10 AUGUST 1872, Page 24

The Wicked Woods of Tobereevil. By Miss Mulholland. 2 vole.

(Chapman and Hall.)—The " Wicked Woods of Tobereevil " were, on a small scale, an imitation of the New Forest of the Norman kings. A certain Paul Finiston, who has made a vast fortune by unknown means, buys an estate in the west of Ireland, builds a stately mansion, and con- ceiving a desire to surround himself with great woods, turns out—and that in the midst of an inclement winter—the native population. There- upon, there falls upon him a curse. A babe, just born in the midst of the evictions, utters a prophecy that evil should follow the race, an should not cease till one of them should be murdered by a kinsman of his own. We must confess to having a prejudice against tales which are founded on this kind of supernatural incident. The supernatural need not, indeed, be absolutely excluded from tales, but then it needs to be very skilfully managed to be introduced, as Nathaniel Hawthorns knew how to do it—hinted rather than expressed—felt in the atmo- sphere more than seen. When it is introduced, as it is here, in so very positive a way, the demand upon our faith is too great, and we positively rebel when we find the hero going out of his mind from having man- drake administered to him by the wicked heroine. Still with all this drawback, the tale, which is very well written, may be read with pleasure. Its interest suffers from the character of the plot; we feel that the

actors are not free, a feeling more suitable for a tragedy than a novel,— but the details of description and conversation are distinctly good.