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finds "his whole life delineated with large, sharp strokes, and a number of bland and general reflections!" We doubt whether there is any such nonsense as this, any where else in the universe.

After this illumination, the first step he takes, with the assent of these oracular sages, is to propose for Theresa, in a long letter. But while waiting for her answer, he is sent by Lothario to visit his sister, to whose care, it appears, poor Mignon had been transferred by Theresa. This sister he takes, of course, for the Countess from whom he had parted so strangely in the castle, and is a little embarrassed at the thought of meeting her. But he discovers on the road that there is another sister; and that she is the very healing angel who had given him the great coat when wounded in the forest, and had haunted his fancy ever since.

"He entered the house; he found himself in the most earnest, and, as he almost felt, the holiest place, which he had ever trod. A pendent dazzling lustre threw its light upon a broad and softly rising stair, which lay before him, and which parted into

two divisions at a turn above. Marble statues and

busts were standing upon pedestals, and arranged in niches; some of them seemed known to him. The impressions of our childhood abide with us, even in their minutest traces. He recognised a Muse which had formerly belonged to his grandfather."

He finds poor Mignon in a wretched state of health-and ascertains that it is a secret passion for him that is preying on her delicate form. In the mean time, and just as his romantic love for Natalia (his fair hostess) has resumed its full sway, she delivers him Theresa's letter of acceptance-very kind and confiding, but warning him not to lay out any of his money, till she can assist and direct him about the investment. This letter perplexes him a little, and he replies, with a bad grace, to the warm congratulations of Natalia -when, just at this moment Lothario's friend steps in most opportunely to inform them, that Theresa had been discovered not to be the daughter of her reputed mother!-and that the bar to her union with Lothario was therefore at an end. Wilhelm affects great magnanimity in resigning her to his prior claims-but is puzzled by the warmth of her late acceptance and still more, when a still more ardent letter arrives, in which she sticks to her last choice, and assures him that "her dream of living with Lothario has wandered far away from her soul;" and the matter seems finally settled, when she comes posthaste in her own person, flies into his arms, and exclaims, (6 My friend-my love-my husband! Yes, for ever thine! amidst the warmest kisses"-and he responds, "O my Theresa!"-and kisses in return. In spite of all this, however, Lothario and his friends come to urge his suit; and, with the true German taste for impossibilities and protracted agonies, the whole party is represented as living together quite quietly and harmoniously for several weeks-none of the parties pressing for a final determination, and all of them occupied, in the interval, with a variety of tasks, duties, and dissertations. At last

the elective affinities prevail. Theresa begins to cool to her new love; and, on condition of Natalia undertaking to comfort Wilhelm, consents to go back to her engagements with Lothario-and the two couples, and some more, are happily united.

This is the ultimate catastrophe—though they who seek it in the book will not get at it quite so easily-there being an infinite variety of other events intermingled or premised. There is the death of poor Mignon-and her musical obsequies in the Hall of the Pastthe arrival of an Italian Marchese, who turns out to be her uncle, and recognises his brother in the old crazy harper, of whom, though he has borne us company all along, we have not had time to take notice-the return of Philina along with a merry cadet of Lothario's house, as sprightly and indecorous as everthe saving of Felix from poisoning, by his drinking out of the bottle instead of the glass and the coming in of the Count, whom Wilhelm had driven into dotage and piety by wearing his clothes-and the fair Countess, who is now discovered to have suffered for years from her momentary lapse in the castle -the picture of her husband having, by a most apt retribution, been pressed so hard to her breast in that stolen embrace, as to give pain at the time, and to afflict her with fears of cancer for very long after! Besides all this, there are the sayings of a very decided and infallible gentleman called Jarno-and his final and not very intelligible admission, that all which our hero had seen in the hall of the castle was "but the relics of a youthful undertaking, in which the greater part of the initiated were once in deep earnest, though all of them now viewed it with a smile."

Many of the passages to which we have now alluded are executed with great talent; and we are very sensible are better worth extracting than many of those we have cited. But it is too late now to change our selections

and we can still less afford to add to them. On the whole, we close the book with some feelings of mollification towards its faults, and a disposition to abate, if possible, some part of the censure we were impelled to bestow on it at the beginning. It improves certainly as it advances-and though nowhere probable, or conversant indeed either with natural or conceivable characters, the inventive powers of the author seem to strengthen by exercise, and come gradually to be less frequently employed on childish or revolting subjects. While we hold out the work therefore as a curious and striking instance of that diversity of national tastes, which makes a writer idolized in one part of polished Europe, who could not be tolerated in another, we would be understood as holding it out as an object rather of wonder than of contempt and though the greater part certainly could not be endured, and indeed could not have been written in England, there are many passages of which any country might reasonably be proud, and which demonstrate, that if taste be local and variable, genius is permanent and universal. >

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(October, 1804.)

The Correspondence of SAMUEL RICHARDSON, Author of Pamela, Clarissa, and Sir Charles Grandison; selected from the original Manuscripts bequeathed to his Family. To which are prefixed, a Biographical account of that Author, and Observations on his Writings. By ANNA LETITIA BARBAULD. 6 vols. 8vo. Phillips, London: 1804.

THE public has great reason to be satisfied, we think, with Mrs. Barbauld's share in this publication. She has contributed a very well written Introduction; and she has suppressed about twice as many letters as are now presented to our consideration. Favourably as we are disposed to think of all for which she is directly responsible, the perusal of the whole six volumes has fully convinced us that we are even more indebted to her forbearance than to her bounty.

and of his sitting down, after his adventures are concluded, to give a particular account of them to the public.

There is something rather childish, we think, in all this investigation; and the problem of comparative probability seems to be stated purely for the pleasure of the solution. No reader was ever disturbed, in the middle of an interesting story, by any scruple about the means or the inducements which the narrator may be presumed to have had for telling it. While he is engaged with the story, such an inquiry never suggests itself; and when it is suggested, he recollects that the whole is a fiction, invented by the author for his amusement, and that the best way of communicating it must be that by which he is most interested and least fatigued. To us it appears very obvious, that the first of the three modes, or the author's own narrative, is by far the most eligible; and for this plain reason, that it lays him under much less re

The fair biographer unquestionably possesses very considerable talents, and exercises her powers of writing with singular judgment and propriety. Many of her observations are acute and striking, and several of them very fine and delicate. Yet this is not, perhaps, the general character of her genius; and it must be acknowledged, that she has a tone and manner which is something formal and heavy; that she occasionally delivers trite and obvious truths with the pomp and solemnity of important discoveries, and sometimes at-straint than either of the other two. He can tempts to exalt and magnify her subject by introduce a letter or a story whenever he a very clumsy kind of declamation. With finds it convenient, and can make use of the all those defects, however, we think the life dramatic or conversation style as often as and observations have so much substantial the subject requires it. In epistolary writing merit, that most readers will agree with us there must be a great deal of repetition and in thinking that they are worth much more egotism; and we must submit, as on the than all the rest of the publication. stage, to the intolerable burden of an insipid confidant, with whose admiration of the hero's epistles the reader may not always be disposed to sympathize. There is one species of novel indeed (but only one), to which the epistolary style is peculiarly adapted; that is, the novel, in which the whole interest depends, not upon the adventures, but on the characters of the persons represented, and in which the story is of very subordinate importance, and only serves as an occasion to draw forth the sentiments and feelings of the agents. The Heloise of Rousseau may be considered as the model of this species of writing; and Mrs. Barbauld certainly overlooked this obvious distinction, when she asserted that the author of that extraordinary work is to be reckoned among the imitators of Richardson. In the Heloise, there is scarcely any narrative at all; and the interest may be said to consist altogether in the eloquent expression of fine sentiments and exalted passion. All Richardson's novels, on the other hand, are substantially narrative; and the letters of most of his characters contain little more than a minute journal of the conversations and transactions in which they were successively engaged. The style of Richardson might be perfectly copied, though the

