Mr. G. K. Chesterton And Mr. Hilaire Belloc
( Originally Published 1919 )
1. The Heavenly Twins
IT was Mr. Shaw who, in the course of a memorable controversy, invented a fantastic pantomime animal, which he called the " Chester-Belloc." Some such invention was necessary as a symbol of the literary comradeship of Mr. Hilaire Bellac and Mr. Gilbert Chesterton. For Mr. Belloc and Mr. Chesterton, whatever may be the dissimilarities in the form and spirit of their work, cannot be thought of apart from each other. They are as inseparable as the red and green lights of a ship : the one illumines this side and the other that, but they are both equally concerned with announcing the path of the good ship " Mediaevalism " through the dangerous currents of our times. Fifty years ago, when philology was one of the imaginative arts, it would have been easy enough to gain credit for the theory that they are veritable reincarnations of the Heavenly Twins going about the earth with corrupted names. Chesterton is merely English for Castor, and Belloc is Pollux transmuted into French. Certainly, if the philologist had also been an evangelical Protestant, he would have felt a double confidence in identifying the two authors with Castor and Pollux as the
Great Twin Brethren, Who fought so well for Rome.
A critic was struck some years ago, by the propriety of the fact that Mr. Chesterton and Mr. Belloc brought out books of the same kind and the same size, through the same publisher, almost in the same week. Mr. Belloc, to be sure, called his volume of essays This, That, and the Other, and Mr. Chesterton called his A Miscellany of Men. But if Mr. Chesterton had called his book This, That, and the Other and Mr. Belloc had called his A Miscellany of Men, it would not have made a pennyworth of difference. Each book is simply a ragbag of essays-the riotous and fantastically joyous essays of Mr. Chesterton, the sardonic and arrogantly gay essays of Mr. Belloc. Each, however, has a unity of outlook, not only an internal unity, but a unity with the other. Each has the outlook of the mediaevalist spirit—the spirit which finds crusades and miracles more natural than peace meetings and the discoveries of science, which gives Heaven and Hell a place on the map of the world, which casts a sinister eye on Turks and Jews, which brings its gaiety to the altar as the tumbler in the story brought his cap and bells, which praises dogma and wine and the rule of the male, which abominates the scientific spirit, and curses the day on which Bacon was born. Probably, neither of the authors would object to being labelled a mediaevalist, except in so far as we all object to having labels affixed to us by other people. Mr. Chesterton's attitude on the matter, indeed, is clear from that sentence in What's Wrong with the World, in which he affirms: " Mankind has not passed through the Middle Ages. Rather man-kind has retreated from the Middle Ages in reaction and rout. And if, on learning some of the inferences he makes from this, you. protest that he is reactionary, and is trying to put back the hands of the clock, he is quite unashamed, and replies that the moderns " are always saying ` you can't put the clock back.' The simple and obvious answer is, ` You can.' A clock, being a piece of human construction, can be restored by the human finger to any figure or hour." The effrontery of an answer like that is so. magnificent that it takes one's breath away. The chief difficulty of Mr. Chesterton and Mr. Belloc, however, seems to be that they want their clock to point to two different hours at the same time, neither of which happens to be the hour which the sun has just marked at Greenwich. They want it to point at once to 878 and 1789—to Ethandune and the French Revolution.
Similar though they are in the revolutio-mediaevalist background of their philosophy, however, Mr. Chesterton and Mr. Belloc are as unlike as possible in the spirit in which they proclaim it. If Mr. Chesterton gets up on his box to prophesy against the times, he seems to do so, out of a passionate and unreasoning affection for his fellows. If Mr. Belloc denounces the age, he seems also to be denouncing the human race. Mr. Chesterton is jovial and democratic; Mr. Belloc is (to some extent) saturnine and autocratic. Mr. Chesterton belongs to the exub erantly lovable tradition of Dickens; indeed, he is, in the opinion of many people, the most exuberantly lovable personality which has expressed itself in English literature since Dickens. Mr. Belloc, on the other hand, has something of the gleaming and solitary fierceness of Swift and Hazlitt. Mr. Chesterton's vision, coloured though it is with the colours of the past, projects itself generously into the future. He is foretelling the eve of the Utopia of the poor and the oppressed when he speaks of the riot that all good men, even the most conservative, really dream of, when the sneer shall be struck from the face of the well-fed; when the wine of honour shall be poured down the throat of despair ; when we shall, so far as to the sons of flesh is possible, take tyranny, and usury, and public treason, and bind them into bundles, and burn them.
