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hare mentioned, when I was suddenly alarmed by the Now for the first time I was at leisure to attend to noise of some one stirring in the inner apartment. I the state of my strength and my health. My conhad looked into this room, and had perceived nothing finement in the Inquisition, and the treatment I had but the bed upon which the old man nightly reposed experienced, had before rendered me feeble and almost himself. I sprung up, however, at the sound, and helpless ; but these appeared to be circumstances perceiving that the door had a bolt on the outside, I scarcely worthy of attention the situation in which eagerly fastened it. I then turned to Mordecai—that I was then placed. The impulse I felt in the midst was the name of my host: Wretch, said I, did not of the confusion in the grand street of Valladolid, proyou assure me that there was no one but yourself in duced in me an energy and power of exertion which the house! Oh, cried Mordecai, it is my child! it is nothing but the actual experience of the fact could my child! she went into the inner apartinent, and has have persuaded me was possible. This energy, once fallen asleep on the bed. Beware, I answered ; the begun, appeared to have the faculty of prolonging slightest falsehood more shall instantly be expiated | itself, and I did not relapse into imbecility till the in your blood. I call Abraham to witness, rejoined occasion seemed to be exhausted which called for my the once more terrified Jew, it is my child! only my exertion. I examined myself by a mirror with which child! Tell me, cried I with severity of accent, how Mordecai furnished me; I found my hair as white as old is this child Only five years, said Mordecai: my snow, and my face ploughed with a thousand furrows. dear Leah died when she was a year old, and though I was now fifty-four, an age which, with moderate exwe had several children, this single one has survived ercise and a vigorous constitution, often appears like her. Speak to your child; let me hear her voice! the prime of human existence; but whoever had looked He spoke to her, and she answered, Father, I want to upon me in my present condition would not hare come out. I was satisfied it was the voice of a little doubted to affirm that I had reached the eightieth girl. I turned to the Jew: Take care, said I, how year of my age. I examined with dispassionate reyou deceive me now; is there no other person in that mark the state of my intellect : I was persuaded that room! He imprecated a curse on himself if there it had subsided into childishness. My mind had were. I opened the door with caution, and the little been as much cribbed and immured as my body. I girl came forward. As soon as I saw her, I seized her was the mere shadow of a man, of no more power and with a rapid motion, and returned to ruy chair. Man, worth than that which a magic lantern produces said I, you have trifled with me too rashly ; you have upon a wall. These are thy works, superstition ! this not considered what I am escaped from, and what I the genuine and proper operation of what is called have to fear; from this moment this child shall be the Christianity! Let the reader judge of what I had pledge of my safety; I will not part with her an in- passed through and known within those cursed walls stant as long as I remain in your house; and with by the effects; I have already refused, I continue to this rapier in my hand I will pierce her to the heart refuse, to tell how those effects were produced. Enough the moment I am led to imagine that I am no longer of compassion ; enough of complaint ; I will confine in safety. The Jew trembled at my resolution; the myself, as far as I am able, to simple history. emotions of a father worked in his features and glistened in his eye. At least let me kiss her, said he. I was now once again alone. The little girl, who Be it so, replied I: one embrace, and then, till the had been unusually disturbed and roused at an undawn of the coming day, she remains with me. I re- seasonable hour, sunk into a profound sleep. I heard leased my bold; the child rushed to her father, and the noise which Mordecai made in undressing himself, he caught her in his arms. My dear Leah, cried Mor- and composing his limbs upon a mattress which he had decai, now a sainted spirit in the bosom of our father dragged for the present occasion into the front room, Abrahain! I call God to witness between us, that, if and spread before the hearth. I soon found by the all my caution and vigilance can prevent it, not a hair hardness of his breathing that he also was asleep. ! of this child shall be injured! Stranger, you little unfolded the papers he had brought me; they consisted know by how strong a motive you have now engaged of various medical ingredients I had directed him to me to your cause. We poor Jews, hunted on the face procure ; there were also two or three vials containing of the earth, the abhorrence and execration of man- sirups and essences. I had near me a pair of scales kind, have nothing but family affections to support with which to weigh ny ingredients, a vessel of water, us under our multiplied disgraces ; and family affec- the chafing-dish of my host in which the fire was nearly tions are entwined with our existence, the fondest and extinguished, and a small taper, with some charcoal best loved part of ourselves. The God of Abraham to relight the fire in case of necessity. While I was bless you, my child! Now, sir, speak! what is it you occupied in surveying these articles and arranging my require of me!
