Page 4, 8th July 1938

8th July 1938
Page 4
Page 4, 8th July 1938 — Fiction Proud Puritans

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Fiction Proud Puritans

Keywords: Post-punk, Punk, Scarlets, Crass

And Gipsies Virtuous And Sentimental

Haven's End. By John P. Marquand. (Hale, 7s. 6d.) Secret Orchards. By Michael Burt. (Ward Lock, 7s. 6d.) a.1iy Gipsy Petulengro. (Methuen, Ea7nsy. 6d.) Bohemian Love Song. By Kenelm Foss. (Seeker, 7s. 6d.) Love Within Limits. By Paul Frischauer. (Cassell, 7s. 6d.) Reviewed by FRANCIS BURDETT Haven's End, by the author of The Late George Apley, is in its own way as distinguished as its predecessor. There is a different quality about it and an absence of that quiet satire that marked the former volume, but there is a depth of understanding combined with a distinction and even perfection in the writing that never fails. I f, as seems indisputable, Haven's End must have been a drab and dreary place, Mr. Marqua.nd's magic nfornis it with a haunt ing quality that gives it beauty.

We see this Puritan settlement in New England at its birth, in its prosperity and in its decay. Two families, the Swales and the Scarlets, were always there. The Swales were gentry and proud of it. The Scarlets were not, and resented it. The Scarlets were ever trying, as occasion served, to trip the proud Swales. They had a quality of kindness and, amidst the humble circles in which they moved, they were popular.

The Swales were neither popular nor kind, nor had they any desire to he so, but they had a something, shared by the house, that made the people proud to have them there. Reserved, aloof, hard it may be, yet time and again they proved themselves a superior race. There are some wonderful stories in the records of Haven's End of what they did and sometimes failed to do. There are few better stories, I think, than that in this volume which tells how Captain Daniel Swale captured (in a sea fight), wooed and won the Honourable Amaryllis Denby. "She seemed to be drawing him beyond himself. into a place of laughter and shining floors. where candles shone on diamonds and where there was an odour of lavender and roses." The magic that could so transform a bloodstained ship is present in this book.

Captain Burke, in Secret Orchards. returns to that mysterious land called Tshodun, that lies on the borders of Tibet. It is a good story of spy and counter-spy with a background of England, Ireland, India and Tibet. He knows his characters as he knows the countries about which he writes. The people are pleasant, the adventures exciting, the background nearly always strange and beautiful.

Fanya is an agreeably sentimental story of long suffering and, finally, triumphant love. The characters are gipsies and amongst them is a musical genius who, through the exercise of her talent. reunites a long-lost father and husband to his wife,

do not know how much of this story is true, but Petulengro tells it from his heart and not without a little self-conscious virtue. I1 would, I think, have been more attractive if he did not appear quite so virtuous and quite so successful.

In Bohemian Love Song we learn how a foreign artist tried to tame and civilise a wealthy and ignorant • young American woman. Virginia was, indeed, one of those crass Americans whose ignorance is only equalled by their conceit. Her lover describes her : "She's utterly selfish, crass, conceited, stupid, wasteful, overbearing. illtempered and a shrew." It is difficult to understand why it took him so long to find it out.

Paul Frischauer, as a previous novel has shown, has no very high idea of human nature. With his eyes fixed on the ignoble and base, he, we must believe, describes what he sees. Love Within Limits does not even do this well, unless the fault is to be ascribed to the translator. it deals with a husband who is suspected of murdering his wife. There is a great deal of emphasis on the duller aspects of what is called love and a good deal of psychology that seems equally crude.

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