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It is not possible to take up a vo-** but they havepoother relation to them, lume that treats of Scottish character, than of time and place. Accordingly. under the guise of fictitious narrative, the" Annals of the Parish," is a book without thinking of the genius and which will keep its station in our lite, achievements of the great Unknown. A rature. Its claims are not high or obsort of unconscious comparison is made, trusive. But it is original, and true to as we proceed in the perusal of any such nature, and therefore it must live. work, between therepresentations there Unless we are greatly mistaken, the given, and those which have already very remarkable volume, entitled, held us enthralled in delight and won "Some Passagesin the Life of MrAdam. der. And we have no doubt, that such Blair," possesses this independent and comparison, if necessarily prolonged original character. Every-page of it is. by similarity of subject, could not but Scottish yet there is not in it all one prove fatal to the success of any new page that seems to have been suggest, writer, however powerful his genius.ed by any picture or representation iib, But, on the other hand, if it be imme- the great Novels. In like manner, its diately dismissed from the view, and principal character is a Scottish clergythe work which at first occasioned it, man, and drawn with great power and appear to be one original in its sub truth, yet those who have rested with ject and execution, and in no way in- calm satisfaction on the simple, innoterfering with, or trespassing upon the cent, and primitive character of Micah provinces of the Magician, though be Balwhidder, in the Manse of Dalmail. longing to the same land, then the ef- ing, will be no less pleased to be intro. fect produced on the reader by that duced to the impassioned, erring, and unconscious comparison, is a genial interesting Adam Blair in that of the ane, and the new author enjoys the parish of Cross-Meikle. benefit of it, in meeting with an ear
The author of this book seems to nest and an eager attention." We are be a man possessing very deep insight pleased to find that he is not an imi- into the passionate nature of the hum tator; and equally so, to find that he man soul; and has ventured to place has opened up tous unsuspected sources the entire interest of his work, it of amusement or instruction, in a re- may be said, on the display of passion gion familiar to us, and of which we in one obscure individual. He keeps had perhaps supposed we already knew close to his subject, and feels his the extent, or at least the nature of all power over it. His picture is never the riches.
feebly drawn, though sometimes the. Such was the case with us when we colours are laid on with a somewhat first read the “ Annals of the Parish." too dashing hand; and though there The author spoke of Scotland, and of are passages in this volume that will nothing else. Every thing was Scot- bear comparison with the most vivid tish. Yet no one could have discover and forcible delineations of human, ed that he had ever read the works of nature to be found in our literature, our great national novelist. The sceyet the general impression left on the nery-the characters--the incidents - reader's mind by the whole, is, that the reflections--the feelings-all were the author is easily capable of better different, as if they had belonged to and greater things, and cannot fail, if another people, and another land, yet he chooses to exert his noble powers to were they all perfectly true to the same. the utmost, to take his place in the " The Annals of the Parish,” were first rank of modern genius. absurdly and ignorantly said, in the We are aware, that out of Scotland, Quarterly Review, to belong (we for the incident on which the whole inget how) to what are called the Scotch terest of this narrative rests, may Novels. It is true that they were pub- scarcely seem suited or equal to prolished after about fifty of these volumes; duce that utter prostration of mind,
Some Passages in the Life of Mr Adam Blair. Post 8vo. Edinburgh: W. Black.' wood; and T. Cadell, London. 1822.
and that long remorse, which are here gression, with those of renovated hope, so ably depicted. But the sanctity of meek faith, and humble piety. To the clerical character, owing to many awaken such feelings, and to imprint causes, is in Scotland a part of the na- such impressions, seems to have been tional belief and feeling; and such the aim and object of the author of violation of it as Adam Blair is guilty « Adam Blair;" and although we of, necessarily involves the perpetrator think he has occasionally failed in the in almost irremediable ruin, and gives subordinate details, in the main he: a shock to the whole moral and re- has been eminently successful... ligious associations of every mind in the Adam Blair, the actor and sufferer country. In Scotland, therefore, such in this little volume, is a Scottish a crime committed by a minister of re- clergyman, settled in his small quiet ligión, be the
circumstances what they Manse, in a small quiet parish. He may, is a sufficient ground on which has been married for ten years to the to build up a story, terminating in the woman whom he tenderly loved, and most fatal and ruetul catastrophes. who was worthy of his love. He has We make this remark, because, withe been perfectly happy and we may out insinuating in the most remote say, perfectly virtuous. But his chil. degree, that such a crime is held light dren die one by one of consumptionin any other civilized and Christian all but his sweet Sarah ; and the mocountry, yet it is certain, that even in ther, from whom they inherited that England, for example, a country of beautiful and fatal disease, soon folwhich the clergy are, generally speak- lows them to the grave. Then a new ing, a most moral elass of men, and and a different life lies upon Adam where no immoral clergyman can es. Blair-a life of gloom, sadness, silence, cape contempt, the banislıment and suf- and desolation, instead of light, glee, ferings of Adam Blair will be considere music, and happiness. Hitherto he had ed by many as too great for his sin; been supported on the wings of hapwhereas, in Scotland, his sin will be piness in the calm air of peace; but considered by many as too great to now he must support himself. Hitherjustify his restoration to his sacred to his soul was calm, but now there office, even after years of humiliation are waves ; and he perceives and feels and repentance.
