29 OCTOBER 1927, Page 44

UNCLE TOM PUDD : a Biographical Romance. By Laurence Housman.

(Cape. 6s.}—The publishers ask if Uncle Tom Pudd was a real person. In his introduction, Mr. Housman says : " It may well be that he comes here as an unbelievable character." But, since many romances are bio- graphical and since all biographies should be romantic, we are not disposed to question dear Uncle Tom Pudd, but only to love him. After he had been a smuggler, three times a curate and a prison chaplain, he married Miss Judith Hogg, ran away from her in the middle of the honeymoon and many times after- wards, and eventually sought refuge with his niece. Uncle Tom Pudd was a little man with no sense of honour or honesty : he had neither manners nor morals, but he was an excellent story-teller, loved dogs and had " a nice wiling way of walking." Could any quality be more endearing ? He died on " a brisk lovely day, the leap-in of Spring ; the birds of March were loud but its winds were down; shone bright. His last remarks were about robins : " They'll come back for the winter. . . . When they do, think of me sometimol, my dear ; for I may be one of them." Mr. Housman hhssss a chivalrous purpose in writing this biography, and the searcher after sermons may find one delicatelyhidden between the lines of his lovely prose.