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penetration, sees the disclaimer in your mind,
so that you are not morally delinquent; but it
is not pleasant to be unable to utter it. The
latter part of the evening, however, he paid us
for this, by a series of sketches, in his finest
style of railing and raillery, of modern French
literature, not one of them, perhaps, perfectly
just, but all drawn with the finest, boldest
strokes, and, from his point of view, masterly.
All were depreciating, except that of Béranger.
Of him he spoke with perfect justice, because
with hearty sympathy. -
“I had, afterwards, some talk with Mrs. Car-
lyle, whom hitherto I had only seen;—for who can
speak while her husband is there 2 I like her
very much ;-she is full of grace, sweetness, and
talent. Her eyes are sad and charming.
“After this, they went to stay at Lord Ash-
burton's, and I only saw them once more, when
they came to pass an evening with us. Un-
luckily, Mazzini was with us, whose society,
when he was there alone, I enjoyed more than
any. He is a beauteous and pure music : also,
he is a dear friend of Mrs. Carlyle, but his being
there gave the conversation a turn to ‘progress'
and ideal subjects, and Carlyle was fluent in
invectives on all our ‘rose-water imbecilities.'
We all felt distant from him, and Mazzini,
after some vain efforts to remonstrate, became very sad. Mrs. Carlyle said to me, “‘These are but opinions to Carlyle, but to Mazzini, who has given his all, and helped bring his friends to the scaffold, in pursuit of such subjects, it is a matter of life and death.’ “All Carlyle's talk that evening, was a defence of mere force,—success the test of right;—if people would not behave well, put collars round their necks;–find a hero, and let them be his slaves, &c. It was very Titanic, and anticelestial. I wish the last evening had been more melodious. However, I bid Carlyle farewell with feelings of the warmest friendship and admiration. We cannot feel otherwise to a great and noble nature, whether it harmonise with our own or not.” “Paris, December 1846.-Accustomed to the infinite wit and exuberant richness of his writings, his talk is still an amazement and a splendour scarcely to be faced with steady eyes. He does not converse;—only harangues. “Carlyle allows no one a chance, but bears down all opposition, not only by his wit and onset of words, resistless in their sharpness as so many bayonets, but by actual physical superiority,+ raising his voice, and rushing on his opponent with a torrent of sound. It is the impulse of a
mind accustomed to follow out its own impulse,
as the hawk its prey, and which knows not how
to stop in the chase. It is his nature, and the
untameable impulse that has given him power to
crush the dragons. You like him heartily, and
like to see him the powerful smith, the Siegfried,
melting all the old iron in his furnace till it glows
to a sunset red, and burns you, if you senselessly
go too near.
“He seems to me quite isolated,—lonely as
the desert, yet never was a man more fitted to
prize a man, could he find one to match his mood.
He finds them, but only in the past. He sings,
rather than talks. He pours upon you a kind of
satirical, heroical, critical poem, with regular
cadences, and generally catching up, near the
beginning, some singular epithet, which serves as
a refrain when his song is full, or with which, as . . .
with a knitting needle, he catches up the stitches, if he has chanced, now and then, to let fall a row. “All the spirits he is driving before him seen, to him as Fata Morganas, ugly masks, in fact, if he can but make them turn about; but he laughs that they seem to others such dainty Ariels. His talk, like his books, is full of pictures; his critical strokes masterly.” "