' Eugene Aram. By the Author of "Pelham." 3 vols. Colburn add Bentley,
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POETRY AND BIOORAPHY,
The Life and Works of Lord Byron, Vol I. with Plates Murray.
MR. BULWER'S EUGENE ARAM.
THE story of Eugene Aram is one of those best known in the his- tory of English malefactors. The character of the accused, the peculiar circumstances under which the crime was committed, and the long interval between its perpetration and the discovery of the murderers, have invested it with a romantic interest, which, joined to the taste of the many for mystery and horror, have greatly con- tributed to the notoriety of the unhappy EUGENE—more especially, in the North. EUGENE ARAM was a scholar, of great application and no contemptible acquirements ; and all his habits and pursuits were utterly foreign from crime : so that if he really did commit the offence for which he died, it was a horrible exception from all the rest of his life. The evidence on his trial was certainly not decisive, and his defence was extremely learned and ingenious,—so ingenious, indeed, that contemporaries,- and among them PALEY, have said that the dexterity and plausibility of -his speech injured his case in the minds of his jury. He was tried at York, some fourteen years after the disappearance of DANIEL CLARKE, the person with whose murder he was charged, and was found guilty. He at- tempted to anticipate the executioner, and was carried all but a corpse to the gallows ; leaving behind him various poems; learned papers, and a plan and specimen of a Celtic dictionary. This history Mr. BULWER has selected for the groundwork of a novel; and he has not departed materially from the exact truth, except in supplying the unhappy man with a confession, supposed to be made to a particular individual and for his especial knowledge. ARAM, we believe, died without a sign ;. and it is hardly fair to put into his mouth, not a dying speech, but a dying letter, detailing the motives and manlier of the deed. On the other hand, some com- pensation is given in the elevation of Aram's character above the truth, in the exaggeration of his gifts of genius and learning, in the general spiritualizing of his history, which Mr. BULWER has effected with his usual power. Interest in Aram's character is attempted to be created not only by a description of the loftiness of his pursuits, the extent of his acquirements, and the elevation of his character, manners, and sentiments, but by involving his fate with that of one of the most amiable and peaceful families painter ever drew. The solitary Eugene retires to a remote but beautiful village; wherein he is drawn from his fitful musings, his dark self-corn- munings, and studies of an unnatural application and energy, by the friendly virtues of a neighbouring gentleman and his daugh- ters. With one of these young ladies—a fine, high-minded, and beautiful girl—he is on the point of being married, on the very morning of his apprehension. Still further and more deeply is he connected with this family. The young ladies had an uncle, a wild and unthrifty person, who, after spending his substance, and ex- hausting the patience of his friends, had gone to India, had re- turned, and been lost sight of: his son, the cousin of Aram's betrothed, and her rejected lover, sets out on a wide search of his father, collects traces of him, discovers his change of name, and ultimately identifies him with the Daniel Clarke who had so mys- teriously disappeared at Knaresborough : some further steps lead him to suspect Eugene Aram of being instrumental in pro- curing his death ; and the behaviour of a man who after- wards acknowledged himself an accomplice, and whose evi- dence ultimately brought him to the scaffold, fixes the crime on Aram, the lover of his cousin. On his return to his home, with a warrant in his pocket, the party are preparing for the church, the village bells are ringing, and all but Aram are gay : he is seized, and hurried off to York Castle : the family (all except the cousin), steclfast in their belief of his innocence, accompany him to prison; and await his trial. His betrothed, Madeline Lester, gradually sinks under suspense, and does not survive the sentence : her kind-hearted and generous father does not long outlive the close of the tragedy; and, altogether, the connexion with the wretched Eugene proves the curse and ruin of a happy and respectable house. This is a very melancholy story; and the impression it leaves on the mind is not done away with by the intelligence of a more joy- ful kind, respecting the junior actors in the piece, who afterwards join their fates. The Eugene Aram of Mr. BULWER is, as we have hinted, not the veritable man, but an ideal portrait: he is a Faust or Falkland, but not the humble and conscience-stricken schoolmaster of real life. He murders Clarke because he wants money, not so much for ordinary purposes, as to indulge himself in his passion for literature. This is probably true; there is record for it; and felony and death have since been incurred under the same motive. Perhaps some of our readers may remember the execution, not many years ago, of a poor young man of the name of VARTY, who forged a check in order to enable him to go and study at a foreign university. But in Mr. BULWER this notion is greatly spiritualized : in the novel, Aram "looked on the deed he was about to commit as a great and solemn sacrifice to Knowledge, whose priest he was." Solitude and study have made the humble self-taught scholar of Knaresborough a lofty and high-souled being, whose meanest thought is philosophy, whose voice is persuasion, whoselook is power. His solitary suffer- ings are the agonies of a demigod : it is Prometheus and the Vulture; and far, very far above either the remorse or the apprehension of poor Eugene Aram of Knaresborough. In this we see nothing to blame ; we are merely informing our readers that Mr. BULWER'S tale is far more like Manfred than the New gate Calendar,—a compliment certainly ; though not of the kind that will contribute, in these days, to the sale of the book. Aram has all the loftiness and some of the sensitiveness of Falkland, but there is no Caleb Williams. Scenes of power there are many ; many are the descriptions of great beauty ; and in the drawing of character, as well in the in- feriors as the principals, frequent are the traits of that dramatic genius for which we have always given Mr. BuLwza credit, and which places him among the very first of the writers of fiction of the present age.
