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JAMES FENIMORE COOPER.
JAMES FENIMORE COOPER, the American novelist, has obtained great celebrity in England, and over all Europe, for his pictures of the sea, sea-life, and wild Indian scenery and manners. His imagination
James Fenimore Cooper.
is essentially poetical. He invests the ship with all the interest of a living being, and makes his readers follow its progress, and trace the operations of those on board, with intense and never-flagging anxiety. Of humour he has scarcely any perception; and in delineating character and familiar incidents, he often betrays a great want of taste and knowledge of the world. When he attempts to catch the ease of fashion,' it has been truly said, he is singularly unsuccessful.' He belongs, like Mrs Radcliffe, to the romantic school of novelists-especially to the sea, the heath, and the primeval forest. Mr Cooper, according to a notice of him some years since in the New Monthly Magazine, was born at Burlington on the Delaware, in 1798, and was removed at an early age to Cooper's Town, a place of which he has given an interesting account in The Pioneers. At thirteen he was admitted to Yale college, New Haven, and three years afterwards he went to sea-an event that gave a character and colour to his after-life, and produced impressions of which the world has reaped the rich result. On his marriage to a lady in the state of New York, he quitted the navy, and devoted himself to composition. His first work was published in 1821, and since that period he must have written above seventy volumes. Among them are The Pilot; The Pioneers; The Spy; The Prairie; The Last of the Mohicans; The Red Rover; The Borderers; The Bravo; The Deer Slayer; Eve Effingham; The Headsman; Heidenmauer; Homeward Bound; Jack o' Lantern; Mercedes of Castile; The Pathfinder; The Two Admirals; The Water Witch; Wyandotte; Ned Myers, or Life before the Mast, &c. Besides his numerous works of fiction, Mr Cooper has written Excursions in Italy, 1838; a History of the American Navy, 1839, &c. In these he does not appear to advantage. He seems to cherish some of the worst prejudices of the Americans, and, in his zeal for republican institutions, to forget the candour and temper becoming an enlightened citizen of the world.
MR HALIBURTON, a judge in Nova Scotia, is the reputed author of a series of highly-amusing works illustrative of American and Canadian manners, abounding in shrewd sarcastic remarks on political questions, the colonies, slavery, domestic institutions and customs, and almost every familiar topic of the day. The first of these appeared in 1837, under the title of The Clockmaker, or the Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick of Slickville. A second series was published in the following year, and a third in 1840. 'Sam Slick' was a universal favourite; and in 1843 the author conceived the idea of bringing him to England. The Attaché, or Sam Slick in England, gives an account of the sayings and doings of the clockmaker when elevated to the dignity of the Honourable Mr Slick, Attaché of the American Legation to the court of St James's.' There is the same quaint humour, acute observation, and laughable exaggeration in these volumes as in the former, but, on the whole, Sam is most amusing on the other side of the Atlantic.
W. HARRISON AINSWORTH.
Mr W. HARRISON AINSWORTH has written several picturesque romances, partly founded on English history and manners. His Rookwood, 1834, is a very animated narrative, in which the adventures of Turpin the highwayman are graphically related, and some of the vulgar superstitions of the last century coloured with the lights of genius. In the interest and rapidity of his scenes and adventures, Mr Ainsworth evinced a dramatic power and art, but no oriHis second romance, Crichton, 1836, is founded on the ginality or felicity of humour or character. marvellous history of the Scottish cavalier, but is scarcely equal to the first. He has since written Jack Sheppard, a sort of Newgate romance, The Tower of London, Guy Fawkes, Old St Pauls, and Windsor Castle. There are rich, copious, and brilliant descriptions in some of these works, but their tendency is at least doubtful. To portray scenes of low successful villany, and to paint ghastly and hideous details of human suffering, can be no elevating task for a man of genius, nor one likely to promote among novel readers a healthy tone of moral feeling or sentiment.
SAMUEL WARREN -MRS BRAY ALBERT SMITHHON. C. A. MURRAY.
