Roderick Seddon, paralyzed for
life, would be, to the haphazard mind, unsupportable; but Mr. Walpole
manages to put the emphasis on Seddon’s spirit, that proves to be above
accident.  When Markovitch, at the end of his unendurable suffering,
kills Semyonov, there is no horror, but only pity.

The novel, of course, is the man; and the emotions of The Secret City
are the emotions of Mr. Walpole; it is merely the extension, by an art
and a record, of the mind of its creator.  The pity of the reader is Mr.
Walpole’s; wherever his novel goes, wherever it is read, if there is any
response it is one touched with dignity and wisdom.  There is the
validity of the superior accomplishment, the payment for the failure
implied in the greater undertaking: the recognition of the insignificant
novel is insignificant, it is a part of the life flashing for a moment
in the sunlight, dead, forgotten, by evening.  But if there is any
discoverable solidarity in men, any hope of final escape from
intolerable futility, it must be assisted, if ever so little, by the
simple honesty, the communication of fortitude, in books founded, at
least, on what is changeless, inevitable, to living.

When these qualities form the pleasure of the multitude, as they now do
of a minority, the world will be a vastly different and better place.
Yet this is not primarily, not at all, I personally feel, Mr. Walpole’s
concern: he is the carver on the stone, the embellisher on parchment;
his art is the sign, the recompense, of civilization.  He is the pot of
geraniums in the window, the beauty, utility, above utility.  Not for
nothing do we allow the philosophies, the doctrines, even the
humanities, of the past to fall into oblivion; while we preserve any
marble fragment of beauty we are so fortunate as to recover.

Mr. Walpole is a part of that great necessity, of the longing, really,
for perfection, for perfect beauty.  This, too, is the only salvation
for ease; the animal, when he is replete, fat, dies; and man, successful
in the flesh, degenerates.  There only spirit, beauty, animates the
clay.  Roses, in the end, are more important than cabbages.  Here, Hugh
Walpole, cultivating the fine flowers of his imagination, setting out
his gardens in the waste, is indispensable ... very few have
accomplished that.



                         NOVELS by HUGH WALPOLE

                       _Description and Comment_



                            THE SECRET CITY


What is the secret city of the title? Petrograd?  Yes, partly.  But much
more is it the citadel of the Russian proverb which recites: "In each
man’s heart there is a secret town at whose altars the true prayers are
offered!"  And so what we have in this book before us is first (and
always foremost) the story of several lives. Petrograd itself, with its
insane atmosphere on the eve of the Revolution, is painted for us
persistently, with many patient and wonderful brush strokes.  The
Revolution, or the first weeks of it, are narrated for us with an
eyewitness’s veracity and an eyewitness’s incompleteness.  But Petrograd
and the Revolution ... all that ... are put before us only so far as
they enter into the lives of a few people--a family of Russians and
three casual Englishmen.  Which is as it should be. Petrograds change,
revolutions come and go; but the secret city of the human heart is not
transformed. Human motives remain.  Human passions ebb and flow.  Human
hopes perish--and are reborn.

The people of Mr. Walpole’s novel are completely realized.  They are as
much alive as if they moved in the flesh before you.  The reader may be
baffled by them--many a reader will be, though to most readers they will
be comprehensible before the closing chapters.  But baffling or not,
there is no disbelieving in them.  Two of the most important--Alexei
Petrovitch Semyonov and John Durward, the narrator--are characters in
Mr. Walpole’s earlier novel, _The Dark Forest_.  It is not absolutely
necessary that before reading The Secret City you should read _The Dark
Forest_, but it is much to be desired that you do so.  Otherwise you
will be unable to fathom Alexei Petrovitch (the overshadowing character)
as adequately as you ought to from his first entrance.

But about the others, the others besides the sinister Alexei Petrovitch.
Take poor old Markovitch, for example.  It’s not easy, of course, to see
him as anything but a self-befooled, ridiculous figure until you grasp
that he had three ideals to live up to.  The first was his wife, Vera;
then there were his hopeless inventions; lastly, there was Russia. Came
a time when, as young Bohun, one of the Englishmen, put it: "He’d lost
Russia, he was losing Vera, and he wasn’t very sure about his
inventions."  At the last he clung to Russia, hopefully.  This
revolution meant something wonderful for her--and for the whole world!

Take Vera, beautiful and with immortal pride; with a great and candid
courage, too.  She had her sister, the girlish Nina, she had her
husband. What was this tragedy of love that came to her and destroyed
everything?  Nina, tempestuous, lovable, like a child--why in the name
of all that is merciful should _she_ have to suffer?  Thank God! there
was a happy ending here!

Others--a half dozen or so--that we mustn’t speak of singly.  Even such
minor characters as Uncle Ivan and Baron Wilderling are etched
perfectly.  We would say a few words about the background.

