Imagens das páginas

the latter of an absconding son, who is evinces, however, a sharp insight into the yet all the while just under his nose, is workings of human motive, marking the utterly improbable, and full of mystery nicest distinctions and shades of character where there need be no mystery; yet the with a keen, firm touch, and without those incidents are developed with dramatic skill. strong and exaggerated contrasts, whicb But as one sees the end a long way ahead, are too often evidences of confused concepthe details of the last chapters are painfully tions, and imperfect execution. Miss Ida protracted. The close, therefore, is not so Rose, the heroine, is not exactly an origina! agreeable as the beginning. Indeed the creation, but is a well-defined and skilfully opening chapters present a fine idylic pic- developed character, and “Charley” and ture, wbich we wishuhad been continued, Mr. Lacy are agreeably drawn, while Miss with less of the intrigue and passion wbich Josephine is almost too much of a vixen for mar the latter part. After the free, bright the refined society in which she is allowed air of the Highland region, one gets slightly to circulate. There is more mutual comsuffocated with the crowd and heat of New placency and admiration, too, among the York. All parties being finally restored leading friends than is compatible with a to the Highlands, we suppose we ought to true social intercourse. But the tone of forgive the temporary interruption; but the work is subdued, the pictures, generally, we shall not. The fact is, that we are in good keeping, and the religious spirit heartily weary of these novels of passion, healthful and liberal. The greatest defect which try to "pile up the agony” of our which occurs to us, is that the incidents are poor human nature. Life has enough of expanded until they become monotonous. trouble in its realities, without the aid of A considerable number of people are introfictitious additions. Let the public insist, duced, who have nothing really to do with therefore, upon more fun, more odd and the plot, and are quite unnecessary as acceswhimsical character, more quiet and genial sories. On the whole, we have been both scenes, more open and hearty freedom, entertained and instructed by this novel, more serene and lofty art, and less inten- in spite of the too evident self-satisfaction sity, heat, torture, and heart-breaking, on of the whole company. the part of our nascent novelists. Our -- But if Alone is a true picture of fictitious literature appears to be in the Southern society, what shall we say of the midst of its sturm-und-drang period—its glimpses of it that we get in Our World, a storm and spasm period ;--and the sooner new anti-slavery novel? What a contrast it gets through it to the pleasant sunshiny between the parlor and kitchen! We shall land beyond, the better for our mental not, however, compare the two works, health and enjoyment.

as Our World is a mere partizan tale, -We are glad to find, in the third novel written with an avowed partizan purpose, before us—which dates from an unexpect- and exhibiting little or no artistic skill. ed quarter-a tendency to a better style It deals in violent scenes and characters, is of art, although it is only a tendency. We without merit as a story, and disgusts, refer to a novel, called Alone, purporting to rather than interests us, by its main incibe the work of Miss MARION HARLAND, of dents. The whole thing is overdone ; supRichmond, Virginia. It is a tale of South- posing each separate event to be true-as ern domestic life—not negro life, as might a whole it is not true, because the particube supposed from the turn that novel lars are brought together without relief, writing about the South has taken since without light and shade-in a confused "Uncle Tom,”—but the life of cultivated, mass. The characters are vague, the conwell-meaning, suffering and striving white versations forced, and the descriptions, for folks. It must have some local truth in the most part, overstrained. The reader it, for we find “ fifth edition" written on finds it difficult to continue his attention to the cover ; yet we cannot ourselves recog- the end, and is glad when the last chapter nize any thing peculiar to the South in its shuts out the jumbled and disagreeable characters and incidents. Had the scene scenes to which he has been an unwilling been laid in New York or Boston, instead spectator. of at Richmond, the events and personages A more readable book, than either we might have been very much the same. It have named about the South, too-is the Southern Land, by A CHILD OF THE SUN, Captain Mayfarrie, Miss Provey, the Deadespite its affected title. It has the thinnest con, and other characters are done to the thread of a story running through it, being life.—One may also say as much of Ironrather a series of hop-skip-and-jump sketch- thorpe,- a short story of backwoods life, by es—sometimes of life, at others of scenery, Paul CREYTON, who mingles pathos and fun and then again of character. Beginning at a in nice proportions.—The Tales for the Maboarding-school at France, and closing on rines, by Harry Gringo_well known to be a cotton estate in Tennessee, the author Lieut. Wise—are animated, witty, and expatiates over the world, in the style of thrilling, having all the rapidity and dash Peter Schlemil, or the Wandering Jew. of Captain Marryat, with more originality Now, we have him at Paris, then at New and humor, and some of his coarseness. Orleans, next in Charleston, and, again- - Among the reprints of novels, we have he doesn't know where himself. But where- only time to mention, first and foremost, ever be lights, for a time, he is the same the beautiful large-typed edition of Don chatty, keen-eyed, cultivated, nonchalant Quixotte-translation by Motteaux, and observer of men and things, and he mana- notes by Lockhart—lately issued by Little, ges, by a few words, to make us see what Brown & Co., altogether the finest edition he sees. A man of the world seemingly, of the greatest of romances that has yet he has yet a soul for sentiment, nature and appeared. Then, the Grace Lee of Miss poetry. With a great many local preju- KAVANAGH the Mammon of Mrs. GORE, and dices, and the constitutional arrogance of the Kenneth of Miss YongE all exciting " a child of the sun,” he is still open to a and meritorious works, to say nothing of perception of local defects. His pictures DOUGLASS JERROLD's most amusing Men of of the South are generally warm, mellow, Character. The Amyos Leigh of Mr. Kingsmany-colored, with floods of sunshine and LEY, we must reserve for a more elaborate luxurious vegetation, but not without notice hereafter. glimpses of the fever-swamps and pine bar- - Eastford; or Household Sketches, by rens. He paints the princely, gentlemanly WESLEY BROOKE, is an anti-spasmodic book, planter, but he does not forgot the “Sherry which shows that the stock of men of letters Cocktails,” the “Gin-swigs,” and the “Mr. who feel naturally, think calmly, describe Shortstaples.” In the teeth of his strong truthfully, and write correctly, has not died Southern prepossessions, too, he reveals, out, as some people suppose. The author unconsciously it may be to himself, social of Eastford is a contemplative man; and, aberrations in the South, which his pet whether he wields the angler's rod or plan of a law of primogeniture would not not, is of the race of Izaak Walton, whose eradicate, but aggravate. But he is too mental traits, if not whose piscatory babits, companionable to bore you with long spec- he largely shares adding to them, howulations, and so we shall not stop to say ever, a wider knowledge of men and things, what all his occasional remarks might sug- and a keener insight into the motives of gest, by way of reply.

