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the best critics, and we have no doubt that with them Little Davy will be a favourite. We must give a short extract.
Sunday, a day of rest. A country village is still and quiet at all times; but, on a Sunday morning is still more peaceable. You do not hear the miller's cart go by ; nor the ploughman's horses, with their clinking chains, going to the field. Even the cow-boys, though they drive the cows to and from the meadows, know better than to sing and halloo as they go. All the people, though they do not dress fine and gay, make themselves as clean as they can. Soon after breakfast, the clerk of the parish goes by with the great church key in his hand, and you soon hear the bells begin to chime. This is not heard as we hear it in great cities and towns, along with many other bells and other noises ; but, as it comes only once a week, the sound is always pleasing, always new, and every body knows what it means.
• The Woodly's family lived at some distance from the church; but they heard the bells, and Davy and his grandfather set off together, as they always did. Mrs. Woodly was getting ready, and, as she put on her cap, and shook her clean apron, Mr. Woodly, who was reading the Bible, said in a low voice,“ Good Heaven deliver " me from trouble.” He had staid away from church several Sundays before, and did not mean to go now, but when his wife asked him
with her, he said: I cannot find the pleasure I used to do in going to church. I am sunk in poverty :-I have no decent clothes. These times have ruined me, and I cannot be what I was : and though in my heart I despise the sneer of a fool, yet I know that the 'Squire's gamekeeper, and some others, will let me know that they have better coats than mine, although, perhaps, not of their own buying."
Mrs. Woodly was vexed to hear him talk so, though she knew what he said to be true, and still asked him, tenderly, to go with her, saying, it would ease his mind, and, at any rate, would be better than sitting at hone. But he still answered “ No.” “ Well,” said she, “ I will go, if it were only to pray for Peace, and that I may see my poor boy Will before I die.”
At the sound of peace and his son's name, he rose instantly from his seat, brushed his hat and shoes, and went to Church with his wife. He was one of the pşalm-singers, and there were several neighbours glad to see him; and he has often said since, that he never sang better, nor felt more pleasure than he did that day.' pp. 41-43. Art. IX. The Majolo : a Tale, 12mo. pp. 252. Price is.
Colburn. 1815. WE find it difficult to characterize this singular production. W
The perusal of it pleasingly interested us, and the impression 'which the Majolo left upon our imagination, was that of his being the counterpart of not an ordinary mind. But in proceeding to analyze the opinions and notions ascribed to
the hero,' the development of which, through the advantageous medium of an ideal character, is the professed object of the volume, we found that they were much better adapted to amuse the fancy than to satisfy the judgement. The sentiments expressed by the Majolo, pleased us, we found, more from their dramatic propriety, as being the expression of character, than from their intrinsic value, in point either of depth or novelty. They seem to be the speculations of a mind more accustomed to imagine than to reason, more prone to credulity than to scepticism, and displaying more originality of thought than extent of information.
There is a degree of originality, which even common thoughts assume, when, instead of being mechanically introduced into the mind in the shape of acquired knowledge, they result from the operations of the mind itself, or are suggested by observation. But life is not long enough to allow of our arriving at the general knowledge necessary for the conduct of life, by the circuitous road of self-discovery and invention : and therefore, at the hazard of our characters and modes of thinking partakiug too much of commonness, we must be glad to receive our information ready made from books. With this knowledge, often unappreciated and ill-digested, ordinary minds are too apt to content themselves, and their thoughts never go beyond what they thus acquire ; but persons who have early addicted themselves to abstract reflection at a time when they had scanty means of information, will afterwards, from habit, continue to find greater pleasure in the spontaneous exercise of their faculties, than in receiving the benefit of the thoughts and researches of other men. They will sometimes feel an impatience of submitting their crude opinions to the test of established experience, or to the authority of knowledge, and it will awaken an unwelcome feeling of mortification, to find themselves perpetually forestalled in their solitary discoveries, or highwrought speculations, by ancient genius or modern science. It requires a simplicity of mind, a sincerity in the pursuit of knowledge, not to be in danger, from finding every cominon path explored and pre-occupied, of starting aside into eccentricity, and playing the speculative philosopher, who is himself alone . bis great authority.' But no intellectual error is more fatal to substantial improvement, than that of inaking the conjectures of imagination the data of our reasonings, by which means persons not unfrequently, by a delusion similar to that imposed upon Don Quixote in his aerial tour on the wooden horse, fancy themselves to have attained a height of discovery, to be on the very confines of the material system, while they are still stationary, and on a level with the vulgar in point of actual attainment.
