Text: Various, Literary Reviews, Southern Literary Messenger, vol. III, no. 5, May 1837, 3:323-336


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[page 323, column 2, continued:]

TULRUMBLE AND OLIVER TWIST.

The Public Life of Mr. Tulrumble, once Mayor of Mudfog. By Boz. With other Tales and Sketches front Bentley’s Miscellany and the Library of Fiction. Philadelphia. Carey, Lea & Blanchard.

Oliver Twist, or the Parish Boy’s Progress. By Boz. With other Tales and Sketches front Bentley’s Miscellany, and the Library of Fiction. Philadelphia. Carey, Lea & Blanchard.

A writer, who chooses to be known to the literary world by the name of “Boz,” has, for some time past, been exhibiting his antics before the public. We have never sought his acquaintance, for the same reason that we should avoid a fellow who might thrust himself into an assembly room, and invite the notice of the company by the dress and grimaces of a Merry-Andrew. We would ask ourselves, in such a case, what man, capable of refinement, would choose to be a buffoon? — What man, possessing a particle of self-respect, would descend to an exhibition so degrading and disgusting? We should certainly suspect the intruder to be some clown of a circus, or bear-garden, escaped from his employer, and hold ourselves in readiness, at the first hint from the managers, to put him out.

Can we be blamed for coming to a somewhat similar conclusion in the case of a writer who thinks proper to announce himself by such a mountebank designation as that of “Boz?” What right has he that we should suppose him anything better than the Jack-Pudding of a drunken club?

The reader may ask, “How then it comes that we take any notice of the volumes before us?” We answer as follows: They were laid upon our table, and, on taking up one of them, we found, on what should have been a blank page at the end, a publisher’s notice of “The posthumous papers of the PICKWICK CLUB, containing a faithful record of the perambulations, perils, adventures, and sporting transactions of the corresponding members. Edited by Boz. The very great demand for this humorous work,” &c. Also, “A new edition of the TUGGS AT RAMSGATE, embracing the last sketches of every day life, and every day people. By Boz. The first edition being entirely exhausted.” [page 324:]

Appended to these notices was the following from the Metropolitan Magazine:

“We cannot too strongly recommend these facetious works. They are perfect pictures of the morals, manners and habits of a great portion of English society. It is hardly possible to conceive a more pleasantly reading miscellany — delightful from the abundance of its sly humor, and instructive in every chapter. * * * Taken altogether, we have rarely met with works that have pleased us more, and we know that our taste is always that of the public.”

Thus admonished, it behooved us, who live by the favor of the public, and whose duty it is to minister to the public taste, to avail ourselves of this opportunity to improve our acquaintance with it. Instead of being called upon by the master of ceremonies to aid in ejecting the intruder, behold he is introduced to us by the manager himself, as a gentleman of the first fashion, whom not to know would argue ourselves unknown.

We are always ready to defer to authority, though we cannot lay aside our tastes. We determined, therefore, to man ourselves to the task, and to make the acquaintance of the grotesque stranger. Yet we had our misgivings, and wished to qualify ourselves, on the easiest terms, to say that we were acquainted with this very popular and much admired Mr. Boz. Observing that in each of the volumes before us there was one tale, and one only from his pen, and finding that one of these consisted of eighteen, and the other of twenty-five pages, small duodecimo, we took up the volumes with a light heart, and went to work with something like the same consolation with which Fergus M‘Ivor went to the scaffold. “Let them spin out the business as they will,” said he, “they cannot make it last much over half an hour.”

Thus it was that we became acquainted with the “Public Life of Mr. Tulrumble,” and the “Progress of Oliver Twist, the Parish Boy.” The result of this was, that we were not only confirmed in our suspicions of the true character of the writer, but that our indignation was strongly excited against the critic who had palmed him on our notice. We felt called upon to expose the one and denounce the other as proper objects for the contempt and indignation of the public. To qualify ourselves for this duty, and to secure ourselves against any possibility of injustice, we undertook and faithfully accomplished the loathsome task of reading these volumes through. Having completed it, we determined that if, from this time forth, any of our readers suffers himself to be cheated out of his money or his time by Mr. Boz himself, or any of his associates aiders and abettors, it shall not be our fault.

The first of the tales, from the pen of Boz himself is introduced by the following passage:

“Mudfog is a pleasant town — a remarkably pleasant town — situated in a charming hollow by the side of a river, from which river, Mudfog derives an agreeable scent of pitch, tar, coals, and rope-yarn, a roving population in oil-skin hats, a pretty steady influx of drunken bargemen, and a great many other maritime advantages. There is a good deal of water about Mudfog, and yet it is not exactly the sort of town for a watering place, either. Water is a perverse sort of element at the best of times, and in Mudfog it is particularly so. In winter it comes oozing down the streets and tumbling over the fields,-nay, rushes into the very cellars and kitchens of the houses, with a lavish prodigality that might well be dispensed with; but in the hot summer weather it will dry up, and turn green; and although green is a very good [column 2:] color in its way, especially in grass, still it certainly is not becoming to water; and it cannot be denied that the beauty of Mudfog is rather impaired, even by this trifling circumstance. Mudfog is a healthy place — very healthy; — damp, perhaps, but none the worse for that. It’s quite a mistake to suppose that damp is unwholesome: plants thrive best in damp situations, and why shouldn‘t men? The inhabitants of Mudfog are unanimous in asserting that there exists not a finer race of people on the face of the earth; here we have an indisputable and veracious contradiction of the vulgar error at once. So, admitting Mudfog to be damp, we distinctly state that it is salubrious.”

In this place lives a man who, by quiet industry, has raised himself from poverty to wealth, and in due season is chosen mayor of the town. He has just before witnessed a Lord Mayor’s procession in London, and determines to have a pageant of his own. In this attempt he makes himself ridiculous of course. In the hands of Mr. Boz, to whom nothing is ridiculous that is not preposterous, and nothing absurd merely because it is unnatural or impossible, the thing is so managed, that we can hardly conceive how it could provoke a smile, except from one to whom the highest of all entertainments would be a grinning match. The cream of the joke is, that Tulrumble gets a suit of brazen armor, and dresses up in it a fellow who gets drunk, and behaves like a drunkard, and so the pageant ends. Tulrumble attempts reforms, and becomes unpopular — then gives up the attempt and recovers his standing. This is the whole story. The drunkenness of the man in armor is the only incident.

Oliver Twist is a boy born in a workhouse, of a mother, (a nameless vagrant,) to whom his birth is fatal. It seems that this is but an introductory chapter, consisting of sneers at the poor laws and their ministers, and a history of what Oliver did and what he did not eat. The only incident is, that he once ventured to ask for more. The story stops short, without telling the consequence of this interesting and important occurrence.

Such are the tales. For the manner and execution, we refer to the passage quoted above. We are not sure that these are not the worst stories in the two volumes. But the rest, with one exception, are nearly of the same character, and if they are not equally bad, it would seem to be because the writers could not make them so.

They certainly strove hard to do it. They all have this common quality of being the worst told stories that we ever read. There is scarcely one of them of which a marginal abstract would not be decidedly better than the tale itself as told — not one that would not be improved by being condensed into one or two pages. Such of them as are worth telling at all, might be told over a bottle at midnight, and a good story teller would not give five minutes to one of them. Many would be best told in one sentence. Take this for example:

“Richie Barter was a merchant’s clerk, who ruined himself by marrying his master’s widow, thinking he had left her 40,000l., when her whole legacy was 500l.”

Is that the whole story? Yes. No incident? None. No character? Nothing like it. The writers of this school have no idea of character, beyond the grand division of fools and knaves — bullies and cowards. Of any modifications and minglings of qualities, they seem to have no conception. Of such at least they make no exhibition, though personages are occasionally introduced, which we may suppose (as the contrary is not made to appear,) to be men and women such as God [page 325:] makes. But these do but come on the stage and go off again like a servant or messenger in a play, without attracting the notice of the author or the audience.

We would not willingly have our veracity suspected, and we cannot venture to vindicate it by giving extracts, at once extravagant and dull, preposterous, yet not ludicrous. We feel, therefore, that it becomes us to account for that sort of popularity which encourages such writers to put forth their trash upon the public, and secures them such a sale as makes their works more profitable to the bookseller than others of greater merit

We take it, that there is nothing that tradesmen like so well as quick returns. This is true of booksellers as well as others, and therefore nothing suits the bookseller better than a work for which a ready market is afforded by the city where he publishes. On such sales he saves all discounts and commissions, and thus secures to himself not only a quick return, but a larger profit, than on books which must be sent abroad in quest of purchasers.

We have said that, with a single exception, none of these tales is much better than those which we have abridged, though none of them is, perhaps, so excellently bad as those two. The excepted tale is called Edward Saville, and is by Charles Whitehead. We have never met with Mr. Whitehead before, and should be happy to cultivate his acquaintance, had we not found him in such company. We hope he was lugged into it against his will, or at least blundered into it by mistake. His little tale really surprised us as much as would the appearance of a genuine diamond among the glass beads and tinsel trumpery of a woman of the town.

We have a double purpose in mentioning it. It is short, and might be read, while standing on one foot, at a bookseller’s counter, and might be the means of cheating some man of taste into the purchase of the work. We hope that all such among our readers may escape that imposition by means of this notice. We are moreover bound to return our acknowledgments to Mr. Whitehead for the pleasure we experienced in reading this little production; and we would requite it by a word of advice. He has heard the adage noscitur a socio. They, whose names are connected with his, will not be judged of by him. Mr. Boz is obviously the criterion writer by whom the rest would like to be estimated. We can hardly think that Mr. Whitehead would choose to be valued by the same standard. We therefore warn him against his associates, and call upon him to “come out from among them, for he is not of them.”

This advice will probably never reach him, but it may be of service to our readers hereafter to recognize the name of Mr. Charles Whitehead as that of one who can write and does write interestingly, and in good taste. It may serve an opposite and more important purpose to know, that the gentlemen who have chosen Mr. Boz as their exemplar, as far as their names are given, are Samuel Lover, T. Haynes Baayly, Douglas Jerrold, T. S. Coyne, Alexander Campbell, J. A. Wade, and Hamilton Reynolds. We hope that our readers will remember and shun them as we shall do. They are bad company and dull company; such as we may suppose assembled at the Boar’s head in East-cheap when the Prince and old Jack were both absent, and with them all the spirit and all the wit of the club. Bardolph’s red nose and the “Humors” of Corporal Nym make the whole entertainment. [column 2:]

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HENRIETTA TEMPLE:

A Love-Story. By the author of ” Vivian Grey.” Philadelphia. E. L. Carey and S. Hart.

“By the author of Vivian Grey!” How the sight of these words delighted our eyes, and with what eager zest we betook ourselves to the perusal of the work! We were glad to find ourselves once more engaged with a writer in whom we are always sure to find much that is original and nothing common-place, and whose faults are chiefly such as spring from the exuberance of genius. We have always regretted that we see so little of Mr. D‘Israeli. We have sometimes wondered at it; but when we have expressed this wonder, we have been told that he is not popular as a novelist in his own country, and that his labors in that line have proved unprofitable. If this be so, we should not wonder if he renounced his pen forever in indignant disgust. To be postponed to Bulwer is bad enough: Bulwer, whose heavy wing (to borrow a thought from Pollock,) comes flapping laboriously as he strives to work his way up into the regions where the mind of D‘lsraeli floats at ease amid the creations of his own genius that people the ethereal expanse! This is bad enough. But to be neglected by the admirers of James and Ritchie! To see “Philip Augustus” and “One in a Thousand” preferred to “Vivian Grey” and “Contarini Fleming,” is more than any man should be expected to endure.

