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help for the weaker brethren in his craft, and Mary! But, when my breast is tortured by the penever tried in any way to separate himself from rusal of such a letter as yours, Falkland, Falkland, them. Here is an example of the gentle consid- madam, becomes my part in “The Rivals," and I erateness with which, as editor, he dealt with his play it with desperate earnestness.
As thus: younger contributors: DEVONSHIRE TERRACE,
Falkland (to Acres). Then you see her, sir, someFriday Night, late, February 21, 1851. times? MY DEAR Miss BOYLE: I have devoted a couple
Acres. See her! Odds beams and sparkles, yes. of hours this evening to going very carefully over
See her acting! Night after night. your paper (which I had read before) and to endeav- Acting, and I not there! Pray, sir (with constrained
Falkland (aside and furious). Death and the devil ! oring to bring it closer, and to lighten it, and to calmness), what does she act ? give it that sort of compactness which a habit of
Acres. Odds monthly nurses and babbies! Sairey composition, and of disciplining one's thoughts like Gamp and Betsey Prig, “ which, wotever it is, my dear a regiment, and of studying the art of putting each (mimicking), I likes it brought reg'lar and draw'd mild !" soldier into his right place, may have gradually That's very like her. taught me to think necessary. I hope, when you see
Falkland. Confusion ! Laceration ! Perhaps, sir, it in print, you will not be alarmed by my use of the perhaps she sometimes acts—ha, ha! perhaps she somepruning-knife. I have tried to exercise it with the times acts, I say—eh ! sir ?–a–ha, ha, ha! a fairy. utmost delicacy and discretion, and to suggest to you,
(With great bitterness.) especially toward the end, how this sort of writing should hear her sing as a fairy. You should see her
Acres. Odds gauzy pinions and spangles, yes! You (regard being had to the size of the journal in which dance as a fairy. Tol de rol lol-la-lol—liddle diddle. it appears) requires to be compressed, and is made (Sings and dances.) That's very like her. pleasanter by compression. This all reads very Falkland. Misery I while I, devoted to her image, solemnly, but only because I want you to read it (I can scarcely write a line now and then, or pensively read mean the article) with as loving an eye as I have aloud to the people of Birmingham. (To him.) And they truly tried to touch it with a loving and gentle hand. applaud her, no doubt they applaud her, sir. And she I propose to call it " My Mahogany Friend.” The I see her ! Courtesies and smiles ! And they-curses other name is too long, and I think not attractive.
on them I they laugh and-ha, ha, ha !-and clap their Until I go to the office to-morrow and see what is hands and say it's very good. Do they not say it's very
good, sir? Tell me. Do they not? actually in hand, I am not certain of the number in
Acres. Odds thunderings and pealings, of course which it will appear, but Georgy shall write on Mon- they do! and the third fiddler, little Tweaks, of the day and tell you. We are always a fortnight in ad. county town, goes into fits. Ho, ho, ho, I can't bear it vance of the public, or the mechanical work could (mimicking); take me out! Ha, ha, ha! Oh, what a not be done. I think there are many things in it one she is! She'll be the death of me. Ha, ha, ha, ha! that are very pretty. The Katie part is particularly That's very like her ! well done. If I don't say more, it is because I have
Falkland. Damnation! Heartless Mary! (Rushes a heavy sense, in all cases, of the responsibility of
out.) encouraging any one to enter on that thorny track,
Scene opens and discloses coals of fire, heaped where the prizes are so few and the blanks so many; up into form of letters, representing the following where
inscription : But I won't write you a sermon.
With the fire going out, and the first shadows of a new story hov
When the praise thou meetest
To thine ear is sweetest, ering in a ghostly way about me (as they usually
Oh then begin to do, when I have finished an old one), I am
REMEMBER Joe! in danger of doing the heavy business, and becoming
[Curtain falls.] a heavy guardian, or something of that sort, instead of the light and airy Joe.
Here is a specimen of what we may call his So good night, and believe that you may always humorous-friendly letters : trust me, and never find a grim expression (toward you) in any that I wear.
[To Mr. W. Wilkie Collins.]
Gad's HILL PLACE, HIGHAM BY ROCHESTER, KENT, With the Miss Boyle to whom the above let
Friday Night, September 16, 1859. ter was written, and who played with him in MY DEAR WILKIE: Just a word to say that I those amateur theatricals which furnished the have received yours, and that I look forward to the chief recreation of his middle life, he kept up for reunion on Thursday, when I hope to have the satmany years a sort of mock-lover-like corre- isfaction of recounting to you the plot of a play that spondence, of which the following is a charac- has been laid before me for commending advice.
