Page images
PDF
EPUB

Trim, said my uncle Toby, blowing his nose; but that his other to take it away at the same time. Let it thou art a good-natured fellow.

remain there, my dear, said the lieutenant. When I gave him the toast, continued the corporal, He did not offer to speak to me till I had walked I thought it was proper to tell him I was Captain up close to his bedside. If you are Captain Shandy's Shandy's servant, and that your honour, though a servant, said he, you must present my thanks to your stranger, was extremely concerned for his father; and master, with my little boy's thanks along with them, that, if there was anything in your house or cellar- for his courtesy to me. If he was of Levens's, said the

And thou might’st have added my purse too, said my lieutenant. I told him your honour was. Then, said i uncle Toby—he was heartily welcome to it. Hehe, I served three campaigns with him in Flanders,

made a very low bow, which was meant to your and remernber him; but 'tis most likely, as I had not honour ; but no answer, for his heart was full; so he the honour of any acquaintance with him, that he went up stairs with the toast. I warrant you, my knows nothing of me. You will tell him, however, dear, said I, as I opened the kitchen door, your father that the person his good-nature has laid under oblja will be well again. Mr Yorick's curate was smoking gations to him is one Le Fevre, a lieutenant in a pipe by the kitchen fire, but said not a word, good | Angus's. But he knows me not, said he, a second or bal, to comfort the youth. I thought it wrong, time, musing. Possibly he may my story, added he. added the corporal. I think so too, said my uncle Pray, tell the captain, I was the ensign at Breda Toby.

whose wife was most unfortunately killed with a When the lieutenant had taken his glass of sack musket shot as she lay in my arms in my tent. I and toast, he felt himself a little revived, and sent remember the story, an't please your honour, said I, down into the kitchen to let me know that in about very well. Do you so ? said he, wiping his eyes with ten minutes he should be glad if I would step up his handkerchief, then well may 1. În saying this, stairs. I believe, said the landlord, he is going to say he drew a little ring out of his bosom, which seemed bis prayers, for there was a book laid upon the chair tied with a black ribband about his neck, and kissed by his bedside, and as I shut the door, I saw his son it twice. Here, Billy, said he. The boy flew across take up a cushion.

the room to the bedside, and falling down upon his I thought, said the curate, that you gentlemen knee, took the ring in his hand, and kissed it too; of the array, Mr Trim, never said your prayers at then kissed his father, and sat down upon the bed and all. I heard the poor gentleman say his prayers last wept. night, said the landlady, very devoutly, and with I wish, said my uncle Toby, with a deep sigh-I my own ears, or I could not have believed it. Are wish, Trim, I was asleep. Your honour, replied the you sure of it? replied the curate. A soldier, an' corporal, is too much concerned. Shall I pour your please your reverence, said I, prays as often of his honour out a glass of sack to your pipe? Do, Trim, On accord as a parson; and when he is fighting for said my uncle Toby. his king, and for his owndife, and for his honour too, I remember, said my uncle Toby, sighing again, the he has the most reason to pray to God of any one in story of the ensign and his wife, with a circumstance the whole world. 'Twas well said of thee, Trim, said his modesty omitted ; and particularly well that he, my uncle Toby. But when a soldier, said I, an' as well as she, upon some account or other, I forget please your reference, has been standing for twelve what, was universally pitied by the whole regiment; hours together in the trenches up to his knees in cold but finish the story thou art upon. 'Tis finished water, or engaged, said I, for months together in long already, said the corporal, for I could stay no longer; and dangerous marches; harassed, perhaps, in his rear so wished his honour a good night. Young Le Fevre to-day; harassing others to-morrow; detached here; rose from off the bed, and saw me to the bottom of countermanded there; resting this night out upon his the stairs; and as we went down together, told me arms; beat up in his shirt the next; benumbed in his they had come from Ireland, and were on their route joints ; perhaps without straw in his tent to kneel on; to join the regiment in Flanders. But, alas! said the must say his prayers how and when he can. I believe,

