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and Then? One thing I cannot but it is thus abstinently administered, greatly admire in Yr Warren-be is there is often a great charm in the erer alive to the dignity of his profes. conciseness and unexpectedness. Let sion. Hating law as I do, in all its me esemplify Mr Southey's Doctor. courses, ways, contacts, and conse. There may be, strictly speaking, or quences, and officials, from the Lord rather speaking after the fashion of Chief Justice to the petty constable; novels, but little love-making; there and having a kind of envious dislike are, nevertheless, two little scenes, that to the arrogation to themselves, by are the most touchingly effectire lawyers, of the greater part of the I ever remember to have read. The great profits and emoluments of the one is a scene between cousinscountry; and seeing, besides, that dependent and in poverty, I think, at most men of any station and property Salisbury; the other, the unexpected pay, in their course of life, as much to and brief courtship of Doctor Dove lawyers as in taxes, the one cried-up himself. It is many years since I grievance; yet I confess that Mr read The Doctor, yet these two scenes Warren has put the noble portraiture have often been conjured up, and of the profession, in all its dignity and vividly pictured to my imagination. usefulness, and in its high moral and I doubt if Southey could have told a intellectual acquirements and actions, love-tale in any other way, and few in SO vigorously before me, that I re- any way would have told one so well. cant, and even venerate the profes CURATE.--Those who dwell too sion-against my will, nevertheless. unsparingly on such scenes, and spin
CURATE.- How touching are the out their sentimental tales, and bring early struggles with his poverty, in the loving pair incessantly before the the person of the young physician him- eye, do for the most part the very self! with what fine taste and feeling thing which the nature of the passion of the gentleman and the scholar are forbids. Its whole virtue is in the they written! Perhaps no novel can secrecy. And though the writer often show a more perfectly complete-in-it- supposes a secrecy, by professing himself character than his Gammon, in self only the narrator and not the witwhom is the strange interweaving of ness, yet the reader is not quite satisthe man of taste and sense-even, in fied, seeing that he too is called in to some sense, better feeling-with the look over the wall or behind the hedge; vile and low habits of knavery.
and the virtue he is willing to give the AQUILIUS.-The author differs from lovers is at some expense of his own, most novelists in this, tbat he does for he has a shrewd suspicion that both not make love, by which must be un- he and the writer are little better than derstood love-making or love-pursuing, spies. the subject, but incidental to his sub- AQUILIUS.-Surely you will admit ject. He sets up affection, rather, in something conventional, as you would the niche for his idolatry, Tenderness, the soliloquy on the stage_words and duty linked with it, and made must pass for thoughts. I find a sublime by it, is with him far more greater fault with those kind of nothan the passion," of love. It is vels; they work, as it were, too much life with love, rather than in the chase to a point, beyond which, and out of of it, that we see detailed in trial and which aim, there is no interest. These in power.
I call melodramatic novels, in which CURATE.-It is so; and yet you do the object seems to harrow up or connot, I presume, mean to blame other tinually excite the feelings, to rein authors if they have made “ the pas- the hasty course of curiosity, working sion" their subject. We are only chiefly for the denouement, after bound to the author's choice, be it which there is nothing left but a blank. what it may-love, ambition, or any Curiosity, satisfied, cannot go back ; other—we must have every feature of the threads have all been taken up life, every notice of action, pictured that lead out of the labyrinth-they
AQUILITS.-Surely : but there is a will not conduct you back again. Nomasculine virtue, seeing that the one vels of this kind have greater power, at field has been so decidedly occupied, in first, than any other; but, the effect making it less prominent; and where for which they labour fully produced, the effervescence is over; and though the monumental scene. You are dewe remember them for the delight they sired to look forward, to see them, or have given, we do not return to them. rather to be told of their lying in their Novels of less overstrained incident, shrouds, with their feet, that recently full of a certain naïveté in the descrip- so busily walked the flowery path of tion of men and manners, from which the accomplishment of their hopes, the reader may make inferences and upturned and fixed in the solemn posreferences out of his own knowledge, ture of death. though they will not be read by so AQUILIUS.-Yes, I remember it many, will be read oftener by the well, and being rather nervous, desame persons. Perhaps there is more clined reading Emilia Wyndham, by genius in the greater part of these no. the same author, because I heard it vels, but the writers sacrifice to effect was melancholy, and feared a similar --to immediate effect—too much. conclusion. I agree with you with Cooper's novels are somewhat of this respect to biography: and remember, kind ; and may I venture to say that when a boy, the sickening sensation the Waverley novels, as they are when I read at school the end of Socalled, assume a little more than one crates. I wish biographers would could wish of this character. Authors, know where to stop, and save us the in this respect, are like painters of sad catastrophe. It is strange, that effect-they strike much at first, but you must not read the life of a buffoon become even tiresome by the perma- but you must see his tricks come to an nency of what is, in nature, evanescent. end, and his whole broad farce of life It is too forced for the quietness under suddenly drop down dead in tragedy. which things are both seen and read Whatever may be said of the biotwice. Generally, in such tales, when grapher in his defence, I hold the nothe parties have got well out of their velist inexcusable. troubles, we are content to leave them CURATE.-I should even prefer the at the church door, and not to think drop-scene of novel happiness to come of them afterwards.
