himself with a very sharp nib. But reflection is always more interesting in the long run than rodomontade, and Mr. Mencken, if he intends to be taken seriously in politics, must really look about the world instead of putting Dayton, Tennessee, under the microscope and seeing nothing but the crawling bodies of American nonconformity.

The Letters of George Gissing to Members of His Family. Collected and Arranged by Algernon and Ellen Gissing. London: Constable and Company; Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1927. $6.00.

[Manchester Guardian]

THIS book contains material which will be of the utmost interest to all students of the novels of George Gissing. It makes its claim, indeed, first of all to such students, because Gissing was not a man whose letters will give delight by reason of intrinsic charm. Nevertheless, if one has the requisite acquaintance with his books, this addition to them will be valuable and illuminating. The Gissing to be met with in its pages is precisely the Gissing of the novels — almost, at times, to an amusing degree. As, for example, in the following:

I have not seen Mrs. Gaussen since you left. No one person, of course, is like another, but her personality is remarkable in a degree you cannot perhaps sufficiently appreciate as yet. When you have been fatigued and disgusted through a few more years of life by commonplace, dreary people, shallow in heart and mind, you will get into the habit of resting in the thought of her.

This was written before Gissing was thirty, and it is characteristic of his outlook for the greater part of his life. The book holds other passages of a similar nature, but it is truly remarkable for the letters and diary entries relating to his several trips abroad. In these the ardent spirit of the man, which is elsewhere exemplified in By the Ionian Sea, shows delightfully. Very vivid, also, is the account of a late meeting with Meredith, for whose work Gissing had inordinate admiration.

The editors have exercised a good deal of discretion, and have apparently omitted a considerable amount of material which would have been of value to future biographers of Gissing-for example, there is no hint as to the reasons for his return from America in the autumn of 1877, when in the summer of that year he had seemed to be comfortably settled near Boston. They have not included any letters written by Gissing to his literary friends, and they have only spasmodically

elucidated references in the text or identified individuals mentioned. The work is therefore less complete than it might have been, and presents a less complete picture of the writer than we could have wished. But the interest and value of the book as it stands are considerable, and if it supplies us with few fresh lights it does certainly revive old admiration, and for this reason it should be read by all who have in the past appreciated the power and intelligence of Gissing's work.

Doomsday, by Warwick Deeping. London: Cassell; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1927. $2.50.

[Saturday Review]

MANY novelists have recounted the struggles between strong silent men and the soil of Sussex. Surely that soil needs a rest, needs to lie fallow. The inspiration which it affords Mr. Warwick Deeping, like the livelihood with which it provided his hero, Arnold Furze, is meagre and intermittent. To bend the narrative to his will, he has recourse to a road accident and a suicide; and yet those tracts of the story which are untouched by coincidence are full of inherent improbability - Mary's final descent upon Arnold at Doomsday is an instance. She had let him fall in love with her, she had almost broken his heart by leaving him and marrying the wealthy Fream. And then, to the scandal of the neighborhood, and against his wish, she must plant herself in her victim's house.

Doomsday is, on the whole, a disappointing book. It has good incidental descriptions, however, and it invariably mends its pace when it comes upon someone or something that Mr. Deeping dislikes.

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VOL. 332— MAY 1, 1927 — NO. 4305




POLITICS are waking up in Great
Britain. As recently as the end of
March they were so quies-
cent that the pro-Baldwin
Saturday Review exclaimed
in disgust: 'Something
ought to be done about the Opposition.
More than a century ago it was laid
down that the business of an Opposi-
tion was to oppose. This Opposition
have not learned their business, and
are not trying to learn it. They waste
such energy as they possess in domestic
brawls, while they allow the work of
Parliament to go smoothly forward.'
Something of the same feeling inspired
a department editor of the Nation and
Athenæum to protest against the drab-
ness of politics under universal suffrage:
'One curious result of the enormous
increase in the electorate is to rob by-
elections of much of the old liveliness.
Meetings have lost a good deal of their
importance, for it is impossible to col-
lect in the most thorough campaign
more than a fraction of the voters.
Very few women have time to go;
posters have disappeared-none of the
Parties has money to spend on such
luxuries; and a candidate's portrait in

