Imagens das páginas

enemies only to triumph; and these profitable bondage. The wisest and were Irishmen and Catholics. Be best of your countrymen have apjust to both, and an inexhaustible proved of your intention; for emanarmy of the best troops in Europe cipation numbers among its advowill always be ready and willing to cates George IV. (God bless him !) fight your battles, Gratify the Ca- Paley, Watson, Johnson, Fox, Pitt, tholics, and rest secure with your Burke, Grey, Holland, Canning, &c. spinning jennies and steam-engines; &c ; and has or had for opponents for, keep Paddy in your army and Patrick Duigenan, Sir Thomas Lethnavy, and a foreign foe will never bridge, Tom Ellis, the · John Bull' set his foot upon the British isles. newspaper, and · Blackwood's Ma.

You now see, John, that the Ca- gazine. tholic question is not so unimportant I have addressed myself to you, as you at first imagined ; for it is of John, because on your favourable such serious magnitude, that the opinion depends the success of emanfuture welfare of the British empire cipation. The privileged party in turns upon it. Justice demands that Ireland, being just equal to the numthe people of Ireland should be ber of offices in the kingdom, and emancinated; and the peculiar situ- being greatly in want of their places, ation of these kingdoms renders it and fearful that the Catholics might absolutely expedient that their claims supplant them, will never consent to should be speedily complied with the passing of a measure which they Delay not the gift until its value is apprehend would go directly to affect diminished; but give now cheerfully their individual interest. To vou. what you may ultimately be glad to therefore, the Catholics look with give. "Never hesitate when you are the utmost anxiety; for your opinion about doing a God-like act--that of is now the barometer of their hopes manumitting millions who are in un- and fears.

2. Z.

HANS OF ICELAND.* To that portion of the reading pub- tion which they supply to the mind lic who have a taste for the horrible is wholesome, for any thing which this volume will be a highly accept- stirs it is good, as a corrective of that able present. Since the days of dull stagnation which the ordinary Monk Lewis there has been nothing course of daily occupations induces of so frightful a description pro- while the impression is so slight, duced ; and even that great master of that it is soon effaced, and the elasti. terror-he

city of the human mind soon shakes to whom the world unknown, off the weight which each strange With all its shadowy shapes, was shown- tale lays upon it, as it springs back Who saw appalled the unreal scene'- to its former position. For this reanever imagined any thing which could son we hold such tales to be a thou. be made to hover, with that equal sand times better than the ordinary balance which distinguishes this run of novels in their effects; while, romance, between the extreme limits in point of amusement—the first obof the sublime and the ridiculous, ject in all such compositions—their but without touching either.

superiority is universally acknowWe confess that we have a strong ledged. What would the great Scotch predilection for all tales which have novels--the very first works of their the power of exciting fear or wonder. description which have been produc, We know that it is a sort of debauche ed in this or any other language, and de la raison; but it is one which which, for invention, truth, poetical leaves no bad consequences from in- feeling, and what may be called the dulging in it. The amusement which eloquence of character, stand only is afforded by such writings helps us next in English literature to the alto while away hours which would be most superhuman creations of Shaktediously or idly spent-the excita- speare-nay, what would Shakspeare

