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to his nature, with the profession, and all that is connected or associated with it.
We have, it is true, a hero who, after having been ruined by a gambling conspiracy, turns stroller, his future fate being linked with the companionship into which he is thrown by that event; but he is only a sun in a system, the constellations of which are made up of the most
diversified and alternately grotesque and thought-suggesting materials. The plot is, indeed, of so intricate and so mysterious a character, and its working out is so involved with a number of personages, that it is difficult to give any notion of it within a limited space. An orphan, Eustace Clairfait, loves Marian, his guardian, Mr. Marchmont's daughter. The guardian having, as it afterwards turns out, murdered Eustace's father, separates the lovers. The disappointed youth has recourse to London to soothe his grief. There he meets at one of the theatres an old school-fellow, Leslie, who introduces him behind the scenes, where we find the usual groups-newspaper critics, fashionable patrons, disappointed authorlings, self-deluded actors, actresses with and without character-sketched, however, by a practised and a masterly hand.
Eustace is fairly stage-struck. He becomes interested in a beautiful but frail actress. He writes a tragedy which cannot be acted, and produces a farce which is vociferously condemned. A Lord Sharpington, , whom he makes acquaintance with under the same auspicious circumstances, ensnares him to a gaming-house, where, with the help of confederates, he effects his total ruin. This was at a moment, also, when Eustace had entered into a marriage engagement with the daughter of a rich and vulgar citizen, who dismisses him when pennyless ; Lord S. obtaining the
golden and the matrimonial prize, which latter turns out, however, to be no prize at all. Eustace, starving as a strolling player, falls in with his Marian again, is pitied, and taken into favour again-Marchmont's guilt and arrest for a time again delay the happy denouement, but this is ultimately effectually brought about by the return from distant lands of the supposed murdered parent. This history is altogether not of the most probable description, nor is it contrived with any great regard to high intellectual and artistic developments. It is in the life-like sketches of character and the truthfulness of portraiture—the often almost exquisite nicety of delineation-only to be obtained from a source so seldom available, a most intimate experience, that the “Players” must rely for that popularity which the work really deserves, and will undoubtedly obtain.
If the “Players” perplexes us with its numerous characters, the "Curate of Wildmere”* rivals its predecessor in this kaleidescope peculiarity. The heroines contrast well. Helen, the only child of Colonel Leslie, handsome, clever, and accomplished, but self-willed and opinionated. Alice, the humble protégée, as handsome as Helen, but of a different order of beauty, and all diffidence, gentleness, and compliance. Helen has decided in her own mind that the new curate of Wildmere will resemble all of his race in being a disagreeable awkward creature, with his hair brushed down as if it were glued to his head, and a wouldbe-saint-like expression of countenance," which we need not say is a portrait that does not belong to the young curate, who is also not at all to compare with Captain Gordon, who dances, and looks, and smiles like no one else. Selwin, the curate, is one who has been touched by the hand of grief in early life ; the impress of sorrow and suffering lend beauty, however, to his melancholy, and impart interest to his fate. The mystery of this gloom indeed, for a time, as totally eclipses the attentions of young Squire Woodlands, Helen's destined husband, and of Alice's Lord Maxwell
* The Curate of Wildmere. A novel. In 3 volumes. T. C. Newby.
, as did the verses and smiles of the gallant Captain Gordon. That this Gordon should ultimately become the assassin of Selwin is a denouement not so readily anticipated. But the “Curate of Wildmere" is a tale of social mysteries and perplexities, wrought up with great art and pathos, that fully deserves the attention of the novel reader.
Truly, Miss Hendriks is a most assiduous writer. At the same time, all that comes from her pen is characterised by the same freshness, the same young and ardent enthusiasm, which appears to hurry her on in the composition of her various works in prose or verse-narrative, sentimental, or political. “ The Young Authoress,"* although the latest of its author's publications, was among the earliest written, and it is not improbable that this may have heightened the power here alluded to of imparting to the work that impression of a youthful energy wedded to an almost child-like simplicity, which so eminently pervades her writings. At the same time, faults which Miss Hendriks is herself quite sensible of the want of experience in social realities which she maintains is a matter of indifference to successful authorship-is probably more manifest in this early work than in several of her subsequent productions. These are, however, trifling drawbacks to interest, which undoubtedly time will mend.