quietly down before the accoucheur CURATE.-Novelists, too, seem to and the registrar of births make their think that, by their very title, they appearance. Why should we be told are compelled to seek novelties. I of a nursery of brats—a whole quiverhave to complain of a very bad no. ful, as Lamb says, “ shot out” upon velty. The “ lived together happy you? It is better to take these things for ever after" is not only to be omit for granted. Doubtless it is as true, ted, but these last pages of happiness that the happy couple will occasionally are sadly slurred over; as if the au- suffer-she from nerves, and he under thor was mostly gifted with the mali- dyspepsia ; but we do not see such cious propensity for accumulating matters, nor ought they to be brought trouble upon his favourites, and with forward, although I doubt not the reluctance registered their escape into authors might obtain a very handsome happiness. They do out of choice fee from an advertising doctor for only what biographers do out of necessity, publishing the prescriptions. If they the disagreeable necessity of bio- go on, however, in this absurd way, graphy, and for whichI confess the it is to be feared they will go one step weakness-I dislike it. I do not like further with the biographers, and to come to the " vanitas vanitatum” publish the will, with certificate of
to see the last page contradict and probate and legacy-tax duly paid. make naught of the vitality, the AQUILIUS.- We are not, however, energy, the pursuit, the attainment of as bad as the French. If our novels do years. It is all true enough—as it sometimes require an epitaph at the is-that old men have rheum, but, as end, they do not make death at once Hamlet says, it is villanous to set it a lewd, sentimental, frightful, and sui. down. You have, of course, read that cidal act-and that not as a warning, powerful novel Mount Sorel. You but as a French sublime act. remember the last page-the one be- CURATE.—You have read, then, the fore had been" voti compos "-all Juif Errant. I am not very well were happy; and there it should have acquainted with French novels, but ended. Not a bit of it. Then follows have read some very pretty stories in
the voluminous Balzac, most of which riches of his pencil. There is here were not of a bad tendency. Did you and there, too, a sprinkling of simpleever read the Greek novels Thea- tonianism in a foreign shape, showing genes and Chariclea, and the Loves that all nations have something akin. of Ismenias and Ismene? Being CURATE.-Besides, they have the curious to see how the Thessalonian charm of magic, and a magic which archbishop, who lived in the times of blends very skilfully and harmoniously Manuelis and Alexis Commenus, about with the realities of every-day life. the year 750, would speak the senti. They were evidently composed in a ments of his age on the passion of country where magic was a creed. love, I lately took up his novel, the Could such tales have been ever the " Loves of Ismenias and Ismene." product of this country, so different
AQUILIUS. I know it not; per from any of our "fairy tales ?” though haps you will give me an outline, and perhaps none of ours, those that deselect passages. I have great respect lighted us in our childhood, are of for the old Homeric commentator. English origin. Magic of some kind
CURATE.—I remember a few ten- or other must have been adopted in der passages, and graceful descrip- tale at a very early period. Ulysses' tions of gardens and fountains, and safety girdle, which he was directed that he is not unmindful of his Homer, mysteriously to throw behind him, and for he refers to the gardens of Alcinoüs I believe not to look back, comes unas his model. I confess I am a little doubtedly from some far land of faëry, ashamed of the archbishop ; but read from whence the genius of Homer took with more than shame that Greek it with a willing hand. novel of Longus, written it is doubted AQUILIUS.-Grecian fable is steeped whether in the second or fourth cen- in the charmed fountain. The power tury, and to which, it is said, Eusta- of the Medusa's head, and the black thius was indebted for his novel. marble prince's metamorphoses, are Longus's Daphnis and Chloë is a pas- nearly allied. And a Circe may be toral,- it would burn well. There discovered in many places of Arabic are pleasing descriptions in both of enchantment. garden scenery. Speaking of gardens CURATE.-Time converts everyand fountains reminds me of the rich- thing into beauty. You smile, thinkness of the Arabian Nights' Enter. ing doubtless that age has something tainments, which I am surprised did to do with ugliness. Perhaps so, though not before come into our discussion. it follows not but that there may be, How strange is it that, though man- personally speaking, to every age its ners and scenes are so far from our own beauty, visible to eyes not human, usages and any known locality, we whilst we are under earthly beauty's admit them at once within the recog fascination, at any rate with regard nised boundary of imaginative nature! to fact and to fable. Time unites They are indeed fascinating ; yet have them, as it covers the riven rock with I not unfrequently met with persons lichen; so the shattered and ugliest who professed that they could not en- idols of remotest ages doth Time hand dure them.
