LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Passages of a Working Life during Half a Century
Chapter II

Contents Vol. I
Prelude 1
Prelude 2
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Contents Vol. II
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Note to Chapter XV
Contents Vol. III
Chapter I
‣ Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Note to Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Note to Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Note to Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Index of Persons
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IN 1847 I commenced editing and publishing, in monthly parts, a work which furnished me with a really delightful occupation for fifty-two weeks. “Half-Hours with the Best Authors, Selected and Arranged, with Short Biographical and Critical Notices,” has had, and still has, so large a circulation that it is unnecessary for me to describe the character of a book so universally known. The complete work contains specimens of three hundred various writers, of which number about forty were living at the period of its publication. From many of these, his contemporaries, the editor received permission to borrow some connected extracts from their writings which would occupy about half an hour’s ordinary reading. Judging from the warm expressions of the greater number of these writers, even the most eminent felt something of satisfaction in being included amongst the standard authors who have built up the greatest literature of the modern world. In a postscript I thus spoke of my “short biographical notices;”—“Their brevity must necessarily render them incomplete and unsatisfactory; but they have not been written without serious thought and an earnest desire to be just. There are many who will differ from the Editor in his estimate of some writers, particularly of the more recent.
But of one fault he is not likely to be accused—that of a cold and depreciating estimate of those whom he has selected as ‘The Best Authors.’ If his admiration should appear too hearty, he may best excuse himself by saying that the nil admirari never appeared to him the great principle of mental satisfaction; and that, even with Horace against him, he is content to bear with the imputation, in such matters, of being—
‘One who loved not wisely, but too well.’”

Nearly two decades have passed since, for the objects of this work, I resolved to enlist in the great company of the illustrious dead some of those who then wore their laurel wreath without the cypress. Of many of these the reputations had been achieved at the very commencement of what we now term the Victorian Era. Others who had been battling their way against adverse criticism in the period of the third and fourth Georges, had now attained their just honours amongst a younger generation “ever seeking something new.” To one who has lived in both periods, it is pleasant to look back upon the gradual establishment in his own mind of the conviction that those who were the passing novelties of one time would become the great classics of another. The days were long passed when, with me and no doubt with many others, every pleasure and almost every duty was laid aside to plunge into a new series of “Tales of my Landlord,” or to devour a new canto of “Childe Harold.” Others were rising up in the first years of the Queen, to render the fame of Scott and Byron a little pale in the eyes of a new race of readers. Dickens I described as “one who came to
fill up the void which Scott had left.” Of
Tennyson, who at the present day has sent Byron into the shade, I wrote in 1848—“He has not published much, he does not live upon the breath of popular applause, but he has more ardent admirers than any “living poet, with the exception of Wordsworth.”

As I open the four volumes of Half-Hours and review the short notices of contemporaries, I find amongst them many with whom I have had the transient pleasure of an occasional acquaintance or the happiness of a continued friendly intercourse. Let me mention a few of each class, taking the names, for the most part, in the order in which they present themselves in “Half-Hours.”

