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AN APPROVED MODE OF MAKING A NOVEL.
WRECK a ship, or overturn a coach. Let there be an interesting young woman, with a child in her arms, saved from the perils of drowning, or overthrow. Let her faint; cause her to be carried into the house of a kindhearted old lady, who puts her into a warm bed, and gives her some weak brandy and water. Let the young woman die! Examine her pockets ; find in one, a letter, written to her, probably, by her husband, with the address and signature both torn off; in the other, a curious old thimble, or pencilcase, or locket, or any thing you please, provided it be the only one of its kind in the world. Let the baby smile. Let the old lady vow to bring it up. Let years roll on. Let the babe become a beautiful young woman. Let her hair be auburn ;-her eyes, celestial blue;-her mouth like rubies; her teeth, seed-pearl;-her complexion, transparently delicate;-her cheeks, such as to make roses and lilies wither with envy;-her form, sylph-like; -her step, elastic;—her manners, dignified, yet simple;—and let her be unconscious of her beauty, though she is' beauty's self.'
Let the old lady have kindly instructed her in drawing; and nature in singing; and let her be a proficient in both.
Let a nobleman and his lady come to live in the neighbourhood. Let the lady take a fancy to the beautiful Julietta, or Amoretta, or Heavenlietta, or whatever name you may have selected for her. Let her go to London with the nobleman and his lady. Let their only son, Lord Tenderheart, fall in love with the beautiful Heavenlietta. Let her fall in love with him, but let her fancy he is engaged to another lady. Let him go abroad without having come to any explanation. Let her become pale, and interestingly pensive. Let her go to balls and routes, and make innumerable conquests. Let her dance most beautifully, though she has never learned a step. Let her have masters in French, Music, and Italian. Let her refuse seven or eight offers, some of them unexceptionable ones. Let her go to a masquerade. Let one of her rejected admirers run away with her, and carry her to a dismal looking house in the country. Let her stab him with a pair of scissors. Let him faint from loss of blood. Let her jump out of the window, and run back again to London. Let a duel be fought about it, and let one man be killed. Bring Lord Tenderheart back again. Let there be an eclaircissement. Let them vow eternal love, though Lord T.'s father will not consent to the union on account of the obscurity of Heavenlietta's birth.
Let there be a severe frost, and afterwards a thaw, to make the streets slippery. Let an old gentleman tumble down, and break his leg, or his arm, (it matters not which), and let him be carried to the house where Heavenlietta resides. Let him have a fever, and recover slowly. Let him start when he sees Heavenlietta. Let her be sewing some day with the old-fashioned thimble,or writing with a pencil fastened in the old silver pencil-case, -or dangling the locket between her finger and thumb ;-and let the old gentleman change colour at the sight of the said thimble, or pencil-case, or locket (which ever you choose to select). Let him discover to Heavenlietta, that he is her grandpapa, and the Earl of Eatwater,—that her father is dead,--and that the trinket in question, once belonged to her great-great-grandmother.
Let her confide to him her attachment to Lord Tenderheart, and let the consent of his father be obtained. Let the old lady, who brought up Heavenlietta, be sent for to their wedding. Let the grandpapa be smitten with her charms, and marry her. Let them all be happy!
Let these ingredients be carefully mixed together, with a considerable quantity of honey and sugar ; stuff the whole composition with sentiment, and let your garnish consist of zephyrs' wings, cupids' darts, and other light ornamental trifles, and you will not fail to produce as sweet a novel as one would wish to see on a summer's-day.
CHARADES, BY PROFESSOR PORSON.
In a late number of Blackwood's Magazine “The Devil's Walk,' so long ascribed to Porson, is given to its real authors, Messrs. Southey and Coleridge. The following Charades, which have been also attributed to the Professor's pen, may possibly be in the same predicament.
My First, with more than Quaker pride
At your most solemn duty;
Even though it veil your beauty.
May kindle Cupid's fire;
Would scarce provoke desire.
For your unhappy poet ;
And never let him know it.
My First is the nymph I adore,
The child of a peasant, Rose thought it no shame,
To toil at my First all the day;
My First to my Second gave way.
To that affluent station preferred ;
And she gives all her time to my Third.
A TALE OF REAL LIFE.
LIEUTENANT M- was, unhappily, born of parents who could trace their descent, on both sides, through many ages of illustrious ancestors. Their genealogical tree had its root from some old king of most apocryphal existence, and was adorned with barons, knights, and nobles, who flourished before the conquest. But the family estate was irretrievably encumbered; and their property neither bore any reasonable proportion to their notions of aristocratic grandeur ; nor was at all on a level with the rank which they assumed to themselves among their neighbours. The mind of my poor friend was early imbued with the same haughtiness, and, although the youngest of four brothers, he had no slight opinion of his own dignity and importance. Yet, with many of the faults, he possessed all the virtues which are engendered by ideas of hereditary distinction. He recoiled from every thing illiberal and mean, either in action or in thought; he imbibed, almost with his mother's milk, the nicest sense of honour and generosity. Frank, high-minded, open-hearted, and impetuous, he scorned all falsehood and dissimulation, as unworthy, not only of himself, but of those of his race who went before him. Family pride was with him an additional incentive to rectitude of conduct.
But he had a fortune to make in the world; and, by an unlucky fatality, he was not merely disinclined to flatter or conciliate any created being under heaven, but he was too often disposed to look down upon those who were both able and willing to do him service.
Another misfortune of his life was that, he early loved, and was beloved, by a beautiful girl, without either family or wealth. Love laughs at the idle distinctions of society; and he married her, after a severe struggle between his pride and his affection. But the connexion was an offence which his family never could forgive, and he quarrelled with them for ever. The same pride which had yielded with reluctance to a stronger passion, now taught him to support the object of his choice by a marked, exclusive, and almost idolatrous regard.
A small sum of money, which had been left to him by an uncle, was soon dissipated, by the warm and too liberal hospitality of the youthful pair. Ignorant of its value, and careless of its expense, they hardly knew that it was diminished before they had wasted it almost to the last guinea. My friend, on this emergency, placed his wife, and an infant daughter, under the care of one of her relatives; and, impressed with the haughty belief, that the army was the only profession for a gentleman, sought and obtained a commission in a regiment which was on the eve of sailing for Walcheren, In that ill-fated expedition he caught a fever, from which he never afterwards entirely recovered. His health, however, was so far restored, that he was enabled to serve gallantly throughout the war: and his reward was, that when his regiment was paid off at the end of it, he had nothing to subsist upon but the half-pay of a lieutenant.
His wife, in the meantime, harrassed with perpetual fears respecting his safety, and feeling herself a burthen to her friends, had sunk beneath the pressure of unremitting anxiety, and died of premature old age. A daughter now only remained to Lieutenant M- the representative, and so far as extreme youth can resemble maturity of loveliness, the counterpart of her mother, at the time when he first beheld, and too sincerely loved her.
For this child therefore, as was natural, he felt all the pride, and lavished on her all the fondness, of a father.
But here again the early notions which he had acquired were the ruin of his happiness. Her education was pursued in a style according rather with the imaginary dignity of his ancestors, than the reality of his situation, and the scantiness of his pecuniary means. He placed her at a fashionable school; for the daughter of Lieutenant M must obtain, at any price, however enormous, all the useful knowledge, all the elegant accomplishments, which could fit her to adorn that sphere of society in which the ancient rank of her family entitled her to move. The consequence was, therefore, that, although he spent little or nothing upon himself, he became involved in increasing debt, and inextricable embarrassments. To what quarter should he turn for assistance ? Although his wife was dead, he scorned a reconciliation with those who had offended her whilst living. Nor had his own relatives the power, any more than the disposition, to relieve him from his distresses. His brothers, brought up with the same notions, steeped like himself in family pride, and high ideas of their consequence, and the lustre which was reflected upon them by the great names which flourished in their domestic annals, had followed almost the same course, and were plunged in difficulties almost equal to his own.
He tried his only remaining chance. He came to London, and offered his military services to the commander-in-chief, in any climate, and in any employment, where they could be required. But he had little interest, and every vacancy was supplied. Still, however, no actual, no absolute refusal was returned to his application; he lived from week to week in the sickening misery of hope deferred,' and that melancholy and wasting hope was to close in final disappointment.
It was at this period that my acquaintance with him was most intimate, and I could not but guess at his circumstances from his appearance. How was he changed from the gay, gallant young man, whom I had known not many years before! If age is to be reckoned simply by the number of years which have passed over our heads, he was still in the prime of life; he could not have reached his fortieth birth-day. But his face was furrowed by care, his figure was emaciated by disease; his form was bowed by infirmities, and the hand of death was evidently upon him. It is very difficult to be admitted to the confidence of such a man. I long attempted it in vain; I spoke to him frankly, I wished to speak to him kindly; but he replied only by cool and general answers. There was, at times, indeed, a gloomy sternness in his manner which precluded any further conversation on subjects immediately interesting to himself. Above all things he shrunk from condolence, as if it carried with it, on the part of him who expressed it, something of superiority and condescension. It was a considerable time before I was informed of the place of his abode. His high spirit yielded at length, not to his personal necessities, but to his anxiety for his child; and he sent for me, on her account, when the illness, which had always hung about him, had increased so alarmingly as to confine him to his bed; and he felt, with a cold shudder as he reflected on her destitute situation, that he had not long to live.
I found him on the second floor of a decent house in London, in one of the streets which lead from the Strand down to the river. There was little furniture in the room, and it had altogether the appearance of indigent gentility. When I mentioned my hope that he would soon find himself better, he
shook his head with a languid smile, of which the sad and peculiar expression can never be effaced from my remembrance. He then requested me to sit down by his bed-side, and spoke at some length, in a faltering and hurried tone, without interruption, but not without apparent difficulty. The topics which he felt obliged to introduce, were evidently disagreeable to him, and his words as nearly as I can recollect, were as follows:
I shall make no apology, my dear sir, for asking you to pay me this visit, nor even for the troublesome office which I am about to impose on you. The confidence which I repose in you is the best proof of my friendship and esteem for you; and the worthiest reward which you could receive for your kindness, will be the reflection, that you have done a service in their need to a dying father and a desolate child. But, I must be more explicit: it will be necessary to recur to some painful circumstances which have lately happened, in order to excuse myself in my own eyes, if not in yours. You know that I was never rich, but you can hardly know to what a degree I have been embarrassed and distressed; you can hardly know what privations I have undergone, and what anguish of soul I have endured. My endeavours to obtain a commission in any regiment have been completely frustrated. But their success or failure is now of little consequence. My campaigns are over; I have fought my last battle with Disease; and it has vanquished me. Death must soon lay me low; and for myself I care not how soon! I bow with resignation to the will of Heaven! This dispensation, indeed, is the least part of my regret. My life has not been so happy that I should look with dread upon the loss of it.
• But I have a daughter; I need not say how entirely I have loved her. It would be idle to relate to you, what I have done and suffered for her sake. But take two instances at once of my affection and my distresses. Almost the whole amount of my pay has gone for the last three years to the charge of her education. I have lived, I can hardly tell you how. It is enough that I have contracted many debts, and that whatever was about my person, my watch, my rings, even part of my clothes, have been sold. Two things only remained-my wife's picture, and my sword. I still keep, indeed, the features of my poor Julia ; but I have parted with the gold and jewels which surrounded them, in those younger and prouder days, when I first received the gift from her hands; and thought, in the fondness of my admiration, how little the miniature could express the beauty of the original. But why should I trouble you with such recollections as these ? How strange is it, that they should come across me even at this moment;-how strange that they should have power to console and to revive !-Yet so it is. But I beg your pardon. I will now proceed :
• My sword was now the only possession which I had saved amid the shipwreck of my fortunes ;-my sword, which I had ever imagined would only be wrested from me at the latest moment of my existence. But integrity, sir, is a nobler feeling than obstinate haughtiness ;-I neither could, nor would, live here without paying for my lodgings. This, then, was the only alternative. There is an actor, and a celebrated one, who lives on the first floor; he is, I firmly believe, as generous a man as ever figured in any profession. He had often made me offers of pecuniary assistance, but I had uniformly rejected them. At last, he pretended to have taken a fancy to my sword; he wanted it, he said, as a conspicuous ornament in his first. rate characters, and proposed to give me far more, I am certain, than he conceived it to be worth. I would not accept of the whole amount;—but, my sword is gone. You may smile, perhaps, at the melancholy earnestness