* Hans of Iceland. London, J. Robins and Co. 1825. Post 8vo,

himself be--without the employment pressed closely, could give a reason, of supernatural agency? The affairs even satisfactory to himself, why he of the world are dull and unchang- disbelieved in such matters; we never ing; the same beaten track is trod yet knew a man who was insensible den by the inhabitants of this age as even to the common clumsy stories was paced by those of centuries ago. of supernatural appearances; and, In the same unvarying routine, in the if we ever should, we shall not have, same path, leading from and return- on that account, any better opinion of ing to one point, do the generations his moral courage. The fear of which of mankind still journey on. Upon we speak, as a source of excitement them the skill of the poet or the no. which has its delights no less than its velist (in a strict sense, are they not terrors, it is hardly necessary for us the same?) would be in vain prac. to say is not that which would intised; but the passions of the human duce a man to shrink from affronting heart-few as they are, and brief as any mortal peril, or from doing what is their duration contain treasures honour or duty prompted him to at which can never be exhausted-deve the hazard of his life; but it is that lopments of infinite variety. They fear which inakes a man shiver under are to the poet what the lyre is to the Torrid Zone-which makes him the accomplished musician; they con thoughtful in the stillness of midtain not only a concord of sweet night-which withholds him from sounds, but the fierce and strong shouting or singing when he crosses discords of all those tumultuous sen a churchyard path alone; it is that sations which fill the heart of man, mysterious impulse which makes his and which either dignify or degrade, heart alive to wild and indescribable bless or blast, the human species. sensations, which is one of the sources Nothing is required but the master of poetical inspiration, and which is hand to awake the song from its a cause (we say this again, in particuslumbers-to touch the chords which lar allusion to Ireland) of that acute shall fill the ear with sounds such as and prompt, but sometimes wild and every other sense must obey, and frantic sensibility, which always diswhich exercise an irresistible sway tinguishes a brave and intelligent over all earthly sympathies. Though people. there be many gifted artists who can To return, however, to the book strike this instrument, and, even with which has given rise to these observaa feeble hand, make it · discourse tions and which, digressions though most eloquent music'-although it is they be, are not foreign to the matter easy to touch those notes which in hand Hans of Iceland' is a roawaken pleasure and utter delight- mance du plus beau noir possible. ful harmonies--it requires a peculiar The hero is a monster whose geneaand rare force to sweep the strings logy is not very distinctly made out; so as to rouse the wilder passions, but, as far as we can learn, (and we and to wield - all the thunders of the have only the demon's own word for scene.'

it,) he is the offspring of a monster In Ireland a superstitious belief called Ingulphus the Exterminator, in the existence of supernaturalagen- and of a witch of Iceland,-a country cy was for many years universal, and long famous for being peopled with even at this moment prevails to a such beings. Hans has a propensity very considerable degree. Its exist- to amuse himself with the commisence is more generally known among sion of such little diversions as murthe common people, because they dering travellers, burning churches, are less in the habit of concealing cutting down bridges over which trathose feelings which the polite dissi- vellers are passing, and loosening crags mulation of higher life prevents from which hang over small villages. All appearing openly. But why do we the rewards offered by the Governor say in Ireland, why do we inake any of Drontheim, where Hans has redistinction in classes of society, when cently taken up his abode, and where every human being is open to the in- the scene of the novel lies, have been fluence of which we speak? We never insufficient to secure his apprehension: yet knew any man who, if he were no one, indeed, would venture to at

tempt it, so great is the terror which the spladgest. The hero of the tale, his prowess and his atrocities have the frightful Hans, has been here spread throughout the country. At before him. The guardian of the the opening of the novel, the Count spladgest, Spiagudry, has been starSchumacker, once the prime minister tled in the middle of the night by of the kingdoms of Denmark and Nor- hearing a voice too well known to way, but who had fallen a victim to him. He hastens into the chamber in Court intrigue, has been a prisoner which the dead bodies are deposited, more than twenty years in the fortress where he sees Hans, who is thus deof Munkholm, at Drontheim. His scribed :daughter Ethel shares his imprison

On one side appeared the tall ment, and is the only consolation left,

bent body of Spiagudry; on the other a him. The injustice of his sentence has little

is little thickset man, clothed from head to soured the old man's heart, and he foot in the undressed skins of animals, has become a settled misanthrope. marked with dried blood-staina, stood near He has, however, made an effort to the body of Gill Stadt, which, with that convince the king of his innocence, of the girl and the captain, occupied the by sending Captain Dispolsen to the centre distance of the picture. The little seat of government, to procure for man's features expressed a singular ferohim papers which will develop the city. His beard was red and very thick ; plot he has fallen a victim to.

im to. He and all of his head that could be seen

He is awaiting the return of his mes

beneath his reindeer-skin cap was covered

with bristling hair of the same colour: senger, when all his hopes are frus

his mouth was very wide, his lips thick, trated by the captain's being assas- his teeth white, long, sharp, and widely sinated on the beach at Urchtal im.