But “a prophet is not without honor, save in his own country;” and we find pleasure in the belief, that there is no writer of novels now living whose powers are estimated so highly by the best judges among us, as Mr. D‘Israeli’s. The work before us is a striking example of the versatility of his genius. At first, we hardly knew how to believe that it was actually his. The reader can hardly fail to remember the peculiar characteristics of Vivian Grey. The suddenness, the abruptness, the total absence of detail, the disregard of all connection between antecedents and consequents, leave us at a loss to know whether we have been asleep or awake — whether the vivid images which have flitted so distinctly before us, and which did but flit and pass away, were the fragments of a broken and disjointed dream, or occasional glimpses of the affairs of men of flesh and blood transacted before us, but so as to let us see but part of what was done, or but a narrative so contrived as to seem to tell us every thing, and still to leave us in perplexed and wondering ignorance.

The story before us is told in a style exactly the reverse of this. The preliminary circumstances are laid before us with the distinctness and precision of a lawyer’s brief, so that without being wearied with a long detail, we find ourselves in full possession of all the circumstances of all the parties, and of their mutual relations to each other. They are placed, as on a chessboard, before the game begins. We understand precisely who is who, and what is what, and can, at any moment, without confusion, trace the progress of each piece from his original position, and see the philosophy of all the moves which have conducted him to his present place.

Such is the impression made upon us by the mere manner in which this story is told, and at the same time we are sensible that nothing is lost in the interest of the [page 326:] piece by this attention to detail. There is, indeed, one signal exception to the generality of this account, in which we are left to guess and wonder with as much perplexity (though certainly with less interest,) as at any tour de main in Vivian Grey.

We now proceed to give an abstract of our author’s story, to which we propose to add some specimens of the good and bad of his style.

Sir Ratcliff Armyn is a decayed baronet, whose family came in with the conqueror, and flourished under the long line of his descendants, until the spirit of religious controversy began to mingle itself with political strifes. It was the fate of this family to cling to the falling fortunes of the Catholic church, and to incur attainders and forfeitures, by which its wealth and power were so reduced, that a large landed estate mortgaged to its full value was all that remained to Sir Ratcliffe. With the estate and the mortgage he inherited the pride of his family, and this determined him to keep together his patrimonial acres, paying nearly every shilling of his rents to keep down the interest of his debts. In this way he lives in poverty and obscurity in one corner of his old dilapidated baronial mansion. His wife, the daughter of a wealthy nobleman, brings him no dowry, but she brings what is better — a kind and generous heart, a cheerful temper, and a disposition to share his poverty without a murmur. They have an only son, who, under the tuition of a Catholic priest who has sought and found a shelter under the roof of his early friend Sir Ratcliffe, grows up an elegant, accomplished, and well instructed young man.

For this youth a commission in the army is obtained, and he sails for Malta, where he spends three years or more. While there, the heir apparent of his grandfather, Lord Grandison, dies, and the old nobleman is left to choose whether he will leave the bulk of his estate to the daughter of a deceased son, or to the only son of his daughter. He distinctly avows his preference of the latter, and the young man is taught to regard himself as the heir of 15,000l. sterling per annum. This arrangement is made so notorious, that he finds no difficulty in obtaining credit to any amount at Malta. The consequence is, that while he purchases his way to the rank of captain, he at the same time acquires the most ruinous habits of self indulgence and extravagance. An only son, brought up at home, his self love had been cultivated from his birth to the day that he left his family to join his regiment. There, handsome, accomplished, talented, and rich, he found himself the favorite of his companions, the pet of the regiment, and the darling of the ladies. The consequence was, that by the time of his grandfather’s death, Ferdinand Armyn was, in his estimation, the most important personage in the world, and the only one whose comfort or happiness he was at all interested in, or at all bound to provide for. In this view of the subject he found himself countenanced by the unanimous concurrence of all his little world at Malta. But here he was doomed to the same fate which many a politician experiences, who, after being the leader of a dominant party, suddenly finds himself in a lean minority. Into the leanest of all minorities, Captain Ferdinand Armyn was doomed to fall, as soon as it was known that his grandfather was actually dead, and had left his whole estate to the daughter of his son.

Unpleasant as this intelligence was, it might have [column 2:] been more so, had the whole truth reached Malta before the captain’s departure. But he sailed as soon as he heard of the old lord’s death; and it was not until his arrival in England that he learned the nature of his testamnentary dispositions.

What was to be done? He owed some 15,000l., and had nothing to pay withal; but he had a pretty cousin to whom the estate had been left, and on her he finds that his handsome person and fine address have made a favorable impression. For her he cares not a straw: but what of that? He courts her and is accepted, and his Maltese creditors hearing at the same moment that he is not the heir, but that he is to marry the heiress, refrain from pressing their demands.

Soon after this snug arrangement has been agreed upon, he meets with the lady whose name designates the work, and a mutual tumbling into love at first sight is the consequence. Here then is a new toy on which Mr. Ferdinand Armyn has set his heart, and he snatches at it as unhesitatingly as he had snatched at his cousin’s fortune, and with the like success. But unluckily he cannot have both, and Miss Temple is the daughter of a gentleman of very moderate fortune. Of course she is not let into the secret of his prior engagement; so leaving her in the dark about that, he hides away to see his cousin, with a full purpose of breaking off from it. But his heart fails him, and he trifles away the time, until Miss Temple becomes uneasy at his protracted absence, and until she hears from the best authority that he is certainly engaged (as he certainly was) to his cousin, and that a short day was fixed for their nuptials. This intelligence comes in such a shape as to leave no doubt in the mind of either father or daughter of its truth; whereupon they give Captain Armyn the slip, retire to the Continent, and establish themselves at Pisa. At length the lover makes his appearance, but the birds are flown. The consequence is a desperate illness, in which he is tenderly nursed by his poor mother and his abused cousin, who is not yet undeceived. At length he recovers slowly; his tutor explains the real state of affairs to Miss Grandison, and they agree that, for the present, the knowledge of the truth shall go no further. Sir Ratcliffe and his wife, therefore, are still happy in the belief that their son is about to marry an heiress, whose wealth will restore the splendor of their house, and his creditors rest in the comfortable assurance that, sooner or later, their debts will be paid with large accumulated interest. Meantime, Miss Temple at Pisa meets with Lord Montfort, who is the equal of Armyn in all that he ought to be, and his opposite in all that he ought not to be. Of course he falls in love with the lady, and addresses her. She rejects him, assuring him of her esteem, but at the same time avowing her hopeless attachment to another man. But Lord Montfort is quite too philosophical to be put aside by any such difficulties. He knows that women must marry, and that if a good woman does not learn to love her husband, it must be her husband’s fault. Of the moral worth of Miss Temple there can be no doubt. He therefore plainly places the matter on that footing, and on further consideration he is accepted.

On the return of Miss Temple with her father and lover to England, they are thrown by successive chances into the society of the Armyns. In the meantime the secret steals out that the captain is not to marry Miss [page 327:] Grandison. Miss Temple also discovers that, instead of forsaking her for Miss Grandison, he had forsaken Miss Grandison for her. Miss Temple was no lawyer, but the story of the lawyer’s bull and the farmer’s ox is true of all mankind, and womankind too, and so she forgives him with all her heart.

But the creditors of Captain Armyn are, by no means, so indulgent. The discovery that he is not to marry his wealthy cousin, rouses their resentment as well as their fears, and he is thrown into prison. From this lie is relieved by Lord Montfort, at the earnest en treaty of Miss Temple. But his lordship does not stop there. He resigns the lady herself to her first lover, and being doomed, as it seems, to take up with the leavings of the irresistible Captain Armyn, he seeks and finds consolation with his rejected cousin Miss Grandison. An unexpected legacy makes Mr. Temple a rich man, and all ends well and prosperously.

For this story, merely as a tale, we have not much to say. If the execution were not at all superior to the material, we should have little praise to bestow, and there would be no need to condemn a work having nothing to redeem it from early oblivion. Indeed, in the management of the story, there is one fault which appears more glaringly than in our hasty abstract. It is the suddenness of the change of partners. It not only is not explained when and how Miss Temple’s hold on Lord Montfort’s heart became relaxed, and when he first became sensible of the attractions of Kate Grandison, and she of his, but the possibility of any such change of feeling is almost negatived. On one day we have Lord Montfort the devoted and plighted lover of Miss Temple; on the same day we have Miss Grandison light-hearted, cheerful and free as air; on the same day we have a conversation between her and the young nobleman, which leads the reader to believe that they have no thought of each other, and early the next morning he announces to Armyn that they are betrothed to each other, and that Miss Temple is free. It follows that all this unprepared change of position and plan takes place in one evening, and that between persons of the utmost refinement and delicacy. Now, this is intolerable. It is done, indeed, so barefacedly, that the writer seems determined to defy censure. He had tied a knot too hard for him, and in the exercise of his plenary sovereignty, he cuts it without ceremony. The only thing that palliates this, is the cool impudence with which he does it; and it is certainly less provoking than the bungling contrivances to which so many writers resort in like cases. It is more tolerable, for example, than Fanny Wharton’s discovery of Harvey Birch’s secret haunt, and her accidental meeting there with Harper, alias General Washington. It will be seen we speak of Cooper’s Spy — decidedly his best work, if he had stopt [[stopped]] in the middle of the second volume, by giving his court martial sense enough to acquit young Wharton. So much have we been disgusted with such clumsy blunders, that after the first start of surprise, we are not sure that we did not forgive Mr. D‘Israeli’s abruptness, in consideration of his manifest contempt of them.

After all this, the reader may perhaps ask, what merit there can be in such a tale as we have sketched? We will answer by begging him to make a like abridgement of the adventures of Don Juan, from the nursery of Dona Inez, and the bed-chamber of Dona Julia, to his last critical rencontre with the Duchess of Fitz Fulke. Trace him from the chaste bosom of Haider to the voluptuous embrace of Duder, and the sensual style of Catherine of Russia, and while you look on the skeleton of this monster of poetical creations, think of it as it stands in the living verse of Byron. Is it not true, that of all the marvellous productions of that wonderful man, this strange, wild, extravagant, shocking, horrible, incredible, and impossible tale, is the most wonderful and the most fascinating? What makes it so? It is the power of genius. It is the creative energy which has invested it with every thing that can recommend it to the poetic sense. The music and the hues, and the odors of poetry, are all there, and we revel among them as in a Paphian bower, where eve)y object glows in beauty, and every breath of heaven redolent of roses wafts melody to the ear.

We hazard nothing in saying that the work before us abounds in passages which will not lose by comparison with parallel passages in Don Juan. When young Armyn and the heroine meet, they fall in love at the moment, and hence with them as with Rosalind, your only true love is love at first sight. D‘Israeli of course adopts the idea as the only one which can mitigate the character of his hero from the coldly selfish to the passionately selfish. Then comes a string of rhapsodies, in which all the poetry of the passion is combined. We present one or two specimens, in which we are at once dazzled by the brilliancy of the execution, and shocked at the picture of the human heart that it displays. We fear it is too true an account of the nature and operation of a passion, which they who feel and cherish it, are in the habit of regarding as generous, refined, and magnanimous.

