Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

gravel to make it as good as new. This addition, in it a plentiful supply of water, in which they could however, was not essential towards rendering it pass- swim without danger. Happily Mr Stewart was proable for the car, which was conveyed over it in safety ; vided with boots, so that he could take a firm step in but Mr Stewart, foreseeing the consequences of its re- it, while he lifted Mrs Mason, and set her down in maining in this unfinished state, urged the farmer to safety within the threshold. But there an unforeseen complete the job on the present erening, and at the danger awaited her, for there the great whey pot had same time promised to reimburse him for the expense. stood since morning, when the cheese had been made, The only answer he could obtain was, “Ay, ay, we'll and was at the present moment filled with chickens, do't in time; but l’se warrant it'll do weel eneugh.' which were busily picking at the bits of curd which had

Our party then drove off, and at every turning of hardened on the sides, and cruelly mocked their wishes. the road expressed fresh admiration at the increasing Over this Mr Stewart and Mrs Mason unfortunately beauty of the scene. Towards the top of the glen the tumbled. The pot was overturned, and the chickens, hills seemed to meet, the rocks became more frequent cackling with hideous din, flew about in all direcand more prominent, sometimes standing naked and tions, some over their heads, and others making their exposed, and sometimes peeping over the tops of the way by the hallan (or inner door) into the house. rowan-tree and weeping birch, which grew in great The accident was attended with no further bad conabundance on all the steepy banks. At length the sequences than a little hurt upon the shins: and all village appeared in view. It consisted of about twenty our party were now assembled in the kitchen; but, or thirty thatched cottages, which, but for their chim- though they found the doors of the house open, they neys, and the smoke that issued from them, might saw no appearance of any inhabitants. At length Vrs have passed for so many stables or hogsties, so little Macclarty came in, all out of breath, followed by her had they to distinguish them as the abodes of man. daughters, two big girls of eleven and thirteen years That one horse, at least, was the inhabitant of every of age. She welcomed Mrs Mason and her friends dwelling, there was no room to doubt, as every door with great kindness, and made many apologies for could not only boast its dunghill, but had a small being in no better order to receive them ; but said that cart stuck up on end directly before it ; which cart, both her gudeman and herself thought that her cousin though often broken, and always dirty, seemed osten- would have stayed at Gowan-brae till after the fair, as tatiously displayed as a proof of wealth.

they were too far off at Glenburnie to think of going In the middle of the village stood the kirk, a to it; though it would, to be sure, be only natural for humble edifice, which meekly raised its head but a Mrs Mason to like to see all the grand sights that few degrees above the neighbouring houses. It was, were to be seen there ; for, to be sure, she would gang however, graced by an ornament of peculiar beauty. mony places before she saw the like. Mrs Mason Two fine old ash-trees, which grew at the east end, smiled, and assured her she would have more pleasure spread their protecting arms over its lowly roof, and in looking at the fine view from her door than in all served all the uses of a steeple and a belfry; for on the sights at the fair. one of the loftiest of these branches was the bell sus- * Ay, it's a bonny piece of corn, to be sure,' returned pended which, on each returning Sabbath,

Mrs Macclarty with great simplicity ; ‘but then, what Rang the blest summons to the house of God.'

with the trees, and rocks, and wimplings o' the burn,

we have nae room to make parks o' ony size.' On the other side of the churchyard stood the manse, • But were your trees, and rocks, and wimplings of distinguished from the other houses in the village by the burn all removed,' said Mr Stewart, then your a sash window on each side of the door, and garret prospect would be worth the looking at, Mrs Macwindows above ; which showed that two floors were, clarty ; would it not !' or might be, inhabited ; for in truth the house had

Though Mr Stewart's irony was lost upon the good such a sombre air that Mrs Mason, in passing, con- woman, it produced a laugh among the young folks, cluded it to be deserted.

