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Title: Archibald Marshall, a Realistic Novelist
Author: Phelps, William Lyon
Language: English
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                          ARCHIBALD MARSHALL

                        _A Realistic Novelist_


                          WILLIAM LYON PHELPS

            Lampson Professor of English Literature at Yale

                           WITH FRONTISPIECE


                               NEW YORK
                        DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY

                          COPYRIGHT, 1918, BY
                     DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY, INC.

                       THE DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
                       THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

                         TWO CREATIVE ARTISTS

                      THE NOVELIST ROBERT HERRICK
                     THE POET WILLIAM VAUGHN MOODY


The original form of this book was a lecture on the William Vaughn
Moody foundation at the University of Chicago, delivered on the sixth
of February, 1918. A portion of it was subsequently printed in the
_North American Review_. It now appears considerably revised and

                                                               W. L. P.

  _Yale University,
  Tuesday, 21 May, 1918._


On a mellow day in the early autumn of the year 1900, I sat on an old
wooden bench in the open air with an English gentleman, and listened
to his conversation with a mixture of curiosity and reverence. The
place was one of the fairest counties of England, the town on the other
side of a screen of trees was Dorchester, and my seat-mate was Thomas
Hardy. I remember his saying without any additional emphasis than the
weight of the words, that the basis of every novel should be a story.
In considering this remark, which came, not from a doctrinaire, but
from a master of long and triumphant experience, I could not help
thinking that what seems axiomatic is often belied by a majority of
instances. Thus, we church-members would agree that religion must take
the first place in our lives; yet a disinterested observer, who should
begin at the other end of the proposition and examine our lives merely
to discover what actually did take the first place therein, might
conceivably miss the element of religion altogether. In the same way,
while it would theoretically seem that every novel must be a story, an
honest critic who should examine the total product of prose fiction for
any given year in the twentieth century, might, in a large number of
cases, easily fail to find any story at all.

As we look back over the history of the English novel, it would appear
that every permanent work of fiction has been a great story. _Robinson
Crusoe_, _Clarissa_, _Tom Jones_, _Humphry Clinker_, _The Bride of
Lammermoor_, _Pride and Prejudice_, _Esmond_, _David Copperfield_, _The
Mill on the Floss_, _Richard Feverel_, _The Return of the Native_,
_Treasure Island_, _The Last of the Mohicans_, _The Scarlet Letter_,
_Huckleberry Finn_, although they represent various shades of realism
and romanticism, have all been primarily stories, in which we follow
the fortunes of the chief actors with steady interest. These books owe
their supremacy in fiction--at least, most of them do--to a combination
of narrative, character, and style; every one of them, if given in
colloquial paraphrase to a group of men around a camp-fire, would be
rewarded with attention.

Sometimes the very thing that gives a drama or a novel immediate
currency makes it smell of mortality; by taking advantage of some
hotly-discussed social question, general interest is awakened; but when
the question is obsolete, what becomes of the work of art? I shall not
venture to make a prediction; but I think it is at least possible that
some of the earlier plays of Ibsen, like _The Pretenders_, may outlast
some of the later ones, like _Ghosts_; the later ones blaze with the
flames of public debate, the earlier reflect the light of the stars.

Of all forms of literature, the novel has suffered most by its
desertion of art for propaganda. It has been debased by its popularity.
It lends itself so easily as a channel for political, social or
religious oratory. Every theorist uses it as a megaphone. Although
novels are as common as grasshoppers, good stories are scarce. Now
this desertion of art for propaganda is founded on the fallacy that
a work of pure fiction cannot stand or ought not to stand by itself,
but should lean on politics, social reform, science, or theology for
support. We do not insist on a thesis in sculpture or music or painting
or poetry. There have been, indeed, many attempts to turn Pegasus into
a cart-horse; and unfortunately the attempt is almost invariably

I prefer novels that express the opinions of the characters in the
story to those that express the opinions of the author. I do not mean
that all novels ought to be impersonal; such a result, even when most
ardently desired by the novelist, is impossible of achievement. The
work of every true artist reflects his personality, and is, in a sense,
subjective. Even the coldest novels betray their makers' sympathies,
and the standpoint from which they regard the world. But there is a
difference between having ideas and arguing a case. Women who have
ideas are always more interesting than those who have only opinions.

Why is it that so many novelists write their best books early in their
careers? Is it not sometimes because the original impelling artistic
impulse becomes dulled in contact with society, and thoughts take the
place of thought? The thorns of this world spring up and choke them. It
is by no accident that _The Mill on the Floss_ is a greater novel than
_Daniel Deronda_.

The most enduring novels come from the silent depths in a writer's
soul, not from the turbulent shallows. To live deeply is easier in a
country where deep living has been done for centuries than in a country
whose human history is brief. If we should really feel chagrined
by America's native contribution to literature in comparison with
that of Europe, we might justifiably console ourselves by comparing
America with Australia. Surely one reason why the British today write
novels rather better than the Americans, is because their roots go
down deeper into the rich soil of the past. Men of genius are scarce
in any locality, and I am not at this moment thinking of them; but I
am constantly surprised at the large number of contemporary novels
produced in Great Britain whose literary style bears the unmistakable
stamp of distinction. There are leaders, whose names are known
everywhere; there are men and women who might conceivably be leaders if
they lived out of Europe. The best reason why many admirable twentieth
century works of prose fiction in England fail to attract general
attention is because the level of excellence is so high.


H. G. Wells is not the hero of this book. I am holding my roses for a
figure that has not yet appeared upon my little stage. But the career
of Mr. Wells, whose novels have almost every quality except charm, is
interesting to contemplate. That he is a born novelist was clear to me
so early as the year 1895, when one of his best stories appeared--_The
Wheels of Chance_. Not long after came the novels of science and
socialism that carried his name around the world; he was discussed
in the salons of Paris and in the prisons of Siberia. His books were
all busy, noisy, talkative, restless; they reflected in their almost
truculent mental aggressiveness the mass of undigested and indigestible
quasi-scientific fodder that perhaps disturbs more than it nourishes
the twentieth century stomach; they made many readers fondly believe
they were living the intellectual life. I mistakenly supposed he would
keep up this squirrel-cage activity to the end of his days; for I
mistakenly supposed in all this clatter he was incapable of hearing the
voice of the spirit. I used to think that if all the world suddenly
became religious except one man, that man would be H. G. Wells.

