Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

program of Mr. Handyside contains such a fine sketch of a veritable Dutch portrait, that we cannot help wishing it had been twice as full as it is.'

After copious citations the editor proceeds:

"We cannot, at present, venture upon any more extracts and yet we have done nothing to give our readers a due notion of what Knickerbocker's book contains. We shall return to the volumes again, for we suppose we may consider them as in regard to almost all that read this Magazine," as good as manuscript." Enough, however, has been quoted to show of what sort of stuff Mr. Irving's comic pencil is composed--and enough to make all our readers go along with us in a request which we have long meditated, viz. that this author would favour us with a series of novels, on the plan of those of Miss Edgeworth, or, if he likes that better, of the author of Waverley, illustrative of the present state of manners in the United States of America. When we think, for a moment, on the variety of elements whereof that society is every where composed--the picturesque mixtures of manners derived from German, Dutch, English, Scotish, Swedish, Gothic, and Celtic settlers, which must be observable in almost every town of the republican territories—the immense interfusion of different ranks of society from all these quarters, and their endless varieties of action upon each other—the fermentation that must every where prevail among these yet unsettled and unarranged atomsabove all, on the singularities inseparable from the condition of the only half-young, half-old people in the world—simply as such,we cannot doubt that could a Smollet, a Fielding, or a Le Sage have seen America as she is, he would at once have abandoned every other field, and blessed himself on having obtained access to the true terra fortunata of the novelist. Happily for Mr. Irving that terra fortunata is also to this hour a terra incognita; for in spite of the shoals of bad books of travels that have inundated us from time to time, no European reader has ever had the smallest opportunity of being introduced to any thing like one vivid portraiture of American life. Mr. Irving has, as every good man must have, a strong affection for his country; and he is, therefore, fitted to draw her character con amore as well as con gentilezza. The largeness of his views, in regard to politics, will secure him from staining his pages with any repulsive air of bigotry—and the humane and liberal nature of his opinions in regard to subjects of a still higher order, will equally secure him from still more offensive errors.

“To frame the plots of twenty novels can be no very heavy task to the person who wrote the passages we have quoted above--and to fill them up with characteristic details of incidents and manners, would be nothing but an amusement to him. He has sufficiently tried and shown his strength in sketches—it is time that we should look for full and glowing pictures at his hands. Let him not be discouraged by the common-place cant about the impossibility of good novels being written by young men. Smollet wrote Roderick Random before he was five-and-twenty, and assuredly he had not seen half so much of the world as Mr. Irving has done, We hope we are mistaken in this point-but it strikes us that he writes, of late, in a less merry mood than in the days of Knickerbocker and the Salmagundi. If the possession of intellectual power and resources ought to make any man happy, that man is Washington Irving; and people may talk as they please about the “ inspiration of melancholy," but it is our firm belief that no man ever wrote any thing greatly worth the writing, unless under the influence of buoyant spirits. " A cheerful mind is what the muses love," says the author of Ruth and Michael, and the Brothers; and in the teeth of all asseverations to the contrary, we take leave to believe that my Lord Byron was never in higher glee than when composing the darkest soliloquies of his Childe Harold. The capacity of achieving immortality, when called into

vivid consciousness by the very act of composition and passion of inspiration, must be enough, we should think, to make any man happy. Under such influences he may, for a time, we doubt not, be deaf even to the voice of self-reproach, and hardened against the memory of guilt. The amiable and accomplished Mr. Irving has no evil thoughts or stinging recollections to fly from-but it is very possible that he may have been indulging in a cast of melancholy, capable of damping the wing even of his genius. That, like every

other demon, must be wrestled with, in order to its being overcome, And if he will set boldly about An American Tale, in three volumes duodecimo, we think there is no rashness in promising him an easy, a speedy, and a glorious victory. Perhaps all this may look very like impertinence, but Mr. Irving will excuse us, for it is, at least, well meant.

