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An American medical gentleman, who some years since visited Paris under circumstances favorable to bis admission to a circle of the survivors and former supporters of" The Empire," tells a capital story, as he heard it related by the celebrated General Excelmans, one of Napoleon's "Paladins."
It was at a dinner-party, composed of some of the survivors of Waterloo, a few of their younger relatives, and the scion of an ex-king on a visit from his home in America, and to whom the gentleman owed his introduction to the circle we have mentioned. Some question arose about bravery, when the younger members of the company were electrified to hear the venerable and heroic Excelmans gravely and seriously declare:
"Men are all cowards in the dark.'"
The General smiled at their expression of dissent; remarked that it was " very like youth;" and proceeded to relate the following aneedote, in support of his strange declaration:
There was a young hot-head in the Emperor's service, who, burning for action, and his duties for the time affording no opportunity, at last resolved to fight a duel; accordmgly, choosing to construe some remark or other of an older and superior officer into an insult, he challenged him. The old soldier, waiving all considerations of rank, agreed to meet the young man, but on the following unusual terms: The time should be night—the place a room —in opposite corners of which they were to stand. The seconds, having placed their men, were to withdraw outside of the door, taking the candles with them. The word should be given from without, when he who had the first fire should discharge his weapon, and the seconds having the light should immediately rush in.
These strange conditions were accepted; the time arrived; and the seconds placed the parties as agreed upon—withdrawing immediately, and lcaving their men in the dark.
The word was given—the fire was heard—the door was re-opened—and there stood the elder of the two bolt upright in the corner, his adversary's ball having entered the wall so close to his head that his escape seemed little less than miraculous!
It was now the old soldier's turn to fire. They were again left in the dark; the word was again given from the outside; and instantaneously with the discharge the seconds rushed in to find the challenger prostrate upon the floor, not yet having recovered himself from his trick to avoid the ball, which, on examination, it was found must have killed him!
The young man was covered w ith confusion, and the seconds were overwhelming him with the expression of their scorn, when the veteran stopped them:
"Not so fast! not so fast! my young friends," said he; you will live to grow wiser. Where do you suppose / was at the first fire? On my hands and knees in the corner; but I was up quicker than he. Ah! Messieurs, say what we will—boast as we may—we are all cowards in the dark /"
It was afterward ascertained that the story was an actual fact, and that the elder of the parties was no other than the brave warrior Excelmans himself!
It won't injure any young married lady-reader of "The Drawer" in the least to note the following, especially if she is able to draw a moral from its perusal:
"I noticed a mechanie, among a number of others, at work on a house erecting but a little way
from my office, who always appeared to be in a merry humor, and who had a kind word and a cheerful smile for every one he met. Let the day be ever so cold, gloomy, or sunless, a happy smile danced like a sunbeam on his cheerful countenance. Meeting him one morning, I asked him to tell the secret of his constant happy flow of spirits:
"No secret at all," said he, " I have got one of the best of wives; and when 1 go to work she always has a kind word of encouragement for me; and when I go home she meets me with a smile and a kiss, and then the tea is sure to be ready, and she has done so many little things through the day to please me, that I can not find it in my heart to speak an unkind word to any body."
"Rememrer that thou keep holy the Sabbath Day," is a divine lesson beautifully enforced in the ensuing lines by Sir Matthew Hale:
"A Sabbath well spent
Brings a week of content.
But a Sabbath profaned.
Whatsoe'er may be gained,
A Oentleman from New York, who had been in Boston for the purpose of collecting some moneys due him in that city, was about'returning, when he found that one bill of a hundred dollars had been overlooked. His landlord, who knew the debtor, thought it a doubtful case; but added, that if it was collectable at all, a tall, raw-boned Yankee, then dunning a lodger in another part of the hall, would "worry it out" of the man.
Calling him up, therefore, he introduced him to the creditor, who showed him the account.