The war, which diverted the energies of so many quiet thinkers to
matters of immediate and practical efficiency, produced a rather
different effect upon this interesting man. He began to regard things
that are temporal in relation to those of eternal import. He became
converted--I have no hesitation in using the good old word--and while
I can see no evidence of conviction of sin, for humility is not his
most salient characteristic, he did come to believe and believes now,
that religion ought to be the motive power of man. What direction
his ideas may take in the future I cannot divine; but I am thankful
for his conversion, if only for the reason that it inspired him to
produce a masterpiece, _Mr. Britling Sees It Through_. This novel is
not only far and away his best book, it is the ablest work of fiction
about the war that I have read. But it owes its eminence not to its
accurate reporting of the course of social history during the war, for
after all, the much admired hockey-game is not much higher than major
journalism, but rather to the profound sense of spiritual values which
is the core of the book.

I regard it as unfortunate that Mr. Wells felt it necessary to follow
up the triumph of this tale with a treatise on theology called _God
the Invisible King_, and with a propagandist novel, called _The Soul
of a Bishop_. For the last-named book illustrates all the faults of
its species, as well as the cardinal sin against art. _Mr. Britling
Sees It Through_ is religious; _The Soul of a Bishop_ is sectarian. And
_God the Invisible King_, while it should be read with sympathy for its
author's sincerity and newly-found idealism, has all the arrogance and
cock-sureness of an old-fashioned theologian without the preliminary
years of devoted learning that gave the old-fashioned one some right
to a hearing, provided of course he could induce any one to listen to
him. No orthodox evangelist has ever been more sure of God than Mr.
Wells. The novel was properly named _Mr. Britling Sees It Through_; and
we might with equal propriety name the treatise, _Mr. Britling Sees
Through It_.

Strange and unfortunate that Mr. Wells should think that the religious
element in Mr. Britling needed additional emphasis. A work of art
founded on eternal verities will accomplish more for the cause
of religion than any tract. Solely from the moral point of view,
_Anna Karenina_ is a more impressive book than most of its author's
subsequent exhortations.

_The Soul of a Bishop_ is not a realistic novel, for there is no
real character in it. It is already on its way to limbo, along with
_Robert Elsmere_ and _The Inside of the Cup_. But it is an excellent
illustration of the fate that awaits an artist when he sacrifices the
truth of art for the enforcement of personal opinion. There was a time
when the excitement over the question of trades-unions produced by
_Put Yourself in His Place_ was at fever heat; but that novel today is
almost forgotten, while _The Cloister and the Hearth_ will be read by
generation after generation, simply because it is a great story.


In order to illustrate what I mean by a realistic novelist whose
happiest effects are gained by writing good stories with real
characters, I know of no better choice among contemporaries than
Archibald Marshall. He is an artist of such dignity and refinement
that only twice in his career has he written a novel that had for its
main purpose something other than truth to life; in each of these two
attempts the result was a failure.

I know how difficult it is to "recommend" novels to hungry readers,
for I have written prescriptions to alleviate many kinds of mental
trouble, yes, and physical ailments too; but how can I be sure that
the remedy will in every "case" be effective? I know that _Treasure
Island_ cured me of an attack of tonsillitis and that _Queed_ cured me
of acute indigestion; a United States naval officer informed me that
he recovered from jaundice simply by reading _Pride and Prejudice_.
These are facts; but what assurance have I that other sufferers can try
these prescriptions with reasonable hope? Yet I have no hesitancy in
recommending Archibald Marshall to any group of men or women or to any
individual of mature growth. One scholar of sixty years of age told
me that these novels had given him a quite new zest in life; and I
myself, who came upon them on one of the luckiest days of my existence,
confidently affirm the same judgment. Of the numerous persons that I
have induced to read these books, I have met with only one sceptic;
this was a shrewd, sharp-minded woman of eighty, who declared with
a hearty laugh that she found them insupportably tame. I understand
this hostility, for when girls reach the age of eighty, they demand

Those who are familiar with Mr. Marshall's work and life will easily
discover therein echoes of his own experience. He is an Englishman by
birth and descent, familiar with both town and country. He was born
on the sixth of September, 1866, and received in his home life and
preliminary training plenty of material which appeared later in the
novels. His father came from the city, like the father in _Abington
Abbey_; he himself was graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, like
the son of _Peter Binney_; it was intended but not destined that he
should follow his father's business career, and he worked in a city
office like the son of Armitage Brown; he went to Australia like
the hero's sister in _Many Junes_; he made three visits to America,
but fortunately has not yet written an American novel; he studied
theology with the intention of becoming a clergyman in the Church of
England, like so many young men in his stories; in despair at finding a
publisher for his work, he became a publisher himself, and issued his
second novel, _The House of Merrilees_, which had as much success as
it deserved; he tried journalism before and during the war; he lived
in two small Sussex towns with literary associations, Winchelsea and
Rye, in the latter from 1908 to 1913; then until 1917 his home was in
Switzerland; he has now gone back to the scene of his university days,

In 1902 he was married and lived for some time in Beaulieu (pronounced
Bewly) in the New Forest, faithfully portrayed in _Exton Manor_. He
spent three happy years there planning and making a garden, like the
young man in _The Old Order Changeth_. Although his novels are filled
with hunting and shooting, he is not much of a sportsman himself,
being content only to observe. He loves the atmosphere of sport rather
than sport. His favourite recreations are walking, reading, painting,
and piano-playing, and the outdoor flavour of his books may in part be
accounted for by the fact that much of his writing is done in the open

Like many another successful man of letters, his first step was a
false start; for in 1899 he produced a novel called _Peter Binney,
Undergraduate_, which has never been republished in America, and
perhaps never will be. This is a topsy-turvy book, where an ignorant
father insists on entering Cambridge with his son; and after many weary
months of coaching, succeeds in getting his name on the books. The son
is a steady-headed, unassuming boy, immensely popular with his mates;
the father, determined to recapture his lost youth, disgraces his son
and the college by riotous living, and is finally expelled. The only
good things in the book are the excellent pictures of May Week and
some snap-shots at college customs; but the object of the author is so
evident and he has twisted reality so harshly in order to accomplish
it, that we have merely a work of distortion.

For six years our novelist remained silent; and he never returned to
the method of reversed dynamics until the year 1915, when he published
_Upsidonia_, another failure. Once again his purpose is all too
clear; possibly irritated by the exaltation of slum stories and the
depreciation of the characters of the well-to-do often insisted upon in
such works, he wrote a satire in the manner of _Erewhon_, and called
it a novel. Here poverty and dirt are regarded as the highest virtues,
and the possession of wealth looked upon as the sure and swift road
to social ostracism. There is not a gleam of the author's true skill
in this book, mainly because he is so bent on arguing his case that
exaggeration triumphs rather too grossly over verisimilitude. He is,
of course, trying to write nonsense; a mark that some authors have hit
with deliberate aim, while perhaps more have attained the same result
with less conscious intention. Now Mr. Marshall cannot write nonsense
even when he tries; and failure in such an effort is particularly
depressing. He is at his best when his art is restrained and delicate;
in _Upsidonia_ he drops the engraving-tool and wields a meat-axe. Let
us do with _Peter Binney_ and with _Upsidonia_ what every other reader
has done; let us try to forget them, remembering only that two failures
in fifteen books is not a high proportion.

