29 OCTOBER 1927, Page 44

HERE COMES AN OLD SAILOR. By Alfred Tresidder Sheppard. (Hodder

and Stoughton. 7s. 6c1.)—This is essentially a poet's novel, which, though realistic enough in places and abounding in humour, is illuminated throughout by a quiet, inner glow of beauty and of warm, human feeling. Mr. Sheppard introduces us to the Kentish Abbey of Reculver in the year 1217, and readers with a taste for social history will thoroughly enjoy the vivid and minute picture of monastic life. On the marshy shore near the Abbey, one eerie winter's night, the body of a supposedly drowned sailor is found by the young Dom Vigilius, who, however, by his care and medical skill restores him to life. The sailor is Simon Paramore, late Town Serjeant of Fordwich. He is in- duced to describe his own career and that of his master, the Mayor of Fordwich. The story, written down in a book by Vigilius, is then read by instalments to the assembled monks, and it is difficult to say which is the more delightful : the narrative itself, reminiscent of Chaucer in its variety and wealth of incident and mediaeval colour, or the comments made upon it by the cloistered audience. Mr. Sheppard has written a thoroughly original and very charming book, to which added distinction is given by his gentle mysticism, his sensitiveness to spiritual issues, and his appreciation of the fact that even the thirteenth century had its " modernists."