PLASHERS MEAD by Compton Mackenzie

Compton Mackenzie (1933 – 1972) was a fairly prolific writer.    Plashers Mead was written in 1915.   It is not from ‘that list‘, but I probably found it while rummaging around Project Gutenberg.

Set in (I think) late 19th century England, it is the rather longish story of a young man who rents a small place outside of London, where he plans to install himself and write poetry, using the rural countryside as his muse.

As any reader over 40 could  have predicted, his work is jejune and juvenile.  His tense relationship with his father is acerbated when our boy falls in love with the youngest daughter of the neighboring rector.  His (and her) lives are then filled with attempts to be permitted some alone time, and to be permitted to get engaged.

Our would-be poet’s income from a very small inheritance is grudgingly supplemented by his father, providing just enough to get by on, and being the feckless young man he is, he runs up some heavy debts until he is forced to sell his library for a pittance, which doesn’t even cover his debts.

After almost two years in the country, growing poorer and further in debt, and without a publisher interested in publishing his collection of poems, he decides to give up the house and move back to the city in order to earn enough for the two of them to be married.  But as any reader over 40 could also have predicted, the realities of life do not permit Love’s Young Dream to continue to exist outside of its original hothouse environment, and eventually they sever their engagement.

It was beautifully written, but for a person of my advanced age, rather boring.  I mean, been there, done that, and burnt down the tee shirt factory, if you know what I mean.


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