Art. VII.- King of England's Palace at Brighton. This journal has already contained views of several of the most elegant among the public edifices of the United States, the capital and the President's house at Washington, the bank of the United States at Philadelphia, and the new state capital at Harrisburgh. An outline of the celebrated Parthenon was also lately given. It may afford some entertainment to compare the architectural taste of our country, as it is displayed in those American buildings, with that of England, as evinced by the style of the king's new palace; and it will be curious to compare each with the specimen of Grecian taste, seen in the Parthenon.

The following description is taken from a late English publication. Since the year 1801, the king has been gradually developing his plans for the erection of a splendid ma. rine palace at Brighton. The building called the Pavilion, in which he had previously resided during his visits to the sea side, might have been considered rather as a cottage ornee, than as a mansion capable of sustaining the splendour YOL, II.

3 G

of a court, and entertaining the numerous retinue of a sovereign prince. It has therefore undergone gradual extensions: but, as it stood among buildings in the very heart of Brighton, where ground is more valuable than at any other place in the empire, vast sums were necessary to be paid for the various interests which pre-occupied the scite, and much time was lost in negociations for various premises which it became necessary to incorporate.

* At length his majesty, having prevailed on the inhabitants of Brighton to surrender the main entrance of the town to his purposes, was enabled to convert that street into pleasure grounds on the back or western front; and to unite the whole with some tea gardens which stocd on the opposite side of it, and also with some adjoining pleasure grounds which belonged to a marine mansion of the duke of Marlborough. The entire domain was thus extended to about seven acres, much of which is well planted with trees.

* About 1805 he commenced the erection of his spacious and splendid stables, on the northern side of the grounds. Mr. Porden was the architect, and he seems to have exo hausted all the elegancies of appropriate design in his arragements of this building. There are superb stalls for sixty-eight horses, within a circular area of nearly 100 feet diameter, surmounted with a magnificent dome, which is but twenty feet in span less than that of St. Paul's, forming a conspicuous object in the perspective of Brighton. It is rumoured that these stables and appurtenances cost little less than two hundred thousand pounds; and that, at the time of their completion, the Pavilion, its various alterations, additions, and extensions, had cost its royal owner little short of double that sum.

• Since that time, the duke of Marlborough's mansion at the northern extremity, a line of capital houses called Marlborough-row, in the rear, and the extensive premises of the Castle Inn, esteemed one of the first public establishments

of its kind in England, have been successively purchased. His royal highness has also rebuilt all the domestic offices in the rear of the Pavilion, in a style of commensurate extent; and, about two years since, he began to improve and embellish the state apartments in the centre of the building; and, within the past month, the removal of the scaffolding has exhibited it in the splendid and unique forms which we have correctly portrayed in the accompanying engraving. (See the Copper-plate.)

It will be perceived that the style of architecture is oriental; and the first glance of the building will remind the ohserver of the fairy palaces of the sovereigns of Hindoostan, and of the mausoleums of certain of their princes, in the erection of which the incalculable treasures of the eastern world have been expended. Some persons have assimilated the building to the Moorish structures in Spain, and partisularly to the palace of the Alhambra at Granada; while others have considered it as Tartaric, and have treated it as a copy of the Kremlin at Moscow. These, however, are mistakes; and it may be presumed that the King, who must be led to consider himself as virtual sovereign of the east, deemed it respectful to his eastern dependencies to exhibit a palace in conformity with their notions of architectural perfection.

• Be this as it may, his majesty has unquestionably placed on British ground the most original and unique structure in Europe,-which affords pleasure or pain to the beholders, according to their taste or their political feelings. Few would withhold their admiration, if it stood on an uninterrupted lawn descending to the sea, or if it had been placed on a better elevation of ground: but others shrug their shoulders on learning, that perhaps a million is thus to be taken from the earnings of one part of the community to be paid to another, in return for hard labour in producing erections, which their frigid economy considers as fantastical. Among a free

« AnteriorContinuar »