BOB or THE BOWL.
THE author of this romance is an able and a painstaking man. He has much fluency and some invention ; a very nice judgment in perceiving the true qualities of things ; he has chosen his sub-
ject well ; made himself acquainted with the history and customs of the time, and caught something of their spirit. Still, with aft these excellent qualifications, Mr. Kr.xximy has not produced a sterling romance, for two main essentials are wanting. He has not that vivifying power which is called genius, and by which a writer is enabled to endow his characters with life and his scenes with reality—painting rather than describing. He has not been led to prose fiction by the natural impulse of his mind, and the course
of his observations • but has been excited by fashion, and other men's writings; so that he is essentially, if not formally, an imi-
tator. We can fancy some such thoughts as these passing through
his mind, after perusins. SCOTT and noting the success of some of his copyists. " I too will write an historical novel. I will
choose a ground that has scarcely been broken ; I will investigate the antiquities, character, customs, and costumes of the period; like • Scow, I will develop the humours of my persons, and carry on a good deal of my story by dialogue, reserving my narrative for description—description of scenery, dress, and outward lineaments ; and for the diction of my characters I will go to the fountain-bead, studying the writers of the time, or may be some half-century earlier."
But, as he who "copies the Iliad is not imitating HOMER," so he who wishes to emulate Sewn' must possess some kindred qualities of mind, and use, as SCOTT did, the materials which he had stored up during a peculiar course of study and experience. Instead of this, Mr. KENNEDY merely imitates the modes in which SCOTT pre-
sented his materials; and those with less skill than might have been expected from the judgment he unquestionably possesses.
The descriptions of SCOTT might be elaborate, but they were in the main necessary parts of the piece, and were besides imbued with a rare vividness and truth : Mr. KENNEDY'S are very often unne-
cessary, and almost always overdone—the pursuit of the Bucca- neer's boat, .where the.. various particulars become neeessury for a
fulLeornprehension of -the' chase, is an. exception,• The (Mopes of..SCOTT. told particulars nseful to be known, and develoPed, the eliarkters of persons who bore a ethispicUoui *part in the story : kENNEDY's dialogues are very often occupied on • trivial or remote subjects.; the peculiarities displayed are often those of su- pernumeraries—people who contribute nothing to the action of the Wive': • ' Again, the history of SCOTT was so far necessary, that if you take it away, the story is destroyed--4t is more than the amputa- tion of a limb, it is like cutting a figure in two : Mr. Itsszsamr's history is a mere encumbrance ; and the same may be said of much of his arelueology. It is possible, however, that some of these vicious errors may have partly arisen from the sordid and silly pre- judices of the trade, which require three volumes in a work of fie- tion,—spoiling a book for the sake of some saving in advertisements, without reflecting that two or three running off editions are better than a heavy one. A vigorous amputation of the excrescent parts', and a spirited condensation of some of the necessary but Wire- drawn subordinate passages, might diminish Rob of the BOO by nearly one half, and greatly improve it. The scene of the novel is laid in Maryland, during the days of Charles the Second : and the historical part, about which so much is said and of which so little is made, turns upon the rival factions of the Puritans and Catholics,—Maryland having been founded by the Catholic flunily of Baltimore, as a refuge for their own and all other persecuted creeds ; in return for which liberality, the Puritans fomented dissatisfaction and raised rebellion. The romance turns upon the love of the Governor's ,Secretary, and a Buccaneer, disguised as a trading merchant, for the Rose of St. Mary's. Variety and interest arc given to the story by the. inci- dents which their rivalry occasions, up to the fbrcible abduction and recovery of Rose. And Rob of the Bowl, first confederate, and afterwards on sufficient motives suddenly brought to' operate, the foiler of the Buccaneer, enacts the part of the classical ma- chinery, and of SCOTT'S gipsies, dwarfs, and so forth.
The characters, though many of them have little or no necessary connexion with the story, are sketched with sprightliness, and with general truth as regards the time and place ; but they are de- ficient in strength, and perhaps individuality. From this judgment Cocklescraft, the Buccaneer, must be excepted. Wanting actual vitality, he is conceived with knowledge and developed with truth.
The idea of him may have been derived •front the Pirate ; but his character, unlike SCOTT'S, is maintained with consistency and
keeping from first to last. His coarse manners, his love of finery, the violence of his passions, his incapacity of comprehending female delicacy—believing to the last that Rose can be made to like him, if he can but get her to himself—are all drawn with re- markable judgment and metaphysical nicety. Nor is his ignorant misconception of her free-hearted flither's hospitalities, and his rage when, presuming on them to make proposals of marriage, he finds them somewhat scorntblly refused, less skilful. Here is his first appearance at Rob of the Bowl's cot.
"Cocklescraft, with two seasnen, entered the hut. The Skipper was now in the prime of youthful manhood ; tall, active, and strong, with the free step and erect bearing that no less denoted the fearlessness of his nature than pride in the conseionsness of such a qattlity. his litce, tinged with a deep brown hue, was not unhandsome, although an expression of sensuality' to some extent, deprived it of its claim to be admired. A brilliant eye safil.,red the same dis- paragement by its over-ready defiance, which told of a temper obtrusively prone to quarrel. The whole phvsiognomv wanted gentleness; although a fine set of teeth, a regular profile, and a complexion which, with proper allowance for exposure to the weather, was unconnuonly good, would unquestionably have won from the majority of observers the repute of a high degree of mascu- line beauty. " A scarlet jacket fitted close across the breast, wide breeches of ash-coloured stuff, hanging in the fashion of a kink or kilt to the knees, tight gray hose, accurately &playing the leg in all its fine proportions, and light shoes, fur- nished a costume well adapted to the lithe and sinewy figure of the wearer. A jet black and glossy moustache, and tuft below the 'nether lip, gave a martial aspect to his face, which had, nevertheless:, the smoothness of skin of a boy. Be wore in his emahroidered belt a pair at' pistols richly mounted with chased silver and costly ;turas; and his person wits somewhat gorgeously, and, in his present occupant i, inappropriatelv, ornamented with gems and chains of gold. His hair, in almost feminine luxuriance, descended in ringlets upon his neck. A large hat made of the palm-leaf, broad enough to shade his face and shoul- ders, but ill sorted with the rest of his apparel, and was still less adapteti to the season and the latitude he wars in; though it threw into the general expression of his figure that trait of the swaggering companion, which was, in fact, some- what prominent in his character."