“Amid the gloom and travail of existence suddenly to behold a beautiful being, and, as instantaneously, to feel an over whelm ing conviction that with that fair form for ever our destiny must be entwined; that there is no more joy but in her joy, no sorrow but when she grieves; that in her sight of love, in her smile of fondness, hereafter is all bliss; to feel our flaunty ambition fade away like a shrivelled gourd before her visions; to feel fame a juggle and posterity a lie; and to be prepared at once, for this great object, to forfeit and fling away all former hopes, ties, schemes, views; to violate in her favor every duty of society; — this is a lover, and this is love! Magnificent, sublime. divine sentiment! An immortal flame burns in the breast of that man who adores and is adored. He is an ethereal being. Tile accidents of earth touch him not. Revolutions of empires, changes of creed, mutations of opinion, are to him but the clouds and meteors of a stormy sky. The schemes and struggles of mankind are, in his thinking, but the anxieties of pigmies, and the fantastical achievements of apes. Nothing can subdue him. He laughs alike at loss of fortune, loss of friends, loss of character. The deeds and( thoughts of men are to him equally indifferent. He does not mingle in their paths of callous bustle, or hold himself responsible to the airy impostures before which they bow down He is a mariner, who, in the sea of life, keeps his gaze fixedly on a single star; and, if that do not shine, he lets go the rudder, and glories when his barque descends into the bottomless gulf.‘,

“What a mystery is love! All the necessities and habits of our life sink before it. Food and sleep, that seem to divide our being, as day and night divide time, lose all their influence over the lover. He is, indeed, a spiritualized being, fit only to live upon ambrosia, and slumber in an imaginary paradise. The cares of the world do not touch him; its most stirring events are to him but the dusty incidents of by-gone annals. All the fortune of the world without his mistress is misery; and with her all its mischances a transient dream. Revolutions, earthquakes, the change of governments, the fall of empires, are to him but [page 328:] childish games distasteful to a manly spirit. Men love in the plague, and forget the pest, though it rages about them. They bear a charmed life, and think not of destruction until it touches their idol, and then they die without a pang, like zealots for their persecuted creed. A man in love wanders in the world as a somnambulist, with eyes that seem to open to those that watch him, yet in fact view nothing but their own inward fancies.”

“The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can ever end. It is the dark conviction that feelings the most ardent may yet grow cold, and that emotions the most constant and confirmed are, nevertheless, liable to change, that taints the feebler spell of our later passions, though they may spring from a heart that has lost little of its original freshness, and be offered to one infinitely more worthy of the devotion than our first idolatry. To gaze upon a face, and to believe that for ever we must behold it with the same adoration; that those eyes, in whose light we live, will for ever meet ours with mutual glances of rapture and devotedness; to be conscious that all conversation with others sounds vapid and spiritless, compared with the endless expression of our affection; to feel our heart rise at the favored voice; and to believe that life must hereafter consist of a ramble through the world, pressing but one fond hand, and leaning but upon one faithful breast; oh! must this sweet credulity indeed be dissipated? Is there no hope for them so full of hope? no pity for them so abounding with love? ”

And can it be possible that the hour can ever arrive when the former votaries of a mutual passion so exquisite and engrossing can meet each other with indifference, almost with unconsciousness, and recall with an effort their vanished scenes of felicity — that quick yet profound sympathy, that ready yet boundless confidence, all that charming abandonment of self, and that vigilant and prescient fondness that anticipates all our wants and all our wishes? It makes the heart ache hut to picture such vicissitudes to the imagination. They are images full of distress, and misery, and gloom. The knowledge that such changes can occur flits over the mind like the thought of death, obscuring all our gay fancies with its bat-like wing, and tainting the healthy atmosphere of our happiness with its venomous expirations. It is not so much ruined cities, that were once the capital glories of the world, or mouldering temples breathing with oracles no more believed, or arches of triumph that have forgotten the heroic name they were piled up to celebrate, that fill my mind with half so mournful an impression of the instability of human fortunes, as these sad spectacles of exhausted affections, and, as it were, traditionary fragments of expired passion.”

It is from passages like these that we have learned to speak of the faults of D‘Israeli as those of exuberant genius. Here is the genius, and here are the faults. In this splendid declamation we see no appearance of labor, no spurring of a jaded fancy, no ringing the changes on the hackneyed cant of romantic love. All is vivid, and much original; yet in the very last and most beautiful sentence there is a grammatical fault so glaring, as to show that the passage flowed spontaneously from the pen, and could not even have been read over with a critical eye. We certainly did not discover it at the first perusal, and we trust there are few readers so cold as to have perceived it. But it is there, and does but enhance the beauty of the passage, by showing that it was perfectly unstudied.

The following is in a different style, but shows equal power. We cannot imagine anything more tender and more true to nature in its best aspects. It is the account of the parting of Ferdinand from his parents, when he first leaves them to join his regiment:

“It was singular at dinner, in what excellent spirits every body determined to be. The dinner, also, generally a very simple repast, was almost as elaborate as the demeanor of the guests, and, although no one felt inclined to eat, consisted of every dish and delicacy which was supposed to be a favorite with Ferdinand. Sir Ratcliffe, in general so grave, was to-day quite joyous, and produced a magnum of claret, which he had himself discovered in the old cellars, and of which even Glastonbury, [column 2:] an habitual water-drinker, ventured to partake. As for Lady Armyn, she scarcely ever ceased talking; she found a jest in every sentence, and seemed only uneasy when there was silence. Ferdinand, of course, yielded himself to the apparent spirit of the party; and, had a stranger been present, he could only have supposed that they were celebrating some anniversary of domestic joy. It seemed rather a birthday feast than the last social meeting of those who had lived together so long, and loved each other so dearly.

“But, as the evening drew on, their hearts began to grow heavy, and every one was glad that the early departure of the travellers on the morrow was an excuse for speedily retiring.

“ ‘No adieus to-night!’ said Lady Armyn with a gay air, as she scarcely returned the habitual embrace of her son. ‘We shall be all up to-morrow.’

“So wishing his last good night, with a charged heart and faltering tongue, Ferdinand Armyn took up his candle and retired to his chamber. He could not refrain from exercising an unusual scrutiny when he had entered the room. He held up the light to the old accustomed walls, and threw a parting glance of affection at the curtains. There was the glass vase which his mother had never omitted each day to fill with fresh flowers, and the counterpane that was her own handy work. He kissed it; and, flinging off his clothes, was glad when he was surrounded by darkness, and buried in his bed.

“There was a gentle tap at his door. He started.

“ ‘Are you in bed, my Ferdinand?’ inquired his mother’s voice?

“Ere he could reply he heard the door open, and he observed a tall white figure approaching him.

“Lady Armyn, without speaking, knelt down by his bed-side, and took him in her arms. She buried her face in his breast. He felt her tears upon his heart. He could not move; he could not speak. At length he sobbed aloud.

“ ‘May our Father that is in heaven bless you, my darling child; may He guard over you; may He preserve you!’ Very weak was her still solemn voice.‘I would have spared you this, my darling. For you, not for myself, have I controlled my feelings. But I knew not the strength of a mother’s love. Alas! what mother has a child like thee? Oh! Ferdinand, my first, my only-born; child of love, and joy, and happiness, that never cost me a thought of sorrow, so kind, so gentle, and so dutiful! — must we, oh! must we indeed part?’

“ ‘It is too cruel,’ continued Lady Armyn, kissing with a thousand kisses her weeping child.’ What have I done to deserve such misery as this? Ferdinand, beloved Ferdinand, I shall ‘die.’

“ ‘I will not go, mother, I will not go,’ wildly exclaimed the boy, disengaging himself from her embrace, and starting up in his bed.’ Mother, I cannot go. No, no, it never can be good to leave a home like this.’ “’ Hush! hush! my darling. What words are these? How unkind, how wicked is it of me to say all this. Would that I had not come! I only meant to listen at your door a minute, and hear you move, perhaps to hear you speak — and like a fool — how naughty of me! — never, never shall I forgive myself — like a miserable fool I entered.’

“ ‘My own, own mother — what shall I say? — what shall I do? I love you, mother, with all my heart, and soul and spirit’s strength: I love you mother. There is no mother loved as you are loved!’

“ ‘Tis that that makes me mad. I know it. Oh why are you not like other children, Ferdinand! When your uncle left us, my father said’ Good bye,’ and shook his hand: and he, he scarcely kissed us, he was so glad to leave his home; but you: — To-morrow — no, not to-morrow. Can it be to-morrow!’

“ ‘Mother, let me get up and call my father, and tell him I will not go.’

“ ‘Good God! what words are these? Not go. ‘Tis all your hope to go; all ours, dear child. What would your father say were he to hear me speak thus? Oh! that I had not entered! What a fool I am!’

“ ‘Dearest, dearest mother, believe me we shall soon meet.’

“’Shall we soon meet! God! how joyous will be the day.’

“ ‘And I — I will write to you by every ship.’

‘“Oh! never fail, Ferdinand, never fail.’

“ ‘And send you a gazelle, and you shall call it by my name, dear mother.’

“’ Darling child!’ [page 329:]

“ ‘You know I have often stayed a month at grandpapa’s, and once six weeks. Why! eight times six weeks, and I shall be home again.’

“ ‘Home! home again! eight times six weeks — A year, nearly a year! It seems eternity. Winter, anrid spriig, and summe and winter, again-all to pass away. And for seventeen year he has scarcely been out of my sight. Oh! my idol, my beloved my darling Ferdinand, 1 cannot believe it; I cannot believe tha we are to part., ” Mother, dearest mother, think ofmy father, dearest; think how i” uch his hopes are piaced on me; think, dearest mother how much I have to do. All towv depends on me, you know. must restore our house.’ “’ O! Ferdinand, I dare not express the thoughts that rise upon me; yet I would say that, had I but my child, I could live in peace, how or where I care not.’ “’ Dearest mother, you unman me.’ ” It is very wicked. I am a fool; I never, no! never shall pardon myself fbr this nizht, Ferdinand., ’Sweet mother, I beseech you calm yourself. Believe me we shall indeed meet very soon, anod, somehow or other, a little bird whispers to me we shall yet be very happy.’ ” But will you be the same Ferdinand to me as before? Ay! there it is, my child. You will be a nman when you come back, and be ashamed to love your mother. Promise me now,’ said Lady Armyri, with extraordinary energy,’ promise me, Ferdi nand, you will always love me. Do not let them make you ashamed of loving me. They will joke, and jest, and ridicule all home affectiors. You are very young, sweet love, very, very young, and very inexperienced and susceptible. Do not let them spoil your frank and beautiful nature. Do inot let them lead you astray. Remember Ari-yn, sweetest dear, dear Ar myn, aid those who live there. Trust me, oh! yes, indeed believe me darling, you will never find friends in this world like those you leave at Armyn., “’ I know it,’ exclaimed Ferdinand, with streaming eyes; ’ God be my witness how deeply I feel that truth. If I forget thee and them, dear mother, may God indeed forget me.’

