« PoprzedniaDalej »
the court, and who now lived on a pension from
their majesties at Windsor, was introduced to the king and queen, and speedily became a favourite. The result was, that in 1786 our authoress was appointed second keeper of the robes to Queen Charlotte, with a salary of £200 a-year, a footman, apartments in the palace, and a coach between her and her colleague. The situation was only a sort of splendid slavery. “I was averse to the union,' said Miss Burney, “and I endeavoured to escape it; but my friends interfered—they prevailed—and the knot is tied.” The queen appears to have been a kind and considerate mistress; but the stiff etiquette and formality of the court, and the unremitting attention which its irksome duties required, rendered the situation peculiarly disagreeable to one who had been so long flattered and courted by the brilliant society of her day. Her colleague, Mrs Schwellenberg, a coarse-minded, jealous, disagreeable German favourite, was also a perpetual source of annoyance to her; and poor Fanny at court was worse off than her heroine Cecilia was in choosing among her guardians. Her first official duty was to mix the queen's snuff, and keep her box always replenished, after which she was promoted to the great business of the toilet, helping her majesty off and on with her dresses, and being in strict attendance from six or seven in the morning till twelve at night! From this grinding and intolerable destiny Miss Burney was emancipated by her marriage, in 1793, with a French refugee officer, the Count D'Arblay. She then resumed her pen, and in 1795 produced a tragedy, entitled Edwin and Elgitha, which was brought out at Drury Lane, and possessed at least one novelty—there were three bishops among the dramatis persona. Mrs Siddons personated the heroine, but in the dying scene, where the lady is brought from behind a hedge to expire before the audience, and is afterwards carried once more to the back of the hedge, the house was convulsed with laughter! Her next effort was her novel
..of Camilla, which she published by subscription,
and realised by it no less than three thousand guineas. In 1802 Madame D'Arblay accompanied her husband to Paris. The count joined the army of Napoleon, and his wife was forced to remain in France till 1812, when she returned and purchased, from the proceeds of her novel, a small but handsome villa, named Camilla Cottage. Her success in prose fiction urged her to another trial, and in 1814 she produced The Wanderer, a tedious tale in five volumes, which had no other merit than that of bringing the authoress the large sum of £1500. The only other literary labour of Madame D'Arblay was a memoir of her father, Dr Burney, published in 1832. Her husband and her son (the Rev. A. D’Arblay of Camden Town chapel, near London) both predeceased her—the former in 1818, and the latter in 1837. Three years after this last melancholy bereavement, Madame D'Arblay herself paid the debt of nature, dying at Bath in January 1840, at the great age of eighty-eight. Her Diary and Letters, edited by her niece, were published in 1842 in five volumes. If judiciously condensed, this work would have been both entertaining and valuable; but at least one half of it is filled with small unimportant details and private gossip, and the self-admiring weakness of the authoress shines out in almost every page. The early novels of Miss Burney form the most pleasing memorials of her name and history. In them we see her quick in discernment, lively in invention, and inimitable, in her own way, in portraying the humours and oddities of English society. Her good sense and correct
secling are more remarkable than her passion. Her
us on horseback, rode on forward till he was out of sight, and soon after returning, came up to the chariot window, and delivering a note to Madame Duval, said he had met a boy who was just coming with it to
Howard Grove, from the clerk of Mr Tyrell. While she was reading it, he rode round to the other window, and, making a sign for secrecy, put into my hand a slip of paper on which was written, “Whatever happens, be not alarmed, for you are safe, though you endanger all mankind s” I readily imagined that Sir Clement must be the author of this note, which prepared me to expect some di ble adventure: but I had no time to ponder upon it, for Madame Duval had no sooner read her own letter, than, in an angry tone of voice, she exclaimed, “Why, now, what a thing is this; here we're come all this way for nothing!”