I have met Walter Savage Landor at the table of a common friend. Although he was then a septuagenarian (I read his Count Julian when I was a boy), he was in the full vigour of his understanding. The variety and richness of his knowledge were as manifest in his real as in his “Imaginary Conversations.” He could sustain a literary discussion with wonderful acuteness and felicity of illustration. Sometimes indeed with a leaven of those paradoxical opinions, in which he seemed to delight with a wilfulness of exaggeration. Whilst I write this, his death is recorded at the age of ninety. Dickens has painted him, with scarcely any exaggeration, in his “Boycroft.” Leigh Hunt could have known nothing of the early friend of Southey when, in the “Feast of the Poets,” he termed him, “one Mr. Landor,” and made his name rhyme with “gander.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, I never saw but once. It was about the time when he first went to dwell with Mr. Gillman at Highgate. To me, then a very
young man, the outpourings of his mighty volume of words seemed something more than eloquence; and I went away half crazed by his expositions of the power of the human will in producing such effects upon matter as were once ascribed to magic. We are more familiar in the present day with wonders such as some of those he had seen or heard of in Germany; but his belief that the magnetic needle would follow the finger of a bared hand and arm, did not perhaps demand so great an exercise of faith as the stately walks of dining tables and the nimble dances of arm chairs. The
Cagliostros of the human race have ever been a thriving family. Coleridge died in 1834. I went to live at Highgate the year after. During a few years’ friendly intercourse with Mr. Gillman and his most amiable and intelligent wife, I was deeply impressed with the ascendancy which a man of the highest genius can obtain over those with whom he is brought into daily contact. Their tastes were in some respects essentially different from his. His irregular habits must often have been exceedingly annoying. But this was a remarkable case of hero-worship, in which the devotion was as enthusiastic as in any instance of the few heroes whom the universal consent of mankind has placed upon the loftiest pedestal. I was always enamoured of Coleridge as a poet, and had become convinced, when I wrote my notice of him in the Half-Hours, that there was “no man of our own times who has incidentally, as well as directly, contributed more to produce that revolution in opinion, which has led us from the hard and barren paths of a miscalled utility, to expatiate in the boundless luxuriance of those regions of thought which belong to the
spiritual part of our nature, and have something in them higher than a money value.” I often thought of Coleridge as I rambled where he had mused for many a year—the pleasant meadows and green lanes near Caen Wood. I used sometimes to think that if it had been my fortune to have dwelt at Highgate at an earlier period, I might have ventured to accost him as the boy
Keats did, to crave the honour of shaking hands (although I could not say “I too am a poet”) with one who had so largely filled my mind with images of beauty and lessons of wisdom.

I have incidentally mentioned my friend Dr. Arnott in the second volume of these “Passages.” In extracting for the Half-Hours the account of the Barometer from his “Elements of Physics” I said, “When we consider that this excellent book can only be completed at the rare intervals of leisure in a most arduous professional life—that at the moments when the physician is not removing or mitigating the sufferings of individuals, he is labouring for the benefit of all by such noble inventions as the Hydrostatic Bed—we can only hope that the well-earned repose which wise men look to in the evening of their day, will give opportunity for perfecting one of the books best calculated to advance the education of the people that the world has seen.” Amidst his engagements as a physician and his devotion to science, Dr. Arnott had still leisure for social enjoyment, as every studious man who does not wish to become an ascetic must seek with moderation. There are many who may remember with the same delight as myself the pleasant Thursday dinners at his house in Bedford Square. Here was no osten-
tatious display, but the warmest welcome. Here was no oppression of great talkers, but men of very various pursuits and acquirements contributed each in his degree to the amusement of a small listening circle. Of science there was no engrossing parade. Our genial host seemed to say, in the words of
Milton to Cyriack Skinner:
“To day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench
In mirth that, after, no repenting draws;
Let Euclid rest, and Archimedes pause.”
In the wide range of Dr. Arnott’s acquaintance, curiously assorted guests would sometimes be found at his board. Of such was the philosophic Brahmin,
Rammohun Roy, who was enabled to reconcile the best principles of his native faith with the religion of Christians, and Robert Owen, who had proclaimed the negation of all religious belief as essential to the establishment of his co-operative system of universal love. There was much in the real benevolence of these two men, so different in education and habits, which drew them together with something like a cordial sympathy. But once, when we were in the drawing-room, a quiet talk between them upon the principle of co-operation suddenly broke out into a loud discussion to which we all listened with surpassing interest. The Rajah held his ground with great ability, and with no common knowledge of political economy, against Owen’s doctrine, that in the competitive principle were to be found all the crimes and miseries of society. The persevering logician with his common sense was too strong for the kind hearted visionary. Owen, worn out with objections, at length exclaimed, “Roger, Roger, you are not a
practical man!” The reproach from such lips, and the peculiar pronunciation of the Hindu title, were too much for the gravity of any of us. Robert Owen was a man too respectable to provoke laughter except on such a rare occasion as this—even from those who would smile at his enthusiasm.