the lieutenant's last day's march is over. said l--for I was piqued, quoth the corporal, for the Then what is to become of his poor boy ! cried my reputation of the army-I believe, an' please your uncle Toby. reference, said I, that when a soldier gets time to It was to my uncle Toby's eternal honour—though pray, he prays as heartily as a parson, though not I tell it only for the sake of those, who, when cooped with all his fuss and hypocrisy. Thou shouldst not in betwixt å natural and a positive law, know not for bare said that, Trim, said my uncle Toby; for God their souls which way in the world to turn themselves only knows who is a hypocrite and who is not. At -that, notwithstanding my uncle Toby was warmly the great and general review of us all, corporal, at the engaged at that time in carrying on the siege of Denday of judgment, and not till then, it will be seen dermond, parallel with the allies, who pressed theirs who has done their duties in this world and who has on so vigorously that they scarce allowed him time to not; and we shall be advanced, Trim, accordingly. get his dinner--that nevertheless he gave up Dender

hope we shall, said Trim. It is in the Scripture, mond, though he had already made a lodgment upon said my uncle Toby; and I will show it thee to-mor- the counterscarp—and bent his whole thoughts tomon. In the meantime, we may depend upon it, wards the private distresses at the inn; and except Trim, for our comfort, said my uncle Toby, that God that he ordered the garden gate to be bolted up, by Almighty is so good and just a governor of the world, which he might be said to have turned the siege of that if we have but done our duties in it, it will never Dendermond into a blockade, he left Dendermond to be inquired into whether we have done them in a red itself, to be relieved or not by the French king as the soat or a black one. I hope not, said the corporal. French king thought good, and only considered how But go on, Trim, said my uncle Toby, with thy story. he himself should relieve the poor lieutenant and his

When I went up, continued the corporal, into the son. That kind Being, who is a friend to the friendlieutenant's room, which I did not do till the expira- less, shall recompense thee for this. tion of the ten minutes, he was lying in his head with Thou hast left this matter short, said my uncle his head raised upon his hand, with his elbow upon the Toby to the corporal, as he was putting him

to bed; pillow, and a clean white cambric handkerchief beside and I will tell thee in what, Trim. In the first place, it . The youth was just stooping down to take up the when thou madst an offer of my services to Le Fevre cushion, upon which I supposed he nad been kneeling; -as sickness and travelling are both expensive, and the book was laid upon the bed ; and as he rose, in thou knowest he was but å poor lieutenant, with a taking up the cushion with one hand, he reached out son to subsist as well as himself out of his pay-that thou didst not make an offer to him of my purse ; face, then cast a look upon his boy; and that ligabecause, had he stood in need, thou knowest, 'Trim, ment, fine as it was, was never broken. Nature in. he had been as welcome to it as myself. Your honour stantly ebbed again; the film returned to its place; knows, said the corporal, I had no orders. True, the pulse fluttered--stopped—went on-throbbedquoth my uncle Toby, thou didst very right, Trim, as stopped again—moved-stopped. Shall I go on? No. à soldier, but certainly very wrong as a man. In the second place, for which indeed thou hast the

[The Starling-Captivity.] same excuse, continued my uncle Toby, when thou offeredst him whatever was in my house, thou shouldst

