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as pleasing to our natural feelings, yet the performance before us is well entitled to our commendation. Many exquisitely touched landscapes and night scenes relieve the details of cruel warfare and carnage, such as we hope may never again sully the shores of America. May the injuries which Britons and Americans have mutually inflicted on each other be consigned to everlasting oblivion! May the peace which now happily subsists between us, draw closer every year the bonds of amity and of kindred by which we are connected! The period never yet dawned upon the world, when it became the two nations to enter into the most unreserved obligations, for the security of that liberty which is so dear to them both, than that in which we now write. We see the two principles of slavery and freedom at length committed in actual conflict upon the frontiers of Portugal-a conflict which, in some tangible shape or other, has been so long apprehended by all the enlightened statesmen of Europe. It depends on events, which may or may not occur, whether the defensive attitude which we have been compelled by the perfidy of Spain to take, may not in a very short time lead to a general explosion. If such should be the case, the war will be, as Mr. Canning has wisely said, a war of opinion-that is, of liberal principles on one side, and of monarchical oppression on the other. On which side the sword of England will be drawn, is a matter that admits of no doubt. Neither, we trust, will it remain long dubious, to which party the brawny strength of young America will lend her arms and her councils.

ART. IV. The Last of the Lairds: or the Life and Opinions of Malachi Mailings, Esq. of Auldbiggings. By the author of "Annals of the Parish," "The Entail," &c. 8vo. pp. 364. Blackwood, Edinburgh. Cadell, London. 1826.

AN opinion seems to prevail among certain classes of Scottish writers, that there is not a single shade of manners, or a solitary character, known in their country, which does not require and deserve a volume in order to display it to the world. But assuredly, mere fidelity of description, the unimpeachable exactness of the copy, does not of itself confer upon such a work an unquestionable passport to public applause. Those, indeed, who had been already acquainted with the originals, may feel pleasure in comparing the portrait with the reality, and in discovering the points where the resemblance is perfect, and where it is defective. But this pleasure, be it remembered, is peculiar to those individuals; it is not only limited to them, but varied amongst them as to its degree, in proportion to the extent of their acquaintance with the things represented.

It is upon this principle, we apprehend, that the multiplication mere portraits at the annual exhibition in Somerset-house, has given so much dissatisfaction to the enlightened portion of the public. They go to see paintings, from the contemplation of which they

may derive a sense of delight, from which they may gather ideas, and which they may record in the tablets of their memory, among its pleasantest associations. But they are grievously disappointed, when, instead of pictures of general interest, they find the walls hung with the heads, or the full-length likenesses of individuals whom they never have seen, and of whose existence they never desire to form the most distant notion. If they do at any time stop before one of these tenants of the canvas, and speak of it with admiration, it will generally be found that it is because a story interesting to their feelings is told in the picture. A group of children are playing round their mother-a family circle are listening to music-or a face of eminent loveliness, shines out from the hand of the artist. Concerning the truth of the portrait, they do not give themselves the least trouble, for so far as their knowledge is presumed to go, they are in no situation to conjecture whether it is a likeness or not.

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If this principle be founded in nature, as we think it is, it will account for the apathy with which we have read, and with which we think all persons born at this side of the Tweed, will read, 'The Last of the Lairds.' It may be a most accurate delineation of character and manners, but as we have not witnessed the actual existence of the things represented, we can feel no pleasure in the representation upon the mere ground of its vraisemblance. tains, we admit, a story, nay, several groups who are differently employed, and if this story had been of a description that would interest our curiosity, or excite our feelings, there is no doubt that a conviction of the truth of the portraits would add very sensibly to our delight in perusing it. But Mr. Galt has given us a story -if indeed such it may be called--which is in no degree calculated to increase, or indeed to awaken at all, our agreeable associations. All his characters, from the 'Laird' himself, down to Jock,' his serving-man, are absolute bores—a vulgar, but expressive term, which is applicable to each and every one of them, without exception.