The extracts we are about to make are of various kinds, and may be taken as fair samples of the whole. Sometimes the general tex- ture may be less highly wrought, and sometimes more brilliantly coloured; but the scenes we shall quote will interest by their beauty or their ingenuity. In the first, for instance, where the soli- tary student is detected in a retired nook by the banks of a fishing- stream, relieving his burthened conscience by ejaculation and self- communing, we cannot help being struck by the felicitous descrip- tion of the scenery of the spot, as well as by the well-conceived conduct and behaviour of the conscious malefactor, and the natural and affecting train of reflection into which he is led by the neces- sity of excusing his abrupt expostulation. The opening—the summer's eve in England—was assuredly never exceeded in rich- ness or truth in any pastoral painting.
It was waxing towards eve—an hour especially lovely in the month of June, and not without reason favoured by the angler. Walter sauntered across the rich and fragrant fields, and came soon into a sheltered valley, through which the brooklet wound its shadowy way. Along the margin the grass sprung up long and matted, and profuse with a thousand weeds and flowers—the children of the teeming June. Here the ivy-leaved bell-flower, and not far from it the common enchanter's night-shade, the silver weed, and the water even; and by the hedges that now and then neared the water, the guelder-rose, and the white briony, overrunning the thicket with its emerald leaves and luxuriant flowers. And here and there, silvering the bushes, the elder offered its snowy tribute to the summer. All the insect youth were abroad, with their bright wings and glancing motion ; and from the lower depths of the bushes the blackbird darted across, or higher and unseen the first cuckoo of the eve began its continuous and mellow note. All this cheeriness and gloss of life, which enamour us with the few bright days of the English summer, make the poetry in an angler's life, and convert every idler at heart into a moralist, and not a gloomy one, for the time.
Softened by the quiet beauty and voluptuousness around him, Walter's thoughts assumed a more gentle dye, and he broke out into the old lines :
" Sweet day, so soft, so calm, so bright ; The bridal of the earth and sky," &c.
as he dipped his line into the current, and drew it across the shadowy hollows beneath the bank. The river-gods were not, however, in a favourable mood, and, after waiting in vain for some time, in a spot in which he was usually suc- cessful, he proceeded slowly along the margin of the brooklet, crushing the reeds at every step, into that fresh and delicious odour, which furnished Bacon with one of his most beautiful comparisons. He thought, as he proceeded, that beneath a tree that overhung the waters in the narrowest part of their channel, he heard a voice, and as he approached he recognized it as Aram's; a curve in the stream brought him close by the spot, and he saw the student half reclined beneath the tree, and muttering, but at broken intervals, to himself. The words were so scattered, that Walter did not trace their clue ; but invo-
luntarily he stopped short, within a few feet of the soliloquist: and Aram, sud- denly turning round, beheld him. A fierce and abrupt change broke over the scholar's countenance; his cheek grew now pale, now, flushed ; and his brows knit, over his flashing and dark eyes with an intent anger, that was the more . withering, from its contrast to the usual calmness of his features. Walter drew back, but Aram stalking directly up to him, gazed into his face, as if he would read his very soul.
, " What ! eaves-dropping ?" said he, with a ghastly smile. "You overheard me, did you? Wel1,1 well, what said I?—what said I?" Then pausing, and noting that Walter did not reply, he stamped his foot violently, and grinding his teeth, repeated in a smothered tone " Boy ! what said I?"
"Mr. Aram," said Walter, "you forget yourself; I am not one to play the listener, more especially, to the learned ravings of a man who can conceal no- thing I care to know. .Accident brought me hither."
" What! surely—surely I spoke aloud, did I not ?—did I not?" "You did, but so incoherently and indistinctly, that I did not profit by your indiscretion. I cannot plagiarise, I assure you, from any scholastic designs you might have been giving vent to. Aram looked on him for a moment, and then, breathing heavily, turned away. "Pardon me," he said, "I am a poor, half-crazed man ; much study has un- nerved me ; I should never live but with my own thoughts ; forgive me, Sir, I pray you." Touched by the sudden contrition of Aram's manner, Walter forgot, not only his present displeasure, but his general dislike ; he stretched forth his hand to the student, and hastened to assure him of his ready forgiveness. Aram sighed deeply as he pressed the young man's hand, and Walter saw, with surprise and emotion, that his eyes were filled with tears.
