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Catherine seems universally hailed as a new character, and new she certainly is on this author's theatre. To say that Shakespeare's Beatrice is equally light-hearted, determined in spirit, fearless and unmerciful in the exercise of her wit, and inflexibly faithful, as well as generous in her friendship, does by no means infer that Catherine is a younger sister of the same family, though the dear love of diminishing due praise may lead petty critics to exult in the resemblance. Of the thousands of sprightly young women, whose wit is rendered more poignant, by the consciousness of beauty and the wantonness of power, not one will be found exactly to resemble another. Yet not one can be described without suggesting the recollection of some leading feature of the others.
to be affianced to the church, or abbey, as successor to the ever lamented Eustace. The abbey stood like a mourning bride, divested of its choicest ornaments, and dark with the gloomy forebodings which pervaded all its inhabitants. The pious and resolute Ambrosius seemed more like a partizan about to take the command of a forlorn hope, than a dignitary preparing with festal triumph to wed a wealthy abbacy. Forms, however, were to be observed. The magnificent hallelujahs burst from the organ, accompanied with what ought to be "Glad voices uttering praise;" but, alas, "Small heart had they to sing;" and, in the midst of these solemn rites, they were insulted by the entrance of the Lord of Misrule, a wight so called, who, acting the principal part in a burlesque interlude, was accompa nied by all the new Protestants in the adjoining village. These now turned the arms of the Church of Rome against itself. These interludes, in the practice of which the clergy indulged the people, as a kind of counterbalance to the fasts and penances which the Church exacted, had long worn an aspect of scarce concealed hostility to the authorities by which they were permitted. And now, with all the freedom, and all the acrimony of the new regime, these discharged the shafts of undisguised satire at the falling Church. The subject of this mummery was a parody on the election, performed by a mock abbot, &c. &c. There is, indeed, something too much of this." Gross and boisterous merriment may, by its very noise and bustle, excite a transient sympathy in those who despise it, while they are hurried round in its vortex; but gaiety, to please long in description, must be light and graceful. Not the Abbot himself could be much more relieved than we were, by the opportune arrival of Sir Halbert Glendinning, the holly on whose helmet operated like an olive branch on the followers of the Abbot of Misrule, who, stripped of his canonicals, appeared to be no other than honest Adam Woodcock, the master of the hawks, who, having before evinced a kind of generous remorse for being the involuntary means of Roland Græme's expulsion from the Castle, had since showed him much kindness. Sir Halbert, questioning the Page on his absence from the Castle, receives
It is not the business of him who paints from real life to forsake nature, in search of originality, as some of the wonder-mongers in this monsterbreeding age have done. (Vide Godwin, Shelly, and a long etcætera.) There is infinitely more power of delineation-more accuracy of judgmentand more nicety of taste, displayed in preserving the specific distinctions between characters appearing similar to the vulgar eye, than in drawing a new portrait, without particular resemblance to any one.
Thus much we have premised, in regard to our favourite Catherine, because she not only acts a considerable, but very consistent part, all along. Gladly should we apply the same observation to all the characters, if we, could do it with equal justice; but more of this anon. We cannot spare room for the innocent gaiety, and extempore playfulness, which bursts, as it were, spontaneously from the young people when they are left together for the grave purpose of getting acquainted with each other, that they may occasionally unite their efforts in carrying on some grand scheme, as yet undisclosed to them, the finale of which may show them to the world as confessors or martyrs, if unsuccessful.
