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THE PLAYS. 1 17 

THE PLAYS. II. ..... 35 






INDEX , . .121 


is its group of popular writers. 
These writers at once concentrate 
and give out the spirit of their age they 
are representative. Literature has many 
names of pioneers and apostles, who were 
ahead of or out of sympathy with their 
times, but these were never popular. The 
popular writer is essentially a man who 
conforms to his period; it is true that his 
conformity must have life and vigour, it 
must have nothing in it of the echo or the 
slave, it may even be disguised rather 
transparently as revolt but whatever enter- 
prises and excursions he allows himself, he 
remembers that there are certain bases which 
he must keep, and to which after every 
expedition he must come back. These bases 
are either the conventional ideas of his time, 


or the conventional methods of attacking 
them the two are for such purposes the 

So a glance at our most popular modern 
writers ought to give us a clue as to the 
spirit of to-day. But here there is some- 
thing baffling we find names as far apart 
as H. G. Wells and Florence Barclay, Arnold 
Bennett and Hall Caine. Surely the spirit 
of the age is not broad enough to include 
both Joseph Conrad and Marie Corelli. 
This brings us face to face with a modern 
complication: we have two publics. The 
spread of education, with other causes, has 
brought into being a mob- public, and the 
approved of the mob- public have a popu- 
larity which could hardly have been realised 
two generations ago. The most popular 
writer of to-day is he whose appeal is to the 
man in the street, and the largest sales are 
made by those who are most successful in 
catering for this newly enfranchised reader 
with whom literature and art have not 
hitherto had much truck, but with whom 


they will have to reckon more and more as 
time goes on. 

There is, however, a public above the 
street, and this is large and important 
enough to allow those who write for it to 
call themselves popular. This public grants 
its favour on grounds literary as well as 
emotional it is not enough to stir its feelings, 
one must tickle its taste. It is funda- 
mentally the same as the mob in its ideas, 
but it is very different in its methods of 
criticism. The mob likes to see its prejudices 
upheld, this public above the street which 
is the public that most writers of any 
" literary " aspiration supply while holding 
the same prejudices as strongly at heart, 
rather enjoys seeing them overthrown on 
paper. At the same time it demands 
artistic quality, reality, and an occasional 
shock. While not actually gourmet, it is 
fastidious in the matter of literary fare, 
and it is characteristically split up into 
cliques or smaller publics, each swearing 
by a particular writer, just as men who 


are nice as to food swear by a particular 
restaurant. There is a Wells public, differ- 
ing slightly if not essentially from the 
Bennett public; there is a Kipling public 
with democratic foundations; there is a 
Conrad public, and a Galsworthy public 
and the Galsworthy public is perhaps the 
smallest of all. 

Indeed Galsworthy can hardly be called 
a " popular " writer. I am not using the 
word in a contemptuous sense, but to de- 
scribe a writer who is widely read. Gals- 
worthy will never be widely read, for he 
alienates two important sets of readers 
those who insist that a book shall teach 
them something, and those who with equal 
force insist that it shall teach them nothing. 
He fails the first class because, while supply- 
ing its demands, he does not satisfy the 
conditions it imposes. He undoubtedly 
has something to teach, but he avoids the 
direct appeal, which is what the public 
wants. Direct and open championship is 
the only way of making a cause popular 


let us be broad-minded, by all means, but 
agreeing that " there may be something to 
say on the other side " is very different from 
finding out what that something is, and 
saying it. Also he is too sensitive, too 
\ moderate, too well balanced to please the 
" improvement - above - all- things " reader, 
whose perceptions are not of the subtlest. 

On the other hand, he puts himself out of 
touch with those who do not want to be 
taught, because he undoubtedly has a pro- 
* paganda, and is not an artist purely for art's 
sake. Between himself and the numbers who 
would unhesitatingly admire him as a man 
of letters he raises the barrier of ideas which, 
while too subtly expressed to satisfy those who 
clamour for instruction, are quite decided 
enough to eut off those who object to it. 

Thus Galsworthy's public is whittled down 

to those who either are in sympathy with 

his aims and methods and there must be 

few who understand both or are able to 

. swallow a small amount of propaganda for 

the sake of art. He sets out to write 



deliberately for no man he does not recruit 
his readers, they are volunteers. They 
come to him from widely different camps, 
and concentrate in an admiration which is 
perhaps as full of reserves as its object. 

He has deliberately rejected all public- 
snatching tricks, revealing his personality 
in his work alone, avoiding the light of 
popular curiosity and journalistic enter- 
prise. He has treated his private life as his 
own concern, not as a bait for readers. A 
judicious use of his own personality and 
private affairs is, broadly speaking, indis- 
pensable to the seeker after popularity. 
Galsworthy, by disliking this, has necessarily 
limited his public to those who read him 
for his work's sake. 

In the bare facts of his life that he chooses 
to give we shall find* nothing so interesting 
as what we find in his books and plays. 
Born in 1867, at Coombe in Surrey, he was 
educated at Harrow and at Oxford. He was 
called to the Bar in 1890, but practised 
very little. 



He has travelled a great deal, and widely 
America and Egypt, Canada and the 
Cape, British Columbia and Australia, 
Russia and the Fiji Islands. It was on the 
sailing ship which carried him from Adelaide 
to South Africa twenty- two years ago that 
he made friends with a sailor who now, as 
Joseph Conrad, has a fame equal to Gals- 
worthy's own. It is remarkable that, in 
spite of these wide wanderings, his plays 
and novels should almost invariably have 
an English background. Seldom, if ever, 
does he go afield, and then it is only to 
some place more or less known to everyone, 
such as Austria in Villa Rubein, The Dark 
Flower, and The Little Dream. He has never, 
like Conrad, given us the fruit of his voyag- 
ings on the far seas, or his tracks over 
Russian and Canadian plains. 

Perhaps this may be due to the fact that 
no matter how far he may have wandered, 
his roots are English. Though born in 
Surrey, he is a Devon man. Galsworthy is 
of course a well-known Devon name, and 


for many years now he has lived in Devon, 
on the eastern rim of Dartmoor. 

Again and again he gives Devon to us 
there is A Man of Devon, with its tender 
freshness of the Devon soil sweetening the 
strength of Devon hardihood ; there is A Bit 
o' Love, with its living and poetic conception 
of Place ; and there is The Patrician, with all 
the breadth of the moors in contrast with 
the littleness of human passion and human 
reasoning. Again, too, in Riding in Mist, we 
have a picture of a mood of the Devon tors 
which has seldom been equalled and never 
surpassed. Also his Moods, Songs and 
Doggerels is full of the county, its scenery, its 
men and women, its dialect, its rains, its 
" heather gipsy " wind. Though Galsworthy 
is certainly not an interpreter of place, though 
his great novels and plays deal with the 
mysteries of human nature rather than with 
local subtleties and the atmosphere he sheds 
over his work is generalrather than particular, 
the spirit rather than the ghost one feels 
that Devon is the background of his dreams. 


GALSWORTHY takes his pkce in 
modern literature chiefly by virtue 
of his plays. Criticism may to a 
certain extent damage him as a novelist, 
but the most searching critics cannot leave 
him anything less than a greatlplaywright. 
His talents are specially adapted to the 
dramatic form, which at the same time does 
much to veil his weak points. His mastery 
of technique nowhere shows to greater ad- 
vantage than on the stage, nor has he better 
scope for his true sense of situation ; on the 
other hand, the stage is a legitimate field 
for propaganda, and the occasional failure 
of the human interest in his work can be 
made good by the ability of the actor. 

For Galsworthy's plays have the advan- 
tage of acting well unlike much literary 
B 17 



drama, they are as effective on the stage as 
in the study ; in fact, they gain by acting, 
because, as I said, he has a tendency now 
and then to subordinate the human interest 
to the moral, and this the actor can make 

He stands midway between the purely 
literary and the purely popular playwright, 
and he also occupies middle ground between 
drama which is entirely for instruction 
and that which is for amusement only. 
Poles apa0 on one hand from the light 
comedies of H. H. Davies and Somerset 
Maugham, he has very little in common 
with stage preachers such as Shaw and 
Barker. More polished and more subtle 
than Houghton, he is less clear- eyed and 
heroic than Masefield. Undoubtedly his 
most striking quality as a dramatist is his 
sense of form and craft, but he is far re- 
moved from that school of playwrights, of 
which Pinero and H. A. Jones are leaders, 
whose technique amounts to little more 
than a working knowledge of the stage. 


Galsworthy loves, in his novels as well | 
as his plays, to deal with situations. This 
is to a certain extent detrimental to the 
novelist, as it hampers development, and a 
novel which does not develop along some 
line or other has a tendency to stale or 
solidify. But it is obvious that a sense of 
situation is one of the first essentials of a 
dramatist, and Galsworthy has it in full 
measure. It shows pre-eminently in his 
central ideas, and subordinately in his apt 
management of his curtains, which in his 
best plays are situations in themselves, 
epitomising the chief issues of the act or 

His central situation is the moral or social 
problem at the bottom of the play. He 
carries on his propaganda almost entirely 
by situation, and this is what lifts his art 
above that of Shaw and other missionary 
dramatists. He practically never relies 
on dialogue for introducing his theories, 
except so far as dialogue develops and 
explains the situation. He depends on his 


characters and their actions to enforce his 
moral, and it is to this he owes his artistic 

Having chosen his situation, he proceeds 
to balance it with two contrasting groups, 
one on either side. Each group consists of 
various types, embodying various points 
of view, which, while differing to a slight 
extent, are yet subordinate to the Point of 
View of the group. The fact that his char- 
acters are types rather than individuals is 
all to his good as a dramatist, though we 
shall see later that it is a drawback in the 
novels. Types are always more convincing 
on the stage than individuals, the necessary 
personal touch being given by the actor. 
There is no use criticising a play apart from 
the acting the two are inextricably bound 
together, so that the author is in a sense 
only the collaborator; a play which was 
not written to be acted can scarcely be 
called a play it is a novel in dialogue. 

Perhaps the best example of Galsworthy's 
technique, and at the same time his finest 


achievement as a playwright, is Strife. Here 
we have the central situation, the contrast- 
ing of groups, the combination of types 
the whole so perfectly balanced, and so 
smooth- working, that it does not creak once. 
The central idea is the dispute between the 
directors of the Works and their employees, 
but it is impossible to consider this in itself, 
apart from the attitude of the two parties 
towards it. Indeed we are given a very 
vague idea of the nature of the difference ; 
all we know is that it has reduced many 
of the workers to starvation, while the 
directors have to face angry shareholders and 
failing dividends. Harness, the trades- union 
delegate, acts as a go-between, and gradu- 
ally both groups begin to see the allurements 
of compromise. Various circumstances 
drive them towards it, with the exception 
of their respective leaders, Roberts, and old 
Anthony. The end is pitiful for the two 
sides surrender to each other simultaneously, 
breaking their leaders' hearts. These men 
are of extraordinary character and ability, 


and of the most splendid courage, but they 
are betrayed by their cowardly followers, 
who have not grit or faith enough to see 
that their only chance lies in "no com- 
promise." There is a powerful scene be- 
tween Roberts, the men's leader, and 
Anthony, chairman of the directors, when 
they have both been abandoned by their 
supporters : 

ROBERTS [to ANTHONY]. But ye have not 
signed them terms! They can't make 
terms without their chairman! Ye would 
never sign them terms ! [ANTHONY looks 
at him without speaking.'] Don't tell me ye 
have ! for the love o' God [with passionate 
appeal] I reckoned on ye ! 

HARNESS [holding out the Directors' copy 
of the terms]. The Board has signed. 

ROBERTS. Then you're no longer Chair- 
man of this Company ! [Breaking into half- 
mad laughter.] Ah, ha Ah, ha, ha ! 
They've thrown ye over thrown over their 
Chairman : ah ha ha ! [With a sudden 
dreadful calm.] So they've done us both 
down, Mr Anthony. 



There is also a social problem at the 
bottom of Justice, but this time it is in 
connection with the English law. In Justice 
we have a bitter, tragic indictment of the 
penal system. We are given the psychology 
of a crime, but not so much of its committal 
as of its expiation. We are shown the effect 
of prison life on the clerk Falder, and of its 
consequences following him after his release, 
and driving him at last to suicide. It is 
a wonderfully temperate statement of cruel 
facts. Throughout it Galsworthy retains 
a perfect command of his art; above all 
he avoids any cheap identification of the 
ministers of a system with the system itself. 
The officials of the court and of the prison are 
all shown as wise and humane men ; they do 
their best, according to their powers, for 
those wretches whose lives are harassed by 
the system they administrate. It is the 
system alone which is in fault. 

