ePub 版
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

its tragic termination in the character of Zeluco. gibe, that the person is a Scotchian : or, which hapHe was an observer rather than an inventor; he pens still more rarely, when any of them are connoted more than he felt. The same powers of demned to die at Tyburn, particular care is taken to observation displayed in his novels, and his extensive inform the public that the criminal is originally from acquaintance with mankind, rendered him an ad- Scotland! But if fifty Englishmen get places, or are mirable chronicler of the striking scenes of the hanged, in one year, no remarks are made.' French revolution. Numerous as are the works 'No,' said Buchanan ; 'in that case it is passed over since published on this great event, the journals as a thing of course.' and remarks of Dr Moore may still be read with The conversation then taking another turn, Targe, pleasure and instruction. It may here be mentioned, who was a great genealogist, descanted on the antithat the distinguished Sir John Moore, who fell at quity of certain gentlemen's families in the Highlands ; Corunna, was the eldest son of the novelist.

which, he asserted, were far more honourable than most of the noble families either in Scotland or Eng

land. "Is it not shameful,' added he, “that a parcel [Dispude and Duel between the Two Scotch Servants in of mushroom lords, mere sprouts from the dunghills Italy.)

of law or commerce, the grandsons of grocers and [From ' Zeluco.')

attorneys, should take the pass of gentlemen of the

oldest families in Europe?' [Duncan Targe, a hot Highlander, who had been out in the Forty-Five, and George Buchanan, born and educated among vided the grandsons of grocers or attorneys are de

Why, as for that matter,' replied Buchanan, 'prothe Whigs of the west of Scotland, both serving-men in Italy, serving citizens, I do not perceive why they should be meet and dine together during the absence of their masters. After dinner, and the bottle having circulated freely, they dis

excluded from the king's favour more than other

men.' agree as to politics, Targe being a keen Jacobite, and the other

‘But some of them never drew a sword in defence a stanch Whig.)

of either their king or country,' rejoined Targe. Buchanan filled a bumper, and gave, for the toast, Assuredly,' said Buchanan, men may deserve • The Land of Cakes !'

honour and pre-eminence by other means than by This immediately dispersed the cloud which began drawing their swords. I could name a man who was to gather on the other's brow.

no soldier, and yet did more honour to his country Targe drank the toast with enthusiasm, saying, "May than all the soldiers, or lords, or lairds of the age in the Almighty pour his blessings on every hill and which he lived.' valley in it! that is the worst wish, Mr Buchanan, • Who was he?' said Targe. that I shall ever wish to that land.'

The man whose name I have the honour to bear,' It would delight your heart to behold the flourish- replied the other; 'the great George Buchanan.' ing condition it is now in,' replied Buchanan ; 'it • Who? Buchanan the historian?' cried Targe. was fast improving when I left it, and I have been * Ay, the very same! replied Buchanan in a loud credibly informed since that it is now a perfect garden.' voice, being now a little heated with wine and ele'I am very happy to hear it,' said Targe.

vated with vanity on account of his name. Why, • Indeed,' added Buchanan, 'it has been in a state sir,' continued he, George Buchanan was not only of rapid improvement ever since the Union.'

the most learned man, but also the best poet of his Confound the Union !' cried Targe; “it would have time.' improved much faster without it.'

Perhaps he might,' said Targe coldly. I am not quite clear on that point, Mr Targe, Perhaps!' repeated Buchanan; “there is no dubisaid Buchanan.

tation in the case. Do you remember his description ‘ Depend upon it,' replied Targe, the Union was of his own country and countrymen ?' the worst treaty that Scotland ever made.'

I cannot say I do,' replied Targe. I shall admit,' said Buchanan, 'that she might Then I will give you a sample of his versification,' have made a better; but, bad as it is, our country said Buchanan, who immediately repeated, with an reaps some advantage from it.'

enthusiastic emphasis, the following lines from Bucha* All the advantages are on the side of England.' nan's Epithalamium on the Marriage of Francis the

What do you think, Mr Targe,' said Buchanan, Dauphin with Mary Queen of Scots :of the increase of trade since the Union, and the riches which have flowed into the Lowlands of Scot

Illa pharetratis est propria gloria Scotis,

Cingere venatu saltus, superare natando land from that quarter ?