She then gave me the note, which informed her that
she need not trouble herself to go to Mr Tyrell's, as the prisoner had had the address to escape. I congratulated her upon this fortunate incident; but she
was so much concerned at having rode so far in vain, that she seemed less pleased than provoked. However,
she ordered the man to make what haste he could home, as she hoped at least to return before the captain should suspect what had passed.
The carriage turned about, and we journeyed so
quietly for near an hour that I began to flatter my
self we should be suffered to proceed to Howard Grove
‘No, no,” said the other; ‘if we stay here a few minutes, somebody or other will pass by ; and the horses are almost knocked up already.” “Well, I protest,’ cried Madame Duval, ‘I’d give a guinea to see them sots horse-whipped. As sure as I'm alive they're drunk. Ten to one but they'll overturn us next.” After much debating they at length agreed to go on till we came to some inn, or met with a passenger who could direct us. We soon arrived at a small farm-house, and the footman alighted and went into it. In a few minutes he returned, and told us we might proceed, for that he had procured a direction. “But,’ added he, “it seems there are some thieves hereabouts, and so the best way will be for you to leave your watches and purses with the farmer, whom I know very well, and who is an honest man, and a tenant of my lady’s.’ “Thieves o' cried Madame Duval, looking aghast; ‘the Lord help us! I’ve no doubt but we shall be all murdered l’ The farmer came to us, and we gave him all we were worth, and the servants followed our example.
We then proceeded, and Madame Duval's anger so
entirely subsided, that, in the mildest manner imaginable, she intreated them to make haste, and promised to tell their lady how diligent and obliging they had been. She perpetually stopped them to ask if . apprehended any danger, and was at length so muc
overpowered by her fears, that she made the footman fasten his horse to the back of the carriage, and then come and seat himself within it. My endeavours to encourage her were fruitless; she sat in the middle, held the man by the arm, and protested that if he did but save her life, she would make his fortune. Her uneasiness gave me much concern, and it was with the utmost difficulty I forbore to acquaint her that
she was imposed upon; but the mutual fear of the
captain's resentment to me, and of her own to him,
neither of which would have any moderation, deterred
Ine. As to the footman, he was evidently in torture from restraining his laughter, and I observed that he
was frequently obliged to make most horrid grimaces
from pretended fear, in order to conceal his risibility. ver, soon after, “The robbers are coming!' cried the coachman. The footman opened the door, and jumped out of the chariot, Madame Duval gave a loud scream. I could no longer preserve my silence. “For heaven's sake, my dear madam,” said I, “don’t be alarmed ; you are in no danger; you are quite safe ; there is nothing but—” Here the chariot was stopped by two men in masks, who at each side put in their hands, as if for our purses. Madame Duval sunk to the bottom of the chariot, and implored their mercy. I shrieked in
voluntarily, although prepared for the attack : one of
them held me fast, while the other tore poor Madame Duval out of the carriage, in spite of her cries, threats, and resistance.
I was really frightened, and trembled exceedingly. “My angel !' cried the man who held me, “you cannot surely be alarmed. Do you not know me? I shall hold myself in eternal abhorrence if I have really terrified you.’
“Indeed, Sir Clement, you have, cried I; “but, for heaven's sake, where is Madame Duval?—why is she forced away?’
“She is perfectly safe; the captain has her in i. but suffer me now, my adored Miss Anville, to take the only opportunity that is allowed me to speak upon another, a much dearer, much sweeter subject.’
