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recreations, or in devotional exer- of imagination, cannot be fairly cises : it is desirable also on many visited with a total banishment of accounts to promote among them this branch of literature, without a taste for reading, which cannot applying the same rule to many be altogether done by means of other classes of works, including a treatises of dry and abstract ar. very large proportion of those which gument. Here then is a fair.openare among the very best for the ing for books of an innocent family fire-side. One chief class and amusing character ; such as of works of imagination, namely, voyages, travels, the lighter arts poetry, is found, even by religious and sciences, poetry, and many of parents, to be not only a valuable the papers in periodical and other literary amusement for young pere publications. The chief, though sons, but an excellent vehicle for by no means ibe only danger, is in instruction and the promotion of the admission of works purely of right feelings; provided (as it must imagination. As for doubtful sen- be also in the case of works not of timents, injudicious expressions, imagination) a due exercise of piety and exceptionable facts and allu- and judgment is made in the sesions, it is hard to say how they lection. There is then, in fact, nocan be wholly exeluded, even where thing, strictly speaking, in works of works of fiction are most strictly imagination, which is malum per se; shut out. There are comparative and yet, as our readers will disly few books of light reading, even cover in the course of our remarks, of a useful kind, in which a prudent we perceive so much that is ex, Christian parent inay not detect ceptionable in the general, and alpassages which he could wish alter- most inevitable, accompaniments of ed or omilted. The most moral such works, that we should be in. writers, unless they are sincere clined to lean more towards the Cbristians, are apt to introduce extreme, for an extreme it would unscriptural principles and motives; certainly be, of total prohibition and even sincere Christians are iban of unlimited indulgence. not always men of good taste, and In order to make the necessary enlightened judgment, or conscious distinctions which belong to the of what will bear reading, word subject, and to lay our ideas befor word, in a family circle. In all fore our readers in some degree these cases, the best safeguard is of order, we shall venture to clas, the vivavoce comment of a judicious sify works of imagination under parent or frieod; and where this ibree heads :: can be bad, many a work may be First, Those which are written read with advantage, which, if with an obviously bad intention. studied in silence and solitude, Secondly, Those which are writ. would have been bighly dangerous ten with no definite intention at all, to a youthful mind.

except fame or profit to the author, It is clear, then, that works of and amusement to the reader. imagination cannot be condemned Thirdly, Those which are writat once and in the gross, simply on ' ten with a positively good intenaccount of there being a supposed tion. impropriety in exercising the par. Of those which come fairly unticular faculty of mind to which der the first of these classes we they appeal; for the joiagination, sball say very little ; since it cannot as we have seen, is not necessarily be necessary, we should hope, to a vehicle of evil, and may even be warb any person who can read so made a vehicle of good. It is grave a page as ours, that such equally clear also, that an occasion works are wholly and peremptorily al occurrence of wrong sentiments inadmissible. They will not bear a or other partial deformities, in works question: they are clearly contraband; they ought not to be written; pages are generally obaracterised tbey ougbt not to be sold ; they by a decorum which forms a pleasought not to be read. Of this class ing contrast to the licentious and are some of the productions, espe- inflammatory representations of cially among the later ones, of Lord too many of his brother novelists, Byron. The most unbounded Chris. Richardson himself not excepted. tian charity cannot give the authors To admit bis gigantic powers would of such works as those to which be superfluous; we take these for we allude, credit for a single right granted; it is of moral qualities feeling or good motive in obtrud, only that we are now speaking. ing them on the world. The pu. And as we have frankly allowed blications themselves may evince that the author has no serious wish more or less of genius in their to do mischief, we think he cannot composition; they may be patriæ refuse to admit, in return, that he cian or plebeian; they may be poe has as little decided aim to effect tical or prosaic ; they may be conany moral good. He evidently cocted in the regions of Castalia loves writing; be seems not averse and Hippocrene, or in the purlieus to fame; and probably has no ob of Grub-street or the Fleet-ditch; jection to pecuniary remuneration : they may issue from the loyal press and all these three points appear to of Mr. Murray, or the radical press be united in his present scheme of of Mr. Hone; they may be "got authorship. He doubtless further up" for rose-wood tables and wishes his works to stand well with velvet sofas, or for tap-rooms and the respectable part of the public; ale-house benches; but, whatever and as a moral man himself, he their extrinsic circumstances, their could have no desire to supplant mischievous character is so palpa, good morals in others. Still, we ble that they caonot for a moment should judge, that positive utility be tolerated by any man who is is quite a secondary object with worthy of the name of a Christian, him: where it falls in with the and therefore surely need not form agreeable, so far all is well ; but the subject of discussion or ani. farther than this probably does not madversion in the pages of the appear to him necessary. SomeChristian Observer.

