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appear in turn, it curiously happened that all falling to his name were successful, the others being failures, or at least greeted with very faint praise.
And here it may be fit to give a list of some of Dumas' plagiarisms, and assumptions of the product of his neighbours' intellects.
“ His book, Jacques Ortis, is a mere simple translation of the Ultime Littere di Jacopo Ortis of Ugo Foscolo, a verb or an adjective being occasionally changed. Les Aventures de John Davy are borrowed from the Revue Britannique. Gaule et France is copied from Les Études Historiques of Chateaubriand, and from Thierry, without the trouble, in most cases, of inverting prepositions or changing words. Le Capitaine Aréna is the re-production of a delicious novelette of the Revue Britannique, called Térence le Tailleur. Albine is a servile translation of a German romance.
“Les Mémoires d'un Médecin is a re-casting of a romance of the same name in the Revue Britannique. Fiorentino the Neapolilan enriches his patron with the manuscript of Le Corricolo and that of Le Speronare. Paul Meurice brings Ascanio, Amaury, and Les Deux Diane. Mallefille wrote Georges from beginning to end, and signed it Dumas.
“ Auguste Maquet, the most prolific of these literary artisans, furnished, as his own contingent, fifty volumes; Le Chevalier d'Harmental, Les Trois Mousquetaires, Vingt Ans après, Le Vicomte de Bragelonne, Sylvandire, Le Comte ds Monte Cristo, La Guerre des Femmes, La Reine Margot, Une Fille du Regent, Le Bâtard de Mauléon, Le Chevalier de Maison-Rouge, and La Dame de Montsoreau."
The writer of these last named books seems to belong to the class born with saddles on their backs for the convenience of other writers who are tired out treading the thorny paths of literature. We believe that he has turned restive, and pitched his patron over his head; but it is insinuated by a clever cotemporary, that the author of Peg Woffington, wearied with the fatigues of the rough road on which his Course of True Love has not run smooth, has taken our unlucky pack horse unawares; bestrode him in his explorations through the Demesne of the Chateau Grantier; and condescending to utter White Lies, has passed himself off to the unsophisticated readers of the London Journal, as the rightful proprietor of that Chateau d'Espagne, changing its title of course.
Having a high opinion of the powers of Maquet, we were curious to examine this original drama of his ; and by the kind promptness of Mr. Nutt, we were enabled, at an interval of three or four days, to get the pamphlet
from Paris ; and, on looking over it, came to the conclusion, that if the author was ever obliged to commit his catechisin to memory, he had retained very little of it in head or heart, when he was constructing his Chateau de Grantier.
A lady, the widow of a royalist captain, is on the point of being turned adrift on the world with her two portionless daughters. The undeclared lover of the younger has been regularly laying a purse in the ladies' path at monthly intervals for some time, without their appropriation of the contents; and the declared lover of the elder is dead in the Peninsula, or worse, gone over to the enemy. One of Buonaparte's brave generals is the purchaser of the family chateau and demesne. He is on the point of starting for Egypt, and takes the chateau on his way to the coast. Under an impulse of generosity and love at first sight, he proposes for the elder sister. She, judging that her true love is either dead or false, and wishing to preserve an asylum for mother and sister, consents; and her husband leaves her to return from the church without him ; for he must be at Marseilles in time for the embarkation of his squadron. Any experienced play-goer reading thus far, knows by instinct, that the dead and traitorons lover will be found as true and loyal as Leander, stretched out at the garden gate, exhausted to death, but doomed to worse than death by the sight of his true-hearted mistress, a bride of half an hour. If the play is destitute of poetry, common morality, or genuine sentiment, it possesses at all events, a terrific situation at the end of each act. The descent of the green baize puts an end to the harrowing scene.
We are admitted to the drawing room of the chateau in about fifteen or eighteen months. The bride and no wife, is reclining in a languid state on the sofa ; and we find that after the best cares had been bestowed on the unfortunate lover, he quitted for the campaign on the Rhine; and is now hotly employed at the siege of some town. The false wife has been absent at some watering place for health's sake; and we find her in woe, not for the absence of her generous-hearted husband, exposed in Egypt to the rays of the hot sun, and the scymitars of the Mamelukes. but for the separation from her infant, kept at a convenient distance from the chateau.
All this time the lover is an honorable, and high-minded, and sensitive man; but what avails honor, honesty, or religion, when pleading in a cause in which counsellor Cupid holds an opposing fee. Therefore, the seducer is guiltless; and who can blame the too sensitive lady when he is informed that Lothario swore he would neither take powder nor pill, but die off from spite, if she continued insensible to his misery! Some feeling, made up of 98 per cent. of guilty sorrow for lover and child, and the rest of remorse, has induced her to secrete enough of laudanum for a composing dose for her earthly woes. She writes to her guilty partner that their love was too pure and ethereal (a pretty proof they have given) to hope for toleration here below. She was going to ascend, and when he could make it convenient to join her spirit there—but here we beg to stop short of absolute blasphemy. The deed is deferred; her innocent and sympathising sister has brought, by private passages, and in a cradle of the neatest pattern, her child to pay her a visit. Ods raptures, and extacies ! The ladies retire behind a screen with the cradle, and the sister is singing an innocent lullaby, when the general, who ought to have been at the moment measuring the right eye of the Sphinx reposing in her far off sandy bed, walks in, accompanied by the affianced of the young Miss. The screen opens--the cradle and its guilty guardian is visible ; and here would be the end of a two-act tragedy-but, as three acts yet remain to be achieved, the unmarried rushes on in despair, avows herself the culprit, and situation No. 2 harrows the hearts of the audience.
