chapter  156
Unsigned review, Pall Mall Gazette, March 1903
Pages 2

US in a singularly effective manner. Before we have read fifty pages of the book, we are sharing Ryecroft's gentle quietism, we are regarding his position as the only possible and the only right one in a complex and tiring world; we are ready to go into the wilderness with the eremites of old, and possess our soul in an ecstasy of patience. This, then, is certainly the most striking thing about Mr Gissing's book-the success he has in capturing his reader, in forcing him to accept an ideal which may differ widely from his own. Not a little of the achievement of the author's may be attributed to the amazing reality which he gives the impression produced by the scenery of that most wonderful part of England, the West Country. Ryecroft, who has been a struggling author for his whole life, suddenly comes into a legacy which enables him to live comfortably in a small cottage in the country. Then the old problems no longer worry, the poor are still poor, the rich are still rich; but what are they to him? The best he can do for himselfand for the world is to attempt to realize his own nature in the way which he believes to be the only way for him. For him altruism must find its end and its beginning in himsel£: for one cannot do more than one's best; and Ryecroft is sure that his best is done by a calm, serene, and confident self-development. And so, in this diary which Mr Gissing gives to the world, Henry Ryecroft has jotted down the stages of his development, and the result is a book of great power and frankness. It is stupid to argue whether the manner ofman which Mr Gissing has drawn has any justification in a busy, material world. For ourselves we think he has. At any rate, it is sufficient that the type exists, and that it never has been displayed with such truth, such sympathy, and such insight. This book is Mr Gissing's masterpiece.