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to be had, for love or for money, in any corner of the globe. If a man has a right to do what he pleases with his own acres, or his own tenantry, he possesses a fortiori a right to dispose of his own arms and legs as it seemeth good in his eyes; and if he please to indulge the crows of Corunna with a slice of his shoulder, or the vultures of Egypt with a chop from his ribs, who is entitled to let or hinder him? We cannot, however, bring ourselves to think that many men are devotedly addicted to the pleasures of mutilation. Whatever satisfaction there may be in being hewn down by a cutlass, or bored through the thorax by a cannon-ball, it seems of so unnatural a kind, that it cannot be at all a general feeling, and therefore we think it would be easy to repress it, if the Peace Societies would take our advice.
A collection of all the horrors of battle-fields and sieges, stripped of all the nonsense about fame and glory, commonly mixed up with military narratives, would be a most useful and pacific publication. We should then have treatises upon the nature and effects of warlike ammunition, weapons, and engines of all kinds, in which we would have it made as plain as daylight that a discharge of artillery is more serious than a fire of pop-guns; that a mortar is not a squib; and that a shot from Perkins' steam-gun is not a feu de joie. It may seem odd that there should be occasion to demonstrate such obvious points, but the necessity is clear from the levity with which we daily hear the effects of gunpowder spoken of. Again the properties of cold iron appear to be equally forgotten. The fact must be stated, repeated, and enforced, that swords cut as well as penknives, that lances pierce, that bayonets dig holes in the human frame,-truths which we may be sure are carefully kept from the knowledge of the young men in our military colleges. We doubt if they even let the students at Woolwich know that explosiveness is an attribute of gunpowder, or that the human flesh is divisible by steel. Do the teachers in those schools of valour admit the principal of vulnerability? Do they inculcate, if they admit it? Do they ever tell their scholars what it is to be wounded? If they do, we presume they inform them that wounds are the pleasantest of things; for how else can they possibly inspire an unsophisticated youth with a longing for such scenes as Busaco, Corunna, and Fuentes d'Onore? The native impulse of the mind, in its healthy state, is to Ay from battle as we fly from pestilence. For what have our legs been given us but to run away with? We certainly admire the gallant Napier, and think the history of the Peninsular war a work of singular brilliancy and merit, but we heartily rejoice that it did not devolve upon us to write it from our personal reminiscences. Should we ever be called on to be the annalists of a campaign, we shall take a hint from the writer mentioned by Lucian, in his “ Essay on History,” and make our observations from the top of the highest tree on the field of battle.
LITERATURE. CHATSWORTH; OR, THE ROMANCE OF A WEEK.* Chatsworth itself is the romance of a century. The “ Romance of a Week” there, is introduced by a riddle it would take a week to solve. We are quite willing to abjure guessing, and to repose in a pleasing mystification.
The title-page opens up several sources of interest :-associations crowd upon us of the enchanting scenery of Derbyshire, now all loveliness, anon all magnificence, and frequently a combination of the two; of the famous “ Palace of the Peak,” its crowning beauty and wonder; of new scenes of elevated human life and natural marvels paraded before us, under the guidance, if not by the creation, of a master-hand, whose spells are always seductive and potential; of romance in high life running through a whole week, and whispering rare secrets in three volumes, of aristocracy in its appropriate abode. Simple readers must be pardoned for anticipating, in the promise of a week's romance at renowned Chatsworth, a brilliant and picturesque record and commemoration of the fine things said and done there when royalty paid its summer visit to those fascinating and unrivalled scenes. loyal sentiment, we declare, that the reader will here find something a thousand times better.
How far the distinguished editor of these volumes is in the secret of the author, or authors—whether he formed one (as he well might) in the brilliant intellectual circle assembled at Chatsworth—a drawing. room Boccaccian party of the most extraordinary pattern-to carry on the seven nights' entertainments,—we shall not pretend to surmise; nor can we decide with certainty whether such a congress of the wits and wizards of literature ever was held at all. But so vivid and clear ; so bright, bold, and exact; so consistent with the spirit of truth, though in manner so playful, is the introductory description of Chatsworth; of the approaches, the scenery, the whole domain; the natural village and the toy-village; the Alpha and Omega, the inn and the palace ;-50 real is the scene within doors, so perfectly well acquainted are we with the features and characters of several of the assembled party, and such excellent modern English do they talk, that the whole story of the literary gathering may be as authentic as the fashionable intelligence in the newspaper of to-day. What is very justly said of the tales, may be as truly declared of the ingenious vehicle which serves to introduce them—" They are romances in the strictest sense of that much-abused term-meaning thereby a narrative which, without in any particular departing from the natural, appeals to the imagination rather than to the reason or the belief."
Before we turn to these tales of truth, which are, nevertheless, not to be mistaken for true tales by shallowness itself, we must obtain a hasty glimpse of the producers of them. It is the evening of a rich autumnal day, and we are in the library of Chatsworth. Refinement fills the whole wide space from roof io foor; aristocratic air breathes through every keyhole. Poetry, knowledge, philosophy, wisdom, are guests there, encompassed in forms of diversified and exquisite beauty. But there are other and more palpable guests.
Chatsworth ; or, the Romance of a Week. Edited by R. Plumer Ward, Esq., author of “Tremaine,” &c.
In a brown study and black curls, a figure that has the look of an Antinous fresh from the hands of some ethereal Stultz, we recognise Mr. Tressyllian Toms. "He is a genius, and therefore no gentleman"-a jumble of anomalies-fashionmonger and philosopher-wit and trifer, vulgarity patched clumsily with refinement—an amateur atheist and a tremendous talker. But observe now the Lady Bab Brilliant-the one writer “whose pen has acquired the power of a man's, without losing the ease and grace of a woman's;" the Millamant at once of fashionable and of literary life--wise, warm-hearted, beautiful—the fearless satirist of vice, the arrow-armed assailant of the ill-doer, however high and safe he soars above vulgar shafts ; and yet," the very pet and idol of that world which her pen had contributed, more than all others united, to cover with the ridicule, and brand with the scorn of the wise and good;" a sort of female Sheridan, “ herself the exemplar of all the social errors she satirized with
and tongue." Lady Bab, however, must not detain us longer from “the lion" of the Chatsworth library, Reginald Beltravers, the Crichton of his time as far as letters are concerned ; excelling in poetry, drama, history, novelism, criticism, philosophy, essayism and political pamphleteering; being also a gentleman and a fashion-worshipper, with a weakness for every point of strength-" loving human nature with the love of an ardent poet and an enlightened philosopher, yet hating or despising every man, woman, and child, of which it is made up.”
Approach we the Lady Penthea-that “ Dark Ladyée," who, “ statue-like, sits alone in the dim religious light of the embayed and painted windows of the ante-library, seeming by her attitude to be gazing forth upon the glories of the fairy landscape without; but in reality, while her bodily sense is blind to all around, her mental vision is fixed, with a fatal pertinacity, on her own strange and sad destiny -more sad, more strange, than that of the most ideal heroine of the wildest romance.” The Byron of her sex, she is styled, without his errors or deficiencies : cradled in splendour and joy, yet pursuing her way through fashion's mazes in gloom; married but alone; figuring in the courtly dance, like the lady in Ford's “ Broken Heart !” endowed with beauty, bright as her lot should have been, and with genius deep as her wrongs.
We know nothing of all these mysterious people, but that they are amongst the illuminati assembled at Chatsworth ; nor are we better acquainted with Sir Proteus Plume, who is described by negatives; who is neither a fashionable poet nor a fashionable reviewer, since he neither gets people, nor is himself got, into corners; who is not a wit, “ for he never sacrifices a friend that he loves, to win the smile of a fool that he despises ;" but who is something better—" for within that cold, rigid, statue-like form, there couches a heart, so gentle, that it melts at an infant's tears, yet so strong, that it would not quail at a nation's cry if wrongfully raised against him." No, we cannot pretend to the honour of his acquaintance; and the phenomenon “boypoet," the fragile youth seated in the deep recess of the window, his lithe form bending over a book, and his small, exquisitely-modelled head drooping towards his knees, is equally a stranger to us.
Nevertheless, a touching, a sacred and reverential interest surrounds him ; the Great Unsettled, -who flies off from the triangles to the stars ; whose mistresses are the exact sciences to-night, and the muses in the morning ; who almost grasped the philosopher's stone yesterday, and whose heart is now going in search of the mountain-daisy; the young enthusiast dreamer who has just reached that most trying period" the moment when the visions of youth have passed away, and the realities of manhood have not come into view."
Now whether there be any thing in these admirable masks which the reader, luckier, and more knowing than ourselves, may identify with life in what is called the literary world at the present or any past hour -or whether (that being so) the splendours of Chatsworth ever encircled such a set of penmen at any period, is a riddle we freely resign. Enough, that by universal agreement, chatting on three-volume topics after dinner, they all at once resolved on so far forsaking the “natural,” and rushing into the romantic, as to dart off to their several rooms, and write charming tales, for the sake of demonstrating to each other, that out of three volumes, two are always what the lawyers designate surplusage; in other words, that the triple-volumed system so imperiously insisted upon by bigot prejudice and tyrant custom, is but a Procrustes-bed for prose-fiction. Six tales were the immediate result, and on successive evenings they were produced to the charmed but critical party. That party has now become the public, the test of whose criticism they will as triumphantly stand.
