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of a gentleman's chair as he is in the act of sitting “ On account of his weakness ;" reiterated the perplexed down, and such like feats. If Mr. Dickens can exhibit Mr. Pickwick. a character with his heels in the air, he laughs and continued the driver, “but when he's in it, we bears him up
“He always falls down, when he's took out of the cab,” chuckles, and rubs his hands, and thinks he has achiev-werry tight, and takes him in werry short, so as he can't werry ed a great chapter. Now Mr. Winkle, the third of well fall down, and wev'e got a pair o' precious large wheels Mr. Pickwick's colleagues, is the chosen subject for this on; so when he does move, they run after him, and he must go sort of merriment. He is a mere fool, and of all imagi- on; he can't help it.” nable fools the most insipid. He is put upon a tall note-book, with the view of communicating it to the club, as a
Mr. Pickwick entered every word of this statement in his horse, and made to dismount that he may not be able to singular instance of the tenacity of life in horses, under trying get up again. He is provided with a gun to shoot his circumstances. The entry was scarcely completed when they friend Tupman by accident; (a capital joke!)
He is reached the Golden Cross. Down jumped the driver, and out
Mr. Tupman, Mr. Snodgrass, and Mr. set on skaits to be laid sprawling on the ice. He is sot Mr. Pickwick. represented as the greatest coward in the world, and is Winklo, who had been anxiously waiting the arrival of their
illustrious leader, crowded to welcome him. made to go through the motions of a duel, and is on the "Here's your fare," said Mr. Pickwick, holding out the shil. point of being shot, because, having shut his eyes in ling to the driver. very fear, he cannot perceive that the challenger is a
What was the learned man's astonishment, when that unac.
countable person flung the money on the pavement, and reman he had never seen. His adversary however, dis
quested in figurative terms to be allowed the pleasure of fightcovers the mistake; and so poor Mr. Winkle escapes ing him (Mr. Pickwick,) for the amount ! with his life.
“ You are mad," said Mr. Snodgrass. So much for the Pickwickians proper; the principal
" Or drunk," said Mr. Winkle. subjects of the work, through which these three person
“ Or both," said Mr. Tupman.
“ Come on," said the cab-driver, sparring away like clock. ages are kept on the stage without uttering one word of
work. “Come on, all four on you." wit or sense, or even of absurdity. The only trait of “Here's a lark !" shouted half a dozen hackney coachmen. character in any one of them (except Mr. Winkle's “Go to vork, Sam," and they crowded with great glee round cowardice,) is the following, which, for the sake of aim- the party.
" What's the row, Sam ?" inquired one gentleman in black ing a sneer at professors of benevolence, is recorded of
calico sleeves. Mr. Tupman, but never illustrated by any incident
" Row !” replied the cabman; "what did he want my num. whatever.
ber for ?"
“I did'nt want your number," said the astonished Mr. PickNow general benevolence was one of the leading features of wick. the Pickwickian theory, and no one was more remarkable for “What did you take it for, then ?” inquired the cabman. the zealous manner in which he observed so noble a principle, "I did'nt take it,” said Mr. Pickwick, indignantly. than Mr. Tracy Tupman. The number of instances, recorded “Would any body believe,” continued the cab-driver, ap. on the Transactions of the Society, in which that excellent man pealing to the crowd ; “would any body believe as an informer referred objects of charity to the houses of other members for 'ud go about in a man's cab, not only takin' down his number, left-off garments, or pecuniary relief, is almost incredible. but ev'ry word he says into the bargain,” (a light flashed upon
Mr. Pickwick-it was the note-book.) Of the adventures of these worthies, no abstract can “ Did he, though?” inquired another cabman. be given, because they are made up of a succession of “Yes did he,” replied the first; "and then arter aggerawtin' blunders and scrapes, of which the following may be me to assault him, gets three witnesses here to prove it. But I'll taken as a specimen. We select it because it is short, dashed his hat upon the ground, with a reckless disregard of his
give it him, if I've six months for it. Come on," and the cabman and because it is the first of them. Mr. Pickwick has own private property, and knocked Mr. Pickwick's spectacles just issued from his lodgings, and proceeding to a stand, off, and followed up the attack with a blow on Mr. Pickwick's calls a cab.
nose, and another on Mr. Pickwick's chest, and a third in Mr.
Snodgrass's eye, and a fourth, by way of variety, in Mr. Tup. « Cab!” said Mr. Pickwick.
man's waistcoat, and then danced into the road, and then back “ Here you are, sir,” shouted a strange specimen of the hu. again to the pavement, and finally dashed the whole temporary inan race, in a sackcloth coat, and apron of the same, who, supply of breath out of Mr. Winkle’s body; and all in half a with a brass label and number round his neck, looked as if he dozen seconds. were catalogued in some collection of rarities. This was the “Where's an officer,” said Mr. Snodgrass.
“Here you are, sir. Now, then, fust cab!” And “Put'em under a pump," suggested a hot pieman. the first cab having been fetched from the public house, where “ You shall smart for this,” gasped Mr. Pickwick. he had been smoking his first pipe, Mr. Pickwick and his port. “ Informers,” shouted the crowd. manteau were thrown into the vehicle.
“Come on,” cried the cabman, who had been sparring " Golden Cross,” said Mr. Pickwick.
without cessation the whole time. « Only a bob's vorth, Tommy,” cried the driver, sulkily, for The mob had hitherto been passive spectators of the scene, the information of his friend the waterman, as the cab drove off. but as the intelligence of the Pickwickians being informers was
“ How old is that horse, my friend,” inquired Mr. Pickwick, spread among them, they began to canvass with considerable rubbing his nose with the shilling he had reserved for the fare. vivacity the propriety of enforcing the heated pastry vender's
“ Forty-two,” replied the driver, eyeing him askant. proposition: and there is no saying what acts of personal
“What?” ejaculated Mr. Pickwick, laying his hand upon his aggression they might have committed, had not the affray note-book. The driver reitered his former statement. Mr. been unexpectedly terminated by the interposition of a new Pickwick looked very hard at the man's face, but his features were immoveable, so he noted down the fact forth with.
“ What's the fun ?" said a rather tall thin young man, in a “ And how long do you keep him out at a time?» inquired green coat, emerging suddenly from the coach-yard. Mr. Pickwick, searching for farther information.
“ Informers !" shouted the crowd agaio. "Two or three veeks,” replied the man.
"We are not,” roared Mr. Pickwick, in a tone which, to any “Weeks !” said Mr. Pickwick in astonishment--and out dispassionate listener, carried conviction with it. came the note-book again.
" Ain't you though ; ain't you ?” said the young man appeal. “ He lives at Penton will when he's at home,” observed the ing to Mr. Pickwick, and making his way through the crowd, driver, coolly ; " but we seldom takes him home, on account of by the infallible process of elbowing the countenances of its his veakness."
That learned man, in a few hurried words, explained the real “My father, sir, vos a coachman. A vidower he vos, and fas state of the case.
enough for any thing-uncommon fat, to be sure. His missus • Come along then,” said he of the green coat, lugging Mr. dies, and leaves him four hundred pound. Down he goes to Pickwick after him by main force, and talking the whole way. the Commons, to see the lawyer, and draw the blunt-werry “Here, No. 924, take your fare, and take yourself off-re-smart--top boots on--nosegay in his button-hole--broad brimspectable gentleman--know him well--none of your nonsense- med tile--green shaw)--quite the gen'l'mên. Goes through the this way, sir--where's your friends ?-all a mistake, I see--De-archvay, thinking how he should inwest the money; up comes ver mind--accidents will happen in best regulated families-ne. the touter, touches his hat-- License, sir, license ? What's ver say die--down upon your luck-pull him up--put that in his that?” says my father. License, sir," says he. What l. pipe--like the flavor-great rascals.” And with a lengthened cense ?" says my father. "Marriage license,' says the router. string of similar broken sentences, delivered with extraordinary Dash my veskit,' says my father, “I never thought of that.' 'I volubility, the stranger led the way to the traveller's waiting think you wants one, sir,' says the touler. My father pulls up, room, whither he was closely followed by Mr. Pickwick and his and thinks a bit. “ No,' says he, '
de, I'm too old ; b’sides, disciples.
I'm a many sizes too large,' says he. “Not a bit on it, sir,' says “Here, waiter, shouted the stranger, ringing the bell with the touter. "Think not ?" says my father. "I'm sure not,' says tremendous violence, “glasses round--brandy and water, hothe; 'we married a gen'l'm'n cwice your size, Jast Monday: and strong, and sweet, and plenty-eye damaged, sir? Waiter; 'Did you, though,' says my father. "To be sure, ve did,' says raw beef-steak for the gentleman's eye-nothing like raw beer. the touter—' you're a baby to him--this vay, sir, this vaysteak for a bruise, sir; cold lamp-post very good, but lamp- and sure enough my father walks arter him like a tame monkey post inconvenient--very odd standing in the open street half an behind a horgan, into a little back office, vere a feller sat among hour, with your eye against a lamp-post--eh-very good--ha ! dirty papers and tin boxes, making believe he was busy. 'Pray ha!” And the stranger, without stopping to take breath, swal. take a seat, vile I makes out the affidavit, sir," says the lawyer. lowed at a draught full half a pint of the reeking brandy and 'Thankee, sir,' says my father, and down he sat, and stared water, and Aung himself into a chair with as much ease as if vith all his eyes, and his mouth vide open, at the names on the nothing uncommon had occurred.
boxes. What's your name, sir,' says the lawyer. "Tony Whilst his three companions were busily engaged in proffer. Weller,' says my father. "Parish ?' says the lawyer. "Belle ing their thanks to their new acquaintance, Mr. Pickwick had Savage,' says my father, for he stopped there ven he drove up, leisure to examine his costume and appearance.
and he know'd nothing about parishes he did'nt. And what's He was about the middle height; but the thinness of his body, the lady's name?' says the lawyer. My father was struck all of and the length of his legs, gave him the appearance of being a heap. “Blessed if I know,' says he. Not Know!' says the much taller. The green coat had been a smart dress garment lawyer. "No more nor you do," says my father-can't I put in the days of swallow-tails, but had evidently in those times, that in afterwards ?' 'Impossible !' says the lawyer. Werry adorned a much shorter man than the stranger, for the soiled well,' says my father, after he had thought a moment, 'put and faded sleeves scarcely reached to his wrists. It was but down Mrs. Clarke. "What Clarke?' says the lawyer, dipping toned closely up to his chin, at the imminent hazard of splicing his pen in the ink.. 'Susan Clarke, Markis o'Granby, Dork. the back ; and an old stock, without a vestige of shirt collar, ing,' says my father ; "she'll have me, if I ask her, I dare say: ornamented his neck. His scanty black trousers displayed here I never said nothing to her, but she'll have me, I know.' The and there those shiny patches which bespeak long service, and license was made out, and she did have him--and what's more, were strapped very tightly over a pair of patched and mended she's got him now; and I never had any of the four hundred shoes, as if to conceal the dirty white stockings, which were, pound, worse luck." nevertheless, distinctly visible. His long black hair escaped in negligent waves from beneath each side of his old pinched up to notice the character of old Wardle, an honest,
We should be unjust to Mr. Dickens, if we failed hat; and glimpses of his bare wrist might be observed between the tops of his gloves, and the cuffs of his coat sleeves. His hearty, hospitable country gentleman of small estate. face was thin and haggard ; but an indescribable air of jaunty It is admirably drawn, and the Christmas gambols at impudence and perfect self-possession pervaded the whole man. his house are delightful. We have seen nothing like it
Now, how the vagabond here described, and who from the pen of any writer of this century. We hope appears to be a stranger to the cabmen, should have it is drawn from the life, for if so, then something yet such influence over them, we are left to conjecture. remains of that England which was the country of our The reader will be yet more puzzled, when, after read- ancestors, and from which we derived manners and ing what follows, he is told that this chattering biped customs ill exchanged for absurd imitations of the degenot only passes with Messrs. Pickwick & Co. for a gen-nerate English of the present day. If there be in Eng. tleman, but that a great part of the story is made up land just such a man as old Wardle, and just such an of his successful attempts to introduce himself, rags, establishment and family as his, then there is a place in and dirt, and all, into good society, in that charac- the Island where a Virginia gentleman would feel that ter.
he was at home, and in the midst of his kindred. We The only characters of any pith in the whole book, cherish the hope that the picture may be true, and we are Sam Weller and his father. The former is Mr. can assure Mr. D. that it has procured him more of our Pickwick's servant, the latter a mail-coach-man. Sam sympathy and good will, than he will experience at the is a shrewd knowing cockney, whose dialect sets off his hands of more than one in a hundred of those, for the queer sayings. He is really amusing in his way, and gratification of whose low tastes the absurdities and has more sense and more humor than all the rest put extravagancies of Pickwickism are devised. together. He figures chiefly in the second volume, and Though Mr. Dickens seems incapable of conceiving we cheerfully admit that that volume, as containing the and tracing an entire and consistent character, there is record of his sayings and doings, is worth the money perhaps nothing for which he is so remarkable, as his that it sells for. His father too is amusing in his way, faculty of catching and hitting off, in a single sentence, and quite sagacious. But a queer story is to be told, some distinguishing characteristic in the person or manand it happens to be convenient to lay it on him, and so ner of an individual, by which his physical identity is he is made to go quite out of his character, and act the made palpable to the reader's imagination. Something part of an idiot. The story is told by Sam in his best of this sort is attempted with almost every one that is way, and we give it as illustrating his peculiar man introduced, and sometimes unfortunately the picture of ner, and displaying the monstrous absurdities of the the individual is quite incongruous to the part he is inauthor.
tended to act. But many are mentioned but to be de
scribed, and of these, in some instances, the sketches number of such readers in the great marts of publicaare most felicitous. Take the following example. tion, will render their favorite authors the favorites of
publishers. “ Delightful situation, this,” said Mr. Pickwick.
The prevalence of this preposterous taste curiously " Delightful !” echoed Messrs. Snodgrass, Tupman, and Winkle.
illustrates the nature of the empire of fashion. For, “ Well, I think it is,” said Mr. Wardle.
after all, fashion, like the press, has no authority of There ain't a better spot o' ground in all Kent, sir," said itself, but is only an instrument in the hands of those the hard-headed man with the pippin-face ; “there ain't, indeed, who wield it for their purpose. We are old enough to sir-I'm sure there ain't, sir;" and the hard-headed man looked triumphantly round, as if he had been very much contradicted by remember the change which took place in the fashions somebody, but had got the better of him at last.
of dress in the latter part of the last century. It was
but a fruit of the simultaneous political revolutions of Again :
that day. Up to that time the voluminous folds of rich Another game, with a similar result, was followed by a revoke brocade stiffened with gold, which enveloped the perfrom the unlucky Miller; on which the fat gentleman burst into sons of the wealthy and high-born, served as a barrier a state of high personal excitement which lasted until the con.
to keep a distance from the saloons of fashion, all clusion of the game, when he retired into a corner, and remained perfectly mute for one hour and twenty-seven minutes ; at the those who were less endowed by the goods of fortune. end of which time, he emerged from his retirement, and offered None but the wealthy could afford to make themselves Mr. Pickwick a pinch of snuff with the air of a man who had fit to be seen in those scenes which rank had determade up his mind to a Christian forgiveness of injuries sus mined to appropriate to itself. tained. The old lady's hearing decidedly improved, and the
When the day of Liberty and Equality arrived, a unlucky Miller felt as much out of his element, as a dolphin in a sentry-box.
reaction in fashion took place exactly suited to the oc
casion. In its first revulsion it went to the extreme of We agree with our friend Mr. Noah, that the author sansculottism,, and nothing but the invincible delicacy of this work is a writer of considerable power. In of the softer sex prevented a return to perfect nudity. many tales which are dispersed through it, he displays As it was, they came so near it, that our matrons would this power in a very high degree. There is a moral blush to tell their daughters of the fashions of their horror in some of them of which none but a master is youth. But the genius of that age of revolution had capable. We have no great taste for that sort of thing, seized the sceptre of fashion, and would suffer no exand, whaterer others may think, take infinitely more pense in dress in which the daughter of the mechanic delight in fun and merriment. But we are not of the might vie with the daughter of the nabob. In short, number of those who believe that "effect can be height- in that day a lady might dress, for ten dollars, as well ened by exaggeration,” or that any picture is the better as fashion permitted any lady to dress. for “ being overcharged.” He who shoots above the
Progressively a change of an opposite character has mark may miss it as far as he who falls below. The skill taken place. Dress is now hardly less expensive than rem acu tangere is what we require from him who claims before the French revolution. But the change is not in pre-eminence as a painter. This skill we must deny the material, but in the fabric and the quantity conto Mr. Dickens, and we maintain that the great body sumed. The manufacturing interest is now lord of the of this work is made up of grimace and absurd carica- ascendant; and they who now wield the sceptre of ture, and impossible incidents happening to beings that fashion see clearly that a return to the style of the year have no existence in nature.
1800, would be followed by the utter ruin of all the But while we say this, we repeat that we have no workers of silk and cotton throughout the world. quarrel with Mr. D., and admit that he has considerable Here is matter for curious and interesting speculation; powers. Our quarrel is not with him, but with (he must and, pursuing the ideas suggested by it, the sagacious excuse the word) his keepers. It is his misfortune to investigator of the connexion between cause and consepossess a talent, the abuse of which renders him accep- quence, may be led to suspect some such relation betable to that class of readers by whom meretricious arts tween the influence of the “Trades Union," and the are preferred to modest grace. This is therefore his prevalent corruption in the taste for light literature. public. By this he is debauched and corrupted, and to We learn indeed, from the English papers, that the this he prostitutes himself. We pity him, and we popularity of our author, in his own country, is not would, if it were possible, shame them. The more we confined to the classes of which we have spoken. It admire him, the more we pity his degradation and re- seems that persons of rank and fortune delight to form proach it's authors, who, like the Philistines in the themselves into Pickwick clubs, to wear the Pickwick temple, insult with their boisterous applause the gigan- button, and to be known by Pickwick designations. tic powers tasked “to make them sport.”
But it is nothing new to us that, in a government of orThe increase of works of this kind, marks the in- ders, there must be a great vulgar as well as a little creasing importance of that class of readers which pat- vulgar. It was a saying of Christina, Queen of Sweronizes it. It is a symptom of that illusory and dis. den, the daughter of the great Gustavus, that “when tempered prosperity, which, by multiplying the sym- nobleman and gentlemen turn coachmen and cooks, bols of wealth, introduced among the patrons of litera. they do but correct the mistake of fortune, and show tare multitudes of men without taste, without educa- what nature intended them for.” The popularity of tion, and consequently prone to low amusements and Mr. Pierce Egan, and the costly editions of his works degrading indulgences. When the price of a book can had long since shown, that the Tom and Jerry school be readily spared from the wages of a journeyman tai- includes many of the minions of fortune, but it does lor, or a merchant's clerk, it is to be expected that books not show the merit either of his writings or their admiwill be written expressly to please them, and the great rers. All that they can do is to lend their gold to gild
the triumph of grimace, obscenity, and buffoonery, over | But a ray of wit that lightens on a serious subject; a taste, and wit, and sense and decency.
flash of mirth that smiles through tears; or a tear, that But is this sort of literary saturnalia, to have the flows unbidden from eyes that seem unused to shed effect of reversing the laws of taste, and repealing the them, command all our sympathy. The charm is in the canons of criticism? Are we in this, as in everything suddeness and the contrast. We can even dispense with else, to bow to the decision of the numero pluris ? And the former, and bear to see a solemn ccxcomb shown up will it not be true in the end as it was in the beginning, at some length. But toujours perdrir; toujours perdrix (whatever revolutions may take place in the Republic will never do. of Letters) that the candidate for literary immortality
We doubt not that these ideas are not new to Mr. should take as his maxim, “salis est mihi equitem plau- Noah. We are sure he approves them, and are willing dere?” We trust so. We know that the appeal to pos- to abide his judgment of our censures, not of Mr. Dickterity is always derided. From the nature of the case ens, but of Boz—not of the author, but the school. it must be so, and most especially when the taste of the We have no great cities on this side of the Potomac, and age is depraved by any cause, and when he who writes therefore no mobs, civil or literary. Our slaves are not to please it, is like to outlive his own reputation. But recognized as members either of the body politic, or the the hope to be remembered by posterity, to“ blend our Republic of Letters. We stand on our defence against voices with the future visions” of those in whose veins imported innovations. We fight pro aris et focis, and if our blood shall flow, and to embalm our memory in the Mr. Noah does not approve our endeavor to repel all language of our country, is one too dear to be relin- foreign invasions of our rights of property or taste, we quished for the applause of an hour. Necessity may are willing to stand condemned. constrain the choice, but the generous spirit of true If Mr. Paulding could be expected to speak, we genius will submit with reluctance, will curse its pa would propose another test. We have the highest retrons in bitterness of heart, and sighing, say “my spect for that gentleman. His liberalily, candor and poverty, but not my will consents.”
manly sense, are worthy of all praise, and his is that inIt is our confidence in the correctness of these ideas fectious mirth which that emboldens us to defy the authority of that which
« Gars the widow's heart to sing calls itself the public. We know that the periodical
Tho’the tear were in her eye.” press relies for the most part on the support of the very Now if he would answer ex animo, whether he is not class of readers of which we have been speaking, and conscious that the distempered appetite of his public must be expected to take the part of a writer who is a has driven him into extravagancies which did violence favorite with its patrons. We are, therefore, not sur to his own taste and judgment; and whether, in thinkprised to find laudatory notices of the writings of Boz ing of his reputation as the inheritance of his children, prefixed to this publication, from the Examiner, the he does not look on these things with regret, we have Morning Chronicle, the John Bull, the Tyne Mercury, no doubt that in that answer we should find our full &c. &c. But we must be allowed to say, that such vindication. notices from the Edinburgh or Quarterly Review would We are aware that we have no right to ask this have surprised us. With these masterly critics we do question, and no reason to expect an answer. We are not presume to rank ourselves; but we hope our ambi- aware that the question itself implies a censure. But tion may be allowed to seek its honors from the same we beg leave to assure him it is very slight. We have hands that delight to crown their labors with approba- no thought of placing his works in the same category tion; and we are satisfied to find our censure ratified with those of Mr. Dickens. The gentlemanly nom de by their silence. We would that we too could rebuke guerre of Launcelot Langstaffe, Esq., and the vulgar by silence. We should have escaped an unpleasant designation of Boz, will express the difference between task.
them. Among those who avow their opposition to our views But we repeat that we expect no answer from him, in regard to this kind of writing, we are sorry and sur- and again refer ourselves to the arbitrament of Mr. prised to find Mr. Noah. We were sorry because we Noah. If he condemns we will stand condemned, and hold his taste in high respect, and surprised because we we will consent to abdicate our throne of criticism, and had expected his approbation of our attempt to repel a burn our sceptre. His be the fiat. Nocens absolratur: lawless invasion of his peculiar province. Were we in- Judex damnetur ! sensible to the polished wit and racy humor of this gentleman, we might be less indignant at the attempt to palm on the public the gross counterfeits which we condemn. If he thinks that we have no taste for fun,
HELEN DEFENDED. we can hardly expect to find favor in his eyes. We beg leave to assure him that we enjoy a laugh as much
MISS EDGEWORTH'S HELEN-AGAIN. as any one we know. But we cannot laugh at the word of command, and we cannot keep our risible fa A writer, whose taste cultivation appears to have culties on the stretch through six or seven hundred rendered more fastidious, than correct or discriminating, pages of grinning buffoonery. It is the same thing with makes, in the last Messenger, an attack upon this novel the pathetic, and with all the modes and forms of elo- and its authoress, characterized by at least as much quence. Let the wit or the orator blow a trumpet boldness and spirit, as justice. He discovers in before him, and proclaim his purpose to make us laugh“ Helen” innumerable "vulgarisms of language," and or cry, and straightway our muscles assume an inexo- a plot exceedingly defective,—though he favors the rable rigidity, and the fountain of our tears dries up. I public with a specification of but one particular, wherein
this deficiency of plot consists. Miss Edgeworth's “Wildfire, quile in wind”_"Highblood was blown, former novels, written in her father's lifetime, being all beyond the power of whip or spur”—“Squire B. won free (as her assailant thinks) from similar faults, he the match hollow.” (Description of a horse-race. Harinfers that they were indebted to Mr. Edgeworth for pers' edition of E's works; vol. 14. p. 35.] their merits; and that his daughter, deprived of the “None that ever sarved man or beast”-ib. (said by guardian influence of his judgment and taste, fell im- a stable boy.) mediately to that humble level, whence his aid alone “Percy is not curious, especially about jobbing. He had raised her.
will ask no questions; or if he should, I can easily put We might, plausibly, except to the competency of him upon a wrong scent.” (Comm’r. Falconer speaks.) the judge who has passed this sentence. He inveighs “Remember, you cannot get on in the diplomatic line against “the slip-slopperiness that pervades” the style of without,” &c. (id. ib.) “this literary bantling" of Miss Edgeworth !-and talks The same expression, "diplomatic line,” used twice, of " such careless, slip-slop, vulgar phraseology!”-His vol. 15. p. 192—by Lord Oldborough, and by Mr. first sentence, construed according to its natural im- Temple! port, would convey the idea-exactly opposite to his “ Another line of life.” (Mr. Percy.) 46. meaning--that in the case of Helen, a woman was not “ We must push her in the line for which she is fitthe author. And all these specimens of decency, re- the fashionable line.” 164. (Mrs. Falconer.) [This use fined taste, elegance and accuracy, occur in a composi- of the word “line,” is selected by our Charleston critic tion not half a page long !-Now, if it is just that only for animadversion, in Helen.]