ibing of this kind we can conceive The second class, and that which to be the fair balance between the will engross the greater part of author and his conscience; and our intended remarks, consists of we are willing to argue the case on works of imagination, (chiedly works this temperate and not unreasonof tictitious parrative,) written able supposition. without any positive intention of We shall not scruple then to say, mischief, and with as little serious that it is with feelings of very conintention of doing good ; and of siderable regret that we witness wbich the object is to assist the the prodigal expenditure of time, purse or the literary reputation of and genius, and “talents," (we use The author, and to amuse and in the word in its theological as well as terest the reader. In this class we literary acceptation,) which occurs place the Waverley Novels. We in the volumes of the author of cheerfully acquit tbe writer of aoy Waverley. We cannot but think bad intention; we even ackoow that such splendid powers of imaledge, with pleasure, that he has gination and intellect were bestowed on many occasions done willing by Providence, for far higher purhomage to virtue; and, if we except poses than novel writing: we canthe offensive oaths and profane ex not but fear that thirty-nine clamations which are sometimes yolumes of mere tales, without any found in the mouths of the per good or useful object in view, will sonages whom he has created, his form a sorry item in the final ac

CHRIST. OBSERV, No. 243. Y

ren.

count of a buman being thus gifted, tice, and which he will be anxious and respor:sible for the application not to transgress or even to apof his time, bis faculties, and his proach. It is not for us to judge opportunities of glorifying God, between any individual and his and benefiting mankind. Perhaps, conscience; or between his conindeed, this sort of language may science and his Maker; but we may furnish a good subject for the play- be permitted to lament, that the ful ridicule with which the author vast powers expended on the voluis accustomed to visit the Puritani- minous productions which have cal and Presbyterian offences of called forth these remarks, were former days. We believe, how- not devoted to some object of less ever, that not only the public, dubious benefit to the world, and but the author himself, would be whicb, on a death-bed, might perlittle disposed to treat with levity, baps have given greater satisfaction and as mere cant, such terms and in the retrospect to the unknown ideas as "moral responsibility;" a author himself. “ state of probation;" and

