5 DECEMBER 1885, Page 25

The Mistress of Tayne Court. By Mrs. Marshall. (Seeley and

Co.)—This book is of the sort which the reviewer must "damn with faint praise." It is not tedious, because not devoid of all interest, and it has the merit of being confined to one volume, instead of being drawn oat into three. There is little originality in the characters, and none in the plot; bat the moral tone is unimpeachable, and the author has done her very beat to make both religion and morality commendable and attractive. This object is not, however, best gained by the lengthy digressions with which Mrs. Marshall's story abounds. As in life, so in art, the indirect influence is more pIwerfal than the direct effort ; and it cannot be doubted that art suffers seriously when the artist tarns constantly aside to moralise on his or her theme. Than we think that Mrs. Marshall should have allowed the virtues and the modesty of her heroine, Gwendoline, to speak for themselves, instead of halting in her story to compare at some length the late Grand Duchess of Hesse with the "pretentious" young women of the present day. Throughout the story, its force is weakened by an attempt to disclose all the springs of action. When a florist shows us a beautiful flower, we do not need to dig up its root to be assured that the root is healthy. The bloom itself should prove that, and far more eloquently than the spade or trowel.