[From the ' Sentimental Journey.'] have offered him my house too. A sick brother officer And as for the Bastile, the terror is in the word. should have the best quarters, Trim; and if we had Make the most of it you can, said I to myself, the him with us, we could tend and look to him. Thou Bastile is but another word for a tower, and a tower is art an excellent nurse thyself, Trim; and what with but another word for a house you can't get out of. thy care of him, and the old woman's, and his boy's, Mercy on the gouty! for they are in it twice a year; and mine together, we might recruit him again at once, but with nine livres a day, and pen, and ink, and and set him upon his legs. In a fortnight or three paper, and patience, albeit a man can't get out, he weeks, added my uncle Toby, smiling, he might march. may do very well within, at least for a month or six He will never march, an' please your honour, in this weeks; at the end of which, if he is a harmless fellow, world, said the corporal. He will march, said my his innocence appears, and he comes out a better and uncle Toby, rising up from the side of the bed with wiser man than he went in. one shoe off. An' please your honour, said the cor- I had some occasion (I forget what) to step into the poral, he will never march but to his grave. He shall court-yard as I settled this account; and remember I march, cried my uncle Toby, marching the foot which walked down stairs in no small triumph with the conhad a shoe on, though without advancing an inch-ceit of my reasoning. Beshrew the sombre pencil

! he shall march to his regiment. He cannot stand it, said I vauntingly, for I envy not its powers which said the corporal. He shall be supported, said my paints the evils of life with so hard and deadly a uncle Toby: He'll drop at last, said the corporal; colouring. The mind sits terrified at the objects she and what will become of his boy? He shall not drop, has magnified herself and blackened : reduce them to said my uncle Toby, firmly. A-well-o'-day, do what their proper size and hue, she overlooks them. Tis we can for him, said Trim, maintaining his point, the true, said I, correcting the proposition, the Bastile is poor soul will die. He shall not die, by G-, cried not an evil to be despised; but strip it of its tower, my uncle Toby. The Accusing Spirit, which flew up fill up the fosse, un barricade the doors, call it simply to heaven's chancery with the oath, blushed as he a confinement, and suppose 'tis some tyrant of a disgave it in ; and the Recording Angel, as he wrote it temper and not of a man which holds you in it, the down, dropped a tear upon the word, and blotted it evil vanishes, and you bear the other half without comout for ever.

plaint. I was interrupted in the heyday of this soli

. My uncle Toby went to his bureau ; put his purse loquy with a voice which I took to be of a child, which into his breeches pocket; and having ordered the cor-complained ‘it could not get out. I looked up and poral to go early in the morning for a physician, he down the passage, and seeing neither man, woman, nor went to bed, and fell asleep.

child, I went out without further attention. In my The sun looked bright the morning after to every return back through the passage, I heard the same eye in the village but Le Fevre's and his afflicted words repeated twice over; and looking up, 1 saw it son's. The hand of death pressed heavy upon his was a starling hung in a little cage; 'I can't get out, eyelids, and hardly could the wheel at the cistern I can't get out,' said the starling. I stood looking at turn round its circle, when my uncle Toby, who had the bird; and to every person who came through the rose up an hour before his wonted time, entered the passage, it ran fluttering to the side towards which lieutenant's room, and without preface or apology they approached it, with the same lamentation of its sat himself down upon the chair by the bedside; and captivity--- I can't get out,' said the starling. God independently of all modes and customs, opened the help thee! said I, but I'll let thee out, cost what curtain in the manner an old friend and brother officer will; so I turned about the cage to get the door. It would have done it, and asked him how he did-how was twisted and double twisted so fast with wire he had rested in the night—what was his complaint there was no getting it open without pulling the cage —where was his pain-and what he could do to help to pieces. I took both hands to it. The bird flew to him. And without giving him time to answer any the place where I was attempting his deliverance, and one of the inquiries, went on and told him of the thrusting his head through the trellis

, pressed his! little plan which he had been concerting with the cor- breast against it as if impatient; I fear, poor crea; poral the night before for him. You shall go home ture, said I, I cannot set thee at liberty. No,' said directly, Le Fevre, said my uncle Toby, to my house, the starling, I can't get out; I can't get out,' said and we'll send for a doctor to see what's the matter; the starling. I vow I never had my affections more and we'll have an apothecary, and the corporal shall tenderly awakened; or do I remember an incident in be your nurse, and I'll be your servant, Le Ferre. my life where the dissipated spirits, to which my