Mr. Walpole makes Petrograd as memorable a city as does Tolstoy his
Moscow, with Napoleon gazing upon its rounded domes.  And that is
memorable indeed, as any one who ever read _War and Peace_ will certify.
An intensely colorful city, lighted by stars and bonfires, exhaling the
stink of the swamp and Rasputin’s corpse, coldly menaced by the frozen
Neva River, a volcano of human destiny with its thick ice melting
rapidly from the heat of terrible flames underneath.  A city where a
great slimy beast seems to appear apocalyptically from the sheeted
waters of the canal.  A city where always there stands silhouetted
against the evening glow the immense figure of a black-bearded peasant,
grave, controlled, thoughtful, watching.  A city of dream--only the
dream is true.

There can be no doubt about it; this is a noteworthy book, a beautifully
written book and--what is best of all--a book with a backbone.  You may
like it or you may not; you will be unable, we believe, to withhold
admiration.--From a review in _The New York Sun_.


"Hugh Walpole has proved his right to eminence. _The Secret City_ is a
worthy successor to _The Dark Forest_.  His art in presentation is
consummate.  But the trait that stands out in his writings is his
humanity."--_Chicago Daily News_.

"This is, we believe, Mr. Walpole’s best novel, a finer book even than
_The Dark Forest_.  Its descriptive passages are many of them superb; we
get the sense of the strange and alien forces lying beneath the somewhat
Europeanized surface of Petrograd in a truly remarkable way."--_New York
Times_.

"It is one of Mr. Walpole’s achievements in this book that along with
his philosophic study of Russian minds and matters, he maintains a
running, throbbing story of the romance-tragedy of the Markovitch home.
Its form and style confirm it in a place of great literary distinction.
Being the sort of book one desires to keep as well as to read, it
sustains the final test of a fictional work."--_New York World_.

"Hugh Walpole has equalled himself at his best and far surpassed himself
at his second best.  A novel of the rare sort that is meant for the
delight of discriminating readers."--_Washington Star_.

"The best recommendation of his novel is its excellent quality as a
story: its absorbing interest in character."--_Boston Herald_.

"The story is tensely dramatic in its incidents and situations, its
characters are real and interesting....  You cannot merely read this
book, for if you mean to keep on you must think and keep on
thinking."--_San Francisco Chronicle_.

"Mr. Walpole is a story-teller with something in him besides fine
facility, and it is fascinating to consider this excellent example of
his work."--_The New Republic_.

"Somehow, by the magic of his words, Mr. Walpole, in his portrayal of a
people in the process of evolving, makes his readers understand better
what has taken place in Russia than political experts in many an
analytical treatise."--_Springfield Union_.

"One of the best sustained, most continuously interesting and dramatic
stories Mr. Walpole has written."--_New York Globe_.

"It is his best work as a piece of literature and it is his most
important as an ethical, sociological and political study."--_New York
Tribune_.



                                 JEREMY


The real beauty, tenderness and gaiety of childhood is an elusive
thing--too elusive often to be caught and pressed into words.  By some
magic of his own Hugh Walpole has made live again in Jeremy the
childhood that we all knew and that we turn back to with infinite
longing.

With affectionate humorousness, Mr. Walpole tells the story of Jeremy
and his two sisters, Helen and Mary Cole, who grow up in Polchester, a
quiet English Cathedral town.  There is the Jam-pot, who is the nurse;
Hamlet, the stray dog; Uncle Samuel, who paints pictures and is
altogether "queer"; of course, Mr. and Mrs. Cole, and Aunt Amy.

Mr. Walpole has given his narrative a rare double appeal, for it not
only recreates for the adult the illusion of his own happiest youth, but
it unfolds for the child-reader a genuine and moving experience with
real people and pleasant things. No child will fail to love the birthday
in the Cole household, the joyous departure for the sea and the country
in the long vacation.


"A story of the most human elements, tender, witty, penetrating in a
breath.  It is the study of one year in a boy’s life....  Mr. Walpole
goes straight to the heart of the child for his inspiration, and never
strays outside the narrow limits of a child’s experience.  It is ’the
real thing,’ wonderfully remembered, and most sympathetically and
unaffectedly recorded."--_Daily Telegraph_.



                            THE DARK FOREST


Out of Russia, where Hugh Walpole had been serving with the Russian Red
Cross, came this strange, wonderful, exotic book, containing an
inexplicable treasure of beauty,--the glamour of the Russian forest, the
scent of blossoming orchards, the wistful heroism of young Russian
soldiers.  _The Dark Forest_ would be an astonishing performance if only
in this--that Walpole has conceived and written a _Russian novel in
English_.  But there are scenes that are the most vividly realized
moments of which Walpole has ever written.  Scenes which the
_Westminster Gazette_ calls "the equal of the most dramatic passages in
English fiction."  Mystical, poetical, spiritual, the theme of _The Dark
Forest_ is the triumph of the soul over death.  One may read in it an
allegory of the soul of Russia.