which she, however, did not resent, but immediately As the houses stood separate from each other at the fell to busying herself in sweeping the hearth, and distance of many yards, she had time to contemplate adding turf to the fire, in order to make the kettle the scene, and was particularly struck with the num- boil for tea. ber of children which, as the car advanced, poured "I think,' said Miss Mary, you might make your forth from every little cot to look at the strangers daughters save you that trouble, looking at the two and their uncoinmon vehicle. On asking for John girls, who stood all this time leaning against the wall. Macclarty's, three or four of them started forward to O, poor things,' said their mother, they have not offer themselves as guides; and running before the been used to it; they have eneugh of time for wark yet.' car, turned down a lane towards the river, on a road Depend upon it,' said Mrs Mason, young people 80 deep with ruts, that, though they had not twenty can never begin too soon; your eldest daughter there yards to go, it was attended with some danger. Mrs will soon be as tall as yourself.' Mason, who was shaken to pieces by the jolting, was 'Indeed she's of a stately growth,' said Mrs Macvery glad to alight; but her limbs were in such a tre clarty, pleased with the observation ; "and Jenny mor, that Mr Stewart's arm was scarcely sufficient to there is little ahint her; but what are they but baims support her to the door.

yet for a' that! In time, I warrant, they'll do weel It must be confessed that the aspect of the dwell-eneugh. Meg can milk a cow as weel as I can do, ing where she was to fix her residence was by no means when she likes.' inviting. The walls were substantial, built, like the * And does she not always like to do all she can!' houses in the village, of stone and lime ; but they said Mrs Mason. were blackened by the mud which the cart-wheels had 0, we mauna complain,' returned the mother; spattered from the ruts in winter; and on one side of 'she does well eneugh.' the door completely covered from view by the contents The gawky girl now began to rub the wall up and of a great dunghill. On the other, and directly under down with her dirty fingers; but happily the wall the window, was a squashy pool, formed by the dirty was of too dusky a hue to be easily stained. And water thrown from the house, and in it about twenty here let us remark the advantage which our cottages young ducks were at this time dabbling.

in general possess over those of our southern neighAt the threshold the door, room had been left for bours; theirs being so whitened up, that no one can a paring-stone, but it had never been laid ; and con- have the comfort of laying a dirty hand upon them sequently the place became hollow, to the great ad- without leaving the impression ; an inconvenience vantage of the younger ducklings, who always found / which reduces people to the necessity of learning to

79

stand upon their legs, without the assistance of their nexion with so motley and various a band. Hannah hands ; whereas, in our country, custom has rendered withdrew from the fascinations of London society, the hands in standing at a door, or in going up or down the theatres and opera, in obedience to what she a stair, no less necessary than the feet, as may be considered the call of duty, and we suspect Tom plainly seen in the finger-marks which meet one's eye Jones and Peregrine Pickle would have been as unin all directions.

worthy in her eyes. This excellent woman was one Some learned authors have indeed adduced this of five daughters, children of Jacob More, who propensity in support of the theory which teaches taught a school in the village of Stapleton, in Glouthat mankind originally walked upon all fours, and cestershire, where Hannah was born in the year that standing erect is an outrage on the laws of na- 1745. The family afterwards removed to Bristol, ture; while others, willing to trace it to a more honour- and there Hannah attracted the attention and paable source, contend that, as the propensity evidently, tronage of Sir James Stonehouse, who had been prevails chiefly among those who are conscious of many years a physician of eminence, but afterwards being able to transmit the colour of their hands to the took orders and settled at Bristol. In her seventeenth objects on which they place them, it is decidedly an year she published a pastoral drama, The Search inpulse of genius, and, in all probability, derived after Happiness, which in a short time went through froin our Pictish ancestors, whose passion for painting three editions. Next year she brought out a tragedy, is well known to have been great and universal. The Inflexible Cuptive. In 1773 or 1774 she made

The interior arrangements and accommodation of her entrance into the society of London, and was this unpromising cottage are neglected and uncom- domesticated with Garrick, who proved one of her fortable. The farmer is a good easy man, but his kindest and steadiest friends. She was received wife is obstinate and prejudiced, and the children with favour by Johnson, Reynolds, Burke, &c. Her self-willed and rebellious. Mrs Mason finds the sister has thus described her first interview with the family quite incorrigible, but she effects a wonder- great English moralist of the eighteenth century: ful change among their neighbours. She gets a We have paid another visit to Miss Reynolds; she school established on her own plan, and boys and had sent to engage Dr Percy (Percy's Collection, now girls exert themselves to effect a reformation in the you know him), quite a sprightly modem, instead of cottages of their parents. The most sturdy stick a rusty antique, as I expected : he was no sooner gone lers for the gude auld gaits are at length convinced than the most amiable and obliging of wonen, Miss of the superiority of the new system, and the village Reynolds, ordered the coach to take us to Dr Johnundergoes a complete transformation. In the ma- son's very own house: yes, Abyssinian Johnson! Dicnagement of these humble scenes, and the gradual tionary Johnson ! Ramblers, Idlers, and Irene Johndisplay of character among the people, Mrs Hamil- son! Can you picture to yourselves the palpitation ton evinces her knowledge of human nature, and of our hearts as we approached his inansion! The her fine tact and discrimination as a novelist. conversation turned upon a new work of his just going

