The Chancellor of the Tyrol, by Herman Schmid (Unwin), which has been translated by Mrs. or 'Miss Dorothea Roberts, is a historical novel, based on fact, that is popular in Germany. The hero of it is Dr. William Biener, Chancellor of the Tyrol in the days of Duchess Claudia, a member of the Medici family, and her wayward son. It may strike some readers that Herr Schmid's novel is " histori cal" after the style of Miss Porter rather than of Sir Walter Scott; but it is a very conscientious piece of work. Biener, the Chancellor, who struggles against unpatriotic Italian intrigue, and finally succumbs to it, is a really imposing character of the Washington type ; and the scenes between him and the Duchess Claudia, for whom he entertains a hopeless love that is reciprocated, are in truth admirably drawn. G ravenegger, the Jesuit, who is his worst enemy, is also a good sketch. Movement and variety,—we can hardly say gaiety,—are contributed to the story by Tyrolese peasants, Italian adventurers, and others ; and the plot is carefully constructed and skilfully evolved. Herr Schmid has yet to learn, however, how to "move a horror quickly," as Lamb happily describes the act of one of the most tragic of the Elizabethan dramatists. The description of the awful suicide of the wretched Elizabeth, Biener's wife, when she hears of his death, is painfully drawn-out. The most repulsive scene in "Bleak House," too, is brought to mind by the death of Schtnans, one of the leading conspirators against Bieuer, who seeks to lull conscience to sleep with alcohol. But, all things considered, The Chancellor of the Tyrol is a remarkable story, and one which, once begun, it is impossible to " scamp " the reading of. The translation has been carefully executed; and a word of very hearty praise is duo to the printing, which, we are glad to notice as a good sign of the times, has been done by the Women's Printing Society in Westminster.
Mistaken Vieics on the Education of Girls. By Johanna Lohse. (Whitcornbe and Tombs, Christchurch, New Zealand.)—A book front New Zealand is still something of a novelty—a welcome novelty when it is so sensible as the little volume now before us. Miss Lobse is practically engaged in the education of girls, and speaks out of a considerable experience of both English and foreign methods. "It is a grave mistake," she writes, "that any one should be allowed to teach who has not a certificate." This is, indeed, one of her principal themes, and she contrasts with much effect oar haphazard way of letting education take care of itself with the systematic practice of Continental nations. On other matters she has something to say that is worth hearing.
To and Fro ; or, Views from Sea and Land. By William Sime. (Elliot Stock).—Uuder the above title, Mr. Sime has collected several of his Essays which have been contributed to the St. James's Gazette, and one which appeared in the Graphic. The essays are divided under four heads, viz. :—" Mediterranean Papers," "Notes from Ireland, November, 1880," "Miscellaneous," and" Some Faces." In the first set of papers we have some fine descriptions of places in the Mediterranean Sea. The Notes from Ireland connect a faithful picture of its people's manners with descriptions of some of its principal places, whilst reference is throughout made to the political and other questions which were before that country in 1880. Several reviews of books, as well as some descriptive piece., such as "At the Foot of Goatfell," are included in the Miscellaneous Essays. It is, indeed, in these descriptive compositions that the author most charms as. An essay upon "Curling," the Scottish winter pastime, is so ably written, that as we read it we can fancy ourselves on the ice joining in all the fun of the game, although we may never even have seen it played. "Some Faces" consists of three charming essays entitled "The Old Salt," "The Village Idiot," and "The Returned Colonist." Despite a certain amount of newspaper formality in the style, we can commend these essays as charming and very instructive productions.
