21 JUNE 1913, Page 26

The Amateur Gentleman. By Jeffery Farnol. (Sampson Low. Gs.)—In "

The Broad Highway " Mr. Farnol gave us a gentleman turned amateur blacksmith : hero we have the son of a champion of the ring and a lady of gentle birth figuring as "a gentleman" in Regency days, and showing that to be a man first is the best thing. It is easy to criticise Mr. Farnol. His stage-coachman and other small characters are frankly taken from Dickens. The charwoman whose eye was lost under " another lady's boot- 'eel " is even more modern. He exaggerates the picaresque style in the rapidity with which one breathless adventure or unexpected meeting succeeds another. The villainy of the villain-in-chief towards the hero and_the young women of the story is very smooth and complete, but be remains a rather wooden figure. But what fun it is to scamper through these Six hundred pages ! One is so happy in the complete con- fidence that in every fair fight the hero will triumph as surely as in the great steeplechase, while the unfair bludgeons and pistols cannot be lethal simply because their use is foul. One knows that his love will be rewarded in spite of terrific obstacles and heartrending misunderstandings. One knows it is only a matter of time until his father is nobly acknow- ledged before the bucks and Corinthians, among whom the most elegant few, of the really bluest blood, will prove their generous loyalty to their friend. We need not be too much troubled by the hero's stern determination to follow "the harder road," but we can share some of the blind devotion of his servants and rejoice that stupid honesty conquers the world. This is not a work to criticise, but to enjoy light- heartedly.