6 SEPTEMBER 1913, Page 20


MR. BRADLEY has justified his publishers' request that he should write a volume of personal memoirs, and we must com- pliment him upon overcoming any temptation to make it up from scraps of his previous publications. As a writer of more solid books be would be the first to say that this is no work of classic pretension, but the circulating libraries could provide no more delightful companion for a few hours of leisure. The author's topographical knowledge is known to be far above the average in extent, and he has made for the benefit of the reading or travelling public several particularly careful studies of certain districts. Here, however, there is little of the student or the conscious instructor, but only the kindly, intelligent observer of widely different places and conditions. It is curious to note how locality dominates his impressions and expression even when he supposes that his chief interest is personal. When he is telling us of his maternal grandfather, the venerable " squarson," Arch- deacon Philpot, it is East Anglia and the Isle of Man that he seems to bring before our eyes. When he comes to his father, it is Rugby, Marlborough, or the Isle of Wight that fills his view. He lacks no appreciation of the Dean, or of his work as a schoolmaster, or of the schools themselves, but the places and the surrounding country which form the setting of the picture are even more sympathetically painted for us. Mr. Bradley has not only observed rural life closely in Wiltshire, Devonshire and other parts of England, but when a young man he studied farming in Scotland, and his descriptions of agriculture in East Lothian and Aberdeenshire have plenty of instruction mingled with good stories and lighter matter. No doubt be is a lauclator imports acti se puero, but that has • Landmarks in the History of the Welsh Church. By A. G. Edwards, Bishop of St. Asaph. London : John Murray. t65. net.) Garr Days. By A. G. Bradley. London: Constable and Co. [5s. 6d. net.] its advantages ; indeed, sympathy almost demands it in a book of reminiscences, and the general. tone is thoroughly cheerful throughout. He does regret changes, the decrease of understanding neighbourliness, the inevitable specialization and "speeding up" that have affected even rural life, and chiefly, of course, the agricultural depression at the end of " the 'seventies " from which " the land staggered out . . . to become the sport of cockney theorists, the recognized mikb cow of budget-makers and the playground of millionaires."

The latter part of the book is devoted to recollections of Virginia in the days soon after the war, when many owners of land and slaves were ruined and selling their homesteads for what they could get. Here Mr. Bradley found much that is for us novel, interesting, and amusing. The whole atmo- sphere of the country has changed and left little written record. NaturallY the writer's sympathy lies with the remnants of the ante helium farmers and residents whose picturesque geniality were fully appreciated by him. Though he carefully dis- tinguishes Virginia from the more southern cotton-growing States where the slave was worked as a machine rather than as a member of a patriarchal family, even so the idea which he conveys of the slavery which he did not see must be a little too rosy to be impartially true. It is delightful to read of am old colonel who declared that when be summoned his negroes and told them that they were free, " the only genuine throb of liberty . . . was experienced by himself in relation to the long tyranny of Uncle Gabriel," his coloured steward; but we are told " the colonel's joy was premature. Old Gabriel stuck to him and lectured him and tyrannized over him and called him Mar'se Bob till he died." Mr. Bradley has shut his eyes to another side of the shield. He rightly scorns the legends of the "princely estates" of these landowners, of whom, he tells us, not one in a dozen would in their palmiesti days have been regarded as reasonably well off by a small English country squire. The whole book has a delightfully friendly style, easy-going, but only rarely slipshod, and readers of every taste, academic, travelling, sporting, or agricultural, are bound to derive from it pleasure or instruction in some direction or another.