Sunday, 27 March 2022

The Unfortunate Young Nobleman, 1820

The following chapbook came to my attention only because of the similarity of the title to Haywood's Memoirs of an Unfortunate Young Nobleman.* For a happy moment, I thought that this might have been a previously-unknown chapbook reprint of Haywood's Annesley biography, but the full title suggested a different work altogether.


Haywood's work is "A Story founded on Truth," concerning a Nobleman who had Return’d from a Thirteen Years Slavery in America where he had been sent by the Wicked Contrivances of his Cruel Uncle; however, this "tale of sympathy, founded on fact" depicts the unprecedented sufferings of an affectionate husband, and the forlorn state of an amiable mother, and her infant child. So, close, but no cigar.


There appears to be only five copies of The Unfortunate Young Nobleman; a tale of sympathy, founded on fact in institutional collections. These are held at British Library, Oxford University, Victoria and Albert Museum (x2), and UCLA. None of these eminent instutitions identify the source-text, which I quickly discovered after only a little hunting online (since it is discussed by a few critics): Helen Maria Williams (1759–1827), Letters Written in France, 8 vols. (1790–96); primarily, the first volume, which: contain[s] various anecdotes relative to the French revolution; and memoirs of Mons. and Madame du F----.


Like The Unfortunate Young Nobleman, the Letters Written in France tell the story of an unfortunate couple, whose names are dashed out in the form "F----". The "Mons. and Madame" indicated here were Augustin-François Thomas du Fossé (1750–1834) and Monique du Fossé (née Coquerel).


As the 18th Century Online Encyclopedia explains.

Throughout 1789 Williams befriended Monique Coquerel, a French woman exiled to London—the young wife of Augustin du Fossé, son of the Baron du Fossé who disapproved of Coquerel’s humble birth. Following the Baron’s death, his young son refused his title and thus embraced the basic tenets of the French Revolution. As an act of friendship, du Fossé invited Williams to France for the summer of 1790. Williams wrote copious letters describing her observations. These letters were later made public under the title of Letters Written in France in the Summer of 1790. This manuscript was but the first of eight volumes of letters devoted to Williams' observations of the events in France during and following the Revolution. The letters—Williams most popular work—are now known simply as Letters from France. For Williams, the persecution of the Fossés stood for the abuses associated with the ancien régime, and the Fossé’s ability to live in peace under the post-Revolutionary government demonstrated the freedoms associated with the Revolution.


The story of Mons. and Madame du Fossé was described as a "charming little nouvelle" by the Critical Review (in January 1791: here), so it is not surprising that it should have been the focus of at least two separate publications, the present chapbook, plus an earlier one: Memoirs of Mons. and Madame du F. In a Series of Letters, by Helen Maria Williams. Extracted from her Letters of the French Revolution (Boston, 1794)—a copy of which is available from James Cummins for USD850 here.


The Unfortunate Young Nobleman was published by Robert Harrild, who was at the London address given ("20, Great Eastcheap") only from 1814–24. I have taken my estimated date of publication (1820) from the most comprehensively catalogued copies, which are at the Victoria and Albert Museum; both in the "Renier Collection of Historic and Contemporary Children's Books". An impossibly early date of publication is offered by one of the few people to discuss the text—Mary A. Favret—who lists The Unfortunate Young Nobleman under the works of Williams, but dates the chapbook "1790"—not "ca.1790" or "[1790]"—in both The Idea of Correspondence in British Romantic Literature (PhD thesis, Stanford University, 1988), 136, 412 and her Romantic Correspondence: Women, Politics and the Fiction of Letters (1993), 263 [here]. Although the date was probably adopted from the title of the source text (Letters Written in France in the Summer of 1790), it may also, possibly, be a result of misinterpreting a footnote in a French monograph on Willians.**


As you can see above, like both the Renier copies, mine is in a "Trade binding of quarter … sheepskin with … paper boards" (mine being red and blue rather than green and brown). Like the Bodleian copy, it also has a name penned onto the ffep (as can be seen below): "Miss M. Laud." (The inscription on the Bodleian copy reads "Eliza Buxton, Old Kent Road".)


The price that is faintly visible on the ffep (£3) is not the price I paid. If that is what the vendor paid, then they multiplied their investment ten-fold, which still seemed like a bargain to me—but I have recently paid much more than that in postage for a piece of paper smaller than an address label, so my sense of scale may still be off.

* * * * *

* For a more "piquant" example of a Haywoodian title-chime, which has been responsible for at least two false attributions, see here.

