Billeder på siden



Hamlet, when he made that oft repeated being thrown in the presence of the “ mys. observation to Horatio.

tical Fascinator,” developes that unacRousseau somewhere tells us that we countable sympathy, which gives him so are not authorized to pronounce any phe- formidable an influence over her destiny, nomenon a miracle, simply because we do and excites so deeply the interest and not understand the cause and principle of anxiety of Fenwick. its being, or because it #varies from the Here we have Skepticism, Mystery, line of our common experience. This, we Love; and from these the fourth term of know, was uttered in contradiction of the the proposition-Faith-is eliminated in miraculous events recorded in the sacred the sequel of the story. Margrave is a Scriptures, as examples of the direct exer- mystery; equally so is the Sein-Læca; but cise of Divine power. But Bulwer, with deep and inexplicable as they are, they a loftier purpose, and aiming a vigorous are brought to bear on Fenwick's mind in blow at the skeptical rationalism of the such a manner that he cannot possibly iga age, teaches that there are mysterious and nore them. They are facts of which he inexplicable phenomena in nature, and by has the evidence of his senses, and he can easy inference in the records of Divine

more deny than he can comprehend revelation, which are none the less true by them. And because his love, his happireason of their being incomprehensible. ness, are deeply and dangerously involved He further exposes, in the history of Allan in them, he is compelled, by the all-conFenwick, the shallow foundation, as well trolling passion, to recognize them in all the as the incidental perplexities of that self-terror of their truthfulness, and thus to sufficient unbelief, which, claiming to set study, with increasing application and sotle all questions by the tests of science, licitude, what he would otherwise have would summarily expunge from the cata- overlooked with feelings of indifference or logue of facts whatever was found to be

So that at last he acknowledges irreconcilable with established scientific the power of the Infinite, after the impreslaws.

sive teachings of a long and painful expeAllan Fenwick may be regarded as the rience, and humbles himself to the admisrepresentative of this particular kind of sion that there are mysterious truths, and skepticism, inasmuch as he seeks to re among them the immortality of the soul, duce all pheni mena to certain principles, which, being beneficently veiled from our and contemptuously rejects whatever can comprehension, by Omniscient Wisdom, not be brought within the scope of logical can never be penetrated by the subtlest demonstration. He therefore denies the analyses and the most refined abstraction sacred authority of the Bible, and particu- that the mind of man is capable of maka larly the doctrine of spiritual immortality ing. Margrave, we think, is merely the of life beyond the grave. His conver- symbol of mystery, or rather of occult sion from this state of unbelief to a more truth. Dr. Faber's special office seems to liberal and less arrogant habit of juigment, consist in reconciling these mysterious seems to be the paramount object of the phenomena with scientific truth so far as story, and is obviously foreshadowed in they are susceptible of such elucidation. the dying words of Dr. Lloyds.

Mrs. Col. Poynts, and the other dramatis This result is effectuated indirectly by persone, are introduced apparently with the agency of that daring hypothesis, that the view of sobering down with the sem. wonderful impossibility, that open and de. Iblance of reality, the otherwise exagge. fiant contradiction of all the known ele. rated aspect of the story; and though ments of scientific truth-embodied in the only of secondary importance to the main character of Margrave. In order, there. design, they are all distinguished by the fore, that the mysterious attributes of this compact and symmetrical mould of Bulsingular being should be brought more

wer's genius. particularly under the observation of Fen. With this imperfect and doubtless unwick, he is made to fall in love with satisfactory notice, and without attempt. Lilian Ashleigh, .who soon afterwards, ing to penetrate the mysteries of niesmer.



sm, electro-biology, clairvoyance, or what., ble milksop, who so obediently verified ever it may be which constitutes the the evil predictions of his philosophical strangeness of the story, we pass on to the parent. We would greatly lave preferred consideration of Mr. Wilkie Collins' last witnessing the first effects of the grande novel. We deem it proper to remark that passion on

