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roared with all the power of my voice. I must have made a noise like hell broke loose ; but I bad given my valet a charge that I should not be intruded upon; and he, who was one of the tallest and strongest of men, and who ever executed his orders literally, obstinately defended the door of my chamber against all inquisitiveness At the time, this behaviour of his I regarded as fidelity ; it will be accounted for hereafter. He was the tool of Gifford; he had orders that I should not be disturbed ; is was hoped that this scene would be the conclusion of Т.y
eristI am firmly persuaded that, in the last hour or two. I suffered tortures not inferior to those which the North American savages inflict on their victims; and, like those victims, when the apparatus of torture was suspended. I sunk into immediate insensibility. In this state I was found, with all the lights of the apartment extinguished, when, at last, the seemingly stupid exactness of my valet gave way to the impatience of others, and they broke open the door."--Vol. iii. p. 248-253.
The rest of the story may be comprised in a few words. Gifford, whom Fleetwood had constituted his heir, becomes impatient to enter upon possession; and, finding his patron's constitution proof against mental distress, he attempts, with the assistance of two ruffians, to murder him in the forest of Fontainbleau. As all Fleetwood's servants were in Gifford's pay, they saw this transaction take place without interference—a circumstance which struck their master so forcibly, that, while the ruffians were dragging him into the wood, he was considering whether it be one of the effects of wealth, that with it we engage persons in our service to murder us. The solution of this problem, as well as the consummation of Gifford's crime, is interrupted by the arrival of some horsemen, who rescue Fleetwood, and make the assailants pri
That Kenrick was his preserver will be readily anticipated by all who are acquainted with the good old beaten track of novels on these occasions; and to do Mr. Godwin justice, he has seldom taken a by-path from one end of this performance to the other. Gifford is consigned to the gallows, which he had merited; the clouds of jealousy, which had obscured the mind of Fleetwood, are gradually dispelled; every suspicious circumstance is accounted for; and after some hesitation (very natural, we think) on the part of Mary, she is again united to the Man of Feeling.
Having occupied so much room in detailing the story, we have but little left for animadversion. The incidents during the two first volumes are chiefly those of the common life of a man of fashion; and all that is remarkable in the tale is the laboured extravagance of sentiment which is attached to these ordinary occurrences. There is no attempt to describe the minuter and finer shades of feeling ; none of that high finishing of description, by which the most ordinary incidents are rendered interesting : on the contrary, the effect is always sought to be brought out by the application of the inflated language of high passion. It is no doubt true, that a man of sensibility will be deeply affected by what appears trifling to the rest of mankind; a scene of distress or of pleasure will make a deeper impression upon him than upon another; and it is precisely in this respect that he differs from the rest of mankind. But a man who is transported with rage, with despair, with anger, ar.d all the furious impulses of passion, upon the most common occurrences of life, is not a man of sentiment, but a madman; and, far from sympathizing with his feelings, we are only surprised at his having the liberty of indulging them beyond the precincts of Bedlam.
In the third volume, something of a regular story commences, and the attention of the reader becomes fixed by the narrative. But the unnatural atrocity of Gifford, and the inadequate means by which he is so nearly successful, render this part of the tale rather improbable. The credulity of Fleetwood is unnecessarily excessive, and might have been avoided by a more artful management of incident.
But we have another and a more heavy objection to him, considered as a man of feeling. We have been accustomed to associate with our ideas of this character the amiable virtues of a Harley, feeling deeply the distresses of others, and patient, though not insensible of his own. But Fleetwood, through the whole three volumes which bear his name, feels absolutely and exclusively for one individual, and that individual is Fleetwood himself. Indeed he is at great pains, in various places, to tell us that he had been uncontrolled in his youth, was little accustomed to contradiction, and could not brook any thing which interfered either with his established habits, or the dispositions of the moment. Accordingly his despair for the loss of his two French inistresses, is the despair of a man who loses something which he thinks necessary to his happiness and in a way not very soothing to his feelings ; but as we understand him, he can no more be pro
perly said to be in love with either of these fair ladies, than a hungry man, according to Fielding's comparison, can be said to be in love with a shoulder of Welsh mutton. In like manner, his pursuit after happiness, through various scenes, is uniformly directed by the narrow principle of self-gratification; there is no aspiration towards promoting the public advantage, or the happiness of individuals ; Mr Fleetwood moves calmly forward in quest of what may make Mr Fleetwood happy; and, like all other egotists of this class, he providentially misses his aim. But it is chiefly in the wedded state that his irritable and selfish habits are most completely depicted. With every tie, moral and divine, which can bind a man to the object of his choice, or which could withhold him from acts of unkindness or cruelty, he commences and carries on a regular system for subjecting all her pleasures to the control of his own, and every attempt on her part to free herself from this constraint, produces such scenes of furious tyranny, as at the beginning nearly urge her to distraction, and finally drive her an outcast from society. In short, the new Man of Feeling, in his calm moments a determined egotist, is, in his state of irritation, a frantic madman, who plays on a barrel-organ at a puppet-show, till he and the wooden dramatis personæ are all by the foul fiend Hibbertigibbet, who presides over moping and mowing. We close the book with the painful reflection, that Mary is once more subjected to his tyranny; and our only hope is, that a certain Mr Scarborough, a very peremptory and
possessed overbearing person, who assists at the dénouement, may, in case of need, be a good hand at putting on a strait waistcoat.
CUMBERLAND'S JOHN DE LANCASTER.
[John de Lancaster, a Novel. By RICHARD CUMBERLAND,
Esq. 3 Vols. From the Quarterly Review, 1809.]
MR CUMBERLAND has now borne arms in the fields of literature for more than half a century:1 the nature of his service has been as various as its date has been protracted; nor has his warfare been without its success and its honours. If he has never been found in the very van and front of battle, he has seldom lagged in the rear; and although we cannot find that he has on any occasion brought home the spolia opima, or qualified himself for the grand triumph, it must be allowed that he has often merited and obtained the humbler meed of an ovation. His dramatic pieces are those on
[Mr Cumberland died 7th May, 1811, in his eightieth year, and was interred in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey. For
account of his Life and Writings, see ante, vol. iii. pp. 191-230.]