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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 560 pages of information about Famous Reviews.

Mrs. Trollope may make a licentious book, of which the heroes and heroines are all of the evangelical party; and it may be true, that there are scoundrels belonging to that party as to every other; but her shameful error has been in fixing upon the evangelical class as an object of satire, making them necessarily licentious and hypocritical, and charging everyone of them with the vices which belong to only a very few of all sects....

There are some books, we are told, in the libraries of Roman Catholic theologians, which, though written for the most devout purposes, are so ingeniously obscene as to render them quite dangerous for common eyes.  The groom, in the old story, had never learned the art of greasing horses’ teeth, to prevent their eating oats, until the confessor, in interrogating him as to his sins, asked him the question.  The next time the groom came to confess, he had greased the horses’ teeth.  It was the holy father who taught him, by the very fact of warning him against it.  By which we mean, that there are some scenes of which it is better not to speak at all.

Our fair moralist, however, has no such squeamishness.  She will show up these odious evangelicals; she will expose them and chastise them, wherever they be.  So have we seen, in that beautiful market in Thames Street, whither the mariners of England bring the glittering produce of their nets—­so have we seen, we say, in Billingsgate, a nymph attacking another of her sisterhood.  How keenly she detects and proclaims the number and enormity of her rival’s faults!  How eloquently she enlarges upon the gin she has drunk, the children she has confided to the parish, the watchmen whose noses she has broken, and the bridewells which she has visited in succession!  No one can but admire the lady’s eloquence and talent in conducting the case for the prosecution; no one will, perhaps, doubt the guilt of the hapless object on whom her wrath is vented.  But, with all her rage for morality, had not that fair accused have better left the matter alone?  That torrent of slang and oath, O nymph! falls ill from thy lips, which should never open but for a soft word or a smile; that accurate description of vice, sweet orator [-tress or-trix]! only shows that thou thyself art but too well acquainted with scenes which thy pure eyes should never have beheld.  And when we come to the matter in dispute—­a simple question of mackerel—­O, Mrs. Trollope!  Why, why should you abuse other people’s fish, and not content yourself with selling your own....

There can be little doubt as to the cleverness of this novel, but, coming from a women’s pen, it is most odiously and disgustingly indecent.  As a party attack, it is an entire failure; and as a representation of a very large portion of English Christians, a shameful and wicked slander.

BULWER’S “ERNEST MALTRAVERS”

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