“ Nicholas Nickleby" as the luckless | have the rest hashed to-morrow with some pupil of Squeers who was reproved in a greens which he is very fond of, and so am I. letter from "his maternal aunt, who was

He said he did not like to have his porte suspected of standing in a nearer mater- hot, for he thought it spoiled the flavor, so nal relation towards him, for turning up him drink it. I thought he would never have

let him have it cold. You should have seer his nose at the cow's liver broth after his

left off. I also gave bim three pounds o good master had ed a blessing on it,”

money in sixpences to make it seem more, anē while the lady's maid of real life appears he said directly that he would give more than in the tale as a lady who, during the de-half to his mamma and sister and divide the ·lay caused by the upsetting of the coach rest with poor Smike, and I say he is a good during Nicholas's journey to Dotheboys fellow for saying so; and if anybody says

he Hall, was very particular that a lookout isn't, I am ready to fight him whenever they should be kept for a carriage with ser-like — there. vants in the smartest liveries in a snow

Fanny Squeers shall be attended to, depen storm) coming from Grantham, “which upon it. Your drawing of her is very like induced one of the other passengers to except that I don't think the hair is quite curl ask her whether there was not very good enough. The nose is particularly like hers society in the neighborhood of Grantham, able thing, and I know it will make her ver

and so are the legs. She is a nasty, disagree which the lady answered there was, in cross when she sees it; and what I say is, tha a manner that showed she belonged to I hope it may. You will say the same I know

at least I think you will. We take next a letter to a child, who I meant to have written you a long letter had written to him with suggestions as to but I cannot write very fast when I like th the final rewards and punishments to be person I am writing to, because that makes m awarded to the characters in “ Nicholas think about them, and I like you, and so I tel Nickleby” on the completion of the story. you. Besides, it is just eight o'clock at nigh

It is highly characteristic of the writer and I always go to bed at eight o'clock excep and is a remarkable illustration of his when it is my birthday, and then I sit up success in one of the most difficult of sides this — and that is my love to you an

supper. So I will not say anything more be arts that of writing for children in a

Neptune, and if you will drink my health ever style not childish in thought, but amusing Christmas-day I will drink yours and easily understood.

I am, respected sir,

Your affectionate friend.* RESPECTED SIR, - I have given Squeers one cut in the neck and two on the hand, at which For none of Dickens's friends had h he appeared much surprised and began to cry, a deeper affection and a higher admira which, being a cowardly thing, is just what tion than for the late William Charle I should have expected from him — wouldn't

This appears

abundant! I have carefully done what you told me in throughout these volumes. We give th

earliest expression of these feelings. I your letter about the lamb and the two "sheeps” for the little boys.

was written on the occasion of Macready They have also had some good ale and porter retirement from the management of Com and some wine. I am sorry you didn't say ent Garden Theatre. what wine you would like them to have. I

I ought not to be sorry to hear of you gave them some sherry which they liked very abdication, but I am, notwithstanding, mo much, except one boy who was a little sick and heartily and sincerely sorry, for my own sal choked a good deal. He was rather greedy, and the sake of thousands who may now and that's the truth, and I believe it went the and whistle for a theatre — at least, such wrong way, which I say served him right, and theatre as you gave them ; and I do now in 117 I hope you will say so too. Nicholas had his roast lamb as you said he that exquisite delight has passed away.

heart believe that for a long and dreary tim was to, but he could not eat it all, and says if

If I may jest with my misfortunes, an you do not mind his doing so he should like to

quote the Portsmouth critic of Mr. Crummle * We are compelled to quote from memory, and although substantially we may not be verbally accurate.

