7 MARCH 1896, Page 23

The Great Secret. By Hume Nisbet. (F. V. White and

Co.)— There is a falling-away in Hume Nisbet's latest romance ; it is very unequal, almost slipshod in the beginning, and occasionally very crude. What is the secret? If it be the discovery by the castaways of the happy spirits in the distant island of the Antarctic, we must confess that it seems uninteresting, and scarcely worth the trouble of travelling in a steamer, and being blown up by Anarchists, to discover. Now and again the author gives us some powerful descriptions, but they are few and far between, and we can only regard The Great Secret as a distinctly poor performance, and quite wanting in literary power and pro- portion. Anatole and the Countess are the only people among the Anarchists who are not vulgar, and they are the only re- deeming feature in an unprofitable and distorted fiction.