Flumina, ferre famem, contemnere frigora et æstus, *Think, cried Targe; 'why, I think they have done

Nec fossa et muris patriam, sed marte tueri, a great deal of mischief to the Lowlands of Scotland.'

Et spreta incolumem vita defendere famam; How so, my good friend ?' said Buchanan.

Polliciti servare tidem, sanctumque vereri “By spreading luxury among the inhabitants, the Numen amicitiæ, mores, non munus amare never-failing forerunner of effeminacy of manners. Artibus his, totum fremerunt cum bella per orbem, Why, I was assured,' continued Targe, by Sergeant Nullaque non leges tellus mutaret avitas Lewis Macneil, a Highland gentleman in the Prussian Externo subjecta jugo, gens una vetustis service, that the Lowlanders, in some parts of Scot.

Sedibus antiqua sub libertate resedit. land, are now very little better than so many English.'

Substitit hic Gothi furor, hio gravis impetus hæsit O fie ! cried Buchanan ; ‘things are not come to

Saxonis, hic Cimber superato Saxone, et aori that pass as yet, Mr Targe: your friend, the sergeant,

Perdomito, Neuster Cimbro. assuredly exaggerates.'

'I cannot recollect any more.' *I hope he does,' replied Targe; 'but you must ac- "You have recollected too much for me,' said Targe; knowledge, continued he, that by the Union Scot-'for although I was several years at an academy in land has lost her existence as an independent state; the Highlands, yet I must confess I am no great her name is swallowed up in that of England ? Only | Latin scholar.' read the English newspapers; they mention England, * But the great Buchanan,' said the other, 'was the as if it were the name of the whole island. They talk best Latin scholar in Europe; he wrote that language of the English army, the English fleet, the English as well as Livy or Horace.' everything. They never mention Scotland, except * I shall not dispute it,' said Targe. when one of our countrymen happens to get an office And was, over and above, a man of the first-rate under government; we are then told, with some stale / genius!' continued Buchanan with exultation.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


“Well, well; all that may be,' replied Targe a The groom interposed, and endeavoured to reconcile little peevishly; 'but let me tell you one thing, Mr the two enraged Scots, but without success. Buchanan Buchanan, if he could have swopt* one-half of his soon arrived with his sword, and they retired to a genius for a little more honesty, he would have made private spot in the garden. The groom next tried to an advantageous exchange, although he had thrown persuade them to decide their difference by fair boxing. all his Latin into the bargain.'

This was rejected by both the champions as a mode In what did he ever show any want of honesty?' of fighting unbecoming gentlemen. The groom assaid Buchanan,

serted that the best gentlemen in England sometimes * In calumniating and endeavouring to blacken the fought in that manner, and gave, as an instance, a reputation of his rightful sovereign, Mary Queen of boxing match, of which he himself had been a witScots,' replied Targe, the most beautiful and accom- ness, between Lord G.'s gentleman and a gentlemanplished princess that ever sat on a throne.'

farmer at York races about the price of a mare. 'I have nothing to say either against her beauty • But our quarrel,' said Targe, is about the repuor her accomplishments, resumed Buchanan ; 'but tation of a queen.' surely, Mr Targe, you must acknowledge that she was That, for certain,' replied the groom, 'makes a ??

difference.' Have a care what you say, sir ! interrupted Targe ; Buchanan unsheathed his sword. * I'll permit no man that ever wore breeches to speak Are you ready, sir ? cried Targe. disrespectfully of that unfortunate queen !'

"That I am.

Come on, sir,' said Buchanan; and No man that ever wore either breeches or a phi- the Lord be with the righteous.' labeg, replied Buchanan, shall prevent me from * Amen !' cried Targe; and the conflict began. speaking the truth when I see occasion!'

Both the combatants understood the weapon they ‘Speak as much truth as you please, sir,' rejoined fought with ; and each parried his adversary's blows Targe; 'but I declare that no man shall calumniate with such dexterity, that no blood was shed for some the memory of that beautiful and unfortunate prin- time. At length Targe, making a feint at Buchanan's cess in my presence while I can wield a claymore.' head, gave him suddenly a severe wound in the thigh.

