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line, till at length, when friends are almost | in his brilliant pages, not only to the pure tired of watching and waiting, the perfect and generous, but to the elevated and figure fills the canvas and satisfies the noble sentiments. He is imbued with eye. The other, thoughtfully weaving the very soul of chivalry, and all his sto. plot and plan, and then running off rap- ries turn on the final triumph of those idly, yet with consummate art, counter who are influenced by such feelings. parts of the common people around us, Not a word or a thought which can give yet so picked out and gilded with the halo pain to the purest heart ever escapes from of imagination as to become the most his pen." His private life rose fully to interesting and amusing specimens of hu- the high standard of his works, and manity possible. We need not enumerate proved bim to be in every respect a ChrisThackeray's works, the majority of which tian gentleman. form a chain of pictures of several gener. The name of the novelists at this era ations, and introduce a succession of fam was “legion,” and we cannot pretend to ily characters. He had just broken new chronicle even the topmost of them; but ground among the smugglers of the Sus- we must spare a line for Charles Lever, sex coast, and was getting well into the who, if in his early works be gave the history of “Denis Duval,” when his pen rein to his high spirits, racy wit, and frolfell from his hand, and his promising icking fancy, in his later ones has not story was left unfinished — a striking illus. been surpassed for the mingled sadness tration of his favorite maxim: “Vanitas and humor of his delineations of the life vanitatum! omnia vanitas."
of the sister country. Mixed up with his In stories of naval life Captain Marryat most romantic tales there are invaluable bears the bell, and was greatly in advance sketches of Irish history and character, of writers of the Smollett school. His drawn with unrivalled power, and based tales are still widely read, and have a on deep and accurate knowledge of the special value, beyond their rough face people and their past. In his later stotiousness, as accurately depicting a state ries diplomatic life, of which he knew the of affairs on board the old wooden men- inner workings, plays a prominent part, of-war, of which the present race of sail- and from them much is to be learnt of a ors knows little or nothing.
career and of a class of people quite unA more prolific writer was G. P. R. familiar to the stay-at-home plebeian. James, whose name held a high place for The great name which Benjamin Disat least half a century, but whose works raeli - afterward Earl of Beaconsfield – are now not much sought after by the made as a statesman, naturally throws great body of readers. This gentleman into shadow his work as a littérateur; might have been thought to manufacture and yet at the same time it adds interest novels by machinery. Give him a famous and draws attention to that very work. name, a special era, or a striking incident, The splendor of the position which he and he would clothe it with the historic achieved as the successful leader of a properties of costume and custom, weap- powerful party, and then as the prime ons and retinues, and all the parapher. minister of a nation, is apt to dazzle the nalia of the period; reeling off to his critical eye in weighing his merits as hard-worked amanuensis an almost end- a novelist. Of course we are reminded less thread of glittering romance. Had that "the child is father to the man; he but written "less, or, to speak more and taking up that axiom, and applying it accurately, had he himself written out his to his youthful works — beginning with stories, they would have been fewer in "Vivian Grey," which saw the light just number, but much more forceful in char. fifty-seven years ago we become liable acter and lasting in popularity. His ten. and likely to torture sentiments and mis. dency to heap up minute circumstances construe speeches and twist situations, in in description, to overdo the upholstery order to show that the principles of the business proper to such works, to paint policy of his after life are embedded in too gaudily the field of the cloth of gold, these ancient strata. But this is a somehad the effect of burying his better quali. what misleading method; for in no case ties his high principle, good sense, his does the mind expand more rapidly than toric insight, and encyclopædic knowledge in that of a rising statesman; in none are
under a wealth of garniture like that the narrow principles of policy, which in to which good Queen Bess was prone. the heat and inexperience of youth seemed Yet no mean praise fell justly to his share fixed and unalterable as the laws of the by the award of Alison the historian, Medes and Persians, so completely lost who says:
“There is a constant appeal sight of or reversed; and whether it be a
Peel or a Gladstone or a Beaconsfield, that of Mr. Trollope, who has but re. the cramping trammels of childhood are cently disappeared from our midst, and speedily thrown off and forgotten, when in whom, we believe, his less fortunate the manhood of responsible power is at. brethren lost a most generous friend. To tained. Still, no doubt some of the grand our mind he was at the best when he realizations of Disraeli's later years may drew that exquisite picture of Lillie Dale be found in embryo in “Vivian Grey in “The Small House at Allington and its successors; and while his tales feminine portrait to which neither Dick. from “ Coningsby” to “ Endymion” have ens nor Thackeray has produced anything a special interest as portraying from the at all equal in tenderness and sweetness life the world of politicians and schemers and grace. In his later tales, though of the last forty years, his earlier ones there is apparent much knowledge of man 'will long excite sufficient curiosity to save and woman kind, with excellent literary them from oblivion. As a writer Lord manipulation, the characters delineared Beaconsfield had a lively, biting, satirical are not of a description to deserve the style ; and a dull paragraph is as rare labor bestowed or the study demanded; in his novels as in his speeches, while and, attached as the diligent reader may the former commend themselves to the be to a writer who has won his esteem thoughtful reader as the outcome of a and admiration, he cannot but feel that it thoroughly original mind, the experience is not worth while to waste time and spirof a man who has seen much of the world its in the perusal of works so depressing at large.
