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prematurely broken by dissipation, but not perhaps the less interesting on that account; tall, and somewhat of the jovial old English girth, with a face where good. nature and good living mingled their smiles and glow. He wore the garb of twenty years back, and was curiously particular in the choice of his silk stockings. Between you and me, he was not a little vain of his leg, and a compliment on that score was always sure of a gracious reception.”
This might have been written by Addison, and admired to the highest point of its deserts. We do not see why it should not be admired even now, coming as it does from the pen of Mr. Bulwer.
After having sketched the character of the uncle, our author proceeds to introduce the actors of his drama.
" The solitude of my uncle's household was broken by an invasion of three boys -none of the quietest, and their mother, who, the gentlest and saddest of woman. kind, seemed to follow them, the emblem of that primeval silence from which all noise was born. These three boys were my two brothers and myself."
The father of these three heroes (for they all contribute to the main interest of the story) had died, as it appears, in the French service, a Count and Marshal of the armies of Louis le Grand; and his widow, declining a magnificent pension, threw herself upon the regard of old Sir William, who repaid her with kindness and unlimited bounty for the confidence that she had thus reposed in his character. The children are brought up at Devereux Court, and are thriving in wild and happy ignorance, when a person is brought upon the stage who at once changes the current of their fortunes, Sir William (in answer to some reproach or suggestion of the mother about instruction,') is about to propose himself as their tutor, when—“the door opened, and the Abbé de Montreuil entered.”
Of the Abbé de Montreuil there is a somewhat elaborate portrait; not quite so good, to our fancy, as that of the knight Sir William, but clever and effective withal, and one which we might be tempted to quote, but that our limits forbid it. Under the influence of this mysterious monk-(he is a Jesuit, and does ample justice to the reputation of the order,)--the three boys are educated, and the wily and acute intellect of the preceptor has its natural influence upon them all, according to their varieties of character. The eldest, Morton Devereux, being of a good capacity and ambitious temper, is impelled up the hill of fortune, is driven into adventure, and is made, in fact, the chief hero of the story. The second, of a more worldly turn, but with less brilliant parts, is made a tool of the Jesuit; and the youngest, who is cursed naturally with a morbid sensibility, is stimulated into more than the sins which even fanaticism and unbridled passion commonly produce.
The youth of Morton passes in various contests with his brother Gerald and his tutor, and in obtaining the first place in his uncle's heart. He falls in love, too, with a lady, poor, beautiful, and mysterious, (a Spaniard,) who, however, occupies but a slight portion of the book. She is, after several difficulties, married secretly to the hero, and is finally murdered by unknown assassins in the middle of the second volume. Morton himself runs the career of an enterprising man, and walks through the sunshine and shadows of life with unfaltering steps; he becomes familiar with philosophers and heroes, and thrives in the smiles of kings; encounters war and women, prosperity and misfortune, turns wit and soldier and diplomatist, recluse and wassailer; and, in short, is led through every situation which is likely to bring out his shining qualities, by his never-failing friend, the author. Some of these transitions are effective, and some improbable and to little purpose; (for instance, what is the object of introducing that hero to Richard Cromwell?) but there is talent scattered about on all parts of the story. Mr. Bulwer cannot be said to fail altogether, even in the conversations which are held amongst the wits and courtiers of Louis XIV. (perilous ground for an author to tread upon); and with the less brilliant characters of history, he may be admitted to have succeeded. It is scarcely possible to make such men as the historian of “ De Grammont" talk up to their reputation; and Oct.-VOL. XXVI. NO. CVI.
we may, therefore, congratulate our author on escaping so well from the hazard into which he ventured. His account of Louis le Grand and his holy Sibyl are pleasant enough; and the dissolute Regent, Orleans, his familiars, and the execrable Dubois, are touched with considerable spirit. We are willing to confess ourselves indebted to the Count Devereux for his memoirs of the French court.
