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Thus circumstanced, the self-willed Mr. Fountaine determined, as he expressed it, that his eldest daughter, Martha, should be his boy, in other words, that she should be the sole heir to the estate, with the exception of 10,0001. for Amy and Elizabeth, each ;', and that whoever should marry her should take the name of Fountaine. Nor was he long in finding what he deemed a suitable match in the person of Squire Dickens, one of his fox-hunting and punch-bowl companions. 1, But with the education she had received, Martha had a will of her own also, and rather than marry the squire, she sacrificed all her prospects in life and ran away with a young lieutenant in the navy. Mr. Fountaine bore this severe stroke of calamity better than could have been expected. He felt that his own tyranny had been the original cause of so much misery, and from this conviction, he did not alter his will, although he had repeatedly threatened Martha unless she married Squire Dickens that he would cut her off with a shilling.,
Tisdag Unluckily after the first burst of surprise and grief had passed by, Squire Dickens began to think that he had been at a great expense in having his house new fitted up and painted, and new clothes made on purpose to be married, and this he told Mr. Fountainei
. That gentleman thought that all the squire said was true and fair enough, and so over the punch-bowl they settled it between them that Squire Dickens should marry Miss Amy, a pretty, fair, joyous-hearted girl, and have 10,0001. with her, instead of the heirship with the dark-eyed, brunette Martha.
But Miss Amy no more fancied the squire than her sister had done before her; and being detected in an attempt to elope with a play-actor, she fell ill, and stealing away from her bed, while in the delirium of fever, she was found in the morning dead, by the side of the fountain in the garden. Mr. Fountaine's distress was very great, and this time he had the good sense to object to the squire's proposal to take Elizabeth, the third and only remaining daughter.
of the father's misery was not yet full. Great as had been his trials about his daughters, still greater were yet in store for him. Elizabeth had become acquainted, at the house of her Aunt Hartwell, with a Captain Quirk, son of a lawyer of the same name, between whom and Mr. Fountaine there existed an inveterate feud and a feeling of the deepest hostility. It was not long, however, before the young people understood each other, and agreed to be married, let what would be the result. Mr. Fountaine had loved Elizabeth as he had never loved a human creature, and when he heard that she had eloped with the son of his direst enemy, his grief was too deep for anger ; it appeared to break him down at once ; he was overwhelmed by it. But when he recovered, his stern indomitable will got the better even of his griefmanger, that all his love had been returned by such ingratitude, took pre-eminence over all other feelings, and he cursed her and hers for ever.
The sequel of the story is a fearful and painful fulfilment of this intemperate curse. Captain Quirk died two years after his marriage in a gaol, where he had been confined for debt ; the widow returned in rags to her father's house to give birth to a daughter, and die. After the lapse of some time, Mr. Fountaine was, through Squire Dickens' instrumentality (for although a rough man, he is depicted as having a good heart), made to take an interest in his grand-daughter, and ultimately to rear her and love her. But the curse still hung upon the family. Elizabeth would also marry against her grandfather's wishes; she hurried him
to a premature grave, and then perished herself, a wretched creature, disappointed where she had placed her tenderest affections.
This is a sad story, but it conveys a moral that cannot be lost sight of, for it stands out in such bold relief, as a lesson to be derived from these terrible trials of domestic life. There is another story of the Commonwealth, also of a tragic cast, but it has already taken up too much space to give an idea of the first, to allow us to give any account of the second. The reader need not fear disappointment from any thing that comes from the pen of Mrs. Bray.
THE HALF SISTERS.* If the sentiments were separated from the incidents in this story of Miss Jewsbury's, we should find in the one no advance made upon a school of novel-writing of a very mediocre class ; in the other, we should find, and that only perhaps by the sacrifice of many moralities and conventionalities, a delineation of the world, and of worldly principles, far more accurate and upsparing than is usually to be met with in the field of fiction.
As far as the sentiments are concerned, a beautiful and intellectual actress, working up her way from poverty and friendliness to wealth and fame, guided amid long years of estrangement by one sole motive, one all-engrossing idea, that of proving herself worthy of the love of a young gentleman with whom she has had little or no intercourse, is a mere beauideal of romance, that has no more prototype in this sad world of realities, than the priesthood of art-art purified from the sensualism which is inseparable from human efforts. But, as far as action is concerned, the same gifted individual finally devoting herself to another ; or Alice Bryant, so repentant and so loving to her husband, when discovered in the act of wronging him ; are bold touches of nature, the truth of which will probably find more tacit acknowledgments than overt admissions.