Of Wordsworth in the Half-Hours I thus wrote:—“The greatest name in the literature of our own age is William Wordsworth. He has at last influenced the world more enduringly than any of his contemporaries, although his power has been slowly won.” I was diligently reading Wordsworth fifty years ago in spite of the sneers of Jeffrey. I can read him now without feeling, as younger men may feel, that he is tedious. The universality of Wordsworth has sent his poetry into the homes of the poor and lowly, and that vital quality will keep him fresh and green for the few, and possibly for the many, of coming ages. During the long course of years in which Wordsworth was to me as it were a household presence, I never saw him until 1849. I was then visiting Miss Martineau at Ambleside. Early on a bright morning, a tall man, not bowed by age but having the deep furrows of many winters on his massive face, entered the house. I knew at once that it was the great poet, for no ordinary Dalesman with his stout staff and his clouted shoon would present a countenance so remarkable in its majestic simplicity. He was then in his seventy-ninth year. After a pleasant chat with my hostess and myself, he asked me to walk with him to his house at Rydal Mount. As we passed along the road the cottagers and the children saluted him with a familiar and yet respectful greeting. He was their old friend, who had lived amongst
them from the beginning of the century; who had interested himself in their feelings and habits; and who, in this constant and affectionate intercourse, was not likely to be moved by the exhortations of an
Edinburgh Reviewer. He would not be likely to alter his way of life at the bidding of Mr. Jeffrey, and “condescend to mingle a little more with the people who were to read and judge of his poems, instead of confining himself almost entirely to the society of the Dalesmen, and cottagers, and little children, who formed their subjects.” When I spent this pleasant morning with the great Lake poet, he had a little condescended to move out of his seclusion from the gay world to go to court in his capacity of Poet Laureate. He laughed a little at the idea of his state costume, and I really thought that the home-spun suit of Wonderful Robert Walker would have been quite as becoming. Yet Wordsworth was a thorough gentleman. He shewed me his favourite books and the antique heir-looms of his study, with the grace of an unaffected desire to bestow pleasure on a chance visitor; he pointed out the most exquisite points of view from his own garden; he sat with me for half an hour on the somewhat dilapidated seat that overlooks the Lower Fall at Rydal. He talked with a deep tenderness of Hartley Coleridge, the gifted and the unfortunate, who had died in the winter before. I was surprised at the very slight acquaintance with the more eminent writers of the previous ten or twenty years which he manifested. Of the novelists he appeared to know nothing. Of the poets he might be excused for not giving an opinion. He has been reproached with wilfully ignoring the merits of his contemporaries. I doubt
whether it might with justice be attributed either to envy or to affectation when he told me that he felt no interest in any modern book except in
Mr. Layard’s Nineveh, which had then been recently published. I was fortunate in the opportunity of seeing this great man in that mountain home where he was best seen. This was only a year before he was laid in Grasmere churchyard. They say that the lowly mounds beneath which rest with him the remains of his wife and his sister—close by which honoured graves Hartley Coleridge was buried—are trampled down by rude visitors—tourists perhaps, but without the reverence that belongs to those who come to look upon such scenes of beauty, even were there no higher motive for reverence in all the associations of this holy ground.

In 1847 the literary reputation of Macaulay, then famous as an orator, was built upon his “Lays of Ancient Rome,” and his “Essays” from the Edinburgh Review. I described these essays as having attained a success far higher than any other contributions to the periodical works of our day. Their success, indeed, gave an impulse to this somewhat novel mode of investing the ephemeral productions of the Reviewer with a separate dignity befitting them for a permanent position in a library. The commercial importance of this system was sufficiently ascertained when Mr. Macaulay inserted in Lord Mahon’s Copyright Bill that clause which rendered the consent of the author necessary to the re-publication, in a separate shape, of his contributions to a Review or Magazine. This was a salutary arrangement for Letters and literary men. But Macaulay was to attain a far higher reputation than that of the brilliant
essayist. The first and second volumes of his History of England were published in 1849. The third and fourth volumes in 1855. The fifth volume was a posthumous fragment. When the youthful contributor to the
Quarterly Magazine of 1824 had taken his position in the political world, our once friendly intercourse was necessarily suspended. He took no part, and probably felt no interest, in the Useful Knowledge Society, although many of his intimate friends were active members. After his return from India, I had often a cordial greeting from him if we accidentally met, but I never had the opportunity of listening, during his maturer years, to that wonderful affluence of conversation for which the Scholar of Trinity was as remarkable as the Cabinet Minister. I saw him laid in his last resting place in Poet’s Corner on a raw December day of 1859. He had lived twenty years longer than his youthful friend and colleague, Praed. There was time for Macaulay’s fame to culminate, but it must always be a matter of regret that his great historical work has not given to the grand epic of the Revolution a certain completeness, by bringing up the splendid narrative to the accession of the House of Brunswick. We cannot
“call up him that left half-told
The story.”
No one else is fitted to tell it.

