2 DECEMBER 1911, Page 9

The 'Flower of Gloster.' By E. Temple Thurston. Illustrated by

W. R. Dakin. (Williams and Norgate. 7s. 6d. net.)—Mr. Thurston spent a delightful spring holiday in wandering about some of the canals of England in a barge called the `Flower of Gloster,' and in this book he tells us of the thisigs he saw, the people he met, and what he thought about it all. He was lucky in finding a newly painted barge and an excellent bargee, who was ready to talk about life on the canals, and to discuss the philosophy of things in general with him. The journey began aus- piciously enough at Oxford, but soon after they had got under weigh Mr. Thurston's heart sank, for the jerry-builder had obscured all the landscape that he could see from the boat. "`Is the canal like this all the way P ' I asked Eynsham Harry (the bargee). . . . Oh no, suss' said he; `look you, there's fine country soon as you come past Thrnpp.' . . . Right away then,' said I, go along as fast as you can till we get away from those damned red-brick villas.' By which you may see I was mildly endeavouring to live up to the reputation of the bargee —a reputa- tion for strong language, which so long as I have known him he has utterly failed to fulfil." Indeed, Eynsham Harry, besides being a master of his craft and an entertaining companion, was a remarkably gentle and considerate person. When they passed other barges with caged birds on the cabin roofs he remarked : " There be some persons in this world as have no more sense of the feeling of dumb things than what they'd have of a stone ; what's more, they'd think you was daf tie if you said them birds weren't made to sing in cages, and had no more taste for it than you and I would have for a week's job on the treadmill." The author sets his face against anything in the nature of a guide-book descrip- tion, particularly when he is writing of well-known places. This is a little disappointing, for though we do not want strings of names and dates in a book of this kind, we should like something more characteristic of the black-and-white charm of Tewkesbury, for instance, than an account, however realistic, of a dirty itinerant chiropodist. Of little-known places such as Cropredy and Worndeighton he gives us pleasant impressions, full of colours and sunshine. Mr. Dakin's black-and-white illustrations are good and very pleasant to the eye, but we cannot say as much of the coloured pictures, which are startling and harsh in their effect.