Imagens das páginas

the story has also attractions of an equally legitimate character. In the neighbourhood where all that is admirable in the poetry of the nineteenth century originated, there appeared an individual whose proceedings gave to the place scarcely less celebrity. He was handsome, accomplished, and apparently high-born, and found no difficulty in gaining access to the best circles, and obtaining the confidence of many highly respectable persons. Among others who were under the influence of his fascinations was a young girl, whose extraordinary beauty was the theme of admiration throughout the country. In the full belief that so very gentlemanlike a person was what he represented himself to be, this rustic belle allowed herself to be wooed and won. Her lover, however, ultimately turned out an adventurer of the worst class-only a slight degree more respectable than our French acquaintance, Robert Macaire. When his true character became known, the effects of the discovery upon his victim may be easily imagined. Nevertheless she played out her part so well, that so effective a story from real life,” as it made was not likely to escape the attention of the novelist. The author of “ James Hatfield and the Beauty of Buttermere,” besides these materials, has sought to give even a more romantic interest to the narrative by the introduction of no less a personage

than the original “ ancient mariner" immortalised by the genius of Coleridge, and by way of variety has furnished us with a picture of Carlton House, containing sketches of the then distinguished personages who moved in the brilliant circle that used to be found within its walls. With so many inducements to read, the reader cannot want from us any further commentary on this singular and interesting production, therefore we will no longer detain him from the enjoyment he may expect from its perusal.



We cannot but imagine Captain Marryatt to have been born under some exceedingly lucky planet—in relation, at least, to his literary ca

What in other men's hands could not fail of being “flat, stale, and unprofitable,” and in various other ways objectionable, often becomes in his, pleasant, clever, and interesting. Of his works of fiction particularly, it is scarcely possible to take up any of them without finding ample amusement; but we doubt whether there is one of the number that will bear a serious examination : most certainly the one before us will not stand this test. Like its predecessors, “ Joseph Rushbrook" is graphic, picturesque, humorous, full of clever sketches of character, and vigorously portrayed scenes; but at the same time it abounds with inconsistencies, 'improbabilities, and puerilities, to an extent that outrages common sense, and, in more than one instance, is not a little offensive to common decency. Nothing can be better in its way than the opening; the author's animated description of the Poacher following his vocation, is only excelled by his more exciting picture further on, of the travellers chased by wolves in their flight from Russia.

When we came to the passage wherein a little boy and Joseph Rushbrook; or, the Poacher. By the author of " Frank Mildmay.” 3 vols.

a little girl are the principal personages, we could not help doubting it was written by the same hand; the whole treatment of the story, however, satisfied us on this point. We will here give its outline, and a very singular outline it is.

Joseph Rushbrook is first introduced to the reader as the son of a retired soldier, following the occupation of a poacher, who discovering treachery in one of his comrades, very deliberately decoys him out at night and shoots him through the heart. The deed is seen by young Joseph, who to save his father, makes it appear as if it had been committed by himself, and then takes flight. On the coroner's inquest the boy is found guilty of the murder, and a reward of two hundred pounds offered for his apprehension. Joseph finds his way to London, and enters into the service of a Captain O'Donahue, an Irish fortune. hunter, who was an officer in his father's regiment; and soon after, becomes acquainted with another gentleman of the same habits and mode of thinking, called Major McShane. These two fortune-hunters meet with very different fortunes, though either is much too good for such adventurers. The first marries a Polish Princess, a ward of the Emperor of Russia, of course, an immense heiress, whom he succeeds in carrying off from St. Petersburg. The other marries the keeper of a cook-shop in Holborn, who although wealthy, continues to carve beef for her customers long after she is the major's lady. Joseph is ultimately put to school by the major, whose name he takes; but is discovered by a person who knew him in his native village, and flies from his kind friends. He then enters into the service of a bum-boat woman at Gravesend, one of the best drawn characters in the work, to whom he makes himself very useful in the capacity of clerk, but is again driven from his retreat by the appearance in the neighbourhood of the same person who made him take to his heels before.

