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vations about society : little dialogue, except where the characters are bullying each other : plenty of fighting: and a villain in the cupboard, who is to suffer tortures just before Finis. I don't like your melancholy Finis. I never read the history of a consumptive heroine twice. If I might give a short hint to an impartial writer (as the Examiner used to say in old days), it would be to act, not à la mode le pays de Pole (I think that was the phraseology), but always to give quarter. In the story of Philip, just come to an end, I have the permission of the author to state that he was going to drown the two villains of the piece-a certain Doctor F- and a certain Mr. T. Hon board the “ President,” or some other tragic ship-but you see I relented. I pictured to myself Firmin's ghastly face amid the crowd of shuddering people on that reeling deck in the lonely ocean, and thought, " Thou ghastly lying wretch, thou shalt not be drowned; thou shalt have a fever only ; a knowledge of thy danger; and a chance-ever so small chance - of repentance.” I wonder whether he did repent when he found himself in the yellow-fever, in Virginia ? The probability is, he fancied that his son had injured him very much, and forgave him on his death-bed. Do you imagine there's a great deal of genuine right-down remorse in the world? Don't people rather find excuses which make their minds easy ; endeavor to prove to themselves that they have been lamentably belied and misunderstood; and try and forgive the persecutors who will present that bill when it is due ; and not bear malice against the cruel ruffian who takes them to the police-office for stealing the spoons? Years ago I had a quarrel with a certain well-known person (I believed a statement regarding him which his friends imparted to me, and which turned out to be quite incorrect). To his dying day that quarrel was never quite made up. I said to his brother, “Why is your brother's soul still dark against me? It is I who ought to be angry and unforgiving : for I was in the wrong.” In the region which they now inhabit (for Finis has been set to the volumes of the lives of both here below), if they take any cog. nizance of our squabbles, and tittle-tattles, and gossips on earth here, I hope they admit that my little error was not of a nature unpardonable. If you have never committed a worse, my good sir, surely the score against you will not be heavy. Ha, dilectissimi fratres ! It is in regard of sins not found out that we may say or sing (in an under-tone, in a most penitent and lugubrious minor key), Miserere nobis miseris peccatoribus.

Among the sins of commission which novel-writers not

seldom perpetrate, is the sin of grandiloquence, or tall-talking, against which, for my part, I will offer up a special libera me. This is the sin of schoolmasters, governesses, critics, sermoners, and instruttors of young or old people. Nay (for I am making a clean breast, and liberating my soul), perhaps of all the novel-spinners now extant, the present speaker is the most ad. dicted to preaching. Does he not stop perpetually in his story and begin to preach to you? When he ought to be engaged with business, is he not forever taking the Muse by the sleeve, and plaguing her with some of his cynical sermons ? I cry peccavi loudly and heartily. I tell you I would like to be able to write a story which should show no egotism whatever-in which there should be no reflections, no cynicism, no vulgarity (and so forth), but an incident in every other page, a villain, a battle, a mystery in every chapter. I should like to be able to feed a reader so spicily as to leave him hungering and thirsting for more at the end of every monthly meal.

Alexandre Dumas describes himself, when inventing the plan of a work, as lying silent on his back for two whole days on the deck of a yacht in a Mediterranean port. At the end of the two days he arose and called for dinner. In those two days he had built his plot. He had moulded a mighty clay, to be cast presently in perennial brass. The chapters, the characters, the incidents, the combinations were all arranged in the artist's brain ere he set a pen to paper. My Pegasus won't fly, so as to let me survey the field below me. He has no wings, he is blind of one eye certainly, he is restive, stubborn, slow; crops a hedge when he ought to be galloping, or gallops when he ought to be quiet. He never will show off when I want him. Sometimes he goes at a pace which surprises me. Sometimes, when I most wish him to make the running, the brute turns restive, and I am obliged to let him take his own time. I wonder do other novel-writers experience this fatalism? They must go a certain way, in spite of themselves. I have been surprised at the observations made by some of my characters. It seems as if an occult Power was moving the pen. The personage does or says something, and I ask, how the dickens did he come to think of that? Every man has remarked in dreams, the vast dramatic power which is sometimes evinced ; I won't say the surprising power, for nothing does surprise you in dreams. But those strange characters you meet make instant observations of which you never can have thought previously. In like manner, the imagination foretells things. We spake anon of the inflated style of some writers. What also if there

is an afflated style,-when a writer is like a Pythoness or her oracle tripod, and mighty words, words which he cannot help, come blowing, and bellowing, and whistling, and moaning through the speaking pipes of his bodily organ? I have told you it was a very queer shock to me the other day when, with a letter of introduction in his hand, the artist's (not my) Philip Firmin walked into this room, and sat down in the chair opposite. In the novel of “ Pendennis," written ten years ago, there is an account of a certain Costigan, whom I had invented (as I suppose authors invent their personages out of scraps, heel-taps, odds and ends of characters). I was smoking in a tavern parlor one night-and this Costigan came into the room alive—the very man the most remarkable resemblance of the printed sketches of the man, of the rude drawings in which I had depicted him. He had the same little coat, the same battered hat, cocked on one eye, the same twinkle in that eye. “Sir,” said I, knowing him to be an old friend whom I had met in unknown regions, “ sir,” I said, “ may I offer you a glass of brandy-and-water ?Bedad, ye may,” says he, and I'll sing ye a song tu.Of course he spoke with an Irish brogue. Of course he had been in the army. In ten minutes he pulled out an Army Agent's account, whereon his name was written. A few months after we read of him in a police court. How had I come to know him, to divine him? Nothing shall convince me that I have not seen that man in the world of spirits. In the world of spirits-and-water I know I did : but that is a mere quibble of words. I was not surprised when he spoke in an Irish brogue. I had had cognizance of him before somehow. Who has not felt that little shock which arises when a person, a place, some words in a book (there is always a collocation) present themselves to you, and you know that you have before met the same person, words, scene, and so forth ?

