17 MARCH 1855, Page 14



MR. KINGSLEY has secured the first requisite of success as a novel- ist, by choosing an interesting subject, which both excites and jus- tifies the powers of art and genius expended upon it. If it has been at times necessary to protest against the application of the -principle of " cui bono " to works of art, it has been because the application has been improperly made, the principle wrongly or narrowly interpreted, not because art is exempt from the necessity of being available for something higher than the pastime of in- active minds and jaded energies. To make us wiser and larger- hearted—to conduct us through a wider range of experience than the actual life of each generally permits—to make us live in the lives of other types of character than our own, or than those of our daily acquaintance—to enable us to pass by sympathy into other minds and other circumstances, and especially to train the moral nature by sympathy with noble characters and noble actions,— these are the high aims of fiction in the hands of its master wield- ers ; these are the aims which have raised novels and dramas to an importance which Nature herself indicates in assigning to their production those powers which the consent of all ages allows to rank supreme among the gifts of the human race.

Mr. Kingsley's object is to paint the types of character, and the sort of training, by which England rose in the reign of Queen Elizabeth to be mistress of the seas, and a model to all Europe of material prosperity and national unity—a powerful, a wealthy, a free, and a happy people. He does not, of course, attempt any such absurd impossibility as to epitomize in the fortunes and ca- reer of a single man or family the infinitely complex elements and agencies that go to make up the life of a nation at any one time ; nor does he select the central Government, -with its Court, its Administration, and its Parliament, and write a political novel to illustrate the policy of Elizabeth, and the various wisdom and talent of her Ministers, with the hearty' yet perfectly independent action of the national assembly. He takes as his type of Elizabethan character and activity a Devonshire youth, of good birth, and in no way distinguished from other sons of country gentlemen by either fortune, or learning, or genius, but of great bodily strength, of lively affections and sweet temper, com- bined with a marked propensity to combat from his earliest years; a character that when trained to self-denial and a high sense of duty to God and his country, and practised in the arts of war and seamanship, presents perhaps as perfect a specimen of glorious manhood as men have ever obeyed with implicit confidence and women worshiped as their natural liege lord and defender. Beside Amyas Leigh stand grouped his brother Frank, charmingly contrasted with him in all points except his pure and warm affections and chivalrous honour; and his mother, a saintly lady, whom early experience of calamity has sobered down to perfect serenity, and whom later sorrow and bereavement transfigure to almost unearthly intensity of faith, love, and resignation. The worthies of Devon—Sir'Walter Raleigh, Sir Richard Grenville, Admirals Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake ; families whose names are still the bright star g" of the West- Forteseues, Chichesters, Carys—blend in the action and interest of the scene. Burghers of Bideford, plotting Jesuits, Romanist country families, mariners who have sailed round the world with Drake, mariners who have seen Columbus and -Cabot and Vasco de Gams, country parsons, gentlemen adventurers; ,Spanishdons, South American Indians, and victims of the Inquisition, crowd the story with variety of character and incident. The scene itself spreads out from Bideford, near which is the family seat of the Leighs, through North and South Devon, to London in a passing glance; to Ireland and its wars, in which Amyas takes a distinguished part; to the Spanish main, and the boundless South American continent, where indeed the most interesting part of the adventures take place ; back again to Bideford, and Plymouth ; whence Amyas sails in com- mand of his ship, to take part in that most memorable sea- fight the twelve-days battle, in which the Spanish Armada was chased from Plymouth round the South and East coasts of Eng- land, and finally broke, fled, or went to the bottom, some escaping to Norway, a few under Medina-Sidonia back to Spain; and England was saved, and the long dream of Spanish ambition and Popish vengeance dispelled for ever. Through all this variety of incident and character Mr. Kingsley never flags, never becomes wearisome. His men and women live in his pages, talk life and not book ; and our sympathies move with them, so that, as in life, we do not impatiently look for the issue, but take an ever new interest in the details of the progress towards the issue. There may be differences of opinion as to the estimate Mr. Kingsley has formed of particular men of the age ; there certainly will be opposition elicited by some of his opinions on the religious manifestations of that age ; Papist and Puri- tan will scoff almost alike at his estimate of the Churoh-of- Englandism of that day ; and while the Dissenter of today has little reason to quarrel with the novelist for embodying Eli- zabethan Puritanism in such a stern warrior, admirable seaman and gunner, true comrade, Spaniard-hating and God-fearm'

