Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

66

heart, and that if we too openly set our

V. se'ves to wall it up with discipline, it escapes and looks for free air outside. Fielding protests on behalf of nature You print at the end of Pamela the and certainly, to see his actions and catalogue of the virtues of which she his persons, we might think him made is an example; the reader yawns, for expressly for that purpose : a robust gets his pleasure, ceases to believe, strong.y built man, above six feet high and asks himself if the heavenly heroine sanguine, with an excess of good humor was not an ecclesiastical puppet, trotted and animal spirits, loyal, generous out to give him a lesson. You relate affectionate, and brave, but imprudent at the end of Clarissa Harlowe the pun. extravagant, a drinker, a röysterer ishment of all the wicked, great and ruined as his father was before him small, sparing none; the reader laughs, having seen the ups and downs of life says that things happen' otherwise in not always clean but always jolly. I ady this world, and bids you put in here Wortley Montague says of him : “His like Arnolphe, * a description of the happy constitution made him :orget cauldrons in which the souls of those every thing when he was before a venwhɔ have led evil lives are to boil in ison pasty, or cover a flask of cham. the infernal regions." We are not pagne." * Natural impulse, somewhat such fools as you take us for. There coarse but generous, sways him. It is no need that you should shout to does not restrain itself, it flows freely, make us afraid; that you should write it follows its own bent, not too choice in out the lesson by itself, and in capitals, its course, not confining itself to banks, in order to distinguish it. We love miry but copious, and in a broad chanart, and you have a scant amount of it; nel. From the outset an abundance of we want to be pleased, and you don't health and physical impetuosity plunges care to please us. You copy all the Fielding into gross jovial excess, and letters, detail the conversations, tell the immoderate sap of youth bubbles every thing, prune nothing; your novels up in him until he marries and becomes fill many volumes ; spare us, use the ripe in years. He is gay, and seeks scissors; be a skilled literary workman, gayety; he is careless, and has not even not a registrar of the Rolls office. Do literary vanity. One day Garrick beg. not pour out your library of documents ged him to cut down an awkward scene, on the high-road. Art is different and told him “ that a repulse would from nature; the latter draws out, the furry, him so much, he should not Sret condenses. Twenty letters of be able to do justice to the part.” “If twenty pages do not display a character; the scene is not a good one, let them but one brilliant saying does.

You find that out,” said Fielding ; just as are weighed down by your conscience, was foreseen, the house made a violent which compels you to move step by uproar, and the performer tried to quell step and slow; you are afraid of your it by retiring to the green-room, where genius ; you rein it in; you dare not the author was supporting his spirits use loud cries and free speech at the charge of sickly sentimentality, it is this : and very moment when passion is most that it should have once been so widely popular, virulent. You founder into emphatic and thought admirably adapted to instruci and well-written phrases; t you will young women in lessons of vírtue and religion not show nature as it is, as Shakspeare lic taste, not to say public morals."

shows a strange and perverted state of the pub

Mrs shows it, when, stung by passion as by Oliphant, in her Historical Sketches of the a hot iron, it cries out, rears, and Reign of George Second, 1869, says of the bounds over your barriers. You can spectable tradesman.

same novel (ü. X. 364): “Richardson was a re

. a good printer, not love it, and your punishment is a comfortable soul, : . never owing a guinea that you cannot see it. I

nor transgressing a rule of morality, and yet

so mach a poet, that he has added at least one • A se fish and misanthropical cynic in Molo character (Clarissa Harlowe) to the inheritance ere's Eole des Femmes.--TR.

of the world, of which Shakspeare need not have Clarissa and Pamela employ too many.

been ashamed-the most celestial thing, the In Novels and Novelists, by W. Forsyth, highest effort of his generation.”-TR. 871, it is said, ch. vii. : “To me, I confess, Lady Montague's Letters, ed. Lord Clarissa Harlow is an unpleasant, not to say Wharncliffe, 2d ed. 3 'rols. 1837: Letter to the odious book. If any book deserved the Countese of Bute, iii. 120.

