2 OCTOBER 1880, Page 23

David Armstrong ; or, Before the Dawn. (Blackwood and Son.)—

This is a clever story, in which we are hardly so much interested as we ought to be. This is partly because "Probation" and "Haworth's " have so recently demanded our sympathy for the inventive working- man in hard times and with uncongenial surroundings, that the supply is scanty ; and also because the phases of religion, through which the hero passes, and the spiritual condition of Oldboro' (meaning New- castle, we presume), are brought into too much prominence in the tale. David Armstrong is an admirably-drawn character, and the conclusion of his history is really pathetic ; while the incidental character-sketches are all very good. The author's style is occa- sionally rather crude, and there is more pretence of humour than the genuine quality in the social scenes ; but the book is, on the whole, of much more than average merit.