23 NOVEMBER 1991, Page 34

A.N. Wilson

Elizabeth Longford's Darling LoosY (Weidenfeld, £16.95) is a selection of letters to Princess Louise, the accom- plished sculptress who had the double misfortune of Queen Victoria as a mother and the Marquess of Lorne as a husband. Lady Longford's analysis of this tormented marriage, in her introduction to the letters, is masterly, and some of the letters them- selves are interesting too. Funniest are those of Arthur, Duke of Connaught who felt, perhaps rightly, that the world had gone to the dogs after 1914. I thought that John Wells' history of the London Library (Rude Words, Macmillan, £17.50) was a minor masterpiece, worth reading for its analysis of Carlyle's strange character, but crammed with other delights. Auberon Waugh's Will This Do? (Century, £15.99) was very funny, and I don't understand some of the tetchy reviews it got. It's much the best thing in print about that mysterious character, his father. If he doesn't shed much light on that other mysterious character, himself — well, he can do so in another volume.