8 MAY 1886, Page 22


Sealed Orders. By Elizabeth J. Lysaght. 3 vols. (Bentley and SOD.)—This is a good novel of the romantic kind. Two friends, so called, are talking together in the course of their Eastern travels, and their conversation drifts in the direction of a certain young lady whom one of them loves, and who is supposed to be engaged to the other. One of the speakers shows what Mr. Mantalini called a "demd uncomfortable, private-madhouse sort of manner." If he had a dagger or a pistol in his hand, we are told more than once, his companion would have been a dead man. As it is, he takes a more fearful -revenge. He allows the other to make his way over the enclosure of a lazar.house ! Hence despair and early death (a doctor, by the way, would probably have reassured the terrified man by telling him that leprosy is not infectious). This is the crime that has to be expiated, and the "sealed orders" are the command left by the sinner to be communicated after his death to his son, that he is to make all the reparation in his power to the child of the dead man ; for the jealousy, as it turned out, was needless, the supposed engagement being a fiction, and, in fact, rendered impossible by the man's secret marriage. The son of the murderer (for so he thinks himself) has meanwhile fallen in love with the daughter of the murdered. This is the com- plication which Mrs. Lysaght works out in her story. This story we shall not attempt to pursue any further. It must suffice to say that it is powerfully told, and that the expedient called in to disentangle the web is as about as good as could be expected, though it is certainly a little hackneyed. Apart from its merits as a story, Sealed Orders showy, with its pure style and general fullness of thought, no small literary excellence.