that a man's nature is not known to Unless it be deeply and truly felt him until it has been tried in affliction that the crime of which Adam Blair as well as enjoyment. But Adam Blair has been guilty must have produced is a sincere believer in that Christianiin his mind an incurable and over- ty which he has taught; and therewhelming remorse, and also utterly fore, though sad and dejected, even ruined and degraded him in his sa- miserable at times, and in despair, yet cred profession, this book cannot his soul is strengthened by devotion ; powerfully affect the reader, for it and when he looks on his only young must then appear to give an exagger- and beautiful daughter, he is willing ated account of an unnatural state of to face the light, and to endure exmind. But to all who feel otherwise, istence. The first chapters of the voits character must be tragic. To them lume describe this bereavement, this it will seem, with a just representation agony, and this resignation. They de of human nature in the abstract, to seribe it beautifully and well; nor do combine much that is interesting, pa- we know where could be found united thetic, and beautiful, in individual so much tenderness and so much pascharacter and situation in life. Just sion. The author gains our hearts at as cowardice is a vital sin in a sol- the first meeting; and we feel--not dier, they will feel incontinence to that we have formed an acquaintance, be so in a minister of religion; but but that we have found a friend, who while the character of the first, once has an original and interesting chadegraded and disgraced, seems irre- racter, and will soon possess a close trievable, even in imagination, that of hold on our affections. the latter may outlive its shame and While the widower is in this state its guilt, and reappear, after a due of mind, and in solitude, one whom period of penitence, as pure and more he had known in former happy days, solemn than before, combining the and who had been bride’s-maid to her melancholy and mournful associations he has lost, offers a visit, and comes of human temptation, trial, and trans- to the Manse of Cross-Meikle. This
s Mrs Campbell, the wife of a Highe wards him in hers, suppressed by the · land gentleman and soldier. When hopelessness of her condition, and yet
Charlotte Bell, a young, sparkling, cherished in her passionate we may * gleesome, and beautiful girl, she had say weak principled, though we must
loved-truly loved, Adam Blair's wife; , not say unprincipled nature. The life " and it would seem, in her heart, of Adam Blair is cheered by this beau. 4. Adam Blair himself; but this was tiful, kind, and dangerous visitor; and
but a dream. Charlotte Bell had made to whatever causes it may be owing, his a runaway marriage with a young spirits are gladdened, and even happiEnglishman, who, soon ceasing to be ness may be said once more to exist in enamoured, and deserting her, had the Manse of Cross-Meikle. been, by the accommodating law of . In this part of the book there is Scotland, divorced. Young Mrs Ar-, great liveliness and spirit-a very eleden lost no time in marrying Captain gant and graceful style of merriment Campbell; but neither did this union and badinage even ; and nothing can
prove happy; and at the time she exceed the truth and verisimilitude of : visits the Manse of Cross-Meikle, she all the minute details and deseriptions comes before us in a somewhat myste- , with which every page is embellished. rious and doubtful character. We. We find ourselves in a pleasant and feel that no good is to attend the visit: cheerful oasis in the desert and miserof this woman to the Manse. Evil able wilderness of feelings and passions seems to hover round her, and there is with which we are surrounded. Wel foreboding of sin and distress. Now look back to the mournful scenes of and then she is painted in the early decay, and death, and despair-glad: stage of the story, with almost dis- that we have been removed from them; agreeable and repulsive traits ; yet, but we also look forward with a dim somehow or other, the author, by the anticipation to the future blackness inexplicable power of genius, con- which we see lowering on the edge of trives to render her not only alluring the distant horizon. and captivating, but it may be said, In this state of things, Captain interesting and amiable. Her personal Campbell hears that his wife is residing beauty-her warmth of heart-her at the Manse of Cross-Meikle ; and compassion - her misfortunes—her hears, at the same time, many idle and wrongs, and her dimly hinted errors, gossiping tales respecting her conduct. all combine in so strange union, that there. Though cold and indifferent to we scarcely know whether to like or her, he is not so to his own honour; dislike, to'love or hate, to suspect or and accordingly sends his law-agent, trust, to pity or condemn, this Mrs Mr Duncan Strahan, to the Manse, to Charlotte Campbell ; and we can rea- bring Mrs Campbell away to his old dily suppose that poor Adam Blair, castle, or hall, or house, or tenement, who knew her in the days of her un- of building, or stone-edifice, or by disturbed happiness and innocence, whatever name more appropriate the but who also knew her indiscretion, places of shelter are called, inhabited levities, and follies, must have felt the by the gentlemen on the banks of Lochpresence of such a woman, in the si- Fyne. She is obliged to obey, and leaves lence of his solitary and widowed the Manse, it need not be said with dwelling. She came to bring comfort what reluctance, and Adam Blair, trouto his afflicted spirit-she loves the bled, irritated, perplexed, and grieved. memory of her he loved-and she, Mrs Campbell and Mr Strahan are who has no children of her own, la- wheeled off in a post-chaise, and vishes the prodigality of a mother's Adam is no more in Paradise. tenderness on the golden locks of little Adam Blair, who has known, from the Sarah Blair, dear to her for the child's brutal, and coarse, and malignant taunts own sweet sake, for that of its dead of Mr Strahan, as well as the whisperparent, and for that, it may be, above ing gossip of the neighbourhood, and, all, of him who has been left desolate. indeed, from the kindly admonition of
