The Cardinal in England by Hugh Ross Williamson (Joseph 30s.) Don Camillo meets Hell's Angels by Giovanni Gitareschi (Gotlancz 25s.) A Walk to the Hills of the Dreamtime by James Vance Marshall (Hodder and Stoughton 25s.)
ATRIO of novels, one by a
living author, another written posthumously from the author's notes, a third found in manuscript after its guthor's death.
With Hugh Ross Williamson's typically scholarly account of the return of Reginald Pole as Papal Legate to the England of Mary Tudor we become immersed in the intricate history of thc intrigue, local and international, that pervaded the scene between the Reformation and the Reconciliation; and the picture of the Queen, inflexible in her lonely loyalty to the Old Religion, always threatened by the fact of Elizabeth's existence yet reluctant to take steps against her; struggling to hold the uneasy balance between the Holy Roman Empire and the French; suffering the emotional strains of two false pregnancies while cynically mistreated by her husband, Phillip, yet loving him despite his heartlessness. This picture so catches the imagination that it sometimes tends to (seclude Mr. Williamson's portrait of the Cardinal himself, so honest and trustful in human nature, true to his principles even to the point of incurring the suspicion of the Vatican and suffering accusations of heresy in an age when tolerance and liberalism were very liable to misinterpretation.
It is interesting to speculate with the author about how different the history of England might have been if Mary's conscientious scruples about Elizabeth's real parentage—her belief (and Pole's) that Elizabeth WaS Mark Smeaton's daughter, not Henry's—had not caused her to prevent Elizabeth's marriage to the Catholic Duke of Savoy.
Don Camillo, alas, makes his final appearance in this present addendum to the legend of his struggle with the Communist Mayor, Pcppone. But now the mayor, to whom prosperity has brought bourgeois tendencies, has another struggle on his hands— against the Maoist cell of Dr. Bognoni; and Camillo himself. outwardly more reactionary with advancing years, has his own difficulties with the New Wave in the Church, represented by his curate, Don Francesco. At the same time both priest and mayor have to cope with the booted and leather-jacketted young fiends, male and female. of the New Generation.
It goes without saying that the other side of Don Camillo finds intrinsic goodness hidden beneath those hirsute and leathery exteriors, and all ends with the blending of roaring exhausts and church bells. A topical and pleasant, as ever, swan-song for Giovanni Guaroschi, who has given us so much delight.
One is struck, by the way, by the different versions of the title. In Italy, it was "Don CamiNo and the Youth of Today"; in the United States. "Don Camillo meets the Flower Children"; but in Britain they have become "Hell's Angels". One supcsses that the suggestion of evil or violence must help the sales?
James Vance Marshall died in 1964 but a friend who worked with him in the last years of his life happily keeps his name alive, and this present novel owes something to his notes on the Australian outback.
The Dreamline is the poetic Also term for the infancy of the world.
A primitive people of scattered tribes whose day-to-day life is the struggle to survive, they have no written language; and so their legend, simple yet moving and beautiful in its poetic quality has been handed down by word of mouth from ages long past. Their tribal laws, inasmuch as they appear to be based upon a spirit of charity and mutual help, must win the admiration of more civilised peoples. To live as they do a nomadic existence (although within defined tribal areas) always battling with the rigours of the climate, it is necessary not only to be closely knit as a family, but also to develop a real bond of human sympathy and tolerance within each tribe.
This is the story of two Aborigine children, orphans, brought up in a city institution and now despatched by truck to a distant farm where they are to live and work with an Australian family. The truck is wrecked by a "cock-eyed bob", or tornado, and the driver is killed.
Left to themselves, they set out, not towards civilisation, but to seek their own people. The boy reverts completely. The girl's loyalties, because she has been more deeply influenced towards Christianity, are divided.
How it all works out when they meet with the Eaglehawk tribe_ in a season of severe drought makes one of the most fascinating and delightful of novels.
With its description of the outback and of the flora and fauna found there (it is also pleasantly illustrated) it is a book to be given as a present.