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and de-humanized nature of a spirit. spirit, he seems to regard as a conWhen our critic is furnished with tradiction in nature. To establish his some better argument on this subject theory, what does our irrefragable ? than pure assertion, it will be then This, videlicet: He taxes his metime enough to think of refuting him. mory with several painful quotaThere is a great deal in this para« tions which indubitably prove that graph, which I do not very well com- the ghost is “ majestical,” that he prehend, and therefore will not at- “ marches,” and “ stalks.” Now I tempt to answer.
believe it is not every reader who, Where the Observationer collected like our friend Horrida, enjoys such his information upon the nature of a very happy obliquity of mental spirits, their faculties and attributes, vision as enables him to perceive any I am neither able to conjecture nor necessary connexion between marchsolicitous to inquire. I should be ing or stalking, or being majestical, sorry to drink from the same well. and noise. That must be an inesWhether indeed he has any notion at timable species of logic which is all, popular or philosophical, of the mighty to prove, that because a beings whose properties are the sub- ghost is six feet high, or steps a yard ject of his essay, is a question which wide, he per consequence therefore, his remarks leave more than pro- treads like an elephant in jackboots, blematical. In one place for instance, or an hippopotamus in pattens. But he saith, choosing a mode of expresa such a mode of argument is exactly sion superior (as it were) to all ar- what I should expect from him who gument_“I am yet to learn why a could maintain the principle. What ghost's voice should be so exceed- a pity that ghosts do not walk on allingly thin, airy, and tremulous.” four! What a pity that ghosts wear Again he is altogether heap-struck at neither hoofs nor horse-shoes! What the incomprehensible assertion in the a pity that we cannot have asses to Ghost-player's Guide, that a spirit perform the part of men, as we should be'“ dim, shadowy, and in- sometimes see men perform the part definite ;” nor can he possibly con- of asses! ceive what difference it would make The source of all Signior Horrida's in point of sublimity, though the misconceptions upon the subject of ghost were as tangible and concrete spiritual voice, form, motion, &c. is as King Log in the quagmire, as fa- that from which many a novelist miliar as my friend-by-the-button and romance-writer has drunk behole, or a pet monkey. Gog in Guild wilderment before. In a word, he hall, perhaps, is the Belvedere from confounds a ghost with a dead man. which all his visions of spiritual Were King Hamlet's such a goblin grandeur and magnificence are mo- as Giles Scroggins's probably was delled. A hollow pumpkin on a pole, a corpse put in motion for a time by wide-mouth'd and saucer-eyed, with some infernal method of galvanism, a blazing ember in its teeth, and a then I grant, with his worship, that white sheet for a shroud, seem to it “ should not vary a tittle from the constitute his beau-ideal of a phan- gentleman whom it is destined to retom. The terror of the nursery present.”. But Shakspeare was no Fee-fa-fum, with Master Bold-child's such poetical body-snatcher as friend bug-a-boo Rawhead-and-Bloody- Horrida would make him; his ghosts bones, appear to stand the ne plus ul are spirits, aërial beings, whose attras beyond which his imagination tributes, therefore, must be such as cannot sail a knot, into the sublimer are not inconsistent with an insubworld of spirits. The Observationer stantial material like æther,-viz. is all agog for a noisy ghost. He feeble voice, faint form, and noiseless would have the spirit “ring his iron motion. There is not I believe a heel to the ground” (forgetting, by single description of a ghost to be the bye, that our ghosts are buckram- met with in any great poet, Job, ghosts, and seldom have iron heels to Homer, Virgil, Ossian, &c. in which ring to or on the ground, whichever dimness, shadowiness, and indistinctour critic thinks most grammatical). ness of figure, feebleness, airiness, He is clamorous against a spirit and thinness of voice, do not form the being represented as a “ noiseless prominent characteristics. But I can vapour. A spirit that is, in fact, scarcely be surprised at Signior Horrida's contradicting me on the nature cannon. He is for instance quite of spirits, when he plumply and cir- scandalized at my proposal that the cumstantially gives the lie to Shaks. ghost in Hamlet should put on a papeare himself! In the Closet-scene, noply of “ burnished tin;" when he Hamlet, speaking of the ghost, ex- should recollect, that the ghost's preclaims
sent panoply is buckram, and that my Why look you there! look how it sicals proposal only went to substitute for
a bad article, a better, as the best away.
(" complete steel") has no peg in In Macbeth also
the property-room.' The gentleman Wither'd murder
may, indeed, “ tear the cave where Alarmed by his centinel, the wolf, Echo lies,” if he pleases, making her Whose howl's his watch, thus with his shout for-steel armour! Thus a child stealthy pace,
cries for the moon, and the moon With Tarquin's ravishing sides, towards
looks it full in the face, but comes not his design Moves like a ghost.
an inch the nearer.
