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"Oh! you must then! comes a regular volley of flexible persuasion. "You must! Do! It is the nicest thing you can possibly imagine! I am longing for the winter! I hope we shall have the frost very severe!" She is in the water again-seeing a good opportunity for a dive- before any rejoinder can come; and then, because her lips are turning blue, and her teeth are chattering, she condescends to come in. One more exhibition, though, before she disappears. She can do nothing, of course, without as near an approach to a bevy of attendants round her as circumstances afford, and she beckons to the bath-woman to come and bind up her hair. There is a picturesque way of managing this that is an additional attraction she has no intention of doing without, and she stands with the air of knowing there is something coming that shall make her irresistible indeed. The good woman places a towel low down across her forehead à l'orientale, goes behind her, draws the wide ends of the towel tight, twists them into a tail, gives this, a twirl, and secures the end of it firmly with a pin. The girl is Eastern now. A Zuleika, a light of the harem, an Ayesha; and she is well aware of it, and walks consciously to her little closet, and gives a languid look at us as legacy, and then reluctantly shuts the door.

their exercises and enjoyments because he is reduced to one leg, and they are erect on two; but help him to a leap into that other element, and he is superior to them all. His heart must beat high when he feels his recovered strength. Humiliated upon the shore, he is a king when he is amidst the surge and freedom of the water; and is it not cheering to all of us to think an art exists that the maimed can follow, and that is the same exuberant pleasure to them that it is to others who are whole? The thought was happiness to us, at any rate, who heard the laughter of this dozen of merry girls; and the consolation will endure till we can recall no longer the picture of their graceful movements, and the sound of their lively plash.

From The Gentleman's Magazine.

ON SOME PLEASANT BOOKS.

No matter to what century they belong, to what period of our literary history, that grand Augustan age of Anne, or the brilliant eighteenth century, our theme is pleasant books, those pleasant books which most of us know, or ought to know. They belong to all periods: we class them not in our thoughts with this or that time; they are our dear familiar friends.

The action of swimming is very pretty, Welcome, grave Knight of Mancha! Doré seen thus clearly as it is in this level quiet hath done thee justice; fuller justice than bath. It is very droll, too. The nearer he hath done to Dante or the Bible. Etchy it imitates the action of the frog, the easier headings to chapters, sketchy tail-pieces, full it is and the more fleet. One young wo-of life and spirit and quaint humour. And man (a solid, sturdy person, in her walking clothes) moves all her limbs in such harmony she is full of grace; every muscle of her body must be brought into use, as she draws her hands and heels in, and then nimbly thrusts them out. She is frog entire. A rather uncomplimentary verdict, she might think this. It is not meant so. It is written for unhesitating praise; and, assuredly, the more Master Frog's movements are imitated, the sooner will man or woman learn to swim. And persons need not have all their limbs, either, to acquire the art. The gallant Kennington cricketers, who, minus each an arm, or minus each a leg, play a yearly match on the antigeometric oval, could swim to the same perfection as men who have suffered no such amputation. We have been told, indeed, of an uniped swimming-master; an adept at everything; able to teach swimming in every branch, He unscrews his cork-leg before getting into the bath, standing there upon the brink of it a cripple, a fainéant among active men, a lameter who must be left out of all

thine own portrait and Sancho's, most worthy knight, no magic mirror could reflect ye more truly. But this edition is for highdays and holidays, to be glanced at in drawingrooms with albums, admired over coffee, and trifled with during small talk. Turn we to that petit thumbed record of thy wonderful exploits, dear, kind, old foolish warrior! And here thou art, ensconced cheek by jowl with Pepys, quaint old gossip Pepys, who finished his last notes just as the first daily newspaper in London, the Daily Courant, began to build up journalistic history. When will some industrious writer, who can afford to wait for the reward of “a grateful posterity," tell the story of England, during the newspaper period, from those diurnal, weekly, and monthly records? What a mine of illustrations of characters and customs, of local and general laws, of public opinion, of habits, of travel, still lies unworked in those old journals. Macaulay turned over some of the treasures, so did Froude; but what hundreds of files still remain undisturbed in old bookshelves and

lumber-rooms. Mr. Timbs has laboured | hurrying down to the House late. "Yes, perseveringly and with honour amongst confound you! I have been up all night at inany of them, but what is wanted is a com- it." plete digest of a period from the journals, not a mere collection of fragmentary paragraphs, however attractive and interesting they may be.

