Imatges de pÓgina

rinthine rhetoric; some, perhaps, because seeking additional refulgence by such comof their doubtful paternity, evidences of monplace expedients. French origin being in many places dis- In one of his pet peculiarities, the seleccernible. Here, however, there appears tion of a name for his work, the author has a manifest improvement. This story is surpassed himself. It is a good thing to exquisitely simple in conception, and the have an imposing name. In literature, as narration is mostly full of ease and grace, in society, a sounding title makes its way although the unfolding of the plot is less with delicious freedom. But it is also direct than might have been expected well to see to it, that, in the matter of title, from an author who professes so deep a some connection with the book to which regard for the dramatic order of develop- it is applied shall be maintained. We are ment. There is, for instance, an episodi- accustomed to approach a title somewhat cal chapter of upwards of thirty pages, as we do a finger-post, not hoping that it describing commercial England in a state will reveal the nature of the road we are of panic, which is very nearly as appro- to follow, the character of the scenery we priate as a disquisition on the Primary are to gaze upon, or the general disposition Rocks, or an inquiry into the origin of of the impending population, but anticithe Cabala would be, but which is so pal- pating that it will at least enable us to start pably introduced for the purpose of dis- in the right direction. Now every reader playing the author's financial erudition, of “Love me Little, Love me Long" is that he feels himself called upon to apolo- apt to consider himself or herself justified gize in a brief preface for its intrusion. In in entertaining acrimonious sentiments tothe concluding chapters, too, the various wards Mr. Reade for the non-fulfilment of threads of interest are gathered together his titular hint. If, in the process of bindwith very little artistic compactness. The ing, the leaves of this story had accidentreader is disappointed at the tameness of ally found their way into covers bearing the culmination, compared with the vigor other and various appellations, we imagof the approach thereto. But otherwise ine that very little injury would have been there is much to be charmed with, and done to the author's meaning or the purnot a little to admire.

chaser's understanding. It is, indeed, inMr. Reade has renounced a good num- teresting to look forward to the progress ber of the odd fancies which at one time of Mr. Reade's ideas on the subject of pervaded him. We find no traces of the titles. We have already enjoyed a couple στιγματοφοβία with which he was formerly of pleasing nursery platitudes; perhaps it afflicted. Nouns are wedded to obedient would not be altogether out of order to adjectives, adverbs to their willing verbs, expect in future a series something like by the lawful mediation of the recognized the following: authorities of punctuation, the illegitimate

" Oh, Dear, What Can the Matter Be!!??!?!" and licentious disregard of which, as reck

“ One, Two, Buckle My Shoe!" lessly manifested in “It is Never too Late

“Sing a Song of Sixpence, a Bag Full of Rye!". to Mend,” indicated a disposition to entire

Hiccory, Diccory, Dock!!!" ly subvert the established morals of the language. It is pleasant to see how unreservedly Mr. Reade has abandoned his func- Let us not forget, in laughing at the tions as apostle of grammatical free-love. author's weaknesses, to acknowledge his Of tricks of typography there are also few- strength. He shows in this work an invener, although these yet remain in an excess tive fancy equal to that of any writer of which good taste can hardly sanction. light fiction in the English language, and We often find whole platoons of admira- hardly surpassed by those of the French, tion-points stretching out in line, to give - from which latter, it is fair to suppose, extraordinary emphasis to sentences al- much of his inspiration is drawn, since ready sufficiently forcible. We sometimes his style is undisguisedly that of modern encounter extravagant varieties of type, French romancers, though often made the humorously intended, but the use of which vehicle of thoughts far nobler than any seems a game hardly worth Mr. Reade's they are wont to convey. His portraits of candle, which certainly possesses enough character are capital, especially those of illuminating power of its own, without feminine character, which are peculiarly vivid and spirituels. He represents in- collections which aim to please an averfantile imagination with Pre-Raphaelitic age order of taste may, after all, furnish accuracy. And his descriptions are fre- to large numbers a pleasure which the quently of enormous power. A story of a rigid classicists would deny them, without sailor's perils on a whaling voyage is told in any way filling the void. in a manner almost as forcible as that of This collection has a goodly number of the “frigate fight,” by Walt. Whitman, the favorite old tunes, and they are given and in a manner strikingly similar, too. A with the harmonies to which the people night adventure in the English channel - are accustomed. The new tunes are of a pleasure excursion diverted by a storm various degrees of excellence, but most of from its original intention into a life-and- them are constructed with a due regard to death struggle-is related with unsurpass- form, and those which we take to be Mr. ed effect. The whole work is as sprightly Baker's are exceedingly well harmonized. and agreeable a love-story as any English There is an unusual number of anthems, writer has produced, -always amusing, of- motets, etc., - many of them at once solid ten flashing with genuine wit, sometimes and attractive. The elementary portion inspiring in its eloquent energy. And this contains a full and intelligible exposition ought to be sufficient to secure the abun- of the science. To those choirs who wish dant success of any book of its class, and to increase their stock of music, and to to cause its successor to be awaited with singing-societies who desire the opportuinterest.