The Abbess and the enthusiastic Magdalen agree to meet in Edinburgh, to which the former immediately proceeds with Catherine; while the latter, with her grandson, goes to consult the Abbot of Kennaquhair. On the way, she finds the reverend father preparing, in the Catholic phrase,
an answer indicative of a haughty and determined spirit, which is, however, greatly softened down by the kindly comment of Adam Woodcock. To the discerning view of the sage Knight, the fire of a noble and ingenuous spirit is obvious through all the boyish folly and idle presumption by which it was obscured. The petulant effeminate Page, he clearly saw, might, in a different element, be transformed into the faithful, brave, and manly squire, and in that form he was willing to protect his lady's favourite. Roland, to his utter surprise, obtained permission from his grandmother to accept the protection of the gallant heretic. She had a secret object in according this permis sion, which Roland himself could not fathom at the time. On the road to Edinburgh, he is overtaken by the honest Falconer, who seems, on all occasions, inclined to do him service, and whose blunt humour is no unpleasing relief to graver matter. In the course of their conversation, it appears that the Knight of Avenel is inclined to transfer the service of the quondam Page to the Regent Murray, the dread and abomination of all true Catholics. The fiery youth kindles at the thoughts of being thus transferred, without his own consent. Soon after they joined the advanced party, and a voice of authority was heard to address them as follows: "Woodoock," said he, (the Knight,) "thou knowest to whom thou art to conduct this youth; and thou, young man, obey discreetly, and with diligence, the orders that shall be given thee. Curb thy warm and peevish temper,-be just, true, and faithful, and there is in thee that which may raise thee many degrees above thy present station. Neither shalt thou, always supposing thine efforts to be fair and honest, ever want the countenance of Avenel." Much rough wit from the Falconer, and not a little lively and faithful description from the author, lead us cheerily on the road to Edinburgh. Here every image presented to the mind's eye glows with life, and the author visibly luxuriates in dwelling on the peculiar features of that ancient capital,
Where once, beneath a monarch's feet, Sate legislation's sovereign powers; and where the shadow of departed royalty still seems to hover over
the royal diadem of Scotland. It is impossible to do justice to the vivid picture of the manners, and the very air and aspect of the crowded city, which this inexhaustible imagination and indefatigable pencil has here presented to our view. It is too long to extract, and too good to divide. The martial air and powerful animation, added to the sketch by the crowd of chieftains, nobles, and their armed followers, who swarmed through the streets, attracted by the late Revolution, and detained by a deep interest in the changes which every day brought forth, still more animated the scene. The untamed spirit of the new made squire here breaks forth in an alarming manner, the occasion, a street brawl, raised by the followers of two chiefs, opposed in politics as in religion.
A Seyton! A Seyton!" was the cry on one side ; while "A Leslie! A Leslie!" resounded from the other as a summons to the adherents of the opposing chiefs to join the fray. The name of Seyton (the sirname of the fair novice) sounded like a talisman in the ears of Roland; he rushed headlong to join that side, which had the additional recommendation of being the weakest. The success of this adventure was equal to the rashness of it. His interference turned the balance in favour of the party nearly overpowered; and the sudden approach of the magistrates put a stop to the tumult, and to the agitation of the friendly Falconer, who had never taken charge of a hawk so unmanageable. An accidental meeting with the fair novice, whom Roland discovered through the disguise of her muffler, made the rash youth again quit his guardian and fly off in pursuit of her. She disappeared through a court in the Canongate, and he boldly followed into a door which opened into the mansion inhabited by Lord Seyton. Catherine, overcome with terror, had merely time to bid him ask for the Baron. Surrounded in an instant by fierce countenances and hostile voices, he was furiously challenged for his intrusion; the holly sprig, which bespoke him a vassal of the heretic house of Avenel, adding fuel to the fire of their indig nation. Presently the tumult was stilled by the appearance of the lord of the mansion,-a noble and picturesque figure, marked with blood shed in a recent broil. He instantly
recognises Roland as the champion who had supported his cause in the conflict on the High Street. Apologizing for the rudeness of his family, he bestows on the youth the chain and jewel with which, in the fashion of the times, his bonnet was adorned. Nothing could exceed the surprise of Woodcock at seeing him return triumphant from this second dangerous adventure. Tedious as we feel ourselves, we cannot resist the first view Roland had of Holyrood.
"It was indeed no common sight to Roland, the vestibule of a palace, traversed by its various groupes, some radiant with gaiety-some pensive, and apparently weighed down by affairs concerning the state, or concerning themselves. Here the hoary statesman, with his cautious yet commanding look, his furred cloak and sable pantoufles; there the soldier in buff and steel, his long sword jarring against the pavement, and his whiskered upper lip and frowning brow; there again passed my lord's serving-man, high of heart, and bloody of hand, humble to his master and his master's equals, insolent to all others. To these might be added, the poor suitor, with his anxious look and depressed mien -the officer, full of his brief anthority, elbowing his betters, and possibly his benefactors, out of the road-the proud priest, who sought a better benefice-the proud baron, who sought a grant of church lands the robber chief, who came to solicit a pardon for the injuries he had inflicted on his neighbours the plundered franklin, who came to seek vengeance for that which he had himself received. Besides, there was the mustering and disposition of guards and of soldiers-the dispatching of messengers, and the receiving them-the trampling and neighing of horses without the gate the flashing of arms, and rustling of plumes, and jingling of spurs within it. In short, it was that gay and splendid confusion, in which the eye of youth sees all that is brave and brilliant, and that of experience much that is doubtful, deceitful, false, and hollow-hopes that will never be gratified-promises which will never be fulfilled-pride in the disguise of humility -and insolence in that of frank and generous bounty." II. pp. 63, 64.
