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ridicule, but detestation. Fourthly, that they are never the princi. pal figure at that time on the scene ; and lastly, they never produce the intended evil.”
These are admirable hints: one wonders that the two novelists of our age, who owe much, very much, to Fielding, should have forgotten them, and forgotten likewise the examples furnished by their great master-but then, he was a Great Novelist, and they are only great sketchers of character, and drawers of humorous caricatures. Fielding's niastership is in nothing more clearly shewn than in the great number of characters introduced in his fictions, and yet each of these characters is pertinent to the tale; each has his own peculiar office, tending to the developement of the denouement : he is always in his place : never forgotten, never killed off before his time ;– he is never like the brass nail in the back of the bellows-for ornament. But of which of Dickens' stories can this be said ? In not a few of Thackeray's novels can it be declared as the characteristic. In this respect Thackeray's and Dickens' management of their people remind us of Lady Townley,—"O!” cries her ladyship, "Ten thousand guineas, O! the charming sum ! what infinite pretty things might a woman of spirit do with ten thousand guineas, 0! my conscience, if she were a woman of true spirit-she-she might lose 'em all again.” Thus it is that Dickens always, and Thackeray occasionally, act :- they have the characters with the "ten thousand guineas," but like careless, spoiled men of spirit they—“ lose 'em all again," after having bad the trouble of creating them. This, in our mind, is Dickens' misfortune, not his fault, as his genius is not comprehensive enough to embrace all the continuous incidents forming a novel ; but, it is clearly Thackeray's fault, and he is therefore less excusable for not taking up, at once, his position amongst the Great NovelISTS of England.
But have we a Great NOVELIST now? Do the latest of Bulwer Lytton's works, The Cartons and My Novel, shew that he, best known, and the most generally praised of all our writers of fiction, is the Laureate of the living English novelists, We think so, but yet to be the chief of our living novelists is not to be a GREAT NOVELIST. Doubtless the two books above named are admirable, superior to the author's usual style ; but they owe much to Fielding, much to Smollett, much
to Sterne, much to Goethe, yet withal, they owe a vast deal to the genius, the fancy, and the eloquence of, as Thackeray used to call him, the “ celebrated litery Barnet.”
However, as we are not writing a history of this age's fiction, we shall not pursue this disquisition farther : we may safely affirm, that, although we have no Great Novelist, yet we possess more novelists of a second rank, and higher in all the qualifications of their craft than any other period could supply since the invention of printing. Mrs. Trollope, James, Mrs. Gore, Julia Kavanagh, Reid, Wilkie Collins, Lever, Kingsley, Whyte, three authors whom Blackwood's Magazine has introduced during the last five years, the authoress of Mary Barton, with a dozen others, any one of whom is equal to a score of the novelists, save of the first-class, of other times, and then last, certainly not least, we have the author of the book before us.
The Priest's Niece, has unfortunately, a most deceptive title, and one most ill-chosen. It “takes” a Protestant reader, who is disappointed at finding that it has nothing about cloisters, or convents, in the Maria Monk style: Roman Catholics looking at the book, and being alarmed, or prejudiced by the name, will throw it aside, or will read it in an antagonistic spirit; whilst the mere circulating library haunter, who has been so frequently deceived by the titles of books, will think to himself, as he ponders on the name, The Priest's Niece,
“ His gran’aunt was once King of Connaught,
Yet this work is a good novel : full of incident, of invention, of bright flashes of genius, of descriptive power rarely excelled in these days, and placing before us the fair land of Spain, the varying scenery of Scotland, “the summer isles, ” the “knots of Paradise," at "the gateways of the day," and Ireland, too, has been sketched by our Author. The dialogue is good, worthy the other portions of the story; and considering the work as a whole, aud judging it by the best of our modern novels, it deserves the success it has achieved, by arriving at a second edition, within five months of its publication.
