Books: Sitwelliana, II

THE SCARLET TREE (381 pp.)—Sir Osbert Sitwell—Little, Brown ($3.50).

Sir George Reresby Sitwell of Renishaw was an extraordinary man. He spent money like water, dabbled in medieval lore, invented a musical toothbrush that played Annie Laurie. In a milder way, his wife, Lady Ida, was extraordinary too. Though she invented nothing, she also spent money like water (she once paid a large price for a pig said to be psychic), as befitted a daughter of the Earl of Londesborough and a descendant of the royal Plantagenets.

Sir George and Lady Ida had three children. Edith,...