• Vol. i., pp. 14, 15.



company, I say that, as an exquisite embodi- Again, he suggests an idea which the ment of the poet's visions, and a realization of artist admirably carried out: human intellectuality, gilding with refulgent light oor dreamy moments, and laying open a

I want the cart gaily decorated, going new and magic world before the mental eye, through the street of the old town with the the drama is gone – perfectly gone.

wax brigand displayed to fierce advantage, and With the same perverse and unaccountable the child seated on it also dispersing bills. feeling which amuses a heartbroken man at a As many flags and inscriptions about Jarley's dear friend's funeral to see something irresisti. Waxwork fluttering from the cart as you bly comical in a red-nosed or one-eyed under- please. You know the wax brigands and taker, I receive your communication with how they contemplate small oval miniatures. ghostly facetiousness, though, on a moment's That's the figure I want.

I send you the scrap reflection, I find better cause for consolation of MS. which contains the subject. in the hope that, relieved from your most try

Here is another suggestion for an illusing and painful duties, you will now have lei

tration which, if our memory serves us sure to return to pursuits more congenial to gour mind, and to move more easily and pleas- rightly, was not very successfully carried antly among your friends. In the long cata. out by the artist: Logue of the latter I believe there is not one

The child lying dead in the little sleepingprouder of the name or more grateful for the room which is behind the open screen.

It is store of delightful recollections you have en winter-time, so there are no flowers; but upon abled him to heap up from boyhood.* her breast and pillow, and about the bed, there

The illustrations of Dickens's works may be strips of holly and berries, and such were to him objects of his most painstak

free green things. Window overgrown with

ivy. ng care. Of this we can afford to give

The little boy who had that talk with her space for only one instance. Those who about angels may be by the bedside if you like remember or possess the original edition it so; but I think it will be quieter and more of “Master Humphrey's Clock” will be peaceful if she is quite alone. I want it to nterested in reading the following history express the most beautiful repose and tranquil. of the illustrations in that edition. lity, and to have something of a happy look, if

death can. I want to know [he writes to his friend, George Cattermole, the artist] whether you The following suggestion our readers rould object to make me a little sketch for a will remember was admirably carried out. woodcut — in Indian ink would be quite sufficient- about the size of the enclosed scrap.

The child has been buried inside the church, The subject, an old quaint room with antique and the old man, who cannot be made tó Elizabethan furniture, and in the chimney understand that she is dead, repairs to the orner an extraordinary old clock — the clock grave and sits there all day long, waiting for Delonging to Master Humphrey, in fact, and her arrival to begin another journey. His 10 figures. This I should drop into the text staff and knapsack, her little bonnet and bast the head of my opening page.t

ket, etc., beside him. “She'll come to-mor

row," he says, when it gets dark, and goes Again:

sorrowfully home. I think an hourglass runKit, the single gentleman, and Mr. Garland, ning out would help the notion ; perhaps her o down to the place where the child is, and little things upon his knee or in his hand. rrive there at night. There has been a fall of Kit, leaving them behind, runs to the

The concluding sentence of this letter Id house, and, with a lanthorn in one hand shows the earnestness with which Dicknd the bird in its cage in the other, stops for ens devoted himself to his compositions,

moment at a little distance before he goes the intense interest he felt in his stories, P to make his presence known. In a window and that “ The Old Curiosity Shop" was supposed to be that of the child's little one of the favorite children of his imaginapom - a light is burning, and in that room tion: “I am breaking my heart over this be child (unknown, of course, to her visitors story, and I cannot bear to finish it.” A ho are full of hope) lies dead.

still stronger proof of the same fact we Vol. i., pp. 18, 19,

take from a letter to his friend, the Rev. † Ibid., p. 29.

W. Harness :

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]



I should have been very glad to join your | in our judgment neither his habit of pleasant party, but all next week I shall be mind nor his style of speaking were suited laid up with a broken heart, for I must occupy for Parliamentary life. myself in finishing the “Curiosity Shop," and

The letters written during his first visit it is such a painful task to me that I must to the United States (1842) contain some concentrate myself upon it tooth and nail,

very unfavorable reflections on 'America go out nowhere until it is done.*

I am [he writes again to Cattermole) for the and its people. We think these judgtime being nearly dead with work and grief ments are open to the remark which John for the loss of my child.

