« VorigeDoorgaan »
Hunt, and he himself pathetically laments To my mind the pretty and courteous his incapacity for computation in money language of the great novelist speaks for matters. "I had not then learned to think itself. Who would willingly believe that about money,” he remarks regretfully, in the writer would wantonly hold up to pubrecording the trifling cost of the decora- lic ridicule the friend for whom he appears tion of his prison home. Poor poet! did to have had so sincere a regard ? he in truth ever master that dreary lesson, That Hunt felt the pinch of poverty, so hard for the man who lives in a world and felt it very severely, cannot be denied. of dreams and fancies, to acquire ? With an increasing family to support by
Carlyle, some of whose letters to Hunt the uncertain labors of the pen, and with I have, and shall presently quote, refers health very far from robust, it was not exill-naturedly to his weakness on this score, iraordinary that his two years' confinement to their mutual friends. One is struck by in prison, together with the enforcement the meanoess of his insinuations against of so heavy a fine (the fine was in reality the friend whom face to face he delighted 1,000l.; of which, I believe, his brother to honor; they compare oddly with the Joho was to pay half), should have so many expressions of regard to be found crippled his resources that the struggle to in his letters. It is a pity, and perhaps provide for the wants of wife and children somewhat unfair, that the finer traits in was at times cruelly severe. But I cannot the character of great men should serve forbear quoting a few lines written by him to bring out in stronger relief their petti to Trelawny which lie before me, and nesses.
which I think of interest because they I have heard it asserted, too, by those indicate that there was a time when he who delight in such “discoveries,” that could afford to refuse, and did refuse in Charles Dickens's creation of Harold terms of gratitude, pecuniary assistance. Skimpole owed its origin to his intimacy I am entirely in ignorance of the circumwith Leigh Hunt.
stances, but I give the scrap, which reads Among my letters are many from Dick- pleasantly enough. It is dated July 14, ens to Hunt. I transcribe a specimen 1823:which indicates an appreciation of the
"MY DEAR TRELAWNY, Thanks, poet hardly compatible with this theory. Let the reader judge for himself :
many thanks, for your kind offer, which
Mary was too good-natured to conceal " 48 Doughty Street: Friday evening.
from me. But I cannot accept it. No, I “ MY DEAR SIR, - Here is the unhappy tice due to me, but I will not take it from
will take money where I feel it is in jus. parcel which, after being safely booked and entered in my own mind as gone, has a generous man who has already but too
You will therefore pot been lying on my table in the dust of little to spare. 14 days. It contains the first four num- think of sending it from Leghorn, as it bers of my new work, a portion of Oliver will only put me to the trouble of sending Twist (which you will find in two Miscel. it you back again to Greece, and deprive lany volumes) and an American edition of you of so much ready money the longer. Pickwick, which is curious from the sin
“ Again, however, and again I thank you gular vileness of the illustrations.
for the refreshment you have afforded my “Do me the favor to read Oliver and heart; you have done me a real service at Nickleby first; of the latter work I have all events. God bless you. directed the publishers to send you all
“ Your affectionate friend, future numbers regularly ; and of the for
“ LEIGH HUNT." mer, I will send you more anon, if it in. I find yet another extract which may terests you — an old stager — sufficiently. offer a wholesome hint to many a
“You are an old stager in works, but a of business ” (which our poei, alas for his young one in faith — faith in all beautiful own interests! was certainly not). It is and excellent things. If you can only addressed to a house agent at Beckenbam find it in that green heart of yours to tell in Kent, and refers to a cottage in that me one of these days, that you have met, district in which Hunt and his wife began in wading through the accompanying their married life. The little house is trifles, with anything that felt like a vibra- found to be too damp and badly built for tion of the old chord you have touched so occupation, and the young couple are often and sounded so well, you will confer compelled, at considerable strain upon the truest gratification on your faithful their slender purse, to abandon it for friend, CHARLES DICKENS.
healthier quarters. The note begins with “ Leigh Hunt, Esq., etc., etc."
