Looking back on the long-stretched-out body of one’s work, it is interesting to mark the endless duel fought within a man between the emotional and critical sides of his nature, first one, then the other, getting the upper hand, and too seldom fusing till the result has the mellowness of full achievement. One can even tell the nature of one’s readers, by their preference for the work which reveals more of this side than of that. My early work was certainly more emotional than critical. But from 1901 came nine years when the critical was, in the main, holding sway. From 1910 to 1918 the emotional again struggled for the upper hand; and from that time on there seems to have been something of a “dead beat.” So the conflict goes, by what mysterious tides promoted, I know not.
An author must ever wish to discover a hapless member of the Public who, never yet having read a word of his writing, would submit to the ordeal of reading him right through from beginning to end. Probably the effect could only be judged through an autopsy, but in the remote case of survival, it would interest one so profoundly to see the differences, if any, produced in that reader’s character or outlook over life. This, however, is a consummation which will remain devoutly to be wished, for there is a limit to human complaisance. One will never know the exact measure of one’s infecting power; or whether, indeed, one is not just a long soporific.
A writer they say, should not favouritize among his creations; but then a writer should not do so many things that he does. This writer, certainly, confesses to having favourites, and of his novels so far be likes best: The Forsyte Series; “The Country House”; “Fraternity”; “The Dark Flower”; and “Five Tales”; believing these to be the works which most fully achieve fusion of seer with thing seen, most subtly disclose the individuality of their author, and best reveal such of truth as has been vouchsafed to him. John galsworthy.
MY SISTER BLANCHE LILIAN SAUTER
Walking along the river wall at Botzen, Edmund Dawney said to Alois Harz: “Would you care to know the family at that pink house, Villa Rubein?”
Harz answered with a smile:
“Come with me then this afternoon.”
They had stopped before an old house with a blind, deserted look, that stood by itself on the wall; Harz pushed the door open.
“Come in, you don’t want breakfast yet. I’m going to paint the river to-day.”
He ran up the bare broad stairs, and Dawney followed leisurely, his thumbs hooked in the armholes of his waistcoat, and his head thrown back.
In the attic which filled the whole top story, Harz had pulled a canvas to the window. He was a young man of middle height, square shouldered, active, with an angular face, high cheek-bones, and a strong, sharp chin. His eyes were piercing and steel-blue, his eyebrows very flexible, nose long and thin with a high bridge; and his dark, unparted hair fitted him like a cap. His clothes looked as if he never gave them a second thought.