9 FEBRUARY 1867, Page 20

The Love that Kills. By the Author of The Wife's

Evidence- (Tinsley Brothers.)—Mr. Wills can do and has done much better than this. He has, he says in his preface, a double object—to describe love. tainted with jealousy and sharpened by mental disease into insanity, and to describe the causes of Irish distress as they ripened into the' Rebellion of 1818. The latter he has done passably, though he does not leave Carleton's impression on the mind ; but in the former he has, we- think, failed. He has given a painful description of a madman in love, but if, as we take it, the speciality of madness is not merely exaggera- tion, but the deduction of possible results from unreal promisees, his. picture is by no means accurate. What Clayton writes in his diary is. sometimes striking, but no sane man has the moans of testing whether it is truly descriptive, and unless rigidly true, the whole analysis pro- duces pain without any possibility of benefit. The impulses of a man with a shattered skull are scarcely subjects for art, least of all in fiction, where the assumption of insanity simply releases the author from the- laws of probability. Of course there is powerful writing in the book,. for Mr. Wills can always use the word which best expresses his thought, and his thoughts are usually clear ; but we fail after reading his three, volumes to trace the precise relation between the hero and the second heroine, the most interesting person in the story, and shut it with a sigh of dissatisfaction, certain only that its author's great power of exciting. gloomy thought and our own time have been partially wasted.