"Wal, Square," said he, " 'taint much use o' tryin', I guess. I know that critter. You might as well try to squeeze 'ile out of Bunker Hill monument, as to e'lect a debt out of hira. But any how. Square, what'll you give, sposin' I do try?"
"Well, sir, the bill is one hundred dollars. I'll give you—yes, I'll give you half, if you'll collect it."
"'Greed," replied the collector; there's no harm in rryin', any way."
Some weeks after the creditor chanced to be in Boston, and in walking up Tremont Street, encountered his enterprising friend:
"Look o'here," said he, " Square. I had considerable luck with that bill o' your'n. You see, I stuck to him like a dog to a root, but for the first week or so 'twan't no use—not a bit. If he was home, he was 'short;' if he wasn't home, I couldn't get no satisfaction. By-and-by, says I, after goin' sixteen times, 'I'll fix you!' says I. So I sat down on the door-step, and sat all day and part of the evening, and I begun airly next day; but about ten o'clock he ' 'gin in.' He paid me MY half, and I gin him up the note /"
The late S. S. Prentiss once narrated the following as the line of defense by which he secured the acquittal of a client who was on trial for libel:
"It was a most aggravated case as far as facts were concerned. But I made these points: First, That the plaintiff's character was so bad that it was incapable of injury; and Secondly, That my client was so notorious a liar that nobody would believe any statement he should make; and therefore he could not be guilty of the offense of libel. The jury agreed with me on both points, and acquitted my client.
Captain Canot; or, Twenty Years of an African Slaver, edited by Brantz Mayer. (Published by D. Appleton and Co.) An abundant variety of materials for a racy narrative were placed in the hands of the editor of this volume by the enterprising adventurer whose history it commemorates. He has worked them up with the skill of a practiced writer, and produced a book which can not fail to delight the legion of readers whose taste inclines to stories of moving accidents by flood and field, hair-breadth escapes, horrors which chill and curdle the blood, and marvelous customs of strange people in barbaric homes. Mr. Mayer has painted with a glowing pencil the unique scenes which only the experience of an unscrupulous fortune-seeker could have brought to light. He has used no reserve in relating the disclosures which the transparent candor of the slave-trader has communicated without disguise. Such a tissue of reckless adventures has seldom been put on paper; and never by one who holds so respectable a place in literature as the present editor.
Captain Canot was of French and Italian parentage—his father being one of Napoleon's veteran campaigners, and his mother a fair Piedmontese, whom the delirium of " love's young dream" led to marry a soldier. At an early age he was sent to sea, and came to America as cabin-boy in a vessel of the celebrated millionaire of Boston, the late "Billy Gray," as he was familiarly called in his native State. An amusing incident is given of young Canot's first rencontre with this gentleman, on the deck of his own ship, on her arrival in Boston harbor. The acquaintance commenced with a pitched battle—the fiery young Italian, who had been left in charge of the vessel, mistaking the visit of the owner for an attempt at robbery, and resisting his incursion tooth and nail, finally won the friendship of the eccentric merchant by his dare-devil prowess in defense of his property. After sailing from the port of Salem for several voyages, Canot at length brings up at Havana. Here his nautical eye fell in love with a trim, fascinating craft, which proved to be a slaver bound to the coast of Africa. He could not resist the temptation to make one of her company. The crew consisted of a pack of scoundrels, who mutinied on arriving at the African coast, and were mostly slaughtered in detail by Canot's own hand. This was his first introduction to the delights of the slave-trade. The commencement of his career was successful. The traffic proved lucrative. He became a great man on the coast, and spread terror and astonishment among the natives by his journeys into the interior. The day of retribution comes at last, and his downfall is as rapid and complete as had been his former prosperity. He abandons the dire pursuit in disgust, after experiencing every kind of trial and hardship, and wasting the very flower and substance of his life in ruinous enterprises. The confessions which are recorded in this volume hear the stamp of reality, and are as full of instruction as they are remarkable for graphic effect.
