(urth) Possible Source for the "White Fountain"

David F. Driscoll driscoll at grinnell.edu
Sat Mar 11 19:36:09 PST 2006

Hi! This is my first post to the list, but I've read a lot of the 
archives in the past. I did a search and didn't find anything about this, 
so hopefully I'm not going old ground here.

In one of Chesterton's Father Brown stories, the action revolves around a 
tall, handsome sun-god worshipper (the priest Kalon) who sets up shop in 
an American-style office building in London. He's presented very 
negatively and often contrasted with the short, round-faced Christian 
priest Father Brown. At one point, he stands on a balcony and prays:

"O sun," cried the prophet, "O star that art too great to be allowed among 
the stars! O fountain that flowest quietly in that secret space that is 
called space. White Father of all white unwearied things, white flames and 
white flowers and white peaks. Father, who art more innocent than all thy 
most innocent and quiet children; primal purity, into the peace of 
which--" (G.K. Chesteron, "The Eye of Apollo," in _The Father Brown 
Omnibus_ p. 181).

Wolfe has surely read this passage - his fondness for Chesteron is well 
known, and the Father Brown stories are some of Chesteron's most famous 
works. Of course, the phrase "White Fountain" is never explicitly said 
here, but we get a "White Father" with a comparison to a fountain in the 
previous sentence. It's at least a possibility - I'm not entirely sure 
it's correct.

David Driscoll

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