There was a frankness in my uncle Toby-not the reason had been a bubble, were so suddenly called effect of familiarity, but the cause of it-which let home. Mechanical as the notes were, yet so true in you at once into his soul, and showed you the good tune to nature were they chanted, that in one moment ness of his nature; to this there was something in his they overthrew all my systematic reasonings upon the looks, and voice, and manner superadded, which eter-Bastile; and I heavily walked up stairs, unsaying nally beckoned to the unfortunate to come and take every word I had said in going down them. shelter under him; so that before my uncle Toby had Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still Slavery, said half finished the kind offers he was making to the I, still thou art a bitter draught'; and though thoufather, had the son insensibly pressed up close to his sands in all ages have been made to drink of thee, knees, and had taken hold of the breast of his coat, thou art no less bitter on that account. 'Tis thou, and was pulling it towards him. The blood and thrice sweet and gracious goddess, addressing myself spirits of Le Fevre, which were waxing cold and slow to Liberty, whom all in public or in private worship, within him, and were retreating to their last citadel, whose taste is grateful, and ever will be so, till mature the heart, rallied back; the film forsook his eyes for a herself shall change ; no tint of words can spot thy moment; he looked up wishfully in my uncle Toby's | snowy mantle, or chemic power turn thy sceptre into

iron; with thee to smile upon him as he eats his The family consisted of an old grayheaded man and crust, the gwain is happier than his monarch, from his wife, with five or six sons and sons-in-law and whose court thou art exiled. Gracious Heaven! cried their several wives, and a joyous genealogy out of I, kneeling down upon the last step but one in my them. They were all sitting down together to their ascent, grant me but health, thou great bestower of it, lentil-soup; a large wheaten loaf was in the middle and give me but this fair goddess as my companion, of the table; and a flagon of wine at each end of it and shower down thy mitres, if it seem good unto thy promised joy through the stages of the repast ; 'twas divine providence, upon those heads which are aching a feast of love. The old man rose up to meet me, and for them.

with a respectful cordiality would have me sit down The bird in his cage pursued me into my room. I at the table; my heart was set down the moment I sat down close to my table, and leaning my head upon entered the room, so I sat down at once like a son of my hand, I began to figạre to myself the miseries of the family, and to invest myself in the character as confinement. I was in a right frame for it, and so I speedily as I could, I instantly borrowed the old man's gave full scope to my imagination. I was going to knife, and taking up the loaf, cut myself a hearty begin with the millions of my fellow-creatures born to luncheon; and as I did it, I saw a testimony in every no inheritance but slavery; but finding, however af- eye, not only of an honest welcome, but of a welcome fecting the picture was, that I could not bring it near mixed with thanks that I had not seemed to doubt it. me, and that the multitude of sad groups in it did but Was it this, or tell me Nature what else it was, that distract me, I took a single captive, and having first made this morsel so sweet; and to what magic I owe shut him up in his dungeon, I then looked through it, that the draught I took of their flagon was so dethe twilight of his grated door to take his picture. Ilicious with it, that they remain upon my palate to bebeld his body half-wasted away with long expecta- this hour? If the supper was to my taste, the grace tion and confinement, and felt what kind of sickness which followed it was much more so. of the heart it was which arises from hope deferred. When supper was over, the old man gave a knock Upon looking nearer, I saw him pale and feverish; in upon the table with the haft of his knife, to bid them thirty years the western breeze had not once fanned prepare for the dance. The moment the signal was his blood; he had seen no sun, no moon, in all that given, the women and girls ran all together into a time, nor had the voice of friend or kinsman breathed back apartment to tie up their hair, and the young through his lattice ; his children—but here my heart men to the door to wash their faces and change their began to bleed, and I was forced to go on with another sabots; and in three minutes every soul was ready, part of the portrait