But why should our hero travel to Russia ? And how did it happen that the clever Regent of France sent an Englishman as his ambassador (or diplomatic agent) to the Court of St. Petersburgh? There is an air of improbability in this, which is by no means compensated by the adventures of the hero in that frozen land. The account of Peter the Great is less happy, we think, than other parts of the book ; and the dialogues on moral and political “philosophy'' add little to the interest of the story. We would rather hear what Mr. Bulwer can say on these topics in a regular essay, or series of essays, and we shall then know how to estimate his strength. Let him be assured that, if he puts forth his powers, his novels will not require the aid of these discussions to give him weight in the scale of public opinion. We wish that he could be satisfied to do well without them. They may be serious make-weights in winding up a chain of historical events; they might become Hume or Gibbon, Burke or Bolingbroke; but we cannot think that they add much value to a work of fiction.
It is not our intention to follow our author through his story, nor to extract the best parts from his books, in order to gratify the curiosity of the reader. He must go to the volumes themselves, and we will promise him that he shall be rewarded for his pains. The narrative is, throughout, managed with great spirit, and many of the dialogues are excellent in their way. The characters-Morton and Gerald Devereux, Sir William, the mother of these Gracchi (the cold, quiet, cloister-hearted mother,) the Abbé de Montreuil, the philosophical French valet, Louis XIV. (there is a fine phantasma-like appearance of Louis, just enough), the Regent, Dubois, Antoine Hamilton, &c. are all cleverly handled. Some of them are excellent, and all are commendable portraits. The early part of the life of Aubrey Devereux, a pretty little fanatic, with his large eyes glistening before the cross, a boy made of woman's materials, is very interesting; but the developement of this person is a paradox. It is an unnatural deduction of character, we think. It startles, and does not satisfy us. But the women of our author are delicate beings. There is one in the “ Disowned,” we forget her name, and one, Isora, in the present work, both of whom are gracefully and touchingly drawn. Mr. Bulwer should paint women-not fashionable ladies, who talk the mere slang of the upper circles, but women, in whom the stern or gentle virtues, the vices, the passions, are to be seen in their natural aspects; or, at all events, not utterly masked and made ridiculous by the temporary fopperies and caprices of the mode.” He seems, indeed, to have great faith in, perhaps knowledge of, the virtues of the female character. There is a disinterestedness, a constancy, a devotion, and sincere abandonment, in his heroines, which carry conviction to the reader's heart. They affect us like the true tone of tragedy, when tragedy deals with excess of misfortune, and sends the hearers “ weeping to their beds.” Let Mr. Bul. wer go on in this way, and he will need no commendation of ours; and, in regard to our strictures on his defects, if such they be, we request him to take them in good part, and as a compliment offered to his talents and good sense. He has written three very clever books, each having some faults, and many excellencies; and we now commend the last of these, “Devereux," to the reader, assuring him that he will find matter in it to instruct him, and much that carries with it a deep and indelible interest.
A VISION OF CONSTANTINOPLE AT MIDNIGHT. MAJESTIC bay! that mirror'st all that Earth
And Night display of beauty, when they meet;
Fall like the star, as seldom and as fleet,
Unfold the starry phantom of the dim
Or that a voice would part the watery gleam, In answer to the spirit that now stands
Musing o'er thee, in the same fairy gloom Enwrapt, that purples thy far-circling strands :
Shall thy next lord be lord of Europe's doom? Or is the charm, Stamboul, which now confines
My spirit with its vague and dreamy band, Like the fair flower that withers where it twines ?
Shall not the touch of thy soft syren hand The sword of conquest in its sheath enchain?
And though the Persick pearl, or Indian spoils, O'ergem the life-drop's everlasting stain,
Were not that sword too costly for the toils Of rapine ? Could thy tranquil breast be wed
To the fierce thought of thralling Christendom? From thee go forth a universal dread ?
