The Dark Story Of Lady Jane Grey
The Tudor Pawn. By John Lindsey. (Jarrolds, 10s. 6d.) Reviewed by CHARLES G. MORTIMER
THE axe fell with such tragic insistency -Ain the sixteenth century that one is apt to forget the most pathetic of its victims. Lady Jane Grey was the Tudor Pawn, a puppet queen who reigned for nine days. She was so warped and overburdened by her upbringing and the family plot that it is hard to discern what kind of a girl she was or might have become if her life of seventeen SLIMMell had been prolonged. Was she a little prig, or pedant or content to become a placid nonentity? No. there was a grand heart in this girl and the author does her justice. At the crisis of her days
she displayed will, initiative and heroism;
and she died like a saint.
It was not her fault that she drew her devotion from the new religion. There is no mistaking her solid piety or her humanity when she witnessed the death of Guildford, her young husband in name only. We can write about this period now without controversial bias and the author of this book in his brilliant fashion sketches the whole tale from the death of Henry VIII, the results of his will, the schemes that centred round Jane Grey, and gives us a series of little Tudor portraits that make the whole scene live. The balance between the two contending religious factions c. 1550 is faithfully described; there is no straining after a case or a controversial point. And there is no undue sentiment.
Jane was very largely a mouthpiece for others, an automaton, a dupe; and her party crumbled to pieces before the first breath of English loyalty to Mary Tudor. But the Greeks had a saying that one can apply to this unfortunate child : " Nobility shines through." Her dark story is indeed illuminated by a ray of true nobility in life and death.
Backwards to Lake Como. By Loftus Wigram. (Peter Davies, 7s. 6c1.) There is some fun in Backwards to Lake Como. But the author's ingenuity cannot make less foolish the insipid folly of the central fact. We arc told how Mr. Wigram, or another, for a bet travelled backwards from London to Celerrio on Lake Como. The fun of that folly seems to me negligible, but the interest of the book is to be found in the conversations in which it abounds. They must rank high in the records of farcical nonsense.