7 JUNE 1873, Page 24

First and Last. By F. Vernon White. 2 vols. (S.

Tinsley.)—This is one of the stories of love-making in fashionable life for which, to judge from the continual appearance of such works, there must be some demand, but which must, one would think, be tasteless, if not, as this particular story must be, offensive, to all reasonable beings. A certain Edith is engaged to a cousin, encourages another lover, and finally marries a third suitor, in the person of a certain Earl. The other lover kills himself on the day of her wedding. The cousin, after avowing, with a cynical candour, his determination to carry off his old love from her husband, falls in love with and marries one Maud Hilton. All for a while seems to go well. But the Earl meets with a sudden death. The widow and the first lover find their old passion renewed. The wife overhears a mutual avowal of it, and contemptuously resigns her husband. He takes advantage of the permission, and elopes with the widow. There is, we confess, a certain novelty about this. We have had to read a considerable number of these offensive stories, and do not remember to have seen before the incident of a married man eloping with a widow. As far, then, as we are aware, Mr. Vernon White is entitled to the sinister credit of the invention, and will take rank accordingly among his fraternity. Those novel-writers whose only idea of a plot is inventing some new combination of the circumstances under which adultery is committed will honour this ingenious brother. The anticipation of some such distinction must have been the motive which induced him, with a candour which in such a case can only be called audacity, to put his name on the title-page.