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Dear Fanny Price is the most interesting character in this novel, and we love her from the moment she appears at Mansfield Park, a little girl of ten years old, as unhappy as possible, afraid of every body, ashamed of herself, and longing for the home she had left; she knew not how to look up, and could scarcely speak to be heard, or without crying. Mrs. Norris had been talking to her of her wonderful good fortune, and the gratitude and good behaviour it ought to produce, and her consciousness of misery was therefore increased by the idea of its being a wicked thing for her not to be happy: In vain did Lady Bertram smile, and make her sit on the sofa with herself and pug, and vain was even the sight of a gooseberry tart towards giving her comfort, and sleep seeming to be her likeliest friend, she was taken to finish her sorrows in bed. The growth of her love for her cousin Edmund Bertram, is exquisitely narrated. On what slender grounds she feeds her gentle passion, a few kind looks, some pleasant words; a few grateful acts suffice her: the description of her scarcely conscious jealousy of Miss Crawford are in the finest style of novel writing. Miss Austen could never have written this sweet story of love without having experienced it herself, with all its rapturous enjoyments and torturing
Miss Crawford, handsome and selfish, gifted with much tact, and with no principles to interfere with the gratification of her schemes of vanity and ambition, soon secures Edmund in her strong toil of grace. "Miss Crawford's attractions did not lessen. The harp arrived, and rather added to her beauty, wit, and good humor, for she played with the greatest obligingness, with an expression and taste which were peculiarly becoming, and there was something clever to be said at the close of every air. Edmund was at the parsonage every day to be indulged with his favorite instrument; one morning secured an invitation for the next, for the lady could not be unwilling to have a listener, and every thing was soon in a fair train. A young woman, pretty, lively, with a harp as elegant as herself, and both placed near a window, cut down to the ground, and opening on a little lawn, surrounded by shrubs in the rich foliage of summer, was enough to catch
any man's heart. The season, the air, were all favorable to tenderness and sentiment. Mrs. Grant and her tambour frame were not without their use; it was all in harmony; and as every thing
will turn to account when love is once set a going, even the sandwich tray, and Dr. Grant doing the honors of it, were worth looking at. Without studying the business, however, or knowing what he was about, Edmund was beginning, at the end of a week of such intercourse, to be a good deal in love; and to the credit of the lady it may be added, that without his being a man of the world or an elder brother, without any of the arts of flattery or the gaieties of small talk, he began to be agreeable to her. She felt it to be so, though she had not foreseen, and could hardly understand it; for he was not pleasant by any common rule; he talked no nonsense, he paid no compliments, his opinions were unbending, his attentions tranquil and simple. There was a charm perhaps in his sincerity, his steadiness, his integrity, which Miss Crawford might be equal to feel, though not equal to discuss with herself. She did not think very much about it, however; he pleased her for the present; she liked to have him near her; it was enough."
The plot of Mansfield Park is simple enough, but it gave ample opportunity for the display of Miss Austen's genius and purity of heart. A sensible critic observes that our fair authoress depends for her effect upon no suprising adventures, upon no artfully involved plot, upon no scenes deeply pathetic or extravagantly humorous. She paints a society which, though virtuous, intelligent, and enviable above all others, presents the fewest salient points of interest and singularity to the novelist-we mean the society of English country gentlemen. Whoever desires to know the interior life of that vast and admirable body, the rural gentry of England-a body which absolutely exists in no other country on earth, and to which the nation owes many of its most valuable characteristicsmust read the novels of Miss Austen. In these works the reader will find very little variety, and no picturesqueness of persons, little to inspire strong emotion, nothing to excite wonder or laughter, but he will find admirable good sense, exquisite dis
crimination, and an unrivalled power of | beth did not quite equal her father in pereasy and natural dialogue.
