Imagens das páginas

Maynard, the “great fortune," and the amiable Fanny Hartopp, whose affectionate qualifications made her an object of preference to the “Moneyed Man," despite her want of wealth, and notwithstanding the sterling attractions of her equally fair rival, are displayed at full length, and with a proper attention to individuality. We will not follow Mark Hawkwood through his vicissitudes-for these he has, and very extraordinary some of them are—because it would necessarily diminish the interest the story will create when it is read : but it may be satisfactory to the reader to know that the leaven of selfishness, at first so conspicuous in his character as to be in some degree repulsive, is at last thoroughly removed : his purse-pride, folly, and uncharitableness, give place to more wholesome characteristics, and after passing through much well-deserved suffering, he becomes acquainted--under somewhat less imposing circumstances than had surrounded him as the Moneyed Man"—with that happiness to which he had previously been a stranger.


The poetical works of this accomplished prelate are here presented to the world in an elegant and convenient form, and to every reader blessed with a refined taste the volume cannot but be highly acceptable. The merit of Bishop Heber's classical and religious poems is too well known to need further commendation; but the scholar and the divine occasionally took on himself a lighter character, and allowed a polished and graceful wit to be the presiding influence over his genius. The “ serio-comic oriental romance," called “Blue Beard," and the no less amusing “ Boke of the Purple Faucon,” to be found in this collection, show how pleasantly this excellent man could unbend from his graver studies. We believe that all the compositions of this nature in the volume are additions hitherto not published, or at least not recognised as proceeding from his lordship's pen: but they prove his willingness to add to the innocent pleasures of life whilst fulfilling the most responsible duties of the sacred profession of which he was so zealous and so distinguished a member. The mind that could turn from the composition of the eloquent hymns that make so admirable a feature in these poems, to the amusing subjects to which we have alluded, must have been of that rare organization which comprehends the most sublime equally with the most familiar, and can procure from each materials for such pure enjoyments as most materially contribute to the general happiness.

* The Poetical Works of Reginald Heber, late Bishop of Calcutta.


We are not about entering into the discussion of church-rates, tithes, the voluntary system, or dissenting meeting-houses. Our readers will know that such matters are foreign to our class of literature, and to the subjects which engage our attention. The volume before us, falling, however, under the category of religious novels rather than of church history, is fully entitled to a passing notice. We wish we could give it more-but were we to transgress the rule we have laid down on these subjects, we should establish, at least for ourselves, a dangerous precedent. The dedication, which is as follows, will explain the object of the work, which throughout is written with great spirit and force.


“ This little history is dedicated, in the humble hope that its publication at the present eventful period in the History of the Church to which they are at tached, and at whose altar they minister in holy things, may tend to excite them more zealously than ever to vindicate her rights and maintain her supremacy against the multiplied and increasing attacks of her united assailants, accompanied by the desire that it may also serve to instruct the laity of that church in the absurdities, contradictions, errors, and dangers of modern dissentism.

The plot of the work is the history of a modern dissenting family, the founder of which became a dissenter from personal pique and disappointment; and the last member of which, convinced of the errors (so called) of dissent, returned to that church from which his ancestor had separated. The origin of dissenting sects, their failings, their political character, and their varied internal divisions, give abundant scope to the author, who is a zealous and able episcopalian. Since the Velvet Cushion" of the Vicar of Harrow, no book has appeared, of this class of publication, so likely to attract attention and lead to controversy. Some scenes are most amusing, others touching and affecting, and all are graphic.


It was scarcely possible for Mr. Serle to have chosen for his debut in the arena of prose fiction a more attractive subject, or one affording more ample scope for an effective display of the imagination than the adventures of the celebrated Joan of Arc. Her pretensions to figure prominently in the page of romance, do not rest entirely upon the highly romantic features that distinguished her brilliant career. Her life presents materials of more lasting interest, because they appeal

My Life. By an Ex-Dissenter. + Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans. By Thomas James Serle, author of “Master Clark,” &c. 3 vols.

more directly to human sympathies; and we have been much gratified by perceiving the admirable use which has been made in these volumes of such materials. As one of the most interesting of the worthies of France, it is natural enough that by French authors her history and character should have been treated in every way the various divisions of modern literature would allow. In prose and verse—in biography, history, and fiction—in the drama and the ballad, the Maid of Orleans has long been a favourite theme. Painting has assisted literature in helping to secure the immortality of her name—and lastly, but more certainly than either,ʻsculpture, in the person of the ablest of her handmaids, the lamented Princess Marie, has done all that genius could perform to the same ennobling purpose. But Joan of Arc is scarcely less the property of English history than of French, and although our historical associations in connexion with her name may not be of the most flattering kind, there is still left for patriotism ample consolation in the knowledge, that the fairest portion of the fair kingdom of France was the well-earned reward of the valour of our ancestors, and it was only wrested from the dominion of the conquerors by a supernatural stimulus in their opponents, and a want of adequate knowledge and vigour in the councils of England. There were brave men undoubtedly among the leaders of the English army in France, but opposed to a superstition that excited their enemies to a degree of frenzy that made them almost irresistible, and depressed their own men, so that resistance seemed hopeless, whilst they were kept without adequate reinforcements, and efficient counsel from home, the reverses they met with must be regarded as mere matters of course. Whatever odium rests upon the English cause by the fate which ultimately attended the nobleminded girl, ten times greater disgrace must cling to the French. The English soldiers looked upon their prisoner as an enemy, from whom they had received the deepest injuries and degradations, and according to the superstition of the time they very reasonably regarded her as a witch. In either case, it was natural they should wish to get rid of her. Her own countrymen were bound by the strongest feelings of gratitude to make every possible effort for her preservation. She had saved them at their most imminent need, but when she was placed by her devotion to them in a situation of similar peril, they appeared glad to have the opportunity of getting rid of her, and ought by every principle of justice to be looked upon both as her judges and executioners. Her story is so well known that it can be necessary only to allude to the skill with which Mr. Serle has adapted it to the purposes of romance-adding to it additional interest by the effective manner in which he introduces the proper characteristic accessories, making at once a stirring picture of the times, and a highly interesting fiction. The localities also are described with a most picturesque effect—owing to the care he has taken to have them faithfully drawn by personal observation of every scene rendered remarkable by its connexion with the heroine. Joan of Arc therefore has every prospect of becoming as universal a favourite with the romance-reader in England, as she has so long been amongst those of her own countrymen.






