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Rory O'More to any fixed class; it is object of a romance that is destined to prohistorical in time, national in place, cos- duce any permanent effect. The predestitume, and manner; sentimental as well as nation of circumstances resisted by the comic in its style. We, however, think energy of will is the real subject of the that its essential characteristic is life-por- drama of human existence, whether retraiture, and this fixes it to the same rank garded in fact or fiction.
Mackenzie conin romance that Crabbe holds in poetry. stantly preferred viewing this struggle in
America has recently sent a fair quota the mysterious workings of the conscience to the stock of life-portraiture, both in the to the burning spectacle of external life; national and historical novels. It is sin- he clings to the minute and delicate traits gular to speculate on the causes that have suggested by reflection, and he would not made some of these eminently successful, suppress one of these to make room for the and some total failures, at our side of the palpable and tangible exhibitions which water. Major Jack Downing, Colonel the spectacle of mankind on the great Crocket, and Slick the Watch-maker, are theatre of existence brings before us. His too local in their political allusions, and drama of The Spanish Father reveals the even in their wit, to enjoy extensive fame, secret of the weakness of his novels, the for some jokes are like wines of very characters are mere ideal abstractions, delicate flavour, they can only be relished which should never have been clothed in in the place where they have been manu- flesh and blood. Had Mackenzie obeyed factured. But Miriam Coffin is a fiction the advice of his friends, and written the depicting so faithfully a state of society literary history of the last century, he wholly new to readers in Europe, and so would have bequeathed to posterity proclearly showing the circumstances which bably the finest specimen of social critiled to its formation, that we are surprised cism ; but psychology, so useful to the to find it so little known. ' In every case critic, is dangerous to the writer of rowhere we find a novel portraying any mance; it gives a fixity to his conceptions peculiar phrase of humanity popular, we which deprives them of all suggestive shall find that the chief element of its tendency. success is the skill with which the writer We have gone back to Mackenzie because points out the circumstances by which that we see that many modern writers have phase of character was moulded. The tried to unite the purely Sentimental ropredestination of circumstances is, and ever mance with the Historical and the National. will be, an insuperable difficulty to meta- They are surprised at their own failure, physicians, for its complete investigation is we should be astonished at their success : impossible ; but to a certain extent it there are few whose memory registers the forms part of our every-day experience, minor struggles of motive and feeling, conand the novelist has, therefore, to take his sequently when exclusive prominence is stand somewhere between the philosopher given to these they strike us as absurd or and the man of ordinary reflection. Brock- ridiculous. Strictly speaking they are not edon Brown took, perhaps, too deep a unnatural, because the finer shades of view of the philosophy, though he is far feeling are as real as those more definitely less metaphysical than Godwin; and on marked, but they are unnatural when that account his novels are less known assigned as prominent motives of action; on this side of the water, than Cooper's or at best they can only be the germ of Miss Sedgewick's. But he was among motive, the first spring to impulse, but it the first who laboured to give America a requires a strong exertion of feeling to national novel, and it will be far from produce a portion of reminiscence, and no creditable to his countrymen if his name man will recognize motive in an unrebe permitted to fall into oblivion.
membered impulse. The sentimental school of romance was We have gone lightly over a variety of always an exotic in England; Sterne ex- schools and styles of romance, hausted all the patience that it could claim. induction to be valuable must be copious. It is rare to find any person who reads the In our rapid survey, we have intimated Man of Feeling, or Julia de Roubigne; and that the error of criticism has been the this arises from the mode in which he application of special standards to romance, viewed the moral problem, which in our and that our first duty must be to determine estimation must be regarded as the main what is the general principle on which romance is founded. It seems to us that our principles and their application to sound this principle is the exposition of a meta- criticism, will require a more definite invesphysical problem, the struggle between the tigation, and for this purpose we intend to predestination of circumstances, and the take up some of the best of our modern energy of the will.. The historical novelist novels both foreign and native, and shew regulates his circumstances by time, the by direct analysis that they are in their national novelist by place; the consistency excellencies conformable to the principles of the romance depends upon the author's we have enunciated, and in their defects adherence to the form in which he has departures from that standard. stated the question; his depth results from The duty of criticism being in our view the greater or less abstraction of the ele- to suggest advancement as well as report ments with which he works—finally his progress, we have turned our attention to school is determined by the form, not by romance, because it is in that path literathe nature of his subject, and his success ture advances most steadily in the present will be proportioned to the clearness of his day. We have opened a path for ourperception of the problem, and his adhe- selves; we cannot hide from ourselves that rence to the mathematical laws of its de- it is one of no ordinary difficulty, and that velopment. If this principle be established, many impediments remain to be removeda it follows that there is a philosophy of But we began this paper by saying, that in romance as well as a philosophy of history, condemning schools of criticism we blame and that fiction is as subject to fixed laws the circumstances that led to their formaas fact. If this should appear a strange tion, not the individuals by whom they assertion, we beg the reader to remember were founded. We claim the same indulthat fiction after all is but a generalisation gence for ourselves ; if weary of the uncerof fact, and that if there be laws to regulate tainty and unsteadiness of modern criticism the individual instances, there must also be we have sought out fixed principle; if tired laws to regulate the generalities.
of seeing one review praise and another In stating the result of our analysis we condemn without reference to any intellihave preferred a general view of the ques- gible rule for the praise or the censure, we tion to close logical reasoning, because we have sought to discover a standard, let us have felt that the subject is one within be allowed the merit of honest purpose in every body's grasp, and that it would be our research ; if we succeed we shall have injuring the simplicity of truth to invest erected a land-mark to guide—if we fail we it with pedantic forms; but the philosophy shall have kindled a beacon to warn future of romance, embracing the establishing of navigators on the ocean of criticism.
THE RECTOR'S FAMILY IN LONDON.
The Reverend Matthew Padstow, at the and wonderful sights upon the face of the termination of the fiftieth year of his age, mighty deep, and went ashore and gaped was hearty, healthy, round and rosy. about various strange places in various Perfectly contented was he with his little parts of the world. rectory and the proceeds thereof, with his Thus it came to pass that when the war good dame Catherine, their daughters was at an end, he felt perfectly convinced (as Catherine and Anna Maria, and their son many others are with much less reason) Matthew. With his parishioners he was that he “knew the world ;” and so, on always on the best of terms, and ever was the attainment of preferment, he cast he a welcome guest at the tables of the anchor in the haven prepared for him, neighbouring gentry. Thus, as he re- and, with a contented mind, resolved to do marked with becoming gratitude, “the his duty and live in peace and good will lines had fallen to him in pleasant places." with all mankind. Consequently he marBut it had not been always thus, for, in ried, and, in due course, became the father the earlier part of his clerical career, his of two daughters and a son; and time duties were exercised within the limits of glided smoothly along for the term of wooden walls, and, as a chaplain in the twenty years without any other remarkable royal navy, he saw many strange scenes events in the even tenour of his way.
Then, in his fifty-first year, a change selves admirably; and, frequently changing came o'er the spirit of his dream of partners, of course each occasionally had quietude. His dear Catherine, ever before to her lot some vain or frivolous beau, so placid, so affectionately assiduous for striving to entertain her by complimentary his comfort, even as though she had no exaggeration, to which, almost of course, other will or wishes but his she, the she, at the moment, listened with unsowife of his bosom, hinted what appeared phisticated simplicity, dreaming of “meanto him strange matters concerning her ings never meant.” daughters, then on the verge of woman- They are the daughters of a very old hood. And the sum and substance of her and highly respected friend of his lordhints, which soon assumed the form of ship,” said the lady of the mansion to a lectures, was, that “the dear girls were noble inquirer. “ It is long since I have buried alive in the retirement of a village, seen him so delighted as when he took up and, like flowers, breathing their fragrance the Reverend's card. It seemed to recal in the desert air.
pleasant recollections of past and more The reverend Matthew sometimes listened active days, which I suppose they have patiently, and parried and endeavoured to since talked over with some of their messpostpone the question“ sine die;" and at mates,' who were forthwith summoned to other times, according to the locality of the meet him at dinner in what we call the debate or lecture, affected sleep; but, as admiral's cabin." some quaint old author has it,
I like the demeanour of the family,"
observed an influential “lady patroness If woman wills, she will, you may depend on't;
of the day, “unobtrusive, quiet-not awkAnd if she wont, she wont, and there's an end on't.
ward though. I will send them cards.” So, to cut the matter short, the lady So the little family, though “creating carried her point, and, after some months' no sensation,” and without dreaming thempreparation, the little family came to selves to be lions, were soon fairly launched London, where the young folks “had the into fashionable life ; and then the good advantage” of masters of various profes- easy rector often left his “womankind” to sions, and went about to see the lions, the care of their thousand new friends, under the care of papa and mamma. and dined out about five times in the week Then, as the town began to fill, the with his own old friends, and enjoyed worthy rector “fell in" with several old himself exceedingly. nautical and other friends, some of whom Perhaps few persons would be induced had, like himself, “got spliced” since they to try the experiment; but, in his case, last met; and of course their wives and it was evident that twenty years of retiredaughters became acquainted with his wife ment had given a new zest for the pleasures and daughters, who consequently found of society. Smiling and old familiar faces themselves far from being alone in the met him at every turn, but none more midst of gaiety. Small family dinners and hilarious than his own, insomuch that his evening parties out and at home succeeded; beloved Catherine affirmed he appeared but the fond mother did not consider ten years younger than when they left Catherine and Anna Maria to have been home. She likewise was happy, for each completely “brought out” till after a passing day revealed to her eye some unsplendid ball and supper at the mansion folding grace or accomplishment in the of a noble admiral, with whom their father minds or persons of her daughters, which, had formerly sailed. They were of the mayhap, others could not so clearly pernumerous class commonly called “pretty ceive. That a very material change had girls," and had come to town with minds been wrought in their manners, wishes, unsuspicious and devoid of guile. A little and wants was, however, 'evident to all; tremulousness was not perhaps unbecoming, and certainly if the “lady patroness or without its effect, at the commencement before mentioned had seen them four of this memorable night, but new faces months after she pronounced them to be ever attract, and their noble host and his
“unobtrusive and quiet,” she would have lady showed them marked attention, so omitted those epithets. They were, the they were not neglected by “the dancing fond mother said, “so much improved, so men.”
Perfect in the recent lessons of full of life and spirit, so perfectly at home the finishing professor, they acquitted them- wherever they went, that it was quite de
lightful to see them.” The fact was, that “Shew him in,” replied Mr. Padstow, and the poor girls had at first been dazzled and presently a remarkably fine young man, bewildered. The tempters, spoilers, and about two and twenty, made his appeartormentors of Eve's daughters had buzzed ance with a respectful modesty of demeanour about them, whispering into their ears very different from what our reverend had flattery and soft nonsense, too much of latterly observed in young gentlemen. which they believed, and so began gra- The conversation that ensued was long dually to fancy that they were by no and very gratifying to both parties. It means common persons, and at last that seemed that Mr. Thomas Morley had met they “ knew the world” as well, if not and danced and conversed with Miss better, than their parents. Their secret Catherine till, as he averred, the happiness councils and castle-building anticipations of his future life depended upon her, and of the future might have amused a stranger, that she, after due hesitation, had on the but would have caused their grandmother preceding night allowed him to hope, to believe their heads were turned.” But “provided her parents, &c.” Fortune he we hasten to the result.
looked not for, being a partner in the The town had been gradually thinning house of his father, an old established for some weeks, and the worthy rector merchant, of whose extensive transactions was sitting one morning in a most un- and wealth our once naval chaplain had usually excited state. Before him lay often heard in the West Indies and elsenumerous papers, which he took up one where. Therefore the good man, after after another, and as the last line of each looking grave awhile, and observing that met his eye, his cheeks became inflated, marriage was a serious affair, and that and, pursing up his mouth, he blew as Catherine was almost too young to think though he was blowing a trumpet, and, of anything of the sort, said that he could ever and anon, wiped the perspiration not say any more upon the subject till he from his brows. The papers were trades- had spoken to his wife and daughter. And men's bills, and many of a description then he dismissed his would-be son-in-law utterly incomprehensible to him; but, there with a cordial shake of the hand, and, for they were, commencing with his name, the moment, thought much more lightly of and by him to be paid. On summing up
the long tradesmen's bills. their whole amount he sate for awhile as While this interview was passing between if paralyzed, leaning back in his chair, the gentlemen, Mrs. Padstow was closeted with his hands in his pockets. Then he with her daughters, and Catherine acknowstarted
up and paced the room, blowing as ledged but the secrets of the inner though he had got something rather too chamber must not be told at full length.hot in his mouth. And then he fell into Let it suffice that enough was said to con
a brown study,” not as to how the vince mamma that Mr. Morley was “the ways and means
were to be raised (for man;" and as he had an income of two his savings had been accumulating for thousand a year, which his father promised years), but to discover what benefit he or to double when he married, what could his had derived from such prodigal ex- mamma object? She attempted nothing penditure. The result was far from satis- of the kind; but kissed her daughter factory. So, according to the example of affectionately, and hurried away to impart our common forefather, he laid the greater the good tidings to her dear Matthew. share of the blame upon his wife, acknow- “ What a prospect for our child !" she ledging, however, that he was an egregious exclaimed, on being informed with whom noodle for listening to her.
he had just parted. “Only think ! four “ Could I but perceive one single ad- thousand a year! Why our squire, as they vantage !” he exclaimed. Accomplish- call him, has only three. I told you how ments ! nonsense ! what's the use of your it would be, my dear. Our girls were litelast quadrilles, fandangos, or whatever they rally wasting their fragrance in the desert call them, in the country? Had either of air.' Four thousand a year! Only think!" the girls, but-ha! humph! no chance of “ I have been thinking," replied the that.”
reverend Matthew, “ and I don't see what Here a servant entered, and, presenting they can want with so much. It would a card with “Mr. Thomas Morley” printed only lead them into extravagant habits ; thereon, said that the gentleman was and then, if they should have a familywaiting.
no, no, I shall see the old gentleman and
talk to him. A settlement for the chil- named the names of persons extremely dren would be much wiser. You and I, unlikely to take any interest in the quesold as we are, have made sad havoc with tion, or who, if they heard of the marriage, our little savings by this winter's folly— might, perhaps, have observed carelessly, but never mind, my life's insured, and we that the parson's daughter had been very know our income, which men in trade do fortunate. Catherine, however, felt that not always, however rich they may be. it would be impossible to endure this ideal Besides, they are like ships on the ocean, degradation, and become the object of pity however sea-worthy, they are liable to get and contemptuous comment; and ridicuamong shoals and breakers.” - Men in lous as her conduct may appear, it arose trade!” exclaimed Mrs. Padstow, “ what from the same cause, and was quite as are you talking of?” “ Simply that old wise as that of many older persons whom Morley got his money by trade,” replied we see every day sacrificing their present
" and this
fellow must comfort and future happiness under the get his in the same way.” “A tradesman!" idea that they are really objects of interest shrieked the good lady,
why Catherine to a whirling busy world, in which their assured me that he was a gentleman.” presence or absence is of about as much “ Her merchants were princes,” quoted importance as that of a fly upon a coachthe rector. “ I'm afraid the poor girl has
wheel. been deceived !” sighed the mother. “De- The confusion caused by her avowal ceived !" cried his reverence,
6 Deceived ! was prodigious. Papa and mamma talked Nonsense! I've seen a good deal of the and argued. Young Morley sighed and world, and if the young fellow is not an looked particularly uncomfortable, and his honest, straight-forward lad—why, I'm father broke the third commandment and deceived too, and that's not likely.” & wine glass.
“ I'm sadly afraid there's a misunder- Whether Catherine's heart had anything standing somewhere," murmured the lady. to do with the matter, or whether she
Phoo, phoo!” said the gentleman, “ The thought of the thousands per annum, or young folks like each other, it seems, and that she reflected upon Mr. Morley's being that's the main point. And the next is the only direct offer she had ever had, that I am to see old Morley, and I dare she at length was heard to whisper, “ If say we shall not disagree, as it seems that his father is so rich, why cannot he leave he is very anxious to see his son married.” trade altogether?"
So the worthy rector went to the worthy Humph!" said the reverend Matthew, old merchant to “ talk matters over,” and “ There is something in that.” So he the anxious mother went to her daughter took his hat and stick, and went to old to reveal the source of her lover's splendid Morley, who, at the suggestion, “ grinned income, and, incontinently, the daughter horribly a ghastly smile," and said, “ No, went into something like hysterics, and not at his age, if he were to marry a when that was over, requested to be left to princess. • An idle man's the devil's playherself, affirming that she was dreadfully fellow. The fact is, I mean to retire agitated, and had received a heavy blow. myself, and that's why I wish him to Then, in her own boudoir, she held a marry." council, composed of her sister and some A week after this rebuff, our little family especially silly chosen friends of the same were busily engaged in “packing up” and age, all of whom lamented exceedingly arranging for their return home, and all, that she should have been duped into giv- to tell the truth, with heavy hearts.His ing anything like encouragement to such a reverence because, though he had paid the person as young Morley, and declared tradesmen, he could not dismiss their bills unanimously that it was quite impossible from his mind-his lady, inasmuch as she that she could ever marry a tradesman. was going to take back her blooming And the arguments which brought them flowers to “ waste their fragrance in the to this sapient conclusion were, “What desert air.”—And the girls—how different would lord and lady so and so, and so and was this “ packing up” to go home, to so, and Sir John, William, Henry, and their last when leaving school ! Peter so and so, and their ladies and mes- “ I am so tired !” exclaimed Catherine, sieurs, mesdames, and misses so and so, and seating herself upon a box, “and-Oh! so and so, think and say ?” And they how foolish it is of me! But I did not
VOL. X.--N0. VI.-JUNE, 1837.