“ ‘My darling, darling Ferdinand, said Lady Armyn, in a calm tone, ” I am better now. I hardly am sorry that I did come now. It will be a consolation to me in your absence to remember all you have said. Good night, my beloved child, my — darling love, good night. I shall not come down to-morrow, dear. We will not meet again — I will say good-bye to you from the window. Be happy, oh! be happy, my dear Ferdinand, and as you say, indeed, we shall soon meet again. Eight-and-forty weeks! Why, what are eight-and-forty weeks! It is not quite a year. Courage, my sweet boy! let us keep up each other’s spirits, love. Who knows what may yet come from this your first venture in the world? I am full of hope. I trust you will find all that you want. I packed up every thins myself. Whenever you want any thing write to your mother. Mind, you have eight packages; I have written them down on a card, and placed it on the hall table. And take the greatest care of old Sir Ferdinand’s sword. I am very superstitious about that sword, and while you have it I am sure you will succeed. I have ever thought that, had he taken it with him to France, all would have Zone risht with him. God bless, God Almighty bless you, child. Be of good heart. I will write you every thing that takes place, and, as you say, we shall soon meet. Indeed, after to-night,’ she added, in a more mournful tone,’ we have naught else to think of but of meeting. I fear it is very late. Your father will be surprised at my absence.’ She rose from his bed, and walked up and down the room several times in silence; then again approaching him, she folded him in her arms, and instantly quitted the chamber, without again speaking.”

In the same tender, natural, and beautiful strain, is the following scene between Miss Temple and her father, immediately after she hears that Ferdinand is about to marry Miss Grandison. Observe that Mr. Temple only suspects the connexion between his daughter and Ferdinand. She has, most improperly, concealed it from him:

“Some one knocked gently at her door. She did not answer; she feigned sleep. Yet the door opened; she felt, though her eyes were shut and her back turned, that there was a light in the room. A tender step approached her bed. It could be but one person; that person whom she had herself deceived. She knew it was her father.

“Mr. Temple seated himself by her bedside, he bent his head and pressed his lips upon her forehead. In her desolation some one still loved her. She could not resist the impulseo she held forth her hand without opening her eyes; her father held it clasped in his. “’ Henrietta,’ he at length said, in a tone of peculiar sweetness.

“ ‘Oh! do not speak, my father. Do not speak. You alone have cause to reproach me. Spare me; spare your child.’

“ ‘I came to console, not to reproach,’ said Mr. Temple. ’ But, if it please you, I will not speak; let me, however, remain.’

“ ‘Father, we must speak. It relieves me even to confess my indiscretion, my fatal folly. Father, I feel; yet why, I know not; I feel that you know all!’

“ ‘I know much, my Henrietta, but I do not know all.’ [column 2:]

“ ‘And, if you knew all, you would not hate me?’

“ ‘Hate you, my Henrietta! These are strange words to use to a father; to a father, I would add, like me. No one can love you, Henrietta, as your father loves you; yet, speak to me not merely as a father; speak to me as your earliest, your best, your fondest, your most faithful friend.’

“She pressed his hand, but answer, that she could not.

“ ‘Henrietta, dearest, dearest Henrietta, answer me one question.’

“ ‘I tremble, Sir.’

“ ‘Then we will speak to-morrow.’ I

“ ‘Oh! no, to-night, to-night. To-morrow may never come. There is no night for me; I cannot sleep. I should go mad if it were not for you. I will speak; I will answer any questions. My conscience is quite clear except to you; to one. no power on earth or heaven, can reproach me except my father.’

“ ‘He never will. But, dearest, tell me: summon up your I courage to meet my question; are you engaged to this person?’

“ ‘I was.’

“ ‘Positively engaged?’

“ ‘Long ere this I had supposed we should have claimed your sanction. He left me only to speak to his father.’ ” This may be the idle tattle of chattering women?’

“ ‘No, no,’ said Henrietta, in a voice of a deep melancholy; ‘my fears hail foreseen this dark reality. This week has been a very hell to me; and yet, I hoped, and hoped, and hoped. Oh! what a fool have I been!’

“ ‘I know this person was your constant companion in my absence: that you have corresponded with him. Has he written very recently?’

“ ‘Within two days.’

“ ‘And his letters?’

“ ‘Have been of late most vague. Oh! my father: indeed, indeed I have not conducted myself so ill as you perhaps imagine. I shrunk from this secret engagement; I opposed by every argument in my power, this clandestine correspondence; but it was only for a week, a single week, and reasons, plausible and specious reasons, were plentiful. Alas! alas! all is explained now. All that was strange, mysterious, perplexed in his views and conduct, and which, when it crossed my mind, I dismissed with contempt; all is now too clear.’

“ ‘Henrietta, he is unworthy of you.’

“ ‘Hush! hush! dear father. An hour ago I loved him. Spare him, if you only wish to spare me.’ ” Cling to my heart, my child, my pure and faultless child! A father’s love has comfort. Is it not so?’

“ ‘I feel it is; I feel calmer since you came and we have spoken. Father, I never can be happy again; my spirit is quite broken. And yet, I feel I have a heart now, which I thought I had not before you came. Dear, dear father,’ she said, rising and putting her hands round Mr. Temple’s neck and leaning on his bosom, and speaking in a sweet yet very mournful voice, henceforth your happiness shall be mine. I will not disgrace you; you shall not see me grieve; I will atone, I will endeavor to atone, for my great sins, for sins they were, towards you.’

“ ‘My child, the time will come when we shall remember this bitterness only as a lesson. But I know the human heart too well to endeavor to stem your sorrow now; I only came to soothe it. My blessing is upon you, my sweet child. Let us talk no more. Henrietta, do me one favor; let me send your maid to you. Try, my love, to sleep; try to compose yourself.’

“ ‘These people, to-morrow, what shall I do?’

“ ‘Leave all to me. Keep your chamber until they have gone. You need appear no more.’

“ ‘Oh! that no human being might again see me!’

“ ‘Hush! sweetest! that is not a wise wish. Be calm; we shall yet be happy. To-morrow we will talk; and so good night, my child, good night, my own Henrietta.’

“Mr. Temple left the room. He bid the maid go to her mistress in as calm a tone as if, indeed, her complaint had been only a headache; and then he entered his own apartment. Over the mantelpiece was a portrait of his daughter, gay and smiling as the spring; the room was adorned with her drawings. He drew the chair near the fire, and gazed for some time abstracted upon the flame, and then hid his weeping countenance in his hands. He sobbed convulsively.

After reading these extracts the reader may be at a loss to understand why it is that Mr. D‘Israeli is so little of a favorite with the English public. We shall offer one conjecture on the subject, and, in so doing, shall find occasion to add all that it remains for us to say of this work.

In this day there are parties in every thing; and to stand well with all parties is not given to man. Even Scott’s merits as a novelist began to be questioned by the worshippers of the great Juggernaut of Europe, as soon as his life of Napoleon appeared. With less than transcendant power he would have been decried as a mere scribbler by all the members of that church. Now, it is Mr. D‘Israeli’s misfortune that there is some. thing about him offensive to all parties, and therefore he [page 330:] is taken up by neither. We proceed to explain this. He thus speaks of the Marquess of Montfort:

“The young marquess was an excellent specimen of a class superior in talents, intelligence, and accomplishments, in public spirit and in private virtues, to any in the world — the English nobility.”

Can we wonder after this that Mr. Daniel O‘Connell, in the fury of his crusade against the house of peers, has thought proper to denounce Mr. D‘Israeli in terms too gross to be admitted to a place on our pages? Can we doubt that among all readers of his school there is no favor for one who speaks thus of the English nobility? But what of that? Thus proscribed by their enemies, what is there to prevent that wealthy and intelligent body, and all the readers of their party, from affording to Mr. D‘Israeli their powerful and valuable patronage? Every thing, if we but suppose them to deserve half the praise he gives them.

Ferdinand Arrnyn is manifestly a great favorite with our author. Yet is there nothing in his character to recommend him to any well formed mind, but that of a young woman in the impassioned frenzy of first love. It is impossible to detect in him any principle of action but selfishness, and that a selfishness unrestrained by any laws, whether natural or conventional. He is a demon in the garb of all angel of light. Nor is he merely odious He is contemptible too. With courage, address, and talent of the first order, he is a singing coxcomb, who prides himself more on his mellifluous voice, and the beauty and graces of his person, than on those qualities which fitted him to shine among the great ones of the earth. His selfishness is of the most paltry character, and shows itself under the most disgusting aspects. If he loved anything beside himself, it was Henrietta Temple. Yet see how he loved her. Read this account of his feelings, when, having, as he thought, destroyed her by his baseness, he finds her surviving the blow, and restored to a hope of happiness in the arms of another:

“When he had thought of her before, pining perhaps in some foreign solitude, he had never ceased reproaching himself for his conduct, and had accused himself of deception and cruelty; but now, in this moment of her flush prosperity, ‘esteemed one of the richest heiresses in England’ (he ground his teeth as he recalled that phrase,) and the affianced bride of a great noble, (his old companion, Lord Montfort, too; what a strange thing is life!) proud, smiling, and prosperous, while he was alone, with a broken heart and worse than desperate fortunes, and all for her sake, his soul became bitter; he reproached her with want of feeling; he pictured her as void of genuine sensibility; he dilated on her indifference since they had parted; her silence, so strange, now no longer inexplicable; the total want of interest she had exhibited as to his career; he sneered at the lightness of her temperament; he cursed her caprice; he denounced her infernal treachery; in the distorted phantom of his agonized imagination, she became to him even an object of hatred.”

Take the following conversation:

Is she married?’ inquired Ferdinand.

“ ‘No; but she is going to be.’

“ ‘I know it,’ said Ferdinand. ” Glastonbury stared.

“ ‘You know it? what, to Digby?’

“ ‘Digby, or whatever his name may be; damn him.’

“ ‘Hush! hush!’ said Glastonbury.

“ ‘May all the curses — ’

“ ‘God forbid,’ said Glastonbury, interrupting him.

“ ‘Unfeeling, fickle, false, treacherous — ’

“’She is an angel,’ said Glastonbury,’ a very angel. She has fainted, and nearly in my arms.’

“ ‘Fainted! nearly in your arms! Oh! tell me all, tell me all, Glastonbury,’ exclaimed Ferdinand, starting up in his bed with an eager voice and sparkling eyes.’ Does she love me?’

“ ‘I fear so,’ said Glastonbury.

“ ‘Fear!’

“ ‘Oh! how I pity her poor innocent heart,’ said Glastonbury.

“ ‘When I told her of all your sufferings — ’

” ‘Did you tell her’ What then?’ [column 2:]

“ ‘And she herself has barely recovered from a long and terrible illness.’

“ ‘My own Henrietta! Now I could die happy,’ said Ferdinand.

“ ‘I thought it would break your heart,’ said Glastonbury. ’ It is the only happy moment I have known for months,’ said Ferdinand. “’ I was so overwhelmed that I lost my presence of mind, ’said Glastonbury.’ I really never meant to tell you any thing. I do not know how I came into your room.’

“ ‘Dear, dear Glastonbury, I am myself again!’

“Only think,’ said Glastonbury,’ I never was so unhappy in my life.’

“ ‘I have endured for the last four hours the tortures of the damned,’ said Ferdinand,’ to think that she was going to be married, to be married to another; that she was happy, proud, prosperous, totally regardless of me, perhaps utterly forgetful of the past, and that I was dying like a dog in this cursed caravanserai. O! Glastonbury, nothing that I have ever endured has been equal to the hell of this day! And now you have come and made me comparatively happy. I shall get up directly.’