Yet as a story or a parallel, as a sketch of society, or as a vehicle for pbilosophy or morality, the “Half Sisters” stands in a strange predicament of uncertainty. "Even admiration for the easy pen and fluent, superficial philosophy, and sympathy for the unorthodox yet not less genuine realities, are ultimately obscured by a sense of dissatisfaction at the results brought about. "Is it a reward to gentleness, virtue, wisdom, and endurance, to be wedded to a title that is respected, in preference to a commoner that is loved ? and is the not uncommon and unintentional neglect of a beloved wife, by a man of business, to be punished by sin and the wages of sin-death? It would be a pretty lesson to teach, which is inculcated on the death-bed of Alice, that men are to be reproached for their attention to business, for the want of perpetual " demonstrative” affections to their wives, for the want of words to be ever speaking their love ; or that, for the want of more love and more sympathy, woman must dishonour herself, and degrade her sex !
Nothing but the talent for description, and passionate energy of language, and the happy and vigorous sketches of society to be met with in these pages, would make us excuse the pervading tendency of the author to write down all worldly conventionalities, and take a lead among those pseudo-philanthropists, who preach social reform under the guise of the novel.
The Half Sisters. A Tale. By Geraldine Endsor Jewsbury, Author of “Zoe.” 2 vols. Chapman and Hall.
Miss Jewsbury's story, as far as story is concerned, is easily told. Bianca is the illegitimate and Italian daughter of a'wealthy young English ironmaster. She visits England, with her dying mother, to seek aid from the heartless author of her days, but he has gone to his account, leaving behind him a wife and a legitimate daughter, Alice. Alice, tendered and brought up with every comfort and luxury, weds one of her own class, a wealthy manufacturer. It was a marriage founded on mutual love and respect, but businesss engrosses the time of the husband, that the young wife is led astray by the poetry, light talk, and bad sentimentalism of a young idler, and is on the point of eloping, when discovered by her husband ; she falls a victim to her excited sensibilities. Why the lover of the half-sister should be selected to inflict this most grievous injury upon two innocent people, it is difficult so surmise, unless to bring out his character in greater hideousness.
Bianca, in the meantime, had been assisted in her distress by the son of a wealthy barrister, Conrad Percy, afterwards the dissolutė lover of Alice, became an actor at a circus, was transferred from thence to the boards of the regular theatre, and ultimately attained the highest honours of her profession, having been supported in her struggles with poverty, in the temptations to vice to which she became inevitably exposed, and in her wondrous progress to proficiency and excellence, solely by her love for Conrad. In the course of this arduous career, she becomes acquainted with her half-sister, but the relationship does not transpire ; here the author appears to have only had in view the parallel between the unhappiness that may be the result of the tame and conventional system of society nursed in luxury, and the passion, the energy, and the indomitable self-will that may spring from a life of intellectual trial, and moral independence. Bianca is thus gifted with almost supernatural powers by the play of only one leading instinct, while Alice is depicted as a creature of weakness, and frailty, unsupported by education or example. Miss Jewsbury's idea of the sex may be gathered from a single sentence. “ When a woman lives with an engrossing passion, and is by nature entirely ungifted with coquetry, it is ten chances to one but that in a very short time she becomes a great bore to the man on whom she bestows it.” This notion of the absolute necessity of a certain amount of coquetry to keep up the flagging affections of men, is several times repeated. We will content ourselves simply with informing Miss Jewsbury, as the old actor warned Bianca of the heartlessness of Conrad, that affections that require the stimulus of coquetry are not worth having, still less of being preserved by such unfeminine and unladylike proceedings. But as we are always running counter with the authoress even in relating her story, we shall break off, merely premising that the rake reforms, and turns sectarian, while Bianca obtains every promise of future happiness by being wedded to a chivalrous young nobleman. The “Half-Sisters” is a novel of such great inequality, that while in some respects it is entitled to high praise, in others it cannot be too severely censured.
THE RUSSIAN SKETCH-BOOK.* This is really what it calls itself—a “Russian Sketch-Book.” We have not much partiality for those who are perpetually railing against all
* The Russian Sketch-Book. By Ivan Golovine, author of “Russia under the Emperor Nicholas I.” 2 vols. T. C. Newby.
who are set above them, as oppressors and tyrants; and Mr. Ivan Golovine's hatred of his former master, and of the Russian system of government generally, is too well known that it should not be expected not only to give a tone and colour to his sketches, but that also, in most cases, these sketches should be written more with a view to illustrate Mr. Golovine's social theories, than simply to impart an idea of Russia as it is.