And then he hastily came into the chariot, and seated himself next to me. I would fain have disengaged myself from him, but he would not let me. ‘Deny me not, most charming of women,’ cried he— “deny me not this only moment lent me to pour forth my soul into your gentle ears, to tell you how much I suffer from your absence, how much I dread your displeasure, and how cruelly I am affected by your coldness!” ‘Oh, sir, this is no time for such language; pray, leave me; pray, go to the relief of Madame Duval; I cannot bear that she should be treated with such indignity.” “And will you—can you command my absence When may I speak to you, if not now —does the captain suffer me to breathe a moment out of his sight? —and are not a thousand impertinent people for ever at your elbow t” “Indeed, Sir Clement, you must change your style, or I will not hear you. The impertinent people you mean are among my best friends, and you would not, if you really wished me well, speak of them so disrespectfully.’ “Wish you well Oh, Miss Anville, point but out to me how in what manner I may convince you of the fervour of my passion—tell me but what services you will accept from me, and you shall find my life, my fortune, my whole soul at your devotion.’ “I want nothing, sir, that you can offer. I beg you not to talk to me so—so strangely. Pray, leave me; and pray, assure yourself you cannot take any method so successless to show any regard for me as entering into schemes so frightful to Madame Duval, and so disagreeable to myself.” “The scheme was the captain's; I even opposed it ; though I own I could not refuse myself the so long wished-for happiness of speaking to you once more without so many :*: friends to watch me. And I had flattered myself that the note I charged the footman to give you would have prevented the alarm you have received.’ “Well, sir, you have now, I hope, said enough ; and if you will not go yourself to seek for Madame Duval, at least suffer me to inquire what is become of her.’ “And when may I speak to you again?’ “No matter when ; I don't know; perhaps—' “Perhaps what, my angel?' “Perhaps never, sir, if you torment me thus.’ “Never ! Oh, Miss Anville, how cruel, how piercing to my soul is that icy word! Indeed I cannot endure such displeasure.” “Then, sir, you must not provoke it. me directly.” “I will, madam ; but let me at least make a merit of my obedience—allow me to hope that you will in future be less averse to trusting yourself for a few moments alone with me.” I was surprised at the freedom of this request; but while I hesitated how to answer it, the other mask came up to the chariot door, and in a voice almost stifled with laughter, said, ‘I’ve done for her! The old buck is safe; but we must sheer off directly, or we shall be all a-ground.” Sir Clement instantly left me, mounted his horse, and rode off. The captain having given some directions to his servants, followed him. I was both uneasy and impatient to know the fate of Madame Duval, and immediately got out of the chariot to seek her. I desired the footman to show me which way she was gone ; he pointed with his finger, by way of answer, and I saw that he dared not trust his voice to make any other. I walked on at a very quick pace, and soon, to my great consternation, perceived the poor lady seated upright in a ditch. I flew to her, with unfeigned concern at her situation. She was sobbing, nay, almost roaring, and in the ut
Almost bursting with passion, she pointed to her feet, and with frightful violence she actually beat the ground with her hands. I then saw that her feet were tied together with a strong rope, which was fastened to the upper branch of a tree, even with a hedge which ran along the ditch where she sat. I endeavoured to untie the knot, but soon found it was infinitely beyond my strength. I was therefore obliged to apply to the footman ; but being very unwilling to add to his mirth by the sight of Madame Duval's situation, I desired him to lend me a knife. I returned with it, and cut the rope. Her feet were soon disentangled, and then, though with great difficulty, I assisted her to rise. But what was my astonishment when, the moment she was up, she hit me a violent slap on the face I retreated from her with precipitation and dread, and she then loaded me with reproaches which, though almost unintelligible, convinced me that she imagined I had voluntarily deserted her; but she seemed not to have the slightest suspicion that she had not been attacked by real robbers. I was so much surprised and confounded at the blow, that for some time I suffered her to rave without making any answer; but her extreme agitation and real suffering soon dispelled my anger, which all turned into compassion. I then told her that I had been forcibly detained from following her, and assured her of my real sorrow at her ill-usage. She began to be somewhat appeased, and I again intreated her to return to the carriage, or give me leave to order that it should draw up to the place where we stood. She made no answer, till I told her that the longer we remained still, the greater would be the danger of our ride home. Struck with this hint, she suddenly, and with hasty steps, moved
Her dress was in such disorder that I was quite sorry to have her figure exposed to the servants, who all of them, in imitation of their master, hold her in derision ; however, the disgrace was unavoidable.