Perhaps Galsworthy has made a mistake 
in choosing Falder as his victim. The man 
is of a type which would go under with a 



very slight push, weak and changeable, 
an extreme case. On the other hand, he 
shows the effect of Law on the poor and weak 
it is ostensibly there to protect. He is one 
of those for whom Justice, as understood 
in this country, and indeed most countries, 
makes no provision. He is a special case, 
and it is characteristic of systems and in- 
stitutions that they ignore are to a certain 
extent forced to ignore the special case, 
which is almost always better worth con- 
sidering than the general mass to which the 
system is adapted. Galsworthy suggests 
no remedy, no alternative. He does not 
hint anywhere that Falder has been badly 
treated. He has been treated as well as 
Justice will allow; as many men are the 
victims of injustice, so is he the victim of 
justice itself. 

The play is not quite so well constructed 
as Strife. The first and second acts cover 
mostly the same ground, and the action is 
not so compact or the climax so inevitable. 
On the other hand, there are some fine 


scenes, and some particularly arresting 
characters. Cokeson, the little kind-hearted, 
humble- minded clerk, is a lovable person, 
and the relations between Falder and 
Kuth Honeywill are studied with exquisite 
delicacy and pathos. The scene of Falder' s 
arrest, of his trial, and that terrible silent 
scene, in which not a word is spoken, but in 
which we are shown far more powerfully 
than by any words, the horror, the misery, 
the madness, of solitary confinement are 
all memorable, and make us forgive a certain 
scrappiness in their succession. The play 
ends on a fine note of tragedy, when Falder, 
re- arrested for obtaining employment by 
a forged character, throws himself down- 
stairs rather than go back to gaol: 

[EuTH drops on her Jcnees by the body.'] 
EUTH [in a whisper]. What is it ? He's 
not breathing. [She crouches over him.] 
My dear ! my pretty ! . . . [Leaping to her 
feet.] No, no ! No, no ! He's dead. 

COKESON [stealing forward, in a hoarse 
voice]. There, there, poor dear woman. 


[RUTH faces round at him.] 

COKESON. No one' 11 touch him now! 

Never again! He's safe with gentle Jesus. 

[RuTH stands as though turned to stone 

in the doorway, staring at COKESON, 

who, bending humbly before her, holds 

out his hand as one would to a lost dog.~\ 

Justice and Strife both deal with social and 
economic questions in the larger sense, but 
in the majority of the plays the issues are 
more personal. The Silver Box and The 
Eldest Son, for instance, both show the 
different standards of morality expected from 
the poor and from the rich. The Fugitive 
is a study of the helplessness of a beautiful 
woman, not specially trained, when she is 
driven to make her own way in life. Joy 
shows the essential selfishness which we all 
bring into our relations both with one 
another and with problems of conduct. 

The Silver Box runs Strife close as Gals- 
worthy's masterpiece. There is a strong 
resemblance between its central idea and 
that of The Eldest Son, a far inferior play. 


In The Silver Box the charwoman's husband 
is sent to gaol for stealing, whereas the M.P.'s 
son, who has also committed a theft, under 
far more unforgivable circumstances, escapes 
because of his superior position and wealth. 
... In The Eldest Son, the poor gamekeeper is 
threatened with dismissal if he will not marry 
the girl he has betrayed, while the eldest 
son of the house brings his father's wrath 
upon his head for standing by the lady's 
maid he has put in the same position. 

The Silver Box is much the clearer- sighted 
of the two plays ; in the second the issues 
are occasionally confused, and both the 
construction and dramatic effect are inferior. 
The Silver Box is practically flawless. The 
two contrasting groups, the rich and im- 
portant Earth wicks, and the poor, good-for- 
nothing Joneses, are perfectly balanced. 
There is no crude over- emphasis of the situa- 
tion, nor inopportune enforcement of the 
moral, though perhaps in the trial scene 
Galsworthy is a little too anxious to point 
out the similarity of the positions of Jack 


Barthwick and Jem Jones, and the differ- 
ence of their treatment: "Dad! that's 
what you said to me ! " says young Barth- 
wick, more pointedly than naturally, when 
the magistrate tells Jones he is " a nuisance 
' to the community." 

The characters are drawn with great 
vividness and restraint. Mrs Jones is par- 
ticularly successful pale, quiet, down- 
trodden, she has about her a certain dignified 
pathos which is perfectly human and natural. 
She does not pose as a martyr, she does not 
pretend that she would not leave her husband 
if she could and dared ; the fact is not hidden 
from us that her sad- eyed silences must be 
particularly irritating to him. She does not 
complain over much, but she has nothing of 
stoical endurance she endures rather be- 
cause she has been battered into submission 
and sees the uselessness of revolt. She 
would revolt if she could. 

One of the most direct and convincing 
scenes in the play is that between these two, 
in their home, when Mrs Jones discovers 


that her husband has stolen the silver 

JONES. I've had a bit of luck. Picked up 
a purse seven pound and more. 

MRS JONES. Oh, James ! 

JONES. Oh, James ! What about oh, 
James ! I picked it up, I tell you. This is 
lost property, this is. 

MRS JONES. But isn't there a name in it 
or something ? 

JONES. Name ! No, there ain't no name, 
This don't belong to such as 'ave visitin' 
cards. This belongs to a perfec' lidy. Tike 
an' smell it. Now, you tell me what I 
ought to have done. You tell me that. 
You can always tell me what I ought to 
ha' done. 

MRS JONES. I can't say what you ought 
to have done, James. Of course the money 
wasn't yours; you've taken somebody 
else's money. 

JONES. Finding's keeping. I'll take it as 
wages for the time I've gone about the 
streets asking for what's my rights. I'll 
take it for what's overdue, d'ye hear ? I've 
got money in my pocket, my girl. Money 
in my pocket ! And I'm not going to waste 


it. With this 'ere money I'm going to 
Canada. I' 11 let you have a pound. You've 
often talked of leavin' me. You've often 
told me I treat you badly well I 'ope you'll 
be glad when I'm gone. 

MRS JONES. You have treated me very 
badly, James, and of course I can't prevent 
your going ; but I can't tell whether I shall 
be glad when you're gone. 

JONES. It'll change my luck. I've 'ad 
nothing but bad luck since I took up with 
you. And you've 'ad no bloomin' picnic. 

MRS JONES. Of course it would have been 
better for us if we had never met. We 
weren't meant for each other. But you're 
set against me, that's what you are, and 
you have been for a long time. And you 
treat me so badly, James, going after that 
Eosie and all. You don't ever seem to 
think of the children that I've had to bring 
into the world, and of all the trouble I've 
had to keep them, and what' 11 become of 
them when you're gone. 

JONES. If you think I want to leave the 
little beggars you're bloomin' well mistaken. 

MRS JONES. Of course I know you're 
fond of them. 

JONES. Well then, you stow it, old girl. 


The kids' 11 get along better with you than 
when I'm here. If I'd ha' known as much 
as I do now, I'd never ha' had one o' them. 
What's the use o' bringin' 'em into a state 
o' things like this ? It's a crime, that's what 
it is ; but you find it out too late ; that's 
what's the matter with this 'ere world. 

MRS JONES. Of course it would have been 
better for them, poor little things; but 
they're your own children, and I wonder at 
you talkin' like that. I should miss them 
dreadfully if I was to lose them. 
JONES. And you ain't the only one. If 

I make money out there [Looking up he 

sees her shaking out his coat in a changed 
voice.] Leave that coat alone ! 

[The silver box drops from the pocket 9 
scattering the cigarettes upon the bed. 
Taking up the box, she stares at it ; 
he rushes at her, and snatches the box 

MRS JONES. Oh, Jem! Oh, Jem! 
JONES. You mind what you're savin' ! 
When I go out I'll take and chuck it in the 
water along with that there purse. I 'ad 
it when I was in liquor, and for what you 
do when you're in liquor you're not respon- 
sible and that's Gawd's truth as you ought 


to know. I don't want the thing I won't 
have it. I took it out o' spite. I'm no 
thief, I tell you ; and don't you call me one, 
or it'll be the worse for you. 

MRS JONES. It's Mr Earth wick's ! You've 
taken away my reputation. Oh, Jem, 
whatever made you ? 

JONES. What d'you mean? 

MRS JONES. It's been missed ; they think 
it's me. Oh, whatever made you do it, 

JONES. I tell you I was in liquor. I don't 
want it ; what's the good of it to me ? If I 
were to pawn it they'd only nab me. I'm 
no thief. I'm no worse than what young 
Barthwick is ; he brought ' ome that purse 
I picked up a lady's purse 'ad it off 'er in 
a row, kept sayin' e'd scored 'er off. Well 
I scored 'im off. Tight as an owl 'e was! 
And d'you think anything' 11 happen to him ? 

MRS JONES. Oh, Jem! It's the bread 
out of our mouths. 

JONES. Is it, then? I'll make it hot for 
'em yet. What about that purse. What 
about young Barthwick. 

[MRS JONES comes forward to the table, 
and tries to take the box; JONES 
prevents her.] 



JONES. What do you want with that. 
You drop it, I say ! 

MES JONES. I'll take it back, and tell 
them all about it. [She attempts to wrest 
the box from Jiiml\ 

JONES. Ah, would yer ? 

[He drops the box, and rushes on her 
with a snarl. She slips back past 
the bed. He follows ; a chair is over- 
turned. . . .] 

In The Eldest Son we have the same idea 
not quite so effectively handled the con- 
trast between the codes of ethics required 
from the poor and from the rich. There 
are some good scenes in the play, notably 
that between Bill and Freda in the first 
act, and that towards the end, when the 
whole Cheshire family is brought into action 
against Freda and her sturdy old father, who 
at last suddenly solves the difficulty by 
saying: " I'll have no charity marriage in 
my family," and leading his daughter away. 
Also the characters of Sir William Cheshire 
and of his wife are great achievements, 
both strong and delicate. But the play 

O 33 


has not the grip or the reality of The Silver 

The failure lies in a certain lack of 
cohesion and inevitableness in the whole. 
The rehearsal of Caste, which is introduced 
in the second act, points the moral rather 
too obviously. Also the central idea is 
hampered by the fact that the two illustra- 
tive cases are not really parallel. In The 
Silver Box the theft by young Barthwick is 
just as blameworthy as that by Jones. 
Their positions are quite the same, except 
that, indeed, it is the man of wealth who is 
the more despicable and deserving of punish- 
ment. But no one can say that Bill 
Cheshire and Freda Studdenham are in 
the same position as the gamekeeper and 
the village girl. There are objections to the 
marriage of Bill and Freda which do not 
exist in the other case. Certainly there 
are objections to that too, but the fact 
remains that the two examples are not 



THERE are social and economic ideas 
at the bottom of The Fugitive, 
which is to a certain extent sym- 
bolical a study of woman's position when, 
for any reason, she is separated from the 
herd. But in this, as in other of his later 
plays, Galsworthy's command of his art is 
not equal to his enthusiasm for his subject. 
Moving and forcible as it all is, it has not 
the balance, the inevitableness, of Strife or 
The Silver Box. We feel that events are 
being arranged to suit the basic theory. 
The career of Clare Dedmond, from her 
revolt to her downfall, is not a thing fore- 
seen, a thing of fate. We feel somehow that 
her end is arbitrary at all events we are not 
shown the steps that lead to it. The actual 
catastrophes we witness do not demand it. 


None the less the study of Clare is arrest- 
ing the woman who is " fine, but not fine 
enough." She alienates our sympathies a 
little in the first act; there is no denying 
that she behaves childishly, and her husband, 
uncongenial as he may be, is not quite such 
a bounder as Malise, in whom, apparently, 
she finds satisfaction. But somehow that 
whole first act has an air of unreality about 
it, a remoteness from life, and a staginess 
we do not expect from Galsworthy. Later 
on the movement becomes swifter, and we 
have the sense of impending tragedy, which 
is realised in the scene where Clare leaves 
Malise, though she loves him and he is her 
only protector, because she discovers that 
she has become a drag on him and is spoiling 
his career. 

