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he said, forcing a grin. “How will you have the money, sir? All right, Mr. Abednego. This way out."
“I hope I shall often see you again,” I said ; on which I own poor Manasseh gave a dreadful grin, and shot back into his parlor.
ran home, clutching the ten delicious, crisp hundred pounds, and the dear little fifty which made up the account. I flew through the streets again.
I got to my chambers. I bolted the outer doors. I sank back in my great chair, and slept.
My first thing on waking was to feel for my money. Perdition! Where was I ? Ha! --on the table before me was my grandmother's snuff-box, and by its side one of those awfulthose admirable-sensation novels, which I had been reading, and which are full of delicious wonder.
But that the guillotine is still to be seen at Mr. Gale's, No. 47 High Holborn, I give you MY HONOR. I suppose I was dreaming about it. I don't know. What is dreaming ? What is life? Why shouldn't I sleep on the ceiling ?-and am I sitting on it now, or on the floor? I am puzzled. But enough. If the fashion for sensation novels goes on, I tell you I will write one in fifty volumes. For the present, DIXI. But between ourselves, this Pinto, who fought at the Colosseum, who was nearly being roasted by the Inquisition, and sang duets at Holyrood, I am rather sorry to lose him after three little bits of Roundabout Papers. Et vous ?
When Swift was in love with Stella, and despatching her a letter from London thrice a month by the Irish packet, you may remember how he would begin letter No. XXII., we will say, on the very day when xxii. had been sent away, stealing out of the coffee-house or the assembly so as to be able to prattle with his dear; “never letting go her kind hand, as it were," as some commentator or other has said in speaking of the Dean and his amour. When Mr. Johnson, walking to Dodsley's, and touching the posts in Pall Mall as he walked, forgot to pat the head of one of them, he went back and imposed his hands on it,impelled I know not by what superstition. I have this I hope not dangerous mania too. As soon as a piece of work is out of hand, and before going to sleep, I like to begin another; it may be to write only half a dozen lines : but that is something towards Number the Next. The printer's boy has not yet reached Green Arbor Court with the copy. Those people who were alive half an hour since, Pendennis, Clive Newcome, and (what do you call him ? what was the name of the last hero? I remember now!) Philip Firmin, have hardly drunk their glass of wine, and the mammas have only this minute got the children's cloaks on, and have been bowed out of my premises—and here I come back to the study again : tamen usque recurro. How lonely it looks now all these people are gone! My dear good friends, some folks are utterly tired of you, and say, “ What a poverty of friends the man has ! He is always asking us to meet those Pendennises, Newcomes, and so forth. Why does he not introduce us to some new characters? Why is he not thrilling like Twostars, learned and profound like Threestars, exquisitely humorous and human like Fourstars ? Why, finally, is he not somebody else?” My good people, it is not only impossible to please you all, but it is absurd to try. The dish which one man devours, another dislikes. Is the dinner of to-day not to your taste ? Let us hope to-morrow's entertainment will be more agreeable.
I resume my original subject. What an odd,
pleasant, humorous, melancholy feeling it is to sit in the study, alone and quiet, now all these people are gone who have been boarding and lodging with me for twenty months! They have interrupted my rest : they have plagued me at all sorts of minutes : they have thrust themselves upon me when I was ill, or wished to be idle, and I have growled out a “Be hanged to you, can't you leave me alone now? Once or twice they have prevented my going out to dinner. Many and many a time they have prevented my coming home, because I knew they were there waiting in the study, and a plague take them! and I have left home and family, and gone to dine at the Club, and told nobody where I went. They have bored me, those people. They have plagued me at all sorts of uncomfortable hours. They have made such a disturbance in my mind and house, that sometimes I have hardly known what was going on in my family, and scarcely have heard what my neighbor said to me. They are gone at last; and you would expect me to be at ease ? Far from it. I should almost be glad if Woolcomb would walk in and talk to me; or Twysden reappear, take his place in that chair opposite me, and begin one of his tremendous stories.
Madmen, you know, see visions, hold conversations with, even draw the likeness of, people invisible to you and me. Is this making of people out of fancy madness? and are novelwriters at all entitled to strait-waistcoats ? I often forget people's names in life; and in my own stories contritely own that I make dreadful blunders regarding them; but I declare, my dear sir, with respect to the personages introduced into your humble servant's fables, I know the people utterly-I know the sound of their voices. A gentleman came in to see me the other day, who was so like the picture of Philip Firmin in Mr. Walker's charming drawings in the Cornhill Magazine, that he was quite a curiosity to me. The same eyes, beard, shoulders, just as you have seen them from month to month. Well, he is not like the Philip Firmin in my mind. Asleep, asleep in the grave, lies the bold, the generous, the reckless, the tenderhearted creature whom I have made to pass through those adventures which have just been brought to an end. It is years since I heard the laughter ringing, or saw the bright blue eyes. When I knew him both were young. I become young as I think of him. And this morning he was alive again in this room, ready to laugh, to fight, or to weep. As I write, do you know, it is the gray of the evening ; the house is quiet ; everybody is out; the room is getting a little dark, and I look rather wistfully up from the paper with perhaps ever so little fancy that HE MAY COME IN.
