Obrazy na stronie

the Parisians in 1835. In 1837 appeared The Vicar of Wrexhill, her best novel, an able and interesting work, full of prejudices, but containing some excellent painting of manners and eccentricities. In 1838 our authoress appeared again as a traveller: Vienna and the Austrians was of the same cast as Belgium and Germany, but more deformed by prejudice. This journey also afforded Mrs Trollope materials for a novel, which she entitled A Romance of Vienna. To this year, also, belongs Tremordyn Cliff, a novel. Three more works of fiction, in three volumes each, were the fruit of 1839—namely, The Widow Barnaby, a highly amusing story, particularly the delineation of the bustling, scheming, unprincipled, husband-hunting widow; Michael Armstrong, or the Factory Boy, a caricature of the evils attendant on the English manufacturing system; and One Fault, a domestic story, illustrating with uncommon vigour and effect the dismal consequences of that species of bad temper which proceeds from pride and over-sensitiveness. In 1840, we had The Widow Married; and in 1841, The Blue Belles of England, and Charles Chesterfield. The latter relates the history of a youth of genius, and contains a satirical picture of the state of literature in England, branding authors, editors, and publishers with unprincipled profligacy, selfishness, and corruption. In 1842 Mrs Trollope, besides throwing off another clever novel—The Ward of Thorpe Combe—gave the public the result of a second visit to Belgium, describing the changes that had been effected since 1833, and also A Visit to Italy. The smart caustic style of our authoress was not so well adapted to the classic scenes, manners, and antiquities of Italy, as to the broader features of American life and character, and this work was not so successful as her previous publications. Returning to fiction, we find Mrs Trollope, as usual, abounding. Three novels, of three volumes each, were the produce of 1843–Hargrave, Jessie Phillips, and The Laurringtons. The first is a sketch of a man of fashion; the second, an attack on the new English poor-law; and the third, a lively satire on ‘superior people,’ the “bustling Botherbys’ of society. In 1844 appeared Young Love, a theme not well adapted to the hard sarcastic style of Mrs Trollope, and, after a considerable interval, she produced Petticoat Government, Father Eustace, Uncle Walter (1852), and The Life and Adventures of a Clever Woman (1854). These later works of Mrs Trollope are much inferior to her early novels: the old characters are reproduced, and coarseness is too often substituted for strength. Reviewing the aggregate labours of this industrious authoress, we cannot say that she has done good proportioned to her talents. Her own sex suffers the most by her satire, but her efforts appear directed only against the superficialities of life, and are not calculated to check vice or encourage virtue. She has scattered amusement among novel readers by some of her delineations; but in all her mirth there is a mocking and a bitter spirit which is often as misplaced as it is unfeminine. Mrs Trollope has resided for some years at Florence, and there one of her sons, T. ADoIPIIUs TROLLOPE, has written an interesting scholarly illustration of Italian history, The Girlhood of Catherine de Medici, in which he traces the influences that helped to form the monstrous character of the heiress of the Medici. In 1859 Mr T. A. Trollope added to his reputation by a biographical work, A Decade of Italian Women, one of the most interesting and delightful books of the season. Another son, ANTHONY TROLLOPE, has added fresh lustre to the family name by a series of admirable

novels. Living in Ireland—as one of the surveyors of the General Post-office—Mr Trollope's two first novels are on Irish subjects—The Macdermots of Ballycloran (1847), and The Kellys and the O'Kellys (1848). In 1850 he produced a historical romance, La Vendée; in 1855, The Warden; and since that period, The Three Clerks; Barchester Towers; Doctor Thorne, 1858; and The Bertrams, 1859. There is a degree of reality, vigour, and genuine fresh English feeling about Mr Trollope's novels, which render him remarkable among his contemporaries. Each of his works, too, seems an improvement on its immediate predecessor—the treatment more artistic, and the lights and shades better managed. “He has powers,’ says one of Mr Trollope's most discriminating critics—in the National Review —‘which, if used with due painstaking conscientiousness, may make him one of the most successful novelists of the day, as they always render him readable and entertaining. But above all, he has the gift of finishing his work to the most minute detail, without becoming for an instant tedious or trivial; and this is a gift so rare that it should never be neglected.’