** Lionel Douglas Woodward, Une anglaise amie de la révolution francaise: Hélène-Maria Williams et ses amis (1930), 32n72: "Voir: Lettres écrites de France pendant l'élé de 1790, dernière lettre. L'histoire des malheurs des du Fossé fut publiée seule, aussi bien que dans les Lettres, sous ce titre: The unfortunate young Nobleman …" [See: Letters written from France during the year of 1790, last letter. The history of the misfortunes of the du Fossé was published alone, as well as in the Letters, under this title: The unfortunate young Nobleman …]. Favret's error is repeated on the SIEFAR page for Williams here.

BTW: I have inserted above all the illustrations in this chapbook, because I love this style of woodcut and, in the correct order pretty-much tell the whole story; the illustrations are in the correct text sequence, illustrating passages on pp. 8, 20, 24, 42, and 52 (of the 71 pages).

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Eliza Haywood in Quaritch's General Catalogue, 1871

A three-volume set of the first edition of Eliza Haywood's Ab.68.1 The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy (1753) appeared as lot no. 1219 in the 1871 sale Catalogue of the Valuable ... Library of the Late Sir J. Simeon, Bart. (here).

The set, bound in calf, is attributed to the novelist Charlotte Lennox, author of The Female Quixote; or, The Adventures of Arabella (1752)—but not the author of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy. It is not clear how this error arose. Since no previous example of it is known, is seems unlikely it was copied from an earlier bibliography or catalogue.

In any event, as is the way with these things, the error in the catalogue of the library of Sir John Simeon, 1st Baronet (1756–1824) of Walliscot in Oxfordshire, MP for Reading in Berkshire etc., was repeated almost immediately—probably because he bought this lot at the Sir John Simeon auction—in Bernard Quaritch's A General Catalogue of Books: Offered to the Public at the Affixed Prices (1872), p.539 (no. 5644) [here; reissued in 1874 here].

Quaritch's monumental General Catalogue occupied 1889 pages. That is not a typo: one thousand, eight hundred and eighty-nine pages, often in two or three columns. Given its comprehensive coverage of literature, the General Catalogue was used—along side Lowndes'/Bohn's Bibliographer's Manual—as a standard work of reference in the book trade for a long period. Consequently, it is surprising that this false attribution did not get repeated; but it didn't. And since it didn't, I managed to miss it: it does not appear in my Bibliography of Eliza Haywood (2004)

I remember having had a chance to buy a copy of Quaritch's General Catalogue at one point—in the basement of a large bookshop, while in the UK I think. But the General Catalogue failed my standard test—I searched the index for Haywood, and found nothing. Now that it can be searched electronically, I see that, not only does Haywood's appear (albeit via a false attribution), but Haywood appears (again?), and in a most interesting way.

In the section titled "Books Wanted to Purchase" appears the following entry (on p. 1755; here):
NB: "… and any other works by this authoress."

Clearly, the lack of works by Haywood (recognised as such) in Quaritch's General Catalogue was not due to the fact that there was no demand for them!

Sunday, 13 March 2022

Kingsley Studios Reader, ca. 1905

This studio portrait of a young woman at a desk, posed with book open in front of her, seems to have been taken by E. Grattan Phillipse, of "Royal Kingsley Studios" at 46 High Street, Ilfracombe, North Devon (later, "Phillips and Lees"—a partnership that ended in 1921). Ilfracombe is—and was, in the first decade of twentieth century, when this photo was likely taken—a seaside resort on the North Devon coast, England, with a small harbour surrounded by cliffs.


As David Lodge notes, in his Foreword to Readers: Vintage People on Photo Postcards (2010; reviewed by me here), about half the real photo postcards from 1900 to 1940 were taken in studios, like this one, and do not actually represent the experience of reading but merely allude to it, with props that "served as indices of culture, education, and in some cases piety" and a “limited repertoire of body-language” (5).


Since the experience of reading is so often feigned—and "reading itself is visually inscrutable"—there is a natural tendency to focus on slight variations in prop and pose in studio photographs, and on "behavioral and sociological" aspects, or to engage in "narrative [and] symbolic interpretation" (6), in posed and un-posed photos at home or in more natural settings.


In previous examples on this blog (for example, here, here and here), I have commented on clothes, and posture. What strikes me about this photo is the faded glory of the props—a carved oak desk, heavily worn and scratched, and a grand, carved, high-backed chair—suggesting a scholarly species of “baronial splendor.” The hardcover book is similarly well-worn: the spine being completely folded back on itself, so that the two halves of book-block can rest flat on the table.