Amongst the “Best Authors” are some of whom the traces of our intimacy are indicated with more or less fullness in my previous volumes. Leigh Hunt, John Wilson, Thomas De Quincey, Thomas Hood, are of this number. I may glean a few sentences from the Half-Hours to mark my opinion of their literary
excellence. “Mr. Hunt,” I said, “who has borne much adversity with a cheerfulness beyond all praise, writes as freshly and brilliantly as ever.” I added “Long may those unfailing spirits which are the delight of his social and family circle, be the sunshine of his old age.” These unfailing spirits made the great charm of his conversation. The stream flowed gently on, always clear, often sparkling. His vivacity frequently approached to wit, and if there were the slightest touch of satire in his opinions of books or men, it was so subtle and delicate that it was more like the fencing with foils of
Congreve’s fine gentlemen, than the sword thrusts of one who in his time was foremost in the lists of bold public writers. John Wilson’s prose writings, as collected in “The Recreations of Christopher North,” are mentioned by me with a warmth of admiration that to many must appear somewhat extravagant. “It would be difficult to point to three volumes of our own times that have an equal chance of becoming immortal.” I might have spoken with more moderation had I anticipated that the political partisanship, so fierce and so unscrupulous, of the “Noctes” would have been reproduced in a permanent form, to make us think less of the wit, the fancy, the genial criticism, and the unaffected pathos of their principal writer. Of De Quincey I expressed a deep regret that the unfortunate habit which forms the subject of his “Confessions” should have prevented him from producing “any great continuous book, worthy of his surpassing powers.” But whoever carefully reads the fifteen volumes of his collected works will scarcely join in this regret. In his case, as in that of a few other persons, his death was necessary to place him in the
rank of a great classic. Thomas Hood had been dead three years when I published the Half-Hours, and there said of him—“He was brought up an engraver; he became a writer of ‘
Whims and Oddities,’—and he grew into a poet of great and original power. The slight partition which divides humour and pathos was remarkably exemplified in Hood. Misfortune and feeble health made him doubly sensitive to the ills of his fellow-creatures.” On several occasions we had corresponded; I had met him a few times in general society, but I had never the opportunity of cultivating a closer acquaintance. I have heard one who was well fitted by his intimacy to judge of Hood’s social qualities, speak of the beauty of his domestic life. We had a mutual admiration of his humour and his pathos, and above all could appreciate that exquisite sensibility which made Hood touch the sore places of the wretched with such a tender and delicate hand. That one was Douglas Jerrold.

