Hide and Seek. Wilkie Collins
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Название: Hide and Seek

Автор: Wilkie Collins

Издательство: Bookwire

Жанр: Языкознание


isbn: 9783849658120

isbn: 0


One of the principal characters in Mr. Collins's «Hide and Seek» is an artist; but the writer has not sketched him as labouring in his vocation amid alternations of despair and hope. «The painter in this story,» he says, «only assumes to be a homely study from nature, done by a student who has had more opportunities than most men, out of the profession, of observing what the novelties of artist-life, and the eccentricities of artist-character, are really like, when they are looked at close. It may be necessary to mention this, by way of warning, as I have ventured on the startling novelty, in fiction, of trying to make an artist interesting, without representing him as friendless, consumptive, and penniless, to say nothing of the more daring innovation of attempting to extract some amusement from his character, and yet not exhibiting him as . a speaker of bad English, a reckless contractor of debts, and an utterly irreclaimable sot.» Mr. Collins, has perfectly succeeded in his attempt. Valentine Blyth, the painter, is an enthusiast in his art, but an amiable, rational, sensible, though not strong-minded, man; in fact, a «naturalist,» in his art and out of it; a painter who loves his profession so dearly, and fancies himself so well able to grapple with it at all points, that he hesitates at nothing, whether it be the portrait of a horse, or of a baby in swaddling clothes, a «grand classical landscape with Bacchanalian nymphs,» or «Columbus in sight of the New World.» 'Antonina' and 'Basil' have placed Mr. Collins among the most popular novelists, and «Hide and Seek» will not lessen his reputation, but the contrary. The heroine of the story is a deaf and dumb orphan girl, of great beauty, picked up by Mr. Blyth, from a company of strolling players, taken home by him, and «hidden,» lest she should be found by any chance relatives, as a companion to his invalid wife; in time, however, there comes one to «seek» her; hence the title of the story. The «Madonna» of Mr. Collins is a pure and lovely creation, reminding us of the «Nina» in Bulwer's «Last Days of Pompeii.» The idea of making a young girl, bereft of the powers of speech and hearing, but exquisitely sensitive to that of sight, and able to appreciate all the sources of enjoyment which a true painter feels—to make such an one a helpmate in the studio, as well as the friend and companion of another woman, delicate in mind as feeble in body, was a new and most happy thought; these two characters are touchingly and charmingly described. There are others of a different description; Mr. Zachary Thorpe, who endeavours to force his son to «take kindly to religious teaching» by rendering it irksome and distasteful—how many Mr. Thorpes are there in the world!—and, in consequence, he breaks through all restraint and runs riot. Then there is a strange wild fellow, called Mat, who has travelled into savage regions, lost his scalp in a foray with wild Indians, and comes home from the diggings with his tomahawk, his tobacco-pouch, some bear skins, and his pockets lined with bank-notes. These are the chief personages of Mr. Collins's tale, we shall leave our readers to find out for themselves what they do, and what becomes of them all. The writer's observation of nature, animate and inanimate, and his powers of description, are clear and vigorous; he can be humorous or pathetic, gentle or boisterous; can paint the tastefully ornamented chamber of the bed-ridden invalid and its inmates, or the noisy revelries of the dissipated frequenters of the «Temple of Harmony,» or the peculiarities of a painter's studio, with the hand of a master.

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