doubt brought about, especially the first, by the intrigues of the Catho lics. The only other thing worthy of note that pressed on the Page's attention, was a most extraordinary vision, as he nearly thought it, of his friend Catherine attired as a youth, who, coming briskly into a hostelry, as taverns were then called, showed such audacious boldness, whipping all that opposed her out of the way, that Roland was perfectly confounded. In spite of his admiration of her wit and beauty, he was shocked even to horror at what appeared to him her impudent and masculine deportment. The astonishment of the Page was, if possible, increased, when the youth, calling him to a window, presented him with a short but highly ornamented sword; at the same time conveying to him a message from the donor, (Lord Seyton,) the purport of which was, that he was to accept the weapon on no other terms but those of a vow never to draw it till commanded by his rightful sovereign. Roland readily accepted it on these terms, though having no very distinct apprehension of their import, farther. than that more was meant than met the ear. Adam Woodcock, the guardian friend of the Page, coming up rather bluntly to join the conference, the fiery messenger of Lord Seyton gave him, on some slight provocation, a stroke over the eyes with his switch that had nearly blinded him, and hastily departing left Roland more than ever confounded at the, assurance of the disguised female. Perhaps, thought he, when she did once undertake this hazardous mission, she thought this fierce bearing was necessary to support her assumed character. Thus puzzled and bewildered he spent the night. A very characteristic, indeed almost tender parting betwixt him and Woodcock the next morning, leaves him to steer his dubious way alone. Liberty of choice, however, is not left him. He is summoned to the presence of the Regent, and given to understand, that he is again to resume his office of a lady's page; he refuses with becoming spirit what he now considers
an unmanly employment; but when made to understand that Mary Queen of Scots is the lady to whom his services are destined, he yields to his fate. The ladies (two only) plac◄ 4ed about the Queen's person, being
of her own choice, the Regent thinks it proper she should have at least one attendant faithful to his interests; and knowing Roland to be bred in the family of the wise and worthy Knight of Avenel, and recommended by him as a youth of good capacity and honourable principles, he chooses him to attend, and covertly to watch his unfortunate sovereign. He accompanies Lindsay, Ruthven, and Melville, to the island in which he was to share the imprisonment, and watch the conduct of Mary Stuart. The march of the stern and rugged Lindsay and his party is admirably described. The page is sent to the island as their precursor; and here, to use the words of Johnson on another occasion,
The Queen, the beauty spreads her mournful charms.
But we must here have recourse to our author's own words, for no others can do justice to the subject.
"Her face, her form, have been so deeply impressed upon the imagination, that, even at the distance of nearly three centuries, it is unnecessary to remind the most ignorant and uninformed reader of the striking traits which characterize that remarkable countenance, which seems at once to combine our ideas of the majestic, the pleasing, and the brilliant, leaving us to doubt whether they express most happily the queen, the beauty, or the accomplished woman. Who is there, at the very mention of Mary Stuart's name, that has not her countenance before him, familiar as that of the mistress of his youth, or the favourite daughter of his advanced age? Even those who feel themselves compelled to believe all, or much of what her enemies laid to her charge, cannot think without a sigh upon a countenance expressive of any thing rather than the foul crimes with which she was charged when living, and which still continue to shade, if not to blacken, her memory. That brow, so truly open and regal-those eye-brows, so regularly graceful, which yet were saved from the charge of regular insipidity by the beautiful effect of the hazel eyes which they overarched, and which seem to utter a thousand histories-the nose, with all its Grecian precision of outline-the mouth, so well proportioned, so sweetly formed, as if designed to speak nothing but what was delightful to hear the dimpled chin-the stately swanlike neck, form a countenance, the like of which we know not to have existed in any other character moving in that high class of life, where the actresses as well as the actors command general and undivided attention. It is in vain to say that the portraits which exist of this re
markable woman are not like each other; for, amidst their discrepancy, each possesses general features which the eye at once acknowledges as peculiar to the vision which our imagination has raised while we read her history for the first time, and which has been impressed upon it by the nume rous prints and pictures which we have seen. Indeed, we cannot look on the worst of them, however deficient in point of execution, without saying that it is meant for Queen Mary; and no small instance it is of the power of beauty, that her charms should have remained the subject not merely of admiration, but of warm and chivalrous interest, after the lapse of such a length We know that by far the most of time. acute of those who, in latter days, have adopted the unfavourable view of Mary's character, longed, like the executioner before his dreadful task was performed, to kiss the fair hand of her on whom he was about to perform so horrible a duty." II. pp. 179-182.