the world's movement. The story of the -- In The Old Inn, by Mr. Josiah BARNES, book, although evidently intended as a Sen., we have a collection of stories, told mere bond to unite a series of sketches in a with considerable power; but the device common interest, has the charm of a natuof a party of travelers meeting accidentally ral, truthful progression; the author has at an inn, and agreeing to tell stories for not felt at liberty to violate consistency for pastime, is so old and worn that it needs the sake of effect. He has laid the scene all one's patience to go on with the book. of his tale in and around an old New EngYet, if the reader will overlook this pre- land village, excepting the passage of a liminary want of invention, he will find the few stirring incidents which take place in stories themselves full of interest and

the lumber wilds of Maine, and the vivid pathos.--A pleasant tale is that of Cone Cut relation of which is in striking and pleasCorners,—which strange name, we suppose,

ing contrast with the placid tone of the means Connecticut Corners-for the scene rest of the book. We do not suppose that is chiefly laid in Connecticut. A vein of we violate confidence in saying that Wesley bumor runs through it, which will give the Brooke is the assumed name of Mr. GEORGE reader a good laugh, if he wants one. LUNT, of Boston.

A Few HISTORIES.—“There she is,” said We confess to a strong liking for Webster, of Massachusetts,—“ behold her, LAMARTINE's Histories. It is true, they are and judge for yourself. The world knows not always accurate, but, it is also true, her history by heart.” But if it does, that that they are always profoundly interest is no reason why her history should not be ing; his sentiments are often sentimentaliwritten. Accordingly, Mr. BARRY has given ties, but then his descriptions are pictures us a most elaborate and agreeable record Who can read any one of his books, and of it, in his History of Massachusetts. It is a forget it? How vividly, and with what work, which in more respects than its mere poetic elevation, he brings his scenes and form resembles Bancroft's "United States," characters before the mind! How graceful without being an imitation. It evinces and flowing his narrative-how liberal, and, the same research, the same animation, and for the most part just, his judgments? Take the same liberal American spirit. Begin- up the first volume of his History of Turkey, ning with the earliest discoveries of the just published by the Appletons, and read State, it describes the landing of the Pil- his account of the rise of Mabomet and his grims, their troubles with the Indians, their religion, and see if you ever before read a persecutions of the Quakers, and the suc- more graphic, impressive, and fascinating cessive administrations, down to a quite story? The East, where Lamartine bas modern period. The author, who cherishes spent nine years of his life—with its sunny both an admiring love of the heroic quali- climate, its wild deserts, its legerdary mysties of the New England settlers, and a noble teries, its strong passions and lofty enthudisdain of their occasional bigotry and siasm--is just the sphere for his fine poetic meanness, writes with ease and eloquence, faculties, and, we cannot doubt, that this in the temper of a judge, and not of a par- Ottoman history will be one of his most tisan. His work will take its place, we characteristic and beautiful books. confidently predict, among the standard In the lectures on Louis the Fourteenth, books of history; for it is clear, succinct, and the Writers of his Age, translated from conscientious, and attractive.