* If you should wield fifty claymores, you cannot 'I hope you are now sensible of your error ?' said deny that she was a Papist !' said Buchanan.

Targe, dropping his point. Well, sir,' cried Targe, 'what then? She was, I am of the same opinion I was !' cried Buchanan ; like other people, of the religion in which she was so keep your guard.' So saying, he advanced more bred.'

briskly than ever upon Targe, who, after warding off 'I do not know where you may have been bred, Mr several strokes, wounded his antagonist a second time. Targe,' said Buchanan; .for aught I know, you may Buchanan, however, showed no disposition to relinbe an adherent to the worship of the scarlet lady quish the combat. But this second wound being in yourself. Unless that is the case, you ought not to the forehead, and the blood flowing with profusion interest yourself in the reputation of Mary Queen of into his eyes, he could no longer see distinctly, but Scots.'

was obliged to flourish his sword at random, without 'I fear you are too nearly related to the false slan- being able to perceive the movements of his adversary, derer whose name you bear!' said Targe.

who, closing with him, became master of his sword, 'I glory in the name; and should think myself and with the same effort threw him to the ground; greatly obliged to any man who could prove my rela- and, standing over him, he said, “This may convince tion to the great George Buchanan !' cried the other. you, Mr Buchanan, that yours is not the righteous

• He was nothing but a disloyal calumniator,' cried cause! You are in my power ; but I will act as the Targe; "who attempted to support falsehoods by for- queen whose character I defend would order were she geries, which, I thank Heaven, are now fully de-alive. I hope you will live to repent of the injustice tected !

you have done to that amiable and unfortunate prin'You are thankful for a very small mercy,' resumed cess.' He then assisted Buchanan to rise. Buchanan Buchanan; but since you provoke me to it, I will made no immediate answer: but when he saw Targe tell you, in plain English, that your bonny Queen assisting the groom to stop the blood which flowed Mary was the strumpet of Bothwell and the murderer from his wounds, he said, 'I must acknowledge, Mr of her husband !

Targe, that you behave like a gentleman.' No sooner had he uttered the last sentence, than After the bleeding was in some degree diminished Targe flew at him like a tiger, and they were sepa- by the dry lint which the groom, who was an excelrated with difficulty by Mr N-'s groom, who was lent farrier, applied to the wounds, they assisted him in the adjoining chamber, and had heard the alter- to his chamber, and then the groom rode away to cation.

inform Mr N- of what had happened. But the I insist on your giving me satisfaction, or retracting wound becoming more painful, Targe proposed sending what you have said against the beautiful Queen of for a surgeon. Buchanan then said that the surgeon's Scotland ! cried Targe.

mate belonging to one of the ships of the British * As for retracting what I have said,' replied Bucha- squadron then in the bay was, he believed, on shore, nan, 'that is no habit of mine; but, with regard to and as he was a Scotchman, he would like to employ giving you satisfaction, I am ready for that to the him rather than a foreigner. Having mentioned best of my ability; for let me tell you, sir, though I where he lodged, one of Mr N-'s footmen went am not a Highlandman, I am a Scotchman as well immediately for him. He returned soon after, saying as yourself, and not entirely ignorant of the use of the that the surgeon's mate was not at his lodging, nor claymore; so name your hour, and I will meet you to expected for some hours. 'But I will go and bring morrow morning.'

the French surgeon,' continued the footman. Why not directly! cried Targe ; 'there is nobody I thank you, Mr Thomas,' said Buchanan ; 'but I in the garden to interrupt us.'

will have patience till my own countryman returns.' • I should have chosen to have settled some things 'He may not return for a long time,' said Thomas, first; but since you are in such a hurry, I will not 'You had best let me run for the French surgeon, baulk you. I will step home for my sword and be who, they say, has a great deal of skill.' with you directly,' said Buchanan.

'I am obliged to you, Mr Thomas,' added Buchanan ;

.but neither Frenchman nor Spanishman shall dress * To swop is an old English word still used in Scotland, my wounds when a Scottishman is to be found for signifying to exchange.

love or money.'

