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upon men to consider it dispassionately." “ We agree with his grace that it will be, at least, exceedingly difficult to get the majority of persons to regard this question dispassionately ;--but is it likely that they ever will ? Passion exists just as strongly on the side which the Duke of Wellington thinks holds erroneous views-viz., those who say that, not from temporary causes, but, on eternal principle, emancipation never should be granted—as it does it on the opposite, in whose general and ultimate object the duke now professes to agree-Emancipation. Why then should the party which he thinks wrong, be singled out to have things as they wish ?—Simply, we believe, because things are so at this moment.
“ If," says the duke, we could bury it [the Catholic question] in oblivion for a short time, and employ that time diligently in the consideration of its difficulties on all sides (for they are very great) I should not despair of seeing a satisfactory remedy.” Now, the wording of this, the concluding passage of the duke's letter, is vague. We pass over the mere use of the word oblivion, as contradicted by the wish to employ the period of oblivion in diligent thought of the subject—that is a mere slip of the pen-but we should like exceedingly to know what degree of cessation of agitation of the question would amount to the idea which the Duke of Wellington has expressed by the term oblivion. To use the word in its strict sense, it is manifest he never could intend. We need not argue to prove that no sane man in the three kingdoms could suppose that the Catholic question could, while undecided, be forgotten. Neither is it probable that the duke could expect that the Catholics could thoroughly abstain from urging it forward. His grace must have meant by the phrase “burying" the question“ in oblivion,” some certain degree of moderation and forbearance in treating it. We would gladly know what degree would tally with his conception.
At all events, one great good has been obtained by this declaration of the duke's, for which the public should be most grateful to him. It thoroughly renounces the Brunswickers both in action and principle: in action, for it decries violence in principle, for it expresses a " sincere anxiety" for the possibility of Emancipation.
HUNGARIAN TALES*. These tales are manifestly the production of a gifted and cultivated mind. They are written with ease, freshness, and, where it is needed, force, and scarcely ever betray exuberance or affectation. Their object is, partly, as is announced by the title and in the preface, to describe Hungary and the Hungarians;—the author (who is understood, and indeed in more than one place in these volumes is stated, to be a lady) having passed some time, recently, in that part of Europe. We confess we had considerable forebodings on this score. We bethought us what innumerable scenes of unnecessary description, both of men and
3 vols. post 8vo. Lond. 1829. Saunders and Ottley,
things, awaited us-what pen-and-ink feasts would be put before us, and in what splendid paper-equipages we should take the air. To our great relief, we found that the utmost forbearance and skill distinguished the work on this most difficult and tempting point. We see a great deal of both the country and the people, but we become acquainted with both in the most easy and unconscious manner; the scenery is never more minutely described than is necessary for the locality, or the associations, of the story-nor are the general habits of the people detailed more than is required for our thorough knowledge of its persons.
The whole consists of eight tales, of very different lengths and subjects; the longest occupies a volume and a half, and the shortest about thirty pages. This longest, which is also the most elaborate, stands first;-it is called Cassian, though why, it is difficult to discover, inasmuch as the personage of that name is seen only at the beginning and end of the story—which follows the fortunes of the heroine throughout. There are, in this tale, a great deal of knowledge of human nature—much delicacy and sweetness-and, here and there, outbreaks of very considerable force; but, besides faults of detail, there is one which pervades the whole, to which indeed the author herself alludes, which, though it may not appear to be a fault in the eyes of some readers, certainly to us diminished very greatly the gratification which the powers displayed in the story were calculated to give. We mean the gloom which pervades the whole composition from beginning to end. That gloom is thoroughly accounted for-is admirably rendered—but still it is gloom, and, though not unvaried, yet constant. In short, as we said while we were reading the story, the pleasure we derive from this is communicated through the medium of pain.
The author is herself conscious of this, and pleads very humbly in pardon. She, however, uses the word “dulness" instead of gloomwhich, she may rest assured, no one but herself would ever have dreamed of using. It is about the middle of the story that she makes this singular appeal. She says that she might have introduced, in perfect unison with the scene and persons, a thousand descriptions “ equally new to the English reader, and inviting to the English writer,” -a thousand minor characters which might have afforded "very original specimens of national character and individual comedy:"
But whenever I have meditated such an entrée, or such details, my spirit hath shrunk rebuked by the impulse of its own levity. My story is a true one ; true as far as regards its principal facts and awful catastrophe; and it therefore shuns such adventitious ornaments as grace the more lively imaginings of fiction. I feel that the back-ground of my picture, like that of Titian's Pietro Martire, should be dark and lowering; that every period, like the overtures which announce the fable of an Opera Seria by Mozart or Paesiello, should be attuned into a solemn cadence; and if the result of such opinions renders my story too cold and too monotonous for the taste of those unto whom it is addressed, let them lay it aside ;-I feel myself incapable of amending my fault.
