« IndietroContinua »
The troubles of life soon begin to on the ice, she is tempted to wish for come thick upon her : Hope disap. death ; but she derives some consolapoints her wish for friendly intimacy, tion from the warmth of attachment in consequence of his high-principled which her brother-in-law is surprised determination to overcome his former into displaying, and resolves to confeelings towards her; Hester feels that tent herself with living for others. she has not his full confidence, and While Hope's prospects are rapidly distresses herself and all around her getting worse and worse, Enderby with the inequalities of her temper. returns to Deerbrook, proposes to If we had room, we might quote an Margaret, and explains all doubts and eloquent digression on the misery difficulties away ; but Margaret rewhich is caused by irritability and an fuses to marry him till he has entered exacting disposition. There is much on his profession of law, for which he truth in what is said ; and yet we is studying, and declines to leave her doubt whether there is not too much brother and sister at a time when they blame and too little allowance. But want her assistance and the aid of her Miss Martineau is never lax in ques. little fortune. Hope is insulted whertions of duty ; and a tendency to ever he goes, in consequence of stories strictness is better than the converse. about body.stealing and the like, which Hope votes at the county election Mrs Rowland, taking advantage of against the opinions of Deerbrook and his political unpopularity, has propa. of the great man of the neighbourhood, gated. There is a vivid description Sir William Hunter : his popularity of a moh-attack on his house, in which begins to fail, and his wife is exposed Sir William Hunter is almost a parto the petty impertinencies of the ticipator. Here we think Miss Marshopkeepers and milliners of the tineau goes too far. The petty spite, village. One day Mrs Rowland's the persecuting spirit, the jealous children gratify her with the informa. malignity of a local autocrat to an tion that Mrs Hope has been met inferior who has opposed his wishes, crying in the road. “ What could may be expressed in many vexatious she be crying for, papa?”—“Suppose ways; but not, especially where the you ask her, my dear. Had you not offended dignitary is a justice of the better go directly to Mr Hope's, and peace, by his sitting complacently on ask, with our compliments, what Mrs horseback while the rabble break his Hope was crying for at four o'clock enemy's windows, or make a bonfire yesterday afternoon? Of course she of his furniture. If Sir William did can tell better than any body else.". not care for his duties, or fear the “Nonsense, Mr Rowland,” observed Lord Chancellor's interference with his lady.
Soon after- the next commission, he would at least wards Miss Young is interrupted in see that proceedings so riotous vere the schoolroom by a visit from Mar. in a high degree disrespectful to him. garet, holding little George Rowland self. We are delighted, however, by the hand. “Do you know who with Lady Hunter's proceedings in sent little George with a message to the mean time. She knows that the my sister just now? I concluded you mob will, under the circumstances, did not. George has been calling at respect her carriage, and therefore my brother's door, with his papa and drives slowly up the street of Deermama's compliments, and a request to brook. “ Sir William's popularity,” know what Mrs Hope was crying for she observes to Mrs Howell the milliyesterday at four o'clock.”
ner, “is a most fortunate circumstance These, however, are not the heaviest for us all.”-“Oh dear! your ladyof Margaret's sorrows. Maria Young ship, what should we be not to estihas brought her to acknowledge to mate Sir William ?
We have our herself that she loves Enderby; and faults, like other people ; but really, he has gone without making any de- if we did not know how to value Sir claration of his feelings : moreover,
. Thank Heaven," Mrs Rowland declares that he has an said Miss Miskin (the assistant,) engagement elsewhere, and she has we have not fallen so low as that! the pain of thinking that she has loved
Her attention to the stories without return. Her gentle suffering of Mr Hope's misdoings, as of his and resignation are touchingly de- setting the nursemaid's arm awry, so scribed : once only, when she falls that the children, when she beckons into the river in an attempt to cross it them, think that she is motioning them
away; her suspicions of a plot to fire that they are, after all, not half so the church, from a charred stick have much frightened as they expected, is ing been found in the churchyard; pleasantly described ; but Margaret and finally, her slow return, in the has to lament the loss of a ring which enjoyment of her husband's popularity, she values as Enderby's gift. Matters with Sir William reading the news- grow still worse : an epidemic fever paper, to show that he considered the comes, and the sisters devote themaffair a trifling one; and the inter- selves to the relief of their poorer ruption of her satisfaction when she neighbours, who begin to admit that sees the Hopes, through their broken Hope did not deserve to be pelted-a window, eating their dinner at leisure, sentiment in which even the great Sir are all represented with exquisite truth William, who has shut himself up at and humour.
home for fear of infection, is reported Just at this time Mrs Rowland in- to agree. In one of her visits, Martroduces a new surgeon, Mr Walcot, garet has her ring restored to her by who obtains nearly the whole of Hope's à dying man, whom she recognises practice. He is obliged to part with as the robber, and soon afterwards his horse, and with one servant after finds the omen justified by Enderby's another till Morris only remains; and return, and Mrs Rowland's confession she stays only till Hester is recovered of the falsehoods she had used.
