28 MARCH 1896, Page 25

A Princess of the Gutter. By L. T. Meade. (Wells

Gardner, Dorton, and Co.)—Joan Prinsep inherits a fortune from her uncle, with a charge from the dying man to use it better than he has done. She finds that a large part of it consists in some wretched houses. Some of these are not under her control, having been sublet ; the others she rebuilds, living meanwhile among the people, and gathering the girls together in a club. All this is, of course, something like the proceedings of Agatha in "All Sorts and Conditions of Men." The character of Martha Morse, how- ever, is Mrs. Meade's own, drawn, she tells us, from a living original ; it is a striking portrait, and gives the book, which has the merit of an effective simplicity, a peculiar value. The melo- dramatic ending does not improve it. Why could not Mrs. Meade be content with the study of manners ? The plot in which a neglected wife kills her husband, and another girl takes the guilt upon herself, and is very nearly hanged, gives an air of unreality to the whole.