"To say that this book is remarkable is only to lay hold on a convenient
word as expressive of at least a part of the sensation the story
produces. Here is a book for which many of us have dimly waited; a book
that transcends the outer facts and reveals the inner significance of
war.  _The Dark Forest_ is a love story of unusual beauty, as well as a
story of war.  Who, having read it, will forget this book; at once awful
and beautiful?  It must be read, for neither quotation nor description
is capable of giving more than a bare hint of the nobleness, the
intensity of this work of art so deeply rooted in reality."--_New York
Times_.

"Of all the novels that have come out of European battlefields there is
probably none of such scope, such penetrating analysis and such
completely spiritual quality as Hugh Walpole’s _Dark Forest_. It is many
novels in one....  It is instinct with the sense of spiritual adventure.
It is young, finely emotional, stamped with the consciousness of beauty
and infinity, of heroism and horror, love of life and the vision of
death."--_Eleanore Kellogg, in The Chicago Evening Post_.

"At last there issues a novel with qualities of greatness and the
promise of endurance.  Hugh Walpole’s _Dark Forest_ should, indeed, as a
work of literary art, easily survive the terror and the turmoil."--_New
York World_.

"Dostoievsky compressed within a few pages.  A remarkable book
indeed--beyond doubt the most notable novel inspired by the war."--_New
York Tribune_.

"_The Dark Forest_ is the first fine story product of a high order of
creative art we have had from the European war."--_Boston Herald_.

"The very spirit of Russia is here.  This is unusual.  Walpole appears
to have become gifted in a few months with the true Russian literary
method. Its magic is his."--_Boston Transcript_.

"It is a story of sustained power; tragic import and impress, and
careless disregard of western conventions.  The rapt mysticism and
unselfish devotion of the heroine; the downright, uncompromising
materialism of her Russian lovers; the pathetic appeal of Trenchard’s
loyalty, and the situation finally developed by the heroine’s untimely
taking off--these, in connection with the continually recurring episodes
of grim war, afford large opportunity for originality of treatment and
characteristic, forceful dramatism."--_Philadelphia North American_.

"Such a novel needed the war for its background. It needed the war for
its origin.  It could only have been planned on the battle line.  It
could be written for and appreciated by only such an audience as has
been prepared by the melancholy of catastrophe.  War’s blood is in it,
war’s nerves and sinews.  It is the very soul, upheaved, bereft, of war.
It is the one great romance that has come from a world of armies."--_New
York Evening Sun_.

"_The Dark Forest_ is a novel of extraordinary beauty and power....  It
is a work of art, unqualifiedly a great book."--_Review of Reviews_.

"Hugh Walpole’s _The Dark Forest_ is the best story yet written about
the war that we have read."--_New York Globe_.



                            THE GREEN MIRROR


The title of _The Green Mirror_ is symbolic. In the drawing-room of the
London house of the Trenchards, not far from Westminster Abbey, it
represented the past and the present of a great and typical English
family.

"Above the wide stone fireplace was a large old gold mirror, a mirror
that took into its expanse the whole of the room, so that, standing
before it, with your back to the door, you could see everything that
happened behind you.  The mirror was old, and gave to the view that it
embraced some comfortable touch, so that everything within it was soft
and still and at rest."  Henry Trenchard, gazing into it, saw "the
reflection of the room, the green walls, the green carpet, the old faded
green place, like moss covering dead ground.  Soft, dark, damp.... The
people, his family, his many, many relations, his world, he thought,
were all inside the mirror--all imbedded in that green, soft, silent
inclosure.  He saw, stretching from one end of England to the other, in
all provincial towns, in neat little houses with neat little gardens, in
cathedral cities with their sequestered closes, in villages with the
deep green lanes leading up to the rectory gardens, in old country
places by the sea, all these people happily, peacefully sunk up to their
very necks in the green moss....  His own family passed before him.  His
grandfather, his great-aunt Sarah, his mother and his father, Aunt Aggie
and Aunt Betty, Uncle Tim, Millicent, Katherine."

Katherine embodied the spirit of revolt from the tyranny of family.
When Philip Mark, a young Englishman, who has spent the greater part of
his life in Russia, and whose experiences have made him more Russian
than English, comes wooing in tempestuous fashion, she throws off the
yoke of her family and chooses for herself.  It is when the ties of
family are about to be shattered that Henry Trenchard, in a fit of
passion, flings a book at Mark, the invader, who has shaken Katherine’s
faith in the family, and, instead of hitting Mark, demolishes the
mirror.  "There was a tinkle of falling glass, and instantly the whole
room seemed to tumble into pieces, the old walls, the old prints and
water colors, the green carpet, the solemn bookcases, the large
armchairs--and with the room the house, Westminster, Garth, Glebeshire,
Trenchard and Trenchard traditions--all represented now by splinters and
fragments of glass."


"_The Green Mirror_, the second in the series of the _Rising City_
series, which was opened by _The Duchess of Wrexe_, is not only quite
individual in style but the story is told with a most vivid sense of
that which the realists are supposed to lack--form. But there is no
sacrifice of truth to it.  The psychology of the characters rings true.
The reaction of an unimaginative, sober, righteous family to a
prospective son-in-law has seldom been better done.  The story will add
to Mr. Walpole’s reputation and will not at all suffer from the fact
that it was written before the war, as his overmodest preface might
indicate that he fears."--_Chicago Evening Post_.