In vivid painting of the passions, and depicting scenes of modern life, the tales of Mr SAMUEL WARREN, F.R.S. have enjoyed a high and deserved degree of popularity. His Passages from the Diary of a Late Physician, two volumes, 1837, contain many touching and beautiful stories; and his Ten Thousand a Year, though in some parts ridiculously exaggerated, and too liable to the suspicion of being a satire upon the middle classes, is also an amusing and able novel. MRS BRAY, a Devonshire lady, and authoress of an excellent tour among the mountains and lakes of Switzerland, has written a number of historical and other novels-De Foix, or Sketches of Manners and Customs of the Fourteenth Century, 1826; Henry de Pomercy; The Protestant, a Tale of the Reign of Queen Mary; Talba, or the Moor of Portugal; Trelawney of Trelawney, &c. An English novel, Caleb Stukeley, published anonymously in 1842, is a vigorous and interesting work, though in some parts coarse and vehe ment in style. The Adventures of Mr Ledbury, by ALBERT SMITH, and The Prairie Bird, by the HONOURABLE C. A. MURRAY, may be mentioned as
among the superior class of recent novels. The whole of these it would be impossible to enumerate; for not only does every year and month send out a new one,' but every magazine contains tales and parts of romances well written, and possessing many of the requisites for successful works of this description. The high and crowning glory of originality, wit, or inventive genius, must always be rare; but in no previous period of our literature was there so much respectable talent, knowledge, and imagination embarked in fictitious composition. One great name, however, yet remains to be mentioned.
through scenes of poverty and crime, and all the characters are made to discourse in the appropriate language of their respective classes; and yet we recollect no passage which ought to cause pain to the most sensitive delicacy, if read aloud in female society."
The next work of our author was Nicholas Nickleby, a tale which was also issued in monthly numbers, and soon attained to extensive popularity. The plan of this work is more regular and connected than that of Pickwick,' the characters generally not overdrawn, and the progressive interest of the narrative well sustained. The character of Mrs Nickleby is a fine portraiture of the ordinary English wife, scarcely inferior in its kind to Fielding's Few authors have succeeded in achieving so bril-Amelia; and Ralph Nickleby is also ably portrayed. liant a reputation as that secured by MR CHARLES The pedagogue Squeers, and his seminary of DoDICKENS in the course of a few years. The sale of theboys Hall, is one of the most amusing and grahis works has been unexampled, and they have been phic of English satirical delineations; and the picture translated into various languages, including even it presents of imposture, ignorance, and brutal cuthe Dutch and Russian. Writings so universally pidity, is known to have been little, if at all, caripopular must be founded on truth and nature-must catured. The exposure was a public benefit. The appeal to those passions and tastes common to man- ludicrous account of Mr Crummles and his theakind in every country; and at the same time must trical company will occur to the reader as another of possess originality and force of delineation. The Dickens's happiest conceptions, though it is pushed first publication of Dickens was a series of sketches into the region of farce. In several of our author's and illustrations, chiefly of ordinary English and works there appears a minute knowledge of drametropolitan life, known as Sketches by Boz. The matic rules and stage affairs. He has himself, it is earlier numbers of these were written for a news- said, written an opera and a farce, and evidently paper, the Evening Chronicle, and the remainder for takes pleasure in the business of the drama. May a magazine. They were afterwards collected and not some of his more startling contrasts in situapublished in two volumes, bearing respectively the tion and description be traced to this predilection? dates of 1836 and 1837. The author was then a Oliver Twist, the next work of Mr Dickens, is also young man of about twenty-six. In 1837 he began a tale of English low life, of vice, wretchedness, and another series of a similar character, The Pickwick misery, drawn with the truth and vigour of Crabbe. Papers, of which 30,000 copies are said to have The hero is an orphan brought up by the parish, been sold. Though defective in plan and arrange- and thrown among various scenes and characters ment, as Mr Dickens himself admits, the characters of the lowest and worst description. The plot of in this new series of sketches, and the spirit with this novel is well managed, and wrought up with which the incidents are described, amply atone for consummate art and power. The interest of the the want of any interesting or well-constructed plot. dark and tragical portions of the story is overThe hero, Pickwick, is almost as genial, unsophisti-whelming, though there is no unnatural exaggeracated, and original as My Uncle Toby, and his man, tion to produce effect, and no unnecessary gloom. Sam Weller, is an epitome of London low life in its Take, for example, the following account of a scene most agreeable and entertaining form. The dia- of death witnessed by Oliver while acting in the logue overflowed with kindly humour, and felicities capacity of attendant to an undertaker. of phrase and expression; the description was so graphic and copious, and the comic scenes so finely blended with tenderness and benevolence, that the effect of the whole was irresistible. The satire and
