22 FEBRUARY 1890, Page 25

Passion's Slave. By Richard Ashe King. 3 vols. (Chatto and

Windus.)—The title does not promise a pleasant story, and a pleasant story we do not get. At one time we are disposed to think that we are not even going to get a lively one ; but the interest deepens as the action quickens, and the final scene, or, we should rather say, the sub-final scene, Clare's flight and death, is very effective. The best character in the story is one that we seem to have seen before in Mr. King's writings—that, or at least something like it—a humorous, kindly parson who contends with adverse circumstances, a stupid wife among them, with much patience and courage. It is noticeable that Mr. King's heroine gets £500 for her first novel. But then, it is not the publisher, it is a lover who finds the money. If we criticise the incident, it is because one would think that even the most inexperienced young woman would have discovered the fraud.