charm! Indeed it would not be exces-
sive if we discovered in this slight first 
novel evidence of powers which only 
needed, one might hazard, a more 
generous diet to ripen into wealth and 
beauty. Twenty-two years might well 
have taken the sting from the satire 
and shifted the proportions of the 
whole. But, if that is to some extent 
true, the years have had no power to 
obliterate the fact that, though Mr. 
Forster may be sensitive to the bicycle 
and the duster, he is also the most per-
sistent devotee of the soul. Beneath 
bicycles and dusters, Sawston and
Italy, Philip, Harriet, and Miss Abbott, 
there always lies for him—it is this 
which makes him so tolerant a satirist
—a burning core. It is the soul; it is 
reality; it is truth; it is poetry; it is love; 
it decks itself in many shapes, dresses 
itself in many disguises. But get at it 
he must; keep from it he cannot. Over 
brakes and byres, over drawing-room 
carpets and mahogany sideboards, he 
flies in pursuit. Naturally the spectacle 
is sometimes comic, often fatiguing; 
but there are moments—and his 
first novel provides several instances
—when he lays his hands on the 

Yet, if we ask ourselves upon which 
occasions this happens and how, it will 
seem that those passages which are 
least didactic, least conscious of the 
pursuit of beauty, succeed best in 
achieving it. When he allows himself a 
holiday—some phrase like that comes 
to our lips; when he forgets the vision 
and frolics and sports with the fact; 
when, having planted the apostles of 
culture in their hotel, he creates airily, 
joyfully, spontaneously, Gino the den-
tist's son sitting in the café with his 
friends, or describes—it is a master-
piece of comedy—the performance of 
Lucia di Lammermoor, it is then that 
we feel that his aim is achieved. Judg-
ing, therefore, on the evidence of this 

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first book, with its fantasy, its penetra-
tion, its remarkable sense of design, we 
should have said that once Mr. Forster 
had acquired freedom, had passed be-
yond the boundaries of Sawston, he 
would stand firmly on his feet among 
the descendants of Jane Austen and 
Peacock. But the second novel, The 
Longest Journey, leaves us baffled and 
puzzled. The opposition is still the 
same: truth and untruth; Cambridge 
and Sawston; sincerity and sophistica-
tion. But everything is accentuated. 
He builds his Sawston of thicker bricks 
and destroys it with stronger blasts. 
The contrast between poetry and real-
ism is much more precipitous. And 
now we see much more clearly to what 
a task his gifts commit him. We see 
that what might have been a passing 
mood is in truth a conviction. He 
believes that a novel must take sides in 
the human conflict. He sees beauty—
none more keenly; but beauty impris-
oned in a fortress of brick and mortar 
whence he must extricate her. Hence 
he is always constrained to build the 
cage—society in all its intricacy and 
triviality—before he can free the 
prisoner. The omnibus, the villa, the 
suburban residence, are an essential 
part of his design. They are required 
to imprison and impede the flying 
flame which is so remorselessly caged 
behind them. At the same time, as we 
read The Longest Journey we are aware 
of a mocking spirit of fantasy which 
flouts his seriousness. No one seizes 
more deftly the shades and shadows of 
the social comedy; no one more amus-
ingly hits off the comedy of luncheon 
and tea party and a game of tennis at 
the rectory. His old maids, his clergy, 
are the most lifelike we have had since 
Jane Austen laid down the pen. But 
he has into the bargain what Jane 
Austen had not—the impulses of a 
poet. The neat surface is always being 
thrown into disarray by an outburst of