The ditch, happily, was almost dry, or she must have suffered still more seriously; yet so forlorn, so miserable a figure, I never before saw. Her headdress had fallen off; her linen was torn ; her negligee had not a pin left in it; her petticoats she was obliged to hold on ; and her shoes were perpetually slipping off. She was covered with dirt, weeds, and filth, and her face was really horrible, for the pomatum and powder from her head, and the dust from the road, were quite pasted on her skin by her tears, which, with her rouge, made so frightful a mixture that she hardly looked human.
The servants were ready to die with laughter the moment they saw her; but not all my remonstrances could prevail on her to get into the carriage till she had most vehemently reproached them both for not rescuing her. The footman, fixing his eyes on the ground, as if fearful of again trusting himself to look at her, protested that the robbers avowed they would shoot him if he moved an inch, and that one of them had stayed to watch the chariot, while the other carried her off; adding, that the reason of their behaving so barbarously, was to revenge our having secured our purses. Notwithstanding her anger, she
imagined that her want of money had irritated the pretended robbers to treat her with such cruelty. I determined, therefore, to be carefully on my guard,
not to betray the imposition, which could now answer
no other purpose than occasioning an irreparable breach between her and the captain. |
Just as we were seated in the chariot, she discovered the loss which her head had sustained, and called out, “My God! what is become of my hair : Why, the villain has stole all my curls '
She then ordered the man to run and see if he could find any of them in the ditch. He went, and presently returning, produced a great quantity of hair in such a nasty condition, that I was amazed she would take it; and the man, as he delivered it to her, found it impossible to keep his countenance; which she no sooner observed, than all her stormy passions were again raised. She flung the battered curls in his face, saying, ‘Sirrah, what do you grin for? I wish you'd been served so yourself, and you wouldn’t have found it no such joke; you are the impudentest fellow ever I see, and if I find you dare grin at me any more, I shall make no ceremony of boxing your ears.”
Satisfied with the threat, the man hastily retired, and we drove on.
[Miss Burney explains to King George III. the circumstances attending the composition of “Evelina.']
The king went up to the table, and looked at a book of prints, from Claude Lorraine, which had been brought down for Miss Dewes; but Mrs Delany, by mistake, told him they were for me. He turned over a leaf or two, and then said— “Pray, does Miss Burney draw too? The too was pronounced very civilly. “I believe not, sir,’ answered Mrs Delany; “at least
not apt to tell; she never does tell, you know. Her father told me that himself, He told me the whole history of her “Evelina.” And I shall never forget his face when he spoke of his feelings at first taking up the book; he looked quite frightened, just as if he was doing it that moment. I never can forget his face while I live.” Then coming up close to me, he said, “But what! what how was it?” ‘Sir, cried I, not well understanding him. ‘How came you—how happened it—what—what?” “I—I only wrote, sir, for my own amusement—only in some odd idle hours.” “But your publishing—your printing—how was that?’ ‘That was only, sir—only because—” I hesitated most abominably, not knowing how to tell him a long story, and growing terribly confused at these questions; besides, to say the truth, his own ‘what what?' so reminded me of those vile Probationary Odes, that, in the midst of all my flutter, I was really hardly able to keep my countenance.
The what! was then repeated, with so earnest a look, that, forced to say something, I stammeringly an
swered, ‘I thought, sir, it would look very well in rint.” I do really flatter myself this is the silliest speech I ever made. I am quite provoked with myself for it; but a fear of laughing made me eager to utter anything, and by no means conscious, till I had spoken, of what I was saying.
He laughed very heartily himself—well he might—
and walked away to enjoy it, crying out, ‘Very fair indeed; that's being very fair and honest.”
