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all work, when blows were going. I will not consent to his ruin, Christian. These fellows must be flogged off such false scents-flogged, in every sense, they must, and will be, when the nation comes to their eyesight again."
"It is of more than the last importance, in the mean time, to the furtherance of our plan," said Christian, "that your grace should stand for a space between them and the king's favour. The youth hath influence with the maiden, which we should find scarce favourable to our views; besides, her father holds him as high as he can any one who is no such Puritanic fool as himself."
"Well, most Christian Christian," said the Duke, "I have heard your commands at length. I will endeavour to stop the earths under the throne, that neither the lord, knight, nor squire in question, will find it possible to burrow there. For the fair one, I must leave Chiffinch and you to manage her introduction to her high destinies, since I am not to be trusted. Adieu, most Christian Christian."
The scenes changes to the apartments of Mrs. Chiffinch, a cast off mistress of the king's, where Fenella and Peveril await his majesty's coming. Julian delivers the countess's papers, and acquaints the king with his father's imprisonment. The monarch, with that sensibility which even such profligacy as he indulged in does not entirely destroy, promises his protection. During this scene, Alice Bridgenorth, who has been left by her unworthy uncle with Madam Chiffinch, rushes into the chamber, to seek protection from the insolence of Buckingham, who had assailed her. Seeing Peveril, she clings to his arm in spite of the remonstrances of the king and Buckingham, and even Mistress Chiffinch, who is utterly overwhelmed with confusion at this destruction of their plot. They leave the house together, but the duke, by way of making up for his defeat, has Julian set upon by bullies: he wounds one, and Alice is carried off by the other during the fight, while Julian is clapped up in Newgate for the murder of the duke's bravo. Here he is, by a trick of the gaoler, made the tenant of the same dungeon with Sir Geoffrey Hudson, the notorious dwarf of the unfortunate queen, Henriette Marie. This would be an amusing personage at Bartholomew Fair, but we cannot tell for what purpose he figures in the novel.
Poor Alice is carried to the duke's house, where she is lodged in a sort of gilded prison, in a part of the building dedicated to the duke's pleasure; her escape from this is strangely contrived by Christian, who finds it necessary to pacify his brother-in-law. Alice seeks refuge with her early protector, Lady Peveril, and a sort of Eastern princess, called Zarah, is left in her place. This, not to keep our readers in the dark, is no other than Fenella, who has now found her tongue. She has an interview with the duke, and at length quits him by leaping out of the window. The Peverils, father and son, with the dwarf knight, are tried and acquitted. The belief that they are Papists, has, however, exasperated the mob against them; they are attacked, and, after a skirmish, take refuge in an armourer's house, where they find Major Bridgenorth. Here they become acquainted with a plot which is then hatching by some of the old Puritans, in which Major Bridgenorth and Christian are concerned, the object of which is to seize and destroy the obnoxious persons at court. Christian has drawn the fickle Duke of Buckingham into the conspiracy and it is arranged between them that arms shall be carried into the pre
sence, inclosed in violoncellos, by some Germans of the duke's retinue, and all the disaffected persons in town have intimation of the design as soon as it should be ripe;-with their co-operation the plot is to be achieved. Little Sir Geoffrey, who is also acquainted with the plot, puts himself into one of the violoncellos, and is carried into the king's presence, where he reveals it. The duke is suddenly summoned, but his impudence and the premature discovery shield him from any actual proof of guilt, and his importance to the Protestant cause, protects him. The Countess of Ormond is at court when this discovery takes place; Christian and Fenella are produced by the duke as witnesses, that his intention was to have contrived a masque for the amusement of the king and the court, instead of the plot laid to his charge. The king's penetration discovers the imposture of Fenella; he supposes she is in love with Peveril, as the truth is, and takes the following means to discover it. The monarch says: "If Lady Derby will contrive either to place her hand near the region of the damsel's heart, or at least on her arm, so that she can feel the sensation of the blood when the pulse increases, then do you, my Lord of Ormond, beckon Julian Peveril out of sight-I will show you in a moment that it can stir at sounds spoken."
'The Countess, much surprised, afraid of some embarrassing pleasantry on the part of Charles, yet unable to repress her curiosity, placed herself near Fenella, as she called her little mute; and, while making signs to her, contrived to place her hand on her wrist.
At this moment the King, passing near them, said "This is a horrid deed the villain Christian has stabbed young Peveril !"
'The mute evidence of the pulse, which bounded as if a cannon had been discharged at the poor girl's ear, was accompanied by such a loud scream of agony, as distressed, while it startled, the good-natured Monarch himself. "I did but jest," he said; " Julian is well, my pretty, maiden. I only used the wand of a certain blind deity called Cupid, to bring a deaf and dumb vassal of his to the exercise of her faculties."