instructions for the removal of books, the
paymeot of bills, etc., and concludes in "18 Carlton Street, Stockbridge, Edinburgh: these words : “ As to the cottage itself,
28th Feby., 1833. Mr. H. can by no means reconcile it to his “MY DEAR SIR, -- Last night, after conscience to let it during the winter. If tea, a Bookseller's Porter came in, with any one should be inclined to take it for two Parcels; in one of which we found the summer, which is not likely consider your two books and your letter; both of ing it is unfurnished and out of the road of which kind presents awakened the gratecoaches, well and good ; but it is no more fullest feelings here. As for your letter, fit to stand rain and wind than a box of written with such trustfulness, such pa. paper ; and at such a time Mr. H. would tient, affectionate Hope, Faith, and Charrather keep it at the expeose of his purse, ity, I must report truly that it filled the than let it at the expense of his de- heart, - in one of our cases even to overcency."
flowing by the eyes. We will not dwell on With regard to Hunt's intercourse with this side of it. Let me rejoice rather that Carlyle after they became near neighbors I do see, on such terms, such a volume as at Chelsea, we find in Mrs. Carlyle's let yours. The free outpouring of one of the ters some apprehension expressed lest the most purely musical natures now extant intimacy which existed between the two in our Earth; that can still be musical, families might become irksome. Carlyle melodious even in these harsh - jawing himself, however, complaias later on days; and out of all Discords and Dis. (Froude's Reminiscences) that Hunt tresses, extract Harmony and a mild Hope comes very seldom, " for some reasons and Joy: this is what I call Poetical, if koowb to himself ; ” and to judge by the the word have any meaning. numberless little notes from Carlyle which “ Most of these Pieces are known to me are before me, scribbled in ink or pencil of old ; you may be sure, in their collected on scraps of paper of every conceivable shape, í shall' carefully prize them, and size and shape, he would appear to have reperuse them, for their own sake and appreciated the poet's companionship. yours. Here are a few samples.
“ It was not till I 'bad read your letter a “Do you go to Baron -? If you go, second or even third time, that I found I go; if not, not. My only condition is the date of it to be the 2nd of December ! that we set off soon. There is tea here Where, whether at Moxon's or at Long. 5 minutes hence if you will come over. man's, the Parcel may have lain hid these T. C."
three months, can only be conjectured: 1 “We are at home to-morrow and shall had determined, in any case, to write by be right glad to see your face again. Ah return of post; and now, on that vexatious me ! had all the world such a conscience discovery, had almost spatched my pen, as Leigh Hunt!- T. C.”
to write before I went to sleep; as if that “ Arthur Coningsby's Father and Moth- could have got you a word a little sooner. er are expected here to tea with us | It is very provoking; and to me at the to-morrow : also the mathematical Mrs. moment doubly so, for a cheerful illusion Somerville and perhaps John Mill --- all of was dispelled by it. them well affected towards you, and good “ Alas, then, it is too likely that sorrowpeople as people go.
ful Paragraph we read in the Newspapers • Will you come, and do us all a real was true ; and the modest hopes your kindness ? Say 'yessir, or better still letter was to impart to me were all 'mis(for I am quite idle and solitary) come gone before its arrival! Would I could over straightway, and say it with the lips. help you. Tell me at least without delay,
" Here is Kean again, with many how it stands, that we may know, if not thanks. — Yours always, T. C."
what to do, at least what to wish. Mean. Besides these and many other frag. while I again preach to you: Hope ! ments, I have long letters from Carlyle to Man,' says a German friend of mine Hunt which have never yet found their whom I often quote, “is, properly speakway into print, some of which I quote in ing, founded upon Hope ; this world where full. Carlyle must have been an inveterate he lives is called the Place of Hope.' correspondent. How, one is tempted to “ Time aod chance, it is written, happen ask, did these busy literary people find unto all men. Your good children, now time to cover such ́reams of letter-paper like frail young plants, your chief care and in the pleasant interchange of book and difficulty, will one day stand a strong other gossip? The letter given below, hedge around you, when the Father's even in Carlyle's tiny, clear handwriting, hand is grown weary, and can no longer covers several pages.
toil. Neither will the sympathy of kind
bearts, so far as that can profit, ever fail sake, will consent to make no objection. you.
