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generous, impulsive nature, had immediately struck up a friendship with her. As for the children, they adored her; the girls voted her everything that was nice, the boys pronounced her a "brick."
"Ah, but I admire Mrs. Treeby's second daughter, too, very much, Eleanor," said Lady Boulder, after a short pause. tall figure shows particularly well on horseback, for she holds herself so straight, and there is such a distingué air about her. She is handsomer than her sister."
"I think she is," replied Lady Quaque. "I admire that delicate haughty cast of feature. She wants Miss Catherine's sweetness of expression, though. There is my husband beckoning to me; tiresome man, I wonder what he wants."
"Suppose we go into the park for a little," said Lady Boulder, as Lady Quaque walked away; "that is to say, if you are inclined for a walk. I will have my chair lifted down the steps, and send for Jordan to pull me, and we can go to what the boys call 'Bogie's Castle,' which I do not think you have seen yet."
Mrs. Treeby would be only too happy; it was just the sort of day for a walk, so beautifully mild and cheerful; and, accordingly, Lady Boulder despatched Aggie to the house for Bellamy, who, with Johnstone, came and assisted her ladyship out of her wheel-chair into an arm-chair, which they brought with them, and then lifted the wheel-chair down the steps on to the walk, and then carried her ladyship between them very carefully, and put her back into it; and having accomplished all this satisfactorily, returned to the house, Bellamy expressing the hope before he went that her ladyship was quite comfortable; to which her ladyship made response, "Yes, I thank you, Bellamy; tell Jordan, will you, to be as quick as possible."
"To recur to your daughter Maud," said Lady Boulder, when she and Mrs. Treeby had got under way; "I can't help being struck by her strong likeness to the picture of Lord Boulder's ancestor, Lady Mildred Tarnicliffe in the library. I don't know whether you have ever noticed it?"
"I think I have," replied Mrs. Treeby; "and I remember the first time I saw it there was something in the face which reminded me of Maud. It hangs over the large picture of Lord Vincent Woodstock with the greyhound, does it not?"
"Yes, that is the picture, and I think it is like Maud both in feature and expression; there is a slight look of melancholy in both faces. I sometimes look at Maud, Mrs. Treeby, and think to myself she is not quite happy; that there must_be_something troubling her. Is there anything, do you think? I hope you don't mind me asking the question?"
Lady Boulder's whole bearing was such, and her way of putting
questions of the kind, was such, that no one could deem her inquisitive or impertinent, and Mrs. Treeby's reply was very hearty.
"Mind? Most certainly not. I wish, dear Lady Boulder, I could thank you enough for the interest and sympathy you have evinced towards me and all my family ever since we came here. I have remarked that melancholy look you speak of, the more so because it is only within the last three weeks that it has come, and I have implored her to tell me if anything particular has occurred to distress her; but she always denies (almost indignantly) that there is anything the matter with her, and tells me my head is full of ridiculous fancies. Her disposition, you know, is peculiar, and it has been a great grief to me that she should do herself so much injustice by her extreme reserve, knowing as I do how much there is both of heart and talent hidden beneath it. I think when her health gets stronger, she will become more buoyant and demonstrative."
"And the effect of society will be a good one, depend upon it," said Lady Boulder. "To the right, Jordan, and then round by the north end of the lake. A girl of her temperament and with her abilities is always the better for being brought into contact with a number of people; she then gets incentive and opportunity to expand what is in her; don't you agree with me?"
"I do; and it is the very thing I have always wished for her. We see, as I think I told you, almost no society at home besides ourselves."
Which observation of Mrs. Treeby's led from less to more to her giving Lady Boulder a sketch of her life since she and her husband had fixed their abode at Marshward-taking, of course, special care during the narrative to keep the ugly figure of the family skeleton as much as possible in the background-which occupied the rest of the way to "Bogies' Castle" and the greater part of the time spent at that weird spot. Lady Boulder had taken a strong liking to Mrs. Treeby, which was rapidly growing into fondness. She had been prepossessed in her favour by what she had heard indirectly through the Reefers; and when she beheld the little lady herself, so faithful a wife under circumstances which were peculiarly testing to conjugal fidelity, so proud and devoted a mother, so humble and sincere a Christian, so perfect a lady, that instinctive sympathy of hers with whatever savoured of moral loveliness and true breeding, that nobility and generosity of character which could appreciate and give full recognition to loftier degrees of excellence than any to which she herself had ever attained or had even imagined, drew her to her gentle guest in a feeling not of respectful courtesy only, but of warm friendship. She did not need to be told what Mrs. Treeby had suffered; she could imagine it all; and she saw in that patient, chastened spirit, over whom an exquisite halo of celestial
purity seemed ever to be hovering, a being who had buffetted waves of circumstance with which she had never been called to struggle, in the strength of a power whose vitality she could perceive and admire, but not understand. Lady Boulder's religion at present might be called a religion of conjoined ethics and aesthetics; it was the beautiful appanage of a nature that nourished high ideals of morals, that liked looking up at anything above itself, that had inherent irrepressible sympathies with "whatsoever was pure, and honest, and lovely, and of good report," that could not help falling down in worship before the spiritually graceful and tender. She wanted the knowledge of what religion must be if it is to be a recognisable living energy, and not merely a vague impalpable shadow; that it cannot remain an appanage, however beautiful and attractive, of an entity of moral persuasions and tendencies and æsthetic susceptibilities, but that it must itself become the conscious soul of that entity, the dominant and eternal controller of its functions, subordinating every other development to its own primary and supreme claim. But to acquire this knowledge some powerful agency is generally required to be brought to bear upon the mind which can impart the consciousness of absolute dependence, and create the craving for a support never before appreciated, and of such an agency Lady Boulder had as yet had no experience.
