18 DECEMBER 1909, Page 23


ELIZABETH STIIielLT, daughter of jamee I., sister of Chistleert, wife of Frederic, Elector Palatine and King of Bohemia, mother of Prince Rupert and of Sophia, Electress of Hanover; grandmother of George L, and thus the direct arteestresieof Edward VII., is one of the most interesting figures of that romantic time, the earlier half of the seventeenth century. This new editicar of Mrs. Everett Green's Life of Elizabeth, "the Winter Queen," "the' Queen of Hearts," " th' Ealipse and glory of her kind," is- to be heartily welcomed- for more reasons than one. It is a result, of course, of the present craze for writing and reading biographies of the less-known personages of hietory. This craze has its- drawbacks, as. well as its very- real merits and advantages. The drawbetekirare in the direction of shallowness and irresponsible, incorrect work ; the advantages are the rousing of curiosity and interest and the easy attainment of knowledge,—wide, if not always trustworthy. The chief advantage of all, perhaps, is. that the demand for historical biography brings such 'books as this' to life again.

If a little lengthy and old-fashioned in style, Mrs. Everett Green's Lives of the Princesses of England were very readable, and were models of conscientious work. In them, and especially in this Life of Elizabeth of Bohemia, wee had the reedit of an enormous araount of time and trouble sport in consulting original authorities—English, French, and' German—a good deal more pains being taken, we will venture" to guess, than by nine out of ten of the writers of such books nowadays. And the consequence is that, as Dr. Ward • Elisabeth, Eleetress Palatine and Queen of Beheinia. By Mare Anne Everett' Green. Revisel by her Niece, B. C. Lomas. With a Prefatory Note by-A. W. Ward, Litt.D. London; Methuen and Co. [10s. 6d. net.]

assures us, Mrs. Everett Green's volume has "remained the standard biography of the Queen of Bohemia to the present day."

It was no wonder, then, that searchers for good historical works should have decided to reprint this Life in a separate volume, especially as it could be presented to the public, with all the improvement and retouching made advisable by the advance in exact knowledge since it was written. Mrs. Lomas's introduction and her general revision of the whole book, including the many notes and references,, show that she, as well as her aunt, knows what an historical biography. should be. Dr. Ward is fully justified in saying that Mrs. Loame "has a perfectly clear and just conception of what the editor of a standard historical work ought to do—and a) leave undone."

There is no need for any formal introduction of Elizabeth Stuart to English readers ; and yet we suspect that tia, many she in very little more than a name. The admired. and`-piffied of Europe, the praise of poets, the object of dhivittrons devotion worthy of an earlier age : some of tie wortall be puzzled to give offhand the why and the wherefore. of at,/ this; or the details of a life which knew the heights of great- ness and- the depths of misfortune. Elizabeth-bad' ail' the charm and sweetness, the gay impetuosity, and even the frivolity, of the Stuarts, with an heroic temper, a strength., of courageous endurance, a religious faith, and a moralgreatness rare in them, as in most of the world. Her story was one of change and chance, hope, triumph, and disappointment. She was- beautiful, and we can well believe it, even after her brilliant youth had faded, though Pepys describes' her he her latter days as "a very debonair* but a plain lady." The good Pepys was hardly of those quick to see the beauty of the soul.

Among the portraits at Combe Abbey, where Elizabeth spent. much time in her young days, and which became the home- of her faithful friend Lord Craven, there is one. by Honthorst which has already been reproduced for Mr. Hodglinfe. excellent short study of the Queen. We wish: it- hail been peuieible to give it or some other as a frontiepieee Mr's. Everett Green's book.