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boys marshalled in a chapel or old hall; to hear their sweet fresh voices when they chant, and look in their brave calm faces ; I say, does not the sight and sound of them smite you, somehow, with a pang of exquisite kindness? ... Well. As about boys, so about Novelists. I fancy the boys of Parnassus School all paraded. I am a lower boy myself in that academy. I like our fellows to look well, upright, gentlemanlike. There is Master Fielding – he with the black eye. What a magnifiænt build of a boy! There is Master Scott, one of the leads of the school. Did you ever see the fellow more hearty and manly? Yonder lean, shambling, cadaverous lad, who is always borrowing money, telling lies, leering after the housemaids, is Master Laurence Sterne a bishop's grandson, and himself intended for the Church ; for shame, you little reprobate! But what a genius the fellow has ! Let him have a sound flogging, and as soon as the young scamp is out of the whipping-room give him a gold medal. Such would be my practice if I were Doctor Birch, and master of the school.
Let us drop this school metaphor, this birch and all pertaining thereto. Our subject, I beg leave to remind the reader's bumble servant, is novel heroes and heroines. How do you like
your heroes, ladies ? Gentlemen, what novel heroines do you prefer? When I set this essay going, I sent the above question to two of the most inveterate novel-readers of my acquaintance. The gentleman refers me to Miss Austen; the lady says Athos, Guy Livingston, and (pardon my rosy blushes) Colonel Esmond, and owns that in youth she was very much in love with Valancourt.
· Valancourt? and who was he?” cry the young people. Valancourt, my dears, was the hero of one of the most famous romances which ever was published in this country. The beauty and elegance of Valancourt made your young grandmammas' gentle hearts to beat with respectful sympathy. He and his glory have passed away. Ah, woe is me that the glory of novels should ever decay ; that dust should gather round them on the shelves; that the annual cheques from Messieurs the publishers should dwindle, dwindle! Inquire at Mudie's, or the London Library, who asks for the Mysteries of Udolpho now? Have not even the “
Mysteries of Paris” ceased to frighten? Alas, our novels are but for a season ; and I know characters whom a painful modesty forbids me to mention, who shall go to limbo along with " Valancourt” and “ Doricourt” and Thaddeus of Warsaw."
A dear old sentimental friend, with whom I discoursed on
the subject of novels yesterday, said that her favorite hero was Lord Orville, in “ Evelina,” that novel which Dr. Johnson loved
I took down the book from a dusty old crypt at a club, where Mrs. Barbauld's novelists repose : and this is the kind of thing, ladies and gentlemen, in which your ancestors found pleasure:
** And here, whilst I was looking for the books, I was followed by Lord Orville. He shut the door after he came in, and, approaching me with a look of anxiety, said, “ Is this true, Miss Anville — are you going?'
"I believe so, my lord,' said I, still looking for the books. "So suddenly, so unexpectedly: must I lose you?'
"No great loss, my lord,' said I, endeavoring to speak cheerfully.
"• Is it possible,' said he, gravely, • Miss Anville can doubt my sincerity?'
"I can't imagine, cried I, what Mrs. Selwyn has done with those books.'
"" • Would to heaven,' continued he, · I might flatter myself you would allow me to prove it!'
" • I must run up stairs,' cried I, greatly confused, “and ask what she has done with them.'
"You are going then,' cried he, taking my hand, and you give me not the smallest hope of any return ! Will you not, ins too lovely friend, will you not teach me, with fortitude like your own, to support your absence?'
"• My lord, cried I, endeavoring to disengage my hand, , * pray let me go!'
"I will,' cried he, to my inexpressible confusion, dropping on one knee, if you wish me to leave you.'
66. Oh, my lord,' exclaimed I, • rise, I beseech you; rise. Surely your lordship is not so cruel as to mock me.'
" Mock you!' repeated he earnestly, • no, I revere you. I esteem and admire you above all human beings! You are the friend to whom my soul is attached, as to its better half. You are the most amiable, the most perfect of women; and you are dearer to me than language has the power of telling.'
“ I attempt not to describe my sensations at that moment ; I scarce breathed; I doubted if I existed; the blood forsook my cheeks, and my feet refused to sustain me. Lord Orville hastily rising supported me to a chair upon which I sank almost lifeless.
“ I cannot write the scene that followed, though every word is engraven on my heart; but his protestations, his expressions,
were too flattering for repetition ; nor would he, in spite of my repeated efforts to leave him, suffer me to escape ; in short, my dear sir, I was not proof against his solicitations, and he drew from me the most sacred secret of my heart !”*
Other people may not much like this extract, madam, from Four favorite novel, but when you come to read it, you will like it. I suspect that when you read that book which you so love, you read it à deur. Did you not yourself pass a winter at Bath, when you were the belle of the assembly? Was there not a Lord Orville in your case too? As you think of him eleven lastres pass away. You look at him with the bright eyes of those days, and your hero stands before you, the brave, the accomplished, the simple, the true gentleman ; and he makes the most elegant of bows to one of the most beautiful young women the world ever saw ; and he leads you out to the cotillon, to the dear unforgotten music. Hark to the horns of Elfand, blowing, blowing ! Bonne vieille, you remember their melody, and your heart-strings thrill with it still.
of your heroic heroes, I think our friend Monseigneur Athos, Count de la Fère, is my favorite. I have read about him from sunrise to sunset with the utmost contentment of mind. He has passed through how many volumes ? Forty? Fifty? I wish for my part there were a hundred more, and
would run :
Contrast this old perfumed, powdered D’Arblay conversation with the present modern talk. If the two young people wished to hide their emotions now-a-days, and express themselves in modest language, the story
" Whilst I was looking for the books, Lord Orville came in. He looked uncommonly down in the mouth, as he said: “Is this true, Miss Anville; are you going to cut?'
