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are judgment, and that intuitive sense of fitness which we call tact. His want of judgment appears in the scheme of his plots ; his want of tact in the choice of subjects for the display of his powers; in his failing to perceive that he may exhibit them in their greatest force, to the pain, instead of the gratification of the reader. In the former series this fault was illustrated in a whole story, The Fetches, which left, together with a most disagreeable impression on the mind, a feeling almost of resentment at the misdirected talent which had so idly sported with the fancy, and turned our deepest sympathies to folly. This tale had the offence of a hoax in it; we felt that we had been betrayed into a painful interest by childish inventions. On examining the springs of the imposition, we found them of a very vulgar order. The attention may be strongly captivated by images which disgust the eye, and such was the secret charm of The Fetches ; our aversion to the ideas made us dwell on them with distempered earnestness, as a man will gaze on a corpse, or any other disagreeable object, because the thought of it offends him. In The Nowlane, the first and best tale of the New Series, we observe more than one example of this kind, of attempt at fascination by force of presenting shocking pictures. In one instance it fails, and the effect is, of course, burlesque: in another we think it succeeds, and the consequence is disgust to the reader,-honest, genuine, physical disgust, accompanied with a slight sickness at the stomach, if he has just dined. The scene, a murder, it must be confessed, is admirably painted ; but as it offends, we think the talent displayed on it ill bestowed. Allusion to this description leads us to observe on the author's imagination. Passion and imagination would seem to be his strong points, and yet, though he appears to abound in imagination, we never find the ground of it original. He is always working on some pattern or other, and not always nice in his choice of one. Like many musicians, he cannot play without notes ; there must be something to direct the motions of his hands, and then he will grace and embellish what he sees before him. His genius is essentially pictorial, and he does nothing without copy. He can paint the progress of ruin in an Irish jontleman's hospitable house, with the pencil of a Hogarth, or the inmates of a cottage in the style of a Wilkie ; but beyond the surface, the expression, he never goos with effect; and when he attempts to describe the inner springs of human action, and to exhibit the secret motions of hearts, he fails altogether, because this is a machinery beyond his ken, one which his intellectual vision has never penetrated. In this province the author of To-day in Ireland is incomparably his superior. He has looked at more than the outside of things ; his eyes have searched deeper than the picturesque; and he threw more than figures and landscape into his work. In support of our remark that the writer of the O'Hara Tales is always working on some pattern, taken either from nature, his best work; or from the inventions of other books, his worst, the oriac okia ; or from recorded facts, we might refer to many examples, which would be admitted as soon as seen. For a striking and familiar instance, we may mention the description of the lovely girl in John Doe, who, partially disrobed, sits at her toilet, gazing on her lover's miniature. This is a perfect literary gem; it is all grace, taste, and elegance, and the effect is bewitching. A popular picture, which deserves equal praise, was at first supposed to have been taken from the scene in the book, but it turned ont, by the ready and ingenuous avowal of the author, that the original of his design was the picture. In The Nowlans we find two melo-dramatic adventures, derived from a memorable assassination in the South of France. The murder, to the details of which we have already adverted and objected as sickening, is, indeed, obviously a copy of the main circumstances of the assassination of Fualdes. The pig is, in mercy to our tastes, omitted ; * but there is the horrid and deliberate preparation ; the vessel brought in to catch the blood; the cloth to wipe it up; the throat cut before the starting eye-balls of a hidden witness, a trembling, terror-struck woman! The other dramatic situation, taken from a story, whether true or false we know not, connected with the same tragedy, is that of a girl, who goes to meet a villain at midnight, by appointment, and observes a man at the place of assignation digging a grave. The idea of this incident is to be traced to a French print of Bancal or Bastide (which we forget), digging a grave for a girl supposed to have witnessed the murder of Fualdes, and who is sent on an errand to the criminal in the fields, in order that be might murder her. We could mention other copies, not only of scenes and incidents, but characters. Aby Nowlan, for instance, is the Laird in the Heart of Mid-Lothian ; with this difference, indeed, that, instead of a miser, he is a spendthrift, but in stolidity and general bearing they are one and the same. The chief villain of this tale, too, Mr. Frank, is an exaggeration of Stanley, who associates himself with the smugglers in the Heart of Mid-Lothian, and contracts a mésalliance. The Irish villain, to be sure, is of a complexion many shades deeper, and of a more odious profligacy than his prototype. He robs a mail-coach, commits murder, and would