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. To none of these circumstances, however, does Mr. Godwin even allude: he puts himself under an obligation to this story, no further than for the general idea of an uncle defeating, by villainous means, the descent of titles and honours from his brother to a pephew, in order to enjoy them both himself. That idea bad already been palpably enough afforded in the little ballad of the “ Babes in the Wood.” It was sufficient, however, for Mr. Godwin, who had to manage the matter in his own way. Dismissing, then, the whole of the details nearly to which we have referred, the author keeps to a few broad facts on which he builds a superstructure, which is admirably characteristic of his genius. The narrative is entirely autobiographical. Meadows, the confidant of the wicked uncle, first introduces himself to the reader by a short history of his own adventurous life, which, however, has no sort of connection with the main story, and, after relating how he became acquainted with Lord Danvers (for such is the name of the uncle) he permits the noble narrator to speak in his own person. Lord Danvers rapidly sketches the history of his youth. He and his brother, (who being the eldest, was the heir to the father's title) were remarkable for a strong mutual attachment, much as must have been done by domestic usages, in such families, to produce a contrary feeling between them..
Military fame being almost the only object for which the sons of the great in those times would think it worth their while to toil, the two young men entered the Austrian service, and acquired glory under the banner of Prince Eugene. One of those accidents, which the progress of war is continually turning up, brought Lord Alton, the elder of the brothers, into contact with a beautiful Greek lady, whose father, Colocotroni, with his family, had been obliged to migrate from their native place in the Morea, and to reside in Croatia, where the acquaintance of the noble adventurer with the young lady commenced ; and it began under circumstances the most calculated to raise that passion in the breast of Lord Alton, which is identified with the deepest possible interest for another. Colocotroni had been just murdered near his house during one of the ravages of war; the wife shared the same fate; the daughter only survived them because of the seasonable approach of the gallant young Lord, who saved her from imminent death or more dreadful disgrace, and who soon afterwards added to that of a deliverer, the character of a lover. Peace was proclaimed, Lord Alton married the lovely Greek, and they proceeded to Vienna, in the environs of which beautiful city they began, conjointly, the path of life which, to their eyes, was strewed with the most delightful flowers. But they were mistaken; for the deadly winter fell upon them, and they were both struck out of life in the glowing morning of their happiness. Lord Alton embarked in a personal quarrel in a coffee-house; a duel ensued, which terminated fatally for the noble combatant: the devoted wife dropped
Cloudeste horrible intelligemale in foreign
599 to the grave almost as soon as the horrible intelligence reached her, not however before she gave birth to a lovely male infant. Danvers behaved to both the deceased, in their extremities, with the most admirable kindness, and both placed in him the most unbounded confidence; nature, indeed, seems to be dictating every action of the surviving brother, when suddenly a terrific thought fings its ghastly shadow over his heart,—the child alone stood between him and a coronet; an infant, its lungs but just inflated, a little being, vibrating between life and death, was all the obstruction which this man saw between him and the world's honours, wealth, and consideration ; that infant, too, the offspring of a marriage which, but for an accident, would never have been; the child of a Greek girl, a stranger, out of the Morea : he paused, and asked himself, what course was to be taken. The situation is exactly the one in which Mr. Godwin is likely to be most successful, and it is a most powerful piece of painting. Almost every description of mental struggle is sure to be traced by him in an unequalled manner; but where we think he is most triumphant, is that case, in which a mind, yet innocent and accustomed to virtuous pratices, feels, as it were, the first odour of approaching guilt ; it rushes from extreme to extreme, it acknowledges the vast enjoyment of a good conscience, but how eager it is, and how ingenious to find out motives of prudence for the deed which it meditates! The resolution is taken, the uncle determines on sending the child into obscurity, feigning an account of its death, and at once investing himself with the wealth and honours of his brother. The person whom to entrust with an agency in a plan, which was to be so extended and so permanent in its operation, was a point of great importance with the new lord; but the peculiar qualities of a confidential man, who had been in his service for some time, tempted him to open the terrible project to this person, and to engage him, by a lucrative offer, to become his partner in guilt. Cloudesley was the name of this servant, and his character is powerfully drawn. Really possessed of the kindest and best qualities, but without a large share of that sagacity and discrimination, which are necessary to make a man undeviatingly virtuous, Cloudesley was turned into a misanthrope during a short experience of the world. He entered, therefore, into this affair not so much for the money, and certainly not out of any propensity to do mischief, but because he convinced himself, that if others took advantage of him, he might take advantage of others; and that to overreach, and to make ourselves independent how we can, were justified by the policy every day pursued by mankind. He undertakes the care of the child upon such conditions as will secure his employer, afterwards Earl Danvers, from any disturbance. To keep the boy at a distance was an obvious measure. Cloudesley, whilst the impostor lord withdrew to England, retired to the south of Europe, and from that time forth had the care of the child. We have read,
with the greatest delight, the subsequent history of this child; for nothing can be more fascinating than the manner in which the various little eras of childhood, and which are marked with such devout care in the mother's chronology, are developed by the author. All these descriptions are characterised by a glow of vernal freshness, a luxuriant beauty, that at once distinguishes the growth of nature from every artificial imitation. A second spring seems to have visited the heart of Mr. Godwin, and left its balmy influence within his bosom. No man can record so well the feelings of a parent.--can so exactly measure the nice shades of that delight which springs in a parent's breast, in modified forms, corresponding with the various causes of them, as those causes are observed in his own child,-without himself having been blessed with an organization fully to feel so exalted a pleasure. The following extract will serve as a specimen of Mr. God win's power in this sort of description :
• He had received from his birth the invaluable inheritance of much sweetness of temper. There was that in his smile which irresistibly insured the kindness of those about him ; it had in it the essence of confi. dence and love. He was all animation and life; his new-born limbs seemed to seek for a sphere in which to expand themselves. No cloud ever appeared on his brow; he never betrayed the slightest symptom of sullenness and stubbornness. Cloudesley and Eudocia were all he had of father and mother; and abundantly he paid them all the love they could have looked for from the offspring of their bowels. He stretched out his little hands to meet Eudocia, and to be received by her husband. His laugh was of genuine high spirits, expressive of, and exciting, gaiety; and he crowed with a voice of health and a bounding soul.
‘But the season of jubilee to those by whom a child is truly loved, is when he begins to talk. Words of love and endearment are amongst the first he utters. How delightful is it to them, that his tongue should assure them of what they had before learned only from dumb signs and uncertain gestures ! It is like the first declaration between a lover and his mistress. No; there was nothing doubtful before; but articulated sounds are as the seal to the bond, and make assurance doubly sure. It was now that Julian began to be caressing, that he would stroke down the hair upon Cloudesley's brow, and, when he saw him returning from the daily circuit of his fields, would run to meet him, and proudly lead him in to his refreshment and his rest. Cloudesley would present him with a flower, a fruit, or a cake. The lispings, the imperfect efforts which the child would make to tell his supposed father of what had happened in his absence, were all of them acceptable, and would smooth the brow of toil. In proportion to the want of power was the eagerness of the child to tell, till at length his mouth was stopped with kisses.
• It is very early that a boy begins to display invention and ingenuity, and a sort of childish industry, all of which is exquisitely entertaining to seniors whose time is at their command. He imitates every thing he sees; and plays, visits, and entertainments, with a seriousness of face, and an earnestness of attention, which is irresistibly comic. He gives bis whole soul to it, and performs his part with a mixture of affected demureness and
simplicity, which might put professional practitioners to the blush. The ingenuity of Julian was truly extraordinary. He made houses, and collected the little implements of furniture about him, which are usually supplied to children; and, when all of a sudden he observed Cloudesley or Eudocia laughing at the gravity of his demeanour, he would join in the laugh, and sweep away his little apparatus, with a sort of consciousness of its worthlessness : at the same time that, as soon as the laugh was over, and the attention of his critics withdrawn to other objects, he would return to bis contrivance, and grow immersed in it, as if nothing had happened to tarnish its glory.'—vol. ii. pp. 89–93.
