10 MARCH 1900, Page 25


[Under this heading we notice such Books of the week as have not been reserved for review in other forms.] From Capetourn to Ladysmith. By G. W. Steevens. (Blackwood and Sons. 8s. 6d.)—The first chapter is given to Capetown- " Denver with a dash of Delhi," according to Mr. Steevens—and then we are plunged into the war, though the war, so far, was not much more than a name. "I have been accustomed," writes Mr. Steevens, "to wars with headquarters, at any rate to wars with a main body and a concerted plan ; but this war in Cape Colony has neither." But he seems to have seen the difficulty of the situation. "If the Army Corps had left three months ago, would not the Boers have declared war three months ago ?" So he asked some grumblers, and though most of them said "No," he saw reason to say " Yes " himself. In chap. 6 we reach the "Battle of Elandslaagte," a brilliant sketch, red with the glare of battle. Not less striking is the picture of the scene when the battle was won. What could be more emphatic than this testimony : "In the afternoon Tommy was a hero, in the evening he was a gentleman "P Then we have this contrast : " Our men set their teeth in silence, some of theirs wept and groaned." So we go on from scene to scene, all described with the vigorous pen which Mr. Steevens knew so well how to wield, till we get to the last words :—" The Royal Navy is the salt of the sea and the salt of the earth also." A concluding chapter has been added by Mr. Vernon Blackburn. It is ungracious, perhaps, to criticise what has been written under deep emotion, but we cannot help wishing that it had been a little simpler and more of a record of facts.