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formal reasoner; could heighten the hours of pleasure with gaiety and spirit, and improve every serious interval with good sense of her own, and an happy condescension for those qualities in others.
In this manner she and her father continued to improve each other's happiness; and as she grew up, she took the care of the family under her direction. A life of such tranquility and undisturbed repose seemed a foretaste of that to come; when a gentleman, whom I may be permitted to call Dawson, happened to travel that way. A travelling rake seldom goes to church, except with a design of seeing the ladies of the country, and this induced the gentleman I refer to, to enter that of Mr. Stanton. Among the various objects that offered, none appeared half so lovely as the poor clergyman's daughter; she seemed indeed to surpass any thing he had ever seen before.
Mr. Dawson was thirty-six years of age, tolerably well made, and with such a face as is not much impaired by arriving at the middle period of life; but what he wanted in personal beauty, he made up in a perfect knowledge of the world; he had travelled through Europe, and been improved in sentiment and address. He knew perfectly all the windings of the human heart; had kept the very best company, and consequently appeared no way superior to those whose good opinions he endeavoured to conciliate.
This was only one side of his character; the reverse was marked with dissimulation, a passionate admiration, and yet what only seems an inconsistence, at the same time a perfect contempt for the beautiful sex. He had fortune to second this insidious way of thinking, and perseverance to carry all his schemes into execution. If the passion he felt at church upon seeing the innocent subject of my story can be called love, he loved with the utmost ardour; he had been long unacquainted with any obstacles to his illicit desires, and therefore expected none now.
Dressing himself therefore in the habit of a scholar, with a stick in his hand, he, the evening following, walked with seeming fatigue before Mr. Stanton's door, where he expected to find him and his daughter sitting. As he expected, it happened: the old man perceiving a stranger dressed in black, with a grey wig, passing wearily by his door, was touched at once with pity and curiosity, and instantly invited him in. To this the stranger testified some reluctance; but the daughter, joining in her father's intercessions, he was soon prevailed upon to come in, and refresh himself with a cup of home-brew'd, which had been made under miss's own inspection. The wily traveller knew how to make the best of this invitation; he complaisantly left his wallet and his staff at the door; the earthen mug went round. Miss touched the cup, the stranger pledged the parson, the reserve of strangeness soon was dissipated; the story was told, and another was given in return. The poor old man found his guest infinitely amusing, desired to hear an account of his travels, of the dangers he had passed, the books he had written, and the countries he had seen. But miss was particularly charmed with his conversation: she had hitherto known only squires and neighbouring parsons, men really ignorant or without sufficient art to conceal the art they use. But the insidious Mr. Dawson had learned in courts the whole art of pleasing; and with the most apparent simplicity joined the most consummate address.
When night began to fall, he made some modest tho' reluctant efforts to withdraw; but the old man, whose bed was ever ready for a stranger, invited him once more to stay; and at the same time he read in the daughter's eyes how very agreeable would be a compliance with her father's request.
This was what he ardently wished for. To abridge the tediousness of the narrative: he thus passed several days in their company, until he at last found he had strongly fixed himself in the young lady's affections. He now thought it the most convenient way to add the blaze of fortune to the stroke he had already given; and, after a fortnight's stay, invited the clergyman and his daughter to his house, about forty miles distant from theirs. He soon got over all their objections to the journey; and one of the principal obstructions he immediately obviated, by ordering his equipage to their door. As before they had been astonished at the wisdom, so now were they astonished at the grandeur of their new companion: they accepted his proposal with pleasure; nor did the deluded Fanny even suppress some forebodings of ambition.
His address now at once indicated his effrontery and experience of the sex. Assiduous in all his actions, patient after a repulse, again attempting, and again rejected, he at length succeeded in his villainous design, and found that happiness he by no means deserved to possess.
Not able to suppress his triumph at such a dearly earned favour, it was soon discovered as a secret to some of his friends, who soon delivered it as such to others; and the unhappy miss Stanton's infamy was common, before it reached the ears of her father.