windows is now as rare as a good deed in a naughty world.' But it is always quietest before the storm. Labor burst out in violent protest when the actual terms of the Government's plan for clipping the spurs of the tradeunions became known, and the Liberals, after running such a poor third at the pollings that they began to look ridiculous rather than pathetic, have suddenly surprised the country by winning two by-elections. Moreover, both of these were disorderly enough, apparently, to satisfy even the exigent editor just quoted. The Spectator suggested that its readers would have to go back to Pickwick Papers to find their parallel. To be sure, in one of them the Liberals topped the Laborites by only 111 out of some thirty thousand votes; but they carried the other by the sizable majority of 1167. In both cases the vacancies were caused by resignations due to the incumbents' change of Party, Captain Wedgwood Benn, a Liberal member, having passed over to Labor, and Dr. Haden Guest, a Labor member, having withdrawn from his organization. Of course, the Liberals are tremendously heartened. Copyright 1927, by the Living Age Co.

Even the Conservative Saturday Review admits that after the next general election they will probably return to the House in very largely increased numbers, and the Nation and Athenæum thinks they are the first fruits of the reorganization of the Party under Mr. Lloyd George's leadership. Official records contradict the common impression that the Baldwin Cabinet has suffered seriously at the by-elections held since it came into power in October 1924. In the twenty-eight which have occurred, only one of which was uncontested, fourteen Government candidates, eleven Laborites, and three Liberals were elected. The Government's majority in the House has been reduced by only five seats, and a plurality of all the votes cast has been given to Conservative candidates. Naturally, therefore, Government supporters ridicule rumors of an impending general election.

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With a deficit exceeding one hundred and eighty million dollars, accompanied by dwindling revenues, Mr. Churchill faces a difficult problem. He proposes to make things meet by increasing indirect taxes, especially on luxuries like wine and automobile tires. Probably a levy on sundaes and sodas would hardly help the Treasury out of the bog. The Saturday Review quotes Sir Robert Peel's description of one of Mr. Churchill's early predecessors as aptly describing his predicament 'seated on an empty chest by the side of bottomless deficiencies, fishing for a budget.' The only remedy seems to be to 'raid the sinking fund.' More than half of Great Britain's annual government expenditure goes to pay pensions and interest on the public debt. About five-eighths of the remainder is absorbed by what are called the social services; and the balance of one hundred and sixty million pounds is spent mainly on the defense forces. To be sure, an



enormous increase in the cost of the Civil Service is concealed behind these So figures. Before the war the annual appropriation under this head was about one quarter of a billion dollars. To-day co it is so much above one billion dollars that a reduction even to that figure would wipe out the present deficit. The Saturday Review suggests: "The easiest way of carrying debt is by in- cold creasing wealth so greatly that what was an intolerable burden becomes des light. Of such increase there is no sign. We are drifting on in the hope, apparently, that science will discover new sources of power, as it did after the Napoleonic Wars, and so pay our he debts.'


Although one wing of the Irish Republicans, under Miss McSwiney and against the more moderate counsels of Mr. de Valera, professes still to be fighting a civil war, the people of the Free State have become so accustomed to civic peace that they were shocked last month to learn that a party of Government troops had been ambushed on the outskirts of Dublin. The attackers were repulsed, and four of them and their motor car were captured. So far as is known, there were no fatalities, although one soldier was wounded. Milder disorders have occurred in Tipperary following an attempt to apply the new Land Act. This law is designed to provide for landless men from congested districts. farms in the more sparsely populated regions. Unfortunately, fierce local jealousies survive in Ireland, which make the local inhabitants resent the settlement in their midst of 'strangers,' even though from another part of their own county. The attempt to do so has led to rioting, which it has required a substantial police force to suppress.

The French Chamber has recently been up in arms over alleged corrup



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tion in Indo-China. M. Verenne, a Socialist Governor appointed two years ago, is one of the accused A Colonial officials, but men of all ParScandal ties are more or less under indictment. Among the specific charges is that a personal friend of the Governor obtained a grant of nearly twenty thousand acres of land in the colony for a very low price, with a promise that he should have labor to develop it. He managed, on the strength of this concession, to organize a plantation company capitalized at one hundred and seventy million francs. On the principle, apparently, of the pot calling the kettle black, M. Verenne defended himself by counterattacking his chief accuser, the editor of a colonial newspaper, who he alleged had obtained a fortune of fourteen million gold francs within four years by exercising the profession of notary; and declared that his enemies had offered to stop their campaign against him on condition that one thousand shares in his company were handed over to them. Among other things, it was brought out that some land grants to rubber companies in Indo-China have within sixteen years yielded eight million francs in dividends on a capital of two million francs. Cyrano, whose forte is criticism and not apologetics, in this case takes up the cudgels in favor of the Governor. It asserts that the concession of eight thousand hectares over which so much dust has been raised actually cost the grantee nearly one million francs, and that, like most fallow land in the tropics, it was very expensive to subdue, so that more than sixty million francs had been invested in the enterprise before it began to yield returns. On the other hand, the Conservative Journal des Débats, which has little love for Socialist officials, protests in horror: 'What a frightful session! What a disgorging of

scandals, concession, graft, injustice, profiteering! What a spectacle to show the public! And what a sordid crew of politicians, who confound private interests with the interests of the public, and our colonies with the private purses of themselves and their friends! As soon as a vision of easy money looms before a democracy, it whets the cupidity of all, and every Cato becomes a Verres. M. Cachin, the Communist, had an easy time condemning from the standpoint of his future Socialist paradise the society of to-day, and playing the rôle of moralist and judge.'

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Heavy black lines show proposed canals

A new snarl developed in the tangle of international relations which diploBelgium and Holland

mats have painfully and patiently been trying to straighten for the last seven years when the Upper House of the Dutch States-General rejected, by the decisive vote of thirty-three to seventeen, the treaty negotiated with Belgium two years ago for regulating the Scheldt and building a ship canal from that river to the Rhine. Antwerp, Belgium's principal port, lies on the Scheldt, the lower course of which flows entirely through Dutch territory. The Treaty of Versailles abrogated an arrangement which had existed since 1839 for the control and improvement of this river, which serves chiefly Belgium. Rotterdam upon the Rhine,

nearly fifty miles north of the Scheldt, and Amsterdam, still farther away, are the chief ports of the Netherlands. Consequently the Government of the latter country is not keenly interested in improvements likely to divert Rhine commerce from Rotterdam to Antwerp, or inland trade from these two ports to those of another country. Belgium's claims included, moreover, rights of passage for her warships up the Scheldt, virtually through Dutch territory. This purely military proposal was opposed even by Belgian-Flemish Nationalists, who are friendly to their Netherlands kinsmen. Holland has not forgotten, moreover, that immediately after the World War Belgium had to be restrained from pursuing annexationist aims against her in the general scramble for other people's property that accompanied the Paris Conference. Were the two nations powerful enough to act 'on their own,' therefore, we might have a war cloud in this normally cool-headed corner of Europe.

Dr. Stresemann was subject to a brief but violent attack by the NationGermany alist press for his Geneva compromise on the Saar Defense Force, but the Cabinet endorsed the arrangement unanimously and the protests quickly died down. To drop into slang, chauvinist sensation-mongers have ceased to 'get a rise' out of the German public. According to some reports from Germany, no more potent force is now working there in favor of a bourgeois, as distinguished from a socialist, republic than the Roman Catholic Church. Its representatives are said to be laboring actively to rally the peasants in the South and the Clerical workers of the Rhine Valley to the support of the existing Cabinet. Berlin's foreign policy has its unqualified approval, and the Government's domestic programme

is not found objectionable. The Re publican Defense Law passed after the assassination of Walter Rathenau which made it possible to forbid the Kaiser's return to Germany, expires in July. The Social Democrats, who control the Prussian Government, wish the law extended. It is rumored that Chancellor Marx is not unsympathetic with that desire, for even Clerical Monarchists are not friendly to the Hohenzollerns. Extremism is not dead in Germany, however. Armed conflicts occurred in Berlin last March between Communists and so-called Fascisti, in which one man was killed and several were injured. About the same time four members of the so-called Black Reichswehr were sentenced to death for secret political murders committed some five years ago.

Up to March 9, returns from the general election of Soviets in Russia had been received from Russia three hundred and eight towns. Of the two million, six hundred and fifty-two thousand voters registered, one million, four hundred and fifty-eight thousand voted. Returns from villages are not yet at hand. A larger proportion of nonparty men, as compared with Communists, was returned than at previous elections. While Communists are in a majority in the large towns, nonpartisans form a huge majority of the village voters. Straws upon the current indicate that the political awakening of the Russian peasant is proceeding apace. One evidence of this is protests in the agricultural press against the disenfranchisement of the more prosperous and progressive farmers. One of the latter writes in Krestianskaia Gazeta from a village in the government of Smolensk, complaining that he has been dropped from the registration rolls because he employs hired labor. He admits this, and declares it is necessary because

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