A Novel, by SIDNEY LANIER. New York ; Hurd and Houghton.
IT is plain that Mr. Lanier has taken more Jean Paul than is good for him. He is saturated with Richter, and redolent of him ; and, worse still, he has touches of the musical madness which has in these times afflicted persons of sensibility, and to which we owe “ Charles Auchester ” and all his literary children and grandchildren. Conceive of a pleasant Southern gentleman who builds a country-seat in a cove of the Tennessee River, and calls it Thalberg! Naturally, there comes to live near him, in great seclusion, among the mountains, Ottilie, a German lady who has been betrayed by John Cranston, an American, then visiting the master of Thalberg. At the same time, Riibetsahl, formerly Ottilie’s betrothed, arrives. Surprises, discoveries, developments ; a duel between Rübetsahl and Cranston at a masked ball for love of Felix Sterling of Thalberg, and for revenge of Ottilie. The war of secession occurs at this period ; and all our friends go into the Southern army except wicked John Cranston, who becomes a Federal major. The lord and lady of Thalberg are shot at their own window by a deserter from the Southern army, and Felix and Rübetsahl are finally united at the capitol gates in Richmond, after the Confederates have abandoned the city. It is rather uncertain about Ottilie and Philip Sterling. Cranston goes vaguely to the deuce.
The story is full of the best intentions and some very good performance. The author has a genuine feeling for Southern character, and we sec some original poetry and natural traits in his people, in spite of Richter and music, but as a whole “TigerLilies ” will not do, though we are not sure that Mr. Lanier will not succeed better in time. There is every element of romance in the life of the South, and he has a clear field before him. There are rogues at the North, too, and he need never be at a loss for villains. If only he will write us a good novel, he may paint us as black as he likes.