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hand, where every man must take his part, for or against the insti. tutions of the British monarchy. What is there inconsistent in the assertion, that our ancestors have, by their struggles, acquired a sufficient degree of rational liberty, and that the present race will as resolutely oppose all the attempts of a democratic faction, which, at the period of Mr. Canning's address, appeared to be hastening on the crisis to which he alluded? The good sense of the country, though it sometimes reposes, wants only such spirit stirring appeals to it, as those of Mr. Canning, to be raised into emotion : surrounded as it has been, during the last twelve months, with a more than usual store of inflammable matter, it has acted like the safety-lamp of Sir H. Davy; and, under Providence, prevented, and we trust will continue to prevent, a perilous explosion. Mr. Hazlitt concludes what he calls his simple and mitigated strain of paradox', by an exquisite illustration of the qualifications of the Right Honourable Member for Liverpool, in the course of which he informs us, that whilst he shows off his rhetorical paces by his ambling, and lisping, and nicknaming God's creatures, he would change liberty into slavery, and cause us to anchor, through time and eternity, in the harbour of passive obedience and non-resistance !
Our Slang-whanger exults exceedingly in the production of these chuice flowers of eloquence. He claps his wings, and crow's over his prostrate foes without stint, or mercy: nay, in the pride of recent victory, he seems persuaded* that nothing can withstand his potent perseverance ;-when, in an unlucky moment, an incidental glance at the transcendent talents of the Indian jugglers throu's him once more into a fit of humility, and he sobs out the following confession of the true scope of bis own abilities :
'What have I been doing all my life? Have I been idle, or have I nothing to show for all my labour and pains ? Or have I passed my time in pouring words like water into empty sieves, trying to prove an angument in the teeth of facts, and looking for causes in the dark, and not finding them ? I can write a book: so can many others who have not learned to spell. What abortions are these Essays! What errors, what ill-pieced transitions, what crooked reasons, what lame conclusions ! How little is made out, and that little how ill! Yet they are the best I can do.'—
Tandem Phæbus adest: morsusque inferre parantem
* Essay on Thought and Action.
Art. VI.-Rob Roy, Tales of my Landlord, 2d Series,
(Heart of Mid Lothian), Tales of my Landlord, 3d Series, (Bride of Lammermoor, Montrose), Ivanhoe, Monastery, Abbot, Kenilworth. THE reader may expect an apology for our having delayed no
1 ticing the works that compose the long list prefixed to this article. We are disposed to apologise for noticing them at all. And, certainly, most of the motives which direct us in the selection of writers to be reviewed, are in this case wanting. We cannot propose to draw the public attention to works, which are bought, and borrowed, and stolen, and begged for, a hundred times more than our dry and perishable pages. We have little expectation that the great author, who tosses his works to us with such careless profusion, will take the trouble of examining our strictures--and still less that he will be guided by them. Our praise or blame cannot well be heard among the voices of a whole nation. It is by these motives, or rather by this absence of motive, that our silence has been principally occasioned. But it cannot be persisted in. One of our duties is, to give a literary history of the times we live in—to tell those who follow us what were the subjects and the writers which chiefly engaged the attention of our contemporaries. And it would be a strange omission if we were to pass over the works, which, from their number, their merit, their originality, and their diffusion, have more ivfluence than is exercised by any others within the whole scope of our literature.
Our deliberation has been quickened by feeling that this really is no case for further delay. We have suffered three years to elapse since we reviewed the first series of the Tales of my Landlord -and in that interval a line of three-and-twenty new volumes has covered our table. A sight which, as we sit with it before us, might alarm even German diligence. It is in some measure a compensation, that we consequently address readers who are masters of their subject, and may engage in criticism without previous exposition. Our present situation has all the advantages over our ordinary one, which the comedian in Athenæus attributes to tragedy over his own art.
In every sense
“ The madman, is it not, that slew his mother?”
- Now we poor Comedians
May boggle by prerogative forsooth. But to business. First, in order of time, comes Rob Roy. We never rejoiced more in the circumstances which exempt us from endeavouring to relate our author's plots: for though we have this instant closed the last volume, and though one of the objects of our re-perusal was to make out the story, we are by no means sure that, we have succeeded. Nothing but the novel's being in the first person, so that the author appears bound only to relate the events which his hero saw and heard, without detailing the steps by which they are brought about, could have enabled him to make it hang together, even with the small portion of plausibility which it now possesses. He must have been sorely puzzled, if he had been forced, in his. own person, to account for the influence which constrained Rashleigh to produce Campbell, in order to extricate his hero at Justice Inglewood's, or for the success of such an extraordinary proceeding. It is equally difficult to account for the interposition of Rashleigh's political friends, to oblige him to give up the assets, which he had taken in order to forward (though in a most unintelligible way) their views as well as his own--and for the effect of that interference, at a time when he had determined to quit their party. Indeed, the whole business of the assets—what they were —the objects for which they were taken—the mapner in which they are recovered, is one mass of confusion and improbability. The author himself, as he goes on, finds himself so thoroughly in-, volved in the meshes of his plot, that seeing no legitimate extrication, he clears himself at last by the most absolute, we had almost, said the most tyrannical, exercise of the empire which authors must, be acknowledged to have over their personages and events, which we recollect, even in the annals of that despotic class of sovereigns. C'est un vrai coup d'état--and one which we should have expected rather from an Asiatic writer, than from a novelist in this free country.' He had resolved that his hero should, after the custom of heroes, enjoy the family estate and marry the heroine. But the estate is in the hands of an uncle, with six healthy sons; the heroine is pledged either to marry one of them or to take the veil. Opposuit Natura alpesque nivemque. First comes the estate. , An
ordinary novelist would have felt that his hero could not have it; or, if he had set his heart upon giving it him, would have made out some story of an old entail, or a forged will, or have tried to find some other expedient, by which, with a resemblance to the common course of events, he might obtain it. It would not have been easy to do it well, and we cannot find out any plan by which it could have been done tolerably. One plan only, we can confidently say, he would not have adopted. He would not have killed all the six sons by different violent deaths, and the father of a broken heart for their loss, within the space of six months. If the sudden death of one person is a most inartificial mode of bringing about a catastrophe, what shall we say of this literary execution of a whole family?
