19 AUGUST 1876, Page 19

Playing for Love. By E. C. Clayton. 3 vols. (Tinsley

Brothers.)--- Mr. Clayton seems to have written several works, and at least one novel. His style, accordingly, shows a certain amount of literary finish. He commits, however, the great mistake of crowding his scene with characters ; and he tries, not very successfully, the dangerous experi- ment of a "prologue," which precedes the main action of the novel by a considerable time. After all, "the unities" are a very safe rule for the prose drama of a novel. Study and attention would of course make it clear who and what Mr. Clayton's characters are, but then the readers of novels do not want to give study and attention. Playing for Love is a sufficiently well-written story, but it does not carry theraader along with it by any overpowering force of interest. We might be allowed to hint that the writer is too fond, as a minor fault, of displaying his fine things. If you mast sew on your purpsreus pannus, sew it, at all events, in the right place. It is not "the right place," for instance, when, in a scene where a beautiful woman is presented to us straggling with a passion which she believes to be foolish and hopeless, we have

this description of her hands interpolated :—" Her hands were an exquisite study,—ntignonnes, blanches, potelees, avec des fossettes et des eagles roses," a very pretty piece of French, doubtless, on the acquisition of which the author is to be congratulated, but distinctly inappropriate.