They used to call the good Sir Walter the “Wizard of the North." What if some writer should appear who can write so enchantingly that he shall be able to call into actual life the people whom he invents? What if Mignon, and Margaret, and Goetz von Berlichingen are alive now (though I don't say they are visible), and Dugald Dalgetty and Ivanhoe were to step in at that open window by the little garden yonder? Suppose Uncas and our noble old Leather Stocking were to glide silent in ? Suppose Athos, Porthos, and Aramis should enter with a noiseless swagger, curling their mustaches? And dearest Amelia Booth, on Uncle Toby's arm; and Tittlebat Titmouse, with his hair dyed green ; and all the Crummles company of comedians, with the Gil Blas troop; and Sir Roger de Coverley, and the greatest of all crazy gentlemen, the Knight of La Mancha, with his blessed squire ? I say to you, I look rather wistfully towards the window, musing upon these people. Were any of them to enter, I think I should not be very much frightened. Dear old friends, what pleasant hours I have had with them! We do not see each other very often, but when we do, we are ever happy to meet. I had a capital half-hour with Jacob Faithful last night ; when the last sheet was corrected, when “ Finis" had been written, and the printer's boy, with the copy, was safe in Green Arbor Court.

So you are gone, little printer's boy, with the last scratches and corrections on the proof, and a fine flourish by way of Finis at the story's end. The last corrections ? I say those last corrections seem never to be finished. A plague upon the weeds ! Every day, when I walk in my own little literary garden-plot, I spy some, and should like to have a spud, and root them out. Those idle words, neighbor, are past remedy. That turning back to the old pages produces anything but elation of mind. Would you not pay a pretty fine to be able to cancel some of them? Oh, the sad old pages, the dull old pages! Oh, the cares, the ennui, the squabbles, the repetitions, the old conversations over and over again ! But now and again a kind thought is recalled, and now and again a dear memory. Yet a few chapters more, and then the last : after which, behold Finis itself come to an end, and the Infinite begun.


As some bells in a church hard by are making a great holiday clanging in the summer afternoon, I am reminded some how of a July day, a garden, and a great clanging of bells years and years ago, on the very day when George IV. was crowned. I remember a little boy lying in that garden reading his first novel. It was called the “ Scottish Chiefs.” The little boy (who is now ancient and not little) read this book in the summerhouse of his great-grandmamma. She was eighty years of age

A most lovely and picturesque old lady, with a long tortoise-shell cane, with a little puff, or tour, of snow-white (or was it powdered?) hair under her cap, with the prettiest little black

velvet slippers and high heels you ever saw.

She had a grandson, a lieutenant in the navy ; son of her son, a captain in the navy ; grandson of her husband, a captain in the navy. She lived for scores and scores of years in a dear little old Hampshire town inhabited by the wives, widows, daughters of navy captains, admirals, lieutenants. Dear me! Don't I remember Mrs. Duval, widow of Admiral Duval ; and the Miss Dennets, at the Great House at the other end of the town, Admiral Dennet's daughters; and the Miss Barrys, the late Captain Barry's daughters; and the good old Miss Maskews, Admiral Maskews' daughter; and that dear little Miss Norval, and the kind Miss Bookers, one of whom married Captain, now Admiral, Sir Henry Excellent, K. C. B.? Far, far away into the past I look and see the little town with its friendly glimmer. That town was so like a novel of Miss Austen's that I wonder was she born and bred there? No, we should have known, and the good old ladies would have pronounced her to be a little idle thing, occupied with her silly books and neglecting her housekeeping There were other towns in England, no doubt, where dwelt the widows and wives of other navy captains ; where they tattled, loved each other, and quarrelled ; talked about Betty the maid, and her fine ribbons indeed! took their dish of tea at six, played at quadrille every night till ten, when there was a little bit of supper, after which Betty came with the lanthorn ; and next day came, and next, and next, and so forth, until a day arrived when the lanthorn was out, when Betty came no more : all that little company sank to rest under the daisies, whither some folks will presently follow them. How did they live to be so old, those good people? Moi qui vous parle, I perfectly recollect old Mr. Gilbert, who had been to sea with Captain Cook; and Captain Cook, as you justly observe, dear Miss, quoting out of your “ Mangnall's Questions," was murdered by the natives of Owhyhee, anno 1779.

Ah! don't you remember his picture, standing on the sea-shore, in tights and gaiters, with a musket in his hand, pointing to his people not to fire from the boats, whilst a great tattooed savage is going to stab him in the back ? Don't you remember those houris dancing before him and the other officers at the great Otaheite ball ? Don't you know that Cook was at the siege of Quebec, with the glorious Wolfe, who fought under the Duke of Cumberland, whose royal father was a distinguished officer at Ramillies, before he commanded in chief at Dettingen? Huzza ! Give it them, my lads! My horse is down? Then I know I shall not run away. Do the French run ? then I die content. Stop.

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