in their tendency: Where must we class George Borrow To the very highest rank of tale-writ. – that delightful narrator of Spanish ad. ers belongs also Charles Reade, whose venture and depicter of English roadside “Never Too Late to Mend” and “Put life? Novelist or historian, which is he? | Yourself in his Place” not only are His “ Bible in Spain,” which was pub- amongst the liveliest and most fascinating lished forty-one years ago, is one of the of fictions, but inculcate the grand princimost charining of books, full of romantic ples of kindness to the fallen, pity for the story and picturesque description, with prisoner, and doing to others as we would nice shades of mystery here and there, be done unto. In the same category but no clouds of gloom. It well deserves comes also the much-loved name of reissue, with a series of characteristic Charles Kingsley, who, in the stirring illustrations, when it would come as a new times of French Revolution and English sensation to a generation almost unused Chartism, threw his warm, philanthropic to such really original work. The puzzle genius into “ Alton Locke ” and “ Yeast," is that one is scarcely certain whether and won his spurs on a wide field of glory, this book with a serious title is not, in as poet, naturalist, novelist, and writer part, a romance; and whether, on the for children. A wise and loving soul. other hand, his three-volume tale, “ La- Nor must we dissever from him his vengro; the Scholar – the Gypsy — the brother Henry, a writer well deserving of Priest,” which followed in 1851, is not a the success which he achieved; but, like fragment of actual autobiography. At all his greater brother, taken from us all too events, it will well repay perusal. In all soon. his works Borrow asserts a healthy indi- From the pen of Wilkie Collins the latviduality, and we cannot wonder that gyp- ter part of these fifty years has been ensies, both Spanish and English, were fas- livened with stories of the most ingenious cinated by such a rare athlete and linguist construction, their strong point being the and explorer of highways and bye ways. skill with which the plot is concealed,
It was in 1855 that Anthony Trollope while being worked out with wonderful issued his first tale, “ The Warden naturalness and smoothness. The mysbrief and quiet, but giving promise of the tery of “The Woman in White,” and remarkable family of which it was the of other tales from the same source, has father, and whose production extended held many a reader to his seat till the over five-and-twenty years of unflagging, book was finished. Of quite a different painstaking work. How the hand that school are George Macdonald's stories. jimned the old warden with such a firm Far from being doctrinaire or sectarian, yet delicate touch grew in power and they yet inculcate the highest lessons, and skill and well-deserved popularity year by add to that chosen company of bosom year, we must not stay to tell. In all the friends whom we gain from the society of vast workshop of authorship there is no the best novels, and who live in our hearts more conscientiously thorough work than I and give us counsel and sympathy.
