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I look upon this letter as smoothing most | ered, now that it is too late, that he is very of your difficulties with your uncle away. sorry not to have seen more of him during So, if you and Verner continue to be of the his stay.' same mind

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O aunt!' said Madeleine, you know we shall. How kind you are, to take this view! How clever, to turn what threatened to be such an annoyance into good! What a pity I cannot tell Verner! But I can't; and yet, if that odious Herbert sticks to this notion about me, Verner must find it out when he comes home.'

Nonsense, Maddy. This odious Herbert, so far from sticking to his notion about you, as you express it, with a curtness truly surprising and unsentimental, will, if I know anything of human nature, marry as soon as he can, if for no nobler motive than to prevent your being Lady Bredisholme some day.'

Madeleine's red lip curled with supreme contempt.

'Yes,' said Julia, answering the unspoken thought; it is wonderful; but there are people who belong to the infinitely little, and he is a stupendous specimen. When Verner has been introduced to his sister-inlaw, you can tell him the story, and laugh fraternally at Herbert if you like. As for the injury done to Herbert Bingham or the Captain by my telling Mrs. Marsh, I think we need not disquiet ourselves. Angelina and Clementina are not very likely to spread the fame of your conquests. Have you had a pleasant afternoon?'

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Delightful!' replied Madeleine. Mr. Holmes was so pleased with Basing, and knew so much about it. I don't think I ever knew anyone except yourself, so fond of historical recollections and associations. Papa was quite surprised to find him so clever and well-informed; and has discov

'Take care, Madeleine,' said Julia, smiling, you don't have a third victim on your conscience. I wonder if Mrs. Marsh would acquit you of any flirtation in that quarter also?"

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Pray don't say such a thing, aunt, even in jest,' said Madeleine earnestly. Mr. Holmes is not like the others; he has plenty of good sense, and would never make a fool of himself, like them.'

'Very well, so much the better; only, you know, folly of that kind is sometimes contagious.'

Mrs. Haviland's line of action proved perfectly successful. Madeleine was exposed to no more affectionate advances on the part of her cousins; indeed, those young ladies showed rather a disposition to quarrel with her. But Madeleine would not quarrel, or be quarrelled with, and they parted with the outward semblance of amity three days later.

Horace Holmes had left Meriton on the previous day. The incidents of the excursion to Basing had aided to confirm him in his fatal delusion. Madeleine's undisguised pleasure in his society, the delight with which she listened to him, the satisfaction she derived from her father's evident liking for him, the frank, girlish cordiality of her manner, completely misled him. From that moment he discarded every scruple, every misgiving, and dwelt only in his thoughts on the means by which the fact of Alice's existence might be for ever suppressed, and on the reversal of the persecuting decrees of fate against himself which seemed now within his power.

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From Saint Paul's.



shapen into a goblet so huge that few of us can lift it to our lips." And then he goes on, "I have ventured to offer to English readers a simple abridgment of the marvellous tale, matchless in the range of prose fiction, because, for the honour of literature, I lament that the noblest of all novels, the most pathetic, and the most sublime, should be unread and well-nigh unknown among us. To cure the evil of prolixity, therefore, Mr. Dallas has abridged the work by omitting such of the letters as he deemed to be unnecessary to the development of the story.

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Here, says Mr. Dallas to all English readers, is a great treasure. There are circumTHIS is indeed an old tale, and we should stances connected with it which seem to not now have thought of inviting the atten- make it unavailable to the public in its tion of our readers to one so old, were it present shape. Let us see if we cannot so not for the boldness and unambiguous handle this piece of unsurpassed excellence, thoroughness of the challenge thrown down as to make it of general service to humanity. by Mr. Dallas, in his introduction to this “Unfortunately," says Mr. Dallas, "Richnew edition of Samuel Richardson's well-ardson has a great fault; he is prolix. known novel. He expresses an opinion, He gives us indeed gold, but the gold is almost in so many words, that Richardson is the greatest of all novelists, and "Clarissa" the greatest of al! novels. He quotes Macaulay, who is said to have expatiated to Thackeray on the pleasures which he and others took in reading Clarissa " among the hills in India. He tells us that Sir James Mackintosh declared that it was the finest work of fiction ever written in any language. He overwhelms us with French admiration, naming Alfred de Musset, D'Alembert, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Diderot, though, as two out of these five were admittedly adverse critics, we hardly see to what this leads. And then he tells us that many besides Diderot put Richardson and the Bible together. In fact, Mr. Dallas means to assert that there is the strongest possible evidence which can be given by the judgment of critics that "Clarissa" is the admiration of contemporaries and by the greatest of novels. But he goes on to add, and this is the point at which he aims, in making that popular which is now adthat, though Clarissa" is thus excellent, mittedly unpopular by the simple work of it does not now receive that attention which abridgment? We notice the book thinkso excellent a work deserves, and does noting that his judgment is wrong and that his administer to readers generally that delight the matter is of great importance, and belabours will which it is capable of affording. This, inprove to be futile; because deed, is the very gist of the plea which he cause it may be worth while to inquire why puts forward. I lament," he says, "that nobody now reads Richardson's novels. the noblest of all novels, the most pathetic, and the most sublime, should be unread, and well-nigh unknown among us." And again, "For the novelist who could so vail, I claim in all the English courts of criticism, and in the regard of all his countrymen, a reversal of the sentence of neglect from which he now suffers." And again, "I challenge for him in all the courts of English criticism and in the regard of all his countrymen a reconsideration of his services."