The scene at the Restaurant, too, has its 
fine points, thought it is spoilt by a riot of 
symbolism and a tendency towards false 
sentiment. The continuous singing of " This 
Day a Stag must die" by the revellers at 
another table is rather an obvious and cheap 


effect, so too the courtesan's kiss as the 
curtain falls. On the whole one feels that 
The Fugitive is a play in which the author's 
plan has been better conceived than carried 

The central situations of Joy and of The 
Mob have nothing to do with any social or 
economic problem, even in a narrowed, 
personal sense. They deal with conduct, 
and special cases of conduct. Joy and The 
Mob, with A Bit o' Love, stand at the bottom 
of the scale at the top of which are Justice 
and Strife. The interest of the two latter is 
centred in the social and industrial problems 
they are built on; then come The Silver 
Box, The Eldest Son, and The Fugitive, in 
which the social problem undoubtedly exists, 
but which depend for interest on its personal 
variations; then come Joy, The Mob, and 
A Bit o' Love, in which the interest is purely 
personal and unconnected with any social 

Joy is a play built round an attitude rather 
than a problem. " A Play on the Letter I" 


is the sub- title, and from first to last we see 
how the consideration of self is the govern- 
ing motive of widely different characters. 
We see it working openly, in characters 
that are frankly and aggressively egotistic ; 
we see it acting more subtly in characters 
of a different stamp. The one person who 
is free from it is the old governess, Miss 
Beech, who lives only in her interest in 
those around her. Somehow, as is often the 
case with characters purposely in contrast 
with his general scheme, Galsworthy is 
occasionally artificial in dealing with Miss 
Beech. Her " devilishness " is more than 
once a trifle forced the author so obviously 
wants her to be original, unlike both the 
conventional stage governess, and the con- 
ventionally selfless person. She fills to a 
certain extent the position of Chorus, and 
her vocation takes from her humanity. 
She becomes, as the play goes on, more and 
more of a Voice. 

On the other hand, there is a great deal of 
humanity about Joy herself and her mother. 


Mrs Gwyn's lover, Maurice Lever, is also 
real enough, though the same cannot always 
be said of Joy's Dick. The scenes between 
the young people ring true, but the boy 
loses reality when away from Joy; he 
becomes more a part of stage machinery. 

In spite of some languors, the play is 
quick- moving and closely knit, and the 
author keeps the central situation well in 
hand. There are one or two haunting scenes 
the scenes of young love between Joy and 
Dick, the scenes of older, sadder love, more 
passionate and more disillusioned, between 
Mrs Gwyn and Lever and one particularly 
good scene between Mrs Gwyn and Joy, 
after the girl has discovered her mother's 

JOY [covering her face]. I'm I'm 

MRS GWYN. I brought you into the world ; 
and you say that to me ? Have I been a 
bad mother to you ? 

JOY. Oh, mother! 

MRS GWYN. Ashamed? Am Z to live 


all my life like a dead woman because you're 
ashamed? Am I to live like the dead 
because you're a child that knows nothing 
of life ? . . . D'you think because I 
suffered when you were born and because 
I've suffered since with every ache you ever 
had, that gives you the right to dictate to 
me now ? I've been unhappy enough, and 
I shall be unhappy enough in the time to 
come. Oh, you untouched things, you're 
as hard and cold as iron. 

JOY. I would do anything for you, mother. 

MRS GWYN. Except let me live, Joy. 
That's the only thing you won't do for me, 
I quite understand. 

JOY [in a despairing whisper]. But it's 
wrong of you it's wicked. 

MRS GWYN. If it's wicked, / shall pay for 
it, not you. 

JOY. But I want to save you, mother ! 

MRS GWYN. Save me ? [Breaking into 

JOY. I can't bear it that you if you'll 
only I'll never leave you ... oh, mother ! 
I feel I feel so awful as if everybody knew. 

MRS GWYN. You think I'm a monster to 
hurt you. Ah! yes! You'll understand 
better some day.. 



JOY [in a sudden burst of excited fear]. I 
won't believe it I I can't you're de- 
serting me, mother. 
MRS GWYN. Oh, you untouched things ! 


[JoY looks up suddenly, sees her face, 

and sinks down on her knees.] 
JOY. Mother it's for me ! 
MKS GWYN. Ask for my life, Joy don't 
be afraid ! 

[ JOY turns her face away. MRS GWYN 
bends suddenly and touches her 
daughter's hair ; JOY shrinks from 
that touch, recoiling as if she had 
been stung.] 

MRS GWYN. I forgot I'm deserting you. 

[And swiftly without looking back she 

goes away. JOY left alone under the 

hollow tree crouches .lower ', and her 

shoulders shake.] 

The Mob is rather an irritating, unsatis- 
factory play. It is meant to be a study in 
ideals, but it is astonishing how blunderingly 
and at the same time how coldly Galsworthy 
puts these ideals before us. The title is also 
a mistake. The attitude of the mob towards 


Stephen More is merely of secondary and 
artificial importance. He meets his death 
at its hands, it is true, but it plays little 
part in the spiritual fight he wages. The 
exhibition, in a final tableau, of its changing 
fancy in the statue it erects to his memory 
is dangerously near anti- climax, and no 
integral part of the whole. One cannot see 
that the mob is anywhere a dominant force 
it is an incident, far less important here 
than in Strife, though there is one scene in 
which Galsworthy shows again, as he showed 
in Strife, his power of dealing with stage 
crowds : 

[MoEE turns and mounts the steps.] 
TALL YOUTH. You blasted traitor. 
[MoKE/oces round at the volley of jeering 
that follows; the chorus of booing 
swells, then gradually dies, as if they 
realised that they were spoiling their 
own sport.] 

A ROUGH GIRL. Don't frighten the poor 

[A girl beside her utters a shrill laugh.] 
MOEE. Well, what do you want? 



VOICE. A speech. 
MORE. Indeed ! That's new. 
BOUGH VOICE. Look at his white liver. 
You can see it in his face. 
A BIG NAVVY. Shut it. Give'imachanst. 
TALL YOUTH. Silence for the blasted 
traitor ? 

[A youth plays on the concertina ; there 
is laughter, then an abrupt silence.} 

. . . and so on. 

The whole of this scene is vigorous and 
convincing, so too the scene of More's death ; . 
but again and again we are irritated by the 
way Galsworthy misses his chances. Take, 
for instance, the scene in which Katherine 
uses her beauty and his love for her to tempt 
More from his ideal it is full of magnificent 
opportunities, and there is some fine stuff 
in it, but somehow it misses fire. This may 
be partly due to the fact that in his later 
plays Galsworthy's restraint occasionally 
seems to lose its force. Economy of words 
and emotion is effective only when used to 
control the riches of both. 


A Bit o' Love is in a sense the most personal 
of all the plays I say in a sense, because, 
for the first time, we find Galsworthy de- 
finitely exploiting Place. The importance 
of Place in literature is a comparatively 
new discovery, for we must not count the 
descriptive and local novels which have been 
with us more or less from the first. Studies 
in Place, which set out deliberately to bring 
forward the personality if I may use the 
term of Place, are only just beginning, and 
Galsworthy, with A Bit o 9 Love , comes among 
the pioneers. It is his latest play, and it 
will be interesting to watch if he chooses to 
develop along this line. 

We have the Devonshire village as a 
central character in the piece the various 
types which compose it are just so many 
parts of the whole, and it would be a mistake 
to treat them as separate persons. The 
village is at once sturdy and sweet and 
foolish, it is curious, it is pig-headed it is 
built of the wisps of moon-and-dew cobwebs, 
and of the sty-door stakes from which they 


float. It is the common life of the village 
which is dealt with here, rather than 
subtleties of atmosphere the actual locality 
has no definite existence apart from its 
inhabitants, which is a milder practice of the 
art of Place. But the central idea is the 
same as in all Place studies the effect of 
the Place on the Man. 

The man here is Michael Strangway, 
curate of the village, " a gentle creature 
burnt within," who plays the flute, and 
loves dumb animals, and acts St Francis 
without the adorable Franciscan coarseness. 
His wife pleads with him not to ruin her 
lover's career by bringing a divorce, and 
for love of her he promises. Unfortunately 
the interview is overheard by a little gossip- 
ing village girl who has a grudge against 
him because he had set free her imprisoned 
skylark. The news is spread, and the 
village is righteously indignant, wrath 
culminating when the curate crowns his 
impious toleration by falling upon the man 
who has used a few plain words about his 


wife in a public-house. Attacked and 
shunned on all sides for his attempt at a 
literal gospel, and betrayed within by the 
ache and emptiness of his heart, the curate 
resolves on suicide, but is rather tritely 
saved at the last moment by the little 
che-ild of such occasions, who offers him 
" a bit o' love." 

There is some good work in the play, an 
atmosphere of beautiful wistfulness, tenderly 
combined with the bumpkin clump and flit. 
The dance in the big barn has its full effect 
of mystic and rustic beauty; there is in- 
finite pathos in Strangway and Cremer 
setting out for a long tramp together in the 
link of their bruised hearts and Galsworthy 
has done nothing more kindly-humorous 
than the meeting at the village inn ; with Sol 
Potter uneasily in the chair. 

The play is beautifully written, but it 
would seem as if the author had scarcely a 
clear idea himself of Strangway, and a little 
more planning might have saved him 
from one or two banalities. The extreme 


individuality, so to speak, of the curate's 
problem for no one can deny that his was 
an exceptional case is a bit in the way of 
a writer whose chief concern is the social 
and general. But we must give a particular 
welcome to A Bit o' Love, because it is 
Galsworthy's first real experiment in Place, 
and one has a feeling that here is a grand 
new road for him to tread. 

There remain two plays, which are called 
respectively "A Fantasy" and "An 
Allegory "The Pigeon and The Little 

The first is a fantasy based on sober facts. 
Indeed it would be rightly called a satire. 
It is a study carried through in a spirit of 
comedy, in spite of drunkenness, vice, 
poverty, and suicide of three irreclaimables, 
and of those who would reclaim them. 
Old Timson, the drunkard; Mrs Megan, 
born light of love, who even while drowning 
thinks of dancing ; Ferrand, the vagabond, 
the wanderer of quaint philosophy they are 
a fantastic trio, because the sorrow and 


sordidness of their lives is all hazed over by 
this half -comic, half -satiric glow in which 
their creator chooses to see them. In them- 
selves more hopeless and tragic than any of 
the characters in Strife or Justice, they raise 
smiles instead of tears. It would seem 
almost as if the tragedy of the outcast had 
stirred in Galsworthy those depths beyond 
sorrow, which can find no expression save in 

Various theorists argue about these three 
outcasts, and one good-natured man be- 
friends them. Wellwyn is a kindly study, 
and his easy methods, however much his 
practical little daughter may blame hint, 
do more to humanise the poor wretches than 
the sterner tactics of Professor Calway or 
Sir Thomas Huxton. But as a matter of 
fact no generosity will meet the case, no 
theory. We can only laugh, and through 
laughter learn a little more of pity. 

There is some delightful humour in The 
Pigeon. As a rule Galsworthy's humour is 
too deeply tinged with bitterness to ring 


true ; when it is not embittered it is often 
ineffective or trivial, as in Joy or The Eldest 
Son. In The Pigeon, however, there are 
scenes of genuine humour and fine satire, 
both in situation and in dialogue. The vari- 
ous conceptions of character too are essenti- 
ally humorous, which is seldom, if ever, the 
case in the other plays. It is a sharp 
stroke which right at the end of the play 
avenges the kindly Pigeon whom everyone 
has plucked. 

CHIEF HUMBLE-MAN [in an attitude of 
expectation]. This is the larst of it, sir. 
WELLWYN. Oh! Ah! Yes! 

[He gives them money ; then something 
seems to strike him and he exhibits 
certain signs of vexation. Suddenly 
he recovers, looks from one to the other, 
and then at the tea-things. A faint 
smile comes on his face.'] 
WELLWYN. You can finish the decanter. 

[He goes out in haste.'] 
CHIEF HUMBLE- MAN [clinking the coins]. 
Third time of arskin' ! April fool ! Not 
'arf. Good old Pigeon! 
D 49 


SECOND HUMBLE-MAN. 'Uman being, I 
call 'im. 