over to Fable, to remodel and invest AQUILIUS.- Were they young per with garments of beauty or deformity, sons ?-if so, they must be very scanti to suit every desire of the imagination. ly gifted with a conciliating imagina Strange as it may seem, it is true that tion, though they may very possibly there is in most of us, weary and unbe the most reasonable of human satisfied with this matter-of-fact world, beings. The charm that renders the a propensity to throw ourselves into Arabian Nights acceptable in all dream, and let fancy build up for us a countries appears to me to arise from world of its own, and, for a season, this--that vivid are the touches which fit us with an existence for it-taking speak of our common nature, and · with us the beautiful of this, and what is extraneous is less defined. charming what is plain under the conIndeed, not unfrequently is great use verting influence of fiction. Who made of the obscure-such obscure as understood this as Shakspeare did ? Rembrandt, the master of mystery, His Tempest, Midsummer's Night profusely spread around the gorgeous Dream, his Merchant of Venice, are
built up out of the materials supplied discuss it with her; and she will, to by this natural propensity.
provoke you, bring you into company AQUILIUS.—How beautiful are im- with some very good people, and very possibilities when genius sets them much devoted to education. She tells forth as truth! Who does not yield me she has a neighbour who burnt implicit belief to every creation of Gay's fables, which a godfather had Shakspeare? I prefer the utter im- given to one of her children; because, possibilities to improbabilities con said she, it taught children lying, for verted into real substantial fact. Let her children looked incredulous as one as have Mysteries of Udolpho un- day she told them that beasts cannot cleared up; it is dissatisfying at the speak. The Curate's wife promises end to find you have been cheated herself some amusement, you perceive, One would not bave light let in to when you come; you must therefore a mysterious obscure, and exhibit per- be as provoking as possible. But haps but a bare wall ten feet off. I now, Eusebius, we have read the had rather have the downright honest novels brought to us. The first, ghost than one, on discovery, that shall Jane Eyre, has been out some time: be nothing but an old stick and a few not so the other, Madame de Malrags. The reader is put in the condi- guet, which has only now made its tion of the frogs in the fable, when first appearance. I do not think it they found themselves deluded into fair, though it is a common practice wonder and worship of an old log with critics, to give out a summary of I would not even clear up the darkness the tales they review-for this is sure of ignorance respecting the Pyramids, to spoil the reading. I will resume, and will believe that the hieroglyphics then, the dialogue, omitting such parts are the language of fables, that are as may be too searching into the story. better, like the mummies, under a LYDIA.—Well, I am glad we read shroud. Wherever you find a bit of Jane Eyre first, for I should have the mysterious, you are sure to be been sorry to have ended with tears, under a charm. In Corinne of which she has drawn so plentifully; Madame de Stael, not the most ro- and not from my eyes alone, though mantic of authors, the destiny cloud both you men, as ashamed of your across the moon you would not have better natures, have endeavoured to resolved into smoke ascending from a conceal them in vain. house-top. Let the burial-place of AQUILIUS.--It is a very pathetic Edipus be ever hid. Imagination tale-very singular; and so like truth converts ignorance into a pleasure. that it is difficult to avoid believing There is a belief beyond, and better that much of the characters and incithan that of eyes and ears.
dents are taken from life, though CURATE.-Not at present; at this woman is called the weaker sex. Here, moment I will trust both. I hear the in one example, is represented the carriage, and here is Lydia returned strongest passion and the strongest from — I hope she has picked up principle, admirably supported. the parcel of books which I gathered CURATE.- It is an episode in this for our reading.
