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courtesy. Evan, who was esteemed a wag among the mountain fair, advanced, as if to secure a similar favour; but Alice, snatching up her basket, escaped up the rocky bank as fleetly as a deer, and, turning round and laughing, called something out to him in Gaelic, which he answered in the same tone and language; then waving her hand to Edward, she resumed her road, and was soon lost among the thickets, though they continued for some time to hear her lively carol, as she proceeded gaily on her solitary journey."- Vol. I. p. 240-270.

GENERAL EXCELLENCE.

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AUTHOR UNKNOWN.

The gay scenes of the Adventurer's court-the breaking up of his army from Edinburgh-the battle of Preston - and the whole process of his disastrous advance and retreat from the English provinces, are given with the greatest brilliancy and effect-as well as the scenes of internal disorder and rising disunion that prevailed in his scanty army-the quarrel with Fergus— and the mystical visions by which that devoted chieftain foresees his disastrous fate. The lower scenes again with Mrs. Flockhart, Mrs. Nosebag, Callum-Beg, and the Cumberland peasants, though to some fastidious readers they may appear coarse and disgusting, are painted with a force and a truth to nature, which equally bespeak the of the artist, and are incomparably superior to any thing of the sort which has been offered to the public for the last "sixty years." There are also various copies of verses scattered through the work, which indicate poetical talents of no ordinary description-though bearing, perhaps still more distinctly than the prose, the traces of considerable carelessness and haste.

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The worst part of the book by far is that portion of the first volume which contains the history of the hero's residence in England-and next to it is the laborious, tardy, and obscure explanation of some puzzling occurrences in the story, which the reader would, in general, be much better pleased to be permitted to forget-and which are neither well explained after all, nor at all worth explaining.

There has been much speculation, at least in this quarter of the island, about the authorship of this singular performance--and certainly it is not easy to conjecture why it is still anonymous. -Judging by in

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WAVERLEY – SPECULATIONS AS TO AUTHORSHIP.

ternal evidence, to which alone we pretend to have access, we should not scruple to ascribe it to the highest of those authors to whom it has been assigned by the sagacious conjectures of the public;-and this at least we will venture to say, that if it be indeed the work of an author hitherto unknown, Mr. Scott would do well to look to his laurels, and to rouse himself for a sturdier competition than any he has yet had to encounter!

TALES OF MY LANDLORD.

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(MARCH, 1817.)

Tales of My Landlord, collected and arranged by Jedediah Cleishbotham, Schoolmaster and Parish Clerk of the Parish of Gandercleugh. 4 vols. 12mo. Edinburgh, 1816.

THIS, we think, is beyond all question a new coinage from the mint which produced Waverley, Guy Mannering, and the Antiquary:- For though it does not bear the legend and superscription of the Master on the face of the pieces, there is no mistaking either the quality of the metal or the execution of the die-and even the private mark, we doubt not, may be seen plain enough, by those who know how to look for it. It is quite impossible to read ten pages of this work, in short, without feeling that it belongs to the same school with those very remarkable productions; and no one who has any knowledge of nature, or of art, will ever doubt that it is an original. The very identity of the leading characters in the whole set of stories, is a stronger proof, perhaps, that those of the last series are not copied from the former, than even the freshness and freedom of the draperies with which they are now invested--or the ease and spirit of the new groups into which they are here combined. No imitator would have ventured so near his originals, and yet come off so entirely clear of them: And we are only the more assured that the old acquaintances we continually recognise in these volumes, are really the persons they pretend to be, and no false mimics, that we recollect so perfectly to have seen them before,—or at least to have been familiar with some of their near relations!

We have often been astonished at the quantity of talent of invention, observation, and knowledge of character, as well as of spirited and graceful composition, that may be found in those works of fiction in our lan

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NOVELS BETTER THAN EPICS,

guage, which are generally regarded as among the lower productions of our literature,-upon which no great pains is understood to be bestowed, and which are seldom regarded as titles to a permanent reputation. If Novels, however, are not fated to last as long as Epic poems, they are at least a great deal more popular in their season; and, slight as their structure, and imperfect as their finishing may often be thought in comparison, we have no hesitation in saying, that the better specimens of the art are incomparably more entertaining, and considerably more instructive. The great objection to them, indeed, is, that they are too entertaining-and are so pleasant in the reading, as to be apt to produce a disrelish for other kinds of reading, which may be more necessary, and can in no way be made so agreeable. Neither science nor authentic history, nor political nor professional instruction, can be rightly conveyed, we fear, in a pleasant tale; and, therefore, all those things are in danger of appearing dull and uninteresting to the votaries of these more seductive studies. Among the most popular of these popular productions that have appeared in our times, we must rank the works to which we have just alluded; and we do not hesitate to say, that they are well entitled to that distinction. They are indeed, in many respects, very extraordinary performancesthough in nothing more extraordinary than in having remained so long unclaimed. There is no name, we think, in our literature, to which they would not add lustre and lustre, too, of a very enviable kind; for they not only show great talent, but infinite good sense and good nature, a more vigorous and wide-reaching intellect than is often displayed in novels, and a more powerful fancy, and a deeper sympathy with various passion, than is often combined with such strength of understanding.

The author, whoever he is, has a truly graphic and creative power in the invention and delineation of characters which he sketches with an ease, and colours with a brilliancy, and scatters about with a profusion, which reminds us of Shakespeare himself. Yet with all

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AND THESE NOVELS BETTER THAN ANY OTHER. 47

this force and felicity in the representation of living agents, he has the eye of a poet for all the striking aspects of external nature; and usually contrives, both in his scenery and in the groups with which it is enlivened, to combine the picturesque with the natural, with a grace that has rarely been attained by artists so copious and rapid. His narrative, in this way, is kept constantly full of life, variety, and colour; and is so interspersed with glowing descriptions, and lively allusions, and flying traits of sagacity and pathos, as not only to keep our attention continually awake, but to afford a pleasing exercise to most of our other faculties. The prevailing tone is very gay and pleasant; but the author's most remarkable, and, perhaps, his most delightful talent, is that of representing kindness of heart in union with lightness of spirits and great simplicity of character, and of blending the expression of warm and generous and exalted affections with scenes and persons that are in themselves both lowly and ludicrous. This gift he shares with his illustrious countryman Burns-as he does many of the other qualities we have mentioned with another living poet,-who is only inferior, perhaps, in that to which we have last alluded. It is very honourable indeed, we think, both to the author, and to the readers among whom he is so extremely popular, that the great interest of his pieces is for the most part a Moral interest-that the concern we take in his favourite characters is less on account of their adventures than of their amiableness-and that the great charm of his works is derived from the kindness of heart, the capacity of generous emotions, and the lights of native taste which he ascribes, so lavishly, and at the same time with such an air of truth and familiarity, even to the humblest of these favourites. With all his relish for the ridiculous, accordingly, there is no tone of misanthropy, or even of sarcasm, in his representations; but, on the contrary, a great indulgence and relenting even towards those who are to be the objects of our disapprobation. There is no keen or cold-blooded satireno bitterness of heart, or fierceness of resentment, in

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