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in which formerly an anti-pope was accustomed to harass the real pontiff. In Peveril, this personage is introduced to the reader under the name of Fenella, and is indeed the most original and poetic conception in the whole work; as in “ Ivanhoe” Rebecca the Jewess plays the same part. The policy and propriety of thus exposing the heroine to the assaults of a rival may fairly be doubted; more especially when the interest attaching to her character is but feeble. For our part, we would have such a personage “ reign a tyrant, if she reigns at all," and exercise an undisputed sovereignty over our hearts and imaginations. It is highly incongruous that the heroine should run away with the hero's heart, and her rival with that of the reader; yet this is the case in “ Ivanhoe,' and even in the volumes before us. The same error is very palpable in “ Sir Charles Grandison;" for of his two “ sister excellences,” we cannot for a moinent hesitate to give the palm to Lady Clementina. It is to be observed also that the anti-heroine has always her misfortunes to plead in her favor. Fenella is one of those wild and energetic characters which a master-pen sometimes loves to describe. Her heart is devoted to revenge and love, and in her slavery to those passions she unrepiningly suffers privations *, pains, and dangers, from which the nature of woman shrinks almost instinctively. We have some doubt whether, when she was first introduced by the writer, she was intended to play the more conspicuous part which she afterward acts; for she really seems to grow under his hands; and it appears improbable that the dwarfish girl, as she is represented during her residence with the Countess of Derby, should captivate the eyes of Buckingham. This change of character and plot, in the course of the novel, is indeed not uncommon with the author.
The other fictitious ladies may be dismissed in a few words. Lady Peveril, Julian's mother, is a very pleasing Sir Joshualike sketch, a dignified and tender matron, with her beauty still lingering about her; and Mrs. Deborah Debbitch, Alice's nurse, is an exceedingly characteristic person, worthy of forming one in the household of which Andrew Fairservice, Caleb Balderstone, and Saunders Saunderson, are members.
Having thus, as preux chevaliers, given the ladies precedence, we must now say a few words of Major Bridgenorth, and his brother-in-law Master Edward Christian. The Major is in fact our old acquaintance Burley of Balfour, soothed down and civilized into an English gentleman.
* One of these extraordinary privations is that she imposes on herself perpetual silence, by assuming the character of a deaf and
His character is constructed on the same principles, with a few more kindly touches about it; and he is the model of the English Presbyterian, as Burley was of the Scotch Covenanter., The character of Christian, or Ganlesse as he is called in the earlier part of the story, is peculiarly revolting ; for it is a complication of all evil qualities, and its only merit is an unshaken consistency in wickedness. There is little pleasure in the contemplation of such profligate villainy.
We have made these preliminary observations on the dramatis persona, as they may contribute to render our extracts more intelligible to those who are not acquainted with the novel itself. The story scarcely admits of analysis: but the chief interest of it, independently of the usual love-affair, rests on the supposed participation of the Peverils, father and son, in the Popish Plot, for which they are tried and acquitted. To this succeeds a plot of the Duke of Buckingham; and contemporaneous with both we have a plot by Master Christian to avenge the death of his brother, who was condemned and executed in the Isle of Man by command of the Countess of Derby. This lady, to whose life the novelist has kindly added upwards of twenty years, performs a very conspicuous part in the tale before us; and the following scene which passes at her castle in the island between her, the young Earl her son, and Julian Peveril, will give an idea of the powerful style in which her portrait is drawn.
(The Countess of Derby entered the apartment, holding in her hand a number of papers. Her dress was a mourning habit, with a deep train of black velvet, which was borne by a little favourite attendant, a deaf and dumb girl, whom, in compassion to her misfortune, the Countess had educated about her person for some years. Upon this unfortunate, with the touch of romancc which marked many of her proceedings, Lady Derby had conferred the name of Fenella, after some ancient princess of the island. The Countess herself was not much changed since we last presented her to our readers. Age had rendered her step more slow, but not less majestic; and while it traced, some wrinkles on her brow, had failed to quench the sedate fire of her dark The young men rose to receive her with the formal reverence which they knew she loved, and were greeted by her with equal kindness,
6." Cousin Peveril,” she said, (for so she always called Julian, in respect of his mother being a kinswoman of her husband,)
you were ill abroad last night, when we much needed your counsel."
