14 AUGUST 1880, Page 20

The Fair-Haired Aida. By Florence Marryat. (Samuel Tinsley and Co.)—Madame

de Beriot is one of the least deserving young women with whom novel-readers have been called upon to sympa- thise of late. She is even more utterly devoid of delicacy, of prin- ciple, and of good-breeding than the young persons to whom the author of " Cherry Ripe " and its kindred productions does us the favour of introducing us ; and she is likewise unpardonably dull. When a fair-haired Alda avails herself of the delay of a steamer in order to contract a secret marriage at a French seaport with a fasci- nating young drawing-master, and then goes home to her unsuspecting and indulgent parents, to deceive and disappoint them, people of the ordinary sort feel very little compassion for any subsequent trouble into which she may get, and consider her rightly served even by a false accusation of murder. She is distinctly of the order of evil- doers who ought not to escape whipping. Miss Marryat is singularly infelicitous in her choice of heroines; the fair-haired Alda is one of a long series of young women who ought to be, and no doubt would be, carefully avoided by respectable, God-fearing people, in real life, and who are not even amusing acquaintances in the flimsiest of novels.