« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
the topical engorgements, and render the circulation more free, but syncope would here be dangerous. A little warm wine and water may be given in these cases, and frictions of the skin may be advantageously used; blisters, porga: tives, and full doses of calomel, constitute the remaining means on which we are to rely for a cure; 66 and even these must not be expected to succeed, unless very early and decisively employed. Indeed, if a very powerful impression be not made within the first twenty-four hours, little good can afterwards be effected; so rapidly does the stage of collapse supervene, when the visceral congestions are not diminished soon after the attack.” With respect to the manner of bleeding, our author seems to think arteriotomy the best, blood flowing more readily in these cases from an artery than from a vein; and agreeably to the experiments of Dr. Seeds, mentioned in our article upon water in the brain, arteriotomy ought to prove more efficacious than venesection in the removal of venous congestion.
Besides the topics already noticed, the reader will find in this volume some interesting remarks on the pathology and treatment of acute rheumatism, opthalmia, tíc doloureux, periodical head-aches, a congestive affection of the lungs in infants, and abdominal congestions in adults; of the febrile nettle-rash, apoplexy, mania, melancholia, and of a phrenetic disorder peculiar to drunkards ; all which complaints are treated upon principles similar to those which have been elucidated in the account given of typhus. Our opinion of the work is sufficiently evinced by the copious extracts we have made; and any laboured encomium on its merits would be superfluous; it requires only to be read to be generally approved.
Art. VI.- Tales of my Lardlord, collected and arranged by
JEDEDIAH CLEISH BOTHAM, Schoolmaster and Parish Clerk of Gandercleugh. Edinburgh, for Wm. Blackwood; and London, for John Murray, 1816. 4 vols.
12mo. It is impossible to read the first sheet of this production without a conviction that it is by the author of Waverley, Guy Mannering, and The Antiquary, though the title-page gives us no such information. It is not difficult to .conjecture why it should have been omitted when we recollect the concluding sentence of the preface to The Antiquary, in which the writer took leave of the public “ as one not likely soon to trouble it again.” Eight months, however, are scarcely elapsed before he once more introduces himself to our notice in four volumes of the Tales of my Landlord.
Besides the reason above given, several others may have induced Mr. Forbes (or whoever the writer in reality be) to persevere in his anonymous system of authorship; in the first place, the volumes on our table are by no means equal to his other productions; and although an indication on the title-page would greatly have assisted the sale, and enhanced the price of the copy-right, he may have been unwilling to risk his nameless fame in this new experiment; or, in the next place, he may have been desirous of ascertaining whether the popularity his novels have hitherto acquired, ought in any large proportion to be attributed to the often-repeated, and as often-refuted report, that Mr. Walter Scott, at least, had “ a main finger in their composition.' It is, however, not very material to settle these questions, nor to indulge in further fruitless conjecture as to the author's motives for persevering in a provoking concealment (as most of his female readers term it), which appears to answer no purpose but that of exciting curiosity by withholding its gratification, as appetite is created by the refusal of sustenance.
The tales before us are two in number, and are called « The Black Dwarf,” and “ Old Mortality :” the scenes of both lie in Scotland, and the design of the author is declared to be, to pourtray the manners of his countrymen; and they are to be followed by others of the same character at a future period. They are both compounded of fiction and history, the latter being ingeniously made to assist the former in the developement of the characters, and the production of the events. There is, however, a defect in their arrangement, for 66 The Black Dwarf” refers to the state of Scotland in the reign of Queen Anne, while “ Old Mortality" speaks of its condition during the struggles by the Presbyterians in favour of “ the solemn league and covenant,” in the latter end of the reign of Charles 11. For this reason, we wish that the order had been reversed that as far as any difference exists, not only the historical transactions, but the manners and habits of the people, might have been displayed chronologically. In another respect also, this change might have been advantageous; for although the first story, according to the present arrangement, bears the more tempting title, it is much inferior to that which follows in most of the respects in which this author's novels are excellent.
The general title of “ Tales of my Landlord” is derived from the circumstance, that they are supposed to have been collected from the relations of different persons at the Wallace Inn at Gandercleugh : this is rather a clumsy expedient, for they are the tales of any body but the landlord, and “ Old Mortality” does not profess to have its origin even in that source. It is a little surprising that an individual who has shewn so much skill in interweaving facts with fiction, and heightening the one by the other, should have so completely failed in his endeavours to give an appropriate introduction to these entertaining relations. Mr. Peter Pattieson is supposed to have been the writer and compiler of the tales, who, dying young, left them to the care of Mr. Jedediah Cleishbotham, the schoolmaster, to whom he had been usher and assistant. The clumsiness of this contrivance, and the aukward manner in which it is executed, have nothing, however, to do with the merits of the novels themselves.
In speaking of these separate productions, we shall take them in the order of time and of comparative merit and importance, beginning therefore with "Old Mortality," which occupies the three last of the four volumes. It is not to be supposed, that in the limits to which we are compelled to restrict ourselves, we can enter even into a brief detail of the story, which is somewhat complicated, and the less necessary, because the historical matters introduced and contributing to the unwinding of the plot, are generally known to all readers but those who would read this story as a mere novel for the amusement the fable will afford.
