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ture; serious as any one of those eventually suffer by it. Irving will hundred thousand frightful little sto- now perhaps begin to “ write against ries of ghosts and Italian banditti that time as others do, and destroy hiş appal the midnight milliner,—and own credit with his readers, as others just as worthy of any other reader's have done. Being myself a man of admiration. Except in beauty and no superfluous wealth, I shall certaingrace of language they are not a whit ly reflect maturely before I give foursuperior to an equal number of pages and-twenty shillings for his next torn from the innumerable garbage- work, whatever it may be. And how novels which Paternoster pours upon does the interest of the public suffer? us every publishing week. It is curi- Why in this manner: the author, as I ous enough too, that the author in his may say,defrauds us of the deeper richpreface actually makes a boast of the es of his mind, putting us off with the a sound morality” inculcated by each dross which lies nearest the surface, of his stories ; not by some of them, can be more easily gotten together, observe, but by each of them. Now and more readily delivered over to I beg leave to put the question to Mr. the task-master, his publisher. The Irving,- Where is the 6 sound moraļ tales of a Traveller seem to tell one of the following stories, viz. The more tales than the author would wish Great Unknown, The Hunting Din- to make public,-viz: that Geoffrey ner, The Adventure of my Uncle, Crayon knows something of "The The Adventure of my Aunt, The Art of Bookmaking" beyond the Bold Dragoon, The German Student, mere theory. They bear unequivoThe Mysterious Picture, The Myste- cal marks of having been composed rioys Stranger, i. e. all the stories of for Mr. Murray, and not for the pubPart I, except the last.) Is there one lic. Whilst reading them, I was perof the stories in Part III which con- petually haunted by a singular vision ; tains more
sound morality” than I fancied that I saw the author at his banditti stories generally do? The writing-desk, armed with a goose-quill impression left on my mind by Mr. and other implements of literary husIrving's fascinating description of bandry, whilst the aforesaid eminent these heroic ruffians is rather in fa- bibliopolist stood at his elbow, jingling vour of robbing. I don't know but a purse of sovereigns from which a couthat if I possessed a good villainous ple descended into the author's pouch set of features, and the tact of dress- according as he finished every page of ing myself point device in the rich foolscap. Hasty composition is writand picturesque jackets and breeches” ten in palpable yet invisible letters of these Italian cut-throats, I should on the face of the whole work. The be tempted into the romance of taking subjects chosen are most of them purses amongst the Abruzzi moun- common-place; and the manner of tains, were it for nothing but to pick treating them is not very original. up some of that “sound morality" There is in these yolumes, as I have which Mr. Irving says is to be found said, nothing of that sweet and solemn there. But to be serious : it will be reflection, no traces of that fipe rich very evident to all who read these vein of melancholy meditation, which volumes, that in the two parts I have threw such an air of interest over his specified (i. e. half the book), the first and best work, which infused morality is either evil or exception- such a portion of moral health into able.
the public constitution.* Yes, there I have reason to believe that Mr. is one passage of this nature, and it Irving received a very liberal sum from his publisher for this work; and * It is ungenerous I ackpowledge, but cannot if this be really the case I am sorry help wishing that the authoç of the Sketch Book for it. Should I be asked wherefore?
bad remained a little longer under the pressure of I
that misfortune (whatever it may have been) answer ; that (not to speak of fame)
which seemed to have dictated those pathetic anet it is much to be feared his own inter
deeply-affecting little stories, that form the princiest, as well as that of the public, will
pal charm of his maiden work.
is the best in the whole work. It is honey," cried an Irish captain of drathe description of a wild and reck- goons, “ if it's ghosts you want, you less youth who returns, after many shall have a whole regiment of them. wanderings, to visit the grave of the And since these gentlemen have given only being he had loved on earth, his the adventures of their uncles and mother. Geoffrey Crayon wrote this aunts, faith and I'll even give you a passage. We may perceive, also, chapter out of my own family his. traces of the other end of his pencil tory.” To be sure this officer had the in the humourous Dutch stories which ill-luck to have been born in the same form part IV. of his collection. The country with Burke, Sheridan, and pun has some truth in it which asserts Grattan; he was, it must be confessthat Mr. Irving is at home whenever ed-an Irishman; and it is past doubt he gets among his native scenes and that Irishmen in general can never fellow countrymen. Though even in wholly divest themselves of a certain this part the touches of humour are mellifluous elongation of tone called the fewer and less powerful than of old ; brogue,nor perhaps of a greater breadth faint flashes of that merriment which of pronunciation than our English were wont to set his readers in a roar. nicety of ear can digest ; but although Rip Van Winkle and Sleepy Hollow my experience has lain pretty largely are stories beyond the inspiration of amongst gentlemen of that nation, I Albemarle-street. Of the remaining must in justice say that I never yet Tales in these volumes, the author of met with one whose idiom in any degree Bracebridge-hall may have written approached the plebeian model here some,-and any other “gentleman of brought before us. Mr. Irving judgthe press” (only borrowing Mr. Ir- ing probably from the “ rascal few ving's easiness and grace of language) whom crime or vagabondism, has driven might have written the rest. One or to his country, that common refugium two Americanisms, and a general dearth peccatorum, conceives it necessary to of those peculiar beauties in thought make an Irish gentleman express himand expression which overspread his self like an Irish American ; or performer works, indicate the same neg- haps he has taken Foigard and Macligence and haste which I have re- morris for his beau-ideal. To me, marked as comparatively distinguish- who have kept better company than ing these volumes. At least I had Mr. Irving probably met with in Hirather impute these faults to those berno-America, his delineation of an causes than to a mind worn out, or a Irish gentleman, as we must presume genius broken down. The author every dragoon-officer to be, appears may possibly have written this work offensively unnatural. Being moreat the feet of Fame, not under the over put forth as a general charactereye of Mammon; but if so-Fare- istic description (which, with Mr. well! his occupation's gone! Geof- Irving's seal to it, must necessarily frey Crayon was Mr. Irving, but Mr. have its influence on foreign opinion), Irving is not Geoffrey Crayon. the gentry of that nation cannot but
As to delineation of character, I consider it as an insult and an injustice could scarcely persuade myself that which the ignorance that dictated it he who drew the admirable portrait can alone exeuse. of Master Simon could err so lamenta In the L'Envoy to the Sketch Book bly as our author has, in attempting to Mr. Irving speaks of the contrariety depict several miniatures in the pre- of excellent counsel” which had being sent volumes. A “worthy fox-hunt- given him by his critics. « One kind ing old baronet, tells a most roman- ly advised him to avoid the ľudicrous, tic love-tale, with all the sensibility of another to shun the pathetic.". If the a disciple of Della Crusca, and an offi- turn of an author's genius is to be decer of British dragoons is made to termined from the line of writing speak in the following style, so very which he seems most to indulge, hucharacteristic of that order of gentle- mour is certainly the reigning quality men : "Oh! if it's ghosts you want, of Mr. Irving's mind. Bracebridge
Hall, much and the best part of the Sketch Book ? He would thus please Tales of a Traveller, are written in both parties, instead of neither. the humorous vein. On the other To conclude: it is an usual comhand, if the turn of genius is to be es- plaint with the authors of one popular timated by the felicity of execution, work that their succeeding efforts are we should perhaps say that our au- ungraciously received by the public; thor's forte was the pathetic. But in but the inferiority of the Tales of a truth, the fine melancholy shade which Traveller to Mr. Irving's preceding was thrown over the Sketch Book works is so palpable, that I am sure seems to have been only the effect of he himself must acknowledge the sorrow's passing cloud, -and to have sentence that condemns it as unwor
Could not Mr. Irving thy of his talents to be just. manage to be humorous and pathetic
I am, &c. &c. at the same time, and give us another
past with it.
LET your philosophical contribu- fore their usual rising time, to re-con
tors fix the cause, I content my- and polish the long-balanced funeral self with asserting the fact, that in oration. These were the symptoms every considerable town except Dub- down to half-past seven o'clock; but lin, where I have yet sojourned, prac- lo! at or about that hour, forth rushes tical hoax seems to be the esteemed the town-crier, without a hat, his face relaxation of gentlemen at large of the pale, his looks wild, his gesticulation middle rank, and men of business and vehement, and his voice choked with profession, whose facile method of de precipitancy; and he rings me his spatch, or whose waste time, allows bell at every corner, and endeavours them the primary means for its indul- to pronounce the following:~" By gence. Passing by countless instan- special orders of Mr. Mayor, the funeces of this scientific waggery, which, ral is not to take place till Friday if
you had been as long as I have morning. God save the King !” The been in Ireland, would amuse you, shops were opened, the bells ceased allow me to submit one grand tour il- to toll, and business and bustle prolustrative of the almost desperate ex- ceeded as usual. I went to the public tent to which it can reach. I am reading-room to satisfy myself on this about to mention important facts and extraordinary occurrence.
The Dubdates, and am aware of the authenti- lin mail had not arrived; but the city of which I ought to base my nar- Mayor had received the news by derative; but if my own eyes and ears spatch from the Castle the night bemay serve, they are your warrant in fore, and all was right. It was eight attaching implicit credence to the se- --half-past eight o'clock, and we quel. In one word, I shall not state a heard, at last, the “twanging horn” circumstance which I do not know of of the mail-coach as it drew up at its my own knowledge.
allotted resting-place. Many a wistThus, then, you will easily call to ful eye now peered out of the winmind, that at the death of the ever-to- dows adown the street to reconnoitre be-lamented Princess, now some years the boy, who had been for an hour ago, the day of interment was previ- before placed with his shoulder to the ously understood throughout the Uni- little black wooden pane in the shop ted Kingdom, and every town and vil- window of “the post-office.” He lage proposed to mourn the melan- came at last, pale and breathless, and sholy event on a Wednesday, I be- with an ominous pendency in jawlieve, with closed shops, suspension of for oh! he had held whispering conbusiness, prayers and homilies. I need verse with that important inland pernot remind
that I was then in sonage, the guard of the mail, and his Ireland, partly on your own mission, ear still rung with fearful sounds. and residing in a certain city of Ire- We tore open the papers—the Dublin land. The appointed morn rose on papers of the preceding evening, dethat certain city as on all others, and spatched at eight o'clock, six hours the people duteously attended, or sooner than a Mercury could have left rather began to attend, to the orders. town to be in at one o'clock in judicially issued for its sad observ- the morning, which was the case stat
No shopkeeper unmasked the ed. We tore them open, I say ; our broad and shining face of his shop eyes glanced like electricity to the window ; no petty marketting or cries readings of the different journals, ushered in the day; death-bells were then to the tail of the column, where knelling; the loyal and pious, includ- “ second edition, in good capitals, ing the garrison, proposed to go to di- ought to have been. We did this and vine service ; and all the preachers in more.
We-who ? The magistrates the town had been up two hours be- of the city among the rest, with the
Mayor at their head !-the wise cater- national portraiture, suffer me to preers for public order and decorum! sent you with another feature, which the men of counsel and council !--the may interest. I have met with more “ Daniels—I say the Daniels !” Muse than one profound Munchausen in of Hogarth or of Rabelais! coquet Ireland ; that is, a regular story-teller, with me only for one felicitous instant, who glories in his talent, who has while I try to paint the vacuity of hor- built up to himself much fame and ad. ror, yet redolence of the ridiculous, miration from its repeated exercise, which bespoke the first full suspicion and whose effort is to preșerve his of a hoax, that was no doubt-vil- character by a succession of ridiculous lainously good, but also of a blunder fictions. The king of this race of that was execrably palpable! But I queer mortals is now dead; he abodę dare only to leave this scene to the in the very metropolis ; was the idol imagination. Let it suffice that the of merry meetings in taverns, and at Mayor appealed to his despatch from respectable private houses too : and, the Secretary-produced it—and, to by all I can learn, never had commend the matter, “ lo, 'twas red!", peer. His name was Sweetman What could be done? The town it- i Jack Sweetman.”-Oh! how the self might be managed after a manner bare mention of his name will set poor, ----the crier might make another sortie Scotch's eyes twinkling, and slightly to cause the shops to be shut, and the curve the right line of even Mr. O'Re. customers turned out-the bells night gan's mouth !-As master
Slender easily be set again in motion; but the would observe, however, “ He is dead country districts, the villages six, eight, -Jack Sweetman is dead," and those ten, fifteen miles off! At seven of his unconscious emulators whom I o'clock in the morning the two troops have seen were not your city wags, of horse in garrison had been de- Pure rustic geniuses they; teeming spatched to these several places with with their own original conceptions, orders to suspend the homilies till Fri- and flinging them out and about in day: there was not a trooper left to their own quaint idiom and slippery pursue them with countermanding or- tongue. The picture of the cleverest ders !-and again I inquire, what of them I have encountered, is before could be done ? Nothing but what was me: A comfortable country gentle. done. The day, while all the rest of man, about fifty years of age, tall, the British Empire mourned, the city little fat, a round red shining face, not of and her dependencies waxed at all strongly marked, and no index merry and busy; and when the cloud to his talent, if you should except the had passed from the world beside, sparkle of two small blue eyes, rebelthey had at last their time of exclusive ling against the affectation of gravity
Any comment upon the mo- imposed on his well closed lips. At ral propriety of this hoax might be out his own table, or at any other table, he of season,-certainly would be super- was and is the father of tempestuous fluous. If contemplated to the excess laughter. He knows what is expected it ran, there can be no second opinion from him--and that is everythingas to the delinquency; and in any and without apparent effort he yields view it was most indecorous, and no full and eternal satisfaction. I have doubt you and your readers will call heard him always with amazement, it shocking. But I am strongly led to and, I must own, often with real exciquestion the first case; and with the tation of spirits.' We have no idea of second can have little to do. I only such a man in England. He has told state, as in duty bound, facts, that in my presence, upon four or five oceven in their excesses present to you, casions that I have sat with him, half I think, a trait of national character, a hundred stories at least, no one rewhose demerits at least contain some, sembling the other, and, I have been and a peculiar mental activity-in informed by those who knew him idleness.
long, unlike any that he had ever told And since we have stumbled on before. In fact, during some thirty