Speak, ever blooming spouse of antique Europe's doom ! Yet the night wanes as silent as the grave
Of which it is the shadow, while the past And future their bright visions interweave
Within me, like the glowing cinder cast
Another city stood where thou dost stand,
Whose beauty grew from the adorer's hand;
Where, since, the Harem's minarets are seen, And cloister'd concubines in rosy bowers
Now sleep, unconscious of the moonbeams' wasting sheno. Then sleep, Stamboul, beneath the crescent moon,
That coldly smiles upon thy terraced roofs, Though thou perchance shalt sleep in ruin soon,
And the marauding Cossacks' weary hoofs Clank where by fits the watch-bell now is heard :
Sleep, sleep! the crescent bent in heaven shall beam
With proud crest drooping in its golden dream.
And beauty o'er the inland seas,
And thou shalt breathe as now the perfumed breeze,
The Turk, and the true worshipper, shall be
Yea, kingly woers still shall gaze at thee,
A GLANCE AT EVENTS. Theatres seem fast declining. The Committee of Drury-lane lower their rent, and the renter his prices. Covent-garden goes a begging; and even in the provinces, as Sydney Smith calls the counties, stage-proprietors are everywhere on the point of ruin. Every one has his own theory for the cause, and none agree on the remedy. The begging and borrowing system, to which Covent-garden is recurring, must inevitably fail-the catastrophe, unless prevented by a change of system, can be protracted only for a season or two. Nothing can be more absurd, or more unlike the act of men of business, than the attempt to prop up what in its own nature ought to sustain itself, or be suffered to fall. Theatres now return no profit, and are only kept up for the benefit of performers, at the cost of credulous creditors. The natural inference is, they are no longer wanted, or at least are no longer adapted to public wants, and conducted in accordance with existing circumstances. The play-going public require a cheaper entertainment, and would prefer, or be content with, better acting, and inferior splendour. The ruin of theatrical speculations is fairly attributable to those who, in the common language of the day, and indeed as a matter of art, have most improved the stage, and to none more than to the illustrious John Kemble himself. His professional learning and zeal it was that kindled up the magnificence of the modern stage-corrected the costume and apparatus, and got all up in consistency with character, age, and country and this in the certainty of adding to the completeness of scenic illusion, but with a mistaken anticipation of drawing more spectators. For, unluckily, the expense was more than commensurate with the attraction, and a rise of prices inevitable. Theatres have never prospered since, nor will any thing bring back prosperity, but a return to old prices. The course is obvious: the remedy consists in reduced decoration, reduced salaries and privileges, reduced supernumeraries in a word, general reduction, which will at once admit of lower prices, and thus bring the amusement within the reach of those who are the best supporters of the stage. The public like show and splendour very well, they approve and appreciate the accessories of scenie illusion, but they cannot afford to pay for them. The essence of the drama is the acting ; and good acting, accompanied with moderate decoration, might be afforded at a reasonable rate, and one that would pay very well, and be paid very willingly. The stage, except, for special reasons, the Opera, has ceased to be fashionable with the higher classes of society ; but they are comparatively few. The great mass of play-house visitors are of the middle ranks, and of course the cheaper the rate of expense, the more readily they pay it; and we bave no doubt they would often go twice, if it cost no more, for the sum that now deters them from going once.