the French of J. F. Astié by the Rev. E W. – A History of Western Massachusetts, by Kirk, we bave an able and instructive, JOSIAH GILBERT HOLLAND, is confined to though somewhat incomplete view of the the several counties of Hampden, Hamp- literary and religious aspects of the age of shire, Franklin and Berkshire, and is more the Grand Monarque. They were delir. of a local than a general narrative. In the ered in French, to a private audience in first part, we have an outline of general this city, and have since been translated history, but the second part relates to the by Mr. Kirk, who is a friend of the author. geology, and the third part to the towns of The prose part of the translation is good, those particular counties. It has been pre- but the poetry quite indifferent. An ambipared with much industry and skill, and is tious introduction by the translator, is not a valuable contribution to our local knowl- so skillfully executed as it might have been, edge. Many of the anecdotes which Mr. although it supplies a rapid review of preHolland has collected out of the archives liminary French History, which will be of the old towns, have a quaint and charac- found useful in studying the treatise. teristic significance.

- The Life of Sam Houston is evidently - No writer has a more charming sim- written with a view to advance bis interplicity of style than ZSCHOKKE, whose His- ests as a candidate for the Presidency, but tory of Switzerland, a household treasure is full of fine material notwithstanding. among the Alps, has just been faithfully His experiences of this world bave been so rendered into English, by Francis GEORGE varied, that the incidents fall, of themShaw. It is the great merit of Zschokke, selves. into picturesque and striking forms. that while his narrative possesses that clear Even the turgid style of his biographer and limpid beauty, which adapts it to the cannot divest them of a certain dramatic capacity of children and the people, it has and robust force. As the boy emigrant, all the accuracy, conciseness and thought the Indian chief, the successful General, which the maturest mind may require. It and the influential statesman, his career is the text-book, we believe, of the confed- exhibits the most romantic contrasts, and erate Cantons.

novel adventures; and, had they been de

scribed with a simple reliance upon the ing, his fun, and his convivial sympathies. facts, without the attempt at elaborate They, and their companions, were a rollickeulogy, which runs through this book, the ing, jovial crew (at least in print), as savage natural impression produced would have as meat-axes the next morning, and as full been stronger than the artificial one, aimed of loyalty as they were, or pretended to at by the writer, is likely to be.

be, of liquor. Their truculent jokes told -A History of the War, by GEORGE well in their day, but, we confess, that to Fowler, is a succinct but authentic account us, now, many of them have the smell of of all the proceedings of the hostile parties an old drink-shop,-or of whisky-fumes in the East. It is compiled from public and stale tobacco. A great deal of their and private documents of the highest au- wit is repulsively coarse, or a great deal thority, and gives a clear, though compen

of it, as an Irishman would say, no wit at dious, narrative of the progress of nego- all. It is mere broad whim, or a kind tiations and hostilities, from the mission of

intellectual tours de force,-amusing for Mentchikoff, up to the siege of Sevastopol.

the time—but not genuine. The polyTwo excellent maps, one of the Crimea, glott translations, for instance, are cuand the other of the besieged city, add rious evidences of dexterity, but nothing materially to the value of this little vol- more: the drinking and eating boasts, ume.

too, are mere vulgar exaggerations, pleas-The Church History of Dr. CHARLES ing alone to swill-tubs; while the arroHASE, lately rendered into English, is one gant ridicule of contemporary authors, of the best manuals on that subject that we

has less humor, and all the low malice have found. It is succinct but clear, and of Billingsgate fishwives. Yet, over and unites to an astonishing power of con

above this gin-rooin slang and maudlin densed expression, the most impartial and loyalty, there is often in Maginn real hucomprehensive judgment. The arrange- mor, touching sentiment, and sound learnment has all the scientific precision of the ing. He has a free, hearty, careless way Germans. with a liveliness of narrative about him that carries you along, by the which is not German. In its sketches of mere force of animal excitement. You like both characters and events, it exhibits a the fellow, even while he repels you, he is rare insight on the part of the author, such a gentlemanly and scholarly rowdy. whose learning, also, as he is a German, is His insolence you ascribe to the bad rum in of course prodigious.

him; but his talent, his vivacity, his won– The Lives of the Chief Justices of the derful variety, his originality and indeUnited States, of which, we have read the pendence you ascribe to the man himself. advanced sheets. kindly forwarded to us How atrocious the criticisms on Shelley, by Lippincott. Grambo, & Co., promises to Keats, Hunt, etc.; yet how capital the be a standard work of history. It is com- burlesques of Wordsworth, Crabbe, Byron, piled from original and authentic docu- Coleridge and others! What ingenuity in ments, some of them now used, for the first his parodies; what a true bacchanalian time, and is written in a forcible and at swing in his drinking songs; what audacity tractive style.