[ocr errors]



• They are to be found, for the one or the other, as token of reconciliation : and I am now willing to I am credibly informed, in most parts of the world,' believe that your friend, Mr George Buchanan, was a said Thomas.

very great poet, and understood Latin as well as any As my countrymen,' replied Buchanan, "are dis- man alive!' Here the two friends shook hands with tinguished for letting slip no means of improvement, the utmost cordiality. it would be very strange if many of them did not use that of travelling, Mr Thomas.' It would be very strange indeed, I own it,' said

MRS INCHBALD. the footman.

MRS INCABALD, the dramatist, attained deserved * But are you certain of this young man's skill in celebrity by her novels, A Simple Story, in four his business when he does come?' said Targe. volumes, published in 1791 ; and Nature and Art,

I confess I have had no opportunity to know any. two volumes, 1796. As this lady affected plainness thing of his skill,' answered Buchanan ; 'but I know, and precision in style, and aimed at drawing sketches for certain, that he is sprung from very respectable from nature, she probably designated her first novel people. His father is a minister of the gospel, and simple, without duly considering that the plot is init is not likely that his father's son will be deficient tricate and involved, and that some of her characters in the profession to which he was bred.'

“It would be still less likely had the son been bred to preaching !' said Targe.

That is true,' replied Buchanan ; 'but I have no doubt of the young man's skill : he eems to be a very douce* lad. It will be an encouragement to him to see that I prefer him to another, and also a comfort to me to be attended by my countryman.'

Countryman or not countryman,' said Thomas, • he will expect to be paid for his trouble as well as another.'

* Assuredly,' said Buchanan ; 'but it was always a maxim with me, and shall be to my dying day, that we should give our own fish-guts to our own sea-mews.'

'Since you are so fond of your own sea-mews,' said Thomas, ' I am surprised you were so eager to destroy Mr Targe there.'

• That proceeded from a difference in politics, Mr Thomas,' replied Buchanan, in which the best of friends are apt to have a misunderstanding; but though I am a Whig and he is a Tory, I hope we are both honest men; and as he behaved generously when my life was in his power, I have no scruple in saying that I am sorry for having spoken disrespectfully of any person, dead or alive, for whom he has an esteem.'

Mary Queen of Scots acquired the esteem of her very enemies,' resumed Targe. “The elegance and engaging sweetness of her manners were irresistible to every heart that was not steeled by prejudice or

Mrs Inchbald. jealousy.'

She is now in the hands of a Judge,' said Buchanan, (as Lord and Lady Elmwood) belong to the ranks who can neither be seduced by fair appearances, nor

of the aristocracy. There are many striking and imposed on by forgeries and fraud.'

passionate scenes in the novel, and notwithstanding She is so, Mr Buchanan,' replied Targe; “and her the disadvantage attending a double plot, the inrival and accusers are in the hands of the same Judge.' terest is well sustained. The authoress's knowledge

*We had best leave them all to His justice and of dramatic rules and effect may be seen in the skilful mercy then, and say no more on the subject,' added grouping of her personages, and in the liveliness of Buchanan;' for if Queen Mary's conduct on earth was the dialogue. Her second work is much simpler what you believe it was, she will receive her reward and coarser in texture. Its object may be gathered in heaven, where her actions and sufferings are re- from the concluding maxim— Let the poor no more corded.'

be their own persecutors no longer pay homage to One thing more I will say,' rejoined Targe, and wealth_instantaneously the whole idolatrous worthat is only to ask of yoų whether it is probable that ship will cease-the idol will be broken.' Mrs Incha woman, whose conscience was loaded with the crimes bald illustrated this by her own practice; yet few of imputed to her, could have closed the varied scene of her readers can feel aught but mortification and disher life, and have met death with such serene and appointment at the denouement of the tale, wherein dignified courage as Mary did ?'

