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Buchanan filled a bumper, and gave, for the toast, | “The Land of Cakes This immediately dispersed the cloud which began to gather on the other's brow. Targe drank the toast with enthusiasm, saying, “May the Almighty pour his blessings on every hill and valley in it! that is the worst wish, Mr Buchanan, that I shall ever wish to that land.” “It would delight your heart to behold the flourishing condition it is now in,’ replied Buchanan ; “it was fast improving when I left it, and I have been credibly informed since that it is now a perfect garden.’ “I am very happy to hear it,” said Targe. * Indeed,” added Buchanan, “it has been in a state of rapid improvement ever since the Union.’ ‘Confound the Union l’ cried Targe; “it would have improved much faster without it.’ ‘I am not quite clear on that point, Mr Targe,’ said Buchanan. ‘Depend upon it,” replied Targe, “the Union was the worst treaty that Scotland ever made.” “I shall admit,” said Buchanan, “that she might have made a better; but, bad as it is, our country reaps some advantage from it.” “All the advantages are on the side of England.” “What do you think, Mr Targe,’ said Buchanan, * of the increase of trade since the Union, and the | riches which have flowed into the Lowlands of Scotland from that quarter o' | “Think,’ cried Targe; ‘why, I think they have done a great deal of mischief to the Lowlands of Scotland.” | “How so, my good friend ?” said Buchanan. ‘By spreading luxury among the inhabitants, the never-failing forerunner of effeminacy of manners. Why, I was assured,’ continued Targe, ‘by Sergeant Lewis Macneil, a Highland gentleman in the Prussian service, that the Lowlanders, in some parts of Scotland, are now very little better than so many English.’ “O fie P cried Buchanan; ‘things are not come to that pass as yet, Mr Targe: your friend, the sergeant, assuredly exaggerates.’ “I hope he does,’ replied Targe; ‘but you must acknowledge,” continued he, “that by the Union Scotland has lost her existence as an independent state; her name is swallowed up in that of England Only read the English newspapers; they mention England, as if it were the name of the whole island. They talk of the English army, the English fleet, the English everything. They never mention Scotland, except when one of our countrymen happens to get an office under government; we are then told, with some stale
gibe, that the person is a Scotchman: or, which happens still more rarely, when any of them are condemned to die at Tyburn, particular care is taken to inform the public that the criminal is originally from Scotland But if fifty Englishmen get places, or are hanged, in one year, no remarks are made.” ‘No,' said Buchanan; ‘in that case it is passed over as a thing of course.’ The conversation then taking another turn, Targe, who was a great genealogist, descanted on the antiquity of certain gentlemen's families in the Highlands; which, he asserted, were far more honourable than most of the noble families either in Scotland or England. ‘Is it not shameful,” added he, “that a parcel of mushroom lords, mere sprouts from the dunghills of law or commerce, the grandsons of grocers and attorneys, should take the pass of gentlemen of the oldest families in Europe?’ ‘Why, as for that matter,’ replied Buchanan, “provided the grandsons of grocers or attorneys are deserving citizens, I do not perceive why they should be excluded from the king's favour more than other Inell. “But some of them never drew a sword in defence of either their king or country,” rejoined Targe. “Assuredly,” said Buchanan, “men may deserve honour and pre-eminence by other means than by drawing their swords. I could name a man who was no soldier, and yet did nore honour to his country than all the soldiers, or lords, or lairds of the age in which he lived.” ‘Who was he?” said Targe. “The man whose name I have the honour to bear,” replied the other; ‘the great George Buchanan.” ‘Who? Buchanan the historian o' cried Targe. ‘Ay, the very same P. replied Buchanan in a loud voice, being now a little heated with wine and elewated with vanity on account of his name. “Why, sir, continued he, “George Buchanan was not only the most learned man, but also the best poet of his time. i ‘Perhaps he might,” said Targe coldly. ‘Perhaps!” repeated Buchanan; ‘there is no dubitation in the case. Do you remember his description of his own country and countrymen?’ ‘I cannot say I do, replied Targe. “Then I will give you a sample of his versification,” said Buchanan, who immediately repeated, with an enthusiastic emphasis, the following lines from Buchanan's Epithalamium on the Marriage of Francis the Dauphin with Mary Queen of Scots:— Illa pharetratis est propria gloria Scotis, Cingere venatu saltus, superare natando Flumina, ferre famem, contemnere frigora et aestus, Nec fossa et muris patriam, sed marte tueri, Et spreta incolumem vita defendere famam; Polliciti servare fidem, sanctumque vereri Numen amicitia, mores, non munus amare Artibus his, totum fremerunt cum bella per orbem, Nullaque non leges tellus mutaret avitas Externo subjecta jugo, gens una vetustis Sedibus antiqua sub libertate resedit. Substitithic Gothi furor, hic gravis impetus harsit Saxonis, hic Cimber superato Saxone, et acri Perdomito, Neuster Cimbro.
