NEW NOVELS. * Ballybl u nder. An Irish story. This tale has three
great merits. It is clever, it is to the purpose, and, it is short. Its cleverness is of the cultivated Hibernian character ; and its pur- pose is to show, by a truthful story, how Ribbonism and the Romish priesthood succeed in marring all efforts at improvement in the North of Ireland. Any one who has visited the counties Down, Donegal, and Antrim, will recognize the unexaggerated truth of the statements and general. tenour of this pretty tale. O'Connell's cry of " Justice for Ireland ! " has no meaning in that part of Ireland, but the administration of the laws without respect to persons or creeds. " If," as Mr. Kindly, the landlord of Ballyblunder, says, "those who broke the law were sure to be punished by the law, whether priest or layman, Catholic or Pro- testant, they would think twice before they set it at defiance, which now they do with comparative, and their eiders and abet- tors, the priests, with complete, impunity." But "as long as the executive in Ireland chooses to be guided by the words and wishes of the priests, it is hopeless to expect justice for Ireland." The story grows naturally out of the circumstances of the time and the place in which the actors in it live. Mr. Kindly is an Irish Protestant gentleman of large property in a Northern county, which from the description we take to be Donegal. He has lived for twenty years among his tenantry, doing his best to improve their physical and moral condition. Always counteracted by the priests, yet keeping on steadily and gently in his benevolent course. lit the year 58, the slaughtering of sheep upon the moun- tains went on to a great extent, as most persons will remem- ber. The cause of this destruction of property was the idea among the peasantry, cherished by the priests, that the landlord had no right to let out his own mountain sides as pasture for sheep, because the peasants had from time immemorial had a sort of commonage there—which commonage the sheep do not seem to have interfered with at all. But it was an innovation, an improvement of the property, which the priests disliked, and therefore encouraged their flocks to withstand. The sheep were killed in the night, and there was always great difficulty in dis- covering and punishing the people who did it. In the story of Mr. Kindly's family, the endeavour to capture some of these evil- doers brings on something worse—the murder of a gentleman be- trothed to one of Mr. Kindly's daughters, and her death from the shock and its consequences. The end is that Mr. Kindly is com- pelled to give up his attempts to improve the portion of his coun- try over which he had a right to exercise his power; and he leaves Ballyblunder to take up his abode at a distance. The grief attendant on this removal.is great in his family, and among many of his tenants. The whole is well described, with no at- tempt at high-wrought sentiment. In the early part of the book, we have some pleasant scenes of Irish life among the quality. Archer Kindly, the eldest son, is a Sub in a regiment of the Line, and quite " a broth of a boy." His two friends, the brothers Fortescue, and his two sisters, Kate and Baby, are speedily turned into two pairs of lovers, and every one is happy till the shot of Ben Bandy kills Fanshawe Fortescue and his poor lady-love. As a specimen of the light easy style of the greater part of the book, we give the following- " Why does Government permit such a state of things, I wonder, when the remedy is so simple,' said Archie. The answer to your question is just as simple ; because the Minister pre- fers place to patriotism. He dare not offend the Catholic party in the House for fear it should turn against him upon sense Government measure and place him in a minority. So well do the priests understand this, and so certain are they of immunity in doing wrong, that they do not even con- descend to disguise their evil deeds. They curse the people from the tops of walls ; they publish their approval of outrages and the destruction of pro- perty in newspapers, and they are not meddled with; but then the Catholic party in the House of Commons is satisfied, and the Minister keeps his
" 'It strikes me,' said Archie that "Mother Church" beats "Mother Hubbard" into fits in the shrew line,'
• Ballablunder. An Irish Story. Published by J. W. Parker and Son. Valentine Dural: an Autobiography of the Last Century. Edited by the Au- thor of" Mary Powell." Published by Bent'ey. Keeping up Appearances. By Cyrus Redding, Author of "Fifty Year* Recol- lections, Literary and Personal. In three volumes. Published by Skeet.
" 'For shame, Archie Bald Mrs. Kindly, though she could not help smiling, 'you should not turn the Church into ridicule.'
" 'Not our Church, pother dear ; and as for the Roman Catholic Church, it fulminates curses !Ton my devoted head, and I laugh at it for its pains. Surely laughing is better than cursing any day of the week, eh, mama ? " 'I'll box your ears if you make me laugh when I want to be grave, Archie; be quiet !'
" I'm dumb but not deaf, and consequently I hear a sound you cannot hear. Come in,' he called aloud. "The door of the room was pushed gently open, and the figure of Kit made visible upon the threshold. . " Av you plaze, Capein Archie, there's a gran' breeze on the wather, an' a big black cloud is comin' up, an' we will have rain afore long, sirr, more by token the troots is risin' like mad this minute, as I come from the loch, an', so I thought your honour—' " ' Oh ! by the powers, let's be off boys,' cried Archie, jumping up. I vote for an adjournment of the House, dismiss the Catholic question, and hey for the "treats." '
Av you plaze, Master Archie—that is Capein—bad manners to me tongue: I met Father Hogan at the loch side, an only he war me shpiritual shuparior I'd a throwed him into the wathur; for he said, sez he, "So Kit Kelly, you're idlin' your time away doin' nothin' as ushal I see ; bad look to yees for a skulkin vagabone ! av yees had the sperrit of a man you'd quit the tyranisin', grindin' Kindlys who work ye all like slaves, an' spen' their own time in fushin' an' such like fooleries; you'd quit them I say, an' join your fellow-countrymen in strivin' to dhrive them tyrints an' op- presshors intil the say." Bad look to me, bud he said that, sm.'