Shakepeare'e Scholar, by Richarn Grant White. (Published by D. Appleton and Co.) Not only enthusiasm for the immortal dramatic poet, but a profound and genial study of his works, is exhibited in the composition of this volume. It is not the production of a pedant or an antiquary. Minute verbal criticism is not the principal aim of the writer. His remarks in this line are indeed ad
mirable, betraying both acuteness and ingenuity; but his heart is imbued with the spirit of Shakspeare, and he accordingly loves to deal with the poetical sense of the author, rather than with curious philological distinctions. In his own happy phrase, Mr. White claims "to have been for many years, and yet to be, Shakspeare's Scholar—a title which the proudest may be proud to bear, and which the humblest may with humility assume." He has not attempted to decide what Shakspeare might have written, or to consult his professed interpreters as to his meaning; but to learn from his own words what he did write, studying them in the spirit of a pupil at the feet of a master equally revered and beloved. His knowledge of the mass of mingled learning and ignorance, sense and folly, with which Shakspeare has been overwhelmed by his commentators, has led him to trust to his own studies, rather than to any learned traditions; and hence his pages have a peculiar freshness, vitality, and zest, which we rarely find in works of similar intent.
The leading tendency of Mr. White's Sbakspearian labors is to discredit the license of conjectural criticism—to hold up the obvious signification of the text as the soundest and most probable—and thus to disperse the army of editors and annotators who so frequently obscure the light of the original, by the dimness of their own perceptions. "There are certain passages in his plays," he justly observes, "to appreciate the full force of which, we must have gone sympathetically on with the poet, and have reached them in the same mood with him. Otherwise, we breathe a different air, scan a different horizon. The man who stands upon the level of literal prose, can not see the vast, far-stretching, tender-hued beauties, which his glance takes in who has been borne into mid-air upon the wings of Poesy. Such passages as these it has been, and even yet is, the fashion to pick out and condemn as obscure, nonsensical, contradictory."
The volume comprises, first, a brief historical sketch of the text of Shakspeare; then, an elaborate and stringent examination of the pretensions of Collier's "Folio of 1632;" and finally, a copious series of Notes and Comments on several passages in the different plays. In these last, Mr. White is usually content with an expressive brevity of annotation; though in some important cases his notes assume the dimensions of essays, and never fail to be replete with significant and original suggestions. Every genuine scholar will tender a cordial greeting to his work, as the fruit of free and manly research, a discriminating study of the great original, a cultivated and delicate taste, and the fine poetic sense, without which even the spirit of Shakspeare evaporates into thin air.
The views of the author in preparing the volume are forcibly, though somewhat quaintly, stated, and with a tang of the olden time, in a Prefatory Letter to Mr. George Curtis, the popular Howadji. We ought to add that the edition is brought out in a style of exquisite typography, approaching almost to daintiness.
Sunny Mcmoriet of Foreign Lands, by Mrs. HarRiet Beeciier Stowe. (Phillips, Sampson, and Co.) In reading these volumes, great allowance must be made for the impression left on the writer's imagination by the enthusiastic weleome which awaited her arrival in England. She was every where received as a heroine of the first magnitude, and her journeys in Great Britain were but so many triumphal processions. No American lady has ever been so much courted and caressed in the palaces of the English nobility, or been honored with such spontaneous tributes of admiration from all circles of society. It would be a wonder if her head were not a little turned by such demonstrations—we might pardon something to the influence of flattery even on " a strong-minded female." Mrs. Stowe, however, needs no such apology. She does not lose her simplicity and self-possession in the melodramatic glare which shone upon her steps. We sec the effects of adulation only in the "sunny" character of the "memories" which she has brought home. Her eye rested merely on the bright side of the picture, and doubtless it would have been an ungracious task to have sought materials for darker shades. She confines herself to what she saw in her jubilant tour—and, of course, all that she saw was rose-colored. We can not blame her for this —but it must operate as a guard against the onesided character of her descriptions. In spite of the kindly gloss which she throws over English society, we do not suppose that it betokens the speedy approach of the millenium. The serpent still hisses and bites in the British isles, nor do the lion and the lamb yet lie down together. But for these remains of heathenism Mrs. Stowe did not feel herself responsible; and accordingly she does not go out of her way to comment thereon. Her book must be taken as the exhibition of English civilization by a partial hand. In this point of view it is not only readable and entertaining, but eminently instructive. Her sketches are easy and graceful— her report of conversations is racy and characteristic—her pages swarm with poetical illustrations, showing a familiar acquaintance with choice English literature—and bating an overweening love of Dr. Watts, as the favorite poet of Zion in NewEngland—her episodical literary criticisms are often fresh and suggestive. Her volumes decline in interest when she begins to describe the Continent, though they are not without some brilliant pictures of Parisian life. Her judgments on the masterpieces of European art, betray the rashness from which Yankee tourists are seldom free, yet they are never destitute of a true love of beauty, which, under favorable circumstances, would doubtless have ripened into a sound critical taste. She does not, however, put on the airs of a connoisseur, nor indulge in parrot-pratings, repeating the stale echoes of previous travelers. What she says, right or wrong, is fresh from her own mind—and that certainly is a great comfort.
