Imatges de pÓgina

Dr. Valpy's pupils, raises expectation to a pitch which the story scarcely gratifies; yet there is no flagging; the whole play, as Mr. Hazlitt said when he saw it, “ bowls on like a chariot," and the last act, though faulty in construction, is redeemed by passages not unworthy of Fletcher. In “ Foscari,” Miss Mitford almost accomplished her deliverance from the fetters she had worn so gracefully; yet here their traces remained; for of her heroes, Francesco is only too great and good a boy, and Cosmo alternately too weak and violent for a man ; but the Doge is admirably conceived and sustained throughout, and his conduct at the trial of his son and at his death is more affecting than we ever dare to think of. This play is in the highest degree interesting, and except in the feeling which we have that Francesco is absurdly condemned, and that, at the last, he might as well have been made happy, and we sent unweeping to our bedsis excellently conducted. But it was in the composition of “ Rienzi" that Miss Mitford attained the entire command of her tragic powers, that she comprized a history in five acts without confusion—that she exhibited the short-lived triumphs of glorious enthusiasm, nurtured in the love of freedom, clutching the phantoms of royalty, and fading by its own essential weakness

that she brought together, in deathly grapple, the representatives of popular tyranny and of power consecrated by time, in persons nearly and desperately connected, and intertwined the whole with a thread of dramatic interest, binding it together in one, and beating throughout as a pulse.

Besides the plays which have been represented, Miss Mitford has written two tragedies, one on the catastrophe of Charles the First, the other on the well-known story of Ignez de Castro, each of which we are credibly informed is worthy of her fame. The first was not acted because Mr. Colman, under the regime of Montrose, fancied the subject dangerous, though it has been represented in more fastidious times than these; the other has been twice in rehearsal, and has only been deferred in consequence of theatrical accidents, to which the authoress yielded without repining, but which, we hope, will not always prevent its representation. Besides her original works, she has edited two sets of American Tales, one for children, and one for readers of all ages, the last of which is strikingly illustrative of transatlantic character and manners, and rich in descriptions of scenery There is yet one work which we trust she will one day give us, because it would call forth all her powers and accomplishments--a true English Novel. Here the lighter graces of her style, her delicate humour, her womanly fineness of observation, the tone of the elegant society which she adorns--would have fitting play, and scenes of lofty purpose and fervid passion, and meek suffering might give scope for the force and pathos which have rendered her tragedies vital. That she is capable of such a work no one can doubt ; for though the power to produce a novel by no means implies the ability to succeed in the drama, the converse is almost obvious; and that she will one day produce it must be the wish of all who duly appreciate those indications of various power which are scattered through her diversified productions.


IN ITALY." Of all the towns of Lower Normandy, Granville is, perhaps, the least interesting. From whatever side it is reached, indeed, whether from Coutanies and its magnificent cathedral to the north, from that lovely little paradise, Mortain, inland and east of it, or from Av. ranches, the traveller is generally disappointed. Not always however -a gay dance of sailor lads and Norman lasses on the barren heights above the town, together with tents and colours, music, gingerbread, and other appendages of a fête, gave to the bleak coast of Granville a charm, that might well supply the picturesque. Nor was this, after all, wanting There was the wide ocean lit by a gay summer even, the sullen hills of Brittany bounding it on one side, whilst on the other the gilded line of the horizon was broken by the island of Jersey, from whence some tiny volumes of smoke were seen to rise in graceful curls, giving that pleasing effect of motion in extreme and placid distance. This proceeded, we were told, from weeds burning. Chaussee, an islet belonging to France, formed also an interesting speck on the sea's surface. Immediately beneath, the port of Granville was unusually crowded with masts of boats, nay even ships, with a variety of tiny flags flying. From the dark town were issuing crowds to the fête, whilst a bedusted carriage disgorged its freight of travellers, who, however wearied, could not but pause to mingle in the scene of mirth. It was one of those fatigue-repaying moments of travel, when the eye is enchanted, and the imagination gets upon a tip-toe for an adventure.

No need of describing the peasant beauty of the Normans, though here certainly less marked than in the more northern parts of the province. There was a little group of Jersey women of the middling rank, dressed in white, with fair English complexions, and English cottage bonnets too, which curiously contrasted with the head-dresses of their French neighbours, and excited much the attention and astonishment of the latter.

“ What fête or holiday is this ?" asked a stranger. “ In honour of what Saint may these rejoicings be ?"

“ Saint !” exclaimed the questioned person with a grin; "none that I know of, except cod-fish. You may call it the fête de la moruc."

He afterwards explained the droll expression and idea by telling us that on the morrow all the grand batiments, in other words, the great ships and brigs of Granville were setting forth on their annual cod-fishing expedition to some marine region in the neighbourhood of Newfoundland. This at once accounted for the merry-making, for the attentions which the sailor lads paid to the lasses from whom they were about to part, and for the interest excited in the fluttering breasts and features of the latter for youths about to enter upon a voyage of distance, if not peril. There was indeed a world of wooing, nor did I ever see the verb love conjugated at once through so many of its moods and tenses. Some were sad and Werther-like, others with spirits sky-high, with heart and heels ever on the rebound.

All suffrages united in awarding the palm of beauty to one girl,

the queen of the fête, and the daughter of one of the ship-owners of the morrow's expedition. This sturdy mariner had made a brief appearance on the hill

, but had departed to attend to some operation or steerage on board his vessel. His daughter, Louise, remained the cynosure of every eye. She was a dark, delicate, proud maiden, not loth to enjoy a triumph ; and in this she was fully gratified, not only by the universal regard, but by the close attentions of more than one anxious suitor. The frank seaman, her sire, had declared, that he should consider the most active, expert, and steady fisher of his crew as best entitled to his daughter and her dower, a promise, considered not so disinterested as it may at first seem, since it ensured a choice band of sailors, and with such a bait an over-teeming hold of stockfish.

Anon, the equanimity of the fête was disturbed by a quarrel amongst the pretenders to Mademoiselle Louise. Pique was taken and high words arose. One youth called another “a lubber, born to hold the tail of a plough, not the helm of a vessel.” And the gentleman thus vituperated, retorted on his insulter, as a cursed Vendean and a Marquis.Now, whoever knows aught of French, must know that the most dire term of reproach in the land's vocabulary is the word Marquis strange as this may seem to our aristocratic ears. Beyond it there remains nought, save an appeal to the sword. This was not wanting in the present case, but the fête and the crowd, and the morrow's departure, prevented such an extreme mode of settling the strife, which evaporated, much against the will of the rivals, in bloodless frowns and words.

Who was he accused of being a Marquis, and who had so resented the appellation ? A handsome youth, named Pierre Paul, the favoured lover of Louise. No finer, nor gayer aspect shone at the fête under a sailor's glazed hat, nor was there either in Granville or on board the brig of Louise's sire, a more clever hooker, emboweller, or salter of stock-fish. But how a Marquis ?

It was in the year seventeen hundred and ninety-somewhat, that the insurrectionary army of Vendeans were moved by fatuity to quit their own close and covered country of the Bocage. They crossed the Loire, advanced into an unknown and open province, in order to make themselves masters of a sea-port opposite to the English shores and convenient for receiving succours thence. Granville struck them as the most desirable place of the kind. They marched towards it, and attacked it with all, their wonted valour. The Vendeans, however, like the Goths of old, were formidable indeed in the field, but powerless against stone-walls and fortifications; and in consequence they were repulsed from even the insignificant town of Granville to the great disappointment of Lord Moira, who was in the neighbouring seas with an auxiliary force. Their repulse at Granville proved fatal to the Vendeans; they from thence retreated homewards; few recrossed the Loire ; and the Royalist insurrection expired. The wives and families of the Vendeans followed their armies, the camp being their only safe refuge. Hence the hurried retreat from Granville proved most disastrous to the wives and infants of the Vendeans, the more helpless portion of their families. These were found on the roads and in the ditches dead with famine and fatigue. On the road betwixt Granville and Avranche was on that occasion found an

ass with a pair of panniers, in one of which was stowed an infant. This infant was the present Pierre Paul. As a lost orphan from the ranks of the Royalists and aristocrats, he was stigmatized, by those who had occasion to hate, or wish to vex him, as a Marquis. The name became first affixed to him at school, and it was the cause of much mortification, buffeting, and blood-from the nose. The stigma added to his hardihood and superiority, by calling forth all his pride and pugnacity. But it had with him the singular effect of reversing all received ideas of rank and worth. Thus noble or gentle birth and such from the contents of the pannier most probably were his which all mankind and all romance-writers so justly and prodigiously esteem, came to appear to the eye of Pierre Paul, as the most signal disgrace that could befall him. This may seem impossible in any other country; but in France it not only may be true, but is very general. Nothing so common there, as to glory in being plebeian; and why should not pride grow cheap, as well as other virtues and commodities? I see not.

On the morrow after the fête above described, took place a solemnity, or scene, still more interesting ; indeed, if circumstances favour it, as interesting as may well be witnessed. The ships had all put out, or were putting to sea; their sails extended, and the shouts of the sailors seemed to court and to invoke the breeze. The morn was lovely as the previous eve. Jersey and the Breton mountains shone in the sea; yet despite the fair promise of the heavens, those left on shore showed their mistrust of the fickle element, at whose mercy were now to be, for months, so many husbands, lovers, parents. The female population of Granville, old and young, were clustered around a large crucifix erected on the shore, some imploring, some weeping, whilst others with fixed regards, watched the retreating vessels. Kerchiefs were waving ; and the hair of maidens, loosened by the wind, formed a still more touching token of adieu. All this affection, evinced at the foot of the cross, placing itself, its ties, and fortunes, under the protection of that sacred symbol, presented a sweet and solemn spectacle, that had the effect of hallowing Granville in the recollection of at least one spectator.

Louise was amidst the group. How unlike the gay, triumphant beauty of the preceding evening! Then, vanity mingled with the purest and tenderest sentiment, but slightly, and not ungracefully perhaps, alloying them. But now her heart was all given to sorrow; a thousand anxieties preyed upon it. He might perish, or he might change; might be maladroit by misfortune, and not attract her father's preference. In short, she ran round all the adverse points of Fortune's compass, and, as usual, passed over the only one from which the unlucky wind was to blow.

Summer months rolled on; ships and crews had reached their far shore of destination, and were busily engaged in fulfilling the purpose of their voyage: Granville was tranquil

, and many a little calendar told that half the time of absence had expired for the fishing expedition, when rumour came that some strange personages had taken up their abode at the chief hotel of the town. What was their errand ? They were not mere travellers ; such never stopped at Granville-nor were they going to Jersey-nor yet were they connois-voyageurs.

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