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ITS CHARM AND CHARACTER.

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unskilfully written composed, one half of it, in a dialect unintelligible to four-fifths of the reading population of the country-relating to a period too recent to be romantic, and too far gone by to be familiar-and published, moreover, in a quarter of the island where materials and talents for novel-writing have been supposed to be equally wanting: And yet, by the mere force and truth and vivacity of its colouring, already casting the whole tribe of ordinary novels into the shade, and taking its place rather with the most popular of our modern poems, than with the rubbish of provincial romances.

The secret of this success, we take it, is merely that the author is a man of Genius; and that he has, notwithstanding, had virtue enough to be true to Nature throughout; and to content himself, even in the marvellous parts of his story, with copying from actual existences, rather than from the phantasms of his own imagination. The charm which this communicates to all works that deal in the representation of human actions and character, is more readily felt than understood; and operates with unfailing efficacy even upon those who have no acquaintance with the originals from which the picture has been borrowed. It requires no ordinary talent, indeed, to choose such realities as may outshine the bright imaginations of the inventive, and so to combine them as to produce the most advantageous effect; but when this is once accomplished, the result is sure to be something more firm, impressive, and engaging, than can ever be produced by mere fiction.

The object of the work before us, was evidently to

the authorship was yet undivulged, and before the rapid accumulation of its glories had forced on the dullest spectator a sense of its magnitude and power. I may venture perhaps also to add, that some of the general speculations of which these reviews suggested the occasion, may probably be found as well worth preserving as most of those which have been elsewhere embodied in this experimental, and somewhat hazardous, publication.

Though living in familiar intercourse with Sir Walter, I need scarcely say that I was not in the secret of his authorship; and in truth had no assurance of the fact, till the time of its public promulgation,

VOL. III.

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WAVERLEY-A GALLERY OF SCOTTISH PORTRAITS,

present a faithful and animated picture of the manners and state of society that prevailed in this northern part of the island, in the earlier part of last century; and the author has judiciously fixed upon the era of the Rebellion in 1745, not only as enriching his pages with the interest inseparably attached to the narration of such occurrences, but as affording a fair opportunity for bringing out all the contrasted principles and habits which distinguished the different classes of persons who then divided the country, and formed among them the basis of almost all that was peculiar in the national character. That unfortunate contention brought conspicuously to light, and, for the last time, the fading image of feudal chivalry in the mountains, and vulgar fanaticism in the plains; and startled the more polished parts of the land with the wild but brilliant picture of the devoted valour, incorruptible fidelity, patriarchal brotherhood, and savage habits, of the Celtic Clans, on the one hand, and the dark, intractable and domineering bigotry of the Covenanters on the other. Both aspects of society had indeed been formerly prevalent in other parts of the country,—but had there been so long superseded by more peaceable habits, and milder manners, that their vestiges were almost effaced, and their very memory nearly extinguished. The feudal principalities had been destroyed in the South, for near 300 years, —and the dominion of the Puritans from the time of the Restoration. When the glens, and banded clans, of the central Highlands, therefore, were opened up to the gaze of the English, in the course of that insurrection, it seemed as if they were carried back to the days of the Heptarchy;-and when they saw the array of the West country Whigs, they might imagine themselves transported to the age of Cromwell. The effect, indeed, is almost as startling at the present moment; and one great source of the interest which the volumes before us undoubtedly possess, is to be sought in the surprise that is excited by discovering, that in our own country, and almost in our own age, manners and characters existed, and were conspicuous, which we had been accustomed

AND EVIDENTLY PAINTED FROM LIFE.

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to consider as belonging to remote antiquity, or extravagant romance.

The way in which they are here represented must satisfy every reader, we think, by an inward tact and conviction, that the delineation has been made from actual experience and observation; - experience and observation employed perhaps only on a few surviving relics and specimens of what was familiar a little earlier, - but generalised from instances sufficiently numerous and complete, to warrant all that may have been added to the portrait: - And, indeed, the existing records and vestiges of the more extraordinary parts of the representation are still sufficiently abundant, to satisfy all who have the means of consulting them, as to the perfect accuracy of the picture. The great traits of Clannish dependence, pride, and fidelity, may still be detected in many districts of the Highlands, though they do not now adhere to the chieftains when they mingle in general society; and the existing contentions of Burghers, and Antiburghers, and Cameronians, though shrunk into comparative insignificance, and left, indeed, without protection to the ridicule of the profane, may still be referred to, as complete verifications of all that is here stated about Gifted Gilfillan, or Ebenezer Cruickshank. The traits of Scottish national character in the lower ranks, can still less be regarded as antiquated or traditional; nor is there any thing in the whole compass of the work which gives us a stronger impression of the nice observation and graphical talent of the author, than the extraordinary fidelity and felicity with which all the inferior agents in the story are represented. No one who has not lived extensively among the lower orders of all descriptions, and made himself familiar with their various tempers and dialects, can perceive the full merit of those rapid and characteristic sketches; but it requires only a general knowledge of human nature, to feel that they must be faithful copies from known originals; and to be aware of the extraordinary facility and flexibility of hand which has touched, for instance, with such discriminating shades, the various gradations of the Celtic character,