But the marriage was as difficult a business as the succession. Diana was opposed to the hero in religion and in principles; she was under the absolute influence of her father, and he is deter+ mined, at their last appearance, Vol. III. p. 316, and p. 345, with her apparent acquiescence, to' dedicate her to God.' It appears, from a hint in p. 345, that our author had thoughts of recurring to his old method, and killing Sir Frederick Vernon before his daughter should be irrevocably vowed to the cloister, and then making her change her mind and marry. Whether the clumsiness of these expedients disgusted him when he came to put them into execution, or whether, when in sight of land, he was too anxious to scramble ashore to wait for the ordinary means, we are not in formed—but, in fact, he has left the difficulty as he found it. He tells us indeed that Diana Vernon became Mrs. Francis Osbaldistone-and he tells Will Tresham that he knows how it took place, but he does not tell the reader. We recollect, when we were beginners in chess, our indignation at the abrupt ends of some of Philidor's games, in which, the pieces and pawns appearing to our ignorant eyes pretty well balanced, we were told, The white King wins in seven moves. When we played out the game, some. times the white king won in four moves, sometimes in twenty, sometimes he was checkmated in six moves, and sometimes he gave a stale mate in five. But what were the seven moves thus obscurely indicated, we could not for our lives find out. How Mr. Osbaldistone' sped in his wooing' is still more mysterious.
The characters are, as usual, admirable. The best, perhaps, of the men is the Baillie. Nothing can promise less originality or interest than the portrait of a conceited, petulant, purse-proud tradesman; full of his own and his father's local dignity and importance, and of mercantile and presbyterian formalities, and totally without tact or discretion, who does nothing in the story but give bail, take a journey, and marry his maid. But the courage, the generosity, and
the the frank naïveté and warm-heartedness, which are united to these unpromising ingredients, and above all, perhaps, the Hieland blude of him that warms at thae daft tales o' venturesome deeds and escapes -tho' they are all sinfu' vanities,' and makes him affirm before the council that Rob Roy ' set apart what he had dune again the law o’ the country, and the hership o' the Lennox? (i. e. the laying waste and plundering a whole country), and the misfortune o' some folk losing life by him, was an honester man than stude on any o' their shanks, make him both original and interesting in the highest degree. Rashleigh is among the best portraits of that difficult subject, a well-drawn villain, that we recollect. The reader feels that his hypocrisy might have deceived--that of the common fictitious rascal would only disgust. Rob Roy himself well answers our preconceptions of his character. The man who, without rank or fortune; could for thirty or forty years set all law at defiance, who, though peculiarly, obnoxious to the government, not merely as breaking its laws and plundering its subjects, but as a rebel and a traitor, and at deadly feud with the great men on whose property he lived, could resist all their power, and elude all their stratagems, without being ever overwhelmed by superior force, or betrayed by · the treachery of his own companions taken, as many of them must have been, from among the least trust-worthy of men-must have been a man of extraordinary talents aud, mixed with his great vices, of extraordinary virtues. He must have had the first in order to play: his own part well, the second in order to retain in devoted fidelity his associates.
And he must have been a man of extraordinary courage. Some of our readers may perhaps be surprized at hearing that the last has been doubted; and, certainly, on the occasions which are the most usual tests of courage, he behaved ill. He fought two duels, and in both of them yielded almost immediately, in no very honourable manner. And, at Sheriff Muir, on the only occasion in which, with the temporary command of the clan, he had an opportunity of showing at once his spirit and his devotion,
* He never advanced
· Till nae mair was to do there at a' man.' But the fact is, that no two things can be more different than the courage of an outlaw and that of a soldier. The first is founded on familiarity with danger,—it is the virtue of rude times, and can be obtained only by repeated exposure to peril. The second is founded on the point of honour-it can exist only in a most artificial state of society, and is so far from requiring repeated exposure, that it is often inost perfectly exhibited by men who were never in danger before in their lives. The first arises from the con