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nor at mature age, for which they may seem too visionary ; but at that delightful period of youth, when the soft twilight of the imagination harmonizes with the luxurious and uncertain light cast on their wonders. By those who come at such an age to their perusal they will never be forgotten.”—No, very likely not; but how are we to know when that age has come to us? By what signs and tokens are we to discover that we have arrived at Mrs. Radcliffe's reading years ? “ When the soft twilight of the imagination harmonizes with the luxurious and uncertain light cast on their wonders.” Supposing that the party, by good luck, finds out that his imagination is in a proper state of twilight, still not having read the books, he cannot be assured that it will harmonize with the light cast on their wonders, of which he knows nothing. We apprehend that very, very few persons read the Mysteries of Udolpho at the proper twilight time of life.
We have heard of a learned barrister who read them with delight by a rushlight, and perhaps that was the true twilight so poetically expressed by the essayist. If so, the passage may be translated thus:
“ Her works, in order to produce their greatest impression, should he read first, not by daylight, for which they are too sombre, nor by a cheerful candlelight, for which they are too awful; but at that witching time of night, when the dim rushlight of the bedchamber harmonizes with the luxurious and uncertain light cast on their wonders.”
Here is something fine :
“ Where is the man so basely moulded, that he does not remember moments of inspiration, when statelier images than his common intellect can embody-hopes and assurances brighter than his constitutional temperament may recal--and higher faculties within himself than he has ever been able to use—have stood revealed to him like (what?] mountain-tops at the utmost reach of vision, touched by a gleam of the morning sun. And who, in the melancholy calm of the mind, sadly looking into its depths, has not perceived the gigantic wrecks of a nobler nature; as the fortunate voyager on some crystal lake had discerned, or fancied he discerned [exquisitely prudent qualification] the wave-worn towers of a forgotten city far in the deep waters?”— (P. 112.)--Now, profanely speaking, we doubt most vehemently whether voyagers, cither on lakes or elsewhere, ever do discern, or fancy that they discern, cities at the bottom of the water. We doubt this, simply because navigators, who are a methodical kind of men, are not in the habit of looking for cities in that direction, and still less are they in the luck of finding them there. But supposing that voyagers on crystal lakes did every now and then chance to espy forgotten cities at the bottom, why should they be called “ fortunate ?”—the prize, one would think, as useless to them as the comb in the fable was to the bald man. Towers trove in lakes can be no very profitable discovery to those who have not the knack of living under water, And all this equally elaborate and unlucky simile, is to illustrate the moral phenomenon, that in looking into our own minds, we sometimes fancy that we find capacities for good which have exceeded our performance !
Shortly after this, the author explains very frankly the secret of all these incomprehensible sublimities:
“In writing for the press, it is scarcely possible to avoid altogether the temptation of high-sounding and ambiguous expressions, which always impede the distant presentiment of material forms.”
“ The distant presentiment of material forms! Mark that, Mrs. Malaprop, and give it to Sir Lucius on the first occasion, as an example of your nice derangement of your vernacular tongue. The unconscious illustration of the fault noted, from the use of highsounding and ambiguous expressions, is extremely delightful.
Provided the sound of a word suits the essayist's sentence, he is not particularly curious about the sense of it. Thus he speaks (p. 188) of making the external universe “ redolent of noble associations." He must make associations smell before he can justify this use of redolent.
We observe one device in this essay, which we believe has been little practised, and never yet remarked, that is, the printing of common phrases in inverted commas, which strikes us as being a very unnecessary piece of honesty. “ Rich conceits,” “ the fair and innocent," and divers other such common-place combinations, are printeit with inverted commas; the adopter modestly disclaiming the glory of their invention, and only taking credit for the reading which has possessed him of them. We have seen the same ingenious practice in some of the police reports, the concocters of which are probably, by force of daily example, inspired with an extraordinarily refined respect for the rights of property even in words.
Some of our readers may be so unreasonable as to expect us to apologize for having inflicted on them so many specimens of a kind of rhodomontade, which appears utterly beneath criticism; but the fact is, that the practice of imposing stark nonsense, wrapped up in fine sounding phrases, on the public, has, encouraged by impunity, become too common, and the weal of the republic of letters requires that some measures should be taken to restrain the commission of this base fraud.
The writers of galimatliases have hitherto freely laughed at the public when it has been duped by their trash; it is fair that the public should at last have its turn, and laugh at them for uttering it. * He laughs well,” as the French say, “ who laughs the last.” We shall have an eye to these ingenious gentlemen, and will make examples of the phrase-makers wherever we meet with them.
