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A TALE OF THE SEA.
upon the far walkings and independent life of that HOMEWARD BOUND—OR THE Chase; venerable hero. It was in those glorious times of fame,
cre yet his foot had trod in love the land of the foreigner,
while yet his heart lingered without spleen or satire By the author of “The Spy," " Red Rover,” &c. Carey, Lea & upon his own free clime, that the star of his Austerlitz Blanchard : Philadelphia.
kept its warm place in the glowing skies. Wby did We welcome the wanderer back once more to the did he turn abruptly to the dogmas and the doubts of
Mr. Cooper ever abandon those sunny paths ? Why sea—the open, the grand, and stirring sea. Mr. Cooper the politician? Why leave the marble pavement of the has of late been traversing Europe in a stage coach, and temple to riot on the sanded floor of the miserable beer. whilst thus out of his proper sphere, his genius has not exercised itself in those delightful flights that formerly which we have a right to ask. Mr. Cooper's reputa
shop? These are questions pertinent to his fame, and bore the author to eminence, and afforded to the public tion is identified with the literary character of the a new and graphic species of composition. We have often wondered how a man with an imagination. so naval and descriptive romance upon the age, and he
country, for he has stamped the genius of American powerful, and naturally so healthy, could have toiled up the steep ascent of barren hills, when the broad and has opened a way of fiction that many have pursued accustomed seas lay before him, where he could have with varied success
. Mr. Cooper is the author of the freely sailed, the fearless and powerful describer of their peculiar marine style that has often delighted us in the glory. Truly then do we welcome him back to his ele-/Red Rover ;” and when we opened « Homeward ment of fiction-right glad that he has given his flag to would preserve his reputation. Standing at the foun
Bound,” we felt assured from the title alone that he the wild breeze.
tain head of American fiction, he should have felt like a “Once more upon the waters ! yet once more ! brave knight, with buckler on, and lance in rest, ready And the waves bound beneath 'him,' as a steed
to assert the purity of his ladye-lové, or in other and That knows his sider. Welcome to the roar!
plainer phrase, to have kept up to the mark of his Swift be their guidance, wheresoe'er it lead, Though the strained mast should quiver as a reed,
former achievements. We had a right to expect this at And the rent canvass fluttering strew the gale." his hands; for, doubtless, he agrees with us in the
opinion that romance, with moral ends, is a vast engine We have ever viewed Mr. Cooper as a national wri- of activity upon an imaginative people, (who always ter, who had borne in triumph-conscious of the great have their peculiar sympathies to be affected by a pecoburthen-the grand features of his native land to the liar school of writers,) for it stirs up their blood and fills incredulous vision of Europe ; and we had hoped that their big veins with a noble enthusiasm, leading directly these features thus impressed, bis mind would have to the fruition of honor, liberty and law. We cannot preserved, pure and uncontaminated, from the petty stop here to lay before our reader the reasons that have vulgarisms of continental romance or sentimentalism. conducted us to this opinion. To those who wield the The indiscriminate praise that followed his earlier attributes of this power, appertain many hopes that no efforts, dazzled the quondam midshipman—and he lips have yet expressed, but which many hearts, studious rushed along his path, corruscating like a star that had of philosophic results, have felt. We confess to those limit neither to its brightness nor its orbit ; and we felt dim and indistinct, but no less effective hopes, and our proud that a light had arisen over our fields, and the constant aim in the peculiar sphere in which we move, willing heart of the American public was poured forth has been to do honor to the necromancers of fiction. in tribute to its dazzling rays. That star of excellence The public journalists of this country have of late shone in the “Spy," over the red field of battle, where years been unkind, but not ungenerous to Mr. Cooper. lay
He has been lashed for his wasted manhood; and the “Rider and horse, friend, foe, in one red burial blent.”
