A prevalent feature in these compositions was a nursed and petted melancholy; another was a wasteful and opulent gush of "fine language"; another was a tendency to lug in by the ears particularly prized words and phrases until they were worn entirely out; and a peculiarity that conspicuously marked and marred them was the inveterate and intolerable sermon that wagged its crippled tail at the end of each and every one of them.
It may be remarked, in passing, that the number of compositions in which the word "beauteous" was over-fondled, and human experience referred to as "life's page," was up to the usual average.
Having been instructed in the use of the indefinite pronoun "one" as giving a refined and elegant touch to literary efforts, Rebecca painstakingly rewrote her composition on solitude, giving it all the benefit of Miss Dearborn's suggestion.
"Yes, I don't like a cow in a composition," said the difficult Miss Dearborn.
"That is what compositions are for," returned Miss Dearborn doubtfully; "to make you have things to say.
Probably I should not have troubled myself to do so, had I been full in front; but I observed that she immediately began to slip her books into her cabas again; and, presently, after I had returned to the estrade, while I was arranging the mass of compositions
, I heard the folding-door again open and close; and, on looking up, I perceived her place vacant.
To this, as to an Introduction, the reader is referred, as expressing author's purpose and opinions in undertaking this species of composition, under the necessary reservation, that he is far from thinking he has attained the point at which he aimed.
Ivanhoe was highly successful upon its appearance, and may be said to have procured for its author the freedom of the Rules, since he has ever since been permitted to exercise his powers of fictitious composition in England, as well as Scotland.
In this, I respectfully contend, I have in no respect exceeded the fair license due to the author of a fictitious composition. The late ingenious Mr Strutt, in his romance of Queen-Hoo-Hall,*
It follows, therefore, that of the materials which an author has to use in a romance, or fictitious composition, such as I have ventured to attempt, he will find that a great proportion, both of language and manners, is as proper to the present time as to those in which he has laid his time of action.
It is true, that such slight compositions might not suit the severer genius of our friend Mr Oldbuck.
There is a wonderful "go" to the whole composition
. Some of the figures are driving headlong downward, with clasped hands, others are swimming through the cloud-shoals--some on their faces, some on their backs--great processions of bishops, martyrs, and angels are pouring swiftly centerward from various outlying directions--everywhere is enthusiastic joy, there is rushing movement everywhere.