etc., etc.

nity of practising new and brilliant anthems and sentences, the “Choral Harmo

ny” may be commended, as equal, at least, The Choral Harmony. By B. F. BAKER to any work of the kind now before the and W. 0. PERKINS. Boston: Phillips, public. Sampson, & Co. pp. 378.

The great number of music-books pub- Seacliff; or the Mystery of the Westervelts. lished, and the immense editions annually By J. W. DE FOREST, Author of “Ori. soid, are the best proof of the demand for ental Acquaintance," "European Acvariety on the part of choirs and singing- quaintance," etc., etc. Boston : Phillips, societies. Nearly all the popular collec- Sampson, & Co. pp. 466. 12mo. tions will be found to have about the same proportions of the permanent and the trans- This is a very readable novel, artful ient elements,- on the one hand, the old in plot, effective in characterization, and chorals and hymn-tunes consecrated by brilliant in style. “The Mystery of the centuries of solemn worship, -on the oth- Westervelts” is a mystery which excites er, the compositions and “arrangements” the reader's curiosity at the outset, and of the editors. Here and there a modern holds his pleased attention to the end. tune strikes the public taste or sinks The incidents are so contrived that the deeper to the heart, and it takes its place secret is not anticipated until it is unthenceforward with the “ Old Humdredth,” veiled, and then the explanation is itself with “ Martyrs,” and Mear"; but the a surprise. The characters are generally greater number of these compositions are strongly conceived, skilfully discriminated, as ephemeral as newspaper stories. Every and happily combined. The delineation conductor of a choir knows, however, that, of Mr. Westervelt, the father of the beroto maintain an interest among singers, it ine, is especially excellent. Irresolute in is necessary to give them new music for thought, impotent in will, and only occapractice, especially new pieces for the sionally fretted by circumstances into a opening of public worship,--that they will feeble activity, he is an almost painfully not improve while singing familiar tunes, accurate representation of a class of men any more than children will read with who drift through life without any power proper expression lessons which have be- of self-direction. Mrs. Westervelt has come wearisome by repetition. Masses and equal moral feebleness with less brain, oratorios are beyond the capacity of all and her character is a study in practical but the most cultivated singers; and we psychology. Somerville, the villain of suppose that the very prevalence of these the piece, who unites the disposition of Domitian to the manners of Chesterfield, veloped into the seeming proportions of is the pitiless master of this female slave. real life, when the images in the focus of The coquettish Mrs. Van Leer is a prom- the lenses of the stereoscope. We know inent personage of the story; and her of no modern book of travels which gives shallow malice and pretty deviltries are one so vivid and fresh a picture, in many most effectively represented. She is not various aspects, of the external nature, the only a flirt in outward actions, but a flirt people, the customs, the laws and domesin soul, and her perfection in imperti- tic institutions of a strange country, as nence almost rises to genius. All these does this little volume, the off-hand prodcharacters betray patient meditation, and uct of a few days snatched from the enthe author's hold on them is rarely relax- grossing cares of the most active profesed. A novel evincing so much intellectual sional life. With a quick eye for the labor, written in a style of such careful beauties of landscape, a keen and lively elaboration, and exhibiting so much skill in perception of what is droll and amusing the development of the story, can scarcely in human nature, a warm heart, sympafail of a success commensurate with its thizing readily where sympathy is remerits.

