[new page, first column]

The world inhabited by Mrs. Woolf’s people, Ramsay, 
the thinker who has failed after his one important
contribution to the thought of his day, Mrs. Ramsay,
the children, the woman artist and the awkward young
intellectual staying with them, is a world in which
rather too much importance attaches to going out
and coming in, sitting down and standing. It is a 
world without the relief of insignificant things. Had
there, at that wonderfully described dinner, been two
sorts of soup, one feels, the question, “Thick or
clear?” would have been asked with anxiety, and on
the replies would have depended the future spiritual
relations of several of the characters. Certainly, the
question whether the family should visit the lighthouse, 
and the father’s prediction of bad weather, 
suffice to open an immensely complicated theme, and
it is not till page 318 that Mr. Ramsay reaches the 

The symbolical value of the lighthouse remains
obscurer than it should be; and indeed I think
the book unhappily named, for it ought to have
been entitled, ‘Mrs. Ramsay.’ The presentation of
that woman as she lived, and of her influence after
death, is consummate. On the other hand, the parenthetical 
method of disposing of members of the family 
in the second part of the book is merely silly. Between 
such extremes does Mrs. Woolf oscillate.

Mr. Jacks offers us here not new work but a selection 
of his brilliantly invented stories in which metaphysical 
problems or religious emotions are exposed
to us with a guile which has lured readers to the pondering 
of ideas from which they would have recoiled
in alarm had they come upon them in any abstract 
treatise. It is too late in the day to praise Mr. Jacks. 
Let me say only this, that his delight in ideas, in 
their cogent presentation and in playing with them,
is extraordinarily infectious. Free-will and Determinism 
are not precisely the subjects most enthralling 
to the ordinary patron of the circulating libraries;
but he will find them both exciting and amusing in
such a story as ‘The Self-deceivers,’ and he will not
fail to chuckle when he finds himself beautifully
trapped at the conclusion. ‘The Hole in the Water-
skin’ gives us in succession the pleasure we get out
of Mr. Bramah’s ‘Kai Lung,’ the thrill of a perfect
war story, and the imaginative stimulus of a metaphysical 
idea. But Mr. Jacks could make another
volume of selections in no way inferior to this. He
has wealth to spare.

Mrs. Williams-Ellis has brought together several
stories, mainly character sketches, and a great deal of
political speculation within the covers of a readable
and at some points suggestive book. It may or may
not deserve to be called a novel; it is certainly an
interesting parade of Conservatives, Marxians, old-
fashioned Fabians, and the rest of the types in a confused 
political world. The publishers suggest that
after reading her book the perusal of the morning paper
will become more exciting than it ever was before.
Some such result may very well follow with many
people. But will it be very much to the credit of Mrs.
Williams-Ellis as a novelist? Mr. Wells, who can
do the thing brilliantly at his best, has encouraged
the idea that depicting the complicated and largely
futile agitations of numbers of contemporary types
over politics, social reform, economics is in some
way a loftier business than working out in perhaps 
a single dominating character the effect of devotion 
to an idea. Mr. Wells can do both: Mrs. Williams-
Ellis tends to fritter away her energy in too many
directions, partly because she has not decided through
whose eyes we are to look at the bustling world she
presents to us. The kaleidoscopic effect is not un-
entertaining, but it leaves the reader unsatisfied. It
may seem ungracious to quarrel with a writer for not
doing what she never set out to do, but Mrs. Williams-
Ellis is too capable to be treated leniently.