"I am betrayed!" she said, with her eyes fixed on the ground-“ I am betrayed!and it is fit that she, whose life has been spent in practis ing treason on others, should be caught in her own snare.-But where is my tutor in iniquity ?-Where is Christian, who taught me to play the part of spy on this unsuspicious lady, until I had well nigh delivered her into his bloody hands ?"
This," said the king, "craves more secret examination. Let all leave the apartment who are not immediately connected with these proceedings, and let this Christian be again brought before us.-Wretched man," he continued, addressing Christian, "what wiles are these you have practised, and by what extraordinary means ?"
"She has betrayed me, then!" said Christian-" Betrayed me to bonds and death, merely for an idle passion, which can never be successful!-But know, Zarah," he added, addressing her sternly, "when my. life is forfeited through thy evidence, the daughter has murdered the father!"
'The unfortunate girl stared on him in astonishment. "You said," at length she stammered forth, "that I was the daughter of your slaughtered brother ?"
"That was partly to reconcile thee to the part thou wert to play in my destined drama of vengeance-partly to hide what men call the in
famy of my birth. But my daughter thou art! and from the eastern clime, in which thy mother was born, you derive that fierce torrent of passion which I laboured to train to my purposes, but which, turned into another channel, has become the cause of your father's destruction.—My destiny is the Tower, I suppose ?”
'He spoke these words with great composure, and scarce seemed to regard the agonies of his daughter, who, throwing herself at his feet, sobbed and wept most bitterly.
"This must not be," said the king, moved with compassion at this scene of misery. "If you consent, Christian, to leave this country, there is a vessel in the river bound for New England-Go, carry your dark intrigues to other lands."
"I might dispute the sentence," said Christian, boldly; "and if I submit to it, it is a matter of my own choice.-One half hour had made me even with that proud woman, but fortune hath cast the balance against me.-Rise, Zarah, Fenella no more! Tell the Lady of Derby, that, if the daughter of Edward Christian, the niece of her murdered victim, served her as a menial, it was but for the purpose of vengeance-miserably, miserably frustrated!-Thou seest thy folly now-thou wouldst follow yonder ungrateful stripling-forsake all other thoughts to gain his slightest notice; and uow, thou art a forlorn outcast, ridiculed and insulted by those on whose necks you might have trode, had you governed yourself with more wisdom!-But come, thou art still my daughterthere are other skies than that which canopies Britain."
Christian departs with his daughter.
"See after him, Selby," said the king; "lose not sight of him till the ship sail; if he dare return to Britain, it shall be at his peril. Would to God we had as good riddance of others as dangerous! And I would also," he added, after a moment's pause, "that all our political intrigues and feverish alarms could terminate as harmlessly as now, Here is a plot without a drop of blood; and all the elements of a romance, without its conclusion. Here we have had a wandering island princess, (I pray my Lady of Derby's pardon,) a dwarf, a Moorish sorceress, an impenitent rogue, and a repentant man of rank, and yet all ends without either hanging or marriage."
"Not altogether without the latter," said the Countess, who had an opportunity, during the evening, of much private conversation with Julian Peveril. "There is a certain Major Bridgenorth, who, since your Majesty relinquishes farther inquiry into these proceedings, which he had otherwise intended to abide, designs, as we are informed, to leave England for ever. Now this Bridgenorth, by dint of the law, hath acquired strong possession over the ancient domains of Peveril, which he is desirous to restore to the owners, with much fair land besides, conditionally, that our young Julian will receive them as the dowry of his only child and heir."
"By my faith," said the king," she must be a foul-favoured wench indeed, if Julian requires to be pressed to accept her on such fair conditions."
They love each other like lovers of the last age," said the Countess; "but the stout old knight loves not the Roundheaded alliance."
"Our royal recommendation shall put that to rights," said the king; "Sir Geoffrey Peveril has not suffered hardship so often at our command,
that he will refuse our recommendation when it comes to make him amends for all his losses."
Major Bridgenorth quits England, having first consented to the marriage of the lovers, which concludes the novel; the catastrophe is absurdly complicated.
We have only to add to the opinion we have pronounced upon the inferiority of Peveril of the Peak, a recommendation to its author to take breath: let him have patience, and the public fair play; for in these times to receive two guineas for four such volumes is downright extortion, and no less hurtful to his reputation than to his readers' pockets.
VALPERGA: OR, THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF CASTRUCCIO, PRINCE OF LUCCA.
BY THE AUTHOR OF FRANKENSTEIN.
