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MR FROUDE'S NOVEL., Issue 7925, 5 June 1889
MR FROUDE'S NOVEL.
- » THE TWO CHIEFS OP DUNBOY. WHAT IT'S ABOUT. [From Our Special Correspondent.] London, April 12. Mr Froude's so-called novel is really merely a ponderous aud mirthless exposition of the author's views on Irish history, illustrated by means of a panorama and a puppet show. There are two chiefs of Dunboy—one, Morty O'Sullivan, a hot-headed Irish Jacobite, who has been dispossessed of hia property after Culloden aud turned privateer in the service of France; the other, Colonel Goring, a brave, devout English officer, who may briefly be described as Chinese Gordon, with froudacious views on the Irish question. . Andrew Lang, in a somewhat caustic description of the story, says :—" One of the chiefs of Dunboy is a certain Morty O'Sullivan, an exile, who has been dispossessed of his family property, who has fought under Charles Edward Stuart and been taken prisoner after Culloden, has escaped and turned privateer in the service of France and the interest of Ireland. The other, or rival chief of Dunboy, is a brave, devout, religious English officer, Colonel Goring, who believes he has a mission to bring happiness, peace, and prosperity to Ireland—a sort of last century General Gordon—but as to the way of bringing peace, happiness, and prosperity to Ireland, Colonel Goring happens to entertain -precisely the views of Mr Fronde. Our readers will now probably begin to have a pretty fair generalidcaof the scheme and purpose of this Irish romance. Mr Fronde, as wc allknow, is a very good and kind man. So is his hero, Colonel Goring. But Colonel Goring's great desire for Ireland would be to get rid of all the Irish people and colonise the island with respectable Protestants from England and Scotland. Colonel Goring is very kind to these poor Irish all the time ; indeed, we are told that he is a better friend to Ireland than any O'Sullivan that ever lived. Colonel Goring, like Mr Froude, constantly denounces the English Government of the day for their way of dealing with Ireland. But Colonel Goring, like Mr Froude, blames the Government for their too great indulgence " *he goings-on of the Irish. 'Why do 4U " » l, *ve the courage to carry out and they not. . f . ked in enforce their o*. *» , , K inßt and again. They have . . S , Catholics-why do they not .. *«>?» Over and over again we are told <... Irishman is never dangerous to anyone who is not afraid of him. Even the Irish hero of the novel—Celt though he be and patriot, patriot aB he is, zealous even to much slaying— becomes somehow infected with Mr Froude's peculiar opinions concerning Irish manhood. Morty O'Sullivan is as devoted to his country as Wolfe Tone could have been, aud he is always trying to start some I rebellion or another. But he is always declaring, all the same, that nothing can be done for a country where the people will only fight by the methods of assassination. Morty O'Sullivau pours out some really eloquent speeches to this effect, and his whole character will perhaps be cited by true believers in Mr Froude's theories as a testimony to the impartial and even generous spirit in which Mr Froude can describe an Irishman. There are so many professions of love for Ireland and sympathy with Ireland on the part of Mr Froude and Colonel uoring that the uninstructed reader might be a little taken in for the moment. But as ho comes to bo instructed he will find that the Ireland which is loved and sympathised with is the earth, the soil, the island on which a colony from England could be settled in comfort if by some wise and resolute policy the Irish priests, the Irish people, and the Irish national faith could only be got rid of altogether. There is a great deal of power in the book ; there are many really fine descriptive passages. Several of the personagesof the story make, on proper occasion, or without it, long and eloquent speeches, The humorous scenes are not good. Mr Froude would pray ia vain to Mirth to admit him of her crew. The episode of the sham Turk who set up the great baths in Dublin and entertained the leaders of the Irish Parliament is taken, with frank acknowledgment on Mr Froude's part, from Sir Jonah Barrington's personal memoirs, and was much more effectively told in the House of Commons by Mr Lowe, as he then was, several ye.irs ago. There is a great deal of fighting in the book—fighting on land and on sea, duelling, street fighting, siege of houses, assassinations, ' cardings,' and other such performances. The two heroes are both killed. Morty kills Colonel Goring, and is afterwards shot by the troops in an attempt to escape and reach his ship. But few of the principal persons in the tale are left alive when the last sentence has come. Colonel Goring is the figure on whom Mr Froude lavishes his fondest care. He makes him undoubtedly a very brave, conscientious, and noble gentleman. Goring gets the better of Morty in everything. Morty forces him to fight a duel in the presence of an admiring crowd of landlords, agents, peasants, and French, Spanish, and Negro privateers. Morty is supposed to be the champion shot of the world, but he simply 'isn't in it' when compared with Colonel Goring, who magnanimously gives him his life. Even in the matter of death Goring has the better of his rival. Morty entraps him into a place of mystery to force him to fight the duel all over again ; and Goring, trying to escape, and then fighting for his life, is shot by Morty under conditions which do not seem altogether creditable to that brilliant, daring, patriotic, and singularly eloquent Irishman. ' The eternal womanly' does not draw us along in this remarkable story. We catch a momentary glimpse of Mrs Goring and of Morty's sister; we see a peasant girl once or twice; but no petticoat of heroine flutters on the grim scene. Love ? The affections of the author do not that wjy tend. There is not one whisper of falling in love from the first chapter to the last, ihe experienced novel reader is always expecting that Morty will be found paying some secreS visit to some adored being, who according to the ways of novels ought to be an Englishwoman, the child of some stern anti-Irish soldier. Colonel Goring ought to have had a daughter old enough for the purpose. Morty might have made love to her after the bold and brilliant fashion of 'Red Hugh,' the great Earl of Tyrone, making love to the sister of the English Commander-in-Chief; and not merely making love to her, but actually marrying her. Mr Froude, however, does not seem to care for these lighter moods of romance. Doubtless he set out to do a novel with a purpose, and he has kept to his purpose. The brogue does not seem to ua particularly good ', it is usually the familiar Irish brogue of the British drama. Mr Froude has lived a good deal in Ireland, but he has not got the genius of the brogue yet. He does not come within measurable distance of Thackeray's skill, which has sometimes deceived even Irish readers, and of which we are assured the only defect is that the brogue of different provinces sometimes, and not often, gets mixed up. We fear the reader who takes Irish character and history on more than the faith of this novel will not be much in love with either. The sum of the book seems to be just that final declaration of the esteemed Jones M'Carthy in Charles Lever's ' Dodd Family Abroad': ' She is a lovely country, Ireland ; and there's only one blot on her—her grand juries are rogues, her Judges are rogues, her governments are rogues, and her people are villains.'"
MR FROUDE'S NOVEL., Issue 7925, 5 June 1889
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