20 NOVEMBER 1830, Page 16

THE . times of Elizabeth and James the First were distinguished

for their folio divinity and small quarto plays ; those.of Arine for their political 'satires and rhyming translations in octavo ; this is the age of novels. Duodecimo fiction is the order of the day, and . poste.. rity will 'mark it as the epoch of romance—reduced to writing:. It is characteristic of literature, that the department " which is to distinguish the . period, shall in. its :day be 'underValued; but at the same time devoured: it is the universal passion,- Consequently vulgar; it is attempted by. every body, consequently imprized. Amidst the multitudes that are produced, only a small per cent- age,' as • Mr. Apperton would say, remain; but they form e large body when compared not with the .Crowd of similar publications, but with the productions of other branehes of authorship. • We of the nineteenth century wlll figure in the " streams of time," that may hang upin the school-rooms of the year two. thousand, be set down as the golden age of novels—the classical period of revolution and romance. One of the writers Whose. reputation will exist, and even increase in celebrity, is the author of Maxwell. Maxwell is a leaf of the history of the day : it is a.novel cut out of life as it lives between Burlington Gardens and the Stock Exchange: The acting persons are such as we all of the middling; classes meet with every day When ive are in luck 'andhave an ap- petite for character, viz., professional people, with an oddity or two. The incidents are somewhat.out of the common Inn, brit they are such as frequently vary the smooth current of quotidian history. It is ever "a' proverb, that truth is bolder .in her-incidents than fiction dares to be : realities occur, at reasonable Intervals, far more surprising than romance : events frequently laugh probability to scorn. . .

It is, however, neither the story nor the incidents of Maxwell which We 'care about ; they have neither interested us much nor added much to the pleasure derived: from the perusal - of the work. It is the author's inimitable talent at working out the humours and whimsicalities of character—the inertia oelife, truth, and ori- ginality which distinguish his portraits, and the spirit, and at the same time the extreme naturalness with which- he carries on the conversations in which their. traits are prineipill3r developed. There is not a page in the book which might not have been talked, and which it .would net have been amusing to hear. The truth is, that the author is a man who can tn./1i himself, and 1,vhoge:ideas habitually leave him . h. form to amuse and strike : it is not surprising, therefore, that he„cen put a kinder fancy and ;.play of mind into his books. Toe Offen the persons Who write 4ialogues are those who cannot even,. ..sustain one : side of . a con- - versation without boring their hearer's, much less two or three.

go, but of these is the -staple woven. We can have no difficulty in fixing upon specimens which will • By the Author of Sayings sad Doings. 3 vols. London, BB& at the same time exhibit the character of the work and amuse the reader. The whole of the first volume abounds in materials of this nature.

The following passage May introduce " Godfrey Moss, alias Mousetrap, to our readers; and will permit Master Neddums, otherwise Edward Maxwell, Esq. student at law, to describe an adventure upon which subsequently mtiCh incident turns : the comments of the company at least render it amusing.

" Well, Master Ned,' said Moss, beginning his attack the moment the family party were ranged at dinner, what did you do down at Dullham House—hard work to get through the day, eh ? '

"No,' said Ned ; ' I didn't find it very bad—after breakfast we did as we liked till half-past one.'

" Ah, that is, did nothing,' said Moss ;—' went and washed a dog in a pond ; looked at a hen's nest; saw half a dozdn horses' tails sticking out of their stalls in the stables ; squashed about the brown sugar walks in the dripping shrubberies ; sat on the bridge ; looked at the water; saw how sticks swim ; admired a calf ; proposed sparrow-shooting—no gun at hand; thought of a walk in the kitchen garden—gate locked ; wanted to look at the grapery—gardener gone to buy pea-sticks. I know—well, poor deluded creturs, and what after that ?' " Why, after that,' said Ned, (if you mean after what never occurred)

came luncheon ; after luncheon our horses and the carriages were or- dered—Miss Epsworth and her aunt used to drive in the phaeton, and I and Overall, and one or two others, used to ride.'

"'What have you done with the Major ?' said Maxwell. "'He is there, Sir,' said Edward.

"'What, at Dullham?'

'" Yes,' said Ned.

"'To be sure he is,' said Moss.

" I think,' said Apperton, he has an eye to the freehold and the topyhold and the leasehold; the India stock, and the three per cent. consols.'