Stuart Mill made on opinions as to the

working of American institutions formed His sincere and ardent love of literary

on the strength of a drive through the fame appears constantly in his letters, but nowhere finds a stronger expression than country performed in a few months." in the following extract from a letter to I desire [Dickens writes to Macready, after an admirer in the back-woods of America. being in the States about two months) to be

honest and just to those who have so enthu I thank you cordially and heartily, both for siastically and warmly welcomed me. your letter and its kind and courteous terms. Still it is of no use — I am disappointed. This To think that I have awakened a fellow-feel- is not the republic I came to see; this is not ing and sympathy with the creatures of many the republic of my imagination. I infinitely thoughtful hours among the vast solitudes in prefer a liberal monarchy — even with its sick which you dwell is a source of the purest de lening accompaniments of court circulars — to light and pride to me: and, believe me, that such a government as this. The more I think your expressions of affectionate remembrance of its youth and strength the poorer and more and approval, sounding from the green forests triling in a thousand aspects it appears in my on the banks of the Mississippi, sink deeper eyes. In everything of which it has made a into my heart and gratify it more than all the boast - excepting its education of the people honorary distinctions that all the courts in and its care for poor children -it sinks im Europe could confer.t

measurably below the level I had placed i We have not Mr. Forster's “ Life" at upon; and England, even England, bad and hand; but we think these letters first lions of her people are, rises in the compari

faulty as the old land is, and miserable as milmake public the fact that so early as 1841 overtures were made to Dickens to stand

You live here, Macready, as I have some as candidate for the borough of Read-times heard you imagining ! You! Loving ing

you with all my heart and soul, and knowing My principles and inclinations (he writes to condemn you to a year's residence on this side

what your disposition really is, I would no his correspondent there) would lead me to of the Atlantic for any money. Freedoin o aspire to the distinction you invite me to seek, opinion! Where is it? I see a press more if there were any reasonable chance of success, mean and paltry and silly and disgraceful that and I hope I should do no discredit to such an honor if I won it and wore it. But I am bound ard here it is. But I speak of Bancroft an

any country I ever knew. If that is its stand to add, and I have no hesitation in saying am advised to be silent on that subject, for his plainly, that I cannot afford the expense of a is "a black sheep and a Democrat.” I speak contested election.

of Bryant, and am entreated to be more care It was suggested to him that he should ful for the same reason. I speak of interna apply to the government for their sup

tional copyright, and am implored not to rui port.

myself outright. I speak of Miss Martineau

and all parties — Slave-upholders and Aboli But I cannot [he writes to the same corre- tionists, Whigs, Tyler-Whigs, and Democrat spondent] satisfy myself that to enter Parlia - shower down upon me a perfect cataract ment under such circumstances would enable abuse. But what has she done? Surely sh me to pursue that honorable independence praised America enough! Yes; but she tol without which I could neither preserve my own us some of our faults, and Americans can respect nor that of my constituents.

bear to be told of their faults. Don't split o

that rock, Mr. Dickens, don't write abou As his literary labors and fame in America; we are so very suspicious.* creased his inclination to enter Parlia- The people are affectionate, generous, open ment grew weaker. Though the idea is hearted, hospitable, enthusiastic, again mentioned, he seems never seri- mored, polite to women, frank and candid tously to have entertained it, and we think all strangers, anxious to oblige, far less preju it was fortunate for his reputation that he diced than they have been described to be did not enter the House of Commons; rude or disagreeable. I have made a grea

frequently polished and refined, very seldor * Vol. i., pp. 29, 33-35, 38. Vol. 1., p. 41.

* Vol. i., p. 61.