Of the remaining thirteen novels, two attained only a partial success;
and the reason is interesting. These two are _The House of Merrilees_
and _Many Junes_ (1908). The former was written in 1901 but publishers
would none of it, and it did not wear a print dress until 1905.
Meanwhile the author was trying his hand at short stories, for which
his method of work is not particularly fitted, his skill being in the
development of character rather than in the manufacture of incident.
He did, however, publish a collection of these tales in one volume,
called _The Terrors_, which appeared in 1913, their previous separate
publication covering a period of sixteen years. They are amazingly
unequal in value; some are excellent, and others trivial. This volume
is out of print, and whether any of the contents may be rescued from
oblivion is at present problematical. It is interesting, however,
that he, at the outset of his career, supposed that invention, rather
than observation, was his trump card. The realism of _The House of
Merrilees_ is mixed with melodrama and mystery; these are, in the
work of a dignified artist, dangerous allies, greater liabilities than
assets. In a personal letter he confesses that this artificial plot
hampered him; but he goes on to say, "the range of scene and character
in that book is something that I have never been able to catch since."
He has since--with only one relapse--happily forsaken artificially
constructed mysteries for the deepest mystery of all--the human heart.
In _Many Junes_, a story that will be reprinted in America in 1919,
we have pictures of English country life of surpassing loveliness;
we have an episode as warm and as fleeting as June itself; we have a
faithful analysis of the soul of a strange and solitary man, damned
from his birth by lack of decision. But the crisis in the tale is
brought about by an accident so improbable that the reader refuses to
believe it. The moment our author forsakes reality he is lost; it is as
necessary for him to keep the truth as it was for Samson to keep his
hair. Furthermore, this is the only one of Mr. Marshall's books that
has a tragic close--and his art cannot flourish in tragedy, any more
than a native of the tropics can live in Lapland. The bleak air of lost
illusion and frustrated hope, in which the foremost living novelist,
appropriately named, finds his soul's best climate, is not favourable
to Archibald Marshall.

The "relapse" mentioned in the preceding paragraph occurred in the year
1912, when he published a long and wildly exciting novel, called _The
Mystery of Redmarsh Farm_. This has all the marks of a "best-seller"
and went through several editions in England, though it has not yet
been reprinted in America. I regard the writing of this book as the
most dangerous moment in Mr. Marshall's career, for its immediate
commercial success might easily have tempted him to continue in the
same vein, and if he had, he would have sunk to the level of a popular
entertainer, and lost his position among British novelists of the past
and present. Curiously enough, it came between two of his best works
in the Clinton series, _The Eldest Son_ (1911) and _The Honour of the
Clintons_ (1913). Maybe the chilling reception given to his finest
stories drove him to a cheaper style of composition. Maybe his long
second visit to Australia, where he saw and shared experiences quite
unlike his English environment, made him try his hand at mystery and
crime. In 1911 he had published _Sunny Australia_, the result of a
sojourn on that continent, whither he had gone as special commissioner
for the _Daily Mail_. There is a good deal of superficial cleverness in
_The Mystery of Redmarsh Farm_; its plot is elaborate, with a flavour
of _Lohengrin_; the beautiful lonely maiden's young brother is stolen
by a villain and rescued by a young hero who is appropriately named
Knightly; a misunderstanding separates the girl and her lover, who
sails away to Australia. Unlike Lohengrin, however, he returns, and
all is well. There is a conventional detective, and a murder trial and
a shipwreck and a recognition scene--I kept looking back to the title
page to see if the author really was Archibald Marshall. It is as
though Joseph Conrad should write like Marie Corelli. Yet although some
of the characters are unreal and the plot artificial and the villain
theatrical, the environment, whether in England or in Australia, is as
accurately painted as in Mr. Marshall's best stories. He will not write
of places that he has not seen. When the gypsies are found, they are
found in the New Forest; and any one who reads this yarn immediately
after _Sunny Australia_, will see that these distant scenes are
correctly described.


It was in the year 1906, and in the novel _Richard Baldock_, that he
revealed his power. This book, which will make its first American
appearance in the autumn of 1918, contains a story so absorbing that
it is only in the retrospect that one realizes the vitality of its
characters and the delicacy of its art. There are no heroes and no
villains. Every person has the taint that we all inherited from Adam,
and every person has some reflection of the grace of God. There is no
one who does not say something foolish or ill-considered; and there
is no one who does not say something wise. In other words there are
no types, like "heavies," "juveniles," and "ingenues." As is the case
in nearly all the novels by its author, we are constantly revising
our opinions of the characters; and we revise them, not because the
characters are untrue, but because we learn to know them better. Human
nature is consistent only in its inconsistency. It is forever fluid and
dynamic; and although no individual has ever understood another, and
least of all himself, increasing knowledge helps to make us certain of
our uncertainty. No man will play the part his friends have written
for him. One reason why Shakespeare was a first-rate and Jonson a
second-rate dramatist is because Jonson created humours and Shakespeare
created individuals. Among all Shakespeare's personages, Hamlet is the
most interesting to readers and the most baffling to commentators;
because the latter try to adjust him to a theory of madness, weak will,
or what not. Is not the fact that he has never been understood by any
one and never will be, the strongest proof of his reality? Some think
he lacked backbone; others insist he was all backbone; some think he
was mad; others that he only pretended to be mad; while America's
greatest Shakespearean scholar said he was neither mad nor pretended
to be. A young gentleman of Hamlet's copious temperament, placed as he
was amid natural and supernatural forces, might easily at times seem to
illustrate any one of the above appraisals. Indeed I suppose the sanest
and most resolute among us seem at times to lack either resolution or
sanity or both.

The more complex a character, the less dependable he is. And everybody
has some complexity. Even quiet Horatio, beloved of Hamlet for his
steady self-control, tried to commit suicide.

