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To our author's opinions upon the ruins of Rome, we have already slightly alluded. We shall here only add, that from these fragments of antiquity, he turns away discontented with every object that successively strikes him, as inferior to the pictures of his imagination, as unworthy of the city of which it is a relic!' No wonder. Imagination is very much a child of circumstances. We happen to know a man who would rather sell a pennyworth of whip-cord, than look at the finest painting that ever breathed from the touch of Raphael. His pleasures, however, were still natural enough-they grew out of his education and condition. But assuredly he was as competent to judge of Raphael's divine works, as our author is to criticise the wonders of ancient or of modern Rome.

It is well known to any body, who has ever looked into books of Italian travels, that writers of every form of faith have united in admiring the solemn services which are performed at St. Peter's during the holy week. Mr. Bell, in his "Observations on Italy," a work which we cannot too often, or too earnestly recommend to readers of discernment and taste, says, particularly of the Miserere, -"The effect produced by this music is finer and greater than that of any admired art; no painting, statue, or poem, no imagination of man can equal its wonderful power over the mind. The soft, and almost imperceptible accumulation of sound, swelling in mournful tones of rich harmony, into powerful effect, and then receding as if in the distant sky, like the lamenting song of angels and spirits, conveys, beyond all conception, to those who have heard it, the idea of darkness, of desolation, and of the dreary solitude of the tomb."-(pp. 342-343). Let us now hear our "English Catholic.' The candles were indeed put out as is usual at the Tenebræ ; so far there was nothing extraordinary. Darkness came on, and, I must own it, made me rather drowsy!' At length the Misere began; the musicians were in an enclosed balcony above me: the singing at first appeared fine, but I soon found it monotonous!'

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Then the grand finale-the illumination of St. Peter's-what does the reader imagine our traveller thought of it? It was composed, he informs us, of smoking lamps, which, placed in every part of the building, hid, and seemed to alter the form of it, and shewed merely a large mass, of no distinct shape, covered with red blazes, and canopied with smoke!!' The drowsy hum-drum-does he not know that the effect of light is to exhibit every part of the building, and not to conceal it? But let his evidence be compared again with that of Mr. Bell-who, it is well known, was a member of the Scotch church.

"When night approaches, and the dome of this magnificent temple is hung with lights, all the grandeur of its architecture is displayed. Each frieze and cornice, arch, and gate, and pillar, is enriched with lines of splendid fires, and every steeple, tower, and bulky dome, glittering with

light, seems to hang in a firmament of its own, high in the clear dark sky. The long sweeping colonnade forms, as it were, a golden circle, enclosing the dark mass of people below, filling the spacious basin of the court, while the waters of the superb fountains, sparkling in the partical gleams of light, are heard dashing amid the hum and murmur of the busy throng; when suddenly, in an instant, the form is changed, the red distinct stars are involved in one blaze of splendid flame, as if the vast machine were turned by the hand of some master-spirit." Observations on Italy.—pp. 346, 347.

This was a traveller indeed, worthy of visiting Rome, and its temple. After consulting his eloquent pages, we feel it a profanation to return to the paltry volumes before us. This English Catholic,' instead of being inspired by the majesty of a temple, in which his religion-if indeed we are justified in supposing that he has any religion at all-appears in all its pomp and dignity, seems to think that it is a fit subject upon which he can discharge the most polluted masses of his ribaldry. But if it be true, as he observes, that in Rome, the common people, the beasts of burden, even the dogs, have a peculiar appearance of melancholy and ennui,' the snarling tone which pervades his remarks on that sacred city, need not surprise us. It is only an additional instance of the irresistible effects of sympathy.

As to this author's style, it would be an endless task to point out his violations of the most common rules of grammar, and his numerous mistakes of one word for another. From any observations on these points, he has sheltered himself, by pleading his length of residence abroad, and it is not worth while to dispute his title to write bad English. Before we conclude, however, we cannot avoid recommending his very respectable London publishers, to cancel (in page 18, vol. i.) for the sake of their own character, the offensive and indecent sentence Une maison de campagne, &c. We say "cancel," because we have too favourable an opinion of the public taste, to apprehend that so flagitious a misrepresentation of Italy and the Italians,' as this work is, can have the slightest chance of reaching a second edition.