ridicule of the author were always well directed, and though coloured a little too highly, bore the clear impress of actual life and observation. To aid in these effects, Mr Dickens called in the artist and engraver. What Boz conceived and described, Phiz represented with so much truth, and spirit, and individuality seizing upon every trait and feature, and preserving the same distinguishing characteristics throughout-that the characters appeared to stand bodily forth to the world as veritable personages of the day, destined to live for all time coming. The intimate acquaintance evinced in 'Pickwick' with the middle and low life of London, and of the tricks and knavery of legal and medical pretenders, the arts of bookmakers, and generally of particular classes and usages common to large cities, was a novelty in our literature. It was a restoration of the spirit of Hogarth, with equal humour and practical wit and knowledge, but informed with a better tone of humanity, and a more select and refined taste. There is no misanthropy in his satire,' said one of his critics, and no coarseness in his descriptions-a merit enhanced by the nature of his subjects. His works are chiefly pictures of humble life -frequently of the humblest. The reader is led
[Death and Funeral of a Pauper.]
There was neither knocker nor bell-handle at the
open door where Oliver and his master stopped; so, and bidding Oliver keep close to him, and not be groping his way cautiously through the dark passage, afraid, the undertaker mounted to the top of the first flight of stairs, and, stumbling against a door on the landing, rapped at it with his knuckles.
It was opened by a young girl of thirteen or fourteen. The undertaker at once saw enough of what the room contained, to know it was the apartment to which he had been directed. He stepped in, and Oliver followed him.
There was no fire in the room; but a man was crouching mechanically over the empty store. An old woman, too, had drawn a low stool to the cold hearth, and was sitting beside him. There were some ragged children in another corner; and in a small recess, opposite the door, there lay upon the ground something covered with an old blanket. Oliver shuddered as he cast his eyes towards the place, and crept involuntarily closer to his master; for, though it was covered up, the boy felt that it was a corpse.
The man's face was thin and very pale; his hair and beard were grizzly, and his eyes were bloodshot. The old woman's face was wrinkled, her two remaining teeth protruded over her under lip, and her eyes were bright and piercing. Oliver was afraid to look
at either her or the man; they seemed so like the rats he had seen outside.
'Nobody shall go near her,' said the man, starting fiercely up as the undertaker approached the recess. 'Keep back! d-n you, keep back, if you've a life to lose.'
'Nonsense, my good man,' said the undertaker, who was pretty well used to misery in all its shapes • nonsense!'
Thus directed, the bearers trotted on under their light burden, and the two mourners kept as near them as they could. Mr Bumble and Sowerberry walked at a good smart pace in front; and Oliver, whose legs were not so long as his master's, ran by the side.
There was not so great a necessity for hurrying as Mr Sowerberry had anticipated, however; for when they reached the obscure corner of the churchyard, in which the nettles grew, and the parish graves were made, the clergyman had not arrived, and the clerk, who was sitting by the vestry-room fire, seemed to think it by no means improbable that it might be an sink-hour or so before he came. So they set the bier down on the brink of the grave; and the two mourners waited patiently in the damp clay, with a cold rain drizzling down, while the ragged boys, whom the spectacle had attracted into the churchyard, played a noisy game at hide-and-seek among the tombstones, or varied their amusements by jumping backwards and forwards over the coffin. Mr Sowerberry and Bumble, being personal friends of the clerk, sat by the fire with him, and read the paper.
'I tell you,' said the man, clenching his hands and stamping furiously on the floor-I tell you I wont have her put into the ground. She couldn't rest there. The worms would worry-not eat her-she is so worn away.'
