ART XXXIV. Marchmont: A Novel. By Charlotte Smith. In 4 vols. 12mo. 1274 pages. Low. 1794.
Mrs Smith, in her preface, announces Marchmont as completing her thirty-second volume; volumes written, in the course of eight years, on the spur of necessity, to support herself and family. It is to be lamented that talents like hers have not had a more genial sky to ripen under; and that the delightful task of invention has been a labour of patience rather tending to embitter than soothe a wounded mind. Her manner, indeed, of alluding to her domestic sorrows must excite sympathy, and excuse the acrimony with which she execrates, and holds up to contempt, the man to whom she attributes them.
The present novel is certainly spun out in the beginning, and wound up too hastily at the conclusion; still the design of showing the misery, which unprincipled men of the law may bring on the innocent, is well imagined. The family pride of the Marchmonts is made to assume the most amiable form, and the victim of it, the hero of the tale, is a very interesting example of filial piety. The story is founded on the difficulties a young man of family has to encounter in consequence of the thoughtless extravagance of his father, and the rapacity of the men to whom he applied for assistance.
In the description of the mansion house we find Mrs Smith alive to the scene she is pourtraying; and observe in her landscapes the delicate strokes of a pencil from which we have frequently received pleasure.
[complete] Provided by Julie A. Shaffer, September 1999.