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between father and mother before they had learned to shave. My own time of life having been stated by various enlightened organs of public opinion at almost any figure from forty-five to sixty, I cheerfully own that I belong to the Fogy interest, and ask leave to rank in, and plead for, that respectable class. Now, a gentleman can but be a gentleman in Broadway or the backwoods, in Pall-Mall or California ; and where and whenever he lives, thousands of miles away in the wilderness, or hundreds of years hence, I am sure that reading the writings of this true gentleman, this true Christian, this noble Joseph Addison, must do him good. He may take Sir Roger de Coverley to the diggings with him, and learn to be gentle and good-humored and urbane and friendly in the midst of that struggle in which his life is engaged. I take leave to say, that the most brilliant youth of this city may read over this delightful memorial of a bygone age, of fashions long passed away, of manners long since changed and modified, of noble gentlemen, and a great and a brilliant and polished society, and find in it much to charm and polish, to refine and instruct him, a courteousness which can be out of place at no time, and under no flag; a politeness and simplicity; a truthful manhood; a gentle respect and deference, which may be kept as the unbought grace of life, and cheap defence of mankind, long after its old artificial distinctions, after periwigs and small-swords, and ruffles and red-heeled shoes, and titles and stars and garters, have passed away. I will tell you when I have been put in mind of two of the finest gentlemen books bring us any mention of; I mean our books (not books of history, but books of humor); I will tell you when I have been put in mind of the courteous gallantry of the noble knight Sir Roger de Coverley of Coverley Manor, of the noble Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha, here in your own omnibuscarriages and railway-cars, when I have seen a woman step in, handsome or not, well-dressed or not, and a workman in hobnail shoes, or a dandy in the hight of the fashion, rise up and give her his place. I think Mr. Spectator, with his short face, if he had seen such a deed of courtesy, would have smiled a sweet smile to the doer of that gentleman-like on, and have made him a low bow from under his great periwig, and have gone home and written a pretty paper about him.
I am sure Dick Steele would have hailed him, were he dandy or mechanic, and asked him to a tavern to share a bottle, or perhaps half a dozen. Mind, I do not set down the five last flasks to Dick's score for virtue, and look upon them as works of the most questionable supererogation.
Steele, as a literary benefactor to the world's charity, must rank very high indeed; not merely from his givings, which were
abundant, but because his endowments are prodigiously increased in value since he bequeathed them, as the revenues of the lands bequeathed to our Foundling Hospital at London, by honest Capt. Coram, its founder, are immensely enhanced by the houses since built upon them. Steele was the founder of sentimental writing in English ; and how the land has been since occupied ! and what hundreds of us have laid out gardens and built up tenements on Steele's ground! Before his time, readers or hearers were never called upon to cry except at a tragedy; and compassion was not expected to express itself otherwise than in blank verse, or for personages much lower in rank than a dethroned monarch, or a widowed or a jilted empress.
He stepped off the high-heeled cothurnus, and came down into common life; he held out his great hearty arms, and embraced us all; he had a bow for all women, a kiss for all children, a shake of the hand for all men, high or low; he showed us heaven's sun shining every day on quiet homes, - not gilded palace-roofs only, or court processions, or heroic warriors fighting for princesses and pitched battles. He took away comedy from behind the fine lady's alcove, or the screen where the libertine was watching her. He ended all that wretched business of wives jeering at their husbands; of rakes laughing wives, and husbands too, to scorn. That miserable, rouged, tawdry, sparkling, hollow-hearted comedy of the Restoration fled before him, and, like the wicked spirit in the fairy-books, shrank, as Steele let the daylight in, and shrieked and shuddered and vanished. The stage of humorists has been common life ever since Steele's and Addison's time, – the joys and griefs, the aversions and sympathies, the laughter and tears, of Nature.
And here, coming off the stage, and throwing aside the motley habit or satiric disguise in which he had before entertained you, mingling with the world, and wearing the same coat as his neighbors, the humorist's service became straightway immensely more available, his means of doing good infinitely multiplied, his success, and the esteem in which he was held, proportionately increased. It requires an effort, of which all minds are not capable, to understand Don Quixote: children and common people still read Gulliver for the story merely. Many more persons are sickened by Jonathan Wyld than can comprehend the satire of it. Each of the great men who wrote those books was speaking from behind the satiric mask I anon mentioned. Its distortions appall many simple spectators; its settled sneer or laugh is unintelligible to thousands, who have not the wit to interpret the meaning of the visored satirist preaching from within. Many a man was at fault about Jonathan Wyld's greatness, who could feel and relish Allworthy's goodness in Tom Jones, and Dr.
