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Contributions to All The Year Round by Charles Dickens

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This etext was prepared from the 1912 Gresham Publishing Company
edition by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk

Contributions to All The Year Round by Charles Dickens


Announcement in "Household Words"
The Poor Man and his Beer
Five New Points of Criminal Law
Leigh Hunt: A Remonstrance
The Tattlesnivel Bleater
The Young Man from the Country
An Enlightened Clergyman
Rather a Strong Dose
The Martyr Medium
The Late Mr. Stanfield
A Slight Question of Fact
Landor's Life
Address which appeared shortly previous to the completion of the
20th volume


After the appearance of the present concluding Number of Household
Words, this publication will merge into the new weekly publication,
All the Year Round, and the title, Household Words, will form a part
of the title-page of All the Year Round.

The Prospectus of the latter Journal describes it in these words:


"Nine years of Household Words, are the best practical assurance
that can be offered to the public, of the spirit and objects of All
the Year Round.

"In transferring myself, and my strongest energies, from the
publication that is about to be discontinued, to the publication
that is about to be begun, I have the happiness of taking with me
the staff of writers with whom I have laboured, and all the literary
and business co-operation that can make my work a pleasure. In some
important respects, I am now free greatly to advance on past
arrangements. Those, I leave to testify for themselves in due

"That fusion of the graces of the imagination with the realities of
life, which is vital to the welfare of any community, and for which
I have striven from week to week as honestly as I could during the
last nine years, will continue to be striven for "all the year
round". The old weekly cares and duties become things of the Past,
merely to be assumed, with an increased love for them and brighter
hopes springing out of them, in the Present and the Future.

"I look, and plan, for a very much wider circle of readers, and yet
again for a steadily expanding circle of readers, in the projects I
hope to carry through "all the year round". And I feel confident
that this expectation will be realized, if it deserve realization.

"The task of my new journal is set, and it will steadily try to work
the task out. Its pages shall show to what good purpose their motto
is remembered in them, and with how much of fidelity and earnestness
they tell

"the story of our lives from year to year.


Since this was issued, the Journal itself has come into existence,
and has spoken for itself five weeks. Its fifth Number is published
to-day, and its circulation, moderately stated, trebles that now
relinquished in Household Words.

In referring our readers, henceforth, to All the Year Round, we can
but assure them afresh, of our unwearying and faithful service, in
what is at once the work and the chief pleasure of our life.
Through all that we are doing, and through all that we design to do,
our aim is to do our best in sincerity of purpose, and true devotion
of spirit.

We do not for a moment suppose that we may lean on the character of
these pages, and rest contented at the point where they stop. We
see in that point but a starting-place for our new journey; and on
that journey, with new prospects opening out before us everywhere,
we joyfully proceed, entreating our readers--without any of the pain
of leave-taking incidental to most journeys--to bear us company All
the year round.

Saturday, May 28, 1859.


My friend Philosewers and I, contemplating a farm-labourer the other
day, who was drinking his mug of beer on a settle at a roadside ale-
house door, we fell to humming the fag-end of an old ditty, of which
the poor man and his beer, and the sin of parting them, form the
doleful burden. Philosewers then mentioned to me that a friend of
his in an agricultural county--say a Hertfordshire friend--had, for
two years last past, endeavoured to reconcile the poor man and his
beer to public morality, by making it a point of honour between
himself and the poor man that the latter should use his beer and not
abuse it. Interested in an effort of so unobtrusive and
unspeechifying a nature, "O Philosewers," said I, after the manner
of the dreary sages in Eastern apologues, "Show me, I pray, the man
who deems that temperance can be attained without a medal, an
oration, a banner, and a denunciation of half the world, and who has
at once the head and heart to set about it!"

Philosewers expressing, in reply, his willingness to gratify the
dreary sage, an appointment was made for the purpose. And on the
day fixed, I, the Dreary one, accompanied by Philosewers, went down
Nor'-West per railway, in search of temperate temperance. It was a
thunderous day; and the clouds were so immoderately watery, and so
very much disposed to sour all the beer in Hertfordshire, that they
seemed to have taken the pledge.

But, the sun burst forth gaily in the afternoon, and gilded the old
gables, and old mullioned windows, and old weathercock and old
clock-face, of the quaint old house which is the dwelling of the man
we sought. How shall I describe him? As one of the most famous
practical chemists of the age? That designation will do as well as
another--better, perhaps, than most others. And his name? Friar

"Though, take notice, Philosewers," said I, behind my hand, "that
the first Friar Bacon had not that handsome lady-wife beside him.
Wherein, O Philosewers, he was a chemist, wretched and forlorn,
compared with his successor. Young Romeo bade the holy father
Lawrence hang up philosophy, unless philosophy could make a Juliet.
Chemistry would infallibly be hanged if its life were staked on
making anything half so pleasant as this Juliet." The gentle
Philosewers smiled assent.

The foregoing whisper from myself, the Dreary one, tickled the ear
of Philosewers, as we walked on the trim garden terrace before
dinner, among the early leaves and blossoms; two peacocks,
apparently in very tight new boots, occasionally crossing the gravel
at a distance. The sun, shining through the old house-windows, now
and then flashed out some brilliant piece of colour from bright
hangings within, or upon the old oak panelling; similarly, Friar
Bacon, as we paced to and fro, revealed little glimpses of his good

"It is not much," said he. "It is no wonderful thing. There used
to be a great deal of drunkenness here, and I wanted to make it
better if I could. The people are very ignorant, and have been much
neglected, and I wanted to make THAT better, if I could. My utmost
object was, to help them to a little self-government and a little
homely pleasure. I only show the way to better things, and advise
them. I never act for them; I never interfere; above all, I never

I had said to Philosewers as we came along Nor'-West that patronage
was one of the curses of England; I appeared to rise in the
estimation of Philosewers when thus confirmed.

"And so," said Friar Bacon, "I established my Allotment-club, and my
pig-clubs, and those little Concerts by the ladies of my own family,
of which we have the last of the season this evening. They are a
great success, for the people here are amazingly fond of music. But
there is the early dinner-bell, and I have no need to talk of my
endeavours when you will soon see them in their working dress".

Dinner done, behold the Friar, Philosewers, and myself the Dreary
one, walking, at six o'clock, across the fields, to the "Club-

As we swung open the last field-gate and entered the Allotment-
grounds, many members were already on their way to the Club, which
stands in the midst of the allotments. Who could help thinking of
the wonderful contrast between these club-men and the club-men of
St. James's Street, or Pall Mall, in London! Look at yonder
prematurely old man, doubled up with work, and leaning on a rude
stick more crooked than himself, slowly trudging to the club-house,
in a shapeless hat like an Italian harlequin's, or an old brown-
paper bag, leathern leggings, and dull green smock-frock, looking as
though duck-weed had accumulated on it--the result of its stagnant
life--or as if it were a vegetable production, originally meant to
blow into something better, but stopped somehow. Compare him with
Old Cousin Feenix, ambling along St. James's Street, got up in the
style of a couple of generations ago, and with a head of hair, a
complexion, and a set of teeth, profoundly impossible to be believed
in by the widest stretch of human credulity. Can they both be men
and brothers? Verily they are. And although Cousin Feenix has
lived so fast that he will die at Baden-Baden, and although this
club-man in the frock has lived, ever since he came to man's estate,
on nine shillings a week, and is sure to die in the Union if he die
in bed, yet he brought as much into the world as Cousin Feenix, and
will take as much out--more, for more of him is real.

A pretty, simple building, the club-house, with a rustic colonnade
outside, under which the members can sit on wet evenings, looking at
the patches of ground they cultivate for themselves; within, a well-
ventilated room, large and lofty, cheerful pavement of coloured
tiles, a bar for serving out the beer, good supply of forms and
chairs, and a brave big chimney-corner, where the fire burns
cheerfully. Adjoining this room, another:

"Built for a reading-room," said Friar Bacon; "but not much used--

The dreary sage, looking in through the window, perceiving a fixed
reading-desk within, and inquiring its use:

"I have Service there," said Friar Bacon. "They never went anywhere
to hear prayers, and of course it would be hopeless to help them to
be happier and better, if they had no religious feeling at all."

"The whole place is very pretty." Thus the sage.

"I am glad you think so. I built it for the holders of the
Allotment-grounds, and gave it them: only requiring them to manage
it by a committee of their own appointing, and never to get drunk
there. They never have got drunk there."

"Yet they have their beer freely?"

"O yes. As much as they choose to buy. The club gets its beer
direct from the brewer, by the barrel. So they get it good; at once
much cheaper, and much better, than at the public-house. The
members take it in turns to be steward, and serve out the beer: if
a man should decline to serve when his turn came, he would pay a
fine of twopence. The steward lasts, as long as the barrel lasts.
When there is a new barrel, there is a new steward."

"What a noble fire is roaring up that chimney!"

"Yes, a capital fire. Every member pays a halfpenny a week."

"Every member must be the holder of an Allotment-garden?"

"Yes; for which he pays five shillings a year. The Allotments you
see about us, occupy some sixteen or eighteen acres, and each garden
is as large as experience shows one man to be able to manage. You
see how admirably they are tilled, and how much they get off them.
They are always working in them in their spare hours; and when a man
wants a mug of beer, instead of going off to the village and the
public-house, he puts down his spade or his hoe, comes to the club-
house and gets it, and goes back to his work. When he has done
work, he likes to have his beer at the club, still, and to sit and
look at his little crops as they thrive."

"They seem to manage the club very well."

"Perfectly well. Here are their own rules. They made them. I
never interfere with them, except to advise them when they ask me."

From the 21st September, 1857

One half-penny per week to be paid to the club by each member

1.--Each member to draw the beer in order, according to the number
of his allotment; on failing, a forfeit of twopence to be paid to
the club.

2.--The member that draws the beer to pay for the same, and bring
his ticket up receipted when the subscriptions are paid; on failing
to do so, a penalty of sixpence to be forfeited and paid to the

3.--The subscriptions and forfeits to be paid at the club-room on
the last Saturday night of each month.

4.--The subscriptions and forfeits to be cleared up every quarter;
if not, a penalty of sixpence to be paid to the club.

5.--The member that draws the beer to be at the club-room by six
o'clock every evening, and stay till ten; but in the event of no
member being there, he may leave at nine; on failing so to attend, a
penalty of sixpence to be paid to the club.

6.--Any member giving beer to a stranger in this club-room,
excepting to his wife or family, shall be liable to the penalty of
one shilling.

7.--Any member lifting his hand to strike another in this club-room
shall be liable to the penalty of sixpence.

8.--Any member swearing in this club-room shall be liable to a
penalty of twopence each time.

9.--Any member selling beer shall be expelled from the club.

10.--Any member wishing to give up his allotment, may apply to the
committee, and they shall value the crop and the condition of the
ground. The amount of the valuation shall be paid by the succeeding
tenant, who shall be allowed to enter on any part of the allotment
which is uncropped at the time of notice of the leaving tenant.

11.--Any member not keeping his allotment-garden clear from seed-
weeds, or otherwise injuring his neighbours, may be turned out of
his garden by the votes of two-thirds of the committee, one month's
notice being given to him.

12.--Any member carelessly breaking a mug, is to pay the cost of
replacing the same.

I was soliciting the attention of Philosewers to some old old
bonnets hanging in the Allotment-gardens to frighten the birds, and
the fashion of which I should think would terrify a French bird to
death at any distance, when Philosewers solicited my attention to
the scrapers at the club-house door. The amount of the soil of
England which every member brought there on his feet, was indeed
surprising; and even I, who am professedly a salad-eater, could have
grown a salad for my dinner, in the earth on any member's frock or

"Now," said Friar Bacon, looking at his watch, "for the Pig-clubs!"

The dreary Sage entreated explanation.

"Why, a pig is so very valuable to a poor labouring man, and it is
so very difficult for him at this time of the year to get money
enough to buy one, that I lend him a pound for the purpose. But, I
do it in this way. I leave such of the club members as choose it
and desire it, to form themselves into parties of five. To every
man in each company of five, I lend a pound, to buy a pig. But,
each man of the five becomes bound for every other man, as to the
repayment of his money. Consequently, they look after one another,
and pick out their partners with care; selecting men in whom they
have confidence."

"They repay the money, I suppose, when the pig is fattened, killed,
and sold?"

"Yes. Then they repay the money. And they do repay it. I had one
man, last year, who was a little tardy (he was in the habit of going
to the public-house); but even he did pay. It is an immense
Advantage to one of these poor fellows to have a pig. The pig
consumes the refuse from the man's cottage and allotment-garden, and
the pig's refuse enriches the man's garden besides. The pig is the
poor man's friend. Come into the club-house again."

The poor man's friend. Yes. I have often wondered who really was
the poor man's friend among a great number of competitors, and I now
clearly perceive him to be the pig. HE never makes any flourishes
about the poor man. HE never gammons the poor man--except to his
manifest advantage in the article of bacon. HE never comes down to
this house, or goes down to his constituents. He openly declares to
the poor man, "I want my sty because I am a Pig. I desire to have
as much to eat as you can by any means stuff me with, because I am a
Pig." HE never gives the poor man a sovereign for bringing up a
family. HE never grunts the poor man's name in vain. And when he
dies in the odour of Porkity, he cuts up, a highly useful creature
and a blessing to the poor man, from the ring in his snout to the
curl in his tail. Which of the poor man's other friends can say as
much? Where is the M.P. who means Mere Pork?