[ocr errors]

a

a

[ocr errors]

woman.

with a bottle of champagne.

“ What ron.

He imitates the einphatic style ; is the matter, Garrick ? are they hissing ruffles the petticoats and bobs tha nie now?”. “ Yes, just the same pas. wigs ; upsets with his rude jests all the sage that I wanted you to retrench.” seriousness of conventionality. If we

Oh,” replied the author, “I did not are refired, or simply well dressed give them credit for it: they have don't let us go along with him. He found it out, have they?"* In this will take us to prisons, inns, dunghills, easy manner he took all mischances. the mud of the roadside ; he will make He went ahead without feeling the us flounder among rollicking, scandal. bruises much, like a confident man, ous, vulgar adventures, and crude pic whose heart expands and whose skin tures. He has plenty of words at com is thick. When he inherited some mand, and his sense of smell is not money he feasted, gave dinners to his delicate. Mr. Joseph Andrews, after neighbors, kept a pack of hounds and leaving Lady Booby, is felled to the a lot of magnificent lackeys in yellow ground, left naked in a ditch, for dead; livery. In three years he had spent it a stage-coach came by; a lady objects all; but courage remained, he finished to receive a naked man inside ; and the his law studies, prepared a voluminous gentlemen, “though there were several Digest of the Statutes at Large, in two greatcoats about the coach,” could not folio volumes, which remained unpub- spare them; the coachman, who had lished, became a magistrate, destroyed two greatcoats spread under him, re. bands of robbers, and earned in the fused to lend either, lest they should most insipid of labors “the dirtiest be made bloody.* This is but the out. money, upon earth.”. Disgust, weari. set, judge of the rest. Joseph and his ness did not affect him ; he was too friend, the good Parson Adams, give solidly made to have the nerves of a and receive a vast number of cuffs ;

Force, activity, invention, blows resound; cans of pig's blood tenderness, all overflowed in him. He are thrown at their heads; dogs tear had a mother's fondness for his chil their clothes to pieces; they lose their dren, adored his wife, became almost horse. Joseph is so good-looking, mad when he lost her, found no other that he is assailed by the maid-servant, consolation than to weep with his maid- “ obliged to take her in his arms and servant, and ended by marrying that to shut her out of the room ;” they good and honest girl, that he might give have never any money; they are threat. a mother to his children; the last trait ened with being sent to prison. Yet in the portrait of this valiant plebeian they go on in a merry fashion, like heart, quick in telling all, having no their brothers in Fielding's other nov. dislikes, but all the best parts of man, els, Captain Booth and Tom Jones. except delicacy. We read his books These hailstorms of blows, these tav. as we drink a pure, wholesome, and ern brawls, this noise of broken warm rough wine, which cheers and fortifies ing - pans and basins flung at heads, us, and which wants nothing but bou. this medley of incidents and downpour. luet.

ing of mishaps, combine to make the Such a man was sure to dislike most joyous music. All these honest Richardson. He who loves expansive folk fight well, walk well, eat well, and liberal nature, drives from him like drink still better. It is a pleasure ti foes the solemnity, sadness, and pru- observe these potent stomachs; roast deries of the Puritans. His first liter-beef goes down into them as to ito ary work was to caricature Richardson. natural place. Let us not say thai His first hero, Joseph, is the brother of these good arms practise too much on Pamela, and resists the proposals of their neighbors' skins: the neighbors' his mistress, as Pamela does those of hides are tough, and always heal quick ner master. The temptation, touching ly. Decidedly life is a good thing in the case of a girl, becomes comical and we will go along with Fielding, in that of a young man, and the tragic smiling by the way, with a broken head turns into the grotesque. Fielding and a bellyful. laughs heartily, like Rabelais, or Scar.

* The Adventures of Joseph Andreas, bk • Roscoe's Life of Fielding, p. xxv. i. ch. xii.