" Ah !" said Aram gently shaking his head, "it is a hard life we bookmen lead. Not for us is the bright face of noon-day or the smile of woman, the gay unbending of the heart, the neighing steed, and the shrill trump ; the pride, 'pomp, and circumstance of life. Our enjoyments are few,and calm ; our labour constant; but that is it not, Sir ?—that is it not? the body avenges its own neglect. We grow old before our time; we wither up ; the sap of youth shrinks from our veils • there is no bound in our step. We look about us with dimmed eyes, and our breath grows short and thick, and pains and coughs, and shooting aches come upon us at night ; it is a bitter life—a bitter life—a" joyless life. I Would I had never commenced it. And yet the harsh world scowls upon us : ter nerves are broken, and they wonder we are querulous ; our blood curdles, and they ask why WC ire not gay ; our brain grows dirty and indistinct, (as with me just te*,) sad, shrugging their shoulders, they whisper their neigh- bours that we ate mad. I wish I had worked at the plough, and known sleep, and loved mirth—and —and not been what I am."
As the student uttered the last sentence, he bowed down his head, and a few tears stole silently down his cheek. Walter was greatly affected—it took him by surprise ; nothing in Aram's ordinary demeanour betrayed any facility to emo- tion : and he conveyed to all the idea of a man, if not proud, at least cold. " You do not suffer bodily pain, I trust ?" asked Walter, soothingly.
" Pain does not conquer me," said Aram, slowly recovering himself. " I am not melted by that which I would fain despise. Young man, I wronged you youhave forgiven me. Well, well, we will say no more on that head ; it is past and pardoned. Your father has been kind to me, and I have not returned his advances ; you shall tell him why. I have lived thirteen years by myself, and I have contracted strange ways and many humours not common to the world— you have seen an example of this. Judge for yourself if I be fit for the smooth- ness, and confidence, and ease of social intercourse : I am not fit, I feel it ! I am doomed to be alone—tell your father this—tell him to suffer me to live so ! I am grateful for his goodness—I know his motives—but have a certain pride of mind ; I cannot bear sufferance—I loath indulgence. Nay, interrupt me not, I beseech you. Look round on Nature—behold the only company that humbles me not—except the dead whose souls speak to us from the immortality of books. These herbs at your feet, I know their secrets—I watch the mechanism of their life ; the winds—they have taught me their language; the stars—I have unra- velled their mysteries ; and these, the creatures and ministers of God—these I offend not by my mood—to them I utter my thoughts, and break forth into my dreams, without reserve and without fear. But men disturb me—I have no- thing to learn from them—I have no wish to confide in them ; they cripple the wild liberty which has become to me a second nature. What its shell Is to the tortoise, solitude has become to me—my protection ; nay, my life !" " But," said Walter, " with us, at least, you would not have to dread re- straint ; you might come when you would ; be silent or converse, according to your will."
Aram smiled faintly, but made no immediate reply.
In a very different vein is the following angling piece : it is per- fection in its way. It must be observed, we are still on the trout' stream ; which, in the rural scenes of the novel, plays the part every trout-stream ought to do—that is, a very important one.
Thus meditating, he arrived at the banks of the little brooklet, and was awakened from his reverie by the sound of his own name. He started, and saw the old Corporal seated on the stump of a tree, and busily employed in fixing to his line the mimic likeness of what anglers, and, for augh: we knew, the rest of the world, call the "violet-fly." " Ha! master,—at my day's work, you see :—fit for nothing else now.. When a musket's half-worn out, schoolboys buy it—pop it at sparrows. I be like the musket : but never mind—have not seen the world for nothing. We get recon- ciled to all things: that's my way—augh ! Now, Sir, you shall watch me catch the finest trout you have seen this summer: know where he lies—under the bush yonder. Whi—sh! Sir, whi—sh !" The Corporal now gave his warrior soul up to the due guidance of the violet- fly : now he whipped it lightly on the wave ; now he slid it coquettishly along the surface ; now it floated, like an unconscious beauty, carelessly with the tide; and now, like an artful prude, it affected to loiter by the way, or to steal into de- signing obscurity under the shade of some overhanging bank. But aline of these manceuvres captivated the wary old trout on whose acquisition the Corporal had set his heart ; and, what was especially provoking, the angler could see distinctly the dark outline of the intended victim, as it lay at the bottom,—like some well-regulated bachelor who eyes from afar the charms he has discreetly resolved to neglect.
The Corporal waited till he could no longer blind himself to the displeasing fact, that the violet-fly was wholly inefficacious; he then drew up his line, and replaced the contemned beauty of the violet-fly, with the novel attractions of the yellow-dun.