The dreary Sage had glided into these reflections, when he found
himself sitting by the club-house fire, surrounded by green smock-
frocks and shapeless hats: with Friar Bacon lively, busy, and
expert, at a little table near him.

"Now, then, come. The first five!" said Friar Bacon. "Where are

"Order!" cried a merry-faced little man, who had brought his young
daughter with him to see life, and who always modestly hid his face
in his beer-mug after he had thus assisted the business.

"John Nightingale, William Thrush, Joseph Blackbird, Cecil Robin,
and Thomas Linnet!" cried Friar Bacon.

"Here, sir!" and "Here, sir!" And Linnet, Robin, Blackbird, Thrush,
and Nightingale, stood confessed.

We, the undersigned, declare, in effect, by this written paper, that
each of us is responsible for the repayment of this pig-money by
each of the other. "Sure you understand, Nightingale?"

"Ees, sur."

"Can you write your name, Nightingale?"

"Na, sur."

Nightingale's eye upon his name, as Friar Bacon wrote it, was a
sight to consider in after years. Rather incredulous was
Nightingale, with a hand at the corner of his mouth, and his head on
one side, as to those drawings really meaning him. Doubtful was
Nightingale whether any virtue had gone out of him in that committal
to paper. Meditative was Nightingale as to what would come of young
Nightingale's growing up to the acquisition of that art. Suspended
was the interest of Nightingale, when his name was done--as if he
thought the letters were only sown, to come up presently in some
other form. Prodigious, and wrong-handed was the cross made by
Nightingale on much encouragement--the strokes directed from him
instead of towards him; and most patient and sweet-humoured was the
smile of Nightingale as he stepped back into a general laugh.

"Order!" cried the little man. Immediately disappearing into his

"Ralph Mangel, Roger Wurzel, Edward Vetches, Matthew Carrot, and
Charles Taters!" said Friar Bacon.

"All here, sir."

"You understand it, Mangel?"

"Iss, sir, I unnerstaans it."

"Can you write your name, Mangel?"

"Iss, sir."

Breathless interest. A dense background of smock-frocks accumulated
behind Mangel, and many eyes in it looked doubtfully at Friar Bacon,
as who should say, "Can he really though?" Mangel put down his hat,
retired a little to get a good look at the paper, wetted his right
hand thoroughly by drawing it slowly across his mouth, approached
the paper with great determination, flattened it, sat down at it,
and got well to his work. Circuitous and sea-serpent-like, were the
movements of the tongue of Mangel while he formed the letters;
elevated were the eyebrows of Mangel and sidelong the eyes, as, with
his left whisker reposing on his left arm, they followed his
performance; many were the misgivings of Mangel, and slow was his
retrospective meditation touching the junction of the letter p with
h; something too active was the big forefinger of Mangel in its
propensity to rub out without proved cause. At last, long and deep
was the breath drawn by Mangel when he laid down the pen; long and
deep the wondering breath drawn by the background--as if they had
watched his walking across the rapids of Niagara, on stilts, and now
cried, "He has done it!"

But, Mangel was an honest man, if ever honest man lived. "T'owt to
be a hell, sir," said he, contemplating his work, "and I ha' made a
t on 't."

The over-fraught bosoms of the background found relief in a roar of

"OR-DER!" cried the little man. "CHEER!" And after that second
word, came forth from his mug no more.

Several other clubs signed, and received their money. Very few
could write their names; all who could not, pleaded that they could
not, more or less sorrowfully, and always with a shake of the head,
and in a lower voice than their natural speaking voice. Crosses
could be made standing; signatures must be sat down to. There was
no exception to this rule. Meantime, the various club-members
smoked, drank their beer, and talked together quite unrestrained.
They all wore their hats, except when they went up to Friar Bacon's
table. The merry-faced little man offered his beer, with a natural
good-fellowship, both to the Dreary one and Philosewers. Both
partook of it with thanks.

"Seven o'clock!" said Friar Bacon. "And now we better get across to
the concert, men, for the music will be beginning."

The concert was in Friar Bacon's laboratory; a large building near
at hand, in an open field. The bettermost people of the village and
neighbourhood were in a gallery on one side, and, in a gallery
opposite the orchestra. The whole space below was filled with the
labouring people and their families, to the number of five or six
hundred. We had been obliged to turn away two hundred to-night,
Friar Bacon said, for want of room--and that, not counting the boys,
of whom we had taken in only a few picked ones, by reason of the
boys, as a class, being given to too fervent a custom of applauding
with their boot-heels.

The performers were the ladies of Friar Bacon's family, and two
gentlemen; one of them, who presided, a Doctor of Music. A piano
was the only instrument. Among the vocal pieces, we had a negro
melody (rapturously encored), the Indian Drum, and the Village
Blacksmith; neither did we want for fashionable Italian, having Ah!
non giunge, and Mi manca la voce. Our success was splendid; our
good-humoured, unaffected, and modest bearing, a pattern. As to the
audience, they were far more polite and far more pleased than at the
Opera; they were faultless. Thus for barely an hour the concert
lasted, with thousands of great bottles looking on from the walls,
containing the results of Friar Bacon's Million and one experiments
in agricultural chemistry; and containing too, no doubt, a variety
of materials with which the Friar could have blown us all through
the roof at five minutes' notice.

God save the Queen being done, the good Friar stepped forward and
said a few words, more particularly concerning two points; firstly,
that Saturday half-holiday, which it would be kind in farmers to
grant; secondly, the additional Allotment-grounds we were going to
establish, in consequence of the happy success of the system, but
which we could not guarantee should entitle the holders to be
members of the club, because the present members must consider and
settle that question for themselves: a bargain between man and man
being always a bargain, and we having made over the club to them as
the original Allotment-men. This was loudly applauded, and so, with
contented and affectionate cheering, it was all over.

As Philosewers, and I the Dreary, posted back to London, looking up
at the moon and discussing it as a world preparing for the
habitation of responsible creatures, we expatiated on the honour due
to men in this world of ours who try to prepare it for a higher
course, and to leave the race who live and die upon it better than
they found them.


The existing Criminal Law has been found in trials for Murder, to be
so exceedingly hasty, unfair, and oppressive--in a word, to be so
very objectionable to the amiable persons accused of that
thoughtless act--that it is, we understand, the intention of the
Government to bring in a Bill for its amendment. We have been
favoured with an outline of its probable provisions.

It will be grounded on the profound principle that the real offender
is the Murdered Person; but for whose obstinate persistency in being
murdered, the interesting fellow-creature to be tried could not have
got into trouble.

Its leading enactments may be expected to resolve themselves under
the following heads:

1. There shall be no judge. Strong representations have been made
by highly popular culprits that the presence of this obtrusive
character is prejudicial to their best interests. The Court will be
composed of a political gentleman, sitting in a secluded room
commanding a view of St. James's Park, who has already more to do
than any human creature can, by any stretch of the human
imagination, be supposed capable of doing.

2. The jury to consist of Five Thousand Five Hundred and Fifty-five

3. The jury to be strictly prohibited from seeing either the
accused or the witnesses. They are not to be sworn. They are on no
account to hear the evidence. They are to receive it, or such
representations of it, as may happen to fall in their way; and they
will constantly write letters about it to all the Papers.

4. Supposing the trial to be a trial for Murder by poisoning, and
supposing the hypothetical case, or the evidence, for the
prosecution to charge the administration of two poisons, say Arsenic
and Antimony; and supposing the taint of Arsenic in the body to be
possible but not probable, and the presence of Antimony in the body,
to be an absolute certainty; it will then become the duty of the
jury to confine their attention solely to the Arsenic, and entirely
to dismiss the Antimony from their minds.

5. The symptoms preceding the death of the real offender (or
Murdered Person) being described in evidence by medical
practitioners who saw them, other medical practitioners who never
saw them shall be required to state whether they are inconsistent
with certain known diseases--but, THEY SHALL NEVER BE ASKED WHETHER
To illustrate this enactment in the proposed Bill by a case:- A
raging mad dog is seen to run into the house where Z lives alone,
foaming at the mouth. Z and the mad dog are for some time left
together in that house under proved circumstances, irresistibly
leading to the conclusion that Z has been bitten by the dog. Z is
afterwards found lying on his bed in a state of hydrophobia, and
with the marks of the dog's teeth. Now, the symptoms of that
disease being identical with those of another disease called
Tetanus, which might supervene on Z's running a rusty nail into a
certain part of his foot, medical practitioners who never saw Z,
shall bear testimony to that abstract fact, and it shall then be
incumbent on the Registrar-General to certify that Z died of a rusty

It is hoped that these alterations in the present mode of procedure
will not only be quite satisfactory to the accused person (which is
the first great consideration), but will also tend, in a tolerable
degree, to the welfare and safety of society. For it is not sought
in this moderate and prudent measure to be wholly denied that it is
an inconvenience to Society to be poisoned overmuch.


"The sense of beauty and gentleness, of moral beauty and faithful
gentleness, grew upon him as the clear evening closed in. When he
went to visit his relative at Putney, he still carried with him his
work, and the books he more immediately wanted. Although his bodily
powers had been giving way, his most conspicuous qualities, his
memory for books, and his affection remained; and when his hair was
white, when his ample chest had grown slender, when the very
proportion of his height had visibly lessened, his step was still
ready, and his dark eyes brightened at every happy expression, and
at every thought of kindness. His death was simply exhaustion; he
broke off his work to lie down and repose. So gentle was the final
approach, that he scarcely recognised it till the very last, and
then it came without terrors. His physical suffering had not been
severe; at the latest hour he said that his only uneasiness was
failing breath. And that failing breath was used to express his
sense of the inexhaustible kindness he had received from the family
who had been so unexpectedly made his nurses,--to draw from one of
his sons, by minute, eager, and searching questions, all that he
could learn about the latest vicissitudes and growing hopes of
Italy,--to ask the friends and children around him for news of those
whom he loved,--and to send love and messages to the absent who
loved him."

Thus, with a manly simplicity and filial affection, writes the
eldest son of Leigh Hunt in recording his father's death. These are
the closing words of a new edition of The Autobiography of Leigh
Hunt, published by Messrs. Smith and Elder, of Cornhill, revised by
that son, and enriched with an introductory chapter of remarkable
beauty and tenderness. The son's first presentation of his father
to the reader, "rather tall, straight as an arrow, looking slenderer
than he really was; his hair black and shining, and slightly
inclined to wave; his head high, his forehead straight and white,
his eyes black and sparkling, his general complexion dark; in his
whole carriage and manner an extraordinary degree of life,"
completes the picture. It is the picture of the flourishing and
fading away of man that is born of a woman and hath but a short time
to live.

In his presentation of his father's moral nature and intellectual
qualities, Mr Hunt is no less faithful and no less touching. Those
who knew Leigh Hunt, will see the bright face and hear the musical
voice again, when he is recalled to them in this passage: "Even at
seasons of the greatest depression in his fortunes, he always
attracted many visitors, but still not so much for any repute that
attended him as for his personal qualities. Few men were more
attractive, in society, whether in a large company or over the
fireside. His manners were peculiarly animated; his conversation,
varied, ranging over a great field of subjects, was moved and called
forth by the response of his companion, be that companion
philosopher or student, sage or boy, man or woman; and he was
equally ready for the most lively topics or for the gravest
reflections--his expression easily adapting itself to the tone of
his companion's mind. With much freedom of manners, he combined a
spontaneous courtesy that never failed, and a considerateness
derived from a ceaseless kindness of heart that invariably
fascinated even strangers." Or in this: "His animation, his
sympathy with what was gay and pleasurable; his avowed doctrine of
cultivating cheerfulness, were manifest on the surface, and could be
appreciated by those who knew him in society, most probably even
exaggerated as salient traits, on which he himself insisted WITH A

The last words describe one of the most captivating peculiarities of
a most original and engaging man, better than any other words could.
The reader is besought to observe them, for a reason that shall
presently be given. Lastly: "The anxiety to recognise the right of
others, the tendency to 'refine', which was noted by an early school
companion, and the propensity to elaborate every thought, made him,
along with the direct argument by which he sustained his own
conviction, recognise and almost admit all that might be said on the
opposite side". For these reasons, and for others suggested with
equal felicity, and with equal fidelity, the son writes of the
father, "It is most desirable that his qualities should be known as
they were; for such deficiencies as he had are the honest
explanation of his mistakes; while, as the reader may see from his
writings and his conduct, they are not, as the faults of which he
was accused would be, incompatible with the noblest faculties both
of head and heart. To know Leigh Hunt as he was, was to hold him in
reverence and love."

These quotations are made here, with a special object. It is not,
that the personal testimony of one who knew Leigh Hunt well, may be
borne to their truthfulness. It is not, that it may be recorded in
these pages, as in his son's introductory chapter, that his life was
of the most amiable and domestic kind, that his wants were few, that
his way of life was frugal, that he was a man of small expenses, no
ostentations, a diligent labourer, and a secluded man of letters.
It is not, that the inconsiderate and forgetful may be reminded of
his wrongs and sufferings in the days of the Regency, and of the
national disgrace of his imprisonment. It is not, that their
forbearance may be entreated for his grave, in right of his graceful
fancy or his political labours and endurances, though -

Not only we, the latest seed of Time,
New men, that in the flying of a wheel
Cry down the past, not only we, that prate
Of rights and wrongs, have loved the people well.

