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stood next to it, ever empty, when the usual hour of the Baronet's momentary visit approached.—At length the expectation of that passing minute became the pivot upon which the thoughts of poor Bridgnorth turned during all the rest of the day. Most men have known the influence of such brief and passing moments at some period of their lives. The moment when a lover passes the window of his mistress--the moment in which the epicure hears the dinner-bell, is that into which is crowded the whole interest of the day ;-the hours which precede it are spent in anticipation; the hours which follow, in reflection on what has passed ; and fancy dwelling on each brief circumstance, gives to seconds the duration of minutes, to minutes that of hours. Thus seated in his lonely chair, Bridgnorth could catch at a distance the stately step of Sir Geoffrey, or the heavy tramp of his war-horse Black Hastings, which had borne him in many an action; he could hear the hum of · The King shall enjoy his own again,' or the habitual whistle of Cuckolds and Roundheads,' die into reverential silence, as the Knight approached the mansion of affliction; and then came the strong hale voice of the huntsman-soldier with its usual greeting.” Vol. I. p. 22.
Soon after follows the restoration of Charles, and the exertions made by Bridgnorth in tranquillizing the country, in conjunction with Sir Geoffrey, have a powerful effect in restoring his mind to more of a settled temper. Cheered by the sight of his daughter, whom he at last summons resolution to behold, the Major accepts, on the part of himself and his puritan neighbours, an invitation to a feast of amnesty, which Lady Peveril gives to both political parties, to celebrate the joyful event wbich has burried her husband to court. In the mean time, circumstances have occurred which lead to a rupture between the friends. The well-known Charlotte de la Tremouille, Countess of Derby, (whose real history we believe to be a blank subsequently to the execution of her husband, and the surrender of their little feudal kingdom,) is represented as regaining the sovereignty of the Isle of Man, at the Restoration, in consequence of the reaction of the liegemen, who had allowed her to be deposed and imprisoned. Re-invested with her arbitrary rights, she makes the first use of them in executing Colonel Cbristian, the brother of the deceased Mrs. Bridgnorth, who sacrificing bis gratitude to the welfare of the island, had betrayed his patron's widow and her sovereignty to the parliamentary forces. A warrant from the Privy Council is put in force in consequence of this flagrant violation of the recent act of indemnity; and the Countess, pursued by it, takes refuge in Martindale Castle, with her kinswoman and friend, Lady
Peveril, on the night after the solemn feast just mentioned. Here, in the reckless defiance of a haughty spirit, she makes known her recent story, the next morning, in the presence of Bridgnorth, whose person is unknown to her, and who attempts to interpose bis authority as a magistrate for the
purpose of securing her, but is baffled by Lady Peveril's precautions. Sir Geoffrey, who returns at this conjuncture, conducts the Countess in safety to a place of security, and with the belp of his armed domestics, repulses an attempt made by Bridgnorth to back the authority of the Pursuivant at Arms in arresting her. A personal scuffle which takes place on this occasion, between the Cavalier and Roundhead magistrate, and in which the latter is perforce handled somewbat unceremoniously, leads to an open breach between them, and to the removal of the little Alice from beneath the roof of her kind foster-mother. Honest Sir Geoffrey, who with true soldier-like naivete, mistakes the cause of Bridgnorth's displeasure, makes the matter worse by proffering, to oblige his former friend, a gentlemanly satisfaction, which the religious scruples of the latter forbid bis accepting. Mortified by the degradation which he conceives himself to have sustained, and ill-affected towards the new government, which allows the Countess to compound her offence for a heavy fine, Bridgnorth leaves his paternal seat, and resides for some time in New England and among the strict Calvinists of the Continent, leaving Alice, as yet a child, under the superintendance of his brother-in-law's widow, residing in the Isle of Man. Here a considerable blank occurs in the history, or at least is merely filled up with general details, allowing the young Julian Peveril, the only child of Sir Geoffrey, to grow to years of discretion, and Bridgnorth, soured by grief, and inflamed by fanaticism, to become, from a moderate Presbyterian, an Independent and Fifth-Monarchy-Man. In his occasional and secret flittings to Englan and the Isle of Man, he discovers, that Julian, whom his parents have allowed to be educated with the young Earl of Derby, under the Lady of Latham's chivalrous auspices, and who is grown into a manly and accomplished youth, has renewed his friendship with his former playfellow, Alice, and that with the connivance of ber gouvernante, Deborah, Julian's former nurse, who has her own ends of future power and promotion in view, the intimacy is assuming a more tender shape. Proposing to himself an end which will presently be developed, the father is induced to connive also at an attachment wbich begins to awaken the scruples of the modest and high-spirited Alice, who is partly aware of the obstacles which exist to their happiness, and for her own sake and Julian's, constrains herself to treat him coldly. In the meanwhile, the plans of vengeance against the Countess, wbich Bridgnorth has never abandoned, and which form only a part of more extensive designs, are seconded by the cire cumstances of the times. The influence of France, strengthened by the Duchess of Portsmouth, the discovered correspondence of the bigoted Coleman, and the mysterious murder of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey, have raised suspicions against the Catholics, which are fomented by the interested perjuries of Oates and his associates, and the secret machinations of Shaftesbury and the Whig party, who wish to make the general alarm a stepping-stone to power. Among other innocent persons, the Countess of Derby incurs suspicion as the promoter of a second gunpowder plot; and Bridgnorth, in conjunction with Edward Christian, bis surviving brother-in-law, and under a secret promise of indemnity from the Wbig party, engage with some disaffected Manksmen, in a plan to seize on her person and government. In furtherance of this design, Bridgnorth makes use of Julian's attachment, which he has long secretly known, as a means of tampering with his fidelity to the Countess, but without effect; and Alice, wishing to warn her lover against the trap which is laid for him, without committing or endangering her father, is betrayed into an avowal of her attachment to him, in one of the most beautiful scenes of the book. Peveril, whose fidelity and honour has not for a moment been shaken, departs on a secret mission for the purpose of justifying the Countess at the Court of Whitehall; but, by means of Fenella, a natural daughter and spy of Edward Christian's, whom the latter has introduced into the Countess's household, under the unsuspected character of a deaf and dumb orphan, intelligence is given of the purport of the journey. Christian, who has left the Isle of Man in
