THIS is a novel imported from America. It ought naturally to have been published in Philadelphia or New York ; but we sup- pose the market is better here,—for in all manufactured goods,. romances and fashionable novels as well as the rest, the best m r- ket attracts the ambitious from all quarters. Clarence has afforded us a good deal of amusement ; not pre- cisely in the way the author probably proposed, or of the same na- ture that the belles of New York will derive from it. A fashion- able American novel naturally presents several curious points of comparison : as it is an invariable rule with all mankind to laugh at manners different from their own, and to laugh the more heartily according as the difference is less, so is it that we have been mightily entertained with the fashionables of Trenton Falls. The airs and graces of aristocracy do not sit well upon republican features ; but being exotics, they appear to be prized and cultivated with a care that may astonish those who only know Jonathan by the character of their institutions. It might be supposed that an Englishman landing on the republican shores of the United States, there, if anywhere, would be simply looked upon according to the qualities with which nature and education had endowed him. Not so, however: nowhere is a bit of blood more valued than in the Union : to be a duke's cousin is to be entitled to homage, and every English stranger is expected to be familar with the whole House of Lords. The ladies are eager after the fashions of Paris, and the gentlemen ambitious of the acquaintance of the aristocrats of London. So much for the leaven in the blood. It may be sup- posed that, at their distance and with their disadvantages, they are not very exact imitators ; nevertheless, in the capitals they approach near enough to amuse: The first curiosity in the book which will strike an English reader, is the singular idioms into which the language has fallen in the United States. MATHEWS has made us familiar with the more enormous phrases of American English, and since then GALT has given us his inimitable picture of Mr. Hoskins : but, not to speak of these vulgar modifications of the language,
• Clarence. A Tale of our own Times. 3 vols.London,1830.. .
-we were-surprised to find- the multitude of incorrect or barbarous idioms that had crept into the language of even the better- educated class of people. A. boy of respectable family is made to say that there was " ever so much-line company in the parlour." The principal person of the novel observes, that the habit of " taking for granted, is just the difference between those that get -along in the world and. those that slump through." " Has Mrs. Carter brought the fowls for dinner, Sarah ? "—" No, Sir ; she has concluded not to."—"Blame her carpets !" And so on ad infinitum. The prejudice in favour of rank and blood, so alien to all those opinions and principles on which rest the foundations of American liberty and independence, is remarked by the author of Clarence. Who would have expected a passage like the following from the pen of a republican. It is in the vein of WASHINGTON burns°, corrupted by so long a residence in the Old Country.
" It must be confessed, there is a charm, to our republican society, in a foreign name and aristocratic pretensions, like the fascinations of a fairy- tale to children. Our tastes are yet governed by ancient prestiges—cast in the old mould. We profess the generous principle that each individual has a right to his own eminence, whether his sires commanded the heights or drudged obscurely in the humblest vale of life: but artificial distinctions still influence our imaginations, and the spell has not been dissolved by the repeated detection of the pretensions of impostors with foreign manners and high. sounding titles, who have obtained the entree of our fashionable circles."
This remark is apropos to a certain Henriquez Pedrillo, who, though a.considerable scoundrel, is evidently drawn after the au- thor's beau ideal of a gentleman.
" Henriquez Pedrillo bad far more plausible claims to favour than cer- tain other vagrant foreigners, who have played among us too absurd and notorious a part to be yet forgotten. He had in the first place' nature's aristocracy, a person and face of uncommon symmetry and elegance ; and these advantages he cherished and set off with consummate art, steering a middle course between coxcombry and negligence, the Scylla and Charybdis of the gentleman's toilette. His conversation did not in- dicate any more erudition than he might have jmbibed at the playhouse, and by a moderate intercourse with cultivated society. He spoke En- glish, French, and Spanish, equally well, and so well as to leave his hearers in doubt which was his vernacular [tongue] ; and be had the insi- suating address, the elevation of look and manner, in his intercourse with ladies, that mark the exotic in America."
Speaking of the same gentleman, the author takes further occa- sion to point out the difference between the American and Euro- pean gentleman.
"Observe his air—the tout-ensemble—be has nothing of the 'don't care' negligent demeanour of our countrymen, who, from living always among their equals, from having no superiors to obey, nor inferiors to command, get this easy, indifferent, and careless manner. Our quiet, plodding, uneventful, comfortable lives, are stamped in our faces evident. There are other indications more obvious—just cast your eye on this gen- tleman, now his hat is off: that profusion of hair would be a curiosity on an Ameriedh head, over five-and-twenty; and this gentleman has some dozen yea:rs more than that. And observe, as he passes his hand over his face, those large, richly-set rings. I never saw an American (I mean, of course, a man past boyishness and dandyism), with more than one, and
• that a simple token or memorial. And finally, see the string of little sil- ver bells on his dog's collar. An American would not venture an tip- - pendage so pretty and fantastical."
