1 SEPTEMBER 1866, Page 23


The Dole of Malaya. An Episode of History Dramatized. By Digby P. Starkey. (Cassell, Petter, and Galpin.)—The siege of Malaga by Ferdinand and Isabella does not sound very promising for dramatic- treatment. We know pretty well beforehand what we shall get.. We shall have a wily Ferdinand, a pitiful but superstitious Isabella,, chivalrous Moors who are better than their creed, and unscrupulous inquisitors who dishonour theirs. Most likely an oppressed Jew will occupy a prominent position in the plot, and his daughter is just the person for the heroine. Well, we do find all this in the present volume, but alas ! we do not get any novelty of thought, originality in the con- ception of character, or exceptional force of expression. Nor is the- deficiency in these important particulars atoned for by any striking combinations or situations. What, then, is left in the work? Simply the legitimate number of acts and scenes, historical lay figures, and. utterances of excellent sentiments in language that cannot be called harsh or inelegant. To those for whom this is sufficient the Dole of Malaya will approve itself as harmless reading.