"Henry James once said of the author that he was ’saturated’ with youth,
and in this story Walpole idealizes the triumph of the youth of the new
generation that breaks the cords that bind it to the old and starts out
for itself--a careful, coherent and brilliant study."--_St. Louis
Globe-Democrat_.

"This is a splendid study, the love story is charming and altogether the
book is an exceptionally good piece of work."--_The New York Tribune_.

"In _The Green Mirror_ Hugh Walpole shows his masterly skill in building
up a really dramatic novel out of plot material that is almost without
action. His crises are always crises of feeling and no one equals Mr.
Walpole in his analysis of the feeling of his characters and his
exposition of their motives, development and change."--_Cincinnati
Enquirer_.

"_The Green Mirror_ will serve further to intensify the belief that Mr.
Walpole is one of the great novelists of the time.  The reviewer does
not hesitate to proclaim the conviction that he will be the greatest
novelist of his generation who uses English as the medium of his
expression."--_Providence Journal_.

"Mr. Walpole has written a most unusual story and has handled it in an
exceedingly capable manner.  His plot is so out of the ordinary and is
so well worked out that _The Green Mirror_ may well be classed as an
exceptional novel and as such is likely to rank high among the fiction
of the present years."--_Brooklyn Daily Eagle_.

"As a picture of contemporary life, the novel contains some elements
that are as fundamental as those which make Dickens characters of old
London real flesh and blood to readers of today.  As a study in motives
animating society the book is worthy the best traditions of English
literature. _The Green Mirror_ is a distinct contribution to
literature."--_Detroit News Tribune_.

"_The Green Mirror_ has not one touch of aniline in all its warm colors,
rich presences and faithful portraiture.  It is a fine novel, grappling
bravely with the great ironies of mother-love."--_New Republic_.

"In the development and disclosure of the essential and incidental
scenes of the domestic embroilment following upon disclosure of the
central situation Walpole vindicates his title to the primacy in the
ranks of British fictionists who have undertaken to represent
imaginatively the source, spirit and outcome of insularity translated in
terms of selfishness and family pride.  It is life transcribed as
inexorable and fatalistic as _Fortitude_ and _Duchess of
Wrexe_."--_Philadelphia North American_.



                               FORTITUDE


The novel which first introduced Walpole to America was _Fortitude_,
that most beautiful, most strong story of a man’s fight against heredity
and circumstance for mastery over himself.  The theme of the book lies
in a saying of the Cornish fisherman, old Frosted Moses: "’Tisn’t life
that matters, but the courage you bring to it."

Peter Westcott, son of the black and sullen generations of Scaw House,
heard Frosted Moses say that, as he, a tiny little boy, crouched in a
chimney corner at the old inn and heard the sages talk of ancient
Cornish legends, and of the glory of the great world without.  So did he
imbibe a spirit of adventure which he never lost.

He left Scaw House and his gloomy father, fought his way through school,
through the welter of a London boarding-house, through poverty and
failure to success as a novelist.  But his struggle and his success were
not the poor desire for petty fame which many conventional heroes of
fiction regard as struggle.  What he desired in life was fortitude, not
headlines; the power to face failure as well as the ability to become
known.  The spirit of adventure, humanity, these ever stirred him, and
he lost neither in becoming a victor.

Of the woman who loved Peter and the woman whom Peter loved, Walpole
makes a magnificent love story.  There were many hours of dramatic
misunderstanding in the passion that sprang up between the solid,
broad-shouldered Peter, with his quiet desire to write and be friendly
toward all sorts of people, and Clare, the slender, nervous, gay,
red-haired girl who had always been protected.  But there was a great
and beautiful wonder of passion as well; and the happiness of the little
London house to which they returned from the honeymoon is not to be
forgotten.

And throughout there are very many people who are not to be
forgotten--Stephen, the Cornishman, huge and bearded and bewildered and
inarticulate, loving the youngster Peter and the girl he could not have,
tramping the hard white roads of England, an outcast for love; Zanti,
the "foreigner," always a-quiver with babbling excitement over some new
adventure on whose trail he was following; quiet Norah, untidy and pale,
yet burning with a love which gave back his fortitude to Peter when it
seemed lost; Cardillac, the elegant; Galleon, the great novelist; the
kiddies who adored big Peter; Peter’s own son, whom he so terribly
loved.

It is a marvellous gallery, and more marvellous, even, is the gallery of
scenes, not painted in long and laborious descriptions, but in quick
snatches, which show the fact that Walpole watches sky and wind and tree
as does no other novelist.

Do you not come from the heart of dusty country back to the sea again as
you read this?  If you do not, then you do not love the sea, whose very
breath is here in this description from _Fortitude_:

"They were at the top of the hill now.  The sea broke upon them with an
instant menacing roar. Between them and this violence there was now only
moorland, rough with gorse bushes, uneven with little pits of sand,
scented with sea pinks, with stony tracks here and there where the
moonlight touched it."