There is anger, as well as affection, in this eloquence —anger as of a new sort of knight thirsting to spill the blood of a new sort of barbarian in the name of Christ. Mr. Belloc's attack on the barbarians lacks the charity of these fiery sentences. He concludes his essay on the scientific spirit, as embodied in Lombroso, for instance, with the words, " The Ass I " And he seems to sneer the insult where Mr. Chesterton would have roared it. Mr. Chesterton and he may be at one in the way in which they regard the scientific criminologists, eugenists, collectivists, pragmatists, post-impressionists, and most of the other " ists " of recent times, as an army of barbarians invading the territories of mediaeval Christendom. But while Mr. Chesterton is in the gap of danger, waving against his enemies the sword of the spirit, Mr. Belloc stands on a little height apart, aiming at them the more cruel shafts of the intellect. It is not that he is less courageous than Mr., Chesterton, but that he is more contemptuous. Here, for example, is how he meets the barbarian attack, especially as it is delivered by M. Bergson and his school: ---
In its most grotesque form, it challenges the accuracy of mathematics ; in its most vicious, the processes of the human reason. The Barbarian is as proud as a savage in a top hat when he talks of the elliptical or the hyperbolic universe, and tries to picture parallel straight lines converging or diverging—but never doing anything so vulgarly old-fashioned as to remain parallel.
The Barbarian, when he has graduated to be a " pragmatist," struts like a nigger in evening clothes, and believes himself superior to the gift of reason, etc., etc.
It would be unfair to offer this passage as an example of Mr. Belloc's dominating genius, but it is an excellent example of his domineering temper. His genius and his temper, one may add, seem; in these essays, to, be always trying to climb on one another's shoulders, and it is when his genius gets uppermost that he becomes one of the most biting and exhilarating writers of his time. On such occasions his malice ceases to be a talent, and rises into an enthusiasm, as in The Servants of the Rich, where, like a mediaeval bard, he shows no hesitation in housing his enemies in the circles of Hell. His gloating proclamation of the eternal doom of the rich men's servants is an infectious piece of humour, at once grim and irresponsible:
Their doom is an eternal sleeplessness. and a nakedness in the gloom. . . . These are those men who were wont to come into the room of the Poor Guest at early morning, with a steadfast and assured step, and a look of insult. These are those who would take the tattered garments and hold them at arm's length, as much as to say : " What rags these scribblers wear ! " and then, casting them over the arm, with a gesture that meant : " Well, they must be brushed, but Heaven knows if they will stand it without coming to pieces ! " would next discover in the pockets a great quantity of middle-class things, and notably loose tobacco.
Then one would see him turn one's socks inside out, which is a ritual with the horrid tribe. Then a great bath would be trundled in, and he would set beside it a great can, and silently pronounce the judgment that, whatever else was forgiven the middle-class, one thing would not be forgiven them—the neglect of the bath, of the splashing about of the water, and of the adequate wetting of the towel.
All these things we have suffered, you and I, at their hands. But be comforted. They writhe in Hell with their fellows.
Mr. Belloc is not one of those authors who can be seen at their best in quotations, but even the mutilated fragment just given suggests to some extent the mixture of gaiety and malice that distinguishes his work from the work of any of his contemporaries. His gifts run to satire, as Mr. Chesterton's run to imaginative argument. It is this, perhaps, which accounts for the fact that, of these two authors, who write with their heads in the Middle Ages, it is Mr. Chesterton who is the more comprehensive critic of his own times He never fights private, but always public, battles in his essays. His mediaevalism seldom degenerates into a prejudice, as it often does with Mr. Belloc. It represents a genuine theory of the human soul, and of human freedom. He laments as he sees men exchanging the authority of a spiritual institution, like the Church, for the authority" of a carnal institution, like a bureaucracy. He rages as he sees them abandoning chartèrs that gave men rights, and accepting charters that only give them prohibitions. It has been the custom for a long time to speak of Mr. Chesterton as an optimist ; and there was, indeed, a time when he was so rejoiced by the discovery that the children of men were also the children of God, that he was as aggressively cheerful as Whitman and Browning rolled into one. But he has left all that behind him. The insistent vision of a world in full retreat from the world of Alfred and Charlemagne and the saints and the fight for Jerusalem—from' this and the allied world of Danton and Robespierre, and the rush to the Bastille—has driven him back upon a partly well-founded and partly ill-founded Christian pessimism. To him it now seems as if Jerusalem had captured the Christians rather than the Christians Jerusalem. He sees men rushing into Bastilles, not in order to tear them down, but in order to inhabit the accursed cells.
