An Innocent Gentleman
"Henry and Muriel's life on the new estate is relatively harmonious, despite the vulgar neighbours (the Tonkettes), the Second World War and the regular Sunday visits from Muriel's mother (who believes her daughter has married far below her station).
"The accidental(?) appearance of Mr Hawthorne - Muriel's student - at their house one Sunday afternoon brings unexpected upheavals. Here is a man of respectable breeding, of munificent means, and someone capable of refined, intelligent conversation. Mr Hawthorne has something to offer everyone in the family, but his posting to London disturns the delicate balance of personal affairs. . . "
Henry allowed his wife seven items on her dressing table, items which could be moved easily and returned as necessary when Henry cleaned and used the dressing table. He had it in mind to write a novel of thought and feeling and the suggestions put forward by Dostoevski in his letter to a young mother shortly before he died.
During a war, Henry continued his enlightening remarks from one day to the next. During a war, a man, leaving his family, with no alternative choice, might be recruited and put in a uniform and sent to some isolated coast somewhere in Britain or in Europe. And when, ultimately, face to face with his superior officer, the officer in charge would expect the new recruit to recognise his own formal greeting of the salute. The new recruit would be expected to be in uniform. Refusal to put on the uniform would be described as insubordination and this carried a gaol sentence.
From the Viking hardback edition, 2001.
This page and its contents are copyright © 2002 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to Elizabeth Jolley Page.
Last modified: January 11, 2002.