23 DECEMBER 1905, Page 23

The True Story of George Eliot. By William Mottram. (T.

Fisher Unwin. 7s. 6d. net.)—Mr. Mottram, who describes him- self as "grandnephew of Adam and Seth Bede and cousin to the author," adds a sub-title which explains the purpose of his book. It is the " true story" " in relation to ' Adam Bede,' giving the life history of the more prominent characters." This is the really valuable part of the work, and may be read with interest and advantage. It gives a picture of a fallcntis semita vitae, a life which is hid, and is happy in being hid, from common observation, but which, nevertheless, when we do chance to get a glimpse of it, is well worth observing. The chapter on " George Eliot's " life is, we think, a mistake. Mr. Mottram tells us nothing that we did not know before ; but he does condescend to something like special pleading. Such a euphemism about one of the chief actors in the drama as that he was " not over- much in love with the prevailing social economy " is an affront to common-sense. It is true that there was no Divorce Court in

• those days; but the Divorce Court can afford relief only to petitioners who come into it with a clean record.