29 JUNE 1912, Page 10


Guide to the Mercantile Marine. By R. A. Fletcher. (Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons. is. not.)—This BOO= to us a most useful littlo book, and probably much wanted, for we doubt if there is another such a guide, up-to-date, simple, helpful, and concise. Every town library and every village library should have it. We see that the colour-vision tests are to be snore stringent in 1914, and we must confess that Mr. Fletcher's description of what the candidate will be asked to do, clear though it may be, will itself alarm some boys. Nervousness may confuse the ideas of a boy with perfect vision, though the sight is less liable to be affected by such a cause than other senses. Engineering certificates, too, it may be noted, will be more hardly earned in 1915. On the other hand the doors of promotion will be opened quite as wide as before. The coming promotion of a certain number of warrant officers to commissioned rank in the Navy recently announced must not be forgotten, and the Conway ' training ship for officers, of course, nominates a certain number every year for Dartmouth. Mr. Fletcher says that bad food and bad pay and accommodation are the reasons, with hard work, why so many boys leave the sea after a year or so. Things are improving, and there are many lines which leave nothing to be desired. The fact remains, how- ever, that, as with the soldier, it is not the pay that attracts men.