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writing; but this narrowing of an originally fine and broad-viewed mind will always happen when an author deserts the manly code of his early years, and transforms himself into the companion of fashionable dandies, literary lords, and heartless millionaires.

It is unnecessary to follow, seriatim, the progress of so well known a writer. His works are familiar to all, and we shall, therefore, confine ourselves to a few critical remarks on his remaining productions.

Few writers of modern times equal Mr. Dickens in the fidelity with which he selects some family in low life, and paints their portraits; they are complete Dutch pictures; even the tone of voice, and the look are given, and the Crummels, the Kenwigs, and the Squeers, are daguerreotyped for posterity with an unerring accuracy. When, however, he ventures upon the loftier and more complex phases of human nature, he miserably fails, and evidences at once that want of universality which renders him, perhaps, one of the most one-sided delineators of the human family that ever enjoyed a popular reputation. His want of success in this department was once illustrated by a sarcastic writer, as reminding him of the story of the scavenger.

An old master in that, the dirtiest of sciences, was asked one day his opinion of a new and popular apprentice he had. Scratching his head, and looking very profound, he uttered in an oracular tone of voice, "In a straightfor'ard piece of business, such as sweeping a crossing, he was undeniably great, but when he came to a little dainty bit, a loftier kind of fancy work, such as tittivating round a post, he showed a sad want of genius," so with Dickens in low characters; he is wonderfully true,

graphic and amusing; but when he comes to a little dainty piece of portraiture, such as a gentleman, or a young lady of birth, breeding, or fashion, or indeed of any heroic character, he shows a deficiency of power both in conception and execution which materially diminishes his chance with posterity.

His powers of description seem to stop short at Cockneys; his heroes are generally men-milliners, and his heroines lackadaisical and artificially virtuous nursery maids. He seems to be in an everlasting scuffle with schoolmasters and boarding-house keepers; and though these are perhaps two very disgusting specimens, we do not think they ought to form the Alpha and Omega of mankind; a writer whose staple is of this quality will soon exhaust the patience of the critics and lower the standard of his readers.

We notice, with much regret, that a tyrannical schoolmaster is a prominent character in his present work, "Copperfield;" surely we have had more than enough of Squeers, Blimbers, and Creakles. Mr. Dickens herein becomes the libeller. A survey of his works would lead to the infallible conclusion that all the instructors of youth were bad; we believe that so far as Mr. Dickens' own experience of the schoolmaster is concerned it is very limited; we do not mean this reproachfully to our distinguished countryman; a moment's reflection must convince every one that in proportion as art has done little for him, nature has done more; but we merely quote it as a singular instance of Mr. Dickens being unable to get beyond his own experience; he can only describe; what he has. seen he can tell; the retina of his wonderfully observant eye is perfect; his organ of language is full; the scene is brought before you, heightened


into piquancy by his powers of exaggeration; but here he stops. He has no imagination; he is, in a word, a daguerreotypist, not a great painter.

If this estimate be correct, it necessarily places the author of Pickwick in the second class of literature, and even here not as the first, so long as Fielding remains to contest the point. That he exceeds Smollett we feel assured, from a certain instinct more unerring than all the logical deduction in the world; but so long as breadth and boldness of sketching, force of expression, naturalness and brilliancy of colouring are regarded, the author of Tom Jones will always be considered the chief in this department of literature. With reference to the unfairness of Mr. Dickens to schoolmasters, we must be allowed to offer our own experience against his. Our school recollections are the pleasantest part of our existence, and we hear few names pronounced with more pleasure and gratitude than those of Thelwall, Alvey, Gaunt, and Rachham, the names of our schoolboy masters.

It is impossible to avoid noticing the strong family likeness existing between the writings of an American author and Mr. Dickens. When this was first pointed out to us, with true English partiality we, of course, unhesitatingly pronounced him to be an imitator of the author of Pickwick. We were, therefore, proportionably surprised when, on comparing dates, we found that the American, although a much younger man, was in the field before his brother Englishman. It would not be just to accuse Mr. Dickens of being an imitator of the transatlantic writer; but the coincidence is curious, and as such we invite the attention of our readers to the parallel passages. The style is somewhat different, to be sure; but with all our English prepossessions we are forced to give the

preference to the American; for it will be seen that the latter completes his picture in fewer strokes, is quite as graphic, without being so ultra a caricaturist, and has a bolder and more philosophical mind.

