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Stain'd with the purple tide his soul swam forth in,
Doth blush at its own guilt."
When Ursini, in an absurd strain of court flattery, compliments Ferrando on his smiles, while the unhappy prince is in fact suffering the most poignant distress, he answers him disdainfully
“Thou should'st have said Heaven smiled when set with clouds
Black as night's swarthy mantle; when the
Breaks out in hideous cracks that cleave the Temple,
And strike dead the devout Priest at the
The catastrophe of the piece miserably baulks the expectations which have been raised and kept alive during the three first acts. The discovery of Felicia, Alberto's daughter, in the person of the supposed Sylvio, is in itself by no means unpoetical; but so wretched an use is afterwards made of her, that the reader must heartily wish she had really met with the fate that Federigo believes her to have experienced. The scene is in a garden where the two Sicilian ladies are proposing a garland for their mistress, and a pretty dialogue takes place on the emblematic qualities of the flowers they gather. The supposed Sylvio enters without perceiving them, and utters his unguarded lamentations in their hearing.
-"Methinks each thing
I meet with all upbraids my fond credulity.
Her to her ruin-the fearful quail
And hid my shame, which yet each trivial wind,
But dallying with, persuaded from my cover, And left me naked to Heaven's eye: the boughs
Of the next willow clung about my head, As if they'd knit themselves into a garland Which I should wear for my forsaken lover; Oh you, the weak supporters of my woes! Why do you fail me now in greatest need? Bear me at least into some hollow cave Where I may die, free from an after scorn, And not, when I am dead, befriend the
Of our frail sex: Oh! I faint and fall
Like to the early branches of some tree
Ere yet they be full ripe."
ladies of this unexpected discovery, Calantha, being informed by her sends for the unhappy Felicia to abuse her with even harsher language than, it is to be presumed, Diana made use of in upbraiding Callisto. This forces from Felicia an avowal of her imagined intercourse with Ferrando, and the promise of marriage which she believes she eagerly embraces the proposal of herself to have received from him; and place in the bridal bed, as belonging the indignant Princess to take her to her by prior right, while Calantha herself resolves on immediate flight from Naples, and a life of perpetual seclusion.
for execution. Meanwhile the plot of Zisco is ripe the nuptial chamber, and there finds He obtains access to afterwards murder, his own sister, mistime and opportunity to violate, and taking her for the princess-bride of Ferrando. Ferrando himself, entering just after the accomplishment of this delectable piece of vengeance, is stabbed by the incestuous assassin, and falls, exclaiming, in language richly worthy of Tom Thumb,
"The spheres are out of túne, Nature's
The orbs celestial have turn'd round so long
Here, Zisco, whom one would have expected to run distracted, or die outright, with horror at the discovery of the consequences of his blind revenge, probably having imbibed a taste for murder, and reflecting that one or two added to the number of his former peccadillos of this sort, cannot sink his soul much deeper than it is gone already, stabs Calantha also, and she dies in a strain of metaphorical playfulness, which, though grossly unnatural and revolting, partakes of that wildness of fancy which distinguishes many of our older dramatists.
"Draw, draw the curtains there! My love and I must sleep.—Uncivil, I protest! Put out the lights. We shall sleep best in the dark; pray, don't disturb us. You may fright him from mine arms—but I'll hold-him-fast."
