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sketched by Horace in Ms Epistle to the Pisos . If this sort of thing be permitted to continue , -we sh ! ill very soon have popular tales delivered from the pulpit instead of the present conventional method of inculcating impracticable truths . Indeed , we have already heard of an ' earnest' preacher in a fashionable town in the west country enlivening his discourse by an adaptation of Moore ' s poem of Paradise and tke l eri . Xt was adduced as an illustration of the doctrine of good works . The Peri worked out her own salvation . She met with disappointments indeeed , but she persevered even unto the end , and then well might she exclaim—and here the preacher threw up his long arms , strained his eyes towards the ceiling , and stood for an instant on . tiptoe , as if himself about to soar aloft to tbe azure vault of heaven , or like the winged figures on the water-temples at Sydenham" Joy , joy for ever ! my task is done , The gate is passed and heaven is won !"
A . S some of the congregation , who had previously been dozing , seemed to consider this outburst as an equivalent for the Doxology , and began to bend forward , the preacher quietly added : " It is a pretty story but bad theology . " He then proceeded to denounce its weak points , as if that had not already been done by the fastidious Fadbideen . But to return to our * ' muttons , " Mildmayes . The object of this ' serious' novel is to illustrate the inconveniences that may arise if a clergyman hold as an inviolable secret tlie confession of a cTime made at some moment of profound depression . Eustace Mildmaye being summoned to the death-bed , as it was supposed , of Lady Rockforest , becomes acquainted with a crime committed by her ladyship many years b-ftfore , but which has never ceased to weigh heavily upon her mind . In fact , she is moie than half-mad , as -well as wholly vicious- The clergyman , a man ¦ with , an " eminently sweet and placidly beautiful face , " is of a Wavering , uncertain character , of the eau sucre ' e variety . He starts and turns pale , and becomes confused , whenever Lady Rockforest ' s name
is mentioned ; but he dare not reveal her iniquity , because , being a member of the very High Church , " his views upon the sacredness of confession , approached very nearly , if they were not identical with , those of .-the Church of Rome . " Owing to this indecision of the reverend gentleman , all sorts of dreadful things happen , the least of which is the suicide of a * ruthless villain . ' The course of true love is diverted for a time into tortuous channels , and two young ladies are carried off , without their consent , to Catesby Court , the residence of tliat terrible ogress , Jiady RocWbrest . "fhere an attempt is made to force them to marry two reprobates of low degree . One escapes for a time and bides in a . , rabbit tole or water-drain , or something of that kind , until she espies a ladder leaning against a fig-tree . By a mighty effort she applies the ladder to the wall , quickly ascends , her chin is on a level with th « coping-stone , the ladder slips , it turns , and she is precipitated to the ground . Where she ialls there she lies , with a sprained ankle , until next morning , -when she is -discovered and carried back to ber prison ^ The horrors of that night turn her hair to grey .
"Ha ! -what was that ! what were those white spots—like frost—all along her Iwir . " . . . " Good God ! Her hair is grey ! " cried Louisa . . And so it was . In the agony of her protracted terror Caroline Mildniaye liad added another to the well authenticated instances of persons like Marie Antoinette , whose hair , tinder the pressure of intense anxiety and horriWe apprehensions , had turned grey in a few hours . However , both the forlorn damsels are eventually rescued , though one true lover gets his arm pinched in a doorway , and the other receives two
inches deep into his manly arm " the gleaming radiance of a glittering ^ dagger , " It may be here remarked en parenihise that a noun-substantive is always employed throughout these three volumes as a peg whereon to hang one or two adjectives of three or more syllables . The style is of the Did you ever ! Well I never ! " school . " WheneYCT the woxld seems disposed to Wag pleasantly with any of the heroes or heroines , we aic told that it is very fortunate they did not know what was next going to happen to them . Ever and anon , after running on as merrily as a marriage bell , a chapter concludes mysteriously with " Who would have thought , " &c , or " Little did he know , ' &e .
