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nate with what would be technically considered as Bunyan's conversion; on the contrary, a large portion is employed in recording his agonies of apprehension long after he had become a recognized religious instructor, even so late as the beginning of his imprisonment, when he was so little acquainted with the law as to suppose himself in jeopardy of the gallows. Much might be said in censure or compassion of his lamentably distorted views of divine things; but one thing cannot be said : there is not from first to last the slightest symptom of cant. The book is more sincere than Rousseau's Confessions, but could not, like that book, have helped a Carlyle or a George Eliot to learn that there was something in them. As Pilgrim's Progress may be termed a prosaic Divine Comedy, so might the Bunyan of Grace Abounding rank as a prosaic Augustine, but an Augustine without a Monica. With the rarest exceptions, self is its beginning, middle, and end; it is only when the author for a space

becomes, unlike Cardinal Newman, conscious of the existence of something besides God and his own soul, that we catch the real moral of his tale, which he himself was far from intending or perceiving. In his own incomparably forcible words : ‘I went myself in chains to preach to them in chains; and carried that fire in my own conscience that I persuaded them to beware of. I can truly say, and that without dissembling, that when I have been to preach I have gone full of guilt and terror even to the pulpit-door, and there it hath been taken off; and I have been at liberty in my mind until I have done my work, and then immediately, even before I could get down the pulpit-stairs, I have been as bad as I was before.' What is this but to own that self-seeking is unprofitable even when cloaked with piety and contrition;

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Violent indeed is the transition from John Bunyan

to Aphra Behn, but in fact the living fiction Aphra Behn (1640-1689).

of the age is almost summed up in these

two names. But for the demonstration of the contrary afforded by the state of French literature since 1830, one would almost have been inclined to formulate it as a maxim that the drama and the novel cannot flourish together. The almost utter barrenness of the Restoration age in the latter class of literature is certainly very remarkable. All needful conditions seemed present in a teeming national life, clever writers, and a public that craved to be amused. It seems difficult to offer any explanation except that it had as yet occurred to none to depart from French models, and that the French exemplars of the day, like Samuel Weller, disdained all under the degree of a female markis.' Hence the healthy realism without which the English novel cannot prosper was impossible, and it was left to the Fieldings and Smolletts of the next age to effect a momentous revolution in art by the simple discovery that for the novelist's purpose, ‘Jack was as good as his master.' One variety of fiction, apparently still popular at the Restoration, gradually died out—the interminable romance of the Clelia class, by which French polite society under Louis XIII. had replaced the exploded romance of chivalry. Of the few examples of this which English literature still produced, it will suffice to name Lord Orrery's Parthenissa, whose heroine, as an example of chastity, lived long enough to be dethroned by Pamela. Mrs. Behn's tales, it need not be said, are constructed upon principles in every respect antipodal to Parthenissa ; they are, however, much less objectionable than her comedies. They are on the French pattern, brief and bright, but inevitably conventional. At the present day, however,

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when the disuse of an equally conventional fashion is restoring action to the rank from which it had been almost displaced by dialogue, Mrs. Behn's tales might be not unprofitably read as examples of movement and condensation ; and occasionally of strong situation, of which she rarely makes the most. The most celebrated is Oroonoko, the groundwork of Southern's play, and itself founded on facts within the authoress's knowledge. Among other remarkable

passages is one descriptive of the effects of the electric eel. Mrs. Behn's stories are types of a large number of miniature romances, apparently little noticed in their own day, and utterly unknown in ours, which they have not always reached in other fashion than Protus's

'Little tract on worming dogs, Whereof the name, in sundry catalogues, Is extant yet.'

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This class of literature,' says Mr. Gosse, 'was treated with marked disdain, and having been read to pieces by the women, was thrown into the fire.' One specimen, Incognita, deserves a word of mention as the first work of the youthful Congreve. Some variety was introduced into pure fiction by the importation from France by Mrs. Manley, already mentioned as a dramatist, of the political novel, in which the actions of living monarchs and statesmen were represented under transparent disguises. The presses of Amsterdam and Cologne had long teemed with such productions, and Mrs. Manley's Atalanta and Zarah are conspicuous English examples. Another romance, A New and further Discovery of the Isle of Pines, in a letter professing to emanate from Cornelius van Sloetton, a Dutchman (1668), deserves some attention from its possible influence on Defoe. It has been represented to be connected with Australian discovery, with which it has in

a

fact nothing to do, the imaginary island being placed in the very centre of the Indian Ocean. It afforded the theme for Voltaire's joke about the Englishman qui travaillait si bien that the island on which he was wrecked was shortly afterwards found to be peopled by twelve thousand English Protestants.

CHAPTER XIV.

ESSAYISTS

AND LETTER WRITERS, LITERARY HISTORIANS.

THE most important part of the posthumous papers of Samuel Butler, the discovery of which in the eighteenth century has been mentioned, was his Characters, composed upon the model of Theophrastus, and fairly entitling him to the appellation of the English Theophrastus, which is not the highest encomium imaginable. As the only work of the kind which has come down to us from antiquity, the Characters of Theophrastus, which are in reality much later than the time of that successor of Aristotle, have passed as models, a reputation in excess of their desert. They offer an acute and entertaining enumeration of various peculiarities of character, but do not succeed in presenting the personage as a whole, and have much the air of being compiled from traits delineated with a real truth of representation by the comic poets. Butler's Characters are of just the same kind, and his work is rather a museum of particulars than a gallery of portraits. The

age of Charles II. by no means lives in him as the age of Anne lives in Addison. La Bruyère, Butler's more celebrated French successor, who certainly never read and probably never heard of him, fell into precisely the same error from too timid an adherence to Theophrastus; and the improvement upon him effected by Addison may be compared to the service rendered to sculpture by Dædalus,

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