"Now, Sir!" whispered he, lifting up his finger, and nodding sagaciously to Walter. Softly dropped the yellow-dun upon the water, and swiftly did it glide before the gaze of the latent trout ; and now the trout seemed aroused from his apathy, behold he moved forward, balancing himself on his fins ; now he slowly ascended towards the surface ; you might see all the speckles of his coat ;—the Corporal's heart stood still—he is now at a convenient distance from the yellow- dun ; lo, he surveys it steadfastly; he ponders, he see-saws himself to and fro. The yellow-dun sails away in affected indifference, that indifference whets the ap- petite of the hesitating gazer, he darts forward ; he is opposite the yellow-dun, —he pushes his nose against it with an eager rudeness,—he—no, he does not bite, he recoils, he gazes again with surprise and suspicion on the little charmer; he fades back slowly into the deeper water, and then suddenly turning his tail towards the disappointed bait, he makes off as fast as he can,—yonder,—yonder, and disappears ! No, that's he leaping yonder from the wave ; Jupiter! what a noble fellow! What leaps he at ?—a real fly—" Damn his eyes " growled the Corporal.
"You might have caught him with a minnow," said Walter, speaking for the first time.
"Minnow !" repeated the Corporal gruffly, "ask your honour's pardon. Minnow !—I have fished with the yellow-dun these twenty years, and never knew it fail before. Minnow l—baugh! But ask pardon ; your honour is very welcome to fish with a minnow if you please it."
Corporal Bunting is an important personage in the piece ; and not less so his cat Jacobina,—it being the first time in our recol- lection that justice has been done to the feline race in the pages of romance, since the composition of the redoubtable history of Whittington. Puss in Boots is a creature in fairy land, and an animal not to be considered zoologically like the dangerous Jacobina. Bunting and his favourite are certainly amusing and ingenious. The Corporal's views of life are discouraging ; and many will cry out that they are as unfair as they are coarse. The view is Tomlinsonian ; and we cannot help feeling surprised, that a writer who evidently most rejoices in a chivalrous and poetical morality—who, in fact, loves to view human nature only in its moods of exaltation and self-devotion—can take the pleasure he does in contemplating the wrong side of the picture, or is able so greatly to excel in delineating mankind under its most degrading aspect. It may be alleged, that to do so is dramatic—that it is not. BULWER who speaks, but Bunting: but this same view of life occurs in almost every novel by the same writer, in some form or other ; and we cannot help attributing it to the author. This implies that the same person has two creeds; which, perhaps, after all, is not so surprising as councils and clergymen may suppose. However,. the creed of Jacob Bunting is, that the world is divided into two. classes, the cheaters and the cheated : the cheaters are men of the world, successful, meritorious, and respectable ; the .cheated are tools, asses, unfortunate, unlucky, miserable, and contemptible. Society, with this respectable person, is the art of mutual humbug; and he who is the chief master of the art gets the best share of the common goods of life. But Bunting shall speak for himself. Having entered the service of the squire's nephew, the master and man are jogging up from their native village to London, where the young man proposes to commence life.
"The thought of London seems to have bewitched you. Did you expect to find the streets of gold since you were there last?"
"A—well, Sir; I hears they be greatly improved." " Pshaw ! you talk of knowing the world Bunting, and yet you pant to enter it with all the inexperience of a boy. illy, even I could set you an ex- ample." 'Tis 'cause I knows the world," said the Corporal, exceedingly nettled, "that I wants to get back to it. I have heard of some spoonies as never kist a girl; but never heard of any one who had kist a girl once, that did not long to be at it again." "And I suppose, Mr. Profligate, it is that longing which makes you so hot for London?"- "There have been worse longings nor that," quoth the Corporal gravely. "Perhaps you meditate marrying one of the London belles: an heiress—eh ;" " Can't but say," said the Corporal very solemnly, "but that might be
'ticed to marry a fortin, if so be she was young, pretty, good-tempered, and
fell desperately in love with me,—best quality of all.'
"You 're a modest fellow."
" Why, the longer a man lives, the more knows his value. Would not sell myself a bargain now, whatever might at twenty-one!" At that rate you would be beyond all price at seventy," said Waiter; "but now tell me, Bunting, were you ever in love,—really aud honestly in love ?" .." Indeed, your honour,' said the Corporal, " I have been over head and ears ; but that was afore I learnt to swim. Love's very like bathing. At first We go souse to the bottom, but if we're not drowned, then we gather pluck, grow calm, strike out gently, and make a deal pleasanter thing of it afore we've done. I'll tell, you, Sir, what I thinks of love: 'twist you and me, Sir, 'tis not that great thing in life boys and girls want to make it out to be. If %were one's dinner, that would be summut, for one can't do without that ; but lank, Sir, love 's all in the fancy. One does not eat it nor drink it ; and as for the rest, why it's bother!" "Bunting,. you're a beast," said Walter in a rage; for though the Corporal had come off with a alight rebuke for his sneer at religion, we grieve to say, that an attack on the sacredness of love seemed a crime beyond all toleration to the theologian of twenty-one. The Corporal bowed, and thrust his tongue in his cheek. There was a pause of some moments. "And what,' said Walter, for his spirits were raised, and he liked recurring to the quaint shrewdness of the Corporal, "and what, after all, is the great charm of the world, that you so much wish to return to it?"