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from the savage imperturbability of Dugald Mahony, who stalks grimly about with his battle-axe on his shoulder, without speaking a word to any one,-to the lively unprincipled activity of Callum Beg, - the coarse unreflecting hardihood and heroism of Evan Maccombich, -and the pride, gallantry, elegance, and ambition of Fergus himself. In the lower class of the Lowland characters, again, the vulgarity of Mrs. Flockhart and of Lieutenant Jinker is perfectly distinct and original; as well as the puritanism of Gilfillan and Cruickshank the atrocity of Mrs. Mucklewrath and the slow solemnity of Alexander Saunderson. The Baron of Bradwardine, and Baillie Macwheeble, are caricatures no doubt, after the fashion of the caricatures in the novels of Smollett, or pictures, at the best, of individuals who must always have been unique and extraordinary: but almost all the other personages in the history are fair representatives of classes that are still existing, or may be remembered at least to have existed, by many whose recollections do not extend quite so far back as to the year 1745.

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WAVERLEY- OUTLINE OF STORY.

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Waverley is the representative of an old and opulent Jacobite family in the centre of England-educated at home in an irregular manner, and living, till the age of majority, mostly in the retirement of his paternal mansion-where he reads poetry, feeds his fancy with romantic musings, and acquires amiable dispositions, and something of a contemplative, passive, and undecided character. All the English adherents of the abdicated family having renounced any serious hopes of their cause long before the year 1745, the guardians of young Waverley were induced, in that celebrated year, to allow him to enter into the army, as the nation was then engaged in foreign war-and a passion for military glory had always been characteristic of his line. He obtains a commission, accordingly, in a regiment of horse, then stationed in Scotland, and proceeds forthwith to headquarters. Cosmo Comyne Bradwardine, Esq., of TullyVeolan in Perthshire, had been an antient friend of the house of Waverley, and had been enabled, by their

BARON OF BRADWARDINE.

FERGUS VICH IAN VOHR. 37

good offices, to get over a very awkward rencontre with the King's Attorney-General soon after the year 1715. The young heir was accordingly furnished with credentials to this faithful ally; and took an early opportunity of paying his respects at the antient mansion of TullyVeolan. The house and its inhabitants, and their way of life, are admirably described. The Baron himself had been bred a lawyer; and was, by choice, a diligent reader of the Latin classics. His profession, however, was that of arms; and having served several campaigns on the Continent, he had superadded, to the pedantry and jargon of his forensic and academical studies, the technical slang of a German martinet-and a sprinkling of the coxcombry of a French mousquetaire. He was, moreover, prodigiously proud of his ancestry; and, with all his peculiarities, which, to say the truth, are rather more than can be decently accumulated in one character, was a most honourable, valiant, and friendly person. He had one fair daughter, and no more-who was gentle, feminine, and affectionate. Waverley, though struck at first with the strange manners of this northern baron, is at length domesticated in the family; and is led, by curiosity, to pay a visit to the cave of a famous Highland robber or freebooter, from which he is conducted to the castle of a neighbouring chieftain, and sees the Highland life in all its barbarous but captivating characters. This chief is Fergus Vich Ian Vohr- a gallant and ambitious youth, zealously attached to the cause of the exiled family, and busy, at the moment, in fomenting the insurrection, by which his sanguine spirit never doubted that their restoration was to be effected. He has a sister still more enthusiastically devoted to the same causerecently returned from a residence at the Court of France, and dazzling the romantic imagination of Waverley not less by the exaltation of her sentiments, than his eyes by her elegance and beauty. While he lingers in this perilous retreat, he is suddenly deprived of his commission, in consequence of some misunderstandings and misrepresentations which it is unnecessary to detail; and in the first heat of his indignation, is almost tempted

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