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formed on the piano. He was with his wife and Maclise, and favored me with his usual "How d'ye do?" en passant. The last time I ever saw him was a few years ago, when he gave a reading of the "Christmas Carol," and he was indeed marvelously changed. Lined in face, and with grizzled beard, but with even more power than ever in expression, the nostril still, like that of the war-horse, dilated and sensitive. I was astonished at the wonderful difference in his voice and utterance, which was now sonorous and emphatic. His long career of reading and acting had completely cured the thickness which I before remarked, and his declamation was no longer hurried.
A great deal has been said about his hearty willingness to help young struggling people, and his kindly feeling for governesses. All I can say is he never helped me, though he had it in his power to do so to a great extent. There was an excellent lady, a friend of Mrs. S————, whom he often met at her house, who supported her step-mother by her salary as a governess, and whom he knew to be a marvel of self-denial, but he never took any notice of her more than politeness required, though she was enthusiastically enraptured with him, and a little extra kindness would have been the sweetest drop in the tasteless cup of her daily avocations. In 1846, when I had been married about four years, a young lady, only seventeen years of age, of very uncommon ability as an artist, implored me to get Mr. Dickens to look at some very clever outline illustrations she had made of his "Chimes" and the "Cricket on the Hearth," hoping to excite his interest in her. I yielded to her solicitations, but knowing how "odd” Mr. Dickens was, I wrote a letter to Mrs. Dickens requesting her to use her influence with him, and I gave such an account of this young lady's praiseworthy endeavors to earn a livelihood as would, I think, have interested most people. I received this reply from Mrs. Dickens:
“MY DEAR MRS. C.,— Many thanks for your obliging note, and interesting account of your young friend.
"Mr. Dickens is so very much occupied just now that he has not as yet been able to look over the drawings, but I have no doubt he will do so very shortly. I trust that yourself and baby are quite well, and that you have good accounts from your husband.
"I saw our mutual friends, Mrs. S—— and Miss J— yesterday.
"Excuse this hasty scrawl, and believe me,
"My dear Mrs. C——,
"Very sincerely yours,
"I DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, 30th April, 1846."
My poor little artist was dreadfully disappointed by merely receiving a polite note, thanking her for the sight of her very talented outlines, and that was all. I introduced her shortly after this to my good friend J. Sidney Cooper, R. A., the eminent cattle-painter, and he invited her to his house to meet people of note and influence, and treated her with such true kindness that she never ceased to thank me. To prove that he must have infinitely benefited her, I have a letter from her sister, written long after, in which she says they had had no chance of getting on till I "used my fairy wand and conjured up that bright circle at Mr. Cooper's for her; so that, you see, treat the matter as you will, it comes back to you at last; Minnie owes her highest encouragement, and both of us some of our best friends, to your active kindness.”
The other members of Mr. Dickens's family whom I knew continued always on the same terms, and a few years ago Fred came, accompanied by his father-in-law, and stayed some days with us. After that he came with Mrs. S———————, and remained with us a week, and he would never admit that his brother felt unkindly towards me, though he could not explain his strange conduct.
The last I ever had to do with Mr. Dickens was when I wrote to ask the favor of a few lines from him in support of an appeal I was about to make to a statesman high in office on behalf of the aged and necessitous widow of an author of
repute formerly; but he declined in a few curt sentences, on the grounds that I had been "absurdly misinformed his having any influence in such quarter.
BORN FEBRUARY 7, 1812; DIED JUNE 9, 1870.
While his life's lamp seemed clearest, most intense,
Hearing that he has passed beyond the veil,
Before the Judge who metes to men their dues,
Blanched at this sudden snapping of a life
That seemed of all our lives to hold a share:
So much of his thought our thoughts seemed to share.
Charles Dickens dead! It is as if a light
In every English home were quenched to-day;
A hand all loved to press had turned to clay.
Question who will his power, its range, its height,
Learnéd, unlearnéd, from the boy at school
To the judge on the bench, none read but owned
The observation that made all its own,
The shaping faculty that breathed life's breath In types, all felt they knew and still had known, Like-life, except that they are safe from death.
Since Shakespeare's, where the pen that so hath lent
And who that ever wielded such a power
Used it so purely, to such Christian end, Used it to quicken the millennial hour,
When rich to poor shall be as man to friend?
Who can say how much of that love's pure leaven
Like light athwart chaotic darkness hurled,
May be traced up to springs by him unsealed,
To clods by him stirred round affection's roots, To hearts erst hard, but by his fires annealed
To softness whereof Love's works are the fruit ?
Mourn, England, for another great one gone
To join the great ones who have gone before And put a universal mourning on,
Where'er sea breaks on English-speaking shore.
His works survive him, and his works' work too
And war on all that shuns truth's eagle-ken.
Earth's two chief nations mourners at his tomb:
For his reward. Such is his glorious doom
Whom mortal praise or blame no more shall move!
DICKENS AT GAD'S HILL.
ah, saddest eighth of June!
One summer day -
So hushed (like death!) the calm, sequestered scene, One notes with eye, not ear, the fitful breeze, Through sunlight branches, flickering gold and green, About yon Swiss roof nestling 'mid the trees.
Like fitful wanderers seen returning home,
Like magnets trembling truthful to the north, To this one spot of all the world they roam,
Again they throng round him who called them forth.
No shadowy semblance theirs of human life,
They breathe, they move with vital force more rife
The Angel-Child, the Guardian Guide of age,
The fading boy, the blossom nipped in bud,
Whose infant grace had oft the quaintest air, Who questioned voices in the ocean flood,
Whose looks of love were sad as tones of prayer,
Till passed, like sigh in sleep, his parting breath, And o'er the couch where lay the gentle Paul, Naught stirred above the "old, old fashion, Death," Naught save "the golden ripple on the wall."