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tout-à-fait; le feu qui n'cchautTe pa«, incommode. Ah! я vous saviez, si vous lisiez comme j'ni t'ait jouir une âme tone et passionnée, du plaisir d'être aimée '. Il comparait ce qui l'avoit aime, ce qui i .нами encore, et il roe disoit sans cesse: 'On! tllee ne sont pas dignes d'êlre vos écolières; votre вгае а été chaufTée parole soleil de Lima, et mes compatriotes semblent être nées sous les glaces de la Laponie.' Et c'étoit de Madrid qu'il me mandpit cel»! Mon ami, il ne me louoit pas; il jouissuii; et je ne crois point me louer, quand je vuua dis qu'en Tous aimant à la folie, je ne vous donne que ce que je ne puis pas garder ou retenir."—Vol. ii. pp. 815—217.
"Oh, mon Dieu! qjue l'on vit/ort lorsqu'on est mort à tout, excepté a un objet qui est l'univers pour noua, et qui s'empare tellement de toutes líos íacullée, qu'il n'est plus possible de vivre dans d'autres temps que dans le moment où l'on est! Eh! comment voulez-vous que je vous dise si je vous aimerai dans trail mois? Comment pourroisje. avec ma pensée, me distraire de mon sentiment? Vous voudriez que, lorsque je vous vois, lorsque votre présence charme mes sens et mon аше, je pusse vous rendre cumple de l'effet queje recevrai de votre mariage; mon ami, je n'en sais rien,—mais rien du lout. S'il me guérissoit, je vous le dirois, et vous êtes assez juste pour ne m'en pas blâmer. Si, au contraire, il porloit le désespoir dans mon âme, je ne me plaindrais pas, et je souffrirais bien peu de temps. Alors vous seriez assez sensible et assez délicat pour approuver un pani qui ne vous couleroit que des regrets passagers, et dont votre nouvelle situation vous distrniroit bien vite ; et je vous assure que cette pensée est consolante pour moi: je m'en sens plus libre. Ne me demandez donc plus ce que je terai lorsque voue aurez engagé votre vie à une autre. Si je n'avois que de la vanuc et de l'amour-propre, je serois bien plus éclairée sur ce que j'éprouverai alors. Il n'y agüere de méprise mix calculs de l'amour-propre; il prévoit assez nute: la passion n'a point d'avenir; ainsi en vous disant: je vous aime, je vous dis tout ce que je sais et lout ce que je sens.—Oh! mon ami, je me sens capable de tout, excepté de plier: j'aurois la force d'un martyr, pour satisfaire ma passion ou celle de In personne qui m'aimeroit: mais je ne trouve rien en moi qui me réponde de pouvoir jamais faire le sacrifice de mon sentiment. La vie n'est rien en comparaison, et vous verrez si ce ne sont là que les discours d'une tête exallée. Oui, peut-être ce sont Pi les pensées d'une âme exaltée, mais à laquelle appartiennent les actions fortes. Seroit-ce à la raison qui est si prévoyante, si foible dans ses vues, et même si impuissante dans ses moyens, que ces pensées pourroient appartenir 1 Mon ami, je ne suis point raisonnable, et c'est peut-cire à force d'être passionnée que j'ai mis loute ma vie tant de raison à km*, re qui est soumis au jugement el à l'opinion des indilTirens. Combien j'ai usurpe d'éloges sur ma moderation, sur ma noblesse d'âme, sur mon désinlére*cement, sur les sacrifices prétendus que je t.i:-flis à une mémoire respectable el chère, et à la maison d'Alb. ...! Voilà comme le monde juge, comme il voit! Eh, bon Dieu! sots que vous êtes, je ne mérite pas vos louants: mon âme n'ctoit pas tai'e pour li'S petits intérêts qui vous occupent; twne entière au bonheur d'aimer et d'être, aimé il ne m'a failli ni force, ni honnêteté pour supporter U pauvreté, et pour dédaigner les avantages de la »jni'é. J'ai tant joui, j'ai si bien senli le prix de la v:e. que s'il falloit recommencer, je voudrais que ce Inr aux mêmes conditions. Aimer et soulTrir—le ciel, l'enfer,—voilà à quoi je me dévouerois. voilà r* que ¡f voudrois sentir, voilà le climat que je voudra» habiter; et non cel état tempéré dan» lequel virent tous les sots et tous les automates dont nous «ЛЛГОГ9 environnés."—Vol. ii. pp. a-28—233.