materials, a sort of torpor came suddenly over me, so I told the Jew that I must have a suit of clothes as to allow me no time for resistance. I sunk upon conformable to the appearance of a Spanish cavalier, the bed. I remained thus for about half nn hour, and certain medical ingredients that I nained to him, seemingly without the power of collecting my thoughts. together with his chafing-dish of coals to prepare them; At length I started, felt alarmed, and applied my utand that done, I would then impose on him no further most force of mind to rouse my exertions. While I trouble. Having received his instructions, he inime- drove, or attempted to drive, my animal spirits froni diately set out to procure what I demanded. He took limb to limb, and from part to part, as if to inquire with him the key of the house; and as soon as he was into the general condition of my frame, I became congone, I retired with the child into the inner apart- vinced that I was dying. Let not the reader be surment, and fastened the door. At first I applied my- prised at this ; twelve years' imprisonment in a narself to tranquillise the child, who had been somewhat row and unwholesome cell may well account for s? alarmed at what she had heard and seen : this was no sudden a catastrophe. Strange and paradoxical as it very difficult task. She presently left me, to amuse may seem, I believe it will be found in the experiherself with some playthings that lay scattered in a ment, that the calm and security which succeed to comer of the apartment. My heart was now compa- great internal injuries are more dangerous than the ratively at ease; I saw the powerful hold I had on the pangs and hardships that went before. I was now fidelity of the Jew, and firmly persuaded myself that thoroughly alarmed; I applied myself with all vigiI had no treachery to fear on his part. Thus circum- lance and expedition to the compounding my materials. stanced, the exertion and activity with which I had the fire was gone out; the taper was glimmering ir. lately been imbued left me, and I insensibly sunk the socket: to swallow the julep, when I had prepared into a sort of slumber.
it, seemed to be the last effort of which my organs and
inuscles were capable. It was the elixir of immor- Sir Walter Scott, when a student at college, Fas tality, exactly made up according to the prescription intimate with the family, and, we are told, was of the stranger.
very fond of either teazing the little female student Whether from the potency of the medicine or the when very gravely engaged with her book, or more effect of imagination, I felt revived the moment I had often fondling her on his knees, and telling her swallowed it. I placed myself deliberately in Mor stories of witches and warlocks, till both forgot their decai's bed, and drew over ine the bedclothes. I fell former playful merriment in the marvellous interest asleep almost instantly. *
of the tale.' Mrs Porter removed to Ireland, and My sleep was not long: in a few hours I awaked. subsequently to London, chiefly with a view to the With difficulty I recognised the objects about me, education of her children. Anna Maria became an and recollected where I had been. It seemed to me authoress at the age of twelve. Her first work bore that my heart had never beat so vigorously, nor my the appropriate title of Artless Tales, the first volume spirits flowed so gay. I was all elasticity and life; I being published in 1793, and a second in 1795. In could scarcely hold myself quiet; I felt impelled to 1797 she came forward again with a tale entitled bound and leap like a kid upon the mountains. I Walsh Colville ; and in the following year a novel in perceived that my little Jewess was still asleep; she three volumes, Octavia, was produced. A numerous had been unusually fatigued the night before. I know series of works of fiction now proceeded from Miss not whether Mordecai's hour of rising were come ; if | Porter- The Lake of Killarney, 1804; A Sailor's it were, he was careful not to disturb his guest. I put Friendship and a Soldier's Love, 1805; The Hunga, on the garments he had prepared ; I gazed upon the riun Brothers, 1807; Don Sebastian, or the House of mirror he had left in my apartment. I can recollect Braganza, 1809; Ballad Romances, and other Poemas
, no sensation in the course of iny life so unexpected 1811; The Recluse of Norway, 1814; The Village and surprising as what I felt at that moment. The evening before I had seen my hair white, and my face Pity for Youth; The Knight of St John; Roche Bianche;
