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with convincing harmony that there is nothing in the nature of the publisher's or the author's vocation to set them at variance. The conditions of amity may be difficult of attainment. But my present parable plainly points the moral that, given on the one hand a publisher of high principle, of alert human sympathy, of capacity to appreciate great literature, and given on the other hand an author of genius, of modesty, of shrewdness, of frankness, and of honesty, there is no room for any sentiment between the two save genuine regard.

The manner in which Charlotte Brontë first made Mr. Smith's acquaintance is too well worn a topic to merit repetition here. But for the sake of clearness a brief reference must be made to the episode. Everybody knows how Charlotte Brontë and her two younger sisters, while they were in their teens, filled reams of paper with poems and novels. Surviving specimens show a stilted juvenility of the vaguest promise. The domestic griefs of adult years stimulated rather than slackened the three ladies' literary energies, but their first youth seems to have passed before the ambition seized them to see themselves in print. It was not till 1846, when Charlotte was thirty years old, that she and her sisters commissioned a London publisher to publish at their own expense a first volume—a collection of poems. The book had no success. But the sisters had tasted blood, and they now each offered a novel to a London firm. The aim of Charlotte's sisters took effect. · Wuthering Heights' and 'Agnes Grey' were accepted. But her own effort of 'The Professor' was rejected without thanks. The failure did not daunt her pertinacity. Five times she readdressed her manuscript to London publishers, only to meet with as many rebuffs. A seventh trial bore different fruit. The ill-fated manuscript reached a sympathetic harbourage in the office of Smith, Elder & Co., of 65 Cornhill. There it attracted the notice of the

& firm's reader, Mr. Smith Williams, a thoughtful critic, a student of fine taste. Williams detected the promise of 'The Professor, and, while declining its publication, invited with kindly encouragement another specimen of the author's work. “Jane Eyre' was despatched on August 24, 1847. The result is universally known.

The manuscript fascinated Smith Williams. Mr. Smith read it one Sunday from end to end in the little study of his mother's house at Westbourne Place. It absorbed him from early morning till late at night. He could not tear himself from it to keep the day's engagements or even to take his meals. The book was quickly

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sent to press. Within a few weeks, on October 16, 1847, Charlotte Brontë's genius was revealed to the world.1

Few will need to be reminded that Charlotte Brontë addressed the firm under the masculine pseudonym of 'Currer Bell,' and represented herself as a man in all her early correspondence. From the first Mr. Smith saw through the disguise. His shrewd instinct convinced him that ‘Currer Bell, Esq.,' was a woman.

In the early months of 1848 some friendly correspondence passed between Mr. Smith and Charlotte Brontë in her assumed name, but they did not meet till July, nine months after the publication of 'Jane Eyre.' The immediate cause of the meeting need only be briefly indicated. Charlotte Brontë began 'Shirley'very soon after she had finished ‘ Jane Eyre. At the same time her sister Anne had just completed her second novel, “ The Tenant of Wildfell Hall,' and was arranging to publish it under the accepted pseudonym of ' Acton Bell,' with Mr. Newby, the publisher of her first book, ‘ Agnes Grey.' Mr. Newby informed Smith, Elder & Co. of an unfounded suspicion that Acton and Currer Bell were one person. Charlotte Brontë deemed it a point of honour to prove their separate identities. Suddenly she resolved that she and her sister Anne should reveal themselves in person to Mr. Smith in London. They arrived late on Friday night in July 1848, and next morning presented themselves at 65 Cornhill. Mr. Smith was busily occupied, and was for a moment puzzled by the intrusion. Charlotte drew from an envelope inscribed ‘Currer Bell, Esq.,' a letter which she declared that the firm had sent her. Mr. Smith asked with some coolness what was a woman's title to a communication which the firm had addressed to a man. The needful explanation followed, and there and then was formed that chivalric friendship which only death terminated.

III. A visit to London was always for Charlotte Brontë a stirring venture. From girlhood, long before she made personal acquaintance with the city, the name thrilled her with a sense of mysterious

| Mr. Smith has noted the small circumstance that Charlotte Brontë in sending to his firm the manuscript of 'Jane Eyre' apologised for her inability to prepay at Haworth the cost of carriage. She asked the firm to let her know the amount which should be charged on delivery, and promised to renit the sum in postage stamps. The simple request showed innocent anxiety lest the author's high hopes might be thwarted by a trifling accident, and points to obsolete perils of communication between writers living în remote places and London publishers.

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wonder. Reports of its splendours at once attracted and repelled her youthful mind. It was her Babylon, her Nineveh, her ancient Rome. When her friend, Ellen Nussey, spent a few days there in 1834, Charlotte's letters vibrated vicariously with excitement over the dread experience. Ellen wrote carelessly of the first sight of the capital. Charlotte in reply confessed, by way of rebuke,

astonishment' and 'awe' at the imagined marvels of St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. The mention of St. James's Palace filled her with intense and ardent interest. The thought of meeting heroes like the Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, and Daniel O'Connell in the London streets stirred her deepest feelings. At the same time she was femininely inquisitive about the Court and its ceremonies. Amid the dithyrambics with which she plied her fortunate friend on her first London sojourn, she asked with a comical bathos for the number of performers in the King's military band.'

The smallest details of London life moved her eager curiosity.