“Glastonbury looked quite astonished; he could not comprehend how this fatal intelligence could have produced effects so directly contrary to those ie had anticipated. However, in answer to Ferdinand’s reiterated inquiries, he contrivedl to give a detailed account of every thing that had occurred, and Ferdinand’s running comrientary continued to be one of constant self-congratulatioti.’

Now this amiable passion is the bright feature in Mr. Ferdinand Armyn’s character. Apart from this he is the slave of appetite and vanity — a mere adventurer, a fortune-hunter, and a legacy-hunter, who bilks his creditors, and spends the money that does not belong to him in wasteful self-indulgence, unmindful of the necessities of parents, whom their devotion to him has beggared.

But the depravity of Mr. D‘Israeli’s moral tastes is not exhibited in his manifest liking of this character alone. For this he might find some apology with a class of readers who are not the worst customers of the writers of “Love Stories.” We have said that he mitigates the character of his hero from the coldly selfish to the passionately selfish. The difference is like that between manslaughter and murder. But manslaughter itself is felony; and it is not probable that felons of any kind, their aiders or abettors, should find favor with “a class superior in talents, intelligence and accomplishments, in public spirit and in private virtues, to any in the world.” But, as we have said, the evidences of a corrupt moral taste do not stop here. Under the name of Mr. Bond Sharpe, our author takes occasion to show up, with manifest tokens of high approbation and perfect sympathy, the character of Gally the prize-fighter and black-leg, the keeper of a London Hell, the New-market Jockey, who tampers with stable boys and race-riders, and sells the benefit of his intrigues to the rich and noble, who hire him to bet for them.

Another character who figures here, and is in high favor with the author, is the witty and agreeable but detestably profligate Count D‘Orsay, who is exhibited under the name of the Count de Mirabel. We beg pardon for alluding to anything so indecent as Willis’s revelations of what he was permitted to see in private society; but the introduction of this personage by D‘Israeli, transported us at once to the Circean Boudoir of Lady Blessington, where we find both together. If the reader remembers Mr. Willis’s account of our author’s manners and appearance, he will be at at [[sic]] no loss to account for that penchant for puppyism which displays itself not in this work alone, but in every character in the exhibition of which he seems to find peculiar pleasure.

We think we have shown why Mr. D‘Israeli has failed to find that encouragement to which his eminent talents would seem to entitle him, but which he does [page 331:] not, in fact, deserve. For ourselves, while we admire the talent displayed in this work, we neither recommend nor approve it. We think it calculated to do harm. We think it teaches a lesson in that pernicious school of morals and manners, where the mind is prepared for intercourse with the world, by eradicating its best feelings. Time was, when in the training of a gentleman, the first lesson was to divest himself of selfishness, or at least of any appearance of it. The Genius of Almacks, which, like the cholera, has found its way across the Atlantic, is introducing a new system. In that school of the Graces the first position is selfishness, the next insolence. The rest is in order.

————————

MISS SEDGWICK.

The Poor Rich Man, and The Rich Poor Man. By the author of “Hope Leslie,” “The Linwoods,” &c.

MISS SEDGWICK, beyond all question, is the Edgeworth of America. For skill in the art of interweaving the most impressive moral lessons, with trains of incident that rivet the attention and pass irresistibly home to the heart, — for narratives at once natural, simple, touching, and so contrived that no one can rise from the perusal without feeling himself elevated and improved, — and for the truest and happiest exhibitions of character, discriminated exactly according to sex, age, condition, and country, — our country-woman has, in our judgment, no equal on this side the Atlantic. So just and so captivating are her portraitures of New England manners and character, that if she only had that personal acquaintance and consequent personal standing in the South, which Miss Edgeworth has long enjoyed in England, — so as to make her writings current here,-she might be expected to do as much towards dispelling our acknowledged and indisputable prejudices against the North, as Miss Edgeworth has done towards raising the Irish character, in English eyes. And if she but knew, from familiar personal observation, those good points of Southern life, which are either wholly unknown or have been shamefully misrepresented, to the mass of her immediate countrymen, — she might, with her uncommon powers, work a change not less salutary, in their feelings towards us of the South. In being the messenger of Truth, between two people whose animosities nearly all arise from ignorance of each other’s real merits, she would be the messenger of Peace and Love.

Of “Hope Leslie” we shall perhaps give a detailed opinion hereafter. Of “The Linwoods,” we have already spoken; and we have briefly expressed the high admiration we felt, for Miss Sedgwick’s “Tales and Sketches” — especially “A Reminiscence of Federalism,” “Old Maids,” and “The Eldest Sister;” three tales, which we would have read by every man, woman, and child in these United States.

We are disposed to speak even more strongly in praise of “The POOR RICH MAN, and The RICH POOR MAN.”

It is a story, mostly, of humble life. Morris Finley, having by sordid means acquired wealth which neither lie nor his proud, vain wife, — still less their spoiled and silly daughter — knows how to enjoy rationally or to use beneficently, — and feeling, therefore, more than the [column 2:] curse of poverty, — is justly called “The Poor Rich Man.” Harry Atkin, as justly and as quaintly, is called “The Rich Poor Man;” because amid toilsome penury, he and a wife likeminded with himself, not only live happily, rearing up their children to virtue and industry, but contrive to extend helps to the needy around them, which might put many whose incomes are thousands, to the blush. The following is an outline of their history.

Charlotte and Susan May were the daughters of a poor cottager named Philip May, who lived in a New England village. ‘Uncle Phil,’ as every body called him, was an easy, indolent, kind-hearted man, with none of the energy, or talent for making his way in the world, by which New Englanders in general are characterized: consequently, he, and his, always felt the pinch of want — or rather would have felt it, had not his own equable, contented disposition, and the equally cheerful but more active tempers of his daughters, made poverty always wear a smile. “Lottie,” as the elder was generally called, had, in childhood, through her good father’s carelessness, received a hurt which made her a cripple for life. But it did not hinder her from doing much towards increasing the comforts of his household. “Industry and frugality are wonderful multipliers of small means. Philip May brought in but little: but that little was well administered. His house was clean — his garden productive (the girls kept it wed) — his furniture carefully preserved — his family comfortably clad — and his girls schooled. No wonder Uncle Phil never dreamed he was a poor man!”

At length Charlotte’s case became so bad, that a visit to a New York physician, eminent in diseases of the spine, was deemed necessary. But after all the resources of the family were reckoned up, there wanted fully fifty dollars of the sum requisite for such a journey! and how could that sum ever be raised?

Harry Aikin, a schoolmate and playfellow of the two girls, was the youngest of a neighboring farmer’s twelve children. Harry, admitted as a brother into all their councils and plans, knew what Lottie’s health required, and knew how far her means fell short of what was needed. He took his measures accordingly. Foregoing a half year’s schooling, which his father offered him and upon which he had been eagerly bent, he hired himself (at the age of fourteen) to a liberal bookseller, as travelling agent, or pedler; and in a few months returned with his earnings to his native village. What ensued, our author can best tell:

“A winter had passed away, and one of our ungenial springs, always unkind to invalids, was wearing to the last days of May. Charlotte’s disease was aggravated by long confinement, and as she sat toiling over an old coat of her father’s, her eye turned sadly towards the cold sky and the thinly-clad boughs of the trees that were rustling against the window, and that, like her, seemed pining for warmth and sunshine.’ Will summer ever come?’ she thought; and then, suppressing a sigh of impatience, she added,’ but I don‘t mean to murmur.’ At this moment Susan bounded into the room, her cheek flushed with pleasure.

“ ‘Good news, good news!’ she cried, clapping her hands; ‘Harry has got home!’

“ ‘Has he?’

“Why, Lettie, you don‘t seem a bit joyful!’

“The tears came to Charlotte’s eyes.’ I have got to be a poor creature indeed,’ she said,’ when the news of Harry’s getting home does not make me joyful.’

“ ‘Oh, but Lottie, it’s only because you did not sleep last night: take a little of your mixture and lie down, and by the time Harry gets up here-he told me he should come right up — you will look glad; I am sure you feel so now.’

“ ‘I do, Susy: Essex never seems Essex when Harry is out of it. [page 332:]

“No, I am sure It does not; but, then, if he did not go away, we should not have the joy of his coming borne.’ Susan was the first to see the compensation.

“ ‘I hope,’ said Charlotte, after & short pause, ‘that Harry will not go away again on this business; he may be getting money, but then he should have been at school the past winter. You know what Doctor Allen used to say to mother — ’ Education is the best capital for a young man to begin with.’ I am afraid Harry has caught some of Morris Finley’s notions.’

“ ‘Oh, no, no, Charlotte! — they are different as day and night. I am sure, if Harry is eager to get money, it’s because he has some good use for It, and nut, like Morris, just for the money’s sake’

“ ‘I hope it is so, but even then I do not like this travelling about; I am afraid he will get an unsettled disposition.’

“ ‘Why, Charlotte, it is not so very pleasant travelling about in freezing winter weather, and deep muddy spring roads, peddling books.’

“The subject of their discussion broke it off by his entrance; and, after mutual kind greetings were over, he sat down by Charlotte with a face that plainly indicated he had something to say, and knew not how to begin.

“ ‘Have you had good luck, Harry?’ asked Charlotte.

“ ‘Very !’ the very was most emphatic.

“ ‘Well, I hope it won‘t turn your head.’

“ ‘I don‘t know,’ he replied, with a smile; ‘It feels very light just now, and my heart too.’

“Charlotte looked grave

“ ‘No one would think, said Susan,’ that Charlotte was glad to see you, Harry; but she is, for we both love you just as well as if you were a brother — having none that’s natural, you know. But poor Lottie is worse than ever this spring, and nothing seems to do her any good; and I have been trying to persuade her to send round a subscription-paper to get money to go to New York; maybe she‘ll consent now you have come to ask her.’

“ ‘That’s the very thing,’ said Harry, ‘I want to speak to her about.’

“ ‘Oh, don‘t, Harry; if our friends and neighbors were to think of it themselves, 1 would accept the money thankfully, but I cannot ask for it.’

” You need not, Charlotte — you need not — but you will take it from a brother, as Susy almost calls me, won‘t you?’

“He hastily took from his pocketbook five ten-dollar notes, and put them on Charlotte’s lap.

” ‘Harry!’ Charlotte feebly articulated.

“ ‘Oh, Harry, Harry !” shouted Susan, throwing her arms round his neck in a transport of joy, and then starting back and slightly blushing; ‘did I not tell you so, Louie?’ she said.

“ ‘Charlotte smiled through her tears. ‘Not precisely to, Susy, for who could have expected this? But I might have knownit was not for the money, as you did say, but for what the money would bring, that Harry was working.’

“ ‘And what could money bring so good as better health for you, Charlotte? Your suffering is the only thing that ever makes me unhappy; and Bo, after all, it is selfishness in me.’

“Happy would it be for our race if there were more such selfishness as Harry A i kin’s. The benevolent principle is, after all, the true alchymy that converts the lead to gold.”

The journey was now resolved upon; and the preparations began. Here again, some things are said so much better than we could say them, that we must hope to be pardoned for a long quotation; the longest we intend to make:

“If any of my readers have chanced to hear a gentleman curse his tailor, who has sent home, at the last moment, some new exquisite articles of apparel (or a journey, when they were found to be a hair’s breadth too tight or too loose; or if they have assisted at the perplexed deliberations of a fine lady as to the color and material of her new dresses and new hat, and have witnessed her vexations with dressmakers and miliners, we invite them to peep into the dwelling of our young friends, and witness the actual happiness resulting from the successful expedients and infinite ingenuity of the poor.

