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istic side, gives it the pleasantest flavor. I allude to the unaffected and hearty enthusiasm of Mr. Charles Dickens himself. He evidently enjoyed the thing quite as much as any one present. I can not imagine a happier condition for a successful author or artist of any kind than to be able to share the favor of the public toward his works —to appreciate and rejoice in his own "good things," long after they have been set down in the catalogue of past successes—to recognize suddenly, some fine day, in a page not often turned, one more clever bit than he had given himself credit for, and to make of the matured children of his fancy or sober judgment coustant companious. And truly the sight of this great writer chuckling over every one of his own funny conceits, or droll expositions of character—following the ghosts of his own creation as if indeed he were walking through the dim shadows of the Christmas Past and Future, and seeming relieved and glad of a glass of water when the mystic spell was broken—pausing after an amazing recital of the dance that Mr. Scrooge was made to see, ending with that irresistible idea of legs that actually "winked," in order to put the book up to his face, as if marginal red face and merry twinklings of eyes and mouth did not tell the audience that he was quite overcome with laughter—I say, to see all this was to explode at once the dismal theory that comedians are the heaviest of sobersides off the stage, and that facetious authors view their own jokes with loathing. I could see the good thing coming on. Mr. Dickens's own eyes and mouth couldn't keep the secret. The one began to expand and twitch at the corners, and the other to be rapid in their orbits. Then the reader seemed to draw up closer to his audience, as if not to miss the shock when it came, and presently, with a very ridiculous attempt to be serious for the moment, he let it fly. Waiting a few seconds to catch the shouts of the galleries, as well as the more dignified explosions of the stalls, he threw himself back a step or two from the desk and gave himself up to it.
He appeared particularly to enjoy Mrs. Sairey Gamp, which historical personage, in company with her friend Mrs. Harris, was introduced after the reading of the "Carol." I should say Mrs. G. is one of his favorite characters. The preparations of the Cratchit family for their Christmas dinner, however, were as clearly nuts to him. The progress of the pudding was as vast and serious a matter to that handsomely dressed gentleman as to the smallest and hungriest of the Cratchits, and its successful completion filled him with joy. The naturalness of this sympathy was attested, I think, by the vain show of calmness and insensibility on the part of the reader. But it imposed on no intelligent hearer. Why should he try to conceal that which is the very heart of his genius, sgmpathg—the golden undercurrent of all the writings of Charles Dickens, which has brought him near to so many hearts, and established him in the best seats in the houses of the highest and lowest?
The reading lasted nearly two hours. When it was done, Mr. Dickens bowed and lightly stepped away, without any allusion to the next and last reading of the course. The audience lingered, after their rounds of applause, until his retreating form "finally disappeared" behind the screen. I wonder if they, like me, were spooney during that brief pause, and followed Charles Dickens with benedictions for all the happiness and good cheer he has been able to bring into a world never too free of snarlers and sneerers, and longing desires of life, and health, and happiness, for him and his, these many years to come 1 If they were not spooney then, they had been more than once or twice during the two hours; and if Lord John Russell, that great man (who happened to be present on this occasion), had ventured so much as to suggest that I was standing there like a fool while he wanted to get by and thence home to dream of foreign dispatches, I should have retorted savagely that I saw him doing something besides the right thing with his handkerchief when the death of Tiny Tim was suggested, and indulging in immoderate laughter (for a minister) during the entire presence of Mrs. Gamp.
THE HELPING HAND. ""VTOT even a word of recognition!" The -Ll speaker was a woman. Over her gentle face had fallen a shadow of disappointment. She was sitting at a table, in a plainly furnished room, with books, magazines, and writing materials before her. In her hand was a literary review, the last page of which she had just turned.
"Not even a word of recognition!" she repeated, in a tone of discouragement. "Every book but mine noticed; mine, into which my heart went with such a loving interest. I am hurt, and can not help it!"
She laid her cheek upon her hand, and sat, sober-faced, for a long time. Then arousing, with a sigh, she turned to the table, and shutting her port-folio, murmured,
"Yes, it may be so. Only a few possess distinguishing literary ability; only a few have power to command the public attention and move the public heart. I am not, it seems, of the number. Ah, well! It is of no use striving with the inevitable. I must step aside, and give place to men and women of higher endowments."
She arose, and began walking, with slow, even steps, the floor of her room. After a while she resumed her place at the writing table. She had just seated herself when a servant came in and handed her two magazines and a letter. She glanced at the letter, and not recognizing it as from any known correspondent, deferred breaking the seal until she had looked into the magazines, which ought to contain notices of her book. Her hand was nervous as she cut the leaves of the first one opened; and her eyes went, hurriedly, from page to page. Then she became motionless and intent. There was recognition here! Twice she read the notice of her book; then leaned back in her chair, with wet lashes quivering on her crimson cheeks.
"Feeble, commonplace, and harmless. We may commend the volume to parents as a safe one to introduce among children." That was the recognition."Feeble and commouplace." The tears which had wet her lashes swelled now to a flood and ran over her cheeks. She was hurt to the quick. Earnestly, thoughtfully, and with true and delicate perceptions of mental and moral states, had she written, thinking more of the good to be done than of the fame to be acquired. She had intruded her consciousness, with a clearseeing vision, into the actual of human life, and held a mirror up to nature. But the critic, dipping in here and there, and scanning this page and that, out of all just connection, saw only commouplace things and trite moral sentiments. No brilliant passages arrested him; no gorgeous cloud-castles of thought which the sun of reason dissolves into airy nothings; no ambitious paradings of sounding and unusual words meant to conceal meagre thoughts; no, nothing of these were found: and so, without taking time to comprehend the author, her book was thrown aside with the easy utterance of "feeble, commouplace, and harmless," and thought of no more.
Nearly ten minutes went by, and then the other magazine was opened.
"Writes carelessly at times"—"alittle more attention to style would give greater acceptability to her works"—"nothing very brilliant or striking; but a deal of human nature and solid seuse"—"will do good in her day, but scarcely be heard of in the next generation; books of this class do not live."
There were some flashings of indignant feeling from the no longer wet eyes; lips curled proudly and a little defiantly. Our author was but human. The simple love of doing good was Hot strong enough to bear her calmly through an experience like this.
"A lady wishes to see you,"said the servant, opening the door again.
"Who is it?" was inquired. The servant gave her a card, on which she read the name of a friend.
"Say that I will be down in a moment." The servant withdrew, and she made a few trifling but hurried changes in her toilet.
'' I fear my visit may be an intrusion on your time," said the friend, as they stood with warmly clasped hands; "but I felt constrained to call this morning."
"No visit from you can ever be an intrusion," was replied. Light was breaking through the face over which clouds lay a moment before.
"I have just finished your new book," went on the visitor. "As I turned the last page I felt a strong desire to tell you how much good it had done me. My mind was in darkness as to a great principle of life when I commenced
reading. That principle you illustrated in so clear a manner that I now see it as in noonday light. I thank you, my sister, for true words distinctly spoken—thank you not only in my own name, but in the name of thousands to whom they will come in blessing. God has given you the power to move hearts, and, what is still better, the will to move them for good."
Dry eyes were wet again.
"There can be no higher praise than this!" was modestly answered. "Whatever power I possess is, as you have said, God's gift; and I pray ever that He will show me how best to use it in His work. I am not very strong of wing; I can not, eagle-like, dwell above the mountains. At best I am a home-bird, singing under the eves, or cooing at the windows."
"The birds we love and cherish," said the friend. "But why do I see tears on checks that should be radiant with smiles?"
"The heart is weak. It is not always satisfied with the simple doing of good. To do good is so easy, so unimposing, so unattractive, and commouplace. The world admires the brilliant and the aspiring; will stand gazing at the eagle as he rises toward the sun, all indifferent to the robin, the thrush, or the dove. The imposing and the difficult extort admiration, while a simple good deed is often misjudged as pharisaical, and earnest admonition to do right sneered at as cant."
"Dear friend, I can not bear this from yon," auswered the visitor. "Why in so strange a state? You are not envious of the eagle?"
"Oh, no, no! Not envious, I trust."
"I nm human, and human nature is weak. We can not, unmoved, hear our work depreciated."
1'Has yours been depreciated?"
"Yes. This book, which has helped you, meets with no favor from critics. One passes it as of no account, not so much as announcing its publication, while another calls it dull and harmless. I should not care for this, I know. But the heart is weak. Such things hurt and discourage me. I feel as if I had no true power."
"And yet you have power to move the heart and enlighten the understanding, as thousands can testify. You need not care for a superficial or prejudiced critic, if you can speak to the people, and stir the common pulse. Your work is with and for the people. You comprehend their daily life-trials, and are gifted with ability to speak to them understandingly. Your work is not to amuse, nor to extort admiration, but to help. You do not write from a poor selfish desire to get praise and fame, but to do good— good in all degrees of life, from the highest to the lowest. And few, my friend, have been more successful. I would rather havo your sheaves in my garner on that day when the Lord of the Harvest shall come, than the sheaves of any worker that I know in your field of labor. I say this sincerely, and may it give you comfort and strength! Don't, as Emerson says, think, in your work, of its acceptability, but of its excellence. Do it always earnestly and well, according to the gifts by which you are endowed of God, and He will take care that no hand obstruct its course. Just so sure as it is vital with the power of helping your brother or sister in weakness, or of lighting them in a dark way, will He make your voice heard."
"I thank you for such strong words of encouragement," said our desponding one, as the calm dignity of conscious strength and purity of motive came back into her face; "and thank you, especially, for that last suggestion. Emerson has struck the right key—has given the true philosophy. I have been thinking more of the acceptability of my work than of its excellence; more of what might be said of it than of what it was. Thanks, again, for this helping hand in a moment of weakness! I shall bo stronger, I trust, in the future."
Alone, after this friend had departed, and stronger than before she came, the criticism that stung so sharply was read again.
"'Writes carelessly at times.' That is a fault," she said, "and should be corrected. 'A little more attention to style would give greater acceptability to her works.' Then it is my duty to give it more attention; and I will endeavor, and feel obliged and not hurt by the suggestion. 'Nothing very brilliant or striking, but a deal of human nature and solid sense.' Why, that is a positive compliment! I read it as a sneer before; but now it has a tone of sincerity and goodwill. 'Will do good in her day, but scarcely be heard of in the next generation; books of this class do not live.'"
The closing sentence touched the quick again. Not heard of in the next generation! No permanent life in such books! It was hard to accept of that judgment.
"But what," she asked herself, as right thoughts took their right position in her mind, "have I to do with the next generation? My work is in the present, and if I can do good in my day, the effect will not only go to the next generation, but to all generations. As to the life of my work, if there be in it a heavenly vitality it will not soon die."
The letter which had accompanied the magazines, and which had been forgotten, now looked up from the table and claimed attention. The seal was broken:
"deib Lady,— Forgive this freedom; but my heart la Bo full of thankfulness that I am constrained to write. Your l:i t bonk has been to me a saviour and a consoler. Oh, in what a midnight of passion and error was my soul groping, when light came to me through you, and I saw a gulf at my feet! Back, back, back I moved, shuddering! And now I am on firm ground, with reason clear and conscience in her place. How clearly, yet how tenderly and lovingly, did you demonstrate a truth, which, had it come to me io almost any other way, I would have rejected. But as a gentle, wise, and considerate sister you approached me, and laying your hand on my arm, said, '(Jome and let us reason together.' You first won my confidence, then beguiled my interest, and then told me the truth in such calm, direct, and earnest words that I was convinced, warned, and saved. God bless you, my sister 1 You will
never know the good you are doing until it is revealed in the world to come. Go on—go on, in Heaven's name! The heart of a stranger blesses you, and says, Faint not, fail not."
Tears flooded the lady's face again; but there was no bitterness in them now. The helper was helped in her hour of weakness, and strengthened against the enemies of her peace—enemies, we mean, who were lurking in her own bosom, and exciting pride, ambition, and love of fame, so that they might act as hindrances. Stronger, calmer, and in a nobler spirit even than before, she turned to her work again, and gave to it that living vitality by which it had power to overcome evil and establish good. Neglect and cold unappreciative criticism had made her comprehend her own weakness, and been the means of opening her mind more interiorly, so that it could receive a higher influx of light. She was stronger and wiser from self-conquest, and thence able to infuse more of wisdom and human love in all that came from her hand.
LOUIS NAPOLEON: PRINCE AND EMPEROR.
l.—PRINCE LOUIS NAPOLEON.
IN the spring of 1848 I made a flying trip to Europe for the benefit of my health—a trip literally uupremeditated three hours before it was undertaken. I reached Liverpool early in April, at the commencement of the lovely spring season of England. I think that the most charming weather I have ever known in any part of the world I have found in the British Islands during the months of April, May, and June, particularly the two latter. Nothing can be more strongly contrasted than the London of that period of the year and the London of November.
In my opinion the English climate is greatly misappreciated by foreigners. The sun is not always obscured by fogs, as many hasty tourists, in their exceptional experience, assert to be the universal case. I am confident that nowhere else can out-door exercise be taken with enjoyment so many days of the year, and so many hours of the day, as in England. I have always sensations of physical comfort there which I never experience any where else. This I attribute to the moisture with which the atmosphere is generally impregnated, and which exercises a most soothing influence upon the nervous system. Here the dryness of the air keeps us constantly strung up above concert pitch. We are all the time under the influence of an artificial stimulus. We burn our candles at both ends. I account in this way for many of our national peculiarities, both physical and moral.
I took the afternoon train for London with two countrymen, one of them a distinguished politician and the other a leading member of the press. Being all of us smokers, we were anxious to obtain a carriage where we could enjoy our weeds without interruption. On all the European railways (except in Germany) there are regulations prohibiting smoking, but their violation is always connived at by the guard (for a consideration), provided no occupant of the same carriage objects. The first-class carriages contain but six seats, and hence it is not always difficult to make up a unanimous party. In the present instance we feed the officinl in advance for the purpose of securing a place to ourselves. Just as he was unlocking the door of a hitherto unoccupied carriage for us to enter, an elderly and exceedingly gentlemanlike Englishman, with one arm, came up, and remarking that he did not think he could be mistaken in taking us for Americans, inquired if we had any objections to his joining us, as he recognized us as smokers from the cigars in our mouths. Of course we assented readily, and this was the commencement of one of the most agreeable journeys I ever made by rail. Our accidental companion turned out to be Sir Fitzroy Somerset, afterward Lord Raglan. In his capacity of aid-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington, he had been on a special mission to some of the great manufacturing towns to watch the movements of the disaffected Chartists, from whom a formidable demonstration was expected in London upon the occasion of the presentation of the monster petition to the House of Commons, which was to take place in the course of a few days. It will be remembered that this echo of the Paris Revolution of the previous February was looked forward to, throughout England, by the orderly classes, with very considerable apprehension.
We arrived at London in the evening, and parted with our distinguished traveling companion with mutual assurances of the pleasure we had derived from our chance acquaintance. My friends had rooms engaged at Morley's Hotel, Trafalgar Square; and although I, as an old habitue of London, was only too familiar with this second-class inn with first-class prices, I was unwilling to forego their company, and therefore ordered my traps to the same destination.
I found that nothing else was thought of or talked about in the capital but the Chartist business. There was very serious and widely-spread alarm, in which the Government, to all appearances, fully participated. Apropos of this, I will mention a circumstance of comparatively secret history. The Duke of Wellington was sent for by the Queen, and requested to take supreme command of the troops upon the occasion. This he consented to do, with the proviso, however, that he should have an absolute dictatorship for the time being, and be under no circumstances subject to any orders from the Home department. This condition was acceded to, and there is no doubt that had an attack upon London been attempted he would have proceeded to the utmost extremities in its defense. The Court retired to Windsor or the Isle of Wight—I forget which—a day or two before, and Punch and the other wits amused themselves vastly at the expense of Prince Albert, who as a field- marshal should have remained at the post of
danger. It was supposed that her Majesty was peremptory upon the subject, and overruled any martial propensities which her consort might have possessed.
Great preparations were made for the defense of the Bank, the Royal Exchange, and other public edifices—especially the Bank, the treasure in which was likely to attract the cupidity of a revolutionary mob. The roof was protected by sand bags, behind which marksmen could be safely placed. The night before the anticipated outbreak large stores of arms were conveyed there and to other places in covered wagons from the Admiralty. My friend of the press came to grief that night from his excess of curiosity. About nine o'clock in the evening he made his way down past the Houses of Parliament to the head of Westminster Bridge, where cannon were planted to rake the insurgents who were expected to come over on the morrow from their campingground on Kennington Common. Here he was ordered back in very peremptory fashion. Strolling up Whitehall, he managed in some way to slip by the sentinel and to get into the court-yard of the Admiralty, admission to which was strictly forbidden for the nonce. Here he was pounced upon in short order. In vain he protested that he was only an enterprising Yankee, actuated by no worse motive than curiosity. He was carried off to durance vile, and only liberated the next day upon establishing his identity.
The most exaggerated rumors were circulated in reference to the number of the hostile masses collected on the Surrey side. The general estimate did not fall short of thirty or forty thousand, which was afterward proven to be enormously in excess of the reality.
The preservation of the peace was primarily intrusted to the police, and, in addition to the regular force, a large number of special constables were enrolled for the occasion. The military was only to be called out as a last resort. Some twenty Americans of us lodging at Morley's offered our services as specials, which offers were unhesitatingly accepted. And when the time came, each armed with a formidable club which he had received from the authorities, we were as ready as any loyal subjects to do battle in defense of law and order. It was rather an interesting and exciting sight as, at nine o'clock on the morning when the demonstration was to come off, I was quietly taking my tea and muffins and looking out of the coffee-room window upon Trafalgar Square. The whole area was densely filled, principally by a large body of police, who were going through their military evolutions with the precision of soldiers. Among them was a small corps of mounted constabulary, ready for a charge down Parliament Street if occasion should require it. A good many roughs were scattered about, but they gave no indications of any but the most peaceful intentions.
At ten o'clock I emerged from the hotel, and took a short stroll up the Haymarket. The shops were every where closed and the streets were filled with people. I only remained out *
about half an hour and then returned to my quarters.
About eleven o'clock I noticed unusual indications of preparation among the police on the square, and shortly afterward a dense mass, composed of the lowest classes of the population, came struggling up Parliament Street and commenced to debouch upon the open area. They were singing and shouting, and seemed more impelled by the love of a frolic than by any thing else. In a moment about a dozen mounted policemen charged at a full gallop, and the mob, by some remarkable power of elasticity, made way for them in every direction, laughing and hurrahing as they did so. This brilliant cavalry covp decided, as it were, the fate of the day. The Chartists never attempted to cross the river, overawed probably by the reception which they knew was prepared for them. After that there were nothing but amusing episodes. It was known that London was full of French revolutionary agents, and wherever these gentry showed themselves they were treated with any thing but distinguished consideration by the populace. I saw one unfortunate apostle of liberty, equality, and fraternity so severely ducked in the basin of one of the fountains of Trafalgar Square that I was afraid that the poor man was taking his last bath.
The rest of the day was a sort of carnival. No one attempted to transact any business, and the shops remained closed. Fun was universal, and the special constables, whose name was legion, paraded the streets with a consciousness that their valor had not been very severely tried. That evening the monster petition was rolled into the House of Commons and duly presented by its godfather, Fergus O'Conor. The next day I happened to be accidentally at the railway station as Fergus was leaving for the country. Poor fellow, he died insane some years ago, and I am not quite certain that his insanity was of very recent date.
One or two evenings afterward, the Court having returned to Buckingham Palace, the Queen went in state to the opera. I took especial pains to be there, for I expected an extraordinary exhibition of loyalty. And I was not disappointed. I recollect that the opera was Don Giovanni—a work which calls for the entire strength of the company, both male and female. The house was packed from pit to dome. Her Majesty entered as the orchestra was playing the overture. In a moment the whole house rose and cried with one voice for "God save the Queen." The orchestra ceased playing, the prompter's bell tinkled, the curtain rose and displayed all the principal artists ranged in a semicircle on the stage. At a signal from the conductor a prelude was played, and then Grisi advanced to the footlights, and with the glorious voice she then possessed, sang the first verse, the whole house standing, Majesty and all. The chorus was taken up by the other singers and by the entire pit. Then Mario sang a verse, and then Persiani, and then Lablache. I never witnessed such a scene of wild enthusi
asm. It was so contagious that I am confident that her Majesty had no more loyal subject there that evening than myself. The boxes forgot their propriety entirely, and marquises and countesses vied with each other in waving their handkerchiefs and clapping their hands.
I mentioned at the outset that I had come over in the pursuit of health. I was the bearer of a letter of introduction from a distinguished physician in this city to Sir Benjamin Brodie. I had called upon Sir Benjamin soon after my arrival in London, when he made an appointment for me to come again at nine o'clock on the morning after this operatic/Etc. Punctually at the appointed hour I arrived at his house in Saville Row. The servant who admitted me told me that Sir Benjamin was very busy with some ladies who had come from a long distance in the country, and that I should have to wait until they left before he could see me. Accordingly I was shown into the library, where I found a cheerful fire, and the morning papers lying upon the table. Drawing up an arm-chair to one corner of the fire-place, I seated myself, crossed my legs, and was soon deeply immersed in the leviathan columns of the Times.
I had been reading ten minutes, perhaps, when the door opened, and another gentleman was ushered into the room by the flunky. The stranger was a short, thick-set man, evidently a foreigner, and dressed in an irreproachable suit of mourning. I glanced at him furtively from my paper, and settled it in my own mind that he must be a German. In accordance with English custom, not the slightest recognition of the other's presence passed between us. He hovered over the table a moment, selected a paper from among several still lying there, settled himself in a chair at the other corner of the fire-place, and followed my example by devoting himself to the news of the day.
After a time I became tired of reading, and threw down my journal. The stranger in a few minutes did the same. I then had an opportunity to notice his features more particularly. He was a heavy, dull, impassive-looking man, and his half-closed eyelids gave a peculiar expression to his face. I observed that his arms and legs indicated remarkable strength, but he did not look like a person of much activity. His arms were very long, and his legs quite short; for he stood of low stature, and sat decidedly tall. He had a curious habit of rubbing the side of his nose with his forefinger—a habit which has frequently attracted my attention since in the same personage. For some minutes we sat like two fools, or like two thoroughly well-bred Englishmen (by no means synonymous terms, however), pretending to gaze at the fire. At length my companion opened the way for conversation by remarking that it was a fine day. His accent, which was very marked, confirmed me in the impression that he was a German. I assented to his observation, and the ice once broken, we soon got on famously together —he taking me for an Englishman, and I taking