20 OCTOBER 1866, Page 21


Moods. Railway Library. (Routledge.)—The author of the "Orpheus C. Kerr" papers informs us that the favourite hero nowadays with the

American lady novelists is a stern and forbidding person, who behaves with the utmost rudeness in his relations with the other sex, snubs and lectures them on every occasion, and thus inspires a passion in the fierce flames of which all the moral and social sanctions are consumed like flax. We suppose that the women there have got tired of the extreme deference that American etiquette imposes, and that this rough flavour is found a pleasant change after the obsequious politeness that has so long prevailed. The novel before us is evidence of the truth of the satirist's description. The moods in question are the changes of mind through which a married lady passes in reference to a gentleman of the above-mentioned description. First, she will ran away with him ; and then she won't ; and finally, she determines on going home to her father. The husband, who is all the time a friend of the hero's, quite appreciates the necessity of his wife's position, and in remorse for the injury that he has inflicted on the lovers takes the gentleman off to Europe and promises to look after him carefully. He comes back, how- ever, alone, and although things appear at first to be going smooth on his return, he could hardly expect that he would be allowed to be happy. His wife dies of course, and he is left with the horrible con- sciousness that he has destroyed the happiness and the lives of two noble creatures.