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thought is to find out something new about London life some new custom or trade or mode of living — and his second thought is to imagine the people engaged in that custom or trade or mode of living. Now this is Pierce Egan's style — and Dickens, with rare genius, and with large sympathies, has followed in grooves which the once celebrated Pierce laid down. Pierce Egan had no wit, and his conversations are not worth mentioning. Dickens riots in wit, and what Pierce would have shown in a description, Dickens makes out in a conversation. But the objects of the two men to magnify London life, and to show it in all its phases, were the same."
Upon examining Pierce Egan's "Finish" a sequel to his "Life in London" we certainly find the characters are somewhat similar to those in "Pickwick." In other matters, too, a parallel may be drawn - thus, the Bench instead of the Fleet, and the archery match instead of the shooting party. But the most curious coincidence is that the "Fat Knight
the counterpart of Mr. Pickwick—is first met by Corinthian Tom at the village of Pickwick !
DICKENS A DRAMATIST.
During the publication of "The Pickwick Papers St. James's Theatre was opened, September 29, 1836, with a burletta entitled "The Strange Gentleman," written by "Boz;" Pritt Harley acted the Strange Gentleman; and Boz," himself, on one occasion took a part. The piece ran until December, when it was withdrawn for an operatic burletta, "The Village Coquettes," by the same author, the music by John Hullah. The parts were sustained by Messrs. Harley (as Martin Stokes), Braham (as Squire Norton), Bennett (as George Edmunds), and John Parry; Mesdames Smith, Rainsforth (as Lucy Benson), and others. It met with a marked reception; and Braham, for a long time after, at different concerts, sang "The Child and the Old Man sat alone," invariably getting encored most enthusiastically. Three other songs in the burletta were great favorites, namely, "Love is
not a Feeling to pass away," "Autumn Leaves,” and “There's a Charm in Spring." The book of the words was published by Mr. Bentley, and dedicated to J. Pritt Harley in the following terms:
'My dramatic bantlings are no sooner born than you father them. You have made my Strange Gentleman exclusively your own; you have adopted Martin Stokes with equal readi
The author, "Boz,” excuses himself for appearing before the public as the composer of an operatic burletta in the following words :
"Either the Honorable Gentleman is in the right, or he is not,' is a phrase in very common use within the walls of Parliament. This drama may have a plot, or it may not; and the songs may be poetry, or they may not; and the whole affair from beginning to end, may be great nonsense, or it may not; just as the honorable gentleman or lady who reads it may happen to think. So, retaining his own private and particular opinion upon the subject (an opinion which he formed upwards of a year ago, when he wrote the piece), the author leaves every gentleman or lady to form his or hers, as he or she may think proper, without saying one word to influence or conciliate them.
"All he wishes to say is this-that he hopes Mr. Braham, and all the performers who assisted in the representation of this Opera, will accept his warmest thanks for the interest they evinced in it from its very first rehearsal, and for their zealous efforts in his behalf — efforts which have crowned it with a degree of success far exceeding his most sanguine anticipations, and of which no form of words could speak his acknowledgment.
"It is needless to add, that the libretto of an Opera must be to a certain extent, a mere vehicle for the music; and that it is scarcely fair or reasonable to judge it by those strict rules of criticism which would be justly applicable to a five-act tragedy or a finished comedy."
Mr. Sheldon M’Kenzie, in the American "Round Table," relates this anecdote of "Oliver Twist:
"In London I was intimate with the brothers Cruikshank, Robert and George, but more particularly with the latter. Having called upon him one day at his house (it then was in Mydleton Terrace, Pentonville), I had to wait while he was finishing an etching, for which a printer's boy was waiting. To while away the time, I gladly complied with his suggestion that I should look over a portfolio crowded with etchings, proofs, and drawings, which lay upon the sofa. Among these, carelessly tied together in a wrap of brown paper, was a series of some twenty-five or thirty drawings, very carefully finished, through most of which were carried the well known portraits of Fagin, Bill Sykes and his dog, Nancy, the Artful Dodger, and Master Charles Bates - all well known to the readers of Oliver Twist.' There was no mistake about it; and when Cruikshank turned round, his work finished, I said as much. He told me that it had long been in his mind to show the life of a London thief by a series of drawings engraved by himself, in which, without a single line of letter-press, the story would be strikingly and clearly told. 'Dickens,' he continued, 'dropped in here one day, just as you have done, and, while waiting until I could speak with him, took up that identical portfolio, and ferreted out that bundle of drawings. When he came to that one which represents Fagin in the condemned cell, he studied it for half an hour, and told me that he was tempted to change the whole plot of his story; not to carry Oliver Twist through adventures in the country, but to take him up into the thieves' den in London, show what their life was, and bring Oliver through it without sin or shame. I consented to let him write up to as many of the designs as he thought would suit his purpose; and that was the way in which Fagin, Sykes, and Nancy were created. My drawings suggested them, rather than individuality suggesting my drawings.'
POETICAL EPISTLE FROM FATHER PROUT.
Just before the last installment of “Oliver Twist " was published, there appeared in " Bentley's Miscellany " this
.. POETICAL EPISTLE FROM FATHER PROUT TO BOZ.
"A Rhyme! a rhyme! from a distant clime - from the gulf of the Genoese;
"Immense applause you've gained, O Boz! through Continental Europe;
"But neither, when you sport your pen, O potent mirth-compeller!
"Folks all enjoy your Parish Boy- - so truly you depict him:
But I, alack! while thus you track your stinted Poor-law's victim,
"Yet there's no dearth of Irish mirth, which, to a mind of feeling,
"Write on, young sage! still o'er the page pour forth the flood of fancy;
"A rhyme! a rhyme! from a distant clime—a song from the sunny South! A goodly theme, so Boz but deem the measure not uncouth.
1 Ειδωλον της γης οικουμενης.
Would, for thy sake, that 'PROUT' could make his bow in fashion finer,
"GENOA, 14th December, 1837."
DICKENS AND IRVING.
Professor Felton, alluding to the death of Washington Irving, in a speech, in the latter part of the year 1859, gave this interesting reminiscence of the friendship existing between Dickens and Irving:
"The time when I saw the most of Mr. Irving was in the winter of 1842, during the visit of Mr. Charles Dickens in New York. I had known this already distinguished writer in Boston and Cambridge, and, while passing some weeks with my dear and lamented friend, Albert Sumner, I renewed my acquaintance with Mr. Dickens, often meeting him in the brilliant literary society which then made New York a most agreeable resort. Halleck, Bryant, Washington Irving, Davis, and others scarce less attractive by their genius, wit, and social graces, constituted a circle not to be surpassed anywhere in the world. I passed much of the time with Mr. Irving and Mr. Dickens, and it was delightful to witness the cordial intercourse of the young man, in the flush and glory of his youthful genius, and his elder compeer, then in the assured possession of immortal renown. Dickens said, in his frank, hearty manner, that from his childhood he had known the works of Irving; and that, before he thought of coming to this country, he had received a letter from him, expressing the delight he felt in reading the story of 'Little Nell;' and from that day they had shaken hands autographically across the Atlantic."
After Professor Felton's reminiscences, it may not be uninteresting to quote the following extract from a letter written by Washington Irving to his niece (Mrs. Storrow), under date May 25, 1841, in which he mentions a letter he had just received from Dickens, in reply to one from himself:
"And now comes the third letter from that glorious fellow,