Then returning to me again, he said, “But your
father—how came you not to show him what yeu
gave immediate credit to what he said, and really wrote ’
* I was too much ashamed of it, sir, seriously.” Literal truth that, I am sure. “And how did he find it out 3’ “I don't know myself, sir. me.” Literal truth again, my dear father, as you can testify. “But how did you get it printed to “I sent it, sir, to a bookseller my father never employed, and that I never had seen myself, Mr Lowndes, in full hope that by that means he never would hear of it.” “But how could you manage that?' “By means of a brother, sir.’ “O, you confided in a brother then o' ‘Yes, sir—that is, for the publication.” “What entertainment you must have had from hearing people's conjectures before you were known! Do you remember any of them?' ‘Yes, sir, many.’ “And what?” “I heard that Mr Baretti laid a wager it was written by a man; for no woman, he said, could have kept her own counsel.” This diverted him extremely. “But how was it,” he continued, “you thought most likely for your father to discover you?” “Sometimes, sir, I have supposed I must have dropt some of the manuscript; sometimes, that one of my sisters betrayed me.” “O, your sister? what! not your brother?” “No, sir, he could not, for y I was going on, but he laughed so much I could not be heard, exclaiming, “Wastly well! I see you are of
He never would tell
Mr Baretti's mind, and think your brother could keep
your secret and not your sister. Well, but,’ cried he, presently, “how was it first known to you you were betrayed to “By a letter, sir, from another sister. I was very
ill, and in the country; and she wrote me word that my father had taken up a review, in which the book was mentioned, and had put his finger upon its name, and said, “Contrive to get that book for me.”
“And when he got it, cried the king, “he told me he was afraid of looking at it, and never can I forget his face when he mentioned his first opening it. But you have not kept your pen unemployed all this time?’
“Indeed I have, sir.”
“I—I believe I have exhausted myself, sir.”
He laughed aloud at this, and went and told it to Mrs Delany, civilly treating a plain fact as a mere bon mot.
Then returning to me again, he said more seriously,
“But you have not determined against writing any
* You have made no vow—no real resolution of that sort o'
“You only wait for inclination?’
How admirably Mr Cambridge's speech might have come in here.
A very civil little bow spoke him pleased with this answer, and he went again to the middle of the room, where he chiefly stood, and, addressing us in general, talked upon the different motives of writing, concluding with, “I believe there is no constraint to be put upon real genius; nothing but inclination can set it to work. Miss Burney, however, knows best.” And then hastily returning to me, he cried, “What I what?”
‘No, sir, I—I-believe not, certainly, quoth I very awkwardly, for I seemed taking a violent compliment
only as my due; but I knew not how to put him off as I would another person.
SARAH HARRIET BURNEY, half-sister to Madame D'Arblay, is authoress of several novels, Geraldine, Fauconberg, Country Neighbours, &c. This lady has copied the style of her relative, but has not her raciness of humour, or power of painting the varieties of the human species.
WILLIAM BECK FORD.
In 1784 there appeared, originally in French, the rich oriental story entitled Vathek: an Arabian Tale. An English edition (somewhat chastened in its colouring) was afterwards issued by the author, and has passed through many editions. Byron praises the work for its correctness of costume, beauty of description, and power of imagination. “As an Eastern tale,' he says, “even Rasselas must bow before it; his Happy Valley will not bear a comparison with the Hall of Eblis.’ It would be difficult to institute a comparison between scenes so very dissimilar—almost as different as the garden of Eden from Pandemonium; but “Wathek’ seems to have powerfully impressed the youthful fancy of Byron. It contains some minute Eastern painting and characters (a Giaour being of the number), uniting energy and fire with voluptuousness, such as Byron loved to draw. The Caliph Wathek, who had 'sullied himself with a thousand crimes, like the Corsair, is a magnificent Childe Harold, and may have suggested the character.
