Hodge (1921) by Elinor Mordaunt

“: in this case the boy’s name expressed him as little as the slow, luscious, sweet ‘Summerzetshire’ expressed Hemerton, its mud and marshes.”

This boy’s name Hector Fane (remixed as ‘technofear’?), a boy stocky, round-shouldered, with Hector’s Rector as his and Rhoda’s father in a place called Hemerton, a place as strange as Hector was to normal humans, Hemerton strange otherwise to the rest of Somerset then. Marshy, grey… The young siblings — not so much an ‘imaginary friend’ as a missing link they uncover in a hidden part of such marshes, an ‘it’, then ‘he’, that they uncover from the marshes, a stone-throwing version of Hector….
I can’t help recalling that Hector sometimes shares Rhoda’s bed for comfort. Now this missing link wants to do so, too? Even after Hector comes back from boarding school, Hector hides his ‘belief’ in the missing link they call Hodge, and what transpires is a lesson for us all about humanity now. A 2001 Space Odyssey in the making? Now made. These moments below are what I shall take away from yet another remarkable discovery by this book for me, this one as the literary missing-link in my seeking gestalt… You babblers do listen, for once!

“…‘Do you remember?’ in speaking of paths that they had never traversed.”

“‘The mastodon! That’s nothing – nothing! But the sabre-toothed tiger – I tell you I saw it. What are you grinning at now? – in our Forest – ours, mind you! – I saw it!’”

Their forest.

“‘Nothing more than a fold out of the old world, squeezed up to the surface’;”

“– we’ve lost it; I know we’ve lost it – after all these years! After thousands and thousands and thousands of years of remembering!’ […] Rhoda drew him into her bed, comforted him as best she could, very sleepy, and unperturbed – for, of course, they would find it.”

“Silhouetted against the sea and sky, white in contrast to its darkness, it had the aloofness of incredible age; drawn apart, almost sanctified by its immeasurable remoteness, its detachment from all that meant life to the men and women of the twentieth century: the web of fancied necessities, trivial possessions, absorptions.”

“Terrified of ridicule, incredulity, he hugged his secret, as that strange man-beast hugged his – the highest and lowest – the most primitive and the most cultured – forever uncommunicative; those in the midway the babblers.”

“With a sense of appalling weariness he seemed to see the centuries which had passed sweep by him, wave upon wave, era upon era, each so superficially different, and yet so tragically, so stupidly alike: man driven like a dry leaf before the wind of destiny; man the soul-burdened brute.”

“‘It’. Hector held to that: the pronoun was altogether reassuring now – something to hold to, hard as a bone in his brain.”

Rector as Boner?

A technofear now transcended and harnessed?

***

Context of above review: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2023/01/02/womens-weird-strange-stories-1890-1940/

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