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Full text of "G. K. Chesterton"

12                           G.  K.   CHESTERTON
was a subject into which he really could enter with spirit and
enthusiasm.
Among fantastic novels, he followed up The Napoleon of
Netting Hill with The Man who was Thursday—a story of a
mysterious society of anarchists named after the days of the
week. One after another, every one of these anarchists
after a series of amazing adventures is discovered to be—
unknown to all the rest—really a detective, seeking to spy
on and to protect his society against his colleagues. At last
only one—Sunday—is left, and he symbolizes the vast forces
of Nature, which society exists to tame—* huge, boisterous,
full of vitality, dancing with a hundred legs, bright with the
glare of the sun, and at first sight somewhat regardless of
us and our desires', as Chesterton himself put it, in an
explanation written in later life.
In 1910 he followed up these novels with another
fantasia, The Ball and the Cross. It is the story of two men :
one a simple Catholic boy from the Highlands of Scotland,
the other a sincere atheist. Completely opposed to one
another in their philosophies, they both see no alternative
but to fight their differences out. They travel over the
world trying to find a place where they will be allowed to
fight one another. Yet, whenever they try to stage their
fight, somebody from the modern world of compromise and
half-faith interferes to keep the peace between them and to
compel them to move on to another battlefield.
The first of the * Father Brown * stories, The Innocence of
Father Brown, appeared in 1911. It was followed by The
Wisdom of Father Brown in 1914, by The Incredulity of Father
Brown in 1926, and The Secret of Father Brown in 1927. All
the Father Brown stories were collected into an omnibus
volume in 1929, but even an omnibus volume could not kill
that exuberant little priest, and Father Brown stories still
continued to pour out from his pen and were published in
the Strand and other magazines. They were collected in
the final Father Brown volume— The Scandal of Father
Brown—in 1935.