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THE UNWILLING AUTHOR.*
ONE dreary evening on a late con- the public, most truly as the chesponding tinental tour, I sent to the circulating effort of -An Unwilling Author." library of the little town, where I was If this language be true---and its detained a few days by illness, for truth may, of course, be ascertained some books. I received a bundle of from its publisher,) it would be a the usual class, deplorable translations work of honourable benevolence to from English novels of the last cen- seek out, and, in the first instance, al. tury, from the German of Pichler, and leviate the immediate pressure; in the Fouquet ; and French fooieries of the next, to encourage a mind of such insame tonsure by Pigault le Brun, La telligence and feeling to proceed in its Fontaine, &c. &c. I of course gave up career-to point out a higher range of the idea of relieving the weariness of view, and to urge it, by public notice, a German winter's evening, by such to the cultivation of powers capable of specifics for the promotion of ennui, fame. As a man and a Christian, I and was about to fling them aside in look upon this as a solemn duty; as a despair, when my eye was caught by a lover of literature, I feel a tendency of pair of thin voluines, on which, (from spirit towards every mind excited by the chief part of their leaves being un- the graces and delights of literature. cut,) I fairly enough concluded, that I instinctively regard them as forming few eyes of gentle or ungentle readers a class of a superior order, a gentle and had even deigned to look. It was in lofty brotherhood, a native nobility of English–a story of Irish manners, and genius, among whom, all that was gehad the singularity of having been nerous and pure, accomplished and printed in Ireland, so late as last year. splendid, in our nature, spontaneously
I dipped into it, and was struck by assumed its place ; and from whose the simplicity, purity, and occasional spirits, all meanness and vulgarity of eloquence of its language. The au- manners, all bitterness and avarice, enthor is altogether beyond my conjec- vy and uncharitableness, were expelled ture; but the preface, which I can without an effort, and without a stain. scarcely conceive to be romance, gives - And this is the unquestionable truth. the idea of misfortunes, which should The finer imaginations are, in the not be suffered to fall in their heavi- great majority-assurances of the more ness on such a mind. The book is generous and kindly hearts. Those stated to have been written in detach- mightier and first-rate intellects, that ed parts for a periodical publication- form a race by themselves, and, like under great necessity-and literally the summit of the Alps, overtop the within a prison. In the writer's own world with undiminished superioriwords :
ty in every age-have, almost without “To urge the mind, from which all the exception, been tender, pure, and full incitements of social intercourse, all know.
of affection. If they have undergone ledge of the general face of nature, all the their periods of sterner displays, and aid of books, and all the hopes which give had, like their mountain emblems, the lifei ts value, have been subtracted, to com- tempest and the thunder round their pose a work, which shall furnish new awful brows; their habitual purpose sources of gratification, is somewhat more has been to pour down fertility and unreasonable than the Egyptian command refreshing to the borders of the land. to make bricks without straw; for the Is
Something ought to be done for the raelites, unfortunate and oppressed as they were, could yet roam abroad in search of
Unwilling Author." materials for their work.
The work, from its minuteness of " The writer of these pages is confined general observation, and close knowwithin four walls !
ledge of the female heart, seems to “The work is the product of a mind
have been written by a female. An operating under every possible disadvantage additional claim. But, whether or not, and depression, and uncheered by a single it is written with a power which prachope. The reluctant labour is offered to tice and encouragement might raise to
* Tales by an Unwilling Author. 2 vols. 8vo. Milliken, Dublin. 1822. VOL. XIV.
no trivial distinction. It consists of together simple, and such as may have two Tales—the Agent and the Pavi. occurred every day at the death-bed lion. The former, purely Irish, detail of an intelligent and sensitive mind; ing the rise of an obscure man of pro- yet takes a strong hold on the feel bity and intellectual acquirements to ings, and is pathetic to a remarkable competence and respect ; the story of degree. Jacob Corr might be no useless ma- “ With a heavy heart I ascended to the nual for many an Irish landlord. The room of my friend. I saw several of the Pavilion is the more attractive and pain- servants as I passed, who noticed me only ful sketch of a first love, broken off by with a silent curtsey, instead of the smiling the death of one of the parties, a girl
welcome with which I had been invariably of beauty and talents. The lover is received. Their noiseless and ghost-like Xaverius Blake, a nanie of weight in
tread had something appalling in it, and I the west of Ireland ; the lady is Clara
entered my poor Clara's chamber with a
tenfold depression of spirits. As I opened de Burgh,—both sufficiently opulent,
the door, she raised herself in the bed, and and on the point of marriage, with the
putting back the curtain, said, Ellen, how fullest approbation of their families. I have longed to see you !' Some adventures and hair's-breadth “ She seemed to speak with great diffiescapes diversify the narrative, till, culty; and her voice was so hoarse, that had within a week of the marriage, Xave- I not seen her, I could never have recogrius leaves Dublin in order to make nized it as hers. preparations for his bride. Clara is “ She laid her head on the pillow for a struck with some superstitious pre
moment, then turned, and exhibited
every sentiment of seeing him no more, takes
symptom of restlessness and fear. cold, and is seized with a fatal illness. length, flinging down the clothes, she
cried, I cannot rest ; my poor mother ! The story is told by a female friend.
