THE CHILDREN OF HERMITAGE by Frances E. Crompton

THE CHILDREN OF HERMITAGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The many estimable qualities of this old (1903) serialized story are identified and illustrated by Margery Fisher in the Introduction; but while it is true that the Tudor children ""make an adventure out of very little,"" it is also true that they have very little to make an adventure of -- almost nothing until, well along in their summer without lather or mother, governess or Aunt Matilda, they chance upon a ruined bridge and the abandoned church it led to and find the gravestone of Gwenyth Wynne whose twenty pounds built the bridge: ""By the grace of God shee served her Generation."" They will too, vow Gwen, the narrator, Howel, Rosamund and Gower, but meantime, and most of the time, there are the younger children to help housekeeper Mrs. Lavender with. They worry about getting into ""scrapes"" and do, twice (Gwen's transgression is tumbling into a bog-ditch); and they discover that a holiday can be overlong (""You only feel like a cow that has got out of its field""). Not until four of them, lacking Howel's wise, firm direction, get lost in a rainstorm and fetch up at Sir Howel Wynn's, do real action and real progress occur -- for Sir Howel is not only a descendant of Gwenyth's but a distant, disaffected relation of Father's; now they'll be reconciled and the bridge will be rebuilt. And while indeed, as Mrs. Fisher notes, the children contribute by cleaning up church and churchyard, their true 'service to their generation,' praised by Mrs. Lavender (and Mrs. F.), has been their goodness to little brothers and sisters. Well and good (better without prior notice) but hardly up to the British standard of surveillance-free, fancy-free summers.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1971
Publisher: St. Martin's Press