Yesterdays with Authors eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 572 pages of information about Yesterdays with Authors.
his hat and asked where he should drive us.  It was then between one and two o’clock,—­time certainly for all decent diners out to be at rest.  Thackeray put on one of his most quizzical expressions, and said to John, in answer to his question, “I think we will make a morning call on the Lord Bishop of London.”  John knew his master’s quips and cranks too well to suppose he was in earnest, so I gave him my address, and we went on.  When we reached my lodgings the clocks were striking two, and the early morning air was raw and piercing.  Opposing all my entreaties for leave-taking in the carriage, he insisted upon getting out on the sidewalk and escorting me up to my door, saying, with a mock heroic protest to the heavens above us, “That it would be shameful for a full-blooded Britisher to leave an unprotected Yankee friend exposed to ruffians, who prowl about the streets with an eye to plunder.”  Then giving me a gigantic embrace, he sang a verse of which he knew me to be very fond; and so vanished out of my sight the great-hearted author of “Pendennis” and “Vanity Fair.”  But I think of him still as moving, in his own stately way, up and down the crowded thoroughfares of London, dropping in at the Garrick, or sitting at the window of the Athenaeum Club, and watching the stupendous tide of life that is ever moving past in that wonderful city.

Thackeray was a master in every sense, having as it were, in himself, a double quantity of being.  Robust humor and lofty sentiment alternated so strangely in him, that sometimes he seemed like the natural son of Rabelais, and at others he rose up a very twin brother of the Stratford Seer.  There was nothing in him amorphous and unconsidered.  Whatever he chose to do was always perfectly done.  There was a genuine Thackeray flavor in everything he was willing to say or to write.  He detected with unfailing skill the good or the vile wherever it existed.  He had an unerring eye, a firm understanding, and abounding truth.  “Two of his great master powers,” said the chairman at a dinner given to him many years ago in Edinburgh, “are satire and sympathy.”  George Brimley remarked, “That he could not have painted Vanity Fair as he has, unless Eden had been shining in his inner eye.”  He had, indeed, an awful insight, with a world of solemn tenderness and simplicity, in his composition.  Those who heard the same voice that withered the memory of King George the Fourth repeat “The spacious firmament on high” have a recollection not easily to be blotted from the mind, and I have a kind of pity for all who were born so recently as not to have heard and understood Thackeray’s Lectures.  But they can read him, and I beg of them to try and appreciate the tenderer phase of his genius, as well as the sarcastic one.  He teaches many lessons to young men, and here is one of them, which I quote memoriter from “Barry Lyndon”:  “Do you not, as a boy, remember waking of bright summer mornings and finding your mother

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Yesterdays with Authors from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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