25 JANUARY 1896, Page 10

Tommy Atkins of the Ramchunders. By Robert Blatchford. (Edward Arnold.)—This

is a story, as the title itself indicates, of the life of a British private. The author, who, as is well known, holds strong opinions on socio-political questions, and has a knack of giving forcible, if not always elegant, expression to them, has set himself to supply a realistic picture of a soldier's life. And he has beyond all doubt succeeded, if realism in "the ranks" means excessive drinking among men and a low level of morality among women. Mr. Blatchford is in a sense kind in the long-run to his hero, for he makes him comparatively sober, and gives him a good and sympathetic wife after allowing him to be imperilled by the coarse attractions of more than one vulgar siren. Although Mr. Blatchford's pictures are in many respects repel- lent, and he lays on his colours too thick, he has obviously truth on his side. Sometimes his sarcasm is forced, and occasionally his humour is too much of the mere knockdown-blow type, as in this interchange of amenities between Irish soldiers :—" Talkin' to a Connaughtman whin he is in liquor, is like houldin' discoorse wid a pig.'—' William, ye're a smart soldier, but yez have no erudition.' " All things considered, Tommy Atkins of the Barn- thunders is in style a distinct advance upon anything which pre- ceded it from Mr. Blatchford's pen.