to the press (the Tour to the Hebrides), and his old HANNAH MORE.

friend Richardson. Mrs Williams, the blind poet,

who lives with him, was introduced to us, She is MRS Hannah MORE adopted fiction merely as a engaging in her manners, her conversation lively and means of conveying religious instruction. She can entertaining. Miss Reynolds told the doctor of all scarcely be said to have been ever .free of the cor- our rapturous exclamations on the road. He shoos

his scientific head at Hannah, and said "she was a silly thing!” Wben our visit was ended, he called for his hat, as it rained, to attend us down a pery | long entry to our coach, and not Rasselas could bare acquitted himself more en cavalier. We are engaged with him at Sir Joshua's on Wednesday ereningwhat do you think of us? I forgot to mention, that not finding Johnson in his little parlour when re came in, Hannah seated herself in his great chair, hoping to catch a little ray of his genius : when he heard it, he laughed heartily, and told her it was a chair on which he never sat. He said it reminded him of Boswell and bimself when they stopt a nigbt, as they imagined, where the weird sisters appeared to Macbeth. The idea so worked on their enthusiasm, that it quite deprived them of rest. However, they learned the next morning, to their mortification, that they had been deceived, and were quite in another part of the country.'

In a subsequent letter (1776), after the publication of Hannah's poem, . Sir Eldred of the Bower,' the same lively writer says—If a wedding should take place before our return, don't be surprised between the mother of Sir Eldred and the father of my much-loved Irene; nay, Mrs Montagu says if tender words are the precursors of connubial engagements, we may expect great things, for it is nothing but "child," “ little fool," “ lore," and " dearest." After much critical discourse, he turns round to me, and with one of his most amiable looks, which must be seen to form the least idea of it he says, "I have

heard that you are engaged in the useful and honour. poration of novelists; nor would she perhaps have able employment of teaching young ladies." Upon aired much to owe her distinction solely to her con- I which, with all the same ease, familiarity, and confi

[graphic]

Hannah Mores

[ocr errors]

dence we should have done had only our own dear Pr little effect. On the Sunday he was in good spirits Stonehouse been present, we entered upon the his- and free from pain; but as the suppression still cotory of our birth, parentage, and education; showing tinued, Dr Cadogan became extremely alarmed, and how we were born with inore desires than guineas, sent for Pott, Heberden, and Schomberg, who gave and how, as years increased our appetites, the cup- him up the moment they saw him. Poor Garrick board at home began to grow too small to gratify stared to see his room full of doctors, not being conthem; and how, with a bottle of water, a bed, and a scious of his real state. No change happened till the blanket, we set out to seek our fortunes; and how we Tuesday evening, when the surgeon who was sent for found a great house with nothing in it; and how it to blister and bleed him made light of his illness, was like to remain so, till, looking into our knowledge assuring Mrs Garrick that he would be well in a day boxes, we happened to find a little lorning, a good or two, and insisted on her going to lie down. Tothing when land is gone, or rather none; and so at wards morning she desired to be called if there was last, by giving a little of this little larning to those the least change. Every time that she administered who had less, we got a good store of gold in return; the draughts to him in the night, he always squeezed but how, alas! we wanted the wit to keep it. “I her hand in a particular manner, and spoke to her love you both,” cried the inamorato—“I love you all with the greatest tenderness and affection. Immefive. I never was at Bristol-I will come on purpose diately after he had taken his last medicine, he softly to see you. What! five women live happily together! said, “Oh dear!” and yielded up his spirit with & I will come and see you-I have spent a happy groan, and in his perfect senses. Ilis behaviour evening—I am glad I came-God for ever bless you! during the night was all gentleness and patience, and you live lives to shame duchesses.” He took his leave he frequently made apologies to those about him for with so much warmth and tenderness, we were quite the trouble he gave them. On opening him, a stone affected at his manner. If Hannah's head stands was found that measured five inches and a-half round proof against all the adulation and kindness of the one way, and four and a-half the other; yet this was great folks here, why, then, I will venture to say no- not the immediate cause of his death; his kidneys thing of this kind will hurt her hereafter. A literary were quite gone. I paid a melancholy visit to the anecdote: Mrs Medalle (Sterne's daughter) sent to coffin yesterday, where I found room for ineditation all the correspondents of her deceased father, begging till the mind " burst with thinking." His new house the letters which he had written to them; among is not so pleasant as Hampton, nor so splendid as the other wits, she sent to Wilkes with the same request. Adelphi, but it is commodious enough for all the He sent for answer, that as there happened to be wants of its inhabitant; and besides, it is so quiet nothing extraordinary in those he had received, he that he never will be disturbed till the eternal mornhad burnt or lost them. On which the faithful ing, and never till then will & sweeter voice than his editor of her father's works sent back to say, that if own be heard. May he then find mercy! They are Mr Wilkes would be so good as to write a few letters preparing to hang the house with black, for he is to in imitation of her father's style, it would do just as