WILLIAM BEckford, the author of this remarkable work, still lives. He has had as great a passion for building towers as the caliph himself, and both his fortune and his genius have something of oriental splendour about them. His father, Alderman Beckford of Fonthill, was leader of the city of London opposition in the stormy times of Wilkes, Chatham, and the American discontents. He is celebrated for having bearded King George III. on his throne on the occasion of presenting a petition and remonstrance to his majesty while holding the office of lord-mayor of the city. Shortly after this memorable exploit Mr Beckford died (June 21st, 1770), and the city voted a statue to his memory in Guildhall, and ordered that the speech he had delivered to the king should be engraved on the pedestall His only son and heir, the author of “Wathek,” was then a boy, distinguished by the favour and affection of the Earl of Chatham. He succeeded to the estate of Fonthill, to a valuable West Indian property, and a fortune, it is said, of more than £100,000 per annum. At the age of eighteen he published Biographical Memoirs of Extraordinary Painters, a work satirising some English artists under feigned names. In 1780 he made a tour to the continent, which formed the subject of a series of letters, picturesque and poetical, since published under the title of Italy, with Sketches of Spain and Portugal. The high-bred ease, voluptuousness, and classic taste of some of these descriptions and personal adventures, have a striking and unique effect. On his return to England, Mr Beckford sat for the borough of Hindon in several parliaments. He afterwards went to Portugal, and purchasing an estate at Cintra—that “glorious Eden' of the south—he built himself a palace for a residence.
There thou, too, Wathek 1 England's wealthiest son, Once formed thy paradise, as not aware When wanton Wealth her mightiest deeds hath done Meek Peace voluptuous lures was ever wont to shun.
Here didst thou dwell, here schemes of pleasure plan Beneath yon mountain's ever-beauteous brow: But now, as if a thing unblest by man, Thy fairy dwelling is as lone as thou! Here giant weeds a passage scarce allow To halls deserted, portals gaping wide; Fresh lessons to the thinking bosom, how Wain are the pleasaunces on earth supplied; Swept into wrecks anon by Time's ungentle tide. Childe Harold, Canto I.
Mr Beckford has left a literary memorial of his residence in Portugal in his Recollections of an Ercursion to the Monasteries of Alcobaça Batalha, published in 1835. The excursion was made in June 1794, at the desire of the prince regent of Portugal. The monastery of Alcobaça was the grandest ecclesiastical edifice in that country, with paintings, antique tombs, and fountains; the noblest architecture, in the finest situation, and inhabited by monks who lived like princes. The whole of these sketches are interesting, and present a gorgeous picture of ecclesiastical pomp and wealth. Mr Beckford and his friends were conducted to the kitchen by the abbot, in his costume of High Almoner of Portugal, that they might see what preparations had been made to regale them. The kitchen was worthy of a Wathek “Through the centre of the immense
and nobly-groined hall, not less than sixty feet in diameter, ran a brisk rivulet of the clearest water, | containing every sort and size of the finest river fish.
On one side loads of game and venison were heaped up; on the other vegetables and fruits in endless variety. Beyond a long line of stores, extended a row of ovens, and close to them hillocks of wheaten flour whiter than snow, rocks of sugar, jars of the purest oil, and pastry in vast abundance, which a numerous tribe of lay brothers and their attendants were rolling out, and puffing up into a hundred different shapes, singing all the while as blithely as larks in a corn-field.' Alas! this regal splendour is all gone. The magnificent monastery of Alcobaça was plundered and given to the flames by the French troops under Massena in 1811. After leaving Cintra, Mr Beckford took up his abode on his paternal estate in England, and for twenty years employed himself in rearing the magnificent but unsubstantial Gothic structure known as Fonthill Abbey, and in embellishing the surrounding grounds. The latter were laid out in the most exquisite style of landscapegardening, aided by the natural inequality and beauty of the ground, and enriched by a lake and fine sylvan scenery. One grand tower of the abbey (of disproportioned height, for it afterwards tumbled down a mighty ruin) occupied the owner's care and anxiety for years. The structure was like a romance. “On one occasion, when this lofty tower was pushing
its crest, towards heaven, an elevated part of it
caught fire, and was destroyed. The sight was sublime; and we have heard that it was a spectacle