have assassinated the heroine of the story, who is illegally married to him, and who is a partial copy of Jeanie Deans. In the character of this Mr. Frank, we find a remarkable instance of the author's want of tact. The slang conversations which this worthy holds with one of his associates, are, for the most part, unintelligible, and, to the last degree, tedious and offensive ; they disgust the fatigued reader, without adding, in any measure, to the effect of the portrait. Scott has just touched his genteel profligate's discourse with slang, and therefore his copyist throws into that of his well-born rogue the whole vocabulary of Newgate. This is giving us three morning guns by way of heightening the effect. Notwithstanding, however, all drawbacks and defects, many errors of judgment, and some few of execution, and gross outrages against vraisemblance, these are very clever performances; and we gladly take them, with all their faults, which we note rather as curious phenomena, thau in the spirit of detraction. It seems odd to us that there should be such extreme failure, mixed
пр with such extreme success; but our author is an Irishman, and these, perhaps, are the irregularities of Irish genius. We have already observed that The Nowlans is the best tale of the
The Covent-Garden people, when they dramatized the murder of Fualdes, carried their copy of the facts a point closer than our author, and proposed that the part of the pig should be enacted" by “ a real pig," the celebrated Toby. The idea was eventually abandoned, however, either because Toby, like other stars, asked too much, or because the manager was tired of pig driving, and afraid of adding one more stubboru, headstrong, self-willed animal to the list of first-rate performers.
New Series. The principal character in it is a young catholic priest, John Nowlan, who wins the affections of a girl, of a rank and condition in life very superior to his own; and, in a moment of frenzy, carries her off, and, in violation of his vow of celibacy, marries her.
The consequence of this act is pitiable misery to both parties. They sink into the most deplorable poverty, and John Nowlan has the torture of seeing the being who has sacrificed all to him, her whom he has taken from an affluent home, a shivering, houseless wanderer. The character of Letty, the poor victim, is very sweetly drawn. It is the only one that interests us in the book, and a touching picture it presents of generous devotion and gentle unrepining suffering. After having descended, step by step, to a condition of the last wretchedness, she perishes, a wayfarer in a cabin, in giving birth to a child; and here we have an example of the author's want of tact in a scene of unnatural mummery. The husband is found by some charitable visitors celebrating the death of his beloved wife with a kind of mock wake. He has taken the door of its hinges to serve as a bier on which to lay her out, and made an illumination of a single rush-light. We so honour Letty, that we cannot endure the profanation of her fair remains by this odious burlesque of a vulgar ceremony. From this period John Nowlan disappears for a considerable space, and his sister Peggy becomes the centre of operations. She is a tidy, respectable wench, for whom it is impossible to become interested by any circumstance, but that of her being in danger of having her throat cut. Nothing short of this danger can concern us in her behalf, and painfully admirable is the description of her peril: in all her other adventures, we fancy a stout, substantial, able-bodied damsel, with red cheeks, thick ancles, and solid spogs,* who is perfectly capable of taking care of herself, and whose feelings are not of a kind to rue very keenly any but the sufferings of her flesh. The author has indeed intended her to be full of sensibilities and the finer affections, but he has not effected his purpose : he has conceived a design, but not conveyed an impression of it. He has intended very likely a paragon of a Peggy, but he has put to paper only an ordinary Peggy, in a red cloak, more fit to do the work of a house than that of a novel; to make butter, than to melt hearts, These miscarriages are very common in productions of imagination. The reader frequently refuses, in spite of an author's arbitrary dictation, to take characters at his valuation. Notwithstanding all that Richardson has said, and undoubtedly he should know best, we have always esteemed his Pamela an artful baggage, and have acknowledged the exact truth of Fielding's continuation of her as Mrs. B. in Joseph Andrews. And as for Sir Charles Grandison, he was an arrant prig, really running over with the conceit of his own excellence, and saturated with “ the pride that apes humility." There are many persons, too, who refuse to take even Shakspeare at his word, and who are firmly persuaded that Desdemona did intrigue with Michael Cassio ; and if the case were submitted to a jury, we would not have the world too confident about the verdict. But we are becoming scandalous on dangerous ground, and had better, perhaps, return to our subject before we do ourselves a mischief. The story of The Nowlans is so complicated, so “ puzzled with mazes, and perplexed with errors," that
we shall not attempt to connect our extracts with any view to conveying an idea of the main action, but shall give them only as detached specimens of the merit of the book, merely apprising the reader of any circumstance which it may be necessary for him to know, in order to understand the scene.
