17 August

17 August 1920

2 Portland Villas, Hampstead - London

In the sympathetic short preface which Mrs Belloc Lowndes has written for this, Miss Broughton's last novel, she tells us that Miss Broughton was 'curiously humble about her books. It was almost as if she was content to regard her literary gift as a kind of elegant accomplishment...' Why should this astonish Mrs Belloc Lowndes? It is delightful to think that the author should have been so nice a judge of her talent, for that, after reading A Fool in her Folly, is precisely what we feel it to have been - 'a kind of elegant accomplishment'. It is far from our desire to be lacking in respect for Miss Broughton's memory; but why does Mrs Lowndes trouble to quote the 'acute modern critic writing for Americans' when he declares that Miss Broughton 'seemed to him the nearest thing [sic] in spirit to Jane Austen that we have had in recent times'?
There can be no question of comparison between them. That Miss Broughton always put the best of herself into everything she did is undoubtedly true, but that she could have, even if she would have, put all of herself into anything that she did is quite a different matter. We do not think she had any such aim.... [Review of A Fool in her Folly by Rhoda Broughton, Athenaeum, 20 August 1920]