The undertaker offered no reply to this raving, but producing a tape from his pocket, knelt down for a moment by the side of the body.
"Ah!' said the man, bursting into tears, and ing on his knees at the feet of the dead woman; 'kneel down, kneel down; kneel round her every one of you, and mark my words. I say she starved to death. I never knew how bad she was till the fever came upon her, and then her bones were starting through the skin. There was neither fire nor candle; she died in the dark-in the dark. She couldn't even see her children's faces, though we heard her gasping out their names. I begged for her in the streets, and they sent me to prison. When I came back she was dying; and all the blood in my heart has dried up, for they starved her to death. I swear it before the God that saw it-they starved her!' He twined his hands in his hair, and with a loud scream rolled grovelling upon the floor, his eyes fixed, and the foam gushing from his lips.
The terrified children cried bitterly; but the old woman, who had hitherto remained as quiet as if she had been wholly deaf to all that passed, menaced them into silence; and having unloosened the man's cravat, who still remained extended on the ground, tottered towards the undertaker.
'She was my daughter,' said the old woman, nodding her head in the direction of the corpse, and speaking with an idiotic leer more ghastly than even the presence of death itself. Lord, Lord! well, it is strange that I who gave birth to her, and was a woman then, should be alive and merry now, and she lying there so cold and stiff! Lord, Lord!-to think of it; it's as good as a play, as good as a play!'
As the wretched creature mumbled and chuckled in her hideous merriment, the undertaker turned to go away.
Stop. stop!' said the old woman in a loud whisper. Will she be buried to-morrow, or next day, or tonight? I laid her out, and I must walk, you know. Send me a large cloak; a good warm one, for it is bitter cold. We should have cake and wine, too, before we go! Never mind: send some bread; only a loaf of bread and a cup of water. Shall we have some bread, dear?' she said eagerly, catching at the undertaker's coat as he once more moved towards the door.
Yes, yes,' said the undertaker; of course; anything, everything.' He disengaged himself from the old woman's grasp, and, dragging Oliver after him, hurried away.
The next day (the family having been meanwhile relieved with a half-quartern loaf and a piece of cheese, left with them by Mr Bumble himself) Oliver and his master returned to the miserable abode, where Mr Bumble had already arrived, accompanied by four men from the workhouse, who were to act as bearers. An old black cloak had been thrown over the rags of the old woman and the man; the bare coffin having been screwed down, was then hoisted on the shoulders of the bearers, and carried down stairs into the
Now, you must put your best leg foremost, old lady,' whispered Sowerberry in the old woman's ear; we are rather late, and it wont do to keep the clergyman waiting. Move on, my men-as quick as you like.'
At length, after the lapse of something more than an hour, Mr Bumble, and Sowerberry, and the clerk were seen running towards the grave; and immediately afterwards the clergyman appeared, putting on his surplice as he came along. Mr Bumble then thrashed a boy or two to keep up appearances; and the reverend gentleman, having read as much of the burial-service as could be compressed into four minutes, gave his surplice to the clerk, and ran away again. 'Now, Bill,' said Sowerberry to the grave-digger, fill up.'
It was no very difficult task, for the grave was so full that the uppermost coffin was within a few feet of the surface. The grave-digger shovelled in the earth, stamped it loosely down with his feet, shouldered his spade, and walked off, followed by the boys, who murmured very loud complaints at the fun being over so soon.
'Come, my good fellow,' said Bumble, tapping the man on the back, they want to shut up the yard.'
The inan, who had never once moved since he had taken his station by the grave side, started, raised his head, stared at the person who had addressed him, walked forward for a few paces, and then fell down in a fit. The crazy old woman was too much occupied in bewailing the loss of her cloak (which the undertaker had taken off) to pay him any attention; so they threw a can of cold water over him, and when he came to, saw him safely out of the churchyard, locked the gate, and departed on their different ways.
'Well, Oliver,' said Sowerberry, as they walked home, how do you like it?'
'Pretty well, thank you, sir,' replied Oliver, with considerable hesitation. Not very much, sir.'