She sets off indeed with a sort of formal dissertation upon novels and romances in general; and, after obligingly recapitulating the whole history of this branch of literature, from the Theagenes and Chariclea of Heliodorus to the Gil Blas and Nouvelle Heloise of modern times, she proceeds to distinguish these performances into three several classes, according to the mode and form of narration adopted by the author. The first, she is pleased to inform us, is the narrative or epic form, in which the whole story is put into the mouth of the author, who is supposed, like the Muse, to know every thing, and is not obliged to give any account of the sources of his information; the second is that in which the hero relates his own adventures; and the third is that of epistolary correspondence, where all the agents in the drama successively narrate the incidents in which they are principally concerned. It was with Richardson, Mrs. Barbauld then informs us, that this last mode of novel writing originated; and she enters into a critical examination of its advantages and disadvantages, and of the comparative probability of a person dispatching a narrative of every interesting incident or conversation in his life to his friends by the post,

epistolary form were to be dropped; but no imitation of the Heloise could be recognised, if it were not in the shape of letters.

During his apprenticeship, he distinguished himself only by exemplary diligence and

After finishing her discourse upon Novels, Mrs. Barbauld proceeds to lay before her readers some account of the life and perform-fidelity; though he informs us, that he even ances of Richardson. The biography is very then enjoyed the correspondence of a gentlescanty, and contains nothing that can be man, of great accomplishments, from whose thought very interesting. He was the son of patronage, if he had lived, he entertained the a joiner in Derbyshire; but always avoided highest expectations. The rest of his worldly mentioning the town in which he was born. history seems to have been pretty nearly that He was intended at first for the church; but of Hogarth's virtuous apprentice. He married his father, finding that the expense of his his master's daughter, and succeeded to his education would be too heavy, at last bound business; extended his wealth and credit by him apprentice to a printer. He never was sobriety, punctuality, and integrity; bought a acquainted with any language but his own. residence in the country; and, though he did From his childhood, he was remarkable for not attain to the supreme dignity of Lord invention, and was famous among his school- Mayor of London, arrived in due time at the fellows for amusing them with tales and respectable situation of Master of the Worstories which he composed extempore, and shipful Company of Stationers. In this course usually rendered, even at that early age, the of obscure prosperity, he appears to have vehicle of some useful moral. He was con- continued till he had passed his fiftieth year, stitutionally shy and bashful; and instead of without giving any intimation of his future mixing with his companions in noisy sports celebrity, and even without appearing to be and exercises, he used to read and converse conscious that he was differently gifted from with the sedate part of the other sex, or assist the other flourishing traders of the metropolis. them in the composition of their love-letters. He says of himself, we observe, in one of The following passage, extracted by Mrs. these letters-"My business, till within these Barbauld from one of the suppressed letters, few years, filled all my time. I had no is more curious and interesting, we think, leisure; nor, being unable to write by a regu than any thing in those that are published. lar plan, knew I that I had so much invention, till I almost accidentally slid into the writing of Pamela. And besides, little did I imagine that any thing I could write would be so kindly received by the world." Of the origin and progress of this first work he has himself left the following authentic account.

society, than in reading to these girls in, it may be, a little back shop, or a mantua-maker's parlour with a brick floor."-p. xl. xli.

"As a bashful and not forward boy, I was an early favourite with all the young women of taste and reading in the neighbourhood. Half a dozen of them, when met to work with their needles, used, when they got a book they liked, and thought I should, to borrow me to read to them; their mothers sometimes with them; and both mothers and daughters used to be pleased with the observations they put me upon making.

"I was not more than thirteen, when three of these young women, unknown to each other, having an high opinion of my taciturnity, revealed to me their love-secrets in order to induce me to give them copies to write after, or correct, for answers to their lovers' letters; nor did any of them ever know that I was the secretary to the others. I have been directed to chide, and even to repulse, when an offence was either taken or given, at the very time that the heart of the chider or repulser was open before me, overflowing with esteem and affection; and the fair repulser, dreading to be taken at her word, directing this word, or that expression, to be softened or changed. One highly gratified with her lover's fervour and vows of everlasting love, has said, when I have asked her direction-I cannot tell you what to write; but (her heart on her lips) you cannot write too kindly. All her fear was only that she should incur slight for her kind-mended it from the pulpit. Mr. Pope said it ness."-Vol. i. Introduction, p, xxxix. xl.