Captain Dickinson's mock trial is over, and the court, on returning him his sword, has assured him it had not been dishonoured in the service-a very superfluous appendage to the forms of acquittal, for he had not been charged with either murder or cowardice, which alone could have dishonoured it. All sympathy with the gallant officer during the trial, and all congratulation, when it was over, at the result, was alike thrown away—he had never been in any peril, and bad in reality nothing to escape from. The unlucky Ad. miral, indeed, is truly the object of compassion, for by implication he is branded as the fabricator of frivolous, groundless, and vexatious charges, with which, as charges, he had nothing whatever to do. Strictly, the censure is levelled at the Lords of the Admiralty, for they were the prosecutors; but Codrington is the man who suffers from the blow, and we heartily condole with the man who has been maliciously committed to further the purposes of others, at something like the cost of his own reputation. He has been fooled or forced by his superiors into a position, against which he protested, and condemned for not making good what he in express terms declared himself unable to do. It is one thing for a commander to be displeased with the conduct of an individual, and another to put him upon solemn trial; and acts deserving private reprimand, the Admiral might justly think not important enough to call for public inquiry. Nay, but, it will be said, he may thank himself for the result ; he originated the matter, he expressed dissatisfaction, and the Admiralty had no alternative; the honour of the service requires its officers to be without stain or suspicion. But neither stain nor suspicion was in fact incurred. The Admiral refused to make charges,' his grounds of complaint were not worth the solemnity of the term-all had been passed over and done with :then what becomes of the obligation on the part of the Admiralty to prosecute? No! they had their own views -they made a cat's-paw of the Admiral-they laid hold of his words, and made up themselves the charges, and called upon him, on his peril, and in the name of the service, to substantiate them. Their utter insignificancy, when drawn out in full array, secundum artem, was obvious to every eye; neither the honour of the service, nor Captain Dickinson's good name required any vindication. But the apparent opportunity was not to be lost, among those who had marked the battle of Navarino as untoward, of throwing farther discredit upon the commander. The Admiral's course, when driven to extremity, no doubt was to have thrown up his commission, and appealed to his country : unhappily, from some unreasoning sense of duty he gave way, and played into the hands of his enemies.
Literary controversy is raging. The Edinburgh — by the way it wanted something to enliven it-has fallen tooth and nail upon the Benthamites, and selected Mill and his Essay on Government, as the first point of attack-an unkind cut, it may seem, for Mill himself was long one of their own contributors ; but then it must not be forgotten, he himself gave the challenge-he provoked the attack, in the Westminster, by his charges and proofs of contradictions. The Westminster of course took the field in defence of his potent ally, but with more gallantry than discretion-more wit than wisdon-more flourish than effect—without acquainting himself even with the ground of quarrel-without measuring his weapon or his adversary, and dealing his blows more at random than became a Chevalier of any skill or prudence. The Edinburgh rushes upon his new adversary, and, tearing the vizor from his brow, exposes him to view, as the Knight of Knights, Jeremy Bentham himself. He mistakes, however, or rather does not mistake; but the supposition answers his purpose perfectly well,—the nobler the foe, the greater the triumph of conquest. Bentham's language is all his own, and the Westminster had evidently none of it; and moreover, we believe Bentham denies the identity. The strife and the sport is not over. Mill must himself come forth--for his champion almost plays booty--armed with rule and compass, and show a little more clearly the correctness of his diagrams-his dogmas we meant, though indeed Mill deals with moral matters quite mathematically, and surprises more by the results than satisfies by the process. His celebrated Essays, and especially the one on Government, penetrate to the understanding of no one we ever heard of, not a partizan; and the Westminster has given proof, that his most zealous disciples are not yet initiated in their master's mysteries. The conflict is most amusing. The arrogance of the party and their chief requires humbling a little; and they are in excellent hands. Let the Edinburgh go on-every one of Mill's magnificent papers are equally assailable. The fight affords excellent fun, and serves to exhilarate at least the readers of the 'blue and buff.
The Quarterly too, we perceive, is committed with a formidable foe. The great Autocrat of African Geography has found a new competitor in Sir Ru. fane Donkyn, a gallant officer who wields a pen with as much dexterity and effect as his own sabre. The course of the Niger is the point of controversy. Formerly, as every body knows, the Niger flowed into a lake, or was absorbed in marshes ; but latterly, Denham or Clapperton, we forget which, discovering a bend in its course towards the South, the Quarterly without farther debate fixed the final debouchement of this eternal riverthe Nile and its sources never made half the stir-in the Bight of Benin,