• Julian answered with a blush which he could not prevent, " That he had followed his sport among the mountains too far had returned late -- and finding her Ladyship was removed from
Castletown, had instantly followed the family hither ; but as the night-bell was rung, and the watch set, he had deemed it more respectful to lodge for the night in the town."
“ It is well," said the Countess ; “ and to do you justice, Julian, you are seldom a truant neglecter of appointed hours, though, like the rest of the youth of this age, you sometimes suffer your sports to consume too much of time that should be spent otherwise. But for your friend Philip, he is an avowed contemner of good order, and seems to find pleasure in wasting time, even when he does not enjoy it."
"“ I have been enjoying my time just now at least,” said the Earl, rising from table, and picking his teeth carelessly. " These fresh mullets are delicious, and so is the Lachrymæ Christi. I pray, you to sit down to breakfast, Julian, and partake the goods my royal foresight has provided. Never was King of Man nearer being left to the mercy of the execrable brandy of his dominions. Old Griffiths would never, in the midst of our speedy retreat of last night, have had sense enough to secure a few flasks, had I not given him a hint on that important subject. But presence of mind amid danger and tumult is a jewel I have always possessed."
“I wish, then, Philip, you would exert it to better purpose, said the Countess, half smiling, half displeased; for she doated upon her son with all a mother's fondness, even when she was most angry with him for being deficient in the peculiar and chi. valrous disposition which had distinguished his father, and which was so analogous to her own romantic and high-minded character. “ Lend me your signet,” she added, with a sigh ; " for it were, I fear, vain to ask you to read over these dispatches from England, and execute the warrants which I have thought necessary to prepare in consequence."
• " My signet you shall command with all my heart, Madam," said Earl Philip; “ but spare me the revision of what you' are much more capable to decide upon. I am, you know, à most complete Roi faineant, and never once interfered with my
Maire de palais in her proceedings."
* The Countess made signs to her little train-bearer, who immediately went to seek wax and a light, with which she presently returned.
* In the meanwhile, the Countess continued, addressing Peveril. “ Philip does himself less than justice. When you were absent, Julian, (for if you
had been here I would have given you the credit of prompting your friend,) he had a spirited controversy with the Bishop, for an attempt to enforce spiritual censures against a poor wretch, by confining her in the vault under the chapel.”
" " Do not think better of me than I deserve," said the Earl to Peveril ; my mother has omitted to tell you the culprit was pretty Peggy of Ramsay, and her crime what in Cupid's courts would have been called a peccadillo.”
“ Do not you make yourself worse than you are,” replied Pe. veril, who observed the Countess's cheek redden," Rey. FEB. 1829.
wore it, fell down almost to her ancles, was also rather a foreign attribute. Her countenance resembled a most beautiful miniature ; and there was a quickness, decision, and fire, in Fenella's look, and especially in her eyes, which was probably rendered yet more alert and acute, because, through the imperfection of her other organs, it was only by sight that she could obtain information of what passed around her.
• The pretty mute was mistress of many little accomplishments which the Countess had caused to be taught to her, in compassion for her forlorn situation, and which she learned with the most surprising quickness. Thus, for example, she was exquisite in the use of the needle, and so ready and ingenious a draughtswoman, that, like the ancient Mexicans, she sometimes made a hasty sketch with her pencil the means of conveying her ideas, either by direct or emblematical representation. Above all, in the art of ornamental writing, much studied at that period, Fenella was
so great a proficient, as to rival the fame of Messrs. Snow, Shelley, and other masters of the pen, whose copy-books, preserved in the libraries of the curious, still shew the artists smiling on the frontispiece in all the honors of flowing gowns and full-bottomed wigs, to the eternal glory of caligraphy.
