ページの画像
PDF
ePub

arrested by a voice which cried, as have gaudier liveries-bat by the inthe French say, " to succours." The herent romance of a profession whose voice proceeded from a small boy basiness it is to be above the fear of on the ground, whom a big fellow death-the fear most natural to all in & blouse was kicking with bis created beings, undervalue its abwooden shoes. Before I had time to sence as we may. But Irenæus needed interfere, Irenæus loosed my arm, no more words; bis little adventure and saying, "Friend, hold my coat," had stirred the manhood of his heart. went at the bully like a bull. There We had no longer differences to adwas a vision of a big carcass roaring just; so, although we met to discuss, on the ground, and a pair of blue legs we both went to sleep on our respecfinished with " sabots" in the air, tive sofas. I have since been informed while the little sufferer thought it that he has subscribed to the Patria good opportunity to “save him otic Fund; and it is even whispered sell," as the French say again. Ire- that he attends his parish church næus has come into my views from regularly, and that they think of electthat date. There is nothing like a ing bim church warden. I wish no practical illustration. Once upon a worse fate to all men of peace, altime a man was mad with the dela- though I cannot help thinking they sion that his nose had grown so large brought the Russian war upon 13. that it could not go through the door I hear that the Czar was burnt inof his bedroom, so that he was a close stead of Guy Fawkes in some places prisoner there. His physician, after this year. Now, although I do not two mortal hours of vain argument, like effigy-barnings, even of men of took counsel, and in a moment sent straw, I would rather have substihis clenched fist like a catapult tuted one member of the Peace Soagainst the member in question, then ciety-I mean Mr John Bright; for "saved himself" into the street. The although Mr Bright and men of his monomaniac was soon after him, in stamp are not much like Helen in spite of his streaming nose, with his other respects, they are like her in hand on his collar. "Strike, but being “teterrima belli causa." If it hear," said the doctor; “my dear had not been for them and their fellow, you are a cured man."

lowering the character of our nation, So Irenæus was a cured man, and the Czar would never have cast s I needed not to prolong the discus- sheep's eye on Constantinople. Hata sion. I was going to quote Aristotle ing thus satisfied my vindictive feel to him, and show him how the wis. ings by a bright bonfire, I would wish est of Greeks considered the noblest to see all men of peace by professi manhood to lie in military virtue, be- cease, not by extinction, but by medi cause the soldier's sphere of action is atisation, as the political existence of beset with the greatest dangers, even the lesser German powers has been with death, the end of all things. I merged in the greater. Nor do I enwas going to bring the ladies to bear tirely despair of taking one day my upon him, and show him that woman youngest born to Madame Tussauds was seldom far wrong in her instincts, waxwork, and seeing there, mid loe being gifted by nature to see truths resplendent uniforms of her Majesty in a moment which men come at by Ministers, Cardinal Wiseman, and Me circuitous reasonings, and that one of Perry the military martyr—the sober these instincts was admiration for the habiliments, contrasted with the reu warrior--not to be accounted for by and white cheeks, of the Last Mana the colour of his cloth, for footmen of Peace.

A FEW PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF CHRISTOPHER NORTH.

BY THE AUTHOR OF “TEN THOUSAND A-YEAR."

The ensuing brief but interesting and affecting sketch of one so long the glory of The Magazine, was written by the author for the purpose of his forthcoming “ MISCELLANIES ; " but at our request he has allowed it first to appear in the columns of The Magazine so long irradiated by the genius of Professor Wilson.]