These specimens of romantic fiction answer the ends for which they were written. The principle which should govern such a class of composition is never lost sight of. There is not, in either of the stories, a sentence to spare, neither are we conscious of bareness or deficiency. Like many other excellent tales in the language (though we have but few of modern date) they prove that the linked sweetness of romance needs not always to be long-drawn out," and that great moral objects, carrying with them the deepest interests, may find full justice within a narrow compass. Nobody could wish the opening tale, “ The Three Vows,” to be more elaborated. The charm of its romance would have been lost in crowded detail and ornate description. As it is, here is a hint from Boccaccio and Chaucer, in whose pages the rudiments of the affecting moral are to be found, worked out with the amplest effect, unfatiguingly, yet entirely. Another chapter would have weighed down the beauty of it-brevity is the very soul of its philosophy—yet, simply because it admits not of sufficient words in the telling to fill a volume, prejudice and fashion would deride and neglect it. It has more cleverness, in the very simplicity of its construction, than scores of three-volume pretenders ; more beauty and tenderness of designs than as many poems; and more lofty truth and soundness of heart than a hundred professed cut and dry moralities.
“ Love cured by love,” which succeeds, is also designed upon a settled principle; but the design runs counter to all prejudices popular among modern novel-readers. Love-making here is truly no moonlight and rope-ladder affair. There is neither a serenade nor a pockethandkerchief in the whole story. The object of it is to show that the tenderest of all the passions is as much under the control of reason as its brethren of the heart can be, and “that the certain remedy for a silly and ignoble love is a wise and noble one."
This and the following tale are founded on two of the best of our old dramas : in pursuance of a system laid down in one of the critical dissertations with which these fictions are interspersed—that there is a great advantage in taking subjects from accredited writers, as you are certain beforehand that they are at least adapted to the develop
ment of character and passion; and that great writers have continually felt this, by repeating one another as respects subjects to a singular extent. This, it must be confessed, is reversing the plan which has been so long practised in one department of modern literature, where novels have been (sans cérémonie, and every thing else save impudence) turned into plays; and as the drama has obtained so many in. different pieces of romance, it is but equitable that romance should wrest a few good stories from the drama.
However this may be, the spirit of the famous Maid's Tragedy, the incidents, the characters, the passion, often the very language, are here reproduced before us in another form-a wild, gentle, fearful, winning story of fidelity and faithlessness. As in reading the prose “ Tales from Shakspeare,” we grow more familiar with the persons of the tragedy; we seem to approach them nearer; and Amintor and Aspatia, Melantius and Evadne, in their new strange shapes, yet with their old accustomed unfading looks, startle and impress us the more.
From an old Spanish play we have a Spanish story, full of action, vicissitude, mistake, and equivoque ; from Heywood's “ Hierarchy of Angels,” there is a translation from the antique verse into prose, suited to a sweet romantic subject, rich in situation and character; and lastly, we have, as successfully told, the “ Tale of Pericles," with all its noble and pathetic qualities, tersely and consistently rendered, vigorously and delicately embodied. Such evenings at Chatsworth are not unworthily associated with its hospitality and magnificence.
NAPIER'S WILD SPORTS.* Many men are wiser and better than they think themselves, and so are many books: and this of Colonel E. Napier is among the latter. It is something very much better than the limitation of its title might lead one to expect." True, the “ wild sports” to which it treats us are quite enough in amount and in entertainment to justify the title ; but the title does not do justice to the book,—which is neither more nor less than a set of travelling reminiscences arising out of that most amusing and exciting of all species of travelling, to which the soldier is subjected, whether he will or no, when ordered on foreign service. Nor is the work less pleasant and entertaining, but more so, from the fact of its not taking a formal and critically constructed shape, but being put together as the time or humour of the writer might serve.
The plan of these sporting and travelling adventures is this :—the author rejoices in a study which, unlike the study of ordinary sportsmen and travellers, presents to his eye memorials from all parts of the world-gathered thence by his own sporting prowess, and replete with associations and recollections that carry him back (almost bodily, so strong and stirring are they) to the scenes and localities to which they were native. His fancy wraps itself for a moment in the rugged bearskin that hangs by the wall, and lo! he is in the thorny jungles of Hindostan, exploring their trackless wilds in search of that very savage, a “ monster meeting with whom ends in the latter leaving his skin to deck the walls of an old English manor-hall. In glancing at those enormous horns that project over the old oak mantel-piece, presto! he is following, on his favourite Arabian, “ Lamplighter,” over the plains of
* Wild Sports in Europe, Asia, and Africa. By Lieut.-Col. E. Napier, &c. 2 vols.