REVIEWS OF BOOKS.
"From Franklin to Nansen"— Tales of Arctic Adventure retold by G. Firth Scott; James Bowden. London. — Mr. Scott was for some years an Australian journalist, and
he is now gradually climbing the ladder of literary fame in the metropolis of the world. This work, however, has little ori- ginality about it, and could not have in the circumstances of its publication. It is simply a boiling-down of the history of Arctic exploration; but it is done as a capable journalist alone could do it, and the infor- mation is brought right up to last year. So far as we have been able to test it, it is an accurate compilation, and as such would be useful for institutes and other libraries, not merely as a book of reference, but on account of the human interest which is roused by every page of the volume. How the time flies! The reports of the Franklin Relief Expedition seem quite fresh reading even to-day, and yet Sir John Franklin died on June 11, 1847. Almost the last message of which he was conscious was the assurance of the success of the work in which he had been engaged. The man died — his achievements remain the inheritance of his fellows; and so the world wags. ''Negro Nobodies,' by Noel de Montag nac; T. Fisher Unwin, London. — The Overseas Library has given to the reading public many a manuscript which might otherwise had been denied to them to their loss. ''Negro Nobodies'' is a welcome little production. It deals with the black inhabi tants of Jamaica, West Indies, of whom the -author has a high opinion, lie says: — 'They are people who, having had few ad vantages, are yet surprisingly clever wit'i words, who think and feel, and who ara cer tainly not to be despised. They are th.; people of whom the tourist has been kind enough to write, but of whom he know nothing; they are the people who had been, and arc still, misunderstood— who, how ever, more sincerely love their Queen ; who, when all things are considered, more truly serve their God?'' Mr. 3IontagnMC has successfully grappled with the dialect, and has shown in a set of nine lively atones that the negro nobodies of Jamaica are a people full of intense hu mour and human nature. 'Famous Trials of the Century,' by J. B. Atlay, M.A., barrister-at-law; Grant Richards's Colonial Library. — The century is being written up in a hundred and one different departments, and the above is one whish ^Jr. Atlay has ably taken in h;md. The task is uct easy, because the '? State Trials break off short in the year 1820, and the criminal annals of the nexi SO years re main for the most part buried in the files of the daily Press. The author says: — ''I have written neither for the school room nor the law student, and my object has been to show tliat the drama of real life does not fall behind the boldest imaginative eli'orts of the detective novelist. The se lection lias been1 purely arbitrary, and should any measure of encouragement be aTorded to the ?writer there remains a rich haivest cf stories ripe for the telling.' ilr. Atlay has proved himself to be a mo del law reporter. In eight, of the mast re markable criminal trials cf the past hun dred years he has preseut^-a his story in a style that could only be expected in nut ters of fiction, a:id never once is the reader reminded that there is such a thing as dry-as-dus;: law. 'ihe history of the cases is followed by a judiciously pruned account of the Court proceedings, in which we are introduced i-j many ci the most eminent of English Judges and lawyers in some of their greatest itriumpJLs and fail ures. The book deals with the Gill's Hill tragedy, which stirred the people of Eng land in 1823: the case of Burke and Hare, who throttled It) people in Scotland, and sold the bodies to a doctor lor ^dissecting purposes; the murder of Lord Jolin Russell by his valet, a sad .miscarriage of justice resulting in the transportation of William Henry Jiarber, a rising London solicitor; the trial of the beautiful Madeline Smith on a charge of having poisoned her lover; the Road Mystery, in which a sixteenyear old giri butchered her young brother; the case of Dr. Pritchard, the inhuman woman poisoner; and the historical Tichborne trial. The lasit-named takes up JhaJf of the book, and the author needlessly apologizes for the disproportionate space it occupies, lie point's out that, though a most interest ing aud accurate version of the Tichbcrne matter is to be found in French, there has been, ito the best of IlLs knowledge, no at tempr. inude in England to give any cohe rent and continuous account of Arthur Or ton's monstrous imposture. Mr. Atlay has shown admirable judgment in reducing to reasonable proportions, without sacrific ing one salient point, the history of this re markable and inordinately long case. No mention is made of the enquiry which has just been concluded in New South Wales with respect to the lunatic William Cress well, who has been put forward as the lost Sir Rojer. A perusal of Mr. Atlay 's history of tbe Tichborne case leaves no doubt iii the mind of the reader that the missing Baronet met with a watery grave, with the rest of these on board the Bella. : ?