« PredošláPokračovať »
at least I thought it did ; for it answering to the description that you, my Harriet, had given me of that amiable man, I was surprised. But contrary to the manner of ghosts, it spoke first. 'Venerable lady,' it called me, and said its name was Grandison, in a voice so like what I had heard you speak of his that I had no doubt but it was Sir Charles Grandison himself, and was ready to fall down to welcome him.” The ghost left a great packet of letters for Harriet, The ghost
vanishes. refused refreshments, desired in a courtly manner an answer to what it had discoursed upon, made a profound reverence, and vanished.
So now, through the length of two more volumes, everything flows smoothly, but not rapidly. Sir Charles's advances are made by parallels, beginning with the excellent grandparent. When he approaches the citadel, it is with caution and great delicacy. This delicacy arose from the doubt whether Miss Byron would be willing, or should be permitted, to condone the previous preoccupation of his heart with another lady. And Harriet does not surrender without endless punctilio and reticence. He took her hand and was bowing upon it at page 65; on page 81 the real offer of marriage begins, The offer of
marriage. and extends to page 89, during which space he talks steadily but well. At this first pause she writes :
Not well before, I was more than once in apprehension of fainting, as he talked, agreeable as was his talk, and engaging as was his manner. My grandmamma and aunt saw my complexion change (they had been silent throughout) at his particular address to me in the last part of his speech. I held my handkerchief now to my eyes, and now as a cover to myselffelt varying cheek.
In the most respectful and graceful manner he pressed a hand of each with his lips ; mine twice. I could not speak. My grandmamma and aunt, delighted, yet tears standing in their eyes, looked upon each other, and upon me; each as expecting the other to speak. But he was ready to continue : “I have, perhaps," said he with some emotion, "taken up too
The offer accepted.
much of Miss Byron's attention in this my first personal declaration. I will now return to the company. We will for this evening postpone the important subject."
At last, later on, the “man of men gave Miss Byron an opportunity to accept him. He then, on one knee, taking her passive hand between both his, and kissing it once, twice, thrice-"Repeat, dear and ever dear Miss Byron," and so on, and she took out her handkerchief.
Endless delays, before she could be persuade to fix the day.
“Why hesitates my love ?”
“Six ages, my dearest, dearest creature! Six weeks! For heaven's sake, madam"
He looked, he spoke impatience.
On his leaving me to return to company below he presented me with four little boxes. Accept, my beloved Miss Byron," said he, "of these trifles.”'
“Very handsome jewels" they proved to be.
The rest of the sixth volume is occupied with accounts infinitely detailed of the glorious wedding, all in letters to Lady G., who was unavoidably absent. The seventh volume describes the happiness of Sir Charles and Lady Grandison, and a visit they received from Clementina and all the Porrettas. But the book really ends with the wedding
Joy, joy, joy, was wished the happy pair from every mouth. "See, my dear young ladies," said the happy and instructing Mrs. Shirley, “the reward of duty, virtue, and obedience."
The glorious wedding.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Life and Correspondence of Samuel Richardson. Mrs. Barbauld.
Mrs. Barbauld's Life in “English Poetesses,” by Eric S. Robertson, M. A.
Richardson's Complete Works (any edition).
" The prose
Next to Richardson among the novelists of this period, the second place is given to Henry Fielding, called by Byron the
Homer of human nature.' In his personal character as well as in his literary career, human nature.” in everything, indeed, but the power of his genius, he was the exact opposite of Richardson, though very nearly his contemporary.
He lived from 1707 to 1754, while Richardson, who was born eight years earlier, died some years later.
He was of noble birth, being a descendant of the illustrious house of Denbigh and son of General Fielding. He was the second cousin of Lady Mary Wortley, A cousin of
Lady Mary. descended in the same degree from George, Earl of Desmond. He dedicated to her his first comedy of “Love in Several Masks" in 1727. She had a great regard for him ; pitied his misfortunes, excused his failings, and warmly admired his best writings, above all “Tom Jones,” in her own copy of which she wrote Ne plus ultra. Nevertheless she frankly said she was
sorry he did not himself perceive that he had made Tom Jones a scoundrel."
Early in life Fielding succeeded to a ruined inheri. tance, and betook himself to the stage, becoming a dramatic author and lively writer in the Covent Garden Journal. He produced a number of pieces, now
Henry Fielding's early struggle with fortune.
entirely forgotten, which show that his talent was in no way adapted to the theater. His career for some years was a continucus struggle with fortune and his own extravagance. He married an
He married an excellent lady, whose picture he drew in his “ Amelia ''; he loved her passionately and she returned his affection, but they led no happy life, for they were always poor and seldom in a state of quiet and safety on account of his debts. If he ever possessed any money, nothing could keep him from squandering it at once and nothing induced him to think of to-morrow. Sometimes they were living in decent lodgings with tolerable comfort ; sometimes in a wretched garret without the necessaries of life, not to speak of sponging-houses and hiding-places where he was occasionally lying perdu. His elastic gaiety of spirits carried him through it all ; but meanwhile care and anxiety were preying upon her more delicate organization, and undermining her health. She gradually declined, caught a fever, and died in his arms. Yet after the death of this charming woman he married her maid, a person of but few apparent attractions, but an excellent creature, devoted to her mistress and almost broken-hearted for her loss. Her conduct as his wife justified the act.
In 1742, when he was thirty-five, he first struck the vein of humorous writing in which he is considered never to have had a rival, when he produced his first novel, “ Joseph Andrews,” which was in some sense intended as a parody or caricature, ridiculing the timid morality of Richardson's “Pamela," its shopkeeper tone, and generally "good boy" style; “Pamela" was then in full blaze of success. Fielding's novel at once received the honor due to a great, original creation, and in a short time he produced the remarkable sa
tirical tale, Jonathan Wild the Great." In 1749 he was appointed to the laborious, and then far from respectable, post of a London police magistrate, and while thus employed composed "the finest, completest, and profoundest of his works, the incomparable 'Tom Jones.'” This was followed after a brief interval by “ Amelia.” Ruined in health by hard work and dissipation, he sailed for Lisbon in 1754.
After a short time he died in that city and was buried in the Protestant cemetery there. The qualities which distinguish Fielding's genius are
Qualities of accurate observation of character and an extraordinary Fielding's power of deducing the actions and expressions of his personages from the elements of their nature, a constant sympathy with the vigorous unrestrained characters, in all ranks of society, but especially in the lowest, which he loved to delineate. In the construction of his plots he is masterly. That of “Tom Jones” is perhaps the finest example in fiction of a series, what might be called an avalanche, of events, probable yet surprising, each of which helps the ultimate catastrophe. He possessed an almost childish delight in fun and extravagantly ludicrous incident, combined with a philosophic closeness of analysis of character and an impressive tone of moral reflection, the latter often masked under a pleasant air of satire and irony. His novels breathe a sort of fresh open-air atmosphere, in strong contrast to the artificial style employed by Richardson. In “Tom Jones” it is difficult to know what most to
Admirable admire—the artful conduct of the plot, the immense
Tom Jones." variety, wit, and humor of the personages, the gaiety of the incidents, or the acute remarks which the author interspersed amongst the matter of the narration. The trouble is that, in spite of all that is here said, which I readily adduce as the best verdict of present criticism,