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"Isn't it horrid?' said Sophia-Horrid! not half so horrid as fish-hooks. ....Which do you use?"" he enquires of his political opponent, William Levitt. The courtship between Mr Walcot and Sophia Grey is an admirable specimen of the moral and intellectual agreement which love requires or produces. Their first acquaintance takes place at a water party, and is commenced by Walcot's repeating some lines to the setting sun, which he had learned when a little boy. "He asked her whether it was not a sweet idea that of the declining sun being like a good man going to his rest, to rise again to-morrow morning. Sophia was fond of poetry that was not too difficult, and now felt little disinclination to observe her father's directions about being civil to Mr Walcot." Then he is delighted at finding that Miss Grey has read some of Cowper's writings, and at one time could repeat those sweet lines, beginning, "the rose had been washed, just washed in a shower," and Mr Walcot repeats some of the Task to her, and she is sorry for people who are not fond of poetry. Then he breaks the ring of her parasol, and expresses the deepest sorrow, while she assures him it is of no consequence. "Do not be too good to me,' he whispered; I trust I know my duty better than to take you at your word. From my earliest years my parents have instilled into me the duty of making reparation for the injuries we cause to others.'-Sophia gave him an affecting look of appro bation, and asked with much interest where his parents lived, and how many brothers and sisters he had, and assured him at last that she saw he belonged to a charming family."
We might also refer to the pleasing character of the kind, simple-minded, old Mrs Enderby : but we have given quite sufficient quotations to excite the curiosity of our readers; and, if we can induce them to seek amusement in Deerbrook, they will not leave it without instruction. We have expressed our strong disapprobation of didactic works of art; yet there is much valuable knowledge that is best conveyed through fiction. The doctrine of prudential rules of life, the guidance of the passions and feelings, the relation of particular positions and circumstances to the general laws of morality, knowledge of others from
their less obvious characteristics, and of ourselves from our reflected counterpart in others, were from old times taught by examples drawn from expe rience and observation; for in all these cases the difficulty is to fix men's attention, and not to satisfy their understanding. A fiction true to nature has the same advantage over a narrative of facts, that an experiment deliberately chosen has in physical science over a casual observation. It is not fitted to teach us political wisdom; for there we are still learners, and the facts are on too large a scale to be embraced in their true proportion by the imagination: yet we may understand history better by the assistance of historical romance, because it supplies a palpable resting place for our minds. It does not add to the value of Scott's novels, that he has familiarized us with a few facts in history which we might have neglected; nor is he to be blamed for variations from actual facts, which ought not to mislead us. The true service he has conferred upon us, con-\ sists in his having supplied the defect of our own imaginations so far as to bring before us men of a distant age as real living men of flesh and blood. Probably their life was not actually such as he describes it; but the life which he represents might have existed, and is, therefore, more like the lost reality than any vague abstraction which we, of the prosaic world, could form for ourselves. An hypothesis sufficient for the phenomena is not a vera causa; but it enables the mind to comprehend them much better than a vera causa might, which was insufficient for the facts. The great principles of action are the same in all places and at all times; but we are too much accustomed to identify them with the form which they happen to wear within our individual experience -an idolatry which the imagination alone can destroy, by convincing us of their existence in other and perhaps opposite combinations. Goetz of Berlichingen almost persuaded the youth of Germany that chivalrous honesty was identical with the iron rudeness of their robber ancestors; but the fantastic confusion was more easily disentangled than it would have been, if they had continued to limit their worship of good to some casual idol of the day.
The novelists of contemporaneous
social life may also enlarge our experience, by teaching us to think and feel with characters dissimilar to our own, and incidentally, by the practical truths which those are most likely to discover who have made human nature most their study. The habit of accurate observation, either in physics or pscy. chology, is diffused by fashion and imitation; and even among many commonplace writers of the present day, an observant critic may collect valuable, though isolated truths. In the best class of novels they abound, and may perhaps form a sufficient compensation for the loss of time, the weakening of the taste, and the morbid sensibility which novel reading is said to produce. To the young it may be dangerous in all these respects, but to matured minds the dangers cannot be great: those who can appreciate more solid food are little likely to prefer fiction, except as an occasional relaxation, and the rest are often brought by the charm of plots and catastrophes within the reach of instruction, and of the influence of literature, which almost always maintains a moral elevation one degree above that of the society in the midst of which it arises.
