Page images
PDF
EPUB

said once,

once, and

وو

that I regard a novel-writer of considerable use in society. Horace has

many millions of times has it been quoted after him, that Omne tulit punctum, qui miscuit utile dulce;and, according to the taste of the present time, an author appears to have very little chance of producing the utile," who does not mix the dulcelargely with it. It is an acknowledged truth, that

many will dwell with pleasure on grave reflections and moral admonitions in a novel, who would not read an essay containing the very same sentences; a novel-writer, therefore, cannot be a useless being; for as such is the contradictory character of readers, it must undoubtedly be more beneficial to society, that there should be wri. ters who can induce its members to reading not wholly useless to their morals, than that there should be no writers who can tempt them to read at all.

The tales which are at the present day the most in request, are undoubtedly those which unite with a considerable degree of the marvellous, some portion of history; and it is not an author's business to inquire why such is the public taste, but to comply with it. In the opinion of the critic, he is, perhaps, so far accountable for such deviations as he makes from historical facts, as to be called upon to acknowledge them, either in his preface or his notes, for the benefit of his readers ‘at large, that he may at least save them from

gathering errors, if they cannot derive improvement from his pages.

In order, therefore, that no such misapprehension may arise to those who are not intimately versed in history, from the perusal of the following romance, I shall briefly state what are the historical facts which it contains :--The eventful life of Bishop Latimer is known to every infant ; equally notorious is the sentence which was inflicted by Queen Mary on the Duke of Northumberland and his adherents, for having attempted to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne; (that one of those condemned to suffer with him was named Percival Godolphin, I believe there is no authority but my tale); that Henry the Eighth had a natural son, Henry

Fitzroy, by Lady Elizabeth Talboyse; and that Framlingham Castle devolved on that monarch, and thence on his son and successor, Edward, when forfeited by the Duke of Norfolk, in consequence of an attainder being laid on that nobleman, every history of England gives information; and that during the reign of Mary, a youth, named William Fetherstone, who was bruited about as Edward the Sixth, was ultimately discovered to be an imposter, and hanged at Tyburn, Baker's Chronicles afford authority. The rest of the subsequent narrative, with the exception of accidental sentences, is all fiction. The reason

for

my selecting Framlingham Castle, as the seat of my principal action, was, because I

considered that, at an age when it is become a fashion for the pen of the romance-writer to celebrate the magnificent structures of former days, no one appeared to me more deserving of being thus noticed. It has been the scene of many great events in the history of our country, and its present decayed state is one of the most splendid monuments of ancient grandeur remaining in this kingdom. I recommend a visit to its ivy-mantled towers, as one of the highest treats which a mind that loves to feast upon the gloomy-enchanting recollections of times past, can enjoy; nor must the visitor to Framlingham forget the parish church, which contains many splendid and beautiful monuments of the Dukes of Norfolk,

« PreviousContinue »