Bill [review of a book by A. G. Stephens, 15 March 1913]

[Editor: A review of the book Bill’s Idees, by A. G. Stephens. Published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 March 1913.]


Mr. A. G. Stephens is already known to us as an acute critic, and a writer of excellent parodies and stories. He now appears as a humorist, and in “Bill’s Idees” has created a figure which may become to Australia what Mr. Dooley is to America. Not that there is any real resemblance between the two characters. Mr. Dooley was Hibernian, hilarious, and scintillating. Bill is Australian, quiet and dryly humorous. The sallies of the one provoke laughter, the reflections of the other a smile.

During a riotous youth Bill had thrown blue metal and stoushed policemen with the best of them in a larrikin push, but maturity brought responsibility. He is now a highly respectable individual with a taste for the books of one Vere Foster, a passion for improving the mind, and an outlook upon life which he sums up as “a quiet bloke with a quiet wife, and a quiet dog with a quiet name — that’s my Idee.” He has views upon drink and missionaries, and socialism and women, and municipal government, in fact upon all the burning questions of the hour. His ripe experience of men and things enables him to speak with force it not with authority, and the occasional echoes from an unregenerate past add additional point to his philosophisings. When he attempts to parody Steele Rudd he is not very happy, and in some of the chapters even Bill, like Jove, nods, but for the most part his entertainment is of the best, and Mr. Stephens is to be congratulated upon his acquaintance. (The N.S.W. Bookstall Company.)

The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), 15 March 1913, p. 4

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