26 APRIL 1890, Page 22

Obeah : Witchcraft in the West Indies. By Hesketh J.

Bell. (Sampson Low and Co.)—Mr. Bell has some strange stories to tell us : marvels of Nature, and marvels that seem to be beside or below Nature. What are we to make, for instance, of the shower of stones, falling inside the house, ceasing as soon as a light was lit, and recommencing with the darkness ? Yet it is vouched for by evidence that seems difficult to dispose of. Then there are children that produce showers of rain. Pere Labot relates how he saw one brought up by an African boy, that fell on his garden only. The Father seems to have availed himself of the shower, and then exorcised the evil spirit. If the horrors of imagination are not enough, there are the realities of insect plagues, realities which make everything that we know of here sink into in- significance,—cockroaches, for instance, that make a delicious meal off phosphorous paste ! Altogether, Mr. Bell gives us a lively account of West Indian life, though it must be allowed that there are advantages as well as drawbacks. Surely he has mis- placed the decimal point when he writes that the "specific gravity of the water was 10.107."