"'As sure as a gun,' said Moss, that lying little cretur will snap up your Jenny, Master Ned ; he'll carry off your little ricketty vinegar bot- tle, if you don't look sharp.'

" I cannot.helpit,' said Edward ; and if he do, I don't much care.' "'What I' exclaimed Kate, a lover, and speak so of your beloved ?' " I am no lover, Kate,' replied her brother ; at least not of her's.' 1" Hallo l' said his father, what, is your heart going another way ?' "'Going, Sir?' said Edward.

'" Gone, I think,' said Kitty.

"'That is nonsense,' said Edward; but I honestly confess I never did tee such a lovely creature in the whole course of my existence, as one I saw to-day, and whose life I saved.'

"'Oh! a romantic affair,' said Moss. Where did 'um happen, Master Neddums?'

" In—Long Acre,—' said Edward, after a little hesitation.

"'What a scene for a romance l' said Kate.

"'Was she very pretty, Ned ?' asked his father; tell us your story.'

"'Why, Sir,' said the son, at the corner of Long Acre, a carriage driving furiously along, and unseen by her, was within an inch of running over this beautiful girl. I, luckily, and most luckily, as I hadn't been in town half an hour, and was coming homewards from Lincoln's Inn, rushed between her and the horses, seized the bridle of the off-horse with one hand, and catching the lovely, Creature round the waist with the other, succeeded in rescuingther ,ftom what must otherwise have been certain death.'

‘" Apd a very meritorious act; too, Ned,' said Maxwell. 'No accidenf. did happen to her, I hope.'

" No job for the craft,' said Moss; no feeling for the faculty—eh ? —six and eightpenee again, Kittums.' "'No, Sir,' said Edward, ' she was, as they say, more frightened than hurt; but she was all gratitude to me, and called me her deliverer.' "'Mistook you for your father, perhaps, Neddums,' said Moss. "'She gave you her address—a reference, I conclude,' said Apperton. " No,' said Edward, and sighed.

"'He's a young chap yet," said Moss, sotto voce, to the stockbroker; 'does she live in Drury Lane, Ned ?'

" • Where she lives I know not,' said the young man. 'I begged leave to sed her home, but she strenuously declined ; I inquired her residence —she would not tell me—she requested me to call a hackney-coach—I did So—handed her in—' "'And left her in the straw without further inquiry ?' asked Moss.

"'I did inquire again and again,' said young Maxwell, but to no pur- pose. She thanked me a thousand times; but entreated me, in accepting those thanks, to add to her obligations by not endeavouring to discover 'whither she went ; and I—'

"'Of course got up behind the coach and traced her,' said Moss. "'No, Mr. Moss,' said Edward, I did not. I gave her my honour I would conform myself to her wishes. She told me her reasons were iai- portant and imperious—I believed her assertions, and obeyed her in- junctions.'

"'And you behaved like a gentleman and a man of honour, Ned,' said his father ; but was she very handsome ?' " Lovely, perfectly lovely,' said Edward.

" I thought,' said Kate, that you did not prefer such lovely persons, Edward ?'

" Perhaps, Kate,' said Ned, 'I should rather call it loveable. I have no taste for your regular, systematic, Grecian-nosed, short-lipped, clas- sical one, two, three, regulation beauties, as you know; but this creature had eyes full of intelligence and feeling, and a mouth which, when she smiled—' "'Oh I stuff, Ned !' said Moss ; here, stockbroker, give me some Snuff. I used to talk that sort of trash when I was at your time of life, but=

"1 Nay,' said Maxwell, 1 when you did talk it, I have no doubt you thought it very agreeable.'

"'What added to the interest this charming girl inspired,' said Ned, !was her dress.'

" 'Cocquelot, hat and hair to match ?' said Moss. "'No,' said Edward, she was dressed in the deepest mourning! "Black saves washing,' said Mr. Apperton.

"She She bad that within which passeth show,' said Edward; there was a plaintive melancholy in her eye=

"Oh, Ned, Ned,' said Moss, if you go on so, I must have up the gin and water an hour eadier than usual.'

• " 'It is very curious,' said the stockbroker, to observe • how the most sensible characters are imposed upon. There was myself—' • `' what, by way of au example,' said Moss, taking a huge pinch

.0f Apperton's snuff. . " Yes, exempli " ' — as the Dutch say,' continued Mousetrap.

