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sooth, be made on the public mind by such desultory explosions ? Never on the dense mass of readers can isolated random shots produce the effect of a regular feu de peloton. For this reason we have arranged in one volume his files of mental musketry, to secure a simultaneous discharge. The hint, perhaps, of right belongs to the ingenious Fieschi (1835).
We have left prefixed to each paper such introductory comments as at the time we indulged in, with reference to contemporary occurrences-and, on looking back, we find we have been on some occasions historical, on others prophetical, on some perhaps rhapsodical. This latter charge we hereby “confess and avoid,” pleading the advice and example of Pliny the Younger: "Ipsá varietate," are his words, “tentamus efficere ut alia aliis, quædam fortasse omnibus placeant.” This would appear to constitute the whole theory of miscellaneous writing
We have hitherto had considerable difficulty in establishing, to the satisfaction of refractory critics, the fact of our author's death. People absurdly persist in holding him in the light of a living writer: hence a sad waste of wholesome advice, which, if judiciously expended on some reclaimable sinner, would, no doubt, fructify in due season. In his case 'tis a dead loss—Prout is a literary mummy! Folks should look to this: Lazarus will not come forth to listen to their strictures; neither, should they happen to be in a complimentary mood, will Samuel arise at the witchery of commendation.
Objects of art and virtù lose considerably by not being viewed in their proper light; and the common noonday effulgence is not the fittest for the right contemplation of certain capi d'opera. Canova, we know, preferred the midnight taper. Let, therefore, " ut fruaris reliquiis,” (Phæd. lib. i. fab. 22,) the dim penumbra of a sepulchral lamp shed its solemn influence over the page of Prout, and alone preside at its perusal.
Posthumous authorship possesses infinite advantages; and nothing so truly serves a book as the writer's removal from the sphere or hemisphere of his readers. The “Memoirs of Captain Rock” were rendered doubly interesting by being dated from Sidney Cove. Byron wrote from
Venice with increased effect. Nor can we at all sympathise with the exiled Ovid's plaintive utterance, Sine
me, liber, ibis in urbem.” His absence from town, he must have known, was a right good thing for his publisher under “the pillars.” But though distance be useful, death is unquestionably better. Far off, an author is respected ; dead, he is beloved. Extinctus, amabitur.
We were struck with a practical application of this doctrine to commercial enterprise, when we last visited Paris. The 2d of November, being “All Souls’-day," had drawn a concourse of melancholy people to Père la Chaise, ourselves with the rest; when our eye was arrested, in a walk of that romantic necropolis, by the faint glimmering of a delicious little lamp, a glow-worm of bronze, keeping silent and sentimental vigil under a modest urn of black marble, inscribed thus :
Cl-FOURNIER (Pierre Victor),
Brulant une centime d'huile à l'heure.
SA VEUVE INCONSOLABLE
Elle fait des envois dans les départemens.
We had been thinking of purchasing an article of the kind; so, on our return, we made it a point to pass
the rue aux Ours, and give our custom to the mournful Artemisia. On entering the shop, a rubicund tradesman accosted us ; but we intimated our wish to transact business with “the widow-la veuve inconsolable." Eh, pardieu ! c'est moi ! je suis, moi, Pierre Fournier, inventeur, &c.: la veuve n'est qu'un symbole, un mythe.” We admired his ingenuity, and bought his lamp; by the mild ray of which patent contrivance we have profitably pursued our editorial labours.