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the most remarkable resemblance of the printed sketches of the man, of the rude drawings in which I had depicted him. He had the same little coat, the same battered hat, cocked on one eye, the same twinkle in that eye. “Sir,” said I, knowing him to be an old friend whom I had met in unknown regions, “sir," I said, “ may I offer you a glass of brandyand-water?” “ Bedad, ye may,” says he, “and I'll sing ye a song tu.” Of course he spoke with an Irislı brogue. Of course he had been in the army. In ten minutes he pulled out an Army Agent's account, whereon his name was written. A few months after we read of him in a police court. How bad I come to know him, to divine him? Nothing shall convince me that I have not seen that man in the world of spirits. In the world of spirits and water I know I did : but that is a mere quibble of words. I was not surprised when he spoke in an Irish brogue. I had had cognizance of him before somehow. Who has not felt that little shock which arises when a person, a place, some words in a book (there is always a collocation) present themselves to you, and you know that you have before met the same person, words, scene, and so forth? They used to call the good Sir Walter the “ Wizard of the
What if some writer should appear who can write so enchantingly that he shall be able to call into actual life the people whom he invents? What if Mignon, and Margaret, and Goetz von Berlichingen are alive now (though I don't say they are visible), and Dugald Dalgetty and Ivanhoe were to step in at that open window by the little garden yonder ? Suppose Uncas and our noble old Leather Stocking were to glide silent in? Suppose Athos, Porthos, and Aramis should enter with a noiseless swagger, curling their moustaches? And dearest Amelia Booth, on Uncle Toby's arm; and Tittlebat Titmouse, with his hair dyed green ; and all the Crummles company of comedians, with the Gil Blas troop; and Sir Roger de Coverley ; and the greatest of all crazy gentlemen, the Knight of La Mancha, with his blessed squire? I say to you, I look rather wistfully towards the window, musing upon these people. Were any of them to enter, I think I should not be very much frightened. Dear old friends, what pleasant hours I have had with them! We do not see each other very often, but when we do, we are ever happy to meet. I had a capital half-hour with Jacob Faithful last night; when the last sheet was corrected, when “ Finis” had been written, and the printer's boy, with the copy, was safe in Green Arbor Court.
So you are gone, little printer's boy, with the last scratches
and corrections on the proof, and a fine flourish by way of Finis at the story's end. The last corrections? I say those last corrections seem never to be finished. A plague upon the Feeds! Every day, when I walk in my own little literary garden-plot, I spy some, and should like to have a spud, and root them out. Those idle words, neighbor, are past remedy. That turning back to the old pages produces anything but elation of mind. Would you not pay a pretty fine to be able to cancel some of them? Oh, the sad old pages, the dull old pages! Oh, the cares, the ennui, the squabbles, the repetitions, the old conversations over and over again! But now and again a kind thought is recalled, and now and again a dear memory. Yet a few chapters more, and then the last : after which, behold Finis itself come to an end, and the Infinite begun.
ON A PEAL OF BELLS.
As some bells in a church hard by are making a great holiday clanging in the summer afternoon, I am reminded somehow of
July day, a garden, and a great clanging of bells years and years ago, on the very day when George IV. was crowned. I remember a little boy lying in that garden reading his first novel.
It was called the “ Scottish Chiefs.” The little boy (who is now ancient and not little) read this book in the summer-house of his great grandmamma. She was eighty years of age then. A most lovely and picturesque old lady, with a long tortoise-shell cane, with a little puff, or tour, of snow-white (or was it powdered?) hair under her cap, with the prettiest little black-velvet slippers and high heels you ever saw.
She had a grandson, a lieutenant in the navy ; son of her son, a captain in the navy; grandson of her husband, a captain in the navy. She lived for scores and scores of years in a dear little old Hampshire town inhabited by the wives, widows, daughters of navy captains, admirals, lieutenants. Dear me! Don't I remember Mrs. Duval, widow of Admiral Duval; and the Miss Dennets, at the Great House at the other end of the town, Admiral Dennet's daughters ; and the Miss Barrys, the late Captain Barry's daughters ; and the good old Miss Maskews, Admiral Maskew's daughter; and that dear little Miss Norval, and the kind Miss Bookers, one of whoin married Captaiu, now Admiral Sir Henry Excellent, K.C.B.? Far, far away into the past I look and see the little town with its friendly glimmer. That town was so like a novel of Miss Austen's that I wonder was she born and bred there? No, we should have known, and the good old ladies would have pronounced her to be a little idle thing, occupied with her silly books and neglecting her housekeeping. There were other towns in England, no doubt, where dwelt the widows and wives of other navy captains ; where they tattled, loved each other, and quarrelled ; talked about Betty the maid, and her fine ribbons indeed! took their dish of tea at six, played at quadrille every night till ten, when there was a little bit of supper, after which Betty came with the lanthorn; and next day came, and next, and next, and so forth, until a day arrived when the lanthorn was out, when Betty came no more: all that little company sank to rest under the daisies, whither some folks will presently follow them. How did they live to be so old, those good people? Moi qui vous parle, I perfectly recollect old Mr. Gilbert, who had been to sea with Captain Cook; and Captain Cook, as you justly observe, dear Miss, quoting out of your “ Mangnall's Questions," was murdered by the natives of Owhyhee, anno 1779. Ah! don't you remember his picture, standing on the seashore, in tights and gaiters, with a musket in his hand, pointing to his people not to fire from the boats, whilst a great tattooed savage is going to stab him in the back? Don't you remember those houris dancing before him and the other officers at the great Otaheite ball? Don't you know that Cook was at the siege of Quebec, with the glorious Wolfe, who fought under the Duke of Cumberland, whose royal father was a distinguished officer at Ramillies, before he commanded in chief at Dettingen? Huzza ! Give it them,
My horse is down? Then I know I shall not run away.