The School for Polities is the title of a dramatic satire by Charles Gayarre, the distinguished writer on Louisiana history. His squibs, many of which are fierce and brilliant, are not directed against any particular party or individual, but are designed to hit the abuses which every where characterize the polities of the country. The author shows an intimate acquaintance with the movements of electioneering machinery, and has set off their odious character with a caustic pen. (Published by D. Appleton and Co.)
The Practicil Draughtsman's Book of Industrial Design, translated from the French of MM. ArmenOaud and Amouroox, by William Johnson. This comprehensive work forms a large and elegant quarto volume, including the principles of Linear Drawing, Projections, Shadowing and Coloring, and so forth, with their application to the various branches of machinery and the constructive arts in
general. The volume is full and complete, embracing every important element essential to the clear understanding of the subject in hand, and presenting in the English language, for the first time, a thorough text-book of design, in connection with the industrial arts which distinguish the present century. The American artisan and mechanic will find it an invaluable manual, and can not consult its lucid pages without gaining a clearer and more profound insight into the principles of his calling. A profusion of engravings and tabular views accompany the text of the work, leaving nothing to be desired for its practical utility.
Harper and Brothers have published a new Practicai and Commercial Arithmetie, by Gerakdus B. Docharty, LL.D., whose well-known treatise on "Algebra" has given him a high rank as a popular illustrator of mathematical science. The present volume is remarkable for the clearness of its methods, the pertinence of its examples, and the thorough manner in which the theory of numbers is elucidated, from its elementary processes to its most complicated formulas. The part devoted to Commercial Arithmetic is of especial value, and may safely be commended to the attention of young men in counting-rooms or banking institutions, who are sometimes at a loss for the solution of questions occurring in the common routine of business. As a manual for the instruction of classes, the practical teacher can not fail to discover its merits instantly, even upon the most cursory examination.
The American Cottage Builder, by John Bullock, is a neat volume, containing a series of designs, plans, and specifications, for "homes for the propie," on a scale of prices ranging from S20U to $20,000. Without being deficient in any technical details, the work presents a variety of general views on architecture, domestic and rural economy, the cultivation of art, and other kindred subjects. The chapters on Warming and Ventilation, Drainage, and Rural Homes, are of special interest, and challenge the attention of all who propose to build a house, or who have their place of residence yet to choose. (Published by Stringer and Townsend.)
Memoir and Sermons of Joseph Harrington, late pastor of the Unitarian Church in San Francisco, is an interesting memorial of a clergyman of singular beauty of character, and acknowledged eminence in his profession. He was a native of Roxbury, Mass., graduated at Harvard College in 1833, and, after fulfilling the duties of the pastoral charge successively at Chicago and Hartford, removed to San Francisco, where he found a grave in 1852. The memoir prefixed to this volume, by an intimate friend of the subject, Mr. William Whitinu, describes him as a man of great energy of purpose, of a poetical temperament, with genial and expansive sympathies, and with more than common mental ability. It forms a pleasing biographical sketch, and will be read with satisfaction by the numerous friends of Mr. Harrington in different parts of the country. With some original suggestions, I bt: sermons in this volume, as a whole, are not ahove mediocrity. The portrait gives the impression of an intellectual, refined, and manly character. (Published by Crosby and Nichols, Boston.)
