CONVICTION COMES SLOWLY
Compton Mackenzie's hero approaches Catholicism
West to North. By Compton Mackenzie, (Chatio and Windus, 9s 6c1.).
Fame ts thy Spirt. By Howard Spring. (Collins, 9s. 6d.).
Lady with lade. By Margaret Mackay. (Harrap, 9s. 6d,).
Mariana. By Monica Dickens. (Michael Joseph, 8s. 6d3.
Embezzled Heaven. By Franz Wend. (Hamish Hamilton, Xs. 6d1.
Steffan Green. By . Richmal Crompton. (Macmillan, 7s 6d.).
Reviesved by FRANCIS BURDETT WEST TO NORTH. the concluding half of The West Wind of Love, carries us to the end of 1922 and the purchase of the Shiel Islands by John Ogilvie.
-It is as brilliant a picture of the period it covers, as we have learnt to
expect. The war has added an additional
bitterness to the criticisms of those years that pour from John's lips. It is the forget
fulness of what happened then that, for many, makes the present confusion worse confounded, and ihis volume and its predecessors must be of immense value for the history it records, and the light il sheds. Ogilvie's marriage is a triumphant success and his daughter, Corinna. begins to take an important place in his life. Of Prudence,
her sister, we see more and her first falling in love entails, for all its sorrow, some charming and sympathetic pages on Italy.
Emil Stern is softened by prison and Edward Fitzgerald dies in defence of Ireland (as he understood it) on August 14, 1922, as his vision of twenty years before had foretold. Julius' success as a musician continues and
Miriam, his mother, becomes even more attractive as she approaches old age. There is a voyage to Greece, where Ogilvie sees the Turks triumphant at Mitch, and so the ruin and waste of all his former work.
Ogilvie's slow conviction of the truth of Catholicism deepens and widens with the
years but it is the death of Edward Fitzgerald that. in his own eyes, seals and confirms it. But even now, as the volume closes, his reception is still in the future. We await the concluding volume as eagerly as ever.
I1' Mr. Spring had cut down Paine i.s the Spur by a -third it would have been a better book.
Harrar Shawcross is a politician who has risen from humble circumstances (but not nearly so humble nor so hard as he is fond of representing them) to Cabinet rank. He is frank, however, about the qualifications necessary for political success: — " Whilst appearing to have nothing but his country's interests at heart he must be an expert at appealing ta panic. passion and prejudice. When these do not exist, he must kno A' how
to create them." Again. '' The second phase was the statesman's, clouding issues in rosy verbosity; and the third was the practised windbag's, the unending garrulity of a man who had always talked too much, who could riot stop talking, arid win, could not himself have winnowed a peek of sense front the chaff with which he littered the floor."
There are, then, as we see, some shrewd remarks on democratic success. But the book is full of humanity and the many characters are vividly if too fluently described.
M ISS Mackay is happier with things than '1 with people. In this she resembles the pi i rig; ipal character in Lady with Jade.
Maria Chisholm went to China with her husband and fell in love with Pekin and out of love with him. She remains to start a shop, the Jade Lute. Maria is shallow and hard, very American as it seems to me. She appreciates beauty but is ruthless in adapting old and wonderful things to modern
taste and utilities. It is this fundamental insensitiveness that embitters her life. She is utterly material and misses much of the significance of the things she so deeply admires. She fails each of her rather wooden lovers and stays alone and successful in Pekin. The book conies alive in certain pages descriptive of Pekin and in some of the minor characters. MISS Dickens in Mariana tells the story ±"a of a rather tiresome young woman who after two unfortunate attempts at marriage at last meets and wins the perfect man. There are some amusing passages and an excellent description of a day's hunting ; but the story drags.
0NE is tempted somertmes to blame the translator of Embezzled Heaven for certain ambiguities and inaccuracies. But as most at the translation reads excellently, it is more than' Likely that the author is alone responsible.
He writes of an Austrian peasant woman whose great ambition was to win heaven for herself by the education of a priest at her sole expense. In a narrow and materialistic sense she is a devoted Catholic, but we remain sceptical as towhether she is more than the creation of an insufficiently instructed brain. Mr. Werfel's blunders are so amazing. His description of the Viaticum places him in a class by himself. No Catholic is likely to be tortured by the fear that the sin of another should he attributed to himself.
There is something pretentious and unsound, as well as inartistic about the book.
A YOUNG woman, broken in spirit by an unwittingly accepted divorce, finds refreshment and new courage in the village of Steffan Cireen. It is remote and small, but living there, as she discovers, means a life full of interest. Incidents that shake the community, characters odd and amazing, even excitement of a restrained kind all help her recovery. It is pleasantly done.