Every fine novel and every fine drama must of course illustrate the law
of causation--the principle of sufficient reason. But characters that
run in grooves are not human. In _Richard Baldock_, we have, as we so
often have in the work of Archibald Marshall, strife between father and
son--a kind of civil war. This war, like many others, is begotten of
misunderstanding. There is not only the inevitable divergence between
the older and the younger generation, there is the divergence between
two powerful individualities. We at first sympathize wholly with the
son. We say to ourselves that if any man is foolish enough to sacrifice
all his joy in life to a narrow creed, why, after all, that is his
affair; it is only when he attempts to impose this cheerless and barren
austerity on others, that we raise the flag of revolt. At the deathbed
of the young mother, one of the most memorable scenes in our author's
books, we are quite certain that we shall never forgive the inflexible
bigot; this hatred for him is nourished when he attempts to crush the
son as he did crush his wife. Yet, as the story develops, and we see
more deeply into the hearts of all the characters, we understand how
the chasm between father and son is finally crossed. It is crossed by
the only durable bridge in the world--the bridge of love, which beareth
all things.

Tolerance--when based not on indifference, but on sympathy--is tolerant
even of intolerance.


In 1907 appeared one of the most characteristic of Mr. Marshall's
novels, _Exton Manor_, which he began to write the day after he
finished _Richard Baldock_. It was naturally impossible for any
well-read reviewer to miss the likeness to Anthony Trollope. If
I believed in the transmigration of souls, I should believe that
Archibald Marshall was a reincarnation of Trollope, and William De
Morgan a reincarnation of Dickens. In an interesting preface written
for the American edition, Mr. Marshall manfully says that he has not
only tried to follow Anthony Trollope, "but the whole body of English
novelists of his date, who introduced you to a large number of people,
and left you with the feeling that you knew them all intimately, and
would have found yourself welcome in their society. That particular
note of intimacy seems to be lacking in the fiction of the present day,
and I should like to have it back."

This instantly raises the question of Victorianism, to some a
stumbling-block, to some foolishness. For my part, if I did not
believe that the best Victorian fiction was superior to contemporary
work, I should not be so hearty an admirer of Archibald Marshall.
Indeed the best Victorian novels surpass our best twentieth century
novels in the one respect where we chiefly plume ourselves on our
claim to attention--I mean in the matter of sincerity. We talk about
sincerity all the time, but we protest too much; the essence of
sincerity is present perhaps more often in art, as it is in life,
where its profession is least urgent. Henry James, in the fragment
of autobiography called _The Middle Years_, wisely though oracularly
remarked, "Phenomena may be interesting, thank goodness, without being
phenomena of elegant expression or of any other form of restless
smartness, and when once type is strong, when once it plays up from
deep sources, every show of its sincerity delivers us a message and
we hang, to real suspense, on its continuance of energy, on its again
and yet again consistently acquitting itself. So it keeps in tune,
and, as the French adage says, _c'est le ton qui fait la chanson_. The
mid-Victorian London was sincere--that was a vast virtue and a vast
appeal; the contemporary is sceptical, and most so when most plausible."

On a summer day in 1914, I had the pleasure of a ten-mile drive over
the hills with one of the wisest old men in America--Andrew D. White.
I remember his saying that one of the most fortunate things that could
happen to America would be a general ambition on the part of the more
educated classes to look forward as to a goal in life to making a
permanent home in the country. He said that in America men who make
a little money move into the city as soon as possible; whereas in
England, whenever a man makes a competence in the city he usually
establishes a home in the country. No one can read the novels of Mr.
Marshall without feeling that his books are so to speak based on this
ideal; he repeatedly insists that life in the country is the true life
for thoughtful men and women, and that the most delectable season for
the solid enjoyment of it is the winter. Nay, he takes the position--a
position also occupied by one of our ablest American novelists, Dorothy
Canfield--that the most favourable locality for studying human nature
is the small country village. He says, "Life in such a community as is
depicted in _Exton Manor_ is just as typical of English social habits
as it was in Trollope's day. The tendency of those who have hitherto
worked on the land to drift into the towns is not shared by the more
leisured classes. Their tendency is all the other way--to forsake the
towns for the country--and improved methods of communication keep
them more in touch with the world than they would have been fifty
years ago. But in spite of this increased dependency upon the outside
world, English country life is still intensely local in its personal
interests, and quite legitimately so, for it must be remembered that,
if the man who lives in a fairly populous country village comes across
fewer people than the man who lives in a town, he knows all about those
whom he does come across, and his acquaintances represent a far greater
variety of type and class than is met with where types and classes
tend to stratify. You have, in fact, in a typical country parish, a
microcosm of English social life, and there is, ready to the hand
of the realistic novelist, material from which he can draw as much
interest and variety as he is able to make use of."

In another important question which concerns the art of the novelist,
I might applaud Mr. Marshall's dictum more unreservedly if I did not
happen to know of a gigantic witness against him. In forestalling
gossipy identification of his leading characters in _Exton Manor_,
he says, "It is not a novelist's business to draw portraits, but to
create living figures, and the nearer he gets to the first the farther
off will he be from the second." This certainly sounds well; but
unfortunately for its universal application, practically all of the
characters in _Anna Karenina_ are accurate portraits.


To all those who have not yet read a single work by our author, I would
counsel them to begin with _The Squire's Daughter_, and then take
up--with particular care to preserve the correct sequence--_The Eldest
Son_, _The Honour of the Clintons_, _The Old Order Changeth_ [English
title, _Rank and Riches_]. These four stories deal with the family and
family affairs of the Clintons, and together with a separate book,
_The Greatest of These_ [English title, _Roding Rectory_], belong to
Mr. Marshall's best period, the years from 1909 to 1915. When I say
the best period, I mean the most fruitful up to the present moment in
1918. He is in the prime of life, and it is to be hoped that he may
yet surpass himself; but since 1915, perhaps owing to the obsession of
the war, he has not done so. _Watermeads_ (1916) is a charming story,
and in _Abington Abbey_ (1917), and its sequel, _The Graftons_ (1918),
he has introduced us to another interesting family; but neither of
these books reaches the level maintained by the Clinton tetralogy, nor
penetrates so deeply into the springs of life and conduct as his most
powerful work, _The Greatest of These_.

Mr. Marshall began _The Squire's Daughter_ as a long "short story,"
starting with what is now Chapter XII, _Food and Raiment_. He fell in
love with his characters, as many a novelist has done, and expanded
the narrative. Then he wrote _The Eldest Son_, which is the best of
the four books. Yet it was not a success in England, and at present
both _The Squire's Daughter_ and _The Eldest Son_ are out of print
in their home country; they are, however, having a daily-increasing
circulation in America, which is bound to resurrect them in Great
Britain. For that matter most of Mr. Marshall's novels are more widely
known and certainly more appreciated in the United States than in the
land of their nativity. In _The Honour of the Clintons_, the author's
intention was to "take up the old Squire, see what all his generations
of gentility and honour, and all his conviction that he is of superior
clay, amount to when he is touched with personal disgrace." He
discovered, as Dickens must have discovered in writing the _Pickwick
Papers_, that his hero turned out rather better than he thought he
would. This third book in the series was written under inspiration,
completed in six weeks, and at the time came almost as near satisfying
the author as it always has satisfied me. But a friend, with true
English candour, said to him, "All the ingredients of the cake are
there, but the cake hasn't risen." Anyhow, the Squire rose, whether the
cake did or not.

