5 AUGUST 1916, Page 13


(To THE EDITOR Or THE " SPECTATOR."( Sre,—In his generally fair and sympathetic review of Mr. Norris's latest novel, Proud Peter, your reviewer writes : " Saints who sacrifice all to their principles and sinners who practise the maxim esto peccator et pecca fortiter find no place in his pages." It is true that Mr. Norris does not represent many or any of his characters making sacrifices for impersonal causes, but no one could represent cases of more absolute self-immolation for the sake of others, of which the work reviewed is an instance ; and his debonair villains, who take advantage of the here's sacrifices, are by no means wanting in blackness. The more natural criticism is that the unselfishness of the heroes is too high- pitched. Indeed, your reviewer admits that Mr. Norris's characters " do occasionally display fine and even heroic qualities in trying circum- stances." He adds that they " make very little fuss about it, and take very little credit to themselves for their magnanimity." Exactly; but surely that is to say that they are not " ordinary people, normal people, or people who deviate but slightly from the norm."—I am,