The above are the principal “ arYet our critic would have the ghost guments” (such as they be) in the “ ring his iron heel to the ground,' « Observations” deserving of reply, and, in face of the fact, denies that which indeed I should not have trou. Shakspeare ever intended him to bled myself to give, but that I feared “ glide,” or move as a noiseless they might be productive of misvapour! Truly, friend Horrida, you chievous effects upon the Art of must have been walking in a wilder- Ghost-playing, by darkening instead ness when you penned this notable of illuminating the public mind with Essay; no critical buzzard ever fell regard to that important matter. It into such a labyrinth of errors as you is an old saying that “ true nohave, in these your Observations. meaning puzzles more than wit ;”
It is curious enough, and I acknow the proverb is particularly exempliledge less the result of my own pre- fied in Signior Horrida Bella's Essay. caution than of this gentleman's te. His “rivulet of text” carrying with merity, that he does not seriously it such a compost of heterogeneous assault one fortress in the Ghosta materials, has enabled him so to mudplayer's Guide, where a single puff dy the clear state of the question, that of a goose-quill does not blow him on a superficial reader cannot easily see his back, or into the mouth of his own to the bottom of it.
The two most celebrated writers should exist in both, -viz. extraorof this age, Lord Byron and the An- dinary facility of invention as far as thor of Waverley, resemble each respects composition, difficulty of inother not a little in their works. vention as far as respects character. Their respective series of produc- Both authors are about equally retions, from Childe Harold to Don markable for the said power and (if Juan, and from Waverley to Red- we may use the expression) impogauntlet
, though differing essentially tence of mind, in these different proin structure, object, and subject, agree yinces of invention. nevertheless in several particulars. And first, as to composition. The Each series, for example, evinces a prodigal effusion of poetry which, in remarkable qualification of mind in Childe Harold, the Corsair, the its author, and each betrays a re- Giaour, &c. &c. almost overwhelmed markable defect. It is lik
the reading world, is only to be pasingular coincidence, that the same ralleled by the quantity of prose so qualification and the same defect dissolutely expended in the compo
Redgauntlet, a Tale of the Eighteenth Century, by the Author of Waverley. 3 vols. Constable, Edinburgh, 1824. JULY, 1821.
sition of Waverley, Guy Mannering, subject matter of Redgauntlet, or &c. &c. a series to which indeed we The Deformed Transformed (we take can see no probable termination. the last poem and novel respectively), Both the poems and the novels indi- if withdrawn from the mere compocate a fertility of mind in this respect, sition of these two works, would leave amounting to what might be de- their bulk apparently undiminished. signated even a rank luxuriance. Be- A Review in one of our past numbers fore we had eaten down one crop of shows, that of The Deformed Transthis intellectual pasture, another be- formed, the argument might, without gan to tickle our noses, and a third a figure, be truly said to “ lie in a growth shot up whilst our heads nutshell ;" and by a similar analysis were deep in the second. There is we will now briefly demonstrate that here an obvious resemblance between the materiel out of which this threethe two series of works now com- volumed novel, Redgauntlet, is workpared. It would be hard to say ed up, might with the utmost ease whether the Poet or the Novelist be confined within the same very were the greater spendthrift of his limited space. words. Iu both, eloquence is of so The hero, Darsie Latimer, of unplentiful and profluent a nature, that authenticated birth and country, goes it takes the form, and might assume a-fishing towards the Solway; being the name,of-splendid loquacity. The chiefly allured to the borders, by a labour with these authors seems to sacred injunction which prohibits him have been, merely that of transcribing from setting foot upon English ground, from the folds of the brain to the and being moreover permanently kept leaves of their paper. No time or there by a friendly admonition from exertion appears to have been requi- a young lady (Lilias, the heroine) site for conjuring up the little phan- that, if he valued his safety, he should tasmagoria of images which haunt immediately depart from the prethe recesses of the memory; they mises. A fisherman, who afterwards came without whoop or hollow, turns out to be a near relative of his which we, poor scribes ! have to cry own, and withal a great crony of the out several times, to the dull popula- Pretender's (and who, by the bye, tion of our brain, before we can ob- is the efficient hero of the novel), tain any answer. Facility in compo- kidnaps our mock-hero, carries bim sition-and when we say this, we do over the Solway sands in a waggon, not mean fluency without a consider- and shuts him up in an English farmable degree of solidity,-is the qua- house. He is soon after condemned lification in which these two great to petticoats and a side-saddle, being writers chiefly resemble each other, compelled by his Great Unknown perand that perhaps in which they most secutor, the fisherman, to accompany surpass all their cotemporaries; who, him in this wise to another place of by the way, leaving solidity entirely sojourn. He finds himself at length out of the question, are in no wise in a public-house kept by one Father deficient as to this particular of fleet- Crackenthorpe, where he is introness in composition. We allow there duced to Prince Charles Edward, as is much difference between the Sir Arthur Darsie Redgauntlet, the “ weighty bullion” of Childe Harold heir of the family of that name, by or Waverley, and the “ French wire" his uncle (the fisherman aforesaid), into which the small portion of sterl- Hugh Redgauntlet, who is a zealous ing ore forming the real worth of Sar- partizan of the Chevalier's
, and who danapalus or Redgauntlet is drawn; has endeavoured, though without but still, the same ease of language, success, to bring his nephew over to the same wealth of imagery, is every the side of the Royal Wanderer. To where displayed, even in their most attain this latter purpose was our precipitate works, by each writer - fisherman's grand reason for kidnapand with about equal claims on our ping his relative, over whose person admiration.
