22 MAY 1926, Page 25


Sinaranda. By Lord Thomson of Cardington. (Cape. 7s. 6d. net.) CASTLES in the Balkans, wooded mountains and, as a golden thread, the personality of a beautiful woman—or is it Buc- harest ?—give to this book of memories a romantic colouring that is at variance, pleasantly, with other political and diplo- matic side-lights upon the Balkans during the Great War. "Brigadier-General Y," whose diary forms the greater part of the book, was sent in 1915 to stimulate the entry of Smaranda- land into the War on the side of the Allies. This record of his experiences until the time of " Y's " decease on January 28rd, 1924 (the day on which the first Labour Ministry of Great Britain assumed office and Lord Thomson his Barony), is sufficiently indiscreet to embarrass those concerned and to interest readers who like to think between the lines.

There is a fine description of Olympus seen superbly against the sunset. " I said to B, `Look at that mountain to our left, you might pass by here twenty times and not sec the top for clouds. Besides it is a famous spot, and you can tell them all about it when you get home ! ' B cast a careless glance on the rose-pink summit of Olympus and replied : I don't think so much of that, sir, but that canal we came through was fine.' Then he added as a kind of after-thought : I suppose the Germans made it.' German efficiency must have been preached by the elementary schools of Battersea before the War."

Among the concluding sketches, " The Keys of Jerusalem " is a satiric piece that will displease some. The long tragic tale of Western Thrace would have been better in brief form, but " A Last Leader " the story of the commander of the White Army which invaded Southern Russia is powerful in its effect and terse moral. The best of these .tales of Rumania is " Tu-whit, Tu-who "—the story of a fight in a forest; when the armies of Smarandaland invaded Tran- sylvania, of the stampede of the wild animals and in the after quiet, the melancholy mocking cry of an owl. The Ruman- ians may not like this book if they read it,-but it can be heartily recommended as full of amusing remininscences.