6 FEBRUARY 1886, Page 23

Beside Still Waters. By William Mackay. 3 vols. (Remington and

Co.)—Mr. Mackay's novel has something to do with "still waters," more to do with the green-rooms of theatres, and the gathering-places of pressmen and theatrical critics. The author's knowledge of theatrical matters is, indeed, the raison d'etre of his book. Though he always writes in a vivid and forcible way, and knows something, too, it is clear, of the ways of a riverside poacher, it is in a region very remote indeed from the rural scene which his title suggests, that he seems most at home. (It is only fair to say that the title was an after-thought, made necessary by the fact that the one originally selected was anticipated.) The subject is not particularly attractive. One does not care to hear much of the ways of such women as "Baby Parsons," such noblemen as Lord Rugby, or such literary coteries as that which is described as meeting at the " Otway." But Mr. Mackay does his descriptions very well ; and he can rise when occasion demands to higher things. This is not a novel for all readers, but it has considerable merit.