The second plot has little in it of merit or originality, but nothing offensive. It is built on the love of the General Valenzo for the Princess Ca
rintha, which is perplext and crossed by the intrigues of" that accomplished Machiavelist," Ursini, he himself aspiring to the possession of the same lady, and with her, of the crown of Naples after the intended removal of Ferrando by the hand of Zisco. In consequence of those intrigues, Valenzo and his friend Piero are apprehended on a charge of treason, and condemned to die; but the king proclaims that he will pardon one of them upon the terms of his voluntary submission. Ursini contrives that this proclamation shall be first communicated to Piero, who, out of love for his friend, refuses to accept the proffered mercy, and, supported by Carintha herself, uses all his entreaties to induce Valenzo to avail himself of it. "Enjoy him long,"-he thus addressthe Princess
WHILE We have been amusing our selves, and, we trust, our readers, by laughing at the image of our own peculiarities, as reflected by that mirror of modern travellers, Dr Morris, we confess we have been looking about with no small anxiety for a gallery of English portraits as companions to his Scotch ones. For, as that mighty nation have at all times inclination enough to laugh at us, and to look upon us in the light of provincials and barbarians in one view, or democrats and Atheists in another, no doubt they will plume themselves upon the ludicrous sketches of the clever Welshman, whom, as
OF SOME OF THE FAULTS OF ENGLISH MANNERS.*
long as they consider him as an author of celebrity, they will relieve from the hideous imputation of provincialism, which otherwise he, like our countrymen, would incur, and will adopt the Briton as a son of England. Whether the Doctor will glory in the change, we know not. For our own parts, we are content to continue to be looked upon as Scotsmen, and should by no means consider it as a feather in our caps to be treated in this way, any more than we look upon the act which, by uniting our land with that of our haughty neighbours, kicked us out of the circle of independent king
Brief remarks on English Manners, and an attempt to account for some of our most striking peculiarities, in a Series of Letters to a Friend in France. By an Englishman. Dondon.
doms, as a charter of privileges, or a grant of new honours.
Despairing at one time of finding what we wanted, we had some thought of fitting out an expedition, with instructions to penetrate as far as possible into the Arctic circles (as we shall presently find them to be) of their society. But to this there were many objections. For, in the first place, we doubted much whether we could provide the means of overcoming the first mighty barriers of snow which every stranger encounters in such an attempt; and, secondly, we suspect that the quarto which must, either in the case of failure or success, have issued from the press, together with our lucubrations in the shape of a review, would have been treated as mere effusions of Scotch spite, ignorance, or prejudice. We considered ourselves, therefore, as peculiarly fortunate in discovering that they have a Sackeouse, who, after viewing and enjoying the advantages of milder climes, has been anxious to unfold to his country even the means of improving theirs; whose long experience has wiped away the haughty feeling of universal superiority, which we must believe to be the constant companion of every Englishman setting out upon his travels, and who, in the very pleasing little volume before us, points out the principle circumstances in the manners of the English, as they struck him on his return from so long a residence in foreign lands, as had served effectually to open his eyes to the foibles of his own.
wards strangers, whom circumstances have placed in theirs.
He classes his remarks (which are contained in a series of Letters from England to a Friend whom he had left at Paris,) under several heads, as Every man's house is his castle,"-"Shyness," "Reserve," "The Great World,"
Cutting," &c., and gives examples of the different defects he notices, in a pleasing style. We fear, however, that it is not one of the good qualities of his countrymen, to listen with complacency to a history of their own failings, however greedily they may de◄ vour descriptions of those of others, and therefore our amiable author may not find the sale of his work equal to its deserts. There is none of the dry caustic caricaturing spirit of Dr Morris in his sketches. His object plainly has not been to have his countrymen laughed at by others, but to hold out to them kindly and brotherly advice for their own improvement in politeness, which they will hear and heed with the same sort of pleasure with which we used, when at the High School, to listen to the lectures of our grandmothers, about scraping our shoes, washing our hands and faces, or shutting the door after us on leav ing a room. As to the truth of his portraits, we shall abstain from offering an opinion on that point. He is an Englishman, and we will take his word for it.
In an introductory letter he gives us, he thus points out what he considers the cause of all or most of the fautes contre la politesse, upon which he afterwards comments.
This anonymous author appears, from hints dropped in the different parts of the book, to be an officer in the army, who had served in the long succession of busy campaigns abroad, until shortly before the publication of these remarks. He possesses a quick observation of manners, and appears early to have noticed the decided su
periority of foreigners, when contrast-independence Britons prize too high;' and ed with his own countrymen. He this strained feeling of independence may marks out, with a skilful hand, the not improperly be considered the foundation overbearing haughtiness of the English of the greater part of our peculiarities, which wherever they happened to hold the are all, I think, of an unsocial character; mastery, and the distant and sulky and therefore not to be defended, in spite of shyness of unsociability, where they the fascination which the notion of independdid not, in the various circumstances ence carries with it. People, however, are of the continental struggle; and fol- apt to remark; as this feeling of independence has raised us to our present glorilows up his remarks upon their conous political pre-eminence, we may be well duct, when placed in a strange land, satisfied to bear with the evils resulting from with observations on their conduct to the same cause that produces all our nation
"It would perhaps be impossible to point out all the causes that combine to produce our national peculiarities; but the attempt to account generally for the most obvious of them cannot be uninteresting. Goldsmith, in his admirable poem of the Traveller, dediscernment and knowledge of human na
scribes our national character with his usual
ture. Our unsocial turn he ascribes to that
al greatness and happiness. All communities are remarkable for some peculiar foibles; and we had better not be too anxious to destroy ours, lest at the same time we root out our national virtues.""
