British Fiction, 18001829

RICHARDSON, Charlotte Caroline. Soldier's Child, The (1821)

Contemporary Reviews

Monthly Review, 2nd ser. 97 (Feb 1822): 218–19.

As it frequently happens in works of this stamp, the dramatis personæ here abound in lords and ladies, and ‘squires of high degree,’ scarcely one of whose titular appellations is correctly given. For instance, the Earl of Belgrove’s eldest son is called Lord Frederic Somerville, and on the Earl’s death is second son is said to be ‘now Lord Somerville:’ a baronet’s daughter is styled ‘the Lady Ismena,’ in p. 42.; and, to complete the con-[218/219]fusion, Lord Somerville receives ‘an order for the departure of his troops for St. Petersburg,’ whither no British troops ever yet went!

In vol. i. p. 132., the amiable lady and daughter of one of the above-mentioned nobles are represented as inhabiting a cottage, in which they amuse themselves with family-concerts; ‘the Lady Victoria singing in an arbour to the silver-toned warblings of her footman’s flute, or accompanying with her lute his clear and powerful voice!’ It would be useless, however, to trouble our readers with farther discussion of a book which is a mere tissue of similar ignorance and absurdities.

We are often puzzled by the strange incongruity manifested in works of this kind. A degree of ingenuity, talent, and invention, is necessary for the fabrication of any tale, even of an ordinary quality; yet as the language in which it is conveyed, and the manners which it pourtrays, seem to arise indubitably and unequivocally from the nursery-room, the waiting-room, or the kitchen.

Notes: Listed under ‘Monthly Catalogue: Novels’. Format: 2 vols 12mo; price 12s. Boards. Publisher: Robinson.

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