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“ COUSIN GEOFFREY,” AND “THE MARRYING MAN."
IN THREE VOLUMES,
HENRY COLBURN. PUBLISHER.
GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
“ For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
Ellen passed hastily through the large gallery of admirable, and yet revolting facsimiles of beings, of many of whom, perhaps, not one grain of original dust remains, yet who now stand for ever, in awful bloom, with a glassy gaze that numbs the senses of the curious beholder, and which seems determined to outstare him.
To the eye of taste, these clever models want, of course, the vague beauty of sculpture,
and the poetical charm of painting; but yet they blend at once the form and substance of the one, with the life-like hues of the other, and this gives to the best of them so startling a reality, that I doubt whether any thing could so forcibly, so awfully recal a departed friend.
After time has mellowed the first anguish of the bereaved into a deep, yet holy regret, a picture, or a statue of the loved one is a source of mournful pleasure ; it reminds, but it does not deceive us for one moment; but I could fancy that one of the wax models of the lost and mourned, clothed in his own garments, and seated in his wonted attitude, would harrow up the heart into a perpetuity of its first anguish, and rouse despair to frenzy.
So like life are some of the best works of this really fine artist (Madame Tussaud), that for a moment the heart warms with sympathy towards the great or lovely departed ones, and yet, so unlike life are they, that at the next gaze it is chilled with an almost mysteterious feeling of horror. We know, of course,
reason tells us that those startling creatures are but wax cunningly moulded, and yet so great is the power of the eye upon the mind that I defy any one walking through that gallery to feel alone, or any imaginative person passing through it alone not to experience a mysterious thrill, which a little selfabandonment and encouragement of the fancy would work up into a vague terror.
Even Ellen, habitually calm, and preoccupied as she was, on the present occasion, felt an uncomfortable sense of unwelcome companionship as she hurried through the room, in which, though there were so many life-like, there chanced to be no living being but herself. She thought of all the German tales of horror she had read, of the solitude of the living, broken by the unwelcome and unceasing intrusion of the dead. Whichever way she looked, glassy and melancholy eyes seemed fixed upon her, and she could not choose but gaze in return; and here it struck her how appropriate to the fate of each was that fixed and, as it were, prophetic sadness