ANON. Neighbourhood, The (1800)
2nd ser. 30 (Oct 1800): 230–31.
In this work we have rather a collection of characters
than a regular narrative, or a tale abounding with incidents. The
most prominent character is that of Pursling, a vulgar and illiterate,
but opulent tradesman, who retires from business, and becomes a provincial
magistrate. Some of the features of this and other characters in the
work are sketched in Smollett’s manner, but not with the ability
which that writer usually displayed. Under the ludicrous name of Spavin,
a clerical jockey is represented, who at length renounces his follies,
and ably superintends a school which had been kept for some years
by an ignorant adventurer, called Dr. Syllabus. The family of the
Tonics are humorously characterised, though the indelicacy of miss
Tonic may disgust some readers. Captain Canvass has no original or
striking traits assigned to him: he is merely a respectable
seaman. We do not see the necessity of giving him for a wife the girl
who had been seduced under a promise of marriage by Pursling, or of
making him adopt her illegitimate child as his son: it was not necessary
so far to degrade the captain, though, perhaps, it may be argued that
he evinces his humanity as well as judgement in rescuing a worthy
woman from a state of dishonour into which she had unguardedly fallen.
Upon the whole, this is an amusing, but not an interesting
novel. We smile at various parts of it; but our hearts are not influenced,
our feelings are not roused. The style, we may add, is sometimes [230/231]
affected, and frequently inaccurate. The work seems to have been fabricated
in haste; but this, we apprehend, is a very common case with regard
to novels, which are too often written currenti calamo, and
sent to the press without revision.
Notes: Listed under ‘Monthly Catalogue: Novels’.
Format: 2 vols 12mo; price 7s. Sewed. Publisher: Black & Parry.
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