Notes of a Theological Student, by James Mason Hoppin. (Published by D. Appleton and Co.) Recollections of Germany, of Greece, of the Holy Land, arc among the topies presented in this unpretending but agreeable volume. Some of its most attractive passages relate to German University education, and are marked by discrimination and cuod sense. The comments of the writer on Luther, Schiller, Goethe, and other gifted men of genius who have proudly illustrated their native land, show a wise appreciation of their respective merits, and are expressed in language of chaste and simple elegance. The whole volume betrays a mind of wide and judicious culture, and a liberal way of looking at life and society.
J. C. Derby has brought out an edition of Poems and Ballads by Gerald Massey, a recent English poet, who has sprung from the obscurest depths of poverty into the enjoyment of a wide celebrity. Massey is now but a little more than twenty-six years of age. He was born in a miserable stone hut, such as are usually occupied by the lowest peasantry in the interior of England. His father was a canal boatman, earning a pittance which scarcely sufficed to keep soul and body together. He was so ignorant as to be unable to write his own name. Young Massey, for some time, was hardly better off in point of education. He went for a short time to a penny school, where the teacher knew not much more than the taught; but was sent when eight years old to work in a neighboring silkmill. Here he toiled wearily from five o'clock in the morning till half past six in the evening, until the mill—luckily for him—burned down. He then went to straw-plaiting—an unwholesome occupation—in a sickly district. For three years he was tormented with fever and ague. But his mind was not asleep. He had learned to read, and soon felt a craving for books. These, however, were scarce. At first, he had nothing but the Bible and Bunyan—a library, it must be owned, in themselves—alterward he fell in with Robinson Crusoe and some Wesleyan tracts—which formed his sole reading until he went to London, as an errand boy, at fifteen years of age. Here ho found books in plenty, for the first time in his life. A new world of delight thus opened on his young heart. He read at all possible times and in all possible places—up in bed till two or three in the morning—and not daunted by once exposing his life by setting the bed on fire. With this rapacious appetite for books, he still showed no turn for poetry until he fell in love. His first poetical composition was published in a provincial newspaper, and soon after he printed a small volume of poems, chiefly of a political character.
The present collection contains several pieces of a similar stamp, most of which were inspired by the French Revolution of 1848. His poems, generally, however, are devoted to the celebration of conjugal love. The family hearth is his favorite altar of inspiration. His soul revels in the contemplation of sensuous beauty, and is made drunk with its soft enchantments. He deals not largely in the expressions of tender sentiment which usually take up so much space in amatory poetry, but is dazzled and absorbed by the spectacle of breathing loveliness in a form of flesh and blood. His language has an almost Oriental luxuriance, teeming with images and illustrations from the richest sources of the universe, and often too intensely colored to please a refined natural taste. Some of his smaller and less ambitious pieces have the most in them of the subtle essence of poetry, and are frequently clothed in a din ion of sweet and delicate beauty. Few will call in question the claims of Gerald Massey to genuine poetical fire and imagination; but ns few will maintain that he can hold a place among England's great poets wilhoutaseverecourse of pruning, study, and self-discipline. ^
Famous Persons and Places, by N. Parker WilLis, is a new volume of the author's collected works, comprising sketches of British society, and notices of celebrated individuals, in the charming style of elaborate carelessness and quaint felicity of phrase, which stamp all the productions of his pen as 'unique and inimitable. Apart from their characteristic originality of expression, many of the portraitures in this volume possess a historical value, which will increase in proportion as the living present which they describe fades into the dimness of the past. Although written, in the first instance, for an ephemeral class of publications, they are destined to hold an enduring place in modem literature. (Published by Charles Scribnor.)