CHIEF HUMBLE-MAN [taking three glasses 
from the last packing-case, and pouring very 
equally into them]. That's right. Tell you 
wot, I'd never 'a' touched this unless 'e'd 
told me, I wouldn't not with 'im. 

SECOND HUMBLE- MAN. Ditto to that ! 
This is a bit of orl right ! [Raising his glass.] 
Good luck ! 
THIRD HUMBLE- MAN. Same 'ere ! 

[Simultaneously they place their lips 
smartly against the liquor, and at once 
let fall their faces and their glasses. ] 
CHIEF HUMBLE- MAN [with great solemnity]. 
Crikey! Bill! Tea ! . . . Ws got us I 
[The stage is blotted dark.] 

The Little Dream is rather a bitter allegory 
of the adventures of the soul in search of 
life and happiness. Seelchen, the little 
mountain girl, hears the call of the Wine 
Horn, typifying the delights of the town and 
the world, and the Cow Horn, typifying 
the pleasures of her mountain home, but 
there is a strange resemblance in the hard 
disillusions they are bound to offer after their 


gifts, and only the lonely Great Horn behind 
points to something finer and higher. There 
is really not much interest, or indeed, much 
originality in the little sketch, but there is 
some beautiful language, and Galsworthy 
is able to give free rein to his sense of words 
and poetic faculty. There is real poetry in 
some of the lyrics, and by them, rather than 
by his published volume of verse, one judges 
him poet as well as playwright. 

" flame that treads the marsh of time, 

Flitting for ever low, 
Where, through the black enchanted slime, 

We, desperate, following go 
Untimely fire, we bid thee stay ! 

Into dark air above, 
The golden gipsy thins away 

So has it been with love. 


r HOUGH undoubtedly Galsworthy 
owes his position as an artist and as 
a thinking force to his plays, he still 
jries considerable weight as both in his 
ovels. That his novels have not the value, 
whether social or literary, of his plays that 
adeed his position as a novelist is largely 
due to his fame as a playwright does not 
ikake away with the fact that he has given 
UB some half- dozen novels of standing, which 
ave worth consideration in themselves, apart 
from anything their author may have done 
in other fields. 

His lack of complete success n,s a novelist 

is partly due to those characteristics which 

have made him so successful as a playwright. 

r ne drama is a lawful means of propaganda, 

he novel is not Galsworthy's play* gain 



enormously from the social or moral prob- 
lems at their base, while the same problems . 
have a tendency to constrict or impede the ( 
development of his novels. A play is de- 
pendent mainly on its craft, for this is a 
point which lies solely with the author, in 
which no actor, however skilful, can help 
him; on the other hand, a novel dependa 
chiefly on its human interest, and this the 
author must supply himself, since he has no 
intermediaries to make good where he fails. 
There is little doubt that abstract ideas do 
not help the human interest of a novel. It 
is remarkable how small a part the abstract 
plays in the lives of even the most thoughtfi i 
of us, and anything in the nature of 
problem or an idea, of anything belonging 
to the brain rather than to the heart, has a 
tendency to destroy the illusion of real life 
which it is the chief object of a novelist to 

Another reason why Galsworthy is more 
successful in his plays than in his novel 
is that most good plays are founded on 8' 


situation, most good novels on the develop- 
ment of a situation, and development is not a 
characteristic of Galsworthy's art/ He likes 
to take a situation, examine it from char- 
acteristic and conflicting points of view, and 
show the effect it has on different lives, but 
he never attempts to develop it, to start a 
chain of events from it, mould characters 
by it. Practically every character in a 
Galsworthy novel, with the possible excep- 
tion of The Dark Flower, is the same at the 
end as at the beginning. This means that 
in his novels he is still a playwright as far 
as both situation and character are con- 
cerned. He develops neither, he never goes 
% forward, he goes round. The result is that 
; *his novels are mostly plays in novel form, and 
they suffer in consequence. 

In fact all the drawbacks of the novels 
may be said to arise from defects in the 
human interest so essential to a novelist. 
It is not that Galsworthy does not feel, and 
most passionately, for his characters, neither 
is it that they are not flesh and blood, nor 


that their stories are not real and moving. 
\ It is rather because they are types, not 
individuals, and types chosen to fit some 
particular situation which has been already 
selected. They are never mere pegs or mere 
puppets, but somehow there is nothing 
creative about them ; they lack the individual 
touch which the actor can impart to a char- 
acter in a play, but which the author alone 
can give in a novel. Also they repeat them- 
selves, there is not enough diversity; the 
same groups arrange themselves in differ- 
ent novels. Of course there are exceptions 
Lord Miltoun in The Patrician, Mr Stone in 
Fraternity but these, on examination, prove 
to be only a fining down of the type till it 
is almost an individual ; there is no definite 

However, against this defect, which is 

due to the intrusion of the playwright into 

the novelist's sphere, we must set a wonder- 

> ful and seldom- failing craft, which goes far 

to justify that intrusion. There are few 

novelists with a finer sense of form than 



Galsworthy, few with a finer sense of style 
the conciseness of the dramatist teaches 
him the need of arrangement and the full 
value to be wrung out of a word. In one 
point only does the dramatist fail the 
novelist, and that, strange to say, is in 
dialogue. Again and again the dialogue in 
{/ the novels falls flat, or is stilted, or irrelevant 
and it is curious, when we remember how 
strong the plays are in this respect. 
^ There is a certain inequality about the 
seven novels : The Island Pharisees, The Man 
of Property, The Country House, Fraternity, 
The Patrician, The Dark Flower, and The 
Freelands. In every way the first is the 
weakest, but, on the other hand, the last 
is not the most successful. The finest 
are The Man of Property and Fraternity. 
Undoubtedly Galsworthy is at his best 
when his technique is at its highest pitch 
of excellence, and weakest when his sense 
of form most fails him. Form is never 
used by him to cover defects of interest, 
beauty, or reality. Fraternity, which is 


very nearly his masterpiece, almost reaches 
technical perfection, while The Island 
Pharisees which is as near as he can go 
to writing a thoroughly bad novel is also 
the most faultily constructed. 

The Island Pharisees shows perhaps more 
than any of the novels the raw edges of his 
art. He is burning with indignation at the 
self -righteousness of the British middle 
classes, and his power as a novelist is as yet 
too undeveloped to cope with his zeal as a 
reformer. He lacks too that subtlety of 
warfare which in the plays and later novels 
makes his propaganda so effective and at 
the same time is one of his truest safeguards 
as an artist the exposure of a cause out 
of the mouth of its own champions. He 
attacks crudely through a series of events 
which are not always above the suspicion of 
pre- arrangement, through dialogue which 
is often manoeuvred and artificial. None 
of his characters, except Ferrand, the vaga- 
bond, has much of the breath of life, and 
over the whole hangs a fog of bitterness 


which is scarcely ever dispelled by those 
illuminating phrases and flashes of insight 
into his opponents' cause, which elsewhere 
make him so appealing. 

There is little doubt that if The Island 
Pharisees were Galsworthy's average instead 
of his low- water mark, his position as a 
novelist would be negligible. But his other 
novels, without exception, are so superior 
in technique, in human interest, in beauty, 
and in force, that we cannot consider The 
Island Pharisees as anything but the first 
uncertain step of one who is feeling his way. 
In The Man of Property we have the same 
idea the satire of a class but it is brought 
before us so differently that comparison is 

The Forsyte family are representatives 
of that section of the middle class whose 
chief aim is Possession. The Forsytes 
possess many things they possess money, 
they possess artistic treasures, houses, 
wives, and children, they even possess 
talents ; but with them the verb " I have " is 


of more importance than its object. " This 
interests me, not in itself, but because it is 
mine" is their motto. In many ways 
they are less heartless, less hypocritical 
than the country Pharisees ; the conscious- 
ness of possession brings a certain stamina, 
a worth and solidarity, which compel admira- 
tion. Also Galsworthy has been far more 
tolerant in their portrayal. The Forsytes 
are human, they are not like the Dennants ; 
they are undoubtedly types, even their 
differentiations are typical, but they are 
types of flesh and blood, not merely of points 
of view. There is something in the group- 
ing of them too which is impressive. These 
six old brothers whose god is propei 
a certain greatness ; though they ai 
lust of possession are satirised 
telling episodes, we feel that 
the nation would do badly with4pHhem. 

The chief representative w Forsytism 

belongs, however, to one o^the younger 

branches of the family. SSmes Forsyte 

is essentially the Man of ]J^erty, because 



we see the lust of possession working in him 
not only through the splendid house he is 
building, but through his wife Irene. It is 
in his attitude towards Irene that he declares 
himself most definitely the Man of Property. 
He is not unkind to her, he is not untrue to 
her, but she is his in the sense that the Robin 
Hill house is his, and it is this realisation 
.which fills her with bitterness and loathing. 
Irene belongs to the contrasting group 
which Galsworthy uses in his novels as in 
his plays. She and her lover Bosinney 
stand for all that is antagonistic to the 
Forsytes. In many ways Irene is one of 
Galsworthy's most vivid creations. She is 
a type we meet elsewhere in the novels, yet 
she has about her certain elements of origin- 
ality. Something individual creeps into 
the magnetic softness, the passion- haunted 
quietness, which are characteristic of so 
many Galsworthy women. She is human, 
and she is in revolt but not strenuously or 
effectively. Galsworthy has little sympathy 
for the strong successful woman, who either 


defeats circumstances or handles them with 
capable cunning. In his delineation of 
June Forsyte, who belongs to this class, he 
is sometimes reluctantly admiring, but never 

June Forsyte, with her decided chin and 
managing ways, is the antithesis of Irene, 
strong only in her softness. It is easy to 
understand how this very contrast would 
have switched Bosinney's love from one to 
the other, but the change itself is not very 
convincingly brought about. Perhaps this 
is partly due to the fact that Bosinney 
himself is not a success. He is the repre-y 
sentative of the contrast group ; property 
to him is nothing, he spends his time and 
talent in the end risking his career on 
the house which is Soames Forsyte's. On 
the other hand, it is his sudden knowledge 
that another also owns the woman of whom 
he had thought himself the sole possessor 
that drives him to madness and suicide. 
Property;' makes its appeal even to him. - 

There is throughout the book a depth of 


gloom, as if the shadows of great possessions 
lay over it. None of the characters is really 
t attractive, except, perhaps, old Jolyon 
Forsyte ; there is something subtly caddish 
about them all, and the author's lack of 
sympathy sours the whole. Studied in the 
light especially of his novels, it is a strange 
error to call Galsworthy " detached." The 
side he takes is always apparent, in spite of 
; what he says on the other, and his lack of 
j sympathy with the human representatives 
of the opposite point of view is often so great 
as to put them out of drawing. Fine as 
the Forsytes are, they would have been much 
finer if the author had penetrated in some 
degree beneath their outer skin, shown 
sympathy with the springs of their nature 
as well as understanding of their mental 
attitude. His sympathies in The Man of 
Property are undoubtedly with Irene Forsyte 
and with Bosinney though it would seem 
that this character sometimes repelled and 
baffled even his creator. 

On the whole there is something haunting 


about the book something in the gloom of 
its ending which makes us shudder after it 
is closed. Property triumphs. Bosinney is 
beaten and killed by the Man of Property, 
and Irene is brought back to the slavery 
from which she revolted. 

" Huddled in her grey fur against the 
sofa- cushions, she had a strange resemblance 
to a captive owl, bunched in its soft feathers 
against the wires of a cage. The supple 
erectness of her figure was gone, as though 
she had been broken by cruel exercise ; as 
though there were no longer any reason 
for being beautiful, and supple, and erect." 

Thus the curtain rings down on Irene 
Forsyte, crushed under the heel of 
prosperity, robbed of her love by a sudden 
awakening of the sense of property in the 
heart of the man she had thought clean 
of it. ... 

