8 MAY 1886, Page 23

In a Silver Sea. By B. L. Farjeon. 3 vols.

(Ward and Downey.) —Mr. Farjeon scarcely succeeds in making his story as effective as he would wish. That there is something unreal about it ought, perhaps, to be no objection to what is obviously romance ; but the unreality somehow intrudes itself upon the reader. He cannot help asking himself where this "silver isle" may be that is within a short day's sail of England, and is the abode of each primitive virtue. The reports of travellers to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man do not enable us to identify it with either the one or the other. And the dwarf, again—hideous, misanthropic, but beneficent—perplexes us. We may accept his moral qualities, but his physical capabilities severely try our faith. Even in a romance we are not prepared for a creature who, falling over a precipice arrests himself, after a descent of 1,000 feet, by catching hold of a tree. He must have been moving, says science, at abont the rate of 240 feet per second,—say three times as fast as an express train. After this, we may neglect the marvel of the gentleman who, after a rapier has "found its way to his heart," on p. 236 of the third volume goes on talking through seven pages, and finally throws himself over the side of a cliff. Some- thing less ambitions would have been more successful. The story is powerfully conceived, and some scones are given with great vigour of description. No reader, we venture to say, who has taken up In a Silver Sea, will easily lay it down. On the other hand, few, we are not less confident, will not put it below the author's "Great Porter Square." The somewhat dingy colours of that picture were at least genuine and natural; and these qualities are sometimes sadly wanting in Mr. Farjeon's last effort.