Imágenes de páginas

what he has written. They had ran- under strong temptation, to his own sacked the circulating libraries, anew; use. - Let us pass on. looked into such of his novels, as they E dgar Huntly was the second essay could find, most of them for the first-Ormond, the last. About Wieland time, and the “ balance," for the last we are not very certain. These three time ; dried out the grease-righted are unfinished, irregular, surprising afthe leaves— wrote over the margins— fairs. All are remarkable for vividdog-eared what was agreeable-hurried ness, circumstantiality, and startling through a part-skipped the rest - disclosures, here and there : yet all are smuttied their fingers—paid a 'fippen- full of perplexity, incoherence, and ny bit' a head and what more would contradiction. Sometimes, you are you have ?

ready to believe that Brown had made They had bragged of their national up the whole stories, in his own mind, spirit, as being unexampled-(they before he had put his pen to the paper ; were right-it is unexampled :) of at others, you would swear that he had their national genius, which had been either never seen, or forgotten, the beable to “ extortpraise from us i o ginning, before he came to the end, of spite of our teeth ;--they had made a his own story. You never know, for plenty of noise about poor Brown ; example, in Edgar Huntly, whether hurraed,like fine fellows, for American an Irishman, whose name we for literature and what more would get---a principal character, is or is not, any reasonable man--who knows them a murderer. Brown, himself, seems

never to have made up his own mind Brown wrote Arthur Mervyn ; Ed- on that point. So---in Wieland you gar Huntly ; Clara How'ırd ; Wie- never know whether Brown is,or is not land ; Jane albot ; Ormond ; and in earnest; whether Wieland was, or some papers, which have since been was not, supernaturally made away collected and called the Bibloquist. with. So---in Ormond--who icas the

Clara Howard and Jane Talbot are secret witness ?-to what purpose ? mere newspaper novels ; sleepy, dull What a miserable catastrophe it is common-sense.--very absolute prose. Quite enough to make anybody sick of nothing more.

puling explanations. Now,all this mysteArthur Mervyn is remarkably well ry is well enough, when you understand managed, on many accounts; and inis- the author's intention. Byron leases erably on others. It was the first, the a broken chain--for us to guess bygerm of all his future productions. when his Corsair is gone. We see that Walbeck was himself- he never he scorns to explain. Byron is mysteequalled him, afterwards-tho' he did rious---Brown only perplesing. Why? play him off, with a new name and a Because Brown undertakes to explain : new dress, in every new piece. Ex- and fails. Brown might have refused planations were designed---half-given, as Byron did. We should have liked but never finished : machinery half dis- him, if he had, all the better for it; as closed---and then forgotten, or aban- we do Byron. But we shall never for doned. Brown intended, at some fu- give him, or any other man, dead or ture day, to explain the schoolmaster, alive, who skulks out of any uodertathat seduced the sister of Mervyn, into king with an air---as if not he, but othWalbeck : Incidents are introduced, er people are to be pitied. We with great emphasis, which lead no- have our eye on a case, in point; but, where--to nothing; and, yet, are re- no matter now. peated in successive works. Thus-(we Brown wanted material. What little speak only from recollection, and have he found, tho it bad all the tenuity of not seen one of the books for many a pure gold, he drew out, by ope contriyear --in Arthur Mervyn, Edgar Hunt- vance and another, till it disappeared ly, and, perhaps, in Jane Talbot, a sum in his own hands. , So long as it would of money comes into the possession of bear its own weight, he would never 6 another person," who converts it, let go of it; and, wben it broke--he

122 met


Tu To

would leave off spinning, for a time, cases. The secret witness is hard-
as if his heart had broken with it. He ly anything else, but a similar box
would seem to have always taken up ---knocked apart, in a mysterious
a new piece before he had thrown off manner--the Lord knows wherefore.