This lady, long known in the world of fashion and light literature, was born at Knockbrit, near Clonmel, September 1, 1790. Her father, Edmund Power, was a small proprietor in Ireland—a squireen —who is said to have forced his daughter, when only fifteen, into a marriage with a Captain Farmer. The marriage was unhappy; Marguerite left her husband, and Captain Farmer was accidentally killed. This was in 1817. In a few months afterwards, Marguerite was united to an Irish peer, Charles Gardiner, Earl of Blessington. Her rank, her beauty, and literary tastes now rendered her the centre of a brilliant circle, and the doting husband revelled in every species of extravagant display. In 1822 they set out on a continental tour. They visited Byron in Genoa, and Lady Blessington's Conversations with Lord Byron (published after the death of the poet) present a faithful and interesting—though of course incompletepicture of the noble bard. In May 1829, Lady Blessington was again left a widow, but with a jointure of about £2000 a year. A daughter of the deceased earl, by a former marriage, became the wife of Count Alfred D'Orsay, son of a French general officer, and remarkable for his handsome appearance and varied accomplishments. This marriage also proved unfortunate; the parties separated, and while the lady remained in Paris, the count accompanied Lady Blessington to England. This connection was only broken by death. It gave rise to scandalous rumours, yet the countess and her friend maintained a conspicuous place in society. The lady's drawing-rooms were attended by most of the literary and fashionable celebrities, and Count D'Orsay was the acknowledged leader of fashion, besides being an accomplished artist in both painting and sculpture. A career of gaiety and splendour soon involved the countess in debt. She then applied herself to literature, and produced a long series of works, chiefly novels, which for a time were successful. She had, in 1822, published some scenes of metropolitan life –The Magic Lantern, and Sketches and Fragments: and she now (about 1840) set to book-making in good earnest. Her first publication was a volume of Travelling Sketches in Belgium, very meagre and ill written. - The next work commanded." attention: it was her Conversations with Lord Byron. In 1833 appeared The Repealers, a novel in three volumes, but containing scarcely any plot, and few delineations of character, the greater part being filled with dialogues, criticism, and reflections. Her ladyship is sometimes sarcastic, sometimes moral, and more frequently personal. One female sketch, that of Grace Cassidy, a young Irish wife, is the only one of the characters we can remember, and it shews that her ladyship was most at home among the scenes of her early days. To The Repealers succeeded The Two Friends, The Confessions of an Elderly Gentleman, The Confessions of an Elderly Lady, Desultory Thoughts, The Belle of a Season, The Governess, The Idler in Italy (three volumes, 1839–40), The Idler in France (two volumes, 1841), The Victims of Society, and Meredith. Her recollections of Italy and France are perhaps the best of her works, for in these her love of anecdote, epigram, and sentiment, has full scope, without any of the impediments raised by a story. But probably not one of the long list will ever be reprinted. Latterly, the popularity of the countess greatly declined. She was forced to break up her establishment in Gore House, Kensington; all was sold off, and Lady Blessington and D'Orsay repaired to Paris. She died June 4, 1849. The count survived her just three years. The most favourable—perhaps the truest—view of this once popular lady is thus given in the epitaph written for her tomb by Mr Procter (Barry Cornwall): “In her lifetime she was loved and admired for her many graceful writings, her gentle manners, her kind and generous heart. Men, famous for art and science, in distant lands sought her friendship: and the historians and scholars, the poets, and wits, and painters of her own country found an unfailing welcome in her ever-hospitable home. She gave cheerfully, to all who were in need, help and sympathy, and useful counsel; and she died lamented by many friends. Those who loved her best in life, and now lament her most, have reared this tributary marble over the place of her rest.”