The first view we have of the Queen is in an interview betwixt her and the Lady of Lochleven, mother to the Regent. That her treatment of Mary was harsh and insolent, we now from the history of the times, nd that Mary was not likely to meet sich treatment with meek forbearale, was to be inferred from the ge. eral tenor of her character and condet. Yet there is a bitterness too ne v approaching to coarseness in this first conce, which grates upon our feelings, and seems unnecessarily exaggerated. The picture of the interview betwixt Mary and her revolted barons is admirable, both " for its force and fidelity; Lindsay's
iron eye, That saw fair Mary weep in vain,
seems absolutely to scowl upon us. The homage he pays at parting to her spirit and her sorrows, though he had withheld it from her rank and dignity, is well imagined. The whole scene, in short, is in the author's very best manner, a manner from which he can never depart without mortifying his countless admirers, and gratifying the few who would willingly detract from his well won fame. And now we enter on the most painful part of our task, which, because it is so painful, we shall briefly hurry
Has our author really lost his inestimable secret of successfully grafting fiction on truth,-of preserving the general outline of historical detail, and filling it up with colouring so
consistent and well suited, that the whole piece seemed as if the colours, which time had faded, had been merely restored, and the neglected interstices filled up? To Shakespeare, and to the author who most resembles him, has that power hitherto been limited. With due and modest reverence for truth, they only permit fiction to act as her handmaid,-to clothe her where she is too bare or too cold-and to adorn her when her vestments are too homely, or perhaps adjust a becoming veil where her features appear too harsh. To speak without a figure, the broad line of distinction between this writer and all others who have since Shakespeare attempted the delicate and difficult task of blending stubborn and well known facts with the creations of their own fancy, is this,-They, with egotistical conceit, permit their own inventions to predominate, and bend and twist historical facts to suit their tales. But with our novelist, in time past, history has been like the principal and unaltered stem of the oak, and his inventions have been like the ivy that clings round it, or the misletoe that springs from it, merely adorning it, or concealing the gaps that time has made in the original trunk. Before we begin our strictures upon the mode of conducting the story, from the first appearance of Mary, we must enter a protest against the manners and language assigned to her during her residence in the island. The very idea of a queen is so combined with habitual dignity, that we know not how to disjoin it from a kind of lofty decorum. It is barely possible that this queen of grace and beauty might be flippant, but so little probable, that flippancy from her startles and disgusts. Mary was certainly very inconsistent in her conduct; but many others are so in their actions, though not at all in their manners. With the exception of the letter which she sent to Elizabeth in a fit of desperation, after suffering for eighteen years all that malignity could do to embitter misfortune, nothing remains to warrant the author in assigning to her such manners. On the contrary, she has been allowed, even by her enemies, to have manners the most charming and insinuating, an excellent understanding, and a temper naturally mild and benignant. All these advantages may be held to be an ag
gravation of her faults and follies, yet they afford no ground for suppos ing she could be habitually coarse, nay gross in her conversation. Setting the well known elegance and polish of her manners out of the question, her good sense could never have permitted her to keep up such a perpetual war of words. Well knowing the retorts to which she was liable, and the danger she incurred by provoking an insolent woman armed with so much power, the taunts which she uses towards the mother of Murray recoil with double force on the memory of her own father. We are disgusted by the improbability, as well as shocked by the coarseness, of these too frequent conversations; the lofty grace and decorum which attended the hard-fated queen to the scaffold could not have entirely forsaken her in her prison. Chesterfield, a better judge of manners than of morals, has truly said, that a sneer is an odious thing. Who can fancy the elegant Mary Stuart sneering? The scene of the supposed poisoning, and all the mean trickery arising out of it, gave us sensations that we shall not describe. They did not, however, fall much short of those Lord Hailes speaks of, comparing them to those he should feel at seeing a son turn his back in battle. Worse, if possible, because still more unworthy of the author, is the very superfluous contrivance of forging the keys. How could he violate the truth of history by descending to this clumsy expedient? Donald Ord, more properly Donald n. Ord, whom he quotes as a precedent, was an infant in the time of Montrose's wars, and took this cognomen, because in his orphan childhood he was protected by a smith, who happened to be his foster father. He was a gentleman of distinguished abilities, and never struck an anvil or forged a weapon in his life. His numerous descendants will not be much flattered by this account of the mechanical habits of their respected ancestors. We can barely endure these preposterous keys, as they are to be the. instrument of relieving Mary from her imprisonment, and ourselves from
Captious art, And snip snap short, and interruption
imputed to the captive Queen.
(To be continued.)