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blance which has already been treated of, perhaps at too much length. I must, however, add here, that the propensity of both to this style of composition is evinced not only by a constant introduction of dialogue, but, still more remarkably, by a frequent use of soliloquies. In works properly dramatic, such an expedient is often indispensable for the communication of thoughts, purposes, or even incidents, which could not otherwise be made known; but in novels and romances it is neither necessary, nor strikingly advantageous, nor very commonly resorted to; and is, therefore, the more worthy of notice as a peculiarity, when many times repeated.

There is scarcely a tale of either the poet or the novelist which does not afford examples of set soliloquy. For our present purpose it will be sufficient to point out in particular those of Marmion at the Scottish inn, and after leaving Tantallon * ; of Fitz-James, on first viewing Loch Katrine; of Douglas, on his approach to Stirling t; of Edmund, when returning to the robbers' cave after the attack on Rokeby Castle †; and of Bruce, on the eve of his departure from Arrang: those of Waverley, when informed by Fergus of his in

* Marmion, canto iii. st. 17. canto vi. st. 17. + Lady of the Lake, canto i. st. 15, 16. canto v. st. 20. # Rokeby, canto vi. st. 5. Ś Lord of the Isles, canto iv. st. 50.

tended suit to Miss Bradwardine * ; of Henry Bertram, on first revisiting Ellangowan; of Glossin, while watching the escape of Hatteraick t; of the Black Dwarf, after his interview with Westburnflat f; of Ravenswood, when he has received the Lord Keeper under his roof g, of Abbot Boniface, on the tranquillity of his early days, compared with his present troublesome dignity; of Father Eustace, on the withered leaves in Glendearg ||; of Leicester, while perusing his future fortunes in the starry heaven; and of Varney, when setting out for Cumnor with the Earl's message to his lady 1. It would require but a moment's recollection to double the number of instances; but I will detain you no longer on this point, except to notice the following short speech of Dousterswivel, where that personage, in the true style of the theatre, talks broken English to himself. But, bah! it is • all nonsense; all one part of de damn big trick and imposture. Deivil! that one thick-sculled Scotch baronet, as I have led by the nose for five years, should cheat Herman Dousterswivel !'Antiquary, vol. ii. ch. 10.

As the beauty of these tales is often enhanced by

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* Waverley, vol. iii. ch. 7. † Guy Mannering, vol. iii. ch. 2. and ii. ch. 12. (quoted in Let. VI.) # Black Dwarf, ch. 6. § Bride of Lammermoor, vol. ii. ch. 1. Il Monastery, vol. i. ch. 6, and ch. 8. (extracted in Letter VI.) q Kenilworth, vol. ii. ch. 9.

their admirable dramatic effect, so too they occasionally lose in elegance and simplicity by an overambitious seeking after what are technically called coups-de-théâtre. There are some, I will not say many passages of both writers, in which either the transactions themselves are so remote from common nature, or the coincidences of time, place, situation of parties, and other accidents, are contrived with such apparent study, and so much previous sacrifice of probability, that the scene when fully developed appears not properly dramatic, but melodramatic,

In Ivanhoe, when the castle of Front-de-boeuf is wrapped in flames, and its besiegers stand waiting its downfall, behold! the Saxon Ulrica, by whose hand the conflagration was kindled, appears on a turret, in the guise of one of the ancient furies, yelling forth a war-song,' her hair dishevelled, and insanity in her eyes. Brandishing her distaff, she stands (like Fawdoun's Ghost), among the crashing towers, till, having finished several stanzas of her barbarous hymn, she at last sinks among the fiery ruins *. The whole incident is described with much spirit, and may not be inconsistent with manners and customs at some time prevalent in our country: it would, no doubt, have made the fortune of a common romance; but in such a work as Ivanhoe, it appears, I think, too glaring and me

* Vol. iii. ch. 1.

retricious an ornament, and too much in the taste of the Miller and his Men. . The same melo-dramatic turn is observable in that striking passage

of The Lady of the Lake, where a Saxon soldier is employed, during the battle at Loch Katrine, to bring off a boat from the island on which Sir Roderick's clansmen have placed their wives and families:

“ He nears the isle--and lo!
His hand is on a shallop's bow.
Just then a flash of lightning came :
It tinged the waves and strand with flame.-
I marked Duncraggan's widow'd dame,
Behind an oak I saw her stand,
A naked dirk gleamed in her hand :
It darkened-but amid the moan
Of waves, I heard a dying groan;
Another flash !- the spearman floats
A weltering corse beside the boats;
And the stern Matron o'er him stood,
Her hand and dagger streaming blood.”

Lady of the Lake, canto vi. st. 20.

An incident of the same class, and remarkable both for its fantastic effect, and for the improbable means and abrupt manner of its accomplishment, is the interruption of Miss Vere's marriage, by the Black Dwarf issuing from behind a monument in the family chapel, and proclaiming himself the rightful lord of Ellieslaw, his pretensions being supported by a party who had opportunely assem

bled in arms for another purpose, at the moment when their aid was wanted in this adventure; and the plot having been still further assisted by the castle doors standing all open, and the servants being all intoxicated *. Another scene of the same character occurs in Rokeby t, where Philip Mortham, supposed to have been assassinated at Marston-Moor, starts up from behind the tomb of his wife exactly in time to parry the stab which Risingham aims at Wilfrid.

To vary narrative by the introduction of detached lyrical pieces, is a practice resorted to with characteristic frequency by the poet, and occasionally, though more sparingly, adopted by the novelist. In this, too, both, at times, become a little theatrical. The scene contrived for Waverley by Miss Mac-Ivor, at the cascade, where, after terrifying the Southron by a display of her activity in walking over four-inched bridges,' she seats herself on a mossy fragment of rock, at a convenient distance from the waterfall, and touching her harp, pours forth a long but spirited Jacobite invocation , is got up with too evident an attention to stage effect; and the performance of Ellen Douglas before FitzJames, under circumstances not very dissimilar, hás something of the same fault.

* Black Dwarf, ch. 18. + Canto ii. st. 17 to 21. # Waverley, vol. i. ch. 22.

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