ART. XI. Almack's, a Novel. 3 vols. 8vo. 11. 11s. 6d. London. Saunders and Otley. 1826.

It is said that this novel is the production of Lady Westmoreland. For the truth of the on dit, we of course do not vouch, though we have no reason to disbelieve it. Every page of the work shews that it must, at all events, have been written by a lady, and that she has derived her knowledge of all the "fashionable" scenes and follies which she describes, from actual experience. Without at all attempting to be brilliant, or even witty, she has contrived in these three volumes, to exhibit the most ample, the most animated, and

we suspect, the most accurate picture of what is called "High Life," in this country, which has ever yet met the public eye. There is no ambition to produce effect, no artificial mixture of the tragic with the comic-it seems to have been the sole object of the writer to give a natural representation of the manners, the conversation, and in short, the every-day employments of the aristocratic circles; and she has succeeded to the fullest extent. We look upon 'Almack's,' as one of the most delightful novels in our language.

It is impossible not to perceive, that the author has painted all her various and striking portraits from the life. She has very properly disclaimed the idea of satirizing any particular individuals, except the lady patronesses of Almack's, and these she certainly attacks with all the weapons which she can command-in their public characters, as avowed agents for various places of public amusement.' These, however, though the objects against which her most pointed shafts are directed, occupy by no means the most prominent stations in her gallery. She has laid open the whole interior of fashionable and exclusive society, from the rank of the duke down to the cadet, and though her characters are all masqued under heterogeneous names, yet we feel that they have all of them figured, and perhaps still figure, in the very scenes where she employs them.

Inasmuch as it

The value of a work of this kind is inestimable. exposes to the public gaze the puerile and inconsequential usages, the numerous follies and mean intrigues, which form the whole business of the "Exclusives," it may perhaps assist to reform and improve that order. To those classes of society which are immediately below the "Exclusives," this work will afford an inexhaustible fund of consolation, and even of instruction. Living as they very generally do in domestic habits, employing their leisure hours in circles equally removed from dissipation and ennui, accustomed to intellectual intercourse, and to look upon the affairs of life with a calm and discerning eye, they will conclude, from a perusal of this work, that their condition is, perhaps of all others that society can present, really the most enviable.

The production before us may be said to present masterly representations of the leading features of fashionable existence-the country and its amusements; the routes, dinners, and the opera in town, and the balls at Almack's. In order to connect them, the author has contrived to interest the attention of her readers in a story -a love story, of course-which with the usual number of episodes, all tending to the same finale of marriage, must in such compositions make up the outline that is to include all the other characters. Her principal heroine is the fair, amiable, and highly accomplished daughter of a nouveau riche-Barbara Birmingham. Her mother is a perfect example of the arrogance and bustle of wealth, joined to vulgar manners. The father, Sir Benjamin, is a

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good natured cypher. With this family group, the author has admirably contrasted that of the Norbury family, their neighbours consisting of my Lord, a diplomat, cold and aristocratic, without a spark of feeling for any human being, except his lady, and their elegant daughter, Lady Anne, an exclusive' of the first water. Next to these in point of prominence, stands the Mildmay family, consisting of the father, a maiden sister, and two daughters, exhibiting in their circle all the attractions, that are still we hope to be found beneath the roof of an English gentleman. The work opens with the approach of Colonel Montague, one of the heroes of the tale, to Bishop's-Court, the residence of the Mildmays, where he had promised to spend some days. His own family had formerly held high rank in their neighbourhood, but the improvidence of his elder brother, had brought incumbrances upon his property, which obliged him to emigrate for a season, and to let Atherford Abbey, the family mansion, to Sir Benjamin Birmingham. The upshot of the tale is, that he is smitten with Barbara, marries her in the end, and restores his family to their former wealth and dignity. We have not room for many extracts; we must begin with Bishop's-Court, and its inhabitants.

