11 JANUARY 1908, Page 29

Through the Magic Door. By Arthur Conan Doyle. (Smith, Elder,

and Co. 5s.)—The "magic door" is the door of a library. Sir Arthur Doyle begins by gossiping pleasantly about hie own library, how, for instance, in early days he would spend his modest lunch-money on books which he found in a "threepenny tub,"—Clarendon's " History " and "Gil Bias" among them. Then he tells the tale of this or that volume,—a " Macaulay's Essays," e.g., that went with him to the Gold Coast and to Polar EMS. Then he goes on to discourse about individual men of letters, about Scott, for instance, and Samuel Johnson, about Gibbon and Samuel Richardson, and not a few others. He has a good. word to say for "Count Robert of Paris." Had it appeared first in the series, it would have fared as well as " Waverley " ! That is a hard saying. Again, we are not quite satisfied with what is said about Johnson. The man was capable of such good deeds, things really so heroic, that it seems a shame even to hint at blame.