Let one example suffice . The Mildmayo sisters had been enjoying themselves thoroughly at a county ball , where they had received very flattering attentions from Lady Ulveraton of Longwoods , ' a great lady of fashion , « md wife of the celebrated revolutionary statesman . But they must not he blamed f <> r * feeling something like extreme female vanity : ' You were young , fascinating , and admired ; _ you were neither stoics nor philosophers , neither were you mere automatons with mechanical souls . You were women , young and lovely ones ! All ! Cory , knowing what bitter tears of anguish were , ere long , to roll from those lovely eyes , and trickle d < nvn those cliceks now flushed with pleasure , I cannot scold you for that toss of yoiiT head as you tell Captain I > owling that yon are engaged for tho next dance , and ' for the one after that , too . ' And you , piquant , coquettish Louisa ! you , who have assumed such , an air of greatness in austerely receiving Lord . Latimer ' s attentions ! But no ! thoii pretty , wilful thing , I Will not read a homily to you ; too soon sorrow is to come upon you , and the world will hoar another aspect to what it docs to-night . Alas ! . . . Revel on , sweet , charming , -wilful things . I blame you not—I lo-ve vou while I pity .
Louisa was probably not aware of her good fortune in escaping the impending homily . Here is a fragment of one which alone would have overwhebjied her : — There are some speculative theologians of a latitudinarian school , who tell us thai Hell is not a place of flume and physical suffering , but ( hut it is ouhf a sceno of mental pain . Only mental pain ! Oh ! dreadful irony ! Ob . I miserable trilling of speculators in a closet , ignorant of tho anguish of tho heart , not sensible of the terrible throbbinga of despair ! Only mental torturo ! " &c . Only inenfcal pain ! Oh ! ye speculative 3 ntitudinnrin . ns in novel reading , beware of The Mildmayes ; or . The Clergymen ? $ Secret . Imagine Ann ltadcliffe writing with an ' enrnost purpose . ' Only mental pain ! Then read her novel . Ohl dreadful irony ! And if you still fall short in your conception of the Inferno , you will , at least , never sneer at " only mental torture ! " Oh I
HUMORISTS . Pictures of Life and Character . By John Leech . From , the Collection , of Mr . Punch . Second Series . ( Bradbury and . Evans . ) — An . oldfashioned artist would have intituled this volume the Mirror of Comedy . It reflects , indeed , all that is comic in town and country life , the humour of the poor , the absurdity of the rich , highbred folly , lowbred pretension , in a manner the wittiest and the wisest possible . All the world's stage—epigrams in pencil- —is here ; some of the best , indeed , of Mr . Leeeh ' s wonderful pen-and-pencil satires . N " o half-hour in the day , not even the half-hour before dinner , can be imagined tedious to a person of comfortable mind who has within reach these " Pictures of Life and Character , " and has not looked them through at least a dozen times . Until they
become quite familiar , they continue to be surprising . We should say that , as an antidote to ennui no more effective book was ever published . Shadows . By C . H . Bennett . ( Bogue . )—A striking little volume , containing a new idea . The artist sketches a figiu-c , and tracing its shadow on the same page ; -where it would naturally fall , in a room , or in a p icture , exhibits , in every case , some ingenious resemblance . Thus , a prim lady with a . round hat casts the shadow of a mushroom on a hillock ; the beadle with cocked-hat , of a donkey ; an old dowager , of a pnrrot ; a policeman groping into an area , of a cat ; an overfed citizen , of a bullock ; a Puscyite clergyman , of a pump ; and a greedy boy , of a pig . The must remarkable in the series ie a sketch of an attenuated sempstress , whose figure , reflected on tho wall , in combination with the back of an old-fuslrionoil chair , produces a skeleton . The effect is sometimes exaggerated ; but the desig-as are ingenious , and the drawing is clever .