Mrs Campbell resides some months an old brother of the Presbytery, that in the Manse; and we are led to ima- Mrs Campbell's visit to the Manse was gine the gradual influence of something deemed oneof
guiltor indiscretion, now like a vague, undetermined,
and un- receives a letter from her, lamenting the conscious attachment
towards her in the separation of such affectionate friends, heart of Adamn Blair, and of a love to and sending her blessing to little Sarah
This letter, from one whose kindness' soends into a remote glen. The parte he had felt alleviating his sorrows, ner of his guilt traces him to a small and who had, he knew, suffered in hut, where she finds him lying on the dignity and dishonour on his account, floor, oppressed with a burning fever, greatly affects him; and, after a few and, in its delirious wanderings, eyedaysof
feverish and disturbed alienation ing her with glaring and reproachful of mind, he suddenly conceives the pur- eyes, and then hiding his face with a pose of going to Vigness, the High- shudder of horror, as if deeply consciland prison, in which he understands ous of his guilt and his ruin. The Charlotte is immured, to assure her of cottagers make a sort of litter of wythes his sympathy for her, under such un-, for the sick and seemingly dying man, just aspersions, and by that kindness and he is conveyed to the Castle of to encourage her to support her seclu- Uigness. sion and imprisonment. We believe For several days Adam Blairlies strugthat this journey of Blair to Uigness, gling between life and death, delirious is considered, very generally, indelicate and raving,--and poor Mrs Campbell or unnatural; and perhaps it is. For keeps watch by his bedside. The fever our own parts, we decidedly thought abates, and he recovers his senses, sb, on its first perusal, and we half with a dim, and indistinct, and waincline to think so still. But, at the vering recollection of his crime, his resame time, although authors must not morse, his illness, and of many sad and be capricious altogether in their books, mournful and terrible things seen or yet men will often be capricious ala imagined there and among the hills. together in their actions. This jour. He thinks that he remembers a vision ney of Adam Blair was certainly nei- of three boats rowing silently, and as ther judicious, nor prudent, nor like a if on some sad occasion, across Loche man of sense, or of the world. But Fyne, and that he heard over the waves we suspect that Adam Blair loved and in the sky mournful music, dirgeCharlotte Campbell better than he like and funereal. Charlotte is dead! ought to have done; and, if so, he And in one of those boats had her corpse might have felt himself suddenly im- been carried across the Loch to the pelled to undertake this very foolish place of burial. She had tended bim and fatal journey by many mixed mo- till the fever shot into her own veins; tives, partly creditable, and partly and poor, frail, erring, unfortunate, pardonable, and wholly natural, which warm-hearted, and beautiful Chara the author, not being a professed me- lotte Bell, or Arden, or Campbell, or taphysician, has not attempted to ana- Blair, was now in her shroud, and the lyse, and perhaps so much the better. turf above her head. This, we think,
However, be his journey to Uigness is one of the most finely conceived in natural or unnatural, no such cavilling cidents to be found in any fiction,-it will apply to the conduct of the in- reminds one of some of the wild things fatuated man in that dreary and lone. in the old dramatists, and confounds some dwelling. Passion, guilt, crime, the heart with a strange and income shame, remorse, and conscious degra- prehensible pathos. dation, now possess his soul. There the Adam Blair, weak and worn out with writer puts forth his strength, easily despair, preyed upon by remorse and and triumphantly, and the heart is grief, conscious that he is guilty before oppressed with an almost miserable God, and for ever lost, fallen, ruined, interest in the fallen man. Driven and degraded before men, leaves Vigby the desperation of guilt, as by a ness in company with old John Max. storm, he is borne off before our eyes well, one of his Elders, (a character into the silence of the desert, and sits admirably sketched,) who had follows down, with horrid and sickening fan. ed him to the Highlands. The Presa cies of suicide in his heart, on a stone, bytery are assembled in the choir of by the margin of a black sullen pool, the Cathedral near Glasgow, to con, in a hollow among the mountains. sider the “ fama clamosa” now loud Charlotte, who has followed him into against him; and Adam Blair, pale, this wild place, stops his steps as he emaciated, and with his young head is about to plunge into the tarn, and made grey with grief, stands up in the after some broken and insane words midst of them, and confesses his guilt. of horror, remorse, and wrath, he He is deposed from his sacred office, flies up the mountain, and then de- another minister chosen in his stead,
and his foot enters not the door of the eight o'clock, to assemble all the family Vanse of Cross-Meikle.