Your writing work, one might hope, would “I too am poor, am sick; and, in these proceed not the slower, but the faster. wondrous, chaotic times, dispirited; for You see two friends ; innumerable stranger moments, nigh bewildered. Let us study Fellow-men, and lay in a large stock of to hold fast and true even upto the death; impressions that will be new, whatever and ever among the Sahara sands of this else they be.
wilderness journey,' to look up towards “ As for the projected Book-parcel, fear loadstars in the blue, still Heavens! We not to overburthen me with Books : at were not made to be the sport of a Devil, home, I am quite ravenous for these. or Devil's servants; my Belief is that a Fraser (Magazine Fraser) the Bookseller God made us, and mysteriously dwells in of Regent Street will take charge of any.
thing for me, and have it forwarded; at · However, let us now turn over to a the utmost for five-pence per pound. Or more terrestrial leaf, and talk of this jour- perhaps your better way (if the Colburos ney to Craigenputtoch, which we here are punctual people) were to direct any cannot consent to abandon. It is not a Parcel simply to the care of Messrs. piece of empty civility, it is a firm, scien- Bell and Bradíute, Edinburgh,'(with whom tific conviction on my wife's part and they infallibly communicate every Magamine, that you would both get and give zine-day), by whom, also at the lowest true pleasure in our Nithsdale Hermitage. rate, such as themselves pay, it will be She says emphatically, I must press you carefully forwarded. to come. You shall have her Pony to “My Paper is nigh done ; yet I have ride; she will nourish you with milk new told you little or nothing of our news. from the Galloway cow; will, &c., &c. In The truth is happily there is almost none sober prose, I am persuaded it would do to tell. Mrs. Carlyle is still sickly, yet us all good. You shall have the quietest better than when you saw her; and rather of rooms, the firmest of writing-desks : seems to enjoy herself here, - almost no soul looks near us more than if we within sight of her birthplace. For me I were in Patmos : our day's work done, you read Books and scribble for better for and I will climb hills together, or saunter worse. We left home some two months on everlasting moors, now cheerful with ago, once more to look at men a little. speech; at night the Dame will give us The style of thought and practice here music; one day will be as peaceable and yields me but little edification; as indeed diligent as another. Why cannot you any extant style thereof does not yield come? The way thither, and back again, one much. I too have some of your * old is the simplest. You embark at your same-faced Friends ;' and rummage much Tower Wharf in a Leith ship (smack, it is in the Libraries here, searching after called), where under really handsome naval more. A thing on · Diderot' of my writ. accommodation, sailing along shores which ing will be out by and by in the F. l. grow ever the finer, and from Flambor. Review. ough Head onward can be called beautiful, " This sheet comes to you under cover you land at Leith, say after a voyage of to the Lord Advocate. If he calls on you four days, the whole charge Two pounds some day with a card of mine, you will sterling. An omnibus takes you to the give him welcome. He is a most kindly, ino-door, whence that very night, if you sparkling, even poetic man; with a natu: like, a coach starts for Dumfries; and ral drawing towards all that is good and seventy miles of quick driving brings you generous:
Fortune has made strange safe into my old Gig, which in two hours work with him; 'nct a Scottish Goldoni, more lands you at Craigenputtoch house. but a whig Politician, Edinburgh Redoor; and you enter safe and toto divisus viewer, and Lord Advocate :' the change, orbe into the oasis of the Whinstone Wil- I doubt, has not been a happy one. derness. Or there is another shorter day- “And now, my dear Sir, good-night light way of getting at us from Edinburgh ; from both of us, and peace and patient which a letter of mine could be iying here endeavor be with you and yours! We to describe and appoint for you. Will shall often think of you. Write soon, as nothing be temptation enough? Nay, we I have charged you. are still to be here till the first week of
Ever faithfully, April; could lodge you in this hired floor
“T. CARLYLE." of ours, show you Edinburgh, and take you home with us ourselves. You must It does not appear that any of these really think of this. Mrs. Hunt, for your " short and easy routes (of six days'
journey, or thereabouts !) for reaching the lit, when I cannot see my own ? This only Carlyles' Scottish home commended them is clear for both of us, and for all true selves to Hunt, for shortly after Carlyle men: mix not, meddle not with the acwrites again as follows:
cursed thing there ; swim stoutly, unwea
