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d) Commonles on Doubtful. Equity

(No. 79, May 15, 1830.]

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LITERARY CRITICISM.

chapter of accidents. His principal associates are thieves pickpockets, and highwaymen; and in process of time, as was

naturally to be expected, he himself becomes one of the numPaul Clifford. By the author of “ Pelham," “ Devereux," ber, preferring, however, as a proof of his ambitious and &c. 3 vols. London. Colburn and Bentley. 1830. gentlemanly spirit, the latter class to the two former. We

are then introduced to a regular gang of robbers, such as We have already, in the course of our critical labours, they existed some eighty years ago, when they rode the had occasion to review two of Mr Edward Lytton Bul- best horses in the kingdom, and were undisputed masters wer's productions, and we are now called upon to pass of Hounslow Heath, and other districts of a similar sort, jadgment on a third, which, however, is the fifth novel Mr Bulwer thinks he has hit upon a new and happy he has written. The predecessors of “ Paul Clifford" | idea in describing each of the gang in such a manner as were “ Falkland,” “ Pelbam,” “ Devereux,” and “ The to make him a kind of caricature or parody of some of Disowned." The two first of these appeared before the the most celebrated and illustrious personages in the counLiterary Journal existed ;-to the two last we awarded a try, not even excepting royalty itself. Thus we have mixed commendation, acknowledging that they were “ Gentleman George," “ Fighting Attie,” “ Old Bags," clever, yet showing that they were over ambitiously so, and others, in whom it is meant that we should recogand that the author frequently got beyond his depth. We nise some shadowy and far-off representation of the very know not whether our criticisms have had any share in highest characters in the state. In the greater part of producing that determined and illiberal hatred which Mr the first volume, we are limited to this sort of society; Bulwer now thinks fit to avow towards all Scotsmen, and Mr Bulwer, having studied attentively the flash dicthus proving himself, in this instance at least, incapable tionary and a few such elegant works, treats us to a quanof soaring above the paltry prejudices of a little and a vul- tity of dialogue of a very edifying kind, though of a pegar mind. Mr Bulwer has thought proper to devote a | culiarly black-leg and back-slum sort of appearance. considerable portion of the “ Dedicatory Epistle” to an The progress of the story takes us fifty miles out of Lonabuse of Scotland, and has lost no opportunity of intro don to Warlock House, and introduces us to its inmates, ducing into the body of the work sneers of the most bitter old Squire Brandon and his daughter Lucy. It so happens and calumnious sort against our native land. His motive that Paul Clifford, who possesses a handsome person and for so doing, according to his own confession, seems to be, rather an elegant address—though it is difficult to say that he has been rather severely handled by one or two how he picked up the latter requisite contrives to get Scotch critics; as if a writer of novels were entitled to libel introduced to Lucy Brandon ; nay, more, upon her remoa wbole people, because his surpassing abilities had been val to Bath, he also visits that city, gets into all the best disputed by a few shrewd individuals! A noble revenge, society, and finally succeeds in winning Lucy's affections. and a most philosophical process of ratiocination! Fie, | At the same time, he does not lose sight of his profession; Mr Lytton Bulwer; this is poor spite, and, upon the and having, for his various merits, been elected captain whole, it shows a smaller and a meaner spirit than any of the gang to which he belongs, he amuses himself, when thing you have yet done. Make the amende honor- tired of the monotony of fashionable life, with a highable at your earliest convenience ; for Scotland is just as way robbery, upon the good old plan pursued by Turpin fine a country as England ; and accuse us not of too much and other heroes of antiquity. Among the rest, he attacks nationality when we declare unto thee, that there beat as and robs Lord Mauleverer, a nobleman rather past the warm hearts, and that there exist souls of as lofty and prime of life, who is a candidate for the hand of Lucy generous a nature, on the northern as on the southern side | Brandon. Be it remembered, likewise, that Paul Clifof the Tweed.

