Page:Austen Sanditon and other miscellanea.djvu/78

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52
SANDITON

splendid Portraitures of high Conceptions, Unbounded Views, illimitable Ardour, indomitable Decision; and even when the Event is mainly anti-prosperous to the high-toned Machinations of the prime Character, the potent, pervading Hero of the Story, it leaves us full of Generous Emotions for him;—our Hearts are paralysed. 'Twere Pseudo-Philosophy to assert that we do not feel more enwrapped by the brilliancy of his Career, than by the tranquil and morbid Virtues of any opposing Character. Our approbation of the Latter is but Eleemosynary. These are the Novels which enlarge the primitive Capabilities of the Heart, and which it cannot impugn the Sense or be any Dereliction of the character, of the most anti-puerile Man, to be conversant with.’ ‘If I understand you aright,’ said Charlotte, ‘our taste in Novels is not at all the same.’ And here they were obliged to part, Miss Denham being too much tired of them all, to stay any longer. The truth was that Sir Edward, whom circumstances had confined very much to one spot, had read more sentimental Novels than agreed with him. His fancy had been early caught by all the impassioned, and most exceptionable parts of Richardson’s; and such Authors as have since appeared to tread in Richardson’s steps, so far as Man’s determined pursuit of Woman in defiance of every opposition of feeling and convenience is concerned, had since occupied the greater part of his literary hours, and formed his Character. With a perversity of judgement, which must be attributed to his not having by Nature a very strong head, the Graces, the Spirit, the Sagacity, and the Perseverance, of the Villain of the Story outweighed all his absurdities and all his Atrocities with Sir Edward. With him, such Conduct was Genius, Fire and Feeling. It interested and inflamed him; and he was always more anxious for its Success and mourned over its Discomfitures with more Tenderness than could ever have