When I say that this pessimism is partly ill-founded, I mean that it is arrived at by comparing the liberties of the Middle Ages with the tyrannies of to-day, instead of by comparing the liberties of the Middle Ages with the liberties of today, or the tyrannies of the Middle Ages with the tyrannies of to-day,. It is the result, sometimes, of' playing with history and, sometimes, of playing with words. Is it not playing with words, for instance, to glorify the charters by, which mediaeval kings guaranteed the rights and privileges of their subjects, and to deny the name of charter to such a law as that by which a modern State guarantees some of the rights and privileges of children—to deny it simply on the ground that the latter expresses itself largely in prohibitions? It may be necessary to forbid a child to go into a gin-palace in order to secure it the privilege of not being driven into a gin-palace. Prohibitions are as necessary to human liberty. as permits and licences.
At the same time, quarrel as we may with Mr. Chesterton's mediaevalism, and his application of it to modern problems, we can seldom' quarrel with the motive with which he urges it upon us. His high purpose throughout is to keep alive the human view of society, as opposed to the mechanical view to which lazy politicians are naturally inclined. If he has not been able to give us any very, coherent vision of a Utopia of his own, he has, at least, done the world a service in dealing some smashing blows at the Utopia of machinery. None the less, he and Mr. Belloc would be the most dangerous of writers to follow in a literal obedience. In regard to political and social improvements, they are too often merely, Devil's Advocates of genius. But that is a necessary function, and they are something more than that. As I have suggested, above all the arguments and the rhetoric and the humours of the little political battles, they do bear aloft a banner with a strange device, reminding us that organized society was made for man, and not man for organized society. That, in the last analysis, is the useful thing for which Mr. Chesterton and Mr. Belloc stand in modern politics. It almost seems at times, however, as though they were ready to see us bound again with the fetters of ancient servitudes, in order to compel us to take part once more in the ancient struggle for freedom.
2. The Copiousness of Mr. Belloc
Mr. Belloc has during the last four or five years become a public man. Before that he had been acknowledged a man of genius. But even the fact that he had sat in the House of Commons never led any great section of Englishmen to regard him as a figure or an institution. He was generally looked on as one who made his bed aggressively among heretics, as a kind of Rabelaisian dissenter, as a settled interrupter, half-rude and half-jesting. And yet there was always in him something of the pedagogue who has been revealed so famously in these last months., Not only had he a passion for facts and for stringing facts upon theories. He had also a high-headed and dogmatic and assured way of imparting his facts and theories to the human race as it sat—or in so far as it could be persuaded to sit—on its little forms.
It is his schoolmasterishness which chiefly distinguishes the genius of Mr. Belloc from the genius of his great and uproarious comrade, Mr. Chesterton. Mr. Belloc is not a humorist to anything like the same degree as Mr. Chesterton. If Mr. Chesterton were a schoolmaster he would give, all the triangles noses and eyes, and he would turn the Latin verbs into nonsense rhymes. Humour is his breath and being. He cannot speak of the Kingdom of Heaven or of Robert Browning without it any more than of asparagus. He is a laughing theologian, a laughing politician, a laughing critic, a laughing philosopher. He retains a fantastic cheerfulness even amid the blind furies—and how blindly furious he can sometimes be t—of controversy. With Mr. Belloc, on the other hand, laughter is a separate and relinquishable gift. He can at will lay aside the mirth of one who has broken bounds for the solemnity of the man in authority. He can be scapegrace prince and sober king by turns, and in such a way that the two personalities seem scarcely, to be related to each other. ' Compared with Mr. Chesterton he is like a man in a mask, or a series of masks. He reveals more of his intellect to the world than of his heart. He is not one of those authors whom one reads with a sense of personal intimacy. He is too arrogant even in his merriment for that.
