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she, for whom the sacrifice has been made, “ digna minus misero non meliore viro," will press the mangled soldier to her bosom, with an affection, not only undiminished, but strengthened by distress.
As soun as the state of his health permitted, Cyril embarks for England, and takes up his temporary residence at Middlethorpe, in the family of Lady Willoughby, who had been the dearest friend of his mother, and who entertained for him the sincerest affection. After he had been a few weeks at Middlethorpe, a letter from Lady Melicent is delivered to him, which had been addressed to him at Lisbon, and from thence had been returned to England. In this letter, she sympathizes with hini, in his sufferings-hopes to receive happy tidings of his recovery-consents that their engagement should cease--assures him that this consent is unconnected with his personal misfortunes, but proceeds from the conviction, that her father's approbation of their union could not be obtained-intimates that their correspondence ought to be discontinued, and concludes with declarations of the interest which she felt in his happiness, and the wish that they may hereafter meet as sincere friends. The tone of this letter seemed to be cold and heartless. It was dated, when he lay sick and wounded, in a foreign land, and within one month after the writer of it had pledged to him her vows of eternal love. About a fortnight afterwards, as the family were seated at the breakfast table, his sister (who was ignorant of her brother's attachment) read aloud from the newspapers, an account of the marriage of Lady Melicent to Lord Lindhurst, and of the manner in which the ceremony had been performed. The effect which this annunciation produced upon bim, we shall relate in his own words
“ The cup which I was raising to my lips as she began to read, was still held untasted when she concluded. Then in a moment a violent and irresistible impulse seized my frame, and dashing it rather than dropping it from my hand, I sprang up, and ran from the apartment, As I passed, the hall-door stood open, and I rushed forth into the park.
“ It was a winter's day. The snow lay upon the ground, and the wind, which blew from the north-east, was accompavied by violent showers of hail. There was an unaccustomed vigour in my limbs, I felt a wild desire of motion, and hurried on, I knew not, cared not wbither. Often, indeed, was I obliged to stop and pant, like a dying man, for a mouthful of breath, but then, the fiend from which I fled overtook me, and again I rushed on. My reason, which had withstood many assaults, had yielded at last. The hailstones, driven by the wind, beat painfully on my face, but I thought not of this, and quitting the park, I ran madly for the uplands.
“ The hare started from my foot, and fled from me afar off'; and the flocks of sheep, as I approached them, ran in wild confusion from tbeir food, as if scared by the approach of some unholy thing.
“ This could not last long. I sunk at length, overpowered, amid the snow, and lay shivering and helpless. Then, for the first time, did my anguish find vent in words.
***Oh God,' I exclaimed, 'why hast thou made a thing so eminently lovely, thus merciless and cruel? Does she not know that the poor, maimed, and mangled creature on whom she tramples can feel a pang as great as she, in all her beauty and her pride? Oh, why does she thus outrage the feelings of a heart that would have died for her ? Yet is not her nature soft? She could not plunge a dagger in my bosom, she would shrink from the sight of a fellow-creature broken alive upon the wheel,--and yet inflicts an agony to which such sufferings are but mercy. Oh, how long must I endure the grievous burden of life, and suffer under the weight of madness and misery that presses upon my soul!'
" • Almighty God, to whose behests all nature ministers, grant that in these cold and wintry elements I may find the only balm for wounds like mine--death. Leave me not a desolate and wretched being in the hell of this unfeeling world!
“ Thus mdly, impiously did I rave, and the wind, as it covered me with the snow-drift, swept on, loaded with the sound of my frantic imprecations. By degrees my limbs became icy cold, and at length I was silent, for the muscles of my throat refused their office. The numbness gradually extended to my vitals, and I lay, a living being, yet without the power of motion. My faculties seemed to have recovered from their temporary derangement, and were again clear. I felt as if the union between mind and body had been dissolved, and my free spirit waited only for a signal to take its flight.” Vol. ii. 193-193.
In this situation he was found by his friend Willoughby, who conveyed bim to the house. After a protracted and painful illness, his health was re-established.
This is tearing passion to rags. Hamlet the Dane, “blasted with ecstacy,” King Lear, driven to madness, by filial ingratitude, tearing off his clothes amidst “the pelting of the pitiless storm,” were not more outrageous and frantic than Cyril, upon hearing of the marriage of one who had jilted him, an event which he had anticipated, and upon which he had deliberately reflected, after the keenness of his feelings had been subdued by the counsels of discretion and reason.
Both the extravagance of the hero and the faithlessness of the heroine are egregious blemishes in the story. Far be it from us to deny, that a woman may change her mind, that her love may be like that
--- Syrian flower,
but when a female described as amiable and distinguished, with lofty sentiments, deep feelings and exquisite sensibility, suddenly abandons him, whom she had loved, in the may-morn of youth, and in the maturity of womanhood, she acts inconsistently with herself; and the author, by such a contradiction, departs from what seems to be the object of his moral-a correct and natural delineation of human life.