This is the same kind of eagerness with which one at first goes through a very dif ferent kind of book, Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter," certainly one of the most engrossing, and perhaps the most remarkable, work of fiction in the language. It may not strictly come within the meaning of " pleasant books; for it is a sad, sad story, with that scarlet initial sered into the heart of it, burning, scorching, withering all its surroundings. How every character stands out from the canvas; how distinctly you see that hard city with its fierce Puritan rulers; and that midnight scene with the minister, standing on the gallows' platform in the fierce grip of his terrible remorse,

Alexander Smith, who has written deliciously about Hawthorne, liked “Twice-Told Tales" better than the "Scarlet Letter." He thought you got nearer to the author in these mere stories. He always felt that | Hawthorne wrote the tales for himself, and the novels for the world, and that you got nearer to the author in the former than in the latter, just as you get nearer to an artist in his first sketch than in his finished pieture. For our own part, we think the reason that you get away from the author in the novels is the reason why we like the

Works like these come not within the category of pleasant books, you say, and truly. They conjure up dusty ghosts of ancient journalists, though happily we may leave the early host of miserable newsmongers, who were whipped and imprisoned for their tale-telling propensities, and take Cave and Johnson by the hand, through Boswell's introduction. "Boswell's Life of Johnson." Yes, that is indeed a pleasant book. It is the wizard's ball. We look into it, and are at once in the company of Johnson and Goldsmith and all the wits and celebrities is it not Dantesque in its realism and of the time. We take snuff with Sir Joshua sublimity of imagination? But the leading Reynolds, we hear the King talking in that figure in the strange drama, that patient, famous library to his magnificently egotis- lonely woman, with her elfin child, how tical subject. What tremendous prefaces tame other heroines of novels seem after that said egotist wrote in The Gentleman's this one sad picture of misplaced love! Magazine for his friend Cave. They treated every rival with a supremacy of contempt which is highly entertaining in these days of respectful rivalry. Was there not something mean in the Doctor's treatment of Garrick? Johnson seems to have kept him out of his club at the Turk's Head for years, because he was an actor. 66 He will disturb us with his buffoonery," said the Gentleman's illustrious contributor. What a magic ball it is, this production of the Scotch tuft-hunter! Here is spiritualism, an' you will. But there is no tedious sitting round tables and waiting for knocks with Boswell. Summon whom it shall please you of those halcyon days, and here they are as they lived, every sneeze and cough described; and, duly noted, every wise and foolish thing they said. They were professed clairvoyants even then, spiritualists with secondsight theories, and Boswell believed. Dr. Johnson was willing to try and believe; but "I do believe," said Boswell to George Colman the dramatist; "the evidence is enough for my mind, if it is not for the greater one. What will not fill a quart bot-" tle will fill a pint. Sir, I am full of belief." "Are you?" said Colman. "Then cork it up." "He must have been an insufferable bore, this same Mr. Boswell. Perhaps we are indebted to his littlenesses for the greatness of his work; it is those details of life and conversation which seem trivial at the time to large minds, that give to the story of Johnson its depth of colour and extraordinary finish. Have you read my book?" Boswell said to a member of parliament

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Scarlet Letter" best. The delusion is complete from beginning to end, like an acted drama without the whistle of the prompter, the noise of scene-shifting, the laying down of carpets, the intervals for nusic, and the gossip of the stalls. You are disturbed nowhere, the mind never wanders from the story: it is like reading Clarissa Harlowe's letters after she leaves home; you never doubt their reality, and your deep interest in her never flags." The Seven Vagabonds," Night Sketches," Sunday at Home," all are charming works ; but when we look back upon Hawthorne and think, that suffering patient woman, ticketed with the burning mark of her shame, asserts her title to the first place in our thou gais and affections.