than that of any of our own nobility
This, it must be acknowledged, is the softest and most gentle way of expressing the origin of the failings in question, and we agree with our author on this point; only we would venture to suggest, that if the term were employed which describes the genus of which Feeling of Inde pendence" is but a species, perhaps more of the peculiarities alluded to might be accounted for.
Foreigners are in the habit of ascribing much of the coldness of the English manner to the influence of climate. They are surprised by the rebuffs they meet with when they attempt to enter into communication with them, but they are by no means offended. They pity the unsociable quality which is the result of what they take for an endemic disease, and pass over, with good humour, the treatment they experience. Every one who has met a foreigner in a stagecoach, travelling in the southern parts of the island, can at once recall to his mind instances of the sort alluded to; and we really are of opinion, that the disorder is not so much to be ascribed to the gloomy fogs of November, as to the cause assigned by our author, the pride of the English, or, as he calls it, their feeling of independence. It may be said, that we ought not to do away the spirit which prompts us to dislike our natural enemies, as they are often called. If this were all, though the offence remained, it might better be excused, perhaps, when committed by the ignorant. But we fear even this apology will not hold, for those who are well instructed are as apt as any to commit the offence, and this equally to the people of every country, and to none more than to us poor Scotsmen. We venture to affirm, that on this side the Tweed, the matter is somewhat better arranged, and foreigners of distinction coming here, are better received, and create a greater sensation, perhaps because they more seldom venture so far north, repuls ed as they are by the manners of the southern. In fact, foreigners of distinction or notoriety residing here, may do any thing with us. Their patronage will do more for a protégé
The two chief heads under which our author arranges those faults of English manners, particularly offen sive to foreigners, are taciturnity and bluntness.
"Dr Johnson is represented as thus discriminating between the characters of an Englishman and a Frenchman :- Now, there, Sir, is the difference between an Englishman and a Frenchman. A Frenchman must be always talking, whether he knows any thing of the matter or not; an Englishman is content to say nothing, when he has nothing to say. My complaint, however, is, that he is too apt to leave others to conjecture what is passing in his mind, when he has something to say, but does not chuse to say it. To be sure, there is a prevailing character in the manners of all nations, which it is in vain to think of changing; and far be it from my wish to transform, if it were possible, British sedateness into French garrulity.
"The vanity of a Frenchman, as displayed in conversation, is certainly very amusing. He never allows himself to appear ignorant on any subject which happens to be started. Do not you recollect our being at the theatre at Bourdeaux in 1814, when a Frenchman, sitting near us, asked the name of an English admiral who appeared in uniform in an opposite box? On my telling him it was Admiral Malcolm, he mistook what I said, but looking very wise, exclaimed, Ah! Nelson ! l'Amiral Nelson!?
Fully satisfied that this was the great Lord Nelson; about whom, if he knew any thing. one would have supposed he had heard of his having been killed in action several years before, after gaining a splendid victory over his countrymen and the Spaniards. This incident reminded us immediately of Sterne's story about Yorick, the king's jester.
"In travelling through the country, I used to amuse myself sometimes by putting questions, merely for the sake of listening to the answers they excited. One day, when on the point of leaving a town in which I had passed the night, observing a tradesman standing idle at his shop-door, I enquired of Lim how far it was to a town whither I was going? Monsieur,' he replied, vous avez quinze lieues.' I mentioned having been told, that the distance was but eleven leagues. Oh! oui;' rejoined he, directly, ⚫ cest presqu' égal-onze ou quinze lieues." Wishing to see how far his politeness would
carry him, I suggested, that perhaps the actual distance was not above eight leagues; between which and eleven, I remarked, there was not much difference. Ah! Monsieur, a raison :-huit au onze lieues, c'est à peu près la même chose.' I tried to reduce him to five leagues, but he then discovered that I was inclined to plaisanter, and wishing me bon voyage,' our conversation dropped, and I pursued my journey. "On another occasion, a fellow in a country town was cutting my hair; I told him, that in order to make it grow thick and well, I constantly washed it with vinegar, which I preferred greatly to oil. He agreed with me entirely, that oil was a nasty greasy thing, and vinegar far preferable ;-said he had an excellent preparation of the latter, which Messieurs les Officiers Anglois did him the honour to approve greatly, and begged permission to bring a bottle of it for my inspection. He returned presently, loaded with bottles; but as the word huile was writ. ten legibly on each, I objected to take any of them. On this he remonstrated, and as sured me, on his parole d'honneur, that the huile was une espèce de vinaigre, and I had some difficulty in persuading him civilly to quit the room.