The Country House also deals with a class, 
and it is the country equivalent of the 
Forsytes. The Pendyces are big country 


proprietors, but the property is to them a 
good deal more than material possession. 
It is their Position in the county that they 
think of, their Standing; Dignity is with 
them almost as important as Land, and more 
important than Money. Also they are not 
quite so much a type as the Forsytes in 
certain broad characteristics they may be 
found in dozens of country manors, but in 
others they are unique. They do everything 
with the greatest amount of unnecessary 
trouble to themselves and other people. 
" Pendyce," says Paramor to Vigil, when 
discussing the threatened divorce, "he'd 
give his eyes for the case not to come on, 
but you'll see he'll rub everything up the 
wrong way, and it'll be a miracle if we 
succeed. That's ' Pendycitis ' ! " 

Even George, who in some ways breaks 
free from the family tradition, is afflicted 
by it. It is largely owing to Pendycitis 
that he loses Helen Bellew. He tires her 
with that dogged quality of his, which spares 
neither himself nor her, but sends him 


plodding and muddling on in the face of 
impossible circumstances. He cannot yield, 
and he is not really strong he is a Pendyce ; 
and it is with luxurious relief that she finds 
herself free of him at last. 

Helen Bellew is only lightly sketched 
in, her presence is almost always merely 
physical. She has many of the outward 
essentials of the Galsworthy heroine, that 
particular dower of ripe, seductive, yet 
delicate, beauty which we find in Irene 
Forsyte, Audrey Noel, and Olive Cramier. 
But she is heartless which those others are 
not and hence we seem to find a certain 
reluctance on the author's part to probe into 
her. What is heartless cannot be truly 
beautiful, according to his creed, and he 
wants us to realise how beautiful Helen 
Bellew was, so that she became a force, a 
moulding- stamp, to the hard, unimpression- 
able George Pendyce. 

The real heroine of The Country House is 
George's mother, Margery Pendyce, and she 
is, practically without exception, the most 

E 65 


charming character in Galsworthy's novels. 
She is the Mother not the Mother in her 
elemental form, but the Mother as civilisa- 
tion and education and pain have made 
her; not very different from the primitive 
type, perhaps, but dainty with a score of 
sweet refinements. Quieted by her long 
subjection in the school of Pendyce, she yet 
has the invincible courage of gentleness; 
accustomed for years to yield where her own 
comfort and happiness only are concerned, 
she takes an impregnable stand at last when 
her children's welfare is at stake. There is 
something heroic in this gentle, soft- gowned, 
la vender- scented figure, moving so peace- 
fully among her roses, caring so dutifully for 
her household and her husband, and then 
suddenly putting them all from her, to take 
her place beside her outcast son. 

" I have gone up to London to be with 
George" (she writes simply to Pendyce), 
" you will remember what I said last night. 
Perhaps you did not quite realise that I 
meant it. Take care of poor old Roy, and 


don't let them give him too much meat this 
hot weather. Jackman knows better than 
Ellis how to manage the roses. Please do 
not worry about me. Good-bye, dear 
Horace ; I am sorry if I grieve you." 

Margery Pendyce is the chief of the con- 
trast group in this novel; with her is 
Gregory Vigil, the idealist, who looks at the 
sky when it would be better if he looked at 
the street and saw where he was going. 
Unselfishness, quietness, and idealism are 
the contrasts of Pendycitis. The Reverend 
Hussell Barter, who is a kind of clerical 
Pendyce, is one of Galsworthy's most success- 
ful attempts at humour. He is drawn with 
many a memorable satiric flick, and doubt- 
less this is a reason why he succeeds, for 
Galsworthy's humour without irony is apt 
to be trivial. 

Another striking character is the Spaniel 
John here Galsworthy has succeeded in 
giving a dog a very definite personality. 
John is not only a dog, he is a spaniel the 
distinct psychology of the spaniel works in 


him, and we could never think of him as a 
terrier or a collie. Indeed the author has 
taken as much trouble over the Spaniel 
John as over any character in the book, and 
been as successful 



ONE can say without much fear of 
contradiction that after The Man 
of Property the finest of Gals- 
worthy's novels is Fraternity. Indeed it 
comes as near being a perfect work of 
art as any novel ever written. There 
have been many novels with a stronger 
appeal, a wider comprehension, a greater 
depth and force, but few of which it can 
be said that they fulfil more completely the 
canons of novel- writing. And this is to be 
understood not only of the letter but of the 
^spirit Fraternity is no mere triumph of 
technique, it is a moving, human and beauti- 
ful story, about people who are real, if 
drawn in pale colours, and situations which 
are L; : in spite of their elusiveness. 
In iv perfection of balance, Fraternity 


reminds one of the plays. There is a central 
situation, flanked by two contrasting groups. 
It is not of mere industrial or moral signi- 
ficance, nor is it the satirisation of any 
particular class ; it is a problem which has 

4.- always occupied human minds, and will do 
so till the end of time the problem of the 

\/rich and the poor. It is embodied in old 
Mr Stone, with his great unfinished and, 
we suspect, ever to be unfinished work on 
Brotherhood. " Each one of us has a shadow 
in those places in those streets." Mr 
Stone is one of Galsworthy's finest achieve- 
ments. In him the author shows what few 
have even attempted to show, the infinite 
pathos of moral greatness. There is no 
denying the greatness of Mr Stone, in spite 
of his mental kink, and his pathos is as 
evident. He is alone, 'it is his own doing; 
he cannot, if he would, bind himself up with 
others. He writes of Fraternity, but in 
life he never touches a brother's hand he 
does nothing to unite those two b r others 
whose embrace he writes of, and as own 


life is equally remote from either. They 
come near him, they put out tentative, 
appealing hands and with a wistful sigh 
he turns to his book. 

The Classes are represented by the two 
Dallison families, the Masses by the Hughes, 
Creed, and the little model. It is remarkable 
how tightly the whole fabric is drawn 
together Hilary and Stephen Dallison have 
married two sisters, Bianca and Cecilia, and 
their Shadows live together under the same 
roof. We know what would be, with an 
average novelist, the result of such an effort 
at concentration, but nothing could be 
more natural, more inevitable, than the 
knitting up of these groups. 

The little model is not a common Gals- 
worthy type ; in fact, she stands almost 
alone in his novels. Quiet and soft she un- 
doubtedly is, like most of his women, but 
the meek vulgarity of her little mind is some- 
thing new. She is drawn with a wonderful 
sympathy, as indeed are all the characters 
in the book ; for in Fraternity, Galsworthy 


does not seem to have been so much struck 
by the irony of his theme as by its pathos. 
There is one beautiful account of her, leav- 
ing Hilary's house, which sheds a tender 
light like a spring sunset over her figure, 
making it at once terribly pathetic and 
terribly young. 

" She kept turning her face back as she 
went down the path, as though to show her 
gratitude. And presently, looking up from 
his manuscript, he saw her face still at 
the railings, peering through a lilac bush. 
Suddenly she skipped, like a child let out 
of school. Hilary got up, perturbed. The 
sight of that skipping was like the rays of a 
lantern turned on the dark street of another 
human being's life. It revealed, as in a 
flash, the loneliness of this child, without 
money and without friends, in the midst of 
this great town." 

The Hughes group is in its units to be 

found in many of Galsworthy's works: the 

bullying husband, gross, selfish, an animal 

but an animal broken the meek wife who 



complains and nags, but has at the bottom 
of her heart an unreasoning dog- like quality 
which will let her make no effective efforts 
for freedom; the poor old man, fallen on 
evil days, yet with a philosophy, and a self- 
respect which is almost pride. Galsworthy 
never sees the poor and outcast in an aureole 
of false idealism. If he sadly confesses that 
the classes do not know how to help the 
masses, he also confesses that the masses 
do not know how to help themselves. If 
the Dallisons are timid and inefficient, 
Hughes is an undeserving brute, and Mrs 
Hughes a scold who is largely responsible 
for her own ills. The little model is forlorn, 
but she is also designing. The result is that 
an atmosphere of deep depression hangs over 
Fraternity. One might say that its moral 
was " For rich is rich and poor is poor, and 
never the twain shall meet " except in the 
unfinished book of a cranky idealist. 

" Like flies caught among the impalpable 
and smoky threads of cobwebs, so men 


struggle in the webs of their own natures, 
giving here a start, there a pitiful small 
jerking, long sustained, and falling into 
stillness. Enmeshed they were born, en- 
meshed they die, fighting according to their 
strength to the end ; to fight in the hope of 
freedom, their joy; to die, not knowing 
they are beaten, their reward." 

The Patrician is scarcely equal to Frater- 
nity. In it the bitterness, which seemed to 
have slumbered for a while, awakes, and 
helps to distort the picture. Also in no 
novel, I think, is more obvious Galsworthy's 
lack of sympathy with certain of his char- 
acters. The book suffers in having for its 
central figure a man whom the author ad- 
mires but does not really understand. Lord 
Miltoun is a noble conception, but Galsworthy 
does not get to the bottom of his struggle. 
One feels all the way through that he ad- 
mires him, but cannot sympathise with him, 
and the result is that the real grounds of 
Miltoun' s actions are seldom displayed. 
We never penetrate beneath the surface of 


this character, whose inner mind we never- 
theless would know rather than many 
whose workings are shown us. 

There is also a group, the Valleys group, 
whom Galsworthy is passionately wanting 
to treat fairly, but for whom he cannot con- 
ceal a bitterness not unfavoured with con- 
tempt. Lord Valleys, his wife, his sons, his 
daughters, are drawn with a painstaking 
effort to hide his real feeling towards them, 
but the effort often breaks down; even 
Barbara, splendid and brave, has a repelling 
hardness in which stick one or two ironic 
arrows of her creator. Courtier, who re- 
presents the Other Point of View, is some- 
times rather vaguely drawn, and suffers 
in the opposite way to Miltoun, for Gals- 
worthy, while apparently sympathising with 
his attitude, does not seem to have the same 
admiration for his character. 

The only person in the book who is both 

admired and understood is Mrs Noel. Here 

we have a very appealing figure, tragic yet 

quiet, courageous yet soft, made for love, 



vibrant with passion, full of an infinite 
delicacy and self-respect. Self-respect is 
an unfailing characteristic of Galsworthy's 
good women ; he has no sympathy with the 
woman who in times of stress loses her 
personal dignity, and forgets all those little 
trivial refinements of body which are part 
of her greatness. Audrey Noel " incorrig- 
ibly loved to look as charming as she could ; 
and even if no one were going to see her, she 
never felt that she looked charming enough." 
He realises that for a woman who respects 
herself it is not enough to be merely clean 
and tidy, she must be as beautiful as circum- 
stances will allow it is not vanity but her 
dignity which demands it. Mrs Noel ap- 
peals because her courage is so infinite, and 
because it is so essentially a woman' s courage, 
a thing of gentleness and soft endurance, 
not of the stiff but of the smiling lip. 

There is a certain unsatisfactoriness in 

the tragedy of her relations with Miltoun. 

He falls from his ideal, but only half-way, 

so to speak the rest of his difficulty is 



solved by her abnegation. One is given 
the impression, in spite of much talking 
between the characters, that the vital heart 
of the matter has never been reached. " If 
the lark's song means nothing if that sky 
is a morass of our invention if we are 
pettily creeping on, furthering nothing 
persuade me of it, and I'll bless you." That 
desperate cry of Miltoun seems to give 
more of the essence of his struggle than any 
arguments about Keligion and Authority. 
One feels that both were only names on 
lips it was not merely a respect for 
authority that made Miltoun first deny him- 
self Audrey, and then when he had taken 
her, believe himself bound to throw aside 
his public life. The appeal of Authority is 
not made convincing enough, the appeal to 
Keligion not spiritual enough, for a man of 
Miltoun' s type one sees him acting, gener- 
ally at least, according to the dead letter 
of both ; one knows there must have been 
a quickening spirit behind to drive such a 
man, but one is not shown it. 


The Dark Flower is in some ways a 
departure from his usual methods. It 
lacks the central problem, with its balanced 
and contrasted groups. It is not a study 
of a situation nor of a class ; it is a study 
of passion. There has always been plenty of 
passion in Galsworthy's books; he is not 
a cold writer, and though his central idea 
is often social or intellectual, in his treat- 
ment of it he never loses sight of the fact 
that human emotions are stronger than 
human intellects, and play a more im- 
portant part in all situations, no matter 
how purely technical and general these may 
appear. But in The Dark Flower, passion is 
not an incident or a moulding force, it is 
the central theme. We are shown its growth 
in three different stages its first kindling 
in the heart of a boy, its consummation in 
the young man and woman, its last flicker 
in the man who sees old age approaching 
and to whom youth calls. 