an Englishm, as Salvation Yeo of Clovelly, we are not disposed to accept Mr. Kingsley's types as expressive of any but one and that the worst form of Romani= in the age he depicts. But

• Westward Ho ! or the Voyages and Adventures of Sir Amyas Leigh. Knight, Of Burrough in the County of Devon, in the Reign of Her Most Glorious Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Rendered into modern English by Charles Kingsley. Puhbahod by Macmillan and Co., Cambridge. this is not so much unfairness on his part, as a necessity of his story, which leads him to deal with plotting Jesuits, seminary priests, and Spanish American bishops and inquisitors, rather t'hun with the body of English Catholic gentry, to whose loyalty he bears high and notoriously well-deserved testimony. Still, the -result is a somewhat jarring sense of a partial representation in this respect, which we wish the constructive skill of the writer had been employed to obviate; though we would not, for any breadth of charity or comprehensive philosophy, lose or weaken the intensity of his conviction that the Protestant cause in that day was the cause of God, of freedom, of English nationality, of American United States, and of all which has made Europe dif- ferent from what it would have become had the Spanish dream of universal empire and the destruction of Protestantism been realized. It was this conviction that was at the root of the heroism of our land in that day, and it is the reflective glow of this conviction that gives its spirit-stirring trumpet tone to Mr. Kingsley's representation of that heroism. We began by saying that MT. Kingsley had chosen his theme well, because of its interest at any time to us Englishmen, de- scendants of the heroes of the Armada. But just now it seems especially opportune that we should look back for practical lessons, for encouragement, direction, and warning, to an age when great actions seemed the spontaneous instinct of the community, and success rose to the amplest range of aspiration. If miracles were wrought then, they were wrought by men using human means, under that agency which will always work rairacles—under the inspiration of a faith in righteousness being the law and order of the world—of a manful resolution to dare everything for the right —of a prudence to judge of means—of a gallant spirit to hold life and labour and pain all well spent in the service of their country, and in the cause of God, freedom, and human happiness. The same spirit, employing means and mechanical skill of which Eliza- beth's heroes never dreamed in their wildest aspirations, will again produce proportionate results. But we talk of righteousness and faith in God, and believe in mechanical forces calculable by mea- surement and arithmetic ; we talk of genius and strong will, and believe in routine and a system of mutual check ; we believe in these, or rather we have no belief in anything, and this is the ex- pression of our unbelief, our incapacity, our helplessness, our de- epair. Welcome war, welcome pestilence, welcome anything that

• will reuse the once noble English nation from this paralysis of true human, true national life; that will foroe us once more to

• seek out clear heads and brave hearts, and thank God, as for his choicest gifts, for men who will work themselves, and govern us - and teach us to work—for men like those worthies "whom," as Mr. Kingsley says in a hearty dedication of his book to the Bishop of New Zealand and Rajah Sir dames Brooke, "Elizabeth, with- out distinction of rank or age, gathered round her in the ever- glorious wars of her great reign.'

