28 APRIL 1866, Page 17

and fascination of its own that spring chiefly from its

tranquil picture of American rural life and labour, and of that peculiar tone of intellectual independence and self-reliance which has always dis- tinguished and still distinguishes it from the corresponding class in England. The scene of the tale is laid in the last century, among a settlement of Pennyslvanian Quakers, and the slight mystery which gives its narrative interest to the tale does not in any way inter- fere with the life of mingled grave and lively simplicity which it so vividly describes. Mr. Taylor's outlines both of the scenery and of social life are very frea and expressive. Some of his pictures of rural festivals, characterized as they are by the comparative refinement, the easier play of character, the lighter mirth, the more spontaneous labour, of a class that is not dependent on any other class above it,—that combines in itself proprietary characteristics and the characteristics of hard physical toil,—are as charming as sketches of this kind were ever made. The local colour is given by the Quakerism of the little settlement in which the scene is laid. But Quakerism, as it was just one of the forms of faith which demanded the freedom of an American settlement to give it full verge and play,—so full indeed as to teat its utmost strength and bring out its limitations, its inadequacy for all the various purposes of a Christian Church,—is exactly the sort of faith to heighten the initial characteristics of simplicity and independence proper to the early republicanism of the American States. The Quaker dread of mere forms and the Quaker doctrine of free spiritual guidance are little more than the spiritual equi- valents of the principles of political equality and freedom ; and indeed their fault is that they forget all the moral and social com- plexities of organization to which free growth under a doctrine of equal rights to growth, is certain to lead. But for that very reason, as a question of art, Mr. Bayard Taylor is quite right in laying his scene among the Quakers, where it is far easier for him to bring out the peculiar characteristics of the American yeoman class without effort, and without fine-drawn discriminations. The picture in this little story of Dr. Deane, the Quaker doctor of the little settlement of Kennett, and his daughter Martha, is one of the most effective sketches in his many clever books. He has never drawn a character more sweet and delicate, yet thoroughly independent, than Martha Deane, and the contrast between her real appRcation of the true spirit of Quakerism and her father's

servility to its forms is very finely conceived. There is a lesson deeper than a novel usually brings out in the picture which Mr. Taylor gives us of the way in which the living operation of the true doctrine of the Quakers makes Martha Deane break through the trammels of the Quaker prohibitions,—and the coldness of that principle in her father's heart serves to make him a formal and

bigoted Quaker. Nor does Mr. Taylor neglect the mere external touches of the picture. The following is almost as good as the best portrait of the Doctor could be:—

" This gentleman was still standing at the window, with his hands clasped across his back. His Quaker suit was of the finest drab broad- cloth, and the plain cravat visible above his high, straight waistcoat, was of spotless cambric. His knee and shoe-buckles were of the sim- plest pattern, but of good, solid silver, and there was not a wrinkle in the stockings of softest lamb's wool, which covered his massive calves. There was always a faint odour of lavender, bergamot, or sweet mar- joram about him, and it was a common remark in the neighbourhood that the sight and smell of the Doctor helped a weak patient almost as much as his medicines. In his face there was a curious general resem- blance to his daughter, though the detached features were very differ- ently formed. Large, unsymmetrical, and somewhat coarse, even for a man, they derived much of their effect from his scrupulous attire and studious air of wisdom. His long grey hair was combed back, that no portion of the moderate frontal brain might be covered; the eyes were grey rather than blue, and a habit of concealment had marked its lines in the corners, unlike the open, perfect frankness of his daughter's. The principal resemblance was in the firm, clear outline of the upper lip, which alone in his face' had it been supported by the under one, would have made him almost handsome ; but the latter was large and slightly hanging. There were marked inconsistencies in his face, but this was no disadvantage in a community unaccustomed to studying the external marks of character."

Martha Deane herself, simpler than her father, because entirely without any affectation of simplicity, less conventional because wanting the convention of unconventionality, firmer because never falling back on obstinacy but resting only on clear reason and the natural obligations of the heart, wiser because destitute of his cunning, more religious because refusing to let religion interfere with innocent enjoyments, and therefore able to carry a sense of innocent enjoyment even into her religion, is even more delicately painted. The following struggle with her father on the subject of