Bronine with his perpetual Polish sympathies, always of a more exalté, than reasonable character, becomes very tedious ; it is impossible to be always at the boiling point of enthusiasm, for a nation which Madame Veroff had the injustice and malice to designate as “deceitful, inconstant, and cowardly." Poor Madame Veroff ! she became afterwards a convert to the Polish cause, for which, if we are to believe M. Golovine, she received a most singular chastisement, which chastisement led to fearful reprisals, and entailed the death of two young men, the liberal Bronine and the employé Derevnef. “ The French Slave” is an affecting story. Like most liberals of Eastern Europe, M. Golovine says of the English that they are most energetic, the French most humane. Is not the love of proselytism of the French too often mistaken for humanity ? Was it humanity to expel the English workpeople from France, or was it energy on the part of English not to take reprisals ?
“ The Spy,” “ The Maid of Koursk,” “The Degradation,” “The Revolt of the Peasants,” “The Prisoner of the Caucasus,” “The Masked Ball,” take their turn as sketches of Russian society, we prefer Mr. Zwataieff and “The Student of Dorpat” as most life-like, and of a more every day character ; but all these sketches are impressed more or less with the same tone of dissatisfaction with all that is, which mars their effectiveness, although it cannot take away from their peculiarly national interest.
MARIE VON ARNHEIM.* Tuis little work is written in that spirit of enthusiastic sentimentalism, which is familiar in this country as essentially Germanic. Why the author should have imagined, that in England, next to her own country, this tone of thought and feeling would find the most perfect comprehension and the quickest response, we are at a loss to say. For our parts, we have little sympathy with such manifest egotism and morbid excitement.
A daughter, long time an alien, joins the family circle, of which Marie von Arnheim and her dearly-beloved brother, Alfred, constitute, according to her own account, the ornaments. Add to this also, Eugene von Ehrenstein, a lover of Marie's, and a willow-tree, and the scene is complete. The alien sister, Barbara, is coarse, vulgar, and treacherous ; she brings with her the demon of discord and jealousy into the hitherto happy domestic circle. At length, Marie von Arnheim allows her feelings to be so far worked upon, that she poisons her sister and fies from her home and her lover. On her travels, she discovers her real sister, who had been supplanted by a foster child-the rude, uncultivated offspring of a boor. This happy discovery comes, however, too late, and days and nights of remorse and anguish, conduct the poor excitable and egoistical Marie to the tomb. It is truly a sad example of the evils of a romantic education.
• Memoirs of Marie von Arnheim. Written by Herself. Translated from the Original Manuscript. Longman and Co.
wheese's 19. This translation, which exhibits considerable poetic taste and ability, appears at a singularly opportune moment. M. Ponsard's " Lucrèce”. the subject of which is the fall of the Tarquins and the revolution of Rome–has become the popular piece of the French Republic, and has been transplanted from the Odéon to the Théâtre de la République. All the members of the Provisional Government were present on the occasion of the first performance of this successful tragedy at the latter theatres It was on this occasion that Mademoiselle Rachel, who had performed the part of Lucrèce, electrified the audience by at once singing and acting the grand national hymn. Many passages in the play which bore ! upon politics were also most vehemently cheered ; none more so than those which the translator has rendered as , 1,,,1.174 By 4112177797
Ere they destroy or change Rome's present state,
RIENZI.T This is the first volume of an edition of Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton's works by Chapman and Hall, which will place those deservedly popular writings within the reach of all classes. The series begins well with " Rienzi,” the most complete, high-toned, and energetic of all the author's romances. Nothing, indeed, can be more vigorous or masterly than his portraiture of,
The friend of Petrarch-hope of Italy,
Rienzi, last of Romans! or more faithful and vivid than his sketches of the Ronian populace and the Roman nobles in the fourteenth century.
MISCELLANEOUS NOTICES. We must not omit, amidst the united pressure of business and events, to mention that Mr. Newby has issued the second volume of the First Year, of the Pontificate of Pius the Ninth, by Count C. A. De Goddes de Liancourt and James Manning, Esq., of the Inner Temple. It is a work of a ? peculiarly seasonable character, and published at an opportune moment. The last published volume of Colburn's Standard Novelists, it may
also be Lucretia :
: a Tragedy, in Five Acts and, in Verse. Translated from the celebrated Play of Monsieur Ponsard. Joseph Onwhyn.
+ Rienzi: the Last of the Roman Tribunes. By Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, Bart.; with a Frontispiece. Chapman & Hall.
April.-VOL. LXXXII. NO. CCCXXVIII.