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a great deal larger and brighter--that, in fact, every thing had grown smaller latterly, for she was now able to reach to the fruit which for. merly she was compelled to wait for till it dropt to the ground ;- but that the water was grown taller, for once she was forced to drink it on her hands and knees, and now she could scoop it in a cocoa-shell. Finally, she added, she was much older than the moon, for she had seen it waste away till it was dimmer than the light of a fire-Ay: and the moon that was lighting them now would decline too, and its successor be so small, that she would never again give it the name she had given to the first Sun of the Night.'-vol. jii. p. 110.
This is the simple-natural: but the reverend author's chief humour, like Nick Bottom's, is for a tyrant. Mark the return which Melmoth makes to these prettinesses !
““ Love," he cried, extending his arms towards the dim and troubled sky, “ love the storm in its might of destruction-seek alliance with those swift and perilous travellers of the groaning air,-- the meteor that rends, and the thunder that shakes it! Court, for sheltering tenderness, those masses of dense and rolling cloud,—the baseless mountains of heaven! Woo the kisses of the fiery lightnings, to quench themselves on your smouldering bosom! Seek all that is terrible in nature for your companions and your lover !-woo them to burn and blast you-perish in their fierce embrace, and you will be happier, far happier, than if you lived in mine! Lired !-Oh who can be mine and live !" !- vol. iii. p. 219.
"This is lofty !- This is Ercles' vein! It is by no means surprising, however, that lovers who talked so very uniutelligibly, should have recourse to some other medium of communication, and accordingly, Mr. Maturin's boundless fancy supplies them with a happy substitute for conversation.
• Language is no longer necessary to those whose beating hearts converse audibly—whose eyes, even by moonlight, are more intelligible to each other's stolen and shadowed glances, than the broad converse of face to face in the brightest sunshine- to whom, in the exquisite inversion of earthly feeling and habit, darkness is light, and silence eloquence.'-vol. iii. p. 326.
In this way our readers will see that these happy lovers became perfectly intelligible to each other, with the additional advantage, which this moral telegraph possesses, of not letting us or the other bystanders at all into their secret.
Our next charge against Mr. Maturin is WANT OF VERACITY, ordinarily no great defect in a novel-writer : but—when a clergyman introduces into his work some extraordinary fact, and then, throwing off his fictitious and assuming his own character, vouches for the said fact on his own personal knowledge, it behoves him, we think, to take care that the story has some little colour of truth. His first offence against this principle is obviously committed for
the mere purpose of letting his readers know that he is so highly descended as to have had a Dean of Killala to his great grandfather.
· The author of the tale asserts,“ suo periculo," that when his great grandfather, the Dean of Killala, hired servants at the deanery, they stipulated that they should not be required to eat turbot or lobster more than twice a-week.'—vol. i. p. 15.
The author of the tale either fables, or does not understand the Latin words which he uses. He might have repeated the story on the authority of his mother, or what
would have been better still, his grandmother, but to tell it suo periculo, is to say that he, the reverend author, was present when his great grandfather hired the turbot-abjuring servants; which, as that must have taken place a ceptury ago, can hardly be true, unless indeed Mr. Maturin be Mr. Melmoth himself.
Next, he vouches a most alarming, and, if we could have the least confidence in Mr. Maturin's asseveration, the best authenticated story of a ghost we ever met.
• He related that he had urged a person, who was sitting calmly in his chair, though evidently dying, to intrust him with his confession.The dying person answered, “I will, when those leave the room." The monk, conceiving that this referred to the relatives and friends, motioned them to retire. They did so; and again the monk renewed his adjuration to the dying man to disclose the secrets of his conscience. The answer was the same,—" I will, when those are gone."