• " Come, come, Mousetrap,' said Maxwell, ' let Apperton tell his story, and then we will have some loo—and Kitty shall say to you and Pam to- gether, Pray be civil.' . " Oh, civil,' said Moss, • I'm civil enough, but I've no pifience With all this pottering about runaway horses and runover women—pish !—the creturs put themselves there on purpose to be run over, or run away with. Come, Kittums—put evilly your netting—making a purse for the stock- broker boy—eh ?

" ' I was making it for you,' said Kate.

" Not a bit of it,' said Moss ; I hav'n't no need of purses—no—no- Apperton's the boy—those high-stool chaps, with the desks, and the rails, and the stove, and the slits in the panels for the bills, eh, Apperton ? That's the way we does 'em in Copthall Court, or wherever your Potamaboo place is. Come along, then, let's see you play your loo.' " ' What, will you play ? ' said Maxwell. " Not I,' said Moss : I can't understand that stationary work ; but as we ar'n't to have any music, let's see you do the Great Mogul foolery."

The following is a cabinet picture in the old manner of the au- thor: it possesses all the minuteness of the Dutch style—its truth and more than its spirit. The subject is a dinner of pretensiorr, given by people who are unequal to and unprepared for the task. Mr. Palmer, a man of business in Hunter Street, Brunswick Square, proposes to entertain a Major Overall, who has just mar- ried an heiress, and whose affairs the said Mr. Palmer is about to manage during his absence abroad. " I have said this much to show, that in a family like Mr. Palmer's, the non-arrival of the company' would have been a severe disappointment. Mrs. Overall was known to be a lady of fortune, used to every thing nice and comfortable ;' she kept her own carriage, her men-servants, and alL that; and therefore they must be very particular, and have every thing uncommonly nice for her. And so Miss Palmer, the night before, had a white basin of hot water up into the parlour to bleach almonds, with which to stick a tipsy cake,' after the fashion of a hedgehog ; and Mrs.. Palmersent to the pastrycook's for some raspberry jam, to make creams in little jelly-glasses, looking like inverted extinguishers, and spent half, the morning in whipping up froth with a cane whisk to put on their tops like shaving-lather. And Miss Palmer cut bits of paper, and curled them with the scissors, to put round the ' wax ends' in the glass lustres on the chimney-piece ; and the three-cornered lamp in the drawing-room was

taken out of its brown holland bag, and the maid set to clean it, on a pair of ricketty steps; and the cases were taken off the bell-pulls, and the plc- tare-frames were dusted, and the covers taken off the card-tables—all in . honour of the approachingfete.

" Then came the agonies of the father, mother, and daughter, just about five o'clock of the day itself,—when the drawing-room chimney smoked, and apprehensions assailed them lest the fish should be over- done ; the horrors excited by a noise in the kitchen, as if the cod's head and shoulders had tumbled into the sand on the floor ; that cod's head and shoulders which Mr. Palmer had himself gone to the fishmonger's to buy, and in determining the excellence of which, had poked his fingers into fifty cods, and forty turbots, to ascertain which was firmest, freshest, and best; and then the tremor caused by the stoppages of diffe- rent hackney-coaches in the neighbourhood, not to speak of the smell of roasted mutton, which pervaded the whole house, intermingled with an occasional whiff of celery, attributable to the assiduous care of Mrs. Palmer,. who always mixed the salad herself, and smelt of it all the rest of the day ; 'the-disagreeable discovery just made that the lamp en the staircase would • not burn ; the slight inebriation of the cook; bringing, into full play .a latent animosity towards the housemaid, founded on jealousy, and soothed by the mediation of the neighbouring green-grocer, hired for five shillings to wait at table on the great occasion. "Just as the Major and Mrs. Overall actually drove up, the said attend- ant green-grocer, the Cock Pomona of the neighbourhood, had just stepped out to the public-house to fetch 'the porter.' The door was of course opened by the housemaid. The afternoon being windy, the tallow candle which she held was instantaneously blown out ; at the same instant the back kitchen-door was blown to, with a tremendous noise, occasioning,. by the concussion, the fall of a pile of plates, put on the dresser ready to be carried up into the parlour, and the overthrow of a modicum of oysters, in a blue basin, which were subsequently, but with difficulty, gathered up individually from the floor by the hands of the cook, and converted in due season into sauce, for the before-mentioned cod's head and shoulders. "At this momentous crisis, the green-grocer (acting waiter) returned with two pots of Meux and Co.'s entire, upon the tops of which stood heads not a little resembling the whipped stuff upon the raspberry creams ;—open goes the door again, puff goes the wind, and off go the 'heads' of the porter pots, into the faces of the refined Major Overall and his adorable bride, who was disrobing at the foot of the stairs. "The Major, who was a man of the world, and had seen society in all- its grades, bore the pelting of this pitiless storm with magnanimity and without surprise; but Jane, whose sphere of motion had been somewhat more limited, and who had encountered but very little variety either of scenery or action, beyond the everyday routine of a quiet country-house,. enlivened periodically by a six weeks' trip to London, was somewhat as- tounded at the noise and confusion, the banging of doors, the clattering of crockery, and the confusion of tongues, which the untimely arrival of the company and the porter at the same moment had occasioned ; nor was the confusion less confounded by the thundering double knock of Mr. Olinthus Crackenthorpe, of Holborn Court, Gray's Inn, who followed the beer (which, as Shakspeare has it, was at the door,') as gravely and methodically as an undertaker.