Ibid. i. ch. xviii.

a

move.

Shall we merely laugh? There are thither, and jostle each other, and tha's many things to be seen on our journey: overflowing instincts break forth in the sentiment of nature is a talent, violent actions. Out of such he creates like the understanding of certain rules; his chief characters. He has none and Fielding, turning his back on more lifelike than these, more broad y Richardson, opens up a'

a domain as sketched in bold and dashing outline, wide as that of his rival. What we with a more wholesome color. If so call nature is this brood of secret pas ber people like Allworthy remain in a sions, often malicious, generally vulgar, corner of his vast canvas, characters always blind, which tremble and fret full of natural impulse, like Western, within us, ill-covered by the cloak of stand out with a relief and brightness, decency and reason under which we never seen since Falstaff. Western is try to disguise them ;. we think we lead a country squire, a good fellow in the them, and they lead us ; we think our main, but a drunkard, always in the action 3 our own, they are theirs. They saddle, full of oaths, ready with coarse are so many, so strong, so interwoven, language, blows, a sort of dull carter, so ready to rise, break forth, be carried hardened and excited by the brutality away, that their movements elude all of the race, the wildness of a country our reasoning and our grasp. This is life, by violent exercise, by abuse of Fielding's domain ; his art and pleas- coarse food and strong drink, full of ure, like Molière's, are in lifting a cor- English and rustic pride and prejudice, ner of the cloak; his characters parade having never been disciplined by the with a rational air, and suddenly, constraint of the world, because he through a vista, the reader perceives the lives in the country; nor by that of inner turmoil of vanities, follies, lusts, education, since he can hardly read ; and secret rancors which make them nor of reflection, since he cannot put

Thus, when Tom Jones' arm two ideas together; nor of authority, is broken, philosopher Square comes because he is rich and a justice of the to console him by an application of peace, and given up, like a noisy and stoical maxims; but in proving to him creaking weathercock, to every gust of that “pain was the most contemptible passion. When contradicted, he grows thing in the world,” he bites his tongue, red, foams at the mouth, wishes to and lets slip an oath or two ; where thrash some one. Doff thy clothes." upon Parson Thwackum, his opponent They are even obliged to stop him by and rival, assures him that his mishap main force. He hastens to go to All is a warning of Providence, and both worthy to complain of Tom Jones, who in consequence are nearly coming to has dared to fall in love with his blows.* In the Life of Mr. Jonathan daughter : "It's well for un I could Wild, the prison chaplain having air- not get at un: I'd a licked un ; I'd a ed his eloquence, and entreated the spoiled his caterwauling ; I'd a taught condemned man to repent, accepts the son of a whore to meddle wit! from him a bowl of punch, because - it meat for his master. He shan't eve is nowhere spoken against in Scrip- have a morsel of meat of mine, or ture;” and after drinking, repeats his varder to buy it. If she will ha un, last sermon against the pagan philoso one snmck shall be ber portion. I'd phers. Thus unveiled, natural impulse sooner give my estate to the sinking has a grotesque appearance; the peo- fund, that it may be sent to Hanover, to ple advance gravely, cane in hand, but corrupt our nation with.”* Allworthy, in our eyes they are all naked. Un says he is very sorry for it :

“ Pox o' derstand they are every whit naked; your sorrow. It will do me abundance and some »f their attitudes are very of good, when I have lost my only lively Ladies will do well not to en-child, my poor Sophy that was the joy ter Vere. This powerful genius, frank of my heart, and all the hope and com. and joyous, loves boorish feasts like fort of my age. But I am resolved I Rubens; the red faces, beaming with will turn her out o'doors; she shall beg, good humor, sensuality, and energy, and starve, and rot in the streets. Noi move about his pages, Autter hither and one hapenny, not a hapenny shall shr • History of a Foundling, bk. v. ch. ü.

