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successive volumes. Richardson is long-winded and prolix to a degree, but that, in spite of all his faults of style, he had the art of interesting his own generation was abundantly proved, and apparently his greatest novel is still capable in favorable circumstances of exerting its spell.

A much more brilliant writer, though a less minute anatomist of ebbs and flows and cross-currents of feeling, was Richardson's great successor and caricaturist, Henry Fielding. Two men more unlike than these two pioneers of the modern novel could not be conceived. Richardson's experiences were all of business life and quiet domestic life. In his voluminous correspondence with lady friends after his sudden leap into fame, which seems not to have disturbed in the least the even tenor of his habits, we have minute pictures of the circumstances in which he wrote his books—sometimes in his back shop in Fleet Street, sometimes in an arbor in his garden at Hammersmith, reading what he had written to the young ladies of his family, talking with them over his characters, judging from their criticisms as the story went on whether he had produced the effects intended. Fielding was a much less domesticated character—a high-spirited, mirth-loving roisterer, the son of a younger son of a noble family, who, when his scanty allowance ran short, or was not paid at all, tried to subsist by writing for the stage and the journals, organized a company of his own, started more than one journal of his own, married a wife and spent her small fortune in a year or two, read for the bar, and obtained an appointment as a police-magistrate, never contriving to make both ends meet, yet never losing his cheerfulness or his generous temper. With all his wit and keen powers of observation Fielding was probably too much hurried and pressed with the cares and enjoyments of his happy-go-lucky life from day to day to be capable



of striking out a new path in literature ; and it was by an accident that he fell into the track of the humble tradesman-like printer, and then discovered a rich field for his genius. When“ Pamela” became the rage, there was much in the sentiment of it that appealed to Fielding's sense of the ludicrous, and he resolved to write a parody. Beginning in this spirit, he wrote a few chapters, more eminent for wit than for delicacy, and then practically abandoned the design of burlesquing Richardson, and went on to describe life as he had seen it in the course of his varied experience, and characters as they presented themselves to his own mind and heart. The life that he described was not always the highest in point of morality, and his characters were not always spotless ; but there is this to be said for him as a moralist, that he threw no sentimental halo over vice, that he honored true worth in manhood and in woman. hood, that his Parson Adams, his Squire Allworthy, and his Amelia are among the most lovable characters in fiction, and that no satirist ever exposed meanness, hypocrisy, and kindred vices with healthier scorn and ridicule. Apart from the substance of his work, his method was very different from Richardson's. He discarded the epistolary way of telling his story. The comic epic was his model. Hence Byron called him the

prose Homer of human nature.” And he does not leave his characters to reveal themselves, as the so-called dramatic novelist does, -as Dickens does, for example,in what they do and say. He makes a running commentary on their conduct as he goes along ; button-holing you, as Thackeray puts it, while he conducts you through his picture-gallery, and discoursing familiarly about the creatures of his imagination.

I cannot here enter upon an elaborate criticism of Richardson and Fielding. I wish only to show you their places in literature as the originators of a new species of composition, which, while it was fresh and new, and


practised by masters of their art, helped to push poetry out of a foremost place in the minds of the reading public. I would recommend you to read what is said about Fielding by Thackeray in his “Lectures on the Humorists,” and by Mrs. Oliphant on Richardson. I will not dwell upon the immediate successors of these pioneers, Smollett, Sterne, and Goldsmith, but pass on to a novel of a new kind, produced twenty-five years after Richardson's “Pamela,” Horace Walpole’s“ Castle of Otranto.”