All this is raving no doubt; but it is the 'wing of real passion, and of a lofty and ]<owerfiil spirit. It is the eloquent raving of
the heart; and, when we think that this extraordinary woman wrote all this, not in the days of impatient youth, when the heart is strong for suffering, and takes a strange delight in the vehemence even of its painful emotions, but after years of misery, and with death before her eyes—advancing by gradual but visible steps, it is impossible not to feel an indescribable emotion of pity, resentment, and admiration. One little word more.
"Oh! que vous pesez sur mon cœur, lorsque vous voulez me prouver qu'il doit être content du voire! Je ne me plaindrois jamais, mais vous me forcez souvent à crier, tant le mal que vous me faites eel aigu et profond '. Mon ami, j'ai été aimée, je le suis encore, et je meurs de regret en pensant que ce n'est pas de voue. J'ai beau me dire que je ne méritai jamais le bonheur que je regrette ¡ mon cœur cette fois fait taire mon amour-propre: il me dit que, si je dus jamais être aimée, c'étoit de celui qui aurait assez de charme à mes yeux, pour me distraire de M. de M et pour me retenir à la vie,
après l'avoir perdu. Je n'ai fait que languir depuis votre dépari ; je n'ai pas été une heure sans soulfrance : le mal de mon âme passe à mon corps ; j'ai tous les jours la fièvre, et mon médecin, qui n'est pas le plus habile de tous les hommes, me répète sans cesse que je suis consumée de chagrin, que mon pouls, que ma respiration annoncent une douleur active; et il s'en va toujours en me disant: nous n'avons point de remide pour l'âme. Il n'y en a plus pour moi: ce n'est pas guérir que je voudrois. mais me calmer, mais retrouver quelques momens de repos pour me conduire à celui que la nature m'accordera bientôt."—Vol. iii. pp. 146, 147.
"Je n'ai plus assez de force pour mon âme—elle me tue. Vous ne pouvez plus rien sur moi, que me faire souffrir. Ne lâchez donc plus à me consoler, et cessez de vouloir me faire le victim_e de votre morale, après m'avoir fait celle de votre légèreté.— Vous ne m'avez pas vue, parce que la journée n'a que douze heures, et que vous aviez de quoi les remplir par des intérêts et des plaisirs qui vous sont, et qui doivent vous être plus chers que mon malheur. Je ne réclame rien, je n'exige rien, et je nie dis sans cesse que la source de mon bonheur et de mon plaisir est perdu pour jamais."—Vol. iii. p. 59.
We cannot leave our readers with these painful impressions; and shall add just one word or two of wliat is gayest in these desolating volumes.
"M. firimm est de retour; je l'ai accablé de questions. Il peint la Czarine, non pas comme une souveraine, mais comme une femme aimable, pleine d'esprit, de saillies, et de tout ce qui peut séduire et charmer. Mais dans lout ce qu'il me disoil, je reconnoissois plutôt cet art charmant d'une courtisane jzrecque, que la dignité et l'éclat de l'Impératrice d'un grand empire."—Vol. ii. p. 105.