Harrison's in Amelia, and dear Parson Adams, and Joseph Andrews. We love to read we may grow ever so old, but we love to read of them still — of love and beauty, of frankness and bravery and generosity. We hate hypocrites and cowards; we long to defend oppressed innocence, and to soothe and succor gentle women and children; we are glad when vice is foiled, and rascals punished; we lend a foot to kick Blifil down stairs; and, as we attend the brave bridegroom to his wedding on the happy marriage-day, we ask the groomsman's privilege to salute the blushing cheek of Sophia.
A lax morality in many a vital point I own in Fielding; but a great hearty sympathy and benevolence, a great kindness for the poor, a great gentleness and pity for the unfortunate, a great love for the pure and good, — these are among the contributions to the charity of the world with which this erring but noble creature endowed it.
As for Goldsmith, if the youngest and most unlettered person here has not been happy with the family at Wakefield; has not rejoiced when Olivia returned, and been thankful for her forgiveness and restoration; has not laughed with delighted good humor Moses' gross
green spectacles ; has not loved with all his heart the good vicar, and that kind spirit which created these charming figures, and devised the beneficent fiction which speaks to us so tenderly, what call is there for me to speak? In this place, and on this occasion, remembering these men, I claim from you your sympathy for the good they have done, and for the sweet charity which they have bestowed on the world.
As for the charities of Mr. Dickens, multiplied kindnesses which he has conferred upon us all, upon our children, upon people educated and uneducated, upon the myriads here and at home who speak our common tongue, have not you, have not I, all of us, reason to be thankful to this kind friend, who soothed and charmed so many hours; brought pleasure and sweet laughter to so many homes; made such multitudes of children happy; endowed us with such a sweet store of gracious thoughts, fair fancies, soft sympathies, hearty enjoyments? There are creations of Mr. Dickens's which seem to me to rank as personal benefits, figures so delightful, that one feels happier and better for knowing them, as one does for being brought into the society of very good men and women. The atmosphere in which these people live is wholesome tos breathe in ; you feel that to be allowed to speak to them is a personal kindness; you come away better for your contact with them; your hands seem cleaner from having the privilege of shaking theirs. Was there ever a better charitysermon preached in the world than Dickens's “ Christmas Carol”? I believe it occasioned immense hospitality throughout
England; was the means of lighting up hundreds of kind fires at Christmas time; caused a wonderful outpouring of Christmas good-feeling, of Christmas punch-brewing, an awful slaughter of Christmas turkeys, and roasting and basting of Christmas beef. As for this man's love of children, that amiable organ at the back of his honest head must be perfectly monstrous. All children ought to love him. I know two that do, and read his books ten times for once that they peruse the dismal preachments of their father. I know one, who, when she is happy, reads “Nicholas Nickleby;" when she is unhappy, reads “Nicholas Nickleby;" when she is in bed, reads “Nicholas Nickleby;" when she has nothing to do, reads “Nicholas Nickleby;” and, when she has finished the book, reads "Nicholas Nickleby” over again. This candid young critic, at ten years of age, said, “I like Mr. Dickens's books much better than your books, papa ;” and frequently expressed her desire that the latter author should write a book like one of Mr. Dickens's books. Who can? Every man must say his own thoughts in his own voice, in his own way: lucky is he who has such a charming gift of Nature as this, which brings all the children in the world trooping to him, and being fond of him!
I remember, when that famous “ Nicholas Nickleby” came out, seeing a letter from a pedagogue in the north of England, which, dismal as it was, was immensely comical. “Mr. Dickens's illadvised publication,” wrote the poor schoolmaster, “has passed like a whirlwind over the schools of the north.” He was a proprietor of a cheap school: Dotheboys Hallo was a cheap school. There were many such establishments in the northern counties. Parents were ashamed, that never were ashamed before, until the kind satirist laughed at them; relatives were frightened ; scores of little scholars were taken away; poor schoolmasters had to shut their shops up; every pedagogue was voted a Squeers (and many suffered, no doubt, unjustly): but afterwards school-boys' backs were not so much caned; school-boys' meat was less tough, and more plentiful; and school-boys' milk was not so sky-blue. What a kind light of benevolence it is that plays round Crummles and the Phenomenon, and all those poor theater-people, in that charming book! What a humor! and what a good humor! I coincide with the youthful critic whose opinion has just been mentioned, and own to a family admiration for “Nicholas Nickleby."
