Father, interrupted Manfred, I pay due reverence to your holy profession; but I am sovereign here, and will allow no meddling priest to interfere in the affairs of my domestic. If you have aught to say, attend me to my chamber – I do not use to let my Wife be acquainted with the secret affairs of my state; they are not within a woman’s province. My lord; said the holy man, I am no intruder into the secrets of families. My office is to promote peace, to heal divisions, to preach repentance, and teach mankind to curb their headstrong passions.
Corelli was Queen Victoria’s favorite novelist, which should tell you a lot about the book, but Crowley was also familiar with Corelli’s work and honored her with a reference to her toe-jam in one of his better poems, “Birthday Ode” in Snowdrops, owners of the 1986 Teitan Press edition will note that the editor has confused Marie Corelli with Mabel Collins, the book’s charm is more antiquarian than literary, i.e. it is quaintly Victorian but is no masterpiece by modern standards, it is, however, not without appeal to the occultist, as the tale revolves around magical themes, its main character is determined, Crowley-like, to master the secrets of life through the power of will, and there are several amusing jabs at Theosophy, there is also an unintentionally hilarious character–an idealized self-portrait of the author–who voices all of Corelli’s complaints about society, over and over and over, her style is long-winded and moralizing, and her characters and situations are none too believable, four of the main characters, e.g., are non-Muslim Arabs (three Christians and a pagan), two of whom are uneducated peasants who speak flawless English, and one of whom is blonde, but all her faults notwithstanding, we must hail Marie Corelli as a Past Master of the Bewildering Run-On Sentence, in fine, then, the book is entertaining, if not wholly in the way its author intended, I would, however, recommend that you not buy some arm-and-a-leg Kessinger xerox, but wait till you can find it for $1.50 in a junk-shop in Kokomo.
The “music of decline” had sounded, as in that wonderful Chinese fable; like a thrumming bass on the organ its reverberations faded slowly out over decades; its throbbing could be heard in the corruption of the schools, periodicals, and universities, in melancholia and insanity among those artists and critics who could still be taken seriously; it raged as untrammeled and amateurish overproduction in all the arts.