5 NOVEMBER 1870, Page 24

repulsive, about Mr. Fitzgerald's novels. But his earlier works had

a certain force about them, which has of late been rapidly diminishing, and which now is reduced almost to nothing. There is some cleverness cer- tainly in the extreme ingenuity with which material very near indeed to nothing at all is spun out, but our admiration for this is soon exhausted, and then the emptiness of the whole thing is utterly wearisome. Beauty Talbot is an empty-headed, shallow-hearted fop, with some artistic tastes which do not imply much culture, but give him a sort of superficial attractiveness. About this creature certain women have a great battle ; and the interest of the story, such as it is, consists in the suspense in which the reader is kept whether the lawful wife will retain him or the rival carry him off. There is no question of his going off ; and certainly the utter feebleness of the man, enlivened only by a certain spiteful obstinacy, is given with some ability. And then we see how the daughter, a very insipid ingenue, comes in and helps the right side. She, too, has a lover who promises to be as great a fool as " Beauty " himself. Altogether the drama is a very dreary affair,—petty actors, petty interests, and next to no plot.