One might go on, though the task would be endless and needless, chronicling the names of kind folks with whom this kind genius has made us familiar. Who does not love the Marchioness and Mr. Richard Swiveller? Who does not sympathize, not only with Oliver Twist, but his admirable young friend the Artful Dodger? Who has not the inestimable advantage of possessing
a Mrs. Nickleby in his own family? Who does not bless Sairey Gamp, and wonder at Mrs. Harris ? Who does not venerate the chief of that illustrious family, who, being stricken by misfortune, wisely and greatly turned his attention to “coals,
the accomplished, the epicurean, the dirty, the delightful Micawber?
I may quarrel with Mr. Dickens's art a thousand and a thousand times: I delight and wonder at his genius; I recognize in it - I speak with awe and reverence - a commission from that Divine Beneficence, whose blessed task we know it will one day be to wipe every tear from every eye. Thankfully I take my share of the feast of love and kindness which this gentle and generous and charitable soul has contributed to the happiness of tire world. I take and enjoy my share, and say a benediction for the meal.
OTHER EMINENT ENGLISH NOVELISTS.
Sir EDWARD BULWER LYTTON. 1805., Politician, orator, and author of great distinction. “Richelieu,"
" " Lady of Lyons," and other plays; Milton” and “King Arthur," in verse; “ The Siamese Twins” and “The New Timon,” satires; “ The Last Days of Pompeii,” “Rienzi," "The Last of the Barons," *** The Caxtons," “My Novel," and " What will he Do with It?” “Paul Clifford,” “Eugene Aram,” and“ Falkland.”
BENJAMIN DISRAELI. — 1805. Chancellor of the Exchequer under Lord Derby, and Premier in 1868. His brilliant novels have a political character, and give him a high place in English literature. “Vivian Grey, “ The Young Duke," " Henrietta Temple,
,” “Contarini Fleming,” “ Venetia," " The Wondrous Tale of Alroy," “ Coningsby, ,” “Sybil,” “ Tancred,” and “Lothair," “ Vindication of the English Constitution,” Biography of Lord Bentinck,” &c.
CHARLES KINGSLEY. – 1809. “Alton Locke,” “ Westward Ho!” “Yeast," “Hypatia,” “Phæthon, ," “ Alexandria and her Schools,” “Glaucus," "Two Years Ago,"
, • Water-Babies," " Saint's Tragedy,” “. Andromeda," Miscellanies, mons, ,” “Poems,” &c., all of much merit.
FREDERICK MARRYATT. — 1792–1848. Novelist of English sailor-life. “Frank Mildmay,” “ Newton Forster," “ Peter Simple," " " Jacob Faithful,” “ King's Own," “Pasha of Many Tales,”, Midshipman Easy,” Snarley Yow," “ Poor Jack," “Masterman Ready," and other works, popular of their kind.
G. P. R. JAMES. — 1801-1860. “Richelieu,” and a long list of novels. DOUGLAS JERROLD. — 1803-1857. His writings and conversation were full of
“ The Caudle Curtain-Lectures,” “St. Giles and St. James," and Story of a Feather," Black-eyed Susan,' “ The Rent Day,” “Men of Character,
," " A Man made of Money,» “ The Chronicles of Clovernook,” “The Bubbles of a Day,” and “ Time works Wonders.”
CHARLES LEVER. 1806: “ The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer,” “Charles O'Malley,” and “ Jack Hinton,” full of fun and frolic of Irish life;'“ Roland Cashel,” “ The Knight of Gwynne,” and “The Dodd Family Abroad,” and other popuJar fictions.
ANTHONY TROLLOPE. — 1815. “The Macdermots of Ballycloran," " The Warden,” “Barchester Towers,” “ The West Indies and the Spanish Main,” “ Framley