“The practicability of the long-wished-for journey had been announced to Undo Phil, and they were entering upon deliberations at jut the outfit, when their father, beginning, as need was, at the crown of bin head, exclaimed, ‘I declare, gala, I never told you my bad luck about my tother hat. I lain it down by the door just for a minute last Sabbath, and our plaguy pup run off with it into a mud-puddle — it was the worse for wear before, and it looks like all natur now.’

“ ‘Let us look at it, father,’ said Susan; ‘there are not many people that know you in New York, and maybe we can smooth it up and make it do.’ The hat was brought, and examined, and heads mournfully shaken over it; no domestic smoothing up process would make it decent, and decency was to be attained. Suddenly, Charlotte remembered that during her only well week that spring, she had bound some hats for” Mr. Ellis, the hatter, and Susan was despatched to ascertain if her earnings amounted to enough to pay for the re-dressing of her father’s hat. Iris could scarcely have returned quicker than did Susan; indeed, her little divinity-ship seldom went on such pleasant errands. ‘Every body in the world is kind to us,’ said Susan, as she re-entered, breathless. ‘Mr. Ellis has sent full pay for your work, Lottie, and says he‘ll dress father’s hat over for nothing. [column 2:] I‘m so glad, for now you can get a new riband for your bonnet.’

“ ‘After all the necessaries are provided.’

“ ‘Anybody but you, Lottie, would call that a necessary. Do look at this old dud — all frayed out. It has been turned, and died, and sponged, and now ‘it is not fit to wear in Essex; what will they say to it in New York!’

“ ‘We‘ll see, Susy, how we come out. Father’s Sunday coat must be turned.’ The coal was turned, and the girls were delighted to see it look almost as well as new; and even Susan was satisfied to pay the hat-money to Sally Fen. the tailoress.

“A long deliberation followed upon father’s nether garments, and they came to the conclusion they were quite too bad to be worn where father was not known and respected. And, to get new ones, Charlotte must give up buying a new clonk, and mate her old one do. There is a lively pleasure in this making Jo that the rich know not of; the cloak was turned, rebound; and new collared, and Susan said, ‘Considering what a pretty color it was, and how natural Charlotte looked in it, she did not know hut what she liked it better than a new one.’ And now, after Charlotte had bleached and remodelled her five-year old Dunstable, her dress was in order for the expedition — all but the riband, on which Susan’s mind was still intent. ‘Not but just ninepence left,’ said she to Charlotte, after the last little debt for the outfit was paid. ‘Ninepence won‘t buy the riband, that’s certain, though Mr. Turner is selling off so cheap. Why can‘t you break into the fifty dollars; I do hate to have you seen in New York with that old riband, Louie.’

“ ‘But I must, Susan — for I told Harry I would not touch the fifty dollars till we started.’

“ ‘Well, give me the ninepence, then.’ Susan’s face brightened. She had resolved, as a last resort, to invest In the riband a certain precious quarter of a dollar which Harry had given her ages and ages ago, and which she had ever since worn as a locket. She left her sister abruptly; and, as she slid the coin from the riband, ‘Dear little locket,’ said she, ‘I suppose you will seem to other folks just like any other quarter, and they will just pass you from hand to hand without thinking at all about you — how foolish I am!’ she dashed a tear from her eye — ’Sha‘n‘t I love Harry just as well, and won‘t he love me just as well, and sha‘n‘t I think of him more than ever now he has been so kind to Lottie, without having this to put me in mind of him?’ This point settled to her own satisfaction, she turned as usual to the bright Bide. ‘How lucky Mr. Turner is selling off — I wonder what color I had best get — Charlotte would like brown, it’s so durable; but she looks so pretty in pink. It takes off her pale look, and casts such a rosy shadow on her cheek. But I am afraid she will think pink too gay for her.’ Thus weighing utility and sobriety against taste and becomingness, Susan entered the shop, and walking up to the counter, espied in a glass case a pink and brown plaid riband. Her own taste was ratified, and Charlotte’s economy and preference of modest colors would be satisfied; in short, it was (all women will understand me) just the thing. She was satisfied, delighted, and, had not the master of the shop kept her waiting five minutes, she would have forgotten the inestimable value of that’ quarter,’ that in addition to the ninepence must be paid. But in five minutes the feelings go through many changes; and, when Mr. Fuller said, “Here is your riband, Susan May!” Susan was standing with her back to the counter, and looking at the “quarter” as if she were studying it. She had on a deep sun-bonnet; as she raised her head it felt back and disclosed a tear on her cheek, and disclosed it, too, to Harry Aiken, who had come in unobserved, and was standing before her. She hastily threw down the money — it rolled on to the floor — he picked it up; he recognized it, and at once understood the whole. Susan left the shop first, and we believe few ladies, though they may have spent hundreds in the splendid shops of Broadway, have had half the pleasure from their purchases that Susan May had from the acquisition of this two yards of plaid riband. We ask, which was richest fin the true sense of the word), the buyer of Cashmire shawls and blonde capes, or our little friend Susan? And when Harry, overtaking her before she reached her own door-step, restored the precious ‘quarter,’ she was not conscious of an unratified wish. Had they been a little older, there might have been some shyness, some blushes and stammerings; but now, Susan frankly told him her reluctance to part with it, her joy in getting it back again; and, suspending it by its accustomed riband, she wore it ever after, a little nearer the heart than before!”

Susy, at Mrs. Aikin’s desire, being left in her care, the invalid and her father set out in Mr. Sibley’s wagon, lent for the purpose. It is not easy to find a description more graphic, or dialogue more natural and striking, than the following:

“They travelled slowly, but he was never impatient, and she never wearied, for she was an observer and lover of nature. The earth was clothed with its richest green; was all green, but of infinitely varied teints. The young corn was shooting forth; the winter wheat already waved over many a fertile hillside; the gardens were newly made, and clean, and full of promise — flowers, in this month of their abundance, perfumed the woods, and decked the gardens and courtyards, and where nothing else grew, there were lilachs and pionies in plenty. The young lambs were frolick‘ng in the fields — the chickens peeping [page 333:] about the barnyards; and birds, thousands of them, singing at their work.

“Our travellers were descending a mountain where their view extended over an immense tract of country, for the most part richly cultivated.

“ ‘I declare,’ exclaimed Uncle Phil, ‘how much land there is in the world, and I don‘t own a foot on‘t, only our little half-acre lot — it don‘t seem hardly right.’ Uncle Phil was no agrarian, and he immediately added, ‘But after all, I guess I am better off without it — it would be a dreadful care.’

“ ‘Contentment with godliness is great gain,’ said Charlotte.

“ ‘You‘ve hit the nail on the head, Lottie; I don‘t know who should be contented if I ain‘t — I always have enough, and every body is friendly to me — and you and Susan are worth a mint of money to one — For all what I said about the land, I really think I have got my full share.’

‘“We can all have our share in the beauties of God’s earth without owning, as you say, a foot of it’ rejoined Charlotte. ‘We must feel it is our Father’s. I am sure the richest man in the world cannot take more pleasure in looking at a beautiful prospect than I do — or in breathing this sweet, sweet air. It seems to me, father, as if every thing I looked upon was ready to burst forth in a hymn of praise — and there is enough in my heart to make verses of if 1 only knew how.’

“ ‘That’s the mystery, Lottie, how they do it — I can make one line, but I can never get a fellow to it.’

“ ‘Well, father, as Susy would say, it’s a comfort to have the feeling, though you can‘t express it.’ ”

The troublesome inquisitiveness, which some ascribe to the Northern people, is much more truthfully characterised in these two, short paragraphs:

“Uncle Phil found out the little histories of all the wayfarers be met, and frankly told his own. Charlotte’s pale sweet face attracted general sympathy. Country people have time for little by-the-way kindnesses; and the landlady, and her daughters, and her domestics inquired into Charlotte’s malady, suggested remedies, and described similar cases.

“The open-hearted communicativeness of our people is often laughed at; but is it not a sign of a blameless life and social spirit?’ ”

Poor Charlotte’s malady was not cured by the New York Physician: but he prescribed a course of treatment, by which her sufferings were materially alleviated, and her life rendered not only tolerable, but comparatively easy. It did not consist in medicine. It consisted in proper victuals and clothing — cold bread always, and flannel all the year round — having her room constantly well aired — taking plenty of exercise — and, above all, bathing her whole person every day in cold water, and rubbing her skin till it was dry and warm — or, if conveniences for bathing were not at hand, using a tub, or even a basin of water, and a sponge: The flannel to consist of drawers and a waistcoat with sleeves; and be worn next the skin. These prescriptions, designed to invigorate the general system, and not for local relief merely, are justified by that high medical authority, Dr. Combe; from whose work on “Physiology, as applied to the preservation of Bodily and Mental Health,“* our authoress extracts some pages in a note.

In the course of time, Harry Aikin and Susan May were married: and went to live in the city of New York, whither Uncle Phil and Lottie accompanied them. Harry there followed the trade of carman: his wife plied her needle to good purpose: her sister aided her in all her work: and Uncle Phil, true to his character of jack-at-all-trades — that sure mark of laziness — and true also to the simple kindness of his nature, rendered a thousand little services, of which, nursing the children was the chief. They occupied part of a small house, where

“one room served as kitchen, parlor, and bedroom. It was famished only with articles of the first necessity. There was a snug little bedroom for Uncle Phil, which ho said suited him exactly; and a comfortable, good-sized one for Charlotte, with a neat rag carpet on it, ‘because Lottie suffered with cold feet;’ and a fireplace in it, ‘for Lottie must have a fire when she had sick turns;’ and two windows, ‘for all Lottie’s living was fresh [column 2:] air;’ and the only bureau and the only rocking-chair were in Charlotte’s room, because, as she said, ’Susy had always some good reason at hand for giving her the best of every thing.’

“Our friends were undeniably what the world calls poor. But they had affection, intelligence, temperance, contentinent, and godliness. Were they poor? We shall see. In the meantime, let us see if there is not some misuse of terms in this world. Morris Finley had ‘got in on the world.’ He had so far secured his main chance, that he was engaged in profitable business. He lived in a good house, fashionably furnished; and his wife, like the wives of other flourishing young merchants, dressed in expensive materials, made in the latest fashion. Neither Morris nor his wife was vicious. They were only selfish and ostentatious, with unfurnished minds, and hearts as empty as their purses were full.

“’ Husband,’ said Mrs. Finley to her partner, who had just come home from Wall-Street to dinner, his mind engrossed with some unaccountable rise in the stocks. ‘Husband, mother has been here.’

“ ‘Well, what of that?’

“’She has given up her house.’

“ ‘What of that?’

‘“Why, you know what of that as well as I do; she does not know what she is to do next.’

“We must premise that Finley’s father-in-law had made some unfortunate, as well as fortunate speculations; had died, and left his wife and an unmarried daughter penniless.

‘“I am sure I cannot say what she is to do next,’ replied Finley; ’she is lucky to have one daughter well provided for. What does she propose?’

‘“She did not propose anything. She sat and cried the whole morning.’

“ ‘Of course she cannot expect to have a home here.’