the old one (we do not mean that Old So with Wieland : In every case, 4109 em

One, whom it is rather difficult for any you leave off, in a tease---a sort of un-
author to throw off, after he las once comfortable, fidgetting, angry perplex-
given himself up to the harlotry of the ity---ashamed of the concern, that you
imagination)---to have clung, always, have shown--and quite in a hoff with
to one or two favourite ideas--the Ven. bim --- very much as if you had been
triloquist and the yellow fever— as if running yourself to death---in a hot
they were his nest-eggs : one might wind--after a catastrophem--with the
have written, with as much propriety, tail soaped.
at the end of any story that he ever Yet, our conclusion respecting
wrote, as in almost every part of it-- Charles Brockden Brown, is this. He
after the fashion of Magazines---"to be was the Godwin of America. Had
continued.This grew, of course, he lived here---or any where, but in
out of a system which prevailed, then America---he would have been one of
---and is now taking a new shape in the most capital story-tellers--in a
the twopenny publication of costly serious way, that ever lived. As it is,

works, by the number. He was a story. there is no one story of his, which will muka, teller by profession. Like ****** be remembered or read, after his 3. Bi he knew, very well-as did Hajji Ba- countrymen shall have done justice to ** ?." ba--that nobody will pay for a joke, the genius that is really among them.

if he can belp it; that, lunging point They have enough of it--and of the 5:41 foremost, with an epigram---is like run- right sorto--if they will only give it fair

ning hilt first with a small sword; play. Let them remember that no is one that no man likes working for a dead man will be great, unless he work has horse ; that, if you want your pay for hard ; that no man will work hard,

a fat story, you must go round with unless he is obliged---and that those 27 your hat, before you have come to the who do so work, cannot afford to work in knob. He was a magazine writer; and for nothing and find themselves. It

rather 'cute. There was no stealing would be well for his countrymen to hot his bait. If you nibbled, you were in, profit by --not imitate----We despise

for the whole-like a woman in love.- imitation even of what is excellent-E hook, trap, and all. Money-lenders; it would be well for them to profit by

gamblers; and subscribers to a story his example. We want once more, ---which is “ to be continued," nobody before we die, to look upon the face of knows how long, are all in the same a real North American God send pickle. They must lend more; play that we may !.. higher ; and shell out, again---or all Brown's personal appearance was that has been done, goes for nothing. remarkable. He was a tall man--You must have the last part of a story with a powerful frame and little or ---or the first is of no use to you: no flesh. It was impossible to pass (this very article, now, is a pretty il. him, in the street, without stopping to lustration)----our author knew this. look at him. His pale, sallow, strange He never let go of more than one end complexion ; straight black hair--of a story, at a time- ven when he “ black as death ;" the melancholy, had sold out. It is amusing to see broken-hearted look of his eyes; his how entirely he would forget where his altogether extraordinary face--if seen own traps lay---while he was forging once, was never to be forgotten. He bait ; his own hooks, while he was would be met, week after week---month counterfeiting the flies. The curious after month---before he died, walking box---broken to pieces, at night, so to and fro, in some unfrequented street mysteriously in the Sleep Walker) of bis native town, for hours and hours is in point. We could cite fifty more together---.generally at a very early

46 ATHENEUM VOL. 2. 2d series.

time in the morning---lost in thought, an old jack-knife, which he held in and looking like a ship-wrecked man. such veneration---that, in progress of Nobody knew him---nobody cared for tinie, he put-first a handle to ithim---(till we took up his cause)--he and then a blade : Now, he remainds was only an author---yet, when we us of a very dear friend, who comhave described him, everybody in Phile plains, that he never says a good thing,

having walked, in this way, for seve. its being his own; is always fanc,ing ral hours, be would return to his deso- that he must have read it, or seen it, late, miserable, wretched family, and or heard of it before---and wbat is fall to writing, as if he had not an- harder yet--he says, “ whenever I other hour to live. We do not know whisper the thing to my particolar his age...nor the time of bis death friends---they always appear to think precisely. But it must have been about so, too." It is a deplorable case, to be 1813...and he was not far from 35. sure. More of Irving, however, in due He went off in a lingering consump- season; and yet we cannot give bim tion, with a broken heart--and a spirit the go-by, without a question or two. absolutely crushed.