Yet it must be admitted, that in works of the imagination it is very seldom that the laws of morality are not in some degree violated by errors æsthetical as much as ethical, and proceeding, we believe, rather from intellectual imperfections, than from want of principle. In real life, instruction may be drawn from every character, good, bad, or mixed; but in fiction the moral is implicitly made to our hands, and it is not always so easy to despise the selfish or dishonest hero, whom his parent delights to honour.
lett's mean and scoundrel heroes are set off by a showy exterior, and by the author's evident sympathy. Childe Harold's selfish sulkiness is the proto. type of half our modern heroes of romance; and we regret to say that we can scarcely remember a sentimental and disinterested character in Sir Lytton Bulwer's works, who does not, by some moral malformation, deserve the hanging to which two or three of
them are very justly sentenced. In this defect will be found the cause which prevents them, brilliant as they often are in detail, from taking a place among standard works of art. Captain Marryat is not exempt from the same reproach; but in his favourites the moral one-sidedness takes the less dangerous form of petty fraud and deception, as in the instance of Mr Japhet Newland. The inferior herd of writers naturally carry to excess the error of their betters-a fact which confirms us in our belief, that it originates in an intellectual incapacity to see the real interest and beauty of simple rectitude. Shakspeare did not require, for the production of dramatic interest or sublimity, the daring sins and wild questionings of moral truth, in which Ford and Webster delighted. Scott, with little thought of teaching, always favours the plain and natural distinctions between right and wrong. Miss Austin with still less, and Miss Edgeworth with little more pretension, contrive always to leave an impression favourable to truth and goodness.
In this, Miss Martineau shows true genius. She never deifies selfishness under any disguise; she never sympathizes, like the clever and shallow novelists of fashion, with mere power and prosperity; but uniformly leads us to observe and admire the simple performance of duty. The class in which she has chosen to place her characters, is as suitable as any other. lower station would not have admitted of sufficient refinement; and one which was much higher, would perhaps not have given so favourable an opportunity of introducing the domestic details in which she so peculiarly excels. We doubt not that some of her readers will have sneered at country apothecaries and timber merchants, as they would sneer at Jeanie Deans, if she had now her character to make. For ourselves, we should feel indebted to her, if she had done no more than describe the wisdom, the purity, and the cheerful simplicity of Margaret
'To show us how divine a thing A woman may be made.'
LETTER FROM HANNIBAL SMITH, ESQ. WITH "THE TRIPS OF THE LILY."
You are too great a philosopher, my loved, my honoured, much-respected North! to be surprised at any thing; you will, therefore, perhaps retain your accustomed equanimity when you see a communication from me, written with those hieroglyphic capitals to each line, and mysterious strokes of admiration at the end of them, which are generally supposed to constitute poetry. But I declare to you, I would have written in my ordinary sprawling hand if I possibly could. I have tried, I assure you, to retain the steadiness and sobriety of my usual demeanour ; but all in vain. Living in my present situation, it is impossible to think in prose. Hills and valleys! seas and cliffs!-you would awake the Nine Muses in the soul of an attorney. No wonder, then, you have put a person who does not enjoy the advantage of belonging to the profession into a state of perturbation difficult to be described. attack first came on me about eighteen months ago, accompanied with a strange singing in the head, which generally took the tune of one of Campbell's ballads. Late on Saturday nights, and early on Sunday mornings, I was haunted with the "Mariners of England" and the "Battle of the Baltic;" but all this time I con.. tinued unconscious of my very alarming state. My wife-you remember her as Betsy Gallagher of Portnamuck -to be sure, occasionally looked at me with a very dubious expression when I had given utterance to any of the more vivid of my exclamations, and occasionally shook her head. At last, under pretence of my having a slight cold, a physician was sent for. He prescribed a diligent perusal of Acts of Parliament, the London Directory, and some treatises in blank verse on the Judgment of the Flood and the medicinal skill of the Antediluvians. From these latter I derived considerable benefit; but the Acts of Parliament, and even a special High, way Act, which I read carefully at bedtime, were of no avail. Every body was nonplussed to find out the cause of my complaint; and to this
hour it remains a mystery to every one but myself and you. I found it out by mere accident. Having sat down one day to finish the second part of my "Theory on the innate forces of the mathematical zero," of which you kindly expressed so favourable an opinion, I found, involuntarily as it were, a secret power conducting my pen in the most extraordinary manner imaginable. First a huge capital, then a long line, ending in a powerful word of one syllable, supported by a note of interrogation. Then a second line, of exactly the same length, ending in a very similar word to the former, and supported by a long mark of admiration, which I concluded was the answer to the interrogatory of the first. I looked at the two lines, folded up the paper as rapidly as possible, and felt an internal conviction that I was -a poet! How very strange this was! I told nobody of my discovery; but for a long time amused myself in secret by watching the very curious proceedings of my pen. There it was -hard at work-Sapphics and Adonians-Heroics and Alexandrines-let the subject be what it would; and every now and then appeared such words as " tremendous ocean stream!" billowy waste!" till at last, by dint of much meditation, I concluded that I was inspired by some Nereid, and that my Hippocrene was salt
The only reason I can assign for all this, is the locale of my dwellinghouse. When I used to be a steady sensible contributor, Mr North-alas! that such days are departed-you remember I lived nearly in the heart of England. When the wind blew, it only drove the smoke down my chimney, or endangered the equilibrium of a haystack-when the weather was calm, the fields looked very well, and the ditches gradually became dry. In some evil hour I determined to settle by the sea-side, and a pretty settling it has been. I got possession of what is called a marine villa, and there can be no manner of doubt that it is as marine as it is possible for any terrestrial object to be. It is a small cottage, nearly
on the ledge of a sloping piece of ground, at the foot of which is the sea. Fish are at all times disporting themselves within two hundred feet of my diningroom; so that, when by any accident they find themselves on my table, the change of circumstances must be so slight as to be comparatively unobserved. Very different from the sensations of a turbot, that finds itself boiled all to rags in the heart of Warwickshire. This must indeed be very disagreeable to an animal so little accustomed to travelling by land; and I wonder there is no Humane Society to confine the eating of fish to places within a very limited distance of their usual dwelling-place. But this is a remark which you had better enclose in a parenthesis. I was describing my cottage, which belongs to no order of architecture, and has despised the models of the temples of Greece, and the public buildings of Rome.
the exception of its never going afloat, it might very well pass for a ship. In high winds, the noises of its outside shutters and somewhat ancient doors, with the sound of the sea so close, remind one so much of a Leith smack off Scarborough, that I can confidently recommend it as possessing all the advantages of a sea voyage without any of its dangers. It was here my malady began; but perhaps the circumstance that brought it fully to a head, was the purchase of a sailing boat. I gave an order to a man at St Helen's, who builds most of the fishermen's boats on this shore, to send me a specimen of his greatest skill-handsome to look at, and which could not possibly be upset. In about three weeks he achieved a miracle of art; and to the foot of the above-mentioned sloping piece of ground came one evening a boat of enormous strength, very wide, and with bows that would do for a South Sea whaler, yet altogether as prettily shaped a little vessel as I ever saw. With the help of a stout capstan, two men hove her up, and in about a week she was fully rigged, and fit for any thing. It was now altogether impossible to pretend to have a grain of steadiness any longer. The cliffs here are about three hundred feet high, running out, and in all manner of shapes, so as to form numberless little bays, guarded each by its own headlands east and west. How could any one have con
tinued prosaic, floating under those majestic promontories or winding round those beautiful indentations? I took a Whig barrister out with me only once, and he sent me a sonnet next morning. I tried the same process on various others-on an architect, a special pleader, a clergyman, a soldier, they all sent me poetical effusions of extraordinary beauty. If you will send me from Edinburgh a W.S. under fifty, or an advocate in the fullest practice, I will let you know the result of the experiment. The only one it has hitherto failed with is a banker; but it was in the very middle of the monetary crisis, and cannot, therefore, be considered a fair trial.
But there are grander and more stirring sights than bays and headlands. Sometimes the whole sea seems covered with sails. I have counted a hundred and eighty vessels in sight at one time. Whenever the British fleet up Channel steers," it must always come within range of a very moderately good pair of eyes, and with a telescope you can see the whole equipage, from the admiral to the smallest of the mids. While it is sweeping past, like a great peristrephic panorama, no human being can expect one to retain his phlegmatic equanimity, or write the second part of a treatise "on the innate forces of the mathematical zero ;" and therefore you will be at no loss to account for the delay of the concluding chapters. I will finish it the first time I go twenty miles inland - honour bright!-or, if I stay here, would you have any objection to take it in rhyme?
Occasionally an event occurs which gives rise to still more interest and excitement. Some time or other, it is supposed in the great storms of November '38, or January '39, a vessel loaded with timber must have gone down, probably in the night, about a mile to the westward; for every now and then, when a stiff breeze has been blowing for a day or two, a large balk of oak or mahogany is seen floating with the tide. Not a moment is lost by the fortunate discoverer; a boat is instantly launched, and if he succeeds in capturing the waif, his fortune is made. A good log of mahogany is worth sixty or seventy pounds. Pieces of wreck are often seen, but generally in such rough weather that a boat cannot be pushed through the surf;
and once, last April, the crowning event of all was the stranding of a great West India ship of five or six hundred tons. But as this is the subject of Trip the Fourth, I will say no more about it, except to tell you how the people who went on board and helped to get her off were rewarded for their activity.
How delightful it used to be to have one's patriotic feelings roused to the highest pitch, by hearing William Farren or old Bartley, dressed in the plain grey coat, brown breeches, and long gaiters, which the stage has long consecrated to the commercial papas of lively young heiresses-how de lightful it was, I repeat, to hear those excellent performers launch out in praise of the generosity and other vir< tues of the British merchant! "Such may be the case with high-born seig neurs and titled comtes, but let me tell you, sir, a British merchant is a man who". the triumphant shouts of the shilling gallery drowned the remainder of the sentence. "A British merchant, sir?-as long as you have such princely benefactors you need have no regret for the want of titled patrons. Who are so free-so liberal-so just ?" While Mr Bartley enunciated these profound observations, and stuffed his hands into the sober-coloured unmentionables, above described as the characteristic apparel of the histrionic trader, the sympathies of the whole audience were excited, and boxes, pit, and gallery went away, thoroughly impressed with the belief that the most beneficent and disinterested class of her Majesty's subjects are those whose daily and hourly occupation it is to turn an honest penny if they can, but at all events a penny. The farces I have quoted were probably written by merchants' clerks, or perhaps the heads of firms themselves, while enjoying a temporary retirement in what some Italian fiddler used to amuse the Prince of Wales by calling his father's big house; but whether clerk or principal, their de clarations must be taken cum grano.,
But, with my former vivid impressions of all the virtues being embodied in the occupant of a three-legged stool of great height, in some city lane, I made no question of the poor fellows who went on board the stranded ship within half an hour of her having struck, and worked all night on board,
being amply rewarded. They found the captain without any idea of where he was; and his spirits were probably not much exhilarated when they told him his bowsprit was within two cables' length of Dunnose. However, with their help, he strove to work the vessel off; and, being in hopes of effecting his purpose, and proceeding on his voyage without having his misfortune discovered, he refused to tell his name or the name of his vessel. His passengers were much alarmed, and hired one of the men to go and procure boats to be near the ship in case the weather changed. He performed this service; and the boats he procured were paid by the passengers the sum agreed upon. The six or seven men who remained on board
all of them seafaring men-for the people along this coast, though calling themselves masons, and carpenters, and other terrestrial occupations, are all more or less bred to the sea-were rewarded next morning with the splendid donation of a glass of rum a-piece, which, as rum is cheap, and this was not of the best quality, might amount to the value of three-halfpence a glass; making in all, among the six men, the gross aggregate of ninepence. On the same evening, a steamboat from Portsmouth succeeded in getting her off, and there seemed no great chance of hearing any more of the fortunate vessel or her very liberal commander. A reverend gentleman, who resides near this, wrote a plain statement of these facts to the county paper; and, being furnished anonymously with the names of the owners, he of course expected from the British merchants, whom Mr Bartley had represented as so liberal and just, some compensation for the men who had been so active on their behalf. In answer, he tells me he received a copy of an epistle sent to them by the commander of their vessel, denying that the shore-people had ever been on board; and stating that, with the solitary exception of the ship having been for a short time on shore, there was not the slightest ground for any of the other statements in the reverend divine's communications. There were witnesses without number to the facts; I saw the men with these bodily eyes.
I was on the shore within forty minutes of her taking the ground; and the men themselves were ready