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"Gil Blas." Yes, we must give you a place in our favourite corner as a pleasant book. We stood the other day on th threshold of the house where Le Sage lived and died. We asked a Frenchman wh<> lived close by (it was true he was but a

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common man) for the maison celèbre, but he granted to him, and much more alloyed in could think of nothing thereabouts worth at- its nature while it is almost the last attritention, except that great ugly citadel which bute we can assign to the irritating and agfrowns upon Boulogne. Here was fame! gressive intellect of Hazlitt." Here, inRare, quaint Bidpai," "Cakes and Ale," deed, is an author, Charles Lamb, about "The Story of a Feather,” and “Rasselas," whom one feels all that desire which Smith here they are in a cluster. How pleasant felt about Hawthorne. It is impossible that all, and yet how widely different from each we can get too near Lamb; and how charmother, the mystery, allegory, and fasci- ingly he has put himself into all his works. nating pictures of Eastern lands, and the We feel his thoughts with him; he lets us graphic home-touches of an English master. into his innermost secrets, even to his doFrom Barzoyeh and his wise sayings to the mestic troubles and his domestic happiluscious beauties of the Happy Valley; from nesses, those glimpses of sunshine which the Abyssinian prince to the mayor of Hole- came more frequently than one could have cum-Corner a long step and strange, but imagined into the gloom of that domestic how natural! The mind is not astonished, tragedy. When in a moment of insanity the fancy is not outraged. Among pleasant his sister stabbed his mother to death, "I books the furtherest lands lie close together, was at hand," he says, only time enough and Tobias Aconite shall have a place be- to snatch the knife out of her grasp.' side the greatest potentate of fiction. A What a terrible picture! His father was pleasant companion in the flesh, a shrewd, witty, pungent conversationalist, Douglas Jerrold, one of that modern army who have made Bouverie Street classic ground. Surely here is a life which has yet to be told! A son is rarely the best biographer of his father. Blanchard Jerrold's is a book full of interest; but where is that life before the son knew the father well enough to understand him? Where are those early days of the printer, those early struggles of the author? We know enough of the man's triumphs; are they not ever before us? Who shall tell us of his failures, of the days when the approaches to the citadel were being conducted, when the trenches had to be made, and the rifle-pits to be dug, the days before the conquering genius burst in upon the guarded garrison of Fame, and waved the tattered banner of victory? Has not all this to be done for Thackeray yet? Mr. Theodore Taylor's book, with its treasured plates, and its most real portrait, is but a preliminary foretaste of the biographical feast to which we hope to sit down. There is a blank in our shelf of pleasant books until that full picture is drawn by some loving pen. "Pendennis," it is true, is there, and " Philip," in which we trace some of the great man's immortal foot-steps; and those miscellaneous papers, with "The White Squall" amongst them, are amongst the most delightful companions whom we summon round the fire on these dark November nights.

A pleasant book in the fullest meaning of the word pleasant, is " Essays by Elia." How well Bulwer has described the secret of Lamb's influence. "He is one of those rare favourites of the Graces on whom the gift of charm is bestowed a gift not indeed denied to Hunt, but much more sparingly

imbecile," says his biographer; "he alone takes care of the old man; when the old man dies, he alone takes charge of the unhappy sister." "For her sake he abandoned all thoughts of love and marriage (all hope of the fairhaired,' whose image yet lifts here and there across his page in later years glimpses of a bygone dream), and with an income of scarcely more than 1007. a year derived from his clerkship, aided for a little while by the old aunt's small annuity, set out on the journey of life at twenty-two years of age, cheerfully with his beloved companion, endeared to him the more by her strange calamity, and the constant apprehension of a recurrence of the malady which had caused it." That is a pleasant essay of Lord Lytton's which appeared in the Quarterly Review a year ago, on "Charles Lamb and his companions." We are in doubt whether we ought not to add the whole of this learned author's essays to our familiar corner. They are to our mind his best performances, unless we except The Caxtons" and "My Novel." Leigh Hunt comes altogether within the meaning of a pleasant companion. There is hardly a more agreeable book than his Indicator," and he has a good deal of that "charm" which belongs to Lamb, and also in a similar degree to Tom Hood. Turning to this latter writer, the mind instinctively wanders to that exquisite picture of solitude

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"The weeping heron, motionless and stiff,
That on a stone, as silently and stilly
Stood, an apparent sentinel, as if
To guard the water lily."