No one who has followed the tale thus far can, as the author must be very well assured, “lay it aside.” But still it is a fault, and we most sincerely wish it had been avoided. There is so much that is
admirable, in the tale, of various sorts--the insight into the folds of nature, and the power of developing them, especially,—that we lament the more the general tone of depression which does certainly pervade it, from first to last. The story is true! What's that to us? We do not care a pinch of snuff whether the story be fact or fiction-except that we are sorry that such a virulent ruffian as Lingotski could ever have existed, or that there should have been a person so amiable and at the same time ill-fated as Iölina.
It is not our purpose to go into the story of Cassian-we shall now only just jauntily mention one or two little faults of detail. First, we object to the charming Princess Betthyani. We were very fast falling in love with her so much brilliancy, sense, and feeling together were irresistible—when she becomes at once utterly odious by her shameless duplicity to Iölina in not communicating the real contents of her letter to Lingotski. We hope this is not among the real parts of the story. Secondly, we do not like the nature—though not exactly the eventsof the catastrophe being announced early in the book. And thirdly, and chiefly, if we do not like this from the author herself, how can we endure it from gipsies? We should like to know whether all literary people are, in imitation of Sir Walter, gone back to the belief in Mother Goose? There really ought to be some legislative enactment to put a stop to prophecies and omens in novels and tales. And here, it is totally out of keeping with all the rest of the book-to the great benefit thereof, and relief of its readers. No-no-magic and foreboding should be confined to the pantomimes.
And now are we sorely tempted to go off at score into a magnificent political essay upon the constitution of Hungary. There are very nice facts to comment upon for about a dozen pages or so : the unlimited power of the nobles, the (therefore) unlimited poverty and depression of the people ;—the barbarism of the Magnats, isolated in their nationality, carried to a pitch not short of farcical ;—the —-- but no ; we are reviewing a book of tales, and we will not propound our lucubrations, however admirable, on the government of nations.
Next, is a tale entitled the Tzigány, which means a gipsey. This is very delightfully done indeed. The description of the midnight-meeting of the Tzigány and his love is one of the best-drawn scenes we have read for a long time. And the girl going and telling her father in the morning is a noble trait. We are quite vexed that this story was not made to end happily. For, though the concluding scene is admirably sketched, one could have sworn to its result.
We come next to the tale honoured by our especial preferencewhich we intend to “review,"—therefore, before we set about that important task, we shall just dispose of the other half-dozen. (Plague take it! how cramped for room, one gets at this full-bearing season of books!) The “Elizabethines' is a touching picture—the 'Ferry on the Danube' a smart, strong sketch, and the Festival of the Three Kings'-oh, why did not the author continue the Festival of the Three Kings'? The idea is admirable-a sublime farce is coming—and lo! the curtain drops at the end of the first scene. The idea is of an Hungarian Magnat, national up to the very fourteenth century-holding firm to the maxim prevalent in those regions, that “ Extra Hunga
rium non est vita,”—having (would he ever ?) consented to his son going abroad—who returns with an English barouche, and a French valet—having hunted in Lecetáshare, and lounged in the Rue Vi. vienne; a thorough travelled gentleman ! We quite agree in the fitness of making the foppishness only the froth, and the young man sound wine, “any thing to the contrary notwithstanding;" but that need not have so totally checked the developement of the impayable contrast, even without one scene between the Anglo-Parisian son, and the Hungo-Hungo-Hungarian father.
The Balsam-seller of Thurotzer is very lively and rapid-but we do not think the title of the work being “ Hungarian Tales,” should have deprived us of Rumalie's Arabian adventures. We are quite sure we did not care a jot for forgetting Hungary, when we were at Erizan, with the Jewish girl and the plague. Of the Infanta at Presburg, if we speak at all, we must speak a great deal. We should like to discuss it. It is a bold subject to choose--and certainly well worked out. Here, too, there is gloom-but thoroughly well accounted for, and sent to the right-about at last—" for a time.”
We now come back to the Tavernicus, which means, being interpreted, one of the chief officers of the Hungarian Treasury. This, taken altogether, we like the best of all the tales. There are three or four exquisite characters admirably sketched. Hungarian scenes, manners, and people, are most necessarily brought in, and felicitously described—and, above all, it ends happily. Really, we are grown sick of misfortune, and are right glad to be allowed to be a little comfortable when we can. We have not space to go through the tale as we could wish; we must content ourselves with giving an abstract of the story in a dozen lines, and then favour our readers (which we have not done yet) with some extracts.