-Ellen, be a child to her when I am gone; “ My sleep that night was so disturbed
she will grieve beyond measure. I have by indistinct dreams, that it could not juste ly be called rest. One moment I was en
been the sole source of happiness to her ;
she had identified all her thoughts with deavouring to fly from a furious herd of
mine. What will console her? So young cattle, which all my endeavours seemed
as I am ! it is no life-wearied pilgrim, only to bring nearer to me; the next, some irresistible power was hurrying me down a
prepared by infirmity and disappointment
for the rest of the grave, who she resigns, precipice towards a dark abyss, into which
but her child, her only remaining child, Ī momentarily expected to be plunged. No
who has known nothing of life but its plca. catastrophe happened to me from my agony
sures. Her child who ever closed her eyes of fear; yet in a second the floating vision
in hope, and waked them to joy. My proschanged, and I found myself crushed under the ruins of a fallen house, a heavy pests were so bright! no anticipation of
evil for, or from me, has taught her resigbeam lying on my breast and impeding re
nation to this infliction. In the long vista spiration, so that I could not speak in an
of years to come, even the perspicacious swer to the friends who were calling and searching for me. Anon, I saw Clara in
eye of maternal anxiety could discern the same situation, while I vainly endea. nought for me but felicity, and usefulness,
and peace, and honour. What will console voured to move to her assistance. Again,
her for this blight? Oh, my mother! may I saw Xaverius tie her to the tail of an unbroken horse, which he held by the rein,
you never know how unwilling I am to
die.—But I am so young, my perceptions and lashed into fury, while bursts of wild
of happiness were the most acute, and they and demoniacal laughter declared the de
were all realized. But yesterday the haplight with which he saw Clara whirled round the ring. I heard the screams of the piest of the happy ; to-day a gasping victim ; and the violence of the efforts
wretch, struggling on the brink of the
dark and terrible abyss of eternity ; towhich I made to arise to her rescue at
morrow the pale cold image of departed length awoke me, with nerves too much shaken to allow me to sleep again. I arose,
happiness—a senseless clod, no longer the
source of pride, of hope, of joy, or interest, though it was only just day. When dressed, I attempted to read, but found it im.
to any human being. The creature so
beloved will be an object of abhorrence; possible, or to keep my thoughts fixed to the book. I took out my work to as little
the eye, which the mind's stern resolve purpose.”
shall compel to regard me, will close in After this ominous agitation, she
involuntary horror; the hand which shall
touch me will shudder, and the muscles whiles away some hours in recovering shrink from the abhorred contact. Even her self-possession, and then visits her
now my flesh creeps, and my imagination friend. The scene has in it nothing of turns with loathing and disgust from the singularity; on the contrary, it is al- idea of what I shall be then. All I have
loved, all who have loved me, will wish to a vast crowd. There was heavenly music, hide me in the darksome grave; there no and such a resplendance of light, that my thought shall dare to visit me, or picture sight became dazzled and confused. I knew to itself that form once gazed on with de- that we were at the altar, and that somelight.—Ah ! Ellen, not the world's wealth thing was going on ; but I could see no. could then bribe you to touch the hand you thing distinctly. There were bright forms now so fondly caress.'_She uttered this before me, which I felt to be you, your fawith such a continuous glow of words, that ther, and Xaverius, but I tried in vain to I found it impossible to interrupt her ; yet look at you. she must have spoken with great effort, for "At length I thought the ceremony was her voice was thick and hoarse, and its finished, and that your father had placed sound scarcely rising above a whisper. It you in the bridegroom's arms. He laid his seemed more the internal murmuring of the hand on me and said, “ This is best ; she mind, than a discourse addressed to me. I is happy !' Again I tried to look at you, had taken her hand as she uttered the last but again the effort was in vain. I saw nowords. She turned her heavy and languid thing but light, light so resplendent as to eyes on me, and paused as if she expected compel me to close my aching eyes. When an answer. *Oh! Clara, if you
love me, I opened them, the gay scene was vanishhow can you thus rive my heart ? Whyed; the light, the people, the music, were conjure up such horrible images to harass gone. I was alone in the church, without and incapacitate me from being of use to light, yet experiencing no sensation of fear you ?' She seemed offended, and said, or perplexity in the darkness.