This last of his tribe-Mr. Mailings, is a bankrupt agriculturist, whose estate has dwindled away by degrees, under the pressure of mortgages, and the thoughtless dissipation and pride of the owner, until it furnishes him with scarcely the means of subsistence. Having been seduced to Edinburgh, to see the king, some four years ago, he mingled with the literary coteries of that town, and returned to his family mansion at Auldbiggings, with the resolution to pay off one of his mortgages by writing his life! He soon finds this an irksome labour, particularly as he discovers that his dull and obscure career afforded him no materials beyond his pedigree. But still anxious to devise means for paying off the mortgage, particularly as the mortgagee, his neighbour, an Indian Nabob, seemed rather desirous of getting the estate into his own hands, the Laird is easily led into a marriage with a grey-headed, bare-boned

old maid, who had a little money. We should have said that she and her elder maiden sister were the two most abominable frights that ever figured in any village tale, if there had not been a third person entitled to the superlative, in every thing that is disagreeable, impertinent, and intrusive; we mean the matchmaker, Mrs. Soorocks. But as it is some relief to divide with others the pain with which one is afflicted, we must request the reader to suffer through a scene or two. We shall first introduce him to the admirable widow Soorocks-her very name is deleterious-at that point of time when she had broken the ice with the maiden sisters, as to the proposed match. Her present companion is the author.

"It's a great misfortune to be of a Christian nature, for it makes us sharers in a' the ills that befall our frien's. I'm sure, for my part, had I broken Mr. Rupees' head with my own nieve, and crushed Angle the landsurveyor's commodity in the hollow of my hand, I could not hae suffert more anxiety than I do in the way o' sympathy at this present time, on account o' the enormities of the law, which Caption, the ettercap, is mustering, like an host for battle, against our poor auld doited and defenceless neighbour. But a' that is nothing to the vexation I'm obliged to endure frae the contumacity o' yon twa wizzent and gaizent penure pigs o' Barenbraes."

"You have perhaps yourself, madam, to blame a little for that; you need not, I should think, meddle quite so much in their concerns."

"But I cannot help it-it's my duty. I find myself as it were constrained by a sense of grace to do what I do. Far, indeed, it is frae my heart and inclination to scald my lips in other folks' kail,—and why should I? Is there any homage frae the warld as my reward? Let your own hearts answer that. And as for gratitude frae those I sae toil to serve, the huff o' Miss Shoosie Minnygaff is a vera gracious speciment."

'From the tenor of these observations, and particularly from the manner in which they were uttered, I began to divine that the worthy lady had not been altogether so successful in her matrimonial project with the maiden sisters as she had been with Auldbiggings, and I expressed my regret accordingly.

"Deed," replied she, " ye were ne'er farther wrang in your life, great as your errors both in precept and in practice may hae been. But no to mind an ill-speaking world on that head, what would ye think I hae gotten for my pains frae the twa, hunger and starvation, as I canna but call them ?"

"It is impossible for me to imagine--they are strange creatures; I should be none surprised if they were unreasonable in their expectations as to the jointure which Auldbiggings may be able to afford; poor man, I fear he has nothing in his power."

"Guess again, and, if ye hope to succeed, guess an impossibility." "Pin money."

"Pin snuffy! They too hae their doubts if the Laird will connive at a


right way o' education for their children! Did ye ever hear the like o' that? And wha do you think the objection first came frae? Shoosie-auld Miss Shoosie; the sight o' her wi' a child in her arms would be like a lang-necket heron wi' a lamb in it's neb, or a Kitty

Langlegs dan'ling a bumbee ;-the thing's an utter incapability o' nature, and so I said to her."

"That explains her ingratitude. I certainly, my dear Mrs. Soorocks, cannot approve of throwing cold water on her hopes of a posterity, especially as the only objection which the Laird made to the ladies, was an apprehension of disappointment in that respect."

Sir, the thing is no to be dooted; but I should tell you her speech o' folly on the occasion. To be sure, sister,' said she, speaking to Miss Girzie, when I had broken the ice, "Mr. Mailings is a man o' family; and though in his younger years he did marry below his degree, yet noo that his wife is dead, she can never be a blot in a second marriage. But then he's a most stiff-neckit man in the way of opinion, and I doot, if ever him and me were married, that we would agree about the way o' bringing up our children; for if I were to hae a dochter," quo' she, " and wha knows if ever I shall"-I could thole this no longer," exclaimed Mrs. Soorocks, "and so, as plainly as I was pleasant, I said, Everybody kens weel aneugh, Miss Shoosie, that ye'll never hae a dochter.' And what think you I got for telling her the true even-doun fact?"


