26 NOVEMBER 1937, Page 34


The late Tsar's correspondence with his mother, as selected and edited by Mr. Edward J. Bing (Nicholson and Watson, 155.),- must excite interest and pity. The Dciwager Empress, Queen Alexandra's sister, was evidently a woman of character. Her son, to judge from his letters, was a timid and commonplace man who sought to fortify himself in an exalted position that he was unfit to hold by evoking his memories of his father, Alexander III. Occasionally he mustered up courage to reject his mother's advice, as when he declined to give one of her friends a million roubles out of the State funds. He showed some persistence in his court- ship, and he could dissemble -his intense dislike of the German Emperor and his courtiers. For the rest, his letters, which begin in 1879, when he was 11, and end in 1915, attest his domestic virtues and his complete lack. of states- manlike qualities. The insurrection of 1905 alarmed but taught him nothing.- ' Mr. Bing has edited the correspondence

correspondence with great _care and Mr. Bruce Lockhart contributes a preface.