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A story of a London poet.
'The Divine Fire' records also the history of a young man who loves out of his class, but Miss Sinclair can hardly be accused of a philosophy. Her task has been to reconcile readers to a hero without aitches. Savage Keith Rickman is a poet—a poet indubitable, triumphant, accepted straight off by those who know; more than that, physically a fine specimen of young manhood, and under no embarrassment in his relations with the ladies who share his boarding house, or even with Miss Poppy Grace, of a celebrated music-hall. But, confronted with a lady who inherits money, culture, and everything else in a concatenanation accordingly, he becomes, like Mr. Kipps,' retreating in his 'manners'—like Mr. Kipps, terribly embarrassed with a tea-cup; and in moments of emotion he is liable to drop an aspirate— worse still, to know that he has dropped it. May Sinclair does not challenge the accepted code; she gives their full and appalling significance to these trifles literally light as air—these breathings more or less. To make up for Mr. Rickman's omissions she endows him with a quixotism that would be almost preposterous were he not a poet, and she is careful to delay his final triumph till the English tongue has no longer any pitfalls for him. At the same time she is careful to guard her heroine Lucilla from the reproach of any unheroic insistence on social qualifications; influences are constantly at work which display Mr. Rickman in a false light. But, essentially, Miss Sinclair conforms. Rickman, with good looks, education, and the assured success of a genius which imposes itself by sheer mastery, is nevertheless all but impossible as a mate for the finely bred lady, because of social inexperience and a trick of speech that society has chosen out for a special stigma.
All-in-all, 'The Divine Fire' is a full-length study of the poetic temperament, framed in a varied and curiously interesting environment, and drawn with a firmness of hand that excites one's admiration.... Moreover, a real distinction of style, besides being of absorbing interest from cover to cover.
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