_“ Those !"-"Yes, those whom you cannot see, and cannot banish,-send them away, and I will iell you the truth."_"Tell it now then; there are none here but you and me.”—“ There are," answered the dying man. “ There are none that I can see,” said the monk, gazing round the room. “But there are those that I do see," replied the dying wretch,“ and that see me; that are watching, waiting for me, the moment the breath is out of my body. I see them, I feel them,-stand on my right side.” The monk changed bis position. “Now they are on the left." The monk shifted again. “ Now they are on my right." The monk commanded the children and relatives of the dying wretch to enter the room, and surround the bed. They obeyed the command. “ Now they are every where," exclaimed the sufferer, and expired.-vol. ii. pp. 197, 198. To this story he subjoins in a note these emphatic words-
* FACT,--me ipso teste.' Now, what is the fact which he thus solemnly attests that a clergyman of the Church of England was present at the confession of a Roman Catholic penitent? Impossible!-or perhaps he uses the privilege of a roinancer, and speaks of himself in the character of a monk?-mutato nomine fabula narratur,-the story, even with this interpretation, must be false : for low could a Protestant minister ask for such a confession as is here described? Again,
look at this terrible story (as he calls it) itself, and see what nonsense it is—for the company that terrified the poor wretch to death, at last, were only the same relatives and children who were in the soon at first, without any such effect !—and again : the patient is quietly sitting in his chair at the beginning of the story, but is suffering in his bed at the conclusion—a variation of little moment, but one into which an eye-witness never could have fallen.
Mr.Maturin is here taken in the manner: he had perhaps heard, as we have, a pretty romantic story of this kind, which he has jumbled after his own fashion, into the flat absurdity we have quoted; -our story, for which certainly we do not touch, is that a young man, in France, was attached to a girl, whose death, as they were on the point of marriage, bewildered his brain, and brought him to the brink of the grave:—he was observed to pine away, and particularly at certain hours, as if under a mysterious affliction, and at last it was discovered that he fancied the spirit of his beloved came every night in her shroud, to the foot of his bed. To expose this phantasm, his friends induced the sister of the deceased to attire herself in the way that the young man had described his ghostly visitor, and at the designated hour she suddenly appeared before him : 'oh Dieu ! exclaimed the youth, there are two of them !'and expired.
But whether this story (which we remember to have heard thirty years ago, probably before the reverend attester was born) be or be not the foundation of Mr. Maturin's fact, we can assure him, that one very similar to it was in print in Elizabeth's days. The paniphleteers of that period dealt largely in ware of this kind, which they imported by bales from Spain and Italy.
Our next charge against the author of Melmoth' is that of IGNORANCE-of ignorance too, so gross as to be borrowed of Lady Morgan, at second hand! He had read in that learned lady's book something about a "véritable amphitryon, and certainly was not, on that account, much nearer knowing what an amphitryon was; but it never could have occurred to us that her ladyship had been so obscure, as to lead him to mistake an amphitryon for a jug of whiskey.
. But the whiskey (genuine illegitimate potsheen, smelling strongly of weed and smoke, and breathing defiance to excisemen) appeared the “ véritable amphitryon" of the feast ; every one praised, and drank as deeply as he praised.' - vol. i. p. 15.
His skill, indeed, in French, does not appear to be very profound, for in describing bis hero he says, 'He gnashed his teeth and gnawed his lip en parenthèse,' a mistake, we presume, for par purenthèse; but even if it were par parenthèse, we still should be puzzled for a meaning. His Latin is not much better, though he is kind enough to en
deavour to open our eyes as to some nxistakes which Catholic legends have made on that head.
* The martyrdom of St. Ursula and her eleven thousand virgins, which, being interpreted, means the martyrdom of a single female named Undecimilla, which the Catholic legends read Undecim Mille:'vol. iii. p. 136.
We beg leave to inform the reverend philologist, that if a Latin author were enumerating the eleven thousand blunders contained in these four volumes, he would say, undecim millia.
But, if Mr. Maturin knows but little of Latin or French, he favours us with some timely specimens of his Greek.—The lover addresses the Hindostanee girl, (with whom, as we have seen, he had some difficulty of conversing in the rernacular, as Dr. Neverout calls it,) in the following sentence.