It is, that a duty may be done in the most direct way possible. An
act of plain, clear duty.

Four or five years ago, the writer of these lines was much pained by
accidentally encountering a printed statement, "that Mr. Leigh Hunt
was the original of Harold Skimpole in Bleak House". The writer of
these lines, is the author of that book. The statement came from
America. It is no disrespect to that country, in which the writer
has, perhaps, as many friends and as true an interest as any man
that lives, good-humouredly to state the fact, that he has, now and
then, been the subject of paragraphs in Transatlantic newspapers,
more surprisingly destitute of all foundation in truth than the
wildest delusions of the wildest lunatics. For reasons born of this
experience, he let the thing go by.

But, since Mr. Leigh Hunt's death, the statement has been revived in
England. The delicacy and generosity evinced in its revival, are
for the rather late consideration of its revivers. The fact is

Exactly those graces and charms of manner which are remembered in
the words we have quoted, were remembered by the author of the work
of fiction in question, when he drew the character in question.
Above all other things, that "sort of gay and ostentatious
wilfulness" in the humouring of a subject, which had many a time
delighted him, and impressed him as being unspeakably whimsical and
attractive, was the airy quality he wanted for the man he invented.
Partly for this reason, and partly (he has since often grieved to
think) for the pleasure it afforded him to find that delightful
manner reproducing itself under his hand, he yielded to the
temptation of too often making the character SPEAK like his old
friend. He no more thought, God forgive him! that the admired
original would ever be charged with the imaginary vices of the
fictitious creature, than he has himself ever thought of charging
the blood of Desdemona and Othello, on the innocent Academy model
who sat for Iago's leg in the picture. Even as to the mere
occasional manner, he meant to be so cautious and conscientious,
that he privately referred the proof sheets of the first number of
that book to two intimate literary friends of Leigh Hunt (both still
living), and altered the whole of that part of the text on their
discovering too strong a resemblance to his "way".

He cannot see the son lay this wreath on the father's tomb, and
leave him to the possibility of ever thinking that the present words
might have righted the father's memory and were left unwritten. He
cannot know that his own son may have to explain his father when
folly or malice can wound his heart no more, and leave this task


The pen is taken in hand on the present occasion, by a private
individual (not wholly unaccustomed to literary composition), for
the exposure of a conspiracy of a most frightful nature; a
conspiracy which, like the deadly Upas-tree of Java, on which the
individual produced a poem in his earlier youth (not wholly devoid
of length), which was so flatteringly received (in circles not
wholly unaccustomed to form critical opinions), that he was
recommended to publish it, and would certainly have carried out the
suggestion, but for private considerations (not wholly unconnected
with expense).

The individual who undertakes the exposure of the gigantic
conspiracy now to be laid bare in all its hideous deformity, is an
inhabitant of the town of Tattlesnivel--a lowly inhabitant, it may
be, but one who, as an Englishman and a man, will ne'er abase his
eye before the gaudy and the mocking throng.

Tattlesnivel stoops to demand no championship from her sons. On an
occasion in History, our bluff British monarch, our Eighth Royal
Harry, almost went there. And long ere the periodical in which this
exposure will appear, had sprung into being, Tattlesnivel had
unfurled that standard which yet waves upon her battlements. The
standard alluded to, is THE TATTLESNIVEL BLEATER, containing the
latest intelligence, and state of markets, down to the hour of going
to press, and presenting a favourable local medium for advertisers,
on a graduated scale of charges, considerably diminishing in
proportion to the guaranteed number of insertions.

It were bootless to expatiate on the host of talent engaged in
formidable phalanx to do fealty to the Bleater. Suffice it to
select, for present purposes, one of the most gifted and (but for
the wide and deep ramifications of an un-English conspiracy) most
rising, of the men who are bold Albion's pride. It were needless,
after this preamble, to point the finger more directly at the LONDON

On the weekly letters of that Correspondent, on the flexibility of
their English, on the boldness of their grammar, on the originality
of their quotations (never to be found as they are printed, in any
book existing), on the priority of their information, on their
intimate acquaintance with the secret thoughts and unexecuted
intentions of men, it would ill become the humble Tattlesnivellian
who traces these words, to dwell. They are graven in the memory;
they are on the Bleater's file. Let them be referred to.

But from the infamous, the dark, the subtle conspiracy which spreads
its baleful roots throughout the land, and of which the Bleater's
London Correspondent is the one sole subject, it is the purpose of
the lowly Tattlesnivellian who undertakes this revelation, to tear
the veil. Nor will he shrink from his self-imposed labour,
Herculean though it be.

The conspiracy begins in the very Palace of the Sovereign Lady of
our Ocean Isle. Leal and loyal as it is the proud vaunt of the
Bleater's readers, one and all, to be, the inhabitant who pens this
exposure does not personally impeach, either her Majesty the queen,
or the illustrious Prince Consort. But, some silken-clad smoothers,
some purple parasites, some fawners in frippery, some greedy and
begartered ones in gorgeous garments, he does impeach--ay, and
wrathfully! Is it asked on what grounds? They shall be stated.

The Bleater's London Correspondent, in the prosecution of his
important inquiries, goes down to Windsor, sends in his card, has a
confidential interview with her Majesty and the illustrious Prince
Consort. For a time, the restraints of Royalty are thrown aside in
the cheerful conversation of the Bleater's London Correspondent, in
his fund of information, in his flow of anecdote, in the atmosphere
of his genius; her Majesty brightens, the illustrious Prince Consort
thaws, the cares of State and the conflicts of Party are forgotten,
lunch is proposed. Over that unassuming and domestic table, her
Majesty communicates to the Bleater's London Correspondent that it
is her intention to send his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to
inspect the top of the Great Pyramid--thinking it likely to improve
his acquaintance with the views of the people. Her Majesty further
communicates that she has made up her royal mind (and that the
Prince Consort has made up his illustrious mind) to the bestowal of
the vacant Garter, let us say on Mr. Roebuck. The younger Royal
children having been introduced at the request of the Bleater's
London Correspondent, and having been by him closely observed to
present the usual external indications of good health, the happy
knot is severed, with a sigh the Royal bow is once more strung to
its full tension, the Bleater's London Correspondent returns to
London, writes his letter, and tells the Tattlesnivel Bleater what
he knows. All Tattlesnivel reads it, and knows that he knows it.
But, DOES his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales ultimately go to
the top of the Great Pyramid? DOES Mr. Roebuck ultimately get the
Garter? No. Are the younger Royal children even ultimately found
to be well? On the contrary, they have--and on that very day had--
MACHINATIONS. Because her Majesty and the Prince Consort are
artfully induced to change their minds, from north to south, from
east to west, immediately after it is known to the conspirators that
they have put themselves in communication with the Bleater's London
Correspondent. It is now indignantly demanded, by whom are they so
tampered with? It is now indignantly demanded, who took the
responsibility of concealing the indisposition of those Royal
children from their Royal and illustrious parents, and of bringing
them down from their beds, disguised, expressly to confound the
London Correspondent of the Tattlesnivel Bleater? Who are those
persons, it is again asked? Let not rank and favour protect them.
Let the traitors be exhibited in the face of day!

Lord John Russell is in this conspiracy. Tell us not that his
Lordship is a man of too much spirit and honour. Denunciation is
hurled against him. The proof? The proof is here.

The Time is panting for an answer to the question, Will Lord John
Russell consent to take office under Lord Palmerston? Good. The
London Correspondent of the Tattlesnivel Bleater is in the act of
writing his weekly letter, finds himself rather at a loss to settle
this question finally, leaves off, puts his hat on, goes down to the
lobby of the House of Commons, sends in for Lord John Russell, and
has him out. He draws his arm through his Lordship's, takes him
aside, and says, "John, will you ever accept office under
Palmerston?" His Lordship replies, "I will not." The Bleater's
London Correspondent retorts, with the caution such a man is bound
to use, "John, think again; say nothing to me rashly; is there any
temper here?" His Lordship replies, calmly, "None whatever." After
giving him time for reflection, the Bleater's London Correspondent
says, "Once more, John, let me put a question to you. Will you ever
accept office under Palmerston?" His Lordship answers (note the
exact expressions), "Nothing shall induce me, ever to accept a seat
in a Cabinet of which Palmerston is the Chief." They part, the
London Correspondent of the Tattlesnivel Bleater finishes his
letter, and--always being withheld by motives of delicacy, from
plainly divulging his means of getting accurate information on every
subject, at first hand--puts in it, this passage: "Lord John
Russell is spoken of, by blunderers, for Foreign Affairs; but I have
the best reasons for assuring your readers, that" (giving prominence
to the exact expressions, it will be observed) "'NOTHING WILL EVER
CHIEF.' On this you may implicitly rely." What happens? On the
very day of the publication of that number of the Bleater--the
malignity of the conspirators being even manifested in the selection
of the day--Lord John Russell takes the Foreign Office! Comment
were superfluous.

The people of Tattlesnivel will be told, have been told, that Lord
John Russell is a man of his word. He may be, on some occasions;
but, when overshadowed by this dark and enormous growth of
conspiracy, Tattlesnivel knows him to be otherwise. "I happen to be
certain, deriving my information from a source which cannot be
doubted to be authentic," wrote the London Correspondent of the
Bleater, within the last year, "that Lord John Russell bitterly
regrets having made that explicit speech of last Monday." These are
not roundabout phrases; these are plain words. What does Lord John
Russell (apparently by accident), within eight-and-forty hours after
their diffusion over the civilised globe? Rises in his place in
Parliament, and unblushingly declares that if the occasion could
arise five hundred times, for his making that very speech, he would
make it five hundred times! Is there no conspiracy here? And is
this combination against one who would be always right if he were
not proved always wrong, to be endured in a country that boasts of
its freedom and its fairness?

But, the Tattlesnivellian who now raises his voice against
intolerable oppression, may be told that, after all, this is a
political conspiracy. He may be told, forsooth, that Mr. Disraeli's
being in it, that Lord Derby's being in it, that Mr. Bright's being
in it, that every Home, Foreign, and Colonial Secretary's being in
it, that every ministry's and every opposition's being in it, are
but proofs that men will do in politics what they would do in
nothing else. Is this the plea? If so, the rejoinder is, that the
mighty conspiracy includes the whole circle of Artists of all kinds,
and comprehends all degrees of men, down to the worst criminal and
the hangman who ends his career. For, all these are intimately
known to the London Correspondent of the Tattlesnivel Bleater, and
all these deceive him.

Sir, put it to the proof. There is the Bleater on the file--
documentary evidence. Weeks, months, before the Exhibition of the
Royal Academy, the Bleater's London Correspondent knows the subjects
of all the leading pictures, knows what the painters first meant to
do, knows what they afterwards substituted for what they first meant
to do, knows what they ought to do and won't do, knows what they
ought not to do and will do, knows to a letter from whom they have
commissions, knows to a shilling how much they are to be paid. Now,
no sooner is each studio clear of the remarkable man to whom each
studio-occupant has revealed himself as he does not reveal himself
to his nearest and dearest bosom friend, than conspiracy and fraud
begin. Alfred the Great becomes the Fairy Queen; Moses viewing the
Promised Land, turns out to be Moses going to the Fair; Portrait of
His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, is transformed, as if by
irreverent enchantment of the dissenting interest, into A Favourite
Terrier, or Cattle Grazing; and the most extraordinary work of art
in the list described by the Bleater, is coolly sponged out
altogether, and asserted never to have had existence at all, even in
the most shadow thoughts of its executant! This is vile enough, but
this is not all. Picture-buyers then come forth from their secret
positions, and creep into their places in the assassin-multitude of
conspirators. Mr. Baring, after expressly telling the Bleater's
London Correspondent that he had bought No. 39 for one thousand
guineas, gives it up to somebody unknown for a couple of hundred
pounds; the Marquis of Lansdowne pretends to have no knowledge
whatever of the commissions to which the London Correspondent of the
Bleater swore him, but allows a Railway Contractor to cut him out
for half the money. Similar examples might be multiplied. Shame,
shame, on these men! Is this England?

Sir, look again at Literature. The Bleater's London Correspondent
is not merely acquainted with all the eminent writers, but is in
possession of the secrets of their souls. He is versed in their
hidden meanings and references, sees their manuscripts before
publication, and knows the subjects and titles of their books when
they are not begun. How dare those writers turn upon the eminent
man and depart from every intention they have confided to him? How
do they justify themselves in entirely altering their manuscripts,
changing their titles, and abandoning their subjects? Will they
deny, in the face of Tattlesnivel, that they do so? If they have
such hardihood, let the file of the Bleater strike them dumb. By
their fruits they shall be known. Let their works be compared with
the anticipatory letters of the Bleater's London Correspondent, and
their falsehood and deceit will become manifest as the sun; it will
be seen that they do nothing which they stand pledged to the
Bleater's London Correspondent to do; it will be seen that they are
among the blackest parties in this black and base conspiracy. This
will become apparent, sir, not only as to their public proceedings
but as to their private affairs. The outraged Tattlesnivellian who
now drags this infamous combination into the face of day, charges
those literary persons with making away with their property,
imposing on the Income Tax Commissioners, keeping false books, and
entering into sham contracts. He accuses them on the unimpeachable
faith of the London Correspondent of the Tattlesnivel Bleater. With
whose evidence they will find it impossible to reconcile their own
account of any transaction of their lives.