"Avant dîner je vais voir rue de Cléry des automates; qui sont prodigieux, à ce qu'on dit. Quand j'allois dans le monde, je n'aurais p;is eu celte curiosité: deux nu trois soupers en donnent satiélé; mais ceux de la rue de Cléry valent mieux: ils agissent et ne parlent point. Venez-y, en allnnt nu Marais, et je vom dirai là si j'ai la loge de M. Icducd'Aumont. Madame de Ch. . . ne vous croit point coupable de négligence: elle m'a demandé aujourd'hui si voire retraite duroit encore. Ce gué les femmes veulent seulement, c'est d'être préfé. rées. Presque personne n'a besoin d'être nimé, et reía est bion heureux: car c'est ce qui se fait le plus mal à Paris. Ils osent dire qu'ils air lent; et ils sont calmes et dissipés! c'esl assurément bien connoîire le sentiment et la passion. Pauvres gens! il faut les louer comme les Uliputiens: ils sont bien jolis, bien l'entils. bien aimables. Adieu, m— ami.1'—Vol. u. pp. 197, 198.
We have left ourselves no room to make ¡ visibly within a few weeks of her end, and i« nny reflections; except, only, that the French ' wasted with coughs and spasms, she still ha» fashion of living, and almost of dying, in her salon tilled twice a day with company public, is nowhere so strikingly exemplified, j and drags herself out to supper with all th<; as in the letters of this victim of passion and countesses of her acquaintance. There is . of fancy. While her heart is torn with the ' sreat deal of French character, indeed, in most agonizing passions, and her thoughts '• both the works of which we now take ow turned hourly on suicide, she dines out. and leave ;—a great deal to admire, and to wonder makes visits every day; and, when she is at—but very little, we think, to envy.
Wilhelm Meistens Apprenticeship: a Novel. From the German of Goethe.
pp. 1030. Edinburgh: 1824.
There are few things that at first sight appear more capricious and unaccountable, than the diversities of national taste; and yet there are not many, that, to a certain extent at least, admit of a clearer explanation. They form evidently a section in the great chapter of National Character; and, proceeding on the assumption, that human nature is everywhere fundamentally the same, it is not perhaps very difficult to indicate, in a general way, the circumstances which have distinguished it into so many local varietiee.
These may be divided into two great classes.—the one embracing all that relates to the newness or antiquity of the society to which they belong, or. in other words, to the stage which any particular nation has attained in that great progress from rudeness to refinement, in which all are engaged ;—the other comprehending what may be termed the accidental causes by which the character and condition of communities may be affected; such as their government, their relative position as to power and civilization to neighbouring countries, their prevailing occupations, determined in some degree by the capabilities of their soil and climate, and more than all perhaps, as to the question of taste, the etill more accidental circumstance of the character of their first models of excellence, or the kind of merit bv which their admiration and national vanity had first been excited.
It is needless to illustrate these obvious sources of peculiarity at any considerable lenirth. It is not more certain, that all primitive communities proceed to civilization bv nearly the same stages, than that the procrees of taste is marked by corresponding gradations, and may. in most cases, be distinguished into periods, the order and succession of which is nearlv as uniform and determined. If tribes of savage men always pioceed. under ordinary circumstances, from the occupation of hunting to that of pasturage, from that to agriculture, and from that to commerce and manufactures, the sequence is scarcely less invariable in the history of letters and art. In the former, verse is uniformly antecedent to prose—marvellous legend? to correct history—exasperated sentiments to just représentations of 'ure. Invention, in short, regularly comes ,
before judgment, warmth of feeling before correct reasoning—and splendid declamation and broad humour before delicate simplicity or refined wit. In the arts again, the progrejs is strictly analagous—from mere monstrosity to ostentatious displays of labour and design, first in massive formality, and next in fantaftical minuteness, variety, and flutter of parts; —and then, through the gradations of startling contrasts and overwrought expression, to the repose and simplicity of graceful nature
These considerations alone explain'much of that contrariety of taste by which different nations are distinguished. They not only start in the great career of improvement at different times, but they advance in it with different velocities—some lingering longer in one stase than another—some obstructed and some helped forward, by circumstances operating on them from within or from without. It is the unavoidable consequence, however, of their being in any one particular position, that they will judge of their own productions and those of their neighbours, according to that standard of taste which belongs to the place they then hold in this great circle ;— and that a whole people will look on their neighbours with wonder and scorn, for ailmiriim what their own grandfathers looked on with equal admiration,—while they themselves are scorned and vilified in return, for tastes which will infallibly be adopted by the grandchildren of those who despise them.