her engagement gives the clearest picture of her within a narrow. compass :- " Martha Deane's resolution was inflexibly taken. That same evening she went into the sitting room where her father was smoking a pipe before the open stove, and placed her chair opposite to his. Father,' she said, thee has never asked any questions concerning Alfred Barton's. visit.' The Doctor started, and looked at her keenly before replying. Her voice had its simple, natural tone, her manner was calm and self- possessed, yet something in her firm, erect posture and steady eye impressed him with the idea that she had determined on a full and final discussion of the question. No, child,' he answered, after a pause. saw Alfred, and he said thee was rather taken by surprise. He thought perhaps thee didn't rightly know thy own mind, and it would be better to wait a little. That is the chief reason why I haven't spoken to thee.'— If Alfred Barton told thee that, lie told thee false,' said she. knew my own mind as well then as now. I said to him that nothing could ever make me his wife.'—' Martha! ' the Doctor exclaimed, don't be hasty! If Alfred is a little older.'—' Father! ' she interrupted, never mention this thing again ! Thee can neither give me away nor sell me ; though I am a woman, I belong to myself. Thee knows I'm not hasty in anything. It was a long time before I rightly knew my own heart, but when I did know it, and found that it had chosen truly, I gave it freely, and it is gone from me for ever Martha, Martha!' cried Dr. Deane, starting from his sent, 'what does all this mean?'—'It means some- thing which it is thy right to know, and therefore I have made up my mind to tell thee, even at the risk of incurring thy lasting displeasure. It means that I have followed the guidance of my own heart, and be- stowed it on a man a thousand times better and nobler than Alfred Barton ever was, and if the Lord spares us to each other I shall one day be his wife !'—The Doctor glared at his daughter in speechless. amazement, but she met his gaze steadily, although her face grow a shade paler, and the expression of the pain she could not entirely sup- press, with the knowledge of the struggle before her, trembled a little about the corners of her lips.—'Who is this man?' he asked.—'Gilbert Potter.'—Dr. Deane's pipe dropped from his hand, and smashed upon the iron hearth.—' Martha Deane !' he cried, 'does the d-----?—what pos- sesses thee? Wasn't it enough that thee should drive away the man I had picked out for thee, with a single view to thy own interest and happiness, but must thee take up, as a wicked spite to thy father, with almost the only man in the neighbourhood who brings thee. nothing but poverty and disgrace ? It shall not be—it shall never be!'- ` It must be, father,' she said, gently. God hath joined our hearts and our lives, and no man—not even thee—shall put them asunder. If there was disgrace in the eyes of the world, which I know now there is not, Gilbert has wiped it out by his courage, his integrity, and his suffer- ings. If he is poor, I am well-to-do.'—' Thee forgets,' the Doctor inter- rupted, in a stern voice, 'the time isn't up!'—' I know that, unless thee gives thy consent, we must wait three years ; but I hope, father, when thee comes to know Gilbert better, thee will not be so hard. I am thy only child, and my happiness cannot be indifferent to thee. I have tried to obey thee in all things.' He interrupted her again. Thee'a adding another cross to those I bear for thee already. Am I not in a manner thy keeper, and responsible for thee, before the world and in the sight of the Lord ? But thee hardened thy heart against the direc- tion of the Spirit, and what wonder then that it's hardened against me ?'

No, father,' said Martha, rising, and laying her hand softly on his arm, ' I obeyed the Spirit in that other matter, as I obey my conscience in this. I took my duty into my own hands, and considered it in a humble, and I hope a pious spirit. I saw that there were inno- cent needs of nature, pleasant enjoyments of life, which did not conflict with sincere devotion, and that I was not called upon to. renounce them because others happened to see the world in a different light. In this sense thee is not my keeper ; I must render an account, not to thee, but to Him who gave me my soul. Neither is thee the. keeper of my heart and my affections. In the one case and the other my right is equal,—nay, it stands as far above thine as heaven is above the earth.'—In the midst of his wrath Dr. Deane could not help admiring his daughter ; foiled and exasperated as he was by the sweet, serene, lofty power of her words, they excited a wondering respect, which he found it difficult to hide.= Ah, Martha!' he said, 'thee has a wonderful power, if it were only directed by the true light ! But now it only makes the cross heavier. Don't think that I'll ever consent to see thee carry out thy strange and wicked fancies ! Thee mast learn to forget this man Potter, and the sooner thee begins the easier

it will be Father,' she answered, with a sad smile, 'I'm sorry thee knows so little of my nature. The wickedness would be in forgetting. It is very painful to me that we must differ. When my duty was wholly owed to thee, I have never delayed to give it, but here it is owed to Gilbert Potter, owed, and will be given.'—' Enough, Martha !' cried the Doctor, trembling with anger ; don't mention his

name again I will not, except when the same duty requires it to be mentioned ; but Father, try to think less hardly of the name ; it will one day be mine !' She spoke gently and imploringly, with tears in her eyes. The conflict had been, as she said, very painful, but her course was plain, and she dared not flinch a step at the outset. The difficulties. must be met face to face, and resolutely assailed, if they were ever to- be overcome. Dr. Deane strode up and down the room in silence, with his hands behind his back. Martha stood by the fire, waiting his fur- ther speech, but he did not look at her, and at the end of half an hour, commanded shortly and sharply, without turning his head, Go to. bed!'—' Good night, father,' she said, in her usual clear, sweet voice, an quietly left the room."

Scarcely inferior in ability is the sketch of Alfred Barton and his old father, —the former mean, cowardly, pretentious, but yet a not wholly selfish or heartless man, eager to be called " Squire- Barton," and yet the mere creature of his paralytic old father's will ;—the latter a restless and scheming miser, also not en- tirely destitute of family affection. The Fairthorn family, with the mischievous boys Joe and John acting as a sort of guerilla * Tie Story of Kennett. By Bayard Taylor. 2 vols. London : Sampson Low. chorus to the story, appearing fitfully to vex the lovers, and

cut off the sentimental stragglers, are not less vividly painted. The chief defect of the tale is in the somewhat melodramatic character of Mary Potter, which never gives us any sense of reality, and the slightly caricatured sketch of Miss Betsy Lavender, the humour of which is overdone and a little forced and theatrical,—overdone after Dickens's fashion, with a con- stantly reiterated emphasis on the physical peculiarities and grotesqueries by which she is marked. Still, in spite of these two considerable defects, which much injure the art of the story, and in spite of a little too much unreserve in the sentimental parts of the tale, Mr. Bayard Taylor's book is delightful and refreshing reading, and a great rest after the crowded artistic effects and the conventional interests of even the better kind of English novels.