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got to proceed with the rival monument, there is nothing in their minutes to show, and we may therefore surmise that their liberal offer did not get much backing, for there is no further record of the enterprise. It may be gathered from Deacon Mann's last letter that the third site—that on the Rozelle estate
-was the site on the opposite side of the road from the cottage, which eventually became the site of Alloway public school, now Alloway public hall, recreation rooms, and library.
THE WORKS OF DR JOHN MOORE
A LITERARY FRIEND OF BURNS.
It is almost impossible for us to imagine a day when “no patron ” meant virtually “no public.” That, however, was the case in Burns's time; to the hopes and fears of authorship he had to add the anxiety (however well concealed) of finding a literary Maecenas. It is Bacon who recommends the medium of a friend for such a crisis. In Mrs Dunlop Burns had his medium ready to hand. She introduced Dr John Moore ; Dr Moore found the Earl of Eglinton.
After this connection, it is no wonder that the two men fell gradually into correspondence. Several letters passed between them, including the famous autobiographical sketch from Mossgiel. Burns takes the attitude of “ one of the sons of little men compared with a man of “fame and reputation like Moore. Moore on his side accepts the compliment and writes accordingly. The greater part of it was etiquette, increased, no doubt, by the fact that the two never met ; nevertheless there was in time intimacy involved
the elder by 30 years, suggesting that Burns should write English for the English, and, the same time, requesting his estimate of a novel called “ Zeluco,” a delicate way of urging that the poet was a judge, and therefore likely a master of English style. Burns praises "Zeluco;" avows that he shall "plan a comparative view” of the author with Fielding, Richardson, and Smollett ; and finally presents his copy to Mrs Dunlop, to whom, to be sure, he would never present the worst. The copy, “disfigured with annotations,” is marked with “asterismo parentheses, etc., wherever I meet with an original thought, a nervous remark on life and manners, a remarkably well-turned period, or a character sketched with uncommon precision.” “How much (he adds in another place) is every honest heart obliged to you for your glorious story of
Buchanan and Targe.
I have just read over of many times your
"Zeluco.'” “ Zeluco," whatever its intrinsic worth may chance to be, belongs to that period of the 18th century which looks out upon the 19th. By that time Percy's “Reliques” had unveiled a new world. The classics were not forgotten, the influence of the “ unities” in their French form was still felt; but, imperceptibly, the old ballads took men away to a new life, and what they found there they looked for all round. Especially was this the case among the patrons of the “grand tour.” To find their hero abroad, to give him a grand tour of his own, to make his fortunes tell for good or evil, and finally to direct his course by means and ways half human, half grotesque, and at all events unfamiliar—was the object of this new school. After the fashion of the explorer of a strange land, it was a collecting of unrelated curios at the first, yet none the less a preface of orthodox exchange of trade.
The “ Castle of Otranto," the “Mysteries of Udolpho," the “Monk,' “Frankenstein,” and “ Zeluco”—abnormal instances of the newwere followed in due time by the rational romance of Scott.
In such a period, and amid such literature, “ Zeluco” was produced. It is its own distinction, however, that it should apparently owe its inspiration to France, and be correspondingly free from Teutonic horror and weirdness. As became a true Scot, Dr. Moore was French in sympathy; and, though we have no express proof on the point, his methods, if not his characters, speak for themselves. In any case “ Zeluco” marks itself out from the books of the time by its freedom from unearthly influence and ghostly atmosphere. Its personages account for their final position by simply living out their life; are they very good or very bad, it is without “airs from Heaven or blasts from Hell.” After all, it is not for nothing that La Rochefoucauld provides the texts for every other chapter ; wherever he is, there can be neither Teuton ghost nor Eastern magic.
Turning now from book to hero, it may at once be remarked that while “ Zeluco” is a successful illustration of the
windings of vice" and the “dis gusting featu: es of villainy," he is no warning
whatever to the average man. The average man, as Thackeray shews, is moved not so much by great passions or by great occasions as by the every day motives and moments of life.
To assure him, therefore, that a life of extreme villainy is of no use, even when it has wealth behind it, is merely to present him with a pious opinion. What is extreme villainy to him? The coat is too big.
On the other hand, if it were needful to dissuade him from becoming a Zeluco in point of crime, the illustration would still require to be altered. From first to last Zeluco has the appearance of being a pre-established blackguard whose turns of remorse are mere concessions to virtue ; once bad, he never can be good. Heredity notwithstanding, the ordinary man is free-free enough to contemplate villainy at a distance. At anyrate, Zeluco is out of court; no genius, designed as he may be for warning or example, can be the rule to mediocrity.
So far as a hero with a purpose—Zeluco comes short. On the other hand, his fellow-characters, especially those with whom he has least to do, “adorn the tale ” and “sometimes point a moral ” just because they are, some more, some less, of Nature's mixture.
Burns mentions Buchanan and Targe, the two feudal valets as we might call them, who differ as to the virtue of Mary Stuart. In cool blood they have either been to school or mimicked their masters, but when the pulse beats quick they make as pretty a picture of Lowland and Highland as one could expect.
Then there are the rival priests, Father Nulo and Father Pedro. More bitingly etched, they would be as much alive as their brethren in Balzac's “L'Abbe Biratteau.”
As for the profession which Dr Moore had best reason to know there is no more " fooling” picture anywhere. So wittily do physician and surgeon take off each other that they equally take off themselves. The apparent unconsciousness of it all recalls Moliere.
At this point it may be remembered that Burns meditated a “comparative view” of Moore with Fielding, Richardson, and Smollett. His plan or meditation never matured. The poet
admired Home (the author of “Douglas ") for “forming wild Shakespeare into plan,” and perhaps the courtly way in which Moore evolves a monster like Zeluco raised the issue whether Fielding and the other masters of prose had ever accomplished, or could accomplish, such a task. In no other respect is comparison possible. The principal female character in “Zeluco” has less hysterical goodness than the heroines of the 18th century, possibly because she was the product of a Scotch brain ; but in every quality she is not so much a living woman a foil to the hero, and when we tire of him we tire of her. So with the sentiments of the book. Belonging more to the age than to the tale, to the revolution than to the hero, they may have attracted Burns, but they could not form a true basis of contrast with the writers of a prior generation. It is with “Monk Lewis, the famous friend of the slave, that Moore should be compared, and Burns died just when his day began.
The truth of the matter appears to be that Burns, who was far above the calibre of types and individuals like Tom Jones and Joseph Andrews, felt the spell of Zeluco. One extraordinary being recognised another. Conversely, the resistance of Virtue to such masterly assault, and its ultimate triumph against odds, were sure to enthrall his mind. Moreover, since “Zeluco” suggested “Childe Harold,” could it fail to touch Burns ?
“Zeluco," writes the poet to Mrs Dunlop, “is a most sterling performance.” At another time he remarks, “I have just been reading over again for the hundred and fiftieth time his (Dr Moore's) View of Society and Manners ;' and still I read it with delight.” We wonder, as we note this, what Burns would have thought of “Edward” (the companion-picture to Zeluco), where Benevolence takes the field instead of Vice. “Edward,” after the manner of “Sir Charles Grandison," was “the perfect man,” “the man of true honour,” and very wearisome at that.
We can only conjecture the Poet's estimate of Dr Moore in regard to this “good young man,” but we may be sure that the faults he observed in “Zeluco” would have been more patent in “Edward.” In both we have lengthy discourses at wrong times or from the wrong