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** Discerning,' said Lodore, 'with wild flashing eye, what to do; and with wild Lion heart daring and doing it.'
*. So, Norse " said Monk. 4. So, Ranic said De Goslyn. ** As, you marked that,' said Lord Lodore, a light kindled in the dark vortex of the Celt mind; a light waiting for light, which to me, Monk (whatever it may be to you), is the centre of the whole.'
**How he worked in his obscure element! Methinks he talks as Novalis writes- none of the vulgar comprehensiblema dim no-meaning in his sentences. In fact, I consider him a sincere helpless man, like Cromwell, with a real speech lying hid in his tortuous utterances. I try to believe that he means something; I search for it lovingly, and I find it.'
** Blockheads, said Monk, "are always looking for plain meanings. My creed is, that nothing intelligble is worth understanding.'
** That is mine, too,' said De Goslyn; and the Runic conversation closed"
The Puseyite characters in the book endeavour to establish a small monastery in the house of Sir Frederick Crozier, the father of one of their party. They succeed admirably, as far as the Latin names for domestics are concerned; and are not much amiss in their hours of eating, drinking, and sleeping. Their cells, their refectory, and their chapel (which last is beautifully described), are also in strict accordance with ancient rules; but they fail most completely in the essentials, for Mrs. Falcon locates herself amongst them with the greatest cool. Dess, and succeeds in effecting a match (brought about by an eloperent) between Skiddaw, one of the would-be monks, and her daughter Laey. Emily Falcon is married to Mac Morris, whose chief fault is enthusiasm ; but the means of his conversion from ranting political madness to sober judgment are somewhat improbable. Indeed, the whole plot is open to the same charge ; but the wit and spirit of every page are undeniable. The extracts which we have given will carry but a feeble idea of the whole book ; but they may induce our readers to peruse a work, which will amply repay them. Its cheapness is in itself a great recommendation; and a still greater one is, that it is no disgrace to the spirited publishers who have brought it out at so low a rate, or to the admirable series of which it forms a part.
“ THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH." *
This beautiful little tale differs essentially from the Carol," and the “ Chimes.” It exhibits the same alternati ful humour and deep feeling, guided by the same extend of characters and habits : but it has not the same ponca,
ever confuses the little domestic world, which it describes, with de vast concerns of the whole nation. This total absence of party must it makes the readers less fervent in their expressions of
1 perhaps greatly increase their number-a result to which its many merits justly entitle it.
admiration, will perhaps greatly in
* Bradbury and Evans, London.
The plot is simple, and the characters are few ; but the first is interesting, and the latter are drawn with that exquisite knowledge of human nature, which makes Mr. Dickens the most popular of our writers. John Peerybingle, a rough spoken but warm-hearted carrier, is married to a girl, greatly his inferior in point of years, but still devotedly attached to him. They have one child, a baby, which, though of course a mute character, contributes greatly to the interest of the tale. They have one female servant, Tilly Slowboy, whose amusing oddities of manner, and semi-human state of civilisation, keep us in a constant state of mirth. The other characters are, Mr. Tackleton, of the firm of Grubb and Tackleton, toy merchants ; Caleb Plummer, shopman to the firm, and his blind daughter Bertha ; Mrs. Fielding and her daughter May; and a mysterious stranger, who first appears to us as a deaf old man. Mr. Tackleton, a cold, heartless man of the Scrooge order, is to be married to May Fielding, whose first lover, the son of old Caleb Plummer, is thought to have died in South America. Caleb Plummer's whole study is to persuade his blind daughter that the hovel, in which she dwells, is a palace, that he himself is not poor, and that their stern master is only an eccentric philanthropist. To such an extent does he practise this deception, that the poor girl actually falls in love with Tackleton. The mysterious stranger is first brought to John Peerybingle's home, having asked for a lift in that worthy's cart. He then expresses a desire to take up his quarters in the house, much to John's annoyance, whose suspicions have been aroused by some words let fall by Tilly Slowboy. These suspicions are afterwards confirmed by Tackleton, who shows to the carrier his wife in the stranger's arms. John meditates a whole night long by his fireside, revolving plans of vengeance in his breast. Happily the Cricket on the Hearth, that is, the soothing influence of the domestic fireside, turns him from his purpose. He bethinks him of the difference of years between himself and his wife, and resolves to treat her kindly. And with the morning light comes an ample explanation. The mysterious stranger is only Caleb Plummer's long lost son, returned to claim his bride. He carries her off from the disagreeable Tackleton, who is, however, suddenly converted into an amiable man. A plot so simple, would not, perhaps, have power to fascinate the reader, if it were not assisted by the mingled vein of humour and pathos which runs through the whole book, Of these we we purpose to give some specimens.
