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a fit of honesty, bes of revenge, marries the lady whom he came to Soon after, Madame de Verner, des—Escovers the arti fices by which she had prevented the zion of Leonce and Delphine-and then, after this catastrophe, which ought to have terminated the novel, eone two kong volumes of complaint and despair. Delphine becomes a num—noms away from the nunnery with Lecnce, who is taken by some French soldiers, upon the supposition that he has been serving in the French emigrant army against his country—is shot and upon his dead body falls Delphine, as dead as be.

Making every allowance for reading this book in a translation, and in a very bad translation, we cannot but deem it a beavy performance. The incidents are vulgar: the characters vulgar, too, except those of Delphine and Malame de Vernon. Madame de Stael has not the artifice to hide what is coming. In traveling through a fat country, or a fat book, we see our road before us for half the distance we are going. There are no agreeable sinuosities, and to speculations whether we are to ascend next, or descend; what new sight we are to enjoy, or to which side we are to bend. Leonce is robbed and half-murdered; the apothecary of the place is certain be will not Eve; we were abschitely certain that he would live, and could predict to an hour the time of his recovery. In the same manner we could have prophesied every event of the book a whole volume before its occurrence.

This novel is a perfect d'ézmári am- The last two volumes are redundant, and drag their wounded length: it should certainly have terminated where the interest ceases, at the death of Ma lame de Vernon; but, instead of this, the secne-shifters come and pick up the dead bodies, wash the stare, sweep it, and do everything which the timely fall of the curtain should have excluded from the sight, and left to the imagination of the audience. We humbly apprehend, that young gentlemen do not, in general, make their tutors the conti lants of their passion; at least we can find no rule of that kind laid down either by Miss Hamilton or Miss Edge worth, in their treatises on education. The tutor of Leonce is Mr. Barton, a grave old gentleman, in a peruke and snuff-coloured clothes. Instead of writing to this solemn personage about second causes, the ten categories, and the eternal fitness of things, the young lover raves to him, for whole pages, about the white neck

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a fit of honesty, but of revenge, marries the lady whom he came to marry. Soon after, Madame de Vernon dies-discovers the artifices by which she had prevented the union of Leonce and Delphine-and then, after this catastrophe, which ought to have terminated the novel, come two long volumes of complaint and despair. Delphine becomes a nun-runs away from the nunnery with Leonce, who is taken by some French soldiers, upon the supposition that he has been serving in the French emigrant army against his country-is shot, and upon his dead body falls Delphine, as dead as he.

Making every allowance for reading this book in a translation, and in a very bad translation, we cannot but deem it a heavy performance. The incidents are vulgar; the characters vulgar, too, except those of Delphine and Madame de Vernon. Madame de Staël has not the artifice to hide what is coming. In travelling through a flat country, or a flat book, we see our road before us for half the distance we are going. There are no agreeable sinuosities, and no speculations whether we are to ascend next, or descend; what new sight we are to enjoy, or to which side we are to bend. Leonce is robbed and half-murdered; the apothecary of the place is certain he will not live; we were absolutely certain that he would live, and could predict to an hour the time of his recovery. In the same manner we could have prophesied every event of the book a whole volume before its occurrence.

This novel is a perfect Alexandrian. The last two volumes are redundant, and drag their wounded length: it should certainly have terminated where the interest ceases, at the death of Madame de Vernon; but, instead of this, the scene-shifters come and pick up the dead bodies, wash the stage, sweep it, and do everything which the timely fall of the curtain should have excluded from the sight, and left to the imagination of the audience. We humbly apprehend, that young gentlemen do not, in general, make their tutors the confidants of their passion; at least we can find no rule of that kind laid down either by Miss Hamilton or Miss Edgeworth, in their treatises on education. The tutor of Leonce is Mr. Barton, a grave old gentleman, in a peruke and snuff-coloured clothes. Instead of writing to this solemn personage about second causes, the ten categories, and the eternal fitness of things, the young lover raves to him, for whole pages, about the white neck

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and auburn hair of Lis Delphine; and, shame to tell! the liquorish old pedagogue seems to think these amorous ebullitions the pleasantest sort of writing in usum Delphini that he has yet met with. By altering one word, and making only one false quantity,* we shall change the rule of Horace to

"Nec febris intersit nisi dignus vindice nodus
Inciderit.".

