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and General Harbottle, Ready - money Jack, Slingsby the schoolmaster, and the Radical who reads Cobbett, and goes armed with pamphlets and arguments. Among them all none is more attractive than the Squire. With his scorn of commercialism, his love of ancient customs, his good-humored tolerance of gypsies and poachers, with his body of maxims from Peacham and other old writers, and his amusing contempt for Lord Chesterfield these and other delightful traits make Mr. Bracebridge one of the most ingratiating characters in fiction.

Bracebridge Hall contains interpolated stories, the ‘Stout Gentleman,' the Student of Salamanca,' and the finely finished tale of Annette Delabarre.' The papers of Diedrich Knickerbocker are not yet exhausted ; having furnished Rip and Ichabod to The Sketch Book they now contribute to Bracebridge Hall the story of Dolph Heyliger.'

The Tales of a Traveller, a medley of episodes and sketches, is divided into four parts. In the first part the Nervous Gentleman of Bracebridge Hall continues his narrations. These adventures, supposed to have been told at a hunt dinner, or at breakfast the following morning, are intertwined, Arabian Nights fashion, story within story. They are grotesque (the Bold Dragoon, with the richly humorous account of the dance of the furniture), or weird and ghastly (the ‘German Student'), or romantic (the ‘Young Italian').

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The second part, ' Buckthorne and his Friends, displays the seamy side of English dramatic and literary life. Modern realism had not yet been invented, and it is easy to laugh over the sorrows of Flimsy, who, in his coat of Lord Townley cut and dingy-white stockinet pantaloons, bears a closer relation to Mr. Vincent Crummles than to any one of the characters of A Mummer's Wife.

Part third, the “ Italian Banditti,' is in a style which no longer interests, though many worse written narratives do. But in the last part, “The

. Money-Diggers,' Irving comes back to his own. He is again wandering along the shores of the pleasant island of Mannahatta, fishing at Hellegat, lying under the trees at Corlear Hook while a Cape Cod whaler tells the story of The Devil ‘and Tom Walker.' Ramm Rapelye fills his chair at the club and smokes and grunts, ever maintaining a mastiff-like gravity. Once more we see the little old city which had not entirely lost its picturesque Dutch features. Here stands Wolfert Webber's house, with its gable end of yellow brick turned toward the street. “The gigantic sun'flowers loll their broad jolly faces over the fences, 'seeming to ogle most affectionately the passers'by.' Dirk Waldron, the son of four fathers,' sits in Webber's kitchen, feasting his eyes on the opulent charms of Amy. He says nothing, but at intervals fills the old cabbage-grower's pipe, strokes the tortoise-shell cat, or replenishes the teapot from the bright copper kettle singing before the fire. ‘All these quiet little offices may seem of 'trifling import; but when true love is translated into Low Dutch, it is in this way it eloquently expresses itself.'

Had Irving's reputation depended on the four books just now characterized, it would have been a great reputation and the note of originality precisely what we now find it. But there was need of work in other fields to show the catholicity of his interests and the

range

of his powers.

V

HISTORICAL WRITINGS

COLUMBUS, CONQUEST OF GRANADA,

MAHOMET

The Life and Voyages of Columbus is written in the spirit of tempered hero-worship. It is free from the extravagance of partisans who make a god of Columbus, and from the skeptical cavillings of those who apparently are not unwilling to rob the great explorer of any claim he may possess to virtue or ability. As Irving conceives him, Columbus is a many-sided man, infinitely patient when patience is required, doggedly obstinate if the need be, crafty or open, daring in the highest degree, having that audacity which seems to quell the powers of nature, yet devout, with a

, , touch of the superstition characteristic of his time and his belief.

On many questions, fine points of ethnography, geography, navigation and the like, Irving neither could nor did he presume to speak finally. History has to be rewritten

every

few

years wherever these questions are involved. But the letters of Columbus, the testimony of his contemporaries, the reports of friend and enemy, throw an unchanging light on character. The march of science can neither dim nor augment that light. Irving was emphatically a judge of human nature. He needed no help in making up his mind what sort of man Columbus was. Modern scholars with their magnificent scientific equipment sometimes forget that cartography, invaluable though it is, is after all a poor guide to character. And yet, by the testimony of one of those same modern scholars, Irving's life of the Admiral, as a trustworthy and popular résumé, is still the best.

One often wishes Irving had been less temperate. The barbarous tyranny of the Spaniards over the Indians of Hispaniola stirs the reader to deepest indignation. He longs for such treatment of the theme as Carlyle might possibly have given. Here is need of thunderbolts of wrath like unto those wielded by the Jupiter Tonans of history. But taken as a whole, the book has extraordinary virtues. It is a clear, full, well-ordered, picturesque, and readable narrative of the great explorer's career. There is no better, nor is there likely to be a better. He who has time to read but one book on the discoverer of America will not go amiss in reading this one. He who proposes to read many books on the subject may well elect to read Irving's first.

The supplementary Voyages of the Companions of Columbus narrates the adventures of Ojeda, that dare-devil of the high seas, of Nicuesa, of Vasco Nuñez, of Ponce de Leon. Though wanting the unity of the preceding volumes, these narratives are of high interest, and for vigor, animation, and picturesqueness must rank among the most attractive examples of Irving's work.

While making collateral studies bearing on the life of Columbus, Irving became so captivated with the romantic and chivalrous story of the fall of Granada that he found himself unable to complete his more sober task until he had sketched a rough outline of the new book. When the Columbus was sent to the press, Irving made a tour of Andalusia, visited certain memorable scenes of the war, and on his return to Seville elaborated his sketch into the ornate and glowing picture known as A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada, by Fray Antonio Agapida.

The book is commonly described as romance rather than history. It was written with a view to rescuing the ancient chronicle of the conquest from

a

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