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fortress at such short warning, that the Norman has not time to receive the succours of the neighbouring barons. This would have been a matter of little consequence to Raymond, and the Welsh might have knocked their heads against the walls, to as little purpose as they had often done before, tut for an unfortunate promise which, during the short preceding interval of tranquillity, he had made to Gwenwyn, to meet him on any future occasion in fair fight and without the protection of ditches and engines. The chivalrous notions of the times compelled him to march out with a part of his slender garrison to certain destruction, leaving the castle and his daughter to the protection of a small band of Flemish feudatories. The knight is of course slain, and the victorious Gwenwyn attacks the castle, which, after being defended a single day with difficulty, is relieved by the advance of Hugo de Lacy, by whom the Welsh Prince is slain and his followers cut to pieces. In return for this service, and in consequence of certain
previous arrangements with her father, he seeks the hand of Eveline, and after a reasonable time is solemnly affianced to her. This conduct excites the indignation of Baldwin, archbishop of Canterbury, by whose preaching the Constable had lately been induced to assume the ensigns of a Crusader. He insists on the immediate performance of his vow, and De Lacy is obliged to leave his betrothed bride under the care of his nephew Damian. The result of this arrangement every reader will anticipate. The Constable, on his return, finds his affairs at home on the point of utter ruin, and Damian charged with breach of trust to him and his sovereign. Though these charges prove to be in the main false, De Lacy is wise enough to perceive that Eveline will be a more suitable bride for his nephew, and the work closes with their marriage.
Our limits will not permit more than this meagre abstract of the story, of which the interest is increased by much connecting action, and many subordinate characters. Of these last, Wilkin Flammock, the leader of the Flemings, and his daughter Rose, are evidently the favourites of the author and of course the most interesting to the reader. We find in this Tale a degree of a fault common to many imitations of this class of novels :—the characters are too numerous and the interest divided among too many. The consequence of this is, that the author has not space to make any one sufficiently interesting. Thus the character of De Lacy is a grand conception, but he does not appear long enough to make a full impression.
We want to see more of him and to have him shown in various circumstances and in different lights, and regret that the author leaves him just when he is beginning to enter into the spirit of the delineation. Moreover the novelist is evidently shackled in this work as in some others, by the circumstances of time and place. The reader of Shakspeare seldom considers any more than the author seems to have done, whether his
persons are French or English, Greeks or Romans, or even human or supernatural; they have an intellectual identity, which is but slightly dependent upon outward circumstances. Macbeth is Macbeth, though dressed in a full-bottomed wig and Louis-Quatorze boots. The sentiments, affections, and passions are what strikes us in Ariel and Caliban, not the wings of the one or the claws of the other. But we cannot but feel occasionally that the Scottish author is labouring to make Normans of the twelfth century, or Frenchmen of the fifteenth. It may be that he has succeeded; few of us have antiquarian lore sufficient to detect his mistakes if any exist. But it requires only observation of our fellow-creatures to perceive, when an author mingles in the same character traits inconsistent with themselves, or foreign to humanity. Our limits will not permit us to pursue this subject farther, and with one extract from this tale, we shall pass on to the second, Certain proceedings of Wilkin which seemed dubious in the eyes of the confessor of the castle, give rise to the following dialogue. Our readers will perceive that the author is not able entirely to forget Friar Tuck.
At this place, which was rather the weakest point of the Garde Doloureuse, the good father found Wilkin Flammock anxiously superintending the necessary measures of defence. He greeted him courteously, congratulated him on the stock of provisions with which the castle had been supplied during the night, and was inquiring how they had been so happily introduced through the Welch besiegers, when Wilkin took the first occasion to interrupt him.
“ Of all this another time, good father; but I wish at present, and before other discourse, to consult thee on a matter which presses my conscience, and moreover deeply concerns my worldly estate.”
“Speak on, my excellent son,” said the father, conceiving that he should thus gain the key to Wilkin's real intentions. « 0, a tender conscience is jewel! and he that will not listen when it saith, ' Pour out thy doubts into the ear of the priest,' shall one day have his own dolorous outcries choaked with fire and brimstone. Thou wert ever of a tender conscience, son Wilkin, though thou hast but a rough and borrel bearing."
Well, then,” said Wilkin, “ you are to know, good father, that I have some dealings with my neighbour, Jan Vanwelt, concerning my
daughter Rose, and that he has paid me certain guilders on condition that I will match her to him.”
“Pshaw, pshaw! my good son," said the disappointed confessor, “ this gear can lie over-this is no time for marrying or giving in marriage, when we are all like to be murdered.”
“ Nay, but bear me, good father,” said the Fleming, “ for this point of conscience concerns the present case more nearly than you wot of. You must know I have no will to bestow Rose on this same Jan Vanwelt, who is old, and of ill conditions; and I would know of you whether I may, in conscience, refuse him my consent.”
“Truly,” said Aldrovand, “Rose is a pretty lass, though somewhat hasty; and I think you may bonestly withdraw your consent, always on paging back the guilders you have received.”
“But there lies the pinch, good father,” said the Fleming — the refunding this money will reduce me to utter poverty. The Welsh have destroyed my substance ; and this handful of money is all, God help me! on which I must begin the world again."
Nevertheless, son Wilkin,” said Aldrovand,“ thou must keep thy word, or pay the forfeit; for what saith the text? Quis habitabit in tabernaculo, quis requiescet in monte sancto ?—Who shali ascend to the tabernacle, and dwell in the holy mountain ? Is it not answered again, Qui jurat proximo et non decepit?-Go to, my son-break not thy plighted word for a little filthy lucre-better is an empty stomach and a hungry heart with a clear conscience, than a fatted ox with iniquity and word-breaking.–Sawest thou not our late noble lord, who (may his soul be happy !) chose rather to die in unequal battle, like a true knight, than live a perjured man, though he had but spoken a rask word to a Welchman over a wine flask ? »
“ Alas! then,” said the Fleming, “ this is even what I feared ! We must e'en render up the castle, or restore to the Welchman Jorworth, the cattle, by means of which I had schemed to victual and defend it."
