28 MARCH 1896, Page 23

Dr. Gilbert's Daughters. By Margaret Harriet Matthews. (E. Arnold.)--This is

a story of American life ; Dr. Gilbert is a country doctor, very much wrapped up in the scientific study of his profession ; his daughters are twins, " May " and " Fay " (short for Mary and Faith), who, as is sometimes the case with twins, are curiously like and unlike. The tale is sufficiently interesting, turning more upon love than suits "a story for girls," —such, at least, is our view, but we are perhaps old-fashioned. From the same publisher we have also The Seer et of the Desert, by E. Douglas Fawcett. Mr. Fawcett has repeated, with a fair amount of success, his experiment of following in the steps of M. Jules Verne. The Desert is the Desert of Arabia; the secret is the knowledge of the things undiscovered that are sup- posed to lie hidden in that region, still one of the least explored portions of the world. The hero and his companions go forth to seek for a traveller who has essayed the dangerous work of dis- covery, and use the "ship of the desert," not the animal which commonly bears that name, the camel, but a machine which is so constructed as to move rapidly over land. We do not pretend to estimate the value of the author's mechanical imaginations. If he can embody them in fact, he will become rich beyond the dreams of avarice. Let us hope that, meanwhile, some earnest of this future wealth will come to him from the description in words, for the tale will be read with interest. —Mr. Arnold also publishes Joel: a Boy of Galilee, by Annie Fellows Johnston. The scene is laid in Palestine ; the time is that of the preaching of the Gospel. Miss Johnston has ventured to introduce the figure of the great Master himself ; she does it, we must say, with commcntlable discretion, confining herself, as far as we have observed, to actually recorded words of his. But the venture is a bold one; and re- quires, we might say, almost commanding genius to be accom- plished with success.