This is a compatible array of Priestley's essays collected from collections which have appeared through the years. One wonders whether he would go along with the ""graceful and evocative"" of Susan Cooper Grant's admiring introduction--Priestley is so preeminently a realist a practical man, a sensible man, even at times a prosaic man. He is the first to tell you that writing an essay is ""talking about oneself for money,"" and in the earlier ones, he is most apt to talk about personal experiences and tastes--train travel; the dark hours of a white night; being earless, happily; making a ""noble"" stew; grumbling. But even when he grumbles he does so with a certain geniality--and the later essays on current issues being anti-American, American women. ""The Mad Sad World"" in which everything must be ""Disturbing,"" are only mild rebukes. He is the first to acknowledge the widening distances of the years, and the problems of growing old in a world which adulates youth and ignores death. There are as well a few literary pieces, on Shaw, de la Marc, Falstaff, Dickens. . . . No great intellectual spur, but a reassuring, reminiscent cakes and alc hospitality.