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was the recollection after the lapse of many years. That he could sympathize warmly with others I infer from much that I have heard. His well-known sensitiveness sprung perhaps from the same root as his sensibility. I like Thackeray,' an English critic once said in my hearing, 'but I cannot respect him he is so sensitive.' But his sensitiveness made harsh things distasteful to him even when he was not himself the object of them. You fiend!' he said to a friend who was laughing over a sharp attack on an acquaintance of both, and refused to hear or read a word of it.
"Hawthorne says in his 'English Note-Books' that he had heard Thackeray could not endure to have servants about him, feeling uneasy in their presence, and he goes on, à la Hawthorne, to analyze the feeling. On his second visit to America he brought with him an attendant who looked like a good specimen of the best English domestics. 'I don't call him my servant,' he told me: 'I call him my companion. I found he didn't like the company down-stairs' (this was at a hotel), 'so I make him sit beside me at the table d'hôte. Yet Thackeray was a man of aristocratic feelings, and the last person in the world to be hail fellow well met with every one who chose to accost him. A touch on the shoulder from a railway conductor — after the manner of those 'gentlemanly' officials made the blood tingle in his finger-ends, and left a feeling of indignation which burned anew as he recounted the occurrence. He demanded civil treatment, but hauteur or condescension was not in his disposition. Standing in no awe of the highest, he had no wish to inspire awe in the lowest. One day, after we had lunched together at Parker's, he handed a gold-piece to the waiter, saying, 'My friend, will you do me the favor to accept a sovereign?' 'I am very much obliged to you, Mr. Thackeray,' was the man's reply: he had not read "Vanity Fair" or "Esmond" I imagine, but he had probably tasted their author's bounty on former occasions. Yet Thackeray would sometimes be whimsically economical for others. Don't leave this bit of paper,' he would say to a visitor who was laying down a card on the table; 'it has cost you two cents, and will be just as good for your next call.'
"It was on a bright day, though the month was November and the place London, in 1863, that I called upon Thackeray at his red-brick house the only one of the kind (so he thought) in the metropolis — looking out on the old oaks of Kensington Gardens. There had been no correspondence between us since I had seen him last, but two or three kindly messages had reached me, and I had read a passage in a letter to a friend at whose house we had met, in which he wrote, 'How often I think I should like to be sitting with you and Z. at the table in street, with that old butler putting on another bottle of the '35!' It was a little past noon, and I was shown up to his bedroom, a large and cheerful apartment, with little furniture besides the bed- the bed in which so shortly after he was to be found lying calm in death. There was a dressing-room behind, to which he went at times while making his toilette, keeping up the conversation through the open door. His appearance showed a change for which I was not prepared. It is hard to understand how his medical men should have allowed him to continue writing with signs of impending apoplexy so apparent to the unprofessional eye. In answer to my inquires about his health, he said he felt ‘infernally old.' What was missing in his manner was a sort of light glee with which in former days he had been wont to tell an anecdote or say a good thing. The twinkle, too, was less bright, the lassitude more decided, and the sadness which lay deep in his nature, and against which, I think, he always fought, seemed to be gaining the upper hand. However, the sarcastic power was not extinct, and he expended several flings on the editor of a well-known literary paper a person of infinite conceit and of never-failing ignorance. The war in America formed, of course, one of the topics of talk. Thackeray expressed no decided opinion, but his leanings were evidently on the side of the South. Speaking of letter-writing, ‘I had left off,' he said, 'corresponding with everybody but Sally Fairfax, and you have killed her sweet creature!' He asked whether I thought the North would ultimately beat, and on my assurance that its superior resources, combined with its persistent
spirit, admitted of little doubt on that point, answered, with a half sigh, 'I suppose so: you will tire them out at last.' He took a volume from a book-case to show me the autograph of Washington on the fly-leaf. 'You have forgotten all about him,' he said: 'you care nothing now for his warnings.' I laughed, reminding him that I had always protested against his idolatry for Washington. After chatting for an hour or more, he changed his dressing-gown for a coat, and asked me to go down to his library—or rather to the room he had built for this object, but which was not well suited to it, making him consequently discontented with the house. An old lady in black entered: 'My mother,' he said, and presented me to her. There was no strong resemblance that I noticed; but her face had a look of placid resoluteness inherent, I fancy, in the stock, and she gave a vigorous description of a combat she had carried on in the night with the agile insects that disturb slumber. She was the widow of a second husband, and bore the name of Smith. She looked likely to survive her son, and did in fact, though only by a few months. After a while she went out, and Thackeray produced a box of Manillas, but did not smoke himself. 'I envy you,' he said - and I cannot help thinking, if the doctors had taken away his pen instead of his cigar, they would have done at least equally well. It was on this occasion that he mentioned the child who had died so many years before. 'Even now,' he said, ‘I cannot bear to think of it.' When he shook hands with me on the door-step, he pointed to the oaks and said, 'You have no such trees in America; but they are dying.' The appearance of the top branches indicated as much; and he too, from indications not less apparent-he in whose character and intellect the strength of the oak was united with the beauty and the sweetness of the lily he too was dying.
