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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 464 pages of information about Yesterdays with Authors.
looking over you? had not the gaze of her tender eyes stolen into your senses long before you woke, and cast over your slumbering spirit a sweet spell of peace, and love, and fresh-springing joy?” My dear friend, John Brown, of Edinburgh (whom may God long preserve to both countries where he is so loved and honored), chronicles this touching incident.  “We cannot resist here recalling one Sunday evening in December, when Thackeray was walking with two friends along the Dean Road, to the west of Edinburgh,—­one of the noblest outlets to any city.  It was a lovely evening; such a sunset as one never forgets; a rich dark bar of cloud hovered over the sun, going down behind the Highland hills, lying bathed in amethystine bloom; between this cloud and the hills there was a narrow slip of the pure ether, of a tender cowslip color, lucid, and as if it were the very body of heaven in its clearness; every object standing out as if etched upon the sky.  The northwest end of Corstorphine Hill, with its trees and rocks, lay in the heart of this pure radiance; and there a wooden crane, used in the granary below, was so placed as to assume the figure of a cross; there it was, unmistakable, lifted up against the crystalline sky.  All three gazed at it silently.  As they gazed, Thackeray gave utterance in a tremulous, gentle, and rapid voice to what all were feeling, in the word, ‘CALVARY!’ The friends walked on in silence, and then turned to other things.  All that evening he was very gentle and serious, speaking, as he seldom did, of divine things,—­of death, of sin, of eternity, of salvation, expressing his simple faith in God and in his Saviour.”

Thackeray was found dead in his bed on Christmas morning, and he probably died without pain.  His mother and his daughters were sleeping under the same roof when he passed away alone.  Dickens told me that, looking on him as he lay in his coffin, he wondered that the figure he had known in life as one of such noble presence could seem so shrunken and wasted; but there had been years of sorrow, years of labor, years of pain, in that now exhausted life.  It was his happiest Christmas morning when he heard the Voice calling him homeward to unbroken rest.

HAWTHORNE.

* * * * *

    A hundred years ago Henry Vaughan seems almost to have anticipated
    Hawthorne’s appearance when he wrote that beautiful line,

    “Feed on the vocal silence of his eye.”

III.  HAWTHORNE.

I am sitting to-day opposite the likeness of the rarest genius America has given to literature,—­a man who lately sojourned in this busy world of ours, but during many years of his life

    “Wandered lonely as a cloud,”—­

a man who had, so to speak, a physical affinity with solitude.  The writings of this author have never soiled the public mind with one unlovely image.  His men and women have a magic of their own, and we shall wait a long time before another arises among us to take his place.  Indeed, it seems probable no one will ever walk precisely the same round of fiction which he traversed with so free and firm a step.

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