[ocr errors]

MRS S. C. HALL, authoress of Lights and Shadows of Irish Life, and various other works, ‘is a native of Wexford, though by her mother's side she is of Swiss descent. Her maiden name was Fielding, by which, however, she was unknown in the literary world, as her first work was not published till after her marriage. She belongs to an old and excellent family in her native county. She first quitted Ireland at the early age of fifteen, to reside with her mother in England, and it was some time before she revisited her native country; but the scenes which were familiar to her as a child have made such a vivid and lasting impression on her mind, and all her sketches evince so much freshness and vigour, that her readers might easily imagine she had spent her life among the scenes she describes. To her early absence from her native country is probably to be traced one strong characteristic of all her writings—the total absence of party feeling on subjects connected with politics or religion.” Mrs Hall's first work appeared in 1829, and was entitled Sketches of Irish Character. These bear a closer resemblance to the tales of Miss Mitford than to the Irish stories of Banim or Griffin, and the works of Miss Edgeworth probably directed Mrs Hall to the peculiarities of Irish character. They contain some fine rural description, and are

* Dublin University Magazine for 1840.

animated by a healthy tone of moral feeling and a vein of delicate humour. The coquetry of her Irish girls—very different from that in high life—is admirably depicted. Next year Mrs Hall issued a little volume for children, Chronicles of a Schoolroom, consisting also of a series of tales, simple, natural, and touching. The home-truths and moral observations conveyed in these narratives reflect great credit on the heart and the judgment of the writer. Indeed, good taste and good feeling may be said to preside over all the works of our authoress. In 1831 she issued a second

series of Sketches of Irish Character, fully equal to the first, and which was well received. The Rapparee is an excellent story, and some of the satirical delineations are hit off with great truth and liveliness. In 1832 she ventured on a larger and more difficult work—a historical romance in three volumes, entitled The Buccaneer. The scene of this tale is laid in England at the time of the Protectorate, and Oliver himself is among the characters. The plot of The Buccaneer is well managed, and some of the characters—as that of Barbara Iverk, the Puritan—are skilfully delineated; but the work is too feminine, and has too little of energetic passion for the stormy times in which it is cast. In 1834 Mrs Hall published Tales of Woman's Trials, short stories of decidedly moral tendency, written in the happiest style of the authoress. In 1835 appeared Uncle Horace, a novel; and in 1838, Lights and Shadows of Irish Life, three volumes. The latter had been previously published in the New Monthly Magazine, and enjoyed great popularity. The principal tale in the collection, The Groves of Blarney, was dramatised at one of the theatres with distinguished success. In 1840 Mrs Hall issued Marian, or a Young Maid's Fortunes, in which her knowledge of Irish character is again displayed. Katey Macane, an Irish cook, who adopts Marian, a foundling, and watches over her with untiring affection, is equal to any of the Irish portraitures since those of Miss Edgeworth. The next work of our authoress was a series of Stories of the Irish Peasantry, contributed to Chambers's JEdinburgh Journal, and afterwards published in a collected form. In 1840, Mrs Hall aided her husband in a work chiefly composed by him, and which reflects credit upon his talents and industry -Ireland, its Scenery, Character, &c. Topographical and statistical information is here blended with the


poetical and romantic features of the country—the legends of the peasantry-scenes and characters of humour or pathos—and all that could be gathered in five separate tours through Ireland, added to early acquaintance and recollection of the country. The work was highly embellished by British artists, and extended to three large volumes. In 1845, Mrs Hall published what is considered by many her best novel, The Whiteboy—a striking Irish story—and a fairy tale, Midsummer Eve. To the Art Journal,

Mrs IIall's former residence, Brompton.

conducted by her husband, Mrs Hall has contributed many pleasant and picturesque sketches, some of which have been collected and re-issued under the title of Pilgrimages to English Shrines, The Book of the Thames, &c. In tasteful description of natural objects, and pictures of everyday life, Mrs Hall has few superiors. Her humour is not so broad or racy as that of Lady Morgan, nor her observation so exact and extensive as Miss Edgeworth's: her writings are also unequal, but in general they constitute easy delightful reading, and possess a simple truth and purity of sentiment that is ultimately more fascinating than the darker shades and colourings of imaginative composition.

[Depending Upon Others.] [From Sketches of Irish Character.]