· The little maiden had, besides these accomplishments, much ready wit and acuteness of intellect. With Lady Derby, and with the two young gentlemen, she was a great favorite, and used much freedom in conversing with them, by means of a system of signs which had been gradually established amongst them, and which served all ordinary purposes of communication.
• But, though happy in the indulgence and favor of her mistress, from whom indeed she was seldom separate, Fenella was by no means a favorite with the rest of the household. In fact, it seemed that her temper, exasperated perhaps by a sense of her misfortune, was by no means equal to her abilities. She was very haughty in her demeanour, even towards the upper domestics, who in that establishment were of a much higher rank and better birth than in the families of the nobility in general. These often complained, not only of her pride and reserve, but of her high and irascible temper and vindictive disposition. Her passionate propensity had been indeed idly encouraged by the young men, and particularly by the Earl, who sometimes amused himself with teazing her, that he might enjoy the various singular motions and murmurs by which she expressed her resentment. Towards him, these were of course only petulant and whimsical indications of pettish anger. But when she was angry with others of inferior degree-before whom she did not control herself - the expression of her passion, unable to display itself in language, had something even frightful, so singular were the tones, contortions, and gestures, to which she had recourse. The lower domestics, to whom she was liberal almost beyond her apparent means, observed her with much deference and respect, but much more from fear than from any real attachment ; for the caprices of her temper displayed themselves even in her gifts; and those who most frequently shared her bounty, seemed by no means assured of the benevolence of the motives which dictated her liberality,
· All these peculiarities led to a conclusion consonant with Manx superstition. Devout believers in all the legends of fairies so dear to the Celtic tribes, the Manx people held it for certainty that the elves were in the habit of carrying off mortal children before baptism, and leaving in the cradle of the new-born babe one of their own brood, which was almost always inperfect in some one or other of the organs proper to humanity. Such a being they conceived Fenella to be ; and the smallness of her size, her dark complexion, her long locks of silken hair, the singularity of her manners and tones, as well as the caprices of her temper, were to their thinking all attributes of the irritable, fickle, and dangerous race, from which they supposed her to be sprung. And it seemed, that although no jest appeared to offend her more than when Lord Derby called her in sport the Elfin Queen, or otherwise alluded to her supposed connection with “the pigmy folk,” yet still her perpetually affecting to wear the colour of green, proper to the fairies, as well as some other peculiarities, seemed voluntarily assumed by her, in order to countenance the superstition, perhaps because it gave her more authority among the lower orders.
Many were the tales circulated respecting the Countess's Elf, as Fenella was currently called in the island ; and the malcontents of the stricter persuasion were convinced, that no one but a Papist and a malignant would have kept near her persona creature of such doubtful origin. They conceived that Fenella's deafness and dumbness were only towards those of this world, and that she had been heard talking, and singing, and laughing, most elvishly, with the invisibles of her own race. They alleged, also, that she had a Double, a sort of apparition resembling her, 'which slept in the Countess's anti-room, or bore her train, or wrought in her cabinet, while the real Fenella joined the song of the mermaids on the moonlight sands, or the dance of the fairies in the haunted valley of Glenmoy, or on the heights of Snawfell and Barool. The centinels, too, would have sworn they had seen the little maiden trip past them in their solitary night-walks, without their having it in their power to challenge her, any more than if they had been as mute as herself. To all this mass of absurdities the better informed paid no inore attention than to the usual idle exaggerations of the vulgar, which so frequently connect that which is unusual with what is supernatural.
• Such, in form and habits, was the little female, who, holding in her hand a small old-fashioned ebony rod, which might have passed for a divining wand, confronted Julian on the top of the Higbt of steps which led down the rock from the Castle.court. We ought to observe, that as Julian's manner to the unfortunate girl had been always gentle, and free from those teazing jests in which his gay friend indulged, with less regard to the peculiarity of her situation and feelings; so Fenella, on her part, had usually