31 MARCH 1866, Page 21


The Life and Letters of Lady Arabella Stuart. By Eliz. Cooper. Two vols. (Hurst and Blackett.)—We have in these volumes two pathetic love stories, some pleasant glimpses of Court and country life in the reigns of Elizabeth and James, and a great deal of very feminine criticism on the politicians of those times. If our authoress had devoted a little space and care to filling up the sketch of her heroine, which is left in outline, and spared us the scolding, and the sar- casms, and the reflections, such as " Woe to the country that dares illegally to sacrifice one member for the public good!—heavily

'will that crime be expiated," the book would have gained in interest and Most nothing in value. It contains, however, interesting mat- ter. In addition to its main narrative, there is the story of the loves of Katherine Grey and the Earl of Hertford, which ended very speedily and sadly under the sharp wrath of Elizabeth ; a sketch of the famous Bess of Hardwick, wife and manager of four husbands, and foundress of the Cavendish fortunes; a descrip- tion of life at her country house ; and finally, many curious letters of prominent persons of the day, 's s ne of which, especially those of the Lady Arabella when at the Citirt of James I., are full of quaint touches. The Lady Arabella seems to hsve been in high favour with James, until at the mature age of thirty-five she chose to fix her affections upon a youth of twenty-throe, the grandson of that Katherine Grey and the Earl of Hertford whose marriage had so alarmed Elizabeth. The sad sequel is well known ; her flight, capture, imprison- ment, insanity, and death. Our authoress is very angry with all con- cerned—King, and statesmen, and nobility—and exclaims, "Who could doubt the result of a contest between souls like those and such men as Cromwell and Hampden !" Eat it must be remembered that King and nobles alike had had a weary time of it in the closing years of Elizabeth's reign watching the succession, and were not likely to regard with equanimity the union by marriage of two such respectable titles to the Crown as were possessed by Arabella Stuart, 'the heiress of the Stuarts, of English birth, and the grandson and virtual heir of Mary Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk, sister of Henry VIIL