of Mariendorpt; The Fast of St Magdalen; Tales of ploughed with furrows; I looked fourscore. What I and Honor O'Haru. Altogether, the works of this beheld now was totally different, yet altogether fami- lady aniount to about fifty volumes. In private life liar; it was niyself-myself as I had appeared on the Miss Porter was much beloved for her unostentatious day of my marriage with Marguerite de Damville; piety and active benevolence. She died at Bristol the eyes, the mouth, the hair, the complexion, every while on a visit to her brother, Dr Porter of that circumstance, point by point, the same. I leaped a gulf of thirty-two years. I waked from a dream, most popular, and perhaps the best of Miss Porter's
city, on the 21st of June 1832, aged fifty-two. The troublesome and distressful beyond all description; novels, is her Don Sebastian.' In all of them she but it vanished like the shades of night upon the portrays the domestic affections and the charms of burst of a glorious morning in July, and left not a benevolence and virtue with warmth and earnesttrace behind. I knew not how to take away my eyes ness, but in Don Sebastian' we have an interesting from the mirror before me. I soon began to consider that, if it were astonish- though melancholy plot, and characters finely dis
criminated and drawn, ing to me that, through all the regions of my counte. nance, I could discover no trace of what I had been the thoress of two romances, Thaddeus of Warsaw, 1893,
Miss Jane PORTER, who still survives, is aunight before, it would be still more astonishing to my and The Scottish Chiefs, 1810; both were highly host. This sort of sensation I had not the smallest ambition to produce: one of the advantages of the popular: The first is the best, and contains a good
The second fails metamorphosis I had sustained, consisted in its ten- plot and some impassioned scenes. dency, in the eyes of all that saw me, to cut off every entirely as a picture of national manners (the Scotspecies of connexion between my present and my for- tishi patriot Wallace, for example, being represented mer self. It fortunately happened that the room in
as a sort of drawing-room hero), but is written with which I slept, being constructed upon the model of great animation and picturesque effect. In appeals many others in Spain, had a stair at the further end, to the tender and heroic passions, and in vivid scenewith a trap-door in the ceiling, for the purpose of en
painting, both these ladies have evinced genius, but abling the inhabitant to ascend on the roof in the cool their works want the permanent interest of real life
, of the day. The roofs were fiat, and so constructed variety of character, and dialogue. A third work that there was little difficulty in passing along them by Miss Porter has been published, entitled The from house to house, from one end of the street to the Pustur's Fireside. other. I availed myself of the opportunity, and took leave of the residence of my kind host in a way per
MISS EDGEWORTH. fectly unceremonious, determined, however, speedily to transinit to him the reward I had promised. It
Maria Edgeworth, one of our best painters of may easily be believed that Mordecai was not less national manners, whose works stimulated the genius rejoiced at the absence of a guest whom the vigilance of Scott, and have delighted and instructed generaof the Inquisition rendered an uncommonly dangerous tions of readers, commenced her career as an authoone, than I was to quit his habitation. I closed the ress about the year 1800. She was of a respectable trap after me, and clambered from roof to roof to Irish family, long settled at Edgeworthtown, county a considerable distance. At length I encountered the of Longford, and it was on their property that Goldoccasion of an open window, and fortunately de- smith was born. Her father, Richard Lovell Edgescended, unseen by any human being, into the street. worth (1744-1817), was himself a man attached to
literary pursuits, and took great pleasure in exciting
and directing the talents of his daughter.* WhenThis lady was a daughter of an Irish officer, who
* Mr Edgeworth wrote a work on Professional Education, died shortly after her birth, leaving a widow and one volume, quarto, 1808 ; also some papers in the Philosophical several children, with but a small patrimony for ringes, and an account of a telegraph which he invented. This
Transactions, including an essay on Spring and Whæi Car their support. Mrs Porter took her family into Scot- gentleman was educated at Trinity college, Dublin, and was land, while ANNA MARIA was still in her nurse
afterwards sent to Oxford. Before he was twenty, he ran of maid's arms, and there, with her only and elder with Miss Elers, a young lady of Oxford, to whom he was sister Jane, and their brother, Sir Robert Ker married at Gretna Green. He then embarked on a life of Porter, she received the rudiments of her education. I fashionable gaiety and dissipation, and in 1770 succeeded, by
ANNA MARIA PORTER.
