9 FEBRUARY 1867, Page 20

Jessie's Expiation. By Oswald Boyle. (Tinsley.)—We do not remem- ber

Mr. Boyle's name as a novelist, and if this is a first attempt, he will probably yet produce a really good pleasant novel of society. Even this is readable, full of natural dialogue and of half finished sketches ei characters, in which, under the blur of the rubber, the patient spectator may catch likenesses. But the plot is exasperatingly unreal, more like a chapter from the Mysteries of London than any work of art.. Iniagine a Peer quietly instructing a burglar how to rob the friend in whose house he is staying, and submitting to be nearly throttled in order to use the burglar and his companions as instruments in an abduction; then allowing the girl to defy him, and then committing perjury to condemn his agents to penal servitude! Incidents of that kind, narrated in the most matter-of-course style, as occurring since penal servitude was invented, simply indispose the reader to accept what is really good; a great number of half done sketches, such as the one of Percy Carryng- ton, the dependent gentleman who yet is a gentleman, and therefore independent ; of Godiva Underhill, the wife who loves admiration fill even her friends suspect her character, and the author could scar:161y tell whether he meant her to be virtuous or the reverse ; of Atwell Underhill, the lazy, dilettante member of a high mercantile family; of that family as a whole ; and of Gertrude Blessington, the London beauty, with her unspoiled heart, high spirit, and habit of worldly preachiness. If Mr. Boyle will make his next story even reasonably probable, we think we may predict him a success, which his prepos- terous plot has this time frustrated.