On a bright frosty day in Decem- upon his shoulders, and surely no ber 1827, as I was quitting the ma. Grecian sculptor could have desired thematical class in the University of anything beyond it. As for his eye, Edinburgh, of which I had been a it lightened on me as he passed, and member about two months, one of my suddenly disappeared. class-fellows said suddenly, “ If you I had seen power and genius visibly want to see Christopher North, he's embodied; and, in a word, I think yonder !” This my companion knew that never before or since can any to have been long my desire, for I celebrated man's personal appearance was in those early days one of Chris- have so far surpassed an admirer's topher North's most enthusiastic ad expectation as Professor Wilson's air, mirers. My curiosity was gratified face, and figure went beyond what I in a moment. Walking rapidly across bad imagined. I say this calmly, the quadrangle towards his class after the lapse of twenty-seven years, room (that of Moral Philosophy) with during which I have a thousand times a sort of hasty, impetuous step, as recalled the scene which I have now though he were behind his time, was faintly sketched for the reader; asProfessor Wilson, then in the very suring him that no one then knowing prime of life.* A faded, tattered this gifted and far-famed man will gown, put on carelessly, fluttered in think my sketch too highly coloured. the keen wind, and seemed a ludi As I heard that many more were crous appendage to as fine, tall, crowding into his class-room than manly a figure, and free, fearless were entitled to do so, I followed bearing, as I have ever looked upon their example, discarding from my As he came nearer, his limbs and thoughts for the nonce all poor Protheir motions gave the idea of com fessor Wallace's sines, co-sines, tribined strength, agility, and grace; angles, and parallelopipeds; and when and there was a certain sort of frank, I entered the Moral Philosophy class, buoyant unaffectedness about bis de- I found tbat Professor Wilson had meanour that seemed to indicate just begun his lecture. He read it light-hearted consciousness of great with considerable rapidity, as it were mental and physical endowments. vehemently urging his words out of When he came near enough for his lips compressed with the natural face to be seen with distinctness, in energy of his character. Professor it I forgot everything else about him; Sedgwick, of Cambridge, when speakand I shall never forget the impression ing in public, has sometimes reminded it produced. What a magnificent me of Professor Wilson's manner. head! How finely chiselled his fea- The lecture was eloquent, and tures! What compression of the thin greatly relished by the auditory. A but beautifully formed lips! What a small incident showed how he was bright blue flashing

absorbed with his subject, though the

lecture was probably one that he had “Eye, like Mars, to threaten or command !”.

often read to his class. He had taken Add to all this the fair transparent out his pocket-handkerchief, and after complexion, flowing auburn hair, and drawing it across his forehead, crushed the erect commanding set of his head it up, and placed it on the left hand

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

side of his paper, partly under a book. Professors. So one afternoon, after By-and-by he required his handker- walking hesitatingly up and down the chief, and felt first in one pocket, then street in which he lived, and other in the other; then in his breast, then adjoining ones, I summoned up spirit glanced hastily round, evidently in enough to call at his house, and quest of his handkerchief, but with- inquire if he were at home. The out pausing for a moment in the flow answer was, yes; and on being askof his impassioned rhetoric. These ed my name, I mentioned it, adding, efforts he renewed several times ; but “a student in the university." In a it was not till he had finished his lec- moment or two's time the servant reture that he suddenly saw what he turned, saying “ The Professor would had been looking for, and which we see me.” Somewbat nervously I folhad seen all the while. He uttered a lowed, and in a moment found myself, loud “Oh!" as he thrust it into his if I am not mistaken, in his library. pocket, and withdrew. I have several Theroom had a disordered appearance, times reminded him of this little cir- as if its occupant were careless. He cumstance, and he always laughed had a loose wrapper round him, bis heartily, saying, “ Very likely-very shirt collar was thrown open, and he probably. I'm very thoughtless about seemed writing. “Pray take a seat," such things." All I recollect of his said he, addressing me by name, and lecture was, that it dealt much with then his piercing eyes were fixed on Plato; but I was completely occu- me with what I thought a slightly impied with Wilson, feeling that I could patient curiosity. "I feel, sir, that I pay my respects to Plato at any time. have taken a great liberty," I began ; I am bound to say, that this distin. “but I am an English student, with guished man did not favourably im. very few friends in Scotland, and press me as a Lecturer on Moral before leaving the university and Philosophy; inasmuch as he seemed Scotland, I felt anxious to have the to lack that calm, didactic manner, honour of paying my parting respects alone befitting the treatment of diffi- to you." "Oh, well, I am mach cult, profound, abstract subjects. I obliged to you. So you are leaving think those who frequented his class the university? Are you the Mr War: must have found it difficult to realiseren that gained the prize for English what they had heard from him. I do verse ?" I told him I was ; on which pot indeed recollect seeing any one his whole manner altered, and became taking notes; but I do recollect think- exceedingly cordial and gracious, ..19 ing one or two passages in his lecture his smile was fascinating. "Well," very fine.

