ut in this written gossip he revealed himself more intimately than in our conversation of the days gone by. Ryecroft had never erred by lack of reticence; as was natural in a sensitive man who had suffered much, he inclined to gentle acquiescence, shrank from argument, from self-assertion. Here he spoke to me without restraint, and, when I had read it all through, I knew the man better than before.
Assuredly, this writing was not intended for the public, and yet, in many a passage, I seemed to perceive the literary purpose--something more than the turn of phrase, and so on, which results from long habit of composition. Certain of his reminiscences, in particular, Ryecroft could hardly have troubled to write down had he not, however vaguely, entertained the thought of putting them to some use. I suspect that, in his happy leisure, there grew upon him a desire to write one more book, a book which should be written merely for his own satisfaction. Plainly, it would have been the best he had it in him to
This delightful little book hardly can be called a novel—the story is spun out of very thin material with no great dramatic conflicts, in fact no conflict at all.
Yet Gissing has managed to fashion an interesting tale out of quite ordinary circumstances—a struggling writer whose hard life is made soft near its end by an unexpected inheritance. Thus it is the story of an escape from hardship and pain into a safe harbor.
Anyone inclined to reclusive quiet will find this a charming and comforting book, but those looking for sex, violence, drama, and emotional turmoil won't have the slightest chance of understanding its appeal and should pass it by until life has dealt them some harsh blows.