The Path. of Life. By Stijn Streuvels. Translated by Alexander
Teixeira de Mattes. (George Allen and Unwin. 5s. net.)—In his preface to this little volume of essays the translator writes with so great enthusiasm of the charm of the West Flemish tongue, in which they were originally written, that we feel almost disappointed when we realize that we are, after all, destined to read them in everyday English. We should indeed like to understand a dialect which possesses a word " to describe what we feel when we hear the tearing of silk," and another for the true sensation in our hair when, as we say, "it stands on end." These sketches are, for the most part, the frailest little water-colours—just a man's impressions of a long white road, of a street accident, of early winter twilight ; but they are delicate and brilliant, and Mr. de Mattes has overcome to a great extent the dangers involved in reproducing, in a language other than their own, essays so light. They all have an evanescent charm, which is difficult to analyse; but "Spring," the longest of the collection, and the only one with any ordered sequence in its telling, is a
most amazing study in atmosphere—to use a much-abused word. If this account of a child's first Communion is as beautiful in the original as in its translation, the praise which Mr. de Mattos accords to its author is by no means exaggerated.