6 NOVEMBER 1936, Page 36

• . • •

ADVENTURES AND PERILS Edited by C. Fox Smith Miss Fox Smith's anthology of sea stories of the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century (Michael Joseph, 7s.-6d.) should be bought by everybody who enjoys tales of perils at setr. Most of the contents are eye-witnesses' accounts from letters and reports-- written in-the plain, efficient language of the sailor—of " Adventures and• Perils . . . of the Seas, Men of War, Fire, Enemies, Pirates, Rovers, Thieves, Jettisons, Letters of Mart and Counter- mart, Surprisals, Takings at Sea, Arrests. Restraints- and Detachments of all Kings, Princes and People . . . Barratry of the Master or Mariners. . . . ", to quote from a Marine Insurance policy. There are over forty narratives, some of them as good as Defoe in the-ordered vigour of their style. Here is a sentence from Commander Fellowes' Report. of the sinking of the ' Lady Hobart' in 1803: " I desired Mr. Bargus, who -continued with me on the wreck, to go over first. In. this instance, -he replied, he begged leave to disobey my orders, adding, that he must see me safely over before he attempted to go himself. Such conduct. at such a moment, requires no comment. . . " It would certainly get it in the average modern adventure story.