A Noble Life

By the Author of “John Halifax, Gentleman,” etc. New York : Harper and Brothers. 1866.
THE story of a man born cruelly deformed and infirm, with a body dwarfish, but large enough to hold a good heart and clear brain, — and of such a man’s living many years of pain, happy in the blessings which his great wealth and high rank, and, above all, his noble nature, enable him to confer on every one approaching him, — could hardly have been told more simply and pathetically than it is in this book, but it might certainly have been told more briefly. The one slight incident of the fiction — the marriage of the Earl of Cainforth’s protegee and protectress and clearest friend to his worthless cousin, who, having found out that the heirless Earl will leave her his fortune, wins her heart by deceit, and then does his worst to break it —occurs when the book is half completed, and scarcely suffices to interest, since it is so obvious what the end must be ; while the remaining pages, devoted to study of the Earl’s character, do not develop much that is new in literature or humanity. Still, the story has its charm : it is healthful, unaffected, and hopeful ; and most people will read it through, and be better for having done so.