Ditto to what you say respecting the Great East. teristic specimen :
ern. I went right up to London Bridge by the boat TAVISTOCK HOUSE, Monday, January 16, 1854. that day, on purpose that I might pass her. I thought MY DEAR Mary: It is all very well to pretend her the ugliest and most unshiplike thing these eyes to love me as you do. Ah! If you loved as I love, ever beheld. I wouldn't go to sea in her, shiver my
ould timbers and rouse me up with a monkey's tail
[To Miss Hogarth.] (man-of-war metaphor), not to chuck a biscuit into Davy Jones's weather-eye, and see double with my
MORRISON'S HOTEL, DUBLIN, own old toplights.
Sunday Night, August 29, 1858. Turk (a favorite dog) has been so good as to
I am so delighted to find your letter here to-night produce from his mouth, for the wholesome conster. (eleven o'clock), and so afraid that, in the wear and nation of the family, eighteen feet of worm. When
tear of this strange life, I have written to Gad's Hill he had brought it up, he seemed to think it might in the wrong order, and have not written to you, as be turned to account in the housekeeping, and was I should, that I resolve to write this before going to proud. Pony has kicked a shaft off the cart, and is bed. You will find it a wretchedly stupid letter ; to be sold. Why don't you buy her ? she'd never kick but you may imagine, my dearest girl, that I am with you.
tired. Barber's opinion is that them fruit-trees, one and
The success at Belfast has been equal to the sucall, is touchwood, and not fit for burning at any cess here. Enormous ! We turned away half the gentleman's fire ; also, that the stocking of this here town. I think them a better audience, on the whole, garden is worth less than nothing, because you than Dublin ; and the personal affection there was wouldn't have to grub up nothing, and something something overwhelming. I wish you and the dear takes a man to do it at three-and-sixpence a day. girls could have seen the people look at me in the Was “ left desponding ” by your reporter.
street; or heard them ask me, as I hurried to the I have had immense difficulty to find a man for hotel after reading last night, to “do me the honor the stable-yard here. Barber having at last engaged to shake hands, Misther Dickens, and God bless one this morning, I inquired if he had a decent hat you, sir ; not ounly for the light you've been to me for driving in, to which Barber returned this answer: this night, but for the light you've been in mee
“Why, sir, not to deceive you, that man flatly house, sir (and God love your face), this many a say that he never have wore that article since man year.” Every night, by the by, since I have been he was !”
in Ireland, the ladies have beguiled John out of the I am, consequently, fortified into my room, and bouquet from my coat. And yesterday morning, as am afraid to go out to look at him. Love from all.
I had showered the leaves from my geranium in Ever affectionately. reading “ Little Dombey,” they mounted the plat
form, after I was gone, and picked them all up as And here is another, written to his friend
keepsakes ! Clarkson Stanfield, famous as a painter of ma- I have never seen men go in to cry so undisrine views. “Dick Sparkler” is Dickens him- guisedly as they did at that reading yesterday afterself, and “ Mark Porpuss " is Mark Lemon : noon. They made no attempt whatever to hide it,
and certainly cried more than the women. As to H. M. S. TAVISTOCK, January 2, 1853. the “Boots" at night, and “Mrs. Gamp” too, it Yoho, old salt! Neptun' ahoy! You don't for- was just one roar with me and them; for they made get, messmet, as you was to meet Dick Sparkler and me laugh so that sometimes I could not compose my Mark Porpuss on the fok'sle of the good ship Owssel face to go on. Words, Wednesday next, half-past four? Not you ; Tell the girls that Arthur and I have each orfor when did Stanfell ever pass his word to go any- dered at Belfast a trim, sparkling, slap-up Irish wheers and not come! Well. Belay, my heart of jaunting-car!!! I flatter myself we shall astonish oak, belay! Come alongside the Tavistock same the Kentish people. It is the oddest carriage in the day and hour, 'stead of Owssel Words. Hail your world, and you are always falling off. But it is gay shipmets, and they'll drop over the side and join and bright in the highest degree. Wonderfully Neayou, like two new shillings a-droppin' into the pur- politan. ser's pocket. Damn all lubberly boys and swabs, What with a sixteen-mile ride before we left Beland give me the lad with the tarry trousers, which fast, and a sea-beach walk, and a two o'clock dinner, shines to me like di'mings bright !