"Up the precipitous and narrow staircase were the Major and Mrs, Overall ushered; she having been divested of her shawl and boa by the

housemaid, who threw her ' things ' into a dark hole, ycleped the back, parlour, where boots and umbrellas, a washing-stand, the canvas bag of the drawing-room lamp, the table-covers, and master's' great-coats, were all huddled in one grand miscellany. Just as the little procession was on the point of climbing, Hollingsworth the waiter coming in, feel.. ing the absolute necessity of announcing all the company himself, sets- down the porter-pots upon the mat in the passage, nearly pushes down


the housemaid who was about to usurp his place, and who, n her anxiaty to please Mr. Crackenthorpe (who was what she called ,a nice gentleman), abandons her position at the staircase, and flies to the door for the Pur- pose of admitting him; in her zeal and activity to achieve this feat' she mostunfortiniately upsets one of the porter-pots, and inundates the little passage, 'miscalled the hall; with a sweeping flood of the aforementioned mixture of Messrs..Meux and Co. • • "Miss Engleheart, of Bernard Street, Russell Square, who had been invited to -meet the smart folks, because she was a smart person 'herself,

arrived shortly after ; indeed so rapidly did she, like Rugby, follow Mr. Crackenthorpes heels, that he-bad hut just time to deposit his great-coat and goloshes (in which he had walked from chambers) in the black hole where every thing was thrust, before the lovely Charlotte made her ap. pearance. " Here, then, at length, was the snug little party assembled, and dinner was forthwith ordered- Miss Engleheart made the amiable to Mrs. Overall, who was received by both the young ladies with all that deference and respect which the formidable rank and title of wife commands. The three ladies sat together ; Mr. Palmer performed

fire-screen with his face to the company ; and Major Overall, having first looked at Crackenthorpe for about five minutes, with an expression of Countenance indicative of thinking him capable of cutting a throat or picking a pocket, at length disturbed the tete-u-tete which that respecta- ble young lawyer was carrying on with the head of the house. " Mrs. Palmer at this period suddenly disappeared to direct the serving up,' and regulate the precedence of butter-boats, and the arrangements of the vegetables, which were put down to steam on the dinner-table in covered dishes, two on a side ; a tureen of mock-turtle from Mr. Tiley, in Tavistock Place, being at the bottom, and our old friend, the cod's head and shoulders, dressed in a horse-radish wig, and lemon-slice buttons, at the top ; an oval pond of stewed calves' head, dotted with dirt balls, and surrounded by dingy brain and egg pancakes, stood next the fish, and a couple of rabbits, smothered in onions, next the soup ; in the centre of the table towered a grotesque pyramid, known as an epergne, at the top of which were large pickles in a glass dish, and round which hung divers and sundry cut-glass saucers, in which were deposited small pickles and lemons;s1ternately dangling gracefully ; at the corners of the table were deposited the four masses of vegetable matter before mentioned ; and in the interstices a pretty little saucer of currant-jelly, with an interesting companion full of horse-radish ;—all of which being arranged to her entire and perfect satisfaction, Mrs. Palmer again hurried up to the drawing- room, as red as a turkey-cock, in order to appear as if she had been doing nothing at all, and to be Just in time to be handed down again by the Major. " The table was soon arranged ; the Major, on the right hand of Mrs. Palmer, was doomed to be roasted by the flame of the fire; and the bride, on the right hand of Mr. Palmer, was destined to be blown to shivers by the wind from the door. Mr. Crackenthorpe, who stood six feet three without his shoes, coiled up his legs under his chair, to the direful inconvenience of the green grocer daily waiter,' who regularly stumbled over them whenever he approached his mistress on the sinister side, and much to the annoyance of Miss Charlotte Engleheart, who had long had a design upon the said Crackenthorpe for a husband, and who was in the habit of toe-treading and foot-feeling, after the custom of the tribes with whom she had been habituated to dwell.