Westward Bo ! partakes much more of the character of biogra- phy and history than of the ordinary sentimental novel. Love plays a great part in the progress of the story, as it does in the lives of most men ; but it is as motive influencing character and deter- mining action that it is exhibited, not as itself the sole interest of • life, the single feeling which redeems human existence from dul- ness and inward death. The love which acts on the career and - character of Amyas Leigh does not spend itself in moonlight mo- nologues or in passionate discourses with its object ; nor does the story depend for its interest upon the easily roused sympathy of ' even the stupidest readers with the ups and downs, the fortunes and emotions, of a passion common in certain degrees and certain kinds to all the race. It is no such narrow view of life that is presented here, but rather that broad sympathy with human action and human feeling in its manifold completeness which gives to art a range as wide as life itself, and throws a consecrating beauty over existence from the cradle to the grave, wherever human af- fections act, wherever human energies find their object and their field, wherever the battle between right mad wrong, between sense and spirit, is waged—wherever and by whichever means characters

• are trained, principles strengthened, and huroanity developed. And . this comprehensive character—displaying itself in assigning its • true relative value to each thing—we taketo be the distinguiehing test of high art, and that which marks it out from all mere senti- mentalism, prettiness, eclecticism, or whateverother name we tatty give to man's attempts to reduce nature to some standard of his - own taste, or the taste of a particular age or clique, instead of en- - deavouring to enlarge his heart and open his eyes to see and, feel ' the wonders and the 'splendours which are poured down from hea- ven on earth, in the least of which as in the greatest the Infinite ' reveals himself for those who through the letter can penetrate to the spirit. But we must not talk any longer about Mr. ICingsley's book, and occupy space better devoted to specimens. Here is a descrip- tion of Amyas Leigh's education ; in which the nineteenth century iii lectured quite as plainly as the sixteenth is mirrored.

- "Now this young gentleman, Amyas Leigh, though come of as good blood as.anv in Devon, and having lived all his life in what we should even now call the very best society, and being (on account of the valour, courtesy, 'and truly noble qualities which he showed forth in his most eventful life) chosen by me as the hero and eentxe of this story, was not, saving for his good looks, by any means what would be called now-a-days an interesting' youth, still less a ' highly-educated ' one ; for, with the exception of a little • Latin, which had been driven into him by repeated blows, as if it had been - a nail, he knew no books whatsoever, save his Bible, his Prayer-book, the . old Mort d'Arthur ' of Caxtou's edition which lay in the great bay-window • in the hall, and the translation of ' lathes)' which History of the West In,' which lay beads it, lately done into English under the tide of The -Creel- ties of the S aniardr.' Ile devoutly believed in fairies, whom he called pixies; and geld that they changed bias, and made the mushroom rings on the downs to dame in. When he had warts or burns he went to the white witch at Northam to charm them away; he thought that the um moved round the earth, and that the moon had some kindred with a Cheshire cheese. He held that the swallows slept all the winter at the bottom of U e horse-pond ; talked, like Raleigh, Grenvil, and other low persons, with a broad Devonshire accent ; and was in many other respects so very ignorant a youth, that any pert monitor in a National School might have had a hearty laugh at him. Nevertheless this ignorant yuung savage, vacant of the glorious gains' of the nineteenth century, children's literature and science made easy, and, worst of all, of those unproved views of English history now current among our railway essayists, which consist in believing all persons, male and female, before the year 1688, and nearly all after it, to have been either hypocrites or fools, had learnt certain things which he would hardly have been taught just now in any school in England ; for his training had been that of the old Persians, to speak the truth, and to draw the bow,' both of which savage virtues he had acquired to per- fection, as well as the equally savage ones of enduring pain cheerfully, and of believing it to be the finest thing in the world to be a gentleman; by which word he had been taught to understand the careful habit of causing needless pain to no human being, poor or rich, and of taking pride in giving up his own pleasure for the sake of those who were weaker than himself. Moreover, having been intrusted for the last year with the break- ing of a colt, and the care of a east of young hawks which his father had received from Lundy Isle, he had been profiting much by the means of those ooarse and frivolous amusements, in perseverance, thoughtfulness, and the habit of keeping his temper,; and though he bad never had a single ' object- lesson,' or been taught to use his intellectual powers,' he knew the names and ways of every bird, and fish, and fly, and could read as cunningly as the oldest sailor the meaning- of every drift of cloud which crowed the hea- vens. Lastly, he had been for some time past, on-account of his extraordi- nary size and strength, undisputed cock of the sehool, and the moat terrible fighter among all Bideford toys ; in which brutal habit he took much de- light, and contrived, strange as it may seem, to extract from it good, not only for himself, but for others, doing justice among his schoolfellows with a heavy hand, and succouring the oppressed sad afflicted; so that he was the terror of all the sailor lads, and the pride and stay of all the town's boys and girls, and hardly considered that he bad done his duty in his calling H he went home without beating a big lad for bullying a little one. For the rest, he never thought about thinking, -or felt abetzt feeling ; and had no ambition whatsoever beyond pleasing his father asd mother, getting by honest means the maximum of red quarrenders' and 'wizard cherries, and going to sea when he was big enough. Neither was he what would be now- a-days called by many a pious child ;. for though he said his Creed and Lord's Prayer night and mornibe, and went to the service at the church every forenoon, and read the day's Psalms with his mother every evening, and had learnt from her and his father (as he proved well in after life) that it was infinitely noble to do right and. infinitely base to .do wrong, yet (the age of chiltiven's religious hooka mot having yet dawned on the world) he knew nothing more of theology, or of his own soul, than is contained in:the Church Catechism. It is a question' however, on the whole, whether, though grossly ignorant (according to our modern nations) in science-and religion, he was altogether untrained in manhood, virtue, and godliness ; and whether the barbaric narrowness of hivinfermation was not somewhat counterbalanced both in him and in the rest at his generatioa by the depth, and breadth, and healthiness of his education."