The final novel in the Clinton family, _The Old Order Changeth_, shows
the effect produced on both Rank and Riches by the Great War. Mr.
Marshall began this story with many misgivings, and it is still not one
of his favourites, chiefly because "there are so many beastly people in
it." But so long as I live it will hold a secure place in my heart, for
this is the first work of the author's that I saw. Indeed I had never
heard of him until I picked up _The Old Order Changeth_. I started
to read it with no conception of the keen delight in store; after
finishing it, I wrote to the publishers, "Who on earth is Archibald
Marshall? There is no one like him in the world. Send me everything he
has written." Since that moment of exaltation, I have read and reread
the Clinton books, and each time they seem better.

To read the Clinton stories is to be a welcome guest in a noble old
English country house, to meet and to associate on terms of happy
intimacy with delightful, well-bred, clear-minded men and women;
to share the outdoor life of healthful sport, and the pleasant
conversation around the open fire; to sharpen one's observation of
natural scenery in summer and in winter, and in this way to make a
permanent addition to one's mental resources; to learn the significance
of good manners, tact, modesty, kindly consideration, purity of
heart--not by wearisome precepts, but by their flower and fruit in
human action. To read these books is not to dodge life, it is to have
it more abundantly.

If, as Bacon said, a man dies as often as he loses his friends, then
he gains vitality by every additional friendship. To know the Clinton
family and their acquaintances is not merely to be let into the inner
circle of English country life, to discover for ourselves exactly what
sort of people English country folk are, to understand what family
tradition and ownership of the land mean to them--it is to enlarge
our own range of experience and to increase our own stock of genuine
happiness, by adding to our mental life true friends--and friends that
are always available. For often the friends of flesh and blood cannot
be reached when we need them most; perhaps they are asleep, or away on
a journey; but the staunch old friends introduced to us by novelists
never deny themselves. Is not this a fairly good reason why, among
all the novels we read, some at all events should be selected for the
immanent charm of their characters? I know how uncritical it is to
admire any work of art that possesses the element of cheerfulness; but
suppose our reading of novels were entirely confined to the works of
Maxim Gorki?

Why should we always select acquaintances in fiction that we always
avoid in real life? Is it the same instinct that makes so many persons
love to go slumming?

There is perhaps rather too strong a flavour of tea in these stories,
but that no doubt is a legitimate part of their realism. The sacred
rite of afternoon tea plays fully as big a part in English fiction
as it plays in English life. Tea--which would be an intolerable
interruption to business or to golf among normal Americans--is never
superfluous to the British. Among the hundreds of English novels that
you have read, can you recall a single instance where any character
_declined_ a cup of tea? And, in terrible crises or trivial vexations,
is not the following exclamation familiar--"I am dying for my tea!" I
sometimes think that if the house should be destroyed by fire at three
o'clock, half-past four would find the family taking tea on the lawn.
I remember, on a voyage to Alaska, a vigorous old English woman who
appeared on deck every day between four and five, and when she saw the
circulation of the china, a look of holy rapture dawned in her eyes,
and from her lips came an ecstatic cry, "Ah, is there tea going?" It
must be wonderful to love anything on earth so much as the English love
their tea.

Two months after writing the above paragraph, I received testimony
which delightfully supports the view expressed. An Englishman informs
me, that after the big sea-fight of Jutland, he had the privilege of
conversing with an English blue-jacket who was perched aloft during the
whole of that terrific experience. There he remained under orders, in
the thick of the battle, with the bolts of death flying all about him.
On being asked how he felt, the young man exclaimed with a tone of
regret, "Well, of course, I had to miss my tea."

Not since Fielding's Squire Western has there been a more vivid English
country squire than Mr. Marshall's Squire Clinton. The difference
between them is the difference between the eighteenth and the twentieth
centuries. He is the man of the house, the head of the family, and it
is not until we have read all four of the stories that we can obtain
a complete view of his character. He is a living, breathing man, and
we see the expression on his face, and hear the tones of his voice,
which his daughters imitate so irresistibly. With all his pride and
prejudice, with all his childish irritableness, he is the idol of the
household. His skull is as thick as English oak, but he has a heart
of gold. He is stupid, but never contemptible. And when the war with
Germany breaks out in 1914, he rises to a magnificent climax in the
altercation with Armitage Brown. We hear in his torrent of angry
eloquence not merely the voice of one man, but the combined voices of
all the generations that have developed him.

Yet while Mr. Marshall has made an outstanding and unforgettable figure
of the fox-hunting Squire, it is in the portrayal of the women of the
family that he shows his most delicate art. This is possibly because
his skill as an artist is reinforced by profound sympathy. The Squire
is so obtuse that it has never dawned upon his mind that his wife is a
thousand times cleverer than he, or that her daily repression has in
it anything savouring of tragedy. In the third book, _The Honour of
the Clintons_, intense and prolonged suffering begins to sharpen his
dull sight; and the scenes between the old pair are unspeakably tender
and beautiful. Mr. Marshall never preaches, never tries to adorn the
tale by pointing a moral. But the wild escapade of the daughter in the
first of these stories, and the insistence of the mother on a superior
education for the twins exhibit more clearly than any letter to the
_Times_ could do, what the author thinks about the difference between
the position women have held in English country homes and the position
they ought to have.

Of all his characters, perhaps those that the reader will remember
with the highest flood of happy recollection are the twins, Joan and
Nancy. In the first novel, this wonderful pair are aged thirteen; in
the second, they are fifteen; in the third, they are twenty-one. Mr.
Marshall is particularly skilful in the drawing of young girls; and
after one has read _Ann Veronica_, I can think of no better antidote
than these Clinton books. Whatever may be woman's place in the future,
whatever she may drink or smoke or wear or say or do, there is one
kind of girl that can never become unattractive; and the Clinton
twins illustrate that kind. They are healthy, modest, quick-witted,
affectionate, high-spirited; when they come in laughing and glowing
from a game of tennis, and take their places at the family tea-table,
they bring the breath of life into the room.