Although my close intercourse and unbroken friendship with Jerrold was a source of happiness to me for ten years, it was not until 1845 that I even knew his person. In November of that year I had a special invitation to a great Soirée of the Manchester Athenæum, to be held in the Free Trade Hall. I was the guest of Mr. James Heywood, who subsequently represented North Lancashire. As I was better pleased to stay in the pleasant country house of my host than go much into the smoky metropolis of cotton, I was not thrown into the society of the contributors to “Punch,” who were assembled there, and might read their names in enormous placards advertised as the great stars of
the coming meeting. “Punch,” out of a not very promising commencement in 1841, had in four years risen into an unequalled popularity. Jerrold was, however, one of its earliest contributors, a paper of his appearing in the second number. As the publication went on we may every now and then trace some of those flashes of merriment, that biting satire, and those pleadings for the wretched, which characterized his avowed writings. “
The Story of a Feather” which commenced in 1843, and “Mrs. Caudle’s Curtain Lectures” with which the volume for 1845 opened, raised the reputation of “Punch” to a height which showed how, in a periodical work, the happy direction and the peculiar genius of one man may carry it far beyond the reach of ordinary competition. I described in “Half Hours” the “Caudle Lectures” as “admirable examples of the skill with which character can be preserved in every possible variety of circumstances.” It was almost universally known who was the author of this remarkable series, so that when Douglas Jerrold rose in the Free Trade Hall to address an assembly of three thousand people, the shouts were so continuous that the coolest platform-orator might have lost for a moment his presence of mind. I looked upon a slight figure bending again and again, as each gust of applause seemed to overpower him and make him shrink into himself. Mr. Serjeant Talfourd was in the Chair, and had delivered an eloquent address which the local reporters called “massive,” and which by some might have been deemed “heavy.” The audience was perhaps somewhat impatient even of the florid language of the author of “Ion,” for they wanted to hear the great wit who sat on the
edge of the platform, and whose brilliant eye appeared as if endeavouring to penetrate the obscure distance of that vast hall, the extremity of which he might possibly have calculated his somewhat feeble voice would be unable to reach. When the moment had at last arrived in which he was called upon to give utterance to his thoughts, he hesitated, rambled into unconnected sentences, laboured to string together some platitudes about education, and was really disappointing, even to common expectations, until the genius of the man attained the ascendancy. Apostrophising the enemies of education, he exclaimed—“Let them come here and we will serve them as
Luther served the Devil—we will throw inkstands at their heads.” The effect was marvellous, not only upon his hearers but upon the speaker. He recovered his self-possession and succeeded in making a very tolerable speech. A few nights afterwards, I had to take the Chair at the “City of London Literary and Scientific Institution,” in Aldersgate Street, and I said there what I have never ceased to feel. I find it reported that I said, “I had just returned from attending the splendid soirée of the Athenæum at Manchester. I had felt that it was a rare, and perhaps unequalled, spectacle—that of three or four thousand ladies and gentlemen comfortably seated in a vast hall glittering with light, to listen to the addresses of popular writers. But, at the same time, I could not avoid feeling that there was something in this display which would not bear the test of sober examination. I ventured to think that it was a mistake to tempt authors out of their proper sphere to come forward as orators—to ask them to play upon an instrument to which they were unaccus-
tomed—and, of necessity, to feel a proportionate disappointment when some one, who had afforded unmixed delight in his own vocation, was found, as a speaker, not to drop all pearls and rubies from his mouth, like the princess in the fairy tale.” If it be replied to this argument that
Mr. Dickens is the most effective speaker at a public dinner that was ever listened to with general admiration, I will answer, that at the opening of the Manchester Free Library in 1852, I heard one of the greatest masters of the English language utterly break down in addressing a large audience, and take his seat in hopeless despair of being able to complete the sentence which he had begun. That speaker was the author of “Vanity Fair.”

In the “Half Hours” I have described the first great novel of William Makepeace Thackeray as “a masterly production—the work of an acute observer—sound in principle, manly in its contempt of the miserable conventionalities that make our social life such a cold and barren thing for too many. Never was the absurd desire for display, which is the bane of so much real happiness, better exposed than in the writings of Mr. Thackeray. He is the very antagonism of that heartless pretence to exclusiveness and gentility which acquired for its advocates and expositors the name of ‘the silver-fork school.’ Such authors as this produce incalculable benefit, and will do much to bring us back to that old English simplicity—the parent of real taste and refinement—which sees nothing truly to be ashamed of but profligacy and meanness.” Of the private character and conversation of the author of the series of fictions—which will most probably hold their place till some
great revolution of opinion sends a new generation to seek for delight in writers of a different school from this great master—I know too little to speak with any authority. In saying here what I did observe in Thackeray, I hope not to be considered as going out of my way to add my voice to the general accord of panegyric which has naturally followed the sudden deprivation we have recently endured. My conviction was, that beneath an occasional affectation of cynicism, there was a tenderness of heart which he was more eager to repress than to exhibit; that he was no idolater of rank in the sense in which
Moore was said dearly to love a lord, but had his best pleasures in the society of those of his own social position—men of letters and artists; and that, however fond of “the full flow of London talk,” his own home was the centre of his affections. He was a sensitive man, as I have seen on more than one occasion. One, I cannot forbear mentioning. We were dining at the table of Mr. M. D. Hill, on the 9th of April, 1848, the evening before the expected outbreak of Chartism in London. The cloth had scarcely been removed, when he suddenly started up and said, “Pray excuse me, I must go. I left my children in terror that something dreadful was about to happen. I am unfit for society. Good night.”