All who know Mr. Iiingsley's previous-writings will be sure that be has not missed the opportunity of indulging in that land- scape word-painting of which help so consummate a master. How little in the way of actual observation a man of genius needs to realize scenery, how much the practised artist can make of the hints furnished by others when his own eye is familiar with.Na- ture's general way of working, we have capital instances in the Tropical scenes of the book. The following is on the banks of the Meta, where Amyas and his band arrived after three years' wan- dering among the branches and plateaus of the Andes in search of the golden city. "They paddled onward hour after hour, sheltering themselves as best they could under the shadow of the Southern bank, while on their right hand the full sun-glare lay upon the enormous wall of mimosas, figs, and laurels, which formed the Northern forest, broken by the slender &hafts of bamboo tufts, and decked with a thousand gaudy parasites ; bank upon bank of gorgeous bloom piled upward to the sky, till where its outline cut the blue flowers


and leaves too lofty to be distinguished by the eye, formed a broken rain- bow of all hues quivering in the ascending streams of azure mist, until they seemed to melt and mingle with the very heavens. "And as the sun rose higher and higher, a great stillness fell upon the forest. The jaguars and the monkeys had hidden themselves in the darkest depths of the woods. The birds' notes died out one by one ; the very butter- flies ceased their-flitting over the tree-tops, and slept with outspread wings upon the glossy leaves, imdistinguishable from the flowers around them. Now and then a colibri whirred downward toward the water, hummed for a moment around some pendent flower, and then the living gem was lost in the deep blackness of the inner wood, among tree-trunks as huge and dark as the pillars of some Hindoo shrine ; or a parrot swung and screamed at them from an overhanging bough ; or a thirsty monkey slid lazily down a liana to the surface of the stream, dipped up the water in his tiny hand, and started chattering back, as his eyes met those of some foul alligator peering upward through the clear depths below. In shaded nooks beneath the boughs, the capybaras, rabbits, as large as sheep, went paddling sleepily round and rowel, thrusting up their unwieldy beads among the blooms of the blue water-lilies ; while black and purple water-hens ran up and down upon the rafts of float- ing leaves. The shining snout of a fresh-water dolphin rose slowly to the surface ; a jet of spray whirred up; a rainbow hung upon it fore moment; and the black snout sank lazily, again. Here and there, too, upon some shallow pebbly shore, scarlet flamingoes stood dreaming knee-deep on one leg; crested cranes pranced up and down, admiring their own finery; and ibises and egrets dipped their bills under water in search of prey : but befor noel' even those had slipped away, and there reigned a stillness which mightbe beard—such a stillness (to compare small things with great) as Wootnily the rich shadows of Amyas's own Devon woods, or among the lonely sweeps of Exmoor when the heather is in Bower." And here Amyas comes upon the real herome of the storp though in proprià persona she only makes her appearance in this

the last volume.

