In ‘Publications Received’, xxi, 2 December 1848, 1166.
In a letter to R. W. Emerson, expressing thanks for Emerson’s praise (see No. 5) and that of his American friends, Clough comments that ‘in England I shall not be troubled with a very onerous weight of celebrity’; he had then seen only Kingsley’s ‘cordial eulogistic article’ (No. 7) and this ‘contemptuous’ piece in the Spectator (Corr. I, 240, 10 February 1849).
A long story of some Oxford students, who went to the Highlands of Scotland to combine relaxation and study; but one of them falls in love with a Scotch lassie, whom he finally marries. As a tale, the piece has little interest; and the school-like incidents and persons by which it is sought to be varied are of an unattractive kind, intended to be natural, but only trivial. In prose, such a story, treated in such a way, would scarcely have been ventured upon; and it seems difficult to understand why plain prose should be thought the better for being turned into prosaic verse. At first view The Bothie of Toper-na-Fuosich looked like some Oxford satire; but if it does cover any occult meaning, it is confined to the initiated.