Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

understood precisely what was his due. He was a bon vivant and enjoyed the pleasures of the table. Of Macaulay, who generally out-talked him, he once said: “Oh, yes, we both talk a great deal, but I don't believe Macaulay ever did hear my voice. Sometimes, when I have told a good story, I have thought to myself: Poor Macaulay, he will be very sorry some day to have missed hearing that.” At another time he said: “I wish that Macaulay would see the difference between colloquy and soliloquy.” “It is a great proof of shyness,” he once said to a young lady, “to crumble your bread at dinner. I see you are afraid of me; you crumble your bread. I do it when I sit by the bishop of London, and with both hands when I sit by the archbishop.” Hallam was a very disputatious talker, and contradicted everybody. At one of Rogers' breakfasts at which Hallam was present Jeffrey arrived late. “Ah,” exclaimed Smith, greeting, “we know you have been detained trying the case of Hallam versus Everybody.” At another time, speaking of a dinner and how every one was engaged, he said: “And there was Hallam with his mouth full of cabbage and contradiction.”

Once he said that Hallam would contradict a

watchman as he called the hour. But although he often laughed at his friends and greatly satirized them, he never said anything to cause pain. Lord Dudley once said to him: “You have been laughing at me, Sydney, for the last seven years, and yet you have never said anything I could wish were unsaid.” It is not every wit that can thus be complimented.

As a letter writer he was as pleasing as he was as a conversationalist. His correspondence sparkles with wit—natural and unforced. In reply to an invitation to dinner which he was unable to accept, instead of the hackneyed “regrets” or “previous engagement,” he writes: “Dear Lady Davy: Our tastes (pardon my vanity) are so similar that I like to meet all whom you like to invite. My inclinations must remain ungratified on the 4th, as I am engaged to dine with Lord Tankerville.

Body and mind will thus divided be,
I dine with Tankerville and think of thee.”

At another time he writes: “Lord Tankerville has sent me a whole buck. This necessarily takes up a good deal of my time.” Again he says: “The information of very plain women

is so inconsiderable that I agree with you in setting no store by it.” But columns might be filled with good things from his abundant store. He was a fast friend, an affectionate husband and father, a faithful pastor, a good man. He was equal to every vicissitude of fortune and every emergency in life, and he never consciously misused his power of satire and humor. It was something in his day to preach liberal ideas and hatred of oppression, but he did it without fear or faltering. His writings are worthy of study, and he is worthy of remembrance and honor.

WILLIAM GIFFORD

AND THE “QUARTERLY.”

To mention the Edinburgh Review is also to remember its great rival, the Quarterly, that still exists and flourishes in all its original vigor.

Sir Walter Scott was the first to suggest the Review. He had at first supported and conributed to the Edinburgh, but when, under the influence of Jeffrey, Smith, and Brougham, that periodical became radical in its politics and an ardent advocate of the Whig party, the Tories of Edinburgh became greatly angered, kicked the Review out of doors, and looked about for some means of starting an opposition. Scott opened a correspondence with some of his London friends, got John Murray to be the publisher, and in 1809 the Quarterly made its first appearance under the editorship of William Gifford. The principal contributors in the beginning were Scott, John Wilson Croker, Canning, then at the beginning

of his career as a statesman, and Southey. The latter was for many years one of the mainstays of the Review, as, indeed, it was to him. It was in the pages of the Quarterly that Southey's life of Lord Nelson first appeared. But the man who gave the Review its peculiar tone and character was the editor, William Gifford, a name now tolerably well forgotten, but which was once the synonym for savage and unsparing Cr1t1C1Sm. William Gifford was born in Devonshire in 1757 and was of extremely humble birth. Left an orphan in childhood he commenced life first as a cabin-boy on a sailing vessel, and then he became a shoemaker. A bright and clever boy, he soon attracted the attention of the village surgeon, who interested himself in him sufficiently to provide means for his education. He was finally sent to Oxford, and after taking his degree went to London to engage in literary pursuits. There was at this time a fantastic set of poetasters and scribblers for the papers and magazines called “The Della Cruscans,” who posed as the great poets and writers of the day, and were most extravagantly praised by their friends and admirers. It was a sort of mutual admiration society, and their jingling rhymes passed muster because there

was nothing else written. Under the pseudonyms

« ZurückWeiter »