What we have termed the accidental causes of great differences in beings of the game nature, do not of course admit of quite so simple an exposition. But it is not in reality more difficult to prove their existence and explain their operation. Where great and deírradin:r despotisms have been early established, either by the aid of superstition or of mere force, as m most of the states of Asia, or where small tribes of mixed descent hare been enjjaged in perpetual contention for freedom and superiority, as in ancient Greece— where the ambition and faculties of individ uals have been chained up by the institution of castes and indelible separations, as in India and Egypt, or where all men practise all occupations and aspire to all honours, as in Germany or Britain—where the sole occupation Ti the people has been war, as in infant Rome, ;>r where a vast pacific population has been lor ages inured to mechanical drudgery, as in China—it is needless to say, that very opposite notions of what conduces to delight and amusement must necessarily prevail; and that the Taste of the nation must be affected both by the sentiments which it has been taught to cultivate, and the capacities it has been led to unfold.
The inlluence of early models, however, is perhaps the most considerable of any; and may be easily enough understood. When men have been accustomed to any particular kind of excellence, they naturally become „Mod judges of it, and account certain considerable degrees of it indispensable,—while they are comparatively blind to the merit of other good qualities to which they had been less habituated, and are neither offended by their absence, nor at all skilful in their estimatlun. Thus those nations who, like the English and the Dutch, have been long accustomed to great cleanliness and order in their persons :;:,d dwellings, naturally look with admiration on the higher displays of those qualities, and ar-.- proportionally disgusted by their neglect; while they are apt to undervalue mere pomp anj síateíiness, when destitute of these recommendations: and thus also the Italians and Sicilians, bred in the midst of dirt and :r.a^uiticence, are curiously alive to the beauties of architecture and sculpture, and make but litle account of the more homely comforts h'ch are so highly prized by the others. In • '.: • same way, if a few of the first successful "Irenturers in art should have excelled in any particular qualities, the taste of their nat^ii will naturally be moulded on that standard—will regard those qualities almost exclusively as entitled to admiration, and will i.')t only consider the want of thorn as fatal to ¡••il pretensions to excellence, but will unduly 'Ic.'piee and undervalue other qualities, in i.'i -mselves not less valuable, but with which liieir national models had not happened to make them timeously familiar. It, for example, the first great writers in any country -•jull have distinguished themselves by a pmpousand severe regularity, and a certain i'.uborate simplicity of design and execution, it will naturally follow, that the national taste '• !not only become critical and rigorous as lo those particulars, but will be proportionally «leadened to the merit of vivacity, nature, and i iTfntion, when combined with irregularity. homeliness, or confusion. While, if the great patriarchs of letters had excelled in variety s'i'l rapidity of invention, and boldness and '•".'¿'h of sentiment, though poured out with i'" *!.!erable disorder and incongruity of man• r. those qualities would quickly come to be the national criterion of merit, and the correctness and decorum of the other school be ib'spieed. as mere recipes for monotony and lameness.
