definitely if discreetly the possibility 
of magic. Omnibuses drive to Heaven; 
Pan is heard in the brushwood; girls 
turn into trees. The stories are ex-
tremely charming. They release the 
fantasticality which is laid under such 
heavy burdens in the novels. But the 
vein of fantasy is not deep enough 
or strong enough to fight single-
handed against those other impulses 
which are part of his endowment. 
We feel that he is an uneasy truant
in fairyland. Behind the hedge he 
always hears the motor horn and 
the shuffling feet of tired wayfarers, 
and soon he must return. One slim 
volume indeed contains all that he has 
allowed himself of pure fantasy. We 
pass from the freakish land where boys 
leap into the arms of Pan and girls 
become trees to the two Miss Schlegels, 
who have an income of six hundred 
pounds apiece and live in Wickham 


Much though we may regret the 
change, we cannot doubt that it was 
right. For none of the books before 
Howards End and A Passage to India
altogether drew upon the full range of 
Mr. Forster's powers. With his queer
and in some ways contradictory assort-
ment of gifts, he needed, it seemed, 
some subject which would stimulate his 
highly sensitive and active intelligence, 
but would not demand the extremes of 
romance or passion; a subject which 
gave him material for criticism, and 
invited investigation; a subject which 
asked to be built up of an enormous 
number of slight yet precise obser-
vations, capable of being tested by
an extremely honest yet sympathetic 
mind; yet, with all this, a subject which 
when finally constructed would show 
up against the torrents of the sunset 
and the eternities of night with a 
symbolical significance. In Howards 

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End the lower middle, the middle, the 
upper middle classes of English society 
are so built up into a complete fabric. 
It is an attempt on a larger scale than 
hitherto, and, if it fails, the size of the 
attempt is largely responsible. Indeed, 
as we think back over the many pages 
of this elaborate and highly skilful 
book, with its immense technical ac-
complishment, and also its penetration, 
its wisdom, and its beauty, we may 
wonder in what mood of the moment we 
can have been prompted to call it a 
failure. By all the rules, still more by 
the keen interest with which we have 
read it from start to finish, we should 
have said success. The reason is sug-
gested perhaps by the manner of one's 
praise. Elaboration, skill, wisdom, pen-
etration, beauty—they are all there, 
but they lack fusion; they lack cohe-
sion; the book as a whole lacks force. 
Schlegels, Wilcoxes, and Basts, with all 
that they stand for of class and envi-
ronment, emerge with extraordinary 
verisimilitude, but the whole effect is 
less satisfying than that of the much 
slighter but beautifully harmonious
Where Angels Fear to Tread. Again we 
have the sense that there is some per-
versity in Mr. Forster's endowment so 
that his gifts in their variety and 
number tend to trip each other up. If 
he were less scrupulous, less just, less 
sensitively aware of the different as-
pects of every case, he could, we feel, 
come down with greater force on one 
precise point. As it is, the strength of 
his blow is dissipated. He is like a light 
sleeper who is always being woken by 
something in the room. The poet is 
twitched away by the satirist; the 
comedian is tapped on the shoulder by
the moralist; he never loses himself or 
forgets himself for long in sheer delight 
in the beauty or the interest of things 
as they are. For this reason the lyrical 
passages in his books, often of great 
beauty in themselves, fail of their due