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lencies, and neither trenches on the domain of the other. For though they are both students of human nature, they approach her from different sides. Thackeray writes in pure and idiomatic English; and he has a deep insight into the foibles of his kind. But, though personally he has made many staunch friends, and all who know him love him well, yet he certainly does not take as genial or as generous a view of men and women as Dickens. He sees men and manners with the jaundiced eye of a pessimist; whereas his great competitor sees "good in everything," and has a heart boiling over with good-will to all mankind. None so poor but he can do him reverence; none so depraved in whom he cannot detect some redeeming quality. Thackeray has an intimate knowledge of the hollowness, artificiality, and waywardness of fashionable life; and, from out the depths of his own experience, constructs imaginary lay figures, which he considers as typical representatives of a class. But Dickens's portraits, however antic they may seem, are yet drawn from real flesh and blood. Thackeray's picture gallery is composed of recollections of men and women he has met with in promiscuous society. Dickens's portraits are studies from the life of those whom he has not met with in Rotten Row, or rubbed against in the drawing-room, but whom he has fallen in with in the by-ways of the world, and who have attracted his observation by their individuality. The characters in Dickens's writings which have been most severely criticised as exaggerated or distorted, are actual transcripts of bona fide originals. Why, who that knew her, could fail to recognize the original of Mrs. Leo Hunter? In younger days I was at one or two of her parties in Portland Place. Who, that is familiar with Manchester, does not know the Cheeryble brothers? Who, that is old enough to remember a certain inn in Holborn in coaching days, can forget the original of Sam Weller? The original of Mrs. Gamp is not so generally known, but I know well the ladies who first introduced her to Dickens's notice.
Dickens, of course, writes for his livelihood; but it is not exclusively for profit, or even for fame: he generally has a
moral purpose in view. He never panders to popular prejudices, but boldly rebukes vice in whatever rank of life he finds it; and takes a profound, and yet a practical, interest in the cause of the ignorant, the oppressed, and the debased.
While I write, I am reminded of an anecdote which shows in a very strong light the extraordinary sway he exercises over the hearts even of those "unused to the melting mood." Mrs. Henry Siddons, a neighbor and intimate friend of the late Lord Jeffery, who had free license to enter his house at all hours unannounced, and come and go as she listed, opened his library door one day very gently to look if he was there, and saw enough at a glance to convince her that her visit was illtimed. The hard critic of "The Edinburgh" was sitting in his chair, with his head on the table, in deep grief. As Mrs. Siddons was delicately retiring, in the hope that her entrance had been unnoticed, Jeffery raised his head, and kindly beckoned her back. Perceiving that his cheek was flushed and his eyes suffused with tears, she apologized for her intrusion, and begged permission to withdraw. When he found that she was seriously intending to leave him, he rose from his chair, took her by both hands, and led her to a seat.
Lord Jeffery (loq.). "Don't go, my dear friend. I shall be right again in another minute."
Mrs. H. Siddons. "I had no idea that "I had no idea that you had had any bad news or cause for grief, or I would not have come. one dead?"
Lord Jeffery. “Yes, indeed. I'm a great goose to have given way so; but I could not help it. You'll be sorry to hear that little Nelly, Boz's little Nelly, is dead.”
The fact was, Jeffery had just received the last number then out of "The Old Curiosity Shop," and had been thoroughly overcome by its pathos.