Put this with the first lines in _Maradick at Forty_ and you have a
whole seaside holiday:

"The gray twilight gives to the long, pale stretches of sand the sense
of something strangely unreal.  As far as the eye can reach, it curves
out into the mist, the last vanishing garments of some fleeing ghost.
The sea comes smoothly, quite silently, over the breast of it; there is
a trembling whisper as it catches the highest stretch of sand and drags
it for a moment down the slope; then, with a little sigh, creeps back
again a defeated lover."

Or, if you will have the soul of the gay city, here it is in a quotation
from _Fortitude_:

"The street stirred with the pattering of dogs out for an airing.  The
light slid down the sky--voices rang in the clear air softly as though
the dying day besought them to be tender.  The colours of the shops, of
the green trees, of slim and beautifully dressed houses, were powdered
with gold-dust; the church in Sloane Square began to ring its bells."

But it is not so much beautiful imagery, not so much interesting people,
that distinguish _Fortitude_ and make it a great-hearted book, as the
courage for life, the demand for fortitude.


"_Fortitude_ is a book in which the writer has put much passionate
intensity of thought and conviction. It has no faults of insincerity,
weakness, nor poverty of mind or heart.  It is fascinating.  It is the
expression of a born writer.  One reads it all. There is humor, there is
generosity; as of some big man overflowing with ideas.  There is a noble
spirit in the book that blows fresh upon one, like a wind from the sea.
The wind may have blown through desperate places and seen bitter things,
but it is clean and bracing, and one is glad of it."--_Hildegarde
Hawthorne In The New York Times_.

"_Fortitude_ is a story that one will like to linger over after it is
read.  It is reminiscent of Thackeray at his best, mellowed with the
charity of well-proportioned truth."--_New York American_.

"_Fortitude_ is impressive.  Its revelations of life strike deeply into
those springs of youth from which are filled the wells of
manhood."--_The New York World_.

"This novel is a genuine performance.  All is worked out in the finest
detail, like the careful etching of a great, stone-made
cathedral."--_The Chicago Evening Post_.

"Hugh Walpole is a literary force to be reckoned with.  He knows life;
he is not afraid to depict it.  He can be sympathetic without being
sentimental.  He is afraid neither of pleasure nor pain--nor of seeming
to fear the conventionalities.  He has the true idea of romance.  He
knows that the enchanted land of adventure may be found in a London
boarding house as surely as on stormy seas or in deep hidden gold mines.
He knows that man’s fiercest battles seldom are fought to the
accompaniment of cannon.  He knows that loneliness is one of the
hardest, one of the most universal of humanity’s tests and sorrows.
_Fortitude_ is a book to read more than once, to ponder.  Instinct with
life and vigor, lovers of sentiment, fighting, psychology, romance,
realism, each will find it worth while."--_The Chicago Record-Herald_.

"_Fortitude_ is a book of splendid strength and significance.  It is
done with much care for workmanship and with a large understanding of
the meaning of life, so proving doubly worth while.... Throughout the
book is marked by a penetrating knowledge of humanity, so that it brings
one continually into touch with real people and real human
crises."--_The Continent_.

"Mr. Hugh Walpole has the faculty of infusing vibrant life into his
characters in fiction, and in _Fortitude_ he presents one of the
strongest and best novels of the season."--_The Baltimore Sun_.

"The people here are as real as life.  The theme is big.  The movement
is controlled and steady, a leisurely movement, as stories that deal
with character rather than action must be.  The sketches of London, in
their whimsically personal note, make one think of Dickens in the same
field.  The whole is big in every sense.  One of the two or three or
maybe four novels of the year that will live to celebrate even a single
birthday."--_The Washington Evening Star_.

"There is not a dull page in the book.  Its people are real flesh and
blood beings, with courage, with love and with humor in their souls.
All of them are interesting, while the circumstances which surround them
in _Fortitude_ increase the delight of the many readers the book is
certain to achieve."--_The Boston Globe_.

"The book is full of thought.  Mr. Walpole has written a chapter of
life, pure and simple.  The reader cannot skip one page."--_The
Philadelphia Public Ledger_.

"Fortitude is a great book.  It marks the arrival of Hugh Walpole as a
novelist to be reckoned with. We will await further performance with an
anticipation like that with which we look forward to a new Five Towns
tale by Bennett."--_Norma Bright Carson in Book News Monthly_.

"One of the remarkable novels of the year.  This is a great book."--_The
San Francisco Chronicle_.

"This book of humor, romance, and realism is a pæan of youth and
strength and love, a valiant and bracing sermon."--_The Nashville
Tennessean_.



                          THE DUCHESS OF WREXE


Walpole’s constantly increasing perception of the breadth and dignity of
the world has given to _The Duchess of Wrexe: A Romantic Commentary_ a
spaciousness, a universality which make it apply to the big problems of
today wherever found--yet his ceaseless interest in human nature keep it
a pleasant tale to read, with a surge of power.

