Adventures Among Books eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 273 pages of information about Adventures Among Books.
seemed very dark to him.  I have been allowed to read some letters which he wrote in one of these intervals of depression.  With his habitual unselfishness, he kept his melancholy to himself, and, though he did not care for society at such times, he said nothing of his own condition that could distress his correspondent.  In the last year of his life, everything around him seemed to brighten:  he was unusually well, he even returned to his literary work, and saw his last volume of collected essays through the press.  They were most favourably received, and the last letters which I had from him spoke of the pleasure which this success gave him.  Three editions of his book ("John Leech, and Other Essays”) were published in some six weeks.  All seemed to go well, and one might even have hoped that, with renewed strength, he would take up his pen again.  But his strength was less than we had hoped.  A cold settled on his lungs, and, in spite of the most affectionate nursing, he grew rapidly weaker.  He had little suffering at the end, and his mind remained unclouded.  No man of letters could be more widely regretted, for he was the friend of all who read his books, as, even to people who only met him once or twice in life, he seemed to become dear and familiar.

In one of his very latest writings, “On Thackeray’s Death,” Dr. Brown told people (what some of them needed, and still need to be told) how good, kind, and thoughtful for others was our great writer—­our greatest master of fiction, I venture to think, since Scott.  Some of the lines Dr. Brown wrote of Thackerary might be applied to himself:  “He looked always fresh, with that abounding silvery hair, and his young, almost infantile face”—­a face very pale, and yet radiant, in his last years, and mildly lit up with eyes full of kindness, and softened by sorrow.  In his last year, Mr. Swinburne wrote to Dr. Brown this sonnet, in which there seems something of the poet’s prophetic gift, and a voice sounds as of a welcome home:—­

“Beyond the north wind lay the land of old,
Where men dwelt blithe and blameless, clothed and fed
With joy’s bright raiment, and with love’s sweet bread,—­
The whitest flock of earth’s maternal fold,
None there might wear about his brows enrolled
A light of lovelier fame than rings your head,
Whose lovesome love of children and the dead
All men give thanks for; I, far off, behold
A dear dead hand that links us, and a light
The blithest and benignest of the night,—­
The night of death’s sweet sleep, wherein may be
A star to show your spirit in present sight
Some happier isle in the Elysian sea
Where Rab may lick the hand of Marjorie.”


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Adventures Among Books from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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