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than that men-milliners should assume those functions in trade which would be so much more appropriately and gracefully discharged by the softer sex. The author of the volume before us has acquired a reputation, in the modern republic of letters, to which we cannot see that he possesses the slightest claim. He has written tales, of which the interest, such as it is, is for the most part local; the tales are like those which fill the memories and the mouths of old women, to whom the trifling current of domestic affairs is of importance, because their ideas have never learnt to stray' beyond the precincts of those affairs and their relations. We think we have heard many old women tell better stories; but, until the appearance of this author, we never heard of any one who thought them worth the chronicling. He has, besides, the coarsest ideas, and his style is encumbered with provincialisms, of which, on no occasion-not even when he makes the effort-can he divest himself. It may be very true that the pictures which he draws are faithful resemblances; but what of this, if the originals are too mean and too disgusting to answer those purposes of amusement and instruction, which we must presume to be his object in writing. Many of the pictures of the lower professors of the Dutch and Flemish schools of painting are undoubtedly true, but who does not regret that the painter's talent and the innocent colour and canvass have been devoted to purposes so base and unprofitable. The author cannot either be altogether excused from these besetting sins of vulgarity and coarseness by the exact fidelity of his representations; because he makes as large draughts upon the credulity of his readers, in the events of the narrative with which he presents them, and the means by which he connects them together, and works out the dénouement of his tale, as the most romantic novelist of the day. His personages are truly described, but they act like perfect heroes and heroines; we can, therefore, neither understand nor excuse the want of graceful artifice in one part of his task, when he so plentifully resorts to it elsewhere. With these faults, it would be unjust not to add, that the author possesses a strong power of exciting the sensibility of his readers: he can excite tears better than a better man;' and if he fails in his jokes, his melancholy touches are of high and original power.

The work with which our attention is at present engaged possesses as much or more of this latter quality than any which have preceded it. It describes the life of a young Scotswoman, who, born in adversity, and struggling through it with unabating fortitude, presents an example, not rare in Scotland, of the tranquillity, if not the happiness, which results from an enduring fortitude opposed to the accidental evils of the world. The following extract, nearly at the commencement of the volume, is a favorable example of the author's best style. It is simple and powerful:

Walter Lyndsay was the son of a man of education and talent, who had followed the hard and ill-requited profession of a surgeon in a small country parish, and had died of a rapid malady in the prime of life. The boy had been apprenticed to a printer in Edinburgh, a friend of his father's, and, having excellent talents, he had been appointed foreman only a few weeks before the death of him whose last moments were made happy by thoughts of his only son's good conduct and prosperity. As his wife and that son were watching by the bed-side the approach of the fatal hour, the dying man asked Walter to read to him the nineteenth chapter of St.

John. As the youth's faltering voice had finished the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh verses, his father asked him to repeat them-and it was done.

"When Jesus, therefore, saw his mother and the disciple standing by whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

"Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! and from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."

'At these words, his father folded his hands together across his breast, and that was the last perceptible motion. His wife saw she was a widow -and looked alternately towards the bed that now bore her husband's corpse, and her only son with the Bible yet unclosed upon his knees. There was no shriek in that silent room-only a few sobs and some natural tears. This widow did not belong to a faint-hearted and repining Her forefathers had been servants of God in tribulation and an guish, and she had swerved not from their pure and high faith, in the midst of her own many afflictions. She went solemnly up to the clay, and kissed once and again the same dead smile,and from that hour thought of her husband's soul in heaven, not of the mortal weeds which it had dropt to decay.'

race.

The son of the dead man is the father of the heroine. He has four children, and enjoys much domestic happiness for several years after his marriage, notwithstanding the domestic afflictions caused by the blindness of one child, and the mental weakness of another. His son goes to sea, but still his family is happy until the spread of deistical and seditious principles reaches the father:

Walter Lyndsay was not only a reformer in religion, but also in politics, and he had for some time been one of the Friends of the People. It was now a dark day over all Europe. Anarchy had taken the place of despotism, and Atheism trampled down superstition. The same thick and sullen atmosphere which preceded that dire earthquake in France, was spreading over this country-The poor caught the moral contagion, and there were thousands and tens of thousands that, in the sudden blindness. of that frenzy, began to mock at Christianity and its blessed symbolthe Cross. Paine, a name doomed to everlasting infamy, undertook to extinguish religion in the hearts and on the hearths of the poor, and the writings of the ignorant blasphemer were now read at Scottish ingles instead of the "Big ha-Bible, ance their father's pride.” Walter Lyndsay brought to Braehead a copy of the Age of Reason.'

