23 JUNE 1888, Page 25


The second number of the Universal Review hardly keeps the promise of the first. The illustrations are not so good, the one preceding Mr. Freeman's article, for instance, being positively silly, while those scattered over Mr. Haweis's defence of the stage and the ballet are so vulgar as to have called forth a public protest from the author of the paper, who never even saw them before they appeared. Mr. Frank Hill's paper on the Opposition leaders is full of his old incisive yet impartial criticism, and will give even to convinced opponents literary pleasure ; but, with the exception of the editor's thoughtful account of the Salon, the remainder of the letterpress is thin. Will Mr. Freeman, who devotes nearly a whole article to the Spectator, permit us to say— if he doubts it, as we fancy he does—that we do not question the capacity of small States to produce great men ? We do not pretend to his historic knowledge ; but we have heard of Palestine and Attica, Mecca—which was a State as well as a city—and Venice. Our argument was restricted to this, that in democracies Federalism is unfavourable to their production. Mr. Grant Allen's paper on the coming triumph of the Celt, who in fifty years is to supersede the Teuton, seems to us only foolish ; and Mr. Wilkie Collins's "Reminiscences of a Story-Teller" is—with the exception of the curious complaint addressed to him for libelling a man's house by a purely imaginary description—almost too commonplace for publication. We entirely admit Mr. Collins's claims as a story- teller ; but was there ever a novelist who had not the experiences he recounts ?