Perhaps the figure we see reflected most obtrusively in his works is that of a man delighting in immense physical and intellectual energies. It is this that makes him one of the happiest of travellers. On his travels, one feels, every inch and nook of his being is intent upon the passing earth. The world is to him at once a map and a history and a poem and a church and an ale-house. The birds in the greenwood, the beer, the site of an old battle, the meaning of an old road, sacred emblems by the roadside, the comic events of wayfaring—he has an equal appetite for them all. Has he not made a perfect book of these things, with a thousand fancies added, in The Four Men? In The Four Men he has written a travel-book which more than any other of his works has something of the passion of a personal confession. Here the pilgrim becomes nearly genial as he indulges in his humours against the rich and against policemen and in behalf of Sussex against Kent and the rest of the inhabited world.
Mr. Chesterton has spoken of Mr. Belloc as one who " did and does humanly and' heartily love England, not as a duty but as a pleasure, and almost an indulgence." And The Four Men; expresses this love humorously, inconsequently, and with a grave stepping eloquence. There are few speeches in modern books better than the conversations in The Four Men. Mr. Belloc is not one, of those disciples of realism who believe that the art of conversation is dead, and that modern people are only capable of addressing each other in one-line sentences. He has the traditional love of the fine speech such as we find it in the ancient poets and historians and dramatists and satirists. He loves a monologue that passes from mockery to regret, that gathers up by the way anecdote and history and essay and foolery, that is half a narrative of things seen and half an irresponsible imagination. He can describe a runaway horse with the farcical realism of the authors of Some Experiences of an Irish R.M., can parody a judge, can paint a portrait, and can steep a landscape in vision. Two recent critics have described him as " the best English prose writer since Dryden," but that only means that Mr. Belloc's rush of genius has quite naturally swept them off their feet.
If Mr. Belloc's love of country is an indulgence, his moods of suspicion and contempt are something of the same kind. He is nothing of a philanthropist in any sense of the word. He has no illusions about the virtue of the human race. He takes pleasure in scorn, and there is a flavour of bitterness in his jests. His fiction largely belongs to the comedy of corruption., He enjoys—and so do we—the thought of the poet in Sussex who had no money except three shillings, " and a French penny, which last some one had given him out of charity, taking him for a beggar a little way out of Brightling that very day." When he describes the popular rejoicings at the result of Mr. Clutterbuck's election, he comments : The populace were wild with joy at their victory, and that portion of them who as bitterly mourned defeat would have been roughly handled had they not numbered quite half this vast assembly of human beings." He is satirist and ironist even more than historian. His ironical essays are the best of their kind that have been written in recent years.
Mr. Mandell and Mr. Shanks in their little study, Hilaire Belloc: the Man and his Work, are more successful in their exposition of Mr. Belloc's theory of history, and the theory of politics which has risen out of it—or out of which it has risen—than they are in their definition of him as a man of letters. They have written a lively book on him, but they do not sufficiently communicate an impression of the kind of his exuberance, of his thrusting intellectual ardour, of his pomp as a narrator, of his blind and doctrinaire injustices, of his jesting like a Roman Emperor's, of the strength of his happiness upon a journey, of his buckishness, of the queer lack of surprising phrases in his work, of his measured omniscience, of the immense weight of tradition in the manner of his writing. There are many contemporary writers whose work seems to be a development of journalism. Mr. Belloc's is the child of four Iiteratures, or, maybe, half a dozen. He often writes carelessly, sometimes , dully, but there is the echo of greatness in his work. He is one of the few contemporary men of genius whose books are under-estimated rather than over-estimated. He is an author who has brought back to the world something of the copiousness, fancy, appetite, power, and unreason of the talk that, one imagines, was once to be heard in the Mermaid Tavern.
3. The Two Mr. Chestertons
I cannot help wishing, at times that Mr. Chesterton could be divided in two. One half of him I should like to challenge to mortal combat as an enemy of the human race. The other half I would carry shoulder-high through the streets. For Mr. Chesterton is at once detestable and. splendid. He is detestable as a doctrinaire : he is splendid as a sage and a poet who juggles with stars and can keep seven of them in the air at a time. For, if he is a gamester, it is among the lamps of Heaven. We can see to read by his sport. He writes in flashes, and hidden and fantastic truths suddenly show their faces in the play of his sentences.
