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startling ingredients in the bill of fare of modern literary delicacies. But then, what pirates, what thieves, and what harlots, is the thief, the harlot, and the pirate of De Foe! We would not hesitate to say, that in no other book of fiction, where the lives of such characters are described, is guilt and delinquency made less seductive, or the suffering made more closely to follow the commission, or the penitence more earnest or more bleeding, or the intervening flashes of religious visitation upon the rude and uninstructed soul more meltingly and fearfully painted. They, in this, come near to the tenderness of Bunyan ; while the livelier pictures and incidents in them, as in Hogarth or in Fielding, tend to diminish that fastidiousness to the concerns and pursuits of common life which an unrestrained passion for the ideal and the sentimental is in danger of producing.
P a WRITER, whose real name, it seems, TOFA is Boldero, but who has been entertaining
the town for the last twelve months with
I some very pleasant lucubrations under the assumed signature of Leighị Hunt,' in his “Indicator" of the 31st January last has thought fit to insinuate that Ì, Elia, do not write the little sketches which bear my signature in this magazine, but that the true author of them is a Mr. L-_b. Observe the critical period at which he has chosen to impute the calumny,-on the very eve of the publication of our last number,-affording no scope for explanation for a full month; during which time I must needs lie writhing and tossing under the cruel imputation of nonentity. Good Heavens ! that a plain man must not be allowed to be
They call this an age of personality ; but surely this spirit of anti-personality (if I may so express it) is something worse.
Take away my moral reputation,-I may live to discredit that calumny; injure my literary fame,
* Clearly a fictitious appellation; for, if we admit the latter of these names to be in a manner English, what is Leigh! Christian nomenclature knows no such.
POSTSCRIPT TO “CHAPTER ON EARS.” 319 I may write that up again ; but, when a gentleman is robbed of his identity, where is he?
Other murderers stab but at our existence, a frail and perishing trifle at the best ; but here is an assassin who aims at our very essence; who not only forbids us to be any longer, but to have been at all. Let our ancestors look to it.
Is the parish register nothing? Is the house in Princes Street, Cavendish Square, where we saw the light six and forty years ago, nothing ? Were our progenitors from stately Genoa, where we flourished four centuries back, before the barbarous name of Boldero' was known to a European mouth, nothing? Was the goodly scion of our name, transplanted into England in the reign of the seventh Henry, nothing? Are the archives of the steelyard, in succeeding reigns (if haply they survive the fury of our envious enemies), showing that we flourished in prime repute, as merchants, down to the period of the Commonweath, nothing ?
Why, then the world, and all that's in't, is nothing;
The covering sky is nothing ; Bohemia nothing. I am ashamed that this trifling writer should have power to move me so.
It is clearly of transatlantic origin.
tree by night, and miraculously loses, and miraculously finds it again, -whom hath he there to sympathize with him? or of what sort are his associates ?
The narrative manner of De Foe has a naturalness about it beyond that of any other novel or romance writer. His fictions have all the air of true stories. It is impossible to believe, while you are reading them, that a real person is not narrating to you everywhere nothing but what really happened to himself. To this the extreme homeliness of their style mainly contributes. We use the word in its best and heartiest sense,-that which comes home to the reader. The narrators everywhere are chosen from low life, or have had their origin in it: therefore they tell their own tales (Mr. Coleridge has anticipated us in this remark), as persons in their degree are observed to do, with infinite repetition, and an overacted exactness, lest the hearer should not have minded, or have forgotten, some things that had been told before. Hence the emphatic sentences marked in the good old (but deserted) Italic type ; and hence, too, the frequent interposition of the reminding old colloquial parenthesis, “I say,” “Mind," and the like, when the story-teller repeats what, to a practised reader, might appear to have been sufficiently insisted upon before : which made an ingenious critic observe, that his works, in this kind, were excellent reading for the kitchen. And, in truth, the heroes and heroines of De Foe can never again hope to be popular with a much higher class of readers than that of the servant-maid or the sailor. Crusoe keeps its rank only by tough prescription. Singleton, the pirate ; Colonel Jack, the thief; Moll Flanders, both thief and harlot; Roxana, harlot and something worse, -would be
upon by such obvious rhodomontade to suspect me for an alien, or believe me other than English.
To a second correspondent, who signs himself “A Wiltshire Man,” and claims me for a countryman upon the strength of an equivocal phrase in my “Christ's Hospital,” a more mannerly reply is due. Passing over the Genoese fable, which Bell makes such a ring about, he nicely detects a more subtle discrepancy, which Bell was too obtuse to strike upon. Referring to the passage, I must confess that the term “native town,” applied to Calne, primâ facie seems to bear out the construction which my friendly correspondent is willing to put upon it. The context too, I am afraid, a little favours it. But where the words of an author, taken literally, compared with some other passage in his writings admitted to be authentic, involve a palpable con. tradiction, it hath been the custom of the ingenious commentator to smooth the difficulty by the supposition that in the one case an allegorical or tropical sense was chiefly intended. So, by the word “native,” I may be supposed to mean a town where I might have been born, or where it might be desirable that I should have been born, as being situate in wholesome air, upon a dry, chalky soil, in which I delight; or a town with the inhabitants of which I passed some weeks, a summer or two ago, so agreeably that they and it became in a manner native to me. Without some such latitude of interpretation in the present case, I see not how we can avoid falling into a gross error in physics, as to conceive that a gentleman may be born in two places, from which all modern and ancient testimony is alike abhorrent. Bacchus cometh the nearest to it, whom I remember Ovid to have