ever the latter thought of writing any essay or story, the title of an Essay on Irish Bulls. Besides some she always submitted to him the first rough plans; critical and humorous illustration, the authors did and his ready invention and infinite resource, when justice to the better traits of the Irish character, and she had run into difficulties or absurdities, never illustrated them by some interesting and pathetic failed to extricate her at her utmost need. • It was stories. The same object was pursued in the tale, the happy experience of this,' says Miss Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent, and in Belinda, a novel of real life • and my consequent reliance on his ability, decision, and ordinary characters. In 1804 Miss Edgeworth and perfect truth, that relieved me from the vacilla- came forward with three volumes of Popular Tales, tion and anxiety to which I was so much subject, characterised by the features of her genius - a that I am sure I should not have written or finished genuine display of nature, and a certain tone of anything without his support. He inspired in my rationality and good sense, which was the more mind a degree of hope and confidence, essential, in pleasing, because in a novel it was then new.' The the first instance, to the full exertion of the mental practical cast of her father's mind probably assisted powers, and necessary to insure perseverance in any in directing Miss Edgeworth's talents into this useoccupation. An able work, the joint production of ful and unromantic channel
. It appeared strange at Mr and Miss Edgeworth, appeared in 1801 under first, and the best of the authoress's critics, Mr
Jeffrey, said at the time that it required almost the death of his father, to his Irish property. During a visit to the same courage to get rid of the jargon of fashionLichfield, he became enamoured of Miss Honora Sneyd, a able life, and the swarms of peers, foundlings, and cousin of Anna Seward's, and married her shortly after the seducers, as it did to sweep away the mythological death of his wife. In six years this lady died of consumption, persons of antiquity, and to introduce characters and he married her sister, a circumstance which exposed him who spoke and acted like those who were to peruse to a good deal of observation and censure. After a matrimo- their adventures. In 1806 appeared Leonoru, a nial union of seventeen years, his third wifo died of the same novel, in two volumes. A moral purpose is here malady as her sister; and, although past fifty, Mr Edgeworth aimed at, and the same skill is displayed in working scarce lost a year till he was united to an Irish lady, Miss up ordinary incidents into the materials of powerful Beaufort. His latter years were spent in active exertions to fiction; but the plot is painful and disagreeable. benefit Ireland, by reclaiming bog land, introducing agricultural The seduction of an exemplary husband by an abanand mechanical improvements, and promoting education. He doned female, and his subsequent return to his inwas fond of mechanical pursuits and new projects of all kinds. jured but forgiving wife, is the groundwork of the Among his numerous schemes, was an attempt to educate his eldest son on the plan delineated in Rousseau's Emile. He story. Irish characters figure off in • Leonora' as in dressed him in jacket and trousers, with arms and legs bare,
the ‘Popular Tales.' In 1809 Miss Edgeworth issued and allowed him to run about wherever he pleased, and to do three volumes of Tales of Fashionable Life, more nothing but what was agreeable to himself. In a few years he powerful and various than any of her previous profound that the scheme had succeeded completely, so far as re
ductions. The history of Lord Glenthorn affords a lated to the body; the youth's health, strength, and agility striking picture of ennui, and contains some excel. were conspicuous; but the state of his mind induced some per- lent delineation of character ; while the story of plexity. He had all the virtues that are found in the hut of Almeria represents the misery and heartlessness of the savage; he was quick, fearless, generous; but he knew not a life of mere fashion. Three other volumes of what it was to obey. It was impossible to induce him to do Fashionable Tales were issued in 1812, and fully anything that he did not please, or prevent him from doing supported the authoress's reputation. The number anything that he did please. Under the former head, learning, of tales in this series was three-Vivian,' illuseven of the lowest description, was never included. In tine, trating the evils and perplexities arising from this child of nature grew up perfectly ungovernable, and never vacillation and infirmity of purpose; 'Emilie de could or would apply to anything; so that there remained no alternative but to allow him to follow his own inclination of Coulanges, depicting the life and manners of a going to sea! Maria Edgeworth was by her father's first mar
fashionable French lady; and “The Absentee' (by riage: she was born in Oxfordshire, and was twelve years old far the best of the three stories), written to expose before she was taken to Ireland. The family were involved in the evils and mortifications of the system which the the troubles of the Irish rebellion (1798), and were obliged to authoress saw too many instances of in Ireland, of make a precipitate retreat from their house, and leave it in the persons of fortune forsaking their country seats and hands of the rebels; but it was spared from being pillaged by native vales for the frivolity, scorn, and expense one of the invaders, to whom Mr Edgeworth had previously of fashionable London society. In 1814 Miss Edgedone some kindness. Their return home, when the troubles worth entered still more extensively and sarcastically were over, is thus described by Miss Edgeworth in her father's into the manners and characters in high-life, by her memoirs.
