Imatges de pÓgina

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our friends his servants, in that blessed land where sorrow is unknown, and happiness is endless as it is perfect.-Go then, mourn not for me; I have not lost my child; but a little while, and we shall meet again never to be separated. -But

my children: would ye that I should not grieve without comfort?-So live as she lived: that when your death cometh, it may be the death of the righteous, and your latter end like his.'

Such was the exhortation of La Roche ; his audience answered it with their tears. The good old man had dried up his at the altar of the Lord ; his countenance had lost its sadness, and assumed the glow of faith and hope. Mr

H* * * followed him into his house. The inspiration of the & pulpit was past ;, at sight of him the scenes they had last met

in rushed again on his mind; La Roche threw his arms round his neck, and watered it with his tears. The other was equally affected: they went together, in silence, into the parlour where the evening service was wont to be performed. The curtains of the organ were open ; La Roche started back at the sight.-Oh! my friend !' said he, and his tears burst forth again. Mr H*** had now recollected himself; he stepped forward and drew the curtain close the old man wiped off his tears, and taking his friend's hand,

You see my weakness,' said he, "'tis the weakness of humanity ; but my comfort is not therefore lost.'-'I heard you,' said the other, in the pulpit; I rejoice that such consolation is yours. It is, my friend,' said he, and I trust I shall ever hold it fast ;-if there are any who doubt our faith, let them think of what importance religion is to calamity, and forbear to weaken its force; if they cannot restore our happiness, let them not take away the solace of our affliction. Mr H * * *

's heart was smitten; and I have heard him, long after, confess that there were moments when the remembrance overcame him even to weakness ; when, amidst all the pleasures of philosophical discovery, and the pride of literary fame, he recalled to his mind the venerable figure of the good La Roche, and wished that he had never donbted.




In bestowing unqualified praise on the English for the respect in which men of genius are held amongst them, Voltaire may have been prompted by, what his countrymen would term, l'esprit de corps. Contrasting the ostentatious munificence of Louis XIV, with the substantial rewards obtained by literary men in this country, he says, Le merite trouve à la verité parmi les Anglois d'autres recompenses plus honorable pour la Nation.

Tel est le respect que ce peuple a pour les talens, qu'un homme de mérite y fait toujours fortune. J'ai long tems en France l'auteur de Rhadamiste près de mourir de faim ; et le fils d'un de plus grands hommes que la France ait eu, et qui commencoit à marcher sur les traces de son pere étoit reduit à la misere sans Mr Fagon.* Whatever may have been his motive, it is a trait in our national character seldom exhibited by continental states. A similar spirit, however, is said to have at length sprung up in France; and, strange as it may sound, it has partly arisen from the popularity of an English author whose merits might exhaust every form of panegyric furnished by the vocabulary of his native tongue. Believing it impossible to pen an eulogium which would con. centrate the praises due to the AUTHOR OF WAVERLEY, we cannot do better than remind our readers of the fact, that, on the Continent, his works are scarcely less popular, than in Britain. The Russian has been dazzled by the unimagined splendour of the Gentle Passage of Arms at Ashby de la Zouch ;-the Swede has taken an interest in the customs of a fashionable watering place ;-the German has been roused

* Lettres Ecrites de Londres sur les Anglois, p. 204, 5: à Basle, 1734.

from his lethargy by the bold darings of a mountain chief;the Italian, amidst all his refinement, has relished the rude fashions of sunless and barren Scotland: and the Spaniard from the same fountain has imbibed a spirit which may yet free his land from the tyrant's yoke. But it is in France that this magician has been welcomed with a fervour never before excited by an alien. Not only Romance, but Poetry, and even History, must be a la WALTER SCOTT. His name is dragged into every criticism ; and his works referred to as the standard of excellence. Casimir de la Vigne, the most popular of their poets, has composed a tragedy founded on his Quentin Durnard. Authors of established fame disdain not to sound his praise; while the young and aspiring find, that, in taking him for their model, they select the surest path to favour. The national taste seems to have undergone a revolution, and all classes are beginning to take an interest in literature. Authors meet with an encouragement-not, indeed, from the government, but from the public, which bears us out in saying that England no longer stands alone as a country in which living genius meets its deserved award. In keeping with this enthusiasm is the conduct of a Frenchman on arriving in the Scottish metropolis: for he visits not its public edifices, or its titled inhabitants, till he has first seen, or heard something of, one whose praise has been so widely proclaimed. Quand les étrangers visitaient Athenes, says a late traveller in recording his visit to Edinburgh, ils couraient voir tout d'abord Socrate et Platon : notre preniere visite était due à l'auteur des Puric tains et de Waverley.*