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"O, ye're a saterical man!—to judicate that leddies would be flinging housholdry at ane anither's heads! But she did far waur. I never beheld such a phantasie. She rose from her chair, her een like as they would hae kindled candles, though her mouth was as mim as a May puddock, and crossing her fingers daintily on her busk, she made me a ceremonious curtsey, like a maid of honour dancing a minaway wi' the lord-chancellor, and said, Mrs. Soorocks, I thank you.' I was so provoked by her solemnity, that I could na but make an observe on't, saying, Hech, Sirs, Miss Shoosie, it must be a great while since ye were at a practeesing, for really ye're very stiff in the joints. I hae lang kent ye were auld, but I didna think you were sae aged. I canna, therefore, be surprised at your loss o' temper; for when folks loose their teeth, we needna look for meikle temper amang them; the which causes me to understand what Mr. Mailings meant when he said, that between defects and infirmities ye were a woman past bearing."-pp. 125–129.

But lest it might be supposed that this lady exaggerated in any degree the manners of her fair rivals, we must exhibit them in propria persona; premising, in the words of the author, that in the days of their youth they had never been celebrated for any beauty. Miss Shoosie was at this time only in her fiftieth year, but so mulcted of the few graces which niggard nature had so stingily bestowed, that she was seemingly already an aged creature. Her sister looked no younger, even although, as Mrs. Soorocks often said, she had two years less of sin and misery to answer for.' The author approaching their house on a morning visit, overhears before he enters, the following precious conversation.

The first words I distinctly made out were from Miss Girzie.

"Deed, mem," said she, addressing, as it would seem, Mrs. Soorocks, "the old gentleman has his failings, that ye must alloo."

"Failings,” replied Mrs. Soorocks, "havena we a' our failings? and between friends, Miss Girzie, ye hae your ain infirmities likewise.'

Here Miss Shoosie interposed, with a declaration to the fect that Mr. Mailings would never be the husband of her choice.

“Choice, Miss Shoosie!" exclaimed the Laird's advocate, "choice! Mony a far better woman than ye were in your best days never had a choice. Really, at your time o' life, Miss Shoosie,-ye ken ye're aulder than your sister-you ought to accept wi' a gratefu' heart, and be thankfu' to Providence, if onything in the shape o' a man is evened to you."

The widow made nothing by this taunt, for the indignant spinster retorted,

"It would be gude for us a' if we saw oursells as ithers see us; but if I could hae demeaned mysell to tak' up wi' sic men as some folk were glad to loup at, I might noo hae been in my widowhood. O but ye hae been lang obliged to thole that dispensation, Mrs. Soorocks-that was your ain choice, nae dout."

"“Sister," said Miss Girzie," surely ye forget that Mrs. Soorocks has aye been very obliging to a' kinds o' wanters suitable to her years."

"O ay," replied Miss Shoosie, "we hae baith heard o' mair than ae instance o' her condescension."

"There was Dr. Pestle," said Miss Girzie, "hi! hi! hi!”

"And Mr. Grave, the relief minister, ha! ha! ha!" responded Miss Shoosie.

"It was said you were particular to auld Captain Hawser o' the pressgang," added Miss Girzie.

"Was that true, mem?" subjoined her sister. "I'm sure ony woman maun hae had a cheap conceit o' hersell that would hae thought o' sic an objik--and only three parts o' a man too, for he had a timmer leg."

To all this Mrs. Soorocks replied with her wonted candour and suavity. "It's very true, that there was a time when I was inclined to have changed my condition,-I'll ne'er deny it; but no one could ever impute to me a breach o' discretion-We live, however, in an ill-speaking warld, Miss Shoosie; and wasna there time, my dear, when folks werena slack -they ought to have been punished, Miss Shoosie, for cooming your character in the way they did. But ye had great credit for your bravery. I didna think it was in the power o' woman to have sae face't it out. I allow frankly and freely, that it was a maist improbable thing, that a young woman o' genteel family should hae foregathered in a glen by appointment wi' a blackavised, pockyawr'd, knock-kneed, potatoe-bogle o' a dominie. Ithers had their cracks, as wha can stop the mouths o' a scandaleezing warld? but, for my part, I aye thocht and upheld the meeting for an accidental ane, and so I said at the time, to Mr. Firlot, when he was bent on sending the elder to test the fact, and mak peremptory investigation. It's not to be tell'd to what a bonny pass matters might have been brought, for the Session were a' on the scent, and the daughter o' an heritor was game no every day to be hunted after. But, as I aye observed, it wad be mair candid and christian-like to let the thing drap; for, in the first place, it mightna be, and I houpit wasna true; and in the next place, coudna be proven, which was the best thing that could happen for baith parties, there being nae leeving witness, at least that either the members or me ever heard tell o'."-pp. 167-170.

Luckily at this stage the author made his appearance in this elegant circle, otherwise there would have been infallibly a breach of the king's peace.

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