15 JULY 1905, Page 25

Idle Ideas in 1905. By Jerome K. Jerome. (Hurst and

Blackett. 38. 6d.)—We have not always been able properly to appreciate Mr. Jerome's fun, but Idle Ideas we have found distinctly amusing. They are, in the first place, "Ideas in 1905," for they are about things of the day, and they are always put with good humour and without any straining at effect. There is, for instance, "What Mrs. Wilkins Thought about It,"—"It" being the Fiscal question. The matter is very neatly put to her by a Chamber- lainite : "Unless we, as a country, insist upon paying at least twenty per cent, more for everything that we want, it is calculated that in a very few years England won't have a penny left." And Mrs. Wilkins sums up the argument admirably when she remarks that it "sounds a bit topsy-turvy." Then there is the practice now common in periodicals of giving a summary of previous parts of a serial story. What will this come to? asks Mr. Jerome. Why should we take the trouble to read what a sub-editor will read for us ? "There will come a day when the businesslike editor will say to himself : 'What in thunder is the sense of my paying one man to write a story of sixty thousand words, and another man to read it and tell it again in sixteen hundred ? " Then would come an age of "short stories" with a vengeance, and a quite terrible cutting down of authors' remuneration. "Marie Corelli and Hall Caine —if all I hear about them is true— will possibly make their ten or twelve shillings a week. But what about the rest of us? This thing is worrying me."