This publication, we are told, which made its first appearance in 1740, was received with a burst of applause. Dr. Sherlock recom

would do more good than volumes of sermons; and another literary oracle declared, that if all other books were to be burnt, Pamela and the Bible should be preserved! Its success was not less brilliant in the world of fashion. "Even at Ranelagh," Mrs. Barbauld assures us, "it was usual for the ladies to hold up the volumes to one another, to show they had got the book that every one was talking of." And, what will appear still more extraordinary, one gentleman declares, that he will give it to his son as soon as he can read, that he may have an early impression of virtue.-After faithfully reciting these and other testimonies of the

We add Mrs. Barbauld's observation on this passage, for the truth of the sentiment it contains, though more inelegantly written than any other sentence in her performance.

"Human nature is human nature in every class; the hopes and the fears, the perplexities and the struggles, of these low-bred girls in probably an obscure village, supplied the future author with those ideas which, by their gradual development, produced the characters of a Clarissa and a Clementina; nor was he probably happier, or amused in a more lively manner, when sitting in his grotto, with a circle of the best informed women in Eng. land about him, who in after times courted his

"Two booksellers, my particular friends, entreated me to write for them a little volume of letters, in a common style, on such subjects as might be of use to those country readers who were unable to indite for themselves. Will it be any harm, said I, in a piece you want to be written so low, if we should instruct them how they should think and act in common cases, as well as indite? They were the more urgent with me to begin the little volume for this hint. I set about it; and, in the progress of it, writing two or three letters to instruct handsome girls, who were obliged to go out to service, as we phrase it, how to avoid the snares that might be laid against their virtue; the above story recurred to my thought: and hence sprung Pamela."-Introd. p. liii.

cious observations upon this popular and original performance. After a slight sketch of the story, she observes,

high estimation in which this work was once held by all ranks of people, Mrs. Barbauld subjoins some very acute and judicious observations both on its literary merits and its moral tendency. We cannot find room for the whole of this critique; but there is so much good sense and propriety in the following passage, that we cannot refrain from inserting it. “So long as Pamela is solely occupied in schemes to escape from her persecutor, her virtuous resistance obtains our unqualified approbation; but from the moment she begins to entertain hopes of marrying him, we admire her guarded prudence, rather than her purity of mind. She has an end in view, an interested end; and we can only consider her as the conscious possessor of a treasure, which she is wisely resolved not to part with but for its just price. Her staying in his house a moment after she found herself at liberty to leave it, was totally unjustifiable: her repentant lover ought to have followed her to her father's cottage, and to have married her from thence. The familiar footing upon which she condescends to live with the odious Jewkes, shows also, that her fear of offending the man she hoped to make her husband, had got the better of her delicacy and just resentment; and the same fear leads her to give up her correspondence with honest Mr. Williams, who had generously sacrificed his interest with his patron in order to effect her deliverance. In real life, we should, at this period, consider Pamela as an interesting girl; but the author savs, she married Mr. B. because he had won her affection: and we are bound, it may be said, to believe an author's own account of his characters. But again, it is quite natural that a girl, who had such a genuine love for virtue, should feel her heart attrac ed to a man who was endeavouring to destroy that virtue? Can a woman value her honour infinitely above her life, and hold in serious detestation every word and look contrary to the nicest purity, and yet be won by those very attempts against her honour to which she expresses so much repugnance? -His attempts were of the grossest nature; and previous to, and during those attempts, he endeav. oured to intimidate her by sternness. He puts on the master too much, to win upon her as the lover. Can affection be kindled by outrage and insult?cence he had procured, and her dignified behaviour Surely, if her passions were capable of being awawhen she first sees her ravisher, after the perpetrakened in his favour, during such a persecution, the tion of his crime! What finer subject could be precircumstance would be capable of an interpretation sented to the painter, than the prison scene, where very little consistent with that delicacy the author she is represented kneeling amidst the gloom and meant to give her. The other alternative is, that horror of that dismal abode; illuminating, as it she married him for were, the dark chamber, her face reclined on her crossed arms, her white garments floating round her in the negligence of woe; Belford contemplating her with respectful commiseration: Or, the scene of calmer but heart-piercing sorrow, in the interview Colonel Morden has with her in her dying mo

"In one instance, however, Clarissa certainly sins against the delicacy of her character, that is, in allowing herself to be made a show of to the loose companions of Lovelace. But, how does her character rise, when we come to the more distressful scenes; the view of her horror, when, deluded by the pretended relations, she re-enters the fatal house; her temporary insanity after the outrage, in which she so affectingly holds up to Lovelace the li

'The gilt coach and dappled Flanders mares.'