in his egotisms; what bluster in his criSOME MISCELLANIES.—We shall speak of tiques, what endless wealth of conceit in Maginn's Miscellanies, as an American book, his literary disguises! We do not wonder for, though the substance of it has been that Blackwood, in bis day, was universally printed in foreign Magazines, as a book it disapproved and read—that the booksellers is new. Mr. Mackenzie, the editor, is refused to sell it, and yet that every body already known by his elaborate edition of bought it; or that every body pretended Wilson's Noctes Ambrosiana, and bas acted

to be disgusted, while every body laughed. judiciously in putting forth Maginn as a It was enough to drive Edinburgh mad, kind of continuation of that work. Ma- with mingled wrath and mirth-this stormy gion was of the Wilson set; inferior to club of writers and bruisers, who seem to Wilson in many respects, but exhibiting alternate with equal gusto from the rectory many of the same qualities. He does not to the ring, from pugilism to philosophy, appear to have had the pathos and energy from license to literature, from rum to of Wilson, although he shares in his learn- religion.

Mr. Mackenzie has edited the book with vast industry, but not equal judgment. Many of his notes are de trop, and he ought to assume that the class of persons likely to read him will know something of such men as Jeffreys, Hogg, Belzoni, Shelley, Henry Mackenzie, etc., etc., without the assistance of a long biographical account. Sometimes, too, he ludicrously mistakes his author. Maginn, for instance, in one of his maxims, (p. 110,) says the best thing to be drank after cheese is strong ale; and adds ironically, by way of confirmation, "who ever heard of a drayman, who lives almost entirely on bread and cheese, washing it down with water or champagne?” Whereupon Mr. Editor asks, in a note, with all solemnity, “How could a drayman obtain champagne?" Sure enough, Mr. Mackenzie! how could be? But, generally, the notes of the Editor are a real assistance, and we thank him for the pains he has taken both in collecting and elucidating the text.

-A work upon making and fencing Clearings, from Paris: a work upon Landscape Gardening, from the banks of the Ohio! Who would not as soon look for the one as for the other? But, in Mr. Kern's Landscape Gardening, published at Cincinnati, we have the latter, showing how rapidly the subtler arts follow in the peaceful train of empire. Mr. Kern has well judged his circumstances, and has produced the right book at the right moment. There are, probably, as each spring opens, a thousand homes where the opportunity and the wish coexist for the first time, for some external sign of ease, and of the love of natural beauty. The want of these, the guidance towards a tasteful expression, this book supplies. The more elaborate works of the class Mr. Kern has read with evident care and discrimination. He is certainly to be commended for making a book of reasonable size, and for writing with straightforwardness upon Landscape Gardening; a treatment which, before Downing's time, was hardly known. The principal English writers-Price, Ripton, Brown, Loudonare two-volume-octavo men. Loudon spun from his laborious head laborious books, full of valuable material, but useful only to the student or man of solid leisure. Most of us here are hasty men, who do not expect at the utmost to reach seventy, who have a great deal to do, and may be called upon

as F. Pierce was, at short notice, to be President of this Republic. Art, therefore, for us, wbether in words or works, must be condensed. His publishers have put Mr. Kern before the public in great luxury of typography. The genius and expense devoted to the wood engravings might have been concentrated to advantage upon a smaller number; and Mr. K.'s elaborate “rockwork” could have been successfully omitted.

-Dr. HAYWARD, President of the Massachusett Medical Society, has just given to the world the more prominent points of his medical experience, with reflections. These “Papers and Reports” indicate a man of the profoundest professional good sense, the preëminent characteristic of our noble old physicians. They are complacently deficient, compared with the French school, in the technical minuteness of detail now obtainable; but have a far outbalancing tact and breadth of intelligent views. If every competent physician should leave such material as this for the deductions of future investigators, science might safely hope to make a vast step forward.

--The death of MRS. CHARLOTTE BRONTE Nichol, the author of “Jane Eyre," of "Shirley,” and of “ Villette." is too important an event in the literary world for us to allow it to pass without comment. In the accounts wbich have reached us of her actual personal life and experience, there is little to relieve the sense of sadness which is derived from her books: a feeling of loneliness and untold tragedy which give them an earnestness beyond those of any other contemporary woman. It is scarcely ten years since “Jane Eyre” was published, but the position of its author in English literature is assured. It was not only its vivid characterization, its startling and brilliant description, its glow and passionate pathos, which compelled the homage that followed it; but its profound humanity, its quiet scorn of the conventional accessories of success in fiction, its bold faith in human nature, its perfect freedom from dandyism and dilletantism, and its tone of religious earnestness, without cant or meanness, that made fame salute its author as eminent among women. By these characteristics all the works of Miss Bronte have achieved a permanent place among the best books of the best age

« AnteriorContinuar »