Thus universally a favourite, it may well be asked with

-what drugs, what charms,

What conjuration, and what mighty magic, hath he' wrought upon the public mind ? Favoured alike

* Voyage en Angleterre et en Ecosse : Par Adolphe Blanqui. Paris, 1824, I vol. 8vo.

by the

peer and the artisan-praised by the statesman who bends a senate to his will, and relished by the insect whose flutterings are limited to a drawing-room :--wherein can lie the secret of his art ? He who has known Tasso only as a poet whose beauties can be relished by few of those around him, must listen with singular delight to the gondoliers of Venice as they lighten their toil by the melody of his strains; so, the works of our author must acquire an additional interest with the stranger, when he finds a peasant quoting or referring to them amid scenes thus brought into celebrity :-whence comes it, that, even during his own life, he should thus be familiar to every rank, and in the course of a few short years, acquire that fame aimed at, though scarcely hoped for, by every generous breast? The name of a Conqueror spreads, with rapidity, to the poorest hovel in the remotest corner of an extensive empire; but it is not by the laurels he has won that it there retains an interest. The lonely dweller may have sent forth a son as a kinsman to swell, with his blood, the tide which has drenched the field of his commander's fame: and so long as memory lingers on him whose return is now hopeless, the name of the hero, under whom he fell, will be oft repeated, and his exploits sorrowfully referred to. But, here, we have a conqueror, who, without convulsing a whole people by grief for lost kindred, enjoys a popularity more enviable, if not more extensive, than that which ever attended a Marlborough :-compelling us again to ask--how has this nameless enchanter made captive every heart? To such a question there can be but one reply, and that one is sufficiently obvious:-HE PAINTS FROM NATURE-putting to shame those who would deny the great original from which he draws to be in every charm-supreme.'

Some, however, will tell you that nothing can be more inimical to the best interests of man aš the member of a political body, than the popularity of an author, who, say

they, possessed of unparalleled influence over public opinion, prostitutes his talents to the basest of purposes. History, our safest instructor, is said to be perverted in his pages.Crouching subserviency to those in power,-unquestioning devotion to the tyrant who may wear a crown,-unresisting submission under the most slavish lot, if an attempt to regain privileges which are the birthright of man may cause one moment's uneasiness to the sacred' despot,--are said to be the doctrines inculcated in these works.—As to the charge of poisoning the 'well-springs of knowledge, we would ask, whether, if it could be established against any individual work, an ample apology be not furnished in its titlepage? The reader is not, as by the Biographer of Charles XII. duped into a belief that the book about to be perused conveys a faithful narration of any historical events in which the hero may be made to act a part. But, it will be urged, though · Novel,' • Tale,'' Romance,' be expressed in its title, the young and the indolent will long retain an impression received from the work of an author beyond whom he proposes not to extend his inquiries. His very populariity, however, counteracts the dreaded result: for all become anxious to know the real events which form the groundwork of such interesting performances. We venture to assert that thousands who might otherwise have known little of the struggles made for liberty in Scotland, during the 17th century, have been led, after perusing the exaggerations in Old Mortality, to consult authorities more likely to give an unvarnished account of the period referred to. Deep as is the sympathy felt for our - Mary Queen,' Dr Robertson's account of her reign has passed as a tale unheeded with 'many who, since the appearance of The Abbot, would blush at the apathy with which they formerly perused his interesting narrative. To give other instances must be unnecessary. Few who can recall the stimulus given by these works to their own researches into the history of particular periods,

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