Conrad inherited his courage and love of literature from his father, himself a writer and an ardent patriot. In his native tongue, the use of which in public was forbidden by the Tsarist police, the elder Conrad wrote plays and poetry, and translated Hugo, de Vigny and Shakespeare. Some distinguished authors, like Edward Garnett and Henry James, acknowledged Conrad's unusual talent; but the public ignored him, and for twenty years he remained poor and obscure. When success and prosperity reached him at last, they were accompanied by the outbreak of the first World War, in which his son fought with the British army. Certain it is that in 1895, when Conrad found difficulty in embarking on his new novel, The Outcast of the Isles, he sought refuge once more at Champel. Conrad arrived at Geneva in the middle of May, 1907, and there, for three weeks, the little Boris hung between life and death.