These, we think, are the plain and certain
effects of the peculiar character of the first
créât popular writers of all countries. But
rtill в с do not conceive that they depend al
together on any thing so purely accidental as the temperament or early history of a few individuals. No doubt the national tasle cf France and of England would at this moment have been different, had Shakespeare been a Frenchman, and Boileau and Racine written in English. But then, we do not think that Shakespeare could have been a Frenchman; and we conceive that his character, and that of other original writers, though no doubt to be considered on the whole as casual, must ; yet have been modified to a great extent by ! the circumstances of the countries in which they were bred. It is plain that no original force of genius could have enabled Shakespeare | to write as he had done, if he had been born I and bred among the Chinese or the Peruvians. Neither do we think that he could have done so, in any other country but England—free, sociable, discursive, reformed, familiar Eng: land—whose motley and mingling population not only presented "every change of manycoloured life" to his eye, but taught and permitted every class, from the highest to the lowest, to know and to estimate the feelings and the habits of all the others—and thus enabled the gifted observer not only to deduce the true character of human nature from this infinite variety of experiments and examples, but to speak to the sense and the hearts of each, with that truly universal tongue, which every one feels to be peculiar, and all enjoy as common.
We have said enough, however, or rather too much, on these general views of the subject—which in truth is sufficiently clear in those extreme cases, where the contrariety is great and universal, and is only perplexing when there is a pretty general conformity both in the causes which influence taste and in the results. Thus, we are not at all surprised to find the taste of the Japanese or the Iroquois very different from our own—and have no difficulty in both admitting that our human nature and human capacities are substantially the same, and in referring this discrepancy to the contrast that exists in the «hole state of society, and the knowledge, and the opposite qualities of the objects to which we have been respectively accustomed to give our admiration. That nations living in times or places altogether remóte, should disagree in taste, as in every thing else, seems to us quite natural. They are only the nearer cases that puzzle. And, that great European countries, peopled by the same mixed races, educated in the admiration of the same classical models—venerating the same remains of antiquity—engaged substantially in the same occupations—communicating every day, on business, letters, and society—bound up in short in one great commonwealth, as against the inferior and barbarous parts of the world, should yet differ so widely—not only as to the comparative excellence of their respective productions, but as to the constituents of excellence in all works of genius or skill, does indeed sound like a paradox, the solution of which every one mav not be able to deduce from the preceding observations.
The great practical equation on which we in this country have been hitherto most frequently employed, has been between our own standard of taste and that which is recognized among our neighbours of France:—And certainly, though feelings of rivalry have somewhat aggravated its apparent, beyond its real amount, there is a great and substantial difference to be accounted for.—in the way we have suggested—or in some other way. Stating that difference as generally as possible, we would say, that the French, compared with ourselves, are more sensitive to faults, and less transported with beauties—more enamoured of art. and less indulgent to nature—more charmed with overcoming difficulties, than with that power which makes us unconscious of their existence—more averse to strong emotions, or at least less covetous of them in their intensity —more students of taste, in short, than adorers of genius—and far more disposed than any other people, except perhaps the Chinese, to circumscribe the rules of taste to such as they themselves have been able to practise, and to limit the legitimate empiie of genius to the provinces they have explored. There has been a good deal of discussion of late years, in the iace of literary Europe, on these debatable grounds; and we cannot but think that the result has been favourable, on the whole, to the English, and that the French have been compelled to recede considerably from many of their exclusive pretensions—a result which we are inclined to ascribe, less to the arguments of our native champions, than to those circumstances in the recent history of Europe, which have compelled our ingenious neighbours to mingle more than they had ever done before with the surrounding nations—and thus to become better acquainted with the diversified forms which genius and talent may assume.
But while we are thus fairly in the way of settling our differences with France, we are little more than beginning them, we fear, with Germany : and the perusal of the extraordinary volumes before us, which has suggested all the preceding reflections, has given us. at the same time, an impression of such radical, and apparently irreconcilable disagreement as to principles, as we can scarcely hope either to remove by our reasonings, or even very satisfactorily to account for by our suggestions.