We view the sitter across the desk. She, who appears to be in a rich, velvet dress, gives the appearance of having just glanced up from her reading, in which she was deeply engaged, glancing at the camera with as much unselfconscious naturalism as is consistent with the magnificent ribbons in her hair and the extended exposure times of the period.

Sunday, 6 March 2022

The H. B. Nims Handy Pamphlet Case, 1876


The Handy Pamphlet Case (depicted above) was produced by H. B. Nims and Co., Troy, NY, and advertised from 1875 to 1877. An 1875 advertisement in The American Stationer (here), reads as follows:

The HANDY PAMPHLET CASE.
With Index of Contents.

Useful to librarians and literary men for classifying pamphlets.
Useful to physicians for holding their journals previous to binding.
Useful to clergymen to keep their sermons in.
Useful to business men to keep price lists and catalogues in.
Useful to everyone who takes a magazine.

A neat, cheap and handy invention to preserve all kinds of paper-covered literature, that would otherwise be impaired or destroyed.

LARGE 8vo., PER DOZEN, $2.50
Samples sent by mail upon receipt of 25c

H. B, NIMS [and] CO., Manufacturers,
TROY, NEW YORK.


The advertisement text was re-set in the 1877 advertisements I have seen in The American Library Journal (here, for example), and the accompanying image changed to include the words "THE | HANDY | Pamphlet | CASE | with | Index of | Contents".


In addition to the advertisements in The American Stationer and The American Library Journal, Henry B. Nims—running a descendant business of W. H. Merriam (est. 1840)—printed advertising slips that were loosely inserted in new publications they sold. I found one (above) in a copy of H. R. Fox Bourne's The Life of John Lock (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1876), which provides a sharper image than those in the magazines on Google Books.

Unfortunately, I can find no trace of a surviving example of the Nims Handy Pamphlet Case, which is a shame. If they were tin they probably did a lot of damage to the pamphlets, journals, sermons and catalogues they contained, but if they were made of stiff card and paper they might have saved many of the same from destruction.


Anyone interested in H. B. Nims and Co., of Troy, New York—"the largest and most complete book store between Boston and Cleveland"—will find some information in The Industrial Advantages of Troy, N.Y. and Environs (1895; here; the source of the quote and the photos above and below) and The City of Troy and Its Vicinity (1886; here).


BTW: anyone interested in another example of the wonderful, book collecting-related, stationary items developed in the States in the late nineteenth-century, should see my post on "The Van Everen Fitsanybook Adjustable Book Cover" (here).

Sunday, 27 February 2022

An Anonymous Review of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy, 1865

An unsigned review of Eliza Haywood's The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy appeared in The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science, and Art, vol. 20, no. 506 (8 July 1865): 52a–53b (here). It seems to have been prompted by the writer reading Sir Walter Scott’s novel Old Mortality (1816), which is alluded to at the start of this review.

In the Conclusion of Old Mortality, an old woman declares: “I have not been more affected … by any novel, excepting the ‘Tale of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy,’ which is indeed pathos itself.” The old woman is a figure of fun. In his autobiographical “Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott,” Scott writes: “The whole Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy tribe I abhorred; and it required the art of Burney, or the feeling of Mackenzie, to fix my attention upon a domestic tale.”

The old woman’s enthusiasm for the History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy is not unlike Isabella’s enthusiasm for the “horrid novels” mentioned in Northanger Abbey, books that had been so thoroughly forgotten that they “were later thought to be of Austen’s own invention” until “Montague Summers and Michael Sadleir re-discovered in the 1920s that the novels actually did exist.” (here)

The anonymous author of the present review seems to have had a similar motivation to Summers and Sadleir: being an enthusiast for Scott (rather than Austen), and wanting to establish that The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy “actually did exist”—like the “Northanger ‘horrid’ novels.”

His conclusion is that The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy, not only exists, but "is skillfully constructed, without sacrifice of probability, or recourse to claptrap of any kind"—that it is "by no means a contemptible book … and if it never excites, it never becomes wholly devoid of interest."

Not only is this one of the longest, but it is also one of the fairest reviews Haywood's novel received in the two centuries following its release. It is a shame that [1] it is anonymous and [2] it has been overlooked completely. (For my post on "Eliza Haywood's Reputation before the 20C," see here; for 18C reviews of works by Haywood, see here.)