London was indeed a word to conjure with among all the dwellers in Haworth parsonage. The dissolute, art-loving brother Branwell craved in boyhood for a sight of the metropolis of art and sport. He gratified it for a few unlucky months at the end of 1835, after studying under his sister's eyes every thoroughfare marked on the map of the City. Charlotte's conception of London was first put to the test of experience in February 1842, when she was twenty-six. On her way with her sister Emily to M. Héger's school at Brussels, she then spent her first night and day in London. Her father accompanied them. The three visitors stayed at an old-fashioned tavern in an alley off Paternoster Row, at the Chapter Coffee House, in the very heart of the City, within view, through a narrow passage, of St. Paul's Cathedral. That object of her early awe with its chimes and its dome—'a solemn orbed mass, dark blue and dim'-dominated on her arrival her mind and heart. With passionate impressiveness she twice described her first nocturnal sensations of St. Paul's, in The Professor,' and again in fuller detail in Villette.' Next morning the spirit of this great London ' roused her to ecstasy. “At a bound,' she said, she got into the heart of City life. She dared the perils of crossings with a light heart. The West End, the parks, the fine squares which she knew better at a later date left her cold. But the earnestness of the City held her spellbound. Its business, its rush, its roar were such serious themes and sights and sounds.'

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Glimpses of London even more fleeting were caught during the next two years. She slept again in the City on her return from Brussels to Haworth in the autumn of 1842. On her second visit to Brussels early next year (1843) she drove straight from Euston Railway Station to London Bridge Wharf and spent the night, an unwelcome passenger, on the Ostend packet, an incident which she vividly sketched in ‘The Professor. Nor does her stay in London seem to have been prolonged beyond a night and a day, when she finally quitted Brussels for Haworth at the extreme end of the year 1843. However great its passing fascination at this period of her life, she found no further opportunity of personal scrutiny. London was still a hazy dream of glorious possibilities when she paid her memorable visit to Mr. Smith at Cornhill in July 1848. Then, for the first time, her sojourn lasted for more nights than

She and her sister Anne remained in the City for three full days. Their headquarters were still the Chapter Coffee House off Paternoster Row. Two of their evenings were spent at the West End of the town, at No. 4 Westbourne Place, where Mr. Smith resided with his mother and sisters. Mr. Smith did not see Anne Brontë again. She died in less than a year, on May 28, 1849.

There quickly followed, during the next four years, four visits which finally brought London within Charlotte Brontë's full comprehension. During all these visits, she was Mr. Smith's guest beneath his mother's roof. It was under his auspices and in his society that she realised her long cherished ambition of familiarising herself with London-its thrilling themes and sights and sounds.'

Only three months of her thirty-nine years were devoted to the City of her early hopes and fears. But those three months provided, as she acknowledged, some of the most stirring moments in her career. She taxed her strength by her persistency as a sightseer. Her courage was often tried by social intercourse with her literary compeers to whom Mr. Smith introduced her. She nerved herself for the encounters with the self-questioning rebuke : 'Who but a coward would pass his whole life in hamlets ?' But her spirit often quailed. Yet her study of human character gained in subtlety and generosity under the varied ordeals of the great City. In her maturest novel, ‘Villette,' she garnered the fruit of the broadened outlook on human nature which she owed to her London experience.

IV.

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Mr. Smith was 'the guide, philosopher, and friend of Charlotte Brontë's London days. For full two-thirds of the nineteenth century he played an interesting and important part on the literary stage apart from her and her work. His association with her was but one link in his long chain of achievement. Yet students of Charlotte Brontë's history and work have an especially good right to ask what manner of man he was as she knew him.

Miss Brontë's junior by eight years, Mr. Smith had lately passed his twenty-fourth birthday, when she, at the age of thirty-two, first introduced herself to him at his office in Cornhill. Londonborn, a child of Scottish settlers, he had already lived from boy. hood a busy life, and had shown that large-minded spirit, that keen intuition, that sense of responsibility, that mercantile aptitude which characterised his remaining three-and-fifty years. In 1816, the year

of Charlotte Brontë's birth, his father, a native of Elginshire, had opened (with a partner, Alexander Elder, a native of Banff) a booksellers and stationers' shop in Fenchurch Street. ' ' * Booksellers' and publishers' were then convertible terms, and Smith & Elder were publishers on a modest scale from early days. Soon moving to Cornhill, the partners grafted on their existing business an East India Agency, and for more than thirty years the firm pursued in ever-increasing volume the joint work of publishers and East India agents. Young Smith entered the twin business at the age of thirteen, and at first took more kindly to the publishing than to the East Indian branch. His pupilage was brief. When he was no more than twenty-in 1844—his father's retirement, owing to failing health, flung on him the responsible charge of the growing concern, and circumstances quickly constituted him sole proprietor and director. His father soon died. Encouraged by his mother, from whom he inherited much of his firm and sanguine spirit, he weathered formidable initial difficulties, and under his control Smith, Elder & Co. became the chief East India agents and one of the leading publishing houses in London.

Mr. Smith had been only four years the firm's responsible chief when Charlotte and Anne Brontë called on him. A period of prosperity was opening for him in all directions, and before long he was to become the publisher of the flower of contemporary literature. The firm was already acting for Ruskin, then an unknown man under thirty, and with Ruskin Mr. Smith was already intimate.

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