« السابقةمتابعة »
his steward, are perfect originals; and we can hardly refrain from giving a specimen of their quaint humours. The wealthy city family are also well drawn; the purse-proud, but honest merchant, his vulgar and silly wise, the half genteel romantic daughter, and the would-be-fashionable son, afford considerable amusement. The interest of the story increases very much in the second volume, where the plot becomes more complicated, and we are introduced to some new and agreeable acquaintances. The author has committed an error—not very common to modern novelists, who lengthen their threadbare stories till their interest is entirely exhausted: the incidents and characters are rather crowded, and might easily have supplied ample matter for another volume. The old Admiral is drawn to the life ; and our only regret is hat we had not known him sooner. He is not drawn in general, as rough and blustering and full of oaths, but described by those nice touches which proclaim that the likeness is good. There is something in the free, generous, and warm-hearted sailor, which has always commanded a strong interest. A distinct class from their fellow men, we cannot wonder that, inured to danger and habituated to fatigue, they should look with some contempt upon the soft, luxurious life of landsmen. But we are attempting a portrait which our author has correctly finished.
'On the highest summit of their towering mast, floated a small blue flag—the symbol of authority ;-and beneath it paced a man, to and fro the deck-deserted by his inferiors to his more elevated rank. His square-built form, and care worn features, which bad lost the brilliancy of an English complexion—and hair whitened prematurely-spoke of bodily vigour-and arduous services which had put that vigour to the severest trials.
At each turn of his walk, as he faced the land of his pativity, a lurking smile stole over his sunburnt features, and then a glance of bis eye would scan the progress of the far-stretched squadron, which obeyed his orders and which he was now returning to bis superiors, undiminished in numbers, and proud with victory.
By himself, stood an officer in a uniform differing from all around bim :-bis figure was small-his eye restless, quick and piercing, and bent on those shores to which he was unwillingly advancing, with a look of anxiety and mortification, that showed him the late commander of those vessels around them--which, by displaying their double flags, manifested to the eye of the seaman, a recent change of masters.
Occasionally the conqueror would stop, and by some effort of his well-meant but rather uncouth civility, endeavour to soften the bonds of captivity to his guest; and which were received with the courtesy of the most puoctilious etiquette, but a restraint, that showed them civilities that were unwelcome.
It was, perhaps, the most unlucky moment that had occurred, within the two months of their association, for an exchange of their better feelings. The honest heart of the English tar, dilated with ill-concealed delight at his approach to the termination of labours, performed with credit and bonour-and bis smiles and good humour, which partly proceeded from the feelings of a father and a friend, were daggers to the heart of his discomfited rival.'
His friend, General Denbigh, who is represented as a courtly, intriguing soldier, wishes to unite his second and favourite son, to the daughter and heiress of the Admiral.
George, my youngest son, will not be rich—but Francis will be a Duke, and have a noble estate-yet” said the General, meditating—" he is so unbappy in his disposition, and uncouth in his manners, I cannot think of offering him to your daughter as a husband.”
“ Isabel shall marry a good-natured man, like myself, or not at all,” said the Admiral, positively, but not in the least suspecting the drift of his friend....'
"“George is one of the best tempers in the world,” said his father, with strong feeling, “and the delight of all I could wish he had been the heir to the family honours.”
“ That it is certainly too late to help,” cried the Admiral, wondering if the ingenuity of his friend could devise a remedy for this evil too.
“Yes, too late, indeed," said the other, with a heavy sigb, “but Howell, what say you to matching Isabel with my favourite George.”
“Denbigh," cried the sailor, eyeing him keenly, “ Isabel is my only child—and a dutiful, good girl-one that will obey orders if she break owners, as we sailors say-now I did think of marrying her to a seaman, when a proper man came athwart my course ; yet, your son is a soldier, and that is next to being in the navy-if-so-be you had made him come aboard me, when I wanted you to, there would have been no objection at all-however, when occasion offers, I will overhaul the lad, and if I find him stanch, he may turn in with Bell and welcome.”
The account of this overhauling, as the sailor terms it, is very entertaining and characteristic.
"“Where is the boy who is to be a Duke?" exclaimed he, one day ; his friend had introduced the point with a view to a final arrangement. “ Bell has good blood in her veins—is a tight built little vessel-clean heeld and trim, and would make as good a Duchess as the best of them ; so, Denbigh, I will begin by taking a survey of the senior”-to this the General had no objection, as he well knew Francis would be wide of pleasing the taste of an open hearted, simple man, like the sailor. They met accordingly-for what the General facetiously called their review, and the Admiral, innocently termed, his survey-at the house of the former; and the young gentlemen were submitted to his inspection.
Francis Denbigh was about four-and-twenty, of a feeble body, and face marked with the small-pox, to approaching deformity; his eye was brilliant and piercing, but unsettled, and, at times, wild-his manner awkward, constrained and timid ; there would seem, it is true, an intelligence and animation, which occasionally lighted bis countenance into glcams of sunshine, that caused you to overlook the lesser accompaniments of complexion and features, in the ex. pression-but they were transient, and inevitably vanished, whenever bis father spoke, or in any manner mingled in his pursuits.
An observer, close as Mrs. Wilson, would have said—the feelings of the father and son, were not such as ought to exist between parent and child.
But the Admiral, who regarded model and rigging a good deal, satisfied himself with muttering, as he turned his eyes on the junior
-" He may do for a Duke-but I would not have bim for a cockswain.'
George was a year younger than Francis ; in form, stature, and personal grace, the counterpart of his father : bis eye was less keen, but more attractive, than that of bis brother-his air open, polished and manly.
