23 FEBRUARY 1895, Page 25

The Christmas Hirelings. By M. E. Braddon. (Simpkin, Marshall, and

Co.)—" I had long wished," says Miss Braddon in her preface, "to write a story about children which should be interesting to childish readers, and yet not without interest for grown-up readers." The story before us seems suitable for grown-ups, who indeed will be sure to like it, rather than for children. The latter will hardly care for the family history of the Penlyons, though they may appreciate the apparent moral that girls may prosper better if they learn but little. It is a little doubtful, we fancy, whether children care very much to read about children. Their own ambition is to be grown up. How- ever this may be, The Christmas Hirelings is a clever and original story. The illustrations are curiously unequal. Some are very pleasing, some very much the contrary.