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lence and hospitality, and, having made them acquainted with their true situation, they now became all civility; the padré invited them in; a sumptuous dinner was served up, consisting of thirty or forty different dishes; among the delicacies were biche-da-mar and bird-nests' soups-such is the luxurious way in which mendicant monks and friars would seem to indulge in whatever part of the world they may be rooted.
Arrived at Kai-chow, the party was received by the mandarins, not merely with coolness, but great insolence; and though they were ultimately prevailed on to promise assistance, they secretly did everything that was unfriendly. The ship, however, as Mr. Gutzlaff informs us, 'got off by the interposition of God, who had ordered the south wind to blow, thus driving up more water upon the bank.' Too happy to avail themselves of the fortunate release, they forthwith stood to the southward.
The description of the island of Poo-to, one of the Chusan groupe, is so curious, and furnishes so strong an instance of the great extent to which the impostors of Budhism are still enabled to practise on the credulity of the public, that we shall close our brief account of these voyages with a short notice of it. The visiters, passing among large rocks covered with inscriptions, and among numerous temples, came suddenly on one of the latter, of an immense size, covered with yellow tiles. It was filled within with all the tinsel of idolatry,' together with various specimens of Chinese art, and many gigantic statues of Budha :
These colossal images were made of clay, and tolerably well gilt. There were great drums and large bells in the temple. We were present at the vespers of the priests, which they chanted in the Pali language, not unlike the Latin service of the Roman church. They held their rosaries in their hands, which rested folded upon their breasts; one of them had a small bell, by the tinkling of which their service was regulated; and they occasionally beat the drum and large bell to rouse Budha to attend to their prayers. The same words were a hundred times repeated.'—pp. 441, 442.
Mr. Gutzlaff says there are two large and sixty small temples, on a spot not exceeding twelve square miles, which is the area of the island, and on which two thousand priests were residing; that no females are allowed to live on the island, nor any laymen, except those in the service of the priests; but he observed a number of young fine-looking children, who had been purchased for the purpose of being initiated in the mysteries of Budhism. This numerous train of idlers have lands assigned for their support, and make up the rest by begging:
To every person who visits this island, it appears at first fairy land, so romantic is everything which meets the eye.
large inscriptions hewn in solid granite, the many temples which appear in every direction, the highly picturesque scenery itself, with its many-peaked, riven, and detached rocks, and above all a stately. mausoleum, the largest which I have ever seen, containing the bones. and ashes of thousands of priests, quite bewilder the imagination.'p. 444.
We cordially wish every success to the praiseworthy labours of this pious missionary, and that his most sanguine expectations may be realized. He should recollect, however, should disappointment cross his path and damp bis ardour, that, although it is now three hundred years since the Catholic missionaries of the different orders entered China, with the view of making proselytes to the tenets of their respective creeds, there probably. is not, at this hour, throughout the whole of that extensive empire, a single native Chinese-with the exception of some ten or a dozen educated at the Propaganda of Naples-that has the least knowledge of the Christian religion, or of the language, the civil in-, stitutions, or the moral condition, of any one nation of Europe: so little have their continued labours succeeded. His plan, however, of circulating not religious works only, but others calculated to excite and gratify curiosity on more worldly topics, appears to us a great improvement on the system of his Romish predeces➡ sors; and this may pave the way for better things.
ART. X.-1. Helen; a Tale.
2. Ayesha, the Maid of Kars. By the Author of Zohrab,' Hajji Baba,' &c. 3 vols. London, 1834.
By Maria Edgeworth. 3 vols.
THIS HIS season has been as prolific in novels as any of its predecessors; and, as usual, it has been but a melancholy business to contemplate the rapid succession of these ephemeral productions. One after another is announced with a flourish of pennytrumpets-the words 'vivid portraiture '-' keen satire high imagination intense passion'-and above all, genius' and 'power,' are kept standing in the booksellers' types, and put into unfailing requisition. A week more, and the wonder has been examined and talked of-another, and it is as completely forgotten as any of the nothings of the days of George III. These books are ruining the proprietors of circulating libraries, who alone buy them; and we are greatly mistaken if they be not injuring deeply their publishers. By encouraging the cacoëthes scribendi of inferior pens, they may now and then realize an immediate profit to themselves; but they, in the long run, accumulate po valuable
copyrights-without which no bookselling-house can prove the source of ultimate gain on any considerable scale. Are they not aware that at this moment, after all the innumerable editions that have appeared of such a work as 'Ivanhoe' or 'Old Mortality,' its copyright would fetch at least three times more money in the market than the copyrights of all the novels that were publishedin London between 1810 and 1830? Well may Sir Egerton Brydges say-
'Let us dismiss the frivolous embarrassments and disappointments of fashion, or the insane hobgoblins of a factitious enthusiasm. It is time to get rid of these epigrammatic, stilted, bandaged, glittering, foaming, lashed-up, frothy, high-seasoned productions of mercenary artists, exciting the appetites of the mob for the purpose of filling their own pockets. But even these stimulant ingredients would not be sufficient without the aid of the puff,-quite as gross and as multiplied as those of the quack-doctors, or the proprietors of Warren's blacking. It is strange that such obviously paid applauses should have any influence on the public favour; but it is clear that they have great influence, for the experience of booksellers would teach them not to throw away so much money in vain. They have so contrary an effect on me, that the moment I read one of those advertisements I take for granted that the book so announced is bad. -Autobiography, vol. ii. p. 358.