This is part of the opening chapter :“It appeared as if there were a sort of match, or trial of skill, you must understand, between the kettle and the cricket. And this is what led to it, and how it came about Mrs. Peerybingle going out into the raw twilight, and clicking over the wet stones in a pair of pattens that worked innumerable rough impressions of the first proposition in Euclid, all about the yard.-Mrs. Peerybingle filled the kettle at the water butt. Presently returning, less the pattens-and a good deal less, for they were tall, and Mrs. Peerybingle was but short, she set the kettle on the fire. In doing which she lost her temper, or mislaid it for an instant; for the water being uncomfortably cold, and in that slippy, slushy, sleety sort of state, wherein it seems to penetrate through every kind of substance, patten-rings included-had laid hold of Mrs. Peerybingle's toes, and even splashed her legs. And when we rather
plame ourselves (with reason too,) upon our legs, and keep ourselves particalarinest in point of stockings, we find this, for the moment, hard to bear?
"But Mrs. Peerybingle, with restored good humour, dusted her chubby ittle bands against each other, and sat down before the kettle, laughing. Meanwhile the jolly blaze uprose and fell, flashing and gleaming on the little saymaker at the top of the Dutch clock, until one might have thought he stood still before the Moorish palace, and nothing was in motion but the fame. He was on the more, however, and had his spasms two to the second, all right and regular. But his sufferings when the clock was going to strike were frightful to behold; and when a cuckoo looked out of a trap-door in the palace, and gare pote six times, it shook him each time, like a spectral Tarotor like a something wiry, plucking at his legs. Nor was it until a violent commotion and whirring voice among the weights and ropes below him had quite subsided, that this terrified haymaker became himself again.
"Mrs. Peerybingle went running to the door, where, what with the wheels da cart, the tramp of a horse, the voice of a man, the tearing in and out of 2 excited dog, and the surprising and mysterious appearance of a baby, there was soon the very what's-his-name to pay. Where the baby came from, or bor Mrs. Peerybingle got hold of it in that flash of time, I don't know. But i lite baby there was in Mrs. Peerybingle's arms; and a pretty tolerable scount of pride 'she seemed to have in it, when she was drawn gently to the fire, by a sturdy figure of a man, much taller and much older than hertel; who had to stoop a long way down to kiss her. But she was worth the rable. Six-foot-six, with the lumbago, might have done it.
John went out to see that the boy with the lantern, which had been testing to and fro before the door and window, like a Will of the wisp, took ue of the horse; who was fatter than you would quite believe, if I gave you is measure, and so old that his birth-day was lost in the mists of antiquity. borer, feeling that his attentions were due to the family in general, and must be impartially distributed, dashed in and out with bewildering inconstancy; now Describing a circle of short barks round the horse, where he was being rubbed cown at the stable door; now feigning to make savage rushes at his mistress, and Estetiously bringing himself to sudden stops; now eliciting a shriek from Tilly dowboy in the low nursing chair near the fire, by the unexpected application of bis moist nose to her countenance ; now exhibiting an obtrusive interest in the aby; now going round and round upon the hearth, and lying down as if he had established himself for the night; now getting up again, and taking that nothing of a fag-end of a tail of his out into the weather, as if he had just remembered an appointment, and was off at a round trot to keep it.
Tackleton, the toy merchant, pretty generally known as Gruff and Tackle$03—for that was the firm, though Gruff had been bought out long ago ; eating only his name, and, as some said, his nature, according to its metionary meaning in the business. Tackleton, the toy merchant, was a man whose vocation had been quite misunderstood by his parents and guardians. If they had made him a money lender, or a sharp lawyer, or a sheriff's cüicer, or a broker, he might have sown his discontented oats in his youth, and after having had the full run of himself in ill-natured transactions, might have turned out amiable at last, for the sake of a little freshness and novelty. ut, cramped and chafing in the peaceable pursuit of toy-making, he was a mestic Ogre, who had been living on children all his life, and was their implacable enemy. He despised all toys, would not have bought one for the
rid; delighted in his malice to insinuate grim expressions into the faces
brown paper farmers who drove pigs to market, bellmen who advertised est lawyers' consciences, moveable old ladies who darned stockings, or carved
pies, and other like samples of his stock in trade. He had even lost money (and he took to that toy very kindly) by getting up goblin slides for magic lanterns, whereon the powers of darkness were depicted as a sort of supernatural shell fish with human faces.