Ah, you'll get used to it in time, Oliver,' said Sowerberry. Nothing when you are used to it, my boy.'
Oliver wondered in his own mind whether it had taken a very long time to get Mr Sowerberry used to it; but he thought it better not to ask the question, and walked back to the shop, thinking over all he had seen and heard.
The atrocities of Sykes in the same tale, particularly his murder of the girl Nancy, are depicted with extraordinary power.
In 1840 Mr Dickens commenced a new species of fiction, entitled Master Humphrey's Clock, designed, like the Tales of My Landlord, to comprise different
tales under one general title, and joined by one connecting narrative. The outline was by no means prepossessing or natural, but as soon as the reader had got through this exterior scaffolding, and entered on the first story, the genius of the author was found to be undiminished in vivid delineation of character and description. The effects of gambling are depicted with great force. There is something very striking in the conception of the helpless old gamester, tottering upon the verge of the grave, and at that period when most of our other passions are as much worn out as the frame which sustains them, still maddened with that terrible infatuation which seems to shoot up stronger and stronger as every other desire and energy dies away. Little Nell, the grandchild, is a beautiful creation of pure-mindedness and innocence, yet with those habits of pensive reflection, and that firmness and energy of mind which misfortune will often engraft on the otherwise buoyant and unthinking spirit of childhood; and the contrast between her and her grandfather, now dwindled in every respect but the one into a second childhood, and comforted, directed, and sustained by her unshrinking firmness and love, is very finely managed. The death of Nell is the most pathetic and touching of the author's serious passages-it is also instructive in its pathos, for we feel with the author, that when death strikes down the innocent and young, for every fragile form from which he lets the panting spirit free, a hundred virtues rise, in shapes of mercy, charity, and love, to walk the world and bless it. Of every tear that sorrowing mortals shed on such green graves, some good is born, some gentler nature comes. In the destroyer's steps there spring up bright creations that defy his power, and his dark path becomes a way of light to heaven.' In the course of this tale there are many interesting and whimsical incidents and adventures, with fine glimpses of rural scenes, old churches, and churchyards. The horrors of the almost hopeless want which too often prevails in the great manufacturing towns, and the wild and reckless despair which it engenders, are also described with equal mastery of colouring and effect. The sketch of the wretch whose whole life had been spent in watching, day and night, a furnace, until he imagined it to be a living being, and its roaring the voice of the only friend he had ever known, although perhaps grotesque, has something in it very terrible: we may smile at the wildness, yet shudder at the horror of the fancy. A second story, Barnaby Rudge, is included in Master Humphrey's Clock,' and this also contains some excellent minute painting, a variety of broad humour and laughable caricature, with some masterly scenes of passion and description. The account of the excesses committed during Lord George Gordon's riots in 1780 may vie with Scott's narrative of the Porteous mob; and poor Barnaby Rudge with his raven may be considered as no unworthy companion to Davie Gellatley. There is also a picture of an old English inn, the Maypole, near Epping Forest, and an old innkeeper, John Willet, which is perfect in its kind -such, perhaps, as only Dickens could have painted, though Washington Irving might have made the first etching. After completing these tales Mr Dickens made a trip to America, of which he published an account in 1842, under the somewhat quaint title of American Notes for General Circulation. This work disappointed the author's admirers, which may be considered as including nearly the whole of the reading public. The field had already been well gleaned, the American character and institutions frequently described and generally understood, and Mr Dickens could not hope to add |
to our knowledge on any of the great topics connected with the condition or future destinies of the new world. On one national point only did the novelist dissertate at length-the state of the newspaper press, which he describes as corrupt and debased beyond any experience or conception in this country. He also joins with Captain Basil Hall, Mrs Trollope, and Captain Marryat, in representing the social state and morality of the people as low and dangerous, destitute of high principle or generosity. So acute and practised an observer as Dickens could not travel without noting many oddities of character, and viewing familiar objects in a new light; and we are tempted to extract two short passages from his American Notes,' which show the masterly hand of the novelist. The first is a sketch of an original met with by our author on board a Pittsburg canal boat :
