صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

be used, and is even full of mistakes in grammar. We particularly allude to the repetition of the conjunction that. But the author is a very shrewd, and for all the pains he has bestowed on his libertine hero, we should think a very good-hearted observer. He writes with great dash and animal spirits, pouring out cleverness and common-places in abundance, like good or bad wine, no matter which, so that the stream flows on; and by no means loses sight, as he goes, of the claims, the virtues, and (though he hardly dares to say as much to himself, or perhaps would think it wise in his generation) of the hopes of humanity. We thank him for his picture of Mrs Tresor, whom that clever fool of a fellow, his hero, might have loved to so much better purpose. And poor Fanny Pearson, the reckless and bloated wanderer in the streets, once all that was lovely! His account of her is in the innermost part of the heart of tragedy, and well and manfully done. He minces nothing loathsome, in his zeal for a cure; for though he sees no cure after the ordinary fashion, we are much mistaken if he is altogether without hope for one of a better sort, and if the object of his book is not to hint as much. At all events we are sure there is nothing dangerous in it. "The idea," says the critic we have just alluded to," of a man who bends all the attraction of a fine person, and powers highly-cultivated mind, to systematic seduction, is anything but a new conception; but it is dealt with very forcibly in the present instance, and the work being written with a perfect knowledge of the world of fashion of the day, will succeed much better than it ought to do."

of a

"Yet," he continues, " it makes its villain the victim of his own selfish treachery after all, but not exactly in the right way to operate beneficially, nor in fact correctly as to verisimilitude. However flauntily and triumphantly the general sedúcer may carry it, sooner or later in his career he is sure to find, on striking the balance, that in real happiness he is a loser. How frequently does he discover that his victim has fallen a sacrifice to vanity rather than love; how often, with all his skill, is he made a dupe, and played upon by female artifice in return! What thorns often attend on the stupid éclat in which his vanity so much delights! The late Sir

Francis Blake Delaval, the friend of Foote, was very eminent for his success in this way; and dying nearly in the prime of life, he declared, on his death-bed, that nothing had been more heartless and unsatisfactory than his multiplied amours, and that he was as often the deceived as the deceiver, and a frequent dupe of the most vain and selfish coquetry. We would have our Roué' punished this way rather than by the resentment of an injured husband, because we shrewdly suspect that almost all practised seducers do thus suffer in some stage or other of their progress."

This is very true; and the instance of Sir Francis and his "sweet experiences" is excellent. Gallantry is in general nothing but vanity from beginning to end. But our author's hero is not happy, even when he appears to be most so; nor do we conceive it is intended that the reader should think him happy. To be happy and to be heartless at one and the same time, is luckily not possible in this world, further than the mere possession of health (which we allow is much) can console a man for the greater degree of enjoyment which he would realize by its union with a good heart. And herein we take to lie the secret of these gay deceivers, and something which their historians are too apt to leave out of the question, to the detriment of their shrewdness, and the great loss of the reader; and that is, that the power to go ranging about in this manner, seducing or intriguing, arises from nothing in general but the natural thoughtlessness of youth and good-health, mixed with a great deal of the vanity aforesaid, and little imagination. If it survive the period of youth, it is a habit, and a very uneasy one; and is obliged to vindicate itself by that identical ill opinion of man and woman-kind, which pollutes its pleasures (such as they are) when it gets them. Very intellectual seducers (such as our author's hero is intended to be) we have no faith in; unless by some preposterous chance their intellectual faculties lie on the side of geometry and the mathematics; for imagination, with all its warmth, is allied to conscience; having a tendency to dwell upon its ideas; and to suppose every possible case, both of pain and pleasure, especially when no longer young. Poets, for this reason, who are accounted at once the most amorous and imaginative of men, have been famous for their

long and individual attachments:-we do not mean rhyming trenchermen, such as Milton speaks of; but poets like Milton himself,Petrarchs and the Spensers of old. The poorer the imagination, the more it stands in need of the excitement of novelty; and for a similar reason, the more conscious the mental weakness, united with bodily activity, the more it seeks a supply of power and selfestimation in shabby triumphs and imaginary success.

