21 DECEMBER 1867, Page 23

By the Sea Shore : Reveries of a Traveller. By

the Countess de Gasparin. Authorized Translation. (Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas.)—A pleasant, often a picturesque, but not always a genuine record of Italian travel. What we object to is a predominance of effu- sion of the French type, as it has generally an air of unreality about it, and leads us to suspect the presence of insincerity. We do not make any such charge against the Countess de Gasparin, but her agreeable sketches would bo all the better if they were not pitched so high. The description of the efficacy of prayer (p. 49) serves as an instance of this -overstraining. There is, also, something of the same fault in the story of the fisherman who had forgotten the name of Cavour. However, Madame de Gasparin makes amends in the rest of her work. Some of her word-paintings of scenery are admirable. Much dramatic force and truth to nature are shown in the scene with the boys who hoot her and her party at a village on the Riviera. At Genoa, too, she makes us laugh at the mistake of the coachman who is told to take them to a thoroughly good confiseur, and thinks they want a thoroughly good con- fessor. Nor is there any lack of humour in the story of the father who was exhorted by his sisters to starve himself to death in order that he might not be guillotined during the Revolution, and leave his family destitute. But we must leave our readers to consult Madame de Gasparin's book for the rest of the story.