Since the Treeby's arrival there had been numerous changes among the guests at Ashleigh Manor; there had been a succession of exits and entrances. Lord Dillie had departed for London to attend at cabinet councils and assist his colleagues in providing for the great Opposition onslaught, which was expected in the ensuing session; Mr. Rucklebed and Colonel Rickarby had made their exits, the former to his house in the neighbourhood of Kendlethorpe, not more than twelve miles off, the latter to some of his "friends," whose whereabouts seemed somewhat obscure; Mr. Lionel Sprott and family had returned to London; the only ones that remained of the Christmas party were the Quaques and their children, Miss Neeve, and Miss Buzbane. The absentees' empty bedrooms had been duly filled up by new arrivals, and many bedrooms besides, which had been untenanted, were now occupied. And where was Noel Manners?
LOCAL poetry was considered in time past to possess considerable attraction, though it may be justly a question whether the attraction extended to scenery beyond the habitual observation of the civic multitude attracted by known objects under a renewed aspect. That formerly a strong sympathy was created by such works there is no doubt; but there was then a connexion or tie between the country and the inhabitant of the towns, which has been continually weakening as artificial life has led the latter astray from nature. Hence too it is that the interest formerly felt in country life and its simple truths has become so greatly lessened. Denham's "Cooper's Hill," Pope's "Windsor Forest," and similar poems, were successful in no small degree from the greater regard which was formerly felt for rural scenes and objects-perhaps, in some cases, more when in proximity to the metropolis. fashion of the day causes the citizen to see and to admire-or affect to admire them, when he regarded little in common with his fellows the real merit of the rural images before him, any more than the mellifluous verse which was so celebrated, and bore, and will continue to bear, such scenes, majestically colouring the stream of time. It is become a different task at present to invest with attraction and effectively, objects however simple, beautiful, and elevated they may be, in proportion as they may be thus characterised. All is now artifice or affectation. Excitement, exaggeration, and novelty supersede taste in its purity, however elevated in sentiment and worthy in moral effect, whether in relation to art or literature, for in both the elevated mind is as lamentably deficient as in a pure taste. The present work, therefore, as far as relates to the incidents upon which it is founded, labours under disadvantages more likely to stand in its way than formerly, as far as the subject is concerned. It has the disadvantage, too, of a want of condensation, but there is all through the volume a pure and strong poetical spirit, though the pruning-knife would not be amiss, here and there, to invigorate the verse and add force to the pictures presented. These bear rather too great a semblance to each other. The author's imagination overflows, and he is prodigal of his imagery beyond the power of restraint. It hurries him "into fresh scenes and pastures new," before he has finished off those which preceded to their fulness. He seems in haste to travel to the end of his labour, and to present new images in place
*Sibyl of Cornwall, a Poetical Tale; the Land's End; St. Michael's Mount, and other Poems. By Nicholas Michell. Chapman and Hall.
of completing his work as he proceeds. With less affluence of imagery and language, and more regard to condensation, he would be still more effective, for that he is effective cannot be denied. His volume is a delineation in verse of scenes in his native county, which affords him ample materials, but he seems not to be aware how much condensation is required to produce high effect. As in mechanics so in the poetic art, we must accumulate strength by avoiding elongation. In managing his similes and avoiding the bathos, too, it is needful to be on the guard. We would fain be faithful, since to the merit of the writer of such a work as the present it is due to explain lucidly what we think, equally in justice to him and to ourselves.
The volume commences with an Address to romantic Cornwall, descriptive of particular scenes, and recalling, in some degree, Drayton's Polyolbion. His reference to his county, and his union of Davy and Opie, however, seem to imply a forgetfulness of the higher characters his far-famed county has produced. Davy, it is true, is immortal in science, but Opie is nearly forgotten already, while a list of high names, by no means of small note, honour the locality. Opie's history as an artist was more singular than his abilities were lofty. There is a list of Cornish worthies extant sufficient for any degree of praise, and some of them of the very olden time, right worthy, in the church, in navigation, and in deeds of arms-but not to be hypercritical-the story of Sibyl of Cornwall is full of the true poetical spirit, almost unbridled. Our pages have borne evidence again and again to the poetical powers of Mr. Michell. The author, apparently unawake to criticism, commences his tale with a stanza which we wish he had omitted in order to commence with the second. This last is full of an aspiring and truly poetical spirit. The passage is descriptive of sunset, and very beautiful as a portrait of that soothing season, when the spirit seems to enfold itself in a holy calmness. We must copy it, for the poem opens thus artistically with a description of the close of day:
The stream forgets its blueness; crimson glowing,
Each little gadding rill in blushes flowing,
As if by magic turned to ruby wine:
The cairn, the brake, each flower that scents the way,
There is here the true spirit of poetry, the hue, and form, and handicraft of the art, but the stanza preceding savours of that exuberance of fancy which so often exceeds due bounds when adventured upon. There is in it, too, the example of a concetto which