‘“Of course not. I told her, said I, ‘Mother, if I were to ask husband to invite you here, we could not accommodate you, for we have not a room to spare: you know we must eat in the basement, to keep the parlors in order for company; and in the second story there is only the nursery and our bed-chamber; and one of the third-story rooms we must keep for a spare room; urn!, when Sabina Jane gets to be a little older, she must have the back upper chamber; and so,’ said I, ‘mother, you see, if husband were perfectly willing, it is impossible.’ ’ ”

After this truly filial conclusion, it was determined also, that Mrs. Finley’s sister, Miss Helen Maria, being fitted for nothing else, might try to obtain a place as governess: at all events, that they would not be burthened with her. The old lady could not expect Mr. Finley to be her security for the rent of a genteel boarding house which she wished to take; but he thought of a very cheap mansion, which he could procure for her, of a man who was “not particular about security,” and for which Mr. F. proposed to advance the first quarter’s rent: for, said he, “I aint one that holds to shirking poor relations.” Mrs. F. echoed this sentiment; and her husband, dismissing that subject with the apothegm, — “Folks that mean to go ahead in the world must avoid all unnecessary expenses;” inquired

“ ‘Has the man been here about the curtains?’

“ ‘Yes; and I find the fawn, with blue borders, cost, for each window, twenty dollars more than the others.’

“ ‘Bless my soul! how is that?’

“ ‘The fixtures are very showy and expensive — I don‘t make a point of those — but the blue and fawn is such a lovely contrast, and such a match for my carpet. If there’s anything I do care about, it’s a match.’

“ ‘But the price, wife, is enormous.’

“ ‘But it is not more than Mrs. Johnson Smith gave for hers.’

“ ‘Are you sure of that?’

“ ‘Positive; Miss Saltus told me so, and Miss Saltus made them up. I should not depend on what Mrs. Johnson Smith said, for she always makes it out that her things cost more than anybody else’s; but I can rely on Miss Saltus.’

“ ‘Well, if that’s the case, take the blue and fawn. I hope I can afford what Johnson Smith can; but mind and make your bargain with that Saltus woman beforehand; work is slack just now, and she can‘t afford to lie by with that old blind mother on her hands. Get your work done as well and as cheap as you can; for, remember, we must avoid all unnecessary expenses.’ ”

We are presently furnished with a precious pattern of parental treatment and moral discipline:

“ ‘What ails Sabina Jane? seems to me she does nothing but bawl.’

“Mrs. Finley opened the door to inquire, and in rushed a pale little girl, with a bit of plum-cake in her hand.

“ ‘Take care, Judy,’ said the mother, picking up the crumbs the child profusely scattered; ‘you should not let Sabina Jane come into the parlor; it’s no place for children.’

“’She would come, ma‘am.’ [page 334:]

“Oh!, Sabina Jane, my darling go back to the nursery, that’s a good child.’

“ ‘I won‘t, I won‘t?’

“Mrs. Finley, in a low voice to the nurse — ’ Coax her, Judy — tell her you‘ll take her out to walk.’

“I can‘t take her out ma‘am — my foot is lame.’

“ ‘Oh, only just tell her so, to pacify her. Stop, Sabina Jane, and listen to mother; Sabina Jane shall go out walking in Broadway, and have on her pretty velvet cap, and her cloak, all trimmed with pink — there, that’s a good girl! now she‘ll go with Judy. Get out her things, Judy — make her look like a little beauty!’

“The little dupe returned to the nursery, and in two minutes was bawling louder than ever, having been quieted just that time by her mother’s precious lesson in lying and vanity.”

Reluctantly, we here close our outline and extracts; partly, because the space we have for them is filled, but chiefly, because it mortifies us to see how inexpressibly short they fall, of conveying any adequate idea of the book’s merits — of the just and shrewd remark, the lively delineation, the spirited dialogue, or the touching incident, which occurs in almost every page. Not the least merit of the work is, that never once, (to the best of our belief) is vraisemblance violated — ‘the modesty of Nature’ overstepped. There is not a fact, which may not well have occurred: not a sentence, which is not appropriate to the person by whom it is uttered. All is probable — life-like — well assorted. Not a particle of romance appears. In this respect — simplicity, and likelihood of plot — we must own our prime favorite, Miss Edgeworth, to have been here surpassed-though, by the by, we do not agree with the Edinburg Review, that she is remarkable for clumsiness in the contrivance of a story. But her heroes and heroines are often so clever and so good; are so wonderfully favored with fine opportunities for heroism; and improve every opportunity so marvellously well; — that poor human nature remains with upturned eyes and folded arms, in mute despair of ever equalling such perfection. Not so in The Poor Rich Man, and The Rich Poor Man. Here, no achievement startles, as incredible or strange; no good act, as improbable; no tenor of life, as impracticable; no speech even, as unnaturally wise, or eloquent. Any heart, not pitiably depraved — any sound mind, reasonably conversant with the world — will feel and know that all is practicable; will recognize every thing which happens, or is done, or said — as consistent with experience, or with observation. The sagest thoughts appear (and are) mere, plain, common-sense: the most pathetic scenes are evident transcripts of every-day life: the most moving and beautiful language comes from people whom it so perfectly suits, that they seem, while uttering it, to stand visible before us, in their work-day clothes. To have been thus, as it were, common-place, and yet have made a story of so much good sense and such enchaining interest, — is among the highest triumphs of talent. Perhaps the best praise ever bestowed upon Burns, was unconsciously given by the old housekeeper, who wondered what her mistress could find to admire in the Cotter’s Saturday Night: for, said she, “It tells o’ just nae mair than I used to see every Saturday, in my father’s house.” And a good reader-aloud of Shakspeare, will often make a half-attentive listener fancy, that a passage is spoken, to or of some actually present person or thing: so inevitably (when the Bard spurns not the bounded reign of Existence) does presiding Truth confess the accuracy with which He drew “each change of many-colored life.”

The vulgar notion of criticism is, that it is synonymous [column 2:] with ‘fault-finding.’ We did intend to humor this idea, by exhibiting a list of offences against grammar or rhetoric, which we doubted not we should detect. But on the closest scrutiny, they all (save one) turn out to be provincialisms, or other improprieties, entirely in character with the persons who are guilty of them. Such is the clipping of the infinitive mood, thus — “She will be glad to:” a New Englandism, against which this journal has heretofore protested, but which is at least appropriate, in the mouth of a poor New England woman. Such are Uncle Phil’s “chores,” “kind of,” — “ena most,” — &c., which stamp his character with stronger verisimilitude and individuality. But there is one exception to our general justification of seeming faults. Somewhere in the book, our eye caught the phrase “was being executed;” and this, not used by such an ambitious vulgarian as Mrs. Finley, or Mrs. Fintley’s waiting maid, whose lips it would have well become; but by the authoress, in proper person! Again and again, we aver this to be a violation of English idiom, and countenanced by no respectable precedent, of twenty years’ standing. ‘Tis pity, that Miss Sedgwick should have lent it the sanction of her authority. She is a writer to establish precedents: and ought therefore to be on her guard.

But how small, how immeasurably small a deduction is this, from what the world owes her for having written THE POOR RICH MAN, AND THE RICH POOR MAN!

——————

CRITICAL NOTICE.

Thoughts on Popular and Liberal Education, with some Defence of the English and Saxon Languages; in the form of an dd. dress to the Philomathean Society of Indiana College. Delivered September 28th, 1S36. By Charles Caldwell, M.D. 8 vo. pp. 73.

This is a valuable pamphlet, and worthy, we think, of special notice. It is written, indeed, (or, we might almost say, spoken,) with a degree of force and freedom that we like. It contains, too, many just and weighty sentiments upon different topics, which we can hardly commend too much. The writer’s thoughts on Popular Education, more particularly, are generally such as we should be heartily glad to see current in our state, and throughout our whole South, as well as West.

We are not quite as well pleased, however, we confess, with his views upon the subject of Liberal Education, which certainly strike us as rather illiberal, and we must say, altogether unworthy of a scholar. We refer here, exclusively, to his harsh reflections upon the study of the Greek and Latin languages, which he seems, most unaccountably, inclined to disparage and degrade. It is true he does not venture to declare open war against them at once. On the contrary, he professes to entertain a due respect for them — in their proper places — and even condescends to quote a Latin sentence himself, “the more conclusively to show,” as he says, ” that he is not a foe to that languages — to wit, “rari nantes in gurgite vasto” — (as good, no doubt, for the purpose, as e pluribus unum, which another eminent doctor is said to have uttered on receiving his degree from a learned University — in order to show his humanity.) But then he depreciates and decries all the arguments which are commonly and justly urged in their favor, in such a manlier, that it is difficult to reconcile his professions with his proceeding.

Thus, he denies that the study of the Greek and Latin languages is such “an excellent, if not essential mode of exercise, to strengthen all the faculties of the mind, and fit them for the performance of other tasks;” but, on the contrary, contends that “the study of them, as mere languages, exercises the faculty of Language; and there the matter ends.” (As if, by the way, it were possible to study them as mere languages, and without necessarily studying many other things at the same time.) This [page 335:] assertion, however, we see, is founded altogether upon the theory of phrenology, so called, in which he appears to be a devout believer, and according to which no faculty, or rather organ, of the mind, can be improved by the exercise of any other. But is this theory of phrenology true? On the contrary, does not the very fact that the study of these languages does exercise and improve several of the faculties of the mind, if not all of them, go far to explode this fantastic theory itself, upon its own principle?

He contends, also, that a knowledge of Greek and Latin is by no means necessary, or even very important, to “a thorough understanding of English.” He admits, indeed, “that no one can comprehend the etymology of a large portion of our language without an acquaintance with Greek and Latin as fully as with it.” But then he contends that ” to be acquainted with the etymology of words, and so to understand their meaning and uses, as to apply them with readiness and correctness, elegance and force, to all the requisite purposes of speech, are different and independent attributes of mind.” (As if the study of the etymology of words did not necessarily involve the study of their meaning, or as if the process of translation at least did not inevitably do so; and, at the same time, naturally induce a habit of weighing them, and a faculty of appreciating their “force and elegance,” which can hardly be acquired in any other manner.) Butt how is this? Did he not tell us, a little while ago, that there was but one faculty, or organ, of Language; and are we now to understand that there is one organ for the etymology and another “different and independent” one for the meaning of words? Really phrenology must be a very agreeable science.

But we have no time, or space, to state all our writer’s views on this subject — much less to discuss them — and we must, therefore, satisfy ourselves with protesting against this part of his pamphlet, whilst we give him our cordial thanks for nearly all the rest.

——————

TO OUR READERS.

We publish the following second letter from our correspondent “Oxoniensis,” upon the subject of Hoddesford’s “Lines to My Wife,” &c. with great pleasure; and shall subjoin a few remarks, which may be better understood after the letter is read. We must add here, however, in order that the letter itself (or a part of it,) may be better understood, that having found out (by the help of a literary friend,) the real name of our correspondent, we took the liberty to write to him eo nomine, (as he would say,) and this is his answer:

——

Charleston, S. C. May 10th, 1837.