There are two canal
A thin-faced, spare-figured man of middle age and stature, dressed in a dusty drabbish-coloured sui, such as I never saw before. He was perfectly quiet during the first part of the journey; indeed I don't remember having so much as seen him until he was brought out by circumstances, as great men often are. The canal extends to the foot of the mountain, and there of course it stops, the passengers being conveyed across it by land-carriage, and taken on afterwards by another canal boat, the counterpart of the first, which awaits them on the other side. lines of passage-boat; one is called the Express, and one (a cheaper one) the Pioneer. The Pioneer gets first to the mountain, and waits for the Express people to come up, both sets of passengers being conveyed We were the Express across it at the same time. company, but when we had crossed the mountain, and had come to the second boat, the proprietors took it into their heads to draft all the Pioneers into it likewise, so that we were five-and-forty at least, and the accession of passengers was not all of that kind which improved the prospect of sleeping at night. Our people grumbled at this, as people do in such cases, but suffered the boat to be towed off with the whole freight aboard nevertheless; and away we tested lustily, but, being a foreigner here, I held my went down the canal. At home I should have prothe people on deck (we were nearly all on deck), and, peace. Not so this passenger. He cleft a path among without addressing anybody whomsoever, soliloquised as follows:- This may suit you, this may, but it don't suit me. and men of Boston raising, but it wont suit my This may be all very well with down-easters figure nohow; and no two ways about that; and so I tell you. Now, I'm from the brown forests of the Mississippi, I am, and when the sun shines on me, it does shine a little. It don't glimmer where I live, the sun don't. No. I'm a brown forester, I am. I an't a Johnny Cake. There are no smooth skins where I live. We're rough men there. Rather. If down-easters and men of Boston raising like this, I " am glad of it, but I'm none of that raising, nor of that breed. No. This company wants a little fixing, it does. I'm the wrong sort of man for 'em, I am. They wont like me, they wont. This is piling of it up, a little too mountainous, this is. At the end of every one of these short sentences he turned upon his heel, and walked the other way; checking himself abruptly when he had finished another short sentence, and turning back again. It is impossible for me to say what terrific meaning was hidden in the words of this brown forester, but I know that the other passengers looked on in a sort of admiring horror, and that presently the boat was put back to the wharf, and as many of the Pioneers as could be coaxed or bullied into going away, were got rid of. When we started again, some of the boldest spirits on board
made bold to say to the obvious occasion of this improvement in our prospects, Much obliged to you, sir:' whereunto the brown forester (waving his hand, and still walking up and down as before) replied, "No you an't. You're none o' my raising. You may act for yourselves, you may. I have pinted out the way. Down-easters and Johnny Cakes can follow if they please. I an't a Johnny Cake, I an't. I am from the brown forests of the Mississippi, I am ;' and so on, as before. He was unanimously voted one of the tables for his bed at night-there is a great contest for the tables-in consideration of his public services, and he had the warmest corner by the stove throughout the rest of the journey. But I never could find out that he did anything except sit there; nor did I hear him speak again until, in the midst of the bustle and turmoil of getting the luggage ashore in the dark at Pittsburg, I stumbled over him as he sat smoking a cigar on the cabin steps, and heard him muttering to himself, with a short laugh of defiance, I an't a Johnny Cake, I an't. I'm from the brown forests of the Mississippi. I am, damme! I am inclined to argue from this that he had never left off saying so. The following is completely in the style of Dickens -a finished miniature, yet full of heart:
There was a little woman on board with a little baby; and both little woman and little child were cheerful, good-looking, bright-eyed, and fair to see. The little woman had been passing a long time with her sick mother in New York, and had left her home in St Louis, in that condition in which ladies who truly love their lords desire to be. The baby was born in her mother's house, and she had not seen her husband (to whom she was now returning) for twelve months, having left him a month or two after their marriage. Well, to be sure, there never was a little woman so full of hope, and tenderness, and love, and anxiety, as this little woman was; and all day long she wondered whether he' would be at the wharf; and whether he' had got her letter; and whether, if she sent the baby ashore by somebody else, 'he' would know it meeting it in the street; which, seeing that he had never set eyes upon it in his life, was not very likely in the abstract, but was probable