"Augh !" replied the Corporal, ‘"tis a pleasant thing to look about un with Bone's eyes open. Rogue here, rogue there, keeps one alive. Life in Lunnon, rife in a village,—all the difference 'Mixt healthy walk and a doze in arm-chair. By the faith of a man, 'tis!" What ! it is pleasant.to have rascals about one ?" 4, Surely yes," returned the Corporal drily; "what so delightful like as to feel one's cliverness and 'bility all set an end—bristlin,g up like a purkypine. No- thing makes a man tread ;so light, feel so proud, breathe so briskly, as the knowledge that he's all his wits about him—that he's a match for any one—that
the Divil himself could not take him in. Augh w ! that's hat / call'S the use of an immortal soul—bother !"
Walter laughed. "And to feel one is likely to be cheated is the pleasantest way of passing one's time in town, Bunting, eh ?"
"Augh! and in cheating too, answered the corporal ; "'cause you SCCR, Sir, there be two ways o' living—one to cheat, one to be cheated. 'Tis pleasant enough to be cheated for a little while, as the youukers are, and as you'll be' your honour. But that's a pleasure don't last long: t'other lasts all your life. Dare say your honour's often heard rich gentlemen say to their sons— You ought, for your own happiness sake, like, my lad, to have summut to do— ought to have some profession, be you nicer so rich.' Very true, your honour ; and what does that mean? Why, at means that 'stead of being idle and cheated, the boy ought to be busy and cheat. Augh !"
"Must a man who follows a profession necessarily cheat, then ?"
" Baugh ! can your honour ask that.? Does not the lawyer cheat? and the doctor cheat? and the parson cheat more than any? And that 's the reason they all takes so much interest in their profession. Bother !"
"But the soldier? You say nothing of him."
"4 Why, the soldier," said the Corporal, with dignity, "the private soldier, poor fellow, is only cheated; but when he comes for to get for to be as high as a corp'ral, or a sargent, he conies for to get to bully others, and to cheat. Augh ! then 'tis not for the privates to cheat : that would be 'sumption indeed, awe us !"
"The general, then, cheats more than any, I suppose ?" "'Course, your honour. He talks to the world 'bout honour and glory, and love of his country, and sich like : augh ! that's proper cheating !" "You 're a bitter fellow, Mr. Bunting : and pray what do you think of the ladies are they as bad as the men?' "
"Ladies! augh ! when they're married ! Yes ! but of all them ere cretars, respects the kept ladies the most. On the faith of a man I do ! Gad! how Twat they knows the world! One quite invies the she rogues: they beats the wives hollow! Augh! and your honour should see how they fawns and flatters, mid butters up a man, and makes him think they loves him like winkey, all the time they ruins him. They kisses money out of the miser, and sits in their satins, while the yvife, 'drot her, sulks in a gingham. Oh! they be diver cre- 'tura ; and they '11 do what they likes with Old Nick, when they gets there, for 'tis, the old gentlemen they cozens the best."
So-much for the Bunting system of morality : we do not know -whether-the high-flying or the low-dragging schemes are the most erroneous.
The Jacobins. of Jacob Bunting has been commemorated: she was an original in her way, and we must try to make room for her character. Bunting had taken her to his bosom, on the great -and universal principle that one must love something—
The cat of Jacob Bunting was one more feared than respected throughout the 'ivillage. The Corporal was a cunning teacher of all animals: he could learn goldanches the use-of the musket; dogs, the art of the broadsword; horses to dance hornpipes and pick pockets; and he had relievedthe ennui of his solitary moments by imparting sundry accomplishments to the ductik genius of his cat. liaider his tuition, Puss had learned to fetch. and carry; to turn over head and
tail, like a tumbler • to run up your shoulder when you least expected it; to fly, as if she were 4iad, at any one upon whom the Corporal' hought fit to sefl
her ' • and, above all, to rob larders, shelves, and tables, and brin,g theproduee to the corporal, who never failed to consider such stray waifs lawful manorial ao. quisitions. These little feline cultivations of talent, however delightful to the Corporal, and creditable to his powers of teaching the young idea how to shoot,
had nevertheless, since the truth must be told, rendered the Corporal's cat a proverb and byword throughout the neighbourhood. Never was cat in such bad odour : and the dislike in which it was held was wonderfully increasesi by terror ; for the creature was singularly large and robust,' and withal of so courageous a temper, that if you attempted to resist its invasion of your property, it forthwith set up its back, put down its ears, opened its, mouth, and bade you fully comprehend that what it feloniously seized it could gallantly defend. More than one gossip in the village had this notable cat hurried into premature parturition, as, on descending at day-break into her kitchen, the dame would descry the animal perched on the dresser, having entered, God knows how, and gleaming upon her with its great green eyes, and a malignant, brownie expres- sion ofeountenance.
Various deputations had indeed, from time to time, arrived at the Corporal's cottage, requesting the death, expulsion, or perpetual imprisonment of the fa- vourite. But the stout Corporal received them grimly, and dismissed them gruffly ; and the cat still went on waxing in size and wickedness, and baffling, as if inspired by the Devil, the various gins andlraps set for its destruction. But never, perhaps, was there a greater disturbance and perturbation in the little hamlet, than when, some three weeks since, the Corporal's cat was known to be brought to bed,' and safely delivered of a numerous offspring. The village saw itself overrun with a race and a perpetuity of Corporal's cats ! Perhaps, too, their teacher growing more expert by practice, the descendants might at- tain to even greater accomplishment than their nefarious progenitor. No longer did the faint hope of being delivered from their tormentor by an untimely or even natural death, occur to theharassed Grassdalians. Death was an incident natural to one cat, however vivacious, but here was a dynasty of cats ! Prin. apes mortales, respublica sterna !
And now for the cat's master, Jacob himself—the " man of the world "—the philosopher whose memorabilia we have quoted above. The picture of him is far too amusing, and too necessary for the understanding of his wisdom, to be omitted. We have seen him fishing, we will now contemplate him riding— The Corporal then wore on his head a small cocked hat, which had formerly belonged to the Colonel of the Forty-second—the prints of my uncle Toby may serve to suggest its shape ;—it had once boasted a feather—that was gone; but the gold lace, though tarnished, and the cockade, though battered, still remained.. From under this shade the profile of the Corporal assumed a particular. aspeet.Of heroism : though a good-looking man on the main, it was his air, height, and complexion, which made him so ; and a side-view, unlike Luciau's one-eyed prince, was not the most favourablepoint in which his features could be regarded. His eyes, which were small and shrewd, were half hid by a pair of thick shaggy brows which, while he whistled, he moved to and fro as a horse moves his ears ;hen he gives warning that he intends to shy; Isis nose was straight—so far so good—but then it did not go far enough; for though it seemed no despic- able proboscis in front, somehow or another it appeared exceedingly short in profile' to make up for this, the upper lip was of a length the more striking trom being exceedingly straight ;—it had learned to hold itself upright, and make the most of its length, as well as its master! his imdef lip, alone, pro.- truded in the act of whistling, served yet more markedly to throw the nose into the background ; and, as for the chin—talk of the upper lip being long, indeed! the chin would have made two of it; such a chin! so long' so broad, so massive, had it been put on a dish might have passed, without discredit, for a round of beef! it looked yet larger than it was, from the exceeding tightness of the stiff black-leather stock below, which forced forth all the flesh it encountered into another chin' —a remove to the round. The hat being somewhat too small for the Corporal, and being cocked knowingly in front, left the hinder half of the head exposed. And the hair, carried into a club according to the fashion, lay thick, and of a grizzled black, on the brawny shoulders below. The veteran was dressed in a blue coat, originally a frock; but the skirts having once, to the immi- nent peril of the place they guarded, caught fire, as the Corporal stood basking himself at Peter Dealtry's, had been so far amputated, as to leave only the stump of a tail, which just covered, and no more, that part which neither Art in bipeds nor Nature in quadrupeds loves to leave wholly exposed. It was not only in its skirts that this wicked coat was deficient; the Corporal, who had within the last few years thriven lustily in the inactive serenity of Grassdale, had outgrown it prodigiously across the chest and girth; nevertheless he managed to button it up. And thus the muscular proportions of the wearer bursting forth in all quarters, gave him the ludicrous appearance of a gigantic schoolboy. His wrists:' and large sinewy hands, both employed at the bridle of his hard... mouthed charger, were markedly visible; for it was the Corporal's custom whenever he came into an obscure part of the road, carefully to take off, and prudently to pocket, a pair of scrupulously clean white leather gloves which smartened up his appearance prodigiously in passing through the towns in their route. His breeches were of yellow buckskin, and ineffably right; his stock- ings were of grey worsted, and a pair of laced boots, that reached the ascent of a very mountainous calf, but declined any farther progress, completed his attire.
Fancy then, this figure, seated with laborious and unswerving perpendicu- larity on a demi-pique saddle, ornamented with a huge pair of well-stuffed saddle-bags, and holsters revealing the stocks of a brace of immense pistols, the horse with its obstinate mouth thrust out, and the bridle drawn as tight as a bowstring ! its ears laid sullenly down, as if, like the Corporal, it complained of going to 'Yorkshire, and its long thick tail, not set up in a comely and well- educated arch, but hanging sheepishly down, as if resolved that its buttocks should at least be better covered than its master's.
