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We think this a mistake. Not in a pecuniary point of view, certainly,for we doubt not its sale will be enormous.-But it is nothing short of a blunder as regards the ultimate fame of the AUTHOR OF WAVERLEY,— and we thought that Sir Walter had been sagacious enough to know it. What we mean is this. To go behind the scenes prevents real enjoyment of the play. We will give an anecdote on this score. In our youth we occasionally went to the Green-room. We recollect once taking a friend “behind”—and going to the wing with him, where a young singer stood hoydening in a very side-scene fashion, and talking in a loud and unfeminine voice. This very person, the public-(in this instance we take credit to ourselves for always seeing they were wrong)-constantly praised for peculiar grace of motion and delicacy of manner. Our friend had been one of her greatest admirers: “ Let me go," he exclaimed, "I will never come behind the scenes again."

In like manner we think that Sir Walter has been unwise, in letting us see the machinery of his scenery-which from the front had so beautiful an effect and shewing as some of the reality of characters which, as he had put them upon the scene, were so admirable in their several natures. Why would not he leave-not well but, admirably— alone? Why shew us the warp and woof of that tapestry which, in its unbetrayed state, was so perfect?

In Waverley,' this is of less disadvantage than it will be anon. Oh! how we dread his giving us the pleadings in the Heart of Mid Lothian.' Please, Sir Walter, please leave untouched your most estimable and noble offspring, Jeanie Deans;-if you don't; we'll have you indicted for child murder, instead of poor Effie-and you would be guilty.

Oh! how our hearts went along with the earlier productions of the

Author of Waverley! That work itself-the Antiquary,' the Black Dwarf,'-though it was not much the fashion, it always touched us far more than many more successful- Old Mortality,' Rob Roy,' with all its faults, delightful- The Bride of Lammermuir,'-and above all the Heart of Mid Lothian'-Oh! how these both before and since have filled our hearts with kindly good humour, and made them melt with the most natural and deepest touches of tenderness.

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We have heard Sir Walter and Miss Edgeworth-to whom we are rejoiced to see he pays a hearty and a just tribute of admiration in his preface-accused of want of that very quality of tenderness, of which few exist who appreciate the real depth, power, and beauty. In Miss Edgeworth's works, there are many passages in which a single exclamation will go like a shot to the heart of him who has one. her children's works nearly all those now approaching full maturity must recur with gratitude and blessings. Her Parent's Assistant,' none can look back to without those feelings. Some of her Popular Tales' have the most affecting bits that we have almost ever lighted upon. That entitled the Contrast,' is one of the most amiable and perfect representations of middling life we ever beheld. We know, indeed, an instance of a person holding an office of some local power, who was suddenly restrained from an act, perfectly permissible, but one of haste that might have produced injustice—who paused, because at that instant there flashed across his mind the anecdote of the old and excellent farmer, who comes to his young and gay landlord, after he has sent in a petition not to be turned from his farm in consequence of inevitable losses; when the young gentleman, who is kind-hearted, but careless, jumps into his gig, exclaiming (to the effect of) "Oh! yes, very hard case-very-go to my steward-he will see you righted." The steward is of the opposite faction, turns the poor man out, and he is ruined. Even such accidental good as this, proves Miss Edgeworth's power over the mind--but her general influence is great indeed. In "Ennui," how many pictures, and sayings of a few words, go direct to the heart. Nurse Ellinor!-what a multitude of strong, warm, and tender feelings, are there not gathered under that old woman's cloak! And the "Absentee;"-no one, we think, can read the account of Lord Colombre's incognito visit to Clonbrows, on the rentday, without feelings of the kindest and deepest sympathy with nearly all that is best in our nature.

This may be thought an odd way of reviewing the work at the head of this article--but the connexion is close. Sir Walter is speaking of his motives for writing prose when his fame was so established as a poet :

"The first was the extended and well-merited fame of Miss Edgeworth, whose Irish characters have gone so far to make the English familiar with the character of their gay and kind-hearted neighbours of Ireland, that she may be truly said to have done more towards completing the Union, than perhaps all the legislative enactments by which it has been followed up.

"Without being so presumptuous as to hope to emulate the rich humour, pathetic tenderness, and admirable tact, which pervade the works of my accomplished friend, I felt, that something might be attempted for my own country, of the same kind with that which Miss Edgeworth so fortunately

achieved for Ireland-something which might introduce her natives to those of the sister kingdom, in a more favourable light than they had been placed hitherto, and tend to procure sympathy for their virtues and indulgence for their foibles. I thought also, that much of what I wanted in talent, might be made up by the intimate acquaintance with the subject which I could lay claim to possess, as having travelled through most parts of Scotland, both Highland and Lowland; having been familiar with the elder, as well as more modern race; and having had from my infancy free and unrestrained communication with all ranks of my countrymen, from the Scottish peer to the Scottish ploughman. Such ideas often occurred to me, and constituted an ambitious branch of my theory, however far short I may have fallen of it in practice."

We have already named those of the Scotch novels which are our prime favourites;-and they are so because we think they join far finer representations of human feeling than is to be found in the others with equal power of incident and description. Guy Mannering' is, probably, the best of those we have omitted-but it is nearly all "accident by flood and field," and, which is a great fault in a novel, it is impossible to sympathize with the heroine, the pert and flippant Miss Julia Mannering. Ivanhoe,' also, is a magnificent display of power-but it does not suit us so well as those in which the feelings are nearer to ourselves.

But, after the publication of Ivanhoe,' we draw a strong and decided line. There is no one whole work which is really worthy of the Author of Waverley. Instead of comedy and tragedy of the highest order, it is only melo-drame-of the very highest order we grant at once, but still melo-drame. He works more from books, and less from his own observations, mind, and heart. The antiquarian shews himself far more, the man of genius much less. The causes of this inferiority are manifest; but the fact remains the same. The constant cry of more, more, more- -necessarily threw even Sir Walter Scott upon resources foreign from his own. Peveril,' ' Quentin Durward,' 'Nigel,' 'Woodstock'-all these are rather rifacimenti of old memoir-writers and so forth, than the offspring of Sir Walter's recollections, and fertile and brilliant invention. We do not mean to say that we object to materials being thus collected; but they should not in the hands of such a writer be made prominently apparent-nor are they in his earlier works where, nevertheless, they exist, and in considerable quantity. In them, they are worked in with the development of the characters in a manner equally skilful in execution, and delightful in the result; for the skill appears only upon reflection afterwards. Like a first-rate painting we at first are struck by the object represented, and see nothing else; when we cool, we admire the means by which the object that has so entranced us has been created.

In the novels we have named, and in some of those of a later date, there are many passages in which the old hand is recognised at once with delight; but no one work ever takes that hold upon the mind which the earlier productions seized at once, and have never relaxed since.

And now to consider more directly the work before us. The more we consider it, the more we really regret its publication. After what we have said, we shall not be considered luke-warm admirers of this

great writer. He has given us gratification in every shape;-in his liveliness,-in his stronger and broader mirth,—in the graceful and piquant tone of his direct narrative-in the startling rapidity of his almost visible pictures of action, and the almost unequalled reality of his descriptions of external nature. Still more have we admired and felt his power of portraying every variation of human character, as well arising from the natural disposition and gifts, as from the circumstances of situation and event. In the rendering the effects of these two causes combined, he is unrivalled. Lastly, we thank him for his admirable representations of the passions and feelings, which form at once the most attractive and beneficial subjects of human contemplation. Of the more lofty and the fiercer, his portraitures are magnificent and vivid; but we confess that the delineations for which we are the most grateful, are his exquisite touches of what is fond, and simple, and pure, and generous, and tender.

It is because we feel these qualities to be so perfectly brought into action as the books exist, that we are reluctant to enter into their analysis. Nay, we do not even enjoy the exposition which Sir Walter makes of the progress of his mind during his literary career. It is certainly curious in a metaphysical point of view-but we still feel that it lessens the general effect, which was "one and indivisible" in our minds; and, moreoever, in the talking of self, always so difficult, we do not think Sir Walter has struck upon the happiest tone. We confess, the following anecdote of childhood appears to us to want that simplicity which is ever the most touching characteristic of that age :

