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BOOK NOTICES., Issue 7922, 1 June 1889, Supplement
Daphne'* Daring : a Love Story. By Mrs A. Phillips. Joseph Hughes, Loudon; James Horsburgh, Dunedin,
Love stories, when well told, are always attractive. In all time they have formed themes for the poet, the dramatist, and the novelist. They have been popularised by minstrels, and formed the favorite themes of old story-tellers. Even tho Bible itself has its novelettes, which form attractive illustrations of phases of life and the state of society in remote ages. In our day the Press teems with love stories, and, multitudinous as they arc, they are like the human race-diverse from each other, having nothing in common but the one great passion, in its never - ending variety of development. We may travestie Shakespeare’s line, and say “This one great passion makes the world akin.” Mrs Phillips is not unknown as a novelist. Her style in 1 Daphne’s Daring ' is simple and almost minutely analytic of the human mind. The story is one of every day English life in an English country town, and the main features of the incidents could be easily paralleled in many families: A well-to-do father and mother living happily, in a close neighborhood, with married sons and daughters and one youngest girl, beautiful, amiable, petted by all her relations, with whom her mother has made up her mind not to part. This girl is Daphne, who falls in love with a worthy man, a comparative stranger, who has had adventures in foreign parts. These are distorted by a jealous female rival, reported to Daphne’s parents, and lead to the refusal of his offer by them. It is, however, a love story, and passion masters. She elopes with her lover, marries him, and the usual family confusion results. Each, according to character, takes part in tho affair, condemning, excusing, or approving the young lady’s conduct, which, however, is more than justified by the result. Tho work, as a novel, may be considered a scries of studies from life.
Thomas Wing/old, Curate. By George M'Donald, LL D. Kegan Paul and Co., Loudon ; James Horsburgh, Dunedin.
The modern novel is assuming a most important position in science as well as literature. Gradually it has dawned upon the world that to render learning pleasant to the masses it must not only be written in language stripped of what may bo aptly termed tho jargon of science, but interwoven with illustrations pertinent to tho subject and easily applied. In this respect we are not sure that Dr M'Donald always succeeds where tho exposition of abstractions is attempted. The scholar is to write in tho language in which he thinks and reasons, and occasionally seems to forget that everybody has not an addition of LL.D, to his name. This, however, is hardly a drawback, when the position and literary training of the persons whose portraiture he depicts is considered, and seems only the natural style suited to them. The construction or plot of this remarkable novel is peculiar. Four persons of varied characters are introduced at once to tho reader’s notice. Not one has anything attractive, though each differs essentially from the others. The heroine, Helen Lingard, rich and healthy, takes life easily, and never troubles herself to think. Her life has been almost without incident. She is passionless save towards a brother, who, however, makes his appearance when the story is far advanced. Being an orphan, sho has from her infancy or childhood lived with her aunt—Mrs Ramshorn, a widow, disgusted with the world, very cynical, and not at all agreeable. Her nephew is a barrister-at-law, dogmatic in his deportment and conversation, contemptuous of the feelings and acquirements of others, and a confirmed Atheist, who thinks it his mission to ridicule and undermine the faith of every Christian with whom he comes in contact. Wc have seen his counterpart even in the colonics, sneering in his self-felt superiority over the ignorant crowd about him, and especially at the curate, Thomas VVingfold. This is the hero of the novel, on whom chief interest centres. II eis represented as having entered into orders as a profession, without an idea of its responsibilities, and even without sufficient knowledge of Christian truth to compose his own sermons. His teaching was confined to a due performance of tho ritual of tho church: his knowledge of Christian truth formal, his faith— nil. Weak in purpose, ho is led to doubt by tho dogmatic denunciations of the legally-trained Bascomho.
These four, on their first introduction to the reader, form so uninteresting a group that tho first impulse is to close the hook with tho idea that it would bo waste of time and patience to follow their fortunes, The next thought would probably be : How is it possible to construct an interesting story from (uch a dull set of characters ? Yet Dr M'Donald has achieved that most apparently difficult literary feat. Hehasnot only related a deeply interesting narrative, but In tracing the history of tho gradual preparation of the curate for tho true work of the ministry he has met the theological difficulties so constantly reiterated by unbelievers. It is, in fact, more a treatise on theology in a practical form than a novel regarded as a love story. This is the way in which the heroine dismisses her infidel cousin and suitor : “ You need no God,” she went on, “ therefore you seek none. If you need none, you are right to seek none, I daresay. But I need a God. Oh ! I cannot toll how I need Him, if He is to be found ! and by tho same reasoning I will give my life to tho search for Him. To tho last I will go on seeking Him ; for once I give in and confess there is no God, I shall go mad—mad, and, perhaps, kill somebody like poor Poldre (her brother). George, I have said my say. I would not have come into tho garden, but to say it. Good-bye.” Here virtually ends the hook—no wedding—the infidel and the Christian separate. The volume is one of ‘ Tho Indian and Colonial Series ’ enclosed in the ornamental uniform of the series.
BOOK NOTICES., Issue 7922, 1 June 1889, Supplement
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