28 APRIL 1894, Page 11

In a North - Country Village. By M. E. Francis. (Osgood, Mcllvaine,

and Co.)—Not for long have we seen sketches of country English life so full, as are these, of nature, of quiet pathos, of dry non-assertive humour, and of fidelity to the fundamental realities and simplicities of character. You are at once intro- duced to the village, situated on the main road between a large Northern manufacturing town and a fashionable water- ing-place—a "sleepy little hamlet which has remained un- changed to all intents and purposes for several hundred years, and the inhabitants of which have lived from genera- tion to generation in undisturbed content." It is governed with a slack rein by the Canon who, although not a muscular Christian in the modern and too pronounced sense, would yet have satisfied Charles Kingsley, for he knows when to administer "a hair of the dog that bit him" to a tippler, and when to bring about marriages by a moral suasion which is scarcely distinguish- able from physical coercion. This volume, which recalls Wilson's "Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life" (although it is much more compact), more readily than the familiar studies of Mr, Barrie, brings out most admirably and without strain the pathos and the humour—and, let us add, the dialect and the spelling— of a life that is passed in quietude, but is not a mere moral Pool of Siloam. We know nothing in the language better than " Gaffer's Child," " Our Joe," or " Mates."