‘I cannot recollect any more.” ‘You have recollected too much for me,’ said Targe; “for although I was several years at an academy in the Highlands, yet I must confess I am no great Latin scholar.” “But the great Buchanan,’ said the other, “was the best Latin scholar in Europe; he wrote that language as well as Livy or Horace.” “I shall not dispute it,” said Targe. “And was, over and above, a man of the first-rate genius!” continued Buchanan with exultation.
“Well, well; all that may be,” replied Targe a little peevishly; “but let me tell you one thing, Mr Buchanan, if he could have swopt” one-half of his genius for a little more honesty, he would have made an advantageous exchange, although he had thrown all his Latin into the bargain.” “In what did he ever show any want of honesty? said Buchanan. “In calumniating and endeavouring to blacken the reputation of his rightful sovereign, Mary Queen of Scots, replied Targe, ‘the most beautiful and accomplished princess that ever sat on a throne.’ “I have nothing to say either against her beauty or her accomplishments,’ resumed Buchanan; ‘but surely, Mr Targe, you must acknowledge that she was a —?’ “Have a care what you say, sir!' interrupted Targe; “I’ll permit no man that ever wore breeches to speak disrespectfully of that unfortunate queen l’ “No man that ever wore either breeches or a philabeg,' replied Buchanan, “shall prevent me from speaking the truth when I see occasions' “Speak as much truth as you please, sir,’ rejoined Targe; “but I declare that no man shall calumniate the memory of that beautiful and unfortunate princess in my presence while I can wield a claymore.” “If you should wield fifty claymores, you cannot deny that she was a Papists’ said Buchanan. “Well, sir, cried Targe, “what then She was, like other people, of the religion in which she was bred.” “I do not know where you may have been bred, Mr Targe,’ said Buchanan; ‘for aught I know, you may be an adherent to the worship of the scarlet lady yourself. Unless that is the case, you ought not to interest yourself in the reputation of Mary Queen of Scots. “I fear you are too nearly related to the false slanderer whose name you bear!” said Targe. ‘I glory in the name; and should think myself greatly obliged to any man who could prove my relation to the great George Buchanan o' cried the other. “He was nothing but a disloyal calumniator, cried Targe; ‘who attempted to support falsehoods by forgeries, which, I thank Heaven, are now fully detected to ‘You are thankful for a very small mercy,” resumed Buchanan; ‘but since you provoke me to it, I will tell you, in plain English, that your bonny Queen Mary was the strumpet of Bothwell and the murderer of her husband I’ No sooner had he uttered the last sentence, than Targe flew at him like a tiger, and they were separated with difficulty by Mr N–’s groom, who was in the adjoining chamber, and had heard the altercation. “I insist on your giving me satisfaction, or retracting what you have said against the beautiful Queen of Scotlands' cried Targe. “As for retracting what I have said,” replied Buchanan, “that is no habit of mine; but, with regard to giving you satisfaction, I am ready for that to the best of my ability; for let me tell you, sir, though I am not a Highlandman, I am a Scotchman as well as yourself, and not entirely ignorant of the use of the claymore; so name your hour, and I will meet you tomorrow morning.’ ‘Why not directly? cried Targe; “there is nobody the garden to interrupt us.” “I should have chosen to have settled some things first; but since you are in such a hurry, I will not baulk you. I will step home for my sword and be with you directly,” said Buchanan.