Of our other great novelist, I wrote in “Half Hours”—“Dickens, as well as every writer of enduring fiction, must be judged by his power of producing a complete work of Art, in which all the parts have a mutual relation. Tested by this severe principle, some of his creations may be held imperfect,—written for periodical issue and not published entire,—hurried occasionally, and wanting in proportion. But from
the ‘
Pickwick’ of 1837 to the ‘Dombey’ of 1848, there has been no failing of interest and effect; his characters are ‘familiar in our mouths as household words;’ his faults are for the critical eye.” The “Sketches by Boz” were published in 1836. I was then too occupied by many cares to pay much attention to passing novelties, and I scarcely knew of Charles Dickens as a writer likely to rise into great celebrity. His uncle, Mr. Barrow, was the conductor of “The Mirror of Parliament,” and sometimes meeting him at the printing-office of Mr. Clowes, he would tell me of his clever young relative, who was the best reporter in the Gallery. There was an old man of the name of Knox who used to carry about new periodical works to suburban shops, and by this means, at a time when there was far less activity amongst small retail booksellers, he would in some degree force a sale of a new serial work. Three or four numbers of the “Pickwick Papers” had been published when the pedestrian dealer, who saved the little shop-keeper the trouble of going to the Row on a Magazine-day, shewed me a large bundle of shilling parts which he had just purchased of Messrs. Chapman and Hall. With a pardonable vanity he ascribed much of the success of “Pickwick” to his own indefatigable exertions, for he was not content with providing a supply for the first of the month, but went again and again the round of the suburbs from Whitechapel to Chelsea. Mr. Dickens’s first great venture was very soon beyond the necessity of any extra trade exertion, to command a sale much larger than any work of fiction had previously attained; not even excepting the Waverley Novels in their cheaper form.


I am scarcely aware when my personal knowledge of Mr. Dickens as a public man passed into the intimacy of private life. We were on tolerably familiar terms when I met him at the Shakspere Club, to which I had been elected soon after the publication of my pictorial edition of the poet. This society comprised too many members for readings and discussions, as was originally intended, and its chance of promoting the friendly conviviality of men of congenial tastes was very soon destroyed. There was a very full attendance at a dinner at which Mr. Dickens presided. His friend, Mr. John Forster, was at his side. I sat at a side table with a remarkable-looking young man opposite to me, who I was told was the Michael Angelo Titmarsh of Fraser’s Magazine. Mr. Forster rose to propose a toast. He was proceeding with that force and fluency which he always possessed, when there was some interruption by the cracking of nuts and the jingling of glasses, amongst a knot of young barristers, who were probably fastidious as to every style of eloquence but the forensic. The speaker expressed himself angrily; there were retorts of a very unparliamentary character. The Chairman in vain tried to enforce order; but “the fun,” if fun it could be called, “grew fast and furious.” Previous to the dinner Laman Blanchard, one of the cleverest and most amiable of men, had asked me to propose the health of the Chairman. During a short lull in the storm I was enabled to do so, saying something about throwing oil upon the waves. But it was all in vain. Mr. Dickens at length abandoned the Chair, and there was an end of the Shakspere Club. I shall have, as I proceed, to notice somewhat fully my more intimate relations with Mr. Dickens,
but I must stop now at this unpropitious commencement of what I had hoped would have been the social amenities of a literary club.