work-a-day world, most interesting, Now here, Eusebius, our dialogue and touched at once with a daring, yet broke off, and we greeted the Curate's delicate hand. In spite of all novel wife. The box, it seems, had not rules, the love heroine of the tale reached the little town; so, with a has no personal beauty to recommend woman's nice tact, Lydia, the Curate's her to the deepest affection of a man Lydia, had brought us two Novels to of sense, of station, and who had seen begin with. I therefore put my letter much of the world, not uncontaminated to you by, until we had read them, and by it. It seems to have been the I was enabled to say something about purpose of the author to show that them. You perceive, Eusebius, that high and noble sentiments, and great I have made some mention in the affection, can be both made subservient, dialogue of you, and your opinions and even heightened, by the energy of upon nursery fabulous education practical wisdom. If the author has Lydia says-for to her we mentioned purposely formed a heroine without your whim—that you must come and the heroine's usual accomplishments, with a knowledge of the world, and though a “ Tale of 1820," carries back even with a purpose to beighten that its interest, and much of the detail of woman in our admiration, he has made the story, to the horrors of the first no small inroad into the virtues that French Revolution. There is conseare usually attributed to every lover, quently a wide field for diversity of in the construction of a novel. He, character, and for conflict of opinions, the hero, has great faults-why should and their effects, as shown upon every we mince the word ?-vice. And grade of social life; and it is very yet so singular is the fatality of striking that the deepest rooted prelove, that it would be impossible judices, ere the conclusion, change to find two characters so necessary sides, and are fitted upon characters to exhibit true virtues, and make to whom, at the commencement, they the happiness of each. The execu- seemed but little to belong. The intion of the painting is as perfect as born aristocratic feelings, alike with the codoeption.
the republican habits, meet their check; LYDIA-I think every part of the and I suppose it was the intention of Dere perfect, thongh I have no doubt the author to show the weakness of both. maar wil object, in some instances, CCRATE.-I am not certain of that, bath to the attachment and the con for I think the innate is preserved dast of Jane Eyre.
even through the disguise of contrary Aqueurs-It is not a book for habits. I know not which is the hero Prodeo is not a book for effeminate the Buonapartean soldier or the and tasteless men ; it is for the en- English naval captain. There are joyment of a feeling heart and vigor some discussions on subjects of life Os understanding
interspersed, which show the author to LYDIA. -I never can forget her bea man of a deeply reflecting mind, and passage across the beath, and her den endued with no little power of expresssolate night's lodging there.
ing what he thinks and what he feels. CURATE.-But you will remember AQUILIUS.-- When I found fault with it without pain, for it was at once the this wet blanket of bappiness, the sutlering and the triumph of woman's monumental termination of Mount virtue.
Sorel, I did not so soon expect to AQUILIUS.—To my mind, one of meet with a repetition of this fault. the most beautiful passages is the re- I must pick a quarrel with the writer turn of Jane Eyre, when she sees in for unnecessarily putting his characters the twilight her “master” and her hors-de-combat. I think authors now. lover solitary, and feeling his way with a-days need not be afraid of the fate his bands, baring his sightless sorrow of Cervantes-of having them taken to the chill and drizzly night.
off their hands, and made to play their CURATE.-But what think you of parts upon any other stages than their Vadame de Malguet! In a different own. war, that is as unlike any other novel LYDIA.—You seem, both of you, to as Jane Eyre. This, too, is written forget the real moral of the storyto exhibit the character of woman that a person endowed with a little under no ordinary circumstances. more than common sense, general
Agrits-She reminds me of the kindness, amiability, and energy of Chevalier d'Eon, whose portrait I re- character, may be more useful in the member to have seen years ago in the world tban the most accomplished hero. Wonderful Magazine-half man, halfCURATE.—You would have found woman, Madame de Malguetis perhaps him too a hero, if his actions had been an amalgamation of the Chevalier and within the sphere of heroism. I hope Lady Hester Stanhope. These, after to meet with Mr Torrens again. He all, are not the beings to be exempt has very great powers, and his confrom the tender passion, but it is under ceptions are original. the strongest vagaries. Love without And now, Eusebius, having written courtship is the very romance of the you this account of our dialogue, and passion; and such is there in the tale breathed country air, and witnessed of Madame de Malguet. The scene happiness, I am, yours ever, and is laid in a little town, and its imme- “Precipue sanus, nisi cùm pituita molesta est." diate neighbourhood, in France; and