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But to think of this man loaded with honors — though of a low origin - so lost to self-respect as actually to take away the • Athenæum'paper! These parvenus, sir, betray their origin betray their origin. I said to my wife this very morning, Mrs. Jawkins,' I said, there is talk of a testimonial to this man. I will not give one shilling. I have no idea of raising statues to fellows who take away Club paper. · No, by George, I have not. Why, they will be raising statues to men who take Club spoons next!
Not one penny of my money shall they have !'" And now, if you please, we will tell the real story which has furnished this scandal to a newspaper, this tattle to Club gossips and loungers. The Field-Marshal, wishing to make a further provision for a friend, informed his lawyer what he desired to do. The lawyer, a member of the Athenæum Club,” there wrote the draft of such a codicil as he would advise, and sent the paper by the post to Lord Clyde at Chatham. Lord Clyde finding the paper perfectly satisfactory, signed it and sent it back: and hence we have the story of “the codicil bearing the signature of Clyde, F. M., and written, strange to say, upon paper bearing the • Athenæum Club’mark.”
Here I have been imagining a dialogue between a half-dozen gossips such as congregate round a Club fireplace of an afternoon. I wonder how many people besides – whether any chance reader of this very page has read and believed this story about the good old lord? Have the country papers copied the anecdote, and our own correspondents” made their remarks on it? If, my good sir, or madam, you have read it and credited it, don't you own to a little feeling of shame and sorrow, now that the trumpery little mystery is cleared ? To "the new inhabitant of light,” passed away and out of reach of our censure, misrepresentation, scandal, dulness, malice, a silly falsehood matters nothing. Censure and praise are alike to him –
“The music warbling to the deafened ear,
The incense wasted on the funeral bier,”
the pompous eulogy pronounced over the gravestone, or the lie that slander spits on it. Faithfully though this brave old chief did his duty, honest and upright though his life was, glorious his renown you see he could write at Chatham on London paper; you see men can be found to point out how strange” his behavior was. And about ourselves? My good people, do you by chance
know any man or woman who has formed unjust conclusions regarding his neighbor? Have you ever found yourself willing, nay, eager to believe evil of some man whom you hate? Whom you hate because he is successful, and you are not: because he is rich, and you are poor : because he dines with great men who don't invite you : because he wears a silk gown, and yours is still stuff: because he has been called in to perform the operation though you lived close by: because his pictures have been bought and yours returned home unsold : because he fills his church, and you are preaching to empty pews? If your rival prospers have you ever felt a twinge of anger? If his wife's carriage passes you and Mrs. Tomkins, who are in a cab, don't you feel that those people are giving themselves absurd airs of importance? If he lives with great people, are you not sure he is a sneak? And if you ever felt envy towards another, and if your heart has ever been black towards your brother, if you have been peevish at his success, pleased to hear his merit depreciated, and eager to believe all that is said in his disfavor — my good sir, as you yourself contritely own that you are unjust, jealous, uncharitable, so, you may be sure, some men are uncharitable, jealous, and unjust regarding you.
The proofs and manuscript of this little sermon have just come from the printer's, and as I look at the writing, I perceive, not without a smile, that one or two of the pages bear, * strange to say,” the mark of a Club of which I have the honor to be a member. Those lines quoted in a foregoing page are from some noble verses written by one of Mr. Addison's men, Mr. Tickell, on the death of Cadogan, who was amongst the most prominent “of Marlborough's captains and Eugenio's friends.” If you are acquainted with the history of those times, you have read how Cadogan had his feuds and hatreds too, as Tickell’s patron had bis, as Cadogan's great chief had his. "The Duke of Marlborough's character has been so variously drawn” (writes a famous contemporary of the duke's), " that it is hard to pronounce on either side without the suspicion of flattery or detraction. I shall say nothing of his military accomplishments, which the opposite reports of his friends and enemies among the soldiers have rendered problematical. Those maligners who deny him personal valor, seem not to consider that this accusation is charged at a venture, since the person of a general is too seldom exposed, and that fear which is said sometimes to have disconcerted him before action might
probably be more for his army than himself." If Swift could hint a doubt of Marlborough's courage, what wonder that a nameless scribe of our day should question the honor of Clyde?
THE LAST SKETCH.