which the owner of the mansion enjoyed with as
much composure as if the flames had not been devouring what it would cost a fortune to repair. The building was carried on by him with an energy and enthusiasm of which duller minds can hardly form a conception. At one period every cart and wagon in the district were pressed into the service, though all the agricultural labour of the country stood still. At another, even the royal works of St George's chapel, Windsor, were abandoned, that 460 men might be employed night and day on Fonthill Abbey. These men were made to relieve each other by regular watches; and during the longest and darkest nights of winter, the astonished traveller might see the tower rising under their
hands, the trowel and torch being associated for that purpose. This must have had a very extraordinary appearance; and we are told that it was another of those exhibitions which Mr Beckford was fond of contemplating. He is represented as surveying the work thus expedited, the busy levy of masons, the high and giddy dancing of the lights, and the strange || effects produced upon the architecture and woods || below, from one of the eminences in the walks, and || wasting the coldest hours of December darkness in feasting his sense with this display of almost super. human power.” These details are characteristic of the author of “Vathek,' and form an interesting illustration of his peculiar taste and genius. In 1822 | —satiated with the treasures around him, and desiring fresh excitement—Mr Beckford sold his mansion and grounds at Fonthill, and removed to Bath. “To realise the dreams and fictions of his fancy, it has been truly said, “seems to have been the main purport of Mr Beckford's life; for this he commanded his fairy palace to glitter amid the orange groves, and palms, and aloes of Cintra—for this he crowned the Wiltshire hills with his rich monastic turrets—for this, in later days, he has placed his airy coronet on the turreted brow of the city of Bladud—for this he collected in his romance of Wathek every gorgeous accumulation of luxury and pleasure; and lived in idea among them, since a too cruel fate had forbidden him, even with the boundless prodigality of his wealth, to equal the son of Motassem.”
The outline or plot of “Wathek’ possesses all the wildness of Arabian fiction. The hero is the grandson of Haroun al Raschid (Aaron the Just), whose dominions stretched from Africa to India. He is fearless, proud, inquisitive, a gourmand, fond of theological controversy, cruel and magnificent in his power as a caliph; in short, an Eastern Henry VIII. He dabbles, moreover, in the occult sciences, and interprets the stars and planetary influences from the top of his high tower. In these mysterious arts the caliph is assisted by his mother, Carathis, a Greek, a woman of superior genius. Their ambition and guilt render them a prey to a Giaour—a supernatural personage, who plays an important part in the drama, and hurries the caliph to destruction. But the character of Wathek, and the splendour of his palaces, is described with such picturesque distinctness, that we shall extract some of the opening sentences.
* Literary Gazette, 1822–Hazlitt, who visited the spot at the same time, says, “Fonthill Abbey, after being enveloped in impenetrable mystery for a length of years, has been unexpectedly thrown open to the vulgar gaze, and has lost none of its reputation for magnificence—though perhaps its visionary glory, its classic renown, have vanished from the public mind for cver. It is, in a word, a desert of magnificence, a glittering waste of laborious idleness, a cathedral turned into a toy-shop, an immense museum of all that is most curious and costly, and, at the same time, most worthless, in the productions of art and nature. Ships of pearl and seas of amber are scarce a fable here—a nautilus's shell, surmounted with a gilt triumph of Neptune—tables of agate, cabinets of ebony, and precious stones, painted windows shedding a gaudy crimson light, satin borders, marble floors, and lamps of solid gold–Chinese pagodas and Persian tapestry—all the splendour of Solomon's temple is displayed to the view in miniature—whatever is far-fetched and dear-bought, rich in the materials, or rare and difficult in the workmanship—but scarce one genuine work of art, one solid proof of taste, one lofty relic of sentiment or imagination.” The collection of bijouteric and articles of rorto was allowed to be almost unprecedented in extent and value. Mr Beckford disposed of Fonthill, in 1822, to Mr Farquhar, a gentleman who had amassed a fortune in India, for £330,000 or £350,000, the late proprietor retaining only his family pictures and a few books.-Gentleman's Magazine, Oct. 1883.