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differenced; that if the latter wander ever so little from nature or actual existence, they lose them. selves, and their readers. Their phantoms are lawless; their visions nightmares. They do not create, which implies shaping and consistency. Their imaginations are not active—for to be active is to call something into act and form—but passive, as men in sick dreams. For the super-natural, or something super-added to what we know of nature, they give you the plainly non-natural. And if this were all, and that these mental hallucinations were discoverable only in the treatment of subjects out of nature, or transcending it, the judgment might with some plea be pardoned if it ran riot, and a little wantonised : but even in the describing of real and every-day life, that which is before their eyes, one of these lesser wits shall more deviate from nature-show more of that inconsequence, which has a natural alliance with frenzy,—than a great genius in his “ maddest fits," as Wither somewhere calls them. We appeal to any one that is acquainted with the common run of Lane's novels, -as they existed some twenty or thirty years back, —those scanty intellectual viands of the whole female reading public, till a happier genius arose, and expelled for ever the innutritious phantoms,whether he has not found his brain more “betossed,” his memory more puzzled, his sense of when and where more confounded, among the improbable events, the incoherent incidents, the inconsistent characters, or no-characters, of some third-rate love intrigue-where the persons shall be a Lord Glendamour and a Miss Rivers, and
the scene only alternate between Bath and Bondstreet-a more bewildering dreaminess induced upon him, than he has felt wandering over all the fairy grounds of Spenser. In the productions we refer to, nothing but names and places is familiar ; the persons are neither of this world nor of any other conceivable one ; an endless string of activities without purpose, of purposes destitute of motive:-we meet phantoms in our known walks ; fantasques only christened. In the poet we have names which announce fiction; and we have absolutely no place at all, for the things and persons of the Fairy Queen prate not of their “ whereabout.” But in their inner nature, and the law of their speech and actions, we are at home and upon acquainted ground. The one turns life into a dream; the other to the wildest dreams gives the sobrieties of every day occurrences. By what subtile art of tracing the mental processes it is effected, we are not philosophers enough to explain, but in that wonderful episode of the cave of Mammon, in which the Money God appears first in the lowest form of a miser, is then a worker of metals, and becomes the god of all the treasures of the world ; and has a daughter, Ambition, before whom all the world kneels for favours—with the Hesperian fruit, the waters of Tantalus, with Pilate washing his hands vainly, but not impertinently, in the same stream-that we should be at one moment in the cave of an old hoarder of treasures, at the next at the forge of the Cyclops, in a palace and yet in hell, all at once, with the shifting mutations of the most rambling dream, and our
judgment yet all the time awake, and neither able nor willing to detect the fallacy,- is a proof of that hidden sanity which still guides the poet in the widest seeming-aberrations.
It is not enough to say that the whole episode is a copy of the mind's conceptions in sleep ; it is, in some sort—but what a copy! Let the most romantic of us, that has been entertained all night with the spectacle of some wild and magnificent vision, recombine it in the morning, and try it by his waking judgment. That which appeared so shifting, and yet so coherent, while that faculty was passive, when it comes under cool examination, shall appear so reasonless and so unlinked, that we are ashamed to have been so deluded ; and to have taken, though but in sleep, a monster for a god. But the transitions in this episode are every whit as violent as in the most extravagant dream, and yet the waking judgment ratifies them.
MONG the deaths in our obituary for
this month, I observe with concern" At his cottage on the Bath road, Captain Jackson.”
The name and attribution are common enough ; but a feeling like reproach persuades me, that this could have been no other in fact than my dear old friend, who some fiveand-twenty years ago rented a tenement, which he was pleased to dignify with the appellation here used, about a mile from Westbourn Green. Alack, how good men, and the good turns they do us, slide out of memory, and are recalled but by the surprise of some such sad momento as that which now lies before us !
He whom I mean was a retired half-pay officer, with a wife and two grown-up daughters, whom he maintained with the port and notions of gentlewomen upon that slender professional allowance. Comely girls they were too.
And was I in danger of forgetting this man ?his cheerful suppers—the noble tone of hospitality, when first you set your foot in the cottage--the
anxious ministerings about you, where little or nothing (God knows) was to be ministered.Althea's horn in a poor platter—the power of selfenchantment, by which, in his magnificent wishes to entertain you, he multiplied his means to bounties.
You saw with your bodily eyes indeed what seemed a bare scrag—cold savings from the foregone meal-remnant hardly sufficient to send a mendicant from the door contented. But in the copious will—the revelling imagination of your host—the “mind, the mind, Master Shallow,” whole beeves were spread before you-hecatombs -no end appeared to the profusion.
It was the widow's cruse—the loaves and fishes; carving could not lessen nor helping diminish itthe stamina were left-the elemental bone still flourished, divested of its accidents.
“Let us live while we can," methinks I hear the open-handed creature exclaim; “while we have, let us not want," "here is plenty left ; ” “ want for not ng”-with many more such hospitable sayings, the spurs of appetite, and old concomitants of smoking boards, and feast-oppressed charges. Then sliding a slender ratio of Single Gloucester upon his wife's plate, or the daughters', he would convey the remanent rind into his own, with a merry quirk of “the nearer the bone,” &c., and declaring that he universally preferred the outside. For we had our table distinctions, you are to know, and some of us in a manner sate above the salt. None but his guest or guests dreamed of tasting flesh luxuries at night,