Unfortunately, his two personalities have become so confused that his later books sometimes strike one as being not so much a game played with light as a game of hide-and-seek between light and darkness. In the darkness he mutters incantations to the monstrous tyrannies of old time : in the light he is on his knees to liberty. He vacillates between superstition and faith. His is a genius at once enslaved and triumphantly rebel. This fatal duality is seen again and again in his references to the tyrannies of the Middle Ages. Thus he writes : " It need not be repeated that the case for despotism is democratic. As a rule its cruelty to the strong is kindness to the weak." I confess , do not know the rule " to which Mr, Chesterton refers.
The picture of the despot as a good creature who shields the poor from the rich is not to be found among the facts of history. The ordinary despot, in his attitude to the common people suffering from the oppressions of their lords, is best portrayed in the fable—if it be a fable—of Marie Antoinette and her flippancy about eating cake.
I fancy, however, Mr. Chesterton's defence of despots is not the result of any real taste for them or acquaintance with their history: it is due simply to his passion for extremes. He likes a man, as the vulgar say, to be either one thing or the other. You must be either a Pope or a revolutionist to please him. He loves the visible rhetoric of things, and the sober suits of comfortable citizens seem dull and neutral in comparison with the red of cardinals on the one hand, and of caps of liberty on the other. This, I think, explains Mr. Chesterton's indifference to, if not dislike of, Parliaments. Parliaments are monuments of compromise, and are guilty of the sin of unpicturesqueness. One would imagine that a historian of England who did not care for Parliaments would be as hopelessly out of his element as a historian of Greece who did not care for the arts. And it is because Mr. Chesterton is indifferent to so much in the English genius and character that he has given us in his recent short History of England, instead of a History, of England, a wild and wonderful pageant of argument. " Already," he cries, as he relates how Parliament " certainly encouraged, and almost certainly obliged " King Richard to break his pledge to the people after the Wat Tyler insurrection: ---
Already Parliament is not merely a governing body, but a governing class.
The history of England is to M. Chesterton largely the history of the rise of the governing class. He blames John Richard Green for leaving the people out of his history ; but Mr, Chesterton himself has left out the people as effectually as any of the historians who went before him. The obsession of the governing class has thrust the people into the background. History resolves itself with him into a disgraceful epic of a governing class which despoiled Pope and King with the right hand, and the people with the left. It is a disgraceful epic patched with splendid episodes, but it culminates in an appalling cry of doubt whether, after all, it might not be better for England to perish utterly in the great war while fighting for liberty than to, survive to behold the triumph of the " governing class " in a servile State of old-age pensions and Insurance Acts.
This theory of history, as being largely the story of the evolution of the " governing class," is an extremely interesting and even " fruitful " theory. But it is purely fantastic unless we bear in mind that the governing class has been continually compelled to enlarge itself, and that its tendency is reluctantly to go on doing so until in the end it will be coterminous with the " governed class. History is a tale of exploitation, but it is also a tale of liberation, and the over-emphasis that Mr. Chesterton lays on exploitation by Parliaments as compared with exploitation by Popes and Kings, can only be due to infidelity in regard to some of the central principles of freedom. Surely it is possible to condemn the Insurance Act, if it must be condemned, without apologizing either for the Roman Empire or for the Roman ecclesiastical system. Mr. Chesterton, however, believes in giving way to one's prejudices. He says that history should be written backwards ; and what does this mean but that it should be dyed in prejudice? Thus, he cannot refer to the Hanoverian succession with-out indulging in a sudden outburst of heated rhetoric such as one might expect rather in a leading article in war-time. He writes : ---
With George there entered England something that had scarcely been seen there before ; something hardly mentioned in mediaeval or Renascence writing, except as one mentions a Hottentot—the barbarian from beyond the Rhine.
Similarly, his characterization of the Revolution of i 688 is largely a result of his dislike of the governing classes at the present hour The Revolution reduced us to a country wholly governed by gentlemen ; the popular universities and schools of the Middle Ages, like their guilds and abbeys, had been seized and turned into what they are—factories of gentlemen when they are not merely factories of snobs.
Both of these statements contain a grain of truth, but neither of them contains enough truth to be true. One might describe them as sweetmeats of history of small nutritious value. One might say the same of his comment on the alliance between Chatham and Frederick the Great The cannibal theory of a commonwealth, that it can of its nature eat other commonwealths, had entered Christendom. . How finely said ! But, alas ! the cannibal theory of a commonwealth existed long before Chatham and Frederick the Great. The instinct to exploit is one of the most venerable instincts of the human race, whether in individual men or in nations of men ; and ancient Hebrew and ancient Greek and ancient Roman had exhausted the passion of centuries in obedience to it before the language spoken either by Chatham or by Frederick was born. Christian Spain, Christian France, and Christian England had not in this matter disowned the example of their Jewish and Pagan forerunners.
What we are infinitely grateful to Mr. Chesterton for, however, is that he has sufficient imagination to loathe cannibalism wherever he sees it. True, he seems to forgive certain forms of cannibalism on the ground that it is an exaggeration to describe the flesh of a rich man as the flesh of a human being. But he does rage with genius at the continual eating of men that went on in England, especially after the spoliation of the monasteries in the reign of Henry the Eighth gave full scope to the greed of the strong. He sees that the England which Whig and Tory combined to defend as the perfection of the civilized world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was an England governed by men whose chief claim to govern was founded on the fact that they had seized their country and were holding it against their countrymen. Mr.
Chesterton rudely shatters the mirror of perfection in which the possessing class have long seen themselves. He writes in a brilliant passage : ---
It could truly be said of the English gentleman, as of another gallant and gracious individual, that his honour stood rooted in dishonour. He was, indeed, somewhat in the position of such an aristocrat of romance, whose splendour has the dark spot of a secret and a sort of blackmail. . . . His glory did not come from the Crusades, but from the Great Pillage. . . . The oligarchs were descended from usurers and thieves. That, for good or evil, was the paradox of England ; the typical aristocrat was the typical upstart.
But the secret was worse ; not only was such a family founded on stealing, but the family was stealing still. It is a grim truth that, all through the eighteenth century, all through the great Whig speeches about liberty, all through the great Tory speeches about patriotism, through the period of Wandiwash`and Plassey, through the period of Trafalgar and Waterloo, one process was steadily going on in the central senate of the nation. Parliament was passing Bill after Bill for the enclosure by the great landlords of such of the common lands as had survived out of the great communal system of the Middle Ages. It is much more than a pun, it is the prime political irony of our history that the Commons were destroying the commons.
It would be folly to suggest, however, that, conscious though Mr. Chesterton is of the crimes of history, he has turned history into a mere series of floggings of criminals. He is for ever laying down the whip and inviting the criminals to take their seats while he paints gorgeous portraits of them in all the colours of the rainbow. His praise of the mighty rhetoricians of the eighteenth century could in some passages scarcely be more unstinted if he were a Whig of the Whigs. He cannot but admire the rotund speech and swelling adventures of those days. If we go farther back, we find him portraying even the Puritans with a strange splendour of colour : ---
They were, above all things, anti-historic, like the Futurists in Italy ; and there was this unconscious greatness about them, that their very sacrilege was public and solemn, like a sacrament ; and they were ritualists even as iconoclasts. It was, properly considered, but a very secondary example of their strange and violent simplicity that one of them, before a mighty mob at White-hall, cut off the anointed head of the sacramental man of the Middle Ages. For another, far away in the western shires, cut down the thorn of Glastonbury, from which had grown the whole story of Britain.
This last passage is valuable, not only because it reveals Mr. Chesterton as a marvellous rhetorician doing the honours of prose to his enemies, but because it helps to explain the essentially tragic view he takes of English history. I exaggerated a moment ago when I said that to Mr. Chesterton English history is the story of the rise of a governing class. What it really is to him is the story of a thorn-bush cut down by a Puritan. He has hung all the candles of his faith on the sacred thorn, like the lights on a Christmas-tree, and to 1 it has been cut down and cast out of England with as little respect as though it were a verse from the Sermon on the Mount. It may be that Mr. Chesterton's sight is erratic, and that what he took to be the sacred thorn was really a Upas-tree. But in a sense that does not matter. He is entitled to his own fable, if he tells it honestly and beautifully and it is as a tragic fable or romance of the downfall of liberty in England that one reads his History. He himself contends in the last chapter of the book that the crisis in English history came " with the fall of Richard II, following on his failures to use. mediaeval despotism in the interests of mediaeval democracy." Mr. Chesterton's history would hardly be worth reading, if he had made nothing more of it than is suggested in that sentence. His book (apart from occasional sloughs of sophistry and fallacious argument) remains in the mind as a song of praise and dolour chanted by the imagination about an England that obeyed not God and despised the Tree of Life, but that may yet, he believes, hear once more the ancestral voices, and with her sons arrayed in trade unions and guilds, march riotously back into the Garden of Eden.
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