of the failure of bis conspiracy against the Countess, attaches himself to Julian, under a feigned name, as a travelling companion, and by the aid of Chiffinch, the court pander, who entertains them on the road, purloins the letters with which the young man is entrusted. To complete Julian's misfortunes, he arrives at Martindale Castle just at the moment when his father is apprehended as an agent in the popish plot, and is himself taken prisoner in an assault on Bridgnorth, whose authority as a magistrate is called in to back the warrant. Being liberated from the house of the latter, by an insurrection of the neighbouring miners, headed by his father's gamekeeper, Julian pursues his journey to Lon. don; and having found out the loss of his papers, recovers them by force on the road from the person of Chiffinch. With the aid of the latter person, Edward Christian, who is the master-hypocrite and villain of the story, proposes to betray the honour of his niece. Alice to the profligate Charles, as a step to his own advancement, and to strengthen the interest of the Whig party, whose secret agent he is. Having been entrusted by Bridgnorth with her temporary guardianship, he commits her to the care of Chiffinch's mistress, at whose house she is seen by the Duke of Buckingham. The latter, who is deep in the secrets and political intrigues of Christian's friends, determines, with the vanity and caprice which mark his character, to undermine a plan in which he is not the principal agent, and accordingly lays siege to Alice him. self. Julian, however, arriving in town, finds an opportunity of delivering the dispatches, whose import he conceives to be known, into the hands of the King, and of rescuing Alice from the guardianship of Dame Chiffinch, assisted by the good offices of Fenella, who has bestowed her affections on him unsought, and follows him to town without his consent. Being waylaid by bravos in the interest of the Duke of Buckingham, Peveril wounds his most formidable antagonist dangerously, and is committed to prison, while Alice, in the confusion, is carried off by force to the palace of the Duke. From hence, however, she is speedily rescued by the active manoeuvres of Christian and Fenella, and replaced with her father, who in addition to his other designs, is plotting an insurrection of Fifth-Monarchy-Men, to take place as soon as circumstances will permit, as a counterblow to the Popish interest. After a short time spent in Newgate, during which the wounded ruffian recovers, Julian, who has, from obvious circumstances, incurred suspicion as a Popish agent, is brought to trial along with his father, and both are acquitted through the secret influence of the King. In the mean while, the escape of Alice, and the reconciliation of Buckingham with the Duchess of Portsmouth, having rendered Edward Christian's favourite scheme impracticable, he meditates still bolder plans. Swallowing with difficulty, the affront put upon him by the purposed counter-seduction of his niece, he suggests to Buckingham, whose vanity bas just been mortified by the refusal of the Princess Anne in marriage, the surprize of Wbitehall, and the establishment of the ambitious Duke as Lord Lieutenant of the kingdom. Buckingham consents in a moment of pique, and Bridgnorth, who, though he has avoided giving evidence against the Peverils, is alarmed by the Popish influence which he conceives indicated by their acquittal, prepares his Fifth-Monarchy-men to support the partizans of the Duke. From the success of these machinations, Christian anticipates the gratification both of his ambition and revenge, knowing that the Countess of Derby, who has travelled to London for the purpose of justifying Julian, will be at court on the evening of the plot, and hoping also to raise by bis influence to the rank of Duchess, his daughter Fenella, whom Buckingham has seen and admired. Fenella, however, is induced, by some better feeling, to take measures for the discovery of the plot at the critical moment; and Buckingham, in consideration of his having taken private measures for his Sovereign's personal safety, is pardoned, while Christian is allowed to retire with his daughter to New England. Bridgnorth, who had determined to remain and abide the consequences of his failure, receives a similar indemnity; and having now discovered the treachery of his brother-in-law, allows unconditionally an union which gratitude to Lady Peveril, and a secret partiality to her son, had led him to desire. The prejudices of Sir Geoffrey are easily reconciled by the merry Monarch, who has made no attempt to recover the prize designed for him"; and the marriage of Alice clears all incumbrances on the Peveril estate, besides restoring its 'ancient arrondisement.
Such is as brief a statement as we can intelligibly give of a plot, which, though exhibiting consummate skill in its combination and developement, loses a certain portion of interest from the infinite number of counter-movements and wheels within wheels, which it contains. The author (to use the phrase of his imaginary Buckingham) “ loves to be in the midst of the most varied and counteracting machinery, watching checks and counter-checks, balancing weights, proving springs and wheels, and regulating and controlling a hundred combined powers.” To such an excess is this carried, that even the reader is unable to extract from the mysterious freemasonry of the language, the nature of some of the plots, before they begin to operate : and so frequent are the necessary breaks and recurrences, that in some parts, the narrative must either be passed cursorily over without amusement, or the mind be braced up to that state in which a game of chess would be a pleasure. In remarking this, we are at the same time fully aware of the skill and invention necessary to construct such a plot, and of the merit of the numerous well-drawn characters which figure in it. Nor, as far as the leading political events and personages are concerned, are we prepared to impute any improbability to this able per