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and very great mediocrity of everything seemly in lowly professions. We have a sort of amalgamation between the families of a quack doctor, Vanbrunner, and a noble family, arising as usual out of the attractions towards plebeian wealth, before which aristocratical highmindedness gives way. But we have a novel without much novelty : ghosts and haunted houses are resources pretty nearly exhausted. We want something that will evolve new traits of human character. There are numerous skeletons of description here, which are left almost in a state of nudity, neither clothed with flesh nor habiliments,—not worked up in the rough semblance of beings in any fresh type of humanity. One mark of genius in the novelist of better times was the drawing out interest and amusement from a few finished characters, not the successive introduction of new ones sketched in faint outline, and then passed across the scene to make way for others equally crude. Even considered in this view, there is a want of connection and of nature in working out the details. The Whites and Gullems and Cobrobyns are common faces. Jack Price, the hero of the story, seems placed where he is from no necessity of circumstances, and the writer only more and more convinces us, that to write a good novel requires a tact which he does not possess. He is utterly wanting in that refinement which should mark every literary composition. What sort of female servants are kept in reputable families, who make a practice of coarse swearing at the children-a matter of which no wonderment is made-the author can best inform us. His own phraseology, of " looking thunder" here, and “looking daggers” there, together with numerous gross errors in composition, tells us that he is an unpractised artist. This might be pleaded in his behalf did he not spoil such an excuse by his opening commencement and his implied demand to notice, from having had a tale admitted into a cotemporary publication. . We regret we cannot say more in favour of “ The Three Students," it being at all times a more pleasing duty to us to praise than to censure.
THE DEBATER. A New Theory of the Art of Speaking ; being a Series of
Complete Debates, Outlines of Debates, and Questions for Discussion ; with references to the best sources of information on each particular Topic. By FREDERICK ROWTON, Lecturer on General Literature, &c. Fscp. 8vo. London : Longman and Co.
It is with many persons a mooted question whether Debating Societies and a habit of discussion do not produce more harm than good : whether the readiness of reasoning and utterance they impart is not more than counterbalanced by the conceit they are likely to engender and the superficial knowledge they encourage : whether they do not produce smart smatterers and rapid prattlers rather than close reasoners and just thinkers. We rather incline to the adverse side of
the question, but refrain from a decided declaration, lest we should have “ The Questioners,” or “The Demosthenians,” or some other juveniles of the rostrum, challenging us to prove our assertion and to open the inquiry as to whether Debating Societies tend rather to improve or injure the intellect." Leaving this point, therefore, to be settled by the future Ciceros, we proceed to examine Mr. Rowton's book with regard to its execution, abandoning the question of the subject. There is one merit in the book we think should be noticed. The model debates are extremely short and very much to the point. It might have been better if the ancient formula had been less closely followed, and the language more colloquial. The arguments are very fairly stated on each side of the question, and show that reference has been diligently made to the best modern sources. The logical predominates over the spirituel, as may be expected, and is ever the case in such societies. The questions are exceedingly various and all of an interesting, and many of a novel kind. The reader who has no ambition to rival the gentlemen of the bar or the senate may yet find agreeable reading and a brief view of many important questions well stated; and it will be of real value to many who have no idea that much may be said on both sides of a question. The summaries of arguments at the end are really useful to any one considering the subjects of which they treat, and are ably composed.
The Poor Cousin. A Novel. In 3 vols. Edited by the Author of the
« Scottish Heiress," &c. T. C. Newby. This is one of those novels which will be approved by the particular class which looks for love and sentiment in works of a similar nature, rather than any new developments of human character. The style is good, the language unimpeachable ; but there is a want of novelty in the story, and in some cases the reader is obliged to draw largely upon his faith to reconcile the incidents to probability. It opens with a description, quite in character, of a rustic parsonage in Westmoreland, where a Mr. Herbert resides, an exemplary clergyman, who having had a brother in India, suddenly receives a letter from that distant land informing him that his relative is no more, and has left an heiress, who is to be sent to England to be under his guardianship. This orphan, Eva Herbert, is the principal character in the novel, and is safely placed beneath her uncle's roof. From this beginning are worked out numerous situations for an almost equally numerous race of characters, brought successively upon the scene. All the accessaries to the most extended works of a similar class are made available. There is love fashionable and unfashionable; a couple of adulteries, duelling, scenes in Italy, France, and England, whose chief merit is that they are marked by no extravagance of description, and are stamped with no peculiarity that can excite censure. The love scenes have nothing to distinguish them beyond the dialogues on the same subject in numerous other works of the same kind. A singular incident occurs where Eva, the heroine, betroths herself to a dandy baronet, as the price of his interference to save a man she loved from drowning, who has fallen through the ice while skating—as if at such a moment, when the existence of a human being depended upon instantaneous action, there would be time and presence of mind enough in a female so circumstanced to contract a similar bargain. There is an effort also to condemn the education given to women in France, and to raise a prejudice against that country, by making two married sisters, so educated, elope from their husbands. While there are a few pleasing and natural situations, we have many that are wild, common-place, or improbable. The fulfilment of the author's intentions in the narrative is brought about in the shortest mode, and by having recourse to the expedient which will best serve his purpose, without regard to the ordinary sequence of events.
