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They were all sitting down together to their lentil-soup; a large wheaten loaf was in the middle of the table, and a flagon of wine at each end of it promised joy through the stages of the repast; 'twas a feastof love. The old man rose up to meet me, and with a respectful cordiality would have me sit down at the table; my heart was set down the moment I entered the room, so I sat down at once like a son of the family, and to invest myself in the character as speedily as I could, I instantly borrowed the old man's knife, and taking up the loaf, cut myself a hearty luncheon; and as I did it I saw a testimony in every eye, not only of an honest welcome, but of a welcome mixed with thanks that I had not seemed to doubt it. Was it this, or tell me, Nature, what else it was, that made this morsel so sweet; and to what magic I owe it, that the draught I took of their flagon was so delicious with it, that they remain upon my palate to this irour? If the supper was to my taste, the grace which followed it was much more so.
When supper was over, the old man gave a knock upon the table with the haft of his knife, to bid them prepare for the dance. The moment the signal was given, the women and girls ran all together into a back apartment to tie up their hair, and the young men to the door to wash their faces and change their sabots; and in three minutes every soul was ready, upon a little esplanade before the house, to begin. The old man and his wife came out last, and placing me betwixt them, sat down upon a sofa of turf by the door. The old man had, some fifty years ago, been no mean performer upon the vielle; and at the age he was then öf, touched it well enough for the purpose. His wife sung now and then a little to the tune, then intermitted, and joined her old man again as their children and grandchildren danced before them.
It was not till the middle of the second dance, when, for some panses in the movement, wherein they all seemed to look up, I fancied I could distinguish an elevation of spirit different from that which is the cause or the effect of simple jollity. In a word, I thought I beheld Religion mixing in the dance; but as I had never seen ber so engaged, I should have looked upon it now as one of the illusions of imagination whic is eternally misleading me, not the old man, as soon as the dance evded, said that this was their constant way; and that all his life long he had made it a rnle, after supper was over, to call out his family to dance and rejoice; believing, he said, that a cheerful aud contented mind was the best sort of thanks to Heaven that an illiterate peasant could pay. Or a learned prelate either, said I.
• CIIARLES JOIINSTONE. In 1760, the ‘Adventures of a Guinea,' by Charies Johnstone, amused the town by its sketches of contemporary satire.
A second edition was published the same year, and a third in 1761, when the author considerably augmented the work. Johnstone published other novels, which are now utterly forgotten. He went to India in 1782, and was a proprietor of one of the Bengal newspapers. He died in 1800. As Dr. Johnson—to whom the manuscript was shewn by the bookseller-advised the publication of the 'Adventures of a Guinea,' and as it experienced considerable success, the novel may be presumed to have possessed superior merit. It exhibits a variety of incidents, related in the style of Le Lage and Smollett, but the satirical portraits are overcharged, and the author, like Juvenal, was too fond of lashing and exaggerating the vices of his age
HORACE WALPOLE. In 1764, HORACE WALPOLE revived the Gothic romance in his interesting little story, the ‘Castle of Otranto,' which he at first published anonymously, as a work found in a library of an ancient Catholic family in the North of England, and printed at Naples the black-letter in 1529. “I wished it to be believed ancient,' he said, ‘and almost everybody was imposed upon.' The tale was so well received by the public, that a second edition was soon called for, to which the author prefixed his name. Though designed to blend the two kinds of romance—the ancient, in which all was imagination and improbability, and the modern, in which nature is copied, the peculiar taste of Walpole, who loved to .gaze on Gothic toys through Gothic glass,' and the nature of his subject, led him to give the preponderance to the antique. The ancient romances have nothing more incredible than a sword which required a hundred men to lift it; a helmet, that by its own weight forces a passage through a court-yard into an arched vault, big enough for a man to go through: a picture that walks out of its frame, or å skeleton's ghost in a bermit's cowl. Where Walpole has improved on the incredible and mysterious, is in his dialogues and style, which are pure and dramatie in effect, and in the more delicate and picturesque tone which he has given to chival
Walpole was the third son of the Wbig minister, Sir Robert Walpole; was born in 1717, became fourth Earl of Orford 1791, and died in 1797; baving not only outlived most of his illustrious contemporaries, but recorded their weaknesses and failings, their private history and peculiarities, in his unrivalled correspondence.