We are in the trenches of the beleagured city, and the hooded-winked general finds out Lothario, and reads him a moral lecture on the inconvenience he has caused. He is on the hooks of torture at first, but after the established amount of equivocation, he finds out that he has only to lead the frail sister to the altar, and do legitimate justice to his infant son, of whose existence, by the way, he is up to this moment ignorant. What was simple wretchedness, now becomes anguish, doubled, complicated, and intolerable. Marry her sister, and before her eyes ! -see the world in ashes rather than such an outrage! A glorious opportunity for escape is presented. The contrives to anticipate the colonel as leader of a forlorn hope; a mine explodes, and
he and his immediate followers are blown some kilometres beyond the region of the moon. Well, here is something like poetical justice. The honest-minded general will now return, and walk over his estate for the first time, his penitent wife on his arm, swallowing her guilty tears, and doing all she can to recompense her worthy but ill-treated lord. Benjamine, after a decent shew of sorrow, will manage to satisfy her lover of her innocence, and a happy union will be the result. Nothing of the kind takes place.
On his return home everything is in a very ticklish state; but when he announces the death of his companion in arms, the wife's wild grief finds vent, and she reveals her guilt and shame-not that she considers herself very guilty, but to live with another is not to be thought of for a moment.
The mother and daughters will not now remain in the castle; but, as they are leaving the premises, a knock is heard at the gate, and the porter brings in a note to the colonel. Oh! wonderful wonder! Lothario has again found his way back to this nasty world, and is humbly requesting permission, before departing to voluntary exile among the Hottentots, or elsewhere, to embrace and bless his infant heir. A lucky thought strikes the generous Chatellan. He invites the prodigal son to enter, joins his hands to those of his self-divorced lady, utters a genuine stage blessing on their heads, and a long-concealed treasure is at the moment brought to day-light from a subterranean passage: so, if they become uncomfortable it will be their own faults, and if their lot turns out happy, all we say is, that it will give us no little surprise.
To convert this drama, vicious in spirit and form, into a circumstantial tale, fit for the perusal of a moral and religious though novel-reading public, seems to us rather more difficult than to construct a purely original work. If we have any subscribers, among the weekly purchasers of the Journal, whose acquirements embrace the art of writing, may some one of them favor us with an outline of the English garments thrown over the French model !
The success of Monte Cristo, and its fellow publications, seems to have turned poor Alexander's head. His dreams, even in the open sunshine, and when his bodily-eyes were wide open, were of caverns piled with gold and precious stones, and no thought of poverty ever passed his mind.
The Folly built by him at St. Germain, and which he was pleased to call Monte Cristo, was the natural result of this exalted state of his ideas.
" He summoned from Africa two Arabs, who decorated a chamber for him in the Algerian style, covering the walls with verses from the Koran; and he engaged themselves in writing to execute no other similar piece of work in Europe. There were to be seen gothic pavi. lions, turrets with their belfries, gardens, an island, a torrent, and the celebrated kiosk, with its sky-blue ceiling besprinkled with stars, and which served for the study of the master.
“ There were at Monte Cristo an atelier for painters, twelve rooms devoted to visitors, a little palace set apart for monkies, another for parrots, and a third for dogs, without mentioning a stable of regal proportions for the accommodation of eight superb steeds.
“The grand salon, hung with cloth of silk and gold, displayed wonders of artistic skill; and the private salon or boudoir was furnished with genuine cashmere for window curtains.
“ It was altogether a heap of pictures, statues, Buhl ornaments, bizarre curiosities scattered at random from kitchen to attics,profusion of sculptures, and casts beyond counting: good taste was banished, and ostentation reigned supreme.
"All these riches and splendors could not confer the much-desired stamp of aristocracy on this magnificent structure. In the midst of the luxury floated a vapour of literary vagabondage, and the etiquette of the chateau had its origin in the coulisses of the theatres.
“ On the façade stood out the escutcheon of the Marquis de la Pailleterie. Dumas inaugurated his palace with an entertainment given in honor of literature and art ; six hundred guests were regaled, and a piece was presented after dinner, composed for the circumstance, and having for title, SHAKSPEARE ET Dumas.'"
To reign even for two years in such a palace, Dumas was obliged to keep his journeymen hard at work. So, from 1845 to 1846, more than sixty volumes were written, printed, and published.
And here, by an accurate calculation, our critic, allowing his writer to sleep but few hours, to eat his meals in a hurry, and to be constantly under the inspiration of the muse of romance (an impossible conjunction), allows him power to produce fifteen volumes per annum, if he abstains from revising the style or correcting the proofs.
All his assistants, including his sun, were trained to imitate his handwriting. *
• In addition to the works quoted, Dumas published in Le Puys, Le Paseur d' Ashbourn, copied literally from Mudame Montolieu's translation of the Village Pastur of Lafontaine, the German names