JULIA HOWARD. * This fiction is worthy of a better title
; for " julia Howard" ttOt only gives an insufficient idea of the heroine, but conveys a totally wrong notion of the period and subject of the book. Instead of the loves and crosses of a fashionable Julia, in whose veins runs "all the blood of all the Rewards," the reader is carried to Ireland a century ago, and shown the workings of the Penal LEM in encouraging domestic baseness, fostering dissension in families, and driving some of the best Irish blood into foreign service, from the denial to a Papist of a career at home. When the curtain falls upon this picture, the Beene shifts to Germany during the time when "the Queen, the beauty, set the world in arms," Hungszy rang with the cry, "We will die for our King Maria Theresa!' and Europe was engaged in a war for the preservation or dismem. berment of the German empire. To this field of action Allastei • Julia Howard; a Romance. By Mrs. Martin Bell. In three volumes. Pat- Robed by Bentley. O'Connor goes, when his brother's " conformation " to Protestant- ism deprives him of an estate, and he finds that Julia Howard, to whom he has allowed himself to become passionately attached, has been from childhood betrothed to another.
To say that Mrs. Bell has truly depicted the persons and state of society in Ireland and Germany a century ago, and naturally embodied them in a story of passion and varied adventure, would be to place her among novelists of the very first rank ; and to that position she is not entitled. The historical traits of the time are distinctly perceived, and the general feelings common to human crea- tures,—" if you prick us do we not bleed, if you tickle us do we not laugh, if you poison us do we not die and if you wrong us shall we not revenge "—but the modifying influences of time and country, such as we can gather them from contemporary writings, are not so truly embodied. The hero and several other persons are of 1850 in their feelings and ideas, though of 1740 in their circum- stances. The incidents that more closely belong to the romance have too obvious an air of established literary convention ; we have already encountered theni on various occasions : the fair writer has not only studied the method of using the elements of her art from romances, but taken the elements themselves, instead of seeking them in the romance of real life. This, however, is a common defect, and only perceptible to criticism. The greatest failing Mrs. Bell has to guard against is a somewhat inflated style, and the melodramatic tendencies to which the rhetorical school naturally inclines. These defects, however, are the discovery of close criticism ; militating little, if at all, against the pleasure of the general reader. In other respects Julia Howard is a very clever and well-studied romance. The writer has made herself acquainted with the historic public characters and the broader features of the time and countries in which her story is laid. The inci- dents have a general propriety, are striking in themselves, effec- tively told, and well connected into a story ; the rhetorical fault being less conspicuous in movement and action than in de- scription or narrative. Mrs. Bell has also observed national as well as individual life, and the effects of blood or breeding upon the cha- racter as well as the manners. That numerous class of readers who like a story to end happily may be disappointed with Julia Howard. The death or even the wound of A llaster O'Connor, in. rescuing Julia from an abduction by his apostate brother, when all is cleared up and settled, is certainly rather a matter of the writer's will than the story's necessity. Still we think the end- ing more consistent with the general course and tone of the book. The best of the O'Connors, perhaps even the heroine, were hardly persons made to be dismissed to respectability and the prospects of happiness.
The book is full of scenes, either connected with the story or epi- sodical. The following is of the latter kind; the chief victim being a friend O'Connor has made at Vienna. The remainder is au& ciently indicated in the course of the extract, except that Clara was deceived by a false marriage.
"The bandit leader guided his band towards one deep mass of shadow, and passing into it was lost to O'Connor's view. One by one the other out- laws followed. In their turn the captives were led into the yawning chasm, where darkness lay around them, and where the tramp of their horses rang hollow on the ear. Their pa.ss.age through the rocks was short. In a mo- ment they emerged into the light and the open air. They were in the rocky labyrinth of Carlsberg. It waa a wild and wondrous scene. The danger and fearful uncertainty of their position lent a chilling horror to the mysterious fastness in which crime had sought a refuge. Deep fissures and crevices ex- tended far on every side between the rocks which rose in every form—pyra- mids, obelisks, towers, and even spires of mimic tracery, assuming the sem- blance of church and abbey, now clothed with pale dank stonecrop or dark now bare and bleached as if those cliffs were the timeworn wrecks of an elder world. All was so still, that the footsteps of the band awoke the mut- tering echoes of the city of stone. They passed through the winding streets of this strange monument of Nature's stupendous caprice, until they reached a comparatively open space. Before them rose a vast mass of stone, which asstoned the form of a fortress; a solitary pine on the summit of the keep rose like a banner, showing a sombre cone in sharp relief against the sky.
"At the base of the rock fortress a stream issued from a crevice, and formed a still sleeping pool of unfathomed depth.
