7 OCTOBER 1882, Page 21

Cobwe'R. 3 vols. By Mabel Collins, ' (Tinsley Brothers.)—Ac- cording

to a prevalent and misleading practice, Mrs. Collins has col- lected several stories, long and short, into three volumes, and pub- lished them under a title which gives no sign of the contents of the book. This is likely to annoy novel-readers ; but the blame, if any, should be given to the publisher, not to the author. As to the stories themselves, they are pleasantly-written magazine tales, which treat rather too exclusively of the stage, artists, and literary people, who are much in vogue with novelists now-a-days. Of course, it is a great assistance to a writer to choose characters whose occu- pations get them an attention which would not be given to people following the ordinary modes of life, but unless there is some grasp of personality, the outer barbarian soon wearies of picturesque painters and fashionable actors. Mrs. Collins's plan is to sot the artistic folk in danger of violating some of the wonderful rules of those peculiar people who speak of themselves as " Society," and she succeeds by her ingenuity in arousing more interest in the reader than was to be expected from the flimsiness of her materials. These stories, like many others of recent publication, are important, as showing to what extent the desire for position and social pro-eminence is spreading ; and what is curious, how strong this desire is among women. This will be a recommendation to the ladies who stay at home and read, and in Mrs. Collins's stories they will get something batter than what they are accustomed to.