. He was sitting upon the ground upon a little esplanade before the house, to begin. upon a little straw, in the furthest corner of his The old man and his wife came out last, and placing dungeon, which was alternately his chair and bed : me betwixt them, sat down upon a sofa of turf by the a little calendar of small sticks lay at the head, door. The old man had some fifty years ago been no potched all over with the dismal days and nights he mean performer upon the vielle; and at the age he had passed there ; he had one of these little sticks in was then of, touched it well enough for the purpose. his band, and with a rusty nail he was etching another His wife sung now and then a little to the tune, then day of misery to add to the heap. As I darkened the intermitted,

and joined her old man again as their little light he had, he lifted up a hopeless eye towards children and grandchildren danced

before them. the door, then cast it down, shook his head, and went It was not till the middle of the second dance, on with his work of affliction. I heard his chains when, for some pauses in the morement, wherein they upon bis legs, as he turned his body to lay his little all seemed to look up, I fancied I could distinguish stick upon the bundle. He gave a deep sigh: I saw an elevation of spirit different from that which is the the iron enter into his soul. I burst into tears; I cause or the effect of simple jollity. In a word, I could not sustain the picture of confinement which thought I beheld Religion mixing in the dance; but my fancy had drawn.

as I had never seen her so engaged, I should have

looked upon it now as one of the illusions of an ima[A French Peasant's Supper.]

gination which is eternally misleading me, had not

the old man, as soon as the dance ended, said that A shoe coming loose from the fore-foot of the thill this was their constant way; and that all his life borse, at the beginning of the ascent of Mount Taurira, long he had made it a rule, after supper was over, the postilion dismounted, twisted the shoe off, and put to call out his family to dance and rejoice ; believing, it in his pocket. As the ascent was of five or six miles, he said, that a cheerful and contented mind was the and that horse our main dependence, I made a point best sort of thanks to Heaven that an illiterate peaof having the shoe fastened on again as well as we sant could pay. Or a learned prelate either, said I. could ; but the postilion had thrown away the nails, and the hammer in the chaise-box being of no great use without them, I submitted to go on. He had not mounted half a mile higher, when, coming to a flinty

In 1759 DR JOHNSON published his mora, tale of piece of road, the poor devil lost a second shoe, and Rasselas, which he wrote in the nights of one week from off his other fore-foot. I then got out of the to defray the expenses of his mother's funeral. The chaise in good eamest; and seeing a house about a scene is laid in the east, but the author makes no quarter of a mile to the left hand, with a great deal attempt to portray the minutiæ of eastern manners. to do I prevailed upon the postilion to turn up to it. It is in fact a series of essays on various subjects of The look of the house, and of everything about it, as morality and religion-on the efficacy of pilgrimwe drew nearer, soon reconciled me to the disaster. It ages, the state of departed souls, the probability of was a little farm-house, surrounded with about twenty the re-appearance of the dead, the dangers of soliacres of vineyard, about as much corn; and close to tude, &c., on all which the philosopher and prince of the house on one side was a potagerie of an acre and Abyssinia talk exactly as Johnson talked for more a-balf

, full of everything which could make plenty in than twenty years in his house at Bolt Court, or in the a French peasant's house ; and on the other side was a club. Young said “Rasselas' was a ‘mass of sense, little wood, which furnished wherewithal to dress it. and its moral precepts are certainly conveyed in It was about eight in the evening when I got to the striking and happy language. The mad astronobouse ; so I left the postilion to manage his point as mer, who imagined that he possessed the regulation he could, and for mine, I walked directly into the of the weather and the distribution of the seasons, is

an original character in romance, and the happy

DR SAMUEL JOHNSON,

house.

