11 MARCH 1865, Page 18

Studies for Stories. 2 vols. (Alexander Strahan.)—This volume is said

to bo the work of a lady of considerable literary reputation, and we suppose therefore that the title is a sort of warning that these tales are to ba regarded as parts of an abandoned whole, as figures which were to have formed parts of a larger composition. In no other sense can they be regarded as studies, for there is nothing unfinished about them. On the contrary, we have rarely read stories of the kind more thoroughly graceful, or more marked by that absence of effort which characterizes the work of an artist who has a distinct aim completely within his powers. They are always distinctly didactic, but avoid the mistake of making a mere fault of character not only colour but control a whole We, except perhaps in the story of " The Cumberors," which is also open to the criticism that if the sisters of the Cumberer had not acquiesced so quietly in her selfishness, as designed to teach them patience, the Cum- borer herself might have been taught what is just. There could not be a better book to put into the hands of young ladies.