25 JANUARY 1896, Page 10

Side - Talks with Girls. By Ruth Ashmore. (Sampson Low, Marston, and

Co.)—The author of this volume, which is full of curious details, dedicates it to " the American girl," who, she says, "makes the most charming of friends, the best of wives, and the truest of mothers ; " and a glance at its contents shows it to be especially adapted to the wants of that great middle-class of which American society is composed. It consists of a great number of chatty " good advices," divided into chapters, the titles of which, such as " Girl Life in New York," " The Country Girl," "Your own Familiar Friend," "My Sweetheart and I," " The Physical Life of a Girl," and " The Young Wife's First Year," are themselves calculated to give an idea of the character of the book. Some of the advices that Mrs. (or Miss) Ashmore gives her " typical " client may raise a smile. Surely this as to the management of a " sweetheart " is a trifle too elaborate :—" Suppose your sweetheart should incline to scarfs you don't admire. I once heard a girl tell a man she hated him because he wore a pale-blue scarf. You needn't be as posi- tive as that, but you can suggest to him that as a blonde (sic) he always looks better in an all-black scarf ; while as a brunette (sic) he can wear the white ones all day, and put on the black ones for very formal occasions." Such and many other counsels it would be easy to satirise if one were so minded. But the book is on the whole so sensible, and contains so much wisdom, even of the minor sort,—especially in regard to the "physical life" and education of girls, that, if only for its obvious sincerity, it deserves a word of commendation.