It would almost seem as if, after twenty years of the new kind of fiction inaugurated by Richardson, including the inasterpieces of Fielding, and Smollett and Sterne, the literary appetite began to pine for something new, and to hark back to the old fare of supernatural

You must not suppose that the old-fashioned stories were at once extinguished by the new style; they were only pushed into the background, relegated, perhaps, to a less fastidious class of readers. If you look at the lists of published books in old numbers of the Gentleman's Magazine, you will see that publishers still found readers for scandalous stories, for romances such as the “ Adventures of Telemachus," and for more or less fictitious biographies of eminent criminals. But it was only novels of the new kind that made a conspicuous mark among readers in the height of literary fashion—till the “ Castle of Otranto" appeared, which was professedly an attempt to combine the supernatural incidents of the old romance with the truth to nature in dialogue and character introduced by the new novel.

It was Horace Walpole’s opinion that in the novels of every-day life Nature had cramped Imagination. There had been plenty of invention, but it was invention of scenes such as might occur in common life; the novelists had excluded themselves from the great resources of fancy. He thought that, for the sake of greater variety, the fancy should be left free to “roam





through the boundless realms of invention," and thus have an opportunity of creating more interesting situations. But he freely admitted that it would never do to go back to the condition of the old romances, in which every thing was unnatural, in which not only the incidents were improbable, but the conduct of the personages in the face of those incidents fantastic, their language absurdly inflated, their sentiments preposter

He proposed, therefore, a compromise between the two. He was to have liberty to defy the rules of probability in the incidents, but he was to bind himself to adhere to probability in what he made his characters feel and say and do in the improbable emergencies. Their lot was to be cast in a land of wonders, of strange apparitions, and miraculous occurrences, but they were to comport themselves as human beings might be expected to do in the circumstances.

Constructed deliberately on this plan, the “Castle of Otranto" founded a new school of fiction. It is called a Gothic Romance, and the scene is laid in a Gothic castle, with a labyrinth of vaulted passages beneath it, one of which, by a trap-door, communicates with a church in the neighborhood. Manfred, the Prince of Otranto, is the central figure in the story, a bold and unscrupulous man, though not without redeeming traits in his character. The title to the principality has been in his family for only two generations before him, and the title of his grandfather was more than doubtful. The last prince of the rightful line was Alfonso the Good, who died in the Holy Land; the Marquis of Vicenza was the nearest heir, but Manfred's grandfather had forestalled him, and was powerful enough to keep him out of his own. There was a mysterious prophecy that Manfred's line would keep possession till the house had become too small for its rightful owner. Now, naturally there was one point about which Manfred had a morbid anxiety-the perserva



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tion of his line. His wife Hippolyte had borne him but two children, a boy and a girl. The boy was a puny, sickly child, but Manfred determined to marry him to the only daughter of the rival claimant, the Marquis of Vicenza. He obtained this Lady Isabella from her guardians during her father's absence in the Holy Land, and the supernatural part of the story begins with the preparations for the wedding. The wedding party is assembled in the chapel of the castle, when, to Manfred's intense impatience, it is discovered that the boy-bridegroom,-he was only fifteen,-is missing. A servant is sent in haste to his apartments on the other side of the court. The servant returns staring, speechless, and foaming at the mouth. Manfred and his retainers rush into the court, and find the poor boy mangled and bleeding, crushed to death by a gigantic helmet of black steel with huge black plumes. The helmet is a hundred times as big as any ever made for mortal man, and the plumes are in proportion, and seemed to filled the court-yard as with a black forest. Manfred is astounded, but in the depth of his grief and wonder he has presence of mind enough to say: "Take care of the Lady Isabella”-for a purpose which appears presently. Nobody can tell where the helmet has come from, but in the midst of their conjectures a young peasant remarks that it is exactly like in every respect but size to the helmet on the head of the black marble statue of Alfonso the Good in the church. Manfred flies into a passion. Some of the servants rush to the church, and find that the helmet from Alfonso’s statue is gone. The cry is raised that the young peasant, who is a stranger in the place, is a necromancer, and that it is he who, by his black art, has compassed the death of the young prince. Manfred orders him to be confined in the helmet, to starve to death unless his familiars supply him with food. Then Manfreď proceeds to carry out a suddenly formed

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