Sir Walter Scott, in his Diary, March 1826, remarks as follows: "I have amused myself occasionally very pleasantly during the last few days, by reading over Lady Morgan's novel of O'Donnell, which has some striking and beautiful passages of situation and description, and in the comic part is very rich and entertaining. I do not remember being so much pleased with it at first. There is a want of story always fatal to a book the first reading and it is well if it gets a chance of a second. Alas, poor novel ! Also read again, and for the third time at least Miss Austen's very finely written novel of Pride and Prejudice. That young lady had a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life, which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The Big Bow-Wow strain I can do myself like any now going; but the exquisite touch which renders ordinary common-place things and characters interesting from the truth of the description, and the sentiment, is denied me. What a pity such a gifted creature died so early!" A pity indeed. Persuasion, is considered one of the very best of Miss Austen's six novels. It is certainly a most artist like performance, the plot, story, and its conclusion are alike perfect. The characters I have not a doubt were taken from life. They are instinct with vitality, and make a lasting impression on the reader's mind. This novel opens spiritedly with a description of a foolish baronet. "Sir Walter Elliot, of Killynch-hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were aroused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations arising from domestic affairs, changed naturally into pity and contempt. As he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century-and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed-this was the page at which the favorite volume always opened. Elliot of Killynch-Hall: Walter Elliot, born March 1, 1760, &c. Eliza
sonal contentment. Thirteen years had seen her mistress of Killynch-Hall, pre siding and directing with a self-possession and decision which could never have given the idea of her being younger than she was. For thirteen years she had been doing the honors, and laying down the domestic law at home, and leading the way to the chaise and four, and walking immediately after Lady Russell out of all the drawing rooms and dining rooms in the country. Thirteen winters' revolving frosts had seen her opening every ball of credit which a scanty neighborhood afforded; and thirteen springs shown their blossoms, as she travelled up to London with her father, for a few weeks of annual enjoyment of the great world. She had the remembrance of all this, she had the consciousness of being nine and twenty, to give her some regrets and apprehensions. She was fully satisfied of being still quite as handsome as ever; but she felt her approach to the years of danger, and would have rejoiced to be certain of being properly solicited by baronet blood within the next twelve months or two. Then might she again take up the book of books with as much enjoyment as in her early youth, but now she liked it not. Always to be presented with the date of her own birth, and see no marriage follow but that of a youngest sister, made the book an evil, and more than once, when her father had left it open on the table near her, had she closed it, with averted eyes, and pushed it away." Sir Walter becomes embarrassed; he had given Elizabeth some hints of it the last spring in town; he had gone so far even as to say, can we retrench? does it occur to you that there is any one article in which we can retrench ?-and Elizabeth in the first ardor of female alarm, set seriously to think what could be done, and finally proposed these two branches of economy: to cut off some unnecessary charities, and to refrain from new furnishing the drawing room; to which expedients she afterwards added the happy thought of their taking no present down to Anne, as had been the usual yearly custom. These petty suggestions of economy did not stay the torrent. Killynch-Hall is finally rented to a frank, good hearted Admiral, named Crofts, a most genial personage, with a considerable sprinkling of oddities. The
Elliots retire to Bath, and there Anne in walking along the streets, meets the Admiral standing by himself at a print shop window, with his hands behind him, in earnest contemplation of some print, and she might not only have passed him unseen, but was obliged to touch, as well as address him, before she could catch his notice. When he did perceive and acknowledge her, however, it was done with all his usual frankness and good humor. "Ha! is it you? Thank you, thank you. This is treating me like a friend. Here I am, you see, staring at a picture. I can never get by this shop without stopping. But what a thing here is, by way of a boat. Do look at it. Did you ever see the like? What queer fellows your fine painters must be, to think that any body would venture their lives in such a shapeless old cockleshell as that. And yet, here are two gentlemen stuck up in it mightily at their ease, and looking about them at the rocks and mountains, as if they were not to be upset the next moment, which they certainly must be. I wonder where that boat was built! (laughing heartily.) I would not venture over a horsepond in it. Well, (turning away,) now, where are you bound? Can I go any where for you, or with you? Can I be of any use.
turity, against that over-anxious caution
"But how shall we prove anything?"
Anne Elliot's love for Captain Wentworth, and its history, form the most interesting part of "Persuasion." She had loved him in girlhood, but prudential reasons, and the advice of relations prevented their union. She was young, and he was poor, though full of life and ardor, and confident of success in his profession. The "We never shall. We never can exengagement between them is broken. A pect to prove anything upon such a point. few months had seen the beginning and It is a difference of opinion which does not the end of their acquaintance; but not admit of proof. We each begin probawith a few months ended Anne's share of bly with a little bias towards our own sex, suffering from it. Her attachment and re- and upon that bias build every circumgrets had for a long time clouded every stance in favor of it which has occurred enjoyment of youth; and an early loss of within our own circle; many of which bloom and spirits had been their lasting ef- circumstances, (perhaps those very cases All his sanguine expectations and which strike us the most,) may be preciseconfidence had been justified. Soon after ly such as cannot be brought forward withtheir separation he had obtained employ-out betraying a confidence, or in some rement, he had distinguished himself, and by spects saying what should not be said." successive captures had made a handsome fortune. "How eloquent could Anne Elliot have been! how eloquent, at least, were her wishes on the side of early, warm attachment, and a cheerful confidence in fu
"Ah!" cried Captain Harville, in a tone of strong feeling, "if I could but make you comprehend what a man suffers when he takes à last look at his wife and children, and watches the boat that he has
sent them off in, as long as it is in sight, and then turns away and says, 'God knows whether we ever meet again.' And then, if I could convey to you the glow of his soul when he does see them again, when, coming back after a twelve month's absence, perhaps, and obliged to put into another port, he calculates how soon it be possible to get them there, pretending to deceive himself, and saying, They cannot be here until such a day,' but all the while hoping for them twelve hours sooner, and seeing them arrive at last, as if Heaven had given them wings, by many hours sooner still! If I could explain to you all this, and all that a man can bear and do, and glories to do for the sake of these treasures of his existence! I speak, you know, only of such men as have hearts," pressing his own with emotion.
"Oh," cried Anne, eagerly, "I hope I do justice to all that is felt by you, and by those who resemble you. God forbid that I should undervalue the warm and faithful feelings of any of my fellow creatures. I should deserve utter contempt if I dared to suppose that true attachment and constancy were known only by woNo; I believe you capable of everything great and good in your married lives. I believe you equal to every important exertion, and to every domestic forbearance so long as if I may be allowed the expression so long as you have an object. I mean, while the woman you love lives, and lives for you. All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not an enviable one, you need not covet it) is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone." She could not immediately have uttered another sentence, her heart was too full, her breath too much oppressed.
"You are a good soul," cried Captain Harville, putting his hand on her arm, quite affectionately. "There is no quarrelling with you. And when I think of Benwick, my tongue is tied." Their attention was called towards the others. Mrs. Croft was taking leave. "Here, Frederick, you and I part company, I believe," said she. "I am going home, and you have an engagement with your friend. To-night we may have the pleasure of all meeting again, at your party," (turning to Anne.) "We had your sister's card yes
terday, and I understood Frederick had a card, too, though I did not see it; and you are disengaged, Frederick, are you not, as well as ourselves ?"
Captain Wentworth was folding up a letter in great haste, and either could not or would not answer fully.
Yes," ," said he, "very true; here we separate, but Harville and I shall soon be after you; that is, Harville, if you are ready, I shall be in half a minute. I know you will not be sorry to be off. I shall be at your service in half a minute. Mrs. Croft left them, and Captain Wentworth having sealed his letter with great rapidity, was indeed ready, and had even a hurried, agitated air, which showed impatience to be gone. stand it.
