Patricia Wentworth, 1949.
The hero, Antony Latter:
He came back to his room, and to the realisation that it was probably the last night he would ever spend there. His books still filled the shelves of a huge ramshackle bookcase, the sort that runs up to the ceiling and down to the floor – the bottom shelf crammed with bound volumes of the Boy’s Own Paper; school prizes in the next, the kind you never read; and so on through the idols of his teens to long rows of small leather-bound editions at the top. Some of them he would want to take. For the rest, what did one do with the relics of one’s youth? They ought to have gone in salvage during the war, but he could just see Jimmy with his foot down and a peremptory “None of Mr. Antony’s things!”
He goes on to consider the photographs in his room – “school groups, college groups … The years of the war made an impassable gulf between himself and the face, the blazer, the jersey, which had been his on the farther side of it”. Thinks about the friends who died in the war: “Bill Rogers, killed at Alamein – Jervis at Hellfire Corner – Mapleton in the blitz – Anstey in Burma – Danvers in France – Macdonald just gone, nobody knew where. No use looking back. Good fellows with whom he had had a good time, but you have to go on … ”
I like Miss Silver’s comments on Charlotte Yonge. “The Heir of Redclyffe is rather too sad … I must own for a preference for a happy ending, but one cannot cavil when so much faith and courage are inculcated. One day I believe that Miss Yonge will be admitted as the equal of Trollope, if not his superior.”