lie in state till Monday. I dislike this pageantry, well, and she would insert them.'

and cannot help thinking that the disembodied spirit In 1777 Garrick brought out Miss More's tragedy must look with contempt upon the farce that is pl:yed

over its miserable relics, But a splendid funeral of Percy at Drury Lane, where it was acted seventeen nights successively. Her theatrical profits amounted could not be aroided, as he is to be laid in the abbey

with such illustrious dust, and so many are desirous to £600, and for the copyright of the play she got £150 more. Two legendary poems, Sir Eldred of the Bower,

of testifying their respect by attending. I can never and The Bleeding Rock, formed her next publication. warm, steady, and disinterested a friend ; and I can

cease to remember with affection and gratitude so In 1779 the third and last tragedy of Hannah More was produced; it was entitled The Fatal Falschood,

most truly bear this testimony to his memory, that I but was acted only three nights. At this time she

never witnessed in any family more decorum, prohad the misfortune to lose her friend Mr Garrick by priety, and regularity, than in his; where I never

saw a card, nor even met (except in one instance) a death, an event of which she has given some inte- person of his own profession at his table, of which | resting particulars in her letters.

Mrs Garrick, by her elegance of taste, her correctness From Dr Cadogan's I intended to have gone to the of manners, and very original turn of humour, was Adelphi, but found that Mrs Garrick was at that the brightest ornament. All his pursuits and tastes moment quitting her house, while preparations were were so decidedly intellectual, that it made the making for the last sad ceremony: she very wisely society, and the conversation which was always to be fixed on a private friend's house for this purpose, found in his circle, interesting and delightful." where she could be at her ease. I got there just be

In 1782 Miss More presented to the world a fore her; she was prepared for meeting me; she ran volume of Sacred Dramas, with a poem annexed, eninto my arms, and we both remained silent for some titled Sensibility. All her works were successful, minutes ; at last she whispered, " I have this moment and Johnson said he thought her the best of the embraced his coffin, and you come next.” She soon recovered herself, and said with great composure,

female versifiers. The poetry of Hannah Niore is "The goodness of God to me is inexpressible; I de

now forgotten, but “Percy' is a good play, and it pired to die, but it is his will that I should live, and is clear that the authoress might lave excelled as he has convinced me he will not let my life be difficult species of composition. In 1786 she pub

a dramatic writer, had she devoted herself to that quite miserable, for he gives astonishing strength lished another volume of verse, Florio, a Tale for to my body, and grace to my heart; neither do I Fine Gentlemen and Fine Ladies; and The Bas Bleu, deserve, but I am thankful for both." She thanked me a thousand times for such a real act of friendship,

or Conversation. The latter (which Johnson comand bade me be comforted, for it was God's will. She plimented as a great performance') was an elaborate told me they had just returned from Althorp, Lord eulogy on the Bas Bleu Club, a literary assembly Spencer's, where he had been reluctantly dragged, for that met at Mrs Montagu's.* The following couplet's had felt unwell for some time; but during his visit