• What, then, is there between me and thee, Isidora, or, as your Fra Jose would phrase it, it he knows so much Greek,) Ti fuos rei ca.'-'I loved you,' answered the Spanish maiden, &c. &c.'- vol.ii. p. 331.
Our contempt, however, of such pedantic absurdity is absorbed by our horror at the devil's quoting to his mistress, whom he was trying to debauch, the words of our blessed Saviour to bis mother!
Our armies swore terribly in Flanders;' but they fell short of the habitual practice of the Rev. Mr. Maturin's characters in BLASPHEMY and BRUTALITY:
Saverse as we are to sully our paper with quotations, justice to ourselves and to him, obliges us to select two or three of these ornamental passages. --Oh C-st,' ejaculated the housekeeper.'- vol. i. p. 21.
- There stop, for holy J-s's sake.'- vol. i. p. 154.
Ye lie, ye roundhead son of a bh,' roared the cavalier tailor.'- vol. i. p. 118.
Even still more disgusting is the use, or rather abuse of Scripture phrases, which this divine puts into the mouths of his reprobate personages. We have already noticed one which is fearfully shocking; we shall extract but one more.
* Love,' says the devil to the poor girl whom he is endeavouring to seduce, is a felicitous congeniality of pursuits, of thoughts, hopes and feelings, that in the sublime language of the Jewish poet (prophet I mean) tell and certify to each other, and though they have neither speech nor larguage, a voice is heard amongst them.--vol. iii. p. 330.
Instances of a like irreverent application of Scripture plırases are to be found in distressing plenty through the volumes. Mr. Maturin, as we have said, may mean no harm, and he generally, though not always, quotes the words respectfully; and when he does not, he perhaps may say that it is the wickedvess of his fictitious personage, and not of himself: but these excuses are worth nothing:
in such light stuff no such sacred matter should be introduced ; and he should remember, that his fictitious being is the child of his own imagination, and that he is responsible for the scandal which every pious mind must feel at such idle and gratuitous profanation.
And finally-for we are anxious to get through this nauseous task -We have to accuse him of OBSCENITY, of a dark cold blooded pedantic obscenity. We of course sball not sully our pages with quotation; but that we may not make so grave a charge without offering our proofs, we refer any reader who chooses to verify the fact, to vol. i. p. 142.-vol. ii. p. 219.-vol. iii. p. 137. in which he will find expressions and allusions which no other English author of our day-excepting always Mr. R. P. Knight-bas veur tured to produce.
We have now done with this most objectionable work:before we conclude, however, we must in candour give the excuse which Mr. Maturin makes for himself in the last sentence of his preface.
• I cannot again appear before the public in so unscemly a character as that of a writer of romances, without regretting the necessity that compels me to it. Did my profession furnish me with the means of subsistence, I should hold myself culpable indeed in having recourse to any other, but-am I allowed the choice?'—vol. i. p. xii.
Mr. Maturin is well aware, it seems, that he appears in an unseemly character, but pleads his necessities. Like the other man who sold poison, his poverty, but not his will, consents;'-—but we apprehend that this plea would be as invalid at the Old Bailey, as it is disgraceful every where to a man of liberal education and honourable mind. If he thought he was doing nothing derogatory, nothing wrong, we might pity Mr. Maturin's weakness of understanding; but when he owns that he does wrong knowingly, but for hire, we add to our contempt for his understanding, scorn of his principles; and the sooner he wholly throws off a character which he degrades by such unseemly and culpable practices, the better. We, and all the world except Mr. Maturin, can see very good reasons why his profession will not afford him means of subsistence—he designates himself as the author of Bertram, a play; we hear of his sermons only as the foundation of an unseemly, novel, and then, forsooth, this labourer for the stage and the circulating library, wonders that the Church does not provide subsistence for him !
Art. III.— Historical Account of Discoveries and Travels in
Asia, from the earliest Periods to the present Time. By Hugh Murray, F.R.S.E. Author of Historical Account of Discove
ries in Africa. S vols. 8vo. Edinburgh. 1820. MR.
R. Murray's · Historical Account of Discoveries in Asia' will be found to sustain the favourable character which we