10 FEBRUARY 1866, Page 22

Biographies of Good Women. Edited by the- Author -of The

Heir of .Redelire. Second Series. (Motley;" Masters.)—We can speak with un- qualified praise: of the spirit in which the contributors to this volume have entered upon their task, and almost as eulogistically of the manner in which they have executed it. Their design has been to present to .the rising generation of women- the different forms of female excellence that have been called forth in the course of the last three hundred years under different circumstances of time, station, and country ; to show without sectarian distinctions ". many varying characters through many various paths, led by the one -spirit of duty and love towards the same goal." 'They have carried out this design with catholic sympa- thy, and at the same time with just• discrimination. 'The present volume- contains the lives of Marie Arnauld, the famous- Abbess-of Port Royal 'and friend of Pascal; and of Madime Guyon, and dua justice is deneto

the piety of both ; but it is very properly pointed .out_that whilst the former "shows all that a holy mind and resolute spirit can work out .of a monastic life," the latter is "but a -specimen of the harm that -even a devout woman may do when her conscience is ill-regulated-and wayward sentiment is taken for inspiration." The every-day virtues. of peaceful English life are represented -in tho persons of Mrs. Lyde Browne, Miss Bowdler, Mrs. Leadbeater—even Mrs. Siddons, "whose great perfection was the grand simplicity of her unspoilt character;"' systematic beneficence is illustrated by Mrs. Trimmer, Hannah More, and Sarah Martin ; whilst, if we may be pardoned the expression, the

sensational element is supplied in the lives of Madame Elisabeth and Madame de Noailles, one of five interesting sisters. The- volume con- tains eighteen biographies in all, varying in merit, but all -carefully compiled and inspired by a common principle.