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forgave him all his slips, and really thought that printers' devils were not so black as they are painted. But my top-gallant glory was in
our contributors'! How I used to look forward to Elia! and backward for Hazlitt, and all round for Edward Herbert, and how I used to look up to Allan Cunningham ! for at that time the London had a goodly list of writers — a rare company. It is now defunct; and perhaps no ex-periodical might so appropriately be apostrophized with the Irish funereal question, ' Arrah, honey, why did you die?' Had not you an editor, and elegant prose writers, and beautiful poets, and broths of boys for criticism and classics, and wits and humorists — Elia, Cary, Procter, Cunningham, Bowring, Barton, Hazlitt, Elton, Hartley Coleridge, Talfourd, Soane, Horace Smith, Reynolds, Poole, Clare, and Thomas Benyon, with a power besides? Had n't you Lions' Heads with Traditional Tales ? Had n't you an Opium Eater, and a Dwarf, and a Giant, and a Learned Lamb, and a Green Man? Had n't you a regular Drama, and a Musical Report, and a Report of Agriculture, and an Obituary, and a Price Current, and a current price, of only half-a-crown? Arrah, why did you die ? Why, somehow, the contributors fell away, the concern went into other hands - worst of all, a new editor tried to put the belles-lettres in utilitarian envelopes ; whereupon the circulation of the Miscellany, like that of poor LeFevre, got slower, slower, slower, and slower still — and then stopped forever! It was a sorry scattering of those old Londoners! Some went out of the country; one (Clare) went into it. Lamb retreated to Colebrooke. Mr. Cary presented himself to the British Museum. Reynolds and Barry took to engrossing when they should pen a stanza, and Thomas Benyon gave up literature.
“ It is with mingled feelings of pride, pleasure and pain, that I revert to those old times, when the writers I had long known and admired in spirit were present to me in the flesh ; when I had the delight of listening to their wit and wisdom from their own lips, of gazing on their faces, and grasping their right hands. Familiar figures rise before me, familiar voices ring in my ears, and, alas ! amongst them are shapes that I must never see, sounds that I can never hear, again. Before my departure from England, I was one of the few who saw the grave close over the remains of one whom to know as a friend was to love as a relation. Never did a better soul go to a better world! Never, perhaps (giving the lie direct to the common imputation of envy, malice and hatred, amongst the brotherhood), never did an author descend - to quote his favorite Sir T. Browne - into the land of the mole and the pismire’so hung with golden opinions, and honored and regretted with such sincere eulogies and elegies, by his contemporaries. To him, the first of these, my reminiscences, is eminently due, for I lost in him not only a dear and kind friend, but an invaluable critic,-one whom, were such literary adoptions in modern use, I might well name, as Cotton called Walton, my · father.'
"I was sitting, one morning, beside our editor, busily correcting proofs, when a visitor was announced, whose name, grumbled by a low, ventriloquial voice, like Tom Pipes calling from the hold through the hatchway, did not resound distinctly on my tym panum. However, the door opened, and in came a stranger, a figure remarkable at a glance, with a fine head on a small, spare body, supported by two almost immaterial legs. He was clothed in sables, of a bygone fashion, but there was something wanting, or something present about him, that certified he was neither a divine, nor a physician, nor a schoolmaster; from a certain neatness and sobriety in his dress, coupled with his sedate bearing, he might have been taken, but that such a costume would be anomalous, for a Quaker in black. He looked still more like (what he really was) a literary modern antique, a new-old author, a living anachronism, contemporary at once with Burton the elder and Colman the younger. Meanwhile, he advanced with rather a peculiar gait, his walk was plantigrade, and, with a cheerful How d'ye,' and one of the blandest. sweetest smiles that ever brightened a manly countenance, held out two fingers to the editor. The two gentlemen in black soon fell into discourse; and, whilst they conferred, the Lavater principle within me set to work upon the interesting specimen thus presented to its speculations. It was a striking, intellectual face, full of wiry lines, physiognomical quips and cranks, that gave it great character. There was much earnestness about the brows, and a deal of speculation in the eyes, which were brown and bright, and quick in turning ;' the nose, a decided one, though of no established order; and there was a handsome smartness about the mouth. Altogether, it was no common face - none of those willow-pattern ones, which nature burns out by thousands at her potteries ; – but more like a chance specimen of the Chinese ware, one to the set – unique, antique, quaint. No one who had once seen it could pretend not to know it again. It was no face to lend its countenance to any confusion of persons in a Comedy of Errors. You might have sworn to it piecemeal — a separate affidavit for every feature. In short, his face was as original as his figure ; his figure, as his character; his character, as his writings; his writings, the most original of the age. · After the literary business had been settled, the editor invited his contributor to dinner, adding, · We shall have a hare – sea divides him from us, may say as much without any fear of our friend interposing to prevent us. We have sat by his side through the * small hours,' listening to tales of ghosts, remembered, improved or improvised, - such as night-watchers in the nineteenth century are rarely permitted to enjoy. We have heard him - apart from the listening circle - accompany the long-winded tale of a traveller with such a running fire of notes and comments aside as the brethren of the Row would give gold to gather and print. We have watched him so provoke the component members of a social rubber in that moment of intense interest when the game hung on a card, that odd tricks have been forgotten, trumps wasted, and all four hands thrown down, in an universal paroxysm. We have seen his Yorick spirit sending forth its sparkling bubbles, in despite of trial and vicissitude; --for may we not allude to these, when in his preface to his last new undertaking our friend has himself pointed thereat? His education as an engraver has given him an eye of singular keenness, — his genius a fancy ever ready, and a wit rarely blunt, rarely indebted to others for its weapon ; and these are as much manifested in his daily intercourse with his friends as in his more ceremonious commerce with the public. There is not a page in all his works more thoroughly humorous than the account we once heard him deliver of a hurried labor at the Comic Annual,' when, at the eleventh hour, like Mozart over the overture to Don Giovanni, he fell asleep, and continued (he declares) to dictate, for some good ten minutes, ere his amanuensis, who had been plying the pen for half an hour, herself scarcely less somnolent, discerned the least change in his diction, the least abatement of his fluency. There is no dilemma recounted by Mrs. Twigg, or Mrs. Jones, half so diverting as those with details of which his familiar letters from the continent are filled. But with these the world will perhaps one day be edified ; and it would be unfair, hy attempting them in feebler phrase, to forestall the new · Pil. grim of the Rhine.'”