This Year, Net Year, Sometime, Never. 2 vols. By Puck. (Field and Tuer.)—We are certainly unable to congratulate Puck upon the result of his or her literary efforts, as shown forth in the work before us. Novels which do not rely upon the ingenuity of their plots for success can only claim public attention by the correctness and cleverness of character portrayal. This Year, Next Year, Sometime, Never, is a tale constructed out of the very slenderest plot, and its character-painting is of a most feeble description. The writer is chiefly occupied in contrasting three types of men,—the surly husband, the fickle lover, and his opposite, tho steadfast lover. The first two of these are always disagreeable characters, the last a very admirable one ; but the writer errs in causing us at the beginning of the book to admire the man who is to turn-out fickle, whilst we have a feeling almost of pity for the moonstruck, lore-sick youth, who forgets everything in life except his lady-love. The cumbrous title of the work is explained by the device of making a young and pretty governess give her heart to a rather strong-minded captain, who loves her in England for a few months, goes to India for three years, and on his return to marry her stops at Nice, and is there captivated by the charms of a rich widow and former acquaintance. He, of course, marries her, and the young governess dies through taking too much chloral. By means of frequent clandestine meetings between the lovers the writer manages to form whole chapters of love-talk, for which indeed the book is chiefly remarkable.
My Lord Conceit (Maxwell) shows its author, Rita, almost at her best as a plot:constructor. There is a well-drawn Iagoesque villain in it, an Italian scoundrel of the name of Savona, who manages to dispossess the hero, Ivor Grant, alias "my Lord Conceit," of his property, and to hasten the death of his (Grant's) mother, and very nearly succeeds in having the heroine, Beryl Marsden, condemned to death for the murder of her brutal and selfish husband. There is a slight element of " riskiness " in this as in some other of Rita's books. It is plain almost from the first that Beryl Foster, though married to John Marsden, loves Ivor Grant; but on the whole Rita does not allow this dangerous love to go too far, although she kills-off Beryl's children in a fashion too convenient for real life. Ivor Grant is a superior sort of drawing-room hero ; and Madge Dunbar is as good a matchmaking friend as any lady in distress can need either in fiction or in real life. But the strength of My Lord Conceit is to be found in its action ; and that is considerable.
Life of L. R. Koolemans Beynen. By Charles Boissevain. Translated into English by "M. M." (Sampson Low and Co.)—Lawrens Beynen was an officer in the Dutch Navy. His first active service was at Aoheen. In 1875 he went with Captain Allen Young on his Arctio voyage, winning golden opinions from his commander and from all with whom be had to do. He accompanied him again the next year. In 1879 he went out as second-in-command of the 'Willem Barents' on another Arctic expedition. The last voyage of his life was to Borneo, where, under the influence of disease of the brain, he committed suicide. His story—one of a genuinely brave and modest man—is, to a great extent, told in letters. We must take exception, by the way, to the manner in which the Dutch are compared with the English fishermen. Anyhow, it is not by the English that the abominable floating spirit-ships are fitted out.
Quasi Cursores (Douglas, Edinburgh) is the rather melancholy and suggestive, though quite appropriate title, of one of the most handsome books, alike as regards paper and type, which have been issued even from Mr. Constable's prose in Edinburgh. It consists of biographical notices, and portraits of the "high officers" and professors of the University of Edinburgh, the latter being the work of Mr. William Hole, A.R.S.A., a well-known Scotch artist ; and it is intended as a memorial of last year's tercentenary celebrations. Nothing better, certainly nothing more beautiful, could well have been thought of. It is, indeed, obvious that the biographies have been written by different hands, for they hardly agree in any thing but in being eulogistic of their subjects. Some are rollicking, others matter-of-fact, one or two almost gushing. Perhaps the pithiest and most graceful is the short sketch which Mr. Andrew Lang has given of the career of his friend and Homeric collaborateur, Mr. Butcher, whose appointment to the Greek chair in Edinburgh made Professor Blackie emeritus. But at once the charm and the permanent value of this volume will be found in its portraits, which are executed with great skill, and which must strike any one who is familiar with Edinburgh faces as admirable likenesses. Those of the present Lord Provost of Edinburgh (in spite of a certain unnatural grimness about the month), the Chancellor of the University, the late Principal, Sir Alexander Grant, and Mr. Lorimer, Professor of International Law, in particular, show the superiority of etchings of this sort to ordinary photographs. Mr. Hole is sometimes a little weak in the eyes,—we mean, of course, in other people's eyes. Thus he makes Sir Stafford Northoote almost blind ; and his Professor Blackie, which is perfect otherwise, fails to give the special and well-known sparkle, which is almost as well-known on this, as on the other side of the Border. Mr. Hole has also been very successful in placing his men in good attitudes, or in making them perform characteristic actions. Thus Professor Masson would not have been himself without his Carlylian pipe. Sometimes, however, rather ludicrous effects are produced. The Professor of Chemistry looks less like a teacher than a popular juggler assuring an audience after an experiment, "There is here no micanique, ladies and gentlemen." That amiable idealist, the Professor of Logic, appears as if he were being dragged to the ground by the works of Berkeley which he is carrying, and so is made to refute the worthy Bishop's theory of matter in a Johnsonian fashion. And why, oh why, should Dr. Flint, Professor of Divinity, masquerade in armour, with his Presbyterian bands hanging like a dog's tongue slit in two over his breastplate P All Round Spain. By F. H. Deverell. (Sampson Low and Co.) —Mr. Deverell writes, it is tolerably evident, with more knowledge of the country which he has visited, and which he describes, than the ordinary traveller possesses. He is not a mere passer-through, but has taken pains, on more than one occasion, to find out the truth about country and people ; and he knows the language. As he says, his observation "runs counter" in some respects "to some previously conceived ideas concerning Spain." It is satisfactory to observe that the difference is in favour of the country, which, he is sure, "has entered on a path of progress." He observes a difference since 1878; and this difference may be greatly increased hereafter, for Spain, as he puts it, is "a land of boundless possibilities." "I could feel," he goes on to say, "that the English name stood high with the Spaniards." Altogether the book is well worth reading, especially by any who may be meditating a Spanish tour,—no bad way of spending two months about this time, if only " faciat-Deus otia." One thing we must take leave to notice among Mr. Deverell's reflections. He is told that in Valencia "the land is very much divided, and, consequently, the people have great respect for property." And then he goes on,—" It is noticeable how respect for property and regard for law and order are attributed to the sub-division of the land. I have heard the idea in France and in Spain, and it is held or professed by a party in England ; it is part of an old idea which has been handed. down the stream of human life for thousands of years, and still it clings; once let a wrong idea get abroad in society, and there is no telling when it may be got rid of." It does not seem to have occurred to the writer that it clings because it is true. If there is a world-old fight between the " haves " and the "have-nots," surely the more numerous the former, the better chance for quiet. Mr. Deverell's line is not, we take it, to be a social philosopher.—With this we may mention Iberian Sketches ; or, Travels in Portugal and North•West Spain, by Jane Leek, a slighter work, but not without some value. It is interesting to hear that at Vigo it is cheaper to pay English masons eight shillings per day than Spaniards three. The Spaniard has seventy-three holidays in the year, besides Sundays.
Chasing a Fortune : Tales and Sketches. By Phil Robinson. (Sampson Low and Co.)—This is the first number of a proposed series of shilling volumes of a "handy pocketable size," i.e., as the author explains in his Preface, "very convenient for pocketing when nobody is looking,' and 'of a nice suitable size for throwing at the oat.'" The principal paper is a humorous story of how a monkey, provoked by a dose of chntnee which had been given as jam, carries off a will, and bow the hero chases first the creature (who is swallowed on the way by an alligator), and then the will. " Sannterings in Mormon-Land" brings the reader to regions which he has very likely traversed with Mr. Robinson before. "The Zoo Revisited" deals with a subject in which the writer is thoroughly at home. There is something of the American effectiveness about Mr. Robinson's humour, as this, for instance : "Alligators look as if they might make good road-metal if broken-up." We cordially hope that the series which has had so promising a beginning, will be continued with success.
The Spitalfields Genius : the Story of William Allen. By J. Fayle. (Hodder and Stoughton.)—We are obliged to Mr. Fayle for "retelling" the story of a good and able man ; but we wish that he had done it with more simplicity and directness. There is a digression, for instance, on pp. 51-3, about the Duke of Kent, which might well have been spared, though we have no quarrel with the sentiments expressed ; and this digressive manner shows itself not unfrequently. William Allen's story needs nothing to recommend it. He was the beat type of the self-made man ; made himself a man of science when the original destination of his life was commerce, and gave-up his science to devote himself to philanthropy. No inconsiderable part of the great benefits which the Friends have done to mankind must be reckoned to the account of William Allen.
