4 JANUARY 1930, Page 33


THE LIFE FASHIONABLE. By Peter Traill. (Bren- tano. 75. Od.)—We have often suspected that the eternal triangle was really a quadrilateral and that the novelist's weakness for trinities was a piece of unwarranted simplifica- tion. Mr. Trail proves that, in the end, the discovery and inclusion of a missing wife actually simplify far more satis- factorily the " husband-wife-lover " dilemma. A rich woman, beautiful but cold as charity, is married to a spend- thrift and indolent husband. He finds relief in a liaison; she in philanthropy. She rescues a gentleman with a past and engages him as her butler. He is determined to find his missing wife and to begin life anew with her. The develop- ment is obvious : the butler's wife has become his master's mistress ; and the butler falls reluctantly in. love with his master's wife. The wife is well drawn, but all four characters are essentially dull and tepid people, unworthy of their inte- resting quandary. They are far too much inclined to moralize instead of live • but this is indicated by the tiresome inversion in the title. What is wrong with" The Fashionable Life " ?