# A Victorian Art of Fiction
DOI link for # A Victorian Art of Fiction
# A Victorian Art of Fiction book
Writers of the mind-and-millinery school are remarkably unanimous in their choice of diction. In their novels, there is usually a lady or gentleman who is more or less of a upas tree: the lover has a manly breast; minds are redolent of various things; hearts are hollow; events are utilized; friends are consigned to the tomb; infancy is an engaging period; the sun is a luminary that goes to his western couch, or gathers the rain-drops into his reful gent bosom; life is a melancholy boon; Albion and Scotia are con versational epithets. There is a striking resemblance, too, in the character of their moral comments, such, for instance, as that “ I t is a fact, no less true than melancholy, that fell people, more or less, richer or poorer, are swayed by bad e x a m p le t h a t f< Books, however trivial, contain some subjects from which useful information may be drawn;” that “ Vice can too often borrow the language of virtue;” that “ Merit and nobility of nature must exist, to be accepted, for clamour and pretension cannot impose
upon those too well read in human nature to be easily deceived ;’* and that, “ In order to forgive, we must have been injured.’* There is, doubtless, a class of readers to whom these remarks appear peculiarly pointed and pungent; for we often find them doubly and trebly scored with the pencil, and delicate hands giving in their determined adhesion to these hardy novelties by a distinct trte vrai, emphasized by many notes of exclamation. The col loquial style of these novels is often marked by much ingenious inversion, and a careful avoidance of such cheap phraseology as can be heard every day. Angry young gentlemen exclaim-“ *Tis ever thus, methinks;** and in the half-hour before dinner a young lady informs her next neighbour that the first day she read Shakspeare she “ stole away into the park, and beneath the shadow of the greenwood tree, devoured with rapture the inspired page of the great magician/* But the most remarkable efforts of the mind-and-millinery writers lie in their philosophic reflec tions. The authoress of “ Laura Gay/* fdr example, having married her hero and heroine, improves the event by observing that “ i f those sceptics, whose eyes have so long gazed on matter that they can no longer see aught else in man, could once enter with heart and soul into such bliss as this, they would come to say that the soul of man and the polypus are not of common origin, or of the same texture.** Lady novelists, it appears, can see something else besides matter; they are not limited to phenomena, hut can relieve their eyesight by occasional glimpses of the noumenon, and are, therefore, naturally better able than any one else to confound sceptics, even of that remarkable, but to us unknown school, which maintains that the soul of man is of the same texture as the polypus.