Mercedes. By Sir C. F. Lascelles Wraxall, Bart. Three vols.
(John Maxwell and Co.)—This writer sends forth publication after publica- tion with such unexampled rapidity that any very high degree of excel- lence cannot be expected of him. He has, however, considerable narrative power, and his novels are therefore generally readable, but they belong rather to the class of "boys' books." The scene of Mercedes is laid apparently in western Louisiana or Arkansas, and the meeting- ground of settlers, border ruffians, and Red Indians gives great scope for incident, of which Sir Lascelles avails himself. How far his accounts of the society of those regions is founded on personal knowledge we can- not say, but can hardly believe that the administration of the law is quite so openly corrupt as he would have us believe. That it is often defeated by violence is likely enough, but surely not by bribery. The whole of that part of the story is rather spun out, and the tale wants unity. Arden, the hero, ties together three separate romances, that of Owaya, that of the rescue of Robert Swarton from execution, and that of the recovery of Mercedes' brother. Readers must not look to Sir Lascelles for anything but incident and description; he has no dramatic power whatever.