*To swop is an old English word still used in Scotland, signifying to exchange.
The groom interposed, and endeavoured to reconcile
the two enraged Scots, but without success. Buchanan soon arrived with his sword, and they retired to a private spot in the garden. . The groom, next tried to persuade them to decide their difference by fair boxing. This was rejected by both the champions as a mode of fighting unbecoming gentlemen. The groom asserted that the best gentlemen in Pongland sometimes fought in that manner, and gave, as an instance, a boxing match, of which he himself had been a witness, between Lord G.'s gentleman and a gentlemanfarmer at York races about the price of a mare. “But our quarrel,' said Targe, ‘is about the reputation of a queen.’ “That, for certain,” replied the groom, “makes a difference.” Buchanan unsheathed his sword. “Are you ready, sir?' cried Targe. “That I am. Come on, sir,’ said Buchanan; * and the Lord be with the righteous.” “Amen o' cried Targe; and the conflict began. Both the combatants understood the weapon they fought with ; and each parried his adversary's blows with such dexterity, that no blood was shed for some time. At length Targe, making a feint at Buchanan's head, gave him suddenly a severe wound in the thigh. “I hope you are now sensible of your error #' said Targe, dropping his point. ‘I am of the same opinion I was 1' cried Buchanan; “so keep your guard.’ So saying, he advanced more briskly than ever upon Targe, who, after warding off several strokes, wounded his antagonist a second time.
Buchanan, however, showed no disposition to relin
quish the combat. But this second wound being in the forehead, and the blood flowing with profusion into his eyes, he could no longer see distinctly, but was obliged to flourish his sword at random, without being able to perceive the movements of his adversary, who, closing with him, became master of his sword, and with the same effort threw him to the ground; and, standing over him, he said, “This may convince you, Mr Buchanan, that yours is not the righteous cause! You are in my power; but I will act as the queen whose character I defend would order were she alive. I hope you will live te repent of the injustice you have done to that amiable and unfortunate princess.’ He then assisted Buchanan to rise. Buchanan made no immediate answer: but when he saw Targe assisting the groom to stop the blood which flowed
from his wounds, he said, “I must acknowledge, Mr |
Targe, that you behave like a gentleman.” After the bleeding was in some degree diminished by the dry lint which the groom, who was an excellent farrier, applied to the wounds, they assisted him to his chamber, and then the groom rode away to inform Mr N– of what had happened. But the
wound becoming more painful, Targe proposed sending
for a surgeon. Buchanan then said that the surgeon's mate belonging to one of the ships of the British
squadron then in the bay was, he believed, on shore, and as he was a Scotchman, he would like to employ
him rather than a foreigner. Having mentioned where he lodged, one of Mr N 's footmen went immediately for him. He returned soon after, saying that the surgeon's mate was not at his lodging, nor
expected for some hours. “But I will go and bring
the French surgeon,’ continued the footman. ‘I thank you, Mr Thomas,' said Buchanan; ‘but I will have patience till my own countryman returns.” ‘He may not return for a long time,” said Thomas. ‘You had best let me run for the French surgeon, who, they say, has a great deal of skill.” ‘I am obliged to you, Mr Thomas,” added Buchanan; “but neither Frenchman nor Spanishman shall dress my wounds when a Scottishman is to be found for love or money.”
his business when he does come?” said T
thing of his skill,” answered Buchanan; ‘but I know, for certain, that he is sprung from very respectable
to preaching!” said Targe.
| “he will expect to be paid for
maxim with me, and shall be to my dying day, that
what you believe it was, she will receive her reward
“They are to be found, for the one or the other, as I am credibly informed, in most parts of the world,' said Thomas. “As my countrymen,” replied Buchanan, “are distinguished for letting slip no means of improvement, it would be very strange if many of them did not use that of travelling, Mr Thomas.” “It would be very strange indeed, I own it,” said the footman. “But are you certain of this young man's skill in
“I confess I have had no opportunity to know any
people. His father is a minister of the gospel, and
it is not likely that his father's son will be deficient
in the profession to which he was bred.’ “It would be still less likely had the son been bred
*That is true,' replied Buchanan; ‘but I have no doubt of the young man's skill: he seems to be a very douce" lad. It will be an encouragement to him to see that I prefer him to another, and also a comfort to me to be attended by my countryman.”
‘Countryman or not countryman,’ said Thomas, is trouble as well as another.’
“Assuredly,” said Buchanan; ‘but it was always a
we should give our own fish-guts to our own sea-mews.’ ‘Since you are so fond of your own sea-mews,' said Thomas, “I am surprised you were so eager to destroy Mr Targe there.” “That proceeded from a difference in politics, Mr Thomas, replied Buchanan, “in which the best of friends are apt to have a misunderstanding; but though I am a Whig and he is a Tory, I hope we are both honest men; and as he behaved generously when my life was in his power, I have no scruple in saying that I am sorry for having spoken disrespectfully of any person, dead or alive, for whom he has an esteem.' “Mary Queen of Scots acquired the esteem of her very enemies,” resumed Targe. “The elegance and engaging sweetness of her manners were irresistible to every heart that was not steeled by prejudice or jealousy.” “She is now in the hands of a Judge,” said Buchanan, “who can neither be seduced by fair appearances, nor imposed on by forgeries and fraud.’ “She is so, Mr Buchanan,’ replied Targe; “and her rival and accusers are in the hands of the same Judge.” “We had best leave them all to His justice and mercy then, and say no more on the subject, added Buchanan; ‘for if Queen Mary's conduct on earth was
in heaven, where her actions and sufferings are recorded.” “One thing more I will say,’ rejoined Targe, “and that is only to ask of you whether it is probable that a woman, whose conscience was loaded with the crimes imputed to her, could have closed the varied scene of her life, and have met death with such serene and dignified courage as Mary did?' “I always admired that last awful scene,' replied the recollection of Mary's behaviour on the scaffold; “and I will freely acknowledge that the most innocent person that ever lived, or #. greatest hero recorded in history, could not face death with greater composure than the queen of Scotland: she supported the dignity of a queen while she displayed the meekness of a Christian.” “I am exceedingly sorry, my dear friend, for the misunderstanding that happened between us!" said Targe affectionately, and #. forth his hand in
| Buchanan, who was melted b
* A Scottish expression, meaning gentle and well-disposed.
(as Lord and Lady Elmwood) belong to the ranks of the aristocracy. There are many striking and passionate scenes in the novel, and notwithstanding the disadvantage attending a double plot, the interest is well sustained. The authoress's knowledge of dramatic rules and effect may be seen in the skilful grouping of her personages, and in the liveliness of the dialogue. Her second work is much simpler and coarser in texture. Its object may be gathered from the concluding maxim—‘Let the poor no more be their own persecutors—no longer pay homage to wealth—instantaneously the whole idolatrous worship will cease—the idol will be broken.” Mrs Inchbald illustrated this by her own practice; yet few of her readers can feel aught but mortification and disappointment at the denouement of the tale, wherein the pure and noble-minded Henry, after the rich promise of his youth and his intellectual culture, finally settles down with his father to ‘cheerful labour in fishing, or the tending of a garden, the produce of which they carry to the next markettown o' The following brief allusion to the miseries of low London service reminds us of the vividness and stern pathos of Dickens:–"In romances, and in some plays, there are scenes of dark and unwholesome mines, wherein the labourer works during the brightest day by the aid of artificial light. There are, in London, kitchens equally dismal, though not quite so much exposed to damp and noxious vapours. In one of these under ground, 553
hidden from the cheerful light of the sun, poor Agnes was doomed to toil from morning till night, subjected to the command of a dissatisfied mistress, who, not estimating as she ought the misery incurred by serving her, constantly threatened her servants with a dismission, at which the unthinking wretches would tremble merely from the sound of the words; for to have reflected—to have considered what their purport was—to be released from a dungeon, relieved from continual upbraidings and vile drudgery, must have been a subject of rejoicing; and yet, because these good tidings were delivered as a menace, custom had made the hearer fearful of the consequence. So, death being described to children as a disaster, even poverty and shame will start from it with affright; whereas, had it been pictured with its benign aspect, it would have been feared but by few, and many, many would welcome it with gladness.’
