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contrast of unworthy conduct and exalted senti. ment. The author palliates the actions of his hero by painting in the warmest colours the matchless beauty and graces, and delightful gaiety, of Manon; and, by means of the same attributes, throws around her an enchantment, which never utterly forsakes her in the deepest abyss of vice and misery. An ill-concerted fraud at length gives the friends of her infatuated lover an opportunity of separating him from his mistress. She is sent along with other convicts to New Orleans, but her adorer resolves to accompany her across the Atlantic. In the new world she becomes as admirable for the constancy as she had formerly been for the warmth of her attachment, and the errors of an ardent imagination are represented as extinguished by the virtues of an affectionate heart. She rejects an advantageous alliance, and the companion of her exile having incurred the displeasure of the governor, she follows him to the wilds of America, where she expires, exhausted by grief and fatigue. Her lover returns to France.
It has been objected to the moral tendency of this work, that, spite of her errors and failings, the character of Manon is too captivating ; but, in fact, in the early part of her career, she possesses
a prodigious selfishness, and a selfishness of all others the most disgusting-the desire of luxury and pleasure, a rage for frequenting the theatre and opera ; and it is for the gratification of such passions as these that she betrays and sacrifices her lover. It is only in the wilds of the western world that the aim of the author is developed, which seems to be to show, that there is no mind which a strong attachment may not elevate above itself, and render capable of every virtue.. The defects of the novel are no doubt numerous, in point of morals, probability, and good taste, yet some portion of admiration must ever attend the matchless beauty of Manon, and some share of interest follow the exalted passion and self-devotedness of her lover.
A chief defect' of the novels of Prevot consists in a perplexed arrangement of the incidents : he has an appearance of advancing at hazard, without having fixed whither he is tending; he heaps one event on another, and frequently loses sight of his most interesting characters. These faults are less apparent in Manon L'Escaut than most of his other works, but are very remarkable in his Dean of Coleraine (Doyen de Killerin) and the Life of Cleveland. The former is modestly announced by the author as “ Histoire ornée de tout ce qui peut rendre une lecture utile et agreable.” It comprehends the story of a catholic family of Ireland, consisting of three brothers and a sister, who pass over to France after the Revolution, in order to push their fortunes in that country. The dean, who is the eldest, though against this experiment, agrees to accompany his relatives, that they may receive the benefit of his wisdom and counsel, which he, on all occasions, most liberally imparts to them. Accordingly, the novel consists of the numerous adventures, embarrassments, and afflictions which this family encounters in a foreign land, and which chiefly originate in the singular beauty of the sister, the ambition of the second, and the weakness of the youngest brother. The dean, who is a Christian of the most rigorous virtue, is entirely occupied with the present and future welfare of his family. His admonitions, however, are so frequent and tedious, that, as the Abbé Desfontaines has remarked, he is as insufferable to the reader as to his brothers and sister.
Cleveland comprehends the romantic adventures of a natural son of Oliver Cromwell. In his youth he is brought up in solitude by his mother, and is neglected, or rather persecuted, by his father, for whom he early conceives an insurmountable aversion. At length he escapes into France, and his diffidence at his entrance into life, and the rise and progress of his first passion, are happily painted. He follows the object of his affections to the wilds of America, whither she had accompanied her father. There he is united to his mistress, and becomes the chief and benefactor of a tribe of savages, a novel situation, in which he has an opportunity of unfolding all the energies of his mind. An ill-founded jealousy, however, on the part of his wife, over which she brooded in silence for a long course of years, at length leads to new adventures, and to dreadful catastrophes. One of the most curious and interesting parts of the novel, is the episode concerning an almost inaccessible island in the neighbourhood of St Helena, in which there was established a sort of Utopian colony, consisting of protestant refugees from Rochelle, who, harassed by a dreadful siege, and panting for a secure asylum, carefully concealed themselves in this retreat from the rest of the world. This colony is visited by another natural son of Oliver Cromwell, who accidentally meets his brother Cleveland at sea, and relates to him what he had witnessed. On the whole, the adventures in this work are wild and incredible, but the characters are marked, impassioned, and singular.
The novels of Madame Riccoboni, which were chiefly written about the middle of the 18th century, are distinguished by their delicacy and spirit. Of these compositions the style is clear and beautiful, and the reflections, though not so deepsought as those of Marivaux, are remarkable for their novelty and justness, and the felicity with which they are expressed. Indeed, at every page we meet with happy phrases and sentiments, which we wish to retain and remember. The story of Miss Jenny Salisbury is, I think, the most interesting and pathetic of her productions. It is the exhibition of female virtue in circumstances of the deepest danger and poverty, which seems to be a favourite subject with the French novelists.
Le Marquis de Cressy contains the picture of a man of rank and talents, but of unbounded ambition and worthless heart. He sacrifices the woman whom he loved, and by whom he was in turn adored, for the sake of a more advantageous alliance. She whom he chose as his wife is at last more unhappy than the mistress he had forsaken, and is driven, by the indifference and infidelity of her husband, to seek a voluntary oblivion of her misfortunes. The marquis was not so hardened as not to be rendered wretched by the misery he had dealt around him. “Il fut grand—il fut