The promise of a full-length novel by the author of "The Happy Hypocrite" had an intense effect on Beerbohm "addicts" in 1911. Those who did not share in the excitement at the time may be bored now by being told how keen it was, yet it was indisputably keen, all the more so for being narrow and literary. A first play by H. G. Wells, a book of lyrics by Bernard Shaw, a comedy by Theodore Roosevelt, a volume of lullabies by Herbert Asquith--the announcement of such unexpected works might whet the simple and greedy curiosity of the large public, but the large public would never have a titillation that would exceed the Beerbohmites' titillation with "Zuleika Dobson." Only a few hundred in all the Americas may have felt it, because only a few hundred could have been reading his Works and his Saturday Review criticisms. It was not the less a delicious excitement, and it was one which he amply gratified.
But not, I think, as we supposed he would. So much of his criticism was admiration of sober realism that we might easily have hoped for, or . . .