It serves to show the affection which subsisted novel of Patronage, in four volumes. The miseries between the landlord and his dependents.
• When we came near Edgeworthtown, we saw many well. resulting from a dependence on the patronage of the known faces at the cabin doors looking out to welcome us. great—a system which she says is *twice accursed One man, who was digging in his field by the road-side, when
-once in giving, and once in receiving'—are drawn he looked up as our horses passed, and saw my father, let fall in vivid colours, and contrasted with the cheerfulhis spade and clasped his hands; his face, as the morning sun ness, the buoyancy of spirits, and the manly virtues shone upon it, was the strongest picture of joy I ever saw. The arising from honest and independent exertion. In village was a melancholy spectacle; windows shattered and 1817 our authoress supplied the public with two other doors broken. But though the mischief done was great, there tales, Harrington and Ormond. The first was written had been little pillage. Within our gates we found all property to counteract the illiberal prejudice entertained by safe ; literally “not a twig touched, nor a leaf harmed.” many against the Jews; the second is an Irish tale, Within the house everything was as we had left it. A map that equal to any of the former. The death of Mr Edgewe had been consulting was still open on the library table, with worth in 1817 made a break in the literary exertion pencils, and slips of paper containing the first lessons in arith of his accomplished daughter, but she completed a metic, in which some of the young people (Mr Edgeworth's children by his second and third wife) had been engaged the and which was published in two volumes in 1820.
memoir which that gentleman had begun of himself, morning we had been driven from home; a pansy, in a glass In 1822 she returned to her course of moral instrucof water, which one of the children had been copying, was still on the chimney-piece. These trivial circumstances, mark- tion, and published in that year Rosamond, a Sequel ing repose and tranquillity, struck us at this moment with an to Early Lessons, a work for juvenile readers, of unreasonable sort of surprise, and all that had passed seemed which an earlier specimen had been published. A like an incoherent dream.'
further continuation appeared in 1825, under the title of Harriet and Lucy, four volumes. These particular passion, would have been a hazardous er. tales had been begun fifty years before by Mr Edge- periment in common hands. Miss Edgeworth ore. worth, at a time when no one of any literary cha- came it by the ease, spirit, and variety of her des racter, excepting Dr Watts and Mrs Barbauld, conde- lineations, and the truly masculine freedom with scended to write for children.'
which she exposes the crimes and follies of mankind. It is worthy of mention, that, in the autumn of Her sentiments are so just and true, and her strk $1 1823, Miss Edgeworth, accompanied by two of her clear and forcible, that they compel an instant assent sisters, made a visit to Sir Walter Scott at Abbots-to her moral views and deductions, though some ford. She not only, he said, completely answered, times, in winding up her tale, and distributing jus. but exceeded the expectations which he had formed, tice among her characters, she is not alwars very and he was particularly pleased with the naïveté and consistent or probable. Her delineations of her good-humoured ardour of mind which slic united countrymen have obtained just praise. The highest with such formidable powers of acute observation. compliment paid to them is the statement of Sott, • Never,' says Mr Locklart, did I see a brighter that the rich humour, pathetic tenderness, anlalday at Abbotsford than that on which Miss Edge- mirable tact' of these Irish portraits led him first to worth first arrived there; never can I forget her think that something might be attempted for his look and accent when she was received by him at own country of the same kind with that which his archway, and exclaimed, “everything about you Miss Edgeworth so fortunately achieved for Ireland is exactly what one ought to have had wit enough to He excelled his model, because, with equal know. dream.” The weather was beautiful, and the edifice ledge and practical sagacity, he possessed that and its appurtenances were all but complete; and higher order of imagination, and more extensire day after day, so long as she could remain, her host sympathy with man and nature, which is more had always some new plan of gaiety.' Miss Edge. powerful, even for moral uses and effects, than the worth remained a fortnight at Abbotsford. Two most clear and irresistible reasoning. The object ! years afterwards she had an opportunity of repay- Miss Edgeworth, to inculcate instruction, and the ing the hospitalities of her entertainer, by receiving