Friday, April 5, 2013

The Return - by Walter de la Mare

Free US/UK Kindle Classic

The Return is a 1922 novel by the English writer and poet Walter de la Mare.  (He later revised the book, but this is the first version.) This is a mysterious novel . . . (US Edition)  (UK Edition) 

Memory slipped back for an instant to the life that in so unusual a fashion seemed to have floated a little aloof. Fortunately he had not discussed these inward symptoms with his wife. How surprised Sheila would be to see him loafing in this old, crooked churchyard. How she would lift her dark eyebrows, with that handsome, indifferent tolerance. He smiled, but a little confusedly; yet the thought gave even a spice of adventure to the evening's ramble.
It is about memory, possession and madness and, apparently, a bad romance.

Our protagonist reads an epitaph in the churchyard:

     'Stranger, a moment pause, and stay;
      In this dim chamber hidden away     
      Lies one who once found life as dear     
       As now he finds his slumbers here:     
       Pray, then, the Judgement but increase     
       His deep, everlasting peace!'

'But then, do you know you lie at peace?' Lawford audibly questioned, gazing at the doggerel. And yet, as his eyes wandered over the blunt green stone and the rambling crimson-berried brier that had almost encircled it with its thorns, the echo of that whisper rather jarred.

I imagine that there will not be a lot of peace after this visit!

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