Cyril had resolved to bid an eternal adieu to England, and to attach himself, permanently, to the army. But the slow though sure operation of time, and the kindness of early friends, gradually soothed his mind and restored it to a healthy tone. His spirits, if not so buoyant as they once had been, were no longer depressed and gloomy; and in the contemplation of the well regulated understanding and the sweet disposition of Laura Willoughby, he discovered that life might still have some enjoyinents in store for him. Having married her, he retires to the ancient seat of his ancestors, where, in the discharge of the duties of his station, in the society of a few friends, and in the bosom of his family, he passes the residue of his days in tranquillity and contentment.
We have made inore copious extracts from the pages of this work, than we should have done, had we not been under the impression that it has, by no means, obtained the general circulation, to which it is entitled. In our opinion, it would suffer little by a comparison with the productions of any contemporary novelist, excepting Sir Walter Scott's, and perhaps two or three of the best of Miss Edgeworth's. We admit that it does not contain the brilliant dialogue and the dazzling eloquence of Vivian Grey--the thrilling excitement of the curiosity and the powerful delineation of a single passion of Caleb Williams—the fine reflections upon the material world and the poetic effusions of Devereux-the intuitive quickness in seizing, and the graceful facility in delineating the manners of society of Cecilia--nor the vivid sketches of scenery, the rich variety, the glowing imagery, and the deep pathos of Anastasius. But the spirit with which our author pourtrays characters, the skill with which he individualizes and contrasts them, the lively interest and keen sympathy which he communicates to us in the fortunes of his hero, the peculiar felicity with which he imparts to fiction the air and manner of truth and reality, the easy How of his narrative, and the moral tone from which he never departs, authorize us to place “Cyril Thornton” upon a level, or almost upon a level, with the celebrated compositions which we have just enumerated; and we believe, that
the pleasure derived from its perusal, will sustain the judgment which we have expressed.
Our duty, as critics, compels us to remark, that in some respects, this novel is liable to censure. We can discover no motive for rendering him an object of ridicule, in his first visit to Lord Amersham, and a maniac when he heard of the marriage of Lady Melicept-por for the introduction of an episode, merely to exhibit bim as the seducer of an unprotected female. The world and his owu imagination are the sources from which a writer of fiction draws his materials. With this inexhaustible range before him, why should he mar the interest of his own invention, by the insertion of incidents easily avoided, which shock our sensibility, or which tend to diminish our esteem for the character, and our sympathy in the adventures of an individual, represeuted to us as endowed with a vigorous understanding, ap amiable disposition, and a virtuous heart?
ART. III.-A Discourse on the Revolutions of the Surface of the
Globe, and the changes thereby produced in the Animal Kingdom. By BARON G. Cuvier, Commander of the Legion of Honour, &c. Translated from the French, with Illustrations and a Glossary, Philadelphia. 1831.
It is the nature of man never to rest contented with the means of gratification, the degree of knowledge, or the condition of existence, which he has already attained. His acquisitions, especially of knowledge, but quicken his appetite for a wider sphere of thought and action. He reflects on the past only that he may profit by the future-labours to-day but that he may be more ready for 10-morrow. The imperishable principles of curiosity and hope inherent in his moral constitution, urge bim perpetually onward to something which, for the time at least, he believes to be nobler or better.
This unceasing desire for improvement lies at the root of all bis intellectual preeminence in the scale of animated beings and the strength or weakness of this principle constitutes the chief difference between the philosopher and the clown,
and toowledge we posse his works, th
The study of the structure of our Globe, if it cannot enlighten us as to the future, yet leads us back to those dark and fearful periods when man had not yet taken possession of iis surface. There is something ennobling in the thought, that man has not only subjected to the scrutiny of his intellect, and recorded, in the chronicles of the past, the early history of his race; but that in the depth of his researches he has discovered and reduced to almost mathematical certainty, the natural bistory of animals which inhabited, and convulsions which shook the solid frame of the world before time had yet commenced with biin.
It is to the consummate genius of the Baron Curier, and to a few geologists of great ability, that we owe all the knowledge we possess of this interesting subject. Before the appearance of his works, the systems broached to explain the natural history of the earth were visionary hypotheses, put forth-as we might well be led to suppose, from their utter want of any thing like philosophical proof-rather for amusement than for the advancement of scientific information. Indeed, we much question whether any other man of science now living, has done as much as our illustrious author for the improvement of philosophy. To form some idea of the extent of his services in the cause of science, we need only recur to those wild systems which were current previous to his researches.
Their authors seem generally to have admitted but two events in their theories of the earth-the creation and the deluge. Basing their reasonings upon the supposition of a single deluge-which is, however, not proved by the actual state of the strata composing its surface, as these unquestionably indicate at least from two to three different deluges—they argued with no regard to any thing but plausibility, and not even always to that.
“ Thus, according to one, the earth, at first, had an equal and light crust, which covered the abyss of waters and which burst to produce the deluge ; its relics formed the mountains. According to another, the deluge was occasioned by a momentaneous suspension of the cohesion of minerals--the whole mass of the globe was dissolved and the paste of it was penetrated by shells. According to a third, God lifted up the mountains to allow the waters, which produced the deluge, to escape, and removed them to the places where there were more stones, because otherwise they could not have been supported. A fourth created the earth with the atmosphere of one comet, and deluged it with the tail of another. The heat which remained to it from its first origin excited all mankind to sin. Thus, they were all drowned but the fishes, which had apparently passions less unruly." p. 28.