28 APRIL 1894, Page 11

Gossip of the Caribbees. By William R. H. Trowbridge, jun.

(Tait, Sons, and Co., New York.)—After reading this it is hardly possible not to entertain a suspicion—possibly an altogether unjust one—that but for the success of Mr. Rudyard Kipling these sketches would not have been published, and perhaps would not even have been written. They constitute, at all events, an attempt to do for Anglo-West-Indian life some- thing like what has been done in the case of Anglo-Indian sin, sorrow, and misery by the author of " A Life's Handi- cap." It would be worse than idle to say that Mr. Trow- bridge has scored a success at all comparable to that of his predecessor. When he attempts to depict official ceremonial life, or when he seeks to be sarcastic, cynical, and pessimistic, he certainly fails to give any other impression than that of being a rather feeble imitator. Thus we confess to being not greatly impressed with the sarcastic humour of such a sketch as "The Queen's Representative," or the tragedy of such a story as " The Boy who Came from Home." Yet if the book is taken as a whole —the good sketches with the poor—and if it is read patiently, it will be enjoyed, and will be found to present what there is reason to regard as a lifelike picture of a society which has many of the characteristics of that of an ordinary English country town, with a pretentiousness to which such a town, unless per- haps it is of the cathedral type, does not lay claim. Some of the more earnest and pathetic stories—such as " For the Sake of the Cross," "Mademoiselle Narsaz," and, above all, "An Incon- Venient Devotion "—would seem to prove that Mr. Trowbridge,

who uniformly writes like a man of culture, would be more at home and have more elbow-room in some sketch longer and more elaborate than anything he has here attempted.