11 OCTOBER 1913, Page 26


[Under this heading we notice such Books of the week as have not beef► reserved for review in other forms.] Cecil Rhodes : the Man and his Work. By Gordon Le Sueur. (John Murray. 12s. net.)—The unofficial biography has added a new terror to the life of a great man. He is now conscious that his valet, his private secretary, and his chauffeur not only refuse to regard him as a hero, but are prepared to justify their refusal with pen and ink as soon as the earth has closed over his bones. Rhodes might well feel grateful that worse did not befall him, for Mr. Le Sueur, who was for some years his " confidential secretary," shows himself on the whole as a. sympathetic biographer, in spite of having announced in a, preface his intention " to present Rhodes as a human docu- ment." There is a considerable fascination, though it is not unnatural to feel slightly ashamed of gratifying it, in learning the intimate details of the existence of anyone whose actions. have proved that he possessed an exceptional sort of mind. The reader of Mr. Le Sueur's book will find a very large number of such details, badly arranged but readably described. He will learn, for instance, that Rhodes never lit his cigarettes from a match, but always from another cigarette, that he was a regular reader of the Spectator, that his favourite liqueur was Russian kiimmel, and that he walked with his toes turned in; he will be initiated into the way in which Rhodes looked upon women, and into the way in which he dictated his correspondence; he will even be allowed to see a photograph of the bathroom at Greote Schuur. Such facts- are not all equally trivial; sometimes Mr. Le Sueur throws a real light upon Rhodes's character. It is curious to know of his insatiable interest in the Roman emperors. Julius Caesar was the play he enjoyed most; Gibbon was his favourite reading, and he bad special unabridged translations made of Gibbon's authorities. We are told finally that "he personally considered himself like the Emperor Hadrian, and he was once surprised by a friend standing and stroking his nose before a portrait of Hadrian." . It is enough to say in con= elusion that Mr. Le Sueur adds very little, if anything, of value to our knowledge of the main activities of Rhodes's life..