Life Has Been Good. Memoirs of the Marques de Villavieja. (Chatto and Windus, les.).
Reviewed Iiy I;. ELLIOTT ANSTRUIHES
ALAZY reviewer, the sort of fellow who, in pre-guillotine days, would have eat the book and smelt the paperknife," could be grateful to the Duke of Berwick and Alba for his foreword to an old friend's memoirs. These introductory pages are so good a summary of the volume that they are really a review in themselves. But indolence in such a case would sacrifice enjoyment; for this is a book to be read, devoured—not by nibblings, however, nor at a gulp, but by steady, comfortable assimilation.
It is a long and varied life which Manuel de Villavieja records. He has lived through such political changes that of five Courts which he has known one alone remains, our own. With this country his connections have been many and happy, beginning with schooldays at Stonyhursts There is much about both Mexico and Spain. In the former country we follow the brief reign and tragic end of Maximilian, whom it is news that the U.S.A sought to save at the eleventh hour: the author himself is distrustful as to this, Mexico's salvation, the Marques thinks, rests in finding such another as Porforlo Diaz. As to Spain, where his house in Madrid is among the buildings looted and destroyed by the Reds, he gives a graphic account of the fall of the Monarchy and the flight of the Royal family to Paris. The future of the unhappy land, he is confident, will be a resurrection. A new Spain, strong and more Spanish than ever, is to emerge.