for prayers. That morning the old man, Grief does not often kill. Adam whose common duty this was, did not ven. Blair retires to a small cottage with ture to perform it; but not many minutes suis child, and lives for a good many had elapsed beyond the accustomed hour, years in utter seclusion.His
ere the bell was rung, and all, so soon as
repentince is sincere and profounđ; and
it was heard, entered the parlour with their
Bibles in their hands. When they came peace and tranquillity have again vis in they found that Mr Blair had already sited his heart." His sin, remembered taken his seat, and had the book lying by himself, is almost forgotten by open upon the table before him. Little others; he is pitied, forgiven, and re- Sarah was sitting on her stool close beside ipected ; and the church of Cross- him, and his left hand rested upon her Meikle, being now vacant by the re- shoulder, while the right was occupied in noval of his successor to another pai turning over the leaves of the Bible. The ish, such is the power of his repente child's eyes were red, but she too was com, ince and lowly virtues over the minds posed ; she too was handling her book, and of all in the parish and neighbouring he did not look up when he heard his ser
turning over its leaves. As for Mr Blair, pounds, that a deputation of the Presbytery wait upon him in his cottage, their seats, he uttered his usual prelimi,
vants enter, but as soon as they had taken and solicit him to resume his sacred
nary petition much in his usual manner, profession." He does somonce more and then proceeded to read aloud the lines lives in the Manse, and preaches in the of the 121st Psalm, Kirk of Cross-Meikle, and dies, lea
! I to the hills will lift mine eyes ving behind him a memory stained by From whence doth come mine aid," &c. one great transgression, but redeemed by many useful and unpretending vir- in a tone of serenity and firmness, that fill
ed the hearts of those who heard him with tues. - Such is an outline of the story of tion-surprise at the strength exhibited,
mixed sentiment of surprise and venerathe Life of Adam Blair. Several other and veneration for that deep sway of relicharacters besides him and Charlotte gious feelings, by which, as they rightly Campbell are introduced ; and they judged, such strength in weakness had are depicted with great truth and vi- been produced. They had not witnessed vacity. This writer often shews more the struggle, but they guessed something of a person's character by one happy of what had been ; and they, simple as expression, or one single trait, than an they were, had sense enough and wisdom ordinary writer could do by the most enough to revere the faith which had passelaborate portrait. Mrs Semple of ed through such fires, to come forth puriSemplehaugh, Mr Jamieson, Captain been sung, he read the fourteenth chapter
fied, not tarnished. After the Psalm had Campbell, Duncan Strahan, and old of the Gospel according to St John, and John Maxwell the Elder, are all excel concluded with a prayer, such as none, lent. Indeed the latter is perfect, and most surely, but a sorely chastened heart, equal to any thing in Mackenzie. We could have conceived, although throughout shall now present our readers with a the whole of it there was no express allu. few extracts, which will amply justify sion to the particular situation of the perall that we have said of this very bold, son by whom it was uttered. Once or powerful, and original production. But twice the voice faltered, but he soon recoits charm lies in the continued force of vered himself; and when the service was the stream of passion, and to feel that, over, and an had once more arisen from the book itself must be read. It is a
their knees, I believe the countenance of single volume; and few, we believe, traces of trouble than any other counte,
the young bereaved Minister bore fewer who take it up, will lay it down till
nance in the room, they have come to the beautiful lines
“Even in the house of sorrow, the ordi. of Wordsworth, that give the moral nary matters of life go on, for the most at its close.
part, in their ordinary course ; and I will Let us give three extracts,-one confess, that to me this has always appear describing the griefs of Adam Blaired to be one of the most truly affecting when he was innocent,
-one descri- things in the world. The cloth is laid, the. bing his remorse when guilty,—and meal is prepared, the
bottle is brought up one describing his peace and penitence from the cellar, the family sit around the when restored.
table--all these affairs go on just as duly
the day that the mistress or the master of a " It was the custom of the house, that family is dead, as any other day in the a servant rung a bell every morning at year. Grief, even the sincerest and deep