and a seven hours' railway ride since, I am—as we
say here—"a thrifle weary." But I really am in In 1858 Dickens began those regular public wonderful force, considering the work. For which readings from his own works, which occupied a I am, as I ought to be, very thankful. large part of his time during the remaining years
Arthur [his business agent] was exceedingly unof his life ; and from that date his letters to well last night-could not cheer up at all. He was members of his household constitute a nearly invisible after my five minutes' rest. I found him
so very unwell that he left the hall (!) and became complete and consecutive autobiography. These
at the hotel in a jacket and slippers, and with a hot letters are filled with most interesting accounts bath just ready. He was in the last stage of prosof his experiences while traveling, and are tration. The local agent was with me, and proposed among the best and most characteristic in the that he (the wretched Arthur) should go to his office collection ; but we can find room for only one and balance the accounts then and there. He went, of them, written from Ireland during his first in the jacket and slippers, and came back in twenty reading tour :
minutes, perfectly well, in consequence of the ad.
mirable balance. He is now sitting opposite to me in each, opening out of a little corridor. In each, ON THE BAG OF SILVER, forty pounds (it must be too, is a large plate-glass window, with which you dreadfully hard), writing to Boulogne.
can do as you like. As you pay extra for this luxBest love to Mamie and Katie, and dear Plorn, ury, it may be regarded as the first move toward two and all the boys left when this comes to Gad's Hill; classes of passengers. also to my dear good Anne, and her little woman.
Ever affectionately. On the whole, it is evident that Dickens re
tained his insular prejudices to the last, and that The fame of these readings speedily reached -in spite of the enthusiasm which he aroused the United States, and Dickens was repeatedly and the kindnesses which he experienced—he importuned and entreated to pay us a profes- never really liked either America or the Amerisional visit. He held out in his refusal to extend From the hour of his landing he was his travels so far until, in 1867, the representa- counting the days until his return voyage should tions as to the enormous monetary harvest he begin; and this fact lends an additional pathos might expect to reap here overcame his resolu- to the knowledge that his sufferings while here tion, and on November 19th of that year he landed from “ true American catarrh,” as he facetiously once more upon our shores. A considerable por- calls it, so weakened his constitution as to pretion of the second volume is filled with vivid de- cipitate the attack that ended his life only two scriptions of his readings in the various Eastern years later. cities; but the scenes themselves can hardly have A few other letters must be quoted as illusfaded as yet from the popular mind, and it will be trating phases of Dickens's character that have more interesting, perhaps, to learn how far the im- not yet been touched upon. Here is a most pressions received during the earlier visit were characteristic one, in which he defends and justimodified during the later one. Between the two fies the first of those numerous attacks which he visits, the impetuous author had evidently ac- made in his novels upon religious cant: quired discretion, even if he had not changed his opinions, and there are only two paragraphs in
[To Mr. David Dickson.] the later correspondence that can be set over
1 DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, YORK GATE, against the long letter of 1842. In a letter
REGENT'S PARK, May 10, 1843. written from the Parker House, Boston, under
SIR: Permit me to say, in reply to your letter, date of January 4, 1868, he says:
that you do not understand the intention (I dare say
the fault is mine) of that passage in the “ Pickwick There are two apparently irreconcilable con
Papers" which has given you offense. The design trasts here. Down below in this hotel every night of the Shepherd,” and of this and every other are the bar-loungers, dram-drinkers, drunkards, allusion to him, is, to show how sacred things are swaggerers, loafers, that one might find in a Bouci- degraded, vulgarized, and rendered absurd when cault play. Within half an hour is Cambridge, persons who are utterly incompetent to teach the where a delightful domestic life-simple, self-re
commonest things take upon themselves to expound spectful, cordial, and affectionate-is seen in an ads such mysteries, and how, in making mere cant mirable aspect. All New England is primitive and phrases of divine words, these persons miss the puritanical. All about and around it is a puddle of spirit in which they had their origin. I have seen a mixed human mud, with no such quality in it. Per- great deal of this sort of thing in many parts of haps I may in time sist out some tolerably intelligi. England, and I never knew it lead to charity or ble whole, but I certainly have not done so yet. It
good deeds. is a good sign, maybe, that it all seems immensely
Whether the great Creator of the world and the more difficult to understand than it was when I was creature of his hands, molded in his own image, be here before.