To carry out his idea Galsworthy is forced 
to put aside much of that compactness which 


is so effective in his other novels. Indeed 
The Dark Flower is really three separate 
stories, of which the hero, Mark Lennan, is 
the connecting link. A really fine character 
might have held these three episodes to- 
gether, but Lennan is vaguely drawn. He 
is most convincing as boy and middle-aged 
man ; in the central part he is swamped in 
the vehemence of his own love. Indeed 
the passion of Lennan and Olive Cramier 
is far the greatest thing about them taken 
apart from it they are both a little colourless. 
Olive is much less life-like than Audrey Noel, 
Irene Forsyte, and others of her kind ; she 
is vague and shadowy beside the heroines of 
the two other episodes, Anne Stormer and 
Nell Dromore. 

These women are in many ways the 
best-drawn characters in the book. Anne 
Stormer, caught on the fringe of middle age 
by the gust of her passion for a boy of 
eighteen, swept by it, rocked by it, but con- 
scious all the time of its hopelessness with 
regard to herself, its cruelty with regard to 


him, in the end gives him up to the little 
girl of his own age, with whom he climbs 
trees, and in whose presence he forgets the 
dark flower whose scent in her bosom had 
given him his first staggering draught of life. 
She is a character fine through her pathos, 
through the inevitableness of her renuncia- 
tion, which is not made from any high 
spirit of courage or self-sacrifice, but simply 
because she must. 

Very different is Nell Dromore, who sends 
the mocking cry of youth after Lennan when, 
having passed through the storm of his love 
for Olive Cramier, and married his boyhood's 
playfellow, Sylvia Doone, he sees old age 
creeping towards him, passionless and ad- 
ventureless. She is an extraordinary study 
of mingled abandonment and innocence. 
She leads him on by methods which would 
not disgrace a courtesan if they had not 
about them all the delicious shamelessness 
of a child. In the end he has the strength 
to wrench himself from her, knowing that 
she brings him but a false hope, for which his 



wife's broken heart must pay. Sylvia, 
though winning and sweet in the first episode, 
is rather shadowy here, where she has such 
an important part. No doubt her in- 
effectiveness is to a certain extent deliberate, 
but for all that it should not be unreal, or 
we lose sight of it as a force in Lennan's 

On the whole it must be said that Gals- 
worthy is at his best when most character- 
istic, and here, where he turns to the methods 
of the more ordinary novelist, he loses some 
of his strength. There are, however, some 
impressive scenes in the book, and he has 
again shown his peculiar successfulness in 
dealing with youth and young love. There 
are delightful pictures of the boy Mark, in 
which his growing, half -understood infatua- 
tion is never allowed to drown the frankness 
of his youth ; and the scenes between him 
and Sylvia remind us of similar scenes in Joy. 

In The Fredands, Galsworthy reverts 
to the more characteristic mood; indeed 
the book is reminiscent in a stimulating, 
F 81 


legitimate way. Its structure reminds one 
of The Man of Property, and its environment 
of The Country House. As in the first of 
these the web was spun over the framework 
of the six brothers Forsyte, so here we have 
the four brothers Freeland to serve as pegs 
and they live in circumstances that recall 
the Pendyces and their problems. Not that 
they are all four country people Felix is a 
successful author and lives at Hampstead, 
and John is in the Home Office; but the 
family meets at Becket, where Stanley, who 
has made a fortune by exporting ploughs, 
has an estate, and Tod, the eccentric and 
revolutionary, lives the simple life, freehold. 

Then there is the old mother, one of those 
tender, sturdy, odd patricians whom the 
author can draw so clearly, and there is the 
young genereration as represented by Nedda, 
Felix's inquiring daughter, and Tod's 
anarchistic Derek and Sheila also the 
wives of three Freelands, especially Tod's 

These characters are not considered so 


much in relation to each other as in relation 
to the central problem, which is The Land 
and The Land with Galsworthy is, of course, 
not the good earth but the slaves that toil 
on it. He studies the labouring man in 
connection with his employers, the petty 
tyrannies of Manor, Parsonage, and Farm. 
Bob Tryst is evicted because his marriage 
with his deceased wife's sister displeases the 
Squiress, Lady Malloring, and the poor 
Gaunts are hounded from pillar to post 
because the daughter has " got into trouble." 
Galsworthy pillories Feudalism, which he 
sees rampant over English rusticity, and 
parts of The Freelands read like a Gladstone 
League pamphlet. 

However, to any one who loathes "the 
People," whether of fields or streets, the cen- 
tral interest of The Freelands is Galsworthy's 
study of a modern English family. He is 
rather fond of this especial study we have 
it in The Man of Property, The Country 
House, and The Patrician ; we^ee it hovering 
near Fraternity. The combinations and 


permutations of blood relationship seem to 
interest him. enormously the modern push 
and individualism, half attacking, half com- 
bining with old-fashioned ideas of kinship 
and unity. He shows how the family Idea 
survives, in spite of actual disruptions, and 
can outlive even an utter lack of common 
life, interest, or sympathy so that the un- 
loved brother must come somehow before 
the loved stranger, simply because he is 
One of the Family. It is probably a lurking 
of the primitive clan instinct, and one would 
like to see it treated of even more thoroughly 
than Galsworthy has done. It is interesting 
to watch him with these Freelands, linked 
by their family tie, and also, in this case, by 
the wise, kindly, foolish old mother of them 
all who is, however, Tod's in particular, 

In other matters The Freelands makes its 
predecessor, The Dark Flower, stand out 
even more as an exception or parenthesis. 
In his latest novel we have all his early, 
usual traits: all his old defects of too 
general a characterisation, too careful a 


balance, too deliberate a sasrififce. f 
artist to the ,niQrlist, but at the same time 
the virtues of these defects restraint, craft, 
and purpose, and, besides, those intrinsic 
qualities which are the real building-stuff 
of his work. 

The characters of these four brothers, 
their wives and children and associates, are 
drawn with a firm touch lightened by much 
satire of the kinder sort. There is that sense 
and grasp of beauty which we find so in- 
evitably in Galsworthy's treatment of even 
the stuffiest theme. We have, too, a sense 
of aloofness which, if it is sometimes irritat- 
ing, is occasionally majestic, and lit by 
warm, sudden flashes of penetration into 
characters one would have thought, by other 
signs, to be beyond his sphere of understand- 
ing. The book may not be so good as 
Fraternity, it is certainly not so great as 
The Man of Property, but it is, nevertheless, 
among the best he has given us, which is 
encouraging, since it is, though only tempor- 
arily, one hopes, the last. 


TT71LLA RUBEIN and four short 
I/ stories under the title of A Man 
of Devon were published anony- 
mously. All early efforts, they are not on a 
line with Galsworthy's later work, but they 
have about them a certain beauty and in- 
dividuality which makes them worth con- 
sidering. Perhaps their chief characteristic 
is delicacy : they are water-colours, in many 
ways exquisitely conceived and shaded, but 
perhaps a trifle pale and washed out, a trifle 
it must be owned uninteresting. 

Villa Rubein, describing with much sensi- 
tive charm the life of a half- Austrian house- 
hold, is full of tenderness, but lacking some- 
how in grip. The characters are more 
attractive than most of Galsworthy's in 
fact, in no work of his do we meet such a 
uniformly charming group of people. They 


are sketched, even the less pleasing, with an 
entire absence of bitterness, and the heroine, 
Christian, and her little half- German sister 
are delightful in their freshness and grave 
sweetness. Miss Naylor and old Nic Treffry 
are also drawn with a loving and convincing 
hand. The book seems to have been written 
in a mellow mood which passed with it. 
Yet we pay for any absence of bitterness, 
propaganda or pessimism, by a correspond- 
ing lack of force. It must be confessed that 
Galsworthy is most effective when he is 
most gloomy, most penetrating when he 
Is most bitter, most humorous when he 
is most satirical. 

The short stories call for no special com- 
ment except The Salvation of a Forsyte, where 
we meet for the first time Swithin Forsyte, 
later to figure in The Man of Property. We 
are introduced to an early adventure of his, 
which is treated with some technical skill 
and an impressive irony. The tale has 
grip, and is not far ofi French excellence 
of craft. The other stories are too long for 


their themes, which, if not actually thin in 
themselves, are dragged out in the telling. 

Of very different stuff are the four 
volumes of sketches A Commentary, A 
Motley, The Inn of Tranquillity, and The 
Little Man. In these, except, perhaps, in 
the last, we have some of Galsworthy's best 
work, much of it equal, in its different way, 
to the finest of the plays and novels. 

A Commentary deals chiefly with the life 
of the very poor, showing the intimacy of 
the author's knowledge, and the depths of 
his sympathy. Some of the sketches are 
indictments of the social order which favours 
those who have money and tramples those 
who have none. Justice, for instance, is a 
fresh exposure of the oft- exposed inequality 
of the divorce laws where rich and poor are 
concerned. A Mother is a piteous revelation 
of those depths of horror and humiliation 
which form the daily life of many. Con- 
tinually, in the plays and in the novels, 
Galsworthy reveals the utter brutishness of 
some of these submerged ones. He never 


attempts to enforce his social ethics by 
glorification of those he champions. Such 
men as Hughes, in Fraternity, or the husband, 
in A Mother, are absolutely of the lowest stuff 
and, it would seem, unworthy of a hand to 
help them out of the mud in which they roll. 
But here lies the subtlety of the reproach 
it is the social system with its cruelties and 
stupidities which is responsible for this. 
There is something more forceful than all 
the sufferings of the deserving in this grim 
picture of utter degradation, the depths of 
bestialism into which mismanaged civilisa- 
tion can grind divine souls. 

In other of the sketches we are shown the 
opposite side of the picture the selfishness 
of the prosperous, their lack of ideals and 
imagination. Now Galsworthy becomes 
bitter ; with a steely hardness he describes 
the comfortable life of the upper middle 
classes, of the fashionable and wealthy. 
The bias of A Commentary is obvious 
throughout, and throughout propaganda 
takes the first place. The fragments are held 


together by the central idea, which is the 
exposure ironic, indignant, embittered, in- 
finitely pitying of the inequalities between 
the poor and the rich. True, there is atmos- 
phere, style, a sense of character; but in 
A Commentary the artist takes second place. 
A Motley is, as the title implies, a collec- 
tion linked up by no central view- point. 
Character sketches, episodes of the streets 
and of the fields, reflections on life, art, 
manners, anything, and all widely different 
in style and length, crowd together between 
the covers, without any definite scheme. 
They show extraordinary powers of observa- 
tion and intuition, and at the same time a 
certain lack^grip, which is always the first 
of Galsworthy's weaknesses to come to light 
in a failing situation. Some of the sketches 
are too slight, over- fined. On the other 
hand, some have true poetry and true pathos 
in their conception. The style is more 
polished, the pleading less special, the know- 
ledge less embittered than in A Commentary. 
Particularly successful is A Fisher of Men, in 


which Galsworthy is at his best, giving us a 
sympathetic and tragic picture of a type 
with which we know he has little sympathy 
there is no bitterness here, just pathos. 
Once More is a study of lower-class life 
slightly recalling A Mother, but here again 
is far more tenderness, due partly, no doubt, 
to the wistfulness of youth that creeps into 
the story. Then there are sketches of life 
and the furtive love of the London parks; 
no one has realised more poignantly than 
Galsworthy all the tragedy of hidden meet- 
ings and hidden partings with which our 
public places are filled. 

The Inn of Tranquillity is also a mixed 
, collection, and in it we see far more of Gals- 

* worthy the poet and the artist than of 
Galsworthy the social reformer. There are 

in the book fragments of sheer beauty which 
would be hard to beat anywhere in modern 
prose. Take, for instance, the painting of 
dawn in Wind in the Rocks : 

" That god came slowly, stalking across 


far over our heads from top to" top ; then, 
of a sudden, his flame- white form was seen 
standing in a gap of the valley walls ; the 
trees flung themselves along the ground 
before him, and censers of pine gum began 
swinging in the dark aisles, releasing their 
perfumed steam. Throughout these happy 
ravines where no man lives, he shows himself 
naked and unashamed, the colour of pale 
honey ; on his golden hair such shining as 
one has not elsewhere seen; his eyes like 
old wine on fire. And already he had swept 
his hand across the invisible strings, for there 
had arisen the music of uncurling leaves and 
flitting things." 

