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Rehabilitation of War-Shocked Love

LODGERS IN LONDON by Adelaide Eden Phillpotts. Little, Brown & Co. Boston. 1926 &2.00

By H. V. P.

IN the tale of homely people whose lives touch and intertwine through their proximity to each other in that curiously respectable phenomenon of urbanity, a London lodging house, Miss Phillpotts evinces a mature power without wholly sustaining the reader's credulity. One cannot help wondering at the sudden transformation of me elf-child Nancy, untaught, uncontrolled, into a strangely self-restrained girl, capable of extraordinary devotion to a uninspiring priest. Why did not her perception of and longing for the nobler love render the beautiful and gifted Carlota, so comprehending of herself and others, impervious to a love far from satisfying? And how could Philip, the object of the love, once awake to human passion, return so inexorably to a calm monastic prison? Ever conscious of "The Cloister and the Hearth" with its profound tragedy of two ever-faithful lovers, the reader finds in the story of Philip and Carlota little to arouse emotion.

But far removed from mediaeval romance, this is the twentieth-century idyll of rather grubby people. They have the small virtues of their ilk, well exemplified by the excellent Mrs. Nodden, and withal are honest, kindly, and thoroughly bourgeoisie. In spite of some seeming inconsistencies, they are clearly depicted, and the story of their very English, their very middle-class, mutual relations pulls its own weight. In these days of morbid writing, it is a pleasure to find a book whose pages leave one with an assurance of the existence and eternal value of simple goodness.

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