the pure and noble-minded Henry, after the rich * I always admired that last awful scene,' replied promise of his youth and his intellectual culture, Buchanan, who was melted by the recollection of finally settles down with his father to `cheerful Mary's behaviour on the scaffold; and I will freely labour in fishing, or the tending of a garden, the acknowledge that the most innocent person that ever produce of which they carry to the next marketlived, or the greatest hero recorded in history, could town?' The following brief allusion to the miseries not face death with greater composure than the queen of low London service reminds us of the vividness of Scotland : she supported the dignity of a queen and stern pathos of Dickens :— In romances, and while she displayed the meekness of a Christian.' in some plays, there are scenes of dark and un

I am exceedingly sorry, my dear friend, for the wholesome mines, wherein the labourer works misunderstanding that happened between us !' said during the brightest day by the aid of artifiTarge affectionately, and holding forth his hand in cial light. There are, in London, kitchens equally

dismal, though not quite so much exposed to damp * A Scottish expression, meaning gentle and well-disposed. and noxious vapours. In one of these

under ground,



hidden from the cheerful light of the sun, poor | The Sicilian Romance attracted attention by its Agnes was doomed to toil from morning till night, romantic and numerous adventures, and the copious subjected to the command of a dissatisfied mistress, descriptions of scenery it contained. These were who, not estimating as she ought the misery depicted with the glow and richness of a poetical incurred by serving her, constantly threatened her fancy. 'Fielding, Richardson, Smollett, and even servants with a dismission, at which the unthink- Walpole,' says Sir Walter Scott, though writing ing wretches would tremble merely from the sound upon an imaginative subject, are decidedly prose of the words; for to have reflected-to have con- authors. Mrs Radcliffe has a title to be considered sidered what their purport was—to be released as the first poetess of romantic fiction, that is, if from a dungeon, relieved from continual upbraid actual rhythm shall not be deemed essential to ings and vile drudgery, must have been a subject poetry.'* Actual rhythm was also at the command of rejoicing; and yet, because these good tidings of the accomplished authoress. She has interspersed were delivered as a menace, custom had made the various copies of verses throughout her works, but hearer fearful of the consequence. So, death being they are less truly poetical than her prose. They described to children as a disaster, even poverty have great sameness of style and diction, and are and shame will start from it with affright; whereas, often tedious, because introduced in scenes already had it been pictured with its benign aspect, it would too protracted with description or sentiment. In have been feared but by few, and many, many 1791 appeared The Romance of the Forest, exhibiting would welcome it with gladness.'

the powers of the novelist in full maturity. To ber wonderful talent in producing scenes of mystery and surprise, aided by external phenomena and

striking description, she now added the powerful The novels of Mrs CHARLOTTE SMith were of a delineation of passion. Her painting of the characmore romantic cast than those of Miss Burney: they ter of La Motte, hurried on by an evil counsellor, aimed more at delineating affections than manners, amidst broken resolutions and efforts at recall, to and they all evinced superior merit. The first, the most dark and deliberate guilt and cruelty, apEmmeline, published in 1788, had an extensive sale. proaches in some respects to the genius of Godwin. Ethelinde (1789), and Celestina (1791), were also re- Variety of character, however, was not the forte of ceived with favour and approbation. Her best is Mrs Radcliffe. Her strength lay in the invention the Old English Manor-House, in which her descrip- and interest of her narrative. Like the great painter tive powers are found united to an interesting plot with whom she has been compared, she loved to and well-sustained dramatis persona. The haste sport with the romantic and the terrible with the with which this lady produced her works, and her striking imagery of the mountain-forest and the unfortunate domestic circumstances, led her often lake—the obscure solitude-the cloud and the storm to be defective in arrangement and exaggerated in --- wild banditti--ruined castles—and with those style and colouring. She took a peculiar pleasure half-discovered glimpses or visionary shadows of in caricaturing lawyers, having herself suffered the invisible world which seem at times to cross our deeply from the law's delay ;' and as her husband path, and which still haunt and thrill the imaginahad ruined himself and family by foolish schemes tion. This peculiar faculty was more strongly evinced and projects, she is supposed to have drawn him in in Mrs Radcliffe's next romance, The Mysteries of the projector who hoped to make a fortune by Udolpho, published in 1794, which was the most manuring his estate with old wigs ! Sir Walter popular of her performances, and is justly considered Scott, in acknowledgment of many pleasant hours her best. Mrs Barbauld seems to prefer the 'Roderived from the perusal of Mrs Smith's works,' in- mance of the Forest,' as more complete in character cluded her in his British Novelists, and prefixed an and story; but in this opinion few will concur : it interesting criticism and memoir. He alludes to wants the sublimity and boldness of the later work. her defective narratives or plots, but considers her The interest, as Scott remarks, 'is of a more agitatcharacters to be conceived with truth and force, ing and tremendous nature, the scenery of a wilder though none bear the stamp of actual novelty. He and more terrific description, the characters distinadds, she is uniformly happy in supplying them guished by fiercer and more gigantic features. with language fitted to their station in life; nor Montoni, a lofty-souled desperado and captain of are there many dialogues to be found which are at condottieri, stands beside La Motte and his marquis, once so entertaining, and approach so nearly to truth like one of Milton's fiends beside a witch's familiar. and reality.'

