Letters from John Galsworthy, 1900-1932

Letters from John Galsworthy, 1900-1932

Letters from John Galsworthy, 1900-1932

Letters from John Galsworthy, 1900-1932

Excerpt

The first time Galsworthy and I met was one summer's day in 1900 at the cottage, The Cearne, when Conrad brought him to lunch. We should have met earlier, had I not confused his identity with that of a certain Arnold Goldsworthy, and therefore not accepted an opportunity given me. I did not know till later that Galsworthy had a great admiration for my wife's Turgenev translations and was then modelling Villa Rubein on Turgenev's method. Conrad that day was in his most silky, bantering mood, while Galsworthy sat listening to his lively exchanges, saying very little. I walked back with them through the Park to Westerham, and as we said good-bye Galsworthy remarked, with a gleam in his eye, 'I'm not such a fool as I seem'.

From his letter of September 18th, 1910, it appears that I had 'reported' on Jocelyn 'that the author would never be an artist but always look at life as from the windows of a Club'. This was a very bad shot, but Clubmen in my eyes stood then for worldly, conventional values, which Galsworthy later on was in train of fighting from the inside. I don't think that anybody in 1900 could have divined from Galsworthy's quiet, correct manner that he was inwardly seething against the Forsytes' world and their concentrated social pressure. He had himself passed through the upper-class mills of the Public School, the University and the Bar, and to dissociate . . .

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