Then the scene shifts momentarily, and
memory turns to that terrible "Song of
the Shirt," and that poor drowned woman,
homeless and friendless, gone to her death.

lumber-rooms. Mr. Timbs has laboured hurrying down to the House late. "Yes, perseveringly and with honour amongst confound you! I have been up all night at many of them, but what is wanted is a com- it." plete digest of a period from the journals, not a mere collection of fragmentary paragraphs, however attractive and interesting they may be.

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This is the same kind of eagerness with which one at first goes through a very different kind of book, Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter," certainly one of the most engrossing, and perhaps the most remarkable, work of fiction in the language. It may not strictly come within the meaning of " pleasant books; for it is a sad, sad story, with that scarlet initial sered into the heart of it, burning, scorching, withering all its surroundings. How every character stands out from the canvas; how distinctly you see that hard city with its fierce Puritan rulers; and that midnight scene with the minister, standing on the gallows' platform in the fierce grip of his terrible remorse,

is it not Dantesque in its realism and sublimity of imagination? But the leading figure in the strange drama, that patient, lonely woman, with her elfin child,

-bow

Works like these come not within the category of pleasant books, you say, and truly. They conjure up dusty ghosts of ancient journalists, though happily we may leave the early host of miserable newsmongers, who were whipped and imprisoned for their tale-telling propensities, and take Cave and Johnson by the hand, through Boswell's introduction. "Boswell's Life of Johnson." Yes, that is indeed a pleasant book. It is the wizard's ball. We look into it, and are at once in the company of Johnson and Goldsmith and all the wits and celebrities of the time. We take snuff with Sir Joshua Reynolds, we hear the King talking in that famous library to his magnificently egotistical subject. What tremendous prefaces tame other heroines of novels seem after that said egotist wrote in The Gentleman's this one sad picture of misplaced love! Magazine for his friend Cave. They treated Alexander Smith, who has written delicievery rival with a supremacy of contempt ously about Hawthorne, liked “Twice-Told which is highly entertaining in these days of Tales" better than the "Scarlet Letter." respectful rivalry. Was there not some- He thought you got nearer to the author in thing mean in the Doctor's treatment of these mere stories. He always felt that Garrick? Johnson seems to have kept him Hawthorne wrote the tales for himself, and out of his club at the Turk's Head for years, the novels for the world, and that you got because he was an actor. He will disturb nearer to the author in the former than in us with his buffoonery," said the Gentleman's the latter, just as you get nearer to an artillustrious contributor. What a magic ball ist in his first sketch than in his finished pieit is, this production of the Scotch tuft-hun- ture. For our own part, we think the reater! Here is spiritualism, an' you will. son that you get away from the author in But there is no tedious sitting round tables the novels is the reason why we like the and waiting for knocks with Boswell. Summon whom it shall please you of those halcyon days, and here they are as they lived, every sneeze and cough described; and, duly noted, every wise and foolish thing they said. They were professed clairvoyants even then, spiritualists with secondsight theories, and Boswell believed. Dr. Johnson was willing to try and believe; but "I do believe," said Boswell to George Colman the dramatist; the evidence is enough for my mind, if it is not for the greater one. What will not fill a quart bottle will fill a pint. Sir, I am full of belief." "Are you?" said Colman. "Then cork it up." He must have been an insufferable bore, this same Mr. Boswell. Perhaps we are indebted to his littlenesses for the greatness of his work; it is those details of life "Gil Blas." Yes, we must give you a and conversation which seem trivial at the place in our favourite corner as a pleasant time to large minds, that give to the story book. We stood the other day on the of Johnson its depth of colour and extraor- threshold of the house where Le Sage lived dinary finish. Have you read my book?" and died. We asked a Frenchman who Boswell said to a member of parliament lived close by (it was true he was but a

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Scarlet Letter" best. The delusion is complete from beginning to end, like an acted drama without the whistle of the prompter, the noise of scene-shifting, the laying down of carpets, the intervals for music, and the gossip of the stalls. You are disturbed nowhere, the mind never wanders from the story: it is like reading Clarissa Harlowe's letters after she leaves home; you never doubt their reality, and your deep interest in her never flags, "Seven Vagabonds,"

66

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The Night Sketches," Sunday at Home," all are charming works: but when we look back upon Hawthorne and think, that suffering patient woman, ticketed with the burning mark of her shaine, asserts her title to the first place in our thouguis and affections.