Of Gaston de Blondeville we have not much to say. It is a tedious, dull story, written with a laboured and fatiguing quaintness, and tiresome affectation of antiquity. The author has attempted Scott's manner of rendering minute details of ancient manners and customs available, but has miserably miscarried. What can be worse than such a description as this of a fcast, and details of the kind abound through the book.
Would you know what this first dish was? It was a warner of shields of boar, in armour, with mustard, served with malmsey. When the warner was ended, the first course, and so was every other, was brought up by seven sewers, with like state and with due taking of essaye of the king's meat, and with divers other ceremonies too tedious to relate.
Only amongst the dishes were frumentie, with venison ; frumentie roial, with a dragon for a suttletie ; browst of Almayne, potage of gourdis, and felettes in galentine.
At the queen's table, amongst many other dishes and suttleties of curious invention, were these-tench in jelly ; great custard planted for a suttletie ; petynel, peronse w with his segue; goos in hochepot and browet tuskay.
There was, also, for an honour to the young baroness, a special suttletie, presenting the queen's bower, with her ladies ranged round, and the Lady Barbara, receiving on her knee the jewels, which her highness had given to her the night before; there too was presented Pierre, the minstrel, playing on his very harp. The Baron de Blondeville had leave from the king to quit his chair, for a time, to visit the bride; and, when he showed this suttletie to her, she smiled; but it was the first time she had smiled this night.
There was another suttletie of archers in the forest hunting the hart, with foresters in green, blowing their horns, and the whole court following. In this, too, was the Lady Barbara, mounted on a milk-white palfrey, her hair bound up in a beauteous net; but not of gold and pearls, as it was this night, nor wore she a mantle of white cloth like that she now had on. At a distance, within the shadow of the trees, stood an aged man alone, wringing his hands ; but what this might mean none knew.
On the whole we strongly recommend our friends not to read Gaston de Blondeville ; indeed the recommendation is unnecessary, for we question whether they can read it. The introductory essay will however amuse an idle half hour—the rest is but leather and prunella.
Mrs. Radcliffe may have been, we suppose was, the author of Gaston de Blondeville; but if so, she showed her superior discretion in 10t publishing a work which, with all her extravagance, has no particle of her genius. The characters, from beginning to end, do nothing but tumble down lifeless, cither on seeing murderers or ghosts. Nothing can be more meagre than the fable, or more forced and feeble than the incidents. Romance is out of fashion, and such romance as this will not revive the taste.
ADVENTURES OF A FOREIGNER IN GREECE.
On leaving the prince's palace we found all the officers of the battalion. They were Italians, and many of them known to us. They were ill clad, and did not appear in good health. After inutual compliments, the officers looked at our shining boots and plaited shirts, and began to laugh. “We too,” said they, came to Greece well dressed, though we are now in the greatest poverty, and have only the most squalid clothing ; wait a little, and you will share our fate. At the very moment when we thought we should recover what we had lost, we were sent on a tour round the mountains of the Morea; most days we were without food. Our soldiers are almost all naked and barefooted ; our rations consist of the half of a small black loaf; our men daily die of want; such is the state of the Frankish battalion. So long as we had money, or things which we could sell, we managed to subsist tolerably well, but now that we are obliged to depend on our rations and pay, our situation is become dreadful.” As we were fresh from Italy, and had all of us some means of subsistence, we invited them all to our house, and did what we could to revive them. We passed that day merrily together, without thinking of future miseries. The next day we went to call on the brave Colonel Tarella, a Piedmontese, and on Colonel Doria, a Genoese, both implicated in the late Piedmontese revolution. We found them extremely disgusted at the way in which the affairs of Greece were conducted. Doria told me that he had received the prince's orders to draw a plan of the intended assault on Napoli di Romania. “I shall execute it," added he, “ but I am perfectly sure that nobody will obey my orders, out of mere jealousy." A few days after this we were in our house, when we heard a great buzz in the streets, and saw the inhabitants running, weeping, and calling upon our Lady; they were all thronging towards the prince's palace. For a long time we could not understand what was the meaning of this; at length a man told us that the prince was setting ont—that he was going to abandon Greece. All the people endeavoured to oppose this determination, as they dreaded being left in the power of a tyrant like Colocotroni. We immediately went out and walked towards the prince's palace. He had already mounted his house to go. The people threw themselves on their knees before him to obstruct his passage; several seized the horse's bridle, and turned it round, exclaiming, that the prince was an angel sent from heaven; that if he abandoned the Morea, it would fall into the hands of the Turks again the next day, for that all the other captains were tyrants, and enemies of their country. The prince was obliged to dismount, and to return to his room.
Colonel Balestra, of the Frankish battalion, a brave officer, and one who knew what revolutions are, immediately went to the prince, and requested an audience. As soon as they were alone, he addressed him in the following terms, which I had from his own mouth a week after:—“ Your highness, although you have committed some errors, and have reduced yourself to a state of dependence on Colocotroni, yet there still remains a way, if you really love your country, to immortalize yourself. No revolution can possibly succeed without bloodshed. You have the example of Italy. See how the people there have been duped and betrayed by their respective sovereigns. You are beloved by the people; all the Europeans are with you: you see how Colocotroni treats you ever since the capture of Tripolitza, where he took money enough to have emancipated Greece. Now is the moment; if you will only give me your permission, before the morning Colocotroni and his satellites shall be no more. You will take possession of Colocotroni's riches; you will rid the world of a villain, and will put it in your power to raise troops, and to secure the independence of your country. Be assured, also, that even should you succeed in establishing a Greek government, Colocotroni will always be its worst enemy; his only desire is to pursue that brigandage which has been the sole occupation of his past life.” The prince, after listening to the wise advice of the colonel, replied, that he was not a tyrant, and that he would not stain his hands with the blood of his countrymen; that if his countrymen acted ill they must take the consequences, but that he would not have it said in Europe that Ypsilanti was a Robespierre; that what had passed would serve him as a warning; that he should immediately proceed to storm Napoli di Romania, and that if he carried it, he would not again be the dupe of Colocotroni, or of the other chiefs. Balestra, though he saw that the prince was incapable of executing any great undertaking, replied, “ If your highness did not depend on the captains for taking Napoli di Romania, all might be well; but as you have only four hundred men you can trust, half of whom are enfeebled by want, you must be subject to these chiefs, who will not execute your orders for fear you and the Franks should carry off the glory of taking Napoli. The Greek soldiers, who are paid by them, will obey them and disregard you, knowing that you have not a penny." Upon this the prince said, with some agitation, “ Colonel, I do not want your advice; go to your battalion and wait for my orders.” Balestra went out, but from that time he was no longer so warmly attached to the prince, and on the first opportunity left his service, as we shall see hereafter. The prince, who had no experience in military affairs, but who was intoxicated with the idea of entering Napoli di Romania as a conqueror, and thus avenging himself on Colocotroni, immediately sent for Colonel Doria, and commanded him to expedite his plan for tlie attack on Napoli. Some French writer has asserted that Ypsilanti was dissuaded from making the attack, and was told that the plan was ill conceived. This arose entirely from the jcalousy of some Frenchmen who were in Argos, and were displeased that the direction of the assault was given to an Italian. The truth however is, that the plan was admirably laid, had it but been as well executed; but as nobody could answer for the conduct of the chiefs, the prince ought not to have risked the lives of so many brave soldiers upon such insecure grounds.
In a few days we received intelligence of the arrival of the vessel from Calamata, commanded by M. Paraschiva, and containing all the remaining officers. They all proceeded to a place called the mill, six miles from the city of Argos, where they landed. I cannot describe the state of these poor officers; they had been obliged to wait many days in Calamata, for the provisioning of the vessel ; they thought the commander had laid in provisions for a month at least, instead of which, as he was totally inexperienced, both by sea and land, he took on board only enough for five or six days. It appears he thought the voyage was one of only twenty-four hours; unfortunately, however, they had contrary winds, which kept them at sea ten days. The vessel was very small, and had a hundred and fifty persons on board. I leave it to the reader to imagine the state of these unfortunate men. The Franks all began to reproach the commander for exposing so many officers to perish with hunger. Ile affected to be driven to desperation, and ran down to the captain's cabin, where he seized a pistol, and held it to his mouth, in expectation that some one would follow him down. The captain did in fact go down not long after, and found him with the pistol at his head. The captain called out, on which a number of officers ran down, and held the commander, who pretended he had resolved to put an end to his life. They all knew he had no idea of doing any such thing; he had been alone in the cabin for half an hour, and was at full liberty to kill himself if he wished ; but he was too great a coward for that. The Franks also saw through the thing, and it furnished them with matter for laughter for many days.
The moment they set their foot on shore, they went to the inns the little port affords, and ordered the best of whatever there was to cat to be brought them, which they rather devoured than ate.
We related to them our adventures by land, which had been much more amusing than theirs. They regretted not having preferred our advice to that of the prince's and Paraschiva's. We gave them, in a few words, a portrait of the prince, and a sketch of all that had passed ;-all cursed their stars that they had come to Greece. When they were a little recruited, we returned to Argos; the commander led