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

many friends here even in public conveyances, | lishing books, the authors of which do not reap whom I have been truly sorry to part from. one farthing from their issue, by scores of In the towns I have formed perfect attach- thousands; and that every vile, blackguard,

I have seen none of the greediness and detestable newspaper, so filthy and bestial and indecorousness on which travellers have that no honest man would admit one into his laid so much einphasis. I have returned house for a scullery door-mat, should be able frankness with frankness, met questions not to publish these same writings, side by side, intended to be rude with answers meant to be cheek by jowl, with the coarsest and most ob. satisfactory; and have not spoken to one man, scene companions, with which they must be woman, or child of any degree, who has not come connected in course of time in people's grown positively affectionate before we parted. minds. Is it tolerable that, besides being

In the respects of not being left alone, and robbed and rifled, an author should be forced of being horribly disgusted by tobacco-chew to appear in any form, in any vulgar dress, in ing and tobacco-spittle, I have suffered con any atrocious company, that he should have no siderably. The sight of slavery in Virginia, choice of his audience, no control over his own the hatred of British feeling upon the subject, distorted text, and that he should be compelled and the miserable hints of the impotent indig. to jostle out of the course the best men in this nation of the South have pained me very country who only ask to live by writing? I much: on the first head, of course, I have felt vow before high Heaven that my blood so nothing but a mingled pity and amusement; boils at these enormities that when I speak on the other, sheer distress. But, however about them I seem to grow twenty feet high, much I like the ingredients of this great dish, and to swell out in proportion. “Robbers I can but come back to the point upon which that ye are," I think to myself when I get upon I started, and say that the dish itself goes my legs, “here goes.” against the grain with me, and that I don't like it.

Strong as were his feelings on the ques. The man who comes to this country a Rad- tion of international copyright, he was ical, and goes home with his opinions un- indignant that the Edinburgh Reviewer changed, must be a Radical on reason, sym- of his “ American Notes" represented pathy and reflection ; one who has so well him as having gone to America as a misconsidered the subject that he has no chance sionary in the cause of international of wavering. *

copyright. It is difficult to reconcile the favorable This statement [he writes to the editor) statements in this letter as to American hurt my feelings excessively, and it is in this manners with the descriptions given of respect I still conceive most unworthy of its them in some of the American scenes in author, I am at a loss to divine who its au“ Martin Chuzzlewit,” particularly that thor is. I know he read in some cut-throat one in which Martin is introduced to the statements which at any time I could have con

paper this and other monstrous " Hon. Elijah Pogram.” Those familiar verted into sickening praise by the payment of with that tale will remember the descrip- some fifty dollars. The better the action of the levées, or receptions, held by quaintance with America the more defenceless some of the characters. The story em- and more inexcusable such conduct is. For I

bodies Dickens's experiences of such solemnly declare (and appeal to any man but # meetings.

the writer of this paper, who has travelled in

that country for confirmation of my statement) Think she writes to a friend) of two hours that the source from which he drew the "inof this every day, and the people coming in by formation so recklessly put forth again in hundreds all fresh and piping hot and full of England is infinitely more obscene, disgusting, questions, when we are literally exhausted and and brutal than the very worst Sunday news. can hardly stand. I really do believe that if I paper that has ever been printed in Great had not had a lady with me I should have been Britain. Conceive the Edinburgh Review obliged to leave the country and go back to quoting the Satirist or the Man about Town as England. But for her they would never leave an authority against a man with one grain of me alone by day or night, and, as it is, a slave honor or feather-weight of reputation.* comes to me now and then in the middle of the night with a letter, and waits at the bed. We turned with interest to the letters room door for an answer.t

written during Dickens's second tour in The international copyright question America (1868) to see if we could find in draws from him the following burst of them any revisal or modification of his

opinions on America and its institutions, indignation :

but we find none. The second series of Is it not a horrible thing that scoundrel his American letters is almost wholly booksellers should grow rich here from pub.