victim of disappointment feeding upon vanity, he has
turned upon the press and evoked the thunder upon its And we watched it in the “Pioneer" as it ascended over exposed and lacerated shoulders. This is not as it the snow-capped mountains, and silvered the locks should be. A sailor, brave by profession, robust in menof old Leatherstocking-dear and muscular hunter ! tal resources by nature, he should have stood like Cæsar's Afterwards amid the everlasting but ever-changing cata- tortoise-shielded troops, in the face of a thousand ar racks we hailed its light, and the “ Last of the Mohi. rows. The native press has been the means of his cans” walked abroad under its ray of magic, into the fame, and is yet willing to do honor to its arch traducer, leafy solitude, and entranced our admiration by the if he will but abandon the low and grovelling ambition softened tread with which he moved amid the myste- of the politician, and plume bimself for a literary immor. rious gloom. It was not long after, that the “Prairie" tality. That much abused press will aid the eagle of was lighted from the same source and who will ever our literature in his flight, and when it sees him perched forget that has read that powerful novel, the frightful upon “the difficult mountain tops," the loftiest alp of picture of Ishmael, hanging in the windy night to the the world's applause, will cheer him with its judgment, oaken bough, hung there by the stern patriarch of the and assist him in poising his reeling wings in an elewandering settlers? Again the figure of Leatherstock-ment that after all may be uncongenial to his nature. ing, that exquisitely wrought picture, arises to our The work before us is full of direct abuse of the press, vision. We see him with his favorite rifle, and that and we cannot find a word in the two volumes expressinewy and solitary dog, the faithful and the free; and sive of that gratitude for past favors, which, from a we almost sigh for the trackless wastes, the shaded decent respect for the requisitions of society, he should dells, and the rushing deer; and we muse joyfully-sadl have feigned, if he could not have felt. Though Mr.
Cooper is destitute of gratitude, he has genius. We under the impression that the news was news no longer. did not need the “Homeward Bound" to prove that to The virgin leaf of a novel is sacred to the true novel us. The works to which we have alluded, in the open- reader, and jealous is he of every type that dots the ing of these remarks, bear testimony that a mind of fight of the poetic mind-our's be then the province to high gifts had glowed over their pages, and that the glance at the beauties of these volumes, and discuss creative power had built up in the wilderness of the with their gifted author matters of taste. To praise prairie a monument in that behalf.
is our delight, though censure is so common to the The “Red Rover” was the crowning work of Mr. reviewing tribe, that we shall hardly be forgiven, if Cooper, and though it is now many years since we we blend not sarcasm with approval. We will have read that glowing book, the impression of its beauties, sufficient cause for both as we proceed. of the great descriptions scattered over its leaves-is In the first place the delineation of the heroine, Eve, vivid upon our mind; for, then the author was inno- proves that Mr. Cooper is ignorant of those delicate cent of argument-innocent of the French mania for conceptions of feminine character, that should distinpolitics and philosophy, and he swept the seas, and guish a novel writer; and she moves before our eyes scattered on every Atlantic wave, gems as brilliant as the artificial boarding school girl, ripened through the their own pearls. We again thank him for this evi- tortuous avenues of affectation, into the cold and slately dence of a return to his former realms, and take it as an patroness of prudery. She talks in pedantic sentences, earnest of repentance for past errors, and amendment and seldom or erer descends, save when frightened into for the future.
it, to those soft and melting moods, in which women We will now proceed to a particular description of seem to us all angelic. the work before us, “Homeward Bound," and we enter The story opens with Eve and her father, lenning upon our task with the best feelings imaginable towards over the side of the packet ship; and while they gaze the author.
upon the broad seas foaming afar, the parent remarks The story of this work, is the story of the sea, and to his child, “We have seen nobler coasts, Eve, but tempest and battle are blended in the plot; and wherever after all England will always be fair to American the author has devoted himself to the description of eyes.” She replies, “more particularly so, if those eyes these incidents, we recognize the hand of our own gra- first opened to the light of the eighteenth century, phic Cooper.
father.” The eighteenth century lisped by a young A party of travellers, some of whom had passed girl in her teens? Now, lo our ideas of remark and through the sickly stages of European ton, are returning rejoinder, in a conversation held between parties so to the United States. There are the three Effinghams, united, the response would have been eloquent with the two cousins, and a daughter, Eve Effingham, the white cliffs and the green fields of merry England-with heroine–Mr. Sharp and Mr. Blunt are incognitos, the any thing but philosophy-for there is a philosophy one a private gentleman, the other one a baronet of and a sarcasm too, in the reply, that no girl of Eve's England. Both these gentlemen through caprice or ne- age would utter to a father, without exposing herself to cessity have disguised themselves, and are quite neces the charge of egregious pedantry. sary and interesting in the web of the drama. Mr. This first remark of the heroine, does not prepare the Blunt, especially, becomes a hero of no common order. reader for a very natural girl, speaking honestly and
Mr. Dodge, editor of an American newspaper, and openly, and as a girl of the nineteenth century should consequen:ly no favorite with Mr. Cooper, is made to speak. utter as much nonsense as should gratify Mr. Cooper's “I have been educated, as it is termed, (" as it is spleen for the balance of his life; but Mr. Cooper must termed !" what else could it be termed ?) in so many reconcile the seeming incongruity of an editor, so igno- different places and countries,” returned Eve, smiling, rant as he represents Dodge to be, travelling over Eu- “that I sometimes fancy I was born a woman, like my rope and writing letters home, that are received with great predecessor and namesake, the mother of Abel. unbounded praise by the American press. The natu- If a congress of nations,” continues the philosophic heralness of the novel should march onward pari passu roine, “in the way of masters, can make one indepenwith its incidents, and with as much regularity as the dent of prejudice, I may claim to possess the advanprogressive steps of history; and Mr. Cooper is culpa- tage. My greatest fear is, that in acquiring liberality, ble in a high degree, for introducing characters in his I have acquired nothing else.” Now the iron of dislike plot that disgust by their grovelling ignorance, and yet has entered into our heart, and we cannot stud the puzzle by their mal-apropos brilliancy.
character of Eve with any degree of pleasure, and we Captain Truck figures largely, and always appro- curn away constantly from the cold and marble surface priately in the narrative; and there are two or three of her nature, that thus seeks every occasion to bewilothers, mates first and second of the packet ship Mon- der our senses, with far-fetched references to a congress tauk, (in which our heroes all are placed,) that help out of nations assembled on purpose to veto prejudice in a the catastrophes, and mingle in the procession. young girl's noddle, and to mother Eve, progenitrix of
We will not anticipate the reader's curiosity, by Abel, and why not of Cain, who was after all the hero sketching at length the history of the “Chase,” for we of that mental reference ? have no right to forestall the public curiosity or im- Many pages are subsequently occupied by dull and pede the sale of the book. We are willing believers in heavy dialogues between the Effinghams—for we canthe romantic power, and like to take our own perusal not call them conversations--a term implying an easy of all new works of fiction, in pretty much the same and unstudied Aow of language and natural interchange spirit that actuated the newspaper taker, who would of opinions--but dialogues, in which each party speaks never read a paper that had been handled before him, I as if by rote ; and we regret to see that here Mr. Coop. er's evil genius shines forth fearfully bitter. Ill na- of segars with Mr. Cooper, that there is no man in ture, a violent and savage hatred of the press, consti- America, particularly no American editor, who could tule the monomaniac features of Mr. Cooper's mind in utter sentiments so perfectly ridiculous, as those attricertain stages; and we turn, with a feeling of sickness, buted to that unfortunate representative of our calling, from the formal abuse of a literary man, uttered against brother Dodge! The common laborer of the land his country, and against the cherished engine of liberty- knows better, for he can read the Almanac, and knows the public, independent and unshackled press. his right hand from his left; and the educated mechanic
Passing from these heavy portions of the work, we of the free schools, would never, unless drunk, utter approach a graphic and highly finished scene--the sentiments so false and foolish ; and the more enlightsearch among the crew and emigrant passengers ; of ened class are too well informed to commit the egrethe latter a large number were on board—by a police gious errors that Mr. Cooper would maliciously have officer, and a lawyer from Liverpool, for a man who us believe appertain by virtue of their vocation to had married a girl against the consent of her uncle. American editors. The reader of “ Homeward Bound" The author has managed this scene admirably. We will not be surprised at the severity of this language, sympathize with the lovers, and enter into the full spirit which, if it be severe, is so because it is just, when he of free-masonry that actuates the crew to conceal the will reach that part of the work to which we refer. parties. Every body aboard knows who they are, but A committee, at the ridiculous instigation of editor yet not a finger is raised to point them out to the greedy Dodge, is appointed to inquire into the position assum. ministers of the law. A little boy is asked by the cun-ed by captain Truck, and they retire to deliberate upon ning attorney if he knows“ Robert Davis" the bride the matters entrusted to their charge and we leave them groom, and the answer of the curly haired urchin to their silly office, with feelings of not over warm admirelieves the fear we felt, lest the flying lovers might ration, for that genius, which is forced to resort to means then be handed up to the rapacity of the girl's uncle. so outrageous to common sense and common probability, But though bribed, the child denies all knowledge, and to spin out his pages into a regular two-volumed work, the little Spartan has our sincere respect for his forti- or for a purpose more malignant, to cast ridicule tude.
upon his literary brethren of the press. We would It is at this point that the story commences to corres- quote passages from the work, but that it wonld occupy pond with the title, and the regular fabric of the tale too much space in a periodical not wholly of a review opens itself to the reader. The whole history of that character, and deprive the readers of the Messenger of long chase grows out of the stubbornness of captain many of those effusions that from time to time orna. Truck, in refusing to yield to the civil authorities of ment its pages, and throw a charm over the literature Great Britain the bride and the groom. There are of the south. other causes, that as yet operate darkly to hasten the The ships, for many days, continue their course captain of the packet into a course, that draws along across the Atlantic-the man-of-war, her Britannic mawith it the catastrophe of long sailing, through peril. jesty's ship, the Foam, hovering like an eagle by the ous seas, even to the “far Afric.” While captain side of the fleeing packet. In descriptions of the wild Truck is maneuvering so as to balk the pursuit for and grand ocean—the rushing waves—the foam tossthe “lovers (wain,” a man-of-war's cutter is seen ap- ing itself far over the decks--the tightened cordage, proaching over the waters, and the captain supposing and the extended sails—and all the glorious excitement her to be connected in some way or other with the civil attendant on a ship, we hail Mr. Cooper as the most search, sets his teeth hard, and with Vattel in his left perfect and graphic of masters. No other writer of such hand, and his trumpet in the right, American-like, matters can approach him in the activity that he inpuits every energy to work to outdo the “British." parts to these noble pictures. Marryatt is good at the The culter in vain attempts to overhaul the Montauk, coarse and the ludicrous, but he wants that courage of and returns to the “man-of-war.” Then comes the mind, that sublimity of purpose, that bears Mr. Cooper sullen boom of the signal cannon to the ears of the Mon- forth, when the thunder and the lightning are bowling tauk people, and her captain begins to suspect that a and flashing in the hurricane and tempest. storm is brewing over the track of his return pas- Day after day departs, and the captain of the Monsage. After consulting with Vattel upon the laws of tauk steers onward without one token of submission, nations, the gallant Yankee tightens his ropes, and sets and the Foam follows greedy for its prey. But sudhis canvass for a swift run, and is off for the new denly the Foam is lost sight of in a storm. We wish world, catch him who can. It is on such themes as those that we could here depart from our rule, and quote the connected with the excitement of a naval adventure, account of that gathering tempest
. The ship with her that our author displays his power. We see at once white canvass rides upon the sultry sea—blackness the relative position of the man-of-war and the Mon- mingled with foam beneath, and clouds, thick and tauk, and we hear the rush of each ihrough the con- murky, gather above their heads. Suddenly, over the tending billows. Beautiful sight! Two dark and distant seas, is seen the wing of the wind, crushing mighty vessels sailing through the far-surging spray, the high waves--then is heard the ropes rattling like and ploughing in hot haste the eternal and engulphing volleys of musketry, and in are all the sails
, and with ocean.
a plunge like a wounded barb, the vessel springs madly In the conversations held between the passengers on forth upon her fearful track. 'Our mind was filled with the propriety of captain Truck's course, in fleeing from tremendous and beautiful images created by this webpursuit, Mr. Cooper introduces a considerable quantum derful describer--and when the Foam again is seen, 8 of political balderdash, and compliments Mr. Dodge thrill of horror shook our very heart
. Right in the with its paternity. Now we are willing to wager a box/ wake of the Montauk, dashing with resistless speed,
she advances ! Upon the crowding events of a second charm would be broken, and Mr. Cooper would little depends the fate of both crews. The sternest hold their thank us for our officiousness. The plot, so far as breath, and captain Truck, with his gray hair stream. we can see, is simple as a village story, filled up like ing in the tempest, utters his orders. That voice of the an illuminated book of the fifteenth century, with veteran, familiar of storms, is heard above the roar of brilliant capitals and gorgeous flourishes. The book the elements, and once more the vessels steer apart! is glorious in many parts, and dull oftener than we exThe scenes growing out of this “blow in the tropics," pected, though not oftener than we feared it would be, are, beyond comparison, the finest in the work; and we for Mr. Cooper has been estranged from the use of the feel as if the same master hand that we so proudly delicate and imaginative pen, having of late so much recognized in the “Red Rover," was visible in the ma- worried both himself and a victimized public with chinery of this stirring narrative.
political tracts, the effusions of his most untractable During the long run that ensues, Mr. Cooper fills up spleen. the vacuum with dialogues ; and how utterly does he Mr. Cooper has been called the Walter Scott of Amefail in describing the high-toned, yet easy intercourse, rica. It could not have been, because their styles were that generally takes place between persons in an ele- similar, but because they were both master novelists of vated sphere of life. His characters are caricatures of their country. Scott's delineations of women are magithe originals, either stilling in the air, or grovelling in cal beyond parallel, and his conversations from the the dust; and even Eve is still unloved by the reader. lord and lady of the castle, to the gardener and the To our imagination she seems a fine young woman, groom, seem as things that we have actually heard in with an aquiline nose, muscular and spirited, standing some of the dim and indistinct periods of our lives. amid a group of men, with politics or morals, national Cooper is a writer who serves the cause of courage, of prejudices and governmental dogmas for her themes. hardships, of the wilderness, of the deep dell, and the There is no delicate play, no delightful badinage, to stupendous steppes of the American prairies. He robes distinguish the beautiful daughter of fortune ; but a himself in a buffalo skin, and rifle in hand, he traverses haughtiness, which seems the only feeling natural to her, the whole animal region, familiar with the beasts and distinguishes this masculine heroine of the story. The birds, and fills our imaginations with ideas of bold enteratmosphere in which she moves and has her being, is prises and sturdy deeds. He is the very embodiment unnatural and rigid, as if she kept her tenderness at of mental fortitude, and he is only at home when he is home in an ice-house, and subject only to the mighty in the voiceless solitudes of the lands or seas. In the incantations of terror in fearful seasons of personal latter, he steers his barque with unerring hand, even peril. She is the spoilt child of a doating father, to amid the spear-pointed breakers of the foaming beach. whom she imparts her ideas of liberty, law and govern- We recognize the hand of a Prospero, when clouds pall ment, in remuneration for his kindness. We refer our the heavens, and all the minute and general signs of readers to pages 76, 78, and 79, in the first volume, tempest are upon the flashing face of the ocean. Then and 225 and 243, in the second volume, for our justifi. we yield to the tremendous powers of the natural cation and Mr. Cooper's censure.
painter, and he conjures up the giant billow, dark and Not to be able to sketch the glorious amplitude of white, like a huge warrior with his iron mail and snowy woman's nalure, sweet and beautiful, is not to be a plume, rising in his stirrups amid a bloody fray. We poet. Of all the flowers that spring up for the enthusi. hear the big voices of the winds, and when ploughing her asm of the novelist, none are so deserving of his care as way up over those magnificent waters, lo! the vessel, that which God calls woman, and which man worships under reefed topsails, rushes in grandeur upon the scene. as angel. The deficiency of this power is the strongest How much romance there is attached to a ship!-and proof of the uninspired mind, and we lament with great it was ever so. In ancient times Ulysses traversed, sincerity that our native author is subject to reproof wife-searching, the limited seas of those times, in a high in this important particular. To be sure there are peaked barque; and a mysterious interest invests any some scenes in which Eve figures splendidly, and fabric that tramps upon the earth, or ploughs the waters, draws upon us for our warmest admiration, but it is the as if the instincts of life were active within its vast masituation that produces the effect, and not Eve; for, were chinery. People stop in crowds to gaze upon the thunthe humblest and most uninteresting waiting-maid dering car, that swiftly passes before their vision, placed as Eve is, with her rude parents, in the midst of miracle as it is; but a ship, steering and turning, tackshipwreck, our tears would flow freely for her vulgar ing, and fleeing up and down, straight forward and griefs, sublimated for the moment into the grandeur of across, like a playful bird, without any visible cause despair. We have, during our whole acquaintance, why those buge sheets of canvass should so work, is seen her artificial, haughty, and sometimes prudish, indeed a thing of beauty and of wonder. Then can we (that deadliest of all offences against modesty,) that we be surprised, that genius has taken it in keeping, and sympathize with her only when the terrible mingles poured forth its eloquence upon its journeyings? The with her fate, and bows her spirit down to agony and sailor's life is full of incident, and his “yarns” are protears.
verbial. Who will forget the “Rhyme of the Ancient The plot of the story, which we have thought best to Mariner" of Coleridge, dread tale of supernatural and conceal from our readers, is as yet unrevealed. Two hellish sublimity? It is the dreariest and vastest story more forthcoming volumes are necessary to complete of the sea that ever fell inspired from the pen; and it the catastrophe, and what that catastrophe will be can swept over us like a ghastly visitant from deeps easily be seen, for it must result naturally from the unknown, pale realms of awe and terror, and has its events that have been already recorded. It is not for monument of praise amid our frightened dispositions. us to turn the sibylline leaves to the world, for then the Mr. Cooper is an American writer by feeling, and we would intreat him never again to leave, as a mean of by every one pretending to success in the department inspiration, the land of his birth. We know at once of fiction. More than this, whenever she is copied at and always, that he is at his forte in describing the all, the draught should be as near like the original as rough seaman, the squatter of the west, the hunter, and possible, and must be very like in order to give satisfacthe Indian. All the speeches of those persons are natu- tion to the beholder. Therefore, the more acute obral, because they suit the bold and rough mind that server of nature, other qualifications being equal, will gives them life and muscle; but when he attempts the be the better novelist. But in some respects, nature description of the finished gentleman, or the sensitive certainly ought not to be followed as a guide. All the lady, he gives us pedantry for learning, and pride for materials of fiction must be drawn from her vast storerefinement. For the present we take our farewell of house ; but in the arrangement of these materials, the Mr. Cooper.
writer is not only allowed considerable license, but the lex operis imposes on bim certain deviations from his pattern. The first part of our rule seems to admit of no exception. A novel cannot deeply interest the
reader, unless its substance be taken from something ANOTHER REVIEW OF “HOMEWARD
existing without the author's fancy. It is true, that BOUND."
