passed clean away -- we have only before the mind's eye the fine plates of Cruikshank. The poor wretch cowering under the ridge arch, as the waves come rushing in, and the boats are whirling away in the drift of the great swollen black waters; and let any man look at that second plate of the murder on the Thames, and he must acknowledge how much more brilliant the artist's description is than the writer's, and what a real genius for the terrible as well as for the ridiculous the former has; how awful is the gloom of the old bridge, a few lights glimmering from the houses here and there, but not so as to be reflected on the water at all, which is too turbid and raging; a great heavy rack of clouds goes sweeping over the bridge, and men with flaring torches, the murderers, are borne away with the stream.
The author requires many pages to describe the fury of the storm, which Mr Cruikshank has represented in one. First, he has to prepare you with the something inexpressibly melancholy in sailing on a dark night upon the Thames; " the ripple of the water," " the darkling current," " the indistinctively seen craft," " the solemn shadows " and other phenomena visible on rivers at night are detailed (with not unskilful rhetoric) in order to bring the reader into a proper frame of mind for the deeper gloom and horror which is to ensue. Then follow pages of description. " As Rowland sprang to the helm, and gave the signal for pursuit, a war like a volley of ordnance was heard aloft, and the wind again burst its bondage. A moment before the surface of the stream was as black as ink. It was now whitening, hissing, and seething, like an enormous cauldron. The blast once more swept over the agitated river, whirled off the sheets of foam, scattered them far and wide in rain drops, and left the raging torrent blacker than before. Destruction everywhere marked the course of the gale. Steeples toppled and towers reeled beneath its fury. All was darkness, horror, con- fusion, ruin. Men fled from their tottering habitations and re- turned to them, scared by greater danger. The end of the world seemed at hand. * * * * The hurricane had now reached its climax. The blast shrieked, as if exulting in its wrathful mission. Stunning and continuous, the din seemed almost to take away the power of hearing. He who had faced the gale would have been instantly stiffled" &c. &c. See with what a tremendous war of words (and good loud words too; Mr Ainsworth's description is a good and spirited one) the author is obliged to pour in upon the reader before he can effect his purpose upon the latter, and inspire him with a proper terror. The painter does it at a glance, and old Wood's dilemma in the midst of that tremendous storm, with the little infant at his bosom, is remembered afterwards, not from the words, but from the visible image of them that the artist has left us.