As another specimen of Mr. KENNEDY'S powers of writing, we will take part of a duel scene between the Buccaneer and Albert Verheyden, Lord Baltimore's Secretary. Captain Dauntrees is the commander of the troops; a fhvourable specimen of the mer- cenary soldier of the age.
It was as the Captain said ; for at that moment Cocklescraft, attended by two followers, was seen coming up front the margin of St. Luke's across the meadow, to the place appointed for time combat. Cockleseraft's bearing was stern, his brow high charged with passion, and a keen resentment flashed from his eye, as he advanced into the presence of his adversary. A slight salute passed between the combatants, and for some moments each party drew aside. * * *
'4 The Skipper is surly," said Datuftrees, as he stood apart with the Secretary, wiping the sword that was to be used by his friend. " I MU glad to see it : it denotes passion. Receive the assault from him ; stand on your defence, giving ground slightly to his advance : then suddenly, when you have whipped him 'Co a rage, as you will surely do, give back the attack hotly; follow it up, as you did this morning in practice with me, amid you will hardly fail to find him at disadvantage ; then thrust home—for the shorter you make this quarrel the better for your strength." " I ant more at my ease in this play than you think me," replied Albert, smiling; you shall find it so. Pray let us go to our business."
The Captain, with two rapiers m hit hand, advanced to the ground occu- pied by Cocklescraft and his frsends. "I would be acquainted with thy second, Master Cockleseraft,". he said. " Here are our swords : shall we measure ?"
" Master Roche del Carmine," replied the Skipper, as he presented a swarthy Portuguese seaman', the mate of the Olive Branch ; "this other companion is but a looker-on."
"I would that thou beast matched me," replied Dauntrees, hostile, • and with some show of displeasure, "with an antagonist of better degree, Master Skipper, than this mate of thine. He was but a boatswain within the year past. Our quality deserved that you should sort us with gentlemen at least." " Gentlemen !" exclaimed the Portuguese, in a passion ; "St. Salvadore ! are we not gentlemen enough for you ? We belong to the Coast"— " Peace, sirrah !" hastily interrupted Cockleseraft : "Prate not here—leave me to speak. Master Roche del Carmine is my follower, not my second, further than as your bearing, Master Dauntrees, may render one needful to me. I came hither to make my own battle." "I came to this field," replied Dauntrees, "prepared with my sword to make good the quarrel of my friend against any you might match me with. So, second or follower, bully or bravo at your heels, Master Cockleseraft, I will fight with this Master Roche." " That is but a boy's play, and I will none of it, Captain Dauntrees," said Cockleseraft, angrily. " This custom of making parties brings the quarrel to an end at the first drawing of blood. I wish no respite upon a scratch; my demand stops not short of a mortal strife." " My sword, Sir ! " said Albert Verheyden, hastily striding up to the Cap- tain and seizing his sword. " This is my quarrel alone ; Captain Dauntrces, you strike no blow in it. Upon your guard, Sir ! " he added, whilst his eye flashed fire, and his whole figure was lighted up with the animation of his anger. " To your guard ; I will have no parley." " Are you bereft!" exclaimed Dauntrees, interposing with his sword be- tween the parties, and looking the Secretary steadfastly in the face. " Back, Master Verheyden ; this quarrel must proceed orderly."
Then conducting his principal some paces off, the other yielding to his guid- ance, he again cautioned him against losing his self-command by such bursts of passion. The Secretary promised obedience, and begged hint to proceed.
" Go to it in client° ; strip to thy shirt, Master Albert," said the Captain. When the Secretary lead, in obedience to this order, thrown aside his cloak and doublet, and coma: to the spot designated by his second as his position in the tight, Dauntrees once more approached the opposite party, went through the formal ceremony of measuring swords, and then returned and placed the weapon in Albert's hand, at the same time drawing his owu and planting him- self within a few paces of his friend. " We are ready, Sir," he said, bowing to the Skipper's attendant. Coekleseraft lost no time in taking Ins ground ; Master Roche del Carmine carefully keeping out of the way of harm from any party. The onset was made by the Skipper with an energy that almost amounted to rage ; and it was witlt a most lively interest, not untningled with pleasure, that Dauntrees watched the eye of Albert Verhevilen, and saw it pluying with an expression of confidence and self-command, whilst with admirable dexterity Ire parried his antag,onist's assault. " Bravo !" exclaimed Dituntrees, more than once during this anxious mo- ment. " To it, Master Verheyden : passed° : hotly, master! " he cried aloud, at the same time flourishing Ins own blade above his bead when he saw Albert return the attack with great animation upon his adversary, who was thus com- pelled to give ground. This rapid exchange of thrust and parry was suddenly arrested by the sword of the Skipper being struck from his hand. The Secretary had disarmed him ; and, instead of following up his advantage, generously halted, and brought the point of his own sword to the ground.
We have spoken of the historical parts of Rob qf the Bowl as having little connexion with its story. At the same time, it may be said that they convey some idea of the polities of Maryland at that period ; and will suggest many thoughts respecting the ad- vantages of colonization upon a large scale, and with thunders in the higher ranks of life.