so “marvellously the grouping of authors here presented, is wrought" as hers, but this we were dedue entirely to the circumstance that their nied. And even this might have been tol. works happened to appear among us at erated, had it been the only blunder. But the same time, and not to any fancied sim. when she sternly and inexorably dedicates ilarity or equality of character or merit. herself to the unworthy purpose of recov. And first, then, Mr. Collins strikes us as ering, at any sacrifice, the wealth of which being guilty of a grievous fault: the fault she had been cheated, while manifesting a of being elaborately loathesome and dis- comparative indifference to the unfortu. gusting; in a word, he has very bad taste. nate circumstances of his birth; when we Moreover, his fondness for strange and see her deliberately laying aside the soft startling fancies, for* results which could and winning qualities of womanhood, and not be deduced by any process of reason assuming the severe, ingenial spirit of a ing from any previous examples of human confirmed enthusiast; when we see her, at character and conduct, has led him not in the critical moinent, yielding to her fatal deed beyond the range of possibility, but passion, and consenting to the friendship certainly beyond the limits of reasonable and familiarity of an acknowledged vil. probability.

lain, and the loathesome creature which he “No Name” is unquestionably a work called his wise; and lastly, when she of considerable interest, but it fails, we

crowns her unnatural folly by marrying think, most signally, in awakening the that. pitiable, sickly, half-witted manikin, sympathy of the reader. For sympathy Noel Vanstone, we must needs confess and interest express two very different that neither her motives, nor the occasionideas, and it is the combination of them al glimpses which she gives us of a genethat realizes the highest purpose of the rous womanly heart, can in the least art. We are, indeed, amused and enter. degree explain, or justify, this monstrous tained in witnessing the ingenious schemes inconsistency, this flagrant outrage against and counter-schemes of Capt. Wragge and the spirit of social decorum, and we had Mrs. Lecount, but we cannot sympathize almost said against the rule of natural poswith them, because we do not feel that we sibility itself. Nora is simply a negative, could ever be actuated by the same prin- presenting only a passive contrast to the ciples and motives. Magdalen Vanstone stronger.minded heroine. As to Frank has doubtless disappointed many readers, Clare, we can only regret, in the language though she seems to be a tolerably fair of Faulconbridgespecimen of what Mr. Collins can accom. plish in the way of character-painting.

" That there should be There was at first a singular fascination in

In such a love so vile a lout as he." her portraiture; a beauty and a freshness rarely met with in' her wonderful exube- We forbear, for want of space, from rance of vitality, in her sudden vicissi- noticing the other characters. Mr. Collins tudes of dove-like gentleness and wild im- doubtless has genius, but it is not by such petuosity, of rapturous exhilaration and abrupt and anomalous exhibitions as these almost mournful earnestness, of womanly that he can expect to do it justice. How; dignity and childlike simplicity-a bril. ever, we look forward with much interest liant, startling antithesis, an exquisite en- to his future works, with the expectation: igma, whose solution we eagerly awaited, of finding them more in keeping with the that we might comprehend it in the unity vast abilities of the author. and fullness of its meaning. But its mean.

That Miss Braddon writes a very enter: ing turned out nothing, after all. In the taining story, all are, doubtless, willing to first place, we were disappointed in find- admit: and in addition to this merit, sbo ing her alrec.dy in love with that detesta- employs å style which for purity and grace

fulness, is scarcely surpassed by that of talent observable in the ordinary fictions Fielding or of Smollet. Her conception or of the day. female destiny, however, is not an original

It is difficult, on reading the “Romance one, and seems embraced in the single idea of suffering. There is much, though, ther Octave Feuillet is more of novelise

of a Poor Young Man," to determine whein her development of this idea, to call

than poet. With a heart 'made up of the lorth a very high order of artistic talent,

most refined sensibilities, a fancy of won. and to inspire us with a deep and sympa: derful fertility and delicacy, a fine morality thetic interest. Her heroines have all the

and a chivalrous sentiment of honor, he delicacy of feeling and purity of motive,

diffuses over his narrative an atmosphere as well as the pardonable infirmities which

of romantic elegance, simplicity and freshwe usually ascribed to woman. Aurora

ness, which are equalled only by the noble Floyd, notwithstanding her ignoble mater

cast of his impersonations, and the skilful nity, for which, by the way, we can diz. cover no reasonable necessity whatever, is management by which he moves and

keeps alive our interest. It may be a mere a very interesting personage, and we feel

fancy, but there seems to be so decided a a positive gratification rather than a senti

resemblance between the hero of this stoment of compassion in witnessing the ter

ry and Victor Hugo's Marius, that we rible retribution which her youthful error ultimately brought upon her. Talbot Bul- might almost suppose them to have origin