he is supposed to enjoy a very arbiIt was this qualification which, trary power as guardian, whilst that possessed in the highest degree, young hero remained at the English tempted both (and still tempts one) to side of the Solway. The Crackenwrite down their reputation, by writ- thorpe conspiracy, which comprised ing upon every thing or nothing. The several English and Scottish gentlemen, is however put to the rout by composition, they are both radically, the appearance of “ Black Colin though not perhaps equally, impoCampbell," and the red-coats from tent in the province of character. Carlisle ; the Pretender, with his There is but one character, variously piscatory friend, embarks for Italy; modified by the different circumand—and this is the sum and sub- stances in which it is placed, throughstance of the story.
out all Lord Byron's poems,-that Now we undertake to say, that if of a noble-minded but depraved bethe above paragraph were cut out ing, of fine feelings but irregular pasfrom our page, and rolled up into a sions, more or less satirical and mipaper-pellet, these the solid contents santhropical in his disposition, gloomy, of Redgauntlet would not be found heart-withered, reckless, and irrelito exceed in bulk the kernel of a gious. The Author of Waverley has moderately-sized and sincere Spanish taken a circle of somewhat greater nutshell. By the appendix, it is true, circumference, but within which he we are informed that Lilias, who is just as strictly confined. He has exappears to be a sister of Darsie's, cogitated, or his experience has furwas married to his friend, Alan Fair- nished him with, a certain definite ford, Esquire, a young latitat of number of characters, and these he Edinburgh, who having heard of the plays as he would chess-men, somekidnapping affair, breaks off a maiden times bringing one forward, sometimes cause in the middle, travels a great another, but without the power of inway both by land and sea, interrupts creasing the number of men on the the narrative several times very im- board. pertinently, and creates a great deal Shakspeare, it may be said, has of trouble and confusion, without ac- almost exhausted the kingdom of complishing any thing else that we character; and an author who in the can perceive, throughout his whole present age discovers a new one, existence in these volumes. He serves merits the same honour as an astronoindeed as an apology for a lover to mer who discovers a new planet. We poor Lilias, who is, by the bye, a do not know how this may be, but personage equally superfluous, and certainly the facility with which nearly as interesting as himself. that author invented, and the rigour
Taking these meagre details as his with which he preserved, characters, groundwork, the Author of Waver. shames to nought the powers of the ley has contrived to furnish out three Author of Waverley, which we have very respectable volumes, one and a heard as rashly as triumphantly comhalf of which, indeed, are dedicated pared to Shakspeare's in these parto matters having nothing whatever ticulars. The present volumes, for to do with the main story. He, like instance, develope not a single new his late noble competitor for the crown character. They introduce us to seof fame, in his more recent works veral of our old acquaintances, with
to have depended almost whose faces we are just as familiar wholly on the qualification we no- as with that of the Man in the Moon, ticed above, i. e. the power of write and which have appeared and reing ad infinitum, agreeably, upon any appeared almost as frequently, and or no subject. And to say the truth, to the full as unconcernedly with rehis dependance is seldom altogether spect to all the sublunary dogs that misplaced. Though there may be bark at them, as that celestial phyless power of language, less conden- siognomy. First we have a hero and sation of incident, and less striking heroine of the genuine Waverley imagery, in Redgauntlet and its im- stamp; a pair, like which we hope mediate predecessors, than in Wa- Heaven will never make so many as verley and its immediate successors, the Great Unknown does, or the there is still enough of each, we are world would shortly be peopled with convinced, to save the former portion Albinos. Then follows the old litany of our author's novels for ever from the of characters : a mysterieux, an urpastry-cook and the trunkmaker. chin, a vagrant, a rolicking ne'er-do
But all-powerful as these two well, a human blood-hound, and a great writers may be considered, in “ tedious old fool,"—in the persons the department of eloquence, and of Hugh Redgauntlet, Little Benjie, what may be generally described as Wandering Willie, Nanty Ewart,