‘Independence/’—it is the word, of all others, that Irish—men, women, and children—least understand; and the calmness, or rather indifference, with which they submit to dependence, bitter and miserable as it is, must be a source of deep regret to all who ‘love the land, or who feel anxious to uphold the dignity of human kind. Let us select a few cases from our Irish village, such as are abundant in every neighbourhood. Shane Thurlough, “as dacent a boy, and Shane's wife, as ‘clane-skinned a girl, as any in the world. There is Shane, an active handsome-looking fellow, leaning over the half-door of his cottage, kicking a hole in the wall with his brogue, and picking up all the large gravel within his reach to pelt the ducks with—those useful Irish scavengers. Let us speak to him. ‘Good-morrow, Shane!’ ‘Och! the bright bames of heaven on ye every day! and kindly welcome, my lady; and wont ye step in and rest—it’s powerful hot, and a beautiful summer,

sure-the Lord be praised !” “Thank you, Shane. I thought you were going to cut the hay-field to-day; if a heavy shower comes it will be spoiled; it has been fit for the scythe these two days. “Sure it’s all owing to that thief o' the world Tom Parrel, my lady. Didn't he promise me the loan of his scythe; and, by the same token, I was to pay him for it; and depinding on that, I didn't buy one, which I have been threatening to do for the last two years. “But why don't you go to Carrick and purchase one?’ ‘To Carrick Och, 'tis a good step to Carrick, and my toes are on the ground– saving your presence—for I depinded on Tim Jarvis to tell Andy Cappler, the brogue-maker, to do my shoes; and, bad-luck to him, the spalpeen he forgot it.' ‘Where's your pretty wife, Shane?’ ‘She's in all the woe o' the world, ma’am dear. And she puts the blame of it on me, though I’m not in the faut this time, anyhow. The child's taken the small-pox, and she depinded on me to tell the doctor to cut it for the cow-pox, and I depinded on Kitty Cackle, the limmer, to tell the doctor's own man, and thought she would not forget it, becase the boy’s her bachelor; but out o' sight out o' mind– the never a word she tould him about it, and the babby has got it nataral, and the woman’s in heart troubleto say nothing o' myself—and it the first, and all. “I am very sorry, indeed, for you have got a much better wife than most men.’ ‘That’s a true word, my lady, only she's fidgety like sometimes, and says I don't hit the nail on the head quick enough; and she takes a dale more trouble than she need about many a thing. “I do not think I ever saw Ellen's wheel without flax before, Shane?’ ‘Bad cess to the wheel !—I got it this morning about that too. I depinded on John Williams to bring the flax from O'Flaherty's this day week, and he forgot it; and she says I ought to have brought it myself, and I close to the spot. But where’s the good?

says I; sure he'll bring it next time. “I suppose,


Shane, you will soon move into the new cottage at Clurn Hill? I passed it to-day, and it looked so cheerful; and when you get there, you must take Ellen's advice, and depend solely on yourself. “Och, ma’am dear, don't mintion it; sure it’s that makes me so down in the mouth this very minit. Sure I saw that born blackguard, Jack Waddy, and he comes in here quite innocent like: “Shane, you’ve an eye to squire's new lodge,” says he “Maybe I have,” says I. “I am yer man,” says he. “How so?” says I. “Sure I’m as good as married to my lady's-maid,” said he; “and I’ll spake to the squire for you my own self.” “The blessing be about you,” says I, quite grateful—and we took a strong cup on the strength of it—and, depinding on him, I thought all safe; and what d'ye think, my lady? Why, himself stalks into the place-talked the squire over, to be sure —and without so much as by yer lave, sates himself and his new wife on the laase in the house; and I may go whistle. “It was a great pity, Shane, that you didn’t go yourself to Mr Clurn. ‘That’s a true word for ye ma'am, dear; but it's hard if a poor man can't have a frind to depind on.’

