16 AUGUST 1930, Page 21

It is the fashion in some quarters to regard the

essays of Mr. James Douglas as of little worth, just as, to the " high- brows " of a previous generation, the writings of the late A. C. Benson seemed thin and jejune. But Benson was a man of the world, with deep knowledge of human nature and a poet's heart : his words have brought comfort to millions, and so do Mr. Douglas's. Lord Beaverbrook, who writes an introduction to his editor's modestly named Down Shoe Lane (Joseph, 5s.) rightly says that the keynote to these talks is their sincerity : that is a quality none too common in essayists. " Man is a sentimental being," writes Mr. Douglas, " and he is governed more by warm sentiment than cold reason. The most powerful intellects are filled with a desire for intimate sympathy. They want to lay their heart as well as their head on a woman's shoulder." There will be those who dislike this style, but those who know that what Mr. Douglas says is true, even if it is sometimes trite, will treasure this little volume.