Adeline is confined within a ruined manor-house,

but her sister heroine, Emily, is imprisoned in a ANN RADCLIFFE.

huge castle like those of feudal times; the one is

attacked and defended by bands of armed banditti, Mes Ann RADCLIFFE (who may be denominated the other only threatened by constables and thiefthe Salvator Rosa of British novelists) was born in takers. The scale of the landscape is equally diffeLondon, of respectable parents, on the 9th of July rent; the quiet and limited woodland scenery of the 1764. Her maiden name was Ward. In her twenty- one work forming a contrast with the splendid and third year she married Mr William Radcliffe, a high-wrought descriptions of Italian mountain granstudent of law, but who afterwards became the edi- deur which occur in the other.' This parallel applies tor and proprietor of a weekly paper, the English very strikingly to the critic's own poems, the Lay Chronicle. Two years after her marriage, in 1789, and Marmion. The latter, like Mrs Radcliffe's Mrs Radcliffe published her first novel, The Custles second novel, has blemishes of construction and style of Athlin and Dunbayne, the scene of which she laid from which the first is free; but it has the breadth in Scotland during the remote and warlike times of the feudal barons. This work gave but little in

* This honour more properly belongs to Sir Philip Sidney; dication of the power and fascination which the and does not even John Bunyan demand a share of it? In authoress afterwards evinced. She had made no scriptions. Indeed on this point Sir Walter partly contradicts

Smollett's novels there are many poetical conceptions and deattempt to portray national manners or historical himself, for he elsewhere states that Smollett expended in his events (in which, indeed, she never excelled), and novels many of the ingredients both of grave and humorous the plot was wild and unnatural. Her next effort, poetry. Mrs Radcliffe gave a greater prominence to poetical made in the following year, was more successful. description than any of her predecessors


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and magnificence, and the careless freedom of a An Italian gentleman who was of the party smiled master's hand, in a greater degree than can be found at the astonishment of his friend. in the first production. About this time Mrs Rad- He has sought sanctuary here,' replied the friar; cliffe made a journey through Holland and the within these walls he may not be hurt.' western frontier of Germany, returning down the Do your altars, then, protect a murderer ” said the Rhine, of which she published an account in 1795, Englishman. adding to it some observations during a tour to the . He could find shelter nowhere else,' answered the lakes of Lancashire, Westmoreland, and Cumber- friar meekly. land. The picturesque fancy of the novelist is seen in these sketches with her usual luxuriance and But observe yonder confessional,' added the Itacopiousness of style. In 1797 Mrs Radcliffe made lian, 'that beyond the pillars on the left of the aisle, her last appearance in fiction. The Mysteries of below a painted window. Have you discovered it! Udolpho’ had been purchased by her publisher for The colours of the glass throw, instead of a light, a what was then considered an enormous sum, £500; shade over that part of the church, which perhaps but her new work brought her £800. It was en prevents your distinguishing what I mean.' titled The Italian, and displayed her powers in un- The Englishman looked whither his friend pointed, diminished strength and brilliancy. Having ex- and observed a confessional of oak, or some very dark hausted the characteristics of feudal pomp and wood, adjoining the wall, and remarked also that it tyranny in her former productions, she adopted a was the same which the assassin had just entered. new machinery in 'The Italian,' having selected a It consisted of three compartments, covered with a period when the church of Rome was triumphant black canopy. In the central division was the chair and unchecked. The grand Inquisition, the confes of the confessor, elevated by several steps above the sional, the cowled monk, the dungeon, and the rack, pavement of the church; and on either hand was a were agents as terrible and impressive as ever shone small closet or box, with steps leading up to a grated in romance, Mrs Radcliffe took up the popular partition, at which the penitent might kneel, and, notions on this subject without adhering to historical concealed from observation, pour into the ear of the accuracy, and produced a work which, though very confessor the consciousness of crimes that lay heavy unequal in its execution, contains the most vivid at his heart. and appalling of all her scenes and paintings. The

