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LONDON MARCH 1, 1825.
PUBLISHED BY CUMMINGS, HILLIARD AND CO. 134 WASHINGTON STREET,
FOR N. Hale.
Press of the North American Review.
I. R. BUTTS, PRINTER.
PAGE - 321
XIV. The Younger Brother
XVI. Illustrious Example of Gratitude
XVII. Written after reading " Antommarchi's last Moments of Napoleon" 390
XIX The Parting Song
I. Tremaine; or the Man of Refinement
II. The Prescription
III. Grimm's Ghost, Letter XXIII.—My Wife's Relations
V. Modern Theatricals
VI. The Canadian Emigrant, No. III.
VII. Fractus and Vidua, a Tale
VIII. The Family Journal, No. IV.-Love will find out a way
IX. Greek Funeral Chant
X. Letters from the East, No. XIV.-Jerusalem
XI. Giulio and Zelma
XII. Old Pages and Old Times, No. II.
XIII. A Fable
XX. Living French Poets, No. IV.-Pierre Antoine Le Brun, &c.
THE NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE will be, from this date, republished by N. HALE, to whom it is requested all communications may be addressed relating to it.
The subscriber has transferred to NATHAN HALE all his interest in the American edition of the New Monthly Magazine, together with all claims on account of the same. Subscribers to the Magazine and Agents indebted for it, are requested to remit the sums due to him, he being duly authorized to receive the same. OLIVER EVERETT.
BOSTON, Nov. 1, 1824.
of Cambridge 20 (Classe] 1815)
TREMAINE, OR THE MAN OF REFINEMENT.
THE age in which we live is distinguished by nothing so much as by its novels. We have novels of all denominations, and manufactured from all possible and impossible materials. We have classical novels, and romantic novels, and domestic novels; theological novels and geological novels; biographical novels, and topographical novels; educational novels, and conversational novels; natural novels, and supernatural novels, and unnatural novels; philosophical novels, and historical novels, and political novels, and religious novels, and moral novels-to say nothing of the irreligious, and unphilosophical, and immoral ones ;— and we have every conceivable variety of all these species of novels, together with another species more various and more extensive than any of the above, but which can only be described negatively, as being novels that are any thing but a novel.
With this infinite variety of works before us, all ranging under one general head, it was scarcely to be expected, at this time of day, that we should be called upon to announce one which, though properly falling under the same general title, cannot be exactly assimilated to any particular species which we previously possessed. And yet we will venture to say, that such is the case with the singular work, the name of which we have placed at the head of this paper, and the character and pretensions of which we shall endeavour briefly to lay before the reader previously, however, giving a hasty abstract of the story, in order that our observations may be intelligible; and because, by doing so, we shall not in any degree weaken that interest which a perusal of the work itself is likely to excite; since the story is the mere thread on which the interest is strung, and the thread itself might even be broken, and the points of interest scattered about in all directions, without much lessening their absolute value, though (to run the metaphor to a standstill) not without considerable danger of their being lost to those for whose use they have been collected and arranged.
The work opens with the arrival, at one of his country seats, of Tremaine, a man of high family and fashion-of a generous and noble nature-of extensive acquirements, brilliant reputation, and unblemished character, both public and private-in the prime of life, and gifted with all that wealth, connexion, and already-acquired political distinction can bestow; but withal, on account of an unreasonable fastidiousness of taste, dissatisfied with himself and with als about him-sated with the (so-called) pleasures of society, and sick of its follies and its vices-disgusted with that political distinction which only makes him the object of malice and intrigue, without giving him either the means of making others happy, or the inclination to be so himself;--in short, dispirited, world-wearied, and sceptical of all good; and at all events persuaded that, if there be any, it is only to be found in that absolute retirement in which he has never till now thought of seeking it. Now, however, he determines to court it once more, in the sole society of books, nature, and his own thoughts; and accordingly, at the opening of the work, we find him just arrived at the seat of his ancestors for that purpose.
The ten or a dozen chapters following Tremaine's first introduction to the reader we shall pass over, because they are occupied by a brief
VOL. IX. No. 52.-1825.
esquisse of his past life, which is very important to the after developement of his character, but which is not a part of the main story coming before us directly. We must not, however, dismiss this introductory portion of the work, without pointing out to the particular attention of the reader the relation of Tremaine's "affair of the heart" with Eugenia. There is, if we may so speak, an inartificial skill about this story (both in regard to its immediate effect as a story, and to its collateral effect in developing the character of the hero), which we do not remember to have seen equalled in any similar relation.
Behold, then, the elegant and fastidious Tremaine, after having taken a somewhat formal leave of his London friends in a farewell dinner, arrived at Belmont; which place, according to his own feeling of the matter, he had chosen
"As more romantic and picturesque in situation, and fitter therefore for his purpose, than the more ancient and respectable, but less elegant mansion, in a more distant county, which had always been the seat of his fathers."
