1 MARCH 1930, Page 46

THE WHISTLER'S ROOM. By Paul Alverdes. (Seeker. 5s.)—There is a.

quality of mingled cruelty and tenderness in this short and moving story. The scene is laid in a Gentian 4rillitary hospital during the War. In a special ward, kept apart from the other cases, and curiously proud of their 4illiction, are, three- or four Men who have been seriously wounded in the throat. They are dumb and only half alive. Unable to breathe in the normal fashion, they have had their precarious span of -life prolonged by the insertion of a metal tube in their necks. Through this they breathe and are able to make those pathetic whistling and croaking noises which have to play the part of speech. In their helplessness they have become like children. The story merely indicates their relationship with one another, with the brusque, intelligent doctor whom they love like a father, and finally with an English prisoner who joins them. It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the delicacy and originality of this exquisite piece of work. It is as clear as glass ; glass which mirrors simply and faithfully and without over-emphasis every aspect of the situation ; and which nevertheless has an edge in its horror that cuts to the bone. No detail of pain, symptom or process is spared, but it is a story which heals by its own beauty the wounds that it makes.