style of the preceptress, occasionally interfere with him at Edgeworthtown, where Sir Walter met with the cordial sympathies of the reader, even in her as cordial a welcome, and where he found neither Irish descriptions; whereas in Scott this is never mud hovels nor naked peasantry, but snug cottages apparent. He deals more with passions and feelings and smiling faces all about.' Literary fame had than with mere manners and peculiarities, and by spoiled neither of these eminent persons, nor unfitted the aid of his poetical imagination, and careless yet them for the common business and enjoyment of happy eloquence of expression, imparts the air life. We shall never,' said Scott, • learn to feel and romance to ordinary incidents and characters. It respect our real calling and destiny, unless we have must be admitted, however, that in originality and taught ourselves to consider everything as moon- in fertility of invention Miss Edgeworth is inferior shine compared with the education of the heart.' to none of her contemporary novelists. She never Maria did not listen to this without some water repeats her incidents, her characters, dialogues, et in her eyes; her tears are always ready when any plots, and few novelists have written more
. Her generous string is touched-(for, as Pope says, “the brief and rapid tales fill above twenty closely-printed finest minds, like the finest metals, dissolve the volumes, and may be read one after the other witheasiest"); but she brushed them gaily aside, and out any feeling of satiety or sense of repetitioil
, said, “ You see how it is ; Dean Swift said he had In a work lately published, Ireland,' by Mr and written his books in order that people might learn Mrs Hall, there is a very interesting account of the to treat him like a great lord. Sir Walter writes residence and present situation of Miss Edgeworth:his in order that he may be able to treat his people The library at Edgeworthtown,' say the writers as a great lord ought to do.””
‘is by no means the reserved and solitary room that i In 1834 Miss Edgeworth reappeared as a novelist : libiaries are in general. It is large, and spacious, her Helen, in three volunies, is fully equal to her and lofty; well stored with books, and embellished • Fashionable Tales,' and possesses more of ardour with those most valuable of all classes of printsand pathos. The gradations of vice and folly, and the suggestive; it is also picturesque, having been the unhappiness attending falsehood and artifice, are added to so as to increase its breadth; the additino strikingly depicted in this novel, in connexion with is supported by square pillars, and the beautiful characters (that of Lady Davenant, for example) lawn seen through the windows, embellished and drawn with great force, truth, and nature. This is varied by clumps of trees judiciously planted, imthe latest work of fiction we have had from the pen parts much cheerfulness to the exterior. An oblong of the gifted authoress ; nor is it likely, from her table in the centre is a sort of rallying-point for the advanced age, that she will make further incursions family, who group around it-reading, writing, or into that domain of fancy and observation she has working; while Miss Edgeworth, only anxious upua enriched with so many admirable performances. one point—that all in the liouse should do exactly as Long, however, may she be able to dispense com- they like without reference to her-sits quietly and mon sense to her readers, and to bring them within abstractedly in her own peculiar corner on the sofa ; the precincts of real life and natural feeling! The her desk, upon which lies Sir Walter Scott's peni good and evil of this world have supplied Miss Edge- given to her by him when in Ireland, placed before worth with materials sufficient for her purposes as her upon a little quaint table, as unassuming as pose a novelist. Of poetical or romantic feeling she has sible. Miss Edgeworth's abstractedness would puzzle exhibited scarcely a single instance. She is a strict the philosophers; in that same corner, and upon that utilitarian. Her knowledge of the world is exten- table, she has written nearly all that has enlightened sive and correct, though in some of her representa- and delighted the world. There she writes as elutions of fashionable fully and dissipation she borders quently as ever, wrapt up to all appearance in her upon caricature. The plan of confining a tale to subject
, yet knowing, by a sort of instinct, when the exposure and correction of one particular vice, she is really wanted in dialogue; and, without live or one erroneous line of conduct, as Joanna Baillie ing down her pen, hardly looking up from her party confined her dramas each to the elucidation of one she will, by a judicious sentence, wisely and kindly
spoken, explain and elucidate in a few words so as ti * Life of Scott, vol. vi. p. 61.
