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Anglo-Saxon, an urbanity translated into planes and perspectives 
held to be artificial by Northern peoples. Yet to
confuse the shapes of this background is to destroy the investiture 
of Southern life. To recreate it for the purpose 
of a novel, a writer must have passed through a far more
complete Mediterraneanizing process than has Mr. Wells.
It would have added much to the integrity of “Meanwhile”
and would have diminished the confusion in the reader’s 
mind if Mr. Wells had confined himself for the mis en
scène to a garden that the reader would not have to rechristen 
“The Laburnums.”

From the serpentine beds of heart’s-ease in Mr. Wells’s
Italian garden, one turns to the semi-tropical habitat of Mr.
Montague’s Muse of Irony with a spirit of unsatisfied adventure, 
and is not disappointed. In “Right Off the Map”
Mr. Montague has met the requirement of all great stage-
setters, namely, that an environment be created in which the
volume of human life may reach the crest. One is careful 
not to write “does reach the crest” because a pitifully small
trickle of the human tide ever does reach anything, but it
is destiny and not décor that stems the tide. When the Muse
of Irony is maîtresse des scènes one can be perfectly sure
that the tide will waste itself in dramatic attempts to climb
and to plunge before its level is reached in lifeless streams
that flow in their crystal ways unencumbered by fertility.
Nevertheless, the décor in “Right Off the Map” does remain 
plastic both for visual and for dramatic purposes, while
the maîtresse des scènes busies herself in placing this character 
in a revealing light and in withering the bloom off that
one, and yet, being an Englishman’s Muse of Irony, she
does not work with complete abandon. She has her limitations. 
She may “make up” the Goddess of War with a 
middle-aged waist and down on her upper lip, Statecraft as
“the Old Woman who lived in a Shoe,” but Courage remains 
the chaste Diana, while the Goddess of Love is
Aphrodite rising from the waves, her lovely flesh reflecting
the tints of a flawless dawn. So much for décor.