The Aylmer family affords a picture not often in accordance with existing life, and the little difficulty in making Alice change from situation to situation, without any very apparent end, seems to impart to her character a taint of convenience for the writer's purposes, which is too obvious to be natural. Stuart Aylmer is not a very interesting hero; we sympathise little with his movements and feelings; while Alice Norton is put out of existence after a career which is, to say the least of it, too much perturbed to answer any reasonable object that can excuse its want of purpose and variance with the common course of things. The writing is good ; the pen that executed it being capable of better things by adhering to simplicity, and drawing upon pictures of real life, with a view to truth and the agreement of incidents with this common and natural course, so as to produce that harmony in the execution which constitutes the merit of fiction. As to a moral end we discover none in the present work; and it may be questioned whether familiarising the mind to vicious scenes, can be, under any circumstances, serviceable. However strong our reprobation of the immorality connected with the passions may seem to ourselves, there is always a species of palliation to be found in the reflection that it arises from the abuse of what is not blameable. To the circulating library this novel will but add one to its peculiar class; and it is to be lamented that its author did not choose to walk in a track purer and less beaten, of which his powers are clearly capable.
THE DIPLOMATISTS OF EUROPE. From the French of M. CAPEFIGUE. Edited
by MAJOR-GENERAL MONTEITH. Nickisson. POLITICAL partisans are bad biographists, for they are generally unscrupulous and too often wilful in their misrepresentations. M. Čapefigue is a zealous adherent of the old despotisms of Europe, and of that state
of things which existed before the French Revolution, and called it into existence. In the introduction to the present volume the author does not conceal his preference for the instruments of those bad rulers who brought on the fearful hurricane which then devastated Europe ; a convulsion which it would appear he attributes to any but the true cause. That such a writer should think the greatest characters of modern times the men who were the favourites of the absolute sovereigns of Europe is: very natural. He has sketched, with all the warmth of partisanship, Metternich, Talleyrand, Pozzo di Borgo, Pasquier, Hardenburg, Nesselrode, Wellington, and Castlereagh, in the present work. We have not before us documentary evidence to test the truth or falsehood of what he advances respecting most of the diplomatists above named ; but, reasoning from analogy, when we find nothing new in the character of Wellington, and in that of Castlereagh, whom M. Capefigue declares he has made it his business to elevate above the position in which we believe those who remember his career will not hesitate to state their belief he was worthily placed-discovering statements notoriously the reverse of truth, we can place small reliance on the verity of the whole. As it is, the volume wisl be read by those who think with its author : by the rest of the world it may be read also, but it will be with a very strong feeling of its dubious fidelity.
REVELATIONS OF AUSTRIA. By M. KOUBRAKIEWICZ, ex-Austrian Functionary. Edited by the Author of " Revelations of Russia,” &c. Two vols. Newby.
THESE revelations, making full allowance for the feeling of the author, are well worthy of being perused, because they disclose a good deal of the secret and unscrupulous policy of Austria. They are rendered still more interesting by the recent statement of M. Montalembert in the French Chambers, when he charged upon the Austrian Government the horrible crime of inciting the peasantry in Gallicia to murder the nobles. After the perusal of the present work, which we trust will be widely read, the charge thus made is strengthened, and we no longer hesitate to credit things which, without this auxiliary testimony, might not be credited. The present author has been in a position to witness the secret workings of that system by which Austria has upheld her power over her own territories, and embarrassed the position of other cabinets. He has seen the perseverance with which Metternich follows up his undertakings, and the small concern he exhibits about the means through which he obtains his ends. A native Pole, the author may have been somewhat severer in his judgments than another writer, but the Austrian policy has been, for half a century or more, a reproach: among modern nations. Nor is this state of things likely to change, without something of popular influence being infused into the Government; an effect only to be produced by a united people, and therefore hopeless in a country divided into petty states speaking different lan
guages, and moved by varying interests : yet in process of time a change must happen when outrageous wrong can no longer be the main instrument of government.
ECHOES FROM THE BACKWOODS; OR, SKETCHES FROM TRANSATLANTIC Life.
By Captain R. G. A. LEVINGE. Two Volumes. Colburn. THESE volumes contain sketches taken partly in the British province of New Brunswick, and partly in the United States and Canada. The last portion of the work can boast of little novelty, as the numerous tours which continually appear, made at later periods than the visit of Captain Levinge, which dates as far back as 1835, may enable the reader to conceive. In regard to New Brunswick, with which Englishmen have but a slight acquaintance, we have some considerable information. The towns are described, the scanty remains of the aborigines, the natural productions, and the pursuits of the sportsman. Captain Levinge crossed the Atlantic in a miserable transport, passed through the fogs off the Banks of Newfoundland and in the Bay of Fundy, with some hazard of shipwreck. The town of St. John's was made in safety at last, and there the voyagers landing, were solaced for their sea fare with bowls of wood strawberries and cream. The first settlement of the province and a sketch of its history then commences. We are enabled by the author's notes to obtain some idea of this valuable colony and its geography, written, it must be confessed, in a style which convinces us that the author saw much more than he recorded, and that he is not accustomed to the ungentle craft of authorship. The climate, it appears, is in severe extremes ; in summer the thermometer ranging from 850 to 95', and in winter oftentimes twenty degrees and more below zero. The perils of the sportsman are, in such a climate, of a very formidable character. The bivouack excavated in the snow and lined with fir branches-the feet at the fire and the head in a freezing atmosphere of the most intense character-is one of the modes in which the winter must be passed in such excursions. Skating, sleighing, and dancing, in the same degree of cold, are considered common amusements, and the danger at the breaking up of the ice, are encountered as matters of common moment. The native tribes of Indians remaining are but two in number, called the Milicates and the Micmacs. The language of the latter people is said to be comprehensive and full of lofty imagery. It has a dual number like the Greek, and the changes of mood, person, tense, and number are formed by changing the terminals. In the Micmac tongue two thousand terminals are made on one radix. The birds here described as belonging to New Brunswick have all been classed by Audubon. The animals are bears, a species of wolf called a lucifer, and a kind of wild cat, being the only animals of prey. Vermin are numerous, and among them the ill-odoured skink or skunk, which neither man nor beast will knowingly approach. Wolves have been found following the wild deer, though not indi