21 NOVEMBER 1908, Page 8

In the Fighting Line. By David Lyall. (R.T.S. 3s. 6d.)—We

include this in "Gift-Books," though it might not improperly take its place among "Novels," and very high up among them too. But it has a distinctly didactic character, a thing which we do not expect, and, for the most part, do not want, in the novel. The most striking personage in the book, and, in view of what is going on just now, the most interesting, is Freeman, the Socialist. He is an orator, and, as is the wont of orators, is accustomed to say a great deal that he does not really mean. But he has a root of truth and honesty in him, and is very human. His love for his crippled boy is human, and so is the weakness which Judith Beltravers plays upon. Next to Freeman we should put the servant-girl Adelaide. The other characters are more conven- tional. But the story as a whole is distinctly a success. It would not be easy to find one that should prove better reading for a young man who wishes to take life seriously, and is likely to be led away by sciolists and cranks who fancy that they have infallible methods of solving its problems.