Nor many days since I went to visit a house where in former years I had received many a friendly welcome. We went into the owner's an artist's
studio. Prints, pictures, and sketches hung on the walls as I had last seen and remembered them. The implements of the painter's art were there. The light which had shone upon so many, many hours of patient and cheerful toil, poured through the northern window apon print and bust, lay figure and sketch, and upon the easel before which the good, the gentle, the beloved Leslie labored. In this room the busy brain had devised, and the skilful hand executed, I know not how many of the noble works which have delighted the world with their beauty and charming humor. Here the poet called up into pictorial presence, and informed with life, grace, beauty, infinite friendly mirth and wondrous naturalness of expression, the people of whom his dear books told him the stories, his Shakspeare, his Cervantes, bis Molière, his Le Sage. There was his last work on the easel — a beautiful fresh smiling shape of Titania, such as his sweet guileless fancy imagined the Midsummer Night's queen to be. Gracious, and pure, and bright, the sweet smiling image glimmers on the canvas. Fairy elves, no doubt, were to have been grouped around their mistress in laughing clusters. Honest Bottom's grotesque head and form are indicated as reposing by the side of the consummate beauty. The darkling forest would have grown around them, with the stars glittering from the midsummer sky: the flowers at the queen's feet, and the boughs and foliage about her, would have been peopled with gambolling sprites and fays. They were dwelling in the artist's mind no doubt, and would have been developed by that patient, faithful, adinirable genius: but the busy brain stopped working, the skilful hand fell lifeless, the loving, honest heart ceased to beat. What was she to have been - that fair Titania when perfected by the patient skill of the poet, who in imagination saw the sweet innocent figure, and with tender courtesy
and caresses, as it were, posed and shaped and traced the fair form? Is there record kept anywhere of fancies conceived, beautiful, unborn? Some day will they assume form in some yet undeveloped light? If our bad unspoken thoughts are registered against us, and are written in the awful account, will not the good thoughts unspoken, the love and tenderness, the pity, beauty, charity, which pass through the breast, and cause the heart to throb with silent good, find a remembrance too? A few weeks more, and this lovely offspring of the poet's conception would have been complete - to charm the world with its beautiful mirth. May there not be some sphere unknown to us where it may have an existence? They say our words, once out of our lips, go travelling in omne ævum, reverberating for ever and ever. If our words, why not our thoughts? If the Has Been, why not the Might Have Been?
Some day our spirits may be permitted to walk in galleries of fancies more wondrous and beautiful than any achieved works which at present we see, and our minds to behold and delight in masterpieces which poets' and artists' minds have fathered and conceived only.
With a feeling much akin to that with which I looked upon the friend's — the admirable artist's — unfinished work, I can fancy many readers turning to the last pages which were traced by Charlotte Bronté's hand. Of the multitude that have read her books, who has not known and deplored the tragedy of her family, her own most sad and untimely fate? Which of her readers has not become her friend? Who that has known her books has not admired the artist's poble English, the burning love of trutlı, the bravery, the simplicity, the indignation at wrong, the eager sympathy, the pious love and reverence, the passionate honor, so to speak, of the woman? What a story is that of that family of poets in their solitude yonder on the gloomy northern moors ! At nine o'clock at night, Mrs. Gaskell tells, after evening prayers, when their guardian and relative had gone to bed, the three poetesses the three maidens, Charlotte, and Emily, and Anne - Charlotte being the "motherly friend and guardian to the other two” _" began, like restless wild animals, to pace up and down their parlor, making out their wonderful stories, talking over plans and projects, and thoughts of what was to be their future life.”
One evening, at the close of 1854, as Charlotte Nicholls sat with her husband by the fire, listening to the howling of the wind about the house, she suddenly said to her husband, “ If you had not been with me, I must have been writing now.”
She then ran up stairs, and brought down, and read aloud, the beginning of a new tale. When she had finished, her husband remarked, “ The critics will accuse you of repetition.” She replied, “Oh! I shall alter that. I always begin two or three times before I can please myself.” But it was not to be. The trembling little hand was to write no more. The heart newly awakened to love and happiness, and throbbing with maternal hope, was soon to cease to beat; that intrepid outspeaker and champion of truth, that eager, impetuous redresser of wrong, was to be called out of the world's fight and struggle, to lay down the shining arms, and to be removed to a sphere where even a noble indignation cor ulterius nequit lacerare, and where truth complete, and right triumphant, no longer need to wage
I can only say of this lady, vidi tantum. I saw her first just as I rose out of an illness from which I had never thought to recover. I remember the trembling little frame, the little hand, the great honest eyes. An impetuous honesty seemed to me to characterize the woman. Twice I recollect she took me to task for what she held to be errors in doctrine. Once about Fielding we had a disputation. She spoke her mind out. She jumped too rapidly to conclusions. (I have smiled at one or two passages in the “ Biography,” in which my own disposition or behavior forms the subject of talk.) She formed conclusions that might be wrong, and built up whole theories of character upon them. New to the London world, she entered it with an independent, indomitable spirit of her own; and judged of contemporaries, and especially spied out arrogance or affectation, with extraordinary keenness of vision. She was angry with her favorites if their conduct or conversation fell below her ideal. Often she seemed to me to be judging the London folk prematurely: but perhaps the city is rather angry at being judged. I fancied an austere little Joan of Arc marching in upon us, and rebuking our easy lives, our easy morals. She gave me the impression of being a very pure, and lofty, and high-minded person. A great and holy reverence of right and truth seemed to be with her alway's. Such, in our brief interview, she appeared to me. As one thinks of that life so noble, so lonely — of that passion for truth — of those nights and nights of eager study, swarming fancies, invention, depression, elation, prayer ; as one reads the necessarily incomplete, though most touching and admirable history of the heart that throbbed in this one little frame -- of this one amongst the myriads of souls that have lived and died on this