THE novel writing of the present day seems in general to have assumed a very different shape from those of all the times past. They used to contain the history of men's lives from the cradle to the tomb; and all that they possessed of interest was connected with the subject of them. Now, however, they take the complexion rather of dramas than of histories; the hero is only an actor-often a subordinate one—and the interest is created rather by the incidents than for the persons affected by them. With all due deference to the moderns, and under the favour of that rule which has been made by 'present company' in favour of themselves, we must say that we entertain a strong predilection for the older fashion. We think that Don Quixote, and Tom Jones, and Peter Wilkins the Cornishman, are models in their way; and, although we should not care to confess it in all companies, we tell our readers, in this moment of unlimited confidence, that we like our old friends, the authors of those works, twenty to one better than The Author of Waverley,' and yet we mean no disparagement to him. It is this feeling which has caused us to hail with sincere pleasure the attempt which is made, in a new novel called Valperga, to restore the old style; and, as it has been successfully done, we have the agreeable task of bestowing our praise upon the ingenious author.
To be candid-for we propose always to impart those things to our amiable and indulgent readers which we keep profoundly secret from all the rest of the world-we have been agreeably disappointed. Valperga was announced to be by the author of Frankenstein-we did not like Franken. stein: we knew the author was Mrs. Shelley-we are not very fond of Liberaux-not even in petticoats. We hate cockneyism, and we had the fear of licentious opinions, and startling paradoxes, and the affectations of the London Arcadia, before our eyes. We opened the volume with somewhat of the feeling that we were about to endure an infliction, and had begun to encourage ourselves with a sense of our duty,' and so forth; we read on, and all these notions were quickly dissipated. We found that, besides the advantage of being written in the old unaffected shape, the novel of Valperga was one of the best we had read in these later times.
The authoress shows herself the true child of a mother who was perhaps one of the most eloquent and passionate of her sex; and well worVOL. 1. March, 1823. Br. Mag.
thy to bear, as she did before her marriage, the name of the author of St. Leon and of Caleb Williams.
Valperga contains the life and adventures of Castruccio Castruccani, the sovereign prince of Lucca. The author has found in M. Sismondi's History of the Italian Republics in the middle ages, and elsewhere, authority for departing almost entirely from the well-known remarkable sketch of his life by Macchiavelli. The accounts relating to him are so contradictory and so obscure that there is ample reason to excuse this deviation, even if it required any other apology than the fictitious nature of the work. Instead of the deserted orphan, found by Madonna Dianora under the vine leaves in the garden of the Canon Antonio, he is described as the son of a noble Ghibelline, who is driven from Lucca and forced into retirement. The youth, having resolved to embrace the profession of arms, visits England under the reign of Edward II. and makes campaigns also in France under his countryman Alberto Scoto, in the service of the French king. He afterwards returns into Italy, enriched by experience, his fame, and the counsels of Scoto. The latter are extremely well given; they are extracted from the precepts of Macchiavelli, but the picture they present of the Italian policy of that period renders them very interesting. The description of his journey from France into Italy over the Alps, by a road then dangerous and unfrequented, is skilfully and powerfully written. We cannot resist giving our readers and ourselves the gratification of reading again the passage to which we allude:
He approached the beautiful Alps, the boundaries of his native country their white domes and peaks pierced the serene atmosphere; and silence, the deep silence of an Alpine winter, reigned among their ravines. As he advanced into their solitudes, he lost all traces of the footsteps of man, and almost of animals :—an eagle would sometimes cross a ravine, or a chamois was seen hanging on the nearly perpendicular rock. The giant pines were weighed down by a huge canopy of snow; and the silent torrents and frozen waterfalls were covered, and almost hid, by the uniform mass. The paths of the valleys, and the ascent of the mountains, ever difficult, were almost impassable; perpetual showers of snow hid every track, and a few straggling poles alone guided the traveller in his dangerous journey. The vulture leaving his nest in the rock, screamed above, seeming to tell the rash adventurer who dared disturb his haunts, that his torn limbs were the tribute due to him, the monarch of that region. Sometimes even the road was strewed with the members of the venturous chamois, whose sure foot had failed among the snows; and the approach of Castruccio scared the birds of prey from their repast on his half-frozen limbs. One pass was particularly dangerous : the road was cut in the side of a precipitous mountain: below, the stream, which had cleared its way in the very depth of the valley, was hidden by the overhanging of the precipice: above, the mountain side, almost vulture-baffling, black, except where the snow had found a resting-place in its clefts, towered so high that the head became dizzy, when the tra veller would have gazed on the walled-in-heavens. The path was narrow; and being entirely exposed to the south, the snows that covered it had been slightly melted, and again frozen, so that they had become slippery and dangerous. Castruccio dismounted from his horse; and turning his