* These meetings were called the Blue Stocking Club, in con. he was often in such fine spirits, that they could not sequence of one of the most admired of the members, Vr Benbelieve he was ill. On his return home, he appointed janin Stillingfleet, always wcaring blue stockings. The appelCadogan to meet him, who ordered him an emetic, lation soon became general as a name for pedantic or ridicuthe warm bath, and the usual remedies, but with very lous literary Indies. Hannah More's poem proceeds on tho

6

[ocr errors]

As a

have been quoted and remembered as terse and tual cultivation, from the palace to the cottage, it pointed:

is impossible not to rank her among the best bene

factors of mankind. In men this blunder still you find,

The great success of the different works of our All think their little set mankind.'

authoress enabled her to live in ease, and to dis. Small habits well pursued betimes,

pense charities around her. Her sisters also secured May reach the dignity of crimes.'

a competency, and they all lived together at Barley Such lines mark the good sense and keen observa- chased and improved. From the day that the

Grove, a property of some extent which they purtion of the writer, and these qualities Hannah now

school was given up, the existence of the whole sis. resolved to devote exclusively to high objects. The terhood appears to have flowed on in one uniform gay life of the fashionable world had lost its charms, current of peace and contentment, diversified only by and, having published her · Bas Bleu,' she retired to a small cottage and garden near Bristol, where her new appearances of Hannah as an authoress, and the sisters kept a flourishing boarding-school. Her first ups and downs which she and the others met with

in the prosecution of a most brave and humane es. prose publication was Thoughts on the Importance of periment-namely, their zealous effort to extend the Manners of the Great to General Society, produced the blessings of education and religion among the in 1788. This was followed in 1791 by an Estimate inhabitants of certain villages situated in a wild of the Religion of the Fashionable World. means of counteracting the political tracts and exer- who, from a concurrence of unhappy local and ter

country some eight or ten miles from their abode, tions of the Jacobins and levellers, Hannah More, in 1794, wrote a number of tales, published monthly porary circumstances, had been left in a state of under the title of The Cheap Repository, which at. These exertions were ultimately so successful, that

ignorance hardly conceivable at the present day." tained to a sale of about a million each number. the sisterhood had the gratification of witnessing a Some of the little stories (as the “Shepherd of yearly festival celebrated on the hills of Cheddar, Salisbury Plain') are well told, and contain striking where above a thousand children, with the members moral and religious lessons. With the same object, of female clubs of industry (also established by our authoress published a volume called Village them), after attending church service, were regaled Politics. Her other principal works are -Strictures at the expense of their benefactors. Hannah More on the Modern System of Female Education, 1799 ; | died on the 7th of September 1833, aged eightyHints towards Forming the Character of a Young Prin- eight. She had made about £30,000 by her writcess, 1805; Celebs in Search of a Wife, comprehendings, and she left, by her will, legacies to charitable ing Observations on Domestic Habits and Manners, and religious institutions amounting to £10,000, Religion and Morals, two volumes, 1809; Practical

In 1834, Memoirs of the Life and Correspondence Piety, or the Influence of the Religion of the Heart on the of Mrs Flannah More, by William Roberts, Esq., Conduct of Life, two volumes, 1811; Christian Morals,

were published in four volumes. In these we have two volumes, 1812 ; Essay on the Character and

a full account by Hannah herself of her London life, Writings of St Paul, two volumes, 1815 ; and Moral

and many interesting anecdotes. Sketches of Prevailing Opinions and Manners, Foreign and Domestic, with Reflections on Prayer, 1819. The collection of her works is comprised in eleven volumes octavo. The work entitled • Hints towards LADY Morgan (Sidney Owenson) has, during the Forming the Character of a Young Princess,' was last thirty or forty years, written in various departwritten with a view to the education of the Princessments of literature-in poetry, the drama, novek, Charlotte, on which subject the advice and assist. biography, ethics, politics, and books of travels. ance of Hannah More had been requested by Queen Whether she has written any one book that will Charlotte. Of Calebs,' we are told that ten edi. become a standard portion of our literature, is doubt. tions were sold in one year--a remarkable proof of ful, but we are indebted to her pen for a number of the popularity of the work. The tale is admirably clever lively national sketches and anecdotes. She written, with a fine vein of delicate irony and sar- has fought her way to distinction, self-educated, ir. casm, and some of the characters are well depicted, the midst of raillery, sarcasm, and vituperation, probut, from the nature of the story, it presents few voked on the one hand by her careless and bold incidents or embellishments to attract ordinary avowal of liberal opinions on questions of politics novel readers. It has not inaptly been styled .a and the minor morais' of life, and on the other by dramatic sermon.' Of the other publications of the her ill-concealed worship of the fashions and follies authoress, we may say, with one of her critics, 'it of the great, which has led her democratic friends would be idle in us to dwell on works so well known to pronounce the pretty severe opinion, that there as the “ Thoughts on the Manners of the Great," is not a pernicious vanity or affectation belonging