valley, in which ‘Rasselas' resides, is sketched with picture that walks out of its frame, or a skeleton's poetical feeling. The habitual melancholy of John- ghost in a hermit's cowl. Where Walpole has imson is apparent in this work—as when he nobly proved on the incredible and mysterious, is in his apostrophises the river Nile—Answer, great Fa- dialogues and style, which are pure and dramatic in ther of waters ! thou that rollest thy floods through effect, and in the more delicate and picturesque tone eighty nations, to the invocations of the daughter of which he has given to chivalrous manners. Walthy native king. Tell me if thou waterest, through pole was the third son of the Whig minister, Sir all thy course, a single habitation from which thou Robert Walpole; was born in 1717, became fourth dost not hear the murmurs of complaint.' When Earl of Orford 1791, and died in 1797 ; having not Johnson afterwards penned his depreciatory criti- only outlived most of his illustrious contemporaries, cism of Gray, and upbraided him for apostrophising but recorded their weaknesses and failings, their the Thames, adding coarsely, ‘Father Thames has private history and peculiarities, in his unrivalled no better means of knowing than himself,' he forgot correspondence. that he had written “Rasselas.'

[graphic]

CHARLES JOHNSTONE. In 1760 The Adventures of a Guinea, by CHARLES JOHNSTONE, amused the town by its sketches of contemporary satire. A second edition was published the same year, and a third in 1761, when the author considerably augmented the work. Johnstone published other novels, which are now utterly forgotten. He went to India in 1782, and was a proprietor of one of the Bengal newspapers. He died in 1800. As Dr Johnson (to whom the manuscript was shown by the bookseller) advised the publication of The Adventures of a Guinea,' and as it experienced considerable success, the novel may be presumed to have possessed superior merit. It exhibits a variety of incidents, related in the style of Le Sage and Smollett, but the satirical portraits are overcharged, and the author, like Juvenal, was too fond of lashing and exaggerating the vices of his age. One of the critics of the novel says, “it leads us along all the gloomy, and foul, and noisome passages of life, and we escape from it with the feeling of relief with which we would emerge from a vault in which the air was loaded with noxious vapours.' To such satirists who only paint

The baser sides of literature and life, may be contrasted the healthy tone of feeling evinced by Fielding and Smollett, and the playful sarcastic wit of Sterne.

[ocr errors]

Strawberry Hill, near Twickenham; the residence

of Horace Walpole.

HORACE WALPOLE.

Loweepole

In the spring of 1766 came out a tale of about In 1764 HORACE WALPOLE revived the Gothic equal dimensions with Walpole's Gothic story, but romance in his interesting little story, The Castle of as different in its nature as an English cottage or Otranto, which he at first published anonymously, as villa, with its honey-suckle hedge, wall-roses, neat a work found in the library of an ancient Catholic garden, and general air of beauty and comfort, is

from a gloomy feudal tower, with its dark walls, moat, and drawbridge._We allude to Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield. Though written two years before, and sold for sixty guineas, the bookseller had kept it back, doubtful of success, till the publication

of The Traveller had given Goldsmith a name. Its family in the north of England, and printed at Naples reception by the public must have been an agreeable in the black letter in 1529. “I wished it to be believed surprise. The first edition was published on the ancient,' he said, and almost everybody was im- 27th of March, a second was called for in May, and posed upon.' The tale was so well received by the a third in August of the same year. What reader public, that a second edition was soon called for, to could be insensible to the charms of a work so full which the author prefixed his name. Though de- of kindliness, benevolence, taste, and genius? By signed to blend the two kinds of romance—the an- that species of mental chemistry which he undercient, in which all was imagination and improbabi- stood as well as Sterne, Goldsmith extracted the lity, and the modern, in which nature is copied, the essence of character, separating from it what was peculiar taste of Walpole, who loved to .gaze on trite and worthless, and presenting in incredibly Gothic toys through Gothic glass,' and the nature of small space a finished representation, bland, humohis subject, led him to give the preponderance to the rous, simple, absurd, or elevated, as the story might antique. The ancient romances have nothing more require. The passions were equally at his bidding, incredible than a sword which required a hundred within that confined sphere to which he limited men to lift it; a helmet, that by its own weight their range; and a life of observation and reading forces a passage through a court-yard into an (though foolish in action supplied him with a preg. Arched vault, big enough for a man to go through; a nancy of thought and illustration, the full value of

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

HENRY MACKENZIE. The most successful imitator of Sterne in sentiment, pathos, and style ; his superior in taste and delicacy, but greatly inferior to him in originality, force, and humour, was HENRY MACKENZIE, long the ornament of the literary circles of Edinburgh.

