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contributed nearly four hundred sketches. The Snob Papers in Punch were perhaps the first things that really gave him a wide circle of readers, and made his name generally known. His success with these and other literary ventures began to show itself in a financial way; his circumstances improved materially, so that in 1846 he took a house, and brought his daughters to live with him. He could now afford to write real literature, the thing which had become more and more the ambition of his life. In January, 1847, the first installment of Vanity Fair appeared; and before the publication of the last number in July, 1848, Thackeray's place as a great English novelist was secure.

Then followed the other books, which all the world knows, Pendennis in 1848–9, Henry Esmond (1852), and the Newcomes (1853–55). In 1851 he gave his lectures on the English Humourists, and on October 30, 1852, he sailed for Boston, where he repeated the course in a number of cities in the United States. In 1855 he visited America again, this time lecturing on the Four Georges. Thackeray's object in lecturing was simply to earn and lay up money for his children, and it is pleasant to note the financial success of his tours on both sides of the water. As a lecturer, although his audiences went to see the author of Vanity Fair rather than to hear his views on literary themes, he usually charmed them. His manner was entirely unpretentious and refined—in a word, he was wholly agreeable and put his hearers immediately at their ease. In 1857

Thackeray stood for Parliament as


Liberal, representing the city of Oxford. He was fortunately beaten by his opponent, and he complimented his successful antagonist in the most gracious manner. It is more than probable that he would not have especially distinguished himself in the House, and it is certain that he employed his time and talents more profitably in writing novels.

In January, 1860, the Cornhill Magazine was started, and Thackeray accepted the post of editor. This gave the periodical great vogue, and made it possible to have the most distinguished list of contributors, Tennyson among others. Perhaps the most extraordinary thing that Thackeray did in his capacity as editor was to refuse a poem contributed by Mrs. Browning, on the ground of its immorality. This, as Mr. Birrell says of Swinburne's taking Carlyle to task for indelicacy,“ has an oddity all its own. Thackeray felt that his subscribers would object, and perhaps he was right in rejecting the poem, though, under the circumstances, we have to choose between two alternatives: either the British constituency of the Cornhill was pathologically prudish, or the Editor was very timid.

The correspondence that passed between Thackeray and Mrs. Browning over this incident is deeply interesting, * and although Mrs. Browning must have first wept and then laughed, she accepted the Editor's judgment in the beautiful spirit so characteristic of her whole life, and actually sent him another contribution! Surely she was not far from the kingdom of God.

* See the Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, edited by Kenyon, Volume II, page 444 et seq.

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On the night of December 23, 1863, Thackeray felt ill, and the next morning was found dead in his bed. He was buried at Kensal Green, and a bust was placed in Westminster Abbey.

His personal appearance was striking. considerably over six feet in height, and his head was very large. His hair was perfectly white in his last years, and his clear-cut features gave him a distinguished look. His enemies said he was snobbish, but those who really knew the man have given the most convincing testimony to the contrary. The truth about Thackeray seems to be that he was not simply one of the greatest men of his age, but one of the best. The old charge of cynicism is now seldom heard, and to intelligent readers of his books it has no foundation. In his lectures on the Humourists, we see the real man, and so far from his being a cynic, his heart was so tender, and so susceptible to the personal characteristics of others, that his judgment of the genius of literary men was biased by his feelings. A cynic, to be a cynic at all, must certainly lack two things: Sympathy and Enthusiasm. These two qualities form perhaps the largest element in Thackeray's character, and, with his unlimited generosity, make him one of the most lovable men in the history of English literature. He had faults, but they were not the faults that show the cynic or the snob. He has been charged with a lack of moral earnestness: but in reality he looked at everything from the moral point of view: indeed too much so, for his art as a novelist is seriously marred by his constant sermonising. All his novels and lectures suffer noticeably from this tendency; in the Newcomes it is at times almost offensive. Fortunately in his greatest single production, Esmond, the artist triumphs, and the voice of the preacher is not so loud. Perhaps this is one reason why we rate Esmond above his other books. Thackeray's religious belief * cannot be stated in terms of exact dogma, for he could not state it that way himself; but taking his life as a whole, we see that he believed in God, and tried to keep His commandments.

* For a striking letter he wrote about this, see Introduction to Works, Biog. Edition, VII, xxxiv and xxxv.


Thackeray sailed for America on October 30, 1852. He landed at Boston, after a very long and rough passage, and left shortly for New York. In the New York Tribune for November 17, we find the following editorial comment: “Mr. THACKERAY arrived from Boston by the express day train yesterday. His first lecture will be given on Friday evening; and we advise those who mean to hear it to secure seats to-day. We think there will be few unsold to-morrow.” The Tribune for November 19 contained the following advertisement, which gave for the first time the full program with the separate dates :

The Mercantile Library Association.—The Board of Direction have the pleasure to announce that Mr. THACKERAY will deliver his course of Six Lectures, at Rev. Mr. Chapin's, (late Rev. Mr. Bellows's) Church, No. 543 Broadway, near Prince -st., on MONDAY and FRIDAY EVENINGS of each week, commencing at 8 o'clock.

Friday, Nov. 19-Swift.
Monday, Nov. 22—Congreve and Addison.
Friday, Nov. 26—Steele and the Times of Queen Anne.
Monday, Nov. 29—Prior, Gay and Pope.
Friday, Dec. 3—Hogarth, Smollett and Fielding.

Monday, Dec. 6--Sterne and Goldsmith.
Course Tickets to members, $2; to non-members, $3.
Single Admission to members, 5oc.; to non-members, 75C.

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