Essay on the Religion of the Fashionable to tuft-hunting or modishness, which she does not World,” and so on, which finally established Miss labour to confirm and strengthen by precept, sentiMore's name as a great moral writer, possessing a ment, and her own goodly example. 't If Lady Miormasterly command over the resources of our lan- gan has not always taste, she has talent; if she has guage, and devoting a keen wit and a lively fancy not always delicacy, she speaks boldly and freely; to the best and noblest of purposes.' In her latter if she has got into the society of the great (the repadays there was perhaps a tincture of unnecessary tation of her writings, like those of Swift, doing gloom or severity in her religious views; yet, when the office of a blue ribbon or of a coach-and-six), we recollect her unfeigned sincerity and practical she has told us all she knows about them. She has benevolence-her exertions to instruct the poor been as liberal of satire and sarcasm as of adulation. miners and cottagers—and the untiring zeal with She has a masculine disregard of common opinion which she laboured, even amidst severe bodily in- or censure, and a temperament, as she herself states, firmities, to inculcate sound principles and intellec-as cheery and genial as ever went to that strange

medley of pathos and humour--the Irish character.' mistake of a foreigner, who, hearing of the Blue Stocking Mr Owenson, the father of our authoress, was a Club, translated it literally · Bas Bleu.' Byron wrote a light batirical sketch of the Blues of his day-the frequenters of the

* Quarterly Review, 1834 London saloons--but it is unworthy of his genius.

+ Westminster Review, Oct. 1829.

LADY MORGAN

the “

*

respectable actor, a favourite in the society of Dub- niscences); Woman and her Master (a philosophical lin, and author of some popular Irish songs. His history of woman down to the fall of the Roman daughter inherited his predilection for national empire); and various other shorter publications. In music and song. Very early in life she published | 1841 Lady Morgan published, in conjunction with a small volume of poetical effusions, and afterwards her husband, Sir T. C. Morgan, M.D. (author of The Lay of the Irish Harp, and a selection of twelve Sketches of the Philosophy of Life and Morals, &c.), Irish melodies, with music. One of these is the two volumes, collected from the portfolios of the popular song of Kate Kearney, and we question writers, and stray sketches which had previously whether this lyric will not outlive all Lady Morgan's appeared in periodicals, entitling the collection The other lucubrations. While still in her teens, Miss Book Without a Name. In reviewing the literary Owenson became a novelist. She published succes- progress of Lady Morgan, one of her friendly admisively St Clair, The Novice of St Dominick, and rers (Mr Henry F. Chorley) has the following obserThe Wild Irish Girl. These works evinced a fer-vations: vid imagination, though little acquaintance with *The strong national enthusiasm of childhood, at either art or nature. The Wild Irish Girl' was once somewhat indiscriminate in its warmth and exceedingly popular, and went through seven editions limited in its scope, will be seen to have ended in in two years.