"It was an Indian girl ; andyet, when be looked again—was it au Winn girl? Amyas had seen hundred. of those delicate dark-skinned daughlerra of the forest, but never such a one as this. liarliarure was Wisri limbs were fuller and more rounded ; her complexion, though _ light, was fairer by far than his own sunburnt face ; her hair, crownsik a garland of white flowers, was not lank and straight and black,e Indian's, but of a rich glossy brown, and curling richly and crisply from her very temples to her knees. Her forehead, though low, was upright and ample; her nose was straight and small ; her lips the lips of an European ; her whole face of the highest and richest type of Spanish beauty ; a collar of gold mingled with green beads hung round her neck, and golden bracelets were on her wrists. All the strange and dim legends of white Indians, and of nations of a higher race than Carib, or Arrowak, or &dim°, which Amyas had ever heard, rose up in his memory. She must be the daughter of some great cacique, perhaps of the lost Incas themselves : why not? And full of simple wonder, he gazed upon that fairy vision ; while she, unabashed in her free innocence, gazed fearlessly in return, as Eve might have done in Paradise, upon the mighty stature and the strange garments, and above all on the bushy beard and flowing yellow locks of the Englishman. " He spoke first, in some Indian tongue, gently and smilingly, and made a half-step forward : but, quick as light, she caught up from the ground a bow and held it fiercely toward him, fitted with the long arrow, with which, as he could see, she had been striking fish, for a line of twisted grass hung from its barbed head. Amyas stopped, laid down his own bow and sword, and made another step in advance, smiling still, and making all Indian signs of amity : but the arrow was still pointed straight at his breast, and he knew the mettle and strength of the forest-nymphs well enough to stand still and call for the Indian boy—too proud to retreat, but in the uncomfort- able expectation of feeling every moment the shaft quivering between his ribs."

This Indian girl, Avacanora by name, is developed with great care and finish. We know nothing in recent literature that will at all compare with the combined breadth of conception and deli- cacy of detail with which the process of her growth, from the huntress of the woods, the wild beautiful savage, to the Christian maiden, under the influence of love for Amyas and Mrs. Leigh's gentle control, is wrought out. Mignon will at once occur to every one as the character to be compared with Ayacanora, though there is in fact no identity or copying. The defeat of the Armada is gloriously described, but is too long for extracting. Amyas Leigh has by circumstances become a fierce hater of the Spanish name and race; has over and above his country's quarrel a death-feud of his own with a noble Spaniard who commands the Sta. Catherina in that invading fleet; and, possessed with a devil of hatred and vengeance, he pursues his adversary's ship for sixteen days after the battle was over, round England, round Scotland, round past the Orkneys, past the Isle of Man, on to the Welsh coast, and finally gets her between his own ship and the shore without a chance of escaping. Here is the catastrophe.

"And now Amyas and his old liegeman were alone. Neither spoke ; each knew the other's thoughts, and knew that they were his own. The squall blew fiercer and fiercer, the rain poured heavier and heavier. Where was the Spaniard ?

" 'If he has laid-to, we may overshoot him, sir.'

" If he has tried to lay-to he will not have a sail left in the bolt-ropes, or perhaps a mast on deck. I know the stiffneckedness of those Spanish tubs. Hurrah! there he is, right on our larboard bow! '

"There she was indeed, two musket-shots off, staggering away with can- TUB split and flying. " 'He has been trying to bull, sir, and caught a buffet,' said Yeo, rubbing

his hands. What shall we do now ? '

" Range alongside, if it blow live imps and witches, and try our luck once more. Pah! how this lightning dazzles !'