ford, though a bighwayman, is of a very sentimental turn The reader will be better able to go along with us in of mind, is deeply and truly attached to Lucy, and is, on our estimate of the merits of “ Paul Clifford" after we the whole, an extremely romantic and delightful person, have presented him with a short analysis of the story. whom all young ladies are expected to admire prodigiously. The novel commences with an account of the death of So far does he carry his romance, that, after he has made the hero's mother, who expires miserably in one of the himself sure of Lucy's hand, heart, and purse, he heroicobseurest quarters of London, in a public-house of a very ally refuses the whole, on the ground that he is not good indifferent kind, called the Mug, tenanted by a certain enough to possess such an angel, and determines, after Mrs Margery Lobkins. Upon its mother's decease, the committing just one robbery more, in order to reinstate child, then about three years old, is adopted by the said his finances, to leave England for ever, and enter into Mrs Lobkins; and, as the society which frequents her foreign service. The plot, however, now begins to thicken. house is not of the most reputable description, he is, of Lucy has an uncle of the name of William Brandon, a course, brought up to any thing but a steady and virtuous lawyer of great eminence and of vast ambition, of an aucourse of life. With the exception of some instructions stere, reserved, and haughty character, and with an early which he received from a poor wretch of the name of history a good deal involved in mystery. It turns out at Mr Peter MacGrawler, whom our author delights in length that he had married in his youth a woman whom holding up to contempt as a Scotsman, and as the editor he passionately loved, but considerably below him in rank, of a periodical he calls the Asinæum, (a name very like the with whom he lived only for a short time and not hapAlhenæum,) young Paul Clifford is left entirely to the pily, he being of a hot and jealous disposition, and she having at length yielded to the criminal solicitations of vents the attention from flagging, and though he is unthe Lord Mauleverer already mentioned. The unbappy equal, and always inspiring us with the belief that we female was, ere long, abandoned by her seducer, and be. ' shall, ere long, admire him more than we as yet do, and coming an outeast from all the world, she revenged her. then agaiu disappointing us, still one cannot help feeling self before she died upon the original cause of her misery, that there is something about him above the common run. by stealing from Brandon the only child she had borne! We are continually disgusted with his faults, yet we conhim. Brandon had in vain endeavoured to discover any fess we like bim. To use a low and ridiculous phrase, trace of the infant, and had long since abandoned any —there is pluck in him. He is not a stupid fellow, who hope of ever having bis son restored to him. In the mouths pompous nothings; nor is he a driveller of emascourse of time, he is raised to the bench; and on one of culated trash concerning fashionable life. He has, on the his circuits it falls to his lot to try a case of no ordinary contrary, a good deal of originality,--not of the very interest. The notorious captain of a gang of highway- bighest kind, but still enough to induce even sensible men, known by the pame of Lovett, had been at length critics like ourselves to hope that we may gain something secured, and is to be tried for his life. This Lovett is no by reading him. He now and then, also, hits upon a other than Paul Clifford, who, like all gentlemen of his character which he sketches in strong colours, and to profession, found it convenient to have various alases, which, in certain scenes, he contrives to give even an inand who had. unfortunately, been nabbed, as Mr Bulwer tense interest. This is the case in his present work, with would say, just wben he was on the eve of quitting Eng- his delineation of William Brandon, the ambitious lawyer, Jand. The trial takes place, and, in compliance with the the stern judge, the disappointed lover, and the bereaved verdict of the jury, it becomes the duty of the judge to father. The scene where he is under the necessity of condemn Clifford to death. As Brandon is about to pro- condemning his own son to death, is of a striking and nounce sentence, a letter is handed to him from one of thrilling kind. In short, we can only say of “ Paul the agents he had employed in his search after his lost Clifford ” as we have said of Mr Bulwer's other produce sou, which letter proves to him, upon grounds not to be tions, that it rather indicates genius than exhibits talent, resisted, that the prisoner at the bar is that son. Bran and excites hopes which it does not fulfil, but which we don, by a tremendous effort, disguises his feelings, con- believe may yet be fulfilled. demns his son to death, leaves the court, Alings himself We proceed to present our readers, as favourable speciinto his carriage, and when it stops at Lord Mauleverer's, mens of our author's style, with two extracts, which may where he was to dine, he is carried out of it-dead. The be perused with interest, though detached from the main tale is then very speedily wound up. Clifford's punish- | body of the work. The first gives an account of ment is transmuted to perpetual banishment; but he