fearless and decided political partisanship, in the Miss Owenson continued her labours as a novel. espousing of ultra-liberal doctrines, abroad as well ist. Patriotic Sketches, Ida, and The Missionary, as at home. But let us quote Lady Morgan's own were her next works. O'Donnel soon followed, and words from the preface to the last edition of was succeeded by Florence Macarthy, an Irish Tule O'Donnel. “After all, however,” says she, “ if I (1818), and The O'Briens and the O'Flahertys (1827). became that reviled but now very fashionable perIn these works our authoress departed from the sonage, a female politician, it was much in the same beaten track of sentimental novels, and ventured, way as the Bourgeois Gentilhomme spoke prose withlike Miss Edgeworth, to portray national manners. out knowing it, a circumstance perhaps not unWe have the high authority of Sir Walter Scott for common with Irishi writers. For myself at the opinion, that «O'Donnel, though deficient as a least, born and dwelling in Ireland amidst my counstory, has some striking and beautiful passages of trymen and their sufferings, I saw and I described, situation and description, and in the comic part is I felt and I pleaded: and if a political bias was very rich and entertaining.' Lady Morgan's sketches ultimately taken, it originated in the natural conof Irish manners are not always pleasing. Her dition of things, and not in . malice aforethought' of high-toned society is disfigured with grossness and the writer.” In each successive novel, too, the chaprofligacy, and her subordinate characters are often racters will be found more and more boldly concaricatured. The vivacity and variety of these trasted, the scenes prepared and arranged with finer delineations constitute one of their attractions : if artifice. If we cannot but note the strong family not always true, they are lively; for it was justly likeness which exists between all their plots, through said, that whether it is a review of volunteers in every one of which a brilliant and devoted woman the Phænix Park, or a party at the Castle, or a flits in masquerade, now to win a lover, now to save masquerade, a meeting of United Irishmen, a riot a friend, now to make a proselyte, we must also in Dublin, or a jug-day at Bog-Moy-in every insist upon the living nature of many of their drachange of scene and situation our authoress wields matis persone, especially the broadly comic ones, inthe pen of a ready writer. One complaint against stancing the Crawleys ("* Florence Macarthy'), and these Irish sketches was their personality, the autho- Lieutenant O'Mealy_(* The O'Briens"), and Law. ress indicating that some of her portraits at the rence Fegan and Sir Ignatius Dogherty (" The Prinvice-regal court, and those moving in the best cess”), and upon the thousand indications scattered society of Dublin, were intended for well-known here and there with apparent artlessness, but real characters. Their conversation is often a sad jargon design, which prove that though their writer loves of prurient allusion, comments on dress, and quota- to float upon the surface of life and society, she can tions in French and Italian, with which almost at will dive into their depths, and bring up truths every page is patched and disfigured.

The un

new and valuable.' fashionable characters and descriptions--even the rapparees, and the lowest of the old Irish natives, are infinitely more entertaining than these offshoots of the aristocracy, as painted by Lady Morgan. In the summer of 1816, Lord Byron and Mr and Her strength evidently lies in describing the broad Mrs Shelley were residing on the banks of the Lake characteristics of her nation, their boundless mirth, of Geneva." They were in habits of daily intercourse, their old customs, their love of frolic, and their wild and when the weather did not allow of their boating grief at scenes of death and calamity. The other excursions on the lake, the Shelleys often passed works of our authoress are France and Italy, con- their evenings with Byron at his house at Diodati. taining dissertations on the state of society, man- During a week of rain at this time,' says Mr Moore, ners, literature, government, &c. of those nations : ' liaving amused themselves with reading German these are written in a bold sketchy style, and with ghost-stories, they agreed at last to write something many gross faults, they are spirited, acute, and en- in imitation of them. “You and I," said Lord Byron tertaining. Lord Byron has borne testimony to the to Mrs Shelley, “will publish ours together.” He then fidelity and excellence of Italy;' and if the autho- began his tale of the Vampire; and having the whole ress had been 'less ambitious of being always fine arranged in his head, repeated to them a sketch of the and striking,' and less solicitous to display her story one evening, but from the narrative being in reading and high company, she might have been prose, made but little progress in filling up his outone of the most agreeable of tourists and observers. line. The most memorable result, indeed, of their Besides these works, Lady Morgan has given to the story-telling compact, was Mrs Shelley's wild and world The Princess (a tale founded on the revolution powerful romance of Frankenstein-one of those oriin Belgium); Dramatic Scenes from Real Life (very ginal conceptions that take hold of the public mind poor in matter, and affected in style); The Life and at once and for ever.' ‘Frankenstein' was published Times of Salvator Rosa, two volumes; The Book of in 1817, and was instantly recognised as worthy of the Boudoir (autobiographical sketches and remi- I Godwin's daughter and Shelley's wife, and as, in fact,

MRS SHELLEY

« ElőzőTovább »