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

whole powers on a few congenial subjects or periods of history, and resorted to the manual labour of penmanship as a drag-chain on the machine, he might have attained to the highest honours of this department of composition. As it is, he has furnished many light, agreeable, and picturesque books—none of questionable tendency. Mr James's first appearance as an author was made, we believe, in 1822, when he published a History of the Life of Edward the Black Prince. In 1829, he struck into that path in which he has been so indefatigable, and produced his historical romance of Richelieu, a very attractive fiction. In 1830, he issued two romances, Darnley, or the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and De L'Orme. Next year he Prod: Philip Augustus; in 1832, a History of

Charlemagne, and a tale, Henry Masterton; in 1833, Mary of Burgundy, or the Revolt of Ghent; in 1834, The Life and Adventures of John Marston Hall; in 1835, One in a Thousand, or the Days of Henri Quatre, and The Gipsy, a Tale; in 1837, Attila, a romance, and The Life and Times of Louis XIV.; in 1838, The Huguenot, a Tale of the French Protestants, and The Robber; in 1839, Henry of Guise, and A Gentleman of the Old School; in 1840, The King's Highway, and The Man at Arms; in 1841, Corse de Leon, Jacquerie or the Lady and Page, The Ancient Régime, and A History of the Life of Richard Caeur de Lion; in 1842, Morley Ernstein; in 1843, Forest Days, Eva St Clair, The False Heir, and Arabella Stuart. Altogether, the original works of Mr James extend to one hundred and eighty-nine volumes, and he has edited about a dozen more! “There seems,' says a lively writer, “to be no limit to his ingenuity, his faculty of getting up scenes and incidents, dilemmas, artifices, contretemps, battles, skirmishes, disguises, escapes, trials, combats, adventures. He accumulates names, dresses, implements of war and peace, official retinues, and the whole paraphernalia of customs and costumes, with astounding alacrity. He appears to have exhausted every imaginable situation, and to have described every available article of attire on record. What he must have passed through—what triumphs he must have enjoyed—what exigencies he must have experienced —what love he must have suffered—what a grand wardrobe his brain must be l He has made some poetical and dramatic efforts, but this irresistible tendency to pile up circumstantial particulars is fatal to those forms of art which demand intensity of passion. In stately narratives of chivalry and feudal grandeur, precision and reiteration are desirable rather than injurious—as we would have the most perfect accuracy and finish in a picture of ceremonials; and here Mr James is supreme. One of his court romances is a book of brave sights and heraldic magnificence—it is the next thing to moving at our leisure through some superb and august procession. The sameness of the author's style and characters is, however, too marked to be pleasing. Mr James is a native of London, born about the year 1800. He early commenced writing tales, encouraged by Mr Washington Irving, and the success of Richelieu proved an incentive to exertion. During the reign of William IV., the honorary office of historiographer of Great Britain was conferred upon him, but he afterwards relinquished it, and proceeded with his family to the United States. He was six years (from 1852 to 1858) consul at Richmond, Virginia; and at the expiration of that period, was appointed consul at Venice, which office he still holds.

[ocr errors]

Among our living authors, the name of BULWER LYTTON has long been conspicuous. It is thirty years since he appeared as a novelist, and during that time there has been, as Scott said of Byron, “no reposing under the shade of his laurels—no living upon the resource of past reputation: his foot was always in the arena, his shield hung always in the lists. He is remarkable also as having sought and obtained distinction, in almost every department of literature-in poetry, the drama, the historical romance, domestic novel, philosophical essay, and political disquisition. Like Cowley, too, he is memorable as having appeared as an author, in a printed volume, in his fifteenth year. This early and indefatigable candidate for literary distinction, enjoyed advantages in the circumstances of his birth, education, and fortune. He was the youngest son of General Bulwer of Heydon Hall and Wood Dalling in the county of Norfolk. His mother, an amiable and accomplished woman, was of the ancient family of Lytton of Knebworth, in Hertfordshire; and on her death in 1843, the novelist succeeded to her estate,


Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton.

and took the name of Lytton.* General Bulwer died in 1807, and the charge of his three sons fell to his widow, whose care and tenderness have been commemorated by the youngest and most distinguished of her children. “From your graceful and accomplished taste, says the novelist, in the dedication of his works to his mother, “I early learned that affection for literature which has exercised so large an influence over the pursuits of my life; and you who were my first guide, were my earliest critic.’ He is said to have written verses when he was only five or six years old. In June 1820, appeared his first volume, Ismael, an Oriental Tale, with other Poems, written between the Age of Thirteen and Fifteen. The boyish rhymes are, of course, merely imitative. His next public appearance was as the successful candidate for the prize poem in Cambridge University. He was then a fellow-commoner of Trinity Hall, and in 1825 he carried off the Chancellor's