Dickens began his career when a youth of nineteen, under his uncle, John Henry Barrow, who started "The Mirror of Parliament,” in opposition to "Hansard." Hansard always compiled his reports from the morning newspapers, whereas Barrow engaged a special staff of able reporters, sending each
important oration in proof to its speaker for correction. When Stanley fulminated his Philippic against O'Connell, it fell to young Dickens's turn to report the last third of it. The proof of the whole speech was forwarded to Mr. Stanley. He returned it to Barrow, with the remark, that the first two thirds were so badly reported as to be unintelligible; but that, if the gentleman who had so admirably reported the last third of his speech could be sent to him, he would speak the rest of it to him alone. Accordingly, at an hour appointed, young Dickens made his appearance at Mr. Stanley's, note-book in hand. It was with evident hesitation that the servant ushered him into the library, the tables of which were covered with newspapers. Presently the master of the house appeared, eyed the youth suspiciously, and said, "I beg pardon, but I had hoped to see the gentleman who had reported part of my speech," etc. "I am that gentleman," retorted Dickens, turning red in the face, and feeling his dignity somewhat offended. “Oh, indeed," replied Mr. Stanley, pushing about the papers, and turning his back to conceal an involuntary smile. It was not long before Sir James Graham stepped in, and then Stanley began his speech. At first he stood still, addressing one of the window curtains as "Mr. Speaker." Then he walked up and down the room, gesticulating and declaiming with all the fire and force he had shown in the House of Commons. Graham, with the newspaper before him followed, and occasionally checked him, when he had forgotten some trifling point, or had transposed one proposition in the place of another.
When the entire speech had been fully reported, Stanley returned the revise with Dickens's corrected edition of the parts of the speech which had been bungled, with a note to Barrow highly complimentary to the stripling reporter, and with a shadowy prediction of a great career for him in the future.
Dickens had totally forgotten this incident, until, many years after, he was invited to dine with Lord Derby for the first time. Having been shown with the other guests before
dinner into the library, he felt a strange consciousness of having been in it before, which he could not account for. He was in a state of bewilderment about it all dinner-time; for he could not recall the circumstance which brought the reporting adventure to his mind. But, at all events, something did, and he reminded his host of it. Lord Derby was delighted to recognize in his new friend his boy-reporter, and told the story to a select few, who, with Dickens, had stayed after the rest of the company had departed.
"NOT SO BAD AS WE SEEM."
In June, 1851, a project — which, it is said, Mr. Dickens had long had in contemplation was brought forward by Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, namely, the founding of a Guild of Literature and Art; in reality, a provident fund and benefit society for unfortunate literary men and artists. From it the proper persons would receive continual or occasional relief, as the case might be; but the leading feature was the “Provident Fund," to be composed of moneys deposited by the authors themselves, when they were in a position to be able to lay by something. Dickens and Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton (since a peer) were the most active promoters. The precise plan of the "Guild" was discussed at Lord Lytton's seat, at Knebworth, the November previously. There had been three amateur performances, by Dickens and others, of "Every Man in his Humor," for the gratification of his lordship and his neighboring friends, when it was arranged that his lordship should write a comedy, and Dickens and Mark Lemon a farce. The comedy was entitled "Not so Bad as we Seem,” and the farce bore the name of "Mrs. Nightingale's Diary." The first performance took place at Devonshire House, before the Queen, the Prince Consort, and the court circles; and afterwards at the Hanover Square Rooms, and at many of the large provincial towns (Bath, Bristol, etc.). At Devonshire House, not the least incident occurred to shade what a late Drury Lane manager might, in his own Titanic way, have called "the blaze of triumph." From the first moment that
the scheme was made known to her Majesty and Prince Albert, both the Queen and the Prince manifested the liveliest interest in its success. The Duke of Devonshire, with a munificence that made the name of his Grace a proverb for liberality, dedicated his mansion to the cause of Literature and Art, and his house was for many days in possession of the
The play began at half-past nine, Her Majesty, Prince Albert, and the royal family occupying a box erected for the occasion. The seats were filled by the most illustrious for rank and genius. There was the Duchess of Sutherland; there was the "Iron Duke," in his best temper; there was Macaulay, Chevalier Bunsen, Van der Weyer themselves authors; in fact, all the highest representatives of the rank, beauty, and genius of England, and her foreign ambassadors. The list of the performers, and the parts taken by them, is a curiosity in its way:
Lord Strongbow, Sir John Bruin, Coffee-House Loungers, Drawers,