." He did!' exclaimed Archie, feigning great wrath.
" Faix, he did so ;. bud I up an' tould him, "Father Hogan," sex I, "Mr. Kindly is no tvnnt an' no oppresshor, there is more clothes an' snore food guy to the poor .from Ballyblunder in a week, than your riverence guy in your life, manne no offince, your riverence." Wid that he shakes his fust at me, and sez he, "You sacrilujus dog, how dare you spoke to your priest so ! bud I know bow it is, that big, youno. fool, Archie Kindly, puts ye up till all this insholent conduc' ; " an' wid that he shtrode aff wid him- self.'
" He said that did he ? He called me a big, young fool did he ? By all the saints in the calendar' from Nebuchadnezzar to Friar Tuck, but I'll be avenged on that insolent priest, Kit Kelly. Christopher Kelly bring Father Hogan before me.'
" Ah shure, Capein Archie,' said Kit, awed at being addressed as Chris- topher, share he's away, an' more nor that, the likes o' him isn't worthy yer honour's notice.'
" be revenged I say,' exclaimed Archie, striding out of the room. 'I'll pursue—I'll overtake—I'll tear him to pieces—I'll—I'll-
" Bait my hook with Hogan's tail,
And sit tipon a rock and bob for whale !" '
" 'Ah! don't now, Capein, Masther Archie dear, don't ye do nothin' o' the sort ; shure the man's not wuth it ' and Kit followed him, quite alarmed at these terrible threatenings against Father Hogan, and sorry he had said a word about what had passed.
" Museha, muscha ! the Capt'in will kill him as shure as pees is pace; he'll destroy the holy man ; bad look to him for a foul-mouthed gomeril ! Ehpakin' agin the family that a-way'
Valentine Duval. An Autobiography of Ow Last Century. Although the volume is not strictly speaking a novel or tale of fiction, yet it has so many of the characteristics of that class of writing, that we put it under the head of new novels. Valentine Duval, we beg to remind the forgetful and inform the ignorant among our readers, had nothing to do with the famous highway- man Claude. Their character and career were about as unlike as those of any two famous persons of the same name—not excepting Catharine Hayes the murderess and Catharine Hayes the song- stress. Valentine Duval was a poor peasant boy, born in a vil- lage of Champagne in 1695, aud was early left an orphan. He was gifted with great powers of intellect, will, and endurance, andis one of the most interesting instances on record of self-help and the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties. In early youth, he contrived to keep body and soul together under circumstances that would have beaten most boys. He taught himself as well as he could, working always for a living. He has left an- autobiogra- phical fragment, which is full of interest, and on which the pre- sent volume is founded. The first reminiscence of great im- portance is the account he gives of the severe winter of 1709. In the midst of the horrors of that winter, the poor homeless boy, wandering in search of work, is seized with small pox, and kindly cared for by a small farmer—although the kindness may seem of a questionable sort when the facts are read. He was literally buried, all but the head, in a dung heap, and left with occasional supplies of bread and water, to his fate. He recovered, grew up, became a student, a scholar, a learned man. In his twenty- second year, when he was herdsman to the hermits of St. Anne's 'near Luneville, he was discovered one day lying on the ground, with his maps and books spread about him, by the young princes ' of Lorraine, sons of Duke Leopold, and their tutors. A conversation took place, which ended in his being taken under the protection ,of the Duke as a student in the Jesuits' College of Pont-ii-Mousson. The simplicity and native dignity of the self-reliant peasant re- mained with him always. The authoress's version of his first appearance at Court is good-
.' On arriving at Luneville, he was presented to the duke, who received
him in the midst of a crowded court, drawn together by the expectation of this singular introduction. To all the questions addressed to him the young man replied quietly and modestly, without the least hesitation or embar- rassment, notwithstanding the novelty of his position and the importance of the part he had to play. "When released by the duke, he found himself accosted by various la-
dies of the court, who, making their remarks more freely than they would have done to one of their own rank, openly complimented him on the beauty of his teeth. He very dryly replied= What of that, ladies ? It is but a blessing I enjoy in common with the dogs.'
• "The duke, charmed with his naivete and pleasing appearance, renewed to him his promise of protection and commissioned Baron Pfutschner to see to his establishment in the college of Pont-i-Moussort, whither he was di- rected to convey his books and other effects. The baron had already un- dertaken to maintain hiin at his own expense, though he was but moderately rich ; and Barons Sickengen and de Weis liberally offered to take a share of his charges, but the duke assigned him a sufficient allowance from his private purse. Duval's passion for study, coupled with his desire to answer the expectations of his illustrious patron,ded him, from that moment, to redouble his zeal. He applied himself chiefly to history, geography, and antiquities' in which studies his new guides were well able to assist him.