quite so opposite in character as you believe, is a In another letter, addressed to Mr. Macready question which it would profit us little to discuss. under date of March 21, 1868, he says:
I like the frankness and candor of your letter, and
thank you for it. That every man who seeks heaven You would find the general aspect of America must be born again, in good thoughts of his Maker, and Americans decidedly much improved. You I sincerely believe. That it is expedient for every would find immeasurably greater consideration and hound to say so in a certain snuffling form of words, respect for your privacy than of old. You would to which he attaches no good meaning, I do not befind a steady change for the better everywhere, ex
lieve. I take it, there is no difference between us. cept (oddly enough) in the railroads generally, which
Faithfully yours. seem to have stood still, while everything else has moved. But there is an exception westward. There
The following extract from a letter to Mr. the express trains have now a very delightful carriage Macready (written in 1853) testifies to that sturdy called a "drawing-room car," literally a series of faith in the people which was one of the dominatlittle private drawing-rooms, with sofas and a table ing sentiments of Dickens's life. It refers to an address which he had just previously delivered at such a collection. It was written in reply to a Birmingham :
letter from Mr. Makeham remonstrating against I know you would have been full of sympathy of “ Edwin Drood”:
a "figure of speech” used in the tenth chapter and approval if you had been present at Birmingham, and that you would have concurred in the tone GAD'S HILL PLACE, HIGHAM BY ROCHESTER, I tried to take about the eternal duties of the arts to
KENT, Wednesday Night, June, 1870. the people. I took the liberty of putting the court DEAR SIR: It would be quite inconceivable to and that kind of thing out of the question, and rec- me--but for your letter-that any reasonable reader ognizing nothing but the arts and the people. The could possibly attach a scriptural reference to a pasmore we see of life and its brevity, and the world sage in a book of mine, reproducing a much-abused and its varieties, the more we know that no exercise social figure of speech, impressed with all sorts of of our abilities in any art, but the addressing of it to service, on all sorts of inappropriate occasions, withthe great ocean of humanity in which we are drops, out the faintest connection of it with its original and not to by-ponds (very stagnant) here and there, source. I am truly shocked to find that any reader ever can or ever will lay the foundations of an en- can make the mistake. durable retrospect.
I have always striven in my writings to express
veneration for the life and lessons of our Saviour ; This is from a letter to Mr. Charles Knight because I feel it; and because I rewrote that history defending “ Hard Times " against some strictures for my children—every one of whom knew it from which the latter had made upon it:
having it repeated to them-long before they could My satire is against those who see figures and read, and almost as soon as they could speak.
But I have never made proclamation of this from averages, and nothing else—the representatives of
the house-tops. the wickedest and most enormous vice of this time
Faithfully yours, -the men who, through long years to come, will do
CHARLES DICKENS. more to damage the real useful truths of political
JOHN M. MAKEHAM, Esq. economy than I could do (if I tried) in my whole
the addled heads who would take the average The selections which we have made from the of cold in the Crimea during twelve months as a “ Letters” will probably appear somewhat desulreason for clothing a soldier in nankeens on a night tory and altogether inadequate ; but then the letwhen he would be frozen to death in fur, and who ters themselves are desultory in subject, and we would comfort the laborer in traveling twelve miles a day to and from his work, by telling him that the have not aimed to do more than indicate their average distance of one inhabited place from anoth quality and variety. Taken as a whole, they er in the whole area of England is not more than portray with wonderful vividness and fidelity four miles. Bah! What have you to do with these? nearly all possible phases of the author's thoughts
and feelings; and it may be confidently said, in The last letter of all-written less than an conclusion, that there are very few men whose hour before the fatal stroke ended for ever the hearts and lives could be laid so bare as in this labors of that teeming brain and prolific pen-is correspondence and yet leave upon the reader so in a peculiar degree appropriate as the close of consistently pleasing an impression.
happiest and best minds," we feel in each of these MATTHEW ARNOLD ON POETRY.
utterances—too partial to express a universal IT
. T is both interesting and instructive to hear truth, too profound to be regarded as a merely
what masters of a craft may choose to say casual remark—the dominating bias and instincupon the subject of their art. The interest is tive leanings of a lifetime. If, then, we rememrather increased than diminished by the limitation ber that Mr. Matthew Arnold is equally eminent of the imperfection of their view, inseparable from as a critic and a poet, we shall not be too much personal inclination, idiosyncrasy of genius, or ab- surprised to read the following account of poetry sorbing previous course of study. When Hein- given in the preface to his selections from Wordsrich exclaims, “ There's no lust like to poetry”; worth :* “It is important, therefore, to hold fast when Goethe asserts, “ Die kunst ist nur Gestal
* " Poems of Wordsworth." Chosen and edited by tung"; when Shelley writes, “ Poetry is the rec
Matthew Arnold. “Golden Treasury Series," Macmilord of the best and happiest moments of the lan, 1879.