* * * * *

JEMMY AND JENNY JESSAMY.*

IN the preface or introduction to one of Sir Walter Scott’s novels, an old lady is represented discoursing with the author, and expressing her admiration of some previous production of his brain. The novel she commends is, in her opinion, the best that was ever written, except the History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy. As for that immortal history, it was an ideal of perfection, never to be equalled in this defective world. Mankind had only to wonder that such excellence had ever been presented in a visible shape. Unless memory is very treacherous, we once in early youth saw [page 52b] on the walls of some country inn or lodging-house two coloured prints, respectively representing a young gentleman and lady in old-fashioned costume, and purporting to be Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy. We are even inclined to recollect that in those works of art an attempt was made to combine the effects of painting and sculpture by an extremely simple process not uncommon in the last century. The coloured figures were carefully cut out and pasted upon a black ground, but one of the arms was purposely left destitute of the adhesive material, and allowed to project forwards. If the figure was that of a lady, and the unstuck hand held a nosegay, the effect was considered by competent judges to be pretty and natural. What an instructive paper, by the way, might be written on the successive ornaments that have decorated the walls and mantelpieces of the less opulent classes during (say) the last hundred years! The record would be of quaint designs in worsted, of violently-coloured mezzotints traceable to the now forgotten establishment of Messrs. Bowles and Carver in St. Paul’s Churchyard, of horrid waxwork groups on scriptural subjects, of black velvet used as an imitation of the feline coat, of elder-pith and minute rolls of paper applied to the adornment of various unserviceable boxes—all objects that belonged to a past generation, and can never return save through a retrogression in taste that is scarcely to be considered possible.
  Such a thing of the past is the History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy, which, as we have seen, was most famous in its day. When a book, or an actor, or an event becomes the subject of a casual reference or of a cheap print, and that in an age when there are no illustrated newspapers hungering after appropriate topics, we may be assured that it was familiar to a very large number of persons, and that the knowledge of it was by no means confined to those of superior culture. We may assume that Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy were characters known to that large class of the public which in the last century certainly did not read much. That to the ears of many of our readers the names of interesting couple will have something of a familiar ring, we are inclined to believe. Still more strong is our opinion that the whole body of those who know of them any more than their names might easily be accommodated in a china-closet of moderate dimensions. Nay, having carefully, and with no small effort, read through the novel, we are ready to confess a certain complacent satisfaction at the circumstance that we are in possession of a modicum of erudition vouchsafed to almost none of our fellow creatures. We feel that it is simply a moral restraint which prevents us from indulging in the most reckless mendacity while describing Mrs. Eliza Haywood’s work, and that if we refrain from saying, for example, that Jemmy Jessamy is King James II., and Jenny Jessamy the Duchess of Marlborough in disguise, we are governed wholly by regard for truth, and not by any fear of detection in falsehood.
  There is something very misleading both in the title of the novel and in the fact of its former popularity. There is a sort of affinity between the words “Jessamy” and “Jessamine” (or Jasmine), and there is a homely Anglicism in the “ Jemmy” and the “Jenny,” that lead one to expect a tale of pastoral love in which the insipidity of the ordinary Damon and Phyllis will be rendered additionally nauseous by an infusion of home-grown sentimentality. No one can be more fluent than your genuine Britisher in twaddling about the innocence of rural life. With this hypothesis deduced from the title-page of the book, the ingenious speculator may account for the rise and fall of the Jessamy mania. Once people liked stories about well-bred rustics who talked a great deal of highflown stuff, but they have long ceased to relish incitements of the sort. Jenny Jessamy was some village maiden, dishonourably courted by some wicked squire, who cruelly persecuted her proper lover, Jemmy. At last virtue triumphed, the squire was overthrown, and very probably Jemmy turned out to be the lawful owner of his wrongly-held estate. All very well in its time, but folks like something different now. Since the days of the old-fashioned romances they have been well fed with historical fictions, and, having become tired of them in their turn, have comfortably settled into a contemplation of modern actual life, viewed, just at present, under somewhat stormy aspects.
  So much more plausible does this hypothesis look than many serious historical theories, that one feels a regret in demolishing it utterly with the declaration that never was a book less sentimental, less pastoral, or less obviously addressed to any transient caprice of the reading world than this same story of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy. The young gentleman is heir to a large estate, and has been duly educated at Eton and Oxford. The young lady, a distant cousin, is daughter of a wealthy merchant, and grows up a model of high-bred propriety. The respective parents of Jemmy and Jenny destine them for each other, and die, leaving them in a state of complete independence at an early age. They are expected by their acquaintance to marry immediately, but several instances of domestic unhappiness which come under their immediate notice determine them not to be too precipitate, Jenny being the leader on the road of wisdom. “Every one,” says that sage young maiden, “before they engage in marriage, should be well versed in all those things, whatever they are, which constitute the happiness of it; this town is an ample school, and both of us have acquaintance enough in it to learn, from the mistakes of others, how to regulate our own conduct and passions so as not to be laughed at ourselves for what we laugh at in them.” For these remarks she is well rewarded by Jemmy with the exclamation, “Spoken like a philosophoress”! The [page 53a] instances of conjugal discomfort form the subjects of short episodes, the authoress throughout adopting the method which we find employed by Cervantes, Scarron, Le Sage, Fielding, Smollett, etc., of interweaving the main story with others sometimes scarcely connected with it. Generally the incidents narrated are not of a very exciting kind, though they sometimes illustrate a lax state of society. Here a married gentleman of distinction has a mistress in every respect inferior to his own wife; there a married lady of quality pays her gaming debts at the expense of her honour. More eccentric than these is a certain Lady Fisk, who “went to Covent Garden in man’s clothes, picked up a woman of the town, and was severely beaten by her on the discovery of her sex.” But the prevailing tone of the book is decidedly grave and moral, and, though there is more plain-speaking than at the present day, it is quite obvious that the authoress is never intentionally licentious.
  When Jemmy and Jenny have wisely resolved to prepare them-selves for the marriage state, they are separated for some time, Jenny going to Bath with some friends of rank and position, whose mild adventures help to swell out the volumes, and Jemmy, through some business engagement, being constantly hindered from joining her. Though the young gentleman is somewhat of a libertine, and apt to indulge in transient amours, he never thinks of breaking his engagement with his dear Jenny, who, on her side, never indulges in jealousy. Her virtue, indeed, while of the purest quality, is at the same time of that robust kind that does not depend on innocence, and at little more than twenty years of age she can perfectly distinguish between the aimless peccadilloes of male unmarried youth and those aberrations that are likely to result in a breach of promise of marriage. The following little speech which she makes on one occasion to her Jemmy illustrates with singular plainness her general views on the subject of masculine constancy:

“Make no vows on this last head (fidelity) I beseech you. I have heard people much older and more experienced than ourselves say that the soonest [sic, for surest] way to do a thing is to resolve against it. Besides, my dear Jemmy,” added she, with the most engaging sprightliness, “I shall not be so unreasonable to expect more constancy from you than human nature and your constitution will allow; and if you are as good as you can, may very well content myself with your endeavours to be better.”

The only serious obstacle to the happiness of these lovers arises through the machinations of Bellpine, a false friend of Jemmy’s, who, having become enamoured of Jenny and her fortune, vainly tries to make Jemmy fall seriously in love with a certain Miss Chit, famed for the excellence of her singing, but is more successful in spreading a report of Jemmy’s serious inconstancy which reaches the ears of Jenny. When the machinations of Bellpine are discovered, he is so terribly mauled by the injured Jemmy, in single combat, that his life is despaired of, and the avenger flies to France to escape the consequences of too successful duelling. However, the wounded man recovers; Jenny, going as one of a wedding-party to Paris, joins the disconsolate Jemmy, and brings him back safe and sound to marry her in the “Abbey Church of Westminster.”
  There is the whole story—that is to say, the main story, stripped of its details and ramifications. That in itself it is not “sensational,” will be at once perceived; let us hasten to state that nothing whatever is done to make it so. The personages part, meet again flirt, quarrel, faint, and fall into each other’s arms; but, do what they will, they no more lay claim to our sympathies than would a set of well-dressed and cleverly-managed puppets in a Fantoccini. We are told a great deal about love and hatred, but we never see them expressed. Of the art of representing an emotion, so as to kindle something corresponding in the mind of any reader of the present day, the authoress has not the slightest notion; and even when a passion is declared by one of the principal characters, we are convinced that the speaker is less concerned about his heart than about the rounding of his periods, though these are not very well rounded after all. Nor is any appeal made to the appreciation of wit and repartee, as in the writings of Congreve, and other heartless hierarchs of a peculiar worship of intellect. In the whole compass of three good-sized volumes there is not a smart saying that one would care to record as a specimen of superficial brilliancy.
  At humour or at delineation of character no attempt is made. The personages all belong to the highest ranks of a very artificial society, lounge through their time in London and Bath, amuse one another with elaborate gallantries, and indulge in copious but not reckless verbosity. More pains are taken with Jenny’s character than with that of the others, but she is such a mere incarnation of the views entertained by the authoress that her speeches are scarcely to be distinguished from the moral exordia which are uttered by Mrs. Eliza Haywood, in her own person, at the commencement of many chapters.
  Some of the personages, void of individuality as they all are, were possibly intended to adumbrate well-known realities of the day. Miss Chit, who attracts all the fashionable world by her excellent singing, and is supposed to have a father of higher station than her ostensible parent; Celandrine, a cowardly lady-killer, who ignominiously refuses a challenge at a period when a recognition of the old code of honour was implied in social morality; Lady Fisk, who gets into street rows—these might perhaps have been recognised by the readers of the middle of the last century as persons whose follies and vices were the subject of common talk. In her early days, Mrs. Haywood, who seems to have been born somewhere about 1693, and died in 1756, formed herself upon the more celebrated Mrs. Manley, and wrote two books—[53b] entitled the Court of Carimania, and the New Utopia—which owed their popularity to the quantity of scandal they contained, and caused Pope to bestow upon their authoress a few coarse lines in the Dunciad, which, whatever might have been the provocation, were most disgraceful to the poet. When she wrote her later works, of which Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy, attained the greatest celebrity, she had become a reformed character, and a most ostentatious preacher of such morality as was current at the time. But there is no reason to assume that she entirely left off her old habits, and altogether forbade herself the pleasure of writing a little harmless unobtrusive scandal at the expense of her acquaintance. If the cap did not fit, no harm was done; if it did, the reader was to be blamed for putting it on.
  But what will most strike a modern thinker is the tone of wisdom in which Mrs. Haywood utters her ethical platitudes. It is hard to conceive the degree of naïveté with which both writer and reader must have been endowed when passages like following were considered instructive:

Youth, beauty, and wit have deservingly a very powerful influence on [sic, for over] the human heart; and every day’s [sic, for day,] experience obliges us to own that wealth without the aid of any of these, is of itself sufficient to captivate; it supplies all other defects; it smooths the wrinkles of fourscore; it shapes deformity into comeliness, and gives graces to idiotism itself; as it is said by the inimitable Shakespeare:

Gold! yellow glittering precious gold!
Gold! that will make black white; foul fair; wrong right;
Base noble; old young; cowards valiant.

But when the gifts of nature are joined with those of fortune, how strong is the attraction! How irresistible is the force of such united charms! According to the words of the humorous poet—

Hence ’tis, no lover has the pow’r
T’enforce a desperate amour,
As he that has two strings to’s bow,
And burns for love and money too.

  We ought not therefore, methinks, to judge with too much severity on the vanity of a fine lady; who seeing herself perpetually surrounded with a crowd of lovers, each endeavouring to excel all his rivals in the most extravagant demonstrations of affection, can hardly believe she deserves not some part, at least, of the admiration she receives. But what pretence soever we may make to excuse the weakness of exulting in a multiplicity of lovers, it is still a weakness which all imaginable care ought to be taken to subdue; as it may draw on the most fatal consequences both on the admirers and admired.

All this is sound and charitable enough, but one could scarcely find a more perfect specimen of the grave kind of twaddle. Let a fluent writer once choose his moral theory, and he may cover as many pages as there are lines in the above with a specious exhibition of wisdom that will scarcely require the most moderate expenditure of thought. The quotations from Shakespeare and Butler are singularly illustrative of the period at which the book was written. The old pedantic habit of overloading a text with citations from Greek and Latin authors crudely massed together, after the manner of Burton, had passed away, but far more celebrated writers than Mrs. Haywood show us that people in the middle of the last century had not learned clearly to distinguish between illustration and proof. If the fair Eliza can back up an opinion, which none but a lunatic would think of contradicting, with a distich from that great master of the human heart, Mr. Dryden, or with half a dozen lines from Cowley, “who was certainly as great a judge of love as was Ovid himself,” she feels that she has made assurance doubly sure.
  With all the peculiarities which will seem so strange to a modern reader, the History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy is by no means a contemptible book. The story is skillfully constructed, without sacrifice of probability, or recourse to claptrap of any kind; and if it never excites, it never becomes wholly devoid of interest. Moreover, it would be hard to find a more perfect specimen of that satisfaction with a thoroughly worldly and semi-Pagan morality which at a later period earned for the eighteenth century the epithet “Godless,” than in the rules of life laid in the course of this once famous novel.

*The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy. By Mrs. Haywood.