"Miss Palmer's whole anxiety was in the dinner ; her heart was in the tipsy-cake, and all her hopes and wishes centered in the little jelly- glasses: divers and sundries were the hems and winks which she be- stowed upon the waiter, in order to regulate the putting down of the different little niceties; and the discovery which, shortly after the appear- ance of the second course, was made, that a trifle in a white wig of froth, which had superseded the big pickles on the top of the epergne, was considerably damaged by the dripping; of oil from the lamp, which hung invidiously over it, nearly threw her into hysterics.

"Vain were all the protestations of Mrs. Overall, that she never ate trifle—vain were all the screams of the Major, to reassure her—vain were the pleadings of Crackenthorpe, and the consolations of Miss Engle- heart ; it was so provoking'—after all the pains, and the cakes, and the cream, and the wine, and the whipping= dear, dear, only to think,' and soon, which continued till the trifle itself was removed; when Emma left the room to follow the dear object of her love into the dark back parlour, where the dessert was laid out, and where the said trifle, amidst papa's umbrellas, Mr. Crackenthorpe's goloshes, and Mrs. Overall's boa, stood untouched, in order, if possible, to skim off the oleaginous matter which it had imbibed, before it sank through to the nice rich part at . the bottom,' and to rescue some portion of the materials, to serve up the next evening, when they expected a few neighbours to tea and supper."

We can only make room for another extract, which is a descrip- tion of the same fidelity and truth as the preceding sketch of society irillunter Street. It relates, however, to remoter life—life in Bermondsey: it is the picture of a skipper's house in that quarter ; and when we remark its curious accuracy, we admire the univer- sality of the author's experience, and envy his talent at turning it to use.

"The explorations of Captain Parry towards the North Pole have met with high eulogy and honourable reward. The great Cook, though more successful in his outset, was more unfortunate in the termination of his discoveries. Columbus stands immortalized by his deeds—Vancouver, Raleigh, Drake, all are high-sounding names; but Edward, emulating all their enterprizes, and transcending all their toils, explored and succeeded in discovering the residence of Captain Randolph of the Whilelmina, in the Grange Road, Bermondsey, at which destination he arrived before three, r. at. on the day of his departure from London. "He collected his information respecting the Captain's dwelling from sundry small boys bearing beer-pots in wooden cases, after the fashion of those parts ; and of certain of the natives habituated to the making and selling of bread, until, by comparing notes, and putting that and that together,' as they say, he found himself in front of a small smart house, before which, within green rails, was laid out a neat fore court,' a circular box-bound bed stood in the centre of the gravel, and a white pipe-clayed stony path led to the door, to which the ascent was by four steep steps.

"In one of the drawing-room windows (for there were two) stood a cage, containing a green cockatoo. In the parlour-window (for there was but one) stood on a small table another cage, containing a blue cock- atoo; in the kitchen-window, which opened into the area, stood a huge perch, on which roosted a grey parrot, of much larger growth than either of the others. As Edward, beer-directed,' ascended the steps, he per- ceived exactly in the centre of the door a brass plate engraved with the desired word, RANDOLPH, in capital letters of large dimensions.

"Thus satisfied, the youthful traveller knocked; nobody appeared, but he heard through the flimsy partition of the panels a hurry and scuffling, indicative of putting things away,' and, after a little delay, a maid-servant in black opened the door, and forthwith the house gave out a powerful smell of cockatoos and onions.

