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his attention may be carried out to the far horizon, from the very edge of which, as it seems, shoot some faint trillings, superseded anon by notes heard with more distinctness in the middle distance, which give place as quickly to others startling him again at his very ears--the while, bis attention thus fatigued, a slumberous charm creeps over him, and he is prepared for a happy sleep. Even age with it's infirmities derives a dim foretaste of beatitude from the look of nature ; but the misfortune 1 allude to admits not of such consolation; mean as it is in it's character, it nevertheless paralyzes the mind, haunting it unceasingly with notions of self-abasement-it is the inisery of being in debt!' p. 30-32.
But this very misery arises from the denying contrivances • of selfish men,' which interfere in the course of this very plea. sant world, disturbing the sensations and marring the luxuries, 'visual and otherwise,' of the very pleasant fellows who love to play their discountenanced pranks' up and down in it. In other words, the being in debt would be a small matter, were it not for the illiberal notions of the money scrapers, who are rude enough to remind poets and gentlemen of their forgotten obligations, and to insist, sometimes peremptorily, upon matters of mere honesty. “Alas !' says our Author, and our readers will coincide in the sentiment, if not in its designed application, there is only one part out of tune of nature's music, and that is man; and dreadfully, to be sure, does he contrive to spoil the harmony! p. 6.
But to our tale. Altham is a 'spirit of this bigh poetical order of sensationists : his character is, we apprehend, designed to embody the beau idéal of the sect, on wbich account we are glad to notice that he is represented as a married man, fond of his wife and children. He falls in love with a beautiful young lady whom he meets with one night at the theatre; the progress and consummation of their intimacy occupy the first three chapters of the Tale. When they had been married about a year, it happened that they were invited to spend the evening at the house of a friend, in company with a Mr. Simpson, a Methodist, with whom Frank Altham has some unpleasant altercation. This simple circumstance is the unsuspected cause of overwhelming misfortunes. In consequence of the failure of the merchant who had been entrusted with the whole of bis little property, Altham is left dependent on the salary he enjoys as secretary to lord Avon ; this reverse, which compels him
only to make retrencbments, lie bears with manly fortitude, and his wife displays on the occasion the most exemplary nobleness of mind. Lord Avon is, however, kiled by a fall from his horse, and his brother, the heir to the title, who at first appears disposed to treat Altham with every mark of copsideration, gives him an abrupt dismissal. For this, it afterwards appears, he is indebted to the calumnious representations of his character given by Simpson, with whom his lordship, being himself a Calvinistic fanatic, was accustomed to associate. In this emergency, Altham, by the assistance of his father-in-law, opens a music shop, but the flattering success he at first obtains is of short duration. His customers suddenly fell off. He called upon them, but they avoided bim. • There was a blight upon him.' He sold his stock at last, to pay his creditors, and with a faint heart resolved to divert his exertions into some other channel. A day-school is his next resource, and in this, the same temporary prosperity is succeeded by the same sudden and mysterious reverse : he seemed to strive against what seemed an uncontrolable fatality. Reduced to the greatest distress, his goods are at length seized for arrears of taxes, and himself is arrested and sent to jail for debt. All this is the work of Simpson, who under the terrors of approaching death, confesses to Altham's friend, that in consequence of the unfortunate argument he had with our hero, he had persecuted bim with insatiable malice, spreading among all his connexions the report that he was an atheist, and had made a compact with the devil. At the same time that this mystery is cleared up, and that his friend Marriott, who had been absent from town at the time of his arrest, procures his discharge from prison, a sealed packet from the trustee who had defrauded him of his property, announces the repair of the merchant's fortunes, and restores Altham to independence, his house at Hampstead, and his incomparable wife.
The chief fault of the tale as a tale, is the gross absurdity of what we must call the plot. We do not allude to the character of Simpson merely, wbich is unnatural from the necessity of the case, but to the supposed effects which his calumnies are represented to have taken in every instance, so as to ruin Altham's business and character. Such a case could never in possibility have occurred in the present state of society. But upon the incidents of the tale, the Author has bestowed a very subordinate attention, his object being rather the illustration of character, and of the skill he displays in this part of the fiction, our readers will judge from the following specimen.
• Lord Avon was a man of high and ancient descent, and was strongly fenced round with the most unbending aristocratical notions ; in spite of which he had for some years been a Calvinist, holding constant communion with many vulgar and intolerant persons of that sect. He was constitutionally ailing, and theretore gloomy; and it was unfortunate for him, that instead of meeting with some cheerful and philosophical physician, who would have told him that the phan. toms of his mind originated in bodily disorder, which might be removed by diet, exercise, and medicine, he fell, or rather was led
by his fears, into the toils of a crew of fanatics who endeavour to propitiate the Almighty by blaspheming and thinking ill of him. His case was something like that of the unhappy poet Cowper.
Though these people had managed to inoculate Lord Avon with their opinions, they could not vulgarise his appearance, nor taint his conversation with any of their cant phrases ; he was still a gentleman. His portrait may thus be given :
• He was something above the age of thirty; tall, thin, and pale. His features, which were large, stood at a kind of ceremonious distance from each other on his face; there was not that appearance of proportion which you see in the countenances of cheerful persons, but the materials seemed spread beyond the strength of their substance, and an air of coldness and despondency was the effect. His utterance was measured and feeble, though not at all like the languishing affectation of his sect ; nothing about him was of the conventicle, except his opinions.--but these were burnt into him.
• The Rev. Mr. Driver, who has been alluded to in previous parts of this narrative, was altogether made up of affectation. I question if he believed in the doctrines with which he had been successful in ensparing the weak minds of Lord Avon and Simpson. He was genuine in nothing but his love of tippling; and even this did not appear in his person as it did in poor Simpson's. There was in him a singular expression of cunning, derived chiefly from the formation of his lips, which were very thin; and he had moreover a habit of compressing them so strongly together, that his mouth looked like a wiry line drawn tightly across his countenance. His face was pale, but not thin; neither did it look bloated or sottish. The fellow did not think of what he preached, and so kept in tolerable health. His figure had an effeminate fleshiness about it; there was an effeminate cant in the tones of his voice, and a foppish display in his dress.
• The reader, who recollects the description given of Simpson, will immediately perceive that between each of these three men there must ie some points of repulsion. Simpson could not imitate the mincing expressions of Driver, nor could Driver abide Simpson's square cut hair and black striped Manchester waistcoats ; neither would he patronize his disdain of the sex ; but in the fervour of their devotion they had no objection to get drunk together. Then Lord Avon would neither be foppish with the one, nor coarse and ferocious with the other; nor would he drink with either; but on doctrinal points he agreed with them entirely,—was fond of entering into what they call close fellowship in faith," and would assist them in inventing new arguments to prove the original condemnation of all the inhabitants of the earth.' pp. 124–128.
The Author has not left us in doubt, as to what class of religionists he means to charge with holding these sentiments : in Simpson's library, the Tottenham Court Hymns, and the Evangelical Magazine are particularly specified.
Perhaps, we need apologize to our readers for occupying thus much of our pages with such miserable trash; (we have purposely avoided some of the most profane paragraphs ;) but the
aet is, the Writer of the Tale displays talents worthy of being mployed for a better purpose, and slight as the story is, he has Contrived to make it in parts very natural and touching. We lude chiefly to the domestic scenes between Altham and his wife. Even the consummate ignorance which is displayed with respect to every thing connected with religion, is some palciation of the baseness of the representations it is employed to convey. There is no internal evidence that he knows better. The attack upon the Calvinists is not made under the mask of attachment to orthodoxy, or to any mode of Christian profession : it is the coarse, bold, undisguised assault of the infidel, who bates alike the church and the conventicle. Wbether the tale was written to please Altham's friends, or merely for the bookseller--whether the impulse was the want of pence, or the desire of praise, it is just so much the less criininal in its design, as it addresses neither the passions of the lower classes, nor the fears and self-interested prejudices of those in the higber ranks. It will be read, in fact, but by few, and those few it will leave certainly not the better, but not much the worse for the perusal. It is too dull to excite a powerful interest, too unnatural to deceive a person who has the least knowledge of the world. The infidelity and iinpiety which disfigure it, are matter of concern chiefly to the Author bimself, for which he will bave to apswer at another tribunal than ours; but for the sake of what be most values in this world, his literary character, we would caution him agaiost a misapplication of bis talents in future, which will procure him in the end nothing better than the pity of those whom he calumniates, and from every respectable member of society the tribute of contempt.
Art. X. SELECT LITERARY INFORMATION.
Gentlemen and Publishers who have works in the press, will oblige the Conductors of the Eclectic Review, by sending Information (post paid) of the subject, extent, and probable price of such works ; which they may depend upon being communicated to the Public, if consistent with its Plan.
In the Press, a Grammatical Analysis (on a plan perfectly simple and altogether new) of the French, Italian, Spanish, German, the Ancient and Modern Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Syriac Languages, with
Classed Vocabulary; whereby those Languages, may be respectively acquired with facility. By the Rev. Fred. Nolan, Author of an Inquiry into the Integrity of The Greek Vulgate, &c. &c. The Modern Greek will be furnished by Mr. Calbo, a Native of the Ionian Republic, and Public Lecturer on Greek Literature. This work will be handsomely printed in one volume 12mo. and be so constructed as to form a Grammatical Apparatus to Mr. Bagster's Polyglott Bible, now in course of publi. catiou.
It is proposed to publish, by Subscription, a thin 8vo. volume on the Topographical and Monastic Antiquities of St. Neot's and Eynesbury, Hunts, and of St. Neot's, Cornwall; by Mr. Gorham, Fellow of Queen's College, Cambridge. It will be illustrated with 10 Engravings on Copper, and 12 or 15 on Wood. Price, to Subscribers, 8s: Subscriptions received by Lackington and Co.
Mr. Charles Taylor announces fourth edition of Calmet's Dictionary of the Holy Bible, with the “ Fragments,” containing entirely new illustrations of Scripture incidents and expressions, selected from the most authentic bistorians, travellers &c. illustrated by several hundred plates of views, maps, plans, dresses, &c. Calmet's Dictionary is, unquestionably, the most complete work of its kind. It has been the object of emulation to others; but its imitators have either failed in their imitation,-or have depended for their merit on the labours of Calmet,-or
ave sunk into isesteem, and never have obtained authority.
The neces. sary accompaniment of Plates has been too expensive for the means of plagiarists : they have copied; but they could not rival; and, original information they had none.
The approbation of the British Public has been felt beyond the limits of the British Empire; and the American press has reprinted verbatim from our former editions ; it is now, therefore, necessary to maintain the superiority of the London Copy, by combining those improvements which have been suggested by the long and anxious experience of more than twenty years.
The nature of these improvements may be expressed in a few words ;
In the first place, the Dictionary is now complete in one Alphabetical Series, the words contained in the former supplement being incorporated in their proper places. The whole of the Geographical Index, originally a distinct part of the Sacred Geography, forming the fifth volume, consisting entirely of new matter, is also included ; so that, it is presumed, the additions of various kinds will form nearly, if not altogether, one third of the present edition, distinguished from the original, by being inclosed in brackets [ ].
The approbation bestowed on the Illustrations of Scripture, by means of local information derived from the East, has been too general and too lively to be misunderstood. These Fragments have been the source and the support of sundry similar undertakings : they bave furnished extracts without number to periodical publications, and have formed the basis and the body of volumes. They are now revised; and many things are more clearly expressed, in conse