The national character is degenerating under the influence of the
ramifications of this tremendous conspiracy. Forgery is committed,
constantly. A person of note--any sort of person of note--dies.
The Bleater's London Correspondent knows what his circumstances are,
what his savings are (if any), who his creditors are, all about his
children and relations, and (in general, before his body is cold)
describes his will. Is that will ever proved? Never! Some other
will is substituted; the real instrument, destroyed. And this (as
has been before observed), is England.

Who are the workmen and artificers, enrolled upon the books of this
treacherous league? From what funds are they paid, and with what
ceremonies are they sworn to secrecy? Are there none such? Observe
what follows. A little time ago the Bleater's London Correspondent
had this passage: "Boddleboy is pianoforte playing at St.
Januarius's Gallery, with pretty tolerable success! He clears three
hundred pounds per night. Not bad this!!" The builder of St.
Januarius's Gallery (plunged to the throat in the conspiracy) met
with this piece of news, and observed, with characteristic
coarseness, "that the Bleater's London Correspondent was a Blind
Ass". Being pressed by a man of spirit to give his reasons for this
extraordinary statement, he declared that the Gallery, crammed to
suffocation, would not hold two hundred pounds, and that its
expenses were, probably, at least half what it did hold. The man of
spirit (himself a Tattlesnivellian) had the Gallery measured within
a week from that hour, and it would not hold two hundred pounds!
Now, can the poorest capacity doubt that it had been altered in the

And so the conspiracy extends, through every grade of society, down
to the condemned criminal in prison, the hangman, and the Ordinary.
Every famous murderer within the last ten years has desecrated his
last moments by falsifying his confidences imparted specially to the
London Correspondent of the Tattlesnivel Bleater; on every such
occasion, Mr. Calcraft has followed the degrading example; and the
reverend Ordinary, forgetful of his cloth, and mindful only (it
would seem, alas!) of the conspiracy, has committed himself to some
account or other of the criminal's demeanour and conversation, which
has been diametrically opposed to the exclusive information of the
London Correspondent of the Bleater. And this (as has been before
observed) is Merry England!

A man of true genius, however, is not easily defeated. The
Bleater's London Correspondent, probably beginning to suspect the
existence of a plot against him, has recently fallen on a new style,
which, as being very difficult to countermine, may necessitate the
organisation of a new conspiracy. One of his masterly letters,
lately, disclosed the adoption of this style--which was remarked
with profound sensation throughout Tattlesnivel--in the following
passage: "Mentioning literary small talk, I may tell you that some
new and extraordinary rumours are afloat concerning the
conversations I have previously mentioned, alleged to have taken
place in the first floor front (situated over the street door), of
Mr. X. Ameter (the poet so well known to your readers), in which, X.
Ameter's great uncle, his second son, his butcher, and a corpulent
gentleman with one eye universally respected at Kensington, are said
not to have been on the most friendly footing; I forbear, however,
to pursue the subject further, this week, my informant not being
able to supply me with exact particulars."

But, enough, sir. The inhabitant of Tattlesnivel who has taken pen
in hand to expose this odious association of unprincipled men
against a shining (local) character, turns from it with disgust and
contempt. Let him in few words strip the remaining flimsy covering
from the nude object of the conspirators, and his loathsome task is

Sir, that object, he contends, is evidently twofold. First, to
exhibit the London Correspondent of the Tattlesnivel Bleater in the
light of a mischievous Blockhead who, by hiring himself out to tell
what he cannot possibly know, is as great a public nuisance as a
Blockhead in a corner can be. Second, to suggest to the men of
Tattlesnivel that it does not improve their town to have so much Dry
Rubbish shot there.

Now, sir, on both these points Tattlesnivel demands in accents of
Thunder, Where is the Attorney General? Why doesn't the Times take
it up? (Is the latter in the conspiracy? It never adopts his
views, or quotes him, and incessantly contradicts him.)
Tattlesnivel, sir, remembering that our forefathers contended with
the Norman at Hastings, and bled at a variety of other places that
will readily occur to you, demands that its birthright shall not be
bartered away for a mess of pottage. Have a care, sir, have a care!
Or Tattlesnivel (its idle Rifles piled in its scouted streets) may
be seen ere long, advancing with its Bleater to the foot of the
Throne, and demanding redress for this conspiracy, from the orbed
and sceptred hands of Majesty itself!


A song of the hour, now in course of being sung and whistled in
every street, the other day reminded the writer of these words--as
he chanced to pass a fag-end of the song for the twentieth time in a
short London walk--that twenty years ago, a little book on the
United States, entitled American Notes, was published by "a Young
Man from the Country", who had just seen and left it.

This Young Man from the Country fell into a deal of trouble, by
reason of having taken the liberty to believe that he perceived in
America downward popular tendencies for which his young enthusiasm
had been anything but prepared. It was in vain for the Young Man to
offer in extenuation of his belief that no stranger could have set
foot on those shores with a feeling of livelier interest in the
country, and stronger faith in it, than he. Those were the days
when the Tories had made their Ashburton Treaty, and when Whigs and
Radicals must have no theory disturbed. All three parties waylaid
and mauled the Young Man from the Country, and showed that he knew
nothing about the country.

As the Young Man from the Country had observed in the Preface to his
little book, that he "could bide his time", he took all this in
silent part for eight years. Publishing then, a cheap edition of
his book, he made no stronger protest than the following:

"My readers have opportunities of judging for themselves whether the
influences and tendencies which I distrusted in America, have any
existence but in my imagination. They can examine for themselves
whether there has been anything in the public career of that country
during these past eight years, or whether there is anything in its
present position, at home or abroad, which suggests that those
influences and tendencies really do exist. As they find the fact,
they will judge me. If they discern any evidences of wrong-going,
in any direction that I have indicated, they will acknowledge that I
had reason in what I wrote. If they discern no such thing, they
will consider me altogether mistaken. I have nothing to defend, or
to explain away. The truth is the truth; and neither childish
absurdities, nor unscrupulous contradictions, can make it otherwise.
The earth would still move round the sun, though the whole Catholic
Church said No."

Twelve more years having since passed away, it may now, at last, be
simply just towards the Young Man from the Country, to compare what
he originally wrote, with recent events and their plain motive
powers. Treating of the House of Representatives at Washington, he
wrote thus:

"Did I recognise in this assembly, a body of men, who, applying
themselves in a new world to correct some of the falsehoods and
vices of the old, purified the avenues to Public Life, paved the
dirty ways to Place and Power, debated and made laws for the Common
Good, and had no party but their Country?

"I saw in them, the wheels that move the meanest perversion of
virtuous Political Machinery that the worst tools ever wrought.
Despicable trickery at elections; under-handed tamperings with
public officers; cowardly attacks upon opponents, with scurrilous
newspapers for shields, and hired pens for daggers; shameful
trucklings to mercenary knaves, whose claim to be considered, is,
that every day and week they sow new crops of ruin with their venal
types, which are the dragon's teeth of yore, in everything but
sharpness; aidings and abettings of every bad inclination in the
popular mind, and artful suppressions of all its good influences:
such things as these, and in a word, Dishonest Faction in its most
depraved and most unblushing form, stared out from every corner of
the crowded hall.

"Did I see among them, the intelligence and refinement: the true,
honest, patriotic heart of America? Here and there, were drops of
its blood and life, but they scarcely coloured the stream of
desperate adventurers which sets that way for profit and for pay.
It is the game of these men, and of their profligate organs, to make
the strife of politics so fierce and brutal, and so destructive of
all self-respect in worthy men, that sensitive and delicate-minded
persons shall be kept aloof, and they, and such as they, be left to
battle out their selfish views unchecked. And thus this lowest of
all scrambling fights goes on, and they who in other countries
would, from their intelligence and station, most aspire to make the
laws, do here recoil the farthest from that degradation.

"That there are, among the representatives of the people in both
Houses, and among all parties, some men of high character and great
abilities, I need not say. The foremost among those politicians who
are known in Europe, have been already described, and I see no
reason to depart from the rule I have laid down for my guidance, of
abstaining from all mention of individuals. It will be sufficient
to add, that to the most favourable accounts that have been written
of them, I fully and most heartily subscribe; and that personal
intercourse and free communication have bred within me, not the
result predicted in the very doubtful proverb, but increased
admiration and respect."

Towards the end of his book, the Young Man from the Country thus
expressed himself concerning its people:

"They are, by nature, frank, brave, cordial, hospitable, and
affectionate. Cultivation and refinement seem but to enhance their
warmth of heart and ardent enthusiasm; and it is the possession of
these latter qualities in a most remarkable degree, which renders an
educated American one of the most endearing and most generous of
friends. I never was so won upon, as by this class; never yielded
up my full confidence and esteem so readily and pleasurably, as to
them; never can make again, in half a year, so many friends for whom
I seem to entertain the regard of half a life.

"These qualities are natural, I implicitly believe, to the whole
people. That they are, however, sadly sapped and blighted in their
growth among the mass; and that there are influences at work which
endanger them still more, and give but little present promise of
their healthy restoration; is a truth that ought to be told.

"It is an essential part of every national character to pique itself
mightily upon its faults, and to deduce tokens of its virtue or its
wisdom from their very exaggeration. One great blemish in the
popular mind of America, and the prolific parent of an innumerable
brood of evils, is Universal Distrust. Yet the American citizen
plumes himself upon this spirit, even when he is sufficiently
dispassionate to perceive the ruin it works; and will often adduce
it, in spite of his own reason, as an instance of the great sagacity
and acuteness of the people, and their superior shrewdness and

"'You carry,' says the stranger, 'this jealousy and distrust into
every transaction of public life. By repelling worthy men from your
legislative assemblies, it has bred up a class of candidates for the
suffrage, who, in their every act, disgrace your Institutions and
your people's choice. It has rendered you so fickle, and so given
to change, that your inconstancy has passed into a proverb; for you
no sooner set up an idol firmly, than you are sure to pull it down
and dash it into fragments: and this, because directly you reward a
benefactor, or a public-servant, you distrust him, merely because he
IS rewarded; and immediately apply yourselves to find out, either
that you have been too bountiful in your acknowledgments, or he
remiss in his deserts. Any man who attains a high place among you,
from the President downwards, may date his downfall from that
moment; for any printed lie that any notorious villain pens,
although it militate directly against the character and conduct of a
life, appeals at once to your distrust, and is believed. You will
strain at a gnat in the way of trustfulness and confidence, however
fairly won and well deserved; but you will swallow a whole caravan
of camels, if they be laden with unworthy doubts and mean
suspicions. Is this well, think you, or likely to elevate the
character of the governors or the governed, among you?'

"The answer is invariably the same: 'There's freedom of opinion
here, you know. Every man thinks for himself, and we are not to be
easily overreached. That's how our people come to be suspicious.'

"Another prominent feature is the love of 'smart' dealing: which
gilds over many a swindle and gross breach of trust; many a
defalcation, public and private; and enables many a knave to hold
his head up with the best, who well deserves a halter: though it
has not been without its retributive operation, for this smartness
has done more in a few years to impair the public credit, and to
cripple the public resources, than dull honesty, however rash, could
have effected in a century. The merits of a broken speculation, or
a bankruptcy, or of a successful scoundrel, are not gauged by its or
his observance of the golden rule, 'Do as you would be done by', but
are considered with reference to their smartness. I recollect, on
both occasions of our passing that ill-fated Cairo on the
Mississippi, remarking on the bad effects such gross deceits must
have when they exploded, in generating a want of confidence abroad,
and discouraging foreign investment: but I was given to understand
that this was a very smart scheme by which a deal of money had been
made: and that its smartest feature was, that they forgot these
things abroad, in a very short time, and speculated again, as freely
as ever. The following dialogue I have held a hundred times: 'Is
it not a very disgraceful circumstance that such a man as So-and-so
should be acquiring a large property by the most infamous and odious
means, and notwithstanding all the crimes of which he has been
guilty, should be tolerated and abetted by your citizens? He is a
public nuisance, is he not?' 'Yes, sir.' 'A convicted liar?'
'Yes, sir.' 'He has been kicked, and cuffed, and caned?' 'Yes,
sir.' 'And he is utterly dishonourable, debased, and profligate?'
'Yes, sir.' 'In the name of wonder, then, what is his merit?'
'Well, sir, he is a smart man.'

"But the foul growth of America has a more tangled root than this;
and it strikes its fibres, deep in its licentious Press.

"Schools may he erected, East, West, North, and South; pupils be
taught, and masters reared, by scores upon scores of thousands;
colleges may thrive, churches may be crammed, temperance may be
diffused, and advancing knowledge in all other forms walk through
the land with giant strides; but while the newspaper press of
America is in, or near, its present abject state, high moral
improvement in that country is hopeless. Year by year, it must and
will go back; year by year, the tone of public opinion must sink
lower down; year by year, the Congress and the Senate must become of
less account before all decent men; and year by year, the memory of
the Great Fathers of the Revolution must be outraged more and more,
in the bad life of their degenerate child.