Aby Nowlan, a small Irish jontleman possessed of a devil-a devil of a misthress, we mean-brings under his roof of riotons hospitality his young nephew, our hero, the then innocent John Nowlan. This picture we may entitle the “ mighty good fellow's " progress. There is truth in every part of it. The intimate association of squalor and extravagance, riot and ruin, pains the imagination, but all that Aby Nowlan suffers, many Irishmen daily suffer, to avoid that to them fearfullest of fearful stigma, which is dreaded even from the lips of a fool—the imputation of being a maan baast. Threaten certain Irishmen with this description, and there is no extravagance which they will not commit.
The sound of their lorses' feet, clanking among the stones that strewed the approach, brought out, by the side of the house, as if from some back tenements, three or four big, half-dressed fellows, two young serving-wenches, two or three children, two watchdogs, till then slumbering by the kitchen hearth, half a dozen spaniels, setters, greyhounds, terriers, barriers, and, at their heels, “ the mistress's" lap-dog; and, at the same moment, a bacchanalian cheer from the parlour greeted the return of Misther Aby Nowlan to his own house. The men seized the reins of their horses ; the women coming sufficiently close to make a decision, cried out, “ Faith, yis, lads, it's the masther, sure enough," and galloped round in great glee, to let him in at the front door; the dogs separately made their compliments to him, and growled or snarled or barked their queries to John ; the children remained shouting, “ Clap hands, clap hands, daddy's come home !” and thus attended and greeted, Aby soon marshalled bis nephew to the cracked flag before the ball-door without a rapper, there to await the admittance which the retreat of the tomboy girls had seemed to promise.
They were left standing longer than was necessary; and, during the pause, a window was suddenly lifted up immediately over them; the head and shoulders of a fine woman, about thirty, half-dressed, thrust out of it, and a voice, musical even in anger, demanded, “ An' who's your sthokack* to-night, Misther Nowlan?"
“ A friend, ma'am, a friend,” replied Aby, in a tone that, for him, moant fear, firmness, and good humour strangely mingled.
“ But what's the name is on him, Misther Nowlan?”
“ What!” rejoined the lady, “the brat you spoke of last night?–an' will you daare
She interrupted herself as the hall-door opened, and admitted Åby and John into the house.
“ Possession is nine parts o' the law, sir,” remarked Aby to his nephew, as they crossed the threshold.
“ Shut the door in their faces !” screamed the fair one, now from the head of the stairs; and she immediately appeared in the hall, her dress and face suggesting that she had just arisen from an evening nap, rendered familiar, if not necessary, by some over-indulgence during and after dinner.
“Now, it's a shame fo' you, ma'am, an' the strangers in the house," resumed Aby, getting between her and John.
“Turn him out, I tell you, or you'll rue it!” continued the beauty.
“ I can't, ma'am, this hour o'the night, when a body wouldn't turn a dog from the dour : it's a shame fo' you, I say again, ma'am.”
