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any of the productions of his own glorious youth, and stands unequalled in the literature of the day for power and purpose, for brilliancy of wit and splendid harmonies of language.
But a writer like Disraeli comes but seldom in a nation's literature; it is not fair to put the light, emotional, self-conscious, sensitive, limited soul of a woman in comparison with his. Their lesser intellects come in shoals, bright and sparkling as the multitudinous waves, but also as evanescent, and their myriad volumes, soon read and soon forgotten, strew the shores of time like the layers of dead seaweed on the ocean beach. But it is precisely because they are so evanescent and so rapidly exhausted that the race needs perpetually to be renewed by new blood and fresh imaginations. Already the energies of many of the great sisterhood of the pen are on the wane; we know all their characters, we have fathomed all their plots and devices; we have become hardened and stiff necked, and will no longer be melted by their passion or pathos. A new rush of waves is wanting over the arid sands of literature, and it is coming in the new generation of writers, who in the fresh vigour of youth seem resolved to "rush up the narrow path leading to fame," while their once powerful predecessors are dozing on their laurels.
Owens Blackburne is one of this young band of Titans who already threaten to subvert the thrones of the elder gods. She has many natural gifts calculated to ensure success, and we may expect still higher evidences of her ability as a novelist when life and experience develop wider horizons, and deepen and strengthen her intellectual nature. Like Miss Braddon, she is rich in incident, but her colouring never is coarse; like Miss Brough
ton, she can paint love with tropical fervour, but her heroines do not think it necessary to express the passion in slang diction, or to be for ever "nestling" their head upon the bosom of the lover. Then she is never weary or didactic, or discursive and diffusive; she knows how to concentrate her lights, and does not interrupt a love scene or disturb an intensely interesting situation by disquisitions-say on the return of the Jews, or the appearance of infusoria under the microscope.
The aim of a novel is to interest and amuse, to charm away care, and to make us forget for a while the dulness and weariness of real life in the bright colouring, the startling incidents, the beauty and the harmony of the world of imagi
Owens Blackburne has the gift of interesting in an eminent degree, and she has also keen insight into character, though she does not tire the reader with commonplaces delivered in language of oracular obscurity, as if they were profound truths brought to the surface for the first time, and given to us covered with the hard, rough grit of primitive formations. On the contrary, her language is clear, vigorous, and simple, and the vivacity of her style carries on the reader without effort to the end. With the sense of innate power she is fearless, knowing that whatever is said naturally is said well, and is content not to trust too much to study, or the dabbling with scientific manuals, but to leave something to impulse when writing, to the instincts of the artist, and the inner light we call genius.
With Ouida she has no affinity; none of her stormy grandeur, or lava fires of devastating feeling. But then Ouida stands alone and apart from most female writers; alone by her passionate soul, her
glittering language, and the magic power by which she can elevate the meanest lifeor redeem the lowest, and transfigure it to glory by giving to it one divine grace. Nor will Ouida ever found a school, like Miss Braddon and Miss Broughton, who number disciples, followers, and imitators by the score, for culture such as Ouida possesses is as rare amongst women as the deep earnestness which lies at the base of her artist soul, and of the varied passion she pourtrays.
Yet Owens Blackburne is not without the power to turn the key that unlocks the deeper mysteries of life. Her first novel, "The Modern Parrhasius," which excited great attention in literary circles, is founded on that strange mystery of our nature, half physical half psychical, which no science has been able to solve, though none can deny its existence-the magnetic power which is exercised by some natures over others; a power that cannot be resisted, and is often fatal in its effects. The touch, the voice, the very presence of the magnetizer in the room radiates an electricity that paralyses the victim; volition is suspended, the intellect ceases to act, all efforts at resistance are vain, the magnetic influence gathers force at every moment, and the subjugation is complete. It is not love; reason and sense often try to war against the fatality, yet nothing can break the bondage. It is inflexible as the laws of attraction and repulsion that govern the universe. This strange and mystic force by which one human being sinks under the domination of another, helpless and passive, is exemplified with much power in "The Modern Parrhasius," showing that the author had deeply studied the effects on the female mind of this fatal sorcery.