"The sedentary life he now led, however., unrelieved by his old labours in field and forest, soon began to tell upon his health. Worn with constant vigils and application, his imagination began to exert an undue influence over his mind ; and chance throwing him about this time into the company of a very beautiful young lady, poor Valentine fell desperately in love. " There was no help for it but to fall out of it again ; Mid, to conquer his own unmanageable thoughts, he, in imitation of some old saint, took a dose of hemlock that very nearly ended his life, which was only saved at the cost of a severe illness. Weakened as be was, however, he would not relinquish his studies. The utmost he could be prevailed on to do was to breathe the pure air now and then in the woods and meadows."
The falling in love seems to have been harder to cure than the small-pox with Duval as with a few other people. Subsequently, Duval accompanies the Duke to Paris. From his recollection of that visit, we quote the following significant paragraph-
" After traversing the parterres and shrubberies of Versailles in every di- rection, I visited the interior of the magnificent palace which they adorn. It appeared to me truly worthy of the monarch to whom, according to the device adopted by himself (a sun that gives light to many globes), power and ability to govern many kingdoms were imparted. If ever the splendour of riches could have inspired me with respect and reverence, it would have been in that dazzling temple of Plutus; but the recollections of the miseries of my childhood embittered me against such a lavish misapplica- tion of wealth, and I regarded Versailles as the arsenal where those thun- derbolts had been forged, which, under the name of edits bureaux, or money edicts, had desolated my unhappy country, and indirectly been the cause of my praying more than once that death might release me from cold and hunger. " Thus, while most would have been loath to quit this luxurious spot, I turned away from it only too gladly."
In the year 1719, the Duke appointed Duval his librarian and Professor of History in the Academy of Lnneville. From that time, Duval maintained a high position, and never forfeited his liberty ; he was free of the court, and exempted from all eti- quette. He pursued his studies, and he had a friend at court, of his own humble origin, but who had also genius, goodness, and tastes like his own. This was Philip Vayringe. He had been appointed Mechanist to the Duke, and Professor of Experimental Chemistry in the Academy. Nor did he want a female friend. Mademoiselle Soccoloff, one of the Ladies in Waiting to the Em- press Catharine of Russia, a person of great merit, formed a sin- cere friendship for Duval, and they corresponded with each other during the remainder of their lives. Duval gave public lectures and these brought him in contact with the most distingnished foreigners of the time, especially English and French. He was a favourite with Francis and Maria Theresa, in whose court he liyed, as also in that of the Emperor Joseph. From Duval's auto- biography and correspondence, and from what the Chevalier Koch roports of Duval from his personal knowledge' the present author- ess has composed a very interesting book. It will take the first place among her works, haying a merit higher than fiction, that of a true biography.
Keeping up Appearances is a capital title for a novel illus- trative of English middle-class life at the present time. Mr. Redding has not written a good novel on the subject, but he has written some sensible and kindly things on the besetting sin of the day. He does not, however, appear to remember that keeping up appearances, in his extended meaning, is a sin of the human race peculiar to no nation and to no time, but common to all nations in all ages. It is only the form of the sin that varies a little. With us every one wants to appear rich and well-bred, or at least, as if a member of "good society." It is very clear to a reflecting mind that every one cannot be rich and well-bred, and that more than half the persons who pretend to be so are a sort of social impostors. But the imposition affects only their inferiors in experience or in rank—every one else suspects or knows the truth. Another kind of "keeping up appearances" is not so reprehensible ; we allude to the concealment of family dis- union. If husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters, are not on the most amicable terms with each other, it is best to keep up the show of kindness, because to do the reverse can but aggravate the evil. Politeness though but superficial, is better than saying every ill-natured thing you think of those with whom the chances and changes of life have domesticated you. It is not only polite, but in a sense religious to keep up appearances—for St. Paul's warn- ing to avoid all appearance of evil, shows that he, at least, thought that appearances were of importance. Phenomena always stand for real entities with the bulk of humanity. Mr. Redding's tale is, of course, directed against the sacrifice of a good reality to an appearance, falsely estimated to be good. With this no one can find fault : it is as we said before sensible ; but it is not sen- sible to say so much about it, or to write a long story which would be better short. Mr. St. George, who tells it, is very tedious, and we agree with his friend, Mr. Maitland, that "he is always in
the doldrums." Though we do not quite know what that means, we have an indistinct idea that it means being as melancholy as Jaques, without his wit. When Mr. Redding speaks himself, the
reader revives a little, for he has generally the words of a gentle old age at the nib of his pen. The characters in the tale we are
bound to say are not life-like, and the conversations and in- cidents are not exciting nor attractive ; yet, on the whole, the book is likely to please many unexacting readers.