said he," as you are an Englishman I did not see Professor Wilson at a Scotch University, I was a Scotcu: again, except perhaps casually, and at a man at an English university-84 distance, till a few days before I quitted Oxford ; " and he talked with anima: Edinburgh, in the autumn of 1828. I tion on the topic. I explained that had had no opportunity of meeting the reason why I could not attend him in society, and I was resolved his, among other classes, was that not to leave Scotland without being wished to enter at an ind of court able to say that I had spoken to immediately. “Oh, pho!" said he, Professor Wilson. But how was this laughing good - humouredly, "you to be done? Having been informed have not lost much by missing my that he had concurred with Professor lectures! You must read for your. Pillans in awarding to me the prize self on these subjects.” After some for English poetry, I thought, after other conversation, I happened to say many qualms and misgivings, that an -" There is only one other person allusion to that circumstance might, besides yourself, sir, whom I should to a generous man of genius, serve to have liked to see before returning to take off the edge of the liberty I pro- England.” “Who's that?" he askposed to myself, of calling, as a stu- ed, “Mr De Quincey, the Opiumdent quitting the university, to pay Eater.'” “Mr De Quincey! Why, my parting respects to one of the he's staying with me now! Well, I

The Martyr Patriots, WARREN'S Miscellanies, vol. ii.

dare say I can manage that for you. Forgetfulness. “Is such a thing as Come in to-morrow evening about forgetting possible to the human nine o'clock, and I'll introduce you to mind ?" asked Mr De Quinceyhim. I shall be most happy to see “Does the mind ever actually lose you ! " He said this with so much anything for ever? Is not every im. kindness that I accepted the invita pression it has once received, reprotion; and after he had shaken my hand ducible? How often a thing is suddenwith much friendship of manner, I ly recollected that had happened many, withdrew, he instantly resuming bis many years before, but never been pen.

thought of since till that moment !On making my appearance nextPossibly a suddenly developed power evening at the appointed hour, I was of recollecting every act of a man's at once shown into the drawing. life may constitute the Great Book to room, where were Mrs Wilson, evi. be opened before him on the judgment dently a very amiable and kindly day." I think this is the substance of woman, and some of her children. In what was said on the subject, Profesabout ten minutes' time, Professor sor Wilson making several curious reWilson made his appearance, with marks as to the nature of mind, meone or two other gentlemen, to whom mory, and suggestion. I ventured to he was talking very energetically. He say—and it was the only thing I did presently saw me, and shook hands venture to say—that I knew an inwith me cordially. “Oh, you want stance of a gentleman who in hastily to see Mr De Quincey !-Come here!” jumping from on board the Excellent and leading me into the back room, to catch a boat that was starting for towards a door which stood open, in shore, missed it, and fell into the wathe angle formed by it with the wall ter of Portsmouth harbour, sinking to stood a little slight man, dressed in a great depth. For a while he was supblack, pale, careworn, and with a posed drowned. He afterwards said, very high forehead. “Mr De Quincey, that all be remembered after plunging this is a young friend of mine-a stu. into the water was a sense of freedom dent in the university, returning to from pain, and a sudden recollection England.” After a few words of of all his past life, especially of guilty course, he left us ; but Mr De Quincey actions that he had long forgotten. seemed exceedingly languid. He Professor Wilson said that if this were spoke courteously, though evidently so, it was indeed very startling: and disinclined to talk. Shortly before I think Mr De Quincey said that he we went down to supper, Professor also had heard of ope, if not two or Wilson said, “ You shall sit opposite three such cases. to Mr De Quincey"-and I think he I was so absorbed with watching added in a whisper and with a smile, and listening to the conversation of “ it will be a queer kind of wine that Professor Wilson and Mr De Quincey, you will see bim drinking !" Pre- that I left almost supperless, in spite sently we went down to supper. No of the kindly pressure of Mrs Wilson. thing could exceed the gentle unaf- I often saw her look, as I fancied, fected kindness to me of Mrs Wilson, with fond interest at her famous huswhom I never saw again after that band, wbose demeanour had a noble evening. I saw her watching me once simplicity. His eyes sometimes seem. or twice with a good-natured amused ed to glitter and flash with the irresmile, as she saw me intent upon Mr pressible fire of genius. I watched De Quincey, and his doings! I can. him with lynx-like vigilance ; but all not at this distance of time pretend to was spontaneous and genuine : not a say that his small decanter contained vestige of artifice, affectation, or discoffee : assuredly it was not wine, but play: no silly “ inflicting his eye on exactly resembled laudanum. He was you :" but all, whether grave or frotaciturn for some time, but gradually licsome, the exuberance of a glorifell into conversation, in which Pro- ously-gifted man of genius. And see fessor Wilson joined with vivacity. how hospitable and kind he was to a It was on some metaphysical subject; young English stranger, whom he had and at length I well recollect that the never seen till the preceding day! Bediscussion turned on the nature of fore I left, he asked memuch about my