# Ibid. bk. vi. ch. X.

ever hae o' mine. The son of a bitch boy? What, shall it be i morrow or was always good at finding a hare sit- next day? I shan't be put off a minting and be rotted to'n ; I little thought ute longer than next day; I am re what puss he was looking after. But solved. I tell thee it is all Alimit shall be the worst he ever vound in flam. Zoodikers! she'd have the his life. She shall be no better than wedding to-night with all her heart carrion; the skin o'er it is all he shall Would'st not, Sophy?... Where the ha, and zu you may tell un." * His devil is Allworthy; Harkee, All. daughter tries to reason with him; he worthy, I'll bet thee five pounds to : storms. Then she speaks of tender- crown, we have a boy to-morrow rine ness and obedience ; he leaps about months. But prithee, tell me what the room for joy, and tears come to his wut ha? Burgundy, champagne, or cyes. Then she recommences her what? For please Jupiter, we'll make prayers; he grinds his teeth, clenches a night on't.” * And when he be his fists, stamps his feet; "I am deter comes a grandfather, he spends his mined upon this match, and ha him t time in the nursery," where he declares you shalì

, damn me, if shat unt. Damn the tattling of his little granddaughter, me, if shat unt, though dost hang thy. who is above a year and a half old, is self the next morning.” | He can find sweeter music than the finest cry of no reason ; he can only tell her to be a dogs in England.”+ This is pure na. good girl. He contradicts himself, de ture, and no one has displayed it more feats his own plans; is like a blind free, more impetuous, ignoring all bull, which butts to right and left, rule, more abandoned to physical pasdoubles on his path, touches no one, sions than Fielding. and paws the ground. At the least It is not because he loves it like sound he rushes head foremost, offen- the great impartial artists, Shakspeare sively, not knowing why. His ideas and Goethe ; on the contrary, he is are only starts or transports of flesh eminently a moralist; and it is one of and blood. Never has the animal so the great marks of the age, that reforcompletely covered and absorbed the matory designs are as decided with

It makes him grotesque ; he is him as with others. He gives his fic. so natural and so brute-like : he allows tions a practical aim, and commends himself to be led, and speaks like a them by saying that the serious and child. He says: “I don't know how tragic tone sours, whilst the comii 'tis, but, Allworthy, you make me do style disposes men to be "more full a always just as you please ; and yet I good humor and benevolence.” | More. have as good an estate as you, and am over, he satirizes vice ; he looks upon in the commission of the peace just as the passions not as simple forces, but yourself.” $. Nothing holds or lasts as objects of approbation or blame. with him; he is impulsive in every At every step he suggests moral con. thing; he lives but for the moment. clusions ; he wants us to take sides; Rancor, interest, no passions of long he discusses, excuses, or condemns. continuance affect him. He embraces He writes an entire novel in an ironi. people whom he just before wanted cal style,8 to attack and destroy rascal. to knock down. Every thing with him ity and treason He is more than a disappears in the fire of the momenta. painter, he is a judge, and the two ry passion, which floods his brain, as it parts agree in him. For a psychology were, in sudden waves, and drowns the produces a morality: where there is au

Now that he is reconciled to idea of man, there is an ideal of man, Tom Jones, he cannot rest until Tom and Fielding, who has seen in man namarries his daughter : “ To her, boy, ture as opposed to rule, praises in man to her, go to ber. That's it, little hon. nature as opposed to rule ; so that, aceys, O that's it. Well, what, is it all cording to him, virtue is but an in over? Hath she appointed the day, stinct. Generosity in his eyes is, liko • History of a Poundling, bk. vi. ch. x. Ibid. xviii. ch. xii. Blifil.

Last chapter of the History of a Pound History of Foundling, xvi. ch. ii

Preface to Foseghe Andromu. ; Ibid. Ivi. ch. ix.

{ Jonathan Wild.

man.

rest.

ling?