Do the French run? then I die content. Stop. Wo! Quo me rapis? My Pegasus is galloping off, goodness knows where, like his Majesty's charger at Dettingen.
How do these rich historical and personal reminiscences come out of the subject at present in hand? What is that subject, by the way? My dear friend, if you look at the last essaykin (though you may leave it alone, and I shall not be in the least surprised or offended), if you look at the last paper, where the writer imagines Athos and Porthos, Dalgetty and Ivanhoe, Amelia and Sir Charles Grandison, Don Quixote and Sir Roger, walking in at the garden-window, you will at once perceive that Novels and their heroes and heroines are our present subject
my lads !
of discourse, into which we will presently plunge. Are you one cf us, dear sir, and do you love novel-reading ? To be reminded of your first novel will surely be a pleasure to you. Hush! I never read quite to the end of my first, the “ Scottishi Chiefs.” I couldn't. I peeped in an alarmed furtive manner at some of the closing pages. Miss Porter, like a kind dear tenderhearted creature, would not have Wallace's head chopped off' at the end of Vol. V. She made him die in prison,* and if I remember right (protesting I have not read the book for forty-two or three years), Robert Bruce made a speech to his soldiers, in which he said, "And Bannockburn shall equal Cambuskenneth.”† But I repeat I could not read the end of the fifth volume of that dear delightful book for crying. Good heavens! It was as sad, as sad as going back to school.
The glorious Scott cycle of romances came to me some four or five years afterwards; and I think boys of our year were specially fortunate in coming upon those delightful books at that special time when we could best enjoy them. Ol, that sunshiny bench on half-holidays, with Claverhouse or Ivanlioe for a companion! I have remarked of very late days some little men in a great state of delectation over the romances of Captain Mayne Reid, and Gustave Aimard's Prairie and Indian Stories, and during occasional holiday visits, lurking off to bed with the volume under their arms. But are those Indians and warriors so terrible as our Indians and warriors were? (I say, are they? Young gentlemen, mind, I do not say they are not.) But as an oldster I can be heartily thankful for the novels of the 1-10 Geo. IV., let us say, and so downward to a period not
I find, on reference to the novel, that Sir William died on the scaffold, not in prison. His last words were, “My prayer is heard. Life's cord is cut by heaven. Helen! Helen! May heaven preserve my country, and—' He stopped. He fell. And with that mighty shock the scaffold shook to its foundations."
† The remark of Bruce (which I protest I had not read for forty-two years), I find to be as follows:- “When this was uttered by the English heralds, Bruce turned to Ruthven, with an heroic smile, ‘Let him come, my brave barons ! and he shall find that Bannockburn shall page with Cambuskenneth!'” In the same amiable author's famous novel of “Thaddeus of Warsaw," there is more crying than in any novel I ever remember to have read. See, for example, the last page. " Incapable of speaking, Thaddeus led his wife back to her carriage. . . . His tears gushed out in spite of himself, and mingling with hers, poured those thanks, those assurances, of animated approbation through her heart, which made it even ache with excess of happiness.” . . . And a sentence or two further. “Kosciusko did bless him, and embalmed the benediction with a slower of tears."
unremote. Let us see; there is, first, our dear Scott. Whom do I love in the works of that dear old master? Amo
The Baron of Bradwardine and Fergus. (Captain Waverley is certainly very mild.)
Amo Ivanhoe; LOCKSLEY ; the Templar.
Amo Quentin Durward, and especially Quentin's uncle, who brought the boar to bay. I forget the gentleman's name.
I have never cared for the Master of Ravenswood, or fetched his hat out of the water since he dropped it there when I last met him (circa 1825).
Amo SALADIN and the Scotch knight in the “ Talisman.” The Sultan best.
Amo MAJOR DALGETTY. Delightful Major. To think of him is to desire to jump up, run to the book, and get the volume down from the shelf. About all those heroes of Scott, what a manly bloom there is, and honorable modesty! They are not at all heroic. They seem to blush somehow in their position of hero, and as it were to say, 6. Since it must be done, here goes !” They are handsome, modest, upright, simple, courageous, not too clever. If I were a mother (which is absurd), I should like to be mother-in-law to several young men of the Walter-Scott-hero sort.
Much as I like those most unassuming, manly, unpretending gentlemen, I have to own that I think the heroes of another writer, viz. :
Tom COFFIN, are quite the equals of Scott's men; perhaps Leather-stocking is better than any one in “ Scott's lot.” La Longue Carabine is one of the great prize-men of fiction. He ranks with your Uncle Toby, Sir Roger de Coverley, Falstaff — heroic figures, all American or British, and the artist has deserved well of his country who devised them.
At school, in my time, there was a public day, when the boys' relatives, an examining bigwig or two from the universities, old schoolfellows, and so forth, came to the place. The boys were all paraded ; prizes were administered ; each lad being in a new suit of clothes – and magnificent dandies, I promise you, some of us were. Oh, the chubby cheeks, clean collars, glossy new raiment, beaming faces, glorious in youth - fit tueri cælum - bright with truth, and mirth, and honor! To see a hundred