2 JUNE 1933, Page 26


No one can say that Mr. Carveth Wells is inaudible : he shouts through nearly three hundred pages, shedding (as he says) Light on the Dark Continent (Jarrolds, 16s.). It starts by being mildly amusing, but the pace is too terrific and as effective as a perpetual medley of Hot Jazz. This is the sort of thing : "Have you ever -noticed what a short neck an elephant has ? It is so short that when he eats you can hear his food tumble into his stomach with a splash. Of course, you won't hear the splash when you give an elephant a peanut." Ex occidente lux ? It is not all about Africa, for- tunately, but whatever the continent we meet the same blatant exaggeration of matter and manner : the old, old stories are served up anew, growing taller with each repetition. But he also has some new ones of his own, new even to Africa —Niam Niam pigmies (sic), armed guards 'preserving the in- violability of the Masai reserve, elephants applying surgical dressings to their wounds, and so on. Really our reading public must be absurdly credulous. The illustrations are good.