Category Archives: Ex Libris

Tom Brown at Oxford

tombrownoxfordTom Brown at Oxford is a novel by Thomas Hughes, first published in 1861. It is a sequel to the better-known Tom Brown’s School Days.

Tom Brown’s School Days culminates in Tom’s graduation from Rugby, having become an honourable Christian gentleman who embodies Dr. Arnold’s ideal of “muscular Christianity”. This little known sequel tells of Tom’s university life, until the completion of his M.A. degree and marriage, and his continuing development as a Christian gentleman.

The book was out of print for many years but is now available again in both print and electronic book versions.

Arthur Linfoot wrote that he had read Tom Brown at Oxford on 15th October 1916, while stationed at Authie in Northern France.

Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul


Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul is a novel by H. G. Wells, first published in 1905.

Orphaned at an early age, raised by his aunt and uncle, and apprenticed for seven years to a draper, Artie Kipps is stunned to discover upon reading a newspaper advertisement that he is the grandson of a wealthy gentleman – and the inheritor of his fortune. Thrown dramatically into the upper classes, he struggles desperately to learn the etiquette and rules of polite society. But as he soon discovers, becoming a ‘true gentleman’ is neither as easy nor as desirable as it at first appears.

Kipps was adapted for the stage in the early 1960s as Half a Sixpence; Half a Sixpence has itself been revived and updated in a new production at the Chichester Festival Theatre in July 2016.

Arthur Linfoot wrote that he “read a good bit of Kipps” on 24th September 1916, while stationed at the military hospital at Méteren in Northern France.

Anna of the Five Towns

Cover ImageEnoch Arnold Bennett (27 May 1867 – 27 March 1931) was an English writer and novelist. Anna of the Five Towns, first published in 1902, is one of his best-known works.

Anna Tellwright, daughter of a wealthy but miserly and dictatorial father, living in the Potteries area of Staffordshire. Her activities are strictly controlled by the Methodist church. The novel tells of Anna’s struggle for freedom and independence against her father’s restraints, and her inward battle between wanting to please her father and wanting to help Willie Price whose father, Titus Price, commits suicide after falling into debt.

Arthur Linfoot wrote that he had finished reading Anna of the Five Towns on 15th September 1916, while stationed at the military hospital at Méteren in Northern France.

List, Ye Landsmen!

Cover ImageList, Ye Landsmen! is a novel by William Clarke Russell, written in 1894.

William Fielding, first officer of the ‘Royal Brunswicker’, is returning to his ship after visiting his uncle in the Channel port town of Deal. Fate intervenes and Fielding never reaches his post, instead becoming entangled in a series of adventures aboard the ‘Black Watch’. These take him far across the oceans and test him both as a man and a sailor.

Arthur Linfoot wrote that he had started to read List, Ye Landsmen! on 6 August 1916.

The Invasion of 1910

TheInvasionOf1910_200The Invasion of 1910 is a novel by William Le Queux which originally appeared in serial form in the Daily Mail newspaper from 19 March 1906. It is one of the more famous examples of invasion literature.

The book takes the form of a military history and is centred on an invasion by the Germans, who have managed to land a force on the East Coast of England.

Arthur Linfoot does not record when (or indeed if) he had actually read the book, but he must have been at least familiar with its theme as he wrote, on 30 June 1916 (the eve of the first Somme offensive):

Listened gramophone playing some Welsh songs. Formed up at 10 o’clock. Marched off in the dark. Carried stretcher with party most of the way. Reminded me of “Invasion of 1910”.

Simon the Jester

Cover ImageSimon the Jester is a novel by by William J. Locke, first published in 1910 and twice made into films, in 1915 and 1925, both silent.

After learning he has but six months to live, the wealthy Simon de Gex decides to tell no one of his impending death and to spend his fortune madly.

Arthur Linfoot wrote that he had “read a lot of a story called Simon the Jester” on 22 June 1916 while stationed at Rainneville in northern France during the build up to the battle of the Somme. He finished the book the next day.

I Will Repay

Cover ImageI Will Repay is a novel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, author of The Scarlet Pimpernel, who lived at Acol (near Thanet in Kent).

I Will Repay is the second Scarlet Pimpernel book written by Orczy although it comes chronologically third in the series, after Sir Percy Leads the Band and before The Elusive Pimpernel.

Arthur Linfoot wrote that he had finished reading I Will Repay on 23 January 1916, while posted to the RAMC training camp at Alnwick.

Prophets, Priests and Kings

Cover ImageProphets, Priests and Kings is the title of a book by Alfred George Gardiner, editor of the Daily News (a newspaper owned by George Cadbury) from 1902 to 1919.

The book comprises 20 short biographical essays on kings, emperors, politicians, generals & admirals of some 10 combatant nations.

The title is seemingly inspired by the Christian doctrine of the threefold office (munus triplex), which states that that Christ has three offices, Prophet, Priest and King, although the book itself is not a Christian work.

Arthur Linfoot read Prophets, Priests and Kings on 7 July 1915, while on holiday in St. Andrews.