This is allowed, by the general consent of all Germany, to be the very greatest work of their very greatest writer. The most original, the most varied and inventive,—the most characteristic, in short, of the author, and of his country. We receive it as such accordingly, with implicit faith and suitable respect; and have perused it in consequence with very great at-! lention and no common curiosity. We have perused it, indeed, only in the translation of which we have prefixed the title: But it is a translation by a professed admiirr: and by one who is proved by his Preface to be a person of | talents, and by every part of the work to be no ordinary master, at least of one of the languages i with which he has to deal. We need scarcely' My, that we profess to judge of the work only |
according to our own principleßof judgment aiiil habitsot feeling; and, meaning nothing lesiiki'i to dictate to the readers or the critics ot Germany what they should think of their tavuurite authors, propose only to let them know, in all plainness and modesty, what we, and we really believe most of our countrymen, actually think of this chef-d'œuvre of Teutonic genius.
We must say, then, at once, that we cannot enter into the spirit of this German idolatry: nor at all comprehend upon what grounds lix work before us could ever be considered a? an admirable, or even a commendable performance. To us it certainly appears, alter the most deliberate consideration, to be eminently absurd, puerile, incongruous, vulgar. and affected ;—and, though redeemed by considerable powers of invention, and seme trais of vivacity, to be so far from perfection, as tu be. almost from beginning to end. one flagrant offence against every principle of taste, ami every just rule of composition. Though indicating, in many places, a mind capable loti of acute and profound reflection, it is iml ul mere silliness and childish affectation :—ar.d though evidently the work of one whu baii seen and observed much, it is throughout altogether unnatural, and not fo properly iraprobable, as affectedly fantastic and absurd— kept, as it were, studiously aloof from general or ordinary nature—never once bringing M into contact with real life or genuine chaiacler —and, where not occupied w ith the proti» sional squabbles, paltry jargon, and scenical profligacy of strolling players, tumbler?, and mummers (which may be said to form it* staple), is conversant only with inc-cmprthi-r.sible mystics and vulgar men of whmi. with whom, if it were at all possible to underr'.aM them, it would be a baseness to be acquainted. Every thing, and every body we meet with is a riddle and an oddity ; and though the tissue of the story is sufficiently coarse. ai:il ibi' manners and sentiments infected with a strra;: tinge of vulgarity, it is all kept in the air. hie a piece of machinery at the minor théâtres, and never allowed to touch the solid ground, or to give an impression of reality, by l^1' disclosure of known or living features. I the midst of all this, however, there are. every now and then, outbreaking» of a tine spcc-uiation, and gleams of a warm and sjinplit-) imagination—an occasional wild and e.\utn glow of fancy and poetry—a vigorous In arm ~ up of incidents, and touches of bright an! powerful description.
It is not very easy certainly to account to: these incongruities, or to suggest an intelligible theory for so strange a practice. But in so far as we can guess, these peculiarities of German taste are to be referred, in part, to the comparative newness of original composition among that ingenious people, *nd I the state of European literature when they first ventured on the experiment—and in part to the state of society in that great country itself, and the comparatively humble condition of the greater part of thosb who write, or И whom wilting is there addressed.