Mr. White: — I have received four numbers of your “Literary Messenger,” and ant much obliged to you for sending them. If any future occasion of contributing to the work should present itself, I shall certainly embrace it; but it is seldom that I am induced to trouble other people with any remarks of my own. I supposed that, in this instance, at least, my incognito would have been secure; for, I do not believe that any body in Richmond knows my hand-writing, though I have formerly had some acquaintances there: at any rate, I shall, in future, preserve the same fictitious signature. At present, I shall content myself with sending you two or three quotations, illustrative of the connection between the Ivy and the Elm. They will show that, however grateful, and even necessary, the entwinement may be to the former, it is generally supposed to end in the death of the latter, and, of course, that the separation cannot be fatal to the tree, whatever may be the case with the parasitical creeper. The author of the additional stanza in your Magazine mistakes this point of Natural History; perhaps, rot altogether without precedent. But, my chief objection to his lines arises from the pastry-cook metaphor, of “rolling all their wishes into one;” for which Mr. Huddesford would probably have been flogged, if his little poem had been a Winchester exercise, shown up to Dr. Warton.

I omitted to mention, in my last, that these lines are selected by the Mnth ltv Reviewer (February 1806), who introduces them, as a specimen of Mr. Huddesford’s merit, in the following manner: “We turn to the following song which, if our readers admire it as much as we do, they will thank us for transcribing.”

It is a little singular that the writer of the article should have been wholly ignorant of the very pretty lines of Lapraik, as quoted by Burns — and that if Mr. Huddesford ever saw them, [column 2:] he should risk, as original, what he has inserted in his “Chaplet.” That one of these poets must have copied from the other, appears to be indisputable. I cannot avoid preferring the Scotch-where, by the by, the physiology of the Elm and Ivy is more correctly given.

I will conclude with three or four extracts confirmatory of the remark contained in my last communication.

Hedera, Ivy. Planta perletuĆ³ virens, cum per se stare non possit (for which reason, I suppose, Bacchus, a notorious drunkard, was crowned with Ivy,) arboribus et parietibus adeĆ³ arcté adhæret ut ruinpat parietes et arbores necat.” Facciolati, in Hedera. An evergreen, which adheres so closely to walls and trees, as to split the former and kill the latter.

You will find in Beloe’s Aulus Gellius, the exquisitely elegant prologue, spoken by Laberits, a Roman Knight, who was induced, by the irresistible persuasion of Julius Caesar, to exhibit himself on the Stage, and that, too, at a very advanced age. The lines end thus (Beloe’s Aul. Gel. Vol. II, p. 133):

Ut hedera setpens vires arboreas necat,

Ita me vetzestas, amplexu annorum, enecat:

Septslcri similis, nihil nisi nomen retineo.”

“The creeping Ivy clasps and kills the tree,” &c. — or, in Rollin’s admirable French version: De meme que le lierce, enmbrassant un arbre, l‘eputse insensiblement et le tue, ainsi la veeillesse, par les annaes dont ella me charge, me laisse sans force et sans vie, &c. — Cours. d‘Etudes, I, 294.

Again:

“See, Elfiida,

Ah see! how round yon branching Elm the Ivy

Clasps its green folds, and poisons what supports it.”

Mason’s Elfeida.

And Shakspeare:

“Thou art an Elm, my husband, I, a vine,

Whose weakness, married to thy stronger state,

Makes me with thy strength to communicate.

If ought possess thee, from me, it is dross,

Usurping Ivy, briar, or idle moss;

Who, all for want of pruning, with intrusion

Infect thy sap, and live on thy confusion.”

Com. of Errors, 2, 2.

“Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms —

So doth the woodbine the sweet honey-suckle,

Gently entwist — the female Ivy so

Enrings the barky fingers of the Elm.”

Mid- Summer’s N. Dreams, 4, 1.

Shakspeare does not, in this last passage, state the consequences of this entwistment; but he does not say that the Elm would be killed by separation. Milton is equally silent on that point:

“Led the vine

To wed her Elm: She, spous‘d, about him twines

Her marriageable arms.” — Paradise Lost, v, 215.

Nobody doubts that this is pleasant enough to the “female Ivy” — but, in how many instances, would the tree be glad to be relieved!

The heroine of the following anecdote seems to have carried matters a little too far:

“Longinus affirms that a lady in Cologne, in that situation where a lady’s longings must be gratified, took such a fancy to taste the flesh of her husband, that she assassinated his., and, after eating as much as she could, while he was fresh, salted the rest.” — Albion, April 29th, 1837.

By the by, what has Cologne (eo nomine) to do with Longinus? I regret that these extracts should cost you double postage, and can only hope that you may think them worth the money. If not, you have your self, only, to blame; for, I had no thought of adding any thing to my first commnunication.

Allow me to conclude with a hope that you (or somebody else), may, some day, succeed in discovering the author of ” Junus’ Letters,” as you have done in translating my incognito. I shall, nevertheless, adhere to my signature of

OXONIENSIS.

In mitigation of damages, and to fill up my paper, I send you a conjectural reading of a passage in Macbeth — Act V, Scene the last. [page 336:]

When the approach of his foes is announced, in such force as to render resistance hopeless, the thought of suicide suggests itself, and is thus repelled:

“Why should I play the Roman fool, and die

On mine own sword? while I see lives,

The gashes do better upon them.”

In the first place, no lives were, then, in sight; and if there had been, he must have been dreadfully alarmed to talk nonsense. Shakspeare undoubtedly wrote:

“While i foe lives.”

The mistake, by the copyist, of the dotted figure [[1]] for the dotted letter, and of f for s, occasioned the vile blunder. As to the plural relative pronoun “them,” it means those foes, “while one of them is left me.” There is scarcely a page of Shakspeare that does not exhibit such inaccuracies as this.

If ever I should, like poor Laberius, be compelled to exhibit myself upon any stage, in the character of Macbeth, I shall not hesitate to speak the passage (meo periculo, as Dr. Bentley says,) as it is here amended.

I proposed this conjectural alteration, some time since, through a friend, to Mrs. Kemble Butler; but I don‘t know that she ever received it. If Mrs. Siddons, whom I knew intimately, had been alive, I should have submitted it to her. Whatever might have been her opinion, I am sure that it would have given her pleasure, if she could have acquiesced in mine.

Upon another passage of Macbeth I will, at some future time, indulge my conjectural vein, if your insertion of this should encourage me to do so.

O.

——

We thank our correspondent for his communication, and may say that we pretty nearly agree with him in most of his thoughts. But what do we think of his quotations against the Ivy, whose cause we undertook to defend against his former attack? — Why we think that some of them sustain his point of physiology completely. But we certainly did not doubt that before. On the contrary, our readers may remember, we expressly admitted it; and our precise position was, that the plant, notwithstanding its secret fault of being a little too exigeante, was still a very proper and classical emblem of connubial affection and fidelity. This was our point of poetry, and the quotations evidently do not disturb it. Indeed the two last of them, from the highest authorities of Parnassus, Shakspeare and Milton, expressly confirm it. Thus Shakspeare manifestly considers the “female Ivy” as, poetically at least, in the same category with the “woodbine,” (against which our correspondent brings no charge of undue exaction,) and if he does not “state the consequences of this entwistmnent,” (or rather “enringment,”) it is only because, as we said, a poet satisfies himself with the superficial appearance of things, without inquiring too minutely into the physiology of them; leaving the simpler, or the satirist to do that, if he likes. And the extract from Milton is even still more to our purpose, and indeed exactly in point.

“Led the vine

To wed her Elm: she, spous‘d, about him twines

Her marriageable arms” —

just all we could wish. We must say, however, in candor, that we apprehend we cannot fairly use this quotation; for it is the Grape, we think, that the poet means here, and not the Ivy, as the rest of the passage (which our correspondent omits,) seems to show — in these words:

“and with her brings

Her dower, th’ adopted clusters to adorn

His barren leaves.

(By the way, we suspect that our correspondent was led into this mistake by his knowledge that the Ivy was most commonly, and indeed almost invariably, married to the Elm, by the parson poets.) But, happily, if we must give up this quotation, we can draw out another, from the same author, almost as good, to supply its place. It runs thus:

“whether to wind

The woodbine round this arbor, or direct

The clasping Ivy where to climb.” — Par. Lost, IX. 215.

For here again our plant is linked with the woodbine, and spoken of as equally innocent in its embraces. We could add many more quotations from other authors to prove our point; but we think them unnecessary; especially as we do not understand our correspondent to dispute it seriously; and as to his pleasantries, we rather choose to enjoy, than undertake to explode them. [column 2:]

We will only add, that we shall always be happy to hear from our correspondent, whenever he chooses to “indulge his conjectural vein,” or any other; and certainly shall not presume to “translate his incognito,” any further than to express our hope, that he may long continue to gratify his literary taste, by roving among all the flowers of poesy — “modo apis Mantiniae,” as Horace says — and favoring us, from time to time, with some small portions of their gathered sweets.

——

We add here, a pleasant note which our juvenile Messenger has begged leave to append to the letter of “Oxoniensis,” by way of aiding his argument against the Ivy; in the following words:

———

NOTE BY PRINTER’S DEVIL.

In addition to the illustrations of Oxoniensis, which are generally very happy, and evince a highly cultivated taste, as well as extensive reading, — I am tempted to give another, though not exactly applicable; and though unable to quote it in extenso, perhaps Oxoniensis, if he thinks it worth the trouble, may complete it.

When Lord Macartney was sent Ambassador from England to the Emperor of China, one object of his splendid embassy was a commercial treaty between the two countries. In this he was wholly unsuccessful, though treated with every honor that could be shown him by the Monarch of the greatest Empire that has ever existed — and ample returns were made for the rich presents that he carried from England. Among them, it was said, were some poetical productions of the aged Emperor Kien Long, who was admitted, by the best and most impartial critics of China, to be the first Poet of that or any age or country. Before the return of the embassy, the Editor of one of the leading London newspapers, very naturally and laudably, undertook to gratify the public curiosity with anticipated translations of some of these productions. They were, of course, copied by at least one of our American Editors, and I remember to have met with them some years since in a file of old newspapers that happened to be preserved in a printing office where I then worked. I only recollect a few lines, or parts of lines, of a fable — “The Oak and the Vine.” I think they were nearly thus:

“When tree to tree spoke,

Said the Vine to the Oak,

Let’s together our branches intwine,

United we‘ll rise aloft to the skies,

Yes, Oak, you shall rise with the Vine.”

I forget the rest of the fable, but it, of course, terminated in the Oak’s declining the connection, as having no occasion for it.

Your readers may, perhaps, be very little pleased with your permitting one of your underlings to “start from his sphere;” and it certainly would not be allowable from any other motive than that of recovering, what I thought at least a very creditable jeu d‘esprit, which, if not already lost in oblivion, is in danger of it, unless rescued by

YOUR MESSENGER.

——

And we must add here, also, on our side, the following poetical sally which we have just received from a friend, who has espoused the cause of our ” female Ivy,” (as Shakspeare calls it,) with great gallantry, and we must think, of course, with perfect success.

——

LINES.

TO “OXONIENSIS.”

On reading his remarks respecting the Ivy and the Elm.

O blame not the Ivy, dear B——,

If her fondness and frailty are such,

That she hangs on her favorite tree,

And hugs him a little too much.

 

‘Tis her nature to do so — her fate —

Implanted by heaven above;

And if she ever strangles her mate,

It is not from malice — but love.

 

So the generous Elm must forgive

Her fault for the sake of her charms;

And feel himself happy to live —

Or even to die — in her arms.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 333, column 2:]

* We have already given this admirable work, a passing encomium, in a Notice of the “Medical Review;” and we design hereafter to present It more fully for the instruction of our readers.


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - SLM, 1837] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Criticism - SLM Literary Reviews (May 1837)