* His full name, like that of his brother novelist, Mr James, might serve in point of length for a Spanish hidalgo. It is Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer Lytton. His brother, Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer, is a well-known diplomatist, and author of several works-An Autumn in Greece, France, Social and Literary, The Monarchy of the Middle Classes, and a Life of Lord Byron, prefixed to a Paris edition of the poet's works. While noting these family details, we may state that in 1827 Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton was married to Rosina, daughter of Francis Wheeler, Esq. of Lizzard Connel, county of Limerick —an unhappy connection which was soon separated. The lady has written several novels not deficient in talent, but wild and extravagant. Theissue of this marriage was a son and daughter. The latter died in 1848: the former, Edward Robert, has already been noticed as a poet.

gold medal for the best English poem. The subject selected by Bulwer was sculpture, and his verses are above the average of prize poems. The long vacation in his college terms, was spent by our author in rambles over England and Scotland, and France. In 1826, he published a volume of miscellaneous verse, entitled Weeds and Wild Flowers, and in 1827, a poetical narrative, called O'Neil, or the Rebel. The latter was in the style of Byron's Corsair, echoing the false sentiment and morbid feeling of the noble poet, but wanting the poetic ardour, condensed energy of expression, and graceful picturesqueness which gild, if they do not redeem, the errors of Byron's style. A love of poetry, however intense, even when combined with general literary talent and devoted study of the art ‘unteachable, untaught,’ will never make a poet; and of this truism, Bulwer Lytton is a striking illustration. He has returned again and again to his first love and early ambition, and at times seems to be on the brink of complete success; yet, with all his toil and repeated efforts, he has never been able to reach the summit of the sacred mount. The following is a favourable specimen of these poetic aspirations:

Eternal air—and thou, my mother earth,
Hallowed by shade and silence—and the birth
Of the young moon (now watching o'er the sleep
Of the dim mountains and the dreaming deep);
And by yon star, heaven's eldest born—whose light
Calls the first smile upon the cheek of Night;
And beams and bodes, like faith beyond the tomb,
Life through the calm, and glory through the gloom;
My mother earth—and ye her loftier race,
Midst whom my soul hath held its dwelling-place;
Rivers, and rocks, and valleys, and ye shades
Which sleep at noonday o'er the haunted glades
Made musical by waters and the breeze,
All idly dallying with the glowing trees;
And songs of birds which, ever as they fly,
Breathe soul and gladness to the summer sky;
Ye courts of Nature, where aloof and lone
She sits and reigns with darkness for her throne;
Mysterious temples of the breathing God,
If mid your might my earliest steps have trod;
If in mine inmost spirit still are stored
The wild deep memories childhood most adored;
If still amid the drought and waste of years,
Ye hold the source of smiles and pangless tears:
Will ye not yet inspire me?—for my heart
Beats low and languid—and this idle art,
Which I have summoned for an idle end,
Forsakes and flies me like a faithless friend.
Are all your voices silent? I have made
My home as erst amid your thickest shade:
And even now your soft air from above
Breathes on my temples like a sister's love.
Ah! could it bring the freshness of the day
When first my young heart lingered o'er its lay,
Fain would this wintry soul and frozen string
Recall one wind—one whisper from the spring !

In the same year, 1827, Bulwer published his first novel, Falkland, a highly coloured tale of love and passion, calculated to excite and inflame, and evidently based on admiration of the peculiar genius and seductive errors of Byron. Taking up the style of the fashionable novels-rendered popular by Theodore Hook, but then on the waneRulwer next came forward with Pelham, or the Adventures of a Gentleman, 1828. This is a novel full of brilliant and witty writing, sarcastic levity, representations of the manners of the great, piquant remark, and scenes of intrigue and passion. There was a want of skill in the construction of th:ory,

« PoprzedniaDalej »