No? No movement. No gray shade, growing more palpable, out of which at last look the well-known eyes. No, the printer came and took him away with the last page of the proofs. And with the printer's boy did the whole cortège of ghosts flit away, invisible? Ha! stay! what is this? Angels and ministers of grace! The door opens, and a dark form enters, bearing a black a black suit of clothes. It is John. He says it is time to dress for dinner.
Every man who has had his German tutor, and has been coached through the famous “ Faust” of Goethe (thou wert my instructor, good old Weissenborn, and these eyes beheld the great master himself in dear little Weimar town!) has read those charming verses which are prefixed to the drama, in which the poet reverts to the time when his work was first composed, and recalls the friends now departed, who once listened to his song The dear shadows rise up around him, he says; he lives in the past again. It is to-day which appears vague and visionary. We humbler writers cannot create Fausts, or raise up monumental works that shall endure for all ages; but our books
are diaries, in which our own feelings must of necessity be set down. As we look to the page written last month, or ten years ago, we remember the day and its events; the child ill, mayhap, in the adjoining room, and the doubts and fears which rácked the brain as it still pursued its work ; the dear old friend who read the commencement of the tale, and whose gentle hand shall be laid in ours no more. I own for my part that, in read. ing pages which this hand penned formerly, I often lose sight of the text under my eyes. It is not the words I see; but that past day ; that by-gone page of life's history ; that tragedy, comedy it may be, which our little home company was enacting ; that merry-making which we shared ; that funeral which we followed ; that bitter, bitter grief which we buried.
And, such being the state of my mind, I pray gentle readers to deal kindly with their humble servant's manifold shortcomings, blunders, and slips of memory. As sure as I read a page of my own composition, I find a fault or two, half a dozen. Jones is called Brown. Brown, who is dead, is brought to life. Aghast, and months after the number was printed, I saw that I had called Philip Firmin, Clive Newcome. Now Clive Newcome is the hero of another story by the reader's most obedient writer. The two men are as different, in my mind's eye, asas Lord Palmerston and Mr. Disraeli let us say.
But there is that blunder at page 990, line 76, volume 84, of the Cornhill Magazine, and it is past mending; and I wish in my life I had made no worse blunders or errors than that which is hereby acknowledged.
Another Finis written. Another mile-stone passed on this journey from birth to the next world! Sure it is a subject for solemn cogitation. Shall we continue this story-telling business and be voluble to the end of our age? Will it not be presently time, O prattler, to hold your tongue, and let younger people speak? I have a friend, a painter, who, like other persons who shall be nameless, is growing old.
He has never painted with such laborious finish as his works now show. This master is still the most humble and diligent of scholars. Of Art, his mistress, he is always an eager, reverent pupil. In his calling, in yours, in mine, industry and humility will help and comfort us. A word with you. In a pretty large experience I have not found the men who write books superior in wit or learning to those who don't write at all. In regard of mere information, non-writers must often be superior to writers. You don't expect a lawyer in full practice to be conversant with all kinds of literature ; he is too busy with his law; and so a writer is commonly too busy with his own books to be able to bestow attention on the works of other people. After a day's work (in which I have been depicting, let us say, the agonies of Louisa on parting with the Captain, or the atrocious behavior of the wicked Marquis to Lady Emily) I march to the Club, proposing to improve my mind and keep myself “posted up,' as the Americans phrase it, with the literature of the day. And what happens ? Given, a walk after luncheon, a pleasing book, and a most comfortable arm-chair by the fire, and you know the rest. A doze ensues. Pleasing book drops suddenly, is picked up once with an air of some confusion, is laid presently softly in lap: head falls on comfortable arm-chair cushion eyes close: soft nasal music is heard. Am I telling Club secrets ? Of afternoons, after lunch, I say, scores of sensible fogies have a doze. Perhaps I have fallen asleep over that very book to which “Finis” has just been written. “And if the writer sleeps, what happens to the readers ?” says Jones, coming down upon me with his lightning wit. What? You did sleep over it? And a very good thing too. These eyes have more than once seen a friend dozing over pages which this hand has written. There is a vignette somewhere in one of my books of a friend so caught napping with “Pendennis," or the “ Newcomes,” in his lap; and if a writer can give you a sweetsoothing, harmless sleep, has he not done you a kindness ? So is the author who excites and interests you worthy of your thanks and benedictions. I am troubled with fever and ague, that seizes me at odd intervals and prostrates me for a day. There is cold fit, for which, I am thankful to say, hot brandy-andwater is prescribed, and this induces hot fit, and so on. In one or two of these fits I have read novels with the most fearful contentment of mind. Once on the Mississippi, it was my dearly beloved “ Jacob Faithful : " once at Frankfort O. M., the delightfral“ Vingt Ans Après ” of Monsieur Dumas : once at Tunbridge Wells, the thrilling “Woman in White: "and these books gave me amusement from morning till sunset. I remember those ague fits with a great deal of pleasure and gratitude. Think of a whole day in bed, and a good novel for a companion. No cares. no remorse about idleness: no visitors : and the Woman in White or the Chevalier d'Artagnan to tell me stories from dawn to night!“ Please, ma'am, my master's compliments, and can he have the third volume ? (This message was sent to an astonished friend and neighbor who lent me, volume by volume, the W. in 11:) How do you like your novels? I like mine strong, “ hot with,” and no mistake : no love-making: no obser