Sir Egerton's rule is a pretty safe one; it is to us unintelligible how any writer of common sense or delicacy can suffer his work and his name to be dealt with in the fashion here stigmatised; but still there is no denying that indications of real talent have been observable in several of the most disgustingly bepuffed and placarded productions of the present year. We have no doubt that the authors of more than one of them might, if contented with narrower limits, and modest enough to bestow more labour, have turned out works of fiction deserving of lasting favour. It is impossible not to admire, for example, the happily-sketched character of an Irish farmer's wife in Lady Blessington's Repealers,' and the variety of shrewd common-sense observations which occur every now and then in the midst of that flimsy book. Had her Ladyship cut down her three volumes to one, her novel might have had a fair chance of life. And we may say the same thing of Lady Stepney's New Road to Ruin,' for that performance, though still flimsier than the other, has flashes of delicate sentiment, and really feminine perception of the minutiae of cha racters and manners, such as might well have arrested attention, had they not been squandered on an absurd plot, and that wiredrawn to extremity. The author of Rookwood,' again, has shown talents which no doubt might, and, as he is said to be a very young gentleman, will yet, we hope, produce a strong and fervid
strain of romance.
But he must lop his luxuriancy, and chastise his taste. The odious slang with which he has interspersed his third volume is as false as base: and his energetic and animating picture of Turpin's ride to York needed not the setting off of such vulgar and affected ornaments. We expect much from this writer, else we should not have thought it worth our while to use language thus severe. He evidently possesses, in no common degree, the materials of success: a fresh and stirring fancy, and a style which, like that fancy, wants nothing but the bridle. His story, as it is, is one that never flags.
We have named at the head of our article two novels which no one will confound with the million of the tribe; but we have, on former occasions, discussed so largely the peculiar merits of their authors, that we need not at present be tempted into a detailed notice either of Helen or of Ayesha. If any of our readers had ever listened to the envious whispers, so indefatigably circulated among certain circles, to the effect that Miss Edgeworth's vein of creative fancy had been buried with her father Helen' will undeceive them, and vindicate that great and truly modest genius from any such disparaging suspicion. As writers of a reflective and introspective turn advance in the walk of life, they are likely to detach their imagination more and more from the broad and blazing contrasts which delight the eye and heart of youth; and it is no wonder that the interest of this tale, put forth after an interval of, we believe, nearly twenty years, should be of a more sober cast than Miss Edgeworth chose to dwell upon in some earlier works. But the interest is not the less potent on that account: on the contrary, we venture to say, that if any one will, after reading Helen,' turn to even the best of her old novels, he will feel, that in all. the more profound and permanently pleasing beauties of moral delineation the artist has made marked progress. We may point to the skill with which her fable has been framed; the admirable but unobtrusive art with which she has contrived to exhibit what we may call the whole gamut of one particular virtue, and its opposite vice, in the different characters of the present novel-and this without producing any impression of a capricious or unnatural selection of dramatis persone; the profusion of terse and pungent sayings scattered over its dialogue; and last, not least, the deep piercing pathos of various of its scenes; and ask whether such a combination of excellences is not more than sufficient to make up for the absence of any such quaint, humorous oddities as used to delight the world in Miss Edgeworth's Irish romances. We cannot, however, but wish that she had laid the scene of her story in her rative country, or, at
all events, that she had never brought its heroes and heroines to London. No doubt, Miss Edgeworth represents one particular section of London society with perfect skill; but that section, she must permit us to hint, is one little worthy of engaging such a pen as hers at least in anything more serious than an Essay on Bores.' Those who see this great town only in the character of lion or lioness, have little chance of getting out of the trap we allude to; but we venture to say, that if Miss Edgeworth had at any time lived here for two or three years on end, she wouldhave found it quite necessary to break its painted barriers, and shake herself free, once for all, from the fry of notoriety-hunters, who think the whole business of life consists in sharp talk about authors and artists, and eternal three-cornered notes- Blue, pink, and green-with all their trumpery.'
The main object of Helen is told in one ejaculation of a certain spinster who figures in it: I wish,' says Miss Clarendon, fib were banished from the English language, and that white lie were drummed out after it.' The construction of the fable, however, appears to have been suggested by Crabbe's tale of the Confidant,' which had already been dramatised by the author of 'Elia.' But 'Miss Edgeworth's Cupid,' as Lord Byron once said, is somewhat of a Presbyterian. The old-fashioned matter-of-fact love, that is sinfully gratified and. severely punished in Crabbe's homely story, comes wonderfully refined and reformed out of Miss Edgeworth's crucible: in short, the bastard of the plain-spoken poet is replaced in the novel by a mis-affiliated billet-doux. This is quite as it should be; and the skill with which Miss Edgeworth has transferred the same leading idea, from the downright human beings of the village green to the gauze-curtained world, will be appreciated by any one who compares her elaborate fiction with the rapid sketch of her stern original.
So much for Helen'-from which, as it is already in every body's hands, we shall not be so superfluous as to make any extracts. We hope, now that Miss Edgeworth has once more condescended to amuse the public with a new work, she may be so good-natured as to repeat the experiment. We remember to have heard it said some years ago, that she had made considerable progress in two novels: one called White Lies-the other, Taking for Granted. The White Lies we have under this no-meaning. title of Helen' all the world, Miss Edgeworth may take it for granted, will be disappointed if she does not soon favour us with the other book; and we do not think she could re-christen it to any advantage.
Sir Walter Scott, by his own confession, was first led to write