The bero, a doctor and spiritualist, a man of weird fancies and powerful
volition, has dreamed all his life of the possibility of meeting another soul that he could subjugate entirely to his influence; strain away the life, as it were, and add it to his own by strong volition so that he would live with the strength of two lives, two natures, but moved by only one will. Chance places him one day at a dinner-party beside a beautiful girl. She has hitherto had the usual commonplace life of a woman, still seeking her conquests with the hope of a successful marriage in the end; but when the deep eyes of the magnetizer rest on hers, she feels that her destiny is fixed, and he also, by his subtle clairvoyance, knows that he has at last met the human soul that he is to draw and absorb into his own. The progress of this magnetic passion becomes tragic in the highest degree-a result which is strictly true to nature and fact, for these influences which our forefathers called sorcery and witchcraft, are always fatal. There is something demoniacal in the power which can take the volition, the intellect, the soul from a living human being, and then act on it as if it were but a
piece of cunning mechanism, an instrument to be touched to mirth or sadness, to passion or apathy, at the caprice of the master. Sin and crime have come of such influences, and the weird tragedies of many fated lives.
Owens Blackburne's next novel "A Woman Scorned," is laid amidst Irish scenes, by the beautiful banks of the Boyne. It is a story of love and hate, of passion and crime, worked out with considerable dramatic power. deed, the author's genius is essentially dramatic, and if she turns her intellect to writing for the stage, there can be no doubt of her success. This very novel could be easily dramatized, for the situations are all scenic and striking. Every chapter is a bold, well-defined
picture, and the subordinate Irish characters, with their their blended humour and pathos, are wonderfully true to life; especially the old Irish nurse, as important a member of the family household in Ireland as in ancient Greecethe trusted confidante, the adviser, the organiser, and arranger of the family life, and even by this one admirable picture we can see how truly and sympathetically the author has studied the soft and tender lights of the composite and singular Irish nature.
There are two heroines, the elder sister, proud, imperious, a social queen by right of her beauty and her stately grace; the younger, a step-sister, daughter of a governess, their father's second wife, who is looked upon as a mere weed in her path by the haughty beauty who rules the household of the O'Driscolls. The contrast is dramatic between the two sisters; the one who thinks the world should be at her feet, and the other a simple wildflower, struggling upwards to the light through the heavy and depressing atmosphere of humiliation that surrounds her. But her elastic Irish nature cannot be crushed. Her "petulant, quick replies" repels the scorn of her sister, and she springs up from beneath the trampling foot with a persistent courage that enlists all our sympathies on her side in the war of temperaments and destinies.
There is but one hero, and both sisters are in love with him—hence comes the drama of three lives, carried on with unfailing interest through a series of highly sensational scenes. The elder sister manifests her love through crime; the younger through suffering; but which sister conquers in the end we leave the reader to discover.
There is some humour (a quality
rare amongst female writers) and a quick perception of the ludicrous in the author's nature; the description of the rich, good-natured, but homely squire who falls in love with the younger sister, and pines from unrequited passion, is full of amusing but not sharp or disagreeable caricature. We like the old gentleman amazingly, and cannot but feel sorry that he was so badly treated by the little wildflower The interest of the plot is well sustained throughout, and there is a dash in the style, a vivacity of treatment, and rapid movement of the story which excites and carries on the reader easily to the end.
As novels have become a necessary stimulant to the age, wearied with over-lecturing and dogmatic teaching, we cordially recommend the sparkling cup offered by Owens Blackburne as a pleasant and exhilarating tonic. The mission of the novelist is simply to amuse, not to instruct, and there can be no brighter, better, or more interesting narrator of tales of passion, and incident, of life as it is, or of life in its exceptional phases, than the gifted author of "The Modern Parrhasius,' and "A
Journal of Commodore Goodenough, R.N., C.B., C.M.G., Edited, with a memoir, by his widow. London: Henry S. King and Co., 1876. -Twelve months ago the subject of this memoir met a sad and tragic death when senior officer on the Australian station. In command of the Pearl he visited the island of Santa Cruz in the South Pacific, the inhabitants of which were reported unfriendly. Anxious to establish amicable relations with them, he incautiously landed without adopting sufficient precaution, and was treacherously attacked.
He received a severe arrow wound in his side, and only survived eight days. Thus suddenly cut off in the pride of manhood-in the full glow and promise of an honourable professional career, it was consolation to relatives and friends that he fell a sacrifice to his humane intentions in the discharge of his duty. His death was justly regarded from a professional point of view as a loss to the country, for the service could not boast a more accomplished, zealous, and promising officer.