Indeed, the excessive humility and gratitude expressed by herself and her parents on her exaltation, shews a regard to rank and riches beyond the just measure of an independent mind. The pious good-ments! She is represented fallen into a slumber, in man Andrews should not have thought his virtuous her elbow-chair, leaning on the widow Lovick, daughter so infinitely beneath her licentious mas- whose left arm is around her neck: one faded ter, who, after all, married her to gratify his own cheek resting on the good woman's bosom, the passions. Introd. pp. lxiii.-lxvi. kindly warmth of which had overspread it with a faintish flush, the other pale and hollow, as if alof the veins contrasting their whiteness, hanging ready iced over by death; her hands, the blueness lifeless before her-the widow's tears dropping unfelt upon her face-Colonel Morden, with his arms folded, gazing on her in silence, her coffin just appearing behind a screen. What admiration, what reverence, does the author inspire us with for the liar nature! innocent sufferer, the sufferings too of such a pecu

66

There is something in virgin purity, to which the imagination willingly pays homage. In all ages. something saintly has been attached to the idea of unblemished chastity; but it was reserved for honour and disgrace, and to throw a splendour Richardson to overcome all circumstances of disaround the violated virgin, more radiant than she possessed in her first bloom. He has drawn the

The first part of this work, which concludes with the marriage of the heroine, was written in three months; and was founded, it seems, on a real story which had been related to Richardson by a gentleman of his acquaintance. It was followed by a second part, confessedly very inferior to the first, and was ridiculed by Fielding in his Joseph Andrews; an offence for which he was never forgiven. Within eight years after the appearance of Pamela, Richardson's reputation may be said to have attained its zenith, by the successive publication of the volumes of his Clarissa. We have great pleasure in laying before our readers a part of Mrs. Barbauld's very judi

"The plot, as we have seen, is simple, and no underplots interfere with the main design-no digressions, no episodes. It is wonderful that, without these helps of common writers, he could support a work of such length. With Clarissa it begins,with Clarissa it ends. We do not come upon unexpected adventures and wonderful recognitions, by quick turns and surprises: We see her fate from afar, as it were through a long avenue, the gradual approach to which, without ever losing sight of the object, has more of simplicity and grandeur than the most cunning labyrinth that can be contrived by

art.

In the approach to the modern country seat, we are made to catch transiently a side-view of it through an opening of the trees, or to burst upon it from a sudden turning in the road; but the old mansion stood full in the eye of the traveller, as he drew near it, contemplating its turrets, which grew larger and more distinct every step that he advanced; and leisurely filling his eye and his imagination with still increasing ideas of its magnificence. As the work advances, the character rises; the distress is deepened; our hearts are torn with pity and indignation; bursts of grief succeed one another, till at length the mind is composed and harmonized with emotions of milder sorrow; we are calmed into resignation, elevated with pious hope, and dismissed glowing with the conscious triumphs of virtue.-Introd. pp. lxxxiii. lxxxiv.

She then makes some excellent remarks on the conduct of the story, and on the characters that enliven it; on that of the heroine, she observes,

triumph of mental chastity; he has drawn it uncontaminated, untarnished, and incapable of mingling with pollution.-The scenes which follow the death of the heroine, exhibit grief in an affecting variety of forms, as it is modified by the characters of different survivors. They run into considerable length, but we have been so deeply interested, that we feel it a relief to have our grief drawn off, as it were, by a variety of sluices, and we are glad not to be dismissed till we have shed tears, even to satiety."-Introd. pp. xciii.-xcvii.

This criticism we think is equally judicious and refined; and we could easily prolong this extract, in a style not at all inferior. With regard to the morality of the work, Mrs. Barbauld is very indignant at the notion of its being intended to exhibit a rare instance of female chastity.

There is little more to be said of the trans

She objects with some reason, to the num-actions or events of Richardson's life. His ber of interviews which Clarissa is represented books were pirated by the Dublin booksellers: to have had with Lovelace after the catas- at which he was very angry, and could obtain trophe; and adds, "If the reader, on casually no redress. He corresponded with a great opening the book, can doubt of any scene be- number of females; and gradually withdrew tween them, whether it passes before or after himself from the fatigues of business to his the outrage, that scene is one too much."- country residence at Parson's Green; where The character of Lovelace, she thinks, is very his life was at last terminated in 1761, by a much of a fancy piece; and affirms, that our stroke of apoplexy, at the age of seventy-two. national manners do not admit of the existence of an original. If he had been placed in France, she observes, and his gallantries directed to married women, it might have been more natural; “but, in England, Lovelace would have been run through the body, long before he had seen the face either of Clarissa or Colonel Morden."

His moral character was in the highest degree exemplary and amiable. He was temperate, industrious, and upright; punctual and honourable in all his dealings; and with a kindness of heart, and a liberality and generosity of disposition, that must have made him a very general favourite, even if he had never acquired any literary distinction.-He had a considerable share of vanity, and was observed to talk more willingly on the subject of his own works than on any other. The lowness of his original situation, and the lateness of his introduction into polite society, had given to his manners a great shyness and reserve; and a consciousness of his awkwardness and his merit together, rendered him somewhat jealous in his intercourse with persons in more conspicuous situations, and made him require more courting and attention, than every one was disposed to pay. He had high notions of parental authority, and does not seem always quite satisfied with the share of veneration which his wife could be prevailed on to show for him. He was particularly partial to the society of females; and lived, indeed, as Mrs. Barbauld has expressed it, in a flower-garden of ladies. Mrs. Barbauld will have it, that this was in the way of his profession as an author; and that he frequented their society to study the female heart, and instruct himself in all the niceties of the female character. From the tenor of the correspondence now before us, however, we are more inclined to believe, with Dr. Johnson, that this par tiality was owing to his love of continual superiority, and that he preferred the conversation of ladies, because they were more lavish of their admiration, and more easily engaged to descant on the perplexities of Sir Charles, or the distresses of Clarissa. His close application to business, and the sedentary habits of a literary life, had materially injured his health: He loved to complain, as most invalids do who have any hope of being

Mrs. Barbauld gives us a copious account of the praise and admiration that poured in upon the author from all quarters, on the publication of this extraordinary work: he was overwhelmed with complimentary letters, messages, and visits. But we are most gratified with the enthusiasm of one of his female correspondents, who tells him that she is very sorry, that he was not a woman, and blest with the means of shining as Clarissa did; for a person capable of drawing such a character, would certainly be able to act in the same manner, if in a like situation!"

After Clarissa, at an interval of about five years, appeared his Sir Charles Grandison. Upon this work, also, Mrs. Barbauld has made many excellent observations, and pointed out both its blemishes and beauties, with a very delicate and discerning hand. Our limits will not permit us to enter upon this disquisition: we add only the following acute paragraph.

man whose study it is to avoid fighting is not quite so likely as another to be the best."

Introd. pp. cxxvii. cxxviii. Besides his great works, Richardson published only a paper in the Rambler (the 97th); an edition of Esop's Fables, with Reflections; and a volume of Familiar Letters for the use of persons in inferior situations. It was this latter work which gave occasion to Pamela: it is excellently adapted to its object, and we think may be of singular use to Mr. Wordsworth and his friends in their great scheme of turning all our poetry into the language of the common people. In this view, we recommend it very earnestly to their consideration.

"Sir Charles, as a Christian, was not to fight a duel; yet he was to be recognised as the finished gentleman, and could not be allowed to want the most essential part of the character, the deportment of a man of honour, courage, and spirit. And, in order to exhibit his spirit and courage, it was necessary to bring them into action by adventures and rencounters. His first appearance is in the rescue of Miss Byron, a meritorious action, but one which must necessarily expose him to a challenge. How must the author untie this knot? He makes him so very good a swordsman, that he is always capable of disarming his adversary without endangering either of their lives. But are a man's principles to depend on the science of his fencing-master? Every one cannot have the skill of Sir Charles; every one cannot be the best swordsman; and the

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