The story is simply this :-The Tavernicus arrives incognito at the Blaue Igel, (the Blue Hedgehog,)“ the chief inn at the little village of Dorogh.” He finds the host in great trouble at his rent being raised to an extent, he will not--he has sworn not to-submit to, by the Chapter of Gran, under whom he holds the house. This landlord has a daughter, whom we consider one of the most charmingly drawn characters we have met with for a very long time—the reader will, doubtless, see why anon :-she loves, and is loved, by her father's kellermeister-he is once or twice called waiter, but we are each time ready to exclaim-“ No waiter, but a knight-templar”! He takes it into his head, on the most absurdly slight grounds, to be jealous of the mysterious traveller. The Tavernicus, who is come down with all manner of powers from Joseph II., to redress grievances in Hungary, pities Suzsi's despair about her father's removal,--and promises her that he will prevent it, on condition that she will be secret till his re: turn towards Vienna in about a fortnight or a month. thing goes wrong. Franz Westermann, her lover, is outrageously jealous—and really for nothing at all ;-they come to no explanation, but se boudent till it begins to prey upon her health. Her father grows sour and surly—odious intruding lovers try to take advantage of the manifest quarrel between her and her Franz—till, at last, knowing that all these evils—and they increase in number and intensity, till really JANUARY, 1829.
After this, every the reader is frightened, and begins to think she will die,-knowing that they all depend upon a word, she determines to act-and she persuades her old godfather-another character, which, though a little caricatured at last, is worth its no slight weight in gold—to carry her to Buda. She goes-sees the Tavernicus, who introduces her to the Archduchess, as a specimen of the Hungarian contadine-gives her the lease of the Hedgehog, renewed at the old rent-loads her with presents, as also does the Archduchess—and sends her back, with god-papa Blaschka, whose head is turned for ever by the notice taken of him by the giggling maids of honour of her Imperial Highness. Of eourse, on her return, all is cleared up, and the lovers are married, according to the worthy, but now, alas ! somewhat obsolete, custom of the conclusion of tales.
We admire this skeleton exceedingly: it is so scrupulously dry bone. Now, for some of the integuments. The following is her conversation with her godfather on the score of her father's sufferings at the necessity of his removal:
" You may perceive how sore my father is becoming on the subject of the Chapter. But it is not when he is irritated, and speaks as he did to-night, that I am grieved for him, neighbour Johann; it is when I hear him moaning and lamenting the livelong night; and can even distinguish through the boarded partition, that he calls on my poor mother's name, and those of my brothers and sisters ; telling them that he shall be driven forth in his old age to bide in a strange home, far from the grave.yard of Dorogh!—Then what can I do but weep in my turn, and feel that I would give up every thing to induce him to comply with the terms of their reverences; or, dismissing all his cares, settle at once in the town of Buda, within sight of his own vineyards."
“While thou, Suzsi, with Franz for thy helpmeet, wouldst take his place at the Blaue Igel," observed her godfather reproachfully.
“ Now Heaven forgive you for the thought," exclaimed Suzsi, blushing with indignation. “ For well might you know,-you, friend Blaschka, who have watched me from my baby-days,—that even if the Palatine would make me a court lady, to flaunt in brocade at the palace, I would not leave my father alone in his grayheaded years. And why do I wish him to remain here, rather than retire to the city, but that Franz with his book learning, and his civil speech, and ready welcome to the gentry who frequent the inn, can do him better service than as a vintager; in which capacity all his scholarship would not render him stronger or more active than a common Slowak labourer."
“So-so," interrupted Blaschka, striving to deprecate her wrath, “I believe thee, girl,- I believe thee.”
“ Leave my father!"-continued poor Suzsi, almost in tears, " leave my dear kind old father,-no! not for the mines of Lipto,—not to be queen over Hungary !"
“ Well spoken, and bravely felt," said a strange voice from beside the stove. And Johann and Suzsi, looking towards the spot, perceived that during their discourse, a stranger had entered the saal : a tall, well-looking young man, in a somewhat rusty riding cloak and cap.
We beg to say that we had ourselves made an exclamation tantamount to that of the traveller, before we knew of his existence. From that moment Suzsi gained our admiration and respect-and well does she deserve them both. Her firmness-her truth to plighted word, under the most trying of human circumstances—at last, the kindling of her mind to self-decision, self-reliance, and action-all