Anne knew not how to underShe had the kindest "good morning, God bless you," from Captain Harville; but from him not a word nor a look. He had passed out of the room without a look. She had only time, however, to move closer to the table where he had been writing, when footsteps were heard returning; the door opened; it was himself. He begged their pardon, but he had forgotten his gloves; and instantly crossing the room to the writing table and standing with his back towards Mrs. Musgrove, he drew out a letter from under the scattered paper, placed it before Anne with eyes of glowing entreaty fixed on her for a moment, and hastily collecting his gloves, was again out of the room, almost before Mrs. Musgrove was aware of his being in it-the work of an instant! The revolution which one instant had made in Anne, was almost beyond expression. The letter, with a direction hardly legible, to Miss A. E
was evidently the one which he had been folding so hastily. While supposed to be writing only to Captain Benwick, he had been also addressing her!
On the contents of that letter depended all which this world could do for her! Anything was possible, anything might be defied rather than suspense. Mrs. Musgrove had little arrangements of her own, at her own table: to their protection she must trust, and sinking into the chair which he had occupied, succeeding to the very spot where he had leaned and written, her eyes devoured the following words:
must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again, with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman; that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice, when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating in
It is needless to say that the parties soon understood one another after this letter.
Sense and Sensibility is full of interest, with a good plot, and great diversity of character. The contrast between Elinor and Marianne Dashwood is very effective. Elinor, with an excellent heart, an affectionate disposition, and strong feelings, knew how to govern them. Marianne, sensible, but eager in everything. There was no moderation in either her sorrows or her joys. She was amiable, interesting, everything but prudent. Sir John and Lady Middleton are an interesting couple. He hunted and shot, and Lady Middleton was a mother: these were their only amusements. Lady Middleton had the advantage of being able to spoil her children all the year round, while Sir John's employments were in existence only half the time. On the first call of the Miss Dashwoods, Lady M. had taken the wise precaution of bringing with her their eldest child, a boy of about six years old, by which means, as Miss Austen says, there was one subject always to be recurred to by the ladies in case of extremity, for they had to inquire his name and
age, admire his beauty, and ask him questions, which his mother answered for him, while he hung about her, and held down his head. On every formal visit a child ought to be of the party, by way of provision for discourse. Lady Middleton's children must have been like those of the family where Lamb was visiting, and who was excessively annoyed by them,-at the dinner table he gave for a toast, "the memory of the good King Herod."
The maternal complacency of Lady M. is boundless. "John is in such spirits today," said she on his taking Miss Steele's pocket handkerchief, and throwing it out of the window. "He is full of monkey tricks." And soon afterwards, on the second boy's violently pinching one of the same lady's fingers, she fondly observed, "how playful William is! And here is my sweet little Anna-maria, and she is always so gentle and quiet. Never was there such a quiet little thing. But unfortunately, in bestowing these embraces, a pin in her ladyship's head dress slightly scratching the child's neck, produced from this pattern of gentleness such violent screams as could hardly be outdone by any creature professedly noisy. The mother's consternation was excessive; but it could not surpass the alarm of the Miss Steeles; and everything was done by all three, in so critical an emergency, which affection could suggest as likely to assuage the agonies of the little sufferer. She was seated in her mother's lap, covered with kisses, her wound bathed with lavender water by one of the Miss Steeles, who was on her knees to attend her, and her mouth stuffed with sugar plums by the other. With such a reward for her tears, the child was too wise to cease crying. She still screamed and sobbed lustily, kicked her two brothers for offering to touch her; and all their united soothings were ineffectual, till Lady Middleton luckily remembering that in a scene of similar distress last week, some apricot marmalade had been successfully applied for a bruised temple, the same remedy was eagerly proposed for this unfortunate scratch, and a slight intermission of screams in the young lady on hearing it, gave them reason to hope that it would not be rejected. She was carried out of the room, therefore, in her mother's arms, in quest of this medicine; and as the two boys chose