The misery of the family now commences; Walter Lyndsay is not merely speculatively wicked, but changes the society of his virtuous family for that of a prostitute. The parts of the narration which relate to this woman are at once childishly absurd and offensively coarse. The guilty parent is arrested in consequence of his participation, in seditious practices; but, after much trial and misery to his family, he is released. His ruin is, however, accomplished; and, under the influence of his paramour, he takes leave of his family, and quits them for ever. think this parting scene is one of the author's most powerful efforts: 'It was late when he reached the door of his own house, and had not his brain been inflamed with wine into a temporary madness, there was not wickedness enough in his breast to have suffered him to put his desperate purpose into execution. He violently threw open the door, and entered with a face on which the flush of debauchery looked fearful on

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the wan and ghastly hue brought there by the blue damps of a stone-cell. Alice and Margaret were sitting together, beside a small turf fire; but neither of them could move on this great and sudden joy. They had known he was not to die; but they had expected everlasting expatriation. Now he stood before them in his own house-by the light of his own fire-and their hearts died within them. A sigh-a groan-a gasp, was his only welcome. He well knew the cause of such silence, but he determined to misunderstand it, that he might, by his own injustice and cruelty, fortify the savage resolution of his soul. "What kind of a reception is this for a husband or a father returning from long, cruel, and unjust imprisonment? But it matters not. I am come hither for a few minutes to say farewell to you all,-Edinburgh is no place for me. both know that I will send you all the money I can. But I must leave this to-night. So, wife, give me your hand :-I hope you are glad I am set free."

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These words struck upon their hearts just as they were recovering from the shock of joy. They both hung down their heads, and covering their faces with their hands, both sorely wept. The infatuated man sat down between them, and spoke with a little more gentleness. But still his words were so hurried, and his looks so wild, that each thought within herself, that his confinement or his liberation had affected his reason; and both likewise hoped, that, for a little while only, it might be even so. But soon they were sure that he was lost to them, perhaps for ever; for there came a sterner expression over his countenance; and in speaking of his departure, he used fewer words, but these were calm, unequivocal, and resolved. "I have sworn, and I will keep to my oath, in face of persecution, and poverty, and death, to leave this accursed Edinburgh, and all that belong to it. I will send you money when I can. But you have been able to support yourselves for some time. Alice-don't attempt to utter one word. I will, and must go.-What, Margaret, will you dare to lift up a look or a word against your father?" Margaret had risen from her stool, on which she had for years sat at night by her father's knees. But his stern voice stopt her, as she was about to take his hand, and beseech him not to leave them all in despair. She remained motionless, with her pale and weeping face leaning towards him, almost in fear, while her mother sat still, covering her face, and knowing, in the darkness of her sight and her soul, that all was lost.

At that moment, all eyes were turned from the fitful glimmering of the peat-fire, towards the door of the small room in which the old woman lay, and which seemed slowly opening of itself. "God have mercy upon us!" said Walter Lyndsay, as his mother, who had been so long bedridden and palsy-stricken, came trembling and tottering towards them, with her long grey locks hanging over her dim eyes and withered cheeks, and her hands held up in angry and melancholy upbraiding of her sinful

son.

"If thou leavest thy wife and children, Walter, take with thee the curse of thy mother, along with the curse of thy conscience, and the curse of thy God!" And with these words, she, who had, till this moment, been for years a palsied cripple, fell down upon the floor, and, without motion or groan, lay as if she were dead.

It all past in a moment of wonder and amazement; but the apparent corpse was soon lifted up and laid upon its bed. Alice and Margaret were busy in trying to restore her to life-hoping it might be but a

swoon, from the grievous fall. Her miserable son, seeing that she was dead, rushed out of the house, with her curse yet shrieking in his ears,→ and knew that, in this world, his misery was perfect.'

The deserted widow removes to Edinburgh, where, by her own exertions, and those of her daughters, she is enabled to support herself in frugal but decent circumstances. Her son returns from sea, and her guilty husband pays one short visit to Edinburgh, where he sees his family without being seen by any but his eldest daughter, Margaret, the heroine of the tale. The character of the latter now begins to develope; she is extremely beautiful, of firm mind and of unchangeable virtue. Her young heart is captivated by a companion of her brother's, Harry Needham; but all her affections are blighted by an afflicting calamity; they are overset from a boat on the sea, their bodies recovered with difficulty, but not until the youth is irrecoverably dead. A violent fever adds pain of body to Margaret's mental agony, and she recovers slowly her health, but the sobriety of her character is changed to a deep melancholy. The successive deaths of her repentant and wretched father, which is powerfully described, of her two sisters, and of her mother, leave Margaret a desolate orphan; but Providence has provided a present support in a charitable young lady, a Miss Wedderburne, to whose sisters she is engaged as a governess.

