15 MAY 1915, Page 24

From the Shelf. By Paxton Holgar. (J. IL Dent and

Sons. Se. 6c1. net.)—" On the Shelf," says a contemporary writer, " we are alert in every nerve, and feel the life, what is left of it, in every limb. Some of us are proud to be there, some of us are sorry; all of us are keenly interested in ourselves, in each other, and in those who are coming toward us." And there are times in the lives of all of us when the security of the Shelf seems a refreshment and not a dulness. Few of us, however, choose to lay aside our common tasks and go out to search deliberately for that Shelf which is ours by right might be better if we did, were we certain of finding for ourselves a Shelf so full of delight as that which Mr. Holgar found. But deserted monasteries in Majorca, amid blowing orchards of lemon-trees and orange-blossom, are rare; rare too is a mind so simple and contented that the possessor is never tempted to look over the edge of his Shelf and indulge is unprofitable philosophizing. Mr. Holgar has been happy in writing down just the few incidents that stirred the quiet life of his dream village, now a wedding, and now a funeral. And since he has a pleasant sense of humour and an easy, fluent style, we find nothing to cavil at, and a good deal to commend, in this little book of essays.