We should be glad if the author of the Roué' would give us another novel, with an eye to this view of the subject. And pray let him give way as much as he likes to his pleasant after-dinner style, (omitting only those other illegitimate conjunctions we spoke of), and shirk no matter whatsoever that gentlemen can speak of, lively or tragic, not forgetting the most unfairly treated of all the unfairly treated sex; and he will make another set off, not of the least important description, to the selfish efforts of the conventional. But if his book be a tragedy (which we hope it need not, whatever tragedies it may contain) he must not conclude it with an Oh! Oh is a very good conclusion sometimes, as well as convenient; but not in tragedy. He remembers the mishap of Thomson in the famous line of Sophonisba

Oh Sophonisba! Sophonisba Oh!

This would have been very well, had Sophonisba been a pretty milliner, startling some bachelor with a pin; but formally written down as a climax, it will never do seriously, especially where it is stamped upon us by those two official words "The End;" and we find moreover that it has been printed for us "by A. J. Valpy," in "Red Lion court." The best specimen of a terminating Oh which we ever met with in print, is in a little poem by Fenton. This article shall be concluded with it by way of a little bit of farce after our tragedy. It is on his First Fit of the Gout. On turning to it, we find that the explanation is not at the end of the poem itself, but only of a paragraph. However, it is in point so far; and at all events, is very fit for table recitation.


WELCOME, thou friendly earnest of fourscore,
Promise of wealth, that has alone the power
T'attend the rich, unenvy'd by the poor.
Thou that dost Esculapius deride,

And o'er his gally-pots in triumph ride;
Thou that art us'd t' attend the royal throne,
And under-prop the head that bears the crown;
Thou that dost oft in privy council wait,
And guard from drowsy sleep the eyes of State
Thou that upon the bench art mounted high,
And warn'st the judges how they tread awry;
Thou that dost oft from pamper'd prelate's toe
Emphatically urge the pains below;
Thou that art ever half the city's grace,
And add'st to solemn noddles solemn pace;
Thou that art us'd to sit on ladies knee,
To feed on jellies, and to drink cold tea;
Thou that are ne'er from velvet slipper free;
Whence comes this unsought honour unto me?
Whence does this mighty condescension flow?
To visit my poor tabernacle, O-!

As Jove vouchsaf'd on Ida's top, 'tis said,
poor Philemon's cot to take a bed;
Pleas'd with the poor but hospitable feast,
Jove bid him ask, and granted his request;
So do thou grant (for thou 'rt of race divine,
Begot on Venus by the God of Wine)
My humble suit!—And either give me store
To entertain thee, or ne'er see me more.



THE entrance to Montpellier is through the great street of the Perfumers, where you would fancy yourself in the shop of Martial; and yet

Though this pretty place refines

A perfume beyond our's,

The country round it, rich in vines,
Never produces flowers.

This street, full of odours, conducts to the great square, where

the best hotels are to be found.

seeing before one of the doors

Conceive our astonishment at

[blocks in formation]

You will believe our curiosity was excited. Besides the crowd below, all the windows were open, and filled with people of condition. A gentleman of the place, whom we recognized, invited us into the hotel, where we learnt, that a young Chevalier D'Aubignac had run away that morning with an old lady, and that horsemen had been sent in pursuit of him. The old lady lodged in the hotel with a brother of her's; and what made the story a complication of wonders was, that besides having a pretty niece, she was not at all disposed to be run away with by Monsieur the Chevalier, but was seen to resist as he forced her on horseback. Furthermore, though a lively old dame, she is neither handsome nor rich; whereas, the Chevalier is in fine condition. The young lady is ill in bed, hardly able to speak, because she thought the gallant in love with herself! Here's a drama for you!

In the room where our friend introduced us, were a great number of ladies, the very politest, we understood, the most

« السابقةمتابعة »