From my infancy, all my joys and my 16. As I approached the door, I perceived griefs—every thought of my soul has been Xaverius seated in a corner near it, meanly confided to you ; but in death I must learn dressed, and tossing a gold ring up in the a new lesson.' She turned from me and air, and again catching it. I asked him sighed heavily.”
what he was doing there ?" Waiting,' he The disease increases, and this in- replied, " to give this to my bride ; I beteresting creature has a stronger con- lieve I must go to look for her.' As he viction of the coming of death. She arose for the purpose, I was awakened by takes off her necklace—her lover's pre- Ellis, who came to tell me Mr Russel (a sent—that it may not be plundered in clergyman) was below.”” the tomb. While she is hoping that The struggle becomes more painful, her mother is not acquainted with her but the description is still natural, danger,
touching, and true. Intervals of reli“ The door was softly opened by Mrs de gious despair and hope succeed each Burgh, who put her head into the room. other—a letter arrives from her lover,
I am not sleeping, mamma ; but I have long and full of the detail of his jourbeen just hoping you were. Did you not ney—its liveliness revives her to hopes go to bed ?' - 1 did indeed, my love.'- of life—she talks of seeing him again And did you sleep ?'— I did, and had
--but the disease rapidly masters her pleasant dreams of you.'-'What did you
spirits—she is dying, inevitably dydream ?' said she, languidly, apparently
ingdesirous of occupying her mother's attention with anything rather than a scrutiny “ I am going fast, Ellen, let the coffin into her feelings- What did you dream, be ordered. Xaverius will be here on Wed. mamma?'
nesday; he will come to claim his bride, his • I dreamed that your wedding-day Clara ; let him not find what was, but is was come, and that I entered your cham- not, Clara. Hide me instantly, bury me ber early in the morning, to awaken and deep, and cover the grave with sods ; sufassist you ; but I found you risen and fer me not to become loathsome to his ima. dressed with the utmost elegance and splen- gination ; still let my image be to him fair, dour, and looking more lovely than you lovely, and gracious ; let it dwell in his rehad ever done before, even in my partial collection, like the sweet visions of youtheyes. Your father stood by your side, in ful joy,-sad only because they will be seen appearance such as he was when he led me no more. He will return on Wednesday ; to the altar, as young, as blooming, and light will be his bounding step along the as bright with happiness. I did not re- hall; quickly will he ascend the stairs, and ceive him with the joy due to a long absent reach the sitting-room of his Clara—but friend, nor with surprise as one risen from Clara is not there. He will there find only the dead ; yet I had some faint conscious- her bereaved and childless mother, in her ness of our not having lately met, for I loneliness, her mourning, and her despair. said, “ You here !'-— Yes,' he replied, 'I Yes, there he will also find thee, Ellen ; am come for Clara; it is time.'
yet, sweetest friend, comfort him not too " " Suddenly we were in church, I know SOON. --Ah ! let him feel, let him mourn not how, but I felt no surprise. There was my loss. Deny me not a few tears from
him, whose image intercepts my view of said, in a hurried tone of alarm, and caste heaven. Suffer him not to forget me, El. ing an imploring look of anguish at me, len. When his courted mistress_his bride • I am dying-Oh! oh! Ellen, what shall his wife_ the mother of his children I do?' still, still, my Ellen, speak to him of his “Pray to God, my Clara.' lost Clara.”
"Do you : my heart prays, but I have Painful as the subject is, the charac- scarcely see you.'
no words. Oh! it is dark, so dark I can teristics of dissolution are among the
“She approached nearer to me, and put most interesting of all speculations- her arm over my neck. and the writer seems to have survey- "** Now I cannot see at all,' speaking ed them with a singular fidelity-yet quick ; ' my life is gone-I am going.' without the harshness of a mere scien- 666 To Heaven, Clara.' tific inquiry. The description is at 664 Yes, to Heaven,' she said, loosed once vivid and delicate, powerful and her arm from my neck, placed her head pathetic. The last hour comes
on the pillow, and died.”
Xaverius returns-is thrown into “She gave me the miniature of Xaverius.
an agony of grief, which is followed “« Ellen, take this now, you will not like by long despondency, and, in about a to take it from the corpse. Take it, I say: year—I grieve to say it, for the honour when he marries, claim mine from him ; you will love it still. Ellen, give me pa
of our constancy—by marriage. But
whether from lingering regret, or haper į I would write to Xaverius.'
