8 AUGUST 1885, Page 24

The Sacred Nugget. A novel. By B. L. Farj eon.

(Ward and Downey.)—Mr. Farjeon is an ingenious writer, and after he left off imitating the mawkish and unreal sentiment which constituted Mr. Dickena's chief fault, he became a more attractive one: He has not, however, produced anything so good as his first story, " Grif." That had freshness and quaintness ; in its successors the author has been imitating freshness and quaintness. In The Sacred Nuggethe does not attempt either, but he has fallen back on the Dickens line of sentiment, and with the inevitable result. The intrigue of the story—a scheme by which a false daughter is palmed off upon a romantic and successful gold-digger in Australia, and sent out to him from England, to steal the sacred nugget, make- away with his money, and be detected in her turn, the true daughter turning up of course—is clever. It is a new arrangement of old materials, a shifting of the bits of glass in the kaleidoscope ; but the combination is well contrived. Mr.. Farjeon is hardly successful in the case of his "swell.". A cold, composed, haughty, indifferent young man, supposed to convey the exact ideal of a perfect gentle- man, calculated to inspire the lower classes with admiring reverence, is a stock figure in novels of a certain order. In The Sacred Nugget this figure is called Horace Blakensee ; but the author should not have endowed him with a favourite habit of constantly trimming his nails with a pocket-knife while in conversation with ladies, and holding up his hands to see whether he has shaped their ends to his satisfaction. We are under the impression that in the "upper circles" this custom does not prevail.