Cristal Nixon, and Poor Peter Pee- sure, is to be found, if we rightly bles. Nota Bene: there is no weird remember, in Peregrine Pickle, but or wild woman in the whole story. the copy is worthy to supplant it in The place of a witch is supplied by our memories. It is a draught in a Quaker, Joshua Geddes, whose our author's best manner; and he name is added to the dramatis personæ has, with considerable skill heightenfor the very important purpose of own- ed the simple effect which madness in ing a stake-net on the Solway, but who misery would of itself produce on our nevertheless manages to occupy the feelings, by intermixing the crazy scene and crowd in at curtain-fall, gravity of Poor Peter with something though he promotes the action of the irresistibly ludicrous; so that the piece much about in the same ratio reader cannot easily tell whether the that a midge bouncing against the tear he feels rolling down his cheek, posterior part of the earth propels it whilst the victim of Justice with towards Aries. Indeed most of the earnest garrulity recites his disappointcharacters above-mentioned are su- ments and his future lofty hopes, be pernumeraries. Wandering Willie, a the result of laughter or of pity. The blind fiddler, who promises, and from Baron of Bradwardine himself is not whom we expect every moment, a sketch more felicitous than this: great feats; who moreover goes so far with the joke as to play, some
You must have seen this original, Darsie, what in the vein of Blondel, five who, like others in the same predicament, pages of Scotch tunes, under a pri- where he has made shipwreck of time,
continues to haunt the courts of justice, son window; and who seems by this means, and understanding. Such insane means to hold the catastrophe, as it paupers have sometimes seemed to me to were, in the belly of his instrument, resemble wrecks lying upon the shoals on -after all, performs nothing more the Goodwin Sands, or in Yarmouth worthy of immortality, than that of Roads, warning other vessels to keep aloof warning the Crackenthorpe Cabal, from the banks on which they have been by an air, (" The Campbells are lost; or rather scare-crows and potatoecoming,”)—when it was exactly too bogles, distributed through the courts to late to be of any service whatever,
scare away fools from the scene of litiga
tion. Black Campbell entering the club
The identical Peter wears a huge greatroom along with the music. To Little Benjie and Cristal Nixon, carefully so disposed and secured by what
coat, thread-bare and patched itself, yet deeds of equal moment are allotted; buttons remain, and many supplementary the former carries a letter, and the pins, as to conceal the still more infirm latter shoots a man; yet without any state of his under garments. The shoes further claims upon his favour, both and stockings of a ploughman were, howare perpetually thrust upon the at- ever, seen to meet at his knees, with a pair tention of the reader. Nanty Ewart of brownish, blackish breeches ; à rusty. makes a voyage from Dumfries to coloured handkerchief, that has been black Cumberland, with Alan Fairford, in its day, surrounded his throat, and was Esquire, as a passenger. Then there an apology for linen. His hair, half grey, are the said Alan Fairford, Esquire, huge wig, made of tow, as it seemed to me,
half black, escaped in elf-locks around a and his father, Alexander Fairford, and so much shrunk, that it stood up on W. S. two gentlemen whom the read- the very top of his head'; above which he er is incessantly wishing at the very plants, when covered, an immense cocked last place to which he should like to hat, which, like the chieftain's banner, may be consigned himself.
be seen any sederunt day betwixt nine and The adventures of Poor Peter Pee- ten, high towering above all the fluctuating bles are likewise a patch on the princi- and changeful scene in the Outer-House, pal story, as tedious and impertinent where his eccentricities often make him the an episode as any we ever met with in centre of a group of petulant and teazing a Spanish novel. We do not deny that boys, who exercise upon him every art of the character of this unfortunate liti- ingenious torment. His countenance, origant is well drawn, and that the state of ginally that of a portly, comely burgess, is moral as well as mental degradation and rendered wild by an insane lightness
now emaciated with poverty and anxiety, to which the law's delay has reduced about the eyes; a withered and blighted a respectable citizen, is depicted with skin and complexion ; features charged affecting truthfulness. The original with the self-importance peculiar to insani. of this portrait, a miniature to be ty; and a habit of perpetually speaking to