Many a Green Isle

By Glanville Smith


THE publisher will have it that he is purveying ‘a narrative of personal adventure in the West Indies,’ but the adventures are of perception, the narratives anecdotes. Mr. Smith’s talent is, in a word, that of the familiar essayist, whose subject (whatever his pretext) is always himself. He hears two High Church clerics pronounce a ‘rattletybang’ grace at sea, and that, an end of fact, is his mere point of departure: ‘This brings me to a thought, to wit, that a military man at a banquet is not expected to do the manual of arms before he eats, nor is a banker at a luncheon reverently asked to make a loan. But if there is a clergyman at table, be it on land or sea . . .’ Part of the entertainment — and it is really sparkling — is the persistent vein of foolery about Mr. Smith’s private and personal island (imaginary so far) and what he wants it to be and contain. ‘ “ There’s nothing I’d enjoy more,” I agreed, “than to dig up treasure. And if ever I have an island of my own,” I went on, “ I’ll bury some, to let the children find it. For hopscotch playing for little girls, there’s nothing that tosses better than a silver dollar.” ‘ W. F.