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Lord Ruthven, pallid, ghastly, a seer of visions, bearing about with him everywhere the burden of a frightful destiny and an unutterable secret a personage with the most appalling characteristics of the seer Allan McAulay, added to the least attractive features of the Master of Ravenswood, — who mutters to himself in this weird fashion :“ That face! that form! - again ! — and here, when I thought I had fled from him forever! The ocean is no barrier then! Fate plays with me!”- and who has a çevoted henchman, Fergus, who we need hardly say is his foster-brother and attached to him with that singular mixture of servility, familiarity and devotion which we all know in the Highlands invariably accompanies that lacteal relationship. Fergus too mutters occasionally, but chiefly in a Gaelic formula, not given, but said to signify —“It is fated!”
As if these two were not sufficient material to introduce melodramatic terrors into any story, we have a semi-crazed, elfish girl, who, like Fenella, can clamber about with miraculous agility, and drop from heights as lightly as a cat, has unaccountable fits of sulkiness, is dumb, but can communicate by signs, is in love with the hero and jealous of the heroine.
In the incidents which these uncomfortable personages bring about, the author makes wild work with our nerves, and after we have got through with the chapter entitled Terror, ending —"Suddenly the clock struck twelve : a fearful shudder convulsed the frame of Honoria ; and turning quickly she looked into the mirror” ; through the chapter entitled AT THREE IN THE MORNING, beginning —"The occurrences of this terrible night”; and through the chapter entitled The HORROR, they, that is our nerves, are left in the state of Mrs. Gamp’s, which she said “fiddle-strings was weakness to express.”
But like Macbeth we must sup our fill of horrors before the author will let us go. The pallid Lord Ruthven is dragged along by his destiny there is a severing of true lovers a will discovered in a chest and torn up — two broken hearts
- a fate which spreads its black pall over the family at Rivanna - a ghastly wedding dinner
a ghastly bridegroom -á ghastly bride -- footsteps in the snow - a combat, with Murder No. 1— screams from a bridal-chamber at midnight — Murder No. 2, with a dirk buried in a bosom and a long stream of blood running across the floor -- a struggle at the brink of a precipice, with Murders No. 3 and 4, or a Double Suicide. Other accessories, such as the picture with awful eyes, the old oak-chest, the antique poniard, and numerous screams, groans, and terrible cries at unearthly hours, we have omitted, but they come in with considerable frequency.
If we turn up the wrong side of a piece of embroidery, we see the pattern reversed; but this is not usually found to be an improvement. And we may consider Doctor Vandyke the wrong side of The Bride of Lammermoor. There is a gloomy haughty nobleman, pursued by a mysterious destiny, and with a faithful henchman; but here he is the bridegroom, there the discarded lover. There is a broken-hearted maiden in both; in the one a proud ambitious mother and a weak affectionate father, in the other à proud ambitious father and a weak mother, force her to break her troth. In both the bride's father has succeeded to the ancestral estates of the discarded lover. In Scott's story the bride goes mad and stabs the bridegroom in the wedding chamber at midnight; in Cooke's, the bridegroom goes mad and stabs the bride in the same apartment at the same hour. In neither case is the wound fatal. In Scott's story there is about to be a duel between the bridegroom and the lover; here there is an actual combat. In The Bride, the doomed man accomplishes his destiny by walking into a quicksand; here by falling over a precipice.
a It is decidedly not an improvement. Scott's story, great as was its author's genius, would not have been endurable but for the rich humor with which all the lighter parts of the story are full, and the admirable drawing of all the secondary personages and details — but for such master-work as Caleb Balderstone and the cooper with his family. The purely tragic romance, of which the leading motives are terror and pity, is a legitimate form of art; but it is one requiring the most consummate skill, and quite exceptional genius. Above all, the terrors must be new and strange. This is the great thing. Even a scraped and lighted pumpkin makes quite a formidable apparition on a dark night; but to be shown the same pumpkin again after we have once inspected it thoroughly, is not impressive. And our remark about the state of our nerves was purely jocular : in point of fact we recognised a quite familiar bugbear at once, and not a hair stirred at the very climax of horrors.
Now Mr. Cooke bas done some good work and can do much more ; and we do not want to see him, like Arthur's Knights, " follow wandering fires” and “lost in the quagmire ” of failure while in quest of the very unholy Grail of Sensationalism. That calling may be for Sir Le Fanu or Sir Cobb Jr. ; a better quest is his, and one leading through a land which he may make his own.
W. H. B.
The Pennsylvania Pilgrim and other Poems. By John Greenleaf
Whittier. Boston: J. R. Osgood & Co. WHITTIER'S genius resembles a stream that pursues only forest ways, has no flow except between the fall of the dead leaf and the springing of the young bud, and never emerges into full sunshine. Clear, pure, sweet, but no sparkle — these are his traits. A man full of humanity and humanitarian impulses, it has been his fortune to know humanity upon but one side only; the music which has burst forth from him, not without power “to lull the daughters of necessity," has been chiefly psalmody in character and not above two octaves in compass. Within these limits he is very perfect. His flower may be only the sickly offspring of a prison-sprouted seed, but he has made a “Picciola” of it. The “inner light” burns all the more strongly in him for his lack of natural sunshine; he is always sweet, plaintive, full of melody, and inspiring to better thoughts. You cannot read so much as a page of him without getting the impression, which every subsequent verse confirms and strengthens, of an upright, conscientious, patriotic man, with strong impulses rigidly subdued, and a warm, tender, most loving heart attuned to a very sweet natural music. But
if you would only realise how repressed a life he must have led, and how unworldly, or rather other worldly, the man is, read the poem in the present volume entitled “My Birthday," and then read Beranger's birthday verses of “Le Tailleur et la Fée." It is a far cry from Paris to Amesbury; but a deeper and wider gulf than the Atlantic divides Olympus from Plymouth Rock.