riedly, if not towards landmarks on the “Craigenputtoch: 29th October, 1833. Earth, then towards loadstars in the “ MY DEAR SIR, – It is above two long Heaven !' For the rest, as our good months since the sight of your handwrit. Scotch adage has it: Fear nothing earthly; ing last gratified me at Dumfries. I was there is ever Life for the Living. there in person, I remember; and read “Since I wrote last, I have read all the kind, lively sheet, with a pipe and your Poems; the whole volume, I believe, tumbler (of water), taking, with double without missiog a line. If you knew with relish "mine ease at my inn.' Why I have what heart-sickness I in general take up not answered sooner, looks foolish to tell. a volume of modern rhymes, and again I waited for opportunities;' had but one with a silent curse of Ernulphus (for where and missed it by pressure of haste. A were the good of making a spoken one ?), Reformed Parliament having now, by lay it down, this fact would have more Heaven's grace, taken itself into retire- meaning for you. I fiod a genuine tone ment, there are henceforth no opportu- of music pervade all your way of thought: nities' possible. What can I do but what and utter itself, often in the gracefullest I should have done six weeks ago - make way, through your images and words: this an opportunity? You shall pay thirteen is what I call your vocation to Poetry: so pence and odds into His Majesty's impov- long as this solicits you, let it in all forms erished Exchequer; and on this long sheet have free course. Well for him that hath get talk from me enough :— soon, I hope, music in his soul! Indeed, when I try through the same channel, repaying with Defining (which grows less and less my interest, to the Patriot King's benefit and habit), there is nothing comes nearer my mine.
meaning as to poetry in general than this "Your new situation looked so cheerful of musical thought: the unpardonable and peaceful, I almost fear to inquire what poetry is that where the word only has it has become. Chances and changes rhythm, and the Thought staggers along hardly leave us a week at rest in this fear. dislocated, hamstrung, or too probably ful Treadmill of a World. The prophet rushes down altogether in shameful inan. said • Make it like unto a wheel :' that is ition. One asks, why did the unhappy the kind of wheel I think we are made mortal write in rhyme That miserablest, like unto. Meanwhile, ever as I figure decrepit Thought of his cannot even walk you, that cheerful Tree, seen from your (with crutches); how in the name of wonwindow, rises leafy and kind on me; I der shall it dance ? But so wags, or has can hardly yet consent to have it leafless, wagged the world literary : till now, as I and its kind whisper changed into a loud said, the very sight of dancing, drives an October howl. Be patient, and nestle old stager like me quick into another street. near the chimney corner: there is a Spring More tolerable were the Belfasi Town and coming. Nay, as I hope, one day, an Country Almanack, more tolerable is the Eternal Spring, when all that is dead and London Directory, or McCulloch's Politdeserved not to die, shall bloom forth ical Economy itself in the Day of Judg. again, and live forever!
ment than these! To come a little to " You must tell me more specially what particulars: we all thought your • Rimipi' you are doing. How prospers your Poem? very beautiful; sunny brilliancy and fateHas the winter checked it; or is it al- ful gloom most softly blended, under an ready branching out to defy all storms atmosphere of tenderness, clear and bright both of outward and of ioward weather? like that of Italian Pictures. Beautifully
" I see nothing here; scarcely more of painted; what it wanted to be a whole you than a small wishing.cap' inciden- | (and a picture) I believe you know better ially in Tait, and even that not lately. than 1.° Leander’also dwells with me; I The Newspapers told us you had been ed. think, that of his bursting into tears,' gaged for the Theatrical department of when he feels the waves about to beat some new Weekly True Sun:I can hardly him, is eminently natural. Thank you imagine it, or you would have sent us an also for the two children's pieces; I re. old paper, some day, by way of sign. The member, some seventeen years ago, seeing whole Literary world seems to me at this · Dick's' one quoted by a Quarterly Re. time to be little other than Chaos come viewer, as an instance of bad taste'(may again; how should I see your course in the Devil, in his own good time, take
• taste,' and make much of it!); but the then that I am still in the world of time. effect on me quite baulked the Reviewer. I fall asleep at last towards midnight, In the same Article, I first saw that pic. amid the Cannon vollies, shrieks and ture of the mother (* a poor, a pensive, but legislative debates, the laughter and tears, a happy one '), singing as she mended of whole generations ; – for it is mainly her children's clothes, when they were all History and Memoirs that I am reading. asleep; and never lost it, or am like to Now and then I shall perhaps write somelose it.