Mr. Forster had in 1840 attained a high reputation as the author of “Statesmen of the Commonwealth.” It is scarcely necessary here to point out with what mastery of original materials he has improved these biographies into works of permanent historical value. When I published my “Half Hours,” he had just achieved a wide popularity as the author of “Oliver Goldsmith, a Biography.” Of this charming book I thus wrote:—“Mr. Forster has lighted up the authentic narrative of a literary life with the brilliant hues of taste and imagination; and, what is a higher thing, he has told the story of the errors, the sorrows, the endurance, and the success, of one of the most delightful of our “best authors,” with an earnest vindication of simplicity of character, and a deep sympathy with the struggles of talent, which ought to make every reader of this life more just, tolerant, and loving to his fellows.” As was the case with Mr. Dickens, Mr. Forster and I became more intimately associated about the middle of the century. In his chambers in Lincoln’s Inn he frequently gathered around him a small circle of men of Letters. Those who sat at his hospitable board were seldom too few or too many for general conversation.

There I first met Tennyson, and there Carlyle. Some other hand will perhaps complete my imperfect selection from the Best Authors, by a copious addition of names of recent writers, and by supplementing my biographical notices of those there given. He will have to trace the maturity of Tennyson’s powers in “The Princess,” in the “In Memoriam,” in “Maud,”
in “
The Idylls of the King,” and in “Enoch Arden.” What an influence the poems of Tennyson have had upon the tastes of the present age can scarcely be appreciated, except by a contrast with the fiery stimulus of the feast which Byron prepared half a century ago. There must be pauses in the excitement of these days—in which “onward,” the motto of one of the railway companies, may apply to all the movements of social life—when the most busy and the most pleasure-seeking may relish a poet who, with, a perfect mastery of harmonious numbers, fills the mind with tranquil images and natural thoughts, drawn out of his intimate acquaintance with the human heart. In familiar intercourse, such as that of Mr. Forster’s table, Mr. Tennyson was cordial and unaffected, exhibiting, as in his writings, the simplicity of a manly character, and feeling perfectly safe from his chief aversion, the “digito monstrari,”* was quite at his ease. Of Mr. Carlyle’s conversation I cannot call up a more accurate idea than by describing his talk as of the same character as his writings. Always forcible, often quaint and peculiar; felicitous in his occasional touches of fancy; not unfrequently sarcastic. When I edited the “Half Hours,” his “French Revolution” was his chief work, and I could justly say of that book, as I might say of his “Cromwell” and his “Frederick the Great”—“In graphic power of description, whether of scenes or of characters, he has not a living equal.”

Let me add to these brief recollections of some of the eminent persons with whom I have been acquainted, one who is thus noticed in the “Half Hours:”—“The Reverend Richard Jones is Professor of Political Economy at the noble establishment of the
East India Company at Haileybury, for the education of their civil officers. Mr. Jones was the successor of
Malthus. His great talents, his extensive and varied knowledge, and the practical character of his understanding, eminently fit him for a teacher in this difficult science.” “The noble establishment” was broken up when the entire government of India passed to the Crown. The Professors whom I there knew are dead or scattered, but seldom have so many men of enlarged minds and rare acquirements been assembled in a common hall, as I have had the honour of sitting with, in the collegiate dining-room of Haileybury. In another capacity Mr. Jones rendered good service to his country as one of the Commissioners under the Tithe Commutation Act. He was a political economist without a particle of hardness in his composition; a philosopher with all the practical wisdom of a man of the world; an administrator, acute in the discharge of his duty as the shrewdest lawyer; but throwing off the official dignity and reserve of Somerset House the instant he came into the happier ground of social intercourse. A few years ago I stumbled on his resting-place in Amwell Churchyard, close by the spring
“Which thousands drink who never dream
“Whence flows the boon they bless.”
So is it with education, for the diffusion of which, in its highest and its humblest form, the sagacious teacher of Haileybury was a zealous and a tolerant advocate.