After a walk of about three miles, Colonel Montague reached Bishop'sCourt, the venerable mansion of Reginald Mildmay, Esq. In Catholic times, this place had been a lesser religious house to Atherford Abbey, and, having frequently been the residence of the priors of Merton, it had been in those days commonly denominated the Priory Court; but in the reign of Henry VIII., it became part of the grant to the Montagues, who were much favoured by that monarch, and one of the family afterwards rose to be bishop of it. He beautified and enlarged this ancient edifice, and changed its name to Bishop's-Court. The Mildmays, a family of considerable importance in the County of H, and of a very ancient race, had purchased this property from the Montagues, soon after the revolution, at which period Sir Walter's ancestor had considerably impoverished himself, by the supplies he from time to time transmitted to the abdicated monarch. Bishop's-Court was a very curious gable-ended house, built of a sort of grey stone, and very richly ornamented. It had gothic windows, and an ancient porch of entrance, which led into a quadrangular court, arched round. Under the porch were niches, in which, in Catholic

times, there had been figures.

'The house was surrounded with Scotch firs; it stood low, closed in on every side by steep round hills, which gave it a very singular appearance. The river Ather meandered at the foot of these green hills, and the banks above, on the opposite side, were steep and picturesque.

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Montague was again completely at home, for here he had been accustomed, when a boy, to spend part of his holidays every year, and fishing in the river had then been one of his favourite amusements.

'The hall was a low, irregular room, decorated with deer's antlers, and stuffed birds and beasts of various kinds. A fine American blood-hound lay upon a thick rug before the fire: Lionel remembered his sister's writing him word of its being sent from America by a younger son of Mr.

Mildmay, who had afterwards been killed at the attack upon New Orleans. Cæsar started up to welcome the stranger, and frolicked before him into the drawing-room.

Like the hall, this was also a low, spacious room, but had a most comfortable appearance. Thick scarlet cloth curtains relieved the sombre hue of oak wainscoting; two very handsome japan cabinets were the chief ornaments; but at one end hung a magnificent picture, a hunting piece by Sneiders. The favourite pursuits of the master of the house might be easily guessed, for the passages were covered with prints relating to field sports, interspersed with here and there a picture of a favourite dog.

'Musical instruments, and ladies' work, seemed to indicate that female inhabitants were not wanting at Bishop's-Court; and Lionel seated himself at a table covered with newspapers, reviews, and French novels. He was revolving in his mind how many years had passed away since he had occupied the same old-fashioned high-backed arm-chair, and listened to the good squire's fox-hunting anecdotes.

'He was roused from his reverie by the entrance of Mr. Mildmay, a fine-looking, hale man of sixty, a complete country gentleman of the old school, whose manners were polished, yet without fashion, and his taste simple, though without rudeness. He was attended by a fine spaniel, who seemed to be a privileged favourite.

"Ha! Lionel, my boy, is it you? how rejoiced I am to see you!" and the kind old gentleman almost shook his hand off. "A hearty welcome to you to Bishop's-Court. Now let's look at you :-God bless me! is it possible you can be the curly-pated boy I have carried so often on my back? Let's see, how long is it since I have seen you ?-ten years, I What a declare, next month, since you first put on your red coat! change, to be sure; what a stout, fine man you are grown,---and a lieutenant-colonel already, and not yet seven and twenty; there's luck for you! or rather merit, I should say.'---pp. 23" '---27.

After answering all the old gentleman's inquiries, the colonel is introduced to his two daughters, Julia and Louisa. The former is a sensible, quiet, engaging girl; Louisa is a Frenchified coquette, deeply smitten with a Lord George Fitzallan, whom she had met on the Continent, and who is connected with the Norbury family. The character of this lordling, by the way, is admirably maintained throughout the whole of the novel. While Colonel Montague remains at Bishop's-Court, he becomes acquainted with all the neighbours. This gives the author an opportunity of delineating a series of portraits, all differing from one another, and all true to the life. We can, however, only afford room for those of the

Norbury family.

'It had been often said of Lord Norbury, that any one following him up St. James's Street, and observing his manner of returning the bows of his acquaintance, might safely pronounce on their respective ranks, so nicely did he attend to the minutiæ des bienséances. He was a little-minded man, with much experience of the world, and not one grain of heart in his whole composition; he had risen to high rank by the talent of bending men to his purpose, and, as this was the qualification he had found most

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