Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/86

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68
MARIA J. McINTOSH.

not bearing the name) flees from the land of beauty and the arms of her lover, in an agony of grief, leaving behind her a letter explaining her change of views and the cause of her departure.

At last, in the heart of the sensualist, the crust of worldliness is broken up, and Euston Hastings, roused from the guilty selfishness of his life, leaves Rome to seek the wife who has become his all in the world. He finds her in Paris, and they are again united, not by any wavering passion, but by holy love and marriage, which gains a higher beauty from the bright faith and exquisite description of its able defender.

This work, though a high-wrought tale of fiction, is really an exposition of a theory, and the reader frequently finds himself laying aside the book to think, Is that theory really so? and finds that, after the work is read, there is within the fabric of the tale, an inner temple of right and wrong; where are engraven principles that are pervading his memory equally, if not more constantly than the plot of the fiction.

“Woman in America; Her Work, and Her Reward,” the next succeeding work in the order of publication, was issued in 1850.

In this work, the author, apparently tired of teaching only through the medium of fiction, addresses herself to reasoning and argument. We read here the ideas of a religious woman, well acquainted with all grades of American society, in an earnest tone denouncing the servility of her sex to the rules of fashion and opinion, modelled not by the good and virtuous, but by the dissolute societies of Europe, and forms and customs made not after the model of a naturally honest, or even commonly virtuous ideal, but copied after the ever-changing, never true, leader of some dissolute or fastidious circle it may be, of Paris, it may be of Saratoga. The only rule that seems never to have changed among this class of people until it is embodied in their social confession of faith, is “Money makes the man.” Mahogany doors are closed to the gentleman-labourer, that are flung wide open to him when he becomes a millionaire. White arms are outstretched to the banker, that are folded in scorn to his approach when a bankrupt.

The last work of Miss McIntosh that has yet appeared is “Evenings at Donaldson Manor,” which was intended as a Christmas Guest, for the year 1850. It was a completion of tales that had appeared at different times in periodicals.

This list of works includes all the writings of Miss McIntosh, with the exception of numerous fugitive tales, published at various times in magazines.

It will be obvious to every one familiar with Miss McIntosh’s writings, that she is a delineator entirely of mental life. The physical in man, in animals, and nature, is never used, except so far as is necessary to bring forward the mind and its virtues, desires, and principles. She has apparently excluded from her attention everything that did not absolutely belong to the moral life.