"I must refer to a very early period of my life, were I to point out my first achievements as a tale-teller-but I believe some of my old schoolfellows can still bear witness that I had a distinguished character for that talent, at a time when the applause of my companions was my recompense for the disgraces and punishments which the future romance-writer incurred for being idle himself, and keeping others idle, during hours that should have been employed on our tasks. The chief enjoyment of my holidays was to escape with a chosen friend, who had the same taste with myself, and alternately to recite to each other such wild adventures as we were able to devise. We told, each in turn, interminable tales of knight-errantry and battles and enchantments, which were continued from one day to another as opportunity offered, without our ever thinking of bringing them to a conclusion. As we observed a strict secrecy on the subject of this intercourse, it acquired all the character of a concealed pleasure, and we used to select, for the scenes of our indulgence, long walks through the solitary and romantic environs of Arthur's Seat, Salisbury Crags, Braid Hills, and similar places in the vicinity of Edinburgh; and the recollection of those holidays still forms an oasis in the pilgrimage which I have to look back upon. I have only to add, that my friend still lives, a prosperous gentleman, but too much occupied with graver business, to thank me for indicating him more plainly as a confident of my childish mystery."

We confess we think the following far more natural and interesting. It comes directly after what we have just quoted :—

"When boyhood advancing into youth required more serious studies and graver cares, a long illness threw me back on the kingdom of fiction, as if it were by a species of fatality. My indisposition arose, in part at least, from my having broken a blood-vessel; and motion and speech were for a long time pronounced positively dangerous. For several weeks I was confined

strictly to my bed, during which time I was not allowed to speak above a whisper, to eat more than a spoonful or two of boiled rice, or to have more covering than one thin counterpane. When the reader is informed that I was at this time a growing youth, with the spirits, appetite, and impatience of fifteen, and suffered, of course, greatly under this severe regimen, which the repeated return of my disorder rendered indispensable, he will not be surprised that I was abandoned to my own discretion, so far as reading (my almost sole amusement) was concerned, and still less so, that I abused the indulgence which left my time so much at my own disposal.

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There was at this time a circulating library in Edinburgh, founded, I believe, by the celebrated Allan Ramsay, which, besides containing a most respectable collection of books of every description, was, as might have been expected, peculiarly rich in works of fiction. It exhibited specimens of every kind, from the romances of chivalry, and the ponderous folios of Cyrus and Cassandra, down to the most approved works of later times. I was plunged into this great ocean of reading without compass or pilot; and unless when some one had the charity to play at chess with me, I was allowed to do nothing save read, from morning to night. I was, in kindness and pity, which was perhaps erroneous, however natural, permitted to select my subjects of study at my own pleasure, upon the same principle that the humours of children are indulged to keep them out of mischief. As my taste and ap-. petite were gratified in nothing else, I indemnified myself by becoming a glutton of books. Accordingly, I believe I read almost all the romances, old plays, and epic poetry, in that formidable collection, and no doubt was unconsciously amassing materials for the task in which it has been my lot to be so much employed.

"At the same time I did not in all respects abuse the license permitted me. Familiar acquaintance with the specious miracles of fiction brought with it some degree of satiety, and I began, by degrees, to seek in histories, memoirs, voyages and travels, and the like, events nearly as wonderful as those which were the work of imagination, with the additional advantage that they were at least in a great measure true."

The part of this preface which has pleased us the least is that in which Sir Walter talks of the incognito. He says a great deal, and tells us nothing. The original cause must always have been manifest -the dread, namely, of compromising the poet's reputation: but to that which has always appeared to us the only enigmatical part of the business, Sir Walter gives no solution. We mean why, when the fame of the novelist even eclipsed, greatly in fact-in desert incalcu lably that of the poet, why did he not at once declare-" They are one ?"

The following passage we very sincerely regret to see published with Sir Walter Scott's name attached to it :

"My desire to remain concealed, in the character of the Author of these Novels, subjected me occasionally to awkward embarrassments, as it sometimes happened that those who were sufficiently intimate with me, would put the question in direct terms. In this case, only one of three courses could be followed. Either I must have surrendered my secret,-or have returned an equivocating answer,-or, finally, must have stoutly and boldly denied the fact. The first was a sacrifice which I conceive no one had a right to force from me, since I alone was concerned in the matter. The alternative of rendering a doubtful answer must have left me open to the degrading suspicion that I was not unwilling to assume the merit (if there was any) which I dared not absolutely lay claim to; or those who might think more justly of me, must have received such an equivocal answer as an indirect avowal. I

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