There is an enthusiasm in this, a true ad

miration for an undoubtedly noble work, and a true interest for the reputation of a great writer, which the lovers of English literature cannot but love. One's first feeling on reading Mr. Dallas's remarks is that of sympathy, at any rate with Mr. Dallas.

"Clarissa:" A Novel, by Samuel Richardson,

edited by E. S. Dallas. Tinsley, 1868.

issa," as left to us by the author, is in the
In this there is an admission that
present day unreadable. Thus there arise
two questions. Is Mr. Dallas right in the
extreme amount of eulogy which he passes
its present form; and will he be successful
on a work which he admits to be beyond
the power of English readers to digest in

Now and again we hear the voice of a In these days everybody reads novels. thoughtful or earnest man raised against this popular reaction. Mr. Carlyle or the Archbishop of York may endeavour to prove that we are dissipating our minds, wasting our time, and encouraging laxity and diffuseness in our intellectual powers; but the preaching of the preacher is of no avail. Men are as laborious as ever they were. Our wives and our daughters are more highly educated than were our moth ers and grandmothers. pray, and ride, and dance, and gamble, We work, and But we all read novels; - lawyers, divines, and talk politics as assiduously as ever. merchants, soldiers, sailors, courtiers, poli ticians, and what not. There is hardly a man or a woman who can read who does not require that some amount of novel reading shall be printed for the delight of his or her leisure hours. And so much is learned


from novels, so much of good and of evil, | has undertaken on our behalf to make it We will acknowledge, as we pass -so very many of the details of everyday less so. life are done honestly or dishonestly, self- on, that he has so far done his task well, ishly or unselfishly, in a manner divine or that he has omitted nothing necessary to "Clarissa" is a better diabolical, as the mind of the doer may the story, and that, in the three volumes have been operated upon beneficially or in- now under notice, juriously by the novelist's art, that the pro- novel than it was as left by Richardson. duction and possession of good novels We will not pause to assert that an author instead of bad, that is of novels that will should be judged by his works as he himteach good lessons instead of novels that self leaves them, and will acknowledge, will teach bad lessons, is a matter of vital also, as we proceed, that the world of importance to the nation. We think that readers is indebted to the editor or comwe are right in asserting that the novels of mentator who will make that which fitted the day have more effect on the national the taste of one age fit also for the taste of mind than either the sermons or the poetry; later ages by his labours. But we venture more probably than any other branch of to express our opinion that, even in this “Clarissa" is so prolix, that literature with the exception of newspapers, abridgment, even if we except them. In speaking of the impatience of the times will not endure the novels of the day, we mean the novels the book; and also that, as a work of art, which are now read, and should count Rich- it is not only prolix, but is so replete with ardson's among those if they were in daily other faults which have been condemned by use. If this be so, it would be a great the ever-advancing literary education of the thing to redeem from darkness and bring day, that it can never again become popuout into meridian light a work, of which the lar. if that There are those, among whom, however, lessons are undoubtedly moral, who work be, as it is asserted, of all novels the we do not think that we should reckon Mr. Dallas, lovers of literature too, best and most charming. It is confessed that nobody reads "Clar-will tell us that our education and taste as issa." Richardson's novels must, indeed, to that which we read have gone backwards; be classed among those standard national that men and women who prefer Macaulay works of literature with which men in gen- to Burnet, Tennyson to Dryden, or Thackeral think it no harm to profess an acquain-eray to Richardson, do so because to their These are tance, although they have never read a line attenuated intellects and sickly judgments of them, and have never opened the volume. tinsel shines brighter than gold. for there are ConThere are many such national works. We the "lauditores temporis acti," the Conserdon't mean to say that men and women lie vatives in literature, about them. If asked to put their hands servatives in literature as in politics, men on their hearts and say whether they had who are very serviceable to us in saving us perused this or that book from end to end, from too quick a desertion of things that the truth would come from them clearly and are old, because they are old, the drag rapidly. But in the ordinary conversation upon our wheels which might otherwise run of the world, it is customary to presume an down the hill too quickly. But we hold acquaintance with these happy literary own- them to be altogether wrong in their judgers of brevet rank. Beaumont and Fletcher ment of men's intellects. As age succeeds As it is in matters political, are a great example. We are disposed to age, that which is most worthy keeps its believe that Spenser might be named in the hold upon us. list; Bunyan's “Pilgrim's Progress" should so it is also in matters of literature. Trial be inserted; and De Foe's writings, with by jury remains, and is likely to remain, — the exception of "Robinson Crusoe." Dry- let Messrs. Beales and Odgers be ever so den's poems, Chesterfield's letters, and Dr. triumphant; and Shakspeare is still known ClarJohnson's works, of course we do not in- to us at least as intimately as in any previelude his dictionary, - may be added. In ous age. The very admission that is not read, is of itself proof to us this catalogue Richardson's novels must issa certainly find a place. All these are books that "Clarissa " is unreadable. Mr. Dallas admits that this work is prowhich it is assumed that every man has read, which all men have on their book-lix, and endeavours to cure the fault. But If unfortunately the book is weighted with a shelves, but which nobody ever reads. "Clarissa" is so pre-eminently the best of double prolixity. It is prolix in all its novels, and as novels are now more popu- parts, as well as in its whole. Cut it to among pieces as you will, and it will still be prolix. lar than ever, why is "Clarissa " The telling of every incident is done with a the books that are never opened? Mr. Dallas tells us that it is prolix, and prolixity that to us is amazing; and, as the