“Old Mortality” is a sort of nick-name given by the people of Scotland to an antiquated Presbyterian, who having engaged and suffered in the struggles of 1679, preserved bis unshaken zeal for his party, and in his declining years, journied from burial-ground to burial-ground with his ham. mer and chissel, renewing the decaying names on the tombstones of those who had fought and fallen in the cause he reverenced: from the details he supplied, Peter Pattieson is supposed to bave framed the novel which bears his title.
There is considerable bustle and business in the story, not merely from the numerous conflicts in which the covenanters are engaged with their enemies, in which the hero and some of the principal characters are concerned, but from
the great number of personages introduced; they are not less than sixteen or eighteen in number, to nearly all of whom parts of importance are assigned; and in the space of the whole three volumes, the author has not room completely to develope any of their characters: some are killed off earlier and some later, according to convenience; so that at the end they are reduced to three or four individuals, who, according to custom, are dismissed as happy as love, inatrimony, and money can make them. The man who forms the principal feature, and who first excites and afterwards heads the Covenanters in the battles of London Hill and Bothwell Bridge, is John Balfour, of Burley, who assassinated Dr. Sharpe, Archbishop of St. Andrew's, and whose temper and dispositions are described, and kept up with great consistency throughout. He is a Highlander, or of the hill-folk," of uncommonly sturdy proportions, and of a mind corresponding with his make-undaunted, fierce, and zealous to the last degree in the holy cause he had espoused. He has fled from the murder he has committed, and is sheltered as a distressed traveller merely by Henry Morton, the hero of the tale, a young man of benevolenee, courage, and of handsome proportions, who is in love with Miss Edith Bellenger, the grand-daughter of Lady Margaret Bellenger, and niece to Major Bellonger, who are both well supported characters, though the idea of the latter is evidently derived from My Unele Toby. The rival of Morton is Lord Evandale, who, though unsuccessful with the lady, is, we apprehend, too successful with the reader, for he attracts even more interest than Morton, and he is not disposed of until the novel is nearly concluded.
Henry Morton unites himself to the Covenanters, and becomes one of their leaders, his associates besides Balfour being the fanatical preachers, who put themselves at the head of the rebels to vindicate the cause against the Prelatists, upon whom they denounce, and often execute, the most bloody vengeance. To these persons are assigned various ridiculous na ines, such as Poundtext, Kettledrummley &c. which are employed, we understand, as a sort of shorthand to save the trouble of entering into the detail of their conduct and objects; in various parts, however, we have a little too much of their incoherent scrutinizing.
On the other side, at the head of the Royalists, is Colonel Grahame, of Claverhouse, afterwards created for his ser-. vices Viscount Dundee, who subsequently commanded the Highlanders in their resistance to the revolution, and the expulsion of the Stuarts. At the period embraced by this CRIT. Rev. VOL. IV. Dec. 1816.
story, he is the enterprising, courageous, and skilful antagonist of Balfour and his zeal-blinded friends, and is supported principally by Lord Evandale, Ensign Grahame, Bothwell, Inglis, and others, who all contribute their share to the advancement of the plot. It is an excellence of modern novelists, almost peculiar to the author before us, that instead of occupying a great number of pages in dull and trite description of the various persons who constitute the machinery of the work, detailing first their personal advantages in the usual style of disgusting hyberbole, and afterwards their intellectual endowments and accomplishments in a strain equally extravagant and absurd, he leaves the reader to form his own notions by hints as the story proceeds, or by the actions in which the parties are severally, engaged. For this reason we can seldom extract any particular passages which at one view will afford a portrait of any one of the characters: there is, however, one little exception to this remark in the person of the heroine, Edith Bellenger, who is thus spoken of: the author first mentions her grand mother, Lady Margaret.
“ Near to the enormous leathern vehicle* which we bave attempted to describe, vindicating her title to precedence over the untitled gentry of the country, might be seen the sober palfrey of Lady Margaret Bellenden, bearing the erect and primitive form of Lady Margaret herself, decked in those widow's weeds which the good lady had never laid aside since the execution of her husband for his adhe. rence to Montrose.
“ Her grand-daughter, and only earthly care, the fair-haired Edith, who was generally allowed to be the prettiest lass in the Upper Ward, appeared beside her aged relative like Spring placed close to Winter. Her black Spanish jennet, which she managed with great grace, her gay riding-dress, and laced side-saddle, had been anxiously prepared to set ber forth to the best advantage. But the clustering profusion of ringlets, which, escaping from under her cap, were only confined by a green ribband from wantoning over her shoulders; her cast of features, soft and feminine, yet not without a certain expression of playful archness, which redeemed their sweetness from the charge of insipidity; sometimes brought against blondes and blue-eyed beauties, these attracted more admiration from the western youth than either the splendour of her equipments, or the figure of her palfrey." (p. 38–39. vol. ii.) :
We shall now, without further preface, extract some parts of these volumes, noticing so much of the story as is
The antique coach of the Lord Lieutenant of the county.