Soon, however, the old man became acquainted with her folly, and the disgrace of his unhappy family. Agonizing, despairing, half mad, what could he do! the child of his heart, the only object that stept between him and the horrors of the approaching grave was now contaminated for ever; he was now declined in the vale of years; he had no relations to comfort or assist him; he was in a sacred employment that forbade revenge; he asked his daughter, with fury in his eye, if the report was true? she at first denied, but soon confessed her shame. 'Fanny, my child, my child (said the old man, melting into tears,) why was this, thou dear lost deluded excellence? why have you undone yourself and me? had you no pity for this head that has grown grey in thy instruction? — But he shall pay for it — though my God, my country, my conscience forbid revenge, yet he shall pay for it.
The betrayer now thought he had nothing to fear; he went on boldly triumphing in his baseness, and a fortnight passed away, when he was told one evening that a gentleman desired to speak to him. Upon coming to the place appointed, he found the poor old man, with his eyes bathed in tears, who, falling at his feet, intreated him to wipe away the infamy that was fallen upon his family; but Dawson, insensible to his intreatees, desired him to have done. Well then, cried old Stanton, if you refuse me satisfaction as a man of justice, I demand it as a man of honour. Thus saying he drew out two pistols from his bosom, and presented one. They retired at proper distances; and the old man, upon the discharge of the other's pistol, fell forward to the ground. By this time the whole family were alarmed; and came running to the place of action. Fanny was among the number; and was the first to see her guardian, instructor, her only friend, fallen in defence of her honour. In an agony of distress she fell lifeless upon the body stretched before her; but soon recovering into an existence worse than annihilation, she expostulated with the body, and demanded a reason for his thus destroying all her happiness and his own.
Though Mr. Dawson was before untouched with the infamy he had brought upon virtuous innocence, yet he had not an heart of stone; and bursting into anguish, flew to the lovely mourner, and offered that moment to repair his foul offences by matrimony. The old man, who had only pretended to be dead, now rising up, claimed the performance of his promise; and the other had too much honour to refuse. They were immediately conducted to church, where they were married, and now live exemplary instances of conjugal love and felicity. Oxford.
Neuere Erscheinungen auf dem Gebiete
der englischen Novelle und Skizze.
Schon für die grossen Litteraturwerke – gross im derben Sinne der Länge – ist es schwer, Gattungstypen aufzustellen. Fast zur Unmöglichkeit wird dies aber für die kleinen. Bei den grossen sollen Massen organisiert werden zu einheitlicher Wirkung. Daraus ergeben sich mit Notwendigkeit allgemein gültige Gesetze für den künstlerischen Organisator, gegen die er nicht allzu stark sündigen darf. Denn wie verschieden die Dichter an Wesen und Wollen auch sein mögen, ein Faktor bleibt für alle derselbe, das Publikum oder – deutlicher gesprochen – die psychischen Gesetze der litterarischen Wirkung auf das Publikum. Hier liegen die unabweislichen Prämissen für das Schaffen, und sie erzeugen in den einzelnen Gebilden eine beiläufige Gleichförmigkeit, aus ihnen erwächst der Typus.
Anders verhält es sich mit den kleinen Kunstwerken. Hier hat der schaffende Künstler grössere Freiheit, weil er der Eindrucksfähigkeit beim Publikum sicherer ist. Er kann diese Freiheit bis zur Launenhaftigkeit ausnützen. Nicht nur für die Art des Gestaltens, sogar im Grade des Ausgestaltens. Er kann sein Werk vollenden oder auch nur andeuten, herab bis zur flüchtigen Skizze. Dadurch wird uns, den kritisch Geniessenden, das Kleinwerk um so interessanter. Es ist individuell, zeigt deutlich die Eigenart seines Schöpfers.
Auf dem modern-epischen Gebiete steht dem langen Roman die kurze Novelle und die noch kürzere Skizze gegenüber. Theoretisch sind diese Kleingattungen schwer zu fassen und gegeneinander abzugrenzen. Es wäre auch gefährlich, hier Gattungs