12 AUGUST 1905, Page 21



Some Famous Women of Wit and Beauty. By John Fyvie. (A. Constable and Co. 12s. 6d. net.)—Six of these eight papers tire reprints from the Quarterly Review, the Nineteenth Century, and other periodicals. "The Female Quixote" (the title of a novel by the subject, Mrs. Lennox) and "Lady Eastlake" appear • for the first time. All are written with much spirit ; in all, Mr. Fyvie, who is indefatigable in research and clever in arranging his "finds," .makes the hest of his theme. On the whole, perhaps the few pages devoted to a summary of Mrs. Lennox's novel are the most attractive in the book. We must own that we have already heard too much of Lady Hamilton, that Mrs. 'Fitzherbert is not particularly interesting now that the truth about her and George IV. is known, and that the "most gorgeous Lady .Blessington" is a person whom we are content to leave in the obscurity which has happily overtaken one of the most objectionable phases of English society. The story of Mrs. Norton, here described as "Diana of the Crossways," makes very painful reading. The account of Mrs. Grote, on the other hand, is welcome. She is less known than she deserves to be, for she was a woman of marked character, and held her own among a set as intellectually brilliant as this country has ever known. "The Queen of the Blue Stockings,' " Mrs. Montagu, has not missed such fame as she earned. Still, we are glad to have this sketch of her life. "Lady Eastlake" has, we think, been recently commemorated in a memoir, and by a republication of some of her contributions to the Quarterly. She has the distinction of having made two of the- most stupendous blunders that a reviewer ever perpetrated. One was her elaborate argument to prove that "Jane Eyre" could not have been written by a woman ; the 'other was her comment "on the lines in Tennyson's " Princess " "Melissa, with her hand upon the lock, A. rosy bl ,nde, and in a college gown, That clad her like an April daffodilly (Her mother's colour).'

The comment was to this effect: "What a pity to mar this beautiful picture with that harsh stroke about her mother's faded hue." (We quote this with reserve, because this review was not republished ; but it was commonly attributed at the time to Lady Eastlake. perhaps the' most amazing thing is that it passed the editor.)