Of other living novelists we can only | ingly without notice, returned her the glass, record a few of the names. Amongst the saying, " Thank ye, mee lady," instead of the veterans, Grant, Sala, Yates - all famous sputtering she expected. In much astonishas journalists as welí. Among younger
ment she said, “What, Pat, do you like salt men, Besant, Black, Blackmore, Fenn, water?”. This was his answer: “No, mee Hardy, McCarthy, Meredith, Payn, Clark lady, I don't like salt water, but if yer ladyRussell
ship had given me a glass of poison I'd have a roll which gives the best as- drank it! surance that there will be no falling off in our day in this very important department It was in this department of literature of literature. But we must not forget to that Mrs. S. C. Hall first made a name. make mention of some of the ladies who She began with “ Sketches of Irish Char. have excelled in this branch of labor. acter," and soon became known as one of
Hannah More, whose stories, chiefly in the happiest and most kindly delineators the form of long and lively tracts, exer- of Hibernian peculiarities. These were cised a mighty influence for good on our followed by longer and more ambitious forefathers, died in 1833, at the ripe age works; but she is chiefly remembered by of eighty-eight. Story-telling surely agreed her hundreds of sketches and short stowith her active brain. In 1834 Miss ries, rather than by her nine novels, which Edgeworth, who had already won a niche are now rarely to be met with, but which in the Temple of Fame by her admirable Mr. Hall hopes to issue “as a series tales, took up her pen once again, at the revised, annotated, and prefaced by” himage of sixty-seven, and gave yet another self, with interesting additions. Blessed excellent work “ Helen" - to the gen. with a sunny nature, she had the exceleration whom she had done so much to in- lent habit of looking on the better side of struct and delight. Miss Mitford had by people and things; and when she had to this time completed her beautiful series of point out foibles and defects, she consketches of English rural life, “Our Vil trived to do it in a way that should not lage' a striking illustration of the pro hurt the parties concerned, enlisting her verbial “ Eyes and no eyes,” inasmuch as readers on the side of amendment and a large portion of the loveliness of charac. advance. In a long literary career her ter and surroundings, which gives a charm pen was a power for good in the cause of to her pictures, emanated from her own temperance and other social reforms, and “internal consciousness.” On this point in softening the asperities that seem in. we cannot resist the temptation to quote a separable from Irish politics and controgood anecdote from Mr. Hall:
versy; and her whole life was a chain of “Sunny Berkshire” was a very Arcadia to leaves behind it a memorable track.
good works in the sister countries, and Mary Russell Mitford: she fought for it against all comers. Now and then, she was
To the earlier part of the fifty years at forced into admission that it was not quite which we are glancing belongs Mrs. Hof. perfect; and very reluctantly confessed that its land, as the writer of nearly a hundred peasants were sometimes boors. She told me books, principally tales for the young.
how one day she was taken aback. Some of our elder readers will perchance A lady was walking with her through one of recall the eagerness with which, in their the lanes; they had a tussle of words: one youthful days, they begged or borrowed or asserting, the other denying, that the peasantry bought “ The Son of a Genius ; ” a tale lacked natural courtesy and politeness; and for the copyright of which, for the term of both had warmed with the discussion. They twenty-eight years, Mr. Hall tells us that had to pass through a gate: suddenly a boy Harris, of St. Paul's Churchyard, gave the who was leading a cow started forward and opened the gate for them. Miss Mitford was authoress ten pounds! realizing probably delighted : it was a death-blow to her antago. as many hundreds by the numerous edi. nist. The lady was more than surprised : tions, issued in that period, and grudging “Ah,” said she to the lad, "you're not Berk- an additional ten pounds for the renewal shire, I'm sure ! This was the answer : of the agreement. It is the old moral, "Thee’rt a liar, vor I be!” I contrasted this from Virgil's time downwards: illustration of natural courtesy with an anecdote I have heard my father tell. He was in Aand exercised a mighty influence for
non vobis mellificatis, apes.” Mrs. Hofa boat with the daughters of Puxley, of Bere. good by her writings, which steadily in. haven; the six rowers did their best ; each was rewarded by a glass of whiskey; but a merry
culcated, as an unknown critic has' ob. lass of the party, aiming to play a joke, ob.
served, "the vital importance of fixed serving that one of the boatinen was looking principles of justice, honor, and integrity away, dipped the wineglass into the water and of Christian virtues founded upon presented it to him. He drank it off, seem- | Christian faith — of all that is truly noble
in man and lovely in woman.” She was a sors in a bright host of authoresses. Miss Sheffield lady. Mr. Hall tells us that one Charlesworth, in her “Ministering Chil. of her earliest friends was James Mont- dren” and “Ministry of Life” Miss gomery, and he evidently regrets that the Mulock (Mrs. Craik), in her “John Hali. good poet did not marry the sweet author- fax" and other stories – Miss Yonge, in ess in her first widowhood, and so fore." The Heir of Redclyffe" and a long se. stall her marriage with T. C. Hofland, the ries of domestic and historic tales – have landscape painter, who was an undoubted upheld the standard of female influence genius, but as crusty and crabbed as Car- for good. At the present day a long roll Tyle himself.