“Ah!" thought the sailor, as he ended his satisfactory survey of the youth" what a thousand pities Denbigh did not send him to
We are reluctant to quit the good Admiral, but our extracts are becoming too frequent. If, however, any of our readers desire to learn how to bring about a match in true sailor style, we refer them to this work, confident of their being entertained by its humour.
We cannot enough praise the healthy and proper tone of this novel; it is another instance that works of this class may be interesting, and still dwell among realities. The general tenor of the language is correct and pure, if we except one word, which we disown, as not an English one; and we do not wish to hear of American words. It is the peculiar duty of reviewers in this country, to give no quarter to coined words; to be vigilant in detecting, and firm in refusing entrance to such intruders ; and to treat the literary counterfeiters with as much severity as the laws of criticism will allow. Let us be contented with the language in which Addison has written ; and however widely we may differ from England, preserve inviolate the purity of our English tongue. We must not here omit to exonerate the author from the many errors which disfigure his book. Owing to some untoward circumstances, (as mentioned at the end,) it has been presented to the public with many blots, of which the responsibility must not fall upon the writer.
We closed Precaution with sentiments of gratitude towards the author. The last scene is admirable; it glows with the best
feelings,—and while we finished Melmoth with something of the sensation of waking from an incoherent and feverish dream, we rose from the perusal of Precaution with those pleasurable thoughts, which the contemplation of a groupe of deserving and happy fellow beings cannot fail to excite. The one causes us to turn sickened with life and living things; the other leaves us calm and satisfied.
Art. IX. Kenilworth, by the author of Waverley, Ivanhoe, &c.
2 vols. 12mo. M. Carey and Son. Philadelphia, 1821.
“ Now die, my son,” was the exclamation of a Grecian father, when his son had gained the prize at the Olympic games. We certainly would not apply this advice, in its literal sense, to the author of the Scottish novels, but we are tempted to wish that his literary existence had been terminated with Ivanhoe-that it had gone down to the grave in glory. He should recollect that the race is not always to the swift; and that it were safer for his own fame to publish one finished novel in three years, than the hasty sketch of a story every six months. As it is, there is some danger of his reputation diminishing into the poor praise of being a fertile writer. Horace describes one of this class, as being
Piger scribendi ferre laborem, Scribendi recte-nam ut multum, nil moror. Waverley, as the author informs us, lay several years in his closet before it was published and this work is generally allowed to be the best of his productions. “The conscious pride of art” has rendered him too confident, and his later writings seem to be transferred warm from the pen to the press, and are precipitated before the world with all their imperfections upon them. This needless haste, while it argues disrespect for the public, and an over greediness of gain, materially injures the reputation of the author. Sir Walter Scott, as a poet, was a dire enemy to himself, and persisted until he succeeded in writing down his own fame. If the general opinion, that this gentleman is “ the author of Waverley," be correct, we fear he is pursuing the same course with his novels.
Although we cannot rank Kenilworth with Waverley, Old Mortality, or Ivanhoe, we are forcibly reminded, throughout the novel, that it is written by the same powerful hand, and, though a 'younger and a feebler brother, it bears the mark of the same noble parentage. As in the Abbot he introduced his readers to Mary of Scotland, in Kenilworth he brings them into the pre
sence of Queen Elizabeth. We think that the author has departed from his usual judgment in delineating the characters of these royal ladies. He has drawn Mary as lovely, loving, and fascinating, but withal a spiteful and passionate beauty; while Elizabeth, with her frequent and uncouth oaths, is indeed a royal termagant-Harry the eighth in petticoats. He would, perhaps, have evinced more taste, in softening, rather than heightening, the portraits which historians have given of these queens. The time of the story is happily placed in the eighteenth year of Elizabeth's reign, when she shone in the pride of her power and meridian of her life. The most prominent character is the Earl of Leicester. He is represented as cruel in his wrath, grasping in his ambition, and treacherous in his love. The gallantry, address, and accomplishments, which adorn his character, serve to deepen these darker shades. In thus portraying the favourite Earl, the author has copied, and that very closely, the Leicester of Schiller. The objects of their love are not the same, but they are the same lovers—timid, suspicious, and temporizing, and in the end abandoning their victims to the fury of the storm, while they seek to preserve themselves. The Jovely and ill-fated Amy is drawn with those nice and true strokes, which proclaim the “Author of Waverley." But her history is the greatest fault of the book. It is a tale of unbroken, unrelieved distress. The pleasures of the tète at Kenilworth, -which are described in the spirit of Shakspeare-are thrown into confusion by her distresses; the gorgeous festivity, the joyous spirit which breathes over them, saddened by her presence. The unpleasant feeling arising from the description of her woes, is not relieved by any nobleness or generosity, in the calculating Leicester; and the final catastrophe not only disgusts the taste, but the feelings of the reader. The author, in making Tressilian good and praise-worthy, has also made him dull: we had rather, for amusement, join company with the villain Varney, or the lawless Lambourne. This, however, is the fault of all bis heroes, from Waverley to Tressilian; and they also bear a most suspicious resemblance to De Wilton, Malcom Graeme, and the other heroes recorded in Sir W. Scott's
poems. The scenes at Lidcote Hall are described with a careless and hasty hand; yet there might have been matter enough in the grief of an aged and doating father, to tempt the author's well known talents for the pathetic: but he was hurried to court, where it is true Sir Walter shines pre-eminent. In the direction of pageants, the marshalling of courtiers, and the costume and ceremonials of court, he is as much at home, as if he had been Elizabeth's lord chamberlain. His spirited description and minute delineation, render his pictures vivid and interesting : they are, however, but