“Come, come, Maria, what the d - are you about ?" Those should “teach others, who themselves excel, And censure freely, who have written well,” —
(Col. Hauton, a nephew of Lord Oldborough, speak
ing to his sister, in Lord O.'s crowded drawing-room. we might justly ask, where is the present critic's com- vol. 14. p. 64.) mission for sitting in judgment ?
Presently after, he says again—"come, come, Maria, But a plea to the jurisdiction often implies a want what the deuse are you at?" (attempting to make her of substantial merit in the cause : and recrimination is sing. ib.) usually the defence of those who feel the assault to “She" (Miss Hauton)" cleared her throat, and began have been just. Both are wholly unsuitable to the again-worse still, she was out of tune.” (ib.) case of Miss Edgeworth. We are therefore willing to “D....d agreeable, you two seem,” cried the Colonel, suppose, that the assailant here used the language we (to his sister and Capt. Percy) “without a word to have quoted, merely to exemplify, and hold up visibly throw to a dog.” 66. to censure, the vulgarisms he meant to rebuke: as “She is hipped this morning "—(Col. Hauton, p. 68, Longinus “is himself the great Sublime he draws ;"— speaking of his sister, to her face, and in the same preor, as one lecturing the 'ladies of the British fishery'sence !) upon their excessive freedom of speech, would natu "I do not agree with the general principle, that," rally borrow a few phrases of their own Billingsgate, &c. (p. 57—Godfrey Percy.) to make himself the better understood.
“Buckhurst thought and thought.” 41. Long ago, while her father yet lived, and with refer “Oh hang it! hang it, John! what the devil shall I ence to some of her most admired works, the Quarterly do? My father won't pay a farthing for me, unless I Review pronounced Miss E.“ remarkably deficient in” go into the church !" p. 42. (said by Buckhurst Falcothe art of "framing a story.” The plot of “Helen” ner-a young gentleman about to enter into holy ormay safely be compared with that of Patronage," orders.) of “Belinda," or of “Harrington," or of “Ennui,” “Would dance divinely, if she would but let herself for probability, and freedom from unnatural intricacy. out.” (Buckhurst F. says it, of Miss Caroline Percy!) That element in it-namely, General Clarendon's in- 43. sisting that he should be the first love of his wife-which “The terror of his voice and lightning of his eye.” our Charleston critic deems so monstrous, is full likely (vol. 15. p. 103--misquotation of Gray.) to be positive fact; as truth so often surpasses fiction in Alfred Percy (a young lawyer of talents) quotes strangeness, -and as, in the infinitely varying capri. Burke as saying that “Law has a contractile power on ciousness of human nature (especially, English nature) the mind.” Now Burke indeed says, that law is not no freak can ever be incredible. In this comparison so apt to open and liberalize the mind, as it is to quicken then, of her former productions with her last, there is and invigorate it. But contractile does not express his no support found for the supposition that it was to her meaning. Contraclile is intransitive in its signification. father Miss E. owed her former success.
It means “having the power of self-contraction,”--not Let us see whether, on a comparison of the phrase the power to contract another thing. ology used in “Helen” with that in its more honored Lady Angelina Hadingham, a beauty and bel-esprit, predecessors, these have any superiority to boast of. is made to cry out, in a roomfull of company, “O!
Let us take “Patronage”--the most admired, per- cramp! cramp!-horrid cramp! in my foot-in my haps, of all this admirable novelist's works,-and to leg!" which Mr. Edgeworth prefixed his paternal approval, Mr. Edgeworth had studied law, if not practised. written, as the book had been, under his roof: let us Had Patronage been written either by him, or under take Patronage ; and see if, in a few pages, we cannot the "guardian influence” of his “taste and judgment,” find many parallels to the “vulgarisms" (as the Charles- he never would have committed or suffered the blun. ton critic calls them) which have been quoted from ders it contains, in points connected with that proses. Helen.