16 NOVEMBER 1907, Page 13


The Last Empress of the French. By Philip W. Sergeant, B.A. (T. Werner Laurie. 12s. 6d. net.)—This is loss objectionable than are most biographies of living persons. The book is, in fact, a contribution to history. The Empress Eugenio had not a little to do with French politics, and greatly influenced their course by her personal characteristics. In this respect she suggests an interesting comparison with Marie Antoinette. It is, as may be supposed, a difficult subject which Mr. Sergeant has elected to treat; and he must be allowed the credit of having accomplished his task with success. It is impossible to gloss over the mis- doings of the Second Empire ; and impossible wholly to acquit the great personage who might have taken up a more decided line of opposition to them than she did. Let any ono read, for instance, the account given on pp. 276-78 of a fancy-dress ball in 1860. It was no easy duty to perform, for the chief offender was a near relative of the Empress; still, great people are called upon to perform duties that are not easy. It is, indeed, this that constitutes their special function.