The deficiencies of the Yankees in all those matters which the author terms affairs du exur, are so frequently the subject of ob- servation, as that the fortune-hunter would surely have a better chance in New York than in Bath.
"The men of our country, particularly our Northern country, are so de- Ecient in the embellishments—the mysterious, indescribable little arts that Excite the imagination—they are upright and downright, and have such a smack of home about them. If they reach the heart, it is by the turn- pike road of common sense, not by the obscure, devious, mysterious, but delicious avenue of the imagination."
The obscure, mysterious, and delicious, are certainly not re- publican qualities ; and our Yankee brethren must be content " with a freedom from -taxes and the liberty of the press. It has been seen that America beaux fall sadly short of European ones :
our readers shall judge of their belles. The following contains a few traits of a New York fashionable.
"" Her taste and imagination, and that love of the recherche, that is, perhaps, a subtle form of vanity, had led her to avoid whatever was commonplace. Even the names of her children indicated her artificial taste. She relieved the simplicity of Emily, a name adopted in compli- ment to her grandmother, by giving it a French termination ; and subsequently gratified her fancy by selecting for her younger children the rare names of Gabrielle, Victorine, Julian, and Eugene. In the arrange- ment of her house, she avoided the usual modes of vulgar wealth. She tolerated no servile imitation of French ornament; no vases of flaunting artificial-flowers, in full eternal bloom ; no pier tables covered with French china kept for show, not wisely' and looking much like a porcelain dealer's specimens, or a little girl's baby-house ; no gaudy time-piece confounding an mythology, or like the Roman Pantheon, embracingall ; in short, there was nothing commonplace, nothing that indicated the uninspired, undi- rected art of the fabricator. The very curtains and carpets betrayed, in their web, the fair mistress of the mansion. There were few ornaments in thealaartments,but they were of the most exquisite and costly kinds. Lamps
of the purest classic form—the prettiest allumette-eases (match-cases) and fire-screens that ever came from the hand of a gifted Parisienne— flowers compounded of shells, and wrought into card-racks, that might have served the pretty Naiadstheroselves, (if, perchance, visiting-cards are the tokens of submarine courtesies,) and a Cupid of Italian sculpture, bearing on his wing a timepiece, and looking askance, with a mischievous smile, arthis emblem of the sternest of tyrants. Connected with the drawing- roonhthere was a library, filled with the flowers of foreign literature, and The popular productions of the day, and embellished with a veiled copy of Vanclerlyn's Ariadne, and a beautiful portrait of M. Layton (herself) in the character of 'Armida."
• This is not the- bower of a Transatlantic Aspasia, but the sitthog-room. of the wife-eta respectable citizen of New York; so it Would seem.that, the belles have indeed far surpassed the beaux. The conversation of yàung ladies is equally refined with the furniture of .elder ones. The heroine takes a moonlight walk by Trenton Falls ; where she meets a perfect stranger, to whom she observed, after interchanging a few ' words— Solitude and moonlight are certainly the best accompaniments to fine scenery. They are like the vehicle of music to the inspirations of the poet." If young ladies talk thus to all the strangers they meet, surely, the gentlemen ought not to fall short of the "obscure, the myste- rious, and the delicious." But we should like to know what the fashionable young ladies of New York mean by fixing. "Mrs. Roscoe,' says a lady to a visitor, "will be down directly: it is quite contrary to her habits to keep any one waiting. She has broken my Emma of ever fixing after company comes. She says we have no right to sacrifice others' time to our vanity, and Emma looks upon everything she says just like proverbs." -
It is a matter of course that an American tele of our times should contain a hit or two against the Mother Country, or at least against her sons. We accordingly find a very stupid fellow introduced, called Stuart, the son of an English baronet: he is represented as dull, stiff, and ignorant, but on account of his con- nexion with the English baronetage, is everywhere received with open arms. His ignorance of everything American is made to appear decided enough ; and when the early history of West the painter is recounted to him, he remarks the English have also a genius of the same name, the President of their Academy, and that his elder brother received two of his pictures as an heir-loom with the family domain, in right of his primogeniture ; and he thence deduces the patronage of the arts from the laws in favour of elder sons !
Taken as a mere novel, Clarence is about as good as the general run of the home manufacture.