"Among the herd of journals which are published in the States, there
are some, the reader scarcely need be told, of character and credit.
From personal intercourse with accomplished gentlemen connected with
publications of this class, I have derived both pleasure and profit.
But the name of these is Few, and of the others Legion; and the
influence of the good, is powerless to counteract the moral poison
of the bad.

"Among the gentry of America; among the well-informed and moderate;
in the learned professions; at the bar and on the bench; there is,
as there can be, but one opinion, in reference to the vicious
character of these infamous journals. It is sometimes contended--I
will not say strangely, for it is natural to seek excuses for such a
disgrace--that their influence is not so great as a visitor would
suppose. I must be pardoned for saying that there is no warrant for
this plea, and that every fact and circumstance tends directly to
the opposite conclusion.

"When any man, of any grade of desert in intellect or character, can
climb to any public distinction, no matter what, in America, without
first grovelling down upon the earth, and bending the knee before
this monster of depravity; when any private excellence is safe from
its attacks; when any social confidence is left unbroken by it; or
any tie of social decency and honour is held in the least regard;
when any man in that Free Country has freedom of opinion, and
presumes to think for himself, and speak for himself, without humble
reference to a censorship which, for its rampant ignorance and base
dishonesty, he utterly loaths and despises in his heart; when those
who most acutely feel its infamy and the reproach it casts upon the
nation, and who most denounce it to each other, dare to set their
heels upon, and crush it openly, in the sight of all men: then, I
will believe that its influence is lessening, and men are returning
to their manly senses. But while that Press has its evil eye in
every house, and its black hand in every appointment in the state,
from a president to a postman; while, with ribald slander for its
only stock in trade, it is the standard literature of an enormous
class, who must find their reading in a newspaper, or they will not
read at all; so long must its odium be upon the country's head, and
so long must the evil it works, be plainly visible in the Republic."

The foregoing was written in the year eighteen hundred and forty-
two. It rests with the reader to decide whether it has received any
confirmation, or assumed any colour of truth, in or about the year
eighteen hundred and sixty-two.


At various places in Suffolk (as elsewhere) penny readings take
place "for the instruction and amusement of the lower classes".
There is a little town in Suffolk called Eye, where the subject of
one of these readings was a tale (by Mr. Wilkie Collins) from the
last Christmas Number of this Journal, entitled "Picking up Waifs at
Sea". It appears that the Eye gentility was shocked by the
introduction of this rude piece among the taste and musical glasses
of that important town, on which the eyes of Europe are notoriously
always fixed. In particular, the feelings of the vicar's family
were outraged; and a Local Organ (say, the Tattlesnivel Bleater)
consequently doomed the said piece to everlasting oblivion, as being
of an "injurious tendency!"

When this fearful fact came to the knowledge of the unhappy writer
of the doomed tale in question, he covered his face with his robe,
previous to dying decently under the sharp steel of the
ecclesiastical gentility of the terrible town of Eye. But the
discovery that he was not alone in his gloomy glory, revived him,
and he still lives.

For, at Stowmarket, in the aforesaid county of Suffolk, at another
of those penny readings, it was announced that a certain juvenile
sketch, culled from a volume of sketches (by Boz) and entitled "The
Bloomsbury Christening", would be read. Hereupon, the clergyman of
that place took heart and pen, and addressed the following terrific
epistle to a gentleman bearing the very appropriate name of Gudgeon:


SIR,--My attention has been directed to a piece called "The
Bloomsbury Christening" which you propose to read this evening.
Without presuming to claim any interference in the arrangement of
the readings, I would suggest to you whether you have on this
occasion sufficiently considered the character of the composition
you have selected. I quite appreciate the laudable motive of the
promoters of the readings to raise the moral tone amongst the
working class of the town and to direct this taste in a familiar and
pleasant manner. "The Bloomsbury Christening" cannot possibly do
this. It trifles with a sacred ordinance, and the language and
style, instead of improving the taste, has a direct tendency to
lower it.

I appeal to your right feeling whether it is desirable to give
publicity to that which must shock several of your audience, and
create a smile amongst others, to be indulged in only by violating
the conscientious scruples of their neighbours.

The ordinance which is here exposed to ridicule is one which is much
misunderstood and neglected amongst many families belonging to the
Church of England, and the mode in which it is treated in this
chapter cannot fail to appear as giving a sanction to, or at least
excusing, such neglect.

Although you are pledged to the public to give this subject, yet I
cannot but believe that they would fully justify your substitution
of it for another did they know the circumstances. An abridgment
would only lessen the evil in a degree, as it is not only the style
of the writing but the subject itself which is objectionable.

Excuse me for troubling you, but I felt that, in common with
yourself, I have a grave responsibility in the matter, and I am most
truly yours,

To Mr. J. Gudgeon.

It is really necessary to explain that this is not a bad joke. It
is simply a bad fact.


"Doctor John Campbell, the minister of the Tabernacle Chapel,
Finsbury, and editor of the British Banner, etc., with that massive
vigour which distinguishes his style," did, we are informed by Mr.
Howitt, "deliver a verdict in the Banner, for November, 1852," of
great importance and favour to the Table-rapping cause. We are not
informed whether the Public, sitting in judgment on the question,
reserved any point in this great verdict for subsequent
consideration; but the verdict would seem to have been regarded by a
perverse generation as not quite final, inasmuch as Mr. Howitt finds
it necessary to re-open the case, a round ten years afterwards, in
nine hundred and sixty-two stiff octavo pages, published by Messrs.
Longman and Company.

Mr. Howitt is in such a bristling temper on the Supernatural
subject, that we will not take the great liberty of arguing any
point with him. But--with the view of assisting him to make
converts--we will inform our readers, on his conclusive authority,
what they are required to believe; premising what may rather
astonish them in connexion with their views of a certain historical
trifle, called The Reformation, that their present state of unbelief
is all the fault of Protestantism, and that "it is high time,
therefore, to protest against Protestantism".

They will please to believe, by way of an easy beginning, all the
stories of good and evil demons, ghosts, prophecies, communication
with spirits, and practice of magic, that ever obtained, or are said
to have ever obtained, in the North, in the South, in the East, in
the West, from the earliest and darkest ages, as to which we have
any hazy intelligence, real or supposititious, down to the yet
unfinished displacement of the red men in North America. They will
please to believe that nothing in this wise was changed by the
fulfilment of our Saviour's mission upon earth; and further, that
what Saint Paul did, can be done again, and has been done again. As
this is not much to begin with, they will throw in at this point
rejection of Faraday and Brewster, and "poor Paley", and implicit
acceptance of those shining lights, the Reverend Charles Beecher,
and the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher ("one of the most vigorous and
eloquent preachers of America"), and the Reverend Adin Ballou.

Having thus cleared the way for a healthy exercise of faith, our
advancing readers will next proceed especially to believe in the old
story of the Drummer of Tedworth, in the inspiration of George Fox,
in "the spiritualism, prophecies, and provision" of Huntington the
coal-porter (him who prayed for the leather breeches which
miraculously fitted him), and even in the Cock Lane Ghost. They
will please wind up, before fetching their breath, with believing
that there is a close analogy between rejection of any such plain
and proved facts as those contained in the whole foregoing
catalogue, and the opposition encountered by the inventors of
railways, lighting by gas, microscopes and telescopes, and
vaccination. This stinging consideration they will always carry
rankling in their remorseful hearts as they advance.

As touching the Cock Lane Ghost, our conscience-stricken readers
will please particularly to reproach themselves for having ever
supposed that important spiritual manifestation to have been a gross
imposture which was thoroughly detected. They will please to
believe that Dr. Johnson believed in it, and that, in Mr. Howitt's
words, he "appears to have had excellent reasons for his belief".
With a view to this end, the faithful will be so good as to
obliterate from their Boswells the following passage: "Many of my
readers, I am convinced, are to this hour under an impression that
Johnson was thus foolishly deceived. It will therefore surprise
them a good deal when they are informed upon undoubted authority
that Johnson was one of those by whom the imposture was detected.
The story had become so popular, that he thought it should be
investigated, and in this research he was assisted by the Rev. Dr.
Douglas, now Bishop of Salisbury, the great detector of impostures"-
-and therefore tremendously obnoxious to Mr. Howitt--"who informs me
that after the gentlemen who went and examined into the evidence
were satisfied of its falsity, Johnson wrote in their presence an
account of it, which was published in the newspapers and Gentleman's
Magazine, and undeceived the world". But as there will still remain
another highly inconvenient passage in the Boswells of the true
believers, they must likewise be at the trouble of cancelling the
following also, referring to a later time: "He (Johnson) expressed
great indignation at the imposture of the Cock Lane Ghost, and
related with much satisfaction how he had assisted in detecting the
cheat, and had published an account of it in the newspapers".

They will next believe (if they be, in the words of Captain Bobadil,
"so generously minded") in the transatlantic trance-speakers "who
professed to speak from direct inspiration", Mrs. Cora Hatch, Mrs.
Henderson, and Miss Emma Hardinge; and they will believe in those
eminent ladies having "spoken on Sundays to five hundred thousand
hearers"--small audiences, by the way, compared with the intelligent
concourse recently assembled in the city of New York, to do honour
to the Nuptials of General the Honourable T. Barnum Thumb. At about
this stage of their spiritual education they may take the
opportunity of believing in "letters from a distinguished gentleman
of New York, in which the frequent appearance of the gentleman's
deceased wife and of Dr. Franklin, to him and other well-known
friends, are unquestionably unequalled in the annals of the
marvellous". Why these modest appearances should seem at all out of
the common way to Mr. Howitt (who would be in a state of flaming
indignation if we thought them so), we could not imagine, until we
found on reading further, "it is solemnly stated that the witnesses
have not only seen but touched these spirits, and handled the
clothes and hair of Franklin". Without presuming to go Mr. Howitt's
length of considering this by any means a marvellous experience, we
yet venture to confess that it has awakened in our mind many
interesting speculations touching the present whereabout in space,
of the spirits of Mr. Howitt's own departed boots and hats.

The next articles of belief are Belief in the moderate figures of
"thirty thousand media in the United States in 1853"; and in two
million five hundred thousand spiritualists in the same country of
composed minds, in 1855, "professing to have arrived at their
convictions of spiritual communication from personal experience";
and in "an average rate of increase of three hundred thousand per
annum", still in the same country of calm philosophers. Belief in
spiritual knockings, in all manner of American places, and, among
others, in the house of "a Doctor Phelps at Stratford, Connecticut,
a man of the highest character for intelligence", says Mr. Howitt,
and to whom we willingly concede the possession of far higher
intelligence than was displayed by his spiritual knocker, in
"frequently cutting to pieces the clothes of one of his boys", and
in breaking "seventy-one panes of glass"--unless, indeed, the
knocker, when in the body, was connected with the tailoring and
glazing interests. Belief in immaterial performers playing (in the
dark though: they are obstinate about its being in the dark) on
material instruments of wood, catgut, brass, tin, and parchment.
Your belief is further requested in "the Kentucky Jerks". The
spiritual achievements thus euphoniously denominated "appear", says
Mr. Howitt, "to have been of a very disorderly kind". It appears
that a certain Mr. Doke, a Presbyterian clergyman, "was first seized
by the jerks", and the jerks laid hold of Mr. Doke in that
unclerical way and with that scant respect for his cloth, that they
"twitched him about in a most extraordinary manner, often when in
the pulpit, and caused him to shout aloud, and run out of the pulpit
into the woods, screaming like a madman. When the fit was over, he
returned calmly to his pulpit and finished the service." The
congregation having waited, we presume, and edified themselves with
the distant bellowings of Doke in the woods, until he came back
again, a little warm and hoarse, but otherwise in fine condition.
"People were often seized at hotels, and at table would, on lifting
a glass to drink, jerk the liquor to the ceiling; ladies would at
the breakfast-table suddenly be compelled to throw aloft their
coffee, and frequently break the cup and saucer." A certain
venturesome clergyman vowed that he would preach down the Jerks,
"but he was seized in the midst of his attempt, and made so
ridiculous that he withdrew himself from further notice"--an example
much to be commended. That same favoured land of America has been
particularly favoured in the development of "innumerable mediums",
and Mr. Howitt orders you to believe in Daniel Dunglas Home, Andrew
Davis Jackson, and Thomas L. Harris, as "the three most remarkable,
or most familiar, on this side of the Atlantic". Concerning Mr.
Home, the articles of belief (besides removal of furniture) are,
That through him raps have been given and communications made from
deceased friends. That "his hand has been seized by spirit
influence, and rapid communications written out, of a surprising
character to those to whom they were addressed". That at his
bidding, "spirit hands have appeared which have been seen, felt, and
recognised frequently, by persons present, as those of deceased
friends". That he has been frequently lifted up and carried,
floating "as it were" through a room, near the ceiling. That in
America, "all these phenomena have displayed themselves in greater
force than here"--which we have not the slightest doubt of. That he
is "the planter of spiritualism all over Europe". That "by
circumstances that no man could have devised, he became the guest of
the Emperor of the French, of the King of Holland, of the Czar of
Russia, and of many lesser princes". That he returned from "this
unpremeditated missionary tour", "endowed with competence"; but not
before, "at the Tuileries, on one occasion when the emperor,
empress, a distinguished lady, and himself only were sitting at
table, a hand appeared, took up a pen, and wrote, in a strong and
well-known character, the word Napoleon. The hand was then
successively presented to the several personages of the party to
kiss." The stout believer, having disposed of Mr. Home, and rested
a little, will then proceed to believe in Andrew Davis Jackson, or
Andrew Jackson Davis (Mr. Howitt, having no Medium at hand to settle
this difference and reveal the right name of the seer, calls him by
both names), who merely "beheld all the essential natures of things,
saw the interior of men and animals, as perfectly as their exterior;
and described them in language so correct, that the most able
technologists could not surpass him. He pointed out the proper
remedies for all the complaints, and the shops where they were to be
obtained";--in the latter respect appearing to hail from an
advertising circle, as we conceive. It was also in this gentleman's
limited department to "see the metals in the earth", and to have
"the most distant regions and their various productions present
before him". Having despatched this tough case, the believer will
pass on to Thomas L. Harris, and will swallow HIM easily, together
with "whole epics" of his composition; a certain work "of scarcely
less than Miltonic grandeur", called The Lyric of the Golden Age--a
lyric pretty nigh as long as one of Mr. Howitt's volumes--dictated
by Mr. (not Mrs.) Harris to the publisher in ninety-four hours; and
several extempore sermons, possessing the remarkably lucid property
of being "full, unforced, out-gushing, unstinted, and absorbing".
The candidate for examination in pure belief, will then pass on to
the spirit-photography department; this, again, will be found in so-
favoured America, under the superintendence of Medium Mumler, a
photographer of Boston: who was "astonished" (though, on Mr.
Howitt's showing, he surely ought not to have been) "on taking a
photograph of himself, to find also by his side the figure of a
young girl, which he immediately recognised as that of a deceased
relative. The circumstance made a great excitement. Numbers of
persons rushed to his rooms, and many have found deceased friends
photographed with themselves." (Perhaps Mr. Mumler, too, may become
"endowed with competence" in time. Who knows?) Finally, the true
believers in the gospel according to Howitt, have, besides, but to
pin their faith on "ladies who see spirits habitually", on ladies
who KNOW they have a tendency to soar in the air on sufficient
provocation, and on a few other gnats to be taken after their
camels, and they shall be pronounced by Mr. Howitt not of the
stereotyped class of minds, and not partakers of "the astonishing
ignorance of the press", and shall receive a first-class certificate
of merit.