The Pennsylvania Pilgrim celebrated in the leading poem of this little volume was Francis Daniel Pastorius, a disciple of Spener and Tauler, who, in obedience to an invitation from William Penn, came over with a colony from Frankfort in 1683, and settled near Germantown in Pennsylvania. The poem is a pleasant pastoral picture of that lovely region and its quiet settlers, and their peaceful, subdued, uneventful lives ; but, to be critical, strikes us as being too much toned down and languid with old-world weariness, and the enervated lassitude of self-consumed religious fervors, to reproduce faithfully the impressions of that fresh, buoyant, generous landscape that must have cheered the heart of Pastorius, unless that heart was a wooden one.
The other poems are chiefly reprints, and very fair specimens of Mr. Whittier's well-known style.
THE GREEN TABLE.
ISE and timely words are these, which we select from the address
of S. T. Wallis, LL.D., to the law class of the University of Maryland — and capable of wider application than to the members of a single profession :
" It is a common thing to say that ours is a specially money-loving age. I doubt whether this is true — whether men are at all worse in that regard, to-day, than they have always been, since the root of all evil was planted. In one of the recently opened houses in Pompeii, a mosaic pavement has been found, in the centre of which, in large letters, is the motto, “Salve Lucrum. Such a profession of faith on the part of the luxurious Roman whom the ashes of Vesuvius overwhelmed with his lucre, was only a superfiuous and ostentatious piece of candor. Perhaps, like Lord Byron, he desired to be taken for something worse than he was. But he scarcely loved money any more than a robber baron or a Lombard usurer, or any less than a Wall street financier or a lender on approved collaterals.' The curse of our times is not the mere love of acquisition, nor of money as a treasure and possession, but the self-prostration of society before it, as a dignity, a principality, and a power. The Roman was content to print his text on the stones, and tread it beneath his feet in the revel. In our times, we reverence the wisdom which, in Poor Richard's Almanack, expanded it into a gospel and founded on it a religion, whose first and great commandments are multiplication and addition. And it is because money is, thus, not merely the object of a common human lust among us, but of a homage as degrading as that of the Castilian courtiers to the crowned and sceptred corpse of Pedro's leman — that no friend can say God-speed to you without a word of warning. Down in the abyss of such a worship may sink talents, learning, promise. In it may be lost without hope every aspiration that is noble, every principle that is pure, every quality that is generous and high. Against its demoralising propagandism there can be no stronger bulwark, humanly speaking, than the resistance and example of a learned and intellectual profession, powerful from its numbers and its influence ; intimate and controlling in iis necessary connection with every variety of human affairs; trained to vigorous and independent thought and downright, public, and effective speech. If it but dares assert its dignity and character, there is no social agent which has half its power to curb and to reform society. Ifit is true to itself in speech and counsel ; if it has courage and integrity enough to spurn association with fraud and wrong, in every shape, and to expose and denounce them wherever they appear, it can control whole classes of society, whom the preacher will not reach and to whom moralists are a jest. If, on the other hand, it is capable of nothing better than to sell itself – to adopt every man's cause, and help or defend every man's contrivance, who pays it is a social nuisance and deserves to be despised. Better to lie in cold obstruction and to rot,' than to be part or parcel of it.”
TO BE READY.
O earthly love, only a name of pain !
The best jokes are sometimes made quite unconsciously. . A person having “a file of the New Bork Herald from 1860 to 1872" for sale, announces the fact in a paper before us, and terms it “a rare opportunity for compilers of History's!
With the close of the year 1872, my connection with the SOUTHERN MAGAZINE terminated. It gives me pleasure to add that my late partners, and the Magazine, have my very best wishes for their continued and increased prosperity
W. L. HILL.
V.-A FAIR STUDENT.
by the door of the morning-room, Mrs. Yarrow came out to meet him. Anxiety had thinned her face, but had only spiritualised and heightened her incomparable beauty. The Doctor thought: “ Every time I see her she is more handsome.”
She answered the sultry smile he bent upon her with a smile all her own. She placed her hand in his and welcomed him into her sunshiny Paradise.
“ How does your patient, Doctor?” she asked. “Did he make the promised revelation?
“He did, my dear Madam."
“You must have patience,” he said, seeing this. “All will come right in the end.” “Patience! But I want to see the cure begin, Doctor." “I have already restored your husband's physical health, Madam.” “Yes, but the hallucination absorbs him more than ever."
“So it does. In that respect, a crisis rapidly approaches. When it comes you will find he has strength to endure a shock, and that shock will cure him.”
She listened to these words with intense interest. “A shock! What kind of shock do you mean, Doctor ?”