quired, the various culture of the scholar, and the training of the lawyer and

politician, all well mixed with manly, To Cuba and Back. A Vacation Voyage. straightforward, Anglo-Saxon pluck, Mr. By R. H. Dana, JR., Author of “Two Dana has, in an eminent degree, all the Years before the Mast." Boston: Tick- best qualities that should mark the travnor & Fields. 1859. pp. 288. 16mo.. eller who undertakes to tell his story to

the world. Ir was, perhaps, a dangerous experi- Some statistics, judiciously introduced, ment for the author of a book of the world- of the present government, and of the insti. wide and continued popularity of "Two tution of slavery and the slave-trade, with Years before the Mast” to dare, with that the author's comments upon them, give almost unparalleled success still staring a practical value to the book at this time him in the face, to tempt Fortune by giv- for all thinking and patriotic citizens, and ing to the public another book. But long make it one not only to be read for an before this time, the thousands of copies hour's entertainment, but carefully studithat have left the shelves of the publish- ed for the important practical suggestions ers have attested a success scarcely second

of its pages. to that of Mr. Dana's first venture. The elements of success, in both cases, are to be found in every page of the books them- Memoir of Theophilus Parsons, Chief Justice selves. This “ Vacation Voyage” has not of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massaa dull page in it. Every reader reads it chusetts ; with Notices of some of his to the end. Every paragraph has its own Contemporaries. By his Son, THEOPHcharm ; every word is chosen with that

ILUS PARSONS. Boston: Ticknor & quick instinct that seizes upon the right Fields. 1859. pp. 476. word to describe the matter in hand which characterizes Mr. Dana's forensic efforts, The division of the United States into and places him so high on the list of natu- so many wellnigh independent republics, ral-born advocates, - which gives him the each with official rewards in its gift great power of eloquence at the bar, and a pow- enough to excite and to satisfy a considerer scarcely less with the slower medium able ambition, makes fame a palpably proof the pen. These Cuban sketches are real vincial thing in America. We say palpably, stereographs, and Cuba stands before you as because the larger part of contemporary distinct and lifelike as words can make it. fame is truly parochial everywhere; only we Single words, from Mr. Dana's pen, are are apt to overlook the fact when we measpregnant with great significance, and their ure by kingdoms or empires instead of counmeaning is brought out by taking a lit- ties, and to fancy a stature for Palmerston tle thought, as the leaves and sticks and or Persigny suitable to the size of the stage stones and pigmy men and women in the on which they act. It seems a much finshady corners of the stereograph are de- er thing to be a Lord Chancellor in Eng. land than a Chief Justice in Massachu- those cities becomes a beacon, set upon setts; yet the same abilities which carried such bushels, and multiplied by the manythe chance-transplanted Boston boy, Lynd- faced provincial reflector behind it. Meanhurst, to the woolsack, might, perhaps, had while New York and Boston wrangle about he remained in the land of his birth, have literary and social preëminence like two found no higher goal than the bench of schoolboys, each claiming to have somethe Supreme Court. Mr. Dickens laughed thing (he knows not exactly what) vastly very fairly at the “remarkable men" of finer than the other at home. Let us hope our small towns; but England is full of just that we shall by-and-by develop a rivalry such little-greatness, with the difference like that of the Italian cities, and that the that one is proclaimed in the “ Bungtown difficulty of fame beyond our own village Tocsin ” and the other in the “Times.” may make us more content with doing We must get a new phrase, and say that than desirous of the name of it. For, afMr. Brown was immortal at the latest ter all, History herself is for the most part dates, and Mr. Jones a great man when but the Muse of Little Peddlington, and the steamer sailed. The small man in Athens raised the heaviest crop of laurels Europe is reflected to his contemporaries yet recorded on a few acres of rock, withfrom a magnifying mirror, while even the out help from newspaper guano. great men in America can be imaged only Theophilus Parsons was one of those in a diminishing one. If powers broaden men of whom surviving contemporaries with the breadth of opportunity, if Occa- always say that he was the most gifted sion be the mother of greatness and not person they had ever known, while yet its tool, the centralizing system of Europe they are able to produce but little tangishould produce more eminent persons than ble evidence of his superiority. It is, no our distributive one. Certain it is that the doubt, true that Memory's geese are alcharacter grows larger in proportion to the ways swans; but in the case of a man like size of the affairs with which it is habitu. Parsons, where the testimony is so various ally concerned, and that a mind of more and concurrent, we cannot help believing than common stature acquires an habitual that there must have been a special force stoop, if forced to deal lifelong with little of character, a marked alertness and grasp men and little things.