Hermit's Dell, from the Diary of a Penciler, belongs to a department of literature which presents a dangerous temptation to young writers, from its apparent facility, but in which few can attain even an approach to the mastery exhibited by Washington Irving, and in a less degree by Ik. Marvel. It consists of descriptions of rural life, tender reminiscences of by-gone scenes, and a vein of gentle moralizing, which combines the humorous and pathetic. Few productions of this class, short of dead failures, are devoid of elements of popular interest. The volume before us has many excellent points and deserves success. It is earnest and thoughtful, inspired by a genial love of country scenes, and written for the most part with simplicity and grace. The name of the author is not given ; but he is evidently a person of quick sympathies and varied culture. (Published by J. C. Derby.)
The article on Miss Martinrau's translation of Comte's Positive Philosophy, in a recent number of the North American Review, is made the subject of severe comment in the London Leader. Having quoted the " scandalous commencement," it says: "After this specimen of the writer's controversial style, it is unnecessary to say that he is peevish and shallow throughout. A great deal of vinegar has been poured upon Comte by the Reviews; but we did not expect such weak vinegar from a Transatlantic Quarterly. A thorough discussion of Comte and his doctrines from the true antagonistic point —and that point, we believe, is to be found in the philosophy of Sir William Hamilton, or thereabouts —is still a desideratum. Kant or Comte, transcendentalism or positivism—rAaf, after all. is the alternative ; and all midway exposition and doctrinizing, is (if the conditions of real speculative discussion are to be attended to) but cleverness and mystification. One other course, indeed, there is for those whose natures refuse to saddle themselves with the 'conditions of speculative discussion'—and that is 'to keep clear of the whole subject, follow their own I noses as well as they can, and let Kant and Comte whirl antagonistically, like two windmills on the distant heights. If they arc asked which windmill they believe in, they con say ' I see both.'"
The same journal offers some remarks on a wellknown London publisher, John Chapman, that are more terse than complimentary:
"Among London publishers Mr. Chapman stands without a rival for exquisite taste in the merely mechanical part of his occupation. But just in the degree that he is before them all in this respect is he inferior to most of them in discrimination and judgment. He is always rash when he should be cautious, and timid when he should be bold. Hence the works he offers us are in general either heavy or hideous—bores or brutalities. Unitarian dullness, Comte crudity, Feuerbach effrontery, intellectual Bloomcrism, and Andrew Jackson Davis, the Poughkeepsie seer, must in the end sink the Theodore Parker ship which Mr. Chapman commands, which has always flaunted scores of gaudy flags from its masts, but never hoisted any sails."
In his late gossipy work, Mr. Patmore gives the following account of the contradictory feelings with which Charles Lamr regarded the visits of his friends. It affords an interesting peep into human nature:
"It is not the less true that Lamb was, for the moment, delighted at the advent of an unlooked-for friend, even though he was thereby interrupted in the midst of one of these beatific communings. But they must have read his character ill, or with little interest, who did not perceive that, after the pleasant excitement of the moment was over, he became restless, uneasy, and 'busied about many things'— about any thing, rather than the settling down quietly into a condition of mind or temper even analogous to that from which the new arrival had irretrievably roused him, for that day at least. Feeling the unseasonable disturbance as such, yet not for a moment admitting it to be such, even to himself, he became ouer-anxious to show you how weleome you were, doing half a dozen things in a breath, to prove the feeling, every one of which, if read aright, proved something very like the reverse. If it happened to be about dinner-time, he would go into the kitchen to see if it was ready, or put on his bat and go out to order an additional supply of porter, or open a bottle of wine and pour some out—taking a glass himself to set you the example, as he innocently imagined, but in reality to fortify himself for the task of hospitality that you had imposed upon him; any thing, in fact, but sit quietly down by the fire and enjoy your company, or let you enjoy his. And if you happened to arrive when dinner or tea was over, he was perfectly fidgety, and almost cross, till you were fairly seated at the meal which he and his excellent sister insisted on providing for you, whether you would or not. It is true that, by the time all these preliminaries were over, he had recovered his ease, and was really glad to see you; and if you had come to stay the night, when the shutters were shut, and the candles came, and you were comfortably seated round the fire, he was evidently pleased and bettered by the occasion thus afforded for a dish of cosey table-talk. But not the less true is it that every knock at the door sent a pang to his heart; and this without any distinction of persons: whoever it might be, he equally weleomed and wished them away ; and all for the same reason— namely, that they called him from the company of his own thoughts, or those still better communings with the thoughts of his dead friends, with whom he could hold an intercourse unclogged by any actual bodily presence. In these respects Lamb resembled the lover in Martial's epigram: he could neither live with his friends nor without them. If they stayed away from him long, he was hurt and angry; and when they went to him he was put out."