"Here they halted. At a sign from the leader the outlaws arranged them- selves in a circle around the captives ; who dismounted, and stood before tho masked chief of that silent band, lie stood in the centre of the open space, beside the pool, and there slowly and deliberately laid aside his Mina, and removed his mask. He made the sign of the cross on his breast and brow, and then, while he laid his left hand on the hilt of his sword, he raised the right to heaven and said, 'My hand is pure from blood, my soul is clean from mortal sin. I here accuse Karl von Turkheim, as I before have ac- cused him on the red earth and before the Wehm, of treachery, and Ba- cnlege, and murder. For treble guilt the treble doom is _pronounced— Death to the traitor ! death to the sacrilegious man ! death to the mur- derer ! May his blood be on my head, may his sins be on my soul, may my„Thrte oofuteaawvens stboelisleniftI htile fals:lay 1 deracmgaszelhiolmn It'he doomed soldier. Turkheim was perhaps more pale than was his wont, but his firm lip was compressed in stern defiance, and his bold brow was raised in calm enduring pride.
"The bandit leader signed to his followers, and the bonds which bound Turkheim were severed by a stroke of a knife.
"'Count von Turkheim; said the outlaw, 'make your peace with God.' " 'What means this mummery ? ' said Turkheim, scornftilly.
"'it is not a mummery,' said the bandit. 'I am Johann Herder, the be- trothed of Clara Herder. I loved her you won her from me : had you loved her and made her happy, I could have forgiven you the ruin of my whole happiness. I could have Riven my life for her; why should I refuse her the saenfice of my happiness? ' "He paused and even there, in the hour of his triumph ; amidst theme- meat of his successful vengeance, he spoke in the low humble tone of a bro- ken-hearted man. Turkheim there in his power on the brink of the grave, was his rival, loved, honoured, successful with Clara. Oh, how even then, that true-hearted peasant envied him ! "'You east her off,' he continued; but what of that ? The noble brought dishonour and sorrow to the hearth of the peasant, and the poor peasant should feel a proud gratitude even for the shame which gave a moment's gratificatioa to the noble. Clara came home to die—like a poor wounded are in her form. She forgave you ; her father cursed you, and I arose to avenge her. Clam's avenger cannot be a common murderer —I went to Gehmen; I stood before the wise men who there uphold the customs of our fatherland. I told my talc of wrong. The judges pronounced your doom— life for life,—if Clara died, you should die.' Ho paused, and his strong frame quivered with anguish ; but he manned himself and went on. 'Clara is at peace—I announced her death, and sent you back the wealth with which you thought to buy her life. I dogged your steps,—had you even then shown remorse, I could perhaps have bidden you repent and live. But ere Clara's grave was closed, I saw vou toying gayly with the gipsy girl. I saw you smile in wanton mirth., while I felt that the world was desolate and void of hope or joy for me. Turkheim, you die !' He turned away for a space, and allowed the doomed man to approach O'Connor ; who, in the violence of his vain struggle to burst his bonds, had forced the blood through his wrists, and now stood a helpless and shuddering witness of the tragedy.
"This is a strange world, O'Connor,' said Turkheim with resolute levity. 'It is hard to die so young ; but it skills not speaking of that now.
Good- by, may boy ; commend me to our brave lads. I know there will be .some true sorrow for Karl Turkheim at the revel and in the field. You will see Gallia : tell her I loved her to the last. You will find her letters in my wri- ling-case ; here is the key ; give them to her, and say that I only parted with them and life together. And now good-by once more !' He wrung O'Connor's fettered hand, and looked steadily on the pale cheek and white lip of his friend. Courage, Allaster ; you have seen men die ere now : bid me good speed, and let us part.' "'Farewell, God bless you, Karl!' was all O'Connor could say: He felt as if all were but a ghastly feverish dream, from which he strove m vain to wake. His lip quivered, the large drops buret from his forehead and from the very palms of his hands, as he stood there tamely to see his friend die. Turkheim turned away from O'Connor, and faced the moon ; he gave one last look to earth and heaven, muttered one short prayer, and then waved his hand to Johann.
" Here, fellow, do your work and make an end of it!' he exclaimed.
"Johann Herder slowly drew a pistol from his belt, and, cocking it, de- liberately placed the muzzle upon Turkheim's forehead. 'The Lord have mercy on your soul!' he said. Turkheim flinched not, shrank not, even when the cold metal touched his brow. Johann pressed the trigger—Karl sprang forward in the convulsion of the death struggle and fell ; he was dead ere the thundering echoes of the shot ceased to roar along the rocks.
"Johann drew a muse from his breast, and cast it at the feet of the out- laws.
"'There,' he said, there is the gold with which I bought your aid. Take it ; set that gentleman free : he knows me, but he knows not you, so that you are safe from any danger. I do not seek nor shun the fate which the laws of the land may deem me to have incurred. Mr. O'Connor, you are free.'
"He severed O'Connor's bonds, and motioned him to depart. O'Connor knelt beside Turkheim and, after gazing for a moment on the placid face of the dead man, he closed his eyes ; and then standing beside the body of his murdered brother in arms, he said, My fist act will be to denounce you. Am I now free to depart?'
"'You saved her from the depths of the river,' replied Johann; you aml free. Depart, and work your will on me.'"