The novels of MRs CHARLoTTE SMITH were of a more romantic cast than those of Miss Burney: they aimed more at delineating affections than manners, and they all evinced superior merit. The first, Emmeline, published in 1788, had an extensive sale. Ethelinde (1789), and Celestina (1791), were also received with favour and approbation. Her best is the Old English Manor-House, in which her descriptive powers are found united to an interesting plot and well-sustained dramatis personae. The haste with which this lady produced her works, and her unfortunate domestic circumstances, led her often to be defective in arrangement and exaggerated in style and colouring. She took a peculiar pleasure in caricaturing lawyers, having herself suffered deeply from the ‘law's delay;' and as her husband had ruined himself and family by foolish schemes and projects, she is supposed to have drawn him in the projector who hoped to make a fortune by manuring his estate with old wigs! Sir Walter Scott, “in acknowledgment of many pleasant hours derived from the perusal of Mrs Smith's works,' included her in his British Novelists, and prefixed an interesting criticism and memoir. He alludes to her defective narratives or plots, but considers her characters to be conceived with truth and force, though none bear the stamp of actual novelty. He adds, “she is uniformly happy in supplying them with language fitted to their station in life; nor are there many dialogues to be found which are at once so entertaining, and approach so nearly to truth and reality.’
MRs ANN RADCLIFFE (who may be denominated the Salvator Rosa of British novelists) was born in London, of respectable parents, on the 9th of July 1764. Her maiden name was Ward. In her twentythird year she married Mr William Radcliffe, a student of law, but who afterwards became the editor and proprietor of a weekly paper, the English Chronicle. Two years after her marriage, in 1789, Mrs Radcliffe published her first novel, The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne, the scene of which she laid in Scotland during the remote and warlike times of the feudal barons. This work gave but little indication of the power and fascination which the authoress afterwards evinced. She had made no attempt to portray national manners or historical events (in which, indeed, she never excelled), and the plot was wild and unnatural. Her next effort, made in the following year, was more successful.