But before they pass through this portal into the Temple of Serene
Wisdom, we, halting blind and helpless on the steps, beg to suggest
to them what they must at once and for ever disbelieve. They must
disbelieve that in the dark times, when very few were versed in what
are now the mere recreations of Science, and when those few formed a
priesthood-class apart, any marvels were wrought by the aid of
concave mirrors and a knowledge of the properties of certain odours
and gases, although the self-same marvels could be reproduced before
their eyes at the Polytechnic Institution, Regent Street, London,
any day in the year. They must by no means believe that Conjuring
and Ventriloquism are old trades. They must disbelieve all
Philosophical Transactions containing the records of painful and
careful inquiry into now familiar disorders of the senses of seeing
and hearing, and into the wonders of somnambulism, epilepsy,
hysteria, miasmatic influence, vegetable poisons derived by whole
communities from corrupted air, diseased imitation, and moral
infection. They must disbelieve all such awkward leading cases as
the case of the Woodstock Commissioners and their man, and the case
of the Identity of the Stockwell Ghost, with the maid-servant. They
must disbelieve the vanishing of champion haunted houses (except,
indeed, out of Mr. Howitt's book), represented to have been closed
and ruined for years, before one day's inquiry by four gentlemen
associated with this journal, and one hour's reference to the Local
Rate-books. They must disbelieve all possibility of a human
creature on the last verge of the dark bridge from Life to Death,
being mysteriously able, in occasional cases, so to influence the
mind of one very near and dear, as vividly to impress that mind with
some disturbed sense of the solemn change impending. They must
disbelieve the possibility of the lawful existence of a class of
intellects which, humbly conscious of the illimitable power of GOD
and of their own weakness and ignorance, never deny that He can
cause the souls of the dead to revisit the earth, or that He may
have caused the souls of the dead to revisit the earth, or that He
can cause any awful or wondrous thing to be; but to deny the
likelihood of apparitions or spirits coming here upon the stupidest
of bootless errands, and producing credentials tantamount to a
solicitation of our vote and interest and next proxy, to get them
into the Asylum for Idiots. They must disbelieve the right of
Christian people who do NOT protest against Protestantism, but who
hold it to be a barrier against the darkest superstitions that can
enslave the soul, to guard with jealousy all approaches tending down
to Cock Lane Ghosts and suchlike infamous swindles, widely degrading
when widely believed in; and they must disbelieve that such people
have the right to know, and that it is their duty to know, wonder-
workers by their fruits, and to test miracle-mongers by the tests of
probability, analogy, and common sense. They must disbelieve all
rational explanations of thoroughly proved experiences (only) which
appear supernatural, derived from the average experience and study
of the visible world. They must disbelieve the speciality of the
Master and the Disciples, and that it is a monstrosity to test the
wonders of show-folk by the same touchstone. Lastly, they must
disbelieve that one of the best accredited chapters in the history
of mankind is the chapter that records the astonishing deceits
continually practised, with no object or purpose but the distorted
pleasure of deceiving.

We have summed up a few--not nearly all--of the articles of belief
and disbelief to which Mr. Howitt most arrogantly demands an
implicit adherence. To uphold these, he uses a book as a Clown in a
Pantomime does, and knocks everybody on the head with it who comes
in his way. Moreover, he is an angrier personage than the Clown,
and does not experimentally try the effect of his red-hot poker on
your shins, but straightway runs you through the body and soul with
it. He is always raging to tell you that if you are not Howitt, you
are Atheist and Anti-Christ. He is the sans-culotte of the
Spiritual Revolution, and will not hear of your accepting this point
and rejecting that;--down your throat with them all, one and
indivisible, at the point of the pike; No Liberty, Totality,
Fraternity, or Death!

Without presuming to question that "it is high time to protest
against Protestantism" on such very substantial grounds as Mr.
Howitt sets forth, we do presume to think that it is high time to
protest against Mr. Howitt's spiritualism, as being a little in
excess of the peculiar merit of Thomas L. Harris's sermons, and
somewhat TOO "full, out-gushing, unstinted, and absorbing".


"After the valets, the master!" is Mr. Fechter's rallying cry in the
picturesque romantic drama which attracts all London to the Lyceum
Theatre. After the worshippers and puffers of Mr. Daniel Dunglas
Home, the spirit medium, comes Mr. Daniel Dunglas Home himself, in
one volume. And we must, for the honour of Literature, plainly
express our great surprise and regret that he comes arm-in-arm with
such good company as Messrs. Longman and Company.

We have already summed up Mr. Home's demands on the public capacity
of swallowing, as sounded through the war-denouncing trumpet of Mr.
Howitt, and it is not our intention to revive the strain as
performed by Mr. Home on his own melodious instrument. We notice,
by the way, that in that part of the Fantasia where the hand of the
first Napoleon is supposed to be reproduced, recognised, and kissed,
at the Tuileries, Mr. Home subdues the florid effects one might have
expected after Mr. Howitt's execution, and brays in an extremely
general manner. And yet we observe Mr. Home to be in other things
very reliant on Mr. Howitt, of whom he entertains as gratifying an
opinion as Mr. Howitt entertains of him: dwelling on his "deep
researches into this subject", and of his "great work now ready for
the press", and of his "eloquent and forcible" advocacy, and eke of
his "elaborate and almost exhaustive work", which Mr. Home trusts
will be "extensively read". But, indeed, it would seem to be the
most reliable characteristic of the Dear Spirits, though very
capricious in other particulars, that they always form their circles
into what may be described, in worldly terms, as A Mutual Admiration
and Complimentation Company (Limited).

Mr. Home's book is entitled Incidents in My Life. We will extract a
dozen sample passages from it, as variations on and phrases of
harmony in, the general strain for the Trumpet, which we have
promised not to repeat.


"I cannot remember when first I became subject to the curious
phenomena which have now for so long attended me, but my aunt and
others have told me that when I was a baby my cradle was frequently
rocked, as if some kind guardian spirit was attending me in my


"In her uncontrollable anger she seized a chair and threw it at me."


"Upon one occasion as the table was being thus moved about of
itself, my aunt brought the family Bible, and placing it on the
table, said, 'There, that will soon drive the devils away'; but to
her astonishment the table only moved in a more lively manner, as if
pleased to bear such a burden." (We believe this is constantly
observed in pulpits and church reading desks, which are invariably
lively.) "Seeing this she was greatly incensed, and determined to
stop it, she angrily placed her whole weight on the table, and was
actually lifted up with it bodily from the floor."


"And she felt it a duty that I should leave her house, and which I


It was communicated to him by the spirit of his mother, in the
following terms: "Daniel, fear not, my child, God is with you, and
who shall be against you? Seek to do good: be truthful and truth-
loving, and you will prosper, my child. Yours is a glorious
mission--you will convince the infidel, cure the sick, and console
the weeping." It is a coincidence that another eminent man, with
several missions, heard a voice from the Heavens blessing him, when
he also was a youth, and saying, "You will be rewarded, my son, in
time". This Medium was the celebrated Baron Munchausen, who relates
the experience in the opening of the second chapter of the incidents
in HIS life.


"Certainly these phenomena, whether from God or from the devil, have
in ten years caused more converts to the great truths of immortality
and angel communion, with all that flows from these great facts,
than all the sects in Christendom have made during the same period."


"As to the music, it has been my good fortune to be on intimate
terms with some of the first composers of the day, and more than one
of them have said of such as they have heard, that it is such music
as only angels could make, and no man could write it."

These "first composers" are not more particularly named. We shall
therefore be happy to receive and file at the office of this
Journal, the testimonials in the foregoing terms of Dr. Sterndale
Bennett, Mr. Balfe, Mr. Macfarren, Mr. Benedict, Mr. Vincent
Wallace, Signor Costa, M. Auber, M. Gounod, Signor Rossini, and
Signor Verdi. We shall also feel obliged to Mr. Alfred Mellon, who
is no doubt constantly studying this wonderful music, under the
Medium's auspices, if he will note on paper, from memory, say a
single sheet of the same. Signor Giulio Regondi will then perform
it, as correctly as a mere mortal can, on the Accordion, at the next
ensuing concert of the Philharmonic Society; on which occasion the
before-mentioned testimonials will be conspicuously displayed in the
front of the orchestra.


"On the 26th April, old style, or 8th May, according to our style,
at seven in the evening, and as the snow was fast falling, our
little boy was born at the town house, situate on the Gagarines
Quay, in St. Petersburg, where we were still staying. A few hours
after his birth, his mother, the nurse, and I heard for several
hours the warbling of a bird as if singing over him. Also that
night, and for two or three nights afterwards, a bright starlike
light, which was clearly visible from the partial darkness of the
room, in which there was only a night-lamp burning, appeared several
times directly I over its head, where it remained for some moments,
and then slowly moved in the direction of the door, where it
disappeared. This was also seen by each of us at the same time.
The light was more condensed than those which have been so often
seen in my presence upon previous and subsequent occasions. It was
brighter and more distinctly globular. I do not believe that it
came through my mediumship, but rather through that of the child,
who has manifested on several occasions the presence of the gift. I
do not like to allude to such a matter, but as there are more
strange things in Heaven and earth than are dreamt of, even in my
philosophy, I do not feel myself at liberty to omit stating, that
during the latter part of my wife's pregnancy, we thought it better
that she should not join in Seances, because it was found that
whenever the rappings occurred in the room, a simultaneous movement
of the child was distinctly felt, perfectly in unison with the
sounds. When there were three sounds, three movements were felt,
and so on, and when five sounds were heard, which is generally the
call for the alphabet, she felt the five internal movements, and she
would frequently, when we were mistaken in the latter, correct us
from what the child indicated."

We should ask pardon of our readers for sullying our paper with this
nauseous matter, if without it they could adequately understand what
Mr. Home's book is.


Prudently avoiding the disagreeable question of his giving himself,
both in this state of existence and in his spiritual circle, a name
to which he never had any pretensions whatever, and likewise
prudently suppressing any reference to his amiable weakness as a
swindler and an infamous trafficker in his own wife, the guileless
Mr. Balsamo delivered, in a "distinct voice", this distinct
celestial utterance--unquestionably punctuated in a supernatural
manner: "My power was that of a mesmerist, but all-misunderstood by
those about me, my biographers have even done me injustice, but I
care not for the untruths of earth".


"After various manifestations, Mr. Home went into the trance, and
addressing a person present, said, 'You ask what good are such
trivial manifestations, such as rapping, table-moving, etc.? God is
a better judge than we are what is fitted for humanity, immense
results may spring from trivial things. The steam from a kettle is
a small thing, but look at the locomotive! The electric spark from
the back of a cat is a small thing, but see the wonders of
electricity! The raps are small things, but their results will lead
you to the Spirit-World, and to eternity! Why should great results
spring from such small causes? Christ was born in a manger, he was
not born a King. When you tell me why he was born in a manger, I
will tell you why these manifestations, so trivial, so undignified
as they appear to you, have been appointed to convince the world of
the truth of spiritualism.'"