To absquatulate, Lord Orville,' said I, still pretending that I was looking for the books.
* You are very quick about it,' said he. ***Guess it's no great loss,' I remarked, as cheerfully as I could. " You don't think I'm chaffing ?' said Orville, with much emotion.
What has Mrs. Selwyn done with the books?' I went on.
"What, going?' said he,' and going for good ? I wish I was such a good-plucked one as you, Miss Anville,
&c. The conversation, you perceive, might be easily written down to this key; and if the hero and heroine were modern, they would not be suffered
go through their dialogue on stilts, but would converse in the natural graceful way at present customary. By the way, what a strange custom that is in modern lady novelists to make the men bully the women! In the time of Miss Porter and Madame D'Arblay, we have respect, profound bows and curtsies, graceful courtesy, from men to women. In the time of Miss Bronté, absolute rudeness. Is it true, mesdames, that you like rudeness, and are pleased at being ill-used by men? I could point to more than one lady novelist who go represents you.
would never tire of him rescuing prisoners, punishing ruffians, and running scoundrels through the midriff with his most graceful rapier. Ah, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, you are a magnificent trio. I think I like d'Artagnan in his own memoirs best. I bought him years and years ago, price fivepence, in a little parchment-covered Cologne-printed volume, at a stall in Gray's Inn Lane. Dumas glorifies him and makes Marshal of him; if I remember rightly, the original d'Artagnan was a needy adventurer, who died in exile very early in Louis XIV.'s reign. Did you ever read the “ Chevalier d'Harmenthal?" Did you ever read the “ Tulipe Noire,” as modest as a story by Miss Edgeworth? I think of the prodigal banquets to which this Lucullus of a man has invited me, with thanks and wonder. To what a series of splendid entertainments he has treated me! Where does he find the money for these prodigious feasts? They say that all the works bearing Dumas's name are not written by him. Well? Does not the chief cook have aides under him? Did not Rubens's pupils paint on his canvases? Had not Lawrence assistants for his backgrounds? For myself, being also du métier, I confess I would often like to have a competent, respectable, and rapid clerk for the business part of my novels; and on his arrival, at eleven o'clock, would say, Mr. Jones, if you please, the archbishop must die this morning in about five pages.
Turn to article • Dropsy' (or what you will) in Encyclopædia. Take care there are no medical blunders in his death. Group his daughters, physicians, and chaplains round him. In Wales's . London,' letter B, third shelf, you will
find an account of Lambeth, and some prints of the place. · Color in with local coloring. The daughter will come down,
and speak to her lover in his wherry at Lambeth Stairs,” &c., &c. Jones (an intelligent young man) examines the medical, historical, topographical books necessary ; his chief points out to him in Jeremy Taylor (fol., London, M.DCLV.) a few remarks, such as might befit a dear old archbishop departing this life. When I come back to dress for dinner, the archbishop is dead on my table in five pages; medicine, topog. raphy, theology, all right, and Jones has gone home to his family some hours. Sir Christopher is the architect of St. Paul's. He has not laid the stones or carried up the mortar. There is a great deal of carpenter's and joiner's work in novels which surely a smart professional hand might supply. A smart professional hand? I give you my word, there seem to me parts of novels - let us say the love-making, the “ business," the villain in the cupboard, and so forth, which I should like to
order John Footman to take in hand, as I desire him to bring the coals and polish the boots. Ask me indeed to pop a robber under a bed, to hide a will which shall be forthcoming in due season, or at my time of life to write a namby-pamby love conversation between Emily and Lord Arthur! I feel ashamed of myself, and especially when my business obliges me to do the love-passages, I blush so, though quite alone in my study, that you would fancy I was going off in an apoplexy. Are authors affected by their own works? I don't know about other gentlemen, but if I make a joke myself I cry; if I write a pathetic scene I am laughing wildly all the time at least Tomkins thinks so. You know I am such a cynic!
The editor of the Cornhill Magazine (no soft and yielding character like his predecessor, but a man of stern resolution) will only allow these harmless papers to run to a certain length. But for this veto I should gladly have prattled over half a sheet more, and have discoursed on many heroes and heroines of novels whom fond memory brings back to me. Of these books I have been a diligent student from those early days, which are recorded at the commencement of this little essay. Oh, delightfol novels, well remembered! Oh, novels, sweet and delicious as the raspberry open-tarts of budding boyhood! Do I forget one night after prayers (when we under-boys were sent to bed) lingering at my cupboard to read one little half-page more of my dear Walter Scott — and down came the monitor's dictionary upon my head! Rebecca, daughter of Isaac of York, I have loved thee faithfully for forty years! Thou wert twenty years old (say) and I but twelve, when I knew thee. At sixty odd, love, most of the ladies of thy Orient race have lost the bloom of youth, and bulged beyond the line of beauty ; but to me thou art ever young and fair, and I will do battle with any felon Teinplar who assails thy fair name.
ON A PEAR-TREE.
A GRACIOUS reader no doubt has remarked that these humble sermons have for subjects some little event which happens at the preacher's own gate, or which falls under his peculiar cognizance. Once, you may remember, we discoursed about a chalk-mark on the door. This morning Betsy, the housemaid,