Tongues of Conscience cover

Tongues of Conscience

Robert Smythe Hichens (1864-1950)

1. Sea Change. Part 1. The Rainbow.
2. Sea Change. Part 1. The Rainbow. (continued)
3. Sea Change. Part 2. The Grave.
4. Sea Change. Part 2. The Grave. (continued)
5. "William Foster." Part 1.
6. "William Foster." Part 2.
7. "William Foster." Part 3.
8. "William Foster." Part 4.
9. "William Foster." Part 5.
10. "William Foster." Part 6.
11. The Cry of the Child. Part 1. The Dead Child.
12. The Cry of the Child. Part 1. The Dead Child. (continued)
13. The Cry of the Child. Part 2. The Living Child.
14. The Cry of the Child. Part 2. The Living Child. (continued)
15. How Love Came to Professor Guildea. Part 1.
16. How Love Came to Professor Guildea. Part 2.
17. How Love Came to Professor Guildea. Part 3.
18. How Love Came to Professor Guildea. Part 4.
19. How Love Came to Professor Guildea. Part 5.
20. How Love Came to Professor Guildea. Part 6.
21. The Lady and the Beggar.

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Genres

Summary

Tongues of Conscience (1898) is a collection of five thought-provoking stories where an innocent, but selfish, action leads to horrific consequences. Robert Hichens writes some wonderfully evocative descriptions of nature: from a raw and exposed violent seascape, to the serene and idyllic countryside “…the violets seemed to sing in odours…” , to a train pushing through the white-out of a blizzard. In Sea Change an artist with a dark secret (“…I painted for him in words, the varying colors of waves in different seas… I drowned little Jack in the sea.”) shares the details of his guilt with a priest who tells a simple white lie in an effort to save his tortured friend’s sanity. In “William Foster”, the works of an author rouses his own wife’s religious nature with a most shocking result. In The Cry of the Child a gifted but egotistic doctor is haunted by the wail of his dead baby, but finds salvation with the sacrifice of someone else’s most selfless act. In How Love Came to Professor Guildea a scientist whose research has done wonderful things for humanity, confronts the terror of finding himelf loved. And finally, in The Lady and the Beggar, a wealthy woman’s will leaves her bounty to the poor, but only after she learns a very expensive lesson. .