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[316] show a whole society engaged in the task which Marion did best. Simms's defect was that he relied too much upon one plot for all his tales, a partisan and a loyalist contending for the hand of the same girl, and that he repeated certain stock scenes and personages again and again. His great virtue was that he handled the actual warfare not only with interest and power but that he managed to multiply episodes with huge fecundity. He described, in a surge of rhetoric, his favourite material:

Partisan warfare, itself, is that irregular and desultory sort of life, which is unavoidably suggestive of the deeds and feelings of chivalry-such as gave the peculiar character, and much of the charm, to the history of the middle ages. The sudden onslaught — the retreat as sudden — the midnight tramp — the moonlight bivouack --the swift surprise, the desperate defence — the cruel slaughter and the headlong flight-and, amid the fierce and bitter warfare, always, like a sweet star shining above the gloom, the faithful love, the constant prayer, the devoted homage and fond allegiance of the maiden heart!

The passage is almost a generalized epitome of his Revolutionary romances. It also betrays the fact that by “epic” Simms meant not Homer but Froissart. If he is more bloody, he is also more sentimental than Cooper. His women, though Nelly Floyd in Eutaw is strikingly pathetic and mysterious, and Matiwan in The Yemassee is nearly as tragic as romance can make her, are almost all fragile and colourless things, not because Southern women were, but because pseudo-chivalry prescribed. His comedy is successful only, and there not always, in the words and deeds of the gourmand Porgy. Simms is a master in the description of landscapes, from the sterile wastes of Georgia to the luxuriant swamps in which the partisans found a refuge; but he lays little emphasis on the poetry or philosophy of “nature.”

In historical tales, not Cooper's forte, Simms succeeded best; he was inferior when he dealt with the border. This may have been due partly to the intrinsic superiority of the earlier frontier to that which Simms had observed. At least it shows itself chiefly in the fact that Simms grew more melodramatic, as Cooper more poetic, the farther he ventured from

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