The Cricket on the Hearth. Illustrated by George Alfred Williams.
(Cassell and Co. Gs. net.)—We are to look for the raison d'être of this very attractive volume in the illustrations. Mr. Williams thinks that there has been too much of the grotesque in the "pictorial presentations" of Dickens's work. He would "eliminate the grosser phases of the caricature in favour of the more human." We cannot accept his critical dictum that "Dickens's greatest gift was characterisation." The number of characters is certainly vast ; but we seldom recognise anywhere a real man or woman. Nevertheless, we are glad to get Mr. Williams's excellent drawings. There are nine of them, well executed in colour. The book is otherwise well got up. It comes, we see, from the other side of the Atlantic. On p. 33 Dickens, wishing to describe something quite valueless, speaks of it as "a mere United States security." Tempora mutantur I—Mr. Pickwick's Christmas, by the same Illustrator (same publishers, 6s.), contains the " Dingley Dell" episode. Hbre we have some interesting remarks on the same subject of the character of Dickens illustrations. Mr. Williams seems to us to have reached a really excellent compromise. His pre- sentment of the slide where Mr. Pickwick took the lead with such energy is as good a thing of the kind as we have ever seen. On the other hand, "Emily Wardle" is not a success. No young woman would have worn her hair in such a " touzle," as it would have been called A.D. 1837.—In A Christmas Carol (Chapman and Hall, 2s. 6d. net) we have reproduced the illustrations by John Leech and Fred. Barnard. The volume comes with a commenda- tion from the Lord Mayor (Sir W. Treloar). It is a contribution to the "Crippled Children" Fund, all the profits made being set apart for that object.