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mustard to the sugar which is used to soften its biting qualities. Mrs. Doubleday has the sharpest eyes, the sharpest nose, the sharpest tongue, the sharpest elbows, and above all, the sharpest voice that ever 'penetrated the interior' of Michigan. She has a tall, straight, bony figure, in contour somewhat resembling two hardoak planks fastened together and stood on end; and, strange to say! she was full five-and-thirty when her mature graces attracted the eye and won the affections of the worthy Piiilo. What eclipse had come over Mr. Doubleday's usual sagacity when he made choice of his Polly, I am sure I never could guess; but he is certainly the only man in the wide world who could possibly have lived with her; and he makes her a most excellent husband.
"She is possessed with a neat devil; I have known many such cases: her floor is scoured every night, after all are in bed, by the unlucky scrubber, Betsey, the maid of all work; and woe to the unfortunate 'indifiddle,' as neighbor Jenkins says, who first sets dirty boot on it in the morning. If men come in to talk over road business, for Philo is much sought when ' the public' has any work to do; or school-business, for that being very troublesome, and quite devoid of profit, is often conferred upon Philo—Mrs. Doubleday makes twenty errands into the room, expressing in her visage all the force of Mrs. Raddle's inquiry,' Is them wretches going?' And when at length their backs are turned, out comes the bottled vengeance. The sharp eyes, tongue, elbow, and voice, are all in instant requisition.
"'Fetch the broom, Betsey! and the scrub-broom, Betsey! and the mop, and that 'ere dish of soap, Betsey; and why on earth didn't you bring some ashes? You didn't expect to clean such a floor as this without ashes, did you ?'—' What time are you going to have dinner, tny dear V says the imperturbable Philo; who is getting ready to go out.
"' Dinner! I 'm sure I don't know! there's no time to cook dinner in this house! nothing but slave, slave, slave, from morning till night, cleaning np after a set of nasty, dirty, Sie. &c. 'Phew,' aays Mr. Doubleday, looking- at his fuming helpmate with a calm smile,' it '11 all rub out when it's dry, if you 11 only let it alone.'
"' Yea, yes: and it would be plenty clean enough for you if there had been forty horses in here.'"
But the crowning joke of borrowing is contained in the following request:
"We were in deep consultation one morning on some important point touching the well-being of this sole object of Mrs. Doubleday's thoughts and dreams, when the very same little Ianthe Howard, dirty as ever, presented herself. She sat down and stared awhile without speaking, a I'ordinaire; and then informed us that her mother ' wanted Miss Doubleday to let her have her baby for a
little while, 'cause Benny's mouth 's so sore, that' but she had
no time to finish the sentence.
"' Lend My Baby !!!'—and her utterance failed."
It reminds us of an indignant message once sent by a loving papa, who was very fond of his firstborn. Coming home from store one evening in full expectation of nursing his darling production, ho was annoyed to find that some young ladies, next door, had borrowed it to exhibit to some of their friends. As this had frequently happened, he sent for it back and desired his servant would say: "Thiit Mr. Billings requested the young ladies would get a baby of their own, and not borrow his in future!"
From this specimen of Michigan manners, so vividly given,
we come to a tale charmingly told. We have seldom met with a romance so Arcadian as that of Cora Mansfeld. As the young ladies would say: "It is a love of a tale."
Nor is Mrs. Kirkland behind in a knowledge of what constitutes a patriot. Her description is so graphic that we cannot resist the temptation to enrich our pages with it.
"From this auspicious commencement may be dated Mr. Jenkins's glowing desire to serve the public. Each successive election-day saw him at his post. From eggs he advanced to pies, from pies to almanacs, whiskey, powder and shot, foot-balls, playing-cards, and at length, for ambition ever 'did grow with what it fed on,' he brought into the field a large turkey, which was tied to a post and stoned to death at twenty-five cents a throw. By this time the still youthful aspirant had become quite the man of the world; could smoke twenty-four cigars per diem, if anybody else would pay for them; play cards in old Hurler's shop from noon till day-break, and rise winner; and all this with suitable trimmings of gin and hard words. But he never lost sight of-the mainchance. He had made up his mind to serve his country, and he was all this time convincing his fellow-citizens of the disinterested purity of his sentiments."
We strongly incline to the belief that Mrs. Kirkland would excel in a romance of real life, laying the scene in the present times. Her eye is keen and retentive; her style infinitely superior to Thackeray or Dickens; and if she be somewhat deficient in imagination, let her reflect how wonderfully the latter has managed without that rare faculty. That she has invention we feel assured, although she has not yet given her attention to works which favor its development. She has admirable good sense; a true womanly taste, without any sickly, "finelady senti mentalism;" and that instinct—almost as rare a gift as genius—which counsels how far she can proceed in the coloring of a fact without trenching on the realm of caricature. What bombast is in poetry—distortion in sculpture and painting—ranting in elocution—buffoonery in acting—quackery in medicine—charlatanism in politics—even so caricature is in writing. It resembles genius just as the monkey resembles man !—not a likeness, but a living caricature.
Our limits will not allow us a further examination of her other writings. They display the same merits and defects. Her "Forest Life" has some beautiful pieces of description, both of men and nature. There is a health about her productions which gives promise of a long life.
It is a peculiar fact in the literature of America that while deficient in poetical genius, she boasts three historians not unworthy to be matched with the greatest of their contemporaries. This is no new opinion, for it has been remarked by an eminent authority in England that Bancroft, Prescott, and Jared Sparks, are among the first writers of the age. We have endeavored to justify this assertion in our review of Prescott's works. We now proceed to a consideration of the historical claims of the author of "The Life of Washington,'' and in our next shall devote part of our space to Mr. Bancroft's writings. We must not forget that the latter has had advantages not extended to his brother historians.
As we have in a previous part of this volume explained somewhat our theory of the. manner in which History should be written, we shall at once proceed to the consideration of Mr. Sparks's labors. Biography and history differ materially in one respect, viz. the spirit in which they should be written. The biographer should have a certain love for his hero, a kind of household feeling; but the historian should sit like Jove on