An early admiration of Horace Walpole’s romance, the “Castle of Otranto,' induced Miss CLARA REEVE (1725–1803) to imitate it in a Gothic story, entitled the ‘Old English Baron, which was published in 1777. In some respects the lady has the advantage of Walpole; her supernatural machinery is better managed, so as to produce mysteriousness and effect; but her style bas not the point or elegance of that of her prototype. Miss Reeve wrote several other novels, but they have failed to keep possession of public favour, and the fame of the author rests on her Old English Baron,' wbich is now generally printed along with the Castle of Otranto:
In the spring of 1766 came out a tale of about equal dimensions with Walpole's Gothic story, but as different in its nature as an English cottage or villa, with its honeysuckle hedge, wall-roses, neat garden, and general air of beauty and comfort, is from a gloomy feudal tower, with its dark walls, moai, and drawbridge. Weallude to Goldsmith's • Vicar of Wakefield.' The first edition was published on the 27th of Marcb, a second was called for in June, and a third in August of the same year.
What reader could be insensible to the charms of a work so full of kindliness, benevolence, taste, and genius? By that species of mental chemistry which he understood as well as Sterne, Goldsmith extracted the essence of character, separating from it what was trite and wortbless, and presenting in incredibly small
E. La ¥, ix.--10
space a finished representation, bland, humorous, simple, absurd, or elevated.
Among the incidental remarks in the volume, for example, are some on the state of the criminal law of England, which shew how completely Goldsmith had anticipated and directed-in better lauguage than any senator has since employed on the subject-all that parliament has effected in the reformation of our criminal code. These short, philosophical, and critical dissertations always arise naturally out of the progress of the tale. The character of the vicar gives the chief interest to the family group, though the peculiarities of Mrs. Primrose, as her boasted skill in housewifery, her motherly vanity and desire to appear genteel, are finely brought out, and reproduced in her daughters. The vicar's support of the Wbistonian theory as to marriage, that it was unlawful for a priest of the Church of England, after the death of his first wife, to take a second, to illustrate which he had his wife's epitaph written and placed over the cbimneypiece, is a touch of humour and individuality that has never been excelled. Another weakness of the worthy vicar was the literary vanity which, notwithstanding his real learning, led him to be imposed upon by Jenkinson in the affair of the cosmogony; but these drawbacks only serve to endear him more closely to his readers; and when distress falls upon the virtuous household, the noble fortitude ani. resignation of the principal sufferer, and the efficacy of his example, form one of the most affecting and even sublime moral pictures. The numberless little traits of character, pathetic and lively incidents, and sketches of manners--as the family of the Flamboroughs, the quiet pedantry and simplicity of Moses, with his bargain of the shagreen spectacles; the family picture, in which Mrs. Primrose was painted as Venus, and the vicar, in gown and band, presenting to her his books on the Whistonian controversy, and which picture, when completed, was too large for the house, and like Robinson Crusoe's long-boat, could not be removed-all mark the perfect art as well as nature of this domestic novel.
That Goldsmith derived many of his incidents from actual occurrences, which he had witnessed, is generally admitted. The story of George Primrose, particularly his going to Amsterdam to teach the Dutchmen English, without recollecting that he should first know something of Dutch himself, seems an exact transcript of the author's early adventures and bhundering simplicity. Though Goldsmith carefully corrected the langnage of his miniature romance in the different editions, he did not meddie with the incidents, so that some im. probabilities remain. These, however, have no effece on the reader in diminishing for a moment the interest of the work. Goethe read a translation of the Vicar of Wakefield' in his twenty-fifth year-just at the critical moment of mental development'-anel ever afterwards acknowledged luis obligation to the wise und genial story.
In the same year with the · Vicar of Wakefield,' the first two volumes of a domestic novel, ultimately extended to five volumes, the
Fool of Quality,' were published by a countryman of Goldsmith's, HENRY BROOKE (1706-1783), who was the author of several dramatic pieces, and of a poem on Universal Beauty,' which anticipated the style of Darwin's ‘Botanic Garden.' The poetry and prose of Brooke have both fallen into obscurity, but his novel was popular in its day, and contains several pleasing and instructive sketches, chiefly designed for the young. Several social questions of importance are discussed by. Brooke with great ability, and in an enlightened spirit. He was an extensive miscellaneous writer-a man of public spirit and benevolent character. In the early part of his careerhe had been the friend of Swift, Pope, Chesterfield, and other eminent contemporaries. His daughter, CHARLOTTE BROOEE, published in 1789 a volume of .Reliques of Irish Poetry,' and a collection of her father's works, four volumes, 1792.