A HIGHWAY ROBBERY IN THE GOOD OLD TIMES. escapes, and Lucy Brandon having secretly joined him, they proceed to America, where the quondam bighway “'The three men now were drawn up quite still and man man becomes an extensive farmer, and lives a respectable tionless by the side of the bedge. The broad road lay before and comfortable life for the rest of his days.

them, curving out of sight on either side ; the ground was

hardening under an early tendency to frost, and the clear • Our readers will at once perceive the many gross im.

ring of approaching hoofs sounded on he ear of the robbers, probabilities which disfigure this plot. The truth is, Mr ominous, haply, of the chinks of more attractive metal,' Bulwer has not yet shown in any of his works that he is about, if Hope told no flattering tale, to be their own. in the slightest degree capable of “ holding the mirror up “ Presently the long-expected vehicle made its appearance to nature.” He is a clever, and even sometimes a power. at the turn of the road, and it rolled rapidly ou behind four ful writer ; but a restless and feverish improbability con feet post-horses,

“ You, Ned, with your large steed, stop the horses; you, tinually hovers over his style, and renders all bis descrip

Augustus, bully the post-boys; leave me to do the rest," tions much more remarkable for their grotesque ingenuity

said the captain. than for their fidelity. It is utterly impossible that any “"As agreed,' returned Ned, laconically, Now, look at man, educated as Paul Clifford was, could have acquired me!' and the horse of the vain highwayman sprang from 'the manners and appearance of a gentleman, and not only its shelter. So instantaneous were the operations of these impose upon the best society of Bath, but win the affec- experienced tacticians, that Lovett's orders were almost exetions of such a woman as Lucy Brandon. Besides, the cuted in a briefer time than it had cost him to give them. reader is expected to take an interest in Clifford's fate, ! “ The carriage being stopped, and the post-boys, white very inconsistent with what is due both to sound morali. and trembling, with two pistols (levelled by Augustas and

Pepper) cocked at their heads, Lovett, dismounting, threw ty and common sense. What makes this worse is, that

open the door of the carriage, and in a very civil tone, and Mr Bulwer, throughout the whole of his book, affects the

with a very bland address, accosted the inmate. satirist, and in what appears to us the most indiscrimi «• Do not be alarmed, my lord, you are perfectly safe ; pate, reckless, and absurd manner, attacks the English we only require your watch and purse.' nd constitution, customs and usages. He rails at «• Really,' answered a voice still softer tban that of the

of his sourest moods. robber, while a marked and somewbat French countenance, them like a second Cobbett in one of his sourest moods,

of crowned with a fur cap, peered forth at the arrester, and with fully as little judgment or correct knowledge of

| · Really, sir, your request is so modest, that I were worse wbat he attacks. This is not satire ; it is extravagance

than cruel to refuse you. My purse is not very full, and and folly. which excites a smile at the expense of him by ! you may as well have it as one of my rascally dans,-but whom it is uttered. If Mr Bulwer thinks it is a proof my watch, I have a love for and of a strong and superior mind, he was never more mis- “ I understand you, my lord,' interrupted the hightaken in his life. It is a proof of nothing but a capabi- wayman. What do you value your watch at ?' lity of becoming a contributor to the Black Dwarf, if "Humph-to you it may be worth some twenty guithat vulgar, pestilent, and seditious periodical still exists. Deas.'

"6" Allow me to see it.' But though we are thus disposed to give but little

«« Your curiosity is extremely gratifying,' returned the praise to the novel of “ Paul Clifford" as a complete

nobleman, as with great reluctance he drew forth a gold rewhole.--though we think it the worst book Mr Bul- peater, set, as was sometimes the fashion of that day, in prewer has yet written,—we should not have taken the cious stones. The highwayman looked slightly at the trouble of speaking of it at this length, had we not seen bauble. in it many marks of ability. Mr Bulwer appears to have

" Your lordship,' said he, with great gravity,' was pretty strong passions, and a temperament easily capable too modest in your calculation-your taste reflects greater

credit on you: allow me to assure you that your watch is of carrying away impressions; the consequence is, that

worth fifty guineas to us at the least. To show you that I . when the mood is on him, he can dash off forty or fifty think so most sincerely, I will either keep it, and we will pages of bold, vigorous writing, abundantly spiced with say no more on the matter; or I will return it to you, upon fancy and feeling, if not with judgment. He thus pre- your word of honour that you will give me a cheque for

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