Geoffrey is a devilish good fellow after I saw him, said Mr. Sully, the all, in the genteel-comedy way; and, painter, whom we have given a sketch sometimes, in broad quiet humour, as of, in a former number---I saw him, we mean to show, after our own fasta little before his death. I had never ion, by and by. But---but--if we are known him---never heard of him not mistaken, he wrote a very fire never read any of his works. He was thing, about Mr. T. Campbels, in in a deep decline. It was in the month America---by way of introduction to of November---Our Indian summer--- Mr. C.'s poetry. Mr. I. then came over

a window, one day---I was caught by side" came out”---and Mr. C. wrote the sight of a inan---with a remark, some very pretty thing in London-able physiognomy---writing, at a ta- about Mr. I., of course. Mr. I. then ble, in a dark room. The sun shone wrote a paper or two--could he do directly upon his head. I never shall less ? ---for the New Monthly. Butforget it. The dead leaves were fall- now, we are coming to it--and if it ing, then---it was Charles Brockden be true it is too bad--we speak oply Brown.

from hearsay, not having seen the Irving, in his “ Tales," has pur- Neu Monthly of late ; they do say loined a head, and a scene, from Brown that a certain some periodical," which ---probably, without knowing it; as Geoffrey had been told about, or heard Brown purloined from Godwin---if so of, but had never seen--as containing ---why, so much the better for all par- a certain story, “in print," which ties. It has been the rage of late. In Geoffrey himself tells, and they do Wieland, there is a description of a say, spoils in telling.---is the were murderer's face, appearing in a de- Monthly Magazine itself, edited by serted house--at night. Irving makes Mr. T. Campbell himself. If so, what direct use of this head, in the negro, a predicament ! how very uncomfortalooking over the rock; and, indirectly, ble for some folks! in his account of the picture, which, But let us finish with Brown. Ir in its frightful distinctness, is not only ving is not alone under this charge very like Brown, but wholly unlike of purloining from him--his face and Irving. Yet, what are we to expect eyes. There are Neal and Cooper of a “ traveller” who does not even ---both of them have stolen his cata.

whose “ truok," as he says himself, Indians. Neal, however, is content is full only of odds and ends--belong. with “ catching the idea"--and working to other people? Geoffrey used ing it up, till it scratches his owo fioonce, to remind us, in his veneration gers. But Cooper--so far as he can-for the antique, of the man who had steals the broom ready made ! Neal is ela

altogether too much of a poet. He So, with COOPER. The only cata-
overdoes everything---pumps the light- mount, that ever he ventured upon,
ning into you, iill he is out of breath, was a tame' one, which had escaped
and you, in a blaze.----In his lucid in- out of Brown's clutches, first, with his
tervals, he appears to be a very sensi- nails paired ; and out of Neal's office,
ble fellow; but, in his paroxysms- at last, with a bell on.----However---
there is not a page of his, that wouldn't all in good time. We shall soon come
take fire, in a high wind. He writes to him; and if people wish it, knock
volume after volume, to the tune of up the whole alphabet of American
three or four a-month; hardly one of writers, sixteen to the dozen, in a
which it is possible to read through: couple of hours.
and yet, we could hardly open at a CAREY-MATTHEW : An Irishman:
passage, without finding some evidence formerly the most respectable publish-
of extraordinary power----prodigious er in America ; now retired, in favour
energy---or acute thinking. He is, un- of his boys. He has written upon eve-
deniably, the most original writer that rything-always respectably; and,
America has produced----thinks him- sometimes, with remarkable cleverness.
self the cleverest fellow in America--- He is a laborious collector of facts; and
and does not scruple to say so.---He is a good reasoner. His Olive Branch has
in Europe now.

gone thro' 12 or 20 editions in America.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]


The following is an extract of a letter from Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, late Governor of Bencoolen,

communicating the destruction by fire of the ship Fame, in which he had embarked with his family and súite on his return to Europe. A more interesting narrative is scarcely to be found even in the pages of fiction. The loss sustained is unhappily irreparable. .

LOSS OF THE SHIP FAME. 6 W E embarked on the 2d of Feb- boat. Nelson ! Nelson! come into the

" ruary in the Fame, and sailed boat. Push off-push off !-Stand at day-light for England with a fair clear of the after part of the ship! wind and every prospect of a quick “ All this passed much quicker than and comfortable passage. The ship I can write it; we pushed off ; as we was every thing we could wish ; and did so, the flames were issuing from having closed my charge here much to our cabins, and the whole of the aftermy satisfaction, it was one of the hap- part of the ship was in flames; the piest days of my life. We were, per- masts and sails now taking fire, we haps, too happy, for in the evening moved to a distance, sufficient to avoid came a sad reverse. Sophia had just the immediate explosion, but the flames gone to bed, and I had thrown off half were now coming out of the main my clothes, when a cry of Fire ! fire! hatchway, and seeing the rest of the roused us from our calm content, and crew, with the Captain, &c. still on in five minutes the whole ship was in board, we pulled back to her under flames! I ran to examine whence the the bows, so as to be most distant flames principally issued, and found from the powder. As we approached, that the fire had its origin immediately we perceived that the people from onunder our cabin. Down with the board were getting into another boat boats! Where is Sophia ? Here ! on the opposite side; she pushed off,

