30 APRIL 1892, Page 12

A Frenchman in America. By Max O'Rell. (J. W. Arrowsmith,

Bristol.)—The ingenious gentleman who calls himself by this nom de plume has paid two visits to America, and worked the lecture gold-mine, veins of which some people are lucky enough to find in that country. Mr. " O'Rell " is a writer who sometimes pleases us when he is talking about people other than ourselves. He is often entertaining ; but it would be well if he could only understand that there are some things, especially matters of religion, about which it is not expedient to jest. Even about things secular his taste is not always good. We cannot see the humour of a witticism which seems to have pleased him very much,—the description of the Volunteers given by an American speaker at a public dinner, " invincible in peace, and invisible in war." It seems to us simply insolent. He is at his best when he tells us some of his lecturing experiences, as that of the listener whom he in vain tried to interest. " I'm a liar myself," was the unmoved one's ex- planation. Another gentleman, who had seemed utterly bored, came to thank him for a delightful evening's entertainment. It turned out that he was stone-deaf. The account of the frigid New England audience is very amusing. We may suggest to our author that edu- cation in America is not quite as flourishing as he thinks. In some States the per-centage of illiteracy is very high, and the work of the common schools leaves something to be desired. It would be as well not to suggest that the average of culture in Chicago is much higher than in London, because " in the great reading-room of the British Museum, there was an average of 620 readers daily during the year 1888. In the reading-room of the Chicago Public Library, there was an average of 1,569 each day in the same year." It is sufficient to say that the British Museum Reading-Room is a place of serious work.—Twelve Months in Peru, by E. B. Clark (T. Fisher Unwin), has about as little in it as any book that we ever saw. That the " maximum summer heat is 78 deg. Fahrenheit," is the most valuable observa- tion that we can find.—Land of the Lingering Snow, by Frank B .lies (Houghton, Mifflin, and Co., Boston, U.S.A.), is a pleasantly written volume, containing observations of nature, animate and inanimate, made in the neighbourhood of the Boston Cambridge. A book not unworthy to be put on the same shelf with White's " Selborne."