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TO THE SECOND AND THIRD VOLUMES.

We have endeavoured to redeem our pledge to the Public. Not, indeed, to the extent originally contemplated, (a work of interminable labour, as there seems to be no assigned or assignable limit to the productions of our Author's inexhaustible invention,) but, we trust, in a manner that may prove equally satisfactory to the Reader ; by having selected for Illustrationall those Novels which involve, more particularly, the exhibition of former manners, usages, opinions, and interesting public characters.

We hope that we have been diligent in our researches, correct in our statements, candid in our criticisms, and liberal in our sentiments. Of this we are sure--that such was our desire, and our effort.

July, 1824.

QUENTIN DURWARD.

NOTHING can more satisfactorily prove the pre-eminent powers of the Author of Waverley, than the approbation with which this novel, (his last, in point of publication, *)

Since the above paragraph was written, our indefatigable author has produced another novel, “ St. Ronan's Well;" a work, however, neither requiring nor deserving “illustration." It is the rickety offspring of a sheer lucre speculation, and bears about it all the marks of its sordid origin. As, like Junius, he has chosen to conceal his name, and is " the sole depository of his own secret;" so, perhaps, (should he introduce to the public any further productions of a torpid genius, or mercenary pen,) he had better, also, like Junius, “let his secret perish with bim."

If thou beest he; but o, how fall'n! how chang'd
“From him, who, in the happy realms of light,
“ Cloth'd with transcendent brightness, didst outshine

Myriads tho' bright !"
VOL. I.

B

Its success,

has been generally perused. reasoning a priori, would appear to have been, at least, problematical. The scene of its action, its epoch, and its characters, presented nothing, apparently, to captivate, or even interest, the English reader-a country, which he either despises or dislikes; an age, whose incidents are altogether forgotten, or, at least, remembered with indifference: and personages, with whom, from a total dissimilitude of state of life, opinions, and pursuits, he would seem to be incapable of feeling any kindred sympathy. In defiance, however, of these obvious obstacles to popularity, the Novel in question has found an acceptance of the most flattering kind: the multitude have read it with almost unmixed gratification; and there are not wanting, among those of a severer tact, certain, who have pronounced it to be as deeply interesting as some of the best and earliest productions of this matchless author.

To what, then, is to be ascribed a result so different from that which might naturally have been anticipated? What is that process, by which this literary alchemist can convert his lump of

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ally perused. Its success, i, would appear to have been, natical. The scene of its

atly, to captivate, or even Jish reader--a country,

which s or dislikes ; an age, whose pgether forgotten, or, at least

, indifference: and personages, n a total dissimilitude of state and pursuits

, he would seem to ever, of these obvious obstacles e Novel in question has found

the most flattering kind: the read it with almost unmixed Ithere are not wanting, among

feeling any kindred sympathy. expresses it*) rer tact, certain, who have perfect use of language, but at once discover t and earliest productions of the imagination, Whátisthat process, by which in its general exercise, and in its particular

lead into genuine gold; and impart to a mere caput mortuum all the energy and activity

of an ardent spirit? Of what nature is that and its characters, presented, talisman, with which he brings back the de

parted into a second and more animated
existence; or gives to “airy nothings” all
the interest, and all the charms, of living
entities? It may serve the purposes of a lighter
criticism, to bestow a few moments on the
consideration of these questions.
“ If” (as a very accomplished writer

« the force and excellence of
language consist in raising clear, complete,
“ and circumstantial images, and turning
readers into spectators,” we may not only
pronounce the novels of our author to be
among the best existing specimens of this
the secret by which he still continues to excite
interest the feelings of his readers. The fact
is, he is a perfect master of this instrument of
the communication of thought: equally skilled
* Warton's Essay on the Genius, &c. of Pope, vol, ii, 160.

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> be as deeply interesting as

thor. ,

is to be ascribed a result so ut which might naturally have emist can convert his lump of

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