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The Captives   By: (1884-1941)

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The Captives

by

Hugh Walpole

TO

ARNOLD BENNETT

WITH DEEP AFFECTION

"I confess that I do not see why the very existence of an invisible world may not in part depend on the personal response which any of us may make to the religious appeal. God Himself, in short, may draw vital strength and increase of very being from our fidelity. For my own part I do not know what the sweat and blood and tragedy of this life mean, if they mean anything short of this. If this life be not a real fight, in which something is eternally gained for the universe by success, it is no better than a game of private theatricals from which one may withdraw at will. But it feels like a real fight as if there were something really wild in the universe which we, with all our idealities and faithlessness, are needed to redeem; and first of all to redeem our own hearts from atheisms and fears ..."

WILLIAM JAMES.

CONTENTS

PART I: BEGINNING OF THE JOURNEY

I DEATH OF THE REV. CHARLES CARDINAL II AUNT ANNE III THE LONDON HOUSE IV THE CHAPEL

PART II: THE CHARIOT OF FIRE

I THE WARLOCKS II EXPECTATION III MAGGIE AND MARTIN IV MR. CRASHAW V THE CHOICE VI THE PROPHET IN HIS OWN HOME VII THE OUTSIDE WORLD VIII PARADISE IX THE INSIDE SAINTS X THE PROPHET XI THE CHARIOT OF FIRE

PART III: THE WITCH

I THE THREE VISITS II PLUNGE INTO THE OTHER HALF III SKEATON ON SEA IV GRACE V THE BATTLE OF SKEATON: FIRST YEAR VI THE BATTLE OF SKEATON: SECOND YEAR VII DEATH OF AUNT ANNE VIII DEATH OF UNCLE MATHEW IX SOUL OF PAUL X THE REVIVAL

PART IV: THE JOURNEY HOME AGAIN

I THE DARK ROOM II HOBGOBLINS III THE TRIUMPH OF LIFE

PART I

BEGINNING OF THE JOURNEY

CHAPTER I

DEATH OF THE REV. CHARLES CARDINAL

Death leapt upon the Rev. Charles Cardinal, Rector of St. Dreots in South Glebeshire, at the moment that he bent down towards the second long drawer of his washhand stand; he bent down to find a clean collar. It is in its way a symbol of his whole life, that death claimed him before he could find one.

At one moment his mind was intent upon his collar; at the next he was stricken with a wild surmise, a terror that even at that instant he would persuade himself was exaggerated. He saw before his clouding eyes a black pit. A strong hand striking him in the middle of his back flung him contemptuously forward into it; a gasping cry of protest and all was over. Had time been permitted him he would have stretched out a hand towards the shabby black box that, true to all miserly convention, occupied the space beneath his bed. Time was not allowed him. He might take with him into the darkness neither money nor clean clothing.

He had been told on many occasions about his heart, that he must not excite nor strain it. He allowed that to pass as he allowed many other things because his imagination was fixed upon one ambition, and one alone. He had made, upon this last and fatal occasion, haste to find his collar because the bell had begun its Evensong clatter and he did not wish to night to be late. The bell continued to ring and he lay his broad widespread length upon the floor. He was a large and dirty man.

The shabby old house was occupied with its customary life. Down in the kitchen Ellen the cook was snatching a moment from her labours to drink a cup of tea. She sat at the deal table, her full bosom pressed by the boards, her saucer balanced on her hand; she blew, with little heaving pants, at her tea to cool it. Her thoughts were with a new hat and some red roses with which she would trim it; she looked out with little shivers of content at the falling winter's dusk: Anne the kitchen maid scoured the pans; her bony frame seemed to rattle as she scrubbed with her red hands; she was happy because she was hungry and there would be a beef steak pudding for dinner... Continue reading book >>




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