In company with a young woman, who is undoubtedly “no better than she should be,” he wanders about the country in search of employment, and at last arrives at a fine house belonging to a gentleman of fortune, where his companion is engaged as a servant, and himself driven from it by creating a brawl in the kitchen. And whose mansion does the reader imagine this to be? It is the house of his own father, who has unexpectedly succeeded to considerable property, and lives in it in splendour, whilst his son is flying for his life for a crime that the father committed. The next wonderful thing that happens to Joseph is, his falling in company with a travelling tinker, who talks sentiment, but though he follows the same mode of earning a livelihood as our Sapphic acquaintance, he is no “needy knife-grinder." Nor does he attempt to excuse himself to any friend of humanity by saying " story I have none to tell, sir,” for his is indeed a story.' 'He is a gentleman, forsooth, and only practises in the tinkering way for his amusement. He quotes Shakspeare and speaks philosophically, and with no better artillery than "scissors to grind and kettles to mend,” he lays siege to the heart of the beautiful daughter of a wealthy squire, with whom he elopes to Gretna Green, leaving his wheel and his other worldly goods a legacy to his young companion. We next find Joseph a junior partner in a house of business at Portsmouth, making money and making love equally fast, but from these snug quarters he is chased by the same cause which had previously made him a wanderer. He goes to London, and being one night at Vauxhall Gardens he assists a young gentleman of fortune, whom he has never seen before, in running off with the daughter of a wealthy Rabbi, but is soon afterwards implicated in a fray in which her relatives are concerned. This leads to his apprehension for the murder committed seven years before, and in due time he is tried, found guilty, and ordered for execution. His father all this time appears to have given himself very little concern about him, though far from comfortable, from the dread of a discovery of his own guilt. He is found out by his former officers, Joseph's old patrons, the fortunate fortune-hunters, and in their zeal for the son they behave so harshly to the father, that he suddenly takes to his bed and dies. The end is, of course, that Joseph Rushbrook, alias McShane, alias O'Donahue, alias Spikeman, alias Austin, with a few other aliases, is released from prison, and, we have no doubt, is “ blessed with a numerous offspring,” according to the law made and provided for all such cases. Captain Marryatt hurries one along his narrative in so lively a manner that all the eager brood of novel readers he is sure of. It is not more true that the woman who hesitates is lost, than that the reader who hesitates over the

pages of Joseph Rushbrook is lost to the author. If he can only make his judgment a sleeping partner with his imagination, the adventures of the young poacher are sure to be remarkably pleasing. We hope that the volumes will be read under these circumstances, and that the reader may relish the talent evident in the work, which goes far to make the most unnatural things entertaining reading, and excites in us an admiration even of such doubtful characters as the Irish officers, such a disreputable one as Nancy of Gravesend, and such an improbable one as the elder Rushbrook. We hope also it will not enter into his head to look for a moral in the poacher's story, for when he remarks that extraordinary good fortune attends nearly all those who least deserve it, he may be reduced by such examples to exclaim, “Evil, be thou my good !” and follow a mode of life likely to end in misery and disgrace.


“ Novel writing," says the author of this work, “is much like l'art de fuire la cuisine. There must be salting, peppering, basting, skimming, simmering.

The little soupçon of garlic, cleverly insinuated to heighten the flavour, the imperceptible taste of acid, to make it still more grateful, the cayenne administered with the minute hand of the artiste, and so on; and then the plain, wholesome joints introduced in order not to surfeit the epicure too much with the rich dishes. Now, methinks this story will be considered to partake too much of the insipid boiled mutton, not sufficiently spicy for the racy taste of the present day.” As far as regards the boiled mutton impeachment, we are afraid the writer is very near the truth, though the analogy sought to be made out in the previous part of the sentence we have quoted we do not think could be so readily established.

“ The Little Wite" is not to our taste. The whole current of the story, notwithstanding the traces of talent to be met with here and there, (the sketch of Mrs. De la Grace

The Little ; Wife and the Baronet's Daughters. By Mrs. Grey, Author of "The Young Prima Donna,” “The Duke.” 3 vols.

and her family bearing them most prominently), runs a feeble course to a weak conclusion. The heroine, ihe wife of an earl be it remembered, young, beautiful, and accomplished, is introduced to the reader washing her lap-dog. We are told that“ the instant the countess turned her head, and saw her husband, who had advanced close behind her, shewas in his arms, uttering an exclamation of She had not even waited to detach from her hands the soap-suds with which they were covered, but threw her arms round his neck, and almost smothered him with kisses." A little further on it is stated that “ she hastily wiped her pretty fingers, still dripping with soap and water and sparkling with diamonds, and other precious stones, on the coarse apron which she had on, and had evidently borrowed from one of the housemaids, affording a ridiculous contrast to the splendid purple velvet dress she wore. She untied it, and threw it, looking a little ashamed, on one side. She then pulled down her sleeves, which had been tucked up to her elbows, and endeavoured to adjust in a degree her locks, which had been put into some disorder by her having leant over the steam of the hot-water in which she had been persecuting the unfortunate animal.” Surely this is the most nudoubted boiled mutton, without, too, the slightest atom of caper sauce!

