11 APRIL 1891, Page 23

Essays of Elia. Edited by Augustine Birrell. (J. M. Dent.)--

Our first impulse was to regret that Mr. Birrell should have not found time to give us more than six or seven pages about" Elia ; " our second, to regret that he should have written even these. We are all ready to let Lamb's frailties repose "in their dread abode ; " but we do not want to have thorn excused by vilifying other men, as by talking of "Wordsworth's boundless self-conceit." But is this preface really written by Mr. Birrell P "Pale malice, speckled jealousy, may now be invited to search the records of his life, to probe his motives, to road his private letters, to pry into his desk, to dissect his character. Baffled, beaten, and disappointed, they fall back." "Speckled jealousy" ! Since when has it been speckled P It used to be green.