13 NOVEMBER 1869, Page 23

Viola. By the Author of Caste. (Hurst and Blackett.)—The writer

certainly has a most amazing wealth of words, (might we suggest that she should diminish her stock by one, " geniusy," which can hardly be allowed to stand for "full of genius " ?) and knows how to put them together with no inconsiderable skill. She can desoribe a landscape, far or near, for instance, with much beauty of language and truthfulness of effect. But really a thousand pages or more, somewhat closely printed too, are too much to devote to the loves of some four or five people. There is scarcely an incident to relieve the monotony of love-making, beyond the ordinary mistakes, accidents, losses of fortune, &e., that are required to make the stream run as roughly as is wanted. The first and second volumes are occupied with a story which we may best de- scribe in the Horatian words, "Laborantes in uno Ponelopen vitreamque Circen ;" this being interrupted for a time by an episode which is of no sort of use to the main narrative, itself a little love-story of the most doleful kind. At the end of the second volume, Circe, a snake-like person, who makes the reader uncomfortable from the beginning, dis- appears, and the third volume is occupied with repairing in some degree the disasters which she has caused. So many years have elapsed sines the tale opened that there has been time for a younger Penelope to grow up ; she is very useful, of course, in making up the pair of happy lovers who have to be brought on before the curtain finally falls ; Penelope herself, who, it seems to us, is very hardly treated all along, is left scarcely happy, but very good. The moral we gain from the whole Is,— the folly of long engagements. If the prudent father had not insisted on two years' delay early in the first volume, Ulysses might have married his Penelope at once, and we should not have had to road two more volumes. Seriously, the author can write so well—as she has shown before—that she may well take a little more trouble in choosing what she is to write about.