29 SEPTEMBER 1906, Page 22

Bethel the Outsider. By Mrs. H. H. Penrose. (Chapman and

Hall. 6s.)—This novel follows the very modern plan in which the heroine is made a writer of fiction, but it must be confessed that Rachel Langton's works are even more shadowy than is usual with the literary heroine. It may be doubted whether any woman could bring up her own son as an adopted son, and pretend—even for the sake of a woman to whom she owed a great debt of gratitude—that the dead and not the living baby was hers. In the course of the child's progress from boyhood to youth and early manhood it would be almost impossible for his real mother not to betray herself to the world. Probably, too, a woman, even with Rachel Langton's high sense of duty, would not refuse without explanation to marry her lover because she believed him to be her first-cousin. Of course, the death of

the baby of two cousins who had married might cause her to make this refusal, but hardly without explaining matters to the lover in question. The figure of Rachel is moderately successful, but Mrs. Penrose has not succeeded in making her absolutely credible. The lady who perpetrates constant misquotations from Shake- speare is more irritating than amusing ; but with this exception the characters carry out their destined parts pretty well.