7 DECEMBER 1901, Page 56


The Wessex of Thomas Hardy. Written by Bertram C. A. Windle, F. B.S., F.S.A. Illustrated by Edmund H. New. (John Lane. 21s. net.)—The old kingdom of Wessex, lying between Sussex and West Wales or Cornwall, lost its distinctive name early, probably owing to its rulers succeeding in establishing themselves as the overlords of England. But the name has been revived in the popular novels of Thomas Hardy, the scenes of which are generally laid within the limits of the old kingdom; and the author of the present work has written a guide-book to the district and devoted much time and trouble to the identifica- tion of the various places mentioned in the novels, the scenes of which are all laid in actual localities, usually thinly veiled under slightly altered names, or varied, the description of a building sometimes combining the characteristics of more than one existing edifice. Historical reminiscences, and scraps of folk- lore, &c., though not quite absent from Mr. Windle's book, occupy a very subordinate place in his pages, and we fear his labours will only be fully appreciated by those who are as enthusiastic admirers of Mr. Hardy's novels as Mr. Windle himself, though the pretty English scenery depicted in the illustrations may help to attract a few tourists to the district for its own sake, The enormous importance which Mr. Windle attaches to places mentioned in the novels, as compared with any interest they may otherwise possess, may be seen from his remark about Stone- henge: "Equally of course Stonehenge must be visited whilst one is in this part of the world, on account of its great intrinsic interest, and because it is the scene of the capture of Tess by the officers of justice after the murder of Alec Stoke D'17rber-