1 APRIL 1905, Page 21

In the preface to the new edition of Richard Jeffries:

his Life and his Ideals, by H. S. Salt (A. C. Fifield, is. 6c1. not), the author writes : "The complaint made by the Spectator that I have obtruded my own views about Jefferies, means simply that I have not limited myself to the Spectator's view." Not at all : we want to hear about Jefferies, not what Mr. Salt or any one thinks about Jefferies. It is an axiom in the art of biography that the writer should as far as possible efface himself. It is obvious in this case that Mr. Salt used this occasion to air opinions of his own. Here is a specimen: "The first and most absolutely necessary step [towards an exalted and spiritualised existence] is the rejection of superstitious belief "; and here is another : "it is incredible that a man of his progressive intellect should have gone back to a creed which he had once conscientiously held, but had gradually outgrown and abandoned." We still hold that a biographer who writes in this fashion does not know his businese.