“ How-wherefore, what doest thou mean?" said the monk in astonishment. “I speak to thee of Rose Flammock, and Jan Van-devil, or whatever you call him, and you reply with talk about cattle and castles, and I wot pot what!”
“So please you, holy father, I did but speak in parables. This castle was the daughter I had promised to deliver over-the Welchman Jan Vanwelt, and the guilders were the cattle he bas sent in, as a part-payment beforehand of my guerdon.”.
“ Parables !” said the monk, colouring with anger at the trick put upon him ; " what has a boor like thee to do with parables ?—But I forgive thee- I forgive thee.”
“ I am therefore to yield the castle to the Welchman or restore him his cattle ?" said the impenetrable Dutchman.
“ Sooner yield thy soul to Satan!” replied the monk.
“I fear me it must be the alternative," said the Fleming; “for the example of thy honourable lord
“ The example of an honourable fool-"answered the monk; then presently subjoined, “Qür Lady be with her servant!-this Belgicbrained boor makes me forget what I would say."
Nay, but the holy text which your reverence cited to me even now," continued the Fleming.
“ Go to,” said the monk ; “what hast thou to do to presume to think of texts?-knowest thou not that the letter of the Scripture slayeth, and that it is the exposition which maketh to live ? Art thou not like one who, coming to a physician, conceals from him half the symptoms of the disease ?-1 tell thee, thou foolish Fleming, the text speaketh but of promises made unto Christians, and there is in the Rubric a special exception of such as are made to Welchmen.” At this commentary the Fleming grinned so broadly as to show his whole case of broad strong white teeth. Father Aldrovand himself grinned in sympathy, and then proceeded to say,~" Come, come, I see how it is. Thou hast studied some small revenge on me for doubting of thy truth; and, in verity, I think thou hast taken it wittily enough. But wherefore didst thou not let me into the secret from the beginning ? I promise thee I had foul suspicions of thee."
“What !” said the Fleming, “ is it possible I could ever think of involving your reverence in a little matter of deceit ? Surely Heaven hath sent me more grace and manners.”
The second tale, cntitled " The Talisman,” forms a connecting link between the one already noticed and the novel of Ivanhoe. In “ The Betrothed," "Richard Cour de Lion appears for a few moments as the heir apparent to the throne. The reader of "The Talisman" finds him in Palestine, having left his kingdom, not long after his accession to its throne, to the miseries and distractions described in Ivanhoe. The story is principally occupied with the sickness of Richard and his contests with his fellow-crusaders, Austria and France. An important character is the Prince Royal of Scotland, who serves incognito in the English army, and finally marries the sister of the English monarch. Saladin appears in various disguises, not always probable or consistent, in one of which he cures Richard with a Talisman. This tale is the more interesting of the two. The author enters into the character of Richard with spirit, and it occupies a large part of the work. The persons in whom the reader is expected to take any interest are fewer and the attention is not so much distracted as in the first tale. The last of course will be likely to make the most enduring impression upon the mind and to acquire the strongest hold on the public estimation. The story of this last seems to have been carelessly patched together, and we doubt much whether the author originally intended that Sheerkohf should turn out to be Saladin. Our limits will permit but one short extract from this tale. This we are induced to select on account of a religious sentiment, delivered in the author's own person, and standing as the expression of his own feeling, the like of which we do not recollect to have seen, in any former
novel, though all have been remarkable for their general respect for religion and morality. The respect however has seemed to be rather that of the philosopher and philanthropist, than the Christian.
The act of devotion, however, [says he) though rendered in such strange society, burst purely from his natural feelings of religious duty, and had its usual effect in composing the spirits, which had been long harassed by so rapid a succession of calamities. The sincere and earnest approach of the Christian to the throne of the Almighty, teaches the best lesson of patience under affliction ; since wherefore should we mock the Deity with supplications, when we insult him by murmuring under his decrees?-or how, while our prayers have in every word admitted the vanity and nothingness of the things of time in comparison to those of eternity, should we hope to deceive the Searcher of Hearts, by permitting the world and worldly passions to reassume their turbulent empire over our bosoms, the instant when our devotions are ended? There have been, and perhaps are now, persons so inconsistent, as to suffer earthly passion to reassume the reins even immediately after a solemn address to Heaven but Sir Kenneth was not of these. He felt himself comforted and strengthened, and better prepared to execute or submit to whatever his destiny might call upon him to do or to suffer.
The Introduction to these tales we consider on the whole a failure, thougl some smart sayings pass between the persons of the interlude. It contains the following singular paragraph.
“ I intend to write the most wonderful book which the world ever read—a book in which every incident shall be incredible, yet strictly true—a work recalling recollections with which the ears of this generation once tingled, and which shall be read by our children with an admiration approaching to incredulity. Such shall be the Life of NapoLEON BUONAPARTE by the AUTHOR of WAVERLEY !”
Whether this be a part of the joke, or a real advertisement of such a work, we know not, but we sincerely hope the latter.
The curious in these matters will probably be interested in the comparison between this Talisman and the Saracen of Madame Cottin, a crusade romance of great reputation in its day. The time, the place, and the principal characters in both are the same. It is evident that the writers have drawn in many instances from the same sources, but with what comparative effect we have not leisure or space to decide.
We have placed at the head of this article the titles of two works, partly because they are the work of the same author, of which fact (if evidence were wanting, there is abundance in the Lives of the Novelists,) and partly from the natural connexion of the subjects.