20 DECEMBER 1930, Page 22

Those who are interested in a state of society which

has passed away and whose palate does not revolt from the flavour of small beer may find it worth while to pick up Edwardian Hey-days, a little about a lot of things, by George. Cornwallis-West (Putnam, 15s.). If they say, after glancing through, it, that it is fortunate such an age came to an end, we shall not disagree with them. At the same time it would be unfair to condemn Mr. Cornwallis-West for being a-typical product of it. He was, he tells us with engaging frankness, an eight-months child born delicate and with a stammer. His mother was a famous beauty, his father was related to half the peerage. He went to Eton and then into the Guards. The marvel is that his comments should so often be as sensible as they are. Perhaps this is accounted for by the wit of his wives. He married in succession Lady Randolph Churchill and Mrs. Patrick Campbell, about both of whom he writes divertingly. Yet the book contains very little that is worth quotation. It is the general cumulative effect of it which appends an instructive footnote to social history. Such a record makes one feel that there is some- thing, after all, to be said for the Victorians. They did not write books like this.