The children? Here! A rope to we hailed her. Have you all on board ? the side ! lower lady Raffles! Give Yes, all save one. Who is he? Johnher to me! says one; I'll take her, son, sick in his cot. Can we save says the Captain. Throw the gun- him? No, impossible; the flames powder overboard ! It cannot be got were then issuing from the hatchway ; at—it is in the magazine close to the at this moment the poor fellow, scorchfire! Stand clear of the powder! ed I imagine by the flames, roared out Skuttle the water-casks. Water! water! most lustily, having run up on deck. Where's Sir Stamford ? Gone into the I will go for him, says the Captain. The two boats then came together, any one to think of more than two and we took out some of the persons things-Can the ship be saved ? No; from the Captain's boat, which was let us save ourselves then-all else was overladen, we then pulled under the swallowed up in one great ruin. buwsprit of the ship, and picked the 1 To make the best of our misfor. poor fellow up. Are you all safe? tune, we availed ourselves of the light Yes, we've got the man; all lives safe, from the ship to steer a tolerable good thank God! pull off from the ship; course towards the shore ; she continukeep your eye on a star, Sir Stamford; ed to burn till about midnight, when there's one barely visible.

the saltpetre, of which she had 230 66 We then hauled close to each tons on board, took fire, and sent up other, and found the Captain fortu. one of the most splendid and brilliant nately had a compass, but we had no flames that was ever seen, illominating light but from the ship. Our distance the horizon, in every direction, to an

from 20 to 30 miles in a S. W. direc- casting that kind of blue light over os, tion ; there being no landing-place to which is, of all others, the most luridly the Southward of Bencoolen, our only horrible. She burnt and continued to chance was to regain that port. The fame in this style for about an hour or Captain then undertook to lead, and two, when we lost sight of the object we to follow in a N. N. E. course as in a cloud of smoke. well as we could. No chance, no possi- “ Neither Nelson, nor Mr. Bell, our bility being left that we could again ap- medical friend, who had accompanied proach the ship, for she was one splen- us, had saved their coats, the tail of did fame sore and aft and aloft, her mine, with a pocket handkerchiel, masts and sails in a blaze, and rocking served to keep Sophia's feet warm; to and fro, threatening to fall in an in- and we made breeches for the children stant. There goes her mizen mast; with our neckcloths. Rain now came pull away, my boys; there goes the on, but fortunately it was not of long gunpowder, thank God !

continuance, and we got dry again“ You may judge of our situation the night became serene and starlight. without further particulars ; the alarm We were now certain of our course, was given at about twenty. minutes and the men behaved manfully; they past eight, and in less than ten minutes rowed incessantly, and with good she was in flames; there was not a heart and spirit, and never did poor soul on board at half past eight, and in mortals look out more for daylight and less than ten minutes afterwards she for land than we did. Not that our was one grand mass of fire.

sufferings or grounds of complaint “ My only apprehension was the were any thing to what has often be want of boats to hold the people; as fallen others; but from Sophia's delithere was no time to have got out a cate health, as well as my own, and the long boat, or made a raft, all we had stormy nature of our coast, I felt perto rely upon was two small boats, fectly convinced we were unable to which fortunately were lowered with undergo starvation and exposure to the out accident, and in these two small sun and weather many days; and open boats, without a drop of water or aware of the rapidity of the currents, grain of food, or a rag of covering, ex- I feared we might fall to the southward cept what we happened at the moment of the port. to have on our backs, we embarked on “Ai day-light we recognized the the wide ocean, thankful to God for his coast and Rat Island, which gave us mercies. Poor Sopbia having been great spirits, and though we found our taken out of her bed, had nothing on selves much to the southward of the but a wrapper, neither shoes nor stock- port, we considered ourselves almost ings; the children were just as taken at home. Sophia had gone through out of bed, whence one had been the night better than conld bave been snatched after the dames had attacked expected, and we continued to pull on it. In short there was not time for with all our strength. About eigur of

« AnteriorContinuar »