But after her confinement, and then de- before we quit the misfortunes of the parts. Margaret and Enderby are Hopes, we feel it our duty to investiagain estranged from one another by gate the probabilities of their having Mrs Rowland's contrivances ; but she been in reality reduced to such penury, is now relieved from her former fear that Dr Levitt, calling one day at of having loved without requital, and dinner, has to sit down to a bowl of comforts herself by the exertions which potatoes and a pitcher of water. Now, are necessary to assist in the domestic
Mr Hope's practice, at the full, must affairs. Hester's character meanwhile evidently have been worth £350 arises as she is tried : she can bear year; nor would so prudent a man bardship better than supposed neglect, have married without having at least and finds it easier to forgive great one year's income in advance. The offences than small. There is no part sisters, between them, had £140 a. of the story more interesting or more year; and a few pounds were received true to nature than this. Hope is for contribution to medical periodicals. happy as he sees the removal of her The decline of practice did not comformer weaknesses, and she feels his mence till the summer after their increased love ; while Margaret is marriage, while their poverty came to contented with her own usefulness, a climax early in the following spring ; and with the removal of her fears for we may therefore fairly assume that her sister. The cheerful exertions of it brought in £250 during the year, the three, to spare each other in the and that at the worst it never sunk unavoidable hardships which now sur- below £50. The rent of the corner round them, are their own recompense, house at Deerbrook, unfurnished, and Mrs Rowland feels with disap- could scarcely exceed £30. We will pointment that she has failed in her allow £5 more for taxes, £10 for rates, revenge. A time of scarcity and dis- and put the housekeeping expenses tress is by this time approaching in before the reduction of the establishDeerbrook ; robberies are frequent, ment at £200, which is rather above and Hope's house does not escape. the mark, and we shall have the folThe satisfaction of Margaret and lowing result as the receipt and exMaria Young, who are sitting together penditure from the first autumn to the when the thieves enter, at finding spring twelvemouth :
RECEIVED Capital in hand, £350 0 0 Rent,
£45 0 0 Income of Hester and Margt. 210 0 0 Rates and Taxes,
15 0 0 Practice, at £350 per annum,
75 00 for six months,
175 0 0 House bills, & servants' wages Do. at £250, for three months, 62 10 0 for nine months, at £200, 150 0 Do. at £50, for nine months, 37 10 0 Do. for nine months, at £70, 52 10 0 Sundries, 10 0 0 Sundries,
10 0 0
Leaving a balance at the end of the they have overcome evil with good, period of adversity of £497, 10s., how they have endured, how forgiven, of which at least £147, 10s., the sur- how toiled and watched on their eneplus above the original capital, would mies' behalf, till they have ruled all have been fairly applicable to the pur- the minds and touched all the hearts chase of meat for dinner, and the bire of friends and foes for miles round, of a servant-girl, who might have saved I think theirs the most gracious triMargaret the occupation of sweeping bulation that ever beföll. At homethe floors. We hope that an authoress O even you do not know what a home who understands public and private it is !
" Whose horse do finance so well, will avoid similar I hear stopping at the stable ?'— It is errors in future.
Philip's. He has galloped home beThe tide of popularity now begins fore the rest,' said Margaret, drawing again to change. Hope's practice re- back from the window with the smile turns, and he forms an advantageous still on her face.—Now, Maria, bepartnership with his rival, Mr Walcot, fore any one comes, tell me_would whom a similarity of character has re- you like to be with me on Tuesday commended to the good graces of So- morning, or not? Do as you like.' plia Grey. Sir William and Lady I will come, to be sure,' said Maria, Hunter graciously invite the whole smiling ; ' and now, while there is any connexion to dinner ; but Margaret twilight left, go and give Mr Enderby spends the evening with her friend the walk in the shrubbery that he Maria Young
galloped home for.'— Margaret kept • • You must take some of our hya. Philip waiting, while she lighted her cinths with you to London, and see friend's lamp; and its gleam shone whether they will not blossom there,' from the window of the summer-house said Maria, answering to her friend's for long, while, talking of Maria, the thought.--I hardly know whether lovers paced the shrubbery, and let there would be most pain or pleasure the twilight go.' in seeing plants sprout, and then wither, The extracts which we have given in the little balcony of a back drawing- will be sufficient proofs of the great room which overlooks gables or stables, beauty of Miss Martineau's style, of instead of those delicious green mea- which the only fault is an occasional dows.'-—How fond you were, two tension, both of thought and language, years ago, of imagining the bliss of which interferes with the usual har. living always in the sight of this very mony of the composition. Superlalandscape! Yet it has yielded al. tives and strong phrases always betray ready to the back drawing-room, with the presence of half truths, of thoughts a prospect of gables and stables.'- seen in a larger than due proportion "We shall come and look on your to others, or of a proselytizing and woods sometimes, you know. I am argumentative spirit. Her dialogues not bidding good.by to this place, or are excellent, and her little playful to you; God forbid !'Now tell me, touches of character very happy. We Margaret,' said Maria, after a pause; hardly know whether to admire most • tell me when you are to be married.' the delineation of the empty and shal
- That is just what I was abont to low Sophia Grey, or of her spirited do. We go on Tuesday.'-- Indeed! brother Sydney, who defines philosoin three days; but why should it not phy as being good to know how to do be so ? It is a weary time since things. " What sort of things?'you promised first.'-'A year ago Why, to make phosphorus lights, there were reasons, as Philip admits and electrify people, as Dr Levitt did now, why I could not leave Hester when he made Sophia jump off the and Edward. There are no such rea- stool with glass legs.'--Sophia wassure sons now. They are prosperous ;- that any one else would have jumped their days of struggle, when they off the stool as she did. She should wanted me—my head, my hands, my take good care never to jump on it little income-are past;— Edward's again :".
-a female ignoratio elenchi, practice has come back to him. There which is enough by itself to explain is nothing more to fear for them.'- the young lady's character. When • You have done your duty by them; the election is coming on, Sydney now-'- My duty! what has it been wears a splendid green and orange to theirs ? O, Maria, what a spec- cockade, and shows Margaret a corktacle has that been! When I think how ing-pin stuck upright under each bow.
"Isn't it horrid ?' said Sophia.Hor- their less obvious characteristics, and rid! not half so horrid as fish-hooks. of ourselves from our reflected coun. .... Which do you use ?!” he enquires terpart in others, were from old times of his political opponent, William taught by examples drawn from expeLevitt. "The courtship between Mr rience and observation ; for in all Walcot and Sophia Grey is an admi. these cases the difficulty is to fix men's rable specimen of the moral and intel- attention, and not to satisfy their unlectual agreement which love requires derstanding. A fiction true to nature or produces. Their first acquaintance has the same advantage over a narra. takes place at a water party, and is tive of facts, that an experiment delicommenced by Walcot's repeating berately chosen has in physical science some lines to the setting sun, which over a casual observation. It is not he had learned when a little boy. fitted to teach us political wisdom ; for " He asked her whether it was not a there we are still learners, and the facts sweet idea—that of the declining sun are on too large a scale to be embraced being like a good man going to his in their true proportion by the imagirest, to rise again to-morrow morning. nation: yet we may understand history Sophia was fond of poetry that was better by the assistance of historical not too difficult, and now felt little dis- romance, because it supplies a palpable inclination to observe her father's direc- resting place for our minds. It does tions about being civil to Mr Walcot.” not add to the value of Scott's novels, Then he delighted at finding that that he has familiarized us with a few Miss Grey has read some of Cowper's facts in history which we might have writings, and at one time could repeat neglected; nor is he to be blamed those sweet lines, beginning, “the rose for variations from actual facts, which had been washed, just washed in à ought not to mislead us.
The true shower," and Mr Walcot repeats some
service he has conferred upon us, conof the Task to her, and she is sorry sists in his having supplied the defect for people who are not fond of poetry. of our own imaginations so far as to Then he breaks the ring of her para- bring before us men of a distant age sol, and expresses the deepest sorrow, as real living men of flesh and blood. while she assures him it is of no con- Probably their life was not actually sequence. 6. Do not be too good to such as he describes it; but the life me, he whispered ; • I trust I know which he represents might have exmy duty better than to take you åt isted, and is, therefore, more like the your word. From my earliest years lost reality than any vague abstraction my parents have instilled into me the which we, of the prosaic world, could duty of making reparation for the in- form for ourselves. An hypothesis juries we cause to others.'--Sophia sufficient for the phenomena is not a gave him an affecting look of appro. vera causa ; but it enables the mind to bation, and asked with much interest comprehend them much better than a where his parents lived, and how many verá causa might, which was insuffibrothers and sisters he had, and assur- cient for the facts. The great prin. ed him at last that she saw he belonged ciples of action are the same in all to a charming family."
places and at all times; but we are too We might also refer to the pleasing much accustomed to identify them character of the kind, simple-minded, with the form which they happen to old Mrs Enderby: but we have given wear within our individual experience quite sufficient quotations to excite the -an idolatry which the imagination curiosity of our readers; and, if we alone can destroy, by convincing us can induce them to seek amusement of their existence in other and perhaps in Deerbrook, they will not leave it opposite combinations. Goetz of Berwithout instruction. We have ex- lichingen almost persuaded the youth pressed our strong disapprobation of of Germany, that chivalrous honesty didactic works of art; yet there is was identical with the iron rudeness much valuable knowledge that is best of their robber an ors; but the fans conveyed through fiction. The doctrine tastic confusion was more easily disenof prudential rules of life, the guidance tangled than it would have been, if of the passions and feelings, the rela- they had continued to limit their wor. tion of particular positions and cir- ship of good to some casual idol of the cumstances to the general laws of day. morality, knowledge of others from The novelists of contemporaneous social life may also enlarge our ex. them are very justly sentenced. In perience, by teaching us to think and this defect will be found the cause feel with characters dissimilar to our which prevents them, brilliant as they own, and incidentally, by the practical often are in detail, from taking a place truths which those are most likely to among standard works of art. Captain discover who have made human nature Marryat is not exempt from the same most their study. The habit of accurate reproach ; but in his favourites the observation, either in physics or pscy. moral one-sidedness takes the less danchology, is diffused by fashion and gerous form of petty fraud and decepimitation; and even among many com
tion, as in the instance of Mr Japhet monplace writers of the present day, Newland. The inferior herd of writers an observant critic may collect valu. naturally carry to excess the error of able, though isolated truths. In the their betters—a fact which confirms best class of novels they abound, and us in our belief, that it originates in an may perhaps form a sufficient com. intellectual incapacity to see the real pensation for the loss of time, the interest and beauty of simple rectitude. weakening of the taste, and the morbid Shakspeare did not require, for the sensibility which novel reading is said production of dramatic interest or suto produce. To the young it may be blimity, the daring sins and wild
quesdangerous in all these respects, but to tionings of moral truth, in which Ford matured minds the dangers cannot be and Webster delighted. Scott, with great: those who can appreciate more little thought of teaching, always fasolid food are little likely to prefer fic- vours the plain and natural distinctions tion, except as an occasional relaxa. between right and wrong. Miss Austion, and the rest are often brought by tin with still less, and Miss Edgethe charm of plots and catastrophes worth with little more pretension, conwithin the reach of instruction, and of trive always to leave an impression the influence of literature, which al favourable to truth and goodness. most always maintains a moral eleva- In this, Miss Martineau shows true tion one degree above that of the so- genius. She never deifies selfishness ciety in the midst of which it arises. under any disguise ; she never sympa
Yet it must be admitted, that in thizes, like the clever and shallow works of the imagination it is very
novelists of fashion, with mere power seldom” that the laws of morality are and prosperity; but uniformly leads us not in some degree violated by errors to observe and admire the simple peræsthetical as much as ethical, and pro. formance of duty. The class in which ceeding, we believe, rather from intel- she has chosen to place her characters, lectual imperfections, than from want is as suitable as any other. The of principle. In real life, instruction lower station would not have admitted may be drawn from every character, of sufficient refinement; and one which good, bad, or mixed; but in fiction the was much higher, would perhaps not moral is implicitly made to our hands, have given so favourable an opporand it is not always so easy to despise tunity of introducing the dornestic the selfish or dishonest hero, whom details in which she so peculiarly exhis parent delights to honour. Smol. cels. We doubt not that some of lett's mean and scoundrel heroes are her readers will have sneered at counset off by a showy exterior, and by try apothecaries andtimber merchants, the author's evident sympathy. Childe as they would sneer at Jeanie Deans, Harold's selfish sulkiness is the proto. if she had now her character to make. type of half our modern heroes of For ourselves, we should feel indebted romance ; and we regret to say that to her, if she had done no more than we can scarcely remember a sentimen- describe the wisdom, the purity, and tal and disinterested character in Sir the cheerful simplicity of Margaret Lytton Bulwer's works, who does not, Ibbotsonby some moral malformation, deserve To show us how divine a thing the hanging to which two or three of A woman may be made.'