of amiable women, with the best inten. Grace Aguilar belongs also to this pe- tions and a fair average of talent, present riod; a young authoress who, dying at again and again the woes and trials of the early age of thirty-one, left a name their own sex, or detail the miseries of precious alike to her Jewish kindred and poor little street Arabs, till the batch of to the great circle of Christian readers this sort of fancy bread is a good deal who treasure her pure and pathetic works. overdone and palls upon the public palMrs. Hall's portrait of her is very inter-ate. esting :
Of a different class, and void of any
obvious moral purpose, are the remark. At our first introduction we were struck as much by the earnestness and eloquence of her able tales, of which Miss Brontë set the conversation as by her delicate and lovely fashion in “Jane Eyre"- powerful, no countenance. Her person and address were doubt, but full of an excitement that can exceedingly prepossessing, her eyes of the scarcely be held to be healthy for either deep blue that looks almost black in particular writer or reader. Much higher ground lights, and her hair dark and abundant. There was taken by “George Eliot”(Mary Ann was no attempt at display, no affectation of Evans) in “ Adam Bede;" and her subse. learning; no desire to obtrude “me and my quent tales, by their exquisite art, fine books” upon any one or in any way; in all analysis of character, and rich mother-wit, things she was graceful and well-lored. You felt at once that she was a carefully educated placed her at the very summit of the hill gentlewoman; and if there was more warmth of fame. Of her we need say the less, and cordiality of manner than a stranger gen
because an appreciative critique on her erally evinces on a first introduction, we re. writings appeared in this review so remembered her descent, and that the tone of cently as October, 1881. Mrs. Gaskell, her studies, as well as her passionate love of whose pen dropped from her hand quite music, and high musical attainments, had in- unexpectedly and too soon, will long live creased her sensibility. When we came to in the affectionate remembrance of all know her better, we were charmed and sure who have read her “Wives and Daugh. prised at her extensive reading, her knowledge ters,” the unfinished crown of a noble of foreign literature, and actual learning, re- series of works. Amongst the living lieved by a refreshing pleasure in juvenile leaders of the great army of lady novel
Each interview increased our friendship, and the quantity and quality of her ists may be mentioned such mistresses acquirements commanded our admiration. She of the craft as Mrs. Oliphant, Miss Thack. had made acquaintance with the beauties of eray (Mrs. Richmond Ritchie), Mrs. HenEnglish nature during her long residence in ry Wood, Miss Braddon, Mrs. Lynn Lin. Devonshire, loved the country with her whole ton, Mrs. Riddell, who are followed by a heart, and enriched her mind by the leisure it regiment of fair aspirants to literary fame. afforded. She had collected and arranged
The old mnot about making a nation's conchological and mineralogical specimens ; ballads is now pretty well out of date so loved flowers as only sensitive women can love far as England is concerned. It ought, them; and with all this was deeply read in in fact, to be altered so as to apply to theology and history. Whatever she knew, she knew thoroughly; rising at six in the mornstories. Nowadays you might make up a ing, and giving to each hour its employment; whole bunch of ballads, string together cultivating and exercising her home affections, long strips of songs, and employ the sturand keeping open heart for many friends. All diest sons of Stentor to sing them through these qualities were warmed by a fervid en London or Manchester streets, without thusiasm for whatever was high and holy. She producing even a faint impression on na. spurned all envy and uncharitableness, and tional opinion. But there is a public, of rendered loving homage to whatever was great every rank and condition, which will have and good. It was difficult to induce her to tales of some sort, and gets them in the speak of herself and her own doings.