In _The Eldest Son_, which of the four delightful books dealing with
the Clinton family, I find most delightful, there is a suggestion of
the author's attitude toward humanity in the procession of candidates
for governess that passes before the penetrating eyes of Mrs. Clinton.
Her love for the old Starling--one of the most original of Mr.
Marshall's creations--has not blinded Mrs. Clinton to the latter's
incompetence for the task of training so alert a pair as the twins.
Of the women who present themselves for this difficult position, not
one is wholly desirable; and it is plain that Mrs. Clinton knows in
advance that this will be the case. She is not looking for an ideal
teacher, for such curiosities are not to be found on our planet;
the main requisite is brains, and she selects finally the candidate
whom many society women would immediately dismiss as impossible,
the uncompromising, hard-headed, sexless Miss Phipps, who has about
as much amenity as a steamroller. Miss Phipps bristles with faults;
but they are the faults that spring from excess of energy, from
a devotion to scholarship so exclusive that the minor graces and
minor pleasures of life have received in her daily scheme even less
than their due. But the twins already possess everything lacking in
the composition of their teacher; what they need is not a sweet,
sympathetic companion, what they need is what nearly every one needs,
mental discipline, mental training, and an increase in knowledge and
ideas. In this dress-parade of candidates we have a miniature parade
of humanity in the large; no one is faultless; but those who have an
honest mind and an honest character have something essential. And who
knows but what the shrewd and deep-hearted Mrs. Clinton did not also
see that in the association of this mirthless expert with two young
incarnations of vitality and vivacity, both parties to the contract
might learn something of value? Miss Phipps is about to discover that
the country-side in winter has resources entirely unguessed at by her
bookish soul; that there are many of her countrymen and country-women
who find in outdoor sport a secret of health and happiness.

       Her bedroom was in the front of the house, and she had
       heard, without much heeding them, the wheels and the
       beat of horse-hoofs and the voices outside. Now she
       began to be a little curious as to what was going on,
       and rose and drew up her blind and looked out.

       The scene was quite new to her, and in spite of herself
       she exclaimed at it. Immediately beyond the wide gravel
       sweep in front of the house was the grass of the park,
       where the whole brave show of the South Meadshire Hunt
       was collected. It is doubtful if she had ever seen a
       pack of hounds in her life, and she watched them as if
       fascinated. Presently, at some signal which she had
       not discerned, the huntsman and the whips turned and
       trotted off with them, and behind them streamed all the
       horsemen and horsewomen, the carriages and carts, and
       the people on foot, until the whole scene which had
       been so full of life and colour was entirely empty of
       all human occupation, and there was only the damp grass
       of the park and the big bare trees under the pearly
       grey of the winter sky. She saw the Squire ride off
       on his powerful horse, and admired his sturdy erect
       carriage, and she saw Dick and Virginia, side by side,
       Humphrey, the pink of sartorial hunting perfection,
       Mrs. Clinton in her carriage, with Miss Dexter by
       her side and the twins opposite to her, and for a
       moment wished she had accepted her invitation to make
       one of the party, although she did not in the least
       understand where they were going to, or what they were
       going to do when they got there. All this concourse of
       apparently well-to-do and completely leisured people
       going seriously about a business so remote from any of
       the interests in life that she had known struck her as
       entirely strange and inexplicable. She might have been
       in the midst of some odd rites in an unexplored land.
       The very look of the country in its winter dress was
       strange to her, for she was a lifelong Londoner and
       the country to her only meant a place where one spent
       summer holidays.


The novel _Watermeads_ (1916), particularly welcome to me because the
friend who wore a grotesque mask in _Upsidonia_ showed his healthy,
agreeable, English face again, opens characteristically with the entire
family gathered around the tea-table in a sunlit room in an old manor
house. This story is mainly concerned with the waxing and waning of a
marriage-engagement; the rich fiancée seems well enough among her own
people and in her own environment; her lack of breeding appears with
steadily increasing emphasis when she is brought into the circle of the
squire's household. The restraint shown by Mr. Marshall in contrasting
her with the people among whom she is expected to live is worthy of the
highest praise. There is nothing exaggerated, not a trace of burlesque;
little touches, shades of speech and conduct, the expression at the
corners of the girl's mouth when she is displeased or unsatisfied, all
combine to lower the temperature in her lover's heart. Nor is there
anything snobbish in this increasing coldness. No matter how important
may be a difference in manners or social breeding, love could make a
happy fusion; it is, however, not in one act of villainy, but in many
trifles light as air that the young woman is finally, even to the
myopic eyes of passion, revealed as wholly selfish.

Two accidents--youth and cash--give to this girl an assurance that
finally makes her odious; but women who have neither can be equally
offensive. Her prospective mother-in-law, the squire's wife, parades
the decline in the family's finances so obtrusively that she becomes
as tiresome as a flapping curtain. When Lord Kirby is shown by her
through the ancestral home, he escapes with a sense of enormous relief,
saying to his wife, "That's an awful woman. You hear about people being
purse-proud, but she seems to be empty-purse-proud, and I don't know
that that isn't worse. If people are as hard up as that they ought to
hide it."

In _Abington Abbey_ (1917) and _The Graftons_ (1918) we have really one
book, and the last page of the sequel makes me hope that the history of
this charming family may be continued--I don't care through how many
volumes. Mr. Grafton is a gentleman, and the way in which he settles
the various problems of family discipline and the affairs of the
estate springs from his unerring good sense. His daughters adore their
widower-father, but each in her own manner. And though they are all
attractive, I know which one I like the best.

Mr. Marshall published with _The Graftons_ an exceedingly interesting
Introduction, containing a defense of his methods which is not
needed by intelligent readers, but which may enlighten those who
do not understand what he is about. In a personal letter, however,
he expressed himself in words that I like better than his printed
apologia. "The Grafton family isn't so rich in varied interest as the
Clinton family, but I hope they will make their friends. I think they
are as 'nice' a family as any I've drawn. I set out simply to show
them in their country home, and make their country neighbours display
themselves in the light of their critical humour, without much idea of
a story. It turned into something rather different, and I'm not quite
sure about it yet. And it has taken two books to work it out."

Now the reason why I like this ink-epistle better than the formal
preface is because in the latter Mr. Marshall seemed to think it
necessary to reply to those critics who said he ought to discuss in
his novels the economic questions concerned with the tenure of the
land. If he should by some evil temptation make economic questions
the basis of his stories of English country life, he would commit the
cardinal sin that has corrupted so much of contemporary fiction, the
sin that I condemned at the outset of this essay. The most conspicuous
element in his art is Charm. If some one should persuade him that he
ought to become more "serious," his novels would lose their atmosphere;
and he might find himself writing like that earnest student of modern
movements, Mrs. Humphry Ward.

