21 SEPTEMBER 1912, Page 15


[To THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."] Sza,—Your reviewer says of my book "Tramps through Tyrol,' "For though clearly and concisely written it is lacking in sympathy and inspiration, and contains but little of interest to the general public." This is a matter of opinion, to which, of course, he is entitled. Considering that a second edition of the book is in sight, and that among about two dozen reviews the notice in the Spectator is the only unfavourable one, and that some parts of the book appeared previously in leading London journals, which presumably do not print inferior copy, the review does not trouble me, and would pass unnoticed but for the misstate- ment of facts in the following instances.

Your reviewer says, "Occasionally Mr. Stoddard shakes himself free from the tyranny of Baedeker, and gives us some delightful legends and stories." Let us see how occasional this is. Out of twenty-five chapters sixteen are composed of matter entirely extraneous to guide-books, and deal with such subjects as the patriot Andreas Hofer, Winter Sports, Shooting, and Fishing, A Peasant Wedding, &c. The remaining chapters are as free from "the tyranny of Baedeker" as is compatible in a book largely descriptive of pedestrian tours, as the title indicates. The review further states that "the illustrations are in harmony with the letterpress (that is 'they contain but little of interest to the general public') for they consist almost exclusively of photo- graphs of the more important places." How far from correct this is may be judged by the fact that among thirty illustrations one-third represent places or scenes with which I venture to say not one person in twenty who has travelled in Tyrol is acquainted. It is more easy to blame than to praise, and it seems to me that it might not be amiss to give the reviewer of my book, who evidently, like many reviewers, has only skimmed the work, a hint as to the desirability of greater accuracy and a more generous treatment of the books ho reviews, in accordance with the general practice prevailing nowadays.—I am, Sir, &c., Best en, Puslerthal, Tyrol. F. W. STODDARD. [Our reviewer writes : " In implying that Mr. Stoddard might with advantage have shaken himself freer from the tyranny of Baedeker' I merely expressed an opinion the substantial accuracy of which I still adhere to. With regard to the illustrations, the point on which I wished to insist was that they were photographs, not original work, but in view of the fact that they are not con- fined to well-known places, it is right to correct the impression which the reference might otherwise give. I must add that the book was not skimmed, but carefully read."—En. Spectator.