book cover of So Well Remembered

So Well Remembered

(1945)
A novel by

 
 
On the day that World War II ends in Europe, Mayor George Boswell recalls events of the previous 25 years in his home town of Browdley...

a-sample from PART I:

That day so well remembered--a day, indeed, impossible to forget--was the First of September, 1921; on the morning of which George Boswell--then only Councillor Boswell, then sandy-brown-haired with not a trace of grey--woke before dawn, looked at his watch, and promptly slept again till Annie brought in the morning paper, a cup of tea, and some letters that had just arrived. Amongst them was a note from Lord Winslow's secretary, saying that his lordship would arrive at Browdley Station by the noon train, in good time for the foundation-stone-laying; and this made George very happy and proud, because Lord Winslow was not an ordinary kind of lord (a type which George, never having met any, imagined for himself and then proceeded to scorn on principle), but a special kind who had not only devoted a lifetime to public service but had also written several distinguished books.

At half-past seven George got up, put out his blue serge suit (the one reserved for big events), and shaved with especial care, scanning meanwhile the cheerful headlines of the paper propped against the mirror, and noting with approval, whenever he looked beyond it, the misty promise of a fine summer day. By eight he was at the breakfast-table, eating ham and eggs and exchanging good-humoured chatter with Annie, the elderly 'help' who looked after the house and did her best to overfeed him during his wife's absence; by nine he was at his desk, composing an article for the Browdley and District Guardian, which he owned and edited. He did not write easily as a rule, but this time the phrases came on a wave of exhilaration, for though he had a few private doubts that the Treaty of Versailles was all it should be, he was prepared to give the future the benefit of them, the more so as it was natural for him to give the future the benefit of anything. Anyhow by ten George had composed a suitably optimistic editorial; noon saw him at the railway station to welcome Lord Winslow; by one o'clock he had made a short speech at the Town Hall luncheon; and by a quarter to two he was in his seat on the improvised dais at the corner of Mill Street, blinking in the sunshine and beaming his satisfaction to the four winds, one of which, then prevalent, wafted back the concentrated smell of Browdley's industries. But George did not mind that--indeed, it was the remembered perfume of his childhood, of days spent on the banks of the canal that threaded its way between factory walls, taking waste water hot from each one, so that a fog of steam drifted over the surface and spread a low-hanging reek of oil, chemicals, and machinery. Waiting on the platform for the ceremony to begin, George sniffed and was happy.

A great day for Councillor Boswell and for Browdley, and also (one gathered) for England and for the world. History, George reflected, could not have done a better job of dramatization--August Thirty-First, the Official End of the Great War (some sort of lawyers' technicality, but it still made good news)--September First, the Foundation-Stone-Laying of Unit One of the Mill Street Housing Scheme that was to replace some of Browdley's worst slums. A great day, indeed. George, as his glance roved around, was proud to have the dedicator (a Bishop) on his left, the guest of the occasion (Lord Winslow) on his right, and various local bigwigs beyond and behind; but he was proudest of all to see the crowd, and only wished it as large as it would have been if Browdley folk weren't such notorious slackers about civic affairs....


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Hardback Editions

June 1945 : Hardback
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Title: So Well Remembered
Author(s): James Hilton
ISBN: 9997413237 / 978-9997413239
Publisher: Little Brown & Co (T)
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

September 2009 : USA Paperback

Title: So Well Remembered (World Cultural Heritage Library)
Author(s): James Hilton
ISBN: 1-4387-9271-9 / 978-1-4387-9271-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Intl Business Pubns USA
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

June 2013 : Canada Kindle edition
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Title: So Well Remembered
Author(s): James Hilton
Publisher:
Availability: Amazon CA