British Fiction, 18001829

GREEN, Sarah. Tales of the Manor (1809)

Contemporary Reviews

Flowers of Literature (1808–09): lxix-lxx.

Tales of the Manor,’ is a novel which contains many beauties, and not a few errors of judgment.—To those who do not regard what is probable, but who will suffer any tale of woe, however extravagant, to captivate their feelings, this work will doubtless afford amusement. The characters are extremely distorted and unnatural, particularly those of the mule driver, Eloisa Penruddock, and Miss Fortescue; neither do we consider many of the incidents to be within the limits of probability. Moreover, the sentiments of the author are, in our opinion, very offensive and injurious: of this, the reader shall judge from the following samples. ‘His mind’s [lxix/lxx] eye saw not in perspective, the rapacious tradesman and the low born mechanic, who bestow credit and civility for a time only to transfix the dart of insolence and mistrust the deeper.’ This is spoken of persons held up as examples of liberality, and of whom it is afterwards said, ‘it really had not struck the thoughts of either, that accumulated debts far beyond their power to pay, had caused the tongues of the tradesmen to speak in plain terms.’ Again of the same amiable persons it is, in another place said, ‘they laughed at Eloisa’s sallies; but they regarded her with partiality, and often owned against their better judgment, that she was in the right.’ The author is not aware, perhaps, that while she thus speaks, she exhibits to the reader a volume more than she intended, namely, her own heart, which we recommend to a sound revisal.

Notes: From ‘Introduction: Novellists [sic]’.

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