shape either of penny weeklies," six These ladies, workers in the golden penny reprints, or some more expensive mines of fancy, have had worthy succes. | form. And it is not quite impossible to
insinuate unpalatable doctrines, without | in his “Retrospect," and at greater length giving offence, almost is:deed without the in his " Memories,” are deeply interest. process being even suspected, in the en. ing. grossing pages of a well-told tale. To
The wonderful eloquence of his conversation this fact many parties in the State are
can be comprehended only by those who have fully alive, and so we have High Church heard him speak "linked sweetness long and Dissentioy, Conservative and Liberal, drawn out ;” it was sparkling at times, and at teetotal and other sentiments buried deep times profound; but the melody of his voice, in delectable fictions, just as the jalap of the impressive solemnity of his manner, the early tradition was wont to be concealed radiant,glories of his intellectual countenance, in the attractive jam. Reading a miscel-bore off, as it were, the thoughts of the listener laneous assortment of novels, if not to from his discourse, who rarely carried away be recommended as an intellectual tonic, any of the gems that fell from the poet's lips. at least should operate as an opiate to a above an hour, of course without putting in a
Í have listened to him more than once for care worn mind by distracting its attention single word; I would as soon have attempted from its own worries. But many of the a song while a nightingale was singing. There well meaning tales of the day have not was rarely much change of countenance; his even this recommendation. Lady authors face, when I knew him, was overladen with are especially fond of depicting the disa. Aesh, and its expression impaired; yet to me greeables of business and family life in it was so tender, and gentle, and gracious, and all their minutiæ. What good end can loving, that I could have knelt at the old man's be answered by such books we are at a feet almost in adoration. My own hair is loss to divine -- excepting, that is, the white now; yet I have much the same feeling subjective benefit, that they yield a scant erable man rises in memory before me.
as I had then, whenever the form of the ven
Yet I livelihood to the hard working women
cannot recall — and I believe could not recall who spin these melancholy webs.
at the time, so as to preserve as a cherished This swarm of stories, then, does it thing in ny remembrance- -a single sentence really influence public opinion, or is it of the many sentences I heard him utter. In simply the reflex of that opinion? Partly his " Table Talk” there is a world of wisdom, the one and partly the other. On the one but that is only a collection of scrap3, chancehand, it is natural for those who are not gathered. If any left his presence unsatisfied, in the habit of thinking for themselves
it resulted rather from the superabundance and the number is not small - gradually than the paucity of the seast.
At the time I speak of, he was growing corto adopt opinions quite foreign to their usual ones, if they find them reiterated in pain, he moved apparently with difficulty, yet
pulent and heavy ; being seldom free from a book or a series of books. On the liked to walk, with shuffling gait, up and down other hand, the novel-writer frequently and about the room as he talked, pausing now sets his sail to catch the passing breeze and then as if oppressed by suffering. I need of opinion which may waft him into pop- not say that I was a silent listener during the ularity and the safe harbor of publishers' evenings to which I refer, when there were esteem. So the reader is influenced by present some of those who “teach us from the writer's surface opinion, and the writer their urns ;” but I was free to gaze on the by what he supposes to be the reader's venerable man, one of the humblest, and one current of thought.
of the most fervid, perhaps, of the worshippers
by whom he was surrounded, and to treasure But we will pass on to higher ground. in memory the poet's gracious and loving looks Turning to the poets of fifty years ago, the “thick waving silver hair,” the still, we find Coleridge, after giving the world clear blue eye; and on such occasions I used a taste of his quality in his unfinished to leave him as if I were in a waking dream, “ Christabel," his " Rime of the Ancient trying to recall, here and there, a sentence of Mariner,” and his fragmentary “ Khubla- the many weighty and mellifluous sentences I khan" and " Odes," subsiding into com. had heard - seldom with success — - and feeling plete dolce far niente at Highgate, where at the moment as if I had been surfeited with
honey. he poured out unending discourses, on things visible and invisible, to a patient If Mr. Hall could never recall a single circle of adınirers. His poetry still holds sentence from Coleridge's lips, he has at: a high place in the regard of true lovers all events succeeded in giving us a vivid of the Muses, and his misty philosophy picture of his oratory, which was wonder. influenced not a little the inetaphysico- ful in its flow, but left no rich deposit on theological schools of the coming genera. the memories of his hearers — words, tion. Mr. Hall was often privileged to “brave words,” and nothing more. be one of his auditors, and his reininis. The laureate of the period was Robert cences of the "old man eloquent,” given | Southey, whose name as a poet lives