NEW NOVELS AND TALES.* NOTICING can be better in its
kind than Miss Julia Kavanagh's Seven Years; the Other Tales appended to it are not amiss in theirs, but they all bear the same relation to the longer story that precedes them as good brisk small beer bears to choice burgundy. The publishers have not done well in putting together things so incongruous, and the reader will suffer for their want of judgment if he swallows the small beer immediately after the burgundy. The only way in which he can get through the three volumes completely to his satisfaction is to begin at page 91 of the second volume, read on to the end of the third, and then fall to at the first. In this way he will come fresh, and not more than usually fastidious, to the perusal of the Other Tales' with which he may amuse some idle hours pleasantly enough. They are sketches of Parisian life in the middle and lower ranks during the reign of Louis Philippe, most of them of a light and playful character, and some of them slightly farcical; and we think It is not too much to assert that, in neatness of touch and truth of local colouring, they will for the most part fairly sustain comparison with the productions of some of the most successful French writers who have used their pens in the same line. In Seven Years the scene is still Paris. The story is that of the protracted courtship of an honest Fleming and a quick-witted, capricious, but true-hearted Parisian girl. It is told with admirable clearness and directness, in well-chosen language which always pleases, because it is always adequate to the occasion and per- fectly unaffected. The story never flags in interest, so life-like are the characters that move in it, so natural the incidents, and so genuine the emotions they excite in persons who have taken fast hold on our sympathy. It was not wholly Fanny's fault that her lover's happiness was so long postponed. She had plagued him with her waywardness for two years, and at last driven him to enlist in a fit of despair, but at a word from her he bought his release, and all seemed to go smoothly with them at last ; but now a crushing calamity befell the kind friends who had reared the orphan girl, and then was seen the hidden beauty of her nature as she devoted herself for five long years, without one selfish thought, to the hard task of supporting and comforting them. Very touching is the history of those years of sore trial and many vicissitudes, and finely does the author indicate their strengthening and correcting effect upon the mind of the brave struggler. She undergoes none of those mental metamorphoses of which there are so many examples in fiction and so few in nature. The groundwork of her character remains unchanged, lint its balance is better adjusted, its weak points are strength- ened, its virtues developed and matured. -The reader shall see her as she sat with her lover on the eve of what should have been her wedding-day but for the disaster above mentioned, of which they were both as yet unconscious.
"Fanny sat straight on her chair, with her hands folded on her lap, and her eyes fixed on the fire, and Baptiste sat looking at her, and feeling a great deal too happy to be quite comfortable. When he saw the girl whom he had liked so long, and remembered that on the next day but one she would come and share this pleasant little home with him, his heart filled, and he could only sigh with pleasure. "'Fanny,' he said at length, I hope you will be happy.' " Fanny looked up at him very earnestly, but did not answer oneword. "'If I thought you would not,' resumed Baptiste, looking at the fire, it would make me wretched. I would rather give you up this moment than think, she will regret having married me.' "'I shall not regret it,' said Fanny, smiling quietly, why should I? I feel very good this evening, Baptiste, and I am sure you will help me to be good ; you will have patience with me ; you will not take a hasty word for more than it means.'
" said Baptiste. " Why should we not be happy ? ' she added after a while. We are both young—I am scarcely eighteen, you are not twenty-five. We have the world, work, some money, and kind friends before us. Why should we not be happy ? ' "She spoke gravely, and looked at him with unwonted seriousness. Baptiste hesitated, then gave a look at Marie, and said : Fanny, you have 'never fairly told me that you really liked me. Tell me so now.' "'I shall have to say it after tomorrow,' said Fanny ; once is enough.' "Baptiste looked disappointed.
"'What ailsyou ? ' asked Fanny, frowning ; 'am I a girl to do what I do not like doing ? I have agreed to marry you ; is not that enough ? ought you not to be satisfied ? 4." Perhaps I ought; but you speak so lightly, so coldly, always in jest.' "Fanny laughed and looked mischievous. " 4 If you go on so I shall get naughty,' she sail- I must tell you how tomanage me once for all, Baptiste,' she added confidentially. You must love me like the apple of your eye, spoil me a good deal, and rule me like a little child,—I am not fit to have my own will, that is the truth.'
" Baptiste look bewildered, then rueful. *" I shall never be able to manage that,' he said ; rule you like a little Child, but how ? ' "'As if I were to tell you !' cried Fanny, looking vexed, I never heard anything like it.' "'And you will never get that from me,' said Baptiste, with a sad shake of the head. I can love a woman honestly and faithfully, and love none but her.'
"Fanny stamped her foot. "'Indeed,' she said, 'well, you had better love some one else. I warn you, I am dreadfully jealous.' "'Are you ? ' phlegmatically replied Baptiste. But I cannot rule a woman,' he added, calmly continuing his former speech. No, Fanny, I must respect my wife, and if she is a child, how can I respect her ? ' " Oh ! that will never do,' exclaimed Fanny, I tell you I have been .spoiled and petted, and if you treat me so grandly, I shall feel dull.' "Baptiste looked thoroughly disconcerted. "Fanny spoke his secret fears : she would be dull with him. And, what
Seven Tears, and other Tales. By Julia Kavanagh, Author of "Nathalie," &c. In three volumes. Published by Hurst and Blackett. Narragansett ; or the Plantations : a Story of IV—. In three volumes. Pub- lished by Chapman and Hall. was worse he knew not, even remotely, how to keep this gay young girl in joy and pied humour. The mixture of fondness, teasing, and authority which Fanny herself held requisite for their mutual happiness, Baptiste could not practise. Ile could only love and honour like any knight of old. "Fanny saw his troubled !tyke, and was sorry. She rose from her chair, she went up to his, and standing by him with friendly, grace, she said cheer- fully : 'Do not be afraid, Baptiste, we shall not be able to help being happy. I feel sure of that. As I said a while ago, we have some money, kind friends, work to do and the world before us. What more is wanted ? '
"Baptiste could have said that he wanted Fanny to love him as he loved her,—with a love deep set and beyond the reach of change ; but where was the use ? This cheerful, light little girl liked him as well as she could like. She would not become a different woman just because they were going to be married the next day but one. He folded his arms with a sigh and looked up at her; there she stood by him, pretty, gay, beaming, an image of grace- ful cheerfulness, but looking as light as a feather. "'I must marry her after tomorrow,' thought Baptiste, with a sort of calm despair, not merely because I am bound to her, but because I cannot do without her, and yet I shall be wretched and she will not be happy. I shall spend money and waste time to please her fancy, and get a jest and a laugh, or a yawn of ennui, for my pains ; and yet I must do it with my eyes open, Just as I came back and bought myself out at her bidding.' " Cynicism, affectation, extravagant caricature, incessant and often pitiably ineffectual straining after wit, and a dull and con- fused story evermore interrupted by worthless episodes, and written in utter contempt of all rational principles of construction, combine to make Narragansett, or the Plantations one of the most wearisome books that ever mortal yawned over in the delusive pursuit of amusement. The style of diction in which the author delights may serve as an inferential measure of his other performances. He tells of a bulldog picking up an "orgasm" and carrying it in his month to his master. He might with just as much propriety have said the dog had found a spasm on the ground and laid hold of it with his teeth. He talks of" versing" a glass of wine, of " abording " a person, of utterances " entre- couped " by sighs or otherwise ; he describes his heroine as " a well-born minion in green taffeta," and says of a lady, who is singing and playing on a clavichord, that" her naked performers pulled out the little wiry notes with some degree of ease, but her expiration, when called to mount the staff, invariably took refuge in a head voice," &c.