The Sicilian Romance attracted attention by its romantic and numerous adventures, and the copious descriptions of scenery it contained. These were depicted with the glow and richness of a poetical fancy. “Fielding, Richardson, Smollett, and even Walpole,’ says Sir Walter Scott, “though writing upon an imaginative subject, are decidedly prose authors. Mrs Radcliffe has a title to be considered as the first poetess of romantic fiction; that is, if actual rhythm shall not be deemed essential to poetry.” Actual rhythm was also at the command of the accomplished authoress. She has interspersed various copies of verses throughout her works, but they are less truly poetical than her prose. They have great sameness of style and diction, and are often tedious, because introduced in scenes already too protracted with description or sentiment. In 1791 appeared The Romance of the Forest, exhibiting the powers. of the novelist in full maturity. To her wonderful talent in producing scenes of mystery and surprise, aided by external phenomena and striking description, she now added the powerful delineation of passion. Her painting of the character of La Motte, hurried on by an evil counsellor, amidst broken resolutions and efforts at recall, to the most dark and deliberate guilt and cruelty, approaches in some respects to the genius of Godwin. Variety of character, however, was not the forte of Mrs Radcliffe. Her strength lay in the invention and interest of her narrative. Like the great painter with whom she has been compared, she loved to sport with the romantic and the terrible—with the striking imagery of the mountain-forest and the lake—the obscure solitude—the cloud and the storm —wild banditti—ruined castles—and with those half-discovered glimpses or visionary shadows of the invisible world which seem at times to cross our path, and which still haunt and thrill the imagination. This peculiar faculty was more strongly evinced in Mrs Radcliffe's next romance, The Mysteries of Udolpho, published in 1794, which was the most popular of her performances, and is justly considered her best. Mrs Barbauld seems to prefer the ‘Romance of the Forest,’ as more complete in character and story; but in this opinion few will concur: it wants the sublimity and boldness of the later work. The interest, as Scott remarks, ‘is of a more agitating and tremendous nature, the scenery of a wilder and more terrific description, the characters distinguished by fiercer and more gigantic features. Montoni, a lofty-souled desperado and captain of condottieri, stands beside La Motte and his marquis, like one of Milton's fiends beside a witch's familiar. Adeline is confined within a ruined manor-house, but her sister heroine, Emily, is imprisoned in a huge castle like those of feudal times; the one is attacked and defended by bands of armed banditti. the other only threatened by constables and thieftakers. The scale of the landscape is equally different; the quiet and limited woodland scenery of the one work forming a contrast with the splendid and high-wrought descriptions of Italian mountain grandeur which occur in the other.’ This parallel applies very strikingly to the critic's own poems, the Lay and Marmion. The latter, like Mrs Radcliffe’s
second novel, has blemishes of construction and style from which the first is free; but it has the breadth
* This honour more properly belongs to Sir Philip sidiney; I and does not even John Bunyan demand a share of it: In Smollett's novels there are many poetical conceptions and descriptions. Indeed on this point Sir Walter partly contradicts himself, for he elsewhere states that Smollett expended in his novels many of the ingredients both of grave and humorous poetry. Mrs Radcliffe gave a greater prominence to poetical description than any of her predecessors.
and magnificence, and the careless freedom of a master's hand, in a greater degree than can be found in the first production. About this time Mrs Radcliffe made a journey through Holland and the western frontier of Germany, returning down the Rhine, of which she published an account in 1795, adding to it some observations during a tour to the lakes of Lancashire, Westmoreland, and Cumberland. The picturesque fancy of the novelist is seen in these sketches with her usual luxuriance and copiousness of style. In 1797 Mrs Radcliffe made her last appearance in fiction. The “Mysteries of Udolpho' had been purchased by her publisher for what was then considered an enormous sum, £500; but her new work brought her £800. It was entitled The Italian, and displayed her powers in undiminished strength and brilliancy. Having exhausted the characteristics of feudal pomp and tyranny in her former productions, she adopted a new machinery in ‘The Italian, having selected a period when the church of Rome was triumphant and unchecked. The grand Inquisition, the confessional, the cowled monk, the dungeon, and the rack, were agents as terrible and impressive as ever shone in romance, Mrs Radcliffe took up the popular notions on this subject without adhering to historical accuracy, and produced a work which, though very unequal in its execution, contains the most vivid and appalling of all her scenes and paintings. The opening of the story has been praised by all critics for the exquisite art with which the authoress con
trives to excite and prepare the mind of the reader.
It is as follows:—
[English Travellers Visit a Neapolitan Church.]
Within the shade of the portico, a person with folded arms, and eyes directed towards the ground, was pacing behind the pillars the whole extent of the pavement, and was apparently so engaged by his own thoughts as not to observe that strangers were approaching. He turned, however, suddenly, as if startled by the sound of steps, and then, without farther pausing, glided to a door that opened into the church, and disappeared.