It is the story of the second generation’s struggle for freedom, for the
right to think and grow and love and form social circles as it wills,
against the tradition which commends them to do as tradition wills.  It
is the struggle which is identical all over the world, whether in London
or San Francisco, Paris or Peking.  It is the struggle which expresses
itself in feminism, in changing art, in growing rationalism of manner
and speech and thought.

The Duchess of Wrexe is the autocrat of the autocrats; the modern
cavalier; old, shriveled, feeble of body, but keen of eye as ever, with
her cynical wit and sophisticated manner unchanged, who until she is
dead will never give up her fight to keep the race of cavaliers ruling
the nation, to keep the despised race of ordinary people (especially the
_nouveau riche_) in their places.  From her darkened rooms, where she
sits in a great chair with grim china dragons on either side, she plots
against the spread of democracy shrewdly, ruthlessly, ceaselessly.

The spirit of the times is proving toe much for the Duchess.  But she
fights on.  However glad the reader may be of the defeat of all the
tyranny for which the Duchess stands, he cannot but be touched by her
plucky fight and the grim persistence of her cynical wit.

It may be mentioned that Walpole does not, like many writers, draw on
imagination entirely for his pictures of aristocracy and smart society.
Essential democrat though he is, Hugh Walpole is the cousin of the Earl
of Orford, the son of a bishop, and a descendant of the famous prime
minister, Sir Robert Walpole.


"_The Duchess of Wrexe_ is a wonderful piece of creative character
study.  There is a maturity, a sureness of touch in the book that marks
the man who knows just what he can do with his medium and does it
enthusiastically and well."--_Book News Monthly_.

"A definite and notable addition to English letters is made when a new
novel by Hugh Walpole is published.  His latest book, _The Duchess of
Wrexe_, deals on large elemental lines with the restless, changing
spirit of the time.  To the strange medley of modern life the novelist’s
powers of invention, description and characterization are highly
addressed.  His spirited and finished portrayal of one phase of the
changing social order exemplifies finely and naturally the picturesque
realism of new-century romance."--_Philadelphia North American_.

"_The Duchess of Wrexe_ stimulates thought and encourages reflection.
It contains a multitude of ideas and it also allows the reader to think
for himself.  It is energetic and vigorous without being truculent; it
sets forth social conditions without being polemic.  It is genuinely a
story, and it is at the same time a suggestive commentary on life.  _On
every page it dignifies the art of the novelist_.... With all his
subtlety, with all his restraint, with all his ingenuity in making it a
social study, Mr. Walpole has not made _The Duchess of Wrexe_ any the
less effective as a story.  It is a novel that entertains, that charms.
On a single page of it will be found more about mankind and life than is
discoverable in the entirety of many another novel.... He has lavished
upon it ideas, situations, events and characters sufficient for the
lifework of numerous other novelists."--_Boston Transcript_.

"Those who take Mr. Walpole’s work as a plain story will find it of
compelling interest.  Those who read its message complete will be
impressed by the sense of a great theme thoughtfully and powerfully
presented.  There is no flattery in the statement that this book is _one
of the really great pieces of modern fiction_."--_New York World_.

"All the grim, unyielding pride of race of England’s old autocracy is
made incarnate in the personality of one aged woman, the ever-dominating
title-character in this admirable study of changing social orders.  It
is a heroic picture that the author paints of this grim old head of the
house of Beaminster.  She stands out supreme amid the pages, one of the
most notable figures put into a book in a long time."--_Philadelphia
Press_.

"Walpole has strengthened his claim to position by proving that he is
not a man of one book, for _The Duchess of Wrexe_ is without doubt one
of the big novels of the year.  It is a novel of extreme
significance."--_Samuel Abbott in The Boston Post_.



                          THE GOLDEN SCARECROW


"If you love enough we are with you everywhere--forever"--that is the
word of the little children that stupid people call "dead."  Always
here, playing in the room they loved.  Such is the end of _The Golden
Scarecrow_, the most original book by the author of _Fortitude_.  It is
the story of a dozen children living about a spacious old square, a
square filled with leisure and the sound of leaves, in the heart of
London.  The son of a duke is one, and one the forlornly playing child
of a housekeeper who drank and was untidy, but their lives were all
bound together by the Friend--who is the Friend of Stevenson’s
child-verses--who in dangerous or unhappy moments comes to children and
with his great warm arm guides them....  There is a wonderful
fancifulness in _The Golden Scarecrow_, a mellow and gentle beauty; and
a really remarkable ability to enter into the children’s own world,
where carpets are vast moors, and the fire whispers secrets, and the
lashing out of a whip of wind suggests things vast and secret and
perilous.  Mr. Walpole has "loved enough"; has so loved children and the
little land of the imagination that he has put into this book the
quality which can never be quite plumbed--tenderness.  And it is not the
awkward tenderness of the person not born to write; but graceful and
perfect and winning as a Greek vase.


"The fact that childhood is not a mere prelude to adult life but worth
while for its own sake has seldom been more beautifully
expressed."--_Chicago Evening Post_.

"Few adults preserve their line of communication with that world of
fancy so real to children. But when one of rare fancy visualizes it a
chord of kinship is struck; memory rolls back the years, and the heart
responds.  Barrie did it in _The Little White Bird_.  Hugh Walpole joins
him with _The Golden Scarecrow_."--_Boston Herald_.

"Only those readers of Mr. Walpole’s novels who have missed any real
sense of them will be surprised by this singularly attractive series of
sketches.  There is an infinite pathos and a quite exquisite charm in
the first sketch, the one which suggests the spirit of them all....  It
cannot be too strongly insisted upon that in these child-studies there
is not a whiff of the pseudo-sentiment about childhood which in some
writings has reached the nauseating point.  Mr. Walpole simply has the
very rare gift of actually getting the child’s point of view, and we
always feel that he really understands what he is talking
about."--_Providence Journal_.

"In one sense it bears kinship to Barrie’s _Peter Pan_ and Maeterlink’s
_Blue Bird_, for although it is unlike either of these fairy tales in
material and treatment, it is related to them in that it recreates for
older readers the magical world of the imagination that plays so large a
part in the lives of little folk.  Mr. Walpole writes with charm and
tenderness."--_Philadelphia Press_.

"It is as beautiful as it is unusual--a wonderfully sympathetic and
illuminating study of the mind of the child done with an understanding
and sympathy so complete that it is uncanny."--_New York Evening Mail_.



                            THE WOODEN HORSE


With hesitation one approaches the first novel of an author whose growth
has been so steady as that of Walpole.  It is therefore a double delight
to find _The Wooden Horse_ a thoroughly good story.  Indeed, it has in
it certain qualities which should, as Walpole’s work becomes more and
more known in mass, be one of his most popular.  For it is filled with
the youth’s first joy of expression; its excitement about life and its
yearning for strange new roads.

_The Wooden Horse_ is the story of the Trojans, a family which accepted
as tranquilly as did the Duchess of Wrexe the belief that they were the
people for whom the world was created.  But when Harry Trojan came home
after twenty years in New Zealand, with the democracy learned by working
his hands, he was the "wooden horse" who boldly carried into the Trojan
walls a whole army of alien ideals, which made of that egotistic family
a group of human beings content to be human.

Interesting are his struggles against stubborn prejudice; dreamlike the
pictures of the old Trojan house, rising from the edge of the gray
Cornish cliff like an older cliff, yet surrounded by fragrant rose
gardens; but what most distinguishes _The Wooden Horse_ is its
passionate adoration of the sea, the cliffs, the weather-worn old
Cornish houses, where bearded men tell of haunted moors and the winds of
the deep.


"Reading this story after reading his later ones will not prove the
disappointment that such a procedure usually is.  Here are no signs of
faults outgrown, no weaknesses that will hurt the lover of Walpole’s
later works--by which statement we do not wish to be taken as denying
that he has developed.  Mr. Walpole is a realist with a wide angle
vision to whom not only the littered and close ways of short-sighted and
selfish men are real, but to whom the large species of nature and her
healing quiet are just as real.  He sees life steadily and sees it
whole--yet keeps his temper and his hopes."--Llwellyn Jones in _The
Chicago Evening Post_.

"Nowhere has Walpole shown a greater grip upon life’s realities, a
stronger appreciation of the elusiveness of man-made conventionalities
and a better artistic sense of the dramatic value of contrasts. In
describing the subtle changes brought about in the family circle by the
presence of one outside influence, Walpole has displayed much skill and
literary power.  There are no long disquisitions, no democratic
preachments, but his dramatic personæ, when brought face to face with
new situations, are moved to action according to their light.  This is
one of the very best novels from the pen of Mr. Walpole, and that is
saying much."--_Philadelphia Public Ledger_.

"A most notable piece of artistry.  In Harry Trojan, the ’unrepentant
prodigal,’ Mr. Walpole has given us a splendid vigorous personality
whose acquaintance is a delight to readers wearied by heroes of the type
of Harry’s semidecadent son.  The picture of the Trojan family is one
which for vividness could scarcely be surpassed.  And, indeed, Mr.
Walpole has scarcely written anything more excellent than the account of
the dying of Sir Jeremy Trojan--’I am going, but I don’t regret
anything--your sins are experience--and the greatest sin of all is not
having any.’  That, in a sense, is the motto of the book.  _The Wooden
Horse_ is one of the few novels which not only may be read, but must be
read by the discriminating reader."--_Providence Journal_.

"If one wishes to read a good story without being preached at, he can do
no better than read _The Wooden Horse_.  The story catches the
atmosphere of the Cornish coast, and you have the feel of the salt spray
in your nostrils as you read."--_Indianapolis News_.

"As delicate a piece of work as any modern novelist has attempted and
superlatively well done."--_Lexington Kentucky Herald_.



