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This article is taken from PN Review 23, Volume 8 Number 3, January - February 1982.

Foreword to Sylvia Townsend Warner's A Moral Ending, And Other Stories T. F. Powys

In the early days of the propagation of the Christian religion there was one doubt that perplexed and troubled the minds of more than one of the Holy Fathers who strove for the unity of the Faith.

The doubt was a simple one. Would the All-Wise be likely to add to his other cares and vexations connected with the extraordinary creation of mankind upon the earth, by giving to woman the surprising gift of a living soul? One Father thought Yea, another Nay. There would have been no difficulty of decision had one of these doubting Solomons been fortunate enough, being caught in a storm of rain in the city gardens, to encounter Miss Sylvia Townsend Warner.

Time is as nothing to a good man. We may be sure that the honest Father, whoever he was, for being above us we had better not mention his name, had read Lolly Willowes and knew well enough that Mr Saunter, leaning on the gate, was a pleasant, unaffected young man enough, but no more, and that Caroline was a tedious bluebottle.

The wise Saint knowing her writing, and wishing, of course, to hear her voice too, led her in the spirit under the pleasant shelter of a convenient grove, that though once used for pagan purposes was now employed as a mere arbour. Once there the good man taking Miss Warner's hand and looking seriously upon her, and a little sadly too, asked his question ...


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