7 MARCH 1835, Page 16


Limn ALBERT CONYNGII AM has dome seine service 40 the lighter literature of the day by selecting this work of SPI Ninnies for translation. It has considerable tnerit in itself; it derives an in- terest from the character of the ago which it professes to describe; and it offers a striking contrast to the dashing but crude pruritic- tiens which emaliate in such numbers front the English work- shops. The Natural Son reminds us of' the time when a man set about writing a book as if he were striving to erect a struc- ture upon a rock, and not to colic together " a thing of shreds and patches," which should scarcely endure a single season.

The story of this novel is complicated ; far too much so to at- tempt to miravel it in detail. The leading subject is, of course, the adventures of the Natural Son; the secondary one the career and crimes of his brother. Archibald Verner, the bastard, is the favourite child of a wealthy burgess of Uliti ; who has banished

• Philip, the legitimate heir of his house, to the Netherlands, that he might not spite the pet. At the opening of the story, we see Archibald a bold and sprightly boy, full of the waywardness of youth, and the sudden caprices of a spoiled child. Suddenly his father dies, without signing the will he had prepared : Archibald's brother, Philip—a selfish, low-minded, and brutal villain—arrives, and on the Natural Son's recovery from a violent fever, quarrels with him, and kicks him out of the honse. Ile returns at night- fall, burning with vengeance; and is about to set fire to the pro- misee, when be is stopped by an old woman, who inquires his name and history, and adopts him as her son. Lene—so she is called —is a repute.' witch : she enables the author to exhibit the magi- cal mumtneiies of the age, and to repre-ent a class that received less consideration than the alchemists of the day, but inspired as much respect and more fear. For a reamn dimly shadowed in the novel, and for the more tangible one that she requires an assistant, l.ene takes Archibald home, disguises him as a gipsy, and even- tually transfers hint as a pupil to Dr. Dee, the celebrated English alchemist and adventurer. By him the youth is placed in a mo- nastery for education ; which gives the author an opportunity of painting the discipline, the jealousies and heartburnings, of mo- nastic life, and of indicating the nature of the literary and scien- tific studies of the time. On his removal, Archibald is placed by his patron in the castle of a German noble as a dumb page; but his imprudence causes his detection and dismissal. A life of ad- venture ensues, till he seeks out Dee at Prague : by him he is introduced fraudulently to the Emperor Rudolph ; and whilst he becomes a favourite at court, he secretly figures in the city circles as a noble. Being discovered and disgraced, he joins the artil- lery; and this introduces the reader to Hungary, and to a picture of Hungarian warfare. In the mean time, his brothor--But for the course of Philip, for the crimes of this man and his ser- vant Simon, as well as for the final catastrophe, and the elaborate filling up of this meagre outline, we must refer to the volume. SPINDLER is an author of study, observation, and painstaking. His story is constructed with considerable skill : the changes of forturie are great, rapid, and surprising, without revolting the reader or appearing unnatural. The probability of the incidents must indeed be measured by the standard of romance; but tested by this, and with an allowance for the state of the times, they seldom exhibit great exaggeration. The merit of the story, how- ever, consists in its coherence. Every event in the complicated plot has a dependence upon those which precede and those which follow; every character serves in some way to advance the fable. The fortunes of the two brothers, though greatly differing in their kind, are connected together with much art; and whilst the sue- cessive acts of the drama are necessary to produce the catastrophe, they naturally serve to exhibit the spirit of the age. Lie hero of .SP I DLER, like other heroes, is an extraordinary person : with this exception, the characters are the characters of real life. The rakes and adventurers have the carelessness and lax principles of men who live by shifts, but also the social qualities of men who live by pleasing; they have, moreover, a point of honour and points of -conscience, beyond which they are not induced to pass without difficulty or remorse. The villains—and there are many—are drawn by an observer of life.. One of them, and not the least, is an agreeable person in his way ; and the Devil incarnate of the book is too great a master of his craft to obtrude his villany—he is smooth, hypocritical, crawling, and supple as a serpent. Another point worthy of remark in SPINDLER'S villains, is the character of their minds—they are none of them highly intellectual : the bolder and more violent—the men of action—are coarse in their mental characters and tastes; the quality of the mot eau/ dos mon rises no Lighter than cunning. The :heroines will not he

admired in England ; all the women outrage oar notions of pro- priety : and lack:led, the general moral tone of the work is low,— not worse, perhaps, than that of' the age, yet marking, we suspect,

the ethical notions of the author's present countrymen, other- wise it would not have been painte I so easily and naturally; a stranger would have Ober exaggerated or sofietted.

The titlepage indicate% that one object of the work was to describe a particular epoch, This is done with skill and learning, but is not overdone; scarceiet any thing is inirodeu el merely for the sake of using up antiquavitee knowledge. A character, how. ever eminent he may be, who takes no part in the deem, is dis-

missed with a brevity proportioned to his raele in the dramatis, personre, and not to his popular repatatior. Thus, Rudolph, and our compatriot Dr. Dee, are painted at full length ; the more cele- brated Tycho Brahe merely appears rend depates.