But it is not with the writer, but dering an account to God at the with bis works, and their effects on day of judgment, for every idle the public, that we are chiefly conword as well as vicious deed;" and cerned. Our object in the followwe will not deny that thoughts of ing pages is to shew the tendency this nature involuntarily force them of the taste, at present so prevalent, selves on our minds as often as we for trifling reading, particularly in witness men of extraordinary pow. the article of fictitious narrative. ers wasting their energies year after We have not chosen the tales of year in worthless pursuits, “ which the author of Waverley as our imcannot protit, for they are vain.” mediate subject, on account of We would not willingly be fastidious their being among the worst species or uncharitable ; we would not dry of novels, but precisely because up the fountains of elegant litera. of mere povels they are among the ture, or lay a rude embargo on the best : they are less inflammatory, lighter productions of taste and less morbid, and far more manly imagination ; we would not make and intellectual than most of ibeir religion to consist in an austere re- fellow.culprits. Indeed, by many nunciation of innocent recreations, thorough novel-readers, they are or restrict either authors or their considered somewhat tame; the readers 10 the graver departments very complaint is made against them of divinity and philosophy; but which the French have soo long we must ever contend for that great urged against Miss Edgeworth, that Christian principle, “Whether ye her works want “sentiment;" in eat or drink, or whatever ye do, short, that they are destitute of do all to the glory of God." the voluptuousness which most Rigid as this principle may at first readers look for in a novel. AM sight appear, it is not so in reality; this is so much in their favour, that for the glory of God may be as in selecting them as our "point certaiuly, though not as direcily or d'appui,” we are giving every ad. obviously, consulted in a due in- vantage to the panegyrist of noveldulgence in any proper recreation, reading, and taking the ground useful for the resection of the least favourable to our own argumind, as in the gravest pursuits of ment. We think, however, we shall business or charity. But in all be able to shew, that the general 1 hese things ibere is a line of boun« tendency of a habit of novel-readdary aud demarcation not easy to ing, even were no individual novel be formally defined, but which a more exceptionable than one of the conscientious Christian will readily Waverley Tales, is to a high degree ascertain in his own case in prae- inexpedient and injurious.-We select “The Pirate," not because even his son Mordaunt Merloun it is the best or the worst, either in is unacquainted with bis history, a moral or a literary point of view, and is scarcely ever permitted to of the works of this celebrated enter into conversation with him. author, but because it happens Mordaunt Mertoun is of course as to be the last. As a work of ge- handsome, generous, and brave, as nius, it stands much lower than the writer can make him : and as many of the former productions the society of bis fatber's old housefrom his pen, though still suffici- keeper is not particularly to his ently high to challenge no mean taste, he takes the opportunity, intellectual suffrage: in its moral during Mr. Mertoun's periodical aspect, it may be about on a parfits of silence and abstraction, with them; though in one respect, called his “ dark hour," to visit it is above several of them, as it Burgh Westra, where he is a geneexhibits a much smaller, though ral favourite from the lowest of unhappily still ample, portion of ir. the islanders, to the rich, hospitareverence for the words and sen- ble, open-bearted Udaller, and his timents of the sacred Scriptures. engaging daughters, Minna and

To compromise matters with our Brenda, whose characters and ocyounger readers, we shall now give cupations are thus described:an outline of the tale, with a few extracts, upon condition that, in

“ Their mother had been dead for return, they shall condescend to peruse the general reflections upon beautiful girls; the eldest only eighteen,

many years, and they were now two ihe subject, which we propose to which might be a year or two younger subjoin *.

than Mordaunt Mertoun ; the second The scene of the novel before about seventeen. They were the joy us is laid in the island of Thule, of their father's heart, and the light of called the Mainland of Shetland, or his old eyes; and although indulged to Zetland : towards the conclusion a degree which might have eudangered of the tale, il changes to Kirkwall, his comfort and their own, they repaid the capital of the Orkney islands. his affection with a love into which On Sumburgh Head, the south

even blind indulgence had not intro

duced slight regard ur feminine caeast promontory of the Mainland, price. The difference of their tempers stood a ruined mansion, called and of their complexions was singularly Jarlshof, which had been in ancient striking, although combined, as is usual, days the residence of a Norwegian with a certain degree of family resemEarl of Orkney, and now belong- blance. ed to the Udaller, or Fowd, of « The mother of these maidens had Burgh Westra, Magous Troil, a been a Scottish lady from the Highdescendant from the Norse lords lands of Sutherland, the orphan of a of these isles. The Udaller him. noble chief, who, driven from his own self resided at Burgh Westra, country during the feuds of the sevenabout twenty miles from Jarlshof, those peaceful islands, which, amidst

teenth century, had found shelter in in a more sheltered and productive poverty and seclusion, were thus far part of the island, and leased the happy, that they remained unvexed by stormy mansion of Sumburgh Head discord, and unstained by civil broil. to Mr. Basil Mertoun, a gentleman The father (his name was Saint Clair) who had lately arrived in the is- pined for his native glen, his feudal Jand. Basil Mertoun is so morose,

tower, his clansmen, and his fallen autaciturn, and misanthropical, that thority, and died not long after his ar

rival in Zetland. The beauty of his

orphan daughter, despite her Scottish • In abridging this work, we have lineage, melted the stout heart of Magpartially availed ourselves of an ab- nus Troil. He sned and was listened to, stract given in a contemporary publi and she became his bride; but dying.in cation.