66

66

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common man) for the maison celèbre, but he granted to him, and much more alloyed in could think of nothing thereabouts worth at- its nature — while it is almost the last attritention, except that great ugly citadel which bute we can assign to the irritating and agfrowns upon Boulogne. Here was fame! gressive intellect of Hazlitt." Here, inRare, quaint Bidpai," ," "Cakes and Ale," deed, is an author, Charles Lamb, about The Story of a Feather," and " Rasselas," whom one feels all that desire which Smith here they are in a cluster. How pleasant felt about Hawthorne. It is impossible that all, and yet how widely different from each we can get too near Lamb; and how charmother, the mystery, allegory, and fasci-ingly he has put himself into all his works. nating pictures of Eastern lands, and the We feel his thoughts with him; he lets us graphic home-touches of an English master. into his innermost secrets, even to his doFrom Barzoyeh and his wise sayings to the mestic troubles and his domestic happiluscious beauties of the Happy Valley; from nesses, those glimpses of sunshine which the Abyssinian prince to the mayor of Hole- came more frequently than one could have cum-Corner a long step and strange, but imagined into the gloom of that domestic how natural! The mind is not astonished, tragedy. When in a moment of insanity the fancy is not outraged. Among pleasant his sister stabbed his mother to death, "I books the furtherest lands lie close together, was at hand," he says, only time enough and Tobias Aconite shall have a place be- to snatch the knife out of her grasp." side the greatest potentate of fiction. A What a terrible picture! "His father was pleasant companion in the flesh, a shrewd, imbecile," says his biographer; "he alone witty, pungent conversationalist, Douglas takes care of the old man; when the old Jerrold, one of that modern army who man dies, he alone takes charge of the unhave made Bouverie Street classic ground. happy sister." "For her sake he abanSurely here is a life which has yet to be doned all thoughts of love and marriage (all told! A son is rarely the best biographer hope of the fairhaired,' whose image yet of his father. Blanchard Jerrold's is a lifts here and there across his page in later book full of interest; but where is that life years glimpses of a bygone dream), and before the son knew the father well enough with an income of scarcely more than 1007. to understand him? Where are those early a year derived from his clerkship, aided for days of the printer, those early struggles of a little while by the old aunt's small annuity, the author? We know enough of the man's set out on the journey of life at twenty-two triumphs; are they not ever before us? years of age, cheerfully with his beloved Who shall tell us of his failures, of the days companion, endeared to him the more by when the approaches to the citadel were her strange calamity, and the constant apbeing conducted, when the trenches had to prehension of a recurrence of the malady be made, and the rifle-pits to be dug, the which had caused it." That is a pleasant days before the conquering genius burst in essay of Lord Lytton's which appeared in upon the guarded garrison of Fame, and the Quarterly Review a year ago, on "Charles waved the tattered banner of victory? Has Lamb and his companions." We are in not all this to be done for Thackeray yet? doubt whether we ought not to add the Mr. Theodore Taylor's book, with its trea- whole of this learned author's essays to our sured plates, and its most real portrait, is familiar corner. They are to our mind his but a preliminary foretaste of the biograph- best performances, unless we except "The ical feast to which we hope to sit down. Caxtons" and "My Novel." Leigh Hunt There is a blank in our shelf of pleasant comes altogether within the meaning of a books until that full picture is drawn by pleasant companion. There is hardly a some loving pen. "Pendennis," it is true, more agreeable book than his Indicator," is there, and *** Philip," in which we trace and he has a good deal of that "charm" some of the great man's immortal foot-steps; which belongs to Lamb, and also in a simiand those miscellaneous papers, with "The lar degree to Tom Hood. Turning to this White Squall" amongst them, are amongst latter writer, the mind instinctively wanders the most delightful companions whom we to that exquisite picture of solitudesummon round the fire on these dark November nights.

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"The weeping heron, motionless and stiff,
That on a stone, as silently and stilly
Stood, an apparent sentinel, as if
To guard the water lily.'

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