Cloudesley had been married about the time that he took upon him this singular charge. His wife Eudocia was a woman of uncommon mind and great tenderness of heart, and having no children of her own, she dedicated to little Julian all her cares, her fondness for him being as great as if he had been her own offspring. He repaid her kindness by the warmest attachment, and, when in the course of a few years, he was deprived of her maternal solicitude, Julian felt the privation as altogether changing his connection with the world. He was,' says the author, 'more at his ease with his mother, and poured out his youthful heart to her with great unreserve. If she had lived longer, she would, perhaps, have been less to him ; but in the years through which he had hitherto passed, a woman was to him more than a man. If to the softer sex belong more fickleness and inconsistency, if they have less firmness of purpose and depth of combination, than are to be found in us, this was, to the present moment, totally, or almost totally, unadverted to by Julian. Add to these considerations, that we never know the value of a thing but by its loss, and that the benefit which has escaped from our grasp is that to which our recollection is linked ; so that while our misfortune is recent, we can scarcely think of, and scarcely esteem, any thing else.' And this was exactly the case with Julian, whose grief is painted in the just character of being too deep and strong to allow of its being expressed by those signs which usually betoken the lighter and more evanescent emotions of that passion. The education of the boy was particularly attended to, and the facilities for instruction with which Italy abounded were amply used by Cloudesley, whose inherent benevolence of disposition, so long illegible on the surface of his character, was brought out by the heat which the charming qualities of Julian had applied to it.
In the meantime, the triumphant impostor was, we cannot say enjoying, but using, all the advantages of his ill-acquired success. He describes his remorse, he details his incessant sufferings and his vain efforts to crush the worm of conscience that prayed upon his heart; the hollow splendour with which he was surrounded only increased the misery of his state. Tantalus was not more cursed ; he had all the blessings of life just within his command, the sun of happiness was continually about to burst upon him, but the still small
of his characteolence of dispere amply
voice broke from within the secret recesses of his soul, and bade him be miserable. He tried marriage as an alleviation, an amiable woman and a number of beautiful children surrounded him, and, if they could not solace his life, what other blessing was likely to do it? Those that are gifts of joy to most others, were to Danvers fresh affictions in disguise. The children, one by one, just reached that age when their fascinations became least capable of being dispensed with by parents, and then they dropped like flowers in the springtime. It was not until the tie of attachment was most firmly bound between them and their father, that the offspring was cut off. There is a mournful beauty in the expressions of Lord Alton whilst he is dwelling on these terrible bereavements; and, in spite of the association of his name with our direst 'hatred and aversion, we are induced to extend occasionally some degree of sympathy to him, so profound and so complete is the motive of his sorrow. • Life and death,' continues Danvers, ‘are conceptions of a peculiar sort : we habitually combine the idea of death with that of an age in a certain degree advanced ; this is what we call the course of nature : we know that every man's time must come, and that all must die. But when we look on the roses and gaiety of youth, the mournful idea of mortality is altogether alien to our thoughts. We have heard of it as a speculation and a tale; but nothing but experience can bring it home to us. Infancy is, indeed, subject to peculiar perils, but my son had outlived the hazards of infancy. Parents who love their children in infancy, for the most part endure their loss with philosophy. The children in so short a period have not had time to entangle them in a thousand webs, to become the heart of their hearts. But at eleven years of age, the case is totally different. We have watched their stature, the unfolding of their limbs, the growing feeling and thought that speaks in their age, their accumulating proficiency. I began to regård my boy almost as a companion; I asked his thoughts upon a variety of questions. I drew hints from his innocent and guiltless suggestions. I began to connect the thought of him with the idea of the world, to consider what would be the destination and fortune of his manhood, in what occupation or pursuit he would be likely to prove most happy or most honoured. Every year he loved his parents better; every year we loved him more. All this was suddenly extinguished. In less than two months we saw him decline from the most enviable health ; he became a corpse, and the earth hid him for ever from our sight. The loss of my son had introduced a new inmate under our roof. This was the grim spectre death !' At length Danvers was left, childless and alone, and losses so signal, he was ultimately convinced, could never have been exacted from him by the design of Providence, unless, in some measure, they were meant as signals of the Almighty's displeasure for a crime which it was still in Danvers's power to retrieve. Mr. Godwin shows the tact of a man of the world, in ascribing to Danvers the motives of his actions, which