Take also just this sentence from A 
Novelist's Allegory : " those pallid gleams 
. . . remain suspended like a handful of 
daffodils held up against the black stuffs of 

Galsworthy allows himself to play with 
words, blend them, contrast them, savour 
their sweet sound and the roll and suck 
of them under the tongue ... he becomes 
a poet in prose. But it is not only words 


that make his poetry. He seizes aspects of 
beauty and gives them to us palpitating, 
fresh from their capture, a poet's prey. Such 
is Riding in Mist, a consummate study of the 
misty moor, damp, sweet, and dangerous. 
There is, too, a wonderful sense of locality 
in That Old-Time Place it throbs with 

But we have many studies besides of words 
and place. There is Memories,, in which 
Galsworthy uses his real understanding of 
dog- nature, faithful and true. There is The 
Grand Jury, in which he shows the fullness 
of his sympathy for the human dog, the 
bottom dog, so generally and necessarily 
ignored by laws which are inevitably made 
for the upper layer of humanity. We have, 
too, some illuminating comments on the 
world of letters. In About Censorship there 
is fine irony, and in Some Platitudes Concern- 
ing the Drama plenty of illumination. In- 
deed, in this article we are given a plain 
enough statement of the rules which evi- 
dently govern Galsworthy's own work. For 


instance : "A good plot is that sure edifice 
which slowly rises out of the interplay of 
circumstance on temperament and tempera- 
ment on circumstance, within the enclosing 
atmosphere of an idea." There could be no 
clearer definition of the plan governing 
Strife and The Silver Box. The pronounce- 
ment on dramatic dialogue, too, applies 
admirably to much of Galsworthy's own 
achievement : 

" The art of writing true dramatic 
dialogue is an austere art, denying itself 
all license, grudging every sentence devoted 
to the mere machinery of the play, suppress- 
ing all jokes and epigrams severed from 
character, relying for fun and pathos on 
the fun and tears of life. From start to 
finish good dialogue is hand- made, like good 
lace ; clear, of fine texture, furthering with 
each thread the harmony and strength of a 
design to which all must be subordinated." 

In his last book of sketches The Little 
Man and other Satires Galsworthy has made 
a deliberate sacrifice of beauty. He has 


left the luminous Italian backgrounds of 
The Inn of Tranquillity, the rustling English 
twilights of A Motley, for the midnight lamp 
on his study table. This is why, perhaps, 
The Little Man depresses me. Galsworthy 
has not stood the test he has grown bitter. 
His satire is more akin to that of Swift 
than Samuel Butler, but without Swift's 
redeeming largeness, his tumbling restless- 
ness. Galsworthy's bitterness is the well- 
bred bitterness of the pessimist at afternoon 
tea; Swift is the pessimist in the tavern, 
raging round and breaking pots. 

However, an author's point of view is not 
a fair subject for criticism, any more than 
the shape of his head ; he probably cannot 
help it. But it may be deplored. 

The most striking thing about the book 
itself is the subdivision titled Studies in 
Extravagance. Here we have some re- 
morseless, if only partial, truth the fierce 
glow of the searchlight, more concentrated 
though more limited than the wide shining 
of the sun. We have The Writer, The 


Housewife, The Plain Man, etc., all pierced 
through to their most startling worst. 
Galsworthy will make no concessions he 
will not show us a single motherly redeeming 
virtue in that woman of schemes and covert 
horribleness whom he presents as a possible 
variety of British matron. So too with his 
Writer those flickers of amiable naivety 
which occasionally humanise the writers 
most of us know are shut out from this 
portrait of an ape playing with the ABC. 
It is clever, fierce, vindictive, and partly true. 
There are some gentler sketches in the 
book for instance, the name-piece, in which 
we have a really witty and typical picture 
of an American, with his God's own gift 
of admiring good deeds he will not do him- 
self. There is also Abracadabra, in which 
the satire is fundamentally tender, and with 
little significant bitterness though in time 
one comes to resent Galsworthy's inalienable 
idea that every woman is ill-used in marriage. 
There is also such genuine wit, terseness, 
and point in Hall Marked that one can afford 


to skip the humours of the parson's trousers. 
Ultima Thule is more in The Motley and 
Commentary vein. We are glad to meet the 
old man who could tame cats and bullfinches. 
But why sigh over him so much ? He was 
happy and to be envied, even though he 
lived in a back room on a few farthings. 
This misplaced pity is becoming irritating 
in Galsworthy. His earlier works Strife, 
The Man of Property are innocent of it, 
but lately it has grown to be a habit with 
him. He cannot resist the temptation to 
weep over everyone whose clothes are not 
quite as good as his own. 

It is scarcely surprising that a writer with 
Galsworthy's sense of words and atmosphere 
should have written a book of verse the 
only surprise is that his solitary experiment 
in poetry should not have been more success- 
ful. When we remember the exquisite prose 
of his plays, novels and sketches, the ad- 
mirable description, the sense of atmosphere, 
not forgetting also the genuine poetry of 
much of The Little Dream, we are surprised 
G 97 


not to find in Moods, Songs and Doggerels, 
anything of permanent quality, or worthy 
to stand beside his other work. There are 
some delightful songs of the country, of 
Devon, one or two little fragrant snatches, 
like puffs of breeze. But the more ambitious 
pieces, the Moods, are for the most part 
wanting in inspiration. They are just prose, 
and not nearly such fine prose as we have a 
right to expect from Galsworthy. One or 
two stand out as poetry, and these are 
mostly studies in atmosphere, such as 
Street Lamps : 

Lamps, lamps! Lamps ev'ry where 
You wistful, gay, and burning eyes, 
You stars low- driven from the skies 
Down on the rainy air. 

You merchant eyes, that never tire 
Of spying out our little ways ; 
Of summing up our little days 
In ledgerings of fire 



Inscrutable your nightly glance, 
Your lighting and your snuffing out, 
Your nicker through the windy rout, 
Guiding this mazy dance. 

watchful, troubled gaze of gold, 
Protecting us upon our beats 
You piteous glamour of the streets, 
Youthless, and never old ! " 



I X~"V ALSWORTHY is an artist before he 
I ._. is a social reformer. It is a mistake * 
^*- to consider him chiefly from the 
second point of view ^for he is not so much 
a thinker spreading his propaganda by 
artistic methods as an artist whose excel- 
lence is grounded in ideas./ Strife, for in- 
stance, was not written to expose the evils 
of our present industrial system so much as 
from the impulse to create, grounding itself 
in an economic problem which the artist 
displays and analyses, just as others, and he 
at other times, would display and analyse 
any problem of love, manners, life, or human 
nature, in the name of " plot." 

For this reason his propaganda interferes 

very little with his art. Moreover, it is a 

general propaganda, which lends itself more 

directly to artistic purposes than a particular 



one. It would be far more difficult, for 
instance, to write a human and artistic novel 
on the evils of leaded glaze than it would be 
to write one on the selfish stupidity of which 
leaded glaze is the result. Galsworthy does 
not attack, at least in force, any definite 
abuses, he attacks those cruel and stupid 
powers which are at the bottom of them all 
the love of property for property's sake, the 
false respectability of the unassailed, the 
lack of comprehension of one class for an- 
other, Pharisaism, materialism, selfishness, 
and cowardice. He is the champion of the 
bottom dog, whether human or animal. He 
pleads passionately for sympathy with the 
abused and downtrodden and outcast. His 
throbbing pity vitalises his propaganda, so 
that it not only ceases to constrict his art, 
but positively enriches it./ 

When he is at his best we find a perfect 
blending of art and idea. The second is 
bound up in the first, an essential part of it. 
As he himself says in Some Platitudes con- 
cerning Drama : " A drama must be shaped 


so as to have a spire of meaning. Every 
grouping of life and character has its inher- 
ent moral ; and the business of the drama- 
tist is so to pose the group as to bring that 
moral poignantly to the light of day." 

This ideal is completely fulfilled in Strife 
and The Silver Box, also in Fraternity, The 

' Man of Property, and some of the sketches 
hence it is in tLese that we must look for 
his best work. Now and then the idea 

* carries away the artist, warping his vision, 
and we have instances of special pleading, 
such as Justice, The Fugitive, and The Island 

In a sense Galsworthy's propaganda is a 
part of his technical equipment. He uses it 
chiefly in laying his bases ; the solidity and 
centralisation of his work is due largely to 
> the economic and social ideas on which he 
rears the structure of human passion and 
frailty. He does not make Shaw's mistake 
of using dialogue, rather than situation, as 
a means of propaganda, neither does he rely 
much on character. His moral is inherent in 



his situations, and he fails only when he lets 
it stray from the basic idea into the super- 
structure of character and dialogue. 

As an artist pure and simple his chief 
assets are a sense of situation, a sense of 
atmosphere, and the power of presenting 
both beautifully. His sense of character 
is not particularly wide or profound. He 
deals with types rather than individuals, 
and the same types repeat themselves a trifle 
monotonously. Though he has great gifts 
of intuition, and occasional penetrating 
flashes, he does not work much below the 
surface. It is astonishing, when one con- 
siders the force and passion of so much of 
his work, to realise that it is all got from 
surf ace- workings not that he ever suggests 
the shallow or superficial, it is simply a 
reluctance to dig. 

Take, for example, Miltoun, in The Patri- 
cian ; here he has attempted to draw a 
character whose actions spring from the in- 
most recesses of his being, and the result is 
a certain unconvincingness marring a fine 


achievement, for Galsworthy can penetrate 
only in swift spasms of intuition, and the 
delineation of a character like Miltoun's 
requires no spasmodic descent, but a per- 
petual working in the buried and profound. 
/Galsworthy is a psychological analyst of 
* some skill; he is sensitive to psychological 
variations, but he catches these only in their 
exterior manifestations, and t"he result is 
not so much a lack of profundity as a lack 
of grip. For this reason his characters, 
charming as they sometimes are, interesting 
as they always are, never succeed in being 
absolutely Life we never come to know 
them really intimately, they are more ac- 
quaintances than friends./ 

This surf ace- working in character is liable 
to impair situation, since the two are inter- 
dependent. Galsworthy is a master of situa- 
tion, but occasionally, when the depths ought 
to be sounded, we are put off with a con- 
summate skill of arrangement, a perfection 
of combination and interplay. This is so 
splendidly done that it is generally not till 


afterwards that we realise the lack, and this 
only because Galsworthy's work so often 
leaves an after- taste of aloofness, that, as 
every lover of Galsworthy knows he is not 
aloof, one sees that something must be wrong 
with the art which gives such an impression. 

Critics speak of Galsworthy's detachment, . 
but the true lover knows this is not soKM^uie 
sense of aloofness is due partly to his scrupu- 

4 lous fairness in examining every point of 
view, partly to an exaggerated restraint, and 
a shrinking from analyses which are not 

K purely intellectual. One often wishes that 
he would give himself rein. It is not 
from lack of power that he holds himself in, 
it seems to be rather from a certain shyness, 
a fastidious shrinking from troubling the 
depths or breaking the gates. On the rare 
occasions he gives himself freedom, we are 
struck by the force and vitality of it all. 

/Strange as it may seem in one who has been j 

so often accused of coldness, he is masterly \ 

in conveying the charged atmosphere of 

passion. 7 It is true that he writes with 



restraint, with almost too much restraint, 
but he has a wonderful power of suggesting 
the heavy sweetness of passion, its joys, 
its languors, its delicacies rather than its 

Take, for example, the scene in The Man of 
Property, when Irene returns to her husband, 
after having for the first time met Bosinney 
as a lover : 

" He hardly recognised her. She seemed 
on fire, so deep and rich the colour of her 
cheeks, her eyes, her lips, and of the unusual 
blouse she wore. She was breathing fast 
and deep, as though she had been running, 
and with every breath perfume seemed to 
come from her hair, and from her body, like 
perfume from anjo^ening flower. ... He 
lifted his finger towards her breast, but she 
dashed his hand aside. ' Don't touch me ! ' 
she cried. He caught her wrist; she 
wrenched it away. ' And where have you 
been ? ' he asked. ' In heaven out of this 
house ! ' With those words she fled upstairs. 
. . . And Soames stood motionless. What 
prevented him from following her? Was 


it that, with the eyes of faith, he saw 
Bosinney looking down from that high 
window in Sloane Street, straining his eyes 
for yet another glimpse of Irene's vanished 
figure, cooling his flushed face, dreaming of 
the moment when she flung herself on his 
breast the scent of her still in the air around 
and the sound of her laugh that was like 
sob ? " 

Next to a sense of situation Galsworthy 
must be granted a sense of atmosphere. 
This is due to the extraordinary sensitive- 
ness he brings into his work, as distinct from 

" Strong sunlight was falling on that 
little London garden, disclosing its native 
shadowiness ; streaks and smudges such as 
Life smears over the faces of those who 
live too consciously. The late perfume of 
the lilac came stealing forth into the air 
faintly smeethed with chimney- smoke. 
There was brightness but no glory, in that 
little garden ; scent, but no strong air blown 
across golden lakes of buttercups, from seas 
of springing clover, or the wind- silver of 


young wheat; music, but no full choir of 
sound, no hum." 