There was something too extraordinary in the figure of this man, and too singular in his conduct, to pass unnoticed by the visitors. He was of a tall thin figure, bending forward from the shoulders; of a sallow complexion and harsh features, and had an eye which, as it looked up from the cloak that muffled the lower part of his countenance, was expressive of uncommon ferocity.
The travellers, on entering the church, looked round
for the stranger who had passed thither before them, but he was nowhere to be seen; and through all the
shade of the long aisles only one other person appeared. This was a friar of the adjoining convent, who sometimes pointed out to strangers the objects in the church which were most worthy of attention, and who now, with this design, approached the party that had just entered. When the party had viewed the different shrines, and whatever had been judged worthy of observation, and were returning through an obscure aisle towards the portico, they perceived the person who had appeared upon the steps passing towards a confessional on the left, and as he entered it, one of the party pointed him out to the friar, and inquired who he was. The friar, turning to look after him, did not immediately reply; but on the question being repeated, he inclined his head as in a kind of obeisance, and calmly replied, “He is an assassin.” “An assassin!’ exclaimed one of the Englishmen; “an assassin, and at liberty to
An Italian gentleman who was of the party smiled at the astonishment of his friend. “He has sought sanctuary here,' replied the friar; ‘within these walls he may not be hurt.” “Do your altars, then, protect a murderer?' said the Englishman. “He could find shelter nowhere else,” answered the friar meekly. * + “But observe yonder confessional,” added the Italian, “that beyond the pillars on the left of the aisle, below a painted window. Have you discovered it? The colours of the glass throw, instead of a light, a shade over that part of the church, which perhaps prevents your distinguishing what I mean.” The Englishman looked whither his friend pointed, and observed a confessional of oak, or some very dark wood, adjoining the wall, and remarked also that it was the same which the assassin had just entered. It consisted of three compartments, covered with a black canopy. In the central division was the chair of the confessor, elevated by several steps above the pavement of the church; and on either hand was a small closet or box, with steps leading up to a grated partition, at which the penitent might kneel, and, concealed from observation, pour into the ear of the confessor the consciousness of crimes that lay heavy at his heart. * You observe it !” said the Italian. “I do,” replied the Englishman; “it is the same which the assassin had passed into, and I think it one of the most gloomy spots I ever beheld; the view of it is enough to strike a criminal with despair.’ “We in Italy are not so apt to despair, replied the Italian smilingly. “Well, but what of this confessional ' inquired the Englishman. “The assassin entered it.” “He has no relation with what I am about to mention,’ said the Italian ; “but I wish you to mark the place, because some very extraordinary circumstances belong to it.” “What are they?’ said the Englishman. “It is now several years since the confession which is connected with them was made at that very confessional,” added the Italian; ‘the view of it, and the sight of the assassin, with your surprise at the liberty which is allowed him, led me to a recollection of the story. When you return to the hotel I will communicate it to you, if you have no pleasanter mode of engaging your time.” “After I have taken another view of this solemn edifice,' replied the Englishman, “and particularly of the confessional you have pointed to my notice.” While the Englishman glanced his eye over the high roofs and along the solemn perspectives of the Santa del Pianto, he perceived the figure of the assassin stealing from the confessional across the choir, and, shocked on again beholding him, he turned his eyes and hastily quitted the church. The friends then separated, and the Englishman soon after returning to his hotel, received the volume. He read as follows.
After such an introduction, who could fail to continue the perusal of the story? Scott has said that one of the fine scenes in ‘The Italian,’ where Schedoni the monk (an admirably-drawn character) is “in the act of raising his arm to murder his sleeping victim, and discovers her to be his own child, is of a new, grand, and powerful character; and the horrors of the wretch who, on the brink of murder, has just escaped from committing a crime of yet more exaggerated horror, constitute the strongest painting which has been produced by Mrs Radcliffe's pencil, and form a crisis well fitted to be actually embodied on canvass by some great master.' Most