the fifth year of their

union,

left him to

mourn his brief period of domestic her sister, as they differed in character, happiness.

taste, and expression. Her profuse « From her mother, Minna inherited locks were of that paly brown wbich the stately form and dark eyes, the receives from the passing sun-beam a raven locks and finely-pencilled brows, tinge of gold, but darkens again when which shewed she was, on one side at the ray has passed from it. Her eye, least, a stranger to the blood of Thule. her mouth, the beautiful row of teeth, Her check,

wbich, io ber innocent vivacity, were “O call it fair, not pale, frequently disclosed; the fresh, yet not was so slightly and delicately tinged too bright, glow of a bealthycomplexion, with the rose, that many thought the tingiog a skin like the drifted snow, lily bad an undne proportion in ber spoke her genuine Scandinavian decomplexion. But in that predominance scent. A fairy form, less tall than that of the paler flower, there was nothing of Minna, but even more finely moulded sickly or languid: it was the true natu. into symmetry—a careless and almost ral complexion of health, and corres- childish lightness of step-an eye that ponded in a peculiar degree with fea• seemed to look ou every object with tures which seemed calculated to ex- pleasure, from a natural and serene press a contemplative and high-minded cheerfulness of disposition, attracted character. When Minna Troil heard a even more general admiration than the tale of woe or of injustice, it was then charms of her sister, though perhaps her blood rushed to her cheeks, and that which Minna did excite, might be shewed plainly how warm it beat, not- of a more intense as well as a more rewithstanding the generally serious, verential character. composed, and retiring disposition, " The dispositions of these lovely which her countenance and demeanour sisters were not less different than their seemed to exhibit. If strangers some complexious. In the kindly affections, tiges conceived that these fine features neither could be said to excel the other, were clouded by melancholy, for which so much were they attached to their her age and situation could scarce have father and to each other. But the given occasion, they were soon satis- cheerfulness of Brenda mixed itself fied, opon further acquaintance, that with the every day business of life, and the placid, mild quietude of her dispo- seemed inexhaustible in its profusion. sition, and the mental energy of a cha. The less buoyant spirit of her sister apracter which was but little interested in peared to bring to society a contented ordinary and trivial occurrences, was wish to be interested and pleased with the real cause of her gravity; and most what was going forward, but was rather men, when they knew that her melan- placidly carried along with the stream choly had 10 ground in real sorrow, and of mirth and pleasure, than disposed was only the aspiration of a soul bent on to aid its progress by any efforts of her more important objects than those by own. She endured mirth, rather than wbich she was surrounded, might have enjoyed it; and the pleasures in which wished her whatever conld add to her she most delighted, were those of a happiness, but could scarce have de graver and more solitary cast. The sired that, graceful as she was iu her knowledge which is derived from books. natural and unaffected, seriousness, she was beyond her reach. Zetland afford. should change that deportment for one ed few opportunities, in those days, of more gay. In short, notwithstanding studying the lessons bequeathed our wish to have avoided that hackney. “ By dead men'to their kind; ed simile of an angel, we cannot avoid and Magnus Troil, such as we have desaying there was something in the seri. scribed him, was not a person within ous beauty of her aspect, in the mea- whose mapsion the means of such know. sured, yet graceful, ease of her motions, ledge was to be acquired. But the in the music of her voice, and the serene book of nature was before Minna, that parity of her eye, that seemed as if noblest of volumes, where we are ever Minna Troil belonged naturally to some called to wonder aud to admire, even higher and better sphere, and was only when we cannot understand. The plants the chance visitant of a world that was of those wild regions, the shells on the scarce worthy of her.

shores, and the long list of feathered “ The scarcely less beantlful, equally clans which haunt their cliffs and eyries, lovely, and equally innocent Brenda, were as well known to Minna Troil as was of a complexion as differing from to the most experienced of the fowlers.

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