Imágenes de páginas

novelists, we should think readers of light literature would rush to these Tales for a little novelty. The places and personages are drairn evidently from actual observation, and have a freshness and vigour, the result of such direct communication: - The grand subject of interest in this country seems to be the wolf, and the poor peasant appears to pass his life in fulfilling both the literal and metaphorical truth of keeping the wolf from the door.

We should for ourselves have preferred some more “Letters from Livonia," that we might have felt certain where facts ended and imagination began; and we think the lady's talents are better displayed in the narration of real occurrences than in imaginative scenes. She is not without the artifice of professional story-tellers, but shines much more in her own clear and vivid narrations. The details, however, interwoven with the fictions, are exceedingly interesting. We read the following several times over, scarcely believing our eye-sight, and thinking that the date must be a misprint for 1610. We give it, hqwever, as it stands in the book at page 129.

“ Two warlocks were executed in the year 1810, at Liege, for having under the form of ware wolves, killed several children. They had a boy of twelve years of age with them, who completed the satanic trio, and under the form of a raven, consumed those portions of the prey which the warlocks left."-Grimms Deutsche Sagen.


TRAGEDY. By ROBERT BROWNING, Author of “Paracelsus.” Medium 8vo. London: E. Moxon.

Mr. Brownixg is, in our opinion, a great poet, and it is probable he is also a great man. We say this, because there seems to be in him a thorough hatred and scorn of the ad captandum school. He has great perceptions and conceptions, and his delight is in his own might, not in the yain plaudits of those who mistake skill for genius, and smartness for originality. If the comparative neglect of the many is displeasing to him, at all events, Coriolanus-like, he will not show his scars; he cannot

« Put on the gown, stand naked and entreat them.", He may perchance have a touch too much, with the proud Roman, of resting on his own powers, and if not despising, disregarding his reader. He understands character and human emotion profoundly, and delineates it powerfully. He never aids the reader by narrative or obtrusion of himself. There are character, passion, and poetry, flung down on the paper, and it is certainly the reader's fault or misfortune if he does not perceive them. The great secret of his strength and of his hardness is his utter want of sentimentality. He pourtrays the characters of men in all the nakedness and hideousness of true passion. He has chosen an age and a country where these kind of developments have been most, or at all events, best recorded, and we are present, by his art, with the real and terrific men that have been the slaves of intense hatred, ambition, lust, and of all the impulses of unrestrained human nature. When goodness does appear amongst such a crew, it is of the gennine and angelic kind, as it must be.

In history one reads of the actions of such men, and with but a hali belief in the truth of the narration ; but the dramatist proves its existence with appalling force," Mr. Browning is deeply imbued and informed with the spirit of the middle age; and he has a great idea, which, in the play of "Luria,” he nobly realises. It is the conflict of mind and matter, of will and intellect.

“ Brute force shall not rule Florence! Intellect

May rule her, bad or good, as chance supplies;

But intellect it shall be, pure if bad." The “Soul's Tragedy" is one of the most intensely dramatic works eyer penned. The deepest emotions and the nicest traits of character are developed by the mere external conduct and expression. The villain of the piece is a thorough human villain, and the unfolding his villany is a masterly exposition of the degradations and weakness of human nature. The truly good and the noble are equally powerfully pourtrayed, and Mr. Browning has fulfilled the mission of the poet and the dramatist by giving new and valuable illustrations of our human nature. The theatre and Mr. Browning's dramas are never likely to come in contact; not at all events until, as in the early days of our true drama, the most refined minds, and therefore the comparatively few, again visit the playhouse as a place to study nature and philosophy. The high drama was always played in its entirety, and always must be, to the reflecting few. When we have another "Globe” or “Blackfriars," containing a few hundred cultivated spectators, Mr. Browning's dramas may be performed.

THE BLACK Gown Papers. By L. MARIOTTE. 2 vols. Post 8vo. London:

Wiley and Putnam. THESE two volumes are a strange mixture of Italian and American life ; and we can only solve the mystery by supposing that an Italian emigrated to America, and so gathered observations in both courtries. It would not be hazarding much to suspect that political reasons had induced the author to travel, for we find a continued run of sly sarcasm on the state of affairs in Italy, and an activity and energy of thought that seem exceedingly likely to arise from political feeling. Whatever may have given rise to the present tales, they seem to present very truthful and characteristic illustrations of Italy as it really is; and a very different Italy does it show from that presented by our antiquarian travellers or romantic young ladies. Priest-ridden, soldier-ridden, and statesman-ridden, it seems irredeemably sunk as a nation. Whoever takes an interest in it will not find his time thrown away in looking into these illustrations of its present condition.


