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The charm also which the Scotch ed readers. In his works, dim intinnanovels derived from allusions to exter- tions found answering realities; enthunal nature, was peculiarly liable to be siasm verged on inspiration ; and the dissipated and weakened in their pro- dreams of fond credulity were scarcely gress. This charm consisted not in the distinguishable from the solemnities of exquisite pictures of extended scenery death and life. But his genuine sense -not even in the vivid description of of the mysterious soon decayed when particular objects—but in the familiar it became food for common wonder ; allusion to the beauties of Nature and and instead of the marvels told, as it to the feelings which they excited, copi- were, under the breath-instead of the ously scattered through the busiest and fine uncertainty in which we were so most eventful portions of the history. tremulously bewildered, we had prodiMere naked description is comparative- gies which no one could believe for a ly an interior art, and scarcely ever moment-second-sight clearly developproduces very intense or elevated sen- ed-visions “ plenty as blackberries" sations; but nothing can be more de- —witches in immediate communication licious than to feel the influences of the with the evil one—and prophecies fulquiet earth and heaven mingling with filled to the letter. But even the powand tempering more passionate emo er which sustained these cold fantasies tions. But as the author proceeds, as has decayed; and in “ The Pirate” he learns more distinctly his own facul- our wonder is excited only to be deties, and as every object in his works stroyed by those most barbarous expeassumes more of separate identity, he dients of Mrs. Radcliffe—a knowledge will naturally elaborate his descriptions of the weather, promptitude of moveas descriptions, and can scarcely re- ment, and an exemplary acquaintance cur, even if he would, to the bright with trap-doors and secret passages ! throng of intermingled hints, traits, The work which has prompted these and images, which he poured out from observations has all the merits and dethe mere impulse of delighted power. fects incidental to a late production of
The supernatural touches of our au an original writer. It is full of accuthor would still less bear to be fre- rate descriptions and well-defined and quently repeated. Nothing, indeed, strikingly arranged characters, but becan more decidedly shew the influencé trays throughout a consciousness of the of composition re-acting on the mind peculiar talents which have called it inof an author, than the circumstance to being. Its plot, though not very that setting out with a manifest tenden- satisfactory, has more interest than that cy to superstition and an eager love of of many of its author's romances. the marvellous, he has, in the end of We will not attempt to give any analythis his last work, disappointed all thesis, which would only fatigue the multistrange fears which he has excited in tude who have read it, and diminish its progress,
and made bis awe-stirring the curiosity of the few who have still character finally sensible of the vanity to read it. It is not certainly calculaof her own pretensions! The unde- ted to satisfy the expectations which its fined feeling of delicious terror—the title and motto have excited. When longing to find in unusual phenomena in- we saw prefixed to it the lines • Nothing dications of something more than mor- in him but doth suffer a sea change, tal, will soon wear out in the mind we thought that its author was about to which sets down its sensations in a subdue to his dominion the world of note-book, and thinks how they can be waters—to give a new life to all the apmost artfully disposed to awaken inter- pearances of sea and sky—to lul us est in the public. It is very curious into delicious dreams on summer seasand edifying to observe the progress of to agitate us by hurricanes and shipthis alteration in the mind of author of wrecks—to make us familiar with all Waverley. At first his supernatural the wild superstitions which chill the terrors were interwoven with the very blood of the long-expectant marinerthreads of existence. He infused his to send into the heart the very feeling own spirit into the blood of his enchant- of sea-dreariness--to give us sea weed
and coral for our playthings, and the one heart from their childhood, are monsters of the deep for companions. pourtrayed with the finest feeling and But there is nothing of all this : through- truth. Magnus Troil, their father, the out the three volumes we are never jovial stout-hearted Udaller, is excellent once out of sight of shore. Nor do we in his way; a perfect pillar of the find any of those wild darings, those olden time. The lover of Brenda, desperate exploits of the freebooters of Mordaunt Mertoun, is a fine spirited the ocean, which we anticipated from lad, in the opening of the romance ; its name. The pirate Cleveland is a gay, buoyant, full of life and joy; but flinching sentimental person, who does he subsides into a mere machine towards only one thing for which he deserves its close. Triptolemus Yellowley, the to be banged,—when he draws a knife classical and speculative farmer, is a and stabs an unarmed man who is mere patchwork part, like some of the struggling fairly with him—which is not characters made up of all oddities and a very heroic crime. All the prepara- inconsistencies, in the plays of Mortion made for some extraordinary dis- ton and Reynolds, a sort of lifeless cuclosure respecting him ends in nothing. riosity not worth inspecting. Claud We are led to expect some glowing Halcro, the ner, who lives upon passion nurtured in the spicy groves of one glimpse of the “ glorious John Drytropical islands--some strange inter- den,” with his prattle about Russellmingling of bravery, luxury, and street, Covent-Garden, is as much out crime ; but he is merely common- of place amidst pirates and savages as place, faint-hearted, and repenting. the figure of a courtier in full dress on
The love of Minna, the lofty senti- the wings of cherubim. But the great mentalist,towards the anomalous Cleve- attempt and failure of the whole is the land, is elaborately defended by the au- part of Norna of the Fitful-head, who thor on the principle of contraries. is evidently intended for a sublimated This theory does not shine in the argu- Meg Merrilies. She is unquestionably, ment, and is falsified by the result of in some respects, better furnished with the story. Cleveland's spirit does not appliances and means; instead of be“shine through him” so as to justifying a wandering gipsy queen, without the damsel's passion : nor does the dis- father, mother, or descent, she is concovery of the particulars of his trade fessedly allied to a noble family ; inseem sufficient to account for her refu- stead of trusting wholly to her ensal to share his distresses. She loves chantments, or to her loftier human enhim as a pirate; but she has some fine ergies, she has a large income, which notions of pirates as sea kings, and she spends in procuring the appearance cannot endure to find them only tolera- of wonders ; and, instead of roaming ble, but erring mortals. If the theory alone over hill and valley, she has a were true—if it were natural for the hideous dwarf to do her bidding. But most delicate maidens to be fascinated her life has no “ magic in the web of by outlaws, it would be natural for them it.” She has not one old affection susto cleave to these objects of their love taining an exhausted heart—no terrific more strongly in danger, not to forsake energies—no deep, lone com nune with them at their utmost need. The pic- nature, by which she has learned its tures of Minna, and her livelier sister mysteries. Her maternal instinct is a Brenda, are drawn with a skill which cheat, her prophetic power a delusion; enables us in our mind's eye to see their she awakes to the melancholy condiversified loveliness ; in the earlier sciousness that her whole life has been part of his career our author would a lie, and becomes soberly sad at last. have been contented if we felt it. This is for an author to turn the tables There are one or two scenes between on those whose blood he has made curthe sisters of exquisite tenderness, dle, and whose hair he has made stand most delicately and beautifully touched, on end at these worn-out superstitions where the alienations which love pro- with a vengeance ! duces between those who have had but The work abounds in descriptions 8
ATHENEUM VOL. 11.
of great excellence; but, for the most Meantime the attempts of the assailants part, they are little animated with and Cleveland, in particular, exerted them.
were redoubled; but Mordaunt Mertoun breathing life.
There is, indeed, one selves to the uttermost, contending who picture of a whale-fishing, which is an should display most courage in approaching exception to this remark; and reminds the monster, so tremendous in its agonies, us of the most vivid and mighty delin- and should inflict the most deep and deadly eations of our author. We can only
wound upon its huge bulk.
“ The contest seemed at last pretty well make room for its close.
over; for although the animal continued
from time to time to make frantic exertions “ Magnus Troil, who had only jested for liberty, yet its strength appeared so with the factor, and had reserved the much exhausted, that, even with the assistlaunching the first spear against the whale ance of the tide, which had now risen conto some much more skilful hand, had just siderably, it was thought it could scarce ex time to exclaim,. Mind yourselves, lads, or tricate itself. we are all swamped,' when the monster, “ Magnus gave the signal to venture upon roused at once from inactivity by the blow the whale more nearly, calling out at the of the factor's missile, blew, with a noise same time, Close in, lads, she is not half resembling the explosion of a steam-engine, so mad now-Now, Mr. Factor, look for a a huge shower of water into the air, and at winter's oil for the two lamps of Harfrathe same time began to lash the waves with Pull close in, lads.' its tail in every direction. The boat in “ Ere his orders could be obeyed, the which Magnus presided received the show. other two boats had anticipated his purpose; er of brine which the animal spouted into and Mordaunt Mertoun, eager to distinguish the air ; and the adventurous Triptolemus, himself above Cleveland, had, with the who had a full share of the immersion, was whole strength he possessed, plunged a so much astonished and terrified by the con- half-pike into the body of the animal. But sequences of his own valorous deed, that he the leviathan, like a nation whose resources tumbled backwards amongst the feet of the appear totally exhausted by previous losses people, who, too busy to attend to him, were and calamities, collected his whole remainactively engaged in getting the boat into ing force for an effort, which proved at once shoal water, out of the whale's reach. desperate and successful. The wound last Here he lay for some minutes, trampled on received, had probably reached through by the feet of the boatmen, until they lay his external defences of blubber, and aton their oars to bale, when the Udaller or tained some very sensitive part of the sys. dered them to pull to shore, and land this tem, for he roared aloud, as he sent to the spare hand, who had commenced the fish- sky a mingled sheet of brine and blood, and ing so inauspiciously.
snapping the strong cable like a twig, over“While this was doing, the other boats set Mertoup's boat with a blow of his tail, had also pulled off to safer distance, and shot himself by a mighty effort, over the now, from these as well as from the shore, bar, upon which the tide had now risen couthe unfortunate native of the deep was siderably, and made out to sea, carrying overwhelmed by all kinds of missiles—har- with him a whole grove of the implements poons and spears flew against him on all which had been planted in his body, and sides-guns were fired, and each various leaving behind him, on the waters, a dark means of annoyance plied which could ex- red trace of his course." cite him to exhaust his strength in useless rage. When the animal found that he was After all, “ The Pirate" contains loeked in by shallows on all sides, and be much matter, for which we are thankcame sensible, at the same time, of the ful. It is good enough to please us if strain of the cable on his body, the convul not to reflect honour on its author. sive efforts which he made to escape, accompanied with sounds resembling deep and Let him then write on ; he will never loud groans, would have moved the com- equal his first works; but these have passion of all but a practised whale-fisher. rendered it impossible that he should The repeated showers which he spou ted into the air began now to be mingled with
ever be written down even by his blood, and the waves which surrounded him, own pen.-N. Mon. Feb. assumed the same crimson appearance.
THE NIGHT-BLOWING STOCK.
" COME! look at this plant, with its narrow pale leaves,
And its tall, slim, delicate stem,
But in truth, there's no beauty in them."
Why I stick it up here just in sight?
For the flower-but I'll tell you to-night.
Looks down on that bastion'd wall,
And the heavy night dews fall,
On the spot where we're standing now,
"Well, we're met here again ; and the moonlight sleeps
On the sea and the bastion'd wall ;
“ But there's one,” say you, "sweeter than all !" " Which is it? the myrtle or jessamine,
Or their sovereign lady, the rose ?
Far sweeter than either of those.”
That exhaleth such perfume rare ?" “Look about, up and down, but take care, or you'll break With your elbow that poor little thing that's so weak."
“ Why, 'tis that smells so sweet, I declare !" 64 Ah ha! is it that ?--have you found out now
Why I cherish that odd little fright?
In the glare of the strongest light.
As uplovely as that by your side, That a common observer passeth by, With a scornful lip, and a careless eye,
In the hey-day of pleasure and pride.
From the mid-day sun's broad glare,
May not yield sweet fragrance there. “ Or wait till the days of trial come,
The dark days of trouble and woe,
And see if 'twill serve you so.
" And judge not again at a single glance,
Nor pass sentence hastily.
A RUSSIAN TALE.* THE kingdom of Russia, until the a band of barbarian soldiers, and trans
ascent to its throne of the Empe- ported to the fortress of Schlusselburg*, ror Alexander, has been from the re- situated on a small island where the motest period of its history continually river Neva issues into the Lake of Lathe theatre of civil discord and intestine doga. From this place, accompanied commotion. From the reign of Alexey by his mother, the royal infant was Michailovitch, to the accession of its soon after conveyed to the citadel of present illustrious ruler, so many pre- Riga, where they wore away eighteen tenders have arisen to urge their claims months of captivity. The monotony to the imperial diadem of that vast em- of imprisonment was in some measpire, that more calamitous events have ure alleviated by the circumstance of resulted to Russia from the coutentions their place of exile being so frequently to which these circumstances have nat- varied. From Riga they were removed urally given birth during the last centu- to the fortress of Dunamunde, and subry, than have befallen the princely sequently to Orianenburg, a town situhouse of any other nation in Europe in ated in the South-eastern extremity of a much longer space of time.
European Russia. Hitherto the capUpon the demise of the Empress tivity of the mother of Ivan had been Anne, in 1740, Ivan Antonovitch, her softened and rendered less galling by nephew, then an infant, was proclaimed the prosence of her child; but in 1746 her successor ; and Biren, a man of a the mandate of the Empress separated fierce and ambitious spirit, regent of them for ever, and Ivan was left under the kingdom, until the baby sovereign the superintendance of an amiable should arrive at an age sufficiently ma- monk, who, attached from early years ture to take upon himself the reins of to the family of Antonovitch, and comgovernment. If frequent usurpations passionating his fate, made an attempt of the imperial crown had been aimed to escape with him to Orianenburg, and at, while it circled the brows of those thence into Germany, with a view to who were capable of defending their his ultimate re-establishment on the right to it, it may easily be imagined throne of his ancestors. In this object, that no very considerable period was however, the worthy man was defeated. permitted to elapse without a renewal Their flight was betrayed, and they of those attempts which were, at this were overtaken at Smolensko, whence juncture, so much more likely to be they were conveyed to a monastery in attended with success. Thirteen months the Valdai, not far from the road that only had rolled over the cradle of the leads from Petersburg to Moscow. infant Emperor, when a conspiracy Here they were detained for ten years; broke out which hurled the helpless at the end of which time, the youthful Ivan from the throne, and raised Eliza- Ivan, then sixteen years of age, was beth to the imperial power.
brought back to Schlusselburg for greatThe first object of this ambitious er security, and there lodged in the woman was the seizure of Ivan, who casemate of the fortress, the very loopwas accordingly torn from his cradle by hole of which was immediately bricked
* The materials of this tragic story were principally derived from Le Clerc's Hist. de Russie Moderne, tome II.-Čoxe's Travels.-Lise of Catherine II. vol. I.-Mr. Sotheby has written an admirable Tragedy, of which Ivan is the hero.
| Schlussel, in German, signifies a key. This name was given it by Peter the First, as being the key to his new city, Petersburg.