But a man, even of Tremaine's philosophical turn of mind, cannot always be sure of his own motives. At any rate he must submit to have them enquired into, if not questioned, by those who can know nothing about them; and accordingly
"There have not been wanting persons who said that it was to this distance in the latter, rather than to the natural beauty of the former, that the choice was owing; for Yorkshire was too far removed from the scenes of politics, after which he still hankered, and to which he thought it possible he might still be forced to return this, however, is what was said by others."
It may be readily supposed that a man so completely of the world, worldly as Tremaine had hitherto been, does not at first find so coy a dame as Solitude prepared to open her arms to him at once, and realize, for his particular benefit, all those visionary views of her attractions, which he had taken from that precise point of distance at which we see nothing but what we desire to see. In fact, the supposed luxury of entire leisure, and the so-long-anticipated benefits of that philosophic self-contemplation which was to be the fruit of it, added to a few of those little paltry vexations which are necessarily attendant on the looking with one's own eyes into one's own affairs, soon brought back Tremaine to the very point of ennui, from which the anticipation of them had for a moment diverted him; and he is on the eve of returning from "the disappointments of the country, to the disappointments of the town," when his vanity is flattered, by receiving from his political friends a pressing invitation to join them in their projects against the power of the minister; and in the self-complacency, thus for a moment superinduced on his late contemplations, he becomes more than ever convinced that he is no less worthy of retirement, than retirement is of him; and he frames his reply to their solicitations accordingly,-not without an unconscious hope that his deprecations of political power may be received with some "grains of salt ;" and by no means satisfied to find, as he does shortly afterwards, that while he is avowedly anxious to forget the world, the world is not backward in returning the compliment upon him. In the mood of mind attendant on these feelings, and perhaps in a great measure in consequence of them, he is "luckily,” as his historian says, visited by serious indisposition; and, as luckily, his physician (who is also his friend) happens to be a sensible as well as an
honest man, and counsels him to seek, in the attention which had long been necessary to the business of his distant estates in Yorkshire, that change of scene and of purpose which he perceived to be so essential to Tremaine's recovery. And as he had the skill to urge this plea without wounding that pride which his patient feels in his fitness for retirement, Tremaine loses no time in escaping from that delightful leisure which he knows to be so necessary to his happiness, but has already begun to feel himself so miserable in the midst of.
On Tremaine's arrival at Woodington-Hall, the actual story of this work may be said first to commence; and here the reader is first introduced to the two persons who, together with Tremaine himself, constitute the principal and almost sole persona of this simplest of domestic dramas. These are the Rev. Dr. Evelyn, the school-companion and friend of Tremaine, though his elder by several years; and Georgina, his only daughter. The latter, however, Tremaine had never before seen; and from the former, circumstances had separated him for so great a length of time, that they might almost be said to have forgotten each other. But nothing having ever occurred to affect the esteem which they had always felt for each other during their long intimacy, they now at once reunite, and out of this reunion the whole after-events of the story spring. At this point, too, the conduct of the work becomes entirely changed, and consists henceforward almost exclusively of conversations, supposed to be reported to the reader verbatim as they take place, and merely connected together by just sufficient narrative to give them a consecutive interest.
The circumstances which bring Tremaine to Woodington are not likely to make him in a better mood to appreciate the merits of retirement, than when he courted it with so little success at Belmont; and his friend Evelyn, who visits him immediately on his arrival, finds that the period of their separation has worked strange alterations in the mind no less than the person of his former playmate and associate; that his listless, irritable, and fastidious habits, both of thought and feeling, have rendered him as unfit for solitude as they have for the world; and that unless something can be done to correct those habits, the happiness of his friend must finally fall a sacrifice. Finding, too, that the nobler powers and qualities of Tremaine's mind-the essential points of his character, in opposition to the above-named accidental ones-still remain uninjured, he determines to lose no occasion of attempting a cure while Tremaine, on his part, is as much surprised to find the accomplished and enthusiastic Evelyn settled down into a quiet country rector, and as little disposed to admit that any good, but that negative species, which consists in the absence of actual evil, can have resulted from such a change. Each party setting out from this point, the race of opinion, of argument, and of practical illustration in regard to the conduct of life, now begins: Tremaine being prepared to contest every step of ground with the pertinacity of a man half conscious that he is in the wrong; and Evelyn certain, from happy experience, that he is in the right, and therefore willing to yield in inferior points, that he may the more surely-not establish his own opinions-but work a gradual cure in the diseased temperament of the friend in whose welfare he now feels the deepest interest. Happily, too, Evelyn has an unconscious coadjutor in this task, without whose aid it is very doubtful whether all