* Selected Correspondence of the late Macvey Na. • Vol. j., pp. 62, 63.

pier, p. 417. The Satirist and the Man about Town | Ibid., p. 66.

were libellous newspapers of that day,

[ocr errors]


filled with the descriptions of his read! From a letter to Douglas Jerrold (writings, and the preparations and arrange- ten 1843) we take the following characments for them.

teristic extracts': But though Dickens's letters are silent

I vow to God that I think the parrots of as to his later views on America, we pot agreeing with the universal we have society are worse than its birds of prey. If

ever I destroy myself it will be in the bitterheard laid down “that every inan lies

ness of hearing those infernal and damnably when he speaks in public' - are glad to "good old times” extolled. . . O Heaven ! learn those views from his speech, in re if you could have been with me at a hospital turning thanks, at the farewell dinner dinner last Monday. There were men there given to him at New York previous to his who made such speeches and expressed such final return to England.*

sentiments as any moderately intelligent dust.

man would have blushed through his cindery I say, gentlemen, so much of my voice has bloom to have thought of. Sleek, slobbering, lately been heard, that I might have been con bow-paunched, over-fed, apoplectic, snorting tented with troubling you no further from my cattle, and the auditory leaping up in their present standing point, were it not a duty with delight ! I never saw such an illustration of which I henceforth charge myself, not only the power of purse, or felt so degraded and here, but on every suitable occasion whatso debased by its contemplation, since I have had ever and wheresoever, to express my high and | eyes and ears. The absurdity of the thing grateful sense of my second reception in was too horrible to laugh at. It was perAmerica, and to bear my testimony to the na- fectly overwhelming. tional generosity and magnanimity. Also to declare how astounded I have been by the

Again, from the same letter :amazing changes that I have seen around me

Supposing fifty families were to emigrate on every side — changes moral, changes phys: into the wilds of North America — yours, ical, changes in the amount of land subdued mine, and forty-eight others — picked for their and peopled, changes in the rise of vast new concurrence of opinion in all important subcities, changes in the growth of older cities jects and for their resolution to form a colony almost out of recognition, changes in the of common sense, how soon would that devil graces and amenities of life, changes in the Cant present itself among them in some shape press, without whose advancement no advance or other? The day they landed, do you say, ment can be made anywhere. Nor am I, be- or the day after? lieve me, so arrogant as to suppose that in fiveand-twenty years there have been no changes

Certainly had such a colony been in me, and that I had nothing to learn and no founded, and the devil Cant had risen up extreme impressions to correct when I was amongst them, he would have been met here first.

with a vigorous exorcism, as

we may To another American traveller, Mrs. judge from the following reply to a corre

spondent who had written that some say. Trollope, Dickens writes, shortly after the ing attributed to Stiggins, in “ Pickwick," publication of his "American Notes," apparently reflected on the Scriptural referring to her well-known book on doctrine of the "new birth :" America:

Permit me to say in reply to your letter that As I never scrupled to say in America, so I you do not understand the intention (I dare can have no delicacy in saying to you, that say the fault is mine) of that passage in the allowing for the change you worked in many Pickwick Papers” which has given you of. social features of American society, and for fence. The design of “the Shepherd," and of the time that has passed since you wrote of this and every allusion to him, is to show how the country, I am convinced that there is no sacred things are degraded, vulgarized, and writer who has so well and so accurately (I rendered absurd when persons who are utterly need not add so entertainingly) described it

, incompetent to teach the commonest things in many of its aspects, as you have done ; and take upon themselves to expound such mys. this renders your praise [of his “ Notes”] the teries, and how in making mere cant phrases more valuable to me. I do not recollect ever of divine words these persons miss the spirit to have heard or seen the charge of exaggera in which they had their origin. I have seen a tion made against a feeble performance, though great deal of this sort of thing in many parts in its feebleness it may have been most untrue. of England, and I never knew it lead to charIt seems to me essentially natural and quite ity or good deeds. inevitable that common observers should ac

Whether the great Creator of the world and cuse an uncommon one of this fault, and I the creature of his hands, moulded in his own have no doubt that you were long ago of this image, be quite so opposite in character as you opinion, very much to your own comfort. believe, is a question which it would profit us

little to discuss. I like tbe frankness and • Speeches on Literary and Social Occasions in En- candor of your letter, and thank you for it. gland and America, by Charles Dickens, p. 226. That every man who seeks heaven must be

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »