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A Historical Romance.
WHEN E.V. Timms produced his "Cripple in Black" he showed that a new master of the historical novel had burst upon the world of
literature, and his later works have more than justified the good opinion then formed. "Whitehall" followed "The Cripple," and proved to be one of those books you do not want to lay aside until the last page—as one re viewer put it. Even more absorbing is "Alicia Deane," the author's last pro duction. It is seldom that a story runs with such sustained interest from cover to cover as this. Alicia Deane Is a young gentlewoman of the West of England who is devotedly loved by a young man who is inferior to her in station but not in birth. Playmates in childhood, as they grow older they drift apart, and on reaching young womanhood Alicia scorns her humble • suitor and loses no opportunity of spurning him in public whenever they meet. The story is laid in the harsh period of King James, whose austerity stood out in strong contrast with the light-hearted and pleasure-seeking characteristics of his predecessor, Charles 11. It was the day of the in famous Judge Jeffries,- perhaps the blackest character that ever disgraced the name of justice in England, and whose "Bloody Assizes" furnish one.of
the worst chapters in English history. To be brief, Alicia's father becomes involved in the intrigue which develop ed into the Monmouth rebellion, and is betrayed and left to the tender j mercies of Judge Jeffries, while his property is handed over to a London usurer whose agent has, fallen in love with Alicia, and is to receive the girl as his share of the booty. Alicia be . lieves that the betrayal is due to her old playmate, Roger Chard, and ac cuses him of treachery. The real be trayer is Jthe man. who bought her, and, maddened by her refusal to have anything to do with him, he "moves" Judge Jeffries to sentence both her and Roger to be sold into slavery on the West Indian plantations. By the irony "* of fate they are chained together in the hold of a slave ship, and are thus closely associated throughout the dreadful voyage. Alicia, still believing Roger to be guilty of treachery, and refusing to allow him to explain, treats him most spitefully, in spite of which Roger retains his love for her and saves her from many hard knocks. They fall in with buccaneers en route, and Roger, to save his life in order to be of service to Alicia, joins the pirates and "marries" her in buccaneer fashion to protect her from the captain. The two are separated, and go through many adventures be fore they both eventually find their ' way back to England, and meeting again by accident are reconciled, for Alicia has long discovered that what she thought was hatred for Roger was really love, and, having found out that it was not Roger who betrayed- her father, is plunged into contrition. As all good novelists should, however, the author clears .everything up, and the story ends in sunshine. "Alicia Deane" is published by Messrs. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.