27 JANUARY 1900, Page 11


Outside the Garden. By Helen Milman (Mrs. Caldwell Crofton). With Illustrations by Edmund H. New. (John Lane. 5s.)— This dainty volume is a sequel to the not less dainty volume of oat-of-door studies Mrs. Crofton published a year or two ago under the title of "In the Garden of Peace." Now she takes us " outside the garden" to hear the birds sing and see the squirrels climb in the woods ; to remember Sir William Temple, and Swift, and Stella, in Moor Park ; and the austerities and the corruption of Cistercian monks among the ruins of Waverley Abbey. She takes us also into cottage gardens, and talks to us there in the words of Joseph Joubert about the "souls of flowers." She shows us plovers' nests in the open fields, and scolds society for wanting so many plovers' eggs for its breakfasts and dinners that the birds who lay them are getting alarmingly rare ; and she astonishes us finally by counting up ninety-three different kinds of birds that she has seen within a mile of her own garden. Mrs. Crofton is one of the genuine lovers of birds, and evidently has a quick eye and ear for detecting them, and probably also that mysterious sympathy with their ways which begets trust on their, side, and entices them to come near. Papers such as make up this volume cannot be described in detail. We can only say that they are charming, and that they are worthily illustrated by Mr. New, whose draw- ings are one and all exquisite. He contributes a pretty little vignette to the title-page of every essay, and a number of delightful full-page illustrations within the text. All are good, but " Waverley Mill" and " Hop-kilns " call for especial praise. We have only one little fault to find with Mrs. Crofton's book. Why does she allow a slang phrase like " level best" to creep into one of her dainty sentences, without even the apology of quotation marks P