"You observe it?' said the Itahan. opening of the story has been praised by all critics

I do,' replied the Englishman; "it is the same for the exquisite art with which the authoress con

which the assassin had passed into, and I think it trives to excite and prepare the mind of the reader.

one of the most gloomy spots I ever beheld ; the view It is as follows:

of it is enough to strike a criminal with despair.'

We in Italy are not so apt to despair,' replied the

Italian smilingly. [English Travellers Visit a Neapolitan Church.]

*Well, but what of this confessional l' inquired the

Englishman. •The assassin entered it.' Within the shade of the portico, a person with • He has no relation with what I am about to menfolded arms, and eyes directed towards the ground, tion,' said the Italian ; 'but I wish you to mark the was pacing behind the pillars the whole extent of the place, because some very extraordinary circumstances pavement, and was apparently so engaged by his own belong to it.' thoughts as not to observe that strangers were ap- "What are they?' said the Englishman. proaching. He turned, however, suddenly, as if • It is now several years since the confession which startled by the sound of steps, and then, without is connected with them was made at that very confarther pausing, glided to a door that opened into the fessional,' added the Italian ; 'the view of it, and the church, and disappeared.

sight of the assassin, with your surprise at the liberty There was something too extraordinary in the figure which is allowed him, led me to a recollection of the of this man, and too singular in his conduct, to pass story. When you return to the hotel I will comunnoticed by the visitors. He was of a tall thin municate it to you, if you have no pleasanter mode of figure, bending forward from the shoulders; of a sal- engaging your time.' low complexion and harsh features, and had an eye After I have taken another view of this solemn which, as it looked up from the cloak that muffled edifice,' replied the Englishman,' and particularly of the lower part of his countenance, was expressive of the confessional you have pointed to my notice.' uncommon ferocity.

While the Englishman glanced his eye over the The travellers, on entering the church, looked round high roofs and along the solemn perspectives of the for the stranger who had passed thither before them, Santa del Pianto, he perceived the figure of the asbut he was nowhere to be seen; and through all the sassin stealing from the confessional across the choir, shade of the long aisles only one other person ap- and, shocked on again beholding him, he turned his peared. This was a friar of the adjoining convent, eyes and hastily quitted the church. who sometimes pointed out to strangers the objects in The friends then separated, and the Englishman the church which were most worthy of attention, and soon after returning to his hotel, received the volume. who now, with this design, approached the party that He read as follows. had just entered.

When the party had viewed the different shrines, After such an introduction, who could fail to conand whatever had been judged worthy of observation, tinue the perusal of the story ? Scott has said that and were returning through an obscure aisle towards one of the fine scenes in The Italian,' where Schethe portico, they perceived the person who had ap- doni the monk (an admirably-drawn character) is peared upon the steps passing towards a confessional in the act of raising his arm to murder his sleepon the left, and as he entered it, one of the party ing victim, and discovers her to be his own child, is pointed him out to the friar, and inquired who he of a new, grand, and powerful character ; and the was. The friar, tuming to look after him, did not horrors of the wretch who, on the brink of murder, immediately reply; but on the question being re- has just escaped from committing a crime of yet peated, he inclined his head as in a kind of obeisance, more exaggerated horror, constitute the strongest and calmly replied, 'He is an assassin.'

painting which has been produced by Mrs Radcliffe's * An assassin!' exclaimed one of the Englishmen; pencil, and form a crisis well fitted to be actually an assassin, and at liberty?'

embodied on canvass by some great master.' Most



« 上一頁繼續 »