Delphine and Leonce have eight very bad typhus fevers between them, besides hæmoptoe, hemorrhage, deliquium animi, singultus, hysteria, and fœminei ululatus, or screams innumerable. Now, that there should be a reasonable allowance of sickness in every novel, we are willing to admit, and will cheerfully permit the heroine to be once given over, and at the point of death; but we cannot consent that the interest which ought to be excited by the feelings of the mind should be transferred to the sufferings of the body, and a crisis of perspiration be substituted for a crisis of passion. Let us see difficulties overcome, if our approbation is required; we cannot grant it to such cheap and sterile artifices as these.

The characters in this novel are all said to be drawn from real life; and the persons for whom they are intended are loudly whispered at Paris. Most of them we have forgotten; but Delphine is said to be intended for the authoress, and Madame de Vernon (by a slight sexual metamorphosis) for Talleyrand, minister of the French republic for foreign affairs.† As this lady (once the friend of the authoress) may probably exercise a considerable influence over the destinies of this country, we shall endeavour to make our readers a little better acquainted with her; but we must first remind them that she was once a bishop, a higher dignity in the church than was ever attained by any of her sex since the days of Pope Joan; and that though she swindles Delphine out of her estate with a considerable degree of address, her dexterity some

* Perhaps a fault of all others which the English are least disposed to pardon. A young man who, on a public occasion, makes a false quantity at the outset of life, can seldom or never get over it.-Author's Note.

† Madame de Staël, on meeting Talleyrand at an evening party after the publication of this book, was addressed by the ci-devant Bishop with "Eh, Madame, on dit que nous sommes tous les deux dans votre livre deguisés en femmes."

116

IMMORALITY OF A BOOK.

times fails her, as in the memorable instance of the American commissioners. Madame de Staël gives the following description of this pastoral metropolitan female:

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Though she is at least forty, she still appears charming even among the young and beautiful of her own sex. The paleness of her complexion, the slight relaxation of her features, indicate the languor of indisposition, and not the decay of years; the easy negligence of her dress accords with this impression. Every one concludes, that when her health is recovered, and she dresses with more care, she must be completely beautiful: this change, however, never happens, but it is always expected; and that is sufficient to make the imagination still add something more to the natural effect of her charms."(Vol. i., p. 21.)

Nothing can be more execrable than the manner in which this book is translated. The bookseller has employed one of our countrymen for that purpose, who appears to have been very lately caught. The contrast between the passionate exclamations of Madame de Staël, and the barbarous vulgarities of poor Sawney, produces a mighty ludicrous effect. One of the heroes, a man of high fastidious temper, exclaims in a letter to Delphine, “ I cannot endure this Paris; I have met with ever so many people, whom my soul abhors." And the accomplished and enraptured Leonce terminates one of his letters thus ; Adieu! Adieu, my dearest Delphine! I will give you a call to-morrow." We doubt if Grub street ever imported from Caledonia a more abominable translator.

66

We admit the character of Madame de Vernon to be drawn with considerable skill. There are occasional traits of eloquence and pathos in this novel, and very many of those observations upon manners and character, which are totally out of the reach of all who have not lived long in the world, and observed it well.

The immorality of any book (in our estimation) is to be determined by the general impression it leaves on those minds, whose principles, not yet ossified, are capable of affording a less powerful defence to its influence. The most dangerous effect that any fictitious character can produce, is when two or three of its popular vices are varnished over with everything that is captivating and gracious in the exterior, and ennobled by association with splendid virtues; this apology will be more sure of its effect, if the faults are not against nature, but against society. The aversion to murder and cruelty could not perhaps be so overcome; but a regard

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