5 APRIL 1873, Page 21

Gold Elsie. From the German of E. Marlitt, Author of

the "Old Maid's Secret." Translated by Mrs. A. L. Winter. (Strahan.)—The -" Old Maid's Secret" we read with much pleasure, and Gold Elsie we -have found not unworthy to be its successor. The tale turns, as so many German tales do turn, on a subject which is far more promi- nent in the social life of Germany than it is in ours,—the distinctions of class. Elsie's mother is of noble birth, but has married a plebeian, the son of a Thuringian forester. The story opens with the removal of the family to the forest, where the father has obtained a situation. Conveniently near is the ruin of an old castle, which its late possessor, the last of the Von Gnadewitz family, has bequeathed to her mother, an act of satire rather than of benevolence, as the ruin appears to be un- inhabitable, and the legatee is forbidden to sell it under penalty of forfeiture. However, it turns out to be anything but useless. A series of wonderful discoveries, the first being the discovery of some very pleasant and habitable rooms, which no one knew anything about, turn the legacy from a cruel joke into a very respectable inheritance. Meanwhile, Elsie forms acquaintance with the noble family that occupies the château built by the You Gnadewitzes as a more pleasant dwelling than their old castle. There she meets with adventures of the usual kind. There is a young baron, who presumes on her lowly station, and is repulsed with scorn; a pietist countess—the pietists seem to be as much hated as the aristo- crats—who shows herself to be exceedingly foolish and mean ; and lastly, the head of the family himself, one of those impassable-looking men who, as the experienced novelist is aware, fall in love more speedily and more frantically than anyone. At last, all the evil- disposed are discomfited by the discovery that Elsie is even on the father's side—the side that had been thought so hopelessly plebeian— actually a Von Gnadewitz. And at last everything ends as it should. The story is more full of sensations and surprises than quite suits the style of the book, but Gold Elsie is certainly worth reading.