12 MAY 1923, Page 23

Major Baillie has written one of the strangest of books.

His reaction to the circumstances that he relates is so instant and so naive, and he expresses himself so freely and so naturally, that though he seems always in danger ofplatitude. his extreme simplicity pulls him through, and we become delighted to see such obvious situations told with such freshness of spirit. He opens with a description of his house and the treasures it contains. Chief among them is a silver box enclosing a ham sandwich that King George was once not hungry enough to eat. The other "sketches " are short stories, written with a childlike humour. Modern fiction is generally heavy with troubles, doubts and neuroses : it is at once astonishing and engaging to find an alert-minded man so free from complication. There is little to. praise in the construction of the stories : there is no sign that Major Baillie is capable of abstract or systematic thought. SometiMes the reader must burst out laughing in wonder that a grown man should write so inconsequently. But the book has a lively and cordial atmosphere, and the author spends a divine plenty of good humour and kindly sentiment.