And — and — and — and many friends !' “ The hesitation in the speech, and the readiness of the allusion, were alike characteristic of the individual, whom his familiars will perchance have recognized already as the delightful essayist, the capital critic, the pleasant wit and humorist, the delicate-minded and large-hearted Charles Lamb! He was shy, like myself, with strangers; so that, despite my yearnings, our first meeting scarcely amounted to an introduction. We were both at dinner, amongst the hare's many friends ; but our acquaintance got no further, in spite of a desperate attempt on my part to attract his notice. His complaint of the Decay of Beggars presented another chance; I wrote on coarse paper, and in ragged English, a letter of thanks to him, as if from one of his mendicant clients, but it produced no effect. I had given up all hope, when, one night, sitting sick and sad in my bed-room, racked with the rheumatism, the door was suddenly opened, the well-known quaint figure in black walked in without any formality, and, with a cheerful • Well, boy, how are you?' and the bland, sweet smile, extended the two fingers. They were eagerly clutched, of course, and from that hour we were firm friends."
In 1826 Hood made a collection of his contributions to the London Magazine, which, with some other pieces, was issued under the title of Whims and Oddities. His first book had been published anonymously. It was styled Odes and Addresses to Great People, and was written in conjunction with his brother-in-law, Mr. J. II. Reynolds. This work had introduced Hood to the public as a humorist of no common power; a reputation which had been increased by his produotions in the Magazine - a journal of which the Westminster Review
said, with great truth, that it was during its short life cleverly sup ported by a knot of men whom a too ardent love of the ancient and quaint and homely in literature, hurried into sundry faults of taste, which the sectarian influence of coterie intercourse confirmed into mannerism.
Hood's National Tales appeared in 1827, and was followed by a volume containing The Plea of the Midsummer Fairies, Hero and Leander, Lycus the Centaur, and other poems. In 1829 he commenced the Comic Annual, which was continued for nine years. For one year he edited The Gem, in which The Dream of Eugene Aram first appeared ; afterwards, issued in a separate brochure, with designs by W. Harvey. In 1834 he published Tylney Hall, a novel with which we remember to have been very much entertained, and which, we think, never enjoyed the favor to which it was entitled by its merits. In 1836 he published a new edition of his Whims and Odditios in Prose and Verse ; and in 1838 a selection of his contributions to the Comic Annual, with new matter, in a series of monthly numbers, under the title of Hood's Own. Til health now compelled him to go to the continent to recruit; and while in Belgium he published his pleasant little volume, Up the Rhine. During his absence an article on his works appeared in the Westminster Review, from which we extract the following description of Hood as he appeared in social life :
“We began by stating our conviction that few writers were so imperfectly understood as he of the • Comic Annual' is ; few, we may add, have been more sparingly known in the world of society. Hood has never sought the tinsel honors of Lionship. A shape of slight figure, with pale and pensive countenance, may, indeed, have litted through society occasionally, without causing any remark ; none of the Lady Worrymores or Capel Loffts, who make themselves ridiculous, and their literary protegés disrespectable, by their senseles ecstasies, - even dreaming that that slight figure was moving to and fro to gather simples of humor and folly and absurdity, but not in the spirit of a Sycorax, – that the rarest conceit could twinkle through the spectacles which give a decent gravity to those eyes, or that the most luxuriant whimsies and the most irresistible repartees could drop, rich as oil, if not always sweet as honey, from the corners of that impassive-looking mouth. But we know better ; and, as the
Mrs. S. C. Hall's reminiscences of the poet relate to about tho same period of his life :
" I remember the first time I met him was at one of the pleasant soirées of the painter Martin ; for a moment I turned away -- as many have done — disappointed, for the countenance, in repose, was of melancholy rather than of mirth ; there was something calın, even