The Home of Shakespeare, illustrated and described with thirty-three engravings, by F. W. Fairholt, F. S. A., and just published by Messrs. Chapman and Hall, has more than a temporary interest to recommend it. It is the most complete and the best account extant of all that is connected with the immortal bard and the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, his birth-place and his grave. Mr. Snare, of Reading, has been at great expense and trouble to prove the authenticity of a Portrait of Charles I. painted by Velasquez. The history and pedigree of the portrait in question contains an abundance of curious matter to amuse either artist or antiquarian. Messrs. Vacher and Sons, of Parliament-street, have published a little work, useful to some, ominous to others, being The Practice of the House of Commons on the Trial of Controverted Elections. A l'oice from the North, by Stafford "Reeves, contains a number of small poems of various merit, none of sufficient, to raise them above a very mediocre standard. Lyra Rudis, by Frank Browne, as the writings of a very young man, contains the earnest promise of better things.
The True Cure for Ireland, advocated by the Rev. G. H. Stoddart, is rather Mr. J. W. Rogers' than the reverend gentleman's, and consists mainly in affording profitable employment by cutting and drying turf, and reclaiming bog lands. Captain Medwin's Life of Shelley, and Mr. Dignan's Šlave Captain, in our next.
* The Young Authoress. By Rose Ellen Hendriks. 3 vols. John and Daniel Darling.
374 to 378
Mr. AINSWORTH begs it to be distinctly understood that no Contributions what-
ever sent him, either for the New MONTHLY or AINSWORTH'S MAGAZINES,
will be returned. All articles are sent at the risk of the writers, who should
invariably keep copies.
THE NOVEMBER NUMBER OF
AINSWORTH'S MA GAZI N E.
W. HARRISON AINSWORTH, ESQ.
AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE. EDITED BY W. HARRISON
ILLUSTRATED BY R. W. BUSS.
FIELD. BY THOMAS ROSCOE, ESQ.
find Royal Husbands.- Promise of a Crown.-Grand Expedition under
Charles of Anjou.
BY JOHN BULL.
rupted by Launcelot Widge bringing his News.
courses with his Wife upon an unexpected and curious subject-a Catas-
Student Lover-Change-Despair—and Change ain
Plotting, and its Reward.
in a Convent.–VII. A Trial at Arms.— VIII. Preparations for the
CHAPMAN AND HALL, 186, STRAND.
NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
THE ITALIAN PROGRAMME.
BY L. MARIOTTI.
For the last eight-and-twenty years the Italians have sought the solution of the most arduous of problems :-“How liberty and independence may be obtained and secured without fighting for it.” This arises, not indeed from any native aversion to hard knocks on their part, as sneering foreigners in more favourable circumstances are fain to imagine, but from the fearful odds they are aware they have to contend with, and from the appalling consequences unsuccessful attempts have invariably brought, and would invariably bring upon them.
From Beauharnais to Murat, from Murat to Lord Bentinck, from the French to the allied powers, and from these again to their legitimate sovereigns,—they have anxiously travelled in search of THE MAN. They felt that beggars have no right to be choosers, and were not at all particular in their application. Ferdinand of Naples, the Prince of Carig
very Duke of Modena-pay, THE DEVIL HIMSELF would indifferently have answered their purpose. On all of them, the latter gentleman only excepted—reliance has successively been placed. We are not sure negotiations would not have been entered into between his Nether Majesty and the most sanguine of our patriots, had he not been retained for the adverse party. As Metternich was beforehand with them in that quarter, they have addressed themselves to the Pope.
The Pope, it is very clear, cannot fight out other people's battles. He is
very much at a loss for a champion himself. Even his war of words at Ferrara has hitherto been waged with doubtful success. Protests we have seen it-are as harmless as sky-rockets; and, as for the Vatican thunders, though they may go off with more noise and smoke, they are sure to leave nothing behind, save only an offensive smell of brimstone.
Whether or not Ferrara is given up, however, it seems very probable that the Austrians will move no further. The Po is, for the present, their Rubicon. They have leaped across it in a wanton display of omnipotence, but they are too wise to venture beyond its banks. There is
peace actually between Austria and Rome, no matter how that trifling quarrel is settled. Peace, consequently, or a long armistice between the northern despot and the Independent League of the Italian potentates.
So far the cause of Italy may be deemed triumphant. More than two-thirds of the country have become inviolable ground. The firm position taken by the English cabinet, and the threatening aspect of
Nov.-VOL. LXXXI, NO. CCCXXIII.