"It was with a shock, but not of surprise, that going into Galignani's on Christmas morning I received the announcement that Thackeray was dead. Returning through the Rue Rivoli, I passed a tailor's shop, which I had sometimes entered without recollecting till then that the name of the pro
prietor, M. Arendt, stands at the head of a characteristic dedication in one of the great novelist's books."
A FRIEND OF MY CHILDHOOD.
I suppose I must have pulled the bell very hard that day, for otherwise I don't think she would have kept me waiting twenty minutes, as she did. She was only my mother's servant-woman, whose duty was to wait upon the dinner-table and the door, the latter function being the more onerous one. Looking back at my conduct over the lapse of eighteen years, I am disposed to acknowledge that she was right in the abstract in punishing the inconsiderate impatience which made me keep the door-bell upon a continuous ring till I was let in. But how wrong did the event prove her! Scarcely was I warmed up to my work, when, turning my head, I saw a tall gentleman with broad shoulders and a round face, whose look, at first one of inquiry, and perhaps bewilderment as he tried to distinguish the house he was in search of from among a dozen, all characterized by that unity of design which in Philadelphia strikes forcibly the intelligent foreigner, suddenly changed to one of amusement, not, I thought then, unmixed with approval, as he caught sight of me at my reprehensible employment. And as I rang with a persistency which nothing can now call from me, he stood on the bottom step.(for it was my mother whom he had come to see) with that expression in which I found so little discouragement, still looking forth from those great eyes of his, which had pierced deeply and sternly so many of the false and hollow things of this world, and which now, not, I am sure, for the first time, were bent kindly down upon a rude boy and his ruder pranks. How little did the latter know about the tall gentleman, and how little too would he have cared even if he had known all there was to know about him : known that then the age was beginning to recognize its philosopher, whose lessons, sharp and bitter enough at first, were to make it better and truer and purer, if such a thing were possible of accomplishment.
But that he was tall I did know, and my standard of emi
nence was a purely physical one. Five feet eight I did not despise, but six feet alone commanded absolute and genuine respect; and he, I believe, stood six feet one. The presumption which could keep such a height of perfection waiting at the front door shocked me beyond expression. No, not beyond expression, for the triumphant yell with which the hapless servant-girl was greeted when at last she admitted me, and I burst in exclaiming, "You have kept the tall gentleman waiting half an hour!" must have given, I think, some adequate idea of my feelings. To that incident may I not justly look back with satisfaction? Am I not right in taking pride to myself for having amused for so long a time one whose momentary attention the witty and the wise have thought it no slight thing to have gained? And who knows? perhaps he himself did not altogether forget it, and with the two sturdy Buben on the Rhine-boat, and those little men he used to meet at Eton or on the play-ground of the Charterhouse, may not the American boy also have found a place in his kindly memory? But I wish it clearly understood that I did not force myself upon his acquaintance: no lion-hunting can be laid to my charge. On the contrary, after giving him a glance of approbation for proving such an effectual weapon to me in subduing my enemy in the gate or rather the enemy whose offense was that she was anywhere but in the gate - I did not, I can truly say, bestow another thought upon him till I was sent for to afford him, at his own special request, the honor of knowing me. Were there no servants in the kitchen to be tormented? No cats in the back yard to be chased with wild halloo? No rowdy boys in the alley with whom to fraternize over pies of communistic mud? No little sister up-stairs much nicer than any tall gentleman, even though he might have come from across the ocean and be thought a great deal of by the grown-up people, that I should go out of my way to see him, and abandon my cherished pursuits to listen to him talking of what I did not understand, and did not believe was worth understanding? No: my position was a high one, and I kept to it, for, though I gave up my occupations a little