to this: that poetry is at bottom a criticism of proved with certainty by the whole history of litlife; that the greatness of a poet lies in his pow- erature to our time, it is that the self-preservative erful and beautiful application of ideas to life-to instinct of humanity rejects such art as does not the question, How to live.”
contribute to its intellectual nutrition and moral At first sight this definition will strike most sustenance. It can not afford to continue long people as a paradox. It would be scarcely less in contact with ideas that run counter to the startling to hear, as indeed we might perhaps principles of its own progress. It can not behear from a new school of writers upon art, that stow more than passing notice upon trifles, how“ criticism is at bottom the poetry of things,” ever exquisitely finished. Poetry will not, indeed, inasmuch as it is the critic's function to select the live without style or its equivalent. But style quintessential element of all he touches, and to alone will never confer enduring and cosmopolipresent that only in choice form to the public he tan fame upon a poet. He must have placed professes to instruct. Yet, when we return to himself in accord with the permanent emotions, Mr. Arnold, and compare the passage above the conservative forces of the race; he must have quoted with the fuller expression of the same uttered what contributes to the building up of view upon a preceding page, the apparent para- vital structure in the social organism, in order to dox is reduced to the proportions of a sound and gain more than a temporary or a partial hearing. valuable generalization : "Long ago, in speaking Though style is an indispensable condition of of Homer, I said that the noble and profound success in poetry, it is by matter, and not by application of ideas to life is the most essential form, that a poet has to take his final rank. part of poetic greatness. I said that a great poet Of the two less perfect kinds of poetry, the receives his distinctive character of superiority poetry of revolt and the poetry of indifference, from his application, under the conditions im- the latter has by far the slighter chance of surmutably fixed by the laws of poetic beauty and vival. Powerful negation implies that which it poetic truth, from his application, I say, whatever rebels against. The energy of the rebellious it may be, of the ideas,
spirit is itself a kind of moral greatness. We
are braced and hardened by contact with impas‘On man, on nature, and on human life,'
sioned revolutionaries, with Lucretius, Voltaire, which he has acquired for himself.” An impor- Leopardi. Something necessary to the onward tant element in this description of poetic great- progress of humanity—the vigor of antagonism, ness is the further determination of the ideas in the operative force of the antithesis-is commuquestion as moral: “It is said that to call these nicated by them. They are in a high sense ethiideas moral ideas is to introduce a strong and cal by the exhibition of hardihood, self-reliance, injurious limitation. I answer that it is to do hatred of hypocrisy. Even Omar's secession nothing of the kind, because moral ideas are from the mosque to the tavern symbolizes a nereally so main a part of human life. The ques- cessary and recurring moment of experience. It tion, how to live, is itself a moral idea; and it is is, moreover, dignified by the pathos of the poet's the question which most interests every man, and view of life. Meleager's sensuality is condoned with which, some way or other, he is perpetu- by the delicacy of his sentiment. Tone counts ally occupied.”
for much in this poetry of revolt against morals. With the substance of these passages there It is only the Stratons, the Beccadellis, the Bauare few who, after mature reflection on the nature delaires, who, in spite of their consummate form, of poetry, will not agree. That the weight of are consigned to poetical perdition by vulgarity, Mr. Arnold's authority should be unhesitatingly perversity, obliquity of vision. But the carving given against what he calls the poetry of revolt of cherry-stones in verse, the turning of triolets and the poetry of indifference to morals, is a and rondeaux, the seeking after sound or color matter for rejoicing to all who think the dissemi- without heed for sense, is all foredoomed to final nation of sound views on literature important. failure. The absolute neglect which has fallen It is good to be reminded at the present moment on the melodious Italian sonnet-writers of the that Omar Kayam failed of true greatness be- sixteenth century is due to their cult of art for cause he was a reactionary, and that Théophile art's sake, and their indifference to the realities Gautier took up his abode in what can never be of life. If we ask why Machiavelli's “Mandramore than a wayside halting-place. From time gora” is inferior to Shakespeare's “Merry Wives to time critics arise who attempt to persuade us of Windsor," in spite of its profound knowledge that it does not so much matter what a poet says of human nature, its brilliant wit, its irresistible as how he says it, and that the highest poetical humor, its biting satire, and its incomparably achievements are those which combine a certain closer workmanship, we can only answer that vagueness of meaning with sensuous melody and Shakespeare's conception of life was healthy, color of verbal composition. Yet, if one thing is natural, exhilarating, while Machiavelli's, without