Tuese questions were precisely those which Colonel Bruff most particularly desired to ask his host, inasmuch as besides having taken the trouble—for pleasure to him it certainly was none—to pay the Amershams a visit, in order to find something out, which it evidently appeared did not exist, he had also written to Sir George, and his hopeful son at Brighton, detailing his intentions, and moreover giving his reasons for putting them into execution ; so that as it appeared to him at the moment, he had not only made himself a fool on the main point, but had exerted his energies in order to record his folly by communicating to the Grindles the object of his rural excursion.

And now, where was Frank Grindle ? and why was he not where he had been invited and was expected ?

Annoyed by his absence, and alarmed at his silence, Amersham had, as we know, resolved to visit him, in order to offer him assistance, advice, or consolation, whichever he might appear to require. He went, and found him perfectly well in health, although certainly not in spirits, and on the very point of writing him a letter marked“ private and confidential,the contents of which, however, in consequence of his arrival, was thrown into the form of conversation.

“ My letter,” said Frank, “would have explained to you the difficulties by which I am assailed ; and although delighted to see you here, and most grateful for your considerate attentions, I think I could have expressed myself better in writing than in words, because what I have to say involves, as I feel, something exceedingly like an imputation of vanity, which I most earnestly and anxiously should wish to avoid. However, since you are here, you shall know my feelings, and of course my intentions.”

“ I think,” said Amersham," as to the imputation of vanity, you may set your heart at rest; for let your determination be based on what it may, I will stake my existence that vanity has no share in the decision."


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“Well then,” said Frank Grindle, “ if you give me as much credit for the absence of vanity as I give you credit for sincerity, I will explain to you briefly and concisely the cause of my absence from your house. The fact is simply and plainly this: you have, as you told me in your hospitable invitation, a young lady staying with you who is engaged to my brother —”

Well,” interrupted Amersham, “ that was the very reason I expected you. In families _

“ Families," again interrupted Frank; “I anticipate what you are going to say ; but such families as ours, my dear Mr. Amersham, are luckily not often to be found. Every action of my life, even from my earliest youth, has been misjudged by my father, and misrepresented by others of my connexions; in short, I will be candid and plain with you at once: such is the spirit of opposition which exists towards me, that although—and this is the point upon which I feel it difficult to touch— I have not seen my future sister-in-law, Miss Bruff, more than three or four times, but I am convinced that my going to you while she is your guest, would be construed into an attempt to thwart the views of my father and brother, and to secure her affections for myself; although I do assure you that —"

-“I want no further confidence,” said Amersham ; “I see the position in which you feel yourself placed, and even although the circumstance deprives us of the pleasure of receiving you, I am not sorry, since such are your feelings, that I mentioned her being with us — she is, as we have known for many years, a most delightful person.

“ The extent of my wishes," said Francis-not, however, that the expression of his countenance altogether verified his admission,—"is, that she may be happy with my half-brother. He is clever, gay, popular, and dissipated ; but I do fear that for domestic happiness he is not entirely calculated. However, as I am not going to you, I propose to-morrow starting to my father at Brighton, where, as of course you know, he and George are staying. I will once more tender the olive-branch, and endeavour, now that I am actually in possession of a much larger fortune than I ever coveted, to see if I can convince them of the sincerity of my affection, and as regards my father, the perfect feeling of duty which I owe him. I admit that neither the pursuits nor associations in which they delight are compatible with my feelings-not only of propriety, for I am no preacher—but with my ideas of rational comfort or reasonable pleasure; I have been trained in a different school, and, to what they consider my shame, am of a domestic turn. I love science and the arts, and esteem all those who are eminent in them, and find delight, in the society of those who have the means and inclination to enjoy and encourage them—such feelings lead me into totally different circles of society from those in which they move, and hence for no reason which can be reasonably adduced, I am denounced as a rebel, and an opponent to all their wishes. Not I ;-all I ask is, let me go my own way, having not the slightest inclination to interfere with theirs. Hence have arisen our differences, I believe, and, as I tell you, if I ever venture to remonstrate—which is the very head and front of my offending,' upon the language in which George is in the habit of indulging, my presumption is treasonable; and thus, my dear Mr. Amer

« AnteriorContinuar »