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large inscriptions hewn in solid granite, the many temples which appear in every direction, the highly picturesque scenery itself, with its many-peaked, riven, and detached rocks, and above all a stately mausoleum, the largest which I have ever seen, containing the bones and ashes of thousands of priests, quite bewilder the imagination.'
We cordially wish every success to the praiseworthy labours of this pious missionary, and that his most sanguine expectations may
be realized. He should recollect, however, should disappointment cross his path and damp his ardour, that, although it is now three hundred years since the Catholic missionaries of the different orders entered China, with the view of making proselytes to the tenets of their respective creeds, there probably is not, at this hour, throughout the whole of that extensive empire, a single native Chinese-with the exception of some ten or a dozen educated at the Propaganda of Naples—that has the least knowledge of the Christian religion, or of the language, the civil institutions, or the moral condition, of any one nation of Europe: so little have their continued labours succeeded. . His plan, however, of circulating not religious works only, but others calculated to excite and gratify curiosity on more worldly topics, appears to us a great improvement on the system of his Romish predecessors; and this may pave the way for better things.
Art. X.-1. Helen ; a Tale. By Maria Edgeworth. 3 vols.
London, 1834. 2. Ayesha, the Maid of Kars. By the Author of Zohrab;'
• Hajji Baba,' &c. 3 vols. London, 1834. THIS season has been as prolific in novels as any of its prede
cessors; and, as usual, it has been but a melancholy business to contemplate the rapid succession of these ephemeral productions. One after another is announced with a flourish of penny trunipets :—the words 'vivid portraiture'-'keen satire’- high imagination intense passion '-and above all, "genius' and
power,' are kept standing in the booksellers' types, and put into unfailing requisition. A week more, and the wonder has been examined and talked of—another, and it is as completely forgotten as any of the nothings of the days of George IIl. These books are ruining the proprietors of circulating libraries, who alone buy them; and we are greatly mistaken if they be not injuring deeply their publishers. By encouraging the cacoëthes scribendi of inferior pens, they may now and then realize an immediate profit to themselves ; but they, in the long run, accuinulate no valuable
copyrights-without which no bookselling-house can prove the source of ultimate gain on any considerable scale. Are they not aware that at this moment, after all the innumerable editions that have appeared of such a work as · Ivanhoe' or Old Mortality,' its copyright would fetch at least three times more money in the market than the copyrights of all the novels that were published in London between 1810 and 1830? Well may Sir Egerton Brydges say
Let us dismiss the frivolous embarrassments and disappointments of fashion, or the insane hobgoblins of a factitious enthusiasm. It is time to get rid of these epigrammatic, stilted, bandaged, glittering, foaming, lashed-up, frothy, high-seasoned productions of mercenary artists, exciting the appetites of the mob for the purpose
of filling their own pockets. But even these stimulant ingredients would not be sufficient without the aid of the puff,-quite as gross and as multiplied as those of the quack-doctors, or the proprietors of WarTen's blacking. It is strange that such obviously paid applauses should have any influence on the public favour; but it is clear that they have great influence, for the experience of booksellers would teach them not to throw away so much money in vain. They have So contrary an effect on me, that the moment I read one of those advertisements I take for granted that the book so announced is bad.'. -- Autobiography, vol. ii. p. 358.
Sir Egerton's rule is a pretty safe one ; it is to us unintelligible how any writer of common sense or delicacy can suffer his work and his name to be dealt with in the fashion here stigmatised; but still there is no denying that indications of real talent have been observable in several of the most disgustingly bepuffed and placarded productions of the present year. We have no doubt that the authors of more than one of them might, if contented with narrower limits, and modest enough to bestow more labour, have turned out works of fiction deserving of lasting favour. It is impossible not to admire, for example, the happily-sketched character of an Irish farmer's wife in Lady Blessington's Repealers,' and the variety of shrewd .common-sense observations which occur every now and then in the midst of that flimsy book. Had her Ladyship cut down her three volumes to one, her novel might have had a fair chance of life. And we may say
same thing of Lady Stepney's New Road to Ruin,' for that performs ance, though still flimsier than the other, has flashes of delicate sentiment, and really feminine perception of the minutiæ of characters and manners, such as might well have arrested attention, had they not been squandered on an absurd plot, and that wiredrawn to extremity. The author of 'Rookwood,' again, has shown talents which no doubt might, and, as he is said to be a very young gentleman, will yet, we hope, produce a strong and fervid
strain of romance. But he must lop his luxuriancy, and chastise his taste. The odious slang with which he has interspersed his third volume is as false as base : and his energetic and animating picture of Turpin's ride to York needed not the setting off of such vulgar and affected ornaments. We expect much from this writer, else we should not have thought it worth our while to use language thus severe. He evidently possesses, in no common degree, the materials of success : a fresh and stirring fancy, and a style which, like that fancy, wants nothing but the bridle. His story, as it is, is one that never flags.
We have named at the head of our article two novels which no one will confound with the million of the tribe ; but we bave, on former occasions, discussed so largely the peculiar merits of their authors, that we need not at present be tempted into a detailed notice either of Helen or of Ayesha. If any of our readers had ever listened to the envious whispers, so indefatigably circulated among certain circles, to the effect that Miss Edgeworth's vein of creative fancy had been buried with her father-Helen' will undeceive them, and vindicate that great and truly modest genius from any such disparaging suspicion. As writers of a reflective and introspective turn advance in the walk of life, they are likely to detach their imagination more and more from the broad and blazing contrasts which delight the eye and heart of youth ; and it is no wonder that the interest of this tale, put forth after an interval of, we believe, nearly twenty years, should be of a more sober cast than Miss Edgeworth chose to dwell upon in some earlier works. But the interest is not the less potent on that account: on the contrary, we venture to say, that if any one will, after reading Helen,' turn to even the best of her old novels, he will feel, that in all the more profound and permanently pleasing beauties of moral delineation the artist has made marked progress. We may point to the skill with which her fable has been framed; the admirable but unobtrusive art with which she has contrived to exhibit what we may call the whole gamut of one particular virtue, and its opposite vice, in the different characters of the present novel and this without producing any impression of a capricious or unnatural selection of dramatis persona; the profusion of terse and pungent sayings scattered over its dialogue; and last, not least, the deep piercing pathos of various of its scenes ;-and ask whether such a combination of excellences is not more than sufficient to make up for the absence of any such quaint, humorous oddities as used to delight the world in Miss Edgeworthi's Irish romances. We cannot, however, but wish that she had laid the scene of her story in her native country, or, at
all events, that she had never brought its heroes and heroines to London. No doubt, Miss Edgeworth represents one particular section of London society with perfect skill; but that section, she must permit us to hint, is one little worthy of engaging such a pen as hers--at least in anything more serious than an Essay on Bores.' Those who see this great town only in the character of lion or lioness, have little chance of getting out of the trap we allude to ; but we venture to say, that if Miss Edgeworth had at any time lived here for two or three years on end, she would have found it quite necessary to break its painted barriers, and shake herself free, once for all, from the fry of notoriety-hunters, who think the whole business of life consists in sharp talk about authors and artists, and eternal three-cornered notes— Blue, pink, and green-with all their trumpery.
The main object of Helen is told in one ejaculation of a certain spinster who figures in it:- I wish,' says Miss Clarendon, . fib were banished from the English language, and that white lie were drummed out after it.' The construction of the fable, however, appears to have been suggested by Crabbe's tale of the Confidant, which had already been dramatised by the author of Elia.' But ‘Miss Edgeworth's Cupid,' as Lord Byron once said, is somewhat of a Presbyterian.' The old-fashioned matter-of-fact love, that is sinfully gratified and severely punished in Crabbe's homely story, comes wonderfully refined and reformed out of Miss Edgeworth’s crucible: in short, the bastard of the plain-spoken poet is replaced in the novel by a. mis-affiliated billet-doux. This is quite as it should be; and the skill with which Miss Edgeworth has transferred the same leading idea, from the downright human beings of the village green to the gauze-curtained world, will be appreciated by any one who compares her elaborate fiction with the rapid sketch of her stern original.
So much for "Helen'- from which, as it is already in every body's hands, we shall not be so superfluous as to make any extracts. We hope, now that Miss Edgeworth has once more condescended to amuse the public with a new work, she may be so good-natured as to repeat the experiment. We remember to have heard it said some years ago, that she had made considerable progress in two novels: one called White Lies--the other, Taking for Granted. The White Lies we have under this no-meaning title of • Helen :' all the world, Miss Edgeworth may take it for granted, will be disappointed if she does not soon favour us with the other book; and we do not think she could re-christen it to any advantage. Sir Walter Scott, by his own confession, was first led to write
novels by observing the success of Miss Edgeworth in availing herself of the peculiarities of Irish manners; and there can be no doubt that his success in intermingling civilized English personages among the wild creatures of the Highlands, in such pieces as • Waverley,' and · Rob Roy,' has been the source of all that is really good in the romances of Mr. Cooper, and the stimulating guide of Mr. Morier in his · Zohrab,' but even more conspicu-.. ously in the novel which we have named at the top of this article • Ayesha, the Maid of Kars.
A young English nobleman, Lord Osmond, is travelling in the Turkish provinces, attended by a kidnapped Swiss turned into a Tartar courier, and a supple Greek, his valet. In the remote inland town of Kars, he sees and falls in love with Ayesha, the angelic daughter, as is supposed, of Soleiman Aga, a wealthy and phlegmatic old Turk, and Zabetta bis wife, a daring intriguante from Tenedos, who has long since conformed to the religion of her lord.
In the progress of the story, Osmond's audacity in attempting to gain the affections of the lovely Turkish maiden excites the jealous indignation of the authorities of Kars, and thus a series of highly interesting perplexities and persecutions, dangers and escapes, is naturally enough introduced. The lover is rescued from the prison of the Pacha of Kars by the address of a Khurdish freebooter, to whom he had on a former occasion rendered an important service. This man conducts him to the castle of his captain, Cara Bey, a savage chief whose name inspires terror all over the Armenian frontier between the Turkish and the Russian territories. This robber-chief, on learning the nature of the offence which had consigned Osmond to the pacha's dungeon, is fired with the reported charms of Ayesha, and, having shut up. the Englishman in one of his own oubliettes, he makes a midnight foray upon Kars, and succeeds in carrying off the damsel. Osmoud, meanwhile, forms a friendship in his new prison with a young Russian, belonging to a regiment stationed on the neighbouring frontier; and they contrive to open a communication with the Muscovite commander- which ends in his being admitted into the Castle of Cara Bey, the seizure of the gang, and the emancipation of all the captives.
In the third volume, the scene passes to the Euxine-to Constantinople—to Rhodes ; and the dénouement gives the discovery that Ayesha is no Turkish inaiden, but the daughter of an Eng lish gentleman of rank, who had spent some years in travelling: about the Levant-her conversion to Christianity—and her happy union with Lord Osmond. We merely run over these names and leading features of the