Yesterdays with Authors eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 572 pages of information about Yesterdays with Authors.
for any considerable period of time will linger over his tender regard for, and his engaging manner with, children; his cheery “Good Day” to poor people he happened to be passing in the road; his trustful and earnest “Please God,” when he was promising himself any special pleasure, like rejoining an old friend or returning again to scenes he loved.  At such times his voice had an irresistible pathos in it, and his smile diffused a sensation like music.  When he came into the presence of squalid or degraded persons, such as one sometimes encounters in almshouses or prisons, he had such soothing words to scatter here and there, that those who had been “most hurt by the archers” listened gladly, and loved him without knowing who it was that found it in his heart to speak so kindly to them.

Oftentimes during long walks in the streets and by-ways of London, or through the pleasant Kentish lanes, or among the localities he has rendered forever famous in his books, I have recalled the sweet words in which Shakespeare has embalmed one of the characters in Love’s Labor’s Lost:—­

    “A merrier man,
    Within the limit of becoming mirth,
    I never spent an hour’s talk withal: 
    His eye begets occasion for his wit;
    For every object that the one doth catch
    The other turns to a mirth-moving jest,
    Which his fair tongue, conceit’s expositor,
    Delivers in such apt and gracious words
    That aged ears play truant at his tales,
    And younger hearings are quite ravished;
    So sweet and voluble is his discourse.”

Twenty years ago Daniel Webster said that Dickens had already done more to ameliorate the condition of the English poor than all the statesmen Great Britain had sent into Parliament.  During the unceasing demands upon his time and thought, he found opportunities of visiting personally those haunts of suffering in London which needed the keen eye and sympathetic heart to bring them before the public for relief.  Whoever has accompanied him, as I have, on his midnight walks into the cheap lodging-houses provided for London’s lowest poor, cannot have failed to learn lessons never to be forgotten.  Newgate and Smithfield were lifted out of their abominations by his eloquent pen, and many a hospital is to-day all the better charity for having been visited and watched by Charles Dickens.  To use his own words, through his whole life he did what he could “to lighten the lot of those rejected ones whom the world has too long forgotten and too often misused.”

These inadequate, and, of necessity, hastily written, records must stand for what they are worth as personal recollections of the great author who has made so many millions happy by his inestimable genius and sympathy.  His life will no doubt be written out in full by some competent hand in England; but however numerous the volumes of his biography, the half can hardly be told of the good deeds he has accomplished for his fellow-men.

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Yesterdays with Authors from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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