The romance is by no means deficient, any more than others from Mr. BIILWER'S pen, in observations of considerable pith and shrewdness on the peculiarities of social life as it exists among us; and in no branch of this department of thought does he more excel than in all that relates to the education of the upper classes. In Eugene Aram, there is the character of a nobleman and states- man of the old school, who wishes to patronize the solitary stu- dent, and prevails upon him to pay a visit at his seat in the neigh bour.hood : the conversation takes a classical turn, and elicits the following just remarks— The English aristocracy, whatever be the faults of their education, (and certainly the name of the faults is legion !) have at least the merit of being alive to the possession, and easily warmed to the possessor, of classical attain- ment. Perhaps even from this very merit spring many of the faults we allude to. They are too apt to judge all talent by a classical standard, and all theory
by elassical experience. Without—save n very rare instances—the right to boast of any deep learning, they are far more sum:evade than the nobility of aril other nation to the spiritual Canurzue. They are easily and willingly charmed back to the studies which, if not eagerly pursued in youth, are still entwined with all their youth's brightest 'recollections,—the schoolboy's prize, and the master's praise,—the first ambition and its first reward. A felicitous (potation, a delicate allusion, is never lost upon their ear • and the veneration which at Eton they bore to the best verse-maker in the school, tinctures their judgment of others throughout life,—mixing I know not what, both of liking and esteem, with their admiration of one who uses his classical weapons with a scholar's dexterity, not a.pedant's inaptitude. For such a one there is a sort of agreeable confusion in thew respect. They are inclined unconsciously to believe that he must necessarily be a high gentleman,—ay, and something. of a good fellow into the bargain.
This is very true; and has a deener source than Mr. BULWER .perhaps suspect's. Classical literature is safe—it is a fine vent for young enthusiasm, but never interferes with the interests of the people or the privileges of an order. On the same principle, Spain only tolerated the study of mathematics in the universities of Mexico and Peru.
We ought not to close this notice without some instance of the pathos of the author; which, in a novel on such a subject, ought, at least, to abound. Eugene Aram is certainly not deficient in this respect: the whole history of Madeline is a deep and affect- ing tragedy. The scenes of it are too 'expansive in their nature to admit of disentanglement from the text; nevertheless we will try the effect of a very powerful picture of family grief. It is taken at the dreadful moment when Eugene Aram, expected at church by his bride, is apprehended by her cousin and the two officers he has brought with him from Yorkshire. As the group pass the manor- house, attended by the bride's father in great distress, and as Aram is giving, some last directions for concealing the extent of the calamity from his betrothed, the party have been espied from the windows; and, unknowing what to conclude from sights so unusual in their peaceful village, she rushes out of the house with her sister to meet them, and put an end to the agony of suspense—
Lester was about to answer, when at a turn in the road, which brought the carriage within view, they perceived two figures in white hastening towards them • and ere-Aram was prepared for the surprise, Aladeline had sunk, pale, trembling, and all breathless on his breast. " could not keep her hack," said Ellinor, apologetically, to her father.
'" Back ! and why? Ana I not in my proper place ?" cried Madeline, lifting her face from Aram's breast, and then, as her eve circled the group, and rested on Aram's countenance now no longer calm, but full of wo—of passion—of dis- appointed love—of anticipated despair—she rose, and gradually recoiling with a fear which Struck dumb her voice, thrice attempted to speak, and thrice failed.
"But what—what is this—what means this ?" exclaimed Moor. " Why do you weep, father? Why does Eugene turn away his face? You answer not. Speak, for God's sake ! These strangers, what are they? And you, Walter, you—why are you so pale? Why do you thus knit your brows and fold your arms? You—you will tell me the meaning of this dreadful silence—. this scene! Speak, cousin • dear cousin, speak !"
"Speak!" cried Madeline, finding voice at length, but in the sharp and straining tone of wild terror, in vvhich they recognized no note of the natural music. That single word sounded rather as a shriek than an adjuration; and so piercingly it ran through the hearts of all present, that the very officers, hardened as their trade had made them, felt as if they would rather- have faced death than answered that command.
A dead, long, dreary pause ; and Aram broke it. "Madeline Lester,"- said he, "prove yourself worthy of the hour of trial. Exert yourself; arouse your heart; be prepared! You are the betrothed of one whose soul never quailed before man's angry word : remember that, and fear not !" "I will not---I will not, Eugene ! Speak, only speak !"
"You have loved me in good report; trust me now in ill. They accuse me of crime, a heinous crime ; at first, I would not have told you the real charge; pardon me, I wronged you : now, know all ! They accuse me, I say, of crime. Of what crime? you ask. Ay, I scarce know, so vague is the charge—so fierce the accuser; but, prepare, Madeline, it is of—murder !"
Raised as her spirits had been by the haughty and earnest tone of Aram's ex- hortation, Madeline now, though she turned -deadly pale—though the earth swam round and round—yet repressed the shriek upon her lips, as those horrid words shot into her soul.
"You !—murder !—you ! And who dares accuse you ?"
6' Behold him—your cousin !" Ellinor heard, turned, fixed her eves on Walter's sullen brow and motionless attitude, and fell senseless to the earth. Not thus Madeline. As there is an exhaustion that forbids, not invites, repose, so when the mind is thoroughly on the rack, the common relief to anguish is not allowed ; the senses are too sharply strung, thus happily to collapse into forgetfulness; the dreadful inspiration that agony kindles, supports nature while it consumes it. Madeline passed, without a downward glance, by the lifeless body of her sister; and walking with a steady step to Walter, she laid her hand upon his arm, and fixing on his countenance that soft clear eye, which was now lit with a searching and preternatural glare, and seemed to pierce into his soul, she said- " Walter ! do I hear aright? Am I awake—is it you who accuse Eugene Aram ? your Aladeline's betrothed husband,—Madeline whom you once loved ! Of what ?—of crimes which death alone can punish. Away !--it is not you- Imow it is not. Say that I am mistaken; that I am mad, if you will. Come, Walter, relieve me : let me not abhor the very air you breathe !" "Will no one have mercy on me ?" cried Walter, rent to the heart, and co- vering his face with his hands. In the fire and heat of vengeance, he had not reeked of this ; he had only thought of justice to a father—punishment to a villain—rescue for a credulous girl. The avo—the horror he was about to inflict on all he most loved,—this-had not struck upon him with a due force till now !
"Mercy—you talk of mercy! I knew it could not be true !" said Madeline, trying to pluck her cousin's hand from his face : "you could not have dreamt of wrong to Eugene—and—and upon this day. Say we have eared, or that you have erred, and we will forgive and bless you even now !" Aram had not interfered in this scene. He kept his eyes fixed on the cousins —not uninterested to see what effect Madeline's touching words might produce. an his accuser; meanwhile she continued—" Speak to me, Walter—dear Walter, speak- to me! Are you, my cousin, my playfellow--are you the one to blight our hopes--to dash our joys, to bring dread and. terror into a home so lately all peace and- sunshine ; your own home—your childhood's home? What have-you done, what have you dared to do ?—accuse him—of what? Murder! speak, speak. Murder, ha! ha !--anurder ! nay, not so ! you would not yen- . ture to come here--you would not let me take: your hand—you would not look
• your one] , your more than sitters, in the face, if you could-nurse in your • heart thislits-..this hlacki.horrict
Walter withdrew -his, bands, and,. as he- burned- his face,
Let him prove his innocence, pray God he do! ram not his accuser, Madeline. His accusers are the bones of my dead father! Save these, Heaven, • alone, and the revealing earth, are the witness against him !" "Your father !" said Madeline, staggering back, "my lost uncle ! Nay. now I know, indeed, what a shadow has appalled us all! Did you know my uncle, Eugene? Did you ever even see Geoffrey Lester ?"
"Never, as I believe, so help me God!" said Aram laying his hand on his heart. "But this is idle now," as recollecting himself, felt that the case had gone forth from Walter's hands, and that appeal to him had become vain. • "Leave us now, dearest Madeline ; my -beloved wife that shall be, that is ! I go to disprove these charges ; perhaps I shall return to-night- Delay not my acquittal, even from doubt—a boy's doubt. Come, Sirs." "0 Eugene ! Eugene !" cried Madeline, throwing herself on her knees before him. "Do not order me to leave you -now—now, in the hour of dread—I will not. Nay, look not so ! I swear I will not ! Father, dear father, come and • plead far me ; say I shall go with you. I ask nothing more. Donot fear for my nerves—cowardice is gone. I will not shame you,—I will not play the woman. I know what is due to one who loves him—try me, only try me. You weep, father, you shake your head ; but you, Eugene, you have not the heart to deny me? Think, think if I staved here to count the moments fin you return, my very sense would leave me. What do I ask? but to go with you, to be the first to hail your triumph ! Had this happened two hours hence, you could not have said me nay ; I should have claimed the right to be with you, I now but ira-i • plore the blessing. You relent—you relent, I see it !"
"Oh God !" exclaimed Aratn, rising, and clasping her to his breast, and.
• wildly laissing her face, but with cold and trembling lips,—" This is, indeed, a bitter hour, let me not sink beneath it. Yes, Madeline, ask your father if he consents ;—I hail your strengthening presence as that of an angel. I will not be the one to sever you from my side.
"You are right, Eugene," said Lester, who was supporting Ellinor, not yet recovered,.-" Let her go with us; it is but common kindness, and common mercy."
Madeline uttered a cry of joy, ( joy even at such a moment !) and clung fast . to Eugene's arm, as if for assurance that they were not indeed to be separated.
The grand fault of Eugene Aram i's one that scarcely detracts from the merit of the author, and does not diminish the intrinsic worth of the book : it is its name. As soon as we see the title, 'we know what must be -the story : the mystery is unravelled from the be- ginning: the instant the person is introduced, we know him to be a doomed man we see the misery in wait for his connexions - we understand the cause of his solitary anguish. The praise of his fascinating manners, of his learning, of his genius,--;-all passes for nothing; for we instantly understand that it is an effort in the author to interest us in the dark scenes that necessarily ter- minate his life. This is a capital fault, and has greatly diminished . our pleasure in the perusal of a book, which, every time we open it again for reperusal, rises in our estimation.