clear up any difficulty, or turn the conversation into
a new and more pleasing current. She has the most of memory and love. Mr Francis Edgeworth, the harmonious way of throwing in explanations-in-youngest son of the present Mrs Edgeworth, and forming without embarrassing. A very large family, of course Miss Edgeworth's youngest brother, has party assemble daily in this charming room, young a family of little ones, who seem to enjoy the freeand old bound alike to the spot by the strong cords dom of the library as much as their elders : to set
Miss Edgeworth's House. these little people right if they are wrong; to rise | decay or consumption which carried off Miss Ausfrom her table to fetch them a toy, or even to save ten seemed only to increase the powers of her mind. a servant a journey; to mount the steps and find a She wrote while she could hold a pen or pencil, polume that escapes all eyes but her own, and having and the day preceding her death composed some done so, to find exactly the passage wanted, are stanzas replete with fancy and vigour. Shortly after hourly employments of this most unspoiled and ad-her death, her friends gave to the world two novels, mirable woman. She will then resume her pen, and, entitled Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, the first what is more extraordinary, hardly seem to have being her earliest composition, and the least valueven frayed the thread of her ideas; her mind is so able of her productions, while the latter is a highly rightly balanced, everything is so honestly weighed, finished work, especially in the tender and pathetic that she suffers no inconvenience from what would passages. The great charm of Miss Austen’s fictions disturb and distract an ordinary writer.'
lies in their truth and simplicity. She gives us plain representations of English society in the middle
and higher classes-sets us down, as it were, in the JANE AUSTEN, a truly English novelist, was born duces us to various classes of persons, whose charac
country-house, the villa, and cottage, and introon the 16th December 1775, at Steventon, in Hamp: ters are displayed in ordinary intercourse and most shire, of which parish her father was rector.
life-like dialogues and conversation. There is no Austen is represented as a man of refined taste and acquirements, who guided, though he did not live attempt to express fine things, nor any scenes of surto witness the fruits of his daughter's talents. After prising daring or distress, to make us forget that we the death of the rector, his widow and two daughters Such materials would seem to promise little for the
are among commonplace mortals and real existence. retired to Southampton, and subsequently to the village of Chawton, in the same county, where the novel reader, yet Miss Austen's minute circum
stances and common details are far from tiresome. novels of Jane Austen were written... Of these, four They all aid in developing and discriminating her were published anonymously in her lifetime, namely; characters, in which her chief strength lies, and we Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield become so intimately acquainted with each, that Park, and Emma. In May 1817 the health of the they appear as old friends or neighbours. She is authoress rendered it necessary that she should remove to some place where constant medical aid could quite at home in describing the mistakes in the edube procured. She went to Winchester, and in that cation of young ladies-in delicate ridicule of female
foibles and vanity-in family differences, obstinacy, city she expired on the 24th of July 1817, aged forty- and pride—in the distinctions between the different two. Her personal worth, beauty, and genius, made classes of society, and the nicer shades of feeling and her early death deeply lamented; while the public conduct as they ripen into love or friendship, or had to regret the failure not only of a source of subside into indifference or dislike. Her love is not innocent amusement, but also of that supply of practical good sense and instructive example which who cannot or will not learn anything from productions of she would probably have continued to furnish bet- this kind, she has provided entertainment which entitles her ter than any of her contemporaries.'* The insidious to thanks; for mere innocent amusement is in itself a good,
when it interferes with no greater, especially as it may occupy * Dr Whateley, archbishop of Dublin (Quarterly Review, the place of some other that may not be innocent. The Eastern 1821). The same critic thus sums up his estimate of Miss monarch who proclaimed a reward to him who should discover Austen's works :— They may be safely recommended, not only a new pleasure, would have deserved well of mankind had ho as among the most unexceptionable of their class, but as como stipulated that it should be blameless. Those, again, who dobining, in an eminent degree, instruction with amusement, light in the study of human nature, may improve in the know. though without the direct effort at the former, of which we ledge of it, and in the profitable application of that knowledge, have complained as sometimes defeating its object. For those by the perusal of such fictions as those before us.'