ANON. Horatio, of Holstein (1800)
2nd ser. 31 (Jan 1801): 116–17.
The work before us is not so entirely destitute of
merit as to provoke unlimited censure; but its author has been, nevertheless,
too inattentive to its numerous blemishes not to stand in need of
our friendly reprehensions. He forgets continually that he has laid
his scene in Germany, and that his personages speak High Dutch, else
he would not pun on the likeness of ‘Cæsar’s Commentaries’
to ‘Seizures upon Commons,’ nor make young Freyherr hot
whilst the ladies are ‘roasting’ him. The same sort of
inaccuracy occurs throughout all the book, and a laugh is attempted
to be raised by the mis-spelling of some words, and by equivoques
on others, which our novelist ought to have known cannot possibly
hold good alike in the English and German tongues. In the circumstance
of old Freyherr and his son being taken into custody by the constable,
this perversion of lan-[116/117]guage is so gross as to create disgust.
The officer of the night, in the same rencounter, is a downright Cockney,
and the small watch-house hung round with parish instructions,
and duties of constables, has nothing of German about it. We could
not avoid smiling at the familiar introduction of the tea
equipage at Mrs. Brun’s table, as well as at the grate and
poker in Parson Heiligkeit’s kitchen at Grunen; and we have
no doubt that the writer will good-naturedly smile with us, when we
remind him that he has made Farmer Martin, of the neighbourhood of
Frankfort, commend his daughter Rosella as a famous manufacturer of
The plot is by far too intricate to be remembered
with precision, and the multiplicity of characters assigned to Sterndorf
do not accord with common notions of probability. We wish the author
had not attempted to quote Latin sentences, as they oblige us to observe
the incorrectness of ‘propria personæ,’
‘ocyor nimbos,’ ‘aque vitæ,’
&c.; for had he been at all acquainted with ‘learned lore,’
his diction would have been less unclassical, not to say ungrammatical.
He appears to be a person of good natural abilities; unassisted by
education, affecting a bombast style of figurative humour, frequently
giving birth to a pretty thought, and then smothering it by the awkwardness
of its swaddling clothes.
Notes: Listed under ‘Monthly Catalogue: Novels’.
Format: 3 vols 12mo; price 12s. Sewed. Publisher: Dutton.
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