6 JUNE 1914, Page 26

The Bagged Trousered Philanthropists. By Robert Tressall. (Grant Richards. 6s.)—Mr.

Tressall was (we have no reason to doubt the word of Miss Jessie Pope) a house-painter. His style of writing is straightforward, without distinction and without vulgarity. His novel deals with the life of a painter's labourer, with his comrades, his work and leisure, his political views. These last, as enunciated by Frank Owen, are for the most part those of an advanced Socialist and atheist. Let us say at once that we do not for one moment distrust the truth of Mr. Tressall's portraiture, or of his a=ount of the petty tyrannies existing in the trade which he describes; we give him credit for being an acute observer and unbiassed in his opinions. But here we meet with the question whether

the daily routine of a house-painter's life is in any need of being recorded, whether the arguments of an average un- trained mind are deserving of serious consideration. If the calling of literature is still a summons to add, in however obscure or trivial a way, to the edification of humanity, then the coarse language and unbalanced discussions which abound in Mr. Tressall's book are unworthy of the name of literature; if, on the other hand, the modern dislike of idealism is to be gratified, the story may be considered a masterpiece. This is a point for individual taste to decide. At all events, the writer is to be congratulated on a careful piece of work.