                        THE GODS AND MR. PERRIN


Hugh Walpole spent some time as a master at an English provincial
school, and consequently he has been able to put into _The Gods and Mr.
Perrin_ quite all the atmosphere of a school where the system, the
confinement, the routine of petty tasks get on everyone’s nerves and
turn a group of human beings into strange hybrids that are at once
machines and animals with raw nerves sticking out all over them.
Whoever has--whether in the confinement of a school or an unhappy office
or a jarring household--been smothered by the atmosphere of some set of
human beings, will find himself in this book, and rejoice with Perrin’s
fight to break free.

_The Gods and Mr. Perrin_ finds Mr. Perrin coming back to the
workhouse-like school for boys at the beginning of term-time, determined
to be kind this year.  But the drudgery, the smell of cold mutton and
chalk, the endless succession of frightened boys, the smug ironies of
the reverend head-master, get on his nerves, and then the Cat of Cruelty
begins to whisper at his ear and suggest that it would be pleasant to
twist one boy’s ear and cuff another.

He bursts out, at last, gloriously, and at a solemn gathering of the
school for the awarding of prizes, tells what he really thinks of the
hypocritical headmaster and the drab futility of the whole school.
Uncompromisingly, unflinchingly, Walpole has painted that school as it
is.  His picture should be enough to make any head-master who still
believes in education by repression go off and commit suicide.  It
should be enough to make any man who is yearly growing more choked, more
afraid of life, more smothered in a stuffy environment, rebel and fight
his way out of that kingdom of dullness, cost what it may.

But because of that very spirit of revolt, _The Gods and Mr. Perrin_ is
not a drably disagreeable novel which will frighten off soft-minded
readers.


"Marked by technical excellence, insight, imagination, and
beauty--Walpole at his best."--_San Francisco Bulletin_.

"The psychological crisis in the life of a schoolmaster, uncouth,
unhappy and unloved, is keenly analyzed by the hand of a master.  The
hysteria that attacks the faculty of a boys’ school at examination time
has never been so well described as in the moving chronicle of the
’Battle of the Umbrella’ which proves that Mr. Walpole has the crowning
gift of humor."--_The Independent_.



                        THE PRELUDE TO ADVENTURE


So excellent is the versatility of Hugh Walpole that this writer of
dignified and realistic and always beautiful pictures of life has among
his books one with all the tension and strange plot of a Poe
masterpiece--_The Prelude to Adventure_.  It starts with a murder.  Dune
the silent, the cleverest yet laziest and most snobbish man in his class
at Cambridge, has struck down a red-faced, silly, ignoble, beast of an
undergraduate who has been boasting of his conquest over a poor little
shopgirl.  He did not mean to do murder, but there lay the man dead,
where the gray Druids’ Wood dripped with rain and gray twilight.

He calmly went back to his rooms and kept silent. What happened is so
filled with suspense that, very real and human though it is, the plot
comes to have all the unexpectedness of the cleverest detective story.
And Dune’s vision of God, as a great gray spirit standing gigantic there
on the campus, waiting, waiting, is a revelation in spiritual motives.
Dune’s love story, too, is fascinating--and his victory.

Suspense--color of life--love--fear--triumph--they all mingle in an
atmosphere as effective as the Cornish sea.

"A powerful novel of Cambridge life, or rather the story of a Cambridge
student with the university sketched in with rapid and sure strokes as a
place through which Dune’s tragic and lonely figure moves.  The
sentiment is lofty and manly--Hugh Walpole walks with a sure and firm
tread toward a definite goal."--_The Independent_.



                           MARADICK AT FORTY


The theme of _Maradick at Forty_ again gets into the life of every man
and every woman; a theme equally timely in 1000 B.C., 1000 A.D. and
10000 A.D.--the question of what is to be done when a man wakes up to
find himself getting almost old, with life slipping from him to the next
generation.  One may smile at the white slave terror, and be quite
selfish as regards educational movements, but one cannot smile away the
progress of one’s self from the forties into the fifties.

Maradick, strong, large, well-bred, a capable stock broker, awakes at
forty to find that life has eluded him.  He has married respectably--his
fussy little wife does not love him.  His children are dutiful--they are
not admiring.  His business is safe--it is not absorbing.

While spending the summer at the "Man at Arms," that marvelous dark old
inn with unexpected bits of gardens and tower rooms rambling over the
Cornwall cliffs and fronting a vast sweep of sea and sky, he meets with
a young man to whom life and poetry are real, to whom women and seas are
"bully! marvelous!"  The youngster’s youth stirs Maradick to demand that
he no longer be taken for granted by wife and children and business--and
life!  He plunges into a spiritual adventure which is the Adventure of
Everyman.



                       THE NOVELS OF HUGH WALPOLE


THE SECRET CITY
THE DARK FOREST
JEREMY
THE GOLDEN SCARECROW
THE GREEN MIRROR
THE DUCHESS OF WREXE
FORTITUDE
THE PRELUDE TO ADVENTURE
MARADICK AT FORTY
THE GODS AND MR. PERRIN
THE WOODEN HORSE


GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY, _Publishers_
244 Madison Avenue NEW YORK





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