17 APRIL 1880, Page 23

Three Recruits, and the Girls They Left Behind Them. By

Joseph Hatton. 3 vols. (Hurst and BIttokett.)—This novel is, in our judgment, a great advance on anything that we have before seen from Mr. Hatton's pen. The story brings us back to the days, full of interest, indeed;but full of suffering, when England was struggling against Napoleon ; and it is for the Peninsula that the three recruits take service. The career of the villain among the three does not interest us much. That of Oliver North the inventor who, in wrath for his disappointment, flings aside the model to shoulder the musket, is better. But the story of Ensign Wingfield is incom- parably the best. There is real ability in this. The colours are laid on with great delicacy. The young man's character is drawn and shaded with much subtlety. The foolish, selfish lad, who has the narrowest escape of turning into a mere profligate, is made to improve under our eyes in a quite masterly way, as, Heaven be thanked, such lads often do improve under the discipline of life. The denouement of his story, how he repairs the wrong which he has done, is simply and pathetioally told. We congratulate Mr. Hatton heartily on this piece of work,.and hope that he will never fall below the mark which

he has thus set for himself. We may advise him to give up thfif phrase "pull himself together," always odious, and certainly an anachronism in a story of sixty years ago.