Where Angels Fear to Tread, E. M. Forster
Where Angels Fear to Tread
E. M. Forster
5:56 h Novels Lvl 8.05
Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) is a novel by E. M. Forster. The title comes from a line in Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism: "For fools rush in where angels fear to tread". The BBC adapted the novel for television in 1966 as a Play of the Month. In 1991 it was made into a film by Charles Sturridge, starring Rupert Graves, Giovanni Guidelli, Helen Mirren, Helena Bonham Carter, and Judy Davis. A ten-part radio adaptation of the novel was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. An opera based on the novel by Mark Weiser was premiered at the Peabody Institute of Music in 1999, and received its professional premiere at Opera San Jose in 2015

Where Angels Fear to Tread

by
E. M. Forster


Chapter 1

They were all at Charing Cross to see Lilia off — Philip, Harriet, Irma, Mrs. Herriton herself. Even Mrs. Theobald, squired by Mr. Kingcroft, had braved the journey from Yorkshire to bid her only daughter good-bye. Miss Abbott was likewise attended by numerous relatives, and the sight of so many people talking at once and saying such different things caused Lilia to break into ungovernable peals of laughter.

“Quite an ovation,” she cried, sprawling out of her first-class carriage. “They’ll take us for royalty. Oh, Mr. Kingcroft, get us foot-warmers.”

The good-natured young man hurried away, and Philip, taking his place, flooded her with a final stream of advice and injunctions — where to stop, how to learn Italian, when to use mosquito-nets, what pictures to look at. “Remember,” he concluded, “that it is only by going off the track that you get to know the country. See the little towns — Gubbio, Pienza, Cortona, San Gemignano, Monteriano. And don’t, let me beg you, go with that awful tourist idea that Italy’s only a museum of antiquities and art. Love and understand the Italians, for the people are more marvellous than the land.”

“How I wish you were coming, Philip,” she said, flattered at the unwonted notice her brother-in-law was giving her.

“I wish I were.” He could have managed it without great difficulty, for his career at the Bar was not so intense as to prevent occasional holidays. But his family disliked his continual visits to the Continent, and he himself often found pleasure in the idea that he was too busy to leave town.

“Good-bye, dear every one. What a whirl!” She caught sight of her little daughter Irma, and felt that a touch of maternal solemnity was required. “Good-bye, darling. Mind you’re always good, and do what Granny tells you.”

She referred not to her own mother, but to her mother-in-law, Mrs. Herriton, who hated the title of Granny.

Irma lifted a serious face to be kissed, and said cautiously, “I’ll do my best.”

“She is sure to be good,” said Mrs. Herriton, who was standing pensively a little out of the hubbub. But Lilia was already calling to Miss Abbott, a tall, grave, rather nice-looking young lady who was conducting her adieus in a more decorous manner on the platform.

“Caroline, my Caroline! Jump in, or your chaperon will go off without you.”

And Philip, whom the idea of Italy always intoxicated, had started again, telling her of the supreme moments of her coming journey — the Campanile of Airolo, which would burst on her when she emerged from the St. Gothard tunnel, presaging the future; the view of the Ticino and Lago Maggiore as the train climbed the slopes of Monte Cenere; the view of Lugano, the view of Como — Italy gathering thick around her now — the arrival at her first resting-place, when, after long driving through dark and dirty streets, she should at last behold, amid the roar of trams and the glare of arc lamps, the buttresses of the cathedral of Milan.

“Handkerchiefs and collars,” screamed Harriet, “in my inlaid box! I’ve lent you my inlaid box.”

“Good old Harry!” She kissed every one again, and there was a moment’s silence. They all smiled steadily, excepting Philip, who was choking in the fog, and old Mrs. Theobald, who had begun to cry. Miss Abbott got into the carriage. The guard himself shut the door, and told Lilia that she would be all right. Then the train moved, and they all moved with it a couple of steps, and waved their handkerchiefs, and uttered cheerful little cries. At that moment Mr. Kingcroft reappeared, carrying a footwarmer by both ends, as if it was a tea-tray. He was sorry that he was too late, and called out in a quivering voice, “Good-bye, Mrs. Charles. May you enjoy yourself, and may God bless you.”

Lilia smiled and nodded, and then the absurd position of the foot-warmer overcame her, and she began to laugh again.

“Oh, I am so sorry,” she cried back, “but you do look so funny. Oh, you all look so funny waving! Oh, pray!” And laughing helplessly, she was carried out into the fog.

“High spirits to begin so long a journey,” said Mrs. Theobald, dabbing her eyes.

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