James Graham Goodenough was born on the 3rd of December, 1830, at Stoke Hill, near Guildford, Surrey. His father was the son of the Bishop of Carlisle, had been Head Master of Westminster of WestSchool, was minster, and subsequently became Dean of Wells. He took the name of Graham from his godfather, Sir James Graham, then First Lord of the Admiralty, which circumstance determined his education for the naval profession.
He remained under his father's tuition till he was seven years old, when he spent nearly three years at a school in Berks; but before he had completed his tenth year he entered Westminster, and continued there until he entered the navy in May, 1844, when only thirteen years of age. In the following July he was appointed to the Collingwood, Capt. Smart, and in September sailed for the Pacific.
Captain, afterwards Admiral, Sir Robert Smart is stated to have been "a man of high professional ability, of the purest integrity and elevation of character," who took the greatest interest in the progress and well-being of his young officers. Young Goodenough is represented as having from his earliest years manifested great determination and strength of character, and feeling a laudable ambition to succeed in his
profession, he from the first re-
After four years of service the Collingwood returned to England, and was paid off in August, 1848. A friend and schoolfellow says that "as a midshipman young Goodenough fulfilled the promise he had given as
a boy at Westminster. Always modest and unassuming, he naturally took the lead in everything; the best as a linguist, in navigation, in seamanship, in gunnery, and all exercises, and amongst the foremost in all expeditions.' That this high testimony was not attributable to the partiality of friendship is evidenced by the fact that when Captain Smart was asked by the port-admiral at Portsmouth to point out any officers with whom he was specially satisfied; among others, Goodenough was brought forward, and his certificate endorsed, "An officer of promise."
After six weeks' leave at home, he was appointed to the Cyclops, October, 1848, and sailed for the coast of Africa. In August, 1849, he applied for and obtained permis
sion to return to England for the purpose of competing at the Royal Naval College for the lieutenant's commission, which was then annually given to the mate who, after a year's study, passed the best examination. He returned to England in December, 1849, in June, 1850, passed as mate, and in July, 1851, obtained, by a most successful examination, the lieutenant's commission.
In September, 1851, he was appointed to the Centaur, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Henderson, commanding the South American station. Here he remained until the outbreak of the war with Russia in 1854, when the Centaur was suddenly recalled. He was most anxious to obtain an appointment to a ship destined for service in the Black Sea, but failed, and was sent to the Calcutta guardship at Plymouth. Shortly after he sailed in the Royal William to convey troops to Bomarsund, and returned with a cargo of Russian prisoners. He was then appointed to the Hastings, Captain Caffin, as gunnery lieutenant, and again visited the Baltic. He assisted at the bombardment of Sweaborg, but there was little scope in the Baltic for the display of the wonted skill and valour of the British navy.
In the winter of 1855 he returned to England, and the following spring obtained his first independent commission-the Goshawk gunboat at Woolwich. In August of the same year he was paid off, and appointed first lieutenant of the Raleigh, bearing the broad pendant of Commodore Hon. H. Keppel, and sailed for China. Subsequently transferred to the flagship Calcutta as second lieutenant, he participated in the taking of Canton, and the capture of the Taku forts. The Calcutta was ordered home and paid off in August, 1859, but as hostilities were re
sumed, he returned to China in command of the Renard sloop of war, was present at the second taking of the Taku forts in command of a flotilla of boats, and after much active service obtained leave and returned to England in February, 1862.
His health at this time was rather impaired, and this was the principal reason that caused, his return to England. He was constantly suffering from fever and ague. Besides "he felt he was losing ground professionally from being so long away from England, and getting behindhand as regarded inventions, or whatever was new and active in the naval service. He was never so happy as when fully employed, and often in writing says, 'Hard work as usual agrees with me;' or 'I am fortunate in always having something to do;' 'For a long time I have never been a week at anchor,' and such expressions as these. Having a constant desire to be always learning something, as soon as he felt he had mastered any subject, or any piece of work, and that his full powers were no longer required, he sought for some new object on which to expend them."
In July, 1862, he joined the flagship Revenge as commander, under the former captain of the Collingwood, now Admiral Smart, who commanded the Channel SquadAt the close of 1863 he was sent by the Government on a special mission to the United States, for the purpose of procuring information respecting the improvements alleged to have taken place in naval science in consequence of the war with the Southern Confederacy. The manner in which he acquitted himself of the delicate duties of this mission gave great satisfaction, and his services were duly appreciated.
In May, 1864, he married Victoria, daughter of W. J. Hamilton,