Venetia's Livers. By Leslie Keith. 3 vols. (Bentley and Son.) —This is in some respects a very pleasing story. It reminded us, as we read, of Mrs. Oliphant's writing; and we do not know whether, though "Leslie Keith" is not a novice in fiction, we can pay a higher compliment. Venetia herself is a charming creature, and Dinah Kenyon, with her determination to emancipate herself, very amusing. Dinah finds her work in what seems the very commonplace riVe of a "lady's companion "; but she contrives to turn it into something hardly less than a mission, the raising of the wealthy, kind-hearted widow with whom she lives into the social position which she desires. But we must express our conviction that the tale is spoilt by'the mysterious "Chalice," a sort of homme incompris, as we must describe him. A long experience taught us to expect mischief as soon as be made his appearance in the story as friend of the unsuspecting Dick. And sad mischief he does make. All the gaiety of the little life-history is eclipsed, and we have the dismal instead of the cheerful ending, which, as we have taken occasion many times to remark, is almost a necessity for any but the very finest works of art. Venetia's Lovers is clever ; in parts, we may venture to say, excellent ; but it strikes us as being a little outside the borders of reality. Even its humour goes beyond the limits of comedy.
The Fisheries Eehibition Literature. Vol. XIII. (Clowes and Sons.)—This volume winds-up and completes an interesting and valuable series. It contains :—(1), The Official Report ; (2), The Balance-Sheet ; (3), Special Report on Electric Lighting of Exhibition (which cost, by the way, 210,407 3s. 5d.) ; (4), Opening and Closing Ceremonies ; (5), Condensed Reports of the Conditions of Fishing Industry at Home and Abroad. (The fishing at Jean Fernandez, we observe, is said to be magnificent.) To return to the Balance-Sheet, the total balance to the good was £14,500 in round numbers (after handing over to the National Training School of Cookery the balance of 2875 3s. 2d. profit on the "Fish diningroom "). The literary department seems to have resulted in a lose.
We mention one item under this head. For advertisements in the catalogues, ite., was paid 23,250, but the commission on these is put down at 21,000. The Exhibition paid for advertisements 211,045.
Boos.s RECEIVED.--Abbott's Stock and Share Almanac (Abbott and Co.)—A second edition of the Mornington Lecture, Thursday evening addresses by T. T. Lynch (.1. Clarke and Co.)—Dr. Serier, a novel, by G. W. Cable (D. Douglas, Edinburgh).—The Clergy List for 1885 (J. Hall).—Tales of the Pandans, by a Wandering Cimmeritte (Harrison and Son).—Fair Representation, by W. E. Smith, B.A.; Plain Thoughts for Men, eight lectures delivered at the Foresters' Hall, Clerkenwell, during the London Mission, 1884; The Fundamental Science, by H. J. Clarke, A.K.C. ; Gathered Leaves, by Enis (Kegan Paul, Trench, and Co.)— The Newspaper Press Directory (Mitchell and Co.) ; May's British and Irish Press Guide (May and Co.), both of which handy and useful annuals are corrected up to date. —The Pontifical Decrees against the Dcctrine of the Earth's Movement; S-c, by Rev. W. W. Roberts (Parker and Co.)—The Distribution of Products, iv., by E. Atkinson (Putnam's Sons, New York).—A Short History of the Naval and Military Operations in Egypt, from 1798 to 1802, by Lieutenant-Colonel Sir J. M. Burgoyne (Sampson Low and Co.)—Dinners and Dishes, by Wanderer (Simpkio, Marshall, and Co.)—A third edition of Wallis's In Troubled Times, translated from the Dutch by E. J. Irving; The Student's Manua/ of Indian Elistory, by R. Hawthorne, Ph.D.; The March of the Strikers, by J. A. Bevan, M.D. (Sonnensohein and Co.)—The Sage of Thebes, by G. Eyre (E. Stock).—John Bull to Max O'Rell, in reply to "John Bull and his Island" (Wyman and Sons).