11 AUGUST 1866, Page 22

The Billiard Book. By Captain Crawley. With illustrative diagrams. (Longmans.)—Our

author is already favourably known by his treatise on billiards, and he has now produced a volume which exhausts the subject. The rules and principles of the game are explained at length, and practical instruction given of a sufficiently plain character, in the author's opinion,- to enable any one speedily to master all the secrete, even if he had never previously handled a cue or struck a ball. We should be inclined to doubt whether such a student would be likely to distinguish himself much when he came to perform. The billiard player nascitur, non fit, and not all the lucidity of Captain Crawley's style, nor the study of the elegant attitudes depicted in the illustrations, will suffice to turn a nervous or an awkward man into a successful operator with the delicate machinery on which the game depends. Still there is an ars poetica, and much no doubt can be learnt from the prescriptions of experience in these indoor athletics. A more'experienced teacher than our author it would be difficult to find. He thoroughly understands the principles of the game, and has had abundant opportunity of practice. The diagrams, which are over fifty in number, exemplify almost every position of the balls, and the letter-press conveys all the instruction that language is capable of imparting on subject-matter where it is necessary- to interject continually such qualifications as " with regard to the quantity of side requisite much must be left to the judgment of the player," and "as the motion of the wrist in the slow-screw is not to be described on paper, get some good player to show you how it is done." Still even good players will find many hints throughout the volume of which they will fully recognize the value, whilst the very numerous class that is conscious of some natural aptitude but great deficiency in science, will be able to realize through its assistance the advantage that accrues from proper direction. Ia oonclusion, we may add that young beginners, amongst other excellent informa- tion and advice, are warned against "the smart-looking fellow in a public room who generally carries a piece of chalk in his waistcoat pocket, has a favourite cue, and calls the marker by his Christian name." Some amusing stories are told of him and his like, as, for instance, that relating to the adventurer who enjoyed a long career of success until, unfortunately for himself, ho happened to come across our author, who put an end to him by discovering the trick that he had of changing the ball, substituting, when his opponent's back was turned, for the rest article one that was faulty in its roll. But there is not much of this. sort of thing in the book, which confines itself, for the most part, to the serious exposition of the principles of the game and the best methods of carrying them out in practice.