7 DECEMBER 1901, Page 50

THE "TIMES" LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA.* Tins volume, a solid

quarto, richly bound in royal scarlet and gold, with sumptuously wide margins, and all that is desirable in paper and print, has an appearance that is not below the dignity of its subject. The illustrations, too, executed in photogravure, are excellent. They show Queen Victoria from her early childhood down to her -advanced old age. - She was not always fortunate in the artists who repre- sented her; no great portrait-painter had the opportunity of interpreting her features; lint the series of pictures and photographs is one of great interest. We are not rash enough to adjudicate between the merits of the sun and the brush. Yet, as d. matter of fact, the three likenesses which most appeal to us are " Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort, 1855 " (an engraving from a photograph), "-Queen Victoria, aged 48" (a photograph by W: and D. Downey), and "The Four Generations" (the same), On the memoir itself there is no need to pass any elaborate criticism. No one would think of comparing it with. the thoughtful and well-considered biographical study which Mr. Sidney Lee contributed to the last of the supplementary volumes of the Dictionary of National Biography: It would have been unbecoming, even if it had been possible, for the i9urnalist, bound an he,was to give expression to the national emotion of the time, to attempt any such appreciation. The occasion required an doge, not a summing-up, and it was worthily met by the "leading journal." The early chapters of the Life are, we think, the best. It is per- fectly natural that such should be the case. There is not very much to tell, but what there is is full of a picturesque interest. Afterwards the sense of constraint cannot 'fail to tell upon the writer. He feels that he has to put the history of half the world for two generations within the narrow compass of his space. That he has dealt- so successfully, on the whole, with the problem is very inuch to his credit.

That there Should be anything absolutely new in a Life of Queen Victoria was not to be expected. But various things • The Life of Queen Victoria. Reprinted from the Times. London : Setup. son Low, Marston, and Co. [S2 2s. net,] -4 are picturesquely pet, andeome are not inappropriately rescued from oblivion. It consoles 'us to read in the face of some deplorable present-day exhibitions that one Peer was silly enough to protest against the Coronation as a "foolish, meaningless mummery." The curious may calculate, if London when the country had but half-a-dozen railways received four hundred thousand visitors, how many are likely to be present next June. The Aldermen of London may read how their predecessors scrambled for the largess which the Treasurer of the Household scattered among the crowd, and may regret that such a chance will hardly be given to themselves in a more decorous age. -Foreign critics of our manners may apply to more serious occasions the ludicroils anecdote of how, when the aged Lord Rolle slipped on the steps of the throne, and fell to the bottom, it Was gravely reported and actually believed abroad that the Lords Rolle held their names and title on condition of rolling down the steps of the throne at every Coronation ! Of gravity and serious narrative there is, as will readily be believed, no lack, but our author rightly holds that dui& est desipere in loco. Of all the gift-books of the year there is none that should rank higher than this.