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jects. Tlic moment the Syndic henrd that the cliiltlrcn Imd seen n man fall down the precipice of Mont licnuin, ho conjectured that Jacques j Balmat, who had been seen in the valley a day or two before, had been searching for gold in that neighborhood, and that it was ho who had met with tho terrible fate described by the children. A vaguo local tradition had long been current, which asserted that gold was to be found in the valley, and that some Swiss adventurers liail even made their fortunes by working it; but little heed was paid to the story, and no one had assigned to the popular notion any particular locality. If Jacques Balmat were once known to have selected a definite spot for his researches, his example would be followed; and the discovery which had been frustrated by his trngicnj death would bo accomplished by others, Mines would be opened, vast quantities of wood would be needed to smelt the ore, the interests of the valley would be sacrificed to the influence of persons who could gain tho car of the authorities at Turin, and their forests would be destroyed to feed tho cupidity of strange adventurers. Such was tho train of thought which passed through the mind of tho wary Syndic, and dctcrmiiR'il him, at all hazards/to suppress every trace of facts which might put future gold-hunters on the right scent."
To other Englishmen who are tempted to t try cottages of their own among the Alps, as i summer retreats, the narrative offered by j Mr. Wills of his difficulties in settlement; will be helpful and instructive. It was long,! he tells us, ere he could get his title; any i thing like purchase being seriously and systematically opposed by n ):' ]•<;!• body among the valley-people in Sixt. The ehurch did J riot like the idea of an heretical Englishman building a miniature Exeter Hall within its
borders. The priest and his "following" set their faces resolutely against Mr. and Mrs. Wills,^and the proprietor had to pay very dearly for his few acres,—something like double the market-price. The expenses of conveyance, however, rendered heavy by delay, opposition, remonstrance, memorial, must seem fabulously small to any one aware of the brilliant rapidity with which England's Circumlocution Offices, official or professional, run up their bills for weary wo'rds, on skins of parchment,—for consultations, the argument of which is to impede agreement Yet more: when the Englishman, with true British perseverance, did carry his point, had paid for his acres, and began to lay the foundations of his mistrusted heretical summer-retreat,—nothing, he assures us, could be more cordially neighborly and less selfish than the behavior of every one in the valley, even of those who had been the most stanch of his opponents. The site itself seems full of beauty,—the scenery to be as grand and bold as Alpine scenery should be; —but to possess some amenities of its own, as in the fir forests, where the trees spring, Mr. Wills assures us, not from that fine, bare, soil* which is habitually the groundwork of the pine, but from a tender carpet of green turf. Last winter the vale was ravaged by terrible floods, and the inhabitants entreated Mr. Wills to get up a subscription in relief of those who had suffered thereby. 'Wisely, he declined to do this; but has hurried the publication of this volume, he says, with the idea of turning some English gold into the direction of the sufferers from the inundation.
The Death Op Mablborough.—In 1716 the Duke of Marlborough was attacked by palsy, partly in consequence of tho death of his favorite daughter, Anne, Countess of Sunderland, "the littlo Whig." His mind never recovered its tone, and his nerves were far more shattered by the duchess' temper than by his battles or the turmoil of politics. One day when Dr Garth, who was attending him, was going away, the duchess followed him down-stairs and sieore at him for some offence. Vainly did the duke try the Bath waters. He recovered partially, and his memory was spared. It was, therefore, wrong to couple him, as he has been in the following lines, with Swift, who became a violent lunatic, and died in moody despondency:—
"From MarlborougU's eyes tho tears of dotage
flow, And Swift expires, a driveller and a show."
Marlborough was active and calculating to the
last While at Bath he would walk home from the rooms to his lodgings to save sixpence; and left a million and a half to his descendants to squander. When gazing at a portrait of himself, the great general is said to have exclaimed, "That u'os a man!" Ho lingered six years after his first attack, still, to the last, attending the debates in the Lords, and settling his money matters himself. He had one difficulty, too much money, and once wrote to a friend to help him, "I have now," ho said, "one hundred thousand pounds dead, and shall have fifty more next week; if yon can employ it in any way, it will be a very great favor to mo."
As he was expiring, tho duchess asked him whether he had heard the prayers which had been read to him.
"Yes, and I joined in them," were the last words which the great Marlborough altered. He sank to rest with her whom, with all her faults, ho had loved more than all, by hia aide.—The Queeni of Society.
