Letters from W. H. Hudson, 1901-1922

Letters from W. H. Hudson, 1901-1922

Letters from W. H. Hudson, 1901-1922

Letters from W. H. Hudson, 1901-1922

Excerpt

I first met Hudson in September, 1901, over the publication of El Ombú. It was my last day as Heinemann's "reader" and I was clearing up my work when a lad announced "Mr. Hudson!" and looking through the window I saw a tall dark man standing on the leads outside my little room. Some weeks before I had impressed on Mr. William Heinemann that El Ombú was a work of genius and that he must publish it. "But we shan't sell it!" objected Mr. William Heinemann in his nervous, excitable fashion. He had temporized, afraid either to return the MS or to accept it, and now Hudson had come to learn his decision. I went up to Hudson and told him that he had written a masterpiece. Its grave beauty, its tragic sweetness, indeed, had swept me off my feet, as it does now when I read it. Hudson glared at me astonished, as though he wished to annihilate me and asked my name. I told him, adding, "It's my last day here. Where can I meet you?" Suddenly his face changed and he said, "Let's go and find a place to lunch." I took him to the Mont Blanc in Gerrard Street and we talked about El Ombú, about books, about the publishers, their words and their deeds, and about other things . . .

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