[ocr errors]

all sources of action, a primitive incli- | through temptation to be Unfaithful to pation ; like all sources of action, it his wife ; but he will be so sincere ir flows on receiving no good from cate his repentance, his error will be so in. chisms and phrases ; like all sources voluntary, he will be so carefully, gen. of action, it Hows at times too copious uinely tender, that she will love hin and quick. Take it as it is, and do exceedingly,* and in good truth he not try to oppress it under a discipline, will deserve it. He will be a nurse or to replace it by an argument." Mr. to her when she is ill, behave as a Richardson, your heroes, so correct, mother to her ; he will himself see constrained, so carefully made up with to her lying-in; he will feel towards their impedimenta of maxims, are cathe- her the adoration a lover, always, dral vergers, of use but to drone in a before all the world, even before procession Square or Thwackum, Miss Matthews, who seduced him. your tirades on philosophical or Chris- He says "If I had the world, I was tian virtue are mere words, only fit to ready to lay it at my Amelia's feet ; be heard after dinner. Virtue is in and so, heaven knows, I would ten the mood and the blood ; a gossipy thousand worlds.” He weeps like a education and cloistral severity do not child on thinking of her; he listens to assist it. Give me a man, not a show- her like a little child. “ I believe I mannikin or a mere machine, to spout am able to recollect much the greatest phrases. My hero is the man who is part (of what she uttered); for the born generous, as a dog is born affec- impression is never to be effaced from tionate, and a horse brave. I want a my memory." I He dressed himself living heart, full of warmth and force," with all the expedition imaginable, not a dry pedant, bent on squaring all singing, whistling, hurrying, attempting his actions. This ardent and impulsive by every method to banish thought,” Š character will perhaps carry the hero and galloped away, whilst his wife was tou far; I pardon his escapades. He asleep, because he cannot endure her will get drunk unawares; he will pick tears. In this soldier's body, under up a girl on his way; he will hit out this brawler's thick breastplate, there with a zest; he will not refuse a duel; is a true woman's heart, which melts, he will suffer a fine lady to appreciate which a trifle disturbs, when she whom him, and will accept her purse; he will he loves is in question ; timid in its be imprudent, will injure his reputa- tenderness, inexhaustible in devotion, tion, like Tom Jones; he will be a bad in trust, in self-denial, in the communimanager, and will get into debt, like cation of its feelings. When a man Captain Booth. Pardon him for hav- possesses this, overlook the rest ; with ing muscles, nerves, senses, and that all bis excesses and his follies, he is overflow of anger or ardor which urges better than your well-dressed devotees. forward animals of a noble breed. But To this we reply: You do well to he will let himself be beaten till the defend nature, but let it be on condition blood flows, before he betrays a poor that you suppress nothing: One thing gamekeeper. He will pardon his mor- is wanting in your strongly-built folks tal enemy readily, from sheer kindness, -refinement: delicate dreams, enthusi. and will send him money secretly. He astic elevation, and trembling delicacy will be loyal to his mistress, and will exist in nature equally with coarse vig. be faithful to her, spite of all offers, in the worst destitution, and without the Amelia is the perfect English wite, an ex least hope of winning her.

He will be cellent cook, so devc ted as to pardon her hus. liberal with his purse, his trouble, his forward to the acwucheur.

band his accidents nfidelities, always looking

She says ever sufferings, his blood; he will not boast (bk. iv. ch. vi.), “Dear Billy, though my un. of it; he will have neither pride, vanity, derstanding be much inferior to yours." affectation, nor dissimulation; brave is excessively, modest, always blushing and ry and kindness will abound in his love-letters, she throws them away, and saya

Bagillard having written her some heart, as good water in a good spring. (bk. i. ch. ix.): “I would not have such a He may be stupid like Captain Bouth, letter in my possession for the universe ; i a gambler even, extravagant, unable to thought my eyes contaminated with reading

it."

+ Amelia, bk. ii. ch. viii. manage his affairs, liable one day Ibid. bk. iii. ch. i. Ibid. bk. iü. ch. ii.

a

[ocr errors]

She

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »