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—such a one as has never been seen before, and will never be seen again—is a hundred times more powerful than M. Hume.
First representation of a great drama, which lasts twenty-four hours without interruption.
November.-Carried away by his ardour, a chasseur pursues a chamois, not only on the plains but also on the mountains, and he in consequence becomes inadvertently placed in a position of considerable danger. (That is to say, on an isolated rock, about as high as the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde.)
An ambassador arrives at Paris from the Niam-Niams, to inquire of the most skilful
surgeons if there are no means of amputating the monkey-tails which furnish so much matter of ridicule to the journalists of Europe. (For Europe read France.)
Invention, by one of the most skilful dancers of the capital, of a new dance, which is performed with the eyes bandaged.
Chimney machinists make their appearance in Paris, to the discomfiture of the Auvergnat sweeps.
Another incident of “haute vénerie !” A chasseur finds himself pursued by a stag which he had undertaken to capture.
December.-Notwithstanding " les grands froids,", a master-swimmer astonishes the multitude by floating under the Pont-Royal.
The first notifications of concerts for the season appear on the walls of Paris, and spread desolation throughout the city. Many take advantage of the cir. cumstance as a pretext to enable them to escape to the country, and thus avoid having to make the usual New-Year's gifts.
Grand meeting of landlords in Paris. They come to the unanimous decision that in future it shall be to them, and not to the porters, that New-Year's gifts shall be made by the tenants and lodgers, as shall also be the case in the in. stance of the denier à Dieu and the Christmas log.
Happy Parisians! they must have attained the very confines of the millennium ! With the exception of that very old and oft-repeated complaint regarding “ étrennes,” they do not appear to have a care to vex them, and if we are to judge by the prophecies for the ensuing year, there is nothing before them but sunshine and merriment-another interval of three hundred and sixty days, with nothing to do but laugh at the little social oddities and mishaps appertaining to themselves and their good friends and neighbours—the wolf-like nation with the prominent teeth!
MR. THORNBURY'S “EVERY MAN HIS OWN
It appears to have become an established rule among the working bees of literature, that every young and rising author should produce what the Germans would call his “Meisterstück,” in the shape of a novel, before he can lay claim to a recognised position as a Master of the Guild. Mr. Thornbury, already favourably known as a truthful and modest critic in art matters, has obeyed the custom of the profession, and has at length furnished a specimen of his literary and inventive powers in the shape of a threevolume novel. Not satisfied, however, with accomplishing this feat, he has ventured to enter the lists against Dumas the inimitable, and has laid the scene of his story in the period of Louis XIV. Comparisons are at all times odious, and, in this instance, so closely has Mr. Thornbury followed the model, that the reader involuntarily fancies he must have read it all before. We cannot, therefore, award this novel higher praise than by stating that it resembles a first-rate translation, in which none of the original spirit has been lost during the process. But when this feeling has been overcome, and we sit down calmly to judge the merits of Mr. Thornbury's novel by the standard he has himself set up, we can only regret that he has undertaken so daring a task, for Dumas is, after all, unapproachable, and we can detect traces through the story which seem
show that Mr. Thornbury arrived at the same opinion when too late. There is such a wonderful reality in Dumas, such an aptitude in adapting historical incidents to the purposes of romance, and such happy audacity in ignoring everything that runs counter to his plan, that we demand from any imitator more than he has the power to effect. Hence, then, Mr. Thornbury has injured his own success by aiming too high, and while allowing him great talent and a certain cleverness in displaying his varied reading, we miss something in the story which was necessary to the perfection of an historical romance. What that indefinable something is we are not prepared to say, but the fact remains the same. Perhaps it may
be a want of vitality, and a misty impression that, however vivid the colouring may be, the characters are not real flesh and blood. This is, however, a speculation on our part, and many readers may form a different opinion : we only describe the feeling which affected ourselves on the first perusal of the work—that the story was overlaid by carpentry and stage effect, and that while the descriptions were excellent and faithful, they only distracted our attention from the characters who appeared on the stage. Taken for all in all, however, we have rarely to record so successful a first appearance as that of Mr. Thornbury as a novelist, and we feel sure that the defects we have felt it our duty to point out will disappear with ripened experience. In his poetry, Mr. Thornbury has always evinced a tendency for rich and bright colouring, and his efforts are never so happy as when he has to describe the gallant exploits of the long-haired, feather-brained Cavaliers. That period of our history
* Every Man his own Trumpeter. By G. W. Thornbury. Hurst and Blackett.
is evidently the object of his favourite study, and we therefore regret that, after having illustrated it so well in very harmonious verse, he had not laid the scene of his novel in our own country. In such a way he would have avoided any involuntary imitation, and we do not think the incidents of the Stuart era have been so rifled as to pi
ent another novel on that interesting epoch being written. With Mr. Thornbury's undoubted ability, he could have produced a novel far more attractive to his readers, and, better still, would have had the field to himself.
The story of "Every Man his own Trumpeter" is written in the form of an autobiography, and is extremely simple. At the outset we find a young Gascon gentleman, Cæsar de Mirabel (no relation of his namesake in the “ Inconstant”), setting out, like a certain M. d'Artagnan, to make his fortune by his sword in Paris. He receives an appointment immediately on his arrival, and indulges in all the wild revelry of the Musketeers of the Guard. He has the misfortune, however, to incur the hatred of one of his fellow-officers, M. Lazare, who is notorious as a duellist, and whom the hero challenges to show his pluck. Of course he comes off triumphant, and his sword breaking short as he stabs Lazare, leads to the suspicion that he wears secret armour, and on examination this is found to be the fact. Now this is a very effective incident, but, unfortunately, it has already served Mr. Lever in good stead. After this our hero calls on his uncle, the Abbé de Bellerose, a good-tempered, selfish bon vivant, with whom is staying his niece, Aurore, who is destined for a convent, but naturally falls in love with the young Mangeur de Ceurs. At a masked ball he protects her from an insult offered her by the omnipotent D'Argenson, who rewards his interference by sending him to the Bastille. The description of this prison is very vividly written, and there is really much valuable historical information, but the incidents bear a suspicious resemblance to the prison scenes in Dumas's “Regent's Daughter." There is the same mode of communication among the prisoners, the same employment of spies to worm out their secrets; but there is certainly great originality in the way our hero escapes from prison, disguised as a pastrycook's lad, after the governor and his guests have been stupified by the help of an Italian quack, who is also a prisoner. Mirabel, with his friend, young Bellerose, seeks shelter at the house of the abbé, who exerts his court influence to procure them a pardon. This is effected by means of Madame de Maintenon, who extorts a promise from the young lover that he will do nothing to prevent Aurore entering the convent. He is then appointed to the Blue Musketeers, and the regiment soon after sets out for the seat of war in the Tyrol. Before leaving, however, Mirabel has an opportunity of meeting all the wits and authors of Paris at the house of the abbé, and the conversation that goes on among them is described with much effect and careful study of the best authorities. In fact, it is just like reading that chapter of the “ Vicomte de Bragelonne,” in which Fouquet gives a supper to the poets, and we are afraid we must give the preference to the latter. But these unlucky comparisons beset us at every turn, all through Mr. Thornbury's choice of a subject, in the proper treatment of which they could not but spring up. The campaign gives our author many opportunities for dashing descriptions of camp life and bold exploits, but they all sin in one respect-they
are spun out to too great a length. The vigour of a cavalry charge must be compressed into as small a compass as possible; the description should gallop as fast as the chargers. If it begins to lag the effect is quite destroyed. Still there are many picturesque bits studding the pages, and here and there we come to a passage that stirs the heart like the sound of a trumpet. The hero, however, soon gets into trouble by renewing his friendship with his old enemy, Lazare, who is striving to undermine him, and works him ill in every way. Mirabel behaves most gallantly in the destruction of a mill occupied by the enemy, and is then detached by his colonel to undertake the defence of St. Damian, a town menaced by the Camisards. Here, of course, he performs the most marvellous achievements, but, after an heroic defence, want of food and the
express authority of his colonel force a surrender upon him. The colonel has been killed by the machinations of Lazare when coming to the relief of the beleaguered town. The discovery of the colonel's body is written in Mr. Thornbury's happiest style, and we will therefore extract it as a specimen brick:
"It was the colonel ‘now or never' dead, with his face to heaven, and all his wounds upon his breast ; his helmet was half off, the hollow full of rain water. Clinging to him and quite dead, as if he had been trying to defend his body from insult, lay a pretty boy—the colonel's pet, as we used to call him. Some said he was his son ; he used to write his letters and amuse him at leisure moments. There he lay, his pale cheek resting against the colonel's broad breast ; his yellow curls stiff with blood. You might have thought the colonel sleeping, for the heavy eyelids and firm, sullen mouth wore no expression of pain, His death was a pistolshot in the right temple, the blue orifice of which could be seen when we turned the brave man's head, which the men did with hasty awe, as if dreading he would awake with some rough reprimand. It must have been a dreadful struggle before he died, for the sand hollow where he lay was churned and trodden into a pit with the scuffle of eddies of horsemen, the dark marks of hoofs all concentrating in one central whirlpool, where the colonel still lay. From scraps of the regimental colours being still clutched in his stiff, stone-cold hands, and being scattered here and there upon the yellow dust-heaps of the sand, or the bloody mire and groundheaps of the turf, where it was most splashed and ridden, we conjectured that it was in a fierce contest for the trophy of the colours that the brave soldier had died. His white lappels were black and scorched with powder, his sword-sheath lay bent and broken under him, his high boots were cut as if with downward strokes of his adversaries' sabres that had missed him, or that he had parried. His breast was studded with gashes and stabs; his breastplate was miry and dented, and scratched with sword strokes ; his left hand was gashed and bloody; his right still held the handle of a broken sword so firmly that we could not detach it without violence; his great flap-waistcoat was stripped of its gold lace. As for the poor boy, he was completely cloven by a stroke that had swept through his collarbone down to his lungs.”
From this point the story moves on with gigantic strides; and we need not stop to tell how virtue is eventually triumphant, while Lazare is struck by lightning while crossing swords with Mirabel. All, of course, terminates happily at the end of the third volume, and we feel sorry
the story is finished. It is one of those books which it is impossible to lay down when you have commenced the perusal; and, although we have felt it our duty to point out the difficulties against which Mr. Thornbury has had to contend, we consider his novel one of the best the season has produced. More satisfactory is the impression it leaves upon us, that Mr. Thornbury is capable of still greater things, and we think he may be reckoned among the novelists of his day who will meet with more than ephemeral success.
The fact that we have devoted so large a space to our analysis of a novel is a sufficient guarantee of the estimation is which we hold it.
THE ORPHAN'S DREAM.
BY J. E. CARPENTER.
We laid him, weeping, on his couch,
But when he slept he smiled,
Looked sweetly on her child;
His little hands had striven
“Oh! will she never come again ?"
He asked us, broken-hearted,
For then we are not parted.”
In vain we told him she had fled
Away from worldly care,
Had now her dwelling there;
His eye no more seemed beaming,
One morn we came, he spoke not then,
We saw, half broken-hearted,
They never more were parted.