TYBURN HILL OF GLORY, by the Nuns of Tyburn Convent (Burns Oates, 12s. 6d.)
AT 5.30 a.m. on Sunday, June 18, 1944, a flying-bomb thundered across Hyde Park. Opinions differ as to what exactly did happen, but one thing is certain; instead of hitting the upper storeys of the convent to which it was heading, it hit the trees bordering the opposite side of the road, tearing off its wings and inevitably breaking its force. It then precipitated itself nose downwards into Hyde Park Place and exploded."
Twenty-seven nuns were in the convent at 6 Hyde Park Place; several were hurt, two severely injured, but no one was killed. The convent, however, was destroyed; with it the Mother House of the Benedictine Adorers of the Sacred Heart; the English home of Mother Mary Gamier, a refugee front Montmartre and French anti-clericalism; and a solid Victorian mansion to which in August, 1914, the Abbot of Maredsous, Dom Columba Marmion, presented himself disguised as a Dutch cattle dealer.
That same bomb destroyed the "Tyburn" from which in this century English nuns set out to take a new spiritual ideal, to make a new foundation in the Flanders front which so many young Britishers had set out on missionary journeys 300 years ago which ended in the painful glory of Tyburn Tree.
Tyburn Hill of Glory is really three grand stories all in one; not jumbled up, for they are intimately connected : thc life of Mother Mary of St. Peter, Adele Gamier; the founding of the Congregation of the Benedictine Adorers of the Sacred Heart: and the beginnings of the national centre and shrine of the English martyrs at the spot where so many of them suffered.
With so much intrinsically interesting material the story could not but hold the attention and stir the heart and devotion of the reader, and "the nuns" who anonymously mother the work have done a fine job on which indeed they are to be most heartily congratulated.
Of course there are blemishes and it would not be fair not to mention them. It is a poor style which requires the use of words in large capitals for emphasis (p. 132); and the tradition of hagiography which anticipates even the very probable findings of the Church read irritatingly.
A RETREAT WITH ST. THERESE, by Pere Liagre, of the Holy Ghost Fathers (Gill, Dublin, 4s, 6d.).
l BST published in 1947, a reit' issue was called for in the following year, which itself shows that Mgr. Vernon Johnson's estimate of it as containing "the very essence of St. Therese's teaching" was wholly lush i tied.
The book was, in fact, published under the auspices of the "Association of Priests of St. Therese."
EPICS OF SALVAGE, by David Masters (Cassell, London, 18s.).
HERE is a first-class book for boys of all ages; for lovers of the sea, ships, and the men who go down to the sea; and for students of war, engineering and modern scientific achievement.
David Masters has done for the salvage service in the Second World War what he so successfully did for the salvagers of the First World War in Wonders of Salvage, which was a best-seller.
The stories are simply told as epics should be; and the emphasis is on the human achievement rather than on the scientific apparatus. as in an epic it should be, and the material with which he deals measures up to the requirements, the "deeds of heroes."
Here is the story of Lieut.-Commander Ouvry and his party and their dealing with the magnetic mine; the story of the raising of the battleship Queen Elizabeth and her consort Valiant after they had been
sunk in the harbour at Alexandria without the Italians being aware of their success; and the fantastic treasure-hunt story of the recovery of £2.360,000 in gold bars from the liner Niagara which hit a mine 30 miles from Whangarei in New Zealand.
These 250-odd pages of stirring story illustrated by 23 half-tones take away one's grudge at the high price of books these days.