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Third volume in the mammoth project begun with The Forest and the Fort, continued in Bedford Village, and woven more tightly in with the action and characters of the earlier books than was the case with Bedford Village. The symbolic character of the overall picture begins to emerge, as Salathiel Albine takes on more of the trappings of civilization as he and his love, Frances Melissa, continue their tortuous path toward the city. Bedford Village is behind them -- and behind them too, Salathiel hopes, is the danger of McArdle's wrath if he should discover that the secret marriage with Jane has been ignored. But over him hangs this threat, though only during the period of the fanatics' revival, in Carlisle, is he in serious danger. Small progress is made, as they turn against the westward tide of immigrants, pause at Col. Chambers' ambitious settlement, winter near the helter-skelter of Carlisle in the deserted mill house, where they sought the grandmother of the beloved waif, Bridget- and arrived too late, and finally turn their faces again toward Philadelphia, where their baby will be born. General Bouquet, Captain Oury, Captain Jack, the colorful Freemason, Yates, the lawyer, St. Clair, with aspirations towards new lands, new settlements to the north, to the south -- all these familiar figures of the earlier books reappear. Again one gets a sense of teeming life on the frontier -- almost a Canterbury pilgrimage sense of jostling motion, color and drama. But of incident there is less -- the pace seems slower -- the story interest bogs down in multiplicity of detail, loses itself in contemplative passages, is blurred by occasional metaphysical and philosophical side journeys. Advance interest in a new Hervey Allen is active enough to insure substantial immediate sale. But personally, I found Toward the Morning the least interesting of the three.

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 1948
Publisher: Rinehart