The character of the Majolo is very well conceived and finely portrayed. His opinions seem the natural growth of a miod in which imagination uniformly appears to be the aseendant faculty. · His remarks, which are frequently ingenious, sometimes profound, but occasionally of a doubtful tendency, are of that inetaphysical cast. which we might expect from a solitary thinker ; but wbose metaphysics partake more of poetry than of philosophy. The combination of ingenuous egotism and reserve, of arrogance and modesty, of energy and weakness, wbich gives to the character of the Majolo much of its picturesque effect, is well delineated, and we conceive, perfectly natural. But it is time to introduce the Majolo himsell' to our readers. We must first inform them, on the authority of Mr. Galt, that the Majoli are children of Sardinian peasants, who are invited to come to Cagliari, to serve in families for their food and lodging, on condition of being allowed to attend the schools of an institution formed for the purpose of affording
an opportunity to humble born genius to expand its faculties . and acquire distinction.'
• Some of them rise to high situations; the greater number, however, return back to the provinces and relapse into their hereditary rusticity; but the effects of their previous instruction remain; and sometimes, in remote and obscure valleys, the traveller meets with a peasant who, in the uncouth aod savage garb of the country, shews a iincture of the polish and intelligence of the town.' p. 8.
The effect of the Majolo's appearance is very naturally described. It is to be remarked, that the sentiments delivered by the Author in the first person, á are what he conceives to be generally pro* fessed by the world.'
• There was a tone of ease and equality in the way with which he expressed himself, that added something like a feeling of mortification to the surprise with which I continued to be still more strongly affected. His politeness had nothing of assumption in it, but the very idea of a person in so humble a walk of life, putting himself on a level with me, almost impressed me with a sense of inferiority. I felt as it my consequence was rebuked by his genius, and though perfectly unconscious of having received any other treatment than the most marked respect, a shade of dislike came across my mind, and, without the slightest cause, I thought the Majolo an arrogant and presuming fellow. It was impossible to deny to myself that he was a . man of talent; his eye, his manner,
person, his language were indisputable proofs that he was no ordinary man. But the deference to which I had always been accustomed, was set aside by his self-posses sion, and although there was not a particle of familiarity in his address, such was the obvious independence of his mind, that it displeased my pride. In natural endowment I was not disposed to pretend to an equality, and in experience I was willing to acknowledge that he had the advantage of seniority, but his lofty consciousness of independence, was, to say the plain truth, excessively disagreeable.
He had something so indescribably high about him, that I should have hesitated to offer him any favour, and yet at the same time, his frank. ness was so manly, that I should not have been surprised at any re. quest which he might have made' pp, 11, 12.
The Author is the Majolo's guest. While Benedetta is setting out the table, his host proposes to play a few of the provincial airs of Oliastro.
• After a rich and chromatic symphony, as if to contrast the intricacies of refinement with the charms of natural simplicity, he played in succession, a number of tender and sprightly airs. This perforniance seemed to partake of the nature of his own character. It had in it a degree of precision, often unpleasing, but now and then it rounded itself into an expression so full, so generous, and so noble, that perhaps, few professional musicians could have excelled it. I began indeed to imagine that he might have been himself a public performer, but just as the thought arose in my mind, a little blemish in his playing, some defect of the time, and harshness of the cadence, convinced me that he was only an amateur.' pp. 16, 17.
His remarks upon national music would suggest an interesting topic of speculation, had we an opportunity of verifying the assertion on which they are founded; that the Scottish music bears a striking resemblance to that of Sardivia. " There is no part ' of the world,' observes the Majolo,' where the country is
mountainous, in which the music is not wild, abrupt, and mournful.'
• Music is the medium by which the universal feelings of mankind are expressed, and man in similar circumstances is always the same sort of creature. He is affected by the mountainous circumstances of Epirus, of Sardinia, and of Scotland, with similar emotions, and the only difference in the universal language of these countries, is a difference of accent, a provincial peculiarity.'
The Majolo now proceeds to satisfy the curiosity of his guest with respect to his history, informing him before-hand that his tale will consist rather of observations than adventures. Accordingly, he is perpetually digressing from his desultery narrative into reflections of a philosophizing cast; which display, for the most part, correct observation, and amiable feeling, but exhibit a singular deficiency of religious knowledge, not excusable even in a Sardinian peasant. The notions of the Majolo concerning Destiny, as a kind of moral chemistry,' as a chain ( formed by links of physical causes, and other sceptical hints of this kind, are so vague as to appear connected with no very determinale opinions in the Author's mind, and they may, therefore, be passed over as harmless instances of the cloudiness of idea into which an ambitious fondness for philosophical conjecture is likely to lead a person, in the absence of correct moral
guidance. There is some truth, however, mixed with much absurdity of expression, in the following specimen.
“I have noticed,' said the Majolo, “ that character is seldom un. derstood by estimating the qualities of the mind. Do you not generally find some occult impulse so modifying the nature of man in active life, that he scarcely seems the same sort of being whom you had contemplated unemployed? Compare the moral and intellectual features of any individual among your acquaintance, with the effect of his character on yourself, or in the circle of society in which he is placed, and you will be convinced that it is not by them, but by the way in which he is actuated, that you ought to make choice of him as a friend, or shum him as an enemy. There is nothing more deceitful than to trust a man on account of his qualities; in every case where you
do so, and leave out of consideration what appears to be his destiny, you will never cease to repent the connection. There is very little inherent difference between the qualities of the good and the bad; the effects which their course of action produces in society make the former criminals and the latter judges; and, therefore, the laws of all nations wisely regard guilt, as characterised by circumstances, dependent as much on the life and conduct of the person who commits it, as on the actual amount of the injury which it inflicts on the sufferer.
* Don Lopez was one of that class of persons who, without the smallest particle of generous sentiment in their composition, are constrained, by the impulse of destiny, to act in all affairs with unvaried frankness, and the appearance of possessing a liberal and muniticent heart. In every thing the selfishness of his nature was constantly manifested. He studied the enjoyments of his palate with the solicitude of devotion ; but as he delighted as much in cheerful company as in luxurious dishes and delicate wines, he drew around his table a circle of pleasant companions, and had the reputation of being a good hospitable fellow. He was proud and vain to an excessive degree,
yet such was his happy fortune, that neither of these disagreeable qualities were ailowed to show themselves in their true colours. His sensuality being social, acted as a medium to his arrogance and presumption, and so changed their natural complexion in every manifestation, that they took the colour of virtues, as the crimson blood in the veins appears blue when seen through the soft smooth skin of voluptuous beauty Not one of his associates were was) ignorant of his disposition, and yet they constantly treated him as one of the best of men, and spoke of his faults with indulgence. Not one of them had the slightest faith in his friendship, and yet he was the most intimate friend with which each of them respectively associated. He had, however, the good fortune to possess not only that instinctive discernment of the tendency of affairs, which enables a man to know when to speculate upon contingencies, but also that disregard of the consequences of failure, which emboldens the adventurous to risk more than their all upon the probability of great ultimate profit. He was, theretore, considered not only as the most liberal, but one of the most fortunate merchants in all Sassari, and this opinion procuted him more
OL. V.-N. S.