We have only to add that the “ Little Wife" is united to a husband old enough to be her father, who has a handsome young secretary domesticated with him. The latter falls madly, or rather foolishly in love with his patron's little wife, who is entirely devoted to her amiable lord and master, and she is at last obliged to send the amorous jackanapes about his business. All, however, ends very comfortably, the young lover soon afterwards meeting with another young lady, with whom he is smitten in consequence of her likeness to the fair heroine of the soap-suds, and is allowed to marry her although she is the daughter of an earl, and he the son of a noblenian's steward.

The story of “ The Baronet's Daughters,” which succeeds “ The Little Wife,” is of a totally different stamp, being just as natural, interesting, and graceful, as the other is improbable, feeble, and ineffective. This is a family picture in which the portraits are drawn with a striking individuality, and a tone of good taste and feeling we could not have anticipated from a perusal of the preceding narrative. So faithful, and at the same time so delightful, a picture of domestic life in the higher circles is quite new to us, and we gladly acknowledge our admiration of this production from beginning to end. In the form of an autobiography of one of the five or six daughters of a baronet of large fortune, the author has put forth a story of the most touching interest. It is by no means an easy task to develop a family history so as to make the reader feel a powerful interest for all its membersyet this difficulty is here accomplished, apparently without an effort, and the reader who rises from the last volume, must do so with a degree of gratification, with which it is not likely he has been very familiar. Grateful for the pleasure the perusal of ** The Baronet's Daughters," has afforded us, we express our earnest hope that Mrs. Grey will endeavour to show in all her future productions the same tact and taste she has exhibited so conspicuously in this admirable story. Let her do this, and eschew “ the insipid boiled mutton," and there is no doubt she may not only satisfy the prevailing taste, but attain a very respectable station in the department of literature in which she is employing her talents.




by, 330

the ;


ALBRECHTSBERGER, musician, 159

Campbell, Major Calder, The Quiet Cell,
Alleyn, Memoirs of Edward (cotemporary

of Shakspeare), by John Payne Collier, Census and the Non Sensus for 1841,
Esq., F.S.A., reviewed, 135

by p., 302
Amsterdam, city of, 265

Ceylon, island of, 49
Arabian borses, description of several fa. Chantilly, races at, 183

mous, 186-Merits and demerits of, 190 Charles Chesterfield, the Youth of Genius,
Arcadia, bandits of, described by an Officer the Life and Adventures of, by Mrs. Trol-
in the Greek service, 397

lope, 58, 239, 332, 507
Autumnal Roses: from the Italian of fila- Chateaubriand, 'viscount de, 231 ; -
caja, 233

Chatterton, Lady, Home Sketches and Fo-

reign Recollections, by, reviewed, 134
Bajazet Gag; the Manager in search of a China, Account of the Expedition to the
“ Star,” by Douglas Jerrold, Esq., 369 Island of Chusan, &c., by Lord Jocelyn,

reviewed, 418
Barrington, Hon. Daines, his table of the Collier, John Payne, Esq., F.S.A., Memoirs

comparative merits of singing-birds, 329, of Edward Alleyn, by, reviewed, 135

Cooley, W. B., The Negroland of the Arabs,
Battle Symphony, the, by Beethoven, 164 by, noticed, 427
Beethoven, by George Hogarth, Esq., 157 Cossack horses matched against English,
Bequeathed Heart, the ; a Tale, by R. B. 195, 196
Peake, Esq., 26

Cuckoo, the, 311
Berryer, an Hour or two with, 228
Birds, interesting account of various singing, Damer, Hon. Mrs. S. L. Dawson, her Diary

of a Tour in Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and
Blanchard, Laman, Esq., A Passage in the the Holy Land, reviewed, 278

Life of Orlando Scrubb, by, 115—Wanted Debtor and Creditor; or, an Old Account
a Neighbour, by, 252

newly stated, by u., 17
Blessington, Countess of, The Idler in De Clifford; or, The Constant Man, by R.
France, by, reviewed, 420

Plumer Ward, Esq., reviewed, 129
Bordeaux, duke de, 235

Dibdin, Charles, Songs Naval and Na-
Borrow, G., Esq., his Account of the Gyp- tional of the late, with a Memoir and Ad-
sies of Spain, reviewed, 230

denda; edited by Thomas Dibdin, with
Bourse, the, of Paris described, 105

Characteristic Sketches by George
Brande, W. T., F.R.S.L., &c., Dictionary of Cruiksbank, reviewed, 423

Science, Literature, and Art, by, noticed, D'Orsay, Count, 18%

Drawing-room, Talleyrandism of the, by
Bullar, J., M.D., and H. Bullar, Esq., their Miles Gerald Keon, Esq., 406, 486

Description of the Azores islands, and Dryden, John, excellence of his prose com-
the Baths of Furnas, &c., reviewed, 419 positions, 82

2 Q

« AnteriorContinuar »