25 OCTOBER 1940, Page 14


SIR,—Absolutes are dangerous, and " all " is apt to cover more than it is entitled to. Mr. Graham Greene might be justified in claiming that generally a "spirit of Charity" is "present in Chesterton's work." But when he attributes that quality to " all " G. K. C.'s writings, and when Mr. Belloc asserts that his friend "wounded none "—even exhibiting "so great and all-pervading a charity "—they must have forgotten the notorious passage, in The Victorian Age in Literature (page 83) which comments upon Dickens' treatment of Protestant Nonconformity. "He hated that Little Bethel to which Kit's mother went: he hated it simply as Kit hated it. Newman could have told him it was hateful, because it had no root in religious history; it was not even a sapling sprung of the seed of some great human and heathen tree; it was a monstrous mushroom that grows in the moonshine and dies in the dawn. Dickens knew no more of religious history than Kit: he simply smelt the fungus and it stank." That brutal outburst is unworthy of the great humorist from whose pen it came. It aptly exemplifies Mr. Belloc's warning against the "peril to the soul through hatred." And there is no hatred so soul-poisoning as sectarian rancour.—Yours faithfully,

D. E. AIM. St. Andrew's Manse, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire.