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multitudinous shapes as in the United States. The writers of that country have been repeatedly urged by the praises, or the reproaches, of each other, to the composition of fictions with American materials, upon the plan of the Waverley stories; and every month teems with these romantic creations from the trans-Atlantic press. The writers of these books avow it to be their purpose to communicate to strangers, by living pictures, a knowlege of the manners, habits, characters, and transactions of their countrymen of the present and former time. Brother Jonathan' was no doubt destined by its author to supersede any further attempt in the same department. In this work there are some traces of genius: it abounds with evidence of the author's intimate acquaintance with the people among whom his scenes are laid. He is no common observer of the intricacies of the human mind; and he has had the opportunity of ascertaining, through the errors of his predecessors, the national faults which he had to avoid, and in what manner he would be most likely to satisfy the public expectation. Notwithstanding these advantages, however, his work, as a representation of life, is a failure. In aiming to mark out a striking story, he has produced a plot, in which the incidents are refining upon each other with such rapidity as to fall into confusion, and, consequently, to lose all interest. In endeavoring to exhibit a series of characters, which should bear no resemblance to those of any other author, and to fix upon them the impress of peculiarity, he has created men and women with sentiments and qualities which contradict each other, and even sometimes surprize by the absurdity of their combination. In his descriptions of scenery he shews an acquaintance with nature's grandest works, and proves that he is alive to the sublime impressions which may be received from those examples of her power which are prodigally exhibited in North America. There are a number of detached dialogues, -sketches of character, and descriptions, particularly the pathetic ones, which are wrought with great ability. But the general character of the style is that of exaggeration. The perpetual search for effect, the evident determination to be always striking, even in the current of ordinary narrative, involve the writer in the mistake that he can attain both the one and the other, by imposing on himself and his personages the task of talking only in epigrams. The story is sufficiently intricate, and by no means engaging. The family of Abraham Harwood, a Yankee Presbyterian preacher, are living at Connecticut, and there we are introduced to a mysterious stranger, Jonathan Peters. Walter Harwood, the hero, is a very young boy at the open
ing of the novel, but we soon find him possessed of astonishing powers of observation. His mind is adventurous; and he cannot brook the solitude of home, although his cousin, Edith Cummin, a singularly wild, bewitching Virginian girl, inhabits the same house with him, and is calculated to bind him there with the spell of her mind and beauty.
Walter must seek his fortune: the times are full of trouble; the spirit of revolution is bracing the Americans for the contest which afterwards ensues; the adventurer, under pretence of speculating upon a mercantile situation, proceeds to New York. The journey to that city is the most amusing part of the tale. Walter having arrived at the inn, throws himself on a bed, and is musing in the deepest thought, when in comes the waiter:
"Well! if that ain't what I call pootty consider'ble hansum, o' you!" quoth somebody, in Walter Harwood's hearing. — He lifted his head, not a little amazed, on perceiving the daylight. — "Halloo!" cried he "who are you? what do you want; hey?"
"Do you take an' sleep in your shoes, mister, pretty ginerally speakin' ?" "Bless my heart!" said our hero; jumping up- staring about and rubbing his eyes; "why!-what- hey? - sure enough. Who the devil are you?. who's been a-dressing me!" Haw! haw! haw! Been a-keepin' it up, I guess-tipsy, a few, yit-if he ain't; why!"
• Walter soon discovered how it was. He had fallen asleep, undressing sound asleep and had been diligently occupied, about four or five hours, in dreaming, that, for the soul of him, tired as he was there was no getting a nap, in that noisy town of New York.
There were some six or eight beds in the same apartment, most of which began to heave in the new sunshine, with unequivocal symptoms of animation. A great bell rang, below; and, immediately, the room was over peopled with prodigious country merchants; teamsters, and odd-looking fellows-among whom were a parcel of retail shopkeepers; - all employed in greasing their wigs turning their cravats tucking in their dirty collars-or coaxing on their torn stockings. He was greatly amused.
Some, he found, wore collars without shirts; a few, to his astonishment, shirts without collars or bodies. Was the cravat very dirty, on one side?—it was turned: on both sides? a new arrangement of the folding was made. Were the collars pretty clean they were worn out out out up to the very temples; as far as they would go, in the shape of a collar: dirty? -they were pulled in reefed-by little and little-inch by inchline by line, till they were extinct. Was the waistcoat without a button? - it was pinned below; and left open, at the breast, with a foppish air of indifference to health, and cold
weather. So, too, if there were any ruffles, or a brooch, to be shown; - every thing-decency-comfort every thing gave way to it. Was the collar quite ragged?—it was turned carelessly down:- was the bottom ragged?- it was turned carefully up. Some two or three had pocket-handkerchiefs - they, of course, were put into their bosoms, or left hanging out, so as to be visible. Some had neither shirt, nor ruffles - brooch, nor waistcoat :- of course their coats were always buttoned, bravely up up to the very chin. All were uncleanly-beastly-combing their long hair with their fingers, and thumbs; sopping their faces, one after another-it made him sick - with a towel ; and, what was worse, with one and the same towel. Only one or two shaved; and, out of six or eight, who made use of the public tooth-brush, only one used it, as if he knew what it was for - and he was laughed at, for his foppery, by all the rest.'
Walter was in love with Edith Cummin, but, unable to resist the temptations of a city, he soon is led to follow other fancies. In process of time, his taste for adventure drives him to take the field in the ranks under Washington. He witnesses, during his short period of military service, nothing but disaster and almost disgrace to the swords of his compatriots; and, after going through as much distress and danger as would make the fortune of any hero in the world, he is finally restored to Edith and his home. This, which is the leading story of the novel, is interwoven with an underplot, which affords some amusing scenes: but, as we before observed, the facts are unnecessarily complicated, and the denouement excites neither surprize nor satisfaction. There is a variety of characters interspersed through the volumes, which demand no particular notice: of these, Bald Eagle is the best drawn; the character of the Yankee Winslow is also well sustained. The work displays a vigorous mind, and an ardent fancy but these advantages are almost neutralized by a degree of affectation that has the effect of distorting almost every thing which it touches.
ART. VIII. Mémoires inédits de Madame la Comtesse de Genlis, pour servir à l'Histoire des dix-huitième et dix-neuvième Siècles. 8vo. A Paris, et Londres, chez Colburn. 1825.
THESE memoirs are to be extended, we understand, to eight volumes, six of which have already made their appearThe whole will form an interesting and, in many respects, a useful piece of biography, although many readers may be inclined to feel that it might have been fairly limited within half the number of tomes which it is destined to occupy.
It may, perhaps, be permitted to a lady who has witnessed the manners of the old court of France, the innovations of the Revolution, and the reforms of the restoration, to be diffuse in her observations, her anecdotes, and her complaints. It is the privilege of age to be garrulous; and one is ready to make many sacrifices of attention to an octogenarian like Madame DE GENLIS, who has so much to tell, and who has the happy faculty of relating all that she knows in the most simple and agreeable manner.
We must regret, indeed, that she has become so much of an author as to condescend to the stale practice, too frequently resorted to for other than literary purposes, of spreading out her volumes by quotations from her published works: assuredly, all these might have been well spared. There are also a vast number of trifling incidents, arising out of private family-dissensions, which have nothing to do with the manners or history of the age, and which good taste and feeling would wish to have been wholly omitted. Though Madame DE GENLIS, it must be owned, generally speaks of those who have injured her in the course of her long and varied life, with a great deal of true Christian charity, yet the world in general is exceedingly indifferent to the details of those little animosities, which merely ruffle the current of domestic life, and demand only a little patience and a seasonable oblivion. Within that sacred sphere the heart should always be like the ocean, ever ready to close upon all that enters it, and to lose, in the first moment of calm, all traces of the storms that pass over it.
The strong and obstinate recollection of her family-irritations, together with her marked peculiarities, which are uniformly and thoroughly feminine, may, however, tend, in many instances, to give a greater air of truth and nature to Madame DE GENLIS's memoirs. She seems to have been exposed to vicissitudes almost from her childhood; and even in her age, it is painful to observe, that she is not wholly relieved from them. She was born near Autun, in Burgundy, on the 25th of January, 1746, and she gives an ample description of her early habits and education. While still very young, she was admitted a canoness of the noble chapter of Alix, with the choice of taking the vows or not, according to the rules of that order, but with the certainty of taking the title of Countess, which it was the privilege of the chapter to confer. She conceived in her childhood a passion for music, which a good voice induced her family to cultivate; and she pursued it with so much success, as to become in her maturity one of the best private performers on the harp in France. Her early taste for the instruction of children, which in after life she carried to so eminent
eminent a degree of perfection, was first displayed in a whimsical manner.
I had a little room beside that of Mademoiselle de Mars, (her governess,) whose chamber had a small door which communicated with the drawing-room; mine opened only into hers; but my window, in front of the château, was not quite five feet from the ground; below the window was a large terrace covered with sand, with a wall breast high, but of great depth on the outside, and extending along a pond, which was only separated from the wall by a narrow road covered with rushes and grass.
The little boys of the village used to come to this spot to play. and gather rushes; I liked to look on as they played, and soon took it into my head to give them lessons, that is to say, to teach them all I knew myself-my catechism, some lines out of Mademoiselle Barbier's tragedies, and what I had by heart of the principles of music. Leaning against the wall of the terrace, I gave them these excellent lessons in the gravest possible manner. I had great difficulty in making them learn to repeat verses, on account of their Burgundy accent, (patois,) but I was patient, and they were docile. My little scholars, ranged along the wall, amidst reeds and rushes, looked up and listened to me with the profoundest attention, for I promised them rewards, which consisted in fruits, sweetmeats, and all sorts of trifles. I went almost every day to my school, getting out of my room by the window, to which I fastened a cord, by means of which I let myself slide down upon the terrace; I was light and active, and I never had a fall. After my school-hours, I came round by one of the courts, and entered my chamber by the dining-room, without being observed. I always selected for these frolics the post-days, while Mademoiselle de Mars was writing to her relations, on which occasions she used to be so entirely absorbed in her despatches, that she did not pay the least attention to what was passing around her; so that I kept my school very peaceably for a long time, and besides, I came back always at an hour when my mother was not in the drawing-room. At last Mademoiselle de Mars caught me one day in the midst of my school, but she gave me no reprimand: however, she laughed so much at the style in which my scholars declaimed the verses of Mademoiselle Barbier, that she disgusted me with my learned functions.'
It was very much the custom in those times for large families to amuse themselves and their friends by theatrical representations, which were either imagined for the occasion, or selected from minor authors. Madame DE GENLIS, from her first initiation in these amusements, excelled in them, and she afterwards turned them to great advantage in the instruction of the illustrious pupils of the house of Orleans, who were committed to her care. She complains, with great justice, of the system of female education which prevailed in her youth, and which unhappily still continues, though not to the same