This passage from Fraternity shows Gals- 
worthy's peculiar grasp of subtleties, those 
pseudo- expressions of emotion in Nature, 
which only the sensitive can find in their 
less obvious aspects. For the more obvious 
aspects, he has not so much attention. He 
deals little with storms and furies, with 
nature as a power. Nature to him is rather 
an influence, a thing of crafty workings; 
and he loves above all others hours of pale 
sunlight, faint dawn, or, more still, twi- 
light languid and hushed, full of troubled 
perfumes : 

" All things waited. The creatures of 
night were slow to come forth after that 
long bright summer's day, watching for the 
shades of the trees to sink deeper and deeper 
into the now chalk- white water; watching 
for the chalk- white face of the sky to be 
masked with velvet. The very black plumed 
trees themselves seemed to wait in suspense 
for the grape- bloom of night. All things 


stared, wan in that hour of passing day all 
things had eyes wistful and unblessed." l 

In__thgjnatter of style, Galsworthy is not \ 
a purist. One finds a split infinitive spoiling k**" 
a procession of beautiful words, and one 
occasionally loses patience over a squad of 
panting verbless sentences all beginning with 
" And." But he has a gift worth more than 
grammatical perfection, and that is a real 
sense of words* In their combinations, con- 
trasts, and values, he marshals them with 
a poet's strategy. He loves those words 
which hold their meanings as soldiers 
their weapons; one sees him apportioning 
the place of honour in a sentence, ranking 
the subordinates. He is so absolute a crafts- 
man that we see in his occasional lapses more 
of a deliberate disregard than ignorance, and 
certainly nothing of the slipshod. 

His dialogue in'ihe plays is masterly not 
always so effective in the novels. He is at 
his best in the dialogue of the lower classes. 

1 The Dark Floiver. 


Sometimes, even in the plays, the conversa- 
tion of his " gentlefolk" is apt to be stilted 
or to drag. On the other hand, the speech 
of the poor is always both spontaneous and 
significant. He has a wonderful power of 
economy in words. Throughout the plays, 
and in the most memorable dialogues in the 
novels, there is not a word too much, and 
yet there is nothing jerky or scrappy in the 
general impression. 

Galsworthy is not a writer who owes much 
to outside influence. The first thought of 
" influence " in his case calls up ideas of 
French and Russian literature, but it would 
be surer to say that the resemblance is due 
to French and Russian qualities in the 
author's outlook and state of mind than to 
discipleship either unconscious or deliberate. 

Certainly he has that infinite pity, almost 
reverence, for suffering which characterises 
Russian ideas. But the same pity and 
reverence are not expressed in the large, 
straightforward manner of Tolstoy or 
Dostoevsky, but with Gallic subtlety and 


irony, recalling Flaubert. The writer with 
whom he has greatest affinity, to whom 
he may be said to be to a certain extent 
indebted, is Turguenev. In Turguenev we 
see the meeting ground of French and 
Russian art. There is the breadth, the 
tenderness, the mysticism of the Slav, 
mingling with the Frenchman's sense of 
humour and sense of form. Every writer 
who sets store on form must expect to be 
credited with French influences. English 
art is essentially naive in technique. Gals- 
worthy has few, if any, English affinities. 
But, on the other hand, he has anglicised 
the foreign influences. The Russian pity is 
shorn of its mysticism, the French irony 
of its gaiety. These two combinations are 
characteristic of the countries of their origin, 
and Galsworthy splits them, choosing the 
pity and the irony, leaving the mysticism 
and the gaiety thus asserting both his 
personality and his race. 

Galsworthy is a pessimist not in the 
spirit of fire and revolt, but in the spirit of 


an artist, sad, rather hopeless, and com- 
passionate. Everywhere he sees ills the 
trampling of the weak and poor, the conflict 
of instinct and civilisation, the pariahdom 
of the enlightened, the tyranny of un- 
imaginativeness, hypocrisy and greed. He 
suggests no remedy in fact, he insists con- 
tinually on the difficulty of finding any 
remedy which shall be at once permanent 
and adequate he just exposes the sore, and 
shows at the same time his burning pity for 
it, kindling our own. 

But if he realises with painful vividness 
the evil and sorrow of life, and if a certain 
tired hopelessness and dislike of interference 
keep him from dreaming a brighter future, 
his eyes are not blind to beauty, to tender- 
ness, and charm. /Though his fine char- 
acters are almost always in revolt, though his 
beauty is always softened with pathos, his 
rare humour twisted with satire, we must 
acknowledge that he has a true sense of the 
splendour, the loveliness, and the fun of 
life. He sees them, so to speak, through a 


mist of tears, but he does not miss them 
altogether. It is because he is so much 
more than a social reformer, because he is an 
artist and a sensitive, that he cannot glibly 
set down remedies for the world's wrongs. 
The genuine reformer is never content with 
pointing out the evils of a system, he has an 
improving plan. Galsworthy only shows 
us the shadows, with the lights that lie 
beside them, not those lights which shall 
scatter them at last. He is an artist, and 
the artist's vision is not of the future, but 
of to-dayy 

H 113 


[The date is given of the first edition of each book. " New 
edition" signifies a revision of text, change of format or 
transference to a different publisher.] 

* From the Four Winds [stories] (Unwin). 1897. 

* Jocelyn (Duckworth). 1 898. 

* Villa Eubein (Duckworth). 1900. 

* A Man of Devon [and other stories] (Blackwood). 

The Island Pharisees (Heinemann). 1904. New 

edition, 1908. 
The Man of Property (Heinemann). 1906. New 

editions: 1907. (Hodder and Stoughton). 1911. 

(Heinemann). 1915. 
The Country House (Heinemann). 1907. New edition, 

A Commentary (Richards). 1908. New edition 

(Duckworth). 1910. 
Fraternity (Heinemann). 1908. 
Plays. Volume I. [The Silver Box ; Joy ; Strife] 

(Duckworth). 1909. 

* These four books were written under the pseudonym 



Villa Rubein [and other stories] (Duckworth). 1909. 

New edition, 1911. [This contains the stories 

previously issued in the two volumes enumerated 

above, "Villa Rubein " and "A Man of 


The Silver Box [separate issue] (Duckworth). 1910. 
Joy [separate issue] (Duckworth). 1910. 
Strife [separate issue] (Duckworth). 1910. 
Justice [play] (Duckworth). 1910. 
A Motley (Heinemann). 1910. 
The Patrician (Heinemann). 1911. 
The Little Dream [play] (Duckworth). N.D. [1911.] 
The Pigeon [play] (Duckworth). 1912. 
Moods, Songs and Doggerels (Heinemann). 1912. 
The Inn of Tranquillity: Studies and Essays 

(Heinemann). 1912. 

The Eldest Son [play] (Duckworth). 1912. 
Plays. Volume II. [The Eldest Son; The Little 

Dream ; Justice] (Duckworth). 1912. 
The Fugitive [play] (Duckworth). 1913. 
The Dark Flower (Heinemann). 1913. 
The Mob [play] (Duckworth). 1914. 
Plays. Volume III. [The Fugitive; The Pigeon; 

The Mob] (Duckworth). 1914. 
Some Slings and Arrows from John Galsworthy. 

Selected by Elsie E. Morton (Elkin Mathews). 




Memories [an illustrated reprint of a single study 
from " The Inn of Tranquillity "] (Heinemann). 

The Little Man, and other Satires (Heinemann). 

A Bit o' Love [play] (Duckworth). 1915. 

The Freelands (Heinemann). 1915. 



The Island Pharisees (Putnam}. 1904. New edition, 


The Man of Property (Putnam). 1906. 
The Country House (Putnam). 1907. New edition 

(Scribner). 1914. 
Villa Rubein (Putnam). 1908. 
A Commentary (Putnam). 1908. 
Fraternity (Putnam). 1909. 
Plays : First Series (Putnam). 1909. 
Joy [play] (Scribner). 1910. 
A Motley (Scribner). 1910. 
Justice [play] (Scribner). 1910. 
The Patrician (Scribner). 1911. 
The Little Dream [play] (Scribner). 1911. 
The Pigeon [play] (Scribner). 1912. 
Moods, Songs and Doggerels (Scribner). 1912. 
The Eldest Son [play] (Scribner). 1912. 
The Inn of Tranquillity (Scribner). 1912. 
Plays : Second Series (Scribner). 191,3. 
The Fugitive [play] (Scribner). 1913. 
The Dark Flower (Scribner). 1913. 
The Mob [play] (Scribner). 1914. 


Plays : Third Series (Scribner). 1914. 

Memories [an illustrated reprint of a single study 

from "The Inn of Tranquillity"] (Scribner"). 


The Little Man, and other Satires (Scribner). 1915* 
A Bit o' Love [play] (Scribner). 1915. 
The Freelands (Scribner). 1915. 



About Censorship, 93 
Abracadabra, 96 

Barclay, Florence, 10 
Barker, Granville, 18 
Bennett, Arnold, 10, 12 
Bit o' Love, A, 16, 37, 44-47 

Caine, Hall, 10 

Caste, 34 

Commentary, A, 88-90, 97 

Conrad, Joseph, 10, 12, 15 

Corelli, Marie, 10 

Country House, The, 56, 63-68, 82, 83 

Dark Flower, The, 15, 54, 56, 78-81, 84, 109 
Davies, H. H., 18 
Dostoevsky, 110 

Eldest Son, The, 26, 27, 33-34, 37, 49 

Fisher of Men, A, 90 

Flaubert, 111 

Fraternity, 55, 56, 69-74, 83, 85, 89, 102, 108 

Freelands, The, 56, 81-85 

Fugitive, The, 26, 35-37, 102 

Grand Jury, The, 93 

Hall Marked, 96 
Houghton, Stanley, 18 
Housewife, The, 96 



Inn of Tranquillity, The, 88, 91-94, 95 
Island Pharisees, The, 56, 57, 58, 102 

Jones, H. A., 18 
Joy, 26, 37-41, 49, 81 
Justice, 23-26, 37-48, 102 
Justice (in A Commentary), 88 

Kipling, 12 

Little Dream, The, 15, 47, 50, 51, 98 
Little Man, The, 88, 94-97 

Man of Devon, A, 16, 86 

Man of Property, The, 56, 58-63, 69, 82, 83, 84, 87, 102, 106 

Masefield, John, 18 

Maugham, Somerset, 18 

Memories, 93 

Mob, The, 37, 41-43 ^ 

Moods, Songs and Doggerels, 16, 98, 99 

Mother, A, 89, 91 

Motley, A, 88, 90-91, 94, 97 

Novelist's Allegory, A, 92 
Once More, 91 

Patrician, The, 16, 55, 56, 74-77, 83, 103 
Pigeon, The, 47-50 
Plain Man, The, 96 

Riding in Mist, 16, 93 

Salvation of a Forsyte, The, 87 
'" "Silver Box, The, 26-33, 34, 35, 37, 94, 102 
Shaw, Bernard, 18, 19, 102 
Some Platitudes Concerning the Drama, 93, 101 


Street Lamps, 98, 99 

Strife, 21, 22, 24, 26, 35, 37, 42, 48, 94 

Studies in Extravagance, 95 

Old-Time Place, 93 
Tolstoy, 110 
Turguenev, 111 

Ultima Thule, 97 

Villa Rubein and Other Stories, 15, 86 

Wells, H. G., 10, 12 
Wind in the Rocks, 91, 92 
W riter, The, 95 


PR Kaye-Snith, Sheila 

6013 John Qalsworthy