I am aware that the most insulting epithet that can be applied to a
book, or a play, or a human being is the word "Puritan"; and I remember
reading a review somewhere of _Abington Abbey_ which commented rather
satirically on the interview between Grafton and Lassigny, and most
satirically of all on the conclusion of the interview, which left the
stiff, prejudiced, puritanical British parent in possession of the
field. But once more, Mr. Marshall is not trying to prove a thesis;
he is representing the Englishman and the Frenchman in a hot debate,
where neither is right and neither is wrong, but where each is partly
right and partly wrong. Each says in the heat of the contest something
injudicious, even as men do when they are angry. But when Lassigny
literally takes French leave, we do not care who has scored the most
points; the real winner is the one who is not present--the girl
herself. For when two men fight about a woman, as they do somewhere
every day, the truly important question is not, which man wins the
fight? The only real question is, does the woman win?

It will never do to make generalizations from merely one of Mr.
Marshall's novels. If we had only _Abington Abbey_, we might imagine
that he detested the clergy, for the clergyman in this book is surely
detestable; but in _The Greatest of These_ there are two clergymen who
are admirable characters, and a third who is by no means wholly or
even mainly evil. Like an honest student of life, Mr. Marshall never
considers a man as a representative of a business, but as a human
being. No man is good because he is a clergyman; but it would be well
perhaps if every member of that highest of all professions were a
clergyman because he was good.


There is an unconscious double meaning in the American name given to
the novel published in 1914, _The Greatest of These_, for it can be
taken not only in the Pauline significance, but as the greatest of
these books we are considering. It is the most ambitious and on the
whole the most effective of its author's productions, containing also
the essence of his religion--charity contrasted with opinions. We
have an illustration of his favourite method of portraying the shade
and shine of human character by placing in opposition two leading
representatives of two large classes of nominal Christians--a clergyman
of the Church of England and a minister of the Dissenters. Mr. Marshall
never wrote a better first chapter. The reader is instantly aware
that he has in his hands a masterpiece. Every leading character is
introduced in the opening chapter either in person or in allusive
conversation, and we know that Mr. Marshall has what most novelists
seek in vain--a real plot. This book, which eventually rises to the
highest spiritual altitude attained thus far by its author, begins on
a note of sordid sex-tragedy, as unusual in the stories of Mr. Marshall
as a picture like the Price household is in the work of Jane Austen;
here it serves to bring forward the forthright and self-satisfied
Anglican, who little dreams of his approaching humiliation; he is
brought into conflict with a kind of Zeal-of-the-land Busy, whose
aggressive self-righteousness is to be softened by the very man who he
hoped would harden it. Here too, as in _Exton Manor_, we come as near
as we ever come in Mr. Marshall's books to meeting a villain--in each
case it is a woman with a serpent's tongue.

The time-element in _The Greatest of These_ is managed with consummate
skill. So far as the novel has a hero, it is the Rev. Dr. Merrow. He
does not appear in Roding until the one-hundred-and-sixty-third page,
but there is so much talk, for and against him, that the reader awaits
his arrival at the railway station with fully as much eagerness as any
of the village gossips. And then, owing to the Doctor's fatigue from
the journey, the reader is as baffled as the parishioners. It is quite
impossible to discover what manner of man he is. The author refuses
to help us, preferring to let his leading character reveal himself
without any manipulation behind the scenes. This revelation is gradual,
made up of many little details of speech and behaviour, as it would be
in real life.

But although the personality of the man is not clear until more than
half of the book has passed, the ninth chapter, which shows him in
action in London as a public institution, is one of the most powerful
pieces of prose Mr. Marshall has ever composed. He writes as if
inspired by the theme. Not only is it a magnificent description of a
great occasion, its dramatic power is immensely heightened because
we see it through the eyes of a young ritualist, to whom it is as
strange--and at first as repellent--as some vulgar heathen observance.
But gradually distaste changes to interest, and interest to enthusiasm.
Such passages as the following are entirely unlike the ordinary current
of Mr. Marshall's style, but it is a proof that he can reach the
heights when the occasion calls.

       There came more of these sentences. The spark had
       caught; the furnace was beginning to glow. George
       gazed at the preacher with his own face alight. His
       surroundings were forgotten.... If this was the kind
       of preaching that had brought Dr. Merrow his great
       reputation, then he understood its appeal, and was
       himself moved by it. It came from something beyond
       creeds, far beyond differences in methods of worship.
       It had been heard in all ages of the Church, amidst the
       splendours of mediæval superstition, as in the crude
       barrenness of modern revivalism. The spirit moved on
       the face of the waters; the stagnancy of mere words was
       broken; there was life and healing in them.

       The words came faster. The voice grew stronger, and
       took on a different tone, as if on an organ a touch
       of reed had been added to diapason. The slightly bent
       figure became straighter, the worn face younger. The
       preacher began to use his hands--thin, flexible,
       nervous hands, which seemed to clutch at deep truths,
       and fling them out for the world to take hold of. Soon
       the burning words came in a torrent, as of a rushing
       mass of water of irresistible force, yet bound within
       its directing channel. Every now and then they sank
       to a deep calm, but were still infused with the same
       concentrative power. Such words had stirred men's
       minds and souls in long past ages. Spoken on bare
       hillsides underneath the symbol of faith, they had
       converted kingdoms. Flung forth over throngs of rough
       fighting men, they had turned bloodshed and rapine into
       righteous crusades. Their power was older than that
       of Christianity itself. In the dim ages of religious
       history it had singled out Aaron for the priesthood,
       and put him above Moses, the warrior leader. Later,
       it had burst the bonds of the priesthood itself, and
       winged the utterances of great prophets.

Every page that we turn in this extraordinary book lessens the distance
not only in time but in sympathy between the Rector and the Pastor.
The orthodox evangelical chapel orator is drawn with just the insight
one would superficially _not_ expect from a man of Mr. Marshall's
birth, breeding, and environment. He is certainly the author's finest
achievement, even finer than Squire Clinton, for he is more difficult
to draw. The Rev. Dr. Merrow must be added to Chaucer's Poore Persoun
and to Goldsmith's Village Preacher as one more permanent clerical
figure in imaginative literature.

Lesser personages in this story are given with the same care in detail,
until we feel their presence as personal friends. The curate, the
Rev. George Barton, so completely misunderstood by Mrs. Merrow, is an
almost flawless portrait. His healthy, athletic outdoor nature and the
development of his inner life are both presented with subtle, delicate
strokes of the pen possible only to an artist of distinction.

