4 MARCH 1876, Page 23

Ersilia. By the Author of " My Little Lady." 3

vols. (Hurst and Blackett.)--This is a novel of more than common merit. Braille, the heroine, is a character of much beauty, and her story, if it involves no dramatic situations or startling surprises, holds the reader with an unrelaxing interest. In skilful contrast to her nobility and elevation is Charlotte, a personage not other than loveable, but full of weakness and pettiness. And Humphrey, who tells the story, though there is no effort to make him striking, is drawn with much skill and taste; and we part with him, not with admiration, which indeed he has done little to deserve, but with a liking disproportionate to his apparent merits, a result that always says much for the describer's power. A quite unusual ability in drawing character is, in fact, the distinguishing ex- cellence of this novel. The plot, though sufficiently interesting, is not remarkable. The writing is often excellent; it will be sufficient to quote a few sentences :— " The sorrows of which we hear so much in the world, misunderstood genius, unappreciated talent, thwarted ambitions, and the like, are not, perhaps, among the worst. For them there is compensation in the very powers that work discontent. There are sorrows more pitiful than these—the sorrows of dim natures, with no clear vision beyond the small, successive events of their own lives, with no wide sympathies, with impersonal interest in which to forget their personal troubles, with no sense of the worth of that suffering which brings with it a comprehen- sion of the sufferings of humanity."