ated in the same imagination. The manly, strode, who illustrates an idea of manhood

dignified fortitude with which Maximilian peculiar to a certain class of ladies, only

met and endured the sad misfortunes which acted towards Aurora as every other sen

came so suddenly upon him; his miserable sible man would have done under similar

destitution, his tender devotion to his little circumstances, and we rather approve his

sister, and their painfully interesting interchoice of the young lady with pink eye

views, the scrupulous propriety and molids, who usurped the sovereignty which

desty of his deportment while employed the redoubtable Flora had established over

in the household of Mde Laroque, the his affections. John Mellish, that good, gradual and irresistible growth of his love fas, even-tempered simpleton, is another

for Marguerite, their excursions to the wapurely feminine conception, realizing the terfall, the adventure in the ruined castie, true idea of a lover and a husband-who his pride, his despair; in a word, every should sacrifice everything in deference to

scene and incident recorded in the narratàe woman ho professes to adore. Indeed, tive, is so exquisitely painted, that we we suspect from the evident gusto and

recognize in them all, the magic touches complacency with which this agreeable of a master hand. The rare and fascinaauthoress dwells upon his silly words and ting character of Marguerite, is not inferior actions, that she is only inculcating somo l to the finest of Sir Walter Scott's imper, favorite notions of her own. “ Darrell sonations, and the perfect naturalness of Markham,” is a story of the same general Malle. de Porhoet is as pleasing in itself cast, though we observe a sort of antipo- as it is gracefully subservient to the happy dal contrast between the uxorious Mellish issue of the plot. M. Laubepin, M. Beand the cold hearted, tyrannical Captain vallan, Mde. Laroque, Helouin, and the Duke. Millicent is quite distinct in char- other characters, have all the spirited in; acter from Aurora Floyd, and is, we think, dividuality and completeness of real per: a far more loveable and womanly imper- sonages, while their mutual relations, fonation. Markham is a revised edition constantly varying but never wanting in of Bulstrode, and is obviously improved by interest, attest the elevated dramatic spirit, the revision. We have not space for a full and expression of the author. Indeed, if critical analysis of these works, and must we may judge of M. Feuillet from this therefore, leave a great deal that is worthy' little story, we cannot conclude otherwise of remark, unnoticed. Altogether, these than that he is one of the most genial and books are very readable ones, and evince delightful authors of the age, notwithstand. much more than the average amount of ing he is presented to us in a language not

[ocr errors]


own, and we sincerely hope that we, that must command our deepest love and shall have frequent occasion hereafter to veneration. But more than this, he was a call attention tv the productions of his hero of the loftiest stamp.

The perilous genius.

journey which he voluntarily undertook And now we come to Victor Hugo, who from Chastelar to the little shepherd-parish combines in his single personality, the beyond the mountains, beautifully illusdiverse characteristics of novelist, historian trates that trustful courage, or rather, that and political philosopher. But ir is only courageous resignation to the will of Proin the first of these three different aspects vidence, with which the sense of duly so that we propose to estimate his merits and thoroughly inspires some men, that fear that, too, with a degree of bievity which and danger seem but words of blasphemy. we would reluctantly consent to, had not The conception and artistic treatment of this pleasing duty been already satisfied. this, and indeed of all the other charac." We must be permitted, nevertheless, to ters, are unquestionably of the highest offer another tribute to the singular beau- order. The Bishop's kindness to the unties of this remarkable performance. If happy, self-despised criminal, when scorn. Dumas, by his somewhat fancisul interpre- ed and rejected wherever he sought for tation of Victor Hugo's name, incurred pity, and struggling with a fierce and torthe sneers of certain English critics ten turing despair, he repaired with doubt and years ago, he now stands fully vindicated hesitation to the dwelling of his subsequent by the last performance of this gifted au- benefactor, vividly contrasts the simple, thor. His powerful illustration of the heartfelt philanthropy of this godly man, tyranny of social usages and maxims, of with the harshness and injustice of those the antagonism of society and nature, of social maxims which, so often wanting in opinion and truth, his masterly represen- the spirit of charity, deny what heaven tations of the human heart, in its most itself delights to grant, forgiveness and touching or revolting aspects, of conscience redemption to the penitent. in the sublimest manifestations of its