at Westminster School, &c. Part I. D. Nutt. Certainly, the French, of all languages, either living or dead, is either the most embarrassing, or the most accommodating; every teacher of it having a grammar of his own, and declaring the impossibility of teaching it from any other. The only novelty that Mr. Tourrier aims at, is teaching by instalments,-his work being serial, each part of speech claiming a separate part. Judging from the single specimen before us, the work is well conceived, and its execution betrays a perfect mastery of the subject, and will, we have no doubt, when completed, be a stock-book. We, however, question the utility of its piece-meal publication, for in the part before us, professing to treat erclusively of articles, one of the exercises commences, “ J'ai ecrit," &c. Now, to find these words with a knowledge of their import, it is obviously necessary that the pupil should know something of verbs besides articles; therefore parts 5 and 6, which treat on "the verb,"? are, in contradiction to Mr. Tourrier's own theory, necessary for the understanding of part 1. The same objection applies to adjectives, which are introduced before the pupil has found out what an adjective is,

HINTS ON THE STUDY OF THE LAW. For the practical Guidance of articled

and unarticled Clerks. By FRANCIS EDWARD SLACK. Post 8vo.

Crockford. These “ Hints" are intended to stir up the juvenile ambition of the young attorney's clerk, by stimulating him to methodical study, and unremitting application to his duties. The author instances six (and he might with very little research have trebled his list) attorneys' clerks, “humble servers of writs and engrossers of deeds," including the ancestors of Lords Kenyon, Tenterden, Ashburton, and Hardwicke, who have achieved the highest honours from so low a commencement; and points to the names of Denman and Brougham, who have from a comparatively humble origin “soared aloft into the brightest circles of nobility,” All this is very well, and the object of the writer no doubt praiseworthy, and if it will only persuade the young gentlemen to attend to their business, we may forgive them the delusion of exchanging some of these days their hard stools, for the comfortable woolsack of the Lord Chancellor.

While on the subject of “Lawyers' Clerks," we should be sorry to let an opportunity slip of speaking a word in season for an intelligent and, taking all things into account, a deserving body of men. Of all the “working” (and well do they merit that distinction) classes, they are the worst paid, and hardest worked. With more confidence reposed in them than other operatives, they have stronger inducements and more frequent opportunities to betray their employers' interests; and yet, as a class they are neither dishonest nor unfaithful : while they are expected to keep up the appearance of gentlemen, their means of doing so depend, as the author truly observes, on “the income of a lazy and half-working journeyman tailor ;” their very bread depending on their sobriety, they are exposed to exhausting mental and bodily toil, sedentary occupation, late hours, and other provocatives to stimulants. The author's intentions are good towards the clerks as exhorting them to mental discipline and professional exertions, but he would however have done them more service had he first awoke their employers to a sense of what was due from them. If lawyers took only that one-sided view of the case that they, as well as most other human beings, are most prone to, that which involves their own interests only, they would employ none but clerks of ability, industry, and sound principles. But to secure such men they must pay them salaries at least equal to the hire of mechanics who wield the hammer or ply the needle : competent clerks may be found for twelve or fifteen shillings a week, and these are expected to appear in a decent coat, and a clean shirt; and for double that sum, men of education and ability arecontent we will not say, but-necessitated to work, and sometimes at employment requiring as much “ head-piece" as would qualify a state subaltern receiving his hundreds or thousands from the public purse. Let the labourer have his hire, whether he sweats at the plough, the forge, or the desk, is the principle we would inculcate to all men, at all seasons.

In spite of his scant salary, the attorney's clerk has opportunities for his self advancement, which this little book well and cheeringly demonstrates, and as such is well worthy the attentive perusal of those to whom it is addressed. Mr. Slack, although more often in the didactic vein, is not slack in a certain dry sort of humour-albeit it smacks somewhat of the parchment. He seems to have what is technically called “a nose" for a hard point. Amongst those cruel cases which come under this denomination, the reader may recreate himself with the following:-“Successful fraud by a particular friend" (particular friends have at times a wonderful knack at this trick). * Attorney abandoning client's cause because his client could not find money to pay counsel's fees with” (the hardness of this point lay rather we should think with the client than the lawyer). “Larceny by servant stealing master's potatoes to feed his master's own pigs (What a ninny !).“ Robbery of a scarecrow of its hat, and leaving the robber's own in its stead." Under the head of “ How the student may test his learning and skill,” we have another knotty point in “The grievance of a poor coal-hauler. False warranty of a donkey of uncommon parts." We hope the defendant was well punished ; nothing is more common than this offence; these “ donkeys of uncommon parts " have become both in literature and politics a crying nuisance, and we are glad to see the attorneys have got hold of them; we would not be so hard upon them as to wish them a worse fate.


« AnteriorContinuar »