The most successful imitator of Sterne in sentiment, pathos, and style; his superior in taste and delicacy, but greatly inferior to him in originality, force, and humour, was HENRY MACKENZIE (1745– 1831), long the ornament of the literary circles of Edinburgh Mr. Mackenzie was the son of Dr. Joshua Mackenzie, a respectable physician. He was educated at the High School and University of Edinburgh, and afterwards studied the law in his native city. The legal department selected by Mackenzie was the business of the Exchequer Court, and to improve himself in this be went to London in 1765, and studied the English Exchequer practice. Returning to Edinburgh, he mixed in its literary circles, which then numbered the great names of Hume, Robertson, Adam Smith, Blair, &c. In 1771 appeared his novel, the Man of Feeling,' which was followed by the • Man of the World,' and ` Julia de Roubigné.'. He was the principal contributor to the · Mirror' and 'Lounger,' and he wi te some dramatic pieces, which were brought out at Edinburgh with but indiffer
Mackenzie supported the government of Mr. Pitt with some pamphlets written with great acuteness and discrimination In real life the novelist was shrewd and practical: he had early exhausted his vein of romance, and was an active man of business. In 1804 the government appointed him to the office of comptroller of taxes for Scotland, which entailed upon him considerable labour and drudgery, but was highly lucrative. In this situation, with a numerous family---Mr. Mackenzie had married Miss Penuel Grant-daughter of Sir Ludovic Grant, of Grant-enjoying the society of his friends and his favourite sports of the field, writing occasionally on subjects of taste and literature--for, he said, the old stump would still occasionally send forth a few green shoots'--the Man of Feeling lived to the advanced age of eighty-six.
The first novel of Mackenzie is the best of his works, unless we except some of his short contributions to the Mirror' and 'Lounger' (as the tale of La Roche), which fully supported his fame. There is no regular story in the 'Man of Feeling;' but the character of Harley, his purity of mind, and his bashfulness, caused by excessive delicacy, interest the reader, though it is very unlike real life. His adventures in London, the talk of club and park frequenters, his visit to bedlam, and his relief of the old soldier, Atkins, anı his daughter, are partly formed on the affected sentimental style of the inferior romances, but evince a facility in moral and pathetic painting that was then only surpassed by Richardson. His humour is chaste and natural. The
Man of the World' has less of the discursive manner of Sterne, but the character of Sir Thomas Sindall-the Lovelace of the novel seems forced and unnatural. His plots against the family of Annesly, and his attempted seduction of Lucy-shew å deliberate villainy and disregard of public opinion, which, considering his rank and position in the world, appears improbable. His death-bed sensibility and penitence are undoubtedly out of keeping with the rest of his character. The adventures of young Annesly among the Indians are interesting and romantic, and are described with much spirit; his narrative, indeed, is one of the freest and boldest of Mackenzie's sketches. "Julia de Roubigné' is still more melancholy than the “ Man of the World,? It has no gorgeous descriptions or imaginative splendour to relieve the misery and desolation which avertake a group of innocent beings, wham for their virtues the reader would wish to see happy. It is worthy of remark that in this novel Mackenzie was one of the first ta denounce the system of slave-labour in the West Indies.
Negro Servitude. I dare often been tempted to doubt whether there is not an error in the whole plan of negro servitude; and whether whites or creoles born in the West Indies, or perhaps cattle, after the manner of European husbandry, would not do the business better and cheaper than the slaves do. The money which the latter cost at first, the sicknessmoften owing to despondency of minitio which they are liable after their arrival, and the proportion that die in consequence of it, make ihe machine, if it may be so called, of a plantation extremely expensive in its operations. In the list of slaves belonging to a wealthy planter, it would astonish you to see the number unfit for service, pining under disease, a burden on their neister. I am only talking as a merchant; but us a man-rood Heavens! when I think of the many thonsands of my fellow-crextares graining ander servitude and misery great God! bast thon peopled those regions of thy world for the purpose of casting out their inhabitants to chains and torture ? No; thou gavest them a land teeming with good things, and lightest up thy sit to bring forth spontaneous pleuty; but the refinements of man, ever at war with thy works, have changed this scene of profusion and luxuriance into a theatre of rapine, of slavery, and of murder!
Forgive the irarmth of this apastrophe! Here it would not be understood ; even my uncle, whose heart is far froin a hard one, would smile at my romance, and tell me that things must be sq. Habit, the tyrant of nature and of reason, is deaf to the voice of either; here she stiftes humanity and dehases the species--for the master of plaves hus sellom the soul of a man