The reformation wrought by the purify power, or in the mournful degradation of its weakness, the dramatic vividness of ing influences of the Bishop's virtues, in his scenery, his depth and delicacy of the character of Jean Valjean; his ultifeeling, and the irresistible effect of his mate elevation to a position of usefulness antithetical collocations of good and evil, and power, in which he seems to have of innocence and guilt, of purity and de

inherited the noble spirit of his benefactor; pravity, all are monuments at once of his

his lamentable downfall, consecrated by

the sublime self-devotion with which he elevated huinanity and the massive greatness of his genius. We linger at the

voluntarily yielded himself to the sacrifice,

very entrance of the narrative, to contemplate his subsequent adventures, the sad history the noble virtues of Monsier Charles de of Fantine, the stern, conscientious and Bienvenu, for there is an atmosphere of inexorable Javert, the cunning and perfi. holiness about this generous, kind-hearted dious Thenardiers, the gentle, though man. Bishop, that makes him savor more of ly character of Marius, the kind, eccentric heaven than earth. His faithful rendering M. Gillenormand, the feminine sweetness unto God the things that are God's, while and purity of Cosette, so far as we are yet scrupulously fulfilling his duties to man. acquainted with her, the jealous affection kind ; his earnest, active sympathy with with which her aged guardian dotes upon the wants and sufferings of humanity, and her-and a thousand scenes and incidents the zeal, humility and self-forgetfuluess and sentiments come crowding so closely with which he gave his own worldly and on us, that we are prevented by want of spiritual means to their relief are qualities space from indulging, for the present, in

more than a passing glance at them. In. Hugo, in old German, signifies spirituous, written on them. We will only add, for

deed, a volume of commentaries might be breath, soul, spirit ; coupling the name of Victor, we have i victorious mind," « tri- the benefit of those who have been deterumphant soul," "conquering spirit.” red from reading the work, by the abstract


reasonings and historical allusions, so, But I know on long journeys what harass thickly interspersed throughout the narra- one feels, mive, that the story is in fact distinct and Fill the glass ere you start --hush! tk separate from them, constituting a perfect sound of the wheels !" unity in itself.

There is much more that we would like Then bow'd by the grief she ne longer to say of this work, but we shall reserve

could smother, che agreeable task for some future papers

With clasp'd Hands sank the child at the in which we propose to review, with

knees of her mother; greater fullness of detail, several other While the buds in her trêsses are bathed fictions which are here omitted.

in a shower More holy than e'er gemm’d the cups of a


Cries the father, “No folly! toar3 could not

flow faster The bridal is over, the joy.bells have ceas. If the joys of the day were a fatal disased,

ter;" The cup of kind wishes bas pass'd at the But even as he spoke, his accents werd feast,

trembling, The friends of the bride and the bride- Kind heart, he was but little skili'd in disgroom retire,

sembling. And leave them alone with their mother

She flew to his arms, extended they caughs and sire, Not a word do tbey speak, though the time She clings to his bosom, “ My darling, my hurries by i

daughter, They breathe not a blessing, they have not Myjewel, my bird, my sweet fount undefi..

ed!"a sigh; Ere the sun, just at noon, slants a shadow, Then quiver’d his lips, and he wept like i

child. they part, And “tick, rick," goes the cloek, like a He turns to the bridegroom, "My rose, throb of the heart.

which for years

I have fosterd with smiles, and wateret With closed lids sits the mother; ike shade

with tears, of a smile

I transplant from its soil; in taline saoula Flits over her lips; and intently the while it thrive, The eyes of the bride on the woodbine 'Tis the sunshine of love that must been branch rest,

it alive. As its waving keeps time to the pulse in

* To consecrate, honour, and sweeter ty her breast.

life, A sweet pain thrills the breast of the hus. I give thee, I give ibee, the faith of a wife';

Thou shalt cherish and shield her in goo. band; he knows

and in ill;") How much to the maid who has bless'd uim he owes ;

She springs to her husband," My father, l.e

will!" To and fro walks the father, and hums a glad strain,

An adieu, an embrace! the door opens, Which stops short, like a wave that seeks they're gone! ocean again.

To the new world before then their steeds

hurry on :Then he strides to the window and prates All the blessings that parents can pray for of the weather ;

attend them, “Wby the day seems quite blyike to have And His love who is more than a parer: join'd ye together,

befriend them!


« ForrigeFortsæt »