Wonderful! Clearly direct Inspiration!--And yet, perhaps, hardly
worth the trouble of going "into the trance" for, either. Amazing
as the revelation is, we seem to have heard something like it from
more than one personage who was wide awake. A quack doctor, in an
open barouche (attended by a barrel-organ and two footmen in brass
helmets), delivered just such another address within our hearing,
outside a gate of Paris, not two months ago.


"The lady of the house turned to me and said abruptly, 'Why, you are
sitting in the air'; and on looking, we found that the chair
remained in its place, but that I was elevated two or three inches
above it, and my feet not touching the floor. This may show how
utterly unconscious I am at times to the sensation of levitation.
As is usual, when I had not got above the level of the heads of
those about me, and when they change their position much--as they
frequently do in looking wistfully at such a phenomenon--I came down
again, but not till I had remained so raised about half a minute
from the time of its being first seen. I was now impressed to leave
the table, and was soon carried to the lofty ceiling. The Count de
B- left his place at the table, and coming under where I was, said,
'Now, young Home, come and let me touch your feet.' I told him I
had no volition in the matter, but perhaps the spirits would kindly
allow me to come down to him. They did so, by floating me down to
him, and my feet were soon in his outstretched hands. He seized my
boots, and now I was again elevated, he holding tightly, and pulling
at my feet, till the boots I wore, which had elastic sides, came off
and remained in his hands."


As there is a maudlin complaint in this book, about men of Science
being hard upon "the 'Orphan' Home", and as the "gentle and
uncombative nature" of this Medium in a martyred point of view is
pathetically commented on by the anonymous literary friend who
supplies him with an introduction and appendix--rather at odds with
Mr. Howitt, who is so mightily triumphant about the same Martyr's
reception by crowned heads, and about the competence he has become
endowed with--we cull from Mr. Home's book one or two little
illustrative flowers. Sir David Brewster (a pestilent unbeliever)
"has come before the public in few matters which have brought more
shame upon him than his conduct and assertions on this occasion, in
which he manifested not only a disregard for truth, but also a
disloyalty to scientific observation, and to the use of his own
eyesight and natural faculties". The same unhappy Sir David
Brewster's "character may be the better known, not only for his
untruthful dealing with this subject, but also in his own domain of
science in which the same unfaithfulness to truth will be seen to be
the characteristic of his mind". Again, he "is really not a man
over whom victory is any honour". Again, "not only he, but
Professor Faraday have had time and ample leisure to regret that
they should have so foolishly pledged themselves", etc. A Faraday a
fool in the sight of a Home! That unjust judge and whited wall,
Lord Brougham, has his share of this Martyr Medium's
uncombativeness. "In order that he might not be compelled to deny
Sir David's statements, he found it necessary that he should be
silent, and I have some reason to complain that his Lordship
preferred sacrificing me to his desire not to immolate his friend."
M. Arago also came off with very doubtful honours from a wrestle
with the uncombative Martyr; who is perfectly clear (and so are we,
let us add) that scientific men are not the men for his purpose. Of
course, he is the butt of "utter and acknowledged ignorance", and of
"the most gross and foolish statements", and of "the unjust and
dishonest", and of "the press-gang", and of crowds of other alien
and combative adjectives, participles, and substantives.

Nothing is without its use, and even this odious book may do some
service. Not because it coolly claims for the writer and his
disciples such powers as were wielded by the Saviour and the
Apostles; not because it sees no difference between twelve table
rappers in these days, and "twelve fishermen" in those; not because
it appeals for precedents to statements extracted from the most
ignorant and wretched of mankind, by cruel torture, and constantly
withdrawn when the torture was withdrawn; not because it sets forth
such a strange confusion of ideas as is presented by one of the
faithful when, writing of a certain sprig of geranium handed by an
invisible hand, he adds in ecstasies, "WHICH WE HAVE PLANTED AND IT
DROSS OR LEAVES"--as if it followed that the conjuror's half-crowns
really did become invisible and in that state fly, because he
afterwards cuts them out of a real orange; or as if the conjuror's
pigeon, being after the discharge of his gun, a real live pigeon
fluttering on the target, must therefore conclusively be a pigeon,
fired, whole, living and unshattered, out of the gun!--not because
of the exposure of any of these weaknesses, or a thousand such, are
these moving incidents in the life of the Martyr Medium, and similar
productions, likely to prove useful, but because of their uniform
abuse of those who go to test the reality of these alleged
phenomena, and who come away incredulous. There is an old homely
proverb concerning pitch and its adhesive character, which we hope
this significant circumstance may impress on many minds. The writer
of these lines has lately heard overmuch touching young men of
promise in the imaginative arts, "towards whom" Martyr Mediums
assisting at evening parties feel themselves "drawn". It may be a
hint to such young men to stick to their own drawing, as being of a
much better kind, and to leave Martyr Mediums alone in their glory.

As there is a good deal in these books about "lying spirits", we
will conclude by putting a hypothetical case. Supposing that a
Medium (Martyr or otherwise) were established for a time in the
house of an English gentleman abroad; say, somewhere in Italy.
Supposing that the more marvellous the Medium became, the more
suspicious of him the lady of the house became. Supposing that the
lady, her distrust once aroused, were particularly struck by the
Medium's exhibiting a persistent desire to commit her, somehow or
other, to the disclosure of the manner of the death, to him unknown,
of a certain person. Supposing that she at length resolved to test
the Medium on this head, and, therefore, on a certain evening
mentioned a wholly supposititious manner of death (which was not the
real manner of death, nor anything at all like it) within the range
of his listening ears. And supposing that a spirit presently
afterwards rapped out its presence, claiming to be the spirit of
that deceased person, and claiming to have departed this life in
that supposititious way. Would that be a lying spirit? Or would it
he a something else, tainting all that Medium's statements and
suppressions, even if they were not in themselves of a manifestly
outrageous character?


Every Artist, be he writer, painter, musician, or actor, must bear
his private sorrows as he best can, and must separate them from the
exercise of his public pursuit. But it sometimes happens, in
compensation, that his private loss of a dear friend represents a
loss on the part of the whole community. Then he may, without
obtrusion of his individuality, step forth to lay his little wreath
upon that dear friend's grave.

On Saturday, the eighteenth of this present month, Clarkson
Stanfield died. On the afternoon of that day, England lost the
great marine painter of whom she will be boastful ages hence; the
National Historian of her speciality, the Sea; the man famous in all
countries for his marvellous rendering of the waves that break upon
her shores, of her ships and seamen, of her coasts and skies, of her
storms and sunshine, of the many marvels of the deep. He who holds
the oceans in the hollow of His hand had given, associated with
them, wonderful gifts into his keeping; he had used them well
through threescore and fourteen years; and, on the afternoon of that
spring day, relinquished them for ever.

It is superfluous to record that the painter of "The Battle of
Trafalgar", of the "Victory being towed into Gibraltar with the body
of Nelson on Board", of "The Morning after the Wreck", of "The
Abandoned", of fifty more such works, died in his seventy-fourth
year, "Mr." Stanfield.--He was an Englishman.

Those grand pictures will proclaim his powers while paint and canvas
last. But the writer of these words had been his friend for thirty
years; and when, a short week or two before his death, he laid that
once so skilful hand upon the writer's breast and told him they
would meet again, "but not here", the thoughts of the latter turned,
for the time, so little to his noble genius, and so much to his
noble nature!

He was the soul of frankness, generosity, and simplicity. The most
genial, the most affectionate, the most loving, and the most lovable
of men. Success had never for an instant spoiled him. His interest
in the Theatre as an Institution--the best picturesqueness of which
may be said to be wholly due to him--was faithful to the last. His
belief in a Play, his delight in one, the ease with which it moved
him to tears or to laughter, were most remarkable evidences of the
heart he must have put into his old theatrical work, and of the
thorough purpose and sincerity with which it must have been done.
The writer was very intimately associated with him in some amateur
plays; and day after day, and night after night, there were the same
unquenchable freshness, enthusiasm, and impressibility in him,
though broken in health, even then.

No Artist can ever have stood by his art with a quieter dignity than
he always did. Nothing would have induced him to lay it at the feet
of any human creature. To fawn, or to toady, or to do undeserved
homage to any one, was an absolute impossibility with him. And yet
his character was so nicely balanced that he was the last man in the
world to be suspected of self-assertion, and his modesty was one of
his most special qualities.

He was a charitable, religious, gentle, truly good man. A genuine
man, incapable of pretence or of concealment. He had been a sailor
once; and all the best characteristics that are popularly attributed
to sailors, being his, and being in him refined by the influences of
his Art, formed a whole not likely to be often seen. There is no
smile that the writer can recall, like his; no manner so naturally
confiding and so cheerfully engaging. When the writer saw him for
the last time on earth, the smile and the manner shone out once
through the weakness, still: the bright unchanging Soul within the
altered face and form.

No man was ever held in higher respect by his friends, and yet his
intimate friends invariably addressed him and spoke of him by a pet
name. It may need, perhaps, the writer's memory and associations to
find in this a touching expression of his winning character, his
playful smile, and pleasant ways. "You know Mrs. Inchbald's story,
Nature and Art?" wrote Thomas Hood, once, in a letter: "What a fine
Edition of Nature and Art is Stanfield!"

Gone! And many and many a dear old day gone with him! But their
memories remain. And his memory will not soon fade out, for he has
set his mark upon the restless waters, and his fame will long be
sounded in the roar of the sea.


It is never well for the public interest that the originator of any
social reform should be soon forgotten. Further, it is neither
wholesome nor right (being neither generous nor just) that the merit
of his work should be gradually transferred elsewhere.

Some few weeks ago, our contemporary, the Pall Mall Gazette, in
certain strictures on our Theatres which we are very far indeed from
challenging, remarked on the first effectual discouragement of an
outrage upon decency which the lobbies and upper-boxes of even our
best Theatres habitually paraded within the last twenty or thirty
years. From those remarks it might appear as though no such Manager
of Covent Garden or Drury Lane as Mr. Macready had ever existed.

It is a fact beyond all possibility of question, that Mr. Macready,
on assuming the management of Covent Garden Theatre in 1837, did
instantly set himself, regardless of precedent and custom down to
that hour obtaining, rigidly to suppress this shameful thing, and
did rigidly suppress and crush it during his whole management of
that theatre, and during his whole subsequent management of Drury
Lane. That he did so, as certainly without favour as without fear;
that he did so, against his own immediate interests; that he did so,
against vexations and oppositions which might have cooled the ardour
of a less earnest man, or a less devoted artist; can be better known
to no one than the writer of the present words, whose name stands at
the head of these pages.


Prefixed to the second volume of Mr. Forster's admirable biography
of Walter Savage Landor, {1} is an engraving from a portrait of that
remarkable man when seventy-seven years of age, by Boxall. The
writer of these lines can testify that the original picture is a
singularly good likeness, the result of close and subtle observation
on the part of the painter; but, for this very reason, the engraving
gives a most inadequate idea of the merit of the picture and the
character of the man.

From the engraving, the arms and hands are omitted. In the picture,
they are, as they were in nature, indispensable to a correct reading
of the vigorous face. The arms were very peculiar. They were
rather short, and were curiously restrained and checked in their
action at the elbows; in the action of the hands, even when
separately clenched, there was the same kind of pause, and a
noticeable tendency to relaxation on the part of the thumb. Let the
face be never so intense or fierce, there was a commentary of
gentleness in the hands, essential to be taken along with it. Like
Hamlet, Landor would speak daggers, but use none. In the expression
of his hands, though angrily closed, there was always gentleness and
tenderness; just as when they were open, and the handsome old
gentleman would wave them with a little courtly flourish that sat
well upon him, as he recalled some classic compliment that he had
rendered to some reigning Beauty, there was a chivalrous grace about
them such as pervades his softer verses. Thus the fictitious Mr.
Boythorn (to whom we may refer without impropriety in this
connexion, as Mr. Forster does) declaims "with unimaginable energy"
the while his bird is "perched upon his thumb", and he "softly
smooths its feathers with his forefinger".

From the spirit of Mr. Forster's Biography these characteristic
hands are never omitted, and hence (apart from its literary merits)
its great value. As the same masterly writer's Life and Times of
Oliver Goldsmith is a generous and yet conscientious picture of a
period, so this is a not less generous and yet conscientious picture
of one life; of a life, with all its aspirations, achievements, and
disappointments; all its capabilities, opportunities, and
irretrievable mistakes. It is essentially a sad book, and herein
lies proof of its truth and worth. The life of almost any man
possessing great gifts, would be a sad book to himself; and this
book enables us not only to see its subject, but to be its subject,
if we will.

Mr. Forster is of opinion that "Landor's fame very surely awaits
him". This point admitted or doubted, the value of the book remains
the same. It needs not to know his works (otherwise than through
his biographer's exposition), it needs not to have known himself, to
find a deep interest in these pages. More or less of their warning
is in every conscience; and some admiration of a fine genius, and of
a great, wild, generous nature, incapable of mean self-extenuation
or dissimulation--if unhappily incapable of self-repression too--
should be in every breast. "There may be still living many
persons", Walter Landor's brother, Robert, writes to Mr. Forster of
this book, "who would contradict any narrative of yours in which the
best qualities were remembered, the worst forgotten." Mr. Forster's
comment is: "I had not waited for this appeal to resolve, that, if
this memoir were written at all, it should contain, as far as might
lie within my power, a fair statement of the truth". And this
eloquent passage of truth immediately follows: "Few of his
infirmities are without something kindly or generous about them; and
we are not long in discovering there is nothing so wildly incredible
that he will not himself in perfect good faith believe. When he
published his first book of poems on quitting Oxford, the profits
were to be reserved for a distressed clergyman. When he published
his Latin poems, the poor of Leipzig were to have the sum they
realised. When his comedy was ready to be acted, a Spaniard who had
sheltered him at Castro was to be made richer by it. When he
competed for the prize of the Academy of Stockholm, it was to go to
the poor of Sweden. If nobody got anything from any one of these
enterprises, the fault at all events was not his. With his
extraordinary power of forgetting disappointments, he was prepared
at each successive failure to start afresh, as if each had been a
triumph. I shall have to delineate this peculiarity as strongly in
the last half as in the first half of his life, and it was certainly
an amiable one. He was ready at all times to set aside, out of his
own possessions, something for somebody who might please him for the
time; and when frailties of temper and tongue are noted, this other
eccentricity should not be omitted. He desired eagerly the love as
well as the good opinion of those whom for the time he esteemed, and
no one was more affectionate while under such influences. It is not
a small virtue to feel such genuine pleasure, as he always did in
giving and receiving pleasure. His generosity, too, was bestowed
chiefly on those who could make small acknowledgment in thanks and
no return in kind."

Some of his earlier contemporaries may have thought him a vain man.
Most assuredly he was not, in the common acceptation of the term. A
vain man has little or no admiration to bestow upon competitors.
Landor had an inexhaustible fund. He thought well of his writings,
or he would not have preserved them. He said and wrote that he
thought well of them, because that was his mind about them, and he
said and wrote his mind. He was one of the few men of whom you
might always know the whole: of whom you might always know the
worst, as well as the best. He had no reservations or duplicities.
"No, by Heaven!" he would say ("with unimaginable energy"), if any
good adjective were coupled with him which he did not deserve: "I
am nothing of the kind. I wish I were; but I don't deserve the
attribute, and I never did, and I never shall!" His intense
consciousness of himself never led to his poorly excusing himself,
and seldom to his violently asserting himself. When he told some
little story of his bygone social experiences, in Florence, or where
not, as he was fond of doing, it took the innocent form of making
all the interlocutors, Landors. It was observable, too, that they
always called him "Mr. Landor"--rather ceremoniously and
submissively. There was a certain "Caro Pedre Abete Marina"--
invariably so addressed in these anecdotes--who figured through a
great many of them, and who always expressed himself in this
deferential tone.

Mr. Forster writes of Landor's character thus:

"A man must be judged, at first, by what he says and does. But with
him such extravagance as I have referred to was little more than the
habitual indulgence (on such themes) of passionate feelings and
language, indecent indeed but utterly purposeless; the mere
explosion of wrath provoked by tyranny or cruelty; the
irregularities of an overheated steam-engine too weak for its own
vapour. It is very certain that no one could detest oppression more
truly than Landor did in all seasons and times; and if no one
expressed that scorn, that abhorrence of tyranny and fraud, more
hastily or more intemperately, all his fire and fury signified
really little else than ill-temper too easily provoked. Not to
justify or excuse such language, but to explain it, this
consideration is urged. If not uniformly placable, Landor was
always compassionate. He was tender-hearted rather than bloody-
minded at all times, and upon only the most partial acquaintance
with his writings could other opinion be formed. A completer
knowledge of them would satisfy any one that he had as little real
disposition to kill a king as to kill a mouse. In fact there is not
a more marked peculiarity in his genius than the union with its
strength of a most uncommon gentleness, and in the personal ways of
the man this was equally manifest."--Vol. i. p. 496.

Of his works, thus:

"Though his mind was cast in the antique mould, it had opened itself
to every kind of impression through a long and varied life; he has
written with equal excellence in both poetry and prose, which can
hardly be said of any of his contemporaries; and perhaps the single
epithet by which his books would be best described is that reserved
exclusively for books not characterised only by genius, but also by
special individuality. They are unique. Having possessed them, we
should miss them. Their place would be supplied by no others. They
have that about them, moreover, which renders it almost certain that
they will frequently be resorted to in future time. There are none
in the language more quotable. Even where impulsiveness and want of
patience have left them most fragmentary, this rich compensation is
offered to the reader. There is hardly a conceivable subject, in
life or literature, which they do not illustrate by striking
aphorisms, by concise and profound observations, by wisdom ever
applicable to the deeds of men, and by wit as available for their
enjoyment. Nor, above all, will there anywhere be found a more
pervading passion for liberty, a fiercer hatred of the base, a wider
sympathy with the wronged and the oppressed, or help more ready at
all times for those who fight at odds and disadvantage against the
powerful and the fortunate, than in the writings of Walter Savage
Landor."--Last page of second volume.

The impression was strong upon the present writer's mind, as on Mr.
Forster's, during years of close friendship with the subject of this
biography, that his animosities were chiefly referable to the
singular inability in him to dissociate other people's ways of
thinking from his own. He had, to the last, a ludicrous grievance
(both Mr. Forster and the writer have often amused themselves with
it) against a good-natured nobleman, doubtless perfectly unconscious
of having ever given him offence. The offence was, that on the
occasion of some dinner party in another nobleman's house, many
years before, this innocent lord (then a commoner) had passed in to
dinner, through some door, before him, as he himself was about to
pass in through that same door with a lady on his arm. Now, Landor
was a gentleman of most scrupulous politeness, and in his carriage
of himself towards ladies there was a certain mixture of stateliness
and deference, belonging to quite another time, and, as Mr. Pepys
would observe, "mighty pretty to see". If he could by any effort
imagine himself committing such a high crime and misdemeanour as
that in question, he could only imagine himself as doing it of a set
purpose, under the sting of some vast injury, to inflict a great
affront. A deliberately designed affront on the part of another
man, it therefore remained to the end of his days. The manner in
which, as time went on, he permeated the unfortunate lord's ancestry
with this offence, was whimsically characteristic of Landor. The
writer remembers very well when only the individual himself was held
responsible in the story for the breach of good breeding; but in
another ten years or so, it began to appear that his father had
always been remarkable for ill manners; and in yet another ten years
or so, his grandfather developed into quite a prodigy of coarse

Mr. Boythorn--if he may again be quoted--said of his adversary, Sir
Leicester Dedlock: "That fellow is, AND HIS FATHER WAS, AND HIS
GRANDFATHER WAS, the most stiff-necked, arrogant, imbecile, pig-
headed numskull, ever, by some inexplicable mistake of Nature, born
in any station of life but a walking-stick's!"

The strength of some of Mr. Landor's most captivating kind qualities
was traceable to the same source. Knowing how keenly he himself
would feel the being at any small social disadvantage, or the being
unconsciously placed in any ridiculous light, he was wonderfully
considerate of shy people, or of such as might be below the level of
his usual conversation, or otherwise out of their element. The
writer once observed him in the keenest distress of mind in behalf
of a modest young stranger who came into a drawing-room with a glove
on his head. An expressive commentary on this sympathetic
condition, and on the delicacy with which he advanced to the young
stranger's rescue, was afterwards furnished by himself at a friendly
dinner at Gore House, when it was the most delightful of houses.
His dress--say, his cravat or shirt-collar--had become slightly
disarranged on a hot evening, and Count D'Orsay laughingly called
his attention to the circumstance as we rose from table. Landor
became flushed, and greatly agitated: "My dear Count D'Orsay, I
thank you! My dear Count D'Orsay, I thank you from my soul for
pointing out to me the abominable condition to which I am reduced!
If I had entered the Drawing-room, and presented myself before Lady
Blessington in so absurd a light, I would have instantly gone home,
put a pistol to my head, and blown my brains out!"

Mr. Forster tells a similar story of his keeping a company waiting
dinner, through losing his way; and of his seeing no remedy for that
breach of politeness but cutting his throat, or drowning himself,
unless a countryman whom he met could direct him by a short road to
the house where the party were assembled. Surely these are
expressive notes on the gravity and reality of his explosive
inclinations to kill kings!

His manner towards boys was charming, and the earnestness of his
wish to be on equal terms with them and to win their confidence was
quite touching. Few, reading Mr. Forster's book, can fall to see in
this, his pensive remembrance of that "studious wilful boy at once
shy and impetuous", who had not many intimacies at Rugby, but who
was "generally popular and respected, and used his influence often
to save the younger boys from undue harshness or violence". The
impulsive yearnings of his passionate heart towards his own boy, on
their meeting at Bath, after years of separation, likewise burn
through this phase of his character.

But a more spiritual, softened, and unselfish aspect of it, was to
derived from his respectful belief in happiness which he himself had
missed. His marriage had not been a felicitous one--it may be
fairly assumed for either side--but no trace of bitterness or
distrust concerning other marriages was in his mind. He was never
more serene than in the midst of a domestic circle, and was
invariably remarkable for a perfectly benignant interest in young
couples and young lovers. That, in his ever-fresh fancy, he
conceived in this association innumerable histories of himself
involving far more unlikely events that never happened than Isaac
D'Israeli ever imagined, is hardly to be doubted; but as to this
part of his real history he was mute, or revealed his nobleness in
an impulse to be generously just. We verge on delicate ground, but
a slight remembrance rises in the writer which can grate nowhere.
Mr. Forster relates how a certain friend, being in Florence, sent
him home a leaf from the garden of his old house at Fiesole. That
friend had first asked him what he should send him home, and he had
stipulated for this gift--found by Mr. Forster among his papers
after his death. The friend, on coming back to England, related to
Landor that he had been much embarrassed, on going in search of the
leaf, by his driver's suddenly stopping his horses in a narrow lane,
and presenting him (the friend) to "La Signora Landora". The lady
was walking alone on a bright Italian-winter-day; and the man,
having been told to drive to the Villa Landora, inferred that he
must be conveying a guest or visitor. "I pulled off my hat," said
the friend, "apologised for the coachman's mistake, and drove on.
The lady was walking with a rapid and firm step, had bright eyes, a
fine fresh colour, and looked animated and agreeable." Landor
checked off each clause of the description, with a stately nod of
more than ready assent, and replied, with all his tremendous energy
concentrated into the sentence: "And the Lord forbid that I should
do otherwise than declare that she always WAS agreeable--to every
one but ME!"

Mr. Forster step by step builds up the evidence on which he writes
this life and states this character. In like manner, he gives the
evidence for his high estimation of Landor's works, and--it may be
added--for their recompense against some neglect, in finding so
sympathetic, acute, and devoted a champion. Nothing in the book is
more remarkable than his examination of each of Landor's successive
pieces of writing, his delicate discernment of their beauties, and
his strong desire to impart his own perceptions in this wise to the
great audience that is yet to come. It rarely befalls an author to
have such a commentator: to become the subject of so much artistic
skill and knowledge, combined with such infinite and loving pains.
Alike as a piece of Biography, and as a commentary upon the beauties
of a great writer, the book is a massive book; as the man and the
writer were massive too. Sometimes, when the balance held by Mr.
Forster has seemed for a moment to turn a little heavily against the
infirmities of temperament of a grand old friend, we have felt
something of a shock; but we have not once been able to gainsay the
justice of the scales. This feeling, too, has only fluttered out of
the detail, here or there, and has vanished before the whole. We
fully agree with Mr. Forster that "judgment has been passed"--as it
should be--"with an equal desire to be only just on all the
qualities of his temperament which affected necessarily not his own
life only. But, now that the story is told, no one will have
difficulty in striking the balance between its good and ill; and
what was really imperishable in Landor's genius will not be
treasured less, or less understood, for the more perfect knowledge
of his character".

Mr. Forster's second volume gives a facsimile of Landor's writing at
seventy-five. It may be interesting to those who are curious in
calligraphy, to know that its resemblance to the recent handwriting
of that great genius, M. Victor Hugo, is singularly strong.

In a military burial-ground in India, the name of Walter Landor is
associated with the present writer's over the grave of a young
officer. No name could stand there, more inseparably associated in
the writer's mind with the dignity of generosity: with a noble
scorn of all littleness, all cruelty, oppression, fraud, and false


I beg to announce to the readers of this Journal, that on the
completion of the Twentieth Volume on the Twenty-eighth of November,
in the present year, I shall commence an entirely New Series of All
the Year Round. The change is not only due to the convenience of
the public (with which a set of such books, extending beyond twenty
large volumes, would be quite incompatible), but is also resolved
upon for the purpose of effecting some desirable improvements in
respect of type, paper, and size of page, which could not otherwise
be made. To the Literature of the New Series it would not become me
to refer, beyond glancing at the pages of this Journal, and of its
predecessor, through a score of years; inasmuch as my regular
fellow-labourers and I will be at our old posts, in company with
those younger comrades, whom I have had the pleasure of enrolling
from time to time, and whose number it is always one of my
pleasantest editorial duties to enlarge.

As it is better that every kind of work honestly undertaken and
discharged, should speak for itself than be spoken for, I will only
remark further on one intended omission in the New Series. The
Extra Christmas Number has now been so extensively, and regularly,
and often imitated, that it is in very great danger of becoming
tiresome. I have therefore resolved (though I cannot add,
willingly) to abolish it, at the highest tide of its success.



{1} Walter Savage Landor: a Biography, by John Forster, 2 vols.
Chapman and Hall.

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