This is one side of the piece; now let us look at the other.- The perception of the author is distinct, his style clear; all his ideas

whether sentiments or images—whatsoever can be felt or what- soever can be seen—are imparted to the reader; but they are Ain- veyed rather than presented. His composition requires mere variety, and more of adaptation to the changing nature of the stelee jects. There is occasionally an elaborwe ininuleness and literal:

truth of description, which, however pleasing to German phlegm, Is somewhat tedious to the English. The narrative can rarely be said to flag, but it as rarely hurries the reader along. Truly as

the characters are conceived, and skilfully as they ale developed, they seem to want the principle of life, and remind one in this Far- ticular more of automatons than living creatures. In line, every thing that cultivated talent and high skill can efiLet, has Leen done ; but we miss the charm of genius.

The coherence already noted, and the manner in whielt the picture is made complete by a painstaking enumeration of all the mieutim

'Jr the scene, are not favourable for indeeendent extract. We will take a quotation which, if not altogether a whole in itself,. will he perfectly intelligible after the previous melee of the story, and which. whilst it offers a specimen of the author's manlier, will give an insielit into the character of Dee and Rudolph, and of the mode in which Archibald is introduced to the Emperor.

When Archibald, with his conductor, had reached the great ridistg-schook he found the door guarded by sevetal musketeers; while acithin, was a solitary groom leading a horse up and down, upon whieh was seated a man in mean. attire. Tin groom's handsome livery appeared out of keeping with the worn eianamon- coloured doublet of the equestiian, to whom Propics plivately drew his companion's attention.

" That is his majesty! our most gracious Emperor," lie whispered ; " he is taking his usual ride, and we must not disturb him ;" they therefore stood ia the eiltrance, and as the Emperor did novappear to remark them. but continued bi•; singular exercise undisturbed, Archibald had time to observe the num upon whoin his future destiny Ilepeuded. Rudolph, the second-of his name in the imperial line of Ilapsburgh, was of a striking appearance; lie had a loll face, sparkling eyes, and a loRy forehead ; nor was his beard the least remarkable patt of a physiognomy, which toi4lit have been considered mild, had not his black bushy eyebrows and long eyelashes given it an expression of hauteur, which, however, ill-concealed a certain air of mistrust. Ili. clothes and hat were worn and shabby ; he was riding in shoes and woollen stockings, and his hands were stained with oil colours, of which there were also some stains upon his doublet ; the monatch's whole demeanour was that of a personof itsdoleut mind, though his features displayed great powers of intellect.

Archibald's remarks, added to what he hall heattl from the doctor, made him feel certain that lie kuew the Emperor's disposition : nevertheless, when his Majesty, having finished his ride, iiiquired in a low tone of the Master of the Horse, " Who was the stranger ?" and having dismounted, made (in unusual good -humour) a sign to !Archibald to approach, he lost all confideuce, so muck was he struck with the majestic air whirl. Rudolph assumed, while awaiting his address,—a circumstance which had before happened to more than one ambas- sador on his introduction. Rudolph encouraged him with all the affability which he so well knew how to assume.

" What is your business, my son, and who are you ?" inquired the Emperor.

" Your most unworthv servant," answered Archibald, regaining courage, " Archibald Siebelsturfer,-of a noble house in Bavaria. I have been despatched here by a true friend and adherent of your Majesty, although he is fir away, and am charged with a-message which may only meet your private ear."

The Emperor stepped hack, regarded the speaker from head to foot, and cast a glance of anxiety at Propicz, who stood behind him.

" Ile is without arms, and without paper of any kind," said the Master of the Ilorse, respectfully; " I have searched him myself." A cloud seemed to pass from Rudolph's brow at these words, and he com- manded the Master of the Horse, as well as the groom, to withdraw to the doorway ; which was at a sufficient distance to prevent their catching a word of the conversation.

" I am come from Padua," commenced Archibald, " where the exiled Neapo- litan, Andrew Argoli, gives lectures (to the satisfaction of every body who hears him) in philosophy and in astrology; I was one of the scholars of this excel- lent and learned man, and may boast, that by my application 1 became his fa- vourite; I finished my studies under his supetintendence, and when I took have of him, to seek my fortune in the world (for I was a poor orphan, and had nothing to hope from my family), he conducted mu into his laboratory, and after be had locked the door, spoke thus- " ' You depart at an opportune moment, my dear scholar Archibald, to relieve my mind of a commission which I could only intrust to the most discreet ear— you are going to Prague? Well then ! let nothing in the world prevent your seeking an audience of our gracious Lord and Emperor Rudolph the Second ; and impress upon him that I drew his horoscope at the exact hour, and questioned the planets which ruled and influenced at his birth, and his accession to the royal and imperial dignities ; and three times have I read, in the stars and their con- stellations, the same threatening prediction, that there is a danger hanging over him which may affect his life, and which is the more urgent, as it is through a near relation that it is impending ; tell him, further, that the planets which ruled, by their light, over the 18th July 1552. and those which ruled over the 24th of Pebruary 1557, will be eternally in opposition; and that, by.a.calcu- lation upon the houses and roots of the cabana, no name can be more injunous to the Emperor than that of Matthew.' " With this mission my wise instructor allowed we to depart ; be would hint- self have undertaken the journey here, had his weak constitution allowed him. the " Prairie hunting-grounds,"—always assuming that he could To me alone did he intrust the Important intelligence, knowing my attachmeut combine the requisite qualifications to accomplish it with success. to my lord and master, for whom my lather died; and fearing that any written The conjunctions required are not few,—health, strength, acti-

statement might, by the thousand accidents of a long journey, fall into strange bands, he only gave me the tablet upon which your Majesty's nativity, conste1 -

bitions, and horoscope are marked by mysterious ciphers, and signed by Argoli things; a horse or two, possessing the accomplishments of his in Greek characters, which would be perfectly unintelligible to the unlearned. master ; and some half-breeds (crosses of Indians and Europeans) I have endeavoured to conceal it from every eye, and even b om your Majesty's to serve as guides, escorts, and purveyors. If ambitious of tra- Master of the Horse, that no impertinent curiosity might deprive me of my cre- versing with safety grounds rarely or never trodden by the foot of dentials ; and I here present to your gracious Majesty that which, if by God's the White man, he should, like our author, so time his trip that grace you lend your ear to wisdoni, will save you, and destroy your enemies." The Emperor, who till now had listened with melanchtia, seriousness ad he may be accompanied by a Government Commissioner and a band increasing interest, hastily seized the tablet, and drawing another similar to it amounted rangers or riflemen. Thus favoured by circumstances, he from his hosoin, began walking up and down before Archibald, apparently should provide himself with fire-arms, a camp-kettle to cook in, comparing them, while the latter awaited, with a beating heart, the consequences blankets to sleep in, or (oral a tent when it rains, with flour, coffee,. of his crafty tale. and condiments to flavour the game. Ile ought also to be accou- Rudolph coati] not conceal the greatest inquietude; at length he stopped, and

Archibald could plainly perceive that a tear trembled in his eye; he hastily,

however, dashed it away, and again reassumed his royal demeanour. belonged to an Indian gallant, and was decorated by the bands of ., My uncle, a knight of Malta," answered Archibald; " it was the only The excitement of novelty is worn off; the young hands have thing his circumscribed means permitted him to do fur me, and I bless his me- knocked up their steeds, so that sport is hardly practicable, even mory for it."

Comfort yourself," he continued, as Archibald made a melancholy sign of affir- sometimes scarce owing to the lateness of the season, even pro- motion; " you shall find in us a second father, if you prove worthy of our fa- vender for the horses at times is wanting; the weather is be- your. To what science did you particularly direct your studies ?" coming bad and cold ; and, in short, the way-worn wanderer, " Do you understand those potions and poisons which cause madness ? We do not mean their preparation, but whether you are able to discern them ?"

the originator of the whole plan, might be depended upon ; but Tycho but with a greater preponderance of Indian blood—and several Brahe—that was a dreadful name to Archibald'. ears, for he had beard, of the officers and people of the camp, are not merely sketched from the doctor's own mouth, the unimpeachable character and the love of off, but made to show themselves in action ; so that the book corn- truth of that most learned man. bines with a tale of travel and adventure a good deal of dramatic

The two wise men, in their long garments, trimmed with sable, their velvet caps falling over the back of the neck, and hat in hand, entered the imperial

stables at the same moment. They approached the Emperor with almost an We have spoken of the huntsman BE ATTE, who subsequently air cif equality : Dee did not appear to have any previous acquaintance with the became the guide of the expedition. Here he is at hiring and person who called himself Sic belstorfer. starting.

and the signature is correct, for this Grecian signature is well-known to me, Such was the appearance of the man ; and his manners were equally unpre- and not to be mistaken, as I have often received letters from that worthy man i possessing. Ile was cold and laconic; made no promises nor professions; stated therefore be upon your guard, my most gracious master. Your enemy is called the terms he required for the services of hiniselfand his horse; which u e thought Matthew' has a design upon your life, and will deprive you of it, unless you are rather high, but he showed no disposition to abate them, nor any anxiety to se- befiwchand with him, and deprive him, as well as his abettors, of the means of

mischief. cure our employ. Ile had, altogether, more of the Red than the White man in post which your relations have abandoned in order to persecute t our evening's encampment.

te their toaster. * a • • • 'fake toy hand, Brahe Argolis testimony has completely overturned my already-

The young nobleman to whom we owe the book in its present

dress, appears to have performed his part well. The style is easy wild horse.