"But the incident that amused me most, and which you may remember, as I think you were of the party, occurred at one of the palaces near Paris, Saint Cloud, I believe. We were looking about us in the rooms, when an officer of the national guard joined our party, and was very civil in explaining to us all the curiosities of the place. Ob. serving an allegorical painting on the ceiling of one of the apartments, representing Minerva leading a youth by the hand, I enquired of our friend what it meant. The Frenchman, never at a loss,-toujours prêt -replied directly, Oh! oui, Monsieur; c'est une Minerve qui conduit.'-Here he was puzzled for a moment-but taking courage, he added (looking doubtingly at me, however, as if he did not feel quite sure of his ground); qui conduit-une jeune Minerve!
"This, to be sure, is all ridiculous enough. But because I conceive our manners might be improved by adopting the civility of Frenchmen, I by no means recommend taking pattern by their absurdi. ties. And, indeed, as France is our nearest neighbour, and her manners form the most striking contrast to our own, we are too apt to consider, as French grimace, every deviation from our more reserved or churlish habits. The truth is, that although the characteristick marks of French manners are easily defined by those who have been in other countries, and have attended to the subject, yet many of those which we class together as French peculiarities, are common to most of the continental nations. We are apt to consider the Spaniards, for example, a haughty retired people. Yet one finds many little acts of civility and atVOL. V.
tention, which we neglect, in use among them. Such as bowing to a stranger when he enters a coffee-room, or other place of meeting; or, if the case seems to demand so much attention, even going so far as to speak to him ;-addressing a few words of civility to a shopkeeper, when they go to purchase any thing of him :-speaking to a man, however low his condition, in passing him on the road in travelling. These, and many such, in my opinion, benevolent customs, prevail pretty generally on the continent; nor can I conceive, as their basis is humanity, that our dignity would be at all lowered by adopting them."
Of the English bluntness he speaks thus
"The word I have adopted above, does not convey a precise notion of the peculiarity I wish to notice, nor am I aware of any English word that does. The French word brusquerie would have given my meaning better, but I preferred heading my letter with an English term, and giving this explanation. The feature I wish to describe under this head, is a kind of blunt, quick, impatience of manner and conduct, which is as strongly marked as any of our other peculiarities. It would seem to arise, too, from the same cause as some of those above described, though under a different form. For our feeling of independence gives us a strong notion of our own importance, which manifests itself by impatient turbu lence of spirit and restlessness under re straint, while it changes our naturally reserved, silent deportment, into an energetick expression of our feelings, which is apt to astonish and alarm foreigners when they are liable to suffer from its effects, and to amuse them greatly when they are not.
"I have seen it remarked by an old Spa. nish author, that at the time he wrote (when the military reputation of Spain stood high), his countrymen were remarkable for evinc ing in foreign countries an overbearing insolence of behaviour, which they would not have dared to shew at home. Does not this observation apply with too much force to our own countrymen in the present day? I am sure you think it does, and for myself I am convinced it requires all the worth, all the integrity, and all the valour displayed in our general conduct abroad, to counteract the bad effects of the numerous deviations from propriety in individuals. In short, we do not act in foreign countries on the system (to use a familiar phrase) of give and take.” On the contrary, we are too apt to expect, not only an extreme degree of attention and civility, more than we are inclined to shew in return, but we even require the natives of a country to adapt their customs to ours. If they resist our attempts at innovation, they are held up to reproach, as an insolent, unaccommodating race; and if they yield quietly, as most foreigners, unaccustomed to such boisterous behaviour are disposed to do, F