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I LITERARY CHAT. Earl Roberts has written a preface to the book form of Mr. Le Queux's story, "The Invasion i)t 1910." He advises all who have the welfare of the Empire at heart to read the book. It appears that the opening chapter of "The Jungle" is based upon an actual experience- which Mr. Upton Sinclair had in "Packing- town," Chicago. He had thought out the story, but could not decide how to open it. One Sun- day he saw a crowd and some carriages stop before a saloon—a Lithuanian wedding in pro- gress, as it proved. He went inside, and found the scene which commences "The Jungle." Mr. S. R. Crockett, the novelist, used in his childhood to read the biographies of the Cove- nanters by an old Scottish writer named Patrick Walker. From Walker Mr. Crockett says that he got his first idea of style, for he had, "with all his roughness, the wisest possible discriminar- tion for a clean-cut phrase or a sonorous sen- tence"; and even now it is said, Mr. Crockett invariably takes one ot that author's books with him wherever he goes. A book which tells the story of Staple Inn has been written by Mr. E. Williams. It traces the history of the site back to the year 1204, shows how it received its name in 1313, and brings the record down to the dissolution of the Society of the Inn in 1884. The course of the narrative has necessitated the inclusion of much information respecting the beginnings of the Inns of Court, the institution by Edward II. of the Staple of Wools, the ownership and history of the manor of Holborn, and other matters. Rolf Boldrewood, who was born in London on August 6, 1826, and will therefore be an octo- genarian in a few days' time, intends taking his farewell of the reading public in a final collection of Australian stories and sketches. Son of an adventurous naval captain, Rolf, or to give him his real name, Mr. T. A. Browne, arrived in Australia as a boy of four, and has had his share of the ups and downs of Colonial life.. But he has turned prosperity and adversity alike into "copy" for a score of books and countless, contributions to newspapers and magazines. In his youth Rolf was an eye-witness of the beginnings of Melbourne, in whose Viceregal ,suburb he is now passing the evening of his life. Before he was out of his teens he was a pioneer squatter in Western Victoria, and while still- in the twenties his cheque was good for a quarter of a million. Then, if unfortunately for himself,, luckily for novel readers, a long drought killed off his flocks and herds and compelled him to; enter the Government service as stipendiary; magistrate, coroner, and goldfields, warden. It was while exercising these official functions anct keeping his eyes open that he met most of the- characters and gained the greater part of the experience embodied in his numerous stories. v A book on the Thames has been written by an American—Mr. Henry Wellington Wack, who will be remembered for a volume in which he told the romance of Victor Hugo and Juliette Drouet. He judges that visitors to England— especially Americans—find their immediate in- terest in the Thames Valley, which he himself has sailed or rambled over from end to end. His impresions are incorporated with a historical account of Thames-Land, of which there are; many illustrations in the book. Jack London, the American novelist, famous for his studies of the primeval in man and beast, is having a yacht built for him at Oakland, Cali- fornia, and is to go for a seven years' cruise round the world, gathering materials for new stories. He was married recently, after having- been divorced from his first wife, and Mrs. London will accompany him, together with a Boston student, who will act as secretary and one of the crew, and a Japanese cook. Mr. London is humorist as well as realist; on his home in San Francisco was a eign reading "No admission except on business. No business trans- acted here," ,and on the back door was tbo. notice, "Please do not enter without knocking. Please do not knock. Miss Marie Corelli's new novel is being "sub- scribed" to the trade, subject to the, condition that-copies must not be sold at a reduced price- within a certain period. "Sydney C. Grier," whose story "The Heir, has been appearing in the "Graphic," is a native- of Gloucestershire—a daughter of the Rev. John R. Gregg, and granddaughter of Dr. Gregg, who- was Bishop of Cork. Like Miss Beatrice Harra- den, ehe is a B.A. of London and a most con- scientious writer. She was engaged for some- years in tuition, and knows India—as the locali colour of most of her books t,estifies-as thoroughly as any of our Anglo-Indian novelists. It was in a weekly journal that Miss Gregg first; found her way into print. She was only 16 then, and confesses to having "written steadily since' 1881," which means that she could only have been about 13 when she started her literary career. The proposal to form a Thackeray Club in- London has been so well received that it has been decided to carry it out. There can be, little doubt that by the autumn the organisation will have come into existence, probably under" the name of the Titmarsh Club. General Sir Thomas Edward Gordon,. K.C.I.E., K.C.B., C.S.I., whose autobiography? has been published, comes of a remarkable- family. He is the great-grandson of Adam Gor- don, who lived at Kildonan, Sutherland, and,, dying in 1831, gave thirteen descendants as dis- tinguished officers to the Army, while a four- teenth, the late Lord Gordon of Drumearn, be- came a life peer. Sir Thomas is the twin-, brother of General Sir John James Hood Gor don, the historian of the Sikhs, and they were;, born in 1834 at Aberdeen, where their father, Captain William Gordon, after a strenuous, career in the Regular army, became adjutant of the Militia. Sir John Gordon has given two. sons to the Army. Their kinsman, Lieutenant- Cdlonol Frederic Gordon, D.S.O., is second' Jek command of the 1st Gordon Highlanders. After "Faust," Mr. Stephen Phillips next-- play will be upon Harold. The cr text" upon/ which it will be based is that Harold's deatn was necessary for England. He was the pure Saxon, and the future of England rested upon the neces- sity of the welding of the sturdy Saxon and the, impetuous Gaul. That was what the Norman, Conquest meant. Harold's death prepared the way for everything that followed. Such histori- cal figures as Harold and William of Normandy should prove impressive at the hands of Mr. Phillips. The scene upon the stricken field of' Hastings, with the Saxon mother searching for- the body of her son, and claimin it at uie hands of the victorious invader, offers the opportunity for striking spectacle. Mr. William Archer, who is to revise the new edition of Ibsen's complete works, comes from. Scotland, having been born in Perth close upon fifty years ago-the son of Mr. Thomas Archer, C.M.G., formerly Agent-General for Queens- land in London. Mr. William Archer took his M.A. degree at Edinburgh University, and after some journalistic experiences in the same city, and travels in Australia came to London to. become a dramatic and literary critic. A volume by Mark Twain, entitled Eve's: Diary," is a companion volume to "Extracts from Adam's Diary," and purports to be a. translation from the original." I Mrs. Russell Barrington's life of Lord Leigh- ton will be published in the autumn. Mrs. Bar- rington knew Leighton for thirty years, and she is being helped in her task by his only surviving sister, by other members of the family, and by his brother Academicians and friends. The diaries and letters written by Leighton, and covering a period of fifty years, will appear in the biography. Among other letters to be in- cluded there are several from George Elict,, Ryiskin, Browning, Henry Greville, and Charles^ Dickens.