intentions and prospects; wished me “d'ye no ken that's Sir Walter !" heartily well: and when, about eleven Almost while this was being said, St o'clock, I bad shaken hands with him Walter Scott seemed to roose himself and got into the street, the sun of from a reverie, and soon afterwards GENIUS no longer shone on me, and I wrote rapidly On several sbeets of felt dull, and indeed in the dark. As paper, and then quitted the Court, I walked home, I thought myself a leaning on his stick, and walking very poor pigmy that had just been enter- lame. tained by a good-humoured giant! Professor Wilson's poble counte

nance indicated, to even an ordinary I never saw any man who looked observer, the impalsive energy of his the man of genius he was, but Profes- character, daring and generous, -as sor Wilson. Next to him was Sir acuteness, refinement, and powe; Walter Scott. Him I first saw in his one, in short, to fear, to admire, and fifty-seventh year, when I was at to love. Everything petty and mean, college in Edinburgh, and had wan- he sporned with a scorn that yo dered one day, in, I think, the month magnificent; to obscure and timid of June, into one of the law courts to genius, he extended, with tender hear Mr Jeffrey plead. The latter's kindliness, the band of, as it were, face, let me say in passing, appeared the King of Letters. To pretenders, to me that of an acute, refined, sensi. however, of all sorts, he was utterly tive, and somewhat irritable man, but merciless : to them, the cratch of not indicative of power. I had been Christopher was annihilation. It was standing for some time in the Court fine to hear him talk on such a subof Session, in which Sir Walter Scottject: his eye, his lip, his voice, bis was one of the principal clerks, who gesture, all in fierce and vivid accord. sate at a table below the judges, when As an instance of his watchfulness my eye fell upon an elderly man, one of literary merit, when newly maniof those sitting at the table, wearing fested, I recollect his once saying to a rusty-looking old stuff gown. His me, “ By the way, do you know any chin rested on his left hand, and his one in the Temple-a special pleader, right hung by his side with a pen in or something of that kind-called it. Without having an idea who he Moile-Nicholas Thirning Moile?"* was, my attention was soon arrested I told him that I had never heard of by his lofty forehead, and a pair of the name : on which he pressed me eyes that seemed gazing dreamily into much, and said, “Try to find out, a distant world unseen by any but then, for he is a very clerer fellow. himself. The more I looked at those He has just published a sort of poetieyes, the more remarkable appeared cal version of two or three of the their character and expression : not State Trials, which I have read, and bright, or penetrating, but invested formed a high opinion of them. Some with a grand, rapt, profound air. He parts are beautiful--he's a man of sate motionless as a statue, apparent- genius. I shall review the book in ly lost to all that was passing around the Magazine;" and his opinion of the him. A sudden suspicion arose with performance may be seen in No. 288 in me that I was looking on the Professor Wilson read with prodimisher Northern novelist, who had gious rapidity, and it was an exhaustpublicly arowed himself the author of ive reading : he gathered the purpose, Warerley in the preceding February. scope, and character of a work, on To make assurance doubly sure, I even a difficult subject, at almost a asked # person standing beside me, glance. Instances of this have come who that was, indicating him. under my personal knowledge : and I "Whaur d'ye come frae ?" said he, know the pages in Blackwood's Magulooking at me rather contemptuously; zine which attest Christopber North’s

. It turned out that the name of "Nicholas Thirning Moile" was assumed by a friend of my own, now an eminent Queen's Counsel : who had sent to me the very volume in question in his assumed name ; and, after glancing at it for 3 moment, I acknowledged the receipt of the book to the publisher, but soon afterwards

sht of it I was only a few months ago that I discovered the author.

« 前へ次へ »