in apart; his nose hooked like an eagle's mediately on his landing. His body beak, and his piercing grey eyes cast is carried to the spladgest, or morgue, upon Spiagudry an oblique glance, in where it lies to be identified. Among which the ferocity of the tiger was mingled the spectators who are looking at with the spitefulness of the monkey. By this and other corpses, is a young man his side hung a long sabre; a broad dagplainly dressed, but having the ap- ger without a scabbard was thrust through pearance of a gentleman, who, when his girdle; and he leaned upon the long he learns from a soldier that the body handle of a flint axe. His hands were before him is Captain Dispolsen, hast

hast covered with very large gloves made of ens to the fortress of Munkholm, to blue fox-skin. carry the disastrous news to the old Hans has a son, whose dead body man. In describing the course of the lies before hiin. This young man, romance we are obliged to let out the having been jilted, by a girl whom he author's secret, and to tell the readers loved, in favour of a soldier of the that this youth is Ordener Gulden. Munkholm regiment, went in his lew, the son of the king's chief fa- despair to the mines of Roëraas, and vourite, who has been educated by was there killed by the falling in of the governor of Drontheim for the part of the rock. For this his amilast two years. Ordener is destined able father has vowed the destruction to be married to a lady whom he has of the whole of the Munkholm renever seen, but who is the daughter of giment, and has killed Captain DisSchumacker's greatest enemy, the polsen, who belonged to that regiCount d’Ahlefeld: like a wilful youth ment, in consequence of his oath. as he is, he has, however, fallen in Hans cuts off the skull of his son, love with Ethel, the daughter of the old to serve him for a drinking-cup; and prisoner. The father and the daugh. intrusts Spiagudry with the steel box ter are ignorant of his rank. Schu- which he has taken from the dead capmacker hears with dismay of the death tain, and which contains Schumacker's of Dispolsen, and is in utter despair papers, enjoining him to deliver it to when he learns, moreover, that a small a poor widow, the inother of the dead steel box, in which the proofs of his youth. Spiagudry promises, and Hans innocence were contained, and of retires just as Ordener is knocking at which Dispolsen was the bearer, is the door. He discovers the mutila. not to be found. Ordener promises tion of the body; and, upon taxing to go in search of it, and hastens to Spiagudry with it, he extorts from

the fears of this person, who is paint. just, and indeed impossible, to deed with considerable humour, à con- scribe but by an extract, for which fession that the frigbtful demon is the we have pot room. Hans disdains perpetrator of the murder as well as the count's offers and despises his of the profanation. Ordener then threats ; and when, at length, he is resolves to go in search of him, hop- hardly pressed by the soldiers whom ing to recover from him the steel box, the count has brought with him, he of so much importauce to the father effects his escape in a singular manner of his Ethel, He engages Spiagudry, on the back of his bear. Ordener, by the hope of a bribe and by the soon after the abrupt departure of promise of his protection, to lead him Hans, who was engaged in mortal to Hans' retreat. · Spiagudry wishes combat with him, falls in with the for the destruction of Hans, in which rebels, and, to save his life, is obliged event he intends to keep the steel to join their ranks. He is taken pribox which has been intrusted to his soner and led to Drontheim, where care; but, as neither knows the secret he is capitally tried; and, although his of the other, they set out. The jour- rank is known, he is condeinned, ney is made amusing by the terrors because he refuses the terms on which of Spiagudry, who has carefully dis- the Count d’Ahlefeld offers him his guised himself in a sort of cento of freedom — namely, to marry his clothes taken from the various dead daughter and because he hopes by bodies of whom he has, from time to his own death to save the life of time, been the guardian. We cannot Schumacker. At length, through afford space enough for all the adven- the means of Hans, and by an intures of the search: in the course of genious complication of adventures, it, however, many horrors are en- the plot is discovered, the lost casket countered, and Spiagudry receives is restored, Schumacker's innothe reward of his treachery: he cence is proved, the lovers are maris caught by the demon during ried, the guilty are punished, and Ordener's absence, and hurled over Hans destroys himself and the whole a rock into a torrent, where the of the Munkholm regiment by steel box which he carries with him setting fire to his cell, which adjoins aids him to sink. Ordener pursues the barracks. his course alone, and, wholly ignorant There is great skill displayed in the of the fate of his companion, he invention of the story, and in the meets with Hans after much trouble. manner in which it is conducted to -A long and dreadful fight ensues, its catastrophe. The character of which is abruptly broken off. The Hans is unnatural, but it is kept up Count d’Ahlefeld, who is resolved to with great veracity as regards itself; compass Schumacker's death, and and, if the reader once believes (as he utterly regardless of the means by ought to do) in the reality of the perwhich it is brought about, has effect- sonage, none of the monster's sayings ed a revolt among the miners through or doings will be found to shock his his agents, and has used the name of credulity. He is a sort of free Cathe innocent prisoner for the purpose liban, but with more intelligence thau of implicating him in it, and of the island monster. The introducbringing him to the scaffold. He tion of Spiagudry is very cleverly wants a leader of the insurrection, managed : he is a half-lettered peand seeks Hans for this purpose, the dant, with wits as meagre as his figure, terror of whose name and superna- and his figure presenting a striking tural powers, he thinks, would effectu- resemblance to those emaciated ally engage the miners to take up corpses of which he is the keeper. arms, while he has prepared a mili- His avarice and his terror are contary force sufficient to crush them stantly urging him on and drawing when they shall have gone far enough him back; and, although he is so for his design. The count, therefore, amusing, no one regrets when the deseeks Hans, whom he finds in a den, mon burls him into the abyss. One of accompanied by an immense bear, the best scenes is that in which Ordeand feeding on human flesh. The ner and Spiagudry are obliged to take, horrors of this scene it would be un- shelter from a storm in the wretched