“Oh, you poor simpleton, you, an' is this the way you're goin' to thrate me? let me near the brat, an' i'll soon show you and him-'
“ Keep off, ma'am, keep off-—-'
“Keep off, ma'am, as I tould you before," swinging her far off-" I got enough o'that, last night, an' enough is as good as a fast-an' go to your bed now, and keep gourself asy, an' the strangers in the house, or I vow to my God, ma'am, you'll send me for the bit iv a switch, you know. Take her up to the bed, Poll,” to an old gaunt woman, looking older, though not stronger than she really was, who had been the first of the “Mrs. Nowlans," and therefore, in every way useful on occasions like this, “ jist put poor Kitty to bed, poor thing," advancing to where she lay motionless, neither hurt nor in a swoon, and yet, from causes he suspected, with a right to be motionless—. o see how she's fairy-sthruck all in a sudden ;-ha!”—the particle, fully prononnced, invariably serving him for his utmost approach to a laugh, “ You're fairy sthruck, Kitty, so you are ;-ha!—come in to the company, Masther Johnny, sir.”
* An uninvited guest.
Leaving the insensible unfortunate to the care of her fit duenna, Aby opened a door at the left of the hall, and John followed him into an apartment, in which, at a table dimly lighted, sat five or six bacchanalians, to whom the preceding scene seemed to have given no disturbance ; they were so used to it.
A second hospitable cheer welcomed Aby into his own parlour, and hands were patronizingly held out to him, no one standing up.
The young guest is saluted with profane ribaldry, and is, what is termed Hebernice, “ filled drunk.”
The room swam round; every face became two faces; four candles instead of two burned on the table; and it inight be about two o'clock in the morning, he heard a yelling cry for
“ The divil! the divil !-come Aby, you must give us a divil !-there's the half o' the goose we had to-day, and the beef can be sliced up with it, and plenty of gizzards, and livers, and lots of mustard and pepper ;-run, you ugly mother's daughter!”—to the girl who, since their first “ screech,” had been in attendance“ run! an' if it isn't a right divil, may the divil entirely take you home an’slice you for his own supper."
She disappeared. John had afterwards a confused apprehension of loud voices in his ears; of his uncle and a double sitting bolt upriyht, by his side, while the seasoned toper emptied into himself tumbler after tumbler, with as little effect as if he had been pouring them into an empty tun; and then “the divil” went round, shoved from one to another on a large cracked dish ; and, a few moments after he had swallowed some of it, and subsequently, a draught of malt liquor, a sensation arose in his abdomen and stomach as if there were a great serpent winding up within liim : and in his head, as if the roof of it was flying off'; and down he "tumbled,” and so closed, at fourteen years, his first night's initiation into his uncle's domestic habits.
Next morning, at a late hour, he found himself in a large room, containing three beds, exclusive of that in which he lay; all of them in disorder, as if they had been recently occupied; and bis own, too, appearing as if one companion, at least,--perhaps two-had, during the night, shared it with him. Remorse and fear possessed the boy's mind at a recollection of the debauch of which he had been guilty ; remorse for the sin ; fear of the anger of his uncle, and, more than that, of the anger of his mother, whose instructions he had thus so soon outraged. Added to the nausea of his stomach, the reeling and throbbing of his head, and the whole horrible fever in which Bacchus wraps, the morning after their first essays, his boyish votaries, poor John Nowlan was made, by these thoughts, utterly miserable; and when he had dressed himself, and was about to enter the parlour, he grew almost faint at the idea of confronting his uncle.
But this part of his unhappiness was superfluous. The young sportsman having, soon after daybreak, hurried off after Aby's grouse, John found him standing alone at the parlour window, breathing his low whistle, with a cup of tea in one hand and an old almanack in the other; and he was no sooner conscious of his nephew's presence, than he turned round in perfect good humour, and only saying—“Well, lad; hope your early risin' 'ill do you no harm ;-would a bit of breatfast lay in your vay, I wondher?” pointed to the table, and turned round, to look out at nothing through the barred and dirty window.
John proceeded to fill himself some tea out of a tea-pot, once, and very recently too, of a good kind of English china, but that now had a wooden lid, and only half a snout; and he poured it into a saucer which was no match to his cup, and added to it some rich but dabbled cream, found in an ewer, the remnant of a suit differing from every other article of tea-equipage on the table, as each individual article differed from the other. He required some water for his tea-pot, and discovered it in a tin saucepan, covered down with a wooden platter, by the hearth, “ for the copper kettle wanted a bottom, and the tin kettle a handle this half-year;" lis eye rested on the table-cloth; it was full of holes and reuts, though not of an old texture ; stained and creased, and