If Mackenzie was inferior to his prototype in the Oliver Goldsmith.

essentials of genius, he enjoyed an exemption from

its follies and sufferings, and passed a tranquil and | pated and directed (in better language than any prosperous life, which was prolonged to far beyond

senator has since employed on the subject) all that the Psalmist's cycle of threescore and ten. Mr parliament has effected in the reformation of our Mackenzie was born in Edinburgh in August 1745, criminal code. These short, philosophical, and critical and was the son of Dr Joshua Mackenzie, a respectdissertations, always arise naturally out of the pro-able physician. He was educated at the High-school gress of the tale. The character of the vicar gives and university of Edinburgh, and afterwards studied the chief interest to the family group, though the the law in his native city. The legal department

peculiarities of Mrs Primrose, as her boasted skill in selected by Mackenzie was the business of the ExI housewifery, her motherly vanity and desire to ap- chequer court, and to improve him in this he went

pear genteel, are finely brought out, and reproduced to London in 1765, and studied the English Exin her daughters. The vicar's support of the chequer practice. Returning to Edinburgh, he Whistonian theory as to marriage, that it was un mixed in its literary circles, which then numbered lawful for a priest of the church of England, after the great names of Hume, Robertson, Adam Smith, the death of his first wife, to take a second, to Blair, &c. In 1771 appeared his novel, The Man illustrate which he had his wife's epitaph written of Feeling, which was afterwards followed by The and placed over the chimney-piece, is a touch of Man of the World, and Julia de Roubigne. He was, humour and individuality that has never been as we have previously stated, the principal contriexcelled. Another weakness of the worthy vicar butor to the Mirror' and 'Lounger,' and he wrote was the literary vanity which, notwithstanding his some dramatic pieces, which were brought out at real learning, led him to be imposed upon by Jen- Edinburgh with but indifferent success. The style kinson in the affair of the cosmogony ; but these and diction of Mackenzie are always choice, elegant, drawbacks only serve to endear him more closely and expressive, but he wanted power. It may seem to his readers; and when distress falls upon the strange that a novelist so eminently sentimental virtuous household, the noble fortitude and resigna- and refined should have ventured to write on polition of the principal sufferer, and the efficacy of his tical subjects, but Mackenzie supported the governexample, form one of the most affecting and even ment of Mr Pitt with some pamphlets written sublime moral pictures. The numberless little traits with great acuteness and discrimination. In real of character, pathetic and lively incidents, and life the novelist was shrewd and practical : he had sketches of manners—as the family of the Flam- early exhausted his vein of romance, and was an boroughs, the quiet pedantry and simplicity of active man of business. In 1804 the government Moses, with his bargain of the shagreen spectacles ; appointed him to the office of comptroller of taxes the family picture, in which Mrs Primrose was for Scotland, which entailed upon him considerable painted as Venus, and the vicar, in gown and band, labour and drudgery, but was highly lucrative. In presenting to her his books on the Whistonian con- this situation, with a numerous family (Mr Mactroversy, and which picture, when completed, was kenzie had married Miss Penuel Grant, daughter of too large for the house, and like Robinson Crusoe's Sir Ludovic Grant, of Grant), enjoying the society Icngboat, could not be removed-all mark the per- of his friends and his favourite sports of the field, fect art as well as nature of this domestic novel. writing occasionally on subjects of taste and literaThat Goldsmith derived many of his incidents from ture—for he said, 'the old stump would still occaactual occurrences which he had witnessed, is gene- sionally send forth a few green shoots'— the Man rally admitted. The story of George Primrose, parti- of Feeling lived to the advanced age of eighty-six, cularly his going to Amsterdam to teach the Dutch- and died on the 14th of January 1831.

54

« PreviousContinue »