of mind, to justify the impression he left Even that German-silver kind of fame, behind. With the exception of John AdNotoriety, can scarcely be had here at ams, he was probably the most consideraa cheaper rate than a murder done in ble man of his generation in Massachusetts ; broad daylight of a Sunday; and the only and it is not merely the caruit quia vate sure way of having one's name known to sacro, but the narrowness of his sphere of the utmost corners of our empire is by action, still further narrowed by the techachieving a continental disrepute. With a nical nature of a profession in itself provinmetropolis planted in a crevice between cial, as compared with many other fields Maryland and Virginia, and stunted be- for the display of intellectual power, that cause its roots vainly seek healthy nour- has hindered him from receiving an amount ishment in a soil impoverished by slavery, of fame at all commensurate with an abilia paulopost future capital, the centre of ty so real and so various. nothing, without literature, art, or so much But the life of a strong man, lived no as commerce,-we have no recognized dis- matter where, and perhaps all the more if penser of national reputations like London it have been isolated from the noisier or Paris. In a country richer in humor, events which make so large a part of hisand among a people keener in the sense tory, contains the best material of biograof it than any other, we cannot produce a phy. Judge Parsons was fortunate in a national satire or caricature, because there son capable of doing that well, which, is no butt visible to all parts of the coun- even if ill done, would have been interesttry at once. How many men at this mo- ing. A practised writer, the author of two ment know the names, much more the his- volumes of eloquent and thoughtful estory or personal appearance, of our cabi- says, Professor Parsons has known how to net ministers? But the joke of London or select and arrange his matter with a due Paris tickles all the ribs of England or feeling of effect and perspective. When France, and the intellectual rushlight of he fails to do this, it is because here and


there the essayist has got the better of preferred attaining the end to being known the biographer. We are not concerned as the means, - and finally, as Chief Jushere, for example, to know Mr. Parsons's tice, reforming the loose habits of the bar, opinions about Slavery, and we are sure intolerant of gabble, and leaving the perthat the sharp insight and decisive judg- manent impress of his energetic mind and ment of his father would never have als impatient logic on the Common Law of the lowed him to be frightened by the now country. somewhat weather-beaten scarecrow of We know nothing more striking than the danger to the Union.

dying speech recorded in the concluding In the earlier part of the Memoir we get chapter. At the end of a life so laborious some glimpses of pre-Revolutionary life in and so useful, the Judge, himself withNew England, which we hope yet to see drawing to be judged, murmurs, –“Genillustrated more fully in its household as- tlemen of the Jury, the facts of the case pects.* The father of Parsons was pre- are in your hands. You will retire and cisely one of those country-clergymen who consider of your verdict.” In this vol

passing rich on forty pounds a ume, the son has submitted the facts of year.” On a salary of two hundred and the case to a jury of posterity. His case eighty dollars, he brought up a family of will not be injured by the modesty with seven children, three of whom he sent to which he has stated it. He has claimed college, and kept a hospitable house. less for his father than one less near to

Of Parsons's college experiences we get him might have done. We think the less than we could desire ; but as he ad- verdict must be, that this was a great vances in life, we find his mind exercised man marooned by Destiny on an out-of-theby the great political and social problem way corner of the world, where, however whose solution was to be the experiment he might exert great powers, there was of Democracy at housekeeping for herself, no adequate field for that display of them - we see him influencing State and even which is the necessary condition of fame. National politics, but always as a man who Mr. Parsons has done a real service to

our history and our letters in this volume. * Mr. Elliott, in his New England History, Accompanying and illustrating bis main has wisely gathered many of those unconsid- topic, he has given us excellent sketches ered trifles which are so important in forming of some other persons less eminent than a just notion of the character of a population. his father, sometimes from tradition and We cannot but wish that our town-historians, sometimes from his own impressions. We instead of giving so much space to idle and of- hope in the next edition he will give us a ten untrustworthy genealogies, and to descrip- supplementary chapter of personal anections of the “ elegant mansions" of Messrs.

dotes, of which there is a large number This and That, would do us the real service

that deserve to be perpetuated in print, of rescuing from inevitable oblivion the fleeting phases of household scenery that help us

and which otherwise will die with the to that biography of a people so much more

memories in which they are now preinteresting than their annals. We would much

served. The strictly professional part of rather know whether a man wore homespun,

the biography, illustrating the Chief Jusa hundred years ago, than whether he was a tice's more important decisions, might aldescendant of Rameses I.

so be advantageously enlarged.

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