26 MARCH 1898, Page 26

The People of Clopton. By George Bertram. (T. Fisher 17nwin.)

—This is a story, told in a series of sketches, of country life, viewed, of course, on its seamy side, and constitutes a peculiarly disagreeable book. It has an autobiographical form, and it gives us, even after a course of the new fiction, a qualm of dis- gust to read the things to which the author and hero own. That "Much that men call knavery is the Salt of Life, and that, after all, Woman's Love shall endure as long as the world shall stand," is what the reader is supposed to learn from the story. Truth, honour, courage, chastity are to some the salt of life : "George Bertram" prefers knavery. "If the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness ! " But perhaps we take him too seriously. He may be only is fanfaron des vices qu'il n'a pas. But why exhibit so poor a performer to the public ?