Here the prospect of happiness which seemed to open upon her is overclouded by the addresses of the young lady's brother. The mother and the sister, although they both feel for Margaret that esteem which her virtues have a right to command, would not willingly see one of her rank the wife of their son and brother; and Margaret, with that independence and rectitude which are striking parts of her character, quits the asylum of their roof, bearing with her their increased esteem for the conduct she has pursued.

She then goes to the house of her maternal grand-uncle, Daniel Craig, an old man who has the reputation of being an unfeeling miser, and whose severity and closeness of temper had prevented her mother from ever applying to him for assistance during her life time. The reception she meets with from the old man is of the kindest; his house becomes her home; his comforts and his respectability are both increased by her residence there, and at his death, which takes place shortly after, he leaves her the whole of his property. She was not a person to whom the possession of wealth had added largely in importance, and the amiability of her character and the superiority of her intellect gained her universal respect. As she was rich she had lovers in plenty, and the manner in which one of them urged his suit, with the termination of the wooing, is so amusing, that we have extracted it. After disposing of one lover, the narration proceeds thus:

The next on the list was one more likely, according to public opinion, to have been a thriving wooer-the Reverend Æneas M'Taggart of Drumluke. He was considered by himself and some others to be the best preacher in the synod; and, since Daniel Craig's death, had contrived to hold forth more than once in the kirk of Casterton. He was very oratorically disposed; and had got the gold medal at "Glasgow College" for the best specimen of elocution. This medal he generally carried in his pocket, and he had favoured Miss Lyndsay with a sight of it once in the Manse, and once when they were alone eating gooseberries

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in the garden of Nether-place. The only thing very peculiar in his enunciation was a burr, which might, on first hearing, have subjected him to the imputation of being a Northumbrian; but then there was an indiscribably ascending tone in his speech, running up eagerly to the top of a sentence, like a person in a hurry to the head of a stair-case, that clenched him at once as a native of Paisley, born of parents from about Tynedrum in Breadalbane. Mr. M'Taggart was a moral preacher; and he had one Sermon upon Sympathy, which he had delivered before the Commissioner, wherein were touches equal, or indeed superior, to anything in Logan-and no wonder, for they were in a great measure attributable to Adam Smith. This celebrated sermon did the pious Eneas pour forth, with mixed motives, to the congregation of Casterton ; and ever and anon he laid his hand upon his heart, and looked towards a pew near the window beneath the loft, on the left-hand side of the pulpit.

'A few days after this judicious and instructive exhibition, Mr. M'Taggart, with both medal and sermon in his pocket, rode up to the door of Nether-place, like a man bent on bold and high emprize. Mysie was half-afraid to lead his steed to the stable-for he was an exceedingly formidable looking animal, greatly above the usual stature of horses in that part of the country-as indeed well he might, for, during several years, he had carried an enormous Black hight Cupid Congo, kettle-drummer to that since highly-distinguished regiment the Scots Greys. However, he was not so fierce as he looked; but, prophetic of provender, allowed Mysie to lead him away like a lamb into a stable which he could not enter till he "had stooped his anointed head." Meanwhile, the Reverend Eneas M'Taggart was proceeding to business.

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The young divine took his place, after a little elegant badinage, on the parlour hearth-rug, with his back to the fire, and his coat-flaps opening behind, and gathered up each below an elbow-the attitude which of all others makes a person appear most like a gentleman. 'Pray, Ma'am, have you ever read Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments ?""No, Sir, I never have; indeed, from what I have seen said of it in other volumes, I fear it may be above the comprehension of a poor weak woman. ."-"Not if properly explained by a superior mind-Miss Lyndsay. The great leading doctrine of this theory is, that our moral judgment follows, or is founded on, our sympathetic affections or emotions: But then it requires to be particularly attended to, that, according to Dr. Adam Smith, we do not sympathise directly with the emotions of the agent, but indirectly with what we suppose would be the feelings which we ourselves should entertain if placed in his situation. Do you comprehend, Ma'am ?"" It would be presumption in me, Mr. M'Taggart, to say that I do perfectly comprehend it; but I do a little, and it seems to be pretty much like what you illustrated in your discourse last sabbath.” "Yes, Ma'am, it is the germ which I unfolded under the stronger light of more advanced philosophy. You will observe, Miss Lyndsay, that often a man is placed in a situation where he feels nothing for himself, but where the judicious observer, notwithstanding, feels for himperhaps pity, or even disgust"—and with that he expanded himself before the chimney, not unlike a great turkey-cock with his van-tail displayed in a farm-yard. Margaret requested him to have the goodness to take the poker and stir up the fire. Certainly, Ma'am, certainlythat is an office which they say a man should not take upon himself, VOL. 1. April, 1823. Br. Mag.

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