' Is Mrs. Randolph at home ?' said Edward. Missis is at home, Sir,' said the maid; 'but she ant, by no means, what you would call well, Sir—what's your business, Sir ?'

"'Why,' said Edward, who was Ala a little puzzled at the question, !I—I only wished to speak to her.' " Please-tell me your name, Sir,' said the servant.

" Mn. Randolph doesn't know my name,' replied Edward. " ' Show the gernman up into the first floor; said a voice from below,' which, if it were not that of the great grey parrot in the kitchen-wii. dow, sounded very like it. "'This way, Sir,' said the maid, who gradually softened in her man: ner towards Edward, as she found her mistress inclined to admit his visit. "And accordingly Edward followed her up a carpeted ladder, railed on the side, and called a flight of stairs ; in two moderate strides he reached the front drawing-room, where he was left for a few minutes to contem- plate the surrounding objects. "Over the chimney-piece was a looking-glass, which produced upon

any thing reflected by it a similar effect to that which is obtained by looking at one's face in a spoon; it had a row of gilt knobs round it, and a figure of Britannia, surrounded by bales, shot, and anchors, on the top of the frame. Two pasteboard chimney-sweepers, their bags forming what are called spill-cases,' and two painted wine-glasses filled with sand, constituted the remaining ornaments of the mantel-shelf,' and were flanked by two squat black iron eandlesticka, hung round with glass drops. In the very centre appeared a watch, which did not go, placed in a marble case, with little columns on its sides, and a little hole in its middle for the dial to come through : added to these, was pretty cocky' in the window, as before noticed.

"A brown japanned tea-urn reposed on a painted wooden slab, in a recess on one side of the fire-place, resting on a scarlet and green rug of Mrs. Randolph's own workmanship ; and, on what she would have called the wooden slab, to answer,' in the other recess, stood a large glass beaker, with a snaked stem, imported by her loving spouse at some for. mer time from Holland, surrounded by divers glasses and tumblers, anions:at which lay Captain Randolph's own peculiar punch-ladle with a whalebone handle, and a Queen Ann's guinea at the bottom of the bowl. In two of the largest tumblers were stuck the eggs of ostriches, and under each slab was placed a china jar, some two feet high. "The walls of the apartment, besides the looking-glass, were adorned with a portrait of Lord Nelson, two prints of sea-fights, and a view of Macao. The pictures of two persons, painted in oil, were pendent amongst the prints: one, as it might naturally be supposed, being the effi- gies of Captain Randolph, the other the likeness of a woman of the broadest possible dimensions, with the bluest eyes, the brownest hair, and the reddest cheeks that picture ever had : human beings never pos- sessed any thing like them; but the sight of them was death to Edward, who saw in the likenesses a sign' of his approaching mortification and disappointment. Of course the lady must be Mrs. Randolph ; and here was he, penned up in the drawing-room of the house, to be received by the dame whose resemblance he already saw before him, and, having been received, to make his way out again as well as he possibly could.

"But then the lovely girl might be the daughter—who could tell?

Time, the edax rerum,' which levels all things, alone could decide ; and, to say truth, old Chronos, in the present instance, was not very long about his work, for in less than three minutes the drawing-room door opened, and presented to the eyes of the embarrassed Edward, a human being who bore exactly the same resemblance to the picture on the wall, as monsters at fairs do to the show-cloths which are exhibited as tempters on the outsides of booths and caravans."

Mr. HOOK'S style is far from being an accurate or even a neat

one ; but it is the language of life, and, what in a novel is better than grammar, it is full of points : we do not mean puns, which, however, do stud the page pretty thickly, but the author has the power of saying perhaps not uncommon things in a way which excites an agreeable emotion and leaves a lasting impression. Of a person who resembled his parents, it is said that he had his father's eyes to a tut-n; SHERIDAN added, that "he had his mother's chin to a hair." Who can help laughing ? A common- place person would remark, that traces of resemblance both to his father and mother might be found in his features. What is the difference between a wit and a bore? It is this liveliness of fancy which would make THEODORE Hoox's novels very pleasant to read, though they were far more carelessly written, contained far more prose—for he does prose at times, and were guilty of many greater absurdities—for such there are even in Maxwell.