- : 'i'iinious Trials of the Century' are more interesting th;\n the exploits of Sherlock Flolmes, because they are dramas of real life. We shall be surprised if Mr. Atlav does not receive the encouragement he nfsds before publishing more of the rich harvest of criminal stories that remain to be told. 'Miscellaneous Reviews. — Longmans, Green. £ Co., London, have sent us a copy of a new ifsue- of ''The World's De sire,' bv H. Rider Haggard and Andrew Long. This book, wihieh contains some tint writing as well as the recital of many mov ing incidents, was first published in Lon don in ISi'O, and has been reproduced since in various forms. Mr. Andrew Lang being one of its authors, its ethnology is naturally strong: and Mr. Haggard being the other, there is no lack of bloodshed.— Through Mr. W. C. Rigby we have received reprints in attractive paper covers of Max Ad-eler's 'Out of the iiurly-buily' and Iltiwley Smart's 'From Post to iinish.'' Both lit tle volumes are remarkably cheap anil yet comely. They are published by Wa'rd, Lock, & Co., London, who have also for warded Whyte Melville's 'Sataneila,' the latest o£ their new edition of that attrac tive writer's novels, which are so well known as net to require recommendation. From the same source has come to us 'Australian Wonderland— a Fairy Chain, by A. A. B. and Helumac, illustrated by Louise M. Glazier. The authors evidently know how to arrest and hold the interest of the little folk, who are the real masters as well as the idols of our households, and we have nothing but words of praise for this latest juvenile work with distinctively Australian characteristics. Certainly, for its thorough appreciation a vivid ima gination is lieeded, but all things are possible, and even natural in the domain of the fairies!— Two volumes of Macmillan's Library of Eng lbh classics have reached us— one, Bacon's essays 'Colours of Good and Evil and the Advancement of Learning,' and the se cond, 'The Plays of Richard Brinsley She ridan '* The idea of the publishers is to issue reprints of the various standarjj works of English literature in large type and at a comparatively cheap price. The books are not to contain any new matter, but the purpose is to present typographic ally perfect reproductions of the best exist ing texts. In deciding the question, 'which is the best edition to republisli?' tiiiey have secured the guidance of Mr. Pollard,' Hon. Secretary of the Bibliographical Society; and it they should continue the enterprise as they have begun it the experiment should be crowned with success. — 'Points, Parables, and Pictures: New Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, and Platform Speakers,' hy the Rev. H. O. Mackey; John Bowden, London.— The compiler of this work is also the author of 'One Thou sand New Illustrations,' a bock which has had a remarkably successful career from the day oi its first appearance. The best that can bo said is that this sm;uel is worthy of its predecessor. The illustrations are apt, even if some people in the commu nity will object to the reprinting of Car lyle's dictum — ''Journalists are now the true kings and clergy.' The volume is well furnished with subject and textual indices; it is not only a rich storehouse, but a ia positnry with keys available to every one, so that whoso wills may enter it and take such treasures as he wants. 'She Walks in Beauty,' by Ivatnerine Ty nan: MaeMillan &. Co., iarougii W. C. Rig by. — This cheery ytory carries one hick to the methods of twenty years ago. There is no attempt at writing up anything like real life. We find ourselves with thos; beautiful penniless young ladies, who, after small love troubles, end up with Dukes and Earls for husbands, haying incidentally received for tunes from old maids or unexpected deaths. The scene is laid in Ireland, which gives to the authoress a chance to introduce amusing scenes, and tha first chapters are bright arid full of Hibernian untidiness and high spirits. The men are also conventional types — either very bad or unnaturally good; but the bad die, the good come into their own, and everything ends in an unnatural glow of happiness; so it does not very much matter how ?wretched some of them were. The authoress misses a chance with her London scenes. Surely any one so bright as Pamela is represented to be would have risen a 'little to the occasion, and not have been so utterly cowed and dowdy! Quaint old customs still survive in many parts of Enghnd. In Ely Place, Hoiborn, a 'watchman cries the hours nightly with the same for.nufci' in use tor centuries past. 'Past i o'clock, and a cold wet morning.'