The Germans, though undoubtedly an ima
^¡native and even enthusiastic race, had neglected their native literature for t\vo hundred years—and were chiefly known for their learning and industry. They wrote huge Latin treatises on Law and Theology—and put forth bulky editions and great tomes of annotations on the classics. At last, however, they grow tired of being respected as the b-arned drudges of Europe, and reproached «;th their consonants and commentators; and determined, about fifty years ago, to show what metal they were made of, and to give the world a taste of their quality, as men of SPiuus and invention. In this attempt the ¡list thing to be effected was at all events to avoid the imputation of being scholastic imitators of the classics. That would have smelt too much, they thought, of the old shop; and in order to prove their claims to originality, it was necessary to go a little into the opposite extreme.—to venture on something decidedly modern, and to show at once their independence on their old masters, and their superiority to the pedantic rules of antiquity. With this view some of them betook themselves to the French models—set seriously to study how to be gay—appendre à être vif—and composed a variety of petites pieces and novels of polite gallantry, in a style—of which we shall at present say nothing. This manner, however, ran too much counter to the general character of the nation to be very much followed—and undoubtedly the greater and better part of their writers turned rather to us, fur hints and lessons to guide them in their ambitious career. There was a greater original atiinity in the temper and genius of the two nations—and. in addition to that consideration, «or great authors were indisputably at once more original and less classical than those of France. England, however, we are sorry to »ay. could furnish abundance of bad as well as of good models—and even the best were perilous enoush for rash imitators. As it Happened, however, the worst were most generally selected—and the worst parts of the :i>ud. Shakespeare was admired—but more for his flights of fancy, his daring impropriété?, his trespasses on the borders of absurdity, than for the infinite sagacity and rectifying good sense by which he redeemed those extravagancies, or even the profound tenderness and simple pathos which alternated with the lofty soaring or dazzling imagery of his style. Altogether. hoAvever. Shakespeare was beyond their rivalry; and although Schiller has dared, and not ingloriously. to emulate his miracles, it was plainly to other merits and other rivalriiM that the body of his ingenious conn trymen aspired. The ostentatious absurdity— th° affected oddity—the pert familiarity—the broken style, and exaggerated sentiment of Tristram Shandy—the mawkish morality, tlawdlins details, and interminable agonies of Richardson—the vulgar adventures, and homely, thoutrh. at the same time, fantastical speculations of John Bunde and others of his forgotten class, found far more favour in their eyes. They were original, startling, unclas!Ícal, and puzzling. They excited curosity
by not being altogether intelligible—effectually excluded monotony by the rapidity and violence of their transitions, and promised to rouse the most torpid sensibility, by the violence and perseverance with which they thundered at the heart. They were the very things, in short, which the German originals were in search of;—and they were not slow, therefore, in adopting and improving on them. In order to make them thoroughly their own, they had only to exaggerate their peculiarities —to mix up with them a certain allowance of their old visionary philosophy, misty metaphysics, and superstitious visions—and to introduce a few crazy sententious theorists, to sprinkle over the whole a seasoning of rash speculation on morality and the fine arts.
The style was also to be relieved by a variety of odd comparisons and unaccountable similes—borrowed, for the most part, from low and revolting objects, and all the better if they did not exactly fit the subject, or even introduced new perplexity into that which they professed to illustrate.
This goes far, we think, to explain the absurdity, incongruity, and affectation of the works of which we are speaking. But there is yet another distinguishing quality for which we have not accounted—and that is a peculiar kind of vulgarity which pervades all their varieties, and constitutes, perhaps, their most repulsive characteristic. We do not know very well how to describe this unfortunate peculiarity, except by saying that it is the vulgarity of pacific, comfortable burghers, occupied with stuffing, cooking, and providing for their coarse personal accommodations. There certainly never were any men of genius who condescended to attend so minutely to the non-iialurah of their heroes and heroines as the novelists of modern Germany. Their works smell, as it were, of groceries—of brown papers filled with greasy cakes and slices of bacon,—and fryings in frowsy back parlours. All the interesting recollections of childhood turn on remembered tidbits and plundering» of savoury store-rooms. In the midst of their most passionate scenes there is always a serious and affectionate notice of the substantial pleasures of eating and drinking. The raptures of a tête-a-tête are not complete without a bottle of nice wine and a "trim collation/' Their very sages deliver their oracles over a glass of punch; and the enchanted lover finds new apologies for his idolatry in taking a survey of his mistress' "combs, soap, and towel», with the traces of their use." These baser necessities of our nature, in short, which all other writers who have aimed at raising the imagination or touching the heart have Kept studiously out of view, are ostentatiously brought forward, and fondly dwelt on by the pathetic authors of Germany.
We really cannot well account for this extraordinary taste. But we suspect it is owiny to the importance that is really attached to those solid comforts and supplies of necessaries, by the greater part of the readers and writers of that country. Though .here Is a