4 MARCH 1876, Page 24

Ruth and Gabriel: a Pastoral Story. By Laurence Cheny. 3

vols. (Sampson Low and Co.)—We do not doubt that Mr. Cheny has photo- graphed Lincolnshire life, talk, and manners with all accuracy, but this is not enough to make a novel. The one character which promises something, out of which something distinctive might have been made, is absolutely wasted. Gabriel has his ambitions, and such ambitions furnish a good subject, the treatment of which may be endlessly varied; but they come to nothing, and Gabriel, being the hero of the novel, is mated, perhaps in cruel irony of matrimonial fate, with one of the least satisfactory of the women described. Hero, then, is an opportunity thrown away. Nor is it the only one so lost. For the book has good things in it, but they are scattered in a way that destroys their effect. Had the pains so fruitlessly expended on these volumes been concentrated on some smaller effort, something really good might have been done. And the author yet may do it, but he must first learn to write English. The want of grammar in Ruth and Gabriel is most astonishing.