Liffith Lank, or Lunacy/St. Twel'mo, or the Cuneiform Cyclopedist of Chattanooga
By Carleton.. New York :
By C. H. Webb.. New York :
IN the first of these clever and successful burlesques, Mr. Webb has travestied rather the ideas than the manner of Mr. Reade ; and one who turned to “ Liffith Lank ” from the wonderful parodies in “ Punch’s Prize Novelists,” or those exquisitely finished pieces of mimicry, the “Condensed Novelists” of the Californian Harte, would feel its want of fidelity to the method and style of the author burlesqued. Yet the essential absurdities of “Griffith Gaunt” are most amusingly brought out in “ Liffith Lank ” ; and as the little work makes the reader laugh at the great one, he has no right, perhaps, to ask more of it, or to complain that it trusts too much to the facile pun for its effects, which are oftener broad than poignant.
Nevertheless, in spite of our logical content with “Liffith Lank,” we are very glad to find “ St. Twel’mo " much better, and we only doubt whether the game is worth the candle; but as the candle is Mr. Webb’s, he can burn it, we suppose, upon whatever occasion he likes. He has here made a closer parody than in his first effort, and has lost nothing of the peculiar power with which he there satirized ideas. That quality of the Bronté sisters, of which Miss Evans of Mobile is one of the many American dilutions, — that quality by which any sort of masculine wickedness and brutality short of refusing ladies seats in horse-cars is made lovely and attractive to the well-read and well-bred of the sex, — is very pleasantly derided, while the tropical luxuriance of general information characteristic of “ St. Elmo ” is unsparingly ridiculed, with the help of frequent extracts from the novel itself,
Mr. Webb appears in “ St. Twel’mo ” as both publisher and author, and, with a good feeling significant of very great changes in the literary world since a poet toasted Napoleon because he hanged a bookseller, dedicates his little work “To his best friend and nearest relative, the publisher.”