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tablishes a raw" upon the nervous sys- excellent sense for unvarnished realities tem, does soften to acuteness, mobility, and has been attributed by some to their habit racy corrugation in the breast of its natu- of visiting so many interiors — of men and ral ally, the Doctor. For autocratic tem- of their houses — whose swell-fronts are pers are bland towards each other, and pervious to the sincerity of pain. We murderous characteristics can mutually im- never see a doctor's chaise anchored at a part something homologous to the refin- door but we imagine the doctor taking in ing interchange of beautiful souls. There- freight up-stairs. In these days he is before we do not yet know how much our ginning to receive more than he gives. climate is indebted to our doctors. It may Let no sarcastic person allude to doctors' be suspected that they understand each fees. We mean that the physician, whose other, as the quack and the fool do, whose humanity and intelligence are broad diinterests are identical.
plomas, on presenting which the doors of But this will not account for the literary hearts and houses open with a welcome, talent of the doctors. For they write books enters into the choicest field of his educain England and Scotland, in France and tion and research, where his tender obsertemperate Germany, in every latitude and vation walks the wards of thought, feeling, with a good deal; they are, however, de- and motive, to amass the facts of health fective in longitude, which is remarkable, and suffering, to be refined at the true when we consider how they will protract drama of pathos, to be ennobled by the their cases.
With their pens they are spectacle of fair and lofty spiritual traits, prompt, clean, humane in the matter of to be advised of the weaknesses which he ink, their first intention almost always learns to touch lightly with his caustic, successful, their thought expelled by nat- while his knowing and friendly look depreural cerebral contraction without stimulus, cates all excess of pain. It is a school of (we speak of ergot, but of “old rye” we shrewdness, gentleness, and faith. know nothing,) their passion running to its But a rich subject is here, altogether crisis in the minimum of time, and their too wide for a book-notice, and worthy affections altogether pleasanter than any- of deliberate, but enthusiastic treatment. thing of the kind they accuse us of having, Dr. John Brown of Edinburgh has conas well as less lingering. But with their sulted his own interior, and frequented pills well, we all know how our ills those of his diocese, to some purpose. The are nursed by medicine. Is it a relief that pieces in this volume, which the publishtheir precept is less tedious than their ers have selected from the two volumes practice? It is good policy for us, per- of “ Horæ Subsecivæ," omitting the more haps, if our minds are to be under treat- professional papers, are full of humor, tenment from their books, — and it grows derness, and common sense. They betray plainer every day that no person of mind only occasionally, in a technical way, that can well escape from them, - that our the author is a disciple, as well as admirer, bodies should continue subject to their of Sydenham, and his own countryman, boluses. Thus we may die daily, but our Cullen. But they overflow with the best incorporeal part is better acclimated in the specifics of the healing art, shrewdness, invisible world of truths and realities. independence, nice observation; they have
No,- the doctors owe nothing to climate a woman's kindness and a man's sturdiness. or race. The intelligent ones are every- They honor human nature not the less bewhere broad, acute, tender, and religious. cause the writer knows how to manage it, They uniformly see what is natural and to raise a smile at its absurdities, to rally, what is morbid, what is fact and what is pique, and guide it into health and goodfancy, what is cutaneous and what is vital, humor. He is very clever with the edgein men and women. They stand on un- tools in his surgeon's-case ; he whips you real, conventional terms with nothing. out an excrescence before you are quite They know healthy from inflamed tissues, aware that he meditated an operation, and and run down, grab, and give one dexterous you find that he had chloroformed you fatal shake to a tissue of lies. One of Dr. with a shrewd writer's best anæsthetic, a Brown's terriers is not more swift, exact, humorous and genial temper. and uncompromising after vermin. This There is a great deal of nice writing here. Happy words come at a call and human moods and characteristics. There occupy their inevitable places. Now and are his usual literary excellences, brought then a Scotch word, with a real terrier to the service of a keen and faithfully rephiz and the best qualities of "black and porting eye, and his fine humane qualities, tan,” gives the page a local flavor which his tenderness, reverence, and humor. we should not like to miss. But the writ- This volume is one of the best ventures ing is not provincial. There is Scotch of the literary year. character everywhere : the keenness, intensity, reverence, shaggy humor, sly fun, and just a touch of the intolerance. The Cecil Dreeme. By THEODORE WINTHROP. somewhat literal regard for Scripture, the Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 16mo. awe, and the unquestioning, childlike way of being religious, with the independence In the death of Major Winthrop, at the of Kirk and Sessions and National Estab- promising commencement of his military lishments, all belong to the best intelligence career, the nation lost one of its purest, of Edinburgh. But the literary felicity, the noblest, and most pable spirits. His inscholarship, the various reading, the culti- dustry, sagacity, and intrepidity all rested vated appreciation of books, men, and sys- on a firm basis of fixed principle and deep tems, while they make us admire - as a enthusiasm ; and had he lived, we have good many bright volumes printed in Edin- little doubt that both his moral and practiburgh have done before, the mental pow- cal power would have been felt among the er and refinement which that most pic- palpable forces of the country. In the arturesque of Northern cities nourishes, do ticles he contributed to this magazine, destill belong to the great commonwealth scribing his brief military experience, evof letters, remind us not of wynds and ery reader must have recognized the sincloses, and run away from the littleness gular brightness of his mind and the sinof time and place.
gular joyousness of his courage. Powers If the reader would understand the dif- which, in meditation, worked at the bidference between the sentimental and the ding of pensive or melancholy sentiments, pathetic treatment of a subject, let him seemed to be braced by action into unsee in “Rab and his Friends” how the wonted healthiness and hilarity; and had pen of Dr. Brown follows the essential he survived the experience of the present lines of that most pure and tender of all war, there can be little doubt that his instories. In doing so he has given us a tellect and imagination would, by contact new creation in Ailie Noble. Not a line with events, have been developed to their can
an be effectively added to that ideal nar- full capacity, and found expression in litrative of a true history, not a word can be erary works of remarkable power. pushed from its place. The whole treat- “ Cecil Dreeme" is one of several novment is at once delicate, incisive, tender, els he wrote before the war broke out, and reserved, and dramatic. And after read. it conveys a striking impression of his ing it,—with or without tears, according to genius and disposition. The utmost senyour capacity for dogged resistance to a sitiveness and delicacy of moral sense were distended lachrymal duct, - you will be combined in him with a rough delight in all conscious of bearing away a sweet and sub- the manifestations of manly strength ; and duing impression, like that which a rare these two tendencies of his nature are fitly friend can sometimes give, which lingers embodied and exquisitely harmonized in many days.
the characters of Cecil Dreeme and Robert Let nobody omit to read the “Let Byng. They are opposites which by their ter to John Cairns, D. D.," because he very nature are necessarily attracted to does not care for J. C. or know who he is. each other. The obstacle to their mental It contains some reminiscences by Dr. and moral union is found in a third perBrown of his father, a noted clergyman, son, Densdeth, in whom manly strength of whose life and character Dr. Cairns had and genius have been corrupted by selfishprepared a memoir. In this, and in the ness and sensuality into the worst form of Essay upon Dr. Chalmers, Dr. Brown spiritual evil. This person is simply abshows his capacity to observe and portray horred by Cecil, while Byng finds in him
something which tempts appetite, piques Though the most really prominent person curiosity, develops sensuous feeling, and in the drama, he is, in the representaprovokes pride, as well as something which tion, kept in the background, - a cynical, excites moral disgust and loathing. Byng's sneering, brilliant demi-devil, who appears distrustful love for Emma Denman admi- only when some plot against innocence is rably represents this stage of his moral beginning its wiles or approaching its conexperience.
summation. Densdeth is undoubtedly the central The incidents of the novel occur in some character of the book. It proves its crea of the best-known localities of New York. tor to be a true spiritual as well as physi- Nobody can mistake Chuzzlewit Hotel and cal descendant of President Edwards ; and Chrysalis College. Every traveller has not even his ancestor has shown more put up at the first and visited some literary vividly the "exceeding sinfulness of sin.” or artistic friend at the second. Indeed, Densdeth is one of those evil natures in Winthrop seems to have deliberately chos. whom delight in evil pleasures has subsid en the localities of his story with the speed into a delight in evil itself, and a desire cial purpose of showing that passions almost to communicate it to others. He has the as terrible as those which are celebrated diabolical power of calling out the latent in the tragedies of Æschylus and Sophoevil in all natures with whom his own cles may rage in the ordinary lodging-hous. comes in contact, and he corrupts, not so es of New York. He has succeeded in much by example, as by a direct commu throwing an atmosphere of mystery over nication of the corrupt spiritual life of his places which are essentially commonplace; individual being. He is an accomplished and he has done it by the intensity with devil, wearing the guise of a New York which he has conceived and represented man of fashion and fortune, - a devil such the internal thoughts, struggles, and emoas tempts every person thrown into the vor tions of the men and women by whom tex of our daily commonplace life. Every these edifices of brick and stone are inhab pure sentiment, noble aspiration, and man ited. ly instinct, every natural affection, gentle Though a clear narrator, when the story feeling, and religious principle, is tainted required clear narration, Winthrop perby liis contaminating companionship. He fectly understood the art of narrating by infuses a subtle skepticism of the reality implication and allusion. He paints disof goodness by the mere magnetism of his tinctly and minutely, not omitting a single evil presence. Persons who have been detail, when the occasion demands such guarded against the usual contrivances by faithful representation of real facts and lowhich the conventional Devil works his calities; but he has also the power of flashwonders find themselves impotent before ing his meaning by suggestive hints which the fascinations of Densdeth. They follow the most labored description and explicawhile they detest him, and are at once his tion could not make more effective. He victims and his accomplices. In those makes the mind of the reader work symwhose goodness, like that of Cecil Dreeme, pathetically with his own in building up is founded on purity of sentiment and the idea he seeks to convey. Crimes which strength of principle, he excites unmiti are nameless are mutually understood by gated abhorrence and strenuous opposi this refined communion between author tion; but on all those whose excellence is and reader. The mystery of the plot is “respectable" rather than vital, who are not directly explained, but each party good by the felicity of their circumstances seems to bring, as in private conversation, rather than the force of their conscience, his individual sagacity to bear upon the he exercises a fascination almost irresist- right interpretation. ible. To everybody, indeed, who has in The style of the book is admirable. It him any latent evil not overbalanced by is brief almost to abruptness. The words the habitual performance of positive du are few, and are crammed with all the ties, Densdeth's companionship is morally meaning they can hold. There is not a blighting. The character, fearful in its page which does not show that the writway as the Mephistopheles of Goethe, is er is an economist of expression, and represented with considerable artistic skill. desirous of conveying his matter with
the slightest possible expenditure of ink. Charles Reade himself does not condense with a' more fretful impatience of all circumlocution and a profounder reliance on the absolute import of single words.
We might easily refer to particular scenes from this book, illustrative of the author's descriptive and representative powers. Among many which might be
noticed, we will allude to only two, – that in which Cecil is revived from his “sleep of death,” and that in the opera-house, where Byng is apprised of the guilt of Emma Denman. Nobody can read either without feeling that in the disastrous fight of Great Bethel we lost a great novelist as well as a chivalrous soldier and a noble man.
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