enough to the young mother. She was such an artless little creature, and was in such a sunny, beaming, hopeful state, and let out all this matter clinging close about her heart so freely, that all the other lady passengers entered into the spirit of it as much as she; and the captain (who heard all about it from his wife) was wondrous sly, I promise you, inquiring every time we met at table, as in forgetfulness, whether she expected anybody to meet her at St Louis, and whether she would want to go ashore the night we reached it (but he supposed she wouldn't), and cutting many other dry jokes of that nature. There was one little weazen-dried, apple-faced old woman, who took casion to doubt the constancy of husbands in such circumstances of bereavement; and there was another lady (with a lap dog), old enough to moralise on the lightness of human affections, and yet not so old that she could help nursing the baby now and then, or laughing with the rest when the little woman called it by its father's name, and asked it all manner of fantastic questions concerning him in the joy of her heart. It was something of a blow to the little woman, that when we were within twenty miles of our destination, it became clearly necessary to put this baby to bed. But she got over it with the same good humour, tied a handkerchief round her head, and came out into the little gallery with the rest. Then, such an oracle as she became in reference to the localities! and such facetiousness as was displayed by the married ladies, and such sympathy as was shown by the single ones, and such peals of laughter as the little
woman herself (who would just as soon have cried) greeted every jest with! At last there were the lights of St Louis, and here was the wharf, and those were the steps; and the little woman, covering her face with her hands, and laughing (or seeming to laugh) more than ever, ran into her own cabin and shut herself up. I have no doubt that in the charming inconsistency of such excitement, she stopped her ears, lest she should hear him' asking for her-but I did not see her do it. Then a great crowd of people rushed on board, though the boat was not yet made fast, but was wandering about among the other boats to find a landing-place; and everybody looked for the husband, and nobody saw him, when, in the midst of us allHeaven knows how she ever got there-there was the little woman clinging with both arms tight round the neck of a fine, good-looking, sturdy young fellow; and in a moment afterwards there she was again, actually clapping her little hands for joy, as she dragged him through the small door of her small cabin to look at the baby as he lay asleep!
In the course of the year 1843 Mr Dickens entered upon a new tale, Martin Chuzzlewit, in which many of his American reminiscences are embodied, and which evinces no diminution of his powers. Indeed, in freshness and vigour of thought and style, and versatility of character and invention, this story bids fair to rank among the most finished of the author's About Christmas of the same year performances. the fertile author threw off a light production in his happiest manner-a Christmas Carol in Prose-which enjoyed vast popularity, and was dramatised at the London theatres. Thus crowned with unrivalled success, buoyant in genius and spirit, and replete with generous and manly feeling, we may anticipate for Mr Dickens a long and honourable career. The difficulties to which he is exposed in his present periodical mode of writing are, in some respects, greater than if he allowed himself a wider field, and gave his whole work to the public at once. But he would be subjected to a severer criticism if his fiction could be read continuedly-if his power of maintaining a sustained interest could be tested-if his work could be viewed as a connected whole, and its object, plan, consistency, and arrangement, brought to the notice of the reader at once. This ordeal cannot be passed triumphantly without the aid of other qualities than necessarily belong to the most brilliant sketcher of detached scenes. We do not, however, mean to express a doubt that Mr Dickens can write with judgment as well as with spirit. His powers of observation and description are qualities rarer, and less capable of being acquired, than those which would enable him to combine the scattered portions of a tale into one consistent and harmonious whole. If he will endeavour to supply whatever may be oc-effected by care and study—avoid imitation of other writers-keep nature steadily before his eyes-and check all disposition to exaggerate-we know no writer who seems likely to attain higher success in that rich and useful department of fiction which is founded on faithful representations of human character, as exemplified in the aspects of English life.'*
In depth of research and intrinsic value, the historical works of this period far exceed those of any of our former sections. Access has been more readily obtained to all public documents, and private collections have been thrown open with a spirit of enlightened liberality. Certain departments of history -as the Anglo-Saxon period, and the progress
*Edinburgh Review for 1838.