Alas! that I should write it! but our friends on the other side the water applaud the author of Pickwick to the echo, but leave their own countryman in comparative obscurity. America will always want the highest element of a great and enduring nation, so long as she condescends to steal the literature of England, rather than pay her own undoubted men of genius. With regard to these extracts, we have only to observe, that the humour of the American writer is infinitely more universal than that of the English one. There is nothing comic in the abstraction of a poor child's dinner by a waiter, who had physical force to take it if he felt so inclined, while we can conceive nothing more Shaksperian in its humour than the picture presented of a full grown evening party standing by while a gormandizing functionary devours before their eyes the great bulk of the delicacies provided for their evening's entertainment. The humour in the latter case is heightened by the consciousness that they have indirectly brought it on themselves by their obsequious deference to the voracious alderman. The picture is admirably drawn, and notwithstanding the laughter it must ever occasion to the reader, we defy any critic to put his pen upon a single line, and say it is exaggerated.

We offer them both to the critical judgment of any impartial critic, be he American or English.

"There's half a pint of ale for you. Will you have it now?' "I thanked him, and said Yes.' Upon which he poured it out of

a jug into a large tumbler, and held it up against the light, and made it look beautiful.

"My eye!' said he. 'It seems a good deal, don't it?"

"It does seem a good deal,' I answered, with a smile. For it was quite delightful for me to find him so pleasant. He was a twinklingeyed, pimple-faced man, with his hair standing upright all over his head; and as he stood with one arm a-kimbo, holding up the glass to the light with the other hand, he looked quite friendly.

"There was a gentleman here yesterday,' he said, ' a stout gentleman, by the name of Topsawyer, perhaps you may know him!' “No,' I said, I don't think-'

"In breeches and gaiters, broad-brimmed hat, grey coat, speckled choaker,' said the waiter.

"No,' I said bashfully, I haven't the pleasure—”

"He came in here,' said the waiter, looking at the light through the tumbler, ordered a glass of this ale, would order it, I told him not, drank it, and fell dead. It was too old for him. It oughtn't to

be drawn; that's the fact."

"I was very much shocked to hear of this melancholy accident, and said I thought I had better have some water.

"Why, you see,' said the waiter, still looking at the light through the tumbler, with one of his eyes shut up, our people don't like things being ordered and left. It offends 'em. But I'll drink it, if you like. I'm used to it, and use is everything. I don't think it will hurt me. if I throw my head back, and take it off quick. Shall I ?'

"I replied that he would much oblige me by drinking it, if he thought he could do it safely, but by no means otherwise. When he did throw his head back, and take it off quick, I had a horrible fear, I confess, of seeing him meet the fate of the lamented Mr. Topsawyer, and fall lifeless upon the carpet. But it didn't hurt him. On the contrary, I thought he seemed the fresher for it.

"What have we got here?' he said, putting a fork into my dish. 'Not chops?'

"Chops,' I said.

"Lord bless my soul !' he exclaimed, 'I didn't know they were chops. Why, a chop's the very thing to take off the bad effects of that beer!

Ain't it lucky?'

"So he took a chop by the bone in one hand, and a potatoe in the other, and ate away with a very good appetite, to my extreme satisfaction. He afterwards took another chop and another potatoe. When we had done, he brought me a pudding, and having set it before me, seemed to ruminate, and to become absent in his mind for some moments.

"How's the pie?' he said, rousing himself.

"It's a pudding,' I made answer.

"Pudding? he exclaimed. Why, bless me, so it is!


looking at it nearer. 'You don't mean to say it's a batter pudding!' "Yes, it is, indeed.'

"Why, a batter pudding,' he said, taking up a table spoon, is my favourite pudding! Ain't that lucky? Come on, little 'un, and let's see who'll get most."

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