whole story is told in letters, it strikes us | there is no touch of natural life in it from as being as impossible as it is cumbersome. beginning to end. The least critical reader knows that the Clarissa Harlowe is the daughter of a writing of such letters must have been im- wealthy gentleman, and is one of a possible. The twenty-four hours of the large and united family, with whom, up to day were not long enough for the transcrib- the period at which the story begins, she ing of all the words which men and women was loved, not only in family amity, but as are supposed to have thrown into their let- a favoured one, a pet, and an idol. She ters, written, say, between Monday and has father, mother, brother, sister, and two Tuesday morning. Mr. Dallas will proba- uncles who have all adored her; and she bly tell us that if the letters so written be has had a grandfather who has left to her a in themselves charming, this inconsistency large fortune. She has also a friend, Miss should be held to be venial. Even with Howe, who worships her; and she has two this we cannot agree. The reader feels that lovers, one, the notorious Lovelace, who there is a trespass made upon his judgment is the villain of the book; and the other, when he is asked to accept that as true one Solmes, who is the object of her early which he feels to have been impossible. disgust. Of these two lovers, the first has But independently of that, letters so written managed to get himself refused by Clarissa's must in themselves be prolix,-prolix, sister, who is, nevertheless, frightfully jealthough a week were allowed for the writing ous when the lover transfers himself to of them. When two or three prolix letters Clarissa. The other is favoured by all the have given accounts, equally prolix, of the Harlowe family, as being one who will not same circumstance, Mr. Dallas has been give trouble, either by profligacy or in moable to omit one or two of the number; and ney matters. Clarissa, of course, loves the reader is so far spared. But the ques-Lovelace, tion should be one, not of sparing, but of delight; and a story told with prolixity is not delightful even when told but once.

though, throughout the whole story, so much is never admitted by her, and protests loudly that she will have nothing to say to Solmes. Then the whole family go to work to force her to marry the man she hates, and make scruple of no tyranny to drive her to compliance. Her brother and her sister become fiends of malice. Her father removes himself away as an offended god, but as a god who knows no mercy; and her uncles are stormy, cruel, and devilish. Clarissa, in the meantime, manages to keep up a correspondence with Lovelace, and at last elopes with him. Up to this point the mind of the reader is solely intent on getting on with his work. The whole story is told in letters, — chiefly, up to this point, passing between Clarissa and her friend, Miss Howe. The minutest details are told, but all these details are unnatural. There is not a letter among them that any girl could have written in any age. Anna Howe herself is detestable. She has a respectable lover, whom she marries at last, and in respect of whom her letters are full of the most absurd abuse. She relates to her friend all her ill-treatment of this lover, down to the very words she uses. Yet not once does she profess affection for him. And yet she marries him. In depicting Anna Howe and her lover, Richardson has intended to be humorous, but even Mr. Dallas will not, we think, break a lance in defence of his author's humour. And, in describing the manner in which Anna Howe did get married and Clarissa Harlowe did not, Richardson has adhered to his stiff,

