The Quest for Corvo

The Quest for Corvo

The Quest for Corvo

The Quest for Corvo

Excerpt

MY QUEST for Corvo was started by accident one summer afternoon in 1925, in the company of Christopher Millard. We were sitting lazily in his little garden, talking of books that miss their just reward of praise and influence. I mentioned Wylder's Hand , by Le Fanu, a master- piece of plot, and the Fantastic Fables of Ambrose Bierce. After a pause, without commenting on my examples, Millard asked: "Have you read Hadrian the Seventh?" I confessed that I never had; and to my surprise he offered to lend me his copy -- to my surprise, for my companion lent his books seldom and reluctantly. But, knowing the range of his knowledge of out-of-the-way literature, I accepted without hesitating; and by doing so took the first step on a trail that led into very strange places.

Millard comes into this story more than once; and a short digression regarding him will not be out of place. I am glad, indeed, to pay his memory the tribute of these words, for to me at that time, living in the country by preference, in London by profession, he was one of the compensations of town, as he must have been to many others. His queer character and odd way of living offered unending contradictions and problems for an intelligent observer: nevertheless I could rely on him to provide literary conversation, and a glass of Val de Peñas, at almost any hour of the day or night. Contrariety was perhaps his most consistent attribute. At Oxford he flouted the authorities in acts of noisy folly; in early manhood he became an . . .

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