It may well be questioned whether the authors of the Wide, Wide World have added to their fame by this new novel. In the first place, the story it tells is one of no marked merit or originality, and the way in which it is told is in the highest degree crabbed and unintelligible. There is such an air of pertness about every one of the speakers, and the story is told almost entirely by means of conversations, that the reader gets the impression that all the characters are referring to jests known only to themselves, as if he were overhearing private conversations. As may be imagined, this scrappy way of writing soon becomes very tiresome from the difficulty the reader has in detecting the hidden meaning of these curt sentences. The book tells the love of Rollo for Wych Hazel, and indulges in gentle satire against parties, round dances, etc. The love-story is made obscure, Rollo's manners are called Spanish, and he is in many ways a peculiar young man. We seem to be dealing much more with notes for a novel than with the completed product.
'None, sir. Mrs. Bywank is there already, and Mrs. Saddler can "forward" me "with care." I'll pick up a new maid by the way.'
'Will you pick up a page too? or does Dingee keep his place?'
'If he can be said to have one. O, Dingee, of course.'
'Wych Hazel,' said Mr. Falkirk from under his brows, 'what is your plan?--if you are capable of such a thing.'
'My plan is to unfold my capabilities, sir,--for your express benefit, Mr. Falkirk. We will beat the bush in every direction, and run down any game that offers.'
Mr. Falkirk turned his chair half away, and looked into the fire. Then slowly, but with every effect of expression, he repeated,--
'A creature bounced from the bush, Which made them all to laugh, "My lord," he cried, "A hare! a hare!" But it proved an Essex calf.'