A brisk London reviewer in a weekly journal thus lets out the secrets of his " dreadful trade:"
"To have some twelve or twenty periodicals before you, and to have to go over them, so as to ascertain their contents, and report on their merits, is the best possible training in the 'art of skipping.'
Practice has made us tolerably perfect in this art. Having been in the habit of hearing a great many sermons, and being at the same time afflicted or blessed (whichever you choose to call it) with a constitutional tendency to reverie, which the pew-attitude naturally fosters, we long ago discovered that it was totally unnecessary to attend to a preacher throughout, and that we could delegate to the ear the business of watching for us, and keeping us dulyinformed when any thing good was going on, for the reception of which it might be worth while to waken up the intelligence. We have acquired a similar knack in reading. We believe we are conscientious reviewers, and just reviewers; and yet we confess we don't read through all the books and all the periodicals we pronounce opinions upon. We look at the outside of a book or a periodical; we read the preface, the list of contents, and all those outer scraps which give us the general physiognomy of the book; then we sit down, paper-knife in hand, and cut up all the pages punctually from the first to the last, hovering all the while over the pages, like a hawk, glancing at the headings of chapters, at suggestive words and proper names in the text, descending leisurely for a closer view when any thing attracts us, and swooping down rapidly and greedily wherever we descry a tit-bit. We don't say that that would be conscientious reviewing for a Quarterly-rasa, intrusted with the task of giving a verdict on one book ; but we do say it is conscientious reviewing for the purpose of a literary summary. And we beg to say, cursory as the style of proceeding may seem, it is in our case perfectly satisfactory. Wc are such adepts in the 'art of skipping,' our instinct for what is good is so fine and so catholic at the same time, that, if we once have used our paper-knife on a publication, we are sure of having accurately diagnosed it, and not missed any of its tit-bits. Our golden rule, however, is to cut open all the leaves from end to end. All depends on that."
Mrs. Ann S. Stephens's popular novel Fashion and Famine has been issued in London, and excites attention from the press. The following are the comments of The Leader:
"It has great defects. In the first place, an American novel should be something out of the old beaten track of the commonplace contrasts of conventional society; and though the scene of this romance is laid in or about the 'Upper Ten Thousand' and the 'Fifth Avenue' of the Empire city, still the characters are all French, and the treatment is very English. In the next place, the plot is grotesquely impossible, the leading motives of the action are grandly incredible; and the novel, from first to last, is spoiled by an obtrusion of the flimsy philosophy in which some ' females' indulge when, having got pen in hand, they begin to point out how much better it is to be good than bad. These are startling faults; and yet the novel is far above the average, and is read with engrossing interest. This, we believe, is because Mrs. Stephens has got a decided genius for telling and developing a story. There is power—dramatic power—here; and as it is, as she states in her preface, her first novel, we are inclined to anticipate a series of successes for her."
Of the new volume of Mr. Bancroft's History of the American Revolution, the London Athenamtn remarks,
"This volume completes a second part of Mr. Bancroft's great design. The first series of vol