11 FEBRUARY 1905, Page 22

Pope Jacynth, and other Fantastic Tales. By Vernon Lee. (Grant

Richards. 3s. 6d.)—The stories which compose this volume are mediaeval in spirit, we might almost say in odour, and show their authoress, " Vernon Lee," at her best, if not quite her pleasantest. It would hardly be possible to "move a horror" more quickly than she does in the ghastly story of " A Wedding Cheat." Some of the other stories are more mystical and less sanguinary, especially the first, from which the volume takes its name, and which resolves itself into a combat of brain between the two old opponents, Satan and Gabriel, for the heart of Pope Jacynth, in whose case spiritual pride has come before a fall. In "Alberto and the Snake Lady "—this snake lady is really the godmother of poor orphaned Alberic—the weirdness which dominates " Vernon Lee's" best work reaches perfection. She has put her whole strength into this book, and at her highest she stands very high. It should be remembered, however, that she will be understood thoroughly only by scholars—in mediaevalism.