CAMPBELL'S LIVES OF THE CHANCELLORS . Lives oj ' the Lord Chancellors anil Keepers of the Great Seal of England , from tha Jiarlicst Times till the Ite ' ujnoJ' King George IV . By John Lord Campboll , LL . D . , P . H . S . E . Fourth Edition . " Vol . I . Murray . Tnrc new edition of Lord Campbell ' s Lives of the Chancellors is to consist of ten volumes , in crown octavo , nt the moderate- price of Gs . each . It will thus form a neat and cheap set for the Popular Library shelf . Lord Campbell employed the long vacntion of tlgj pvoscjnt year in carefully revising his great work , correcting various inaccuracies in the text , and enriching tho notes with illustrations and references . As he despairs of further improvements , tbe book is now stereotyped . It was not without a pang that ho
LOOCHOO , JAPAN , AND POOTOO . Eight Months' Journal during Visits to Loochoo , Japan , and Pootoo . By Alfred L . Halloran . Longman and Co . Mr . Haulokam was Master on board a sloop of war , which lay off Shanghai £ n February , 1849 . His book is an account of eight months ' familiar intercourse with the people of the coast , in China , Japan , Loochoo ^ and Pootoo ,, —a fragment , in fact , from a private ' journal of thirty years ' service in the Royal Navy . It is a small , modest volume , and—which , is more wonderful—opens some really new glimpses of manners on the continent of Eastern Asia and the islands thereto appertaining . Travellers are far from having exhausted the Yellow Empire- —with its red paper , painted
coffins , silk sashes , bright fans , pavilion-houses , cottage-boats , bald heads , little eyes , ivory , coloured buttons , lamps , pagodas ,- mandarins , dwarf-foo > ted ladies—its quaint , variegated , eccentric life . It is true that one writer continues to say what others have said before him ; but the fault is not with the Chinese . There are many more things in the realm of rice than all the Orientalist * , from Remusat to Mr . Meadows , have told us of . The same remark applies to Japan . We might , indeed , consult twelve works of twelve different authors without adding to the knowledge supplied us by the Catholic fathers , by Charlevoix , or Kcempfer , or Siebold , or those other narrators vlio mixed up so admirably the monstrous with the real . But that would not imply that there is no more to be said of Japan .
The historiographer of the American Exploring Expedition lately devoted a huge volume to his Chinese , Loochooan , and Japanese adventures ; yet here is Mr . Halloran , with his brief diary , as readable as anstructivej as though Commodore Perry had never sailed out of the Gulf Stream . Shangbae , Loochoo , Ningpo , Japan , and Pootoo Island constituted his points of observation . In Loochoo , island of yellow hats , purple and flowered silks , ancient idols , verandahs , gilt , varnish , and carving , lie enjoyed the hospitalities of the officials , walked in broad , well paved , and beautifully kept streets , and among trim , gravelled gardens ; at Ningpo he saw a Chinese play ; in Japan took a boat excursion along the coast ; and at Pootoo inspected a Chinese manufactory of gods and goddesses ; Gods and goddessesj as created in this world , are usually of simple constructionimages worked out of a wooden or marble block , the most composite being the Cryselephantine statues of Greece . But , in China , they imitate the pre-Adamite process , and first jointing together a skeleton , proceed literally to clothe it with clay : —
The skeletons or rudiments of these images were coarsely formed of wood , with , rough joints at the shoulders , elbows , fingers , knees , &c . These were covered with , ¦ w ell-tempered clay ; and the accuracy , rapidity , and ease with ¦ which the workmen moulded this material into the forms of the various muscles of the Tvuman body , was truly astonishing ; not only displaying their manual dexterity , but leading one to imagine that they must be highly skilled in this department of the science of anatomy . In the countenances of two little statues about eighteen inches high , the passions of love and anger were portrayed to the life , although the clay of which they were formed was still quite moist . When their work is nearly dry these godmakers cover it over with a varnish that prevents its cracking , and they continue to do so ivitli several coats in succession , as fast as the preceding one becomes nearly hardened . These josses are afterwards smoothed over by means of various tools made of hard bone , ivory , or steel , and then are painted or gilt more or less expensively , as suits the taste of the manufacturers or the finances of the priests , their employers .
Mr . H&lloran ' s narrative , which may be read in half an Lour , is without the usual faults of a traveller ' s tale—it contains nothing dull , irrelevant , or frivolous .
January 3 , 1857 . ] THE LEADEK 19
Leader (1850-1860), Jan. 3, 1857, page 19, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2174/page/19/