Caleb Plummer and his blind daughter were all alone by themselves, in a little cracked nutshell of a wooden house, which was, in truth, no better than a pimple on the great red brick nose of Gruff and Tackleton. The premises of Grubb and Tackleton were the great feature of the street; but you might have knocked down Caleb Plummer's dwelling with a hammer or two, and carried away the pieces in a cart. But it was the germ from which the full grown trunk of Gruff and Tackleton had sprung; and under its crazy roof, the Gruff before last had, in a small way, made toys for a generation of old boys and girls, who had played with them, and found them out, and broken them, and gone to sleep. I have said that Caleb and his poor blind daughter lived here ; but I should have said that Caleb lived here, and his poor blind daughter somewhere else; in an enchanted home of Caleb's furnishing, where scarcity and shabbiness were not, and trouble never entered. Caleb was no sorcerer, but in the only magic art that still remains to us, the magic of devoted, deathless love. Nature had been the mistress of his teaching, and from her study all the wonder came. The blind girl never knew that ceilings were discoloured ; walls blotched, and bare of plaster here and there; high crevices unstopped, and widening every day ; beams mouldering and tending downward. The blind girl never knew that iron was rusting, wood rotsing, the paper peeling off, the very size, and shape, and true proportions of the dwelling, withering away. The blind girl never knew that ugly shapes of delf and earthenware were on the boards; that sorrow and faint-heartedness were in the house ; that Caleb's scanty hairs were turning greyer and more grey before her sightless face. The blind girl never knew they had a master, cold, exacting, and uninterested; never knew that Tackleton was Tackleton, in short; but lived in the belief of an eccentric humourist who loved to have his jest with them; and while he was the guardian angel of their lives, disdained to hear one word of thankfulness. And all was Caleb's doing; all the doing of her simple father. But he, too, had a cricket on the hearth; and listening sadly to its music when the motherless blind girl was very young, that spirit had inspired him with the thought that even her great deprivation might be turned into a blessing, and the girl made happy by these little means. For all the cricket tribe are potent spirits, even though the people who hold converse with them do not know it (which is frequently the case); and there are not in the unseen world, voices more gentle, and more true, that may be so implicitly relied on, or that are so certain to give none but tenderest counsel, as the voices in which the spirits of the fireside and thc hearth address themselves to human kind.”
But we must bring our extracts to a close ; let us conclude with the last scene of all, the characters being all assembled in the carrier's cottage.
“There was a dance in the evening. It was formed in an odd way, in this way; Edward, that sailor fellow-a good, free, dashing sort of fellow he was-bad been telling them various marvels concerning parrots, and mines, and Mexicans, and gold dust, when all at once he took it in his head to jump up, and propose a dance; for Bertha's harp was there, and she had such a hand upon it as you seldom hear. Dot (sly little piece of affectation when she chose) said her dancing days were over; I think because the carrier was smoking his pipe, and she liked sitting by him best. Mrs. Fielding had no choicc, of course, but to say her dancing days were over, after that; and everybody said the same, except May; May was ready. So Edward and May got up amid
great applause, to dance alone; and Bertha plays her liveliest tune. Well! if you 'll believe ine, they have not been dancing five minutes, when suddenly the carrier flings his pipe away, takes Dot round the waist, dashes out into the room, and starts off with her, toe and heel, quite wonderfully, Tackleton no sooner sees this, than he skips across the room to Mrs. Fielding, takes her round the waist, and follows suit. Old Dot no sooner sees this, then up he is, all alive, whisks off Mrs. Dot into the middle of the dance, and is foremost there. Caleb no sooner sees this, than he clutches Tilly Slowboy by both hands, and goes off at score; Miss Slowboy, firm in the belief that diving hotly in among the other couples, and effecting any number of concussions with them, is your only principle of footing it."
* Hark! how the cricket joins the music with its chirp, chirp, chirp, and how the kettle bums!”
“But what is this! Even as I listen to them blithely, and turn towards Dot, for one last glimpse of a little figure very pleasant to me, she and the test Tanish into air, and I am left alone. A cricket sings on the hearth; a broken child's toy lies upon the ground; and nothing else remains."
TO THE RAILWAY TRAIN.
ON with thee, on! thou fiery Train!