It is not our custom to give extracts from novels, and indeed in this particular instance it would be impossible to do
so with justice to the Author, who has that true talent of the genuine novelist, by which he is enabled to ingraft scene upon scene, to involve character with character so intimately, and so closely, that not a chapter can be extracted without injury to
We hope soon again to find a work from the pen of the Author of The Priest's Niece before us, but we hope too, to find it with a less excitable title. A writer, such as this, with ability of the highest order, with invention, quickness of thought, and great power of observation may, and is, bound, to depend on his knowledge of the heart, of life and of the world : the heart, life, and the world are wide enough in their range of thoughts, of manners, and of feelings; out of such materials then this Author can create forms of beauty, or strength, or passion; but these creations must be works of time, and formed with the perfection of elaboration. We earnestly hope that neither the request of friends, nor the golden goadings of publishers will induce this writer to damage, or jeopardise a reputation already more than half made ; the pen too, which has thus been graced, should never be envenomed or stained by the recital of a tale hurtful to the feelings of the professors of any religion. The heart is the property of the novelist; with it, and the world, alone has he to deal, and if from these he cannot form his story he is not a novelist. If the Author of The Priests Niece willbut observe these rules, he will produce fictions worthy his genius, and worthy his reputation; and though he may never achieve the glory of a GREAT NOVELIST, he will, at all events, reach the reputation, the highest any now living can claim, of a good novelist.
Art. V.-WAR AND PEACE.-PEACE AND WAR. 1. Army, Navy, and Ordnance Estimates and Annual Finance
Accounts, Great Britain and Ireland, Session 1855–56. 2. General Statement of the Trade and Navigation of the
United Kingdom. Presented to both Houses of Parlia
ment by Command of Her Majesty. 3. Statisque, Politique, et Morale de la France, Par Le
Chevalier F. de Tapies. 4. French Parliamentary Accounts, Ministry of War, Marine
and Finance, 1854–55; and Reports to the Emperor,
1856. 5. Russia. By J. S. de Köhl and other writers. Various Papers and Reports to the Board of Trade, on the Commercial Tariffs, and Regulations, &c., &c., of Foreign Countries, and Military and Financial Statistics of the
Rumours have been rife and multiform this last autumn and early winter in the various bulletins from the seat of war in the East, and have been as disappointing as they were rife. In the physical world every one has observed the effect of great heats in raising exhalations, and in the moral world analogous causes have as coinmonly and as certainly been found to produce analogous effects. The fervid excitement into which the public mind was thrown by the occurrences of the 8th of September, has exhaled a cloud of imaginings now taking one shape, now another, but all finally melting into thin air, or to speak more appropriately, ending in smoke!
The victory of the Allies was immediately to be followed up. The Russians, driven from the southern shore of the inlet of Sebastopol, were but pausing for a breathing space, ere continuing their northward flight, and evacuating the Crimea. The generals of France and England were combining and preparing for another “masterly flank-ınarch” that was to turn and render untenable the new position of their discomfited foe. A mighty and motley host of English, French, Turks, and Sardinians was gathering at Eupatoria, soon to march southwards from thence, and place the disheartened and beaten legions
of Prince Menchsikoff between two fires ! And finally, however it was brought about, those legions were assuredly on the point of throwing down their arms in despair, and surrendering at discretion?
To say that nothing of all this has been realized is but repeating what everybody knows and everybody grumbles at. The “enterprizes of great pith and moment of which the public mind had conceived such expectations, in its double excitement of gratification at the fall of Sebastopol, and of mortification at the more prominent and effective part in its capture, performed by the French over that of our own gallant but badly generaled army, did either become so "sicklied over by the pale cast of thought,” as to lose the name of action, or else were never seriously intended. Our valiant
has not confessed by word, or shewn by act, that he was discomfited or disheartened. The Russian eagle as it soared into the rent and troubled air, amid the thunders and the lurid warclouds that proclaimed the fall of southern Sebastopol, screamed but in angry defiance, and winging its majestic way to the impregnable northern shore, settled there menacingly and immoveably, right in the front of its baffled foes. The Allied Generals have pushed forward a reconnaissance here, and bazarded an insiguificant foray there; but have ever been glad to retire quickly within the lines of their hard won and all but barren conquest. The Eupatorian diversion has eventuated in a bootless skirmish or two. The Russian der" has not occurred, nor is it now hoped for, even by the most credulous and dreaming. But there has been a surrender—a surrender not of, but to the Russians, and the gain of the city of Kars, the key of Armenia and Mingrelia, has far out-balanced for them, the loss of half their stronghold of Sebastopol.
The rumours to which we have referred having duly run their course and served their turn, were succeeded by others, totally differing and opposite; but for the tiine at least, as empty and as disappointing as their predecessors. Long before the initiatory success, which at the moment that we write is confidently reported to have attended the unexpected movement of Austria in pressing an ultimatum upon her great Northern neighbour, Rumour had it, that due, and forinal, and precise, and full, negociations for Peace, had not only been initiated, but had most favorably progressed, and, in fact, were upon the point of being brought to a satis