Two on a Tower
'Ah, my heart! her eyes and she
Have taught thee new astrology.
Howe'er Love's native hours were set,
Whatever starry synod met,
'Tis in the mercy of her eye,
If poor Love shall live or die.'
CRASHAW: Love's Horoscope.
This slightly-built romance was the outcome of a wish to set the emotional history
of two infinitesimal lives against the stupendous background of the stellar
universe, and to impart to readers the sentiment that of these contrasting
magnitudes the smaller might be the greater to them as men.
But, on the publication of the book people seemed to be less struck with these
high aims of the author than with their own opinion, first, that the novel was an
'improper' one in its morals, and, secondly, that it was intended to be a satire on
the Established Church of this country. I was made to suffer in consequence from
several eminent pens.
That, however, was thirteen years ago, and, in respect of the first opinion, I
venture to think that those who care to read the story now will be quite
astonished at the scrupulous propriety observed therein on the relations of the
sexes; for though there may be frivolous, and even grotesque touches on
occasion, there is hardly a single caress in the book outside legal matrimony, or
what was intended so to be.
As for the second opinion, it is sufficient to draw attention, as I did at the time, to
the fact that the Bishop is every inch a gentleman, and that the parish priest who
figures in the narrative is one of its most estimable characters.
However, the pages must speak for themselves. Some few readers, I trust--to
take a serious view--will be reminded by this imperfect story, in a manner not
unprofitable to the growth of the social sympathies, of the pathos, misery, long-
suffering, and divine tenderness which in real life frequently accompany the
passion of such a woman as Viviette for a lover several years her junior.
The scene of the action was suggested by two real spots in the part of the
country specified, each of which has a column standing upon it. Certain
surrounding peculiarities have been imported into the narrative from both sites.
T. H. July 1895.