“ I thought it impossible, but I brought bitual fickleness of purpose, he suffers the writing materials. Her fingers trem
his estate and the world to glide from bled, and her hand wandered over the pa. him, sinks into confined circumstanper, either as if she could not guide her ces, and is presented in the beginning fingers, or keep the paper in her sight. of the volume, yet the close of the sto
** I cannot write. -- Where is my mo- ry, as having lost all the vigorous and ther ?-let her be called ; it is useless to manly beauty of his early miniature. deceive her longer : I am just going.' It would be idle to speak of this story, “ Poor Mrs De Burgh, who had long
or of the writer, as perfect. The work been in the room, now came forward. «Your blessing and your pardon, my is sometimes too simple, its language is
has obvious deficiencies: its simplicity mother! your last blessing on your child.' “My blessing, and the blessing of our
often negligent, and its humour always Father in Heaven, be upon my child; my unlucky. The author seems to have pardon you cannot want, for when have
no talent for the ingenious drollery you erred ?'
which is so great a favourite in Ire*** You have, my mother, a daughter in land. Pathos, and sweetness of deEllen. Tell Xaverius-Oh! my life is go- scription, the mastery of the human ing-Where is Ellen ?'
heart, are higher attributes; and those “ • Here, my Clara.'
are in the mind that produced this 666 Is it very dark ?'
unostentatious and dejected labour. 66. It is dark- the candle is shaded.'
I have selected only passages of this “ She sat up in the bed.
character; but the description of a 66. It is not that; it is I that am dark. Life is leaving me.'
painting of Lazarus and Dives, in the “ Soon after she said, My hands are
house of Jacob Corr, might justify the stiffening.'
praise of rich conception, and power“ I chafed them—they were cold, but ful and picturesque eloquence. The this brought back their warmth. She ob- author should write again. served, that it was pleasant, She again
NOTICES OF MODERN BRITISH DRAMATISTS.
CARDINAL BEATON.* It is the fashion, the cant, over tal Tales is, that they give a degrading Scotland now, to speak and scribble character of the Covenanters. Do they with much vehemence and pomposity indeed ? Power, vigour, energy, pasabout the Covenanters. They, and all sion, and imagination, are all made atin any way connected with them, be tributes of that character; the writer fore or after the Religious Persecution, wishes to raise terror rather than pity; are represented as pure, spotless, high- or, if we weep, that they shall be tears souled, heavenly-minded men ; while of blood. A stern pathos is over all the no picture is dark and devilish enough history of that troublous time ; for for their adversaries, who are perpe- persecution drove grief into guilt, and tually painted with the spirit, and al- remorse groaned over the crime that most the forms and lineaments, of de- yet rid the land of an oppressor. The mons. The “ Tales of my Landlord” souls of the righteous were stained as are said to be a series of libels on those they became shedders of blood; and men, to whom we owe our civil and re- the bigot of intolerant religion, and ligious liberty; and nothing can ex- the tool of arbitrary power, although ceed the bitterness of reprobation with baser, were not more cruel than the which they are spoken of by those prey they hunted in the moors and on persons, whose veneration of the saints the mountains. It required a powermartyred of old, is somewhat singu- ful and fearless genius to meddle with larly found united either with an indif- those men of iron, to shew them as ference to the piety of holy men in the they were, Bible-bosomed murderers present day, or with scepticism and in- on the high-way; yet worshipping fidelity. This cannot but excite doubts God, if ever men did, in fervour and of their sincerity; for it seems impos- in truth, among sullen mosses and sosible for the same persons, with heart litary mists. Tenderness might be in and soul, to venerate the religious their hearts, for they had wives and chilmartyrs, perishing in the fire to pre- dren whom they had loved in the days serve the Word of God, and to admire, of peace. But of all tender thoughts, as the best and foremost men in mo- it might then be said, “O that they dern times, those who have striven by had the wings of doves, that they might all the means in their power to dea flee away and be at rest !" Strength stroy the Bible, by denying its inspi- sufficient for those evil days lay in ration, and to strike at the root of the another region of the soul—in the reChristian faith. No doubt, it would gion of its power. And who ever rose not be difficult to shew how all this from the perusal of those Tales with, happens; political feeling is at the out feeling his spirit dilated and exbottom of the whole; and too many of panded into a strong dark sympathy “ the fond admirers of devoted worth,” with the character of these stern "forewould be thought to kindle into roble fathers of the hamlet ?” Not the less rage over the sufferings of the saints, do we hold sacred the cause in which while, in good truth, they are feeding they slew, or were slain, because we their hearts with anger and malignity see that they too were men of sin; we towards their political opponents, to think of them with more awful revewhom the memory of all such martyrs rence, because the frailty of our fallen must be dearer far, just as the faith is nature was visible upon them, even more dearly prized for which they when willing to go to God through the burned or bled.
flames; and we loath with a more heartBut without saying one word more on sick loathing all tyranny, and cruelty, this point, (and we do not expect that and oppression, as we see them geneall our friends will agree with us in rating evil in their victims, when it these sentiments,) we may observe, that appears alınost to be impossible to shed the great charge against those immor- the blood of the wicked without some
* Cardinal Beaton ; a Drama, in five acts. By William Tennant, Author of “ Anster Fair," &c. Edinburgh, Constable and Co. 8vo.