"On they swept, gaining fast on the Spaniard. " Call the men up, and to quarters ; the rain will be over in ten minutes.'

" Teo ran forward to the gangway, and sprang back again, with a face white and wild—' Land right ahead! Port your helm, sir ! for the love of God, port your helm ! '

" Amy as, with the strength of a bull, jammed the helm down, while Teo shouttd to the men below.

" She swung round. The masts bent like whips ; crack went the fore- sail like a cannon. What matter ? within two hundred yards of them was the Spaniard ; in front of her, and above her, a huge dark bank rose through the dense hail and mingled with the clouds, and at its foot, plainer every moment, pillars and spouts of leaping foam. " 'What is it, Morte ? Hartland ?' "It might be anything for thirty miles. " Lundy ! ' said Teo. The South end ! I see the head of the Shutter in the breakers ! Hard a-port yet, and get her close-hauled as you can ; and the Lord may have mercy on us still! Look at the Spaniard !' " Tee, look at the Spaniard!

"On their left hand, as they broached-to, the wall of granite sloped down from the clouds toward an isolated peak of rock, some two hundred feet in height. Then a hundred yards of roaring breaker upon a sunken shelf, across which the race of the tide poured like a cataract ; then, amid a column of salt smoke, the Shutter, like a huge black fang, rose waiting for its prey ; and between the Shutter and the land, the great galleon loomed dimly through the storm.

"Be too had seen his danger, and tried to broach-to. But his clumsy mass refused to obey the helm : he struggled a moment, half hid in foam; fell away again, and rushed upon his doom.

" 'Lost! lost ! lost !' cried Amyas madly, and, throwing up his hands, let go the tiller. Teo caught it just in time.

" 'Sir ! sir ! what are you at ? We shall clear the rock yet.'

" 'Yes !' shouted Amyas in his frenzy ; but be will not!' "Another minute. The galleon gave a sudden jar, and stopped. Then one long heave and bound, as if to free herself. And then her bows lighted clean upon the Shutter. "An awful silence fell on every English soul. They heard not the roar- ing of wind and surge ; they saw not the blinding flashes of the lightning: but they heard one long ear-piercing wail to every saint in heaven rise from five hundred human throats : they saw the mighty ship heel over from the wind, and sweep headlong down the cataract of the race, plunging her yards into the foam, and showing her whole black side even to her keel, till she rolled clean over, and vanished for ever and ever.

" 'Shame !' cried Amyas, hurling his sword far into the sea, ' to lose my right, my right, when it was in my very grasp ! Unmerciful!'

" A crack which rent the sky, and made the granite ring and quiver a bright world of flame, and then a blank of utter darkness, against which stood out, glowing red-hot, every mast and sail and rock, and Salvation Yeo, as he stood just in front of Amyas, the tiller in his hand; all red-hot, transfigured into tire, and behind the black black night."

Our paper has already extended beyond moderate compass, and we cannot speak of details. Only on one point we feel compelled

to notice what appears to us an error in taste. In order to impress more strongly the chivalric influence of a noble self-sacrificing passion for a woman in an age when these phrases meant really what they said, poor John Brimblecombe's outer man is unneces- sarily porcified, and his liking for good things too much brought out. Don Quixote's soul may act within Sancho Panza's body, and Socrates, we know, was not an Apollo; but Mr. Kingsley dwells too emphatically on the contrast, as if he had some trouble to persuade himself of the fact, and, now that he is persuaded of it, dotes on his discovery as "a precious thing unfolded late." Mr. Kingsley has too much genuine Christianity, too much ex- perience of the world, for this really to be the case ; it is a lapse of a careless mood, not corrected on reflection. This, and the ab- sence of any favourable type of the Roman Catholic, are the two faults that linger on our minds. But the book is a noble book, and well-timed.