Vow. I.--No. I.

abode of the common executioner. the intention of the author ; that he The place, and the implements of is imbued with a congenial spirit; and torture which it contains, as well as he has, besides, put, in a manner far the consort of the executioner, are more striking than can be expressed sufficiently alarming to him ; but his by words, the visible and external terrors know no bounds when he sees, form of the events which the author sitting down to supper, a short person describes. This is all that the grain the dress of a hermit, whose face is phic art can achieve; and all this Mr. hidden by his cowl, but whose voice Cruikshank does with extraordinary leaves him no room to doubt that it effect and skill. This was that at which is Hans himself. Ordener and his Hogarth constantly aimed, and in Ethel are noble and heroic persons which he often succeeded so eminently. ages, and well contrasted with the The more heroic style of painting does base and wicked intriguers who have not display a wider field for the exerplotted against the life of the poor aged cise of that skill in an artist which is prisoner. The story, too, is highly exactly kin with the talent of an interesting; and the anxiety which is author, since both are purely creative, so powerfully excited for the hero and their several merits depend, first, and heroine never diminishes until upon the value of the invention, and, the end of the romance.

next, upon the shape in which it is pre. The engravings which accompany sented to the eyes and the underthis volume add in a very consider- standings of others. We have no able degree to its value, and to the doubt that the man who can paint amusement which it affords. They grotesque subjects with the high and are from the hands of Mr. George original feeling that distinguishes all Cruikshank, whose genius is so well Mr. Cruikshank's drawings can, if known, and who is wholly unrivalled he will, essay a higher flight; and that for the fertility of his fancy and for the there is no step in the art to which he neatness of his drawing. He has se- cannot attain, provided that he will lected four scenes from the romance, attempt it with the same earnestness each of which he has hit off with and zeal as has enabled him to gain great felicity. In one of these he that on which he stands. With represents the ferocious monster the exception of Hogarth, England sitting in his cave; another is that in has not yet produced an artist who which he visits Spiagudry, and to can be said to approach Mr. Cruikwhich the extract we have made re- shank for fertility of invention, and lates ; the third is that where he sur- for that keen sense of the ridiculous prises Spiagudry on the road, and is which is as valuable as it is rare. about to avenge his perfidy; and The present version of the romance the last shows the singular manner of has been, we perceive, compressed, or his escape from the guards of the rather re-written, from the original Count d’Ahlefeld. Ia these, as in French. It seems to be executed all his drawings, Mr. Cruikshank has with ability, and is altogether a highly shown that he has fully appreciated amusing and interesting volume.

LETTER FROM A LONDON STUDENT. It was in an evil hour, my dear it occurs to me at this moment in the Editor, (I like to give every man the most ridiculous point of view. Write appellation which belongs to him; and, letters about London-about London since you have become the editor of people, and London manners, and "The Dublin,' on the wings of which London lions !--Zounds, man, I can your fame is to soar to the topmost make a book-twenty books-upon height of popularity, I renounce all the subject, and leave enough for a the old familiar epithets by which I whole troop of writers who shall come have been used to address you, and after me. To propose to talk of such shall, in future, call you nothing but things, in a letter, would be like setting Mr. Editor,) that you made me pro- the Pigot diamond for a lady's ring ; mise to write to you during my present or the attempt at putting your old visit to London. The mere folly of friend, Bully Egan, or the Hotten

« AnteriorContinuar »