28 MAY 1892, Page 26

Adrift in America. By Cecil Roberts. (Lawrence and Bullen.) —Whatever

may be the merits or demerits of Mr. Cecil Roberts, there can be no doubt of his candour. A plainer, more un- varnished account of "work and adventure" we have never seen. After being nine years at sea, Mr. Roberts thought that he should like a change to work on land. Leaving his ship at New York, he went to Indiana, took a job as a bricklayer's labourer, and then as a farm-hand, earning $15 per month. But he did not please the Indiana people, as we learn without much surprise. Then he had a threshing job at Fargo ; then become hotel-clerk (it being part of his duty to take the drunken men to bed), and then a farm-labourer again, on Maple River. Here the climate did not please him, and he resolved to go to the South-West thinking that Texas or California would be pleasanter in winter than Dakota. This was, in fact, the beginning of his troubles. To change his quarters in •the winter was as he acknowledges, a great mistake. He left "Maple River with $90 in his pocket; but from that moment he was going down-hill, always living from hand to mouth, and often coming about as near to starvation as a man well can in the States. We cannot follow the adventurer through his curious vicissitudes ; let it suffice to say that, having found his way to Texas, he was less satisfied than he had been with Dakota, that he again crossed America, found employment in his original occupation on board an Atlantic liner—after having been drugged and carried on board an American merchantman—and finally landed in Glasgow with thirty shillings in his pocket, the net result of his toils and wanderings. Our Ulysses was, by his own confession, somewhat unscrupulous. He never hesitated to de- fraud the railways when he was short Of money, by secreting himself in a waggon, and he owns to having stolen and eaten a turkey, though he must be allowed the credit of having resisted the temptation as long as he had a cent in his pocket. In fact, his social creed is Bummed up in what he says of a professional gambler, in whose employment he was for a time : "I liked him and he was kind to me, and I don't care in the least what he did for a living." However, his book will scarcely do any harm ; no one after reading it would like to be "adrift in America."