From The Press. no resource but Sir Bulwer Lytton. It is to
The Novels of Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton. \ ^ observed that there is not that pronene&s _., ,-,,.. Trr Tii i- j 0 c to degenerate in this class ol fiction vviucn Library EdUion. W. Blackwood & Sons. ^^ be .^^ from ^ ?ther_ ^
There is no living novelist—certainly no : novel of character is more limited in its one still in the zenith of his popularity— j sphere, and more readily exhausts the powwhose celebrity extends over so wide a pe- : ers of a writer, than the novel of incident. riod of time as the celebrity of Sir Bulwer It is easier to combine events into an imagLytton. For thirty-three years he has been , inary chain, than to interpret the hieroglypha" popular favorite. Great writers have ' ics in which the nature of a human being is sprung up and disappeared; reputations written. To interpret a little of it is as much greater for the time even than his own have , as any but the monarchs of intellect attain
culminated and declined; a complete revolution has taken place in public taste, within the same period which has witnessed his earliest triumph and his latest. To have charmed one generation with a Henry Pelham, and another with a I'isistratus Caxton; to have painted with equal power the fashionable follies of the Court of George IV. and the domestic manners of the present day; to have charmed alike by imaginative narrative and by the portrayal of character; and to have preserved into the autumn of life those wakeful and responsive sympathies which seldom outlive its summer, is a distinction which has rarely belonged to any author in any age, and which is quite unparalleled among contemporary novelists. Mr. Disraeli has long ago renounced his pen. The Brontes are no more. Mr. Dickens and Mr. Thackeray, both later than Sir Edward in commencing their literary career, are already forewarning us of a Castle Dangerous and a Count Robert of Paris. Yet alongside of the latest asscrtors of their genius in fiction, Mr. Trollope and George Eliot, we still see Sir Bulwer Lytton steadily sustaining his renown and asserting the maturity of his genius. When all deductions are made which the most captious critic could desire, this one fact still stands out in solid and singular significance, indicating a perennial source of intellectual strength, a remarkable catholicity of temperament, and a surpassing richness of fancy.
We cannot be wrong in attributing a considerable portion of Sir Bulwer Lytton's success to the nature of his method. In an age when the novel of character is the predominant form of fiction, he has steadily adhered to the novel of incident, and by long and careful cultivation has developed his powers of construction to an extraordinary height. We have, it is true, but one Thackeray, but one Dickens, but one George Eliot. But these again have a hundred imitators, so that the public appetite has always a banquet spread before it. But to Sir B. Lytton there is no one either like or second. For really capital stories, for the " twilight shades and tangled thickets " of romance in which we can comfortably lose ourselves, we have
to. The consequence is a sameness, and presently a decline, in the majority of vrriters who depend exclusively on the delineation of character. But the events of human life are as various in form and color as the trees of the forest or the clouds in an evening sky. The materials which they supply to the imagination are absolutely illimitable, and may also be combined with high genius in the depicting of character. Sir Edward ably employs both of these elements cf successful fiction; and it is only just to his contemporaries that we should call attention to this one advantage which he enjoys in comparison with many of themselves.
In the edition of Sir Edward's works now issuing from the Blackwood press, his novels are classified under the four heads of— 1, The Caxton Novels; 2, Historical Romances; 3, Romances; and 4, Novels of Life and Manners. As we glance down the titles of the volumes which are ranged under these various heads, what a world of brilliant and familiar images rises up to the mental eye! What gentlemen, soldiers, scoundrels, wits, and statesmen! What stirring scenes of action in camps, courts, and senates, and the haunts of brutality and crime! What exquisite pictures of graceful' festivity, of desperate sorrow, and of "love strong as death!" We accompany Pelham as he rides slowly down to that lonely pool and ill-omened tree, whence a solitary horseman gallops away as he approaches, leaving behind him a dead body, and a miniature which told, or seemed to tell, 'so fearful a secret. We follow him, the dandy of the clubs, developed by love into a cool and daring man, to the foul and recking haunt of desperadoes; we watch him on his way to the sick villain's room, and back past the bloated hag whom he wakened from her drunken trance, to bring the whole hellbrood upon his track. At headlong speed through crooked passages and down narrow stairs he reaches the door, but the hidden spring baffles his unpractised fingers. He turns savagely to bay with his sword drawn. There is a rush—one assailant is transfixed, —the remainder recoil, momentarily,—the breathing-time is enough: the spring is
found, the door flies open; the audacious intruder is free, is successful j he has proved the innocence of his friend, and won the hand of her whom he loves. Or we are deep down in a gloomy vault in Paris. The coiners are merrily at work. Another venture, and they will have no need to tempt fortune more. The most skilful forger of the d»y is that evening to join their crew. He comes —a diminutive man in a mechanic's blouse, —thiri sandy hair, a patch over one eye,— altogether an inauspicious-looking comrade. But he shows his workmanship, and the brethren are lost in admiration. With the aid of so accomplished an artist, every man must shortly roll in wealth. Loud and long Is the applause; and now they will carouse in honor of their brilliant recruit. The leader of the band sits next to M. Jacques Girauinont, by which name he had just been introduced. A keen encounter of wits follows between the two men. The new-comer's ban mots elicit ready shouts of laughter j but still the captain plies him with questions of •which nobody can quite see the drift. Have they ever met before ?" Never," says M. Giraumont. "It is false!" cries the captain, in a voice of thunder; "buvez done, Monsieur Favart!" It is the chief of the Parisian detectives in the den of the chief gang of ruffians. In less time than it takes to tell, he and the traitor who brought him in are corpses instead of living men. But the assistants of the murdered officer are thundering for admittance. The captain and his young protege reach the top of the building and barricade the door. Hark! the police arc already on the stairs. But now a rope is thrown from the roof across the narrow street, and slung securely round an opposite post. The young man first essays the horrible and dizzy bridge. Hand over hand, his eyes shut, and his breath held close, he nears, he reaches, the other parapet, and is secure from danger. As he takes his last grasp from the rope there is a scuffle on the other side, a pistol-shot, and the captain, rushing through, the. smoke, flings himself on to the rope, with blood dripping from his side; he all but reaches the goal, but the police, awed and fascinated at first by his terrible position, recover themselves in time, and a crashing volley drives the bold coiner to the bottom, pierced by half a dozen balls. Or we are in one of the vast amphitheatres of ancient Italy. The dark Egyptian priest, the murderer convicted by the finger of the gods, stands grandly up before the infuriated multitude, who would cast him that moment to the lion; the yelling and ravening thousands are restrained for a few moments by the troops. The priest points madly to Vesuvius. Other gods have inter
fered to save him. "In the shape of a gigantic pine-tree," the devouring blaze leaps forth from the summit of the mountain; clouds of ashes, torrents of burning stone, are showered over the doomed city j the melancholy roar of the sea is heard over the din; and judges and accused, spectator and performer, man and beast rush wildly away to escape from the last Days of Pompeii. Or \ve feel, for we can neither see nor hear, the Child of Night, the murderess Lucretia, gliding between the moonlight and the sleeping girl whom she had destined to a lingering death. 'Or we wander with Adrian Colonna, the gentleman, the soldier, and the scholar, through the deserted streets of plague-stricken Florence, in search of his lost Irene. We shudder at the hideous merriment of the human ghouls who are still revelling in the palace of the dead, and horridly drinking to the pestilence. We follow him in the company of his two fair guides to the garden and the villa beyond the precincts of the city. We join the graceful group who have there gathered together to forget the horrors of death, and to live " as if youth and beauty could endure forever." We sicken with Adrian at "the false sentiment" of the purpose; we return with him to desolate Florence; we bend with him over t the supposed grave of his betrothed; and j our eyes are dim for the brave and faithful | lover as he rides away, to seek the only good 'now left to him in a well-fought field and a knightly death. Or we gaze with John Ardworth upon- Westminster Hall; and \ve feel ; his triumph like our own. We stand side by side with Randal Leslie in the Lansmere committee-room, and we pity even the intriguer as he throws away his last chance.
We could multiply such scenes, and endlessly vary them, till we had filled every column at our disposal. But the above, taken at random, are sufficient to show the wealth of incident and width of imagination which Sir Edward's stories present to us, and how deep an impression they are calculated to make upon the reader. We are carried from land to land, .and from age to age. But Italy and England—the one the land of poetry end passion, the other of earnest pur
Eose and noble action—are the climes which ( e specially loves. In one work we behold j Paganism dying in dissolute beauty, and Christianity rising pale, noble, and virginlike, in classic Pompeii. In another we behold Mediaeval Rome, failing in its last effort to become the mighty Rome of the past. Again, passing over the Tuscan hills and a few centuries, we find in Florence the new and blooming Italy of the renaissance. Or, later, still, the light of imagination is made to play on the lovely shores of the bay of
Naples, as the author places there the scenes j theme most congenial to his pen. There is of love, beauty, and noble mysticism which agauntness and baldness, for instance, about
immortalize in our memory Viola and Zanoni.
As a delineator of individual character, Sir Edward is possibly inferior to other writers whom we could mention. We might, perhaps, draw a distinction between his characters and those of Scott or Miss Austin, analogous to that which has been drawn between those of Euripides and Shakspeare. Sir Edward's men and women are in many cases typical, as well as special embodiments of character: in the novelists we have mentioned, they are particular individuals whom _
it is impossible to confound with any other, j emotions and burrowing iniquities of a highly In this power of describing a strongly marked artificial society, are the scenes and the atindividuality, which shall not at the same time glide into eccentricity, the authors of "Wavcrlev," of" Pride and Prejudice," and, we must add, of "The Mill on the Floss," are facile principes among British novelists. But if we pass from the region of personality
his " Harold " which is quite unlike himself, though like enough to the times which he describes. "The last of the Barons " is for the same reason less delightful than any of his other works; unless, indeed, it be that the, fault is in the reader, whose imagination is less true or whose sympathies are less expansive than those of the novelist. It is not among the ruder and sterner scenes of semi-cultivated life that the special genius of Sir Edward displays itself. Gardens, palaces, and cities,—the lettered graces and polished indolence, no less than the feverish
*; 3 \ ;•: ;A;._ _*_ i_;_l_l
mosphere which his genius prefers—
"- nor cares to walk
With death and morning on the silver horns."
to those grand and eternal passions which agitate mankind alike in every age and country, we enter upon the ground where. Sir Edward has no superiors. Love, hatred, vengeance, avarice, remorse, ambition, are all depicted on his pages in colors that will never fade—in poetry that will never pall. The passion of love, more especially, he has treated with exquisite power,—with an intensity and delicacy of feeling equalled, but not surpassed, by Scott in some of his happiest moments—in " The Bride of Lammormoor," for instance, and in "Rob Roy"— but approached by no other English novel
The passions, in a word, under the influence of " manner," are his favorite subject-matter: and manners are in one important sense of the word the differentia of civilization.
The twofold aspect of his works of fiction is probably traceable to the chequered character of his career. Circumstances forbade him fully to indulge, what nature has largely bestowed on him, the poetical temperament, Fashion first, and politics afterwards, had a hand in controlling her design.. Both are unfavorable to the growth of idealism. Both tend to fix the mind upon the external and the objective. But though these causes may have operated partially to divert Sir Edward's powers from the direction in which
ist. neither Mr. Dickens, nor Mr. Thack- j they originally pointed, they could not fruseray, nor George Eliot are the equals of Sir j trate the bent of his genius. His idealism Edward in this respect. The aching of the j shows itself strongly in his preference for deheart under a severe disappointment of the scribing the common characteristics of large affections is described by him with a subtle ' classes of men, instead of analyzing the inchann which nature has denied to those dividual. And in " Zanoni," in "Ricnzi," great masters of fiction, who, much as we j in " Maltraycrs," in " Night and Morning," may admire their descriptions of the out- ' in " Lucretia," are to be found many pasward phenomena which accompany the sor- sages of the highest poetic beautv, which
rows of lovers, seldom arouse our sympathy, or agitate the fons loclirymarum with the same unerring skill as the author of Alice and Lucretia.
Human nature, then, in its generic more than its specific aspects, is the field in which Sir Edward shines, and desires to ehine. And the higher the epoch of civilization which he depicts, the more marked is his
seem, as it were, only wanting for the touch of some enchanter to doff their present robes, and shine out in the divinity of song. Practical and public life has imparted to his works a healthy and vigorous tone which is too often wanting in our best contemporary novels. But it has not cooled the warm and generous feelings, nor cheeked the suspicious regard of mere worldly prosperity, which be
success. Though he paints with the happi- j long to nil his works alike. The craving afest effect those broad characteristics of hu-: ter a satisfaction which the world can neither manity which are common to all ages, yet, ! give nor take away, a disbelief in the solidity to do full justice to his powers, he demands ' of all happiness which is not based on tKe a stage of high civilization. The play of the affections, are still as strong in him as ever. passions halt' visible through the cloak of It is not so much the play of human nature conventionality, like the muscles of a strong merely for its own sake, as the success of mail working underneath his garments, is the ' human conduct in achieving the great end
of our being, which he seeks to represent through his characters j thereby swelling the aggregate of differences between himself and the exclusive man of letters. So that there is often a seeming antithesis between the descriptive and the reflective portions of his stories,—the former being so easily satisfied with broad strokes and apparently superficial lineaments, the latter diving so deeply and nobly into the most interesting problems of humanity. But again we say, this only arises from the fact that Sir Edward is a practical writer, who makes his characters subservient to his story, rather than his story to his characters. What he wishes to lay before his readers is some actual result issuing from the behavior of particular individuals. If these are lifelike, to answer that purpose, he asks for nothing more. The general effect of the whole— character, incidents, and moral put together —is. what he principally looks to. If this is successful he is satisfied.
That it is as a rule eminently successful, is, we suppose, beyond question. Mr. Thackeray's novels often teach us how to think, but very seldom how to act. They teach us charity through the hard schooling of universal scepticism; but they set before us no high examples of men who do not need our charity. Mr. Thackeray, it inust be remembered, made his reputation as a satirist. But his later success has been so brilliant, that the public are apt to forget this propriety of his mind, and to assume "Vanity Fair" and "The .Newcomes" not only as inimitable prose satires, but as sound standards of fiction. We cannot regard this opinion otherwise than as a delusion. There is no moral, properly speaking, to any of Mr. Thackeray's fictions, except that humanity is a gigantic "do." There is in none of his characters any gradual deterioration or improvement. Beckey Sharpe ended just as she began: she was bad from the first. Blanche Amory, Arthur Pendennis, Barnes Ncwcome, Harry Warrington, never change, never expand, either for better or worse. And the reflections of Sir George Warrington when comfortably settled in his Norfolk estates, represent very accurately the generally unsatisfactory feeling with which we rise from the perusal of all Mr. Thackeray's novels' They have, in fact, but little of that "poetic justice " by which, according to both Bacon and Aristotle, fiction corrects history: "Quare et merito etiam divinitatis cujuspiam particeps videri possit; quia aniinuin crigit, et in sublime rapit; rerum simulachra ad animi desideria accommodando, non animum rebus (quod ratio facit, et historia) submittendo." Now, we shall best describe the moral effect of Sir Bulwer Lyt
ton's novels by saying that it exactly corresponds to these words of Lord Bacon. There are, no doubt, many virtues which cannot be taught through fiction. The sterner and more practical virtues of self-denial, industry, and perseverance are among the number. But there are certain sentiments which ! may materially influence our conduct that ] can assuredly be so impressed upon us. A belief in the goodness of women, respect for an honorable passion, a conviction that truth and fidelity are still to be found among'men, that chivalry is not ridiculous, that ambition is not always selfish, it is quite within the power of literature to countenance or discourage. Here, then, Sir Bulwer Lytton has always g_iven the weight of his popularity to the right side. For "the immorality" of his works has now become an exploded superstition; and well it might in an age which adores "Jane Eyre," and does not proscribe "Sword and Gown." In "Pelham," "Lucretia," "Paul Clifford," and "Godolphin," we see the purifying effects of a virtuous love upon worldly, self-indulgent, and criminal natures. In "Zanoni" —that wonderful prose-poem—and in "Eugene Aram " we see its power over the pride of intellect, and its loyalty in misfortune and . disgrace. In the contrast between Lumley Ferrers, and Ernest Maltravcrs, between Randal Leslie and Leonard Fairfield, we see the intrinsic vileness of unscrupulous ambition and the true nobility of honorable toil. In "Kienzi" the intoxication of sudden power is set forth in the fall of the unhappy tribune; and the remorse awaiting those who act upon the creed of Eloisa, in the picture of Walter do Montreal. In "Night and Morning," and in " The Last of the Barons," the beauty of self-sacrifice and fidelity is illustrated by two brothers j and, finally, in "The Caxtons," we have the happiness of domestic life, and the self-rewarding power of Duty, depicted in colors which at once raised the painter into an entirely new sphere of popularity.
it is the presence of this strongly marked didactic element in Sir Edward's novels which forms the bond of connection between himself and the exclusively modern school of novelists. Standing, as we have already pointed out, between two widely different epochs of fiction, he unites in his own productions the peculiarities of each,—the romantic and picturesque clement of the Waverleys, with the more direct moral purpose of Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, and George I Eliot. We should not, by the by, forget that Sir Edward has himself raised the question (Preface to " Night and Morning," 1845) of whether " a moral purpose is or is not in harmony with the uudidactic spirit percepti