We will attempt very shortly to analyse the story of "Clarissa," and to show, in doing so, that its faults, independently of its prolixity, are such as to forbid its ever being restored to general popularity. We will begin by admitting that the tale possesses in the highest degree the highest merit which a work of prose fiction can possess. It is pre-eminently pathetic. They who can make their way through it, and, even in the three volume form in which Mr. Dallas has given it to us, it is about twice as long as an ordinary novel, will find that their feelings are harrowed by the sufferings of the heroine, and that their indignation is stirred by the iniquity of the chief transgressor. Such cruel usage, and borne with such angelic heroism, such barbarity, and planned with such devilish art, is not perhaps to be found in the whole range of novels with which our shelves and those of our circulating libraries are laden. And this great virtue belongs admittedly and of tradition so absolutely to " Clarissa," that its existence is in itself the strongest proof of the faults of the book in other respects. There is no virtue in novels so generally in demand as the virtue of pathos; and yet, though the existence of this virtue in "Clarissa" is admitted on all hands, although it has become an acknowledged fact in literature, neither men nor women will read it. They will not read it, because

ungainly, puritanical idea as to women, that a woman till she is married should be ashamed ever to own that she loves. We may be told that such was the idea among well brought-up women of the time: but we venture to assert that the poetry, plays, and tales of the day tell us that this was not so; and that women then, if less demonstrative, and therefore less natural than now, were still known to speak their minds. Richardson desired to teach virtue as he saw it; and, in doing so, has repudiated all human nature, -as is done by so many who, in these days, endeavour to teach us virtue in godly but false little books, about godly Lut false little people.

comes most intricate, but the letters which tell the plot are continued throughout, and are so written that the reader is never for a moment permitted to feel that his story is being told to him by the person who should tell it. That young ladies should be laborious, persistent, and long-winded in their letters to their friends, is perhaps an idea so well established in the minds of novel readers, as to make it seem possible that eight or ten hours a day should be devoted to the purpose; but when young men about town, gay rakes, fellows who fight, and drink, and gamble, and notoriously spend their hours in the pursuit of pleasure, when such as these are found to cover quires of paper daily, not only with their own productions to their own correspondents, but in copying them to send to others, and in copying the production of others to send to their correspondents, the patience of the reader gives way, and he feels that too much is demanded of him.

by Lovelace with the aid of a bevy of vile women, and by the assistance outside of men as vile. In arranging this, Richardson has been forced to continue intricacies of plot so minute, so detailed, so dove-tailed, as to create continually the feeling of im

We may here point out the impracticability of telling, by means of letters between correspondents, a story in which the details of life are to be given and the intricacies of a wide plot evolved. Novelists who have attempted this have usually begun their work with epistles which might possibly have been written, with letters which as Clarissa elopes, and after various advenletters are not altogether absurd, with tures with her lover, is taken to a house of simple statements of facts and expressions ill fame, and is there detained a prisoner of feeling and opinion, of wishes and fears; but they have invariably found themselves driven to use the straitened form of narrative with which they have provided themselves in a manner of which epistolary correspondence can know no real example, repeating whole conversations, and, on occa- possibility. Letters go astray, and don't sions, conversations which have reached the go astray, get into wrong hands, and into writer second-hand, heaping letter upon let-right hands, with equal improbability. A ter, one after another in the same day, and presuming at last that the writers of them wrote as though they themselves were intentionally fabricating the novel which has to be given to the public. Scott tried this mode of structure in " Redgauntlet," and Scott failed. In this novel the great master gradually escapes from the narrow confines of familiar epistles to the still cramped mode of a diary, and from that to a narrative, with which he ends his story ;- and even with this resource ends a story that has been spoilt in the telling. "Evelina" is perhaps the best instance we have of a novel told by letters; and this is so, not because the letters are at all natural, but because Miss Burney in concocting them has thrown over all idea of fashioning the letters to the minds and natural language of the writers, and has allowed herself to write them as though she herself had forgotten her own trammels. When the reader comes to "Evelina in continuation," it is to him simply the beginning of a new chapter. But Richardson has provided for himself no such refuge from his difficulty as was found either by Miss Burney or by Scott. The plot be

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diplomate in the old days of diplomacy cozening all Europe, a Talleyrand or a Metternich carrying out a scheme for imposing or deposing an emperor, were as nothing in intrigue to Lovelace managing the ruin of a young woman, whom, to do him justice, he is generally quite ready to marry, and who has eloped with him clearly with the purpose of marrying him. Plot thickens upon plot. Forgery, perjury, rape, and murder are executed or proposed with the freest volubility; and to every such crime, or scheme for crime, women of the town, domestic servants, and ruffians hired for the occasion, are made privy with no compunction. There could have been no law in the land, and yet Richardson is writing of the reign of George II. It is known to her friends that Clarissa is in the hands of a villain; — it is even known during the story that she is with villainous women; - but no one comes to help her. Her devoted Anna Howe writes letters by the dozen, but never appears on the scene, even when she hears the whole story of her friend's tragedy. During the greater portion of this part of the book the reader

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