thing, were it only for Prince Posterity. “ You shall now get quit of criticism ; Thus you see us with winter at our door ; and hear a little about Craigenputtoch. but with huge stacks of fuel for the body's For a long while, for eight or nine months warmth, and for the mind's. almost, I have not been idle, yet fallow ; "A benevolent artist arrived lately, writing not a word. A cynical extrava. moreover, and rehabilitated the Piano: a ganza of mine is indeed' beginning to little music is invaluable to me; better appear in Fraser's Magazine, and will than sermons ; winnows all the bitter dust continue there till you are all tired of it; out of me, and for moments makes me a but it was written wholly three years and good man. a half ago : it was some purpose of pub- Pray think of us often; send now and Jishing it as a Book that brought me up to then a Paper Messenger through the snow London. The last thing I wrote was a to us; to which I will not fail to reply. •Count Cagliostro' in that extraordinary “I had innumerable questions to ask Periodical. When I shall put pen to you about matters literary in London. paper next is quite a problem. Ii ought Who manages the New Monthly Magazine to be when I have mended my ways; for now? For I see Bulwer has given it up nothing is so clear to me at present as long ago. What else is stirring ? Pray that, outwardly and inwardly, I am all in tell me all you can think of, about such the wrong. I believe, one is hardly ever things : remember that here simply noth. all in the right. Let us not mourn overing reaches me of its own accord. Do that. But the strange thing at present you know an English Book, of date 1709, with me is the outward economic state of reprinted some twenty years ago, named Literature. Bookselling I apprehend to · Apuleius' Golden Ass'? I fancied it a be as good as dead; without hope of re-translation of the old story; found it only vival, other than perhaps some galvanic an Imitation ; full of questionable and of one; the question therefore arises, what unquestionable matter. It surprised me a next is to be done? A monstrous ques- little; especially as a Queen Anne per. tion, which I think it may take two centu- formance. Farther, can you in few words ries to answer well. We, in the mean inform me who or what Sir Egerton time, must do – the best we can. I have Brydges is? Was his .Censura' pubvarious projects, some of which may be lished in London ? Much of it is perfectly come purposes; I reckon, I may see you useless for me ; but the man has a small again in London by and by, for one thing. vein of real worth in him, and knows sev.
“ This winter, at all events, and who eral things: the whining in his Prefaces knows how much more, we mean to spend struck me as the strangest. I still conhere in the depths of the wilderness; tinue to wish much you would undertake divided from all men. Probably it may the Life of Hazlitt;' though in my be a healthier winter; probably a happier ignorance of the position matters stand and usefulier one. London I liked much, in, to advise it were beyond my commis. but the fogs and smoke were pestiferous; sion. Of all imaginable Books True Edinburgh I find has left but a sad im. Biographies are the best, the most essenpression of hollowness and dulness on tial. Hazlitt should not be forgotten. me: however, both might yield profit; How I have lamented too that Porson and now a solitary winter, filled to over- studied, and drank, and rhymed, and went flowing with Books (for I have discovered to the Devil, in vain ! Peter Pindar a Library here), may be the profitablest of too! We should have Lives of all such all. You, as a determined Book-moth, mep: not of the respectable 'sort (far will appreciate my felicity, when you hear from it!); but of the true sort; painted that I read some ten hours often at a sit to the life, as the men actually looked and ting, divided by one, for a walk, which I were. There are hardly any readable take like physic. My head grows a perfect Lives in our language except those of * Revolt of Paris ;' nothing occurring to Players. One may see the reason too. divert me; only the little Table-ciock "But now, alas, has my time come. (poor little fellow) suggesting now and Accept in good part this flowing gossip.