many stories, founded on what are called supernatural [After the preceding article was in type, we received the fol appearances and existences, are highly exciting; but, lowing review on the same work from another hand. Although though called supernatural, these things have a being it is a somewhat anomalous circumstance to publish two re- in nature--an ideal being in the superstitious belief or views of the same work, from different pens, in the same impressions of mankind. We here call natural, that
, periodical, yet it may not be altogether without its advantages. whether real or imaginary, with which the reader is it exhibits the different lights in which the same subject presents familiar from observation, feeling or belief; and unitself to different minds. This very diversity too is calculated to arouse the attention of the reader himself to the merits of the natural, that which exists nowhere but in the fancy of work, and to set them off better by the force of comparison. It the writer. is like two portraits of the same individual, with critical remarks The second part of the rule we shall illustrate more attached. The variety of lights, in which it is exhibited, brings at large, and attempt to show, that, in the arrangement out in more striking colors the features of the original.
It is unnecessary for us to call the reader's attention to the of a novelist's materials, it is necessary that he should merits of the following review. It will best speak for itself. often depart from nature, by mentioning some of the But we may be excused for saying, that if we had not been principal points of deviation ; premising, however, that deeply impressed with its beauty and force, we should never every such departure should be skilfully concealedhave ventured to introduce it to our readers, particularly after that is, that the joinings between the natural and unreceiving the very ingenious and striking companion-piece which we now send along with it.)-Ed. So. Lit. Mess.
natural should be so close as to be imperceptible to
ordinary vision. “To young writers, and to general readers, who are The deviations of which we speak are necessary to always young in literature, a reviewer may offer an give completeness and boldness to fiction. Perhaps important instruction when he commences his article, the most important of these lies in the selection and with condensing the chief rules of composition relating consequent concentration of material. The events of to the work he examines.” This passage, taken from real life are always mingled, interesting and unintethe preface to D'Israeli's “Miscellanies,” though al- resting, important and trilling, in the same train ; and, ready garbled, needs further modification, before we on this account, produce little excitement in a mere can admit it in explanation of our plan for the present spectator, and often as little even in the busy actors article. We propose to throw together, as a preface, a themselves. The thread of every story is embarrassed few loose observations upon some of the more obvious and tangled with a thousand different threads, crossing characteristics of good novel writing, without, however, it in various directions, running with it in pent, or pretending to give the chief rules of the art, or to hanging from it in loops and ends. These give it an bestow particular care upon method. Our main object appearance of complication, which forbids any attempt is, fully to explain some of the opinions which, in the to unravel the maze; and though small portions of the sequel, may be given of the work before us, which, in plot may here and there be distinctly visible, the confact, has suggested most of the following preparatory nection of the whole is not easily and at once discerned. remarks. Examples, where necessary to enforce the Now the novelist must strip his tale of all uninteresting rules laid down, will be drawn chiefly from this work, and unimportant appendages. In other words, the and, indeed, our subsequent more particular notice of scenes which he describes should be made up of the it will be, in great part, merely an extended illustration most expressive pictures; the lives which he records and application of these rules.
should have no common-place incidents. And, if be It is a prevailing notion, but as seems to us a very ever leaves the direct path of his main narrative, he erroneous one, that a writer of fiction should follow should take care not to wander so far as to make the nature, in all respects as closely as possible, in giving return difficult, or to confuse those trusting to his guishape to the creations of his fancy. To most persons dance, in regard to its true course and bearings
. And this doctrine, from long acquiescence in its authority, as with the events, so also is it with the personages of appears so obviously correct, that they do not care to real life. The great mass of men have little interesting examine it or seek for its verification. Yet we think in their characters. It is only here and there that we that a few words may suffice to show its error, and to see one distinguished from the common herd, by singusuggest a inodification which will fix the true rule.
lar excellencies, great eccentricity, or unbounded wickNature must certainly be copied and closely copied edness; and we never meet with a number of strongly