It is interesting to contemplate side by side in the reader's mind
the wife of the Rector and the wife of the Pastor. Both are good
women--their only similarity. Lady Ruth, a born aristocrat, with a
"temperamental inability to comport herself as the busy wife of a busy
clergyman" is one of the most gracious and lovely figures created by
our novelist, which means that her charm is irresistible. The less
admirable, but more energetic wife of Dr. Merrow is so perfect a
representative of the busy city pastor's helpmate that we can only
wonder how it is possible to put on paper any creation so real. There
is not a false touch in this picture. William Allingham wrote in his
diary after reading one of Browning's poems, "Bravo, Browning!" Upon
finishing _The Greatest of These_, which I confidently call a great
novel, I could hardly refrain from a shout of applause.


Mr. Marshall is a twentieth century novelist, because he is happily
yet alive, and because he writes of twentieth century scenes and
characters; but he is apart from the main currents of twentieth
century fiction, standing indeed in the midst of the stream like a
commemorative pillar to Victorian art. He has never written historical
romance, which dominated the novel at the beginning of our century; he
has never written the "life" novel--beginning with the hero's birth and
travelling with plotless chronology, the type most in favour since the
year 1906; he has never written a treatise and called it a novel, as so
many of his contemporaries have done. Every one of his novels, except
the two unfortunate burlesques, is a good story, with a good plot and
living characters; and he has chosen to write about well-bred people,
because those are the people he knows best.

It is also well to remember, that although his best novels are
parochial, he himself is a citizen of the world. He has seen the North
Cape, he has lived in the Australian bush, in various European cities,
and has traveled extensively in America. One reason why he can describe
English country life so clearly is because he sees it in the proper
perspective. He is at home in any community on earth.

I call him a realistic novelist, because his realism is of the highest
and most convincing kind--it constantly reminds us of reality. I cannot
see why a well-constructed story, that deals mainly with attractive men
and women, and ends on a note of robust cheerfulness, should have any
less right to the adjective "realistic" than an ill-arranged transcript
of the existence of creatures living amongst poverty, filth, and crime.
And so far as Mr. Marshall's Victorian reticence on questions of sex
is concerned, this strengthens his right to the title Realist. As
Henry James said, the moment you insist that animalism must have its
place in works of art, there almost always seems to be no place for
anything else. If a novelist is to represent real life, he must make
subordinate and incidental what in some novels dominates every page.
If a writer is to describe events as they really happen, to portray
men and women as they really are, to create living characters that
can be recognized in modern society, he ought to emphasize in his art
what life itself emphasizes--the difference between man and the lower
animals. The curious thing is that in many so-called realistic novels
it is impossible to distinguish between human beings and the beasts of
the field; the well-understood likeness is stressed so heavily that not
only the individual, but even the type is lost. One can hardly call so
total an absence of discrimination true art. Even the most elementary
man or woman is less elementary than a beast; and is it not true that
the greater the complexity, the greater the skill required to report it

And here is a strange thing. It is only in stories of human beings that
our would-be realists insist that animalism should be most frankly and
most minutely portrayed. When we come to dog-stories--of which there
are many--the element of sex is as a rule wholly omitted. Yet surely
this is more salient in the life of a dog than in the life of a man.

Archibald Marshall is a realist. He represents cultivated men and
women as we saw them yesterday, and as we shall see them tomorrow. He
seldom disappoints us, for among all living novelists, whilst he is
not the greatest, he is the most reliable. It is difficult to analyse
the extraordinary charm of his stories, for they are simpler than
simplicity. He takes us literally into the bosom of a family, where
each member has a distinct individuality, and the novel progresses
like beautiful voices with orchestral accompaniment--each individual
in turn singing an air, while the family fortunes supply the harmony.
To read his books is to associate with people whom it is highly
important to know--not because of their social standing, but because
of their solid worth. His good characters are fundamentally good.
They are seldom brilliant, and almost never reformers. They are more
altruistic than philanthropic. They possess the fine old virtues of
purity, wholesomeness, generosity, loving-kindness, honesty, loyalty,
tact, consideration; such persons are always lovable in life, which is
why they are lovable in these books. His heroes are not saviours of
society, they are simply good companions, be the weather fair or foul;
and we are never sickened by the diaphanous veneer of sentimentality.
His villains seldom break the law of the land, and do not reek of
melodrama. They are inconsiderate, garrulous, inopportune, stupid,
meddling, officiously helpful, which is sometimes worse than deliberate
hostility. Mrs. Prentice in _Exton Manor_ is his most offensive
specimen, and according to the wisdom of the Book of Proverbs, she is
one of the four things for which the earth is disquieted--"an odious
woman when she is married." These respectable villains, who often cause
more suffering than professional criminals, receive the punishment
of unpopularity. But in most of his characters the elements are more
kindly mixed. We have on every page the delight of recognition--the
figures are so perfectly drawn that we are under the illusion that they
are alive.

Although these stories are never explicitly didactic, they are
ethically as well as artistically true. Beneath the surface of
light conversation and trivial incident we find an idea that works
for righteousness. This idea is so variously and so frequently
illustrated that I think it must be the foundation of the author's
philosophy of life and conduct. He would have us believe that different
individuals, different social classes, different communities dislike
and distrust each other mainly through ignorance. He would not
say in the old phrase, to understand is to forgive, he would say
something without any taint of condescension, something finer and
more fruitful--to understand is to respect, to admire, to love. The
inefficient aristocrat and the pushing millionaire despise each other,
the haughty Churchman and the pious Dissenter distrust each other's
motives until they are brought by the force of circumstances into an
unescapable daily intimacy; the result of which to both is surprising
and agreeable. Apparently what we all need is more imagination,
more intelligence. These novels make a combined attack on the last
infirmity of both noble and ignoble minds, that last citadel of


                                            publication  American

  Peter Binney, Undergraduate                   1899       ....
  The House of Merrilees                        1905       1905
  Richard Baldock                               1906       1918
  Exton Manor                                   1907       1908
  Many Junes                                    1908       1919
  The Squire's Daughter                         1909       1912
  The Eldest Son                                1911       1911
  Sunny Australia (_sketches of travel_)        1911       ....
  The Mystery of Redmarsh Farm                  1912       ....
  The Honour of the Clintons                    1913       1913
  The Terrors (_short stories_)                 1913       ....
  The Greatest of These (Roding Rectory)        1914       1914
  The Old Order Changeth (Rank and Riches)      1915       1915
  Upsidonia                                     1915       1917
  Watermeads                                    1916       1916
  Abington Abbey                                1917       1917
  The Graftons                                  1918       1918

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