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ing it to an inch" and skating Arbuthnot lamented. on thin ice. "Succession in henceforth there is no more danger" shout the Whigs; journal, no more peace. The "Church in danger," the Tories. fine friends fade away into exIt is a jostling phantasmagoria ile or or dependence or death. of England while she makes Walpole mounts the throne. the famous peace that chic- He cares no more for the "Scribaned the Dutch and contented lerus Club" than his two authe great Monarch. And mean- gust servants did for letters. while Vanessa fans her flame And, despite more fame and with the classics and arranges more wretchedness, Swift, after her "spark's" Sunday periwig. Stella's death, retires in hagStella and Dingley are wearied gard mockery till he dies "like of expecting the letter that shall a poisoned rat in a hole." The herald Presto's return. And brave vessel with its jolly crew Presto himself domineers and has made shipwreck. All that despairs; sits up four nights sparkling company is dispersed. a-week making believe to crack It has become a phantom ship bottles with Lord Treasurer or of immortal but ghostly fable. Bolingbroke, and jests with all that brilliant throng of sixteen "Brothers" whose master-spirit he was. In rushes "Mordanto" Peterborough, fresh from his diplomatic wanderings, and warm-heartedly embraces the imperious parson, who is powerful without place. Outside rage and brawl the Mohocks. The watch cries "Twelve of the clock," and still Swift dallies. It is "twelvepenny weather," and the thrifty economist will trudge it home. He creates Sterne Bishop of Dromore, and accepts his deanery with disgust. And then succeeds the home-coming, with Vanessa in his wake. Fled is the rapture of the deferred meeting. That brief spell of dictatorship has ruined his life. Ambition has murdered sleep. He has drunk of those troubled waters, and obeys the summons of their spell he hastens back-only to be in at the death. Ah, if but the queen had lived! "Fuimus Tores!" as delightful Dr

And this naturally brings us to Horace Walpole. Men of letters are no longer men of affairs. The former yield the latter homage in exchange for patronage, or defiance as the badge of disappointment. The age of pasteboard classicality has begun-of industrious trifles and elaborate impromptu. Walpole may be called the founder of "anecdotage," just as Spence inaugurated the literary curiosity - shop. the precursor of Greville, the latter of Isaac Disraeli. Walpole styles himself a "garrulous Brantôme." In his "Reminiscences of the Courts of George the First and Second," compiled for the inquisitive Misses Berry, we find him at his best. Macaulay has unduly belittled Walpole. His trifling is not trivial; he is a dilettante, but in the grand style. From that style Thackeray himself borrowed, as witness the subjoined extract from Walpole concerning George II.: "The King's

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last years passed as regularly as clockwork. At nine at night he had cards in the apartment of his daughters . . . with Lady Yarmouth, two or three of the late queen's ladies, and as many of the most favoured officers of his own household. Every Saturday in summer he carried that uniform party, but without his daughters, to dine at Richmond. They went in coaches and six in the middle of the day, with the heavy horseguards kicking up the dust before them-dined, walked an hour in the garden, returned in the same dusty parade, and his majesty fancied himself the most gallant and lively prince in Europe." Every one remembers his dramatis persona. What a galaxy of shabby state and magnificent meanness! There are the princesses Amelia and Caroline in two camps with their two heartless and titled lovers orientally cooped up in that royal seraglio; there are royalties enthusiastic for the deposed family; there is the royal father always hating the royal son, and, by a transference of the wars of succession to the cabals of the successor, ensuring the peace of England. There is dark - eyed insolent Anne Brett, the late King's English mistress, whose mother was Savage's. "Abishag was lodged in the palace under the eyes of Bathsheba." There is aging Duchess Sarah, still rapacious and still revengeful; and there is cool, dogged Sir Robert, who buys boroughs as a grazier buys oxen, and who with his matter-of-pocket masterfulness annihilates the old


"When a

Marlborough Junto. reconciliation had been patched up between the two courts, and my father became First Lord of the Treasury a second time, Lord Sunderland in a tête-à-tête with him said, 'Well, Mr Walpole, we have settled matters for the present, but we must think whom we will have next.' Walpole said, 'Your lordship may think as you please, but my part is taken.' We gain a pleasant glimpse of the clever, stoical Queen Caroline, who on the accession of her husband undid his rash choice of the zany Sir Spencer Compton for minister. The crowd of turncoat courtiers flocked to Leicester House and fought studiously shy of the favourite, whom they deemed rejected. "Mr Walpole being descried by the queen, 'There I am sure I see a friend,' she cried." And in Horace Walpole himself runs an unsuspected vein of his father's patriotic fibre. In 1745, when the national horizon zon was threatening, he thus writes to Sir Horace Mann: "... How much I wish myself with you! anywhere where I could have my thoughts detached in some degree by distance and length of time from England. With all the reasons that I have for not loving great part of it, it is impossible not to feel the shock of living at the period of all its greatness. To be one of the Ultimi Romanorum." One can scarcely check a smile at the affectation of Horace Walpole as "Last of the Romans." No better commentary could be instanced than the description of the frontis

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piece to his 'Memories of George the Second': "The author leaning on a globe of the world, between Heracleitus and Democritus, presents his book to the latter. In the landscape is a a view of the author's villa at Strawberry Hill, near Twickenham, where the memoirs were chiefly written. At the bottom is the date of the year, with emblems and the author's arms and motto. . . ." To complete the contrast we append the following "short notes" of his diary for 1754: "June 25.-I erected a printing-press at my house in Strawberry Hill. August 8.I published two odes by Mr Gray, the first production of my press. In September I erected a tomb in St Anne's churchyard, Soho, for Theodore King of Corsica." Could forcible feebleness further go?

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It is refreshing to turn to Boswell. We shall confine ourselves to Boswell's character, which has been little studied. If the Journal to Stella' is a diary of two worlds, Boswell's 'Life' is an atmosphere of one -that of his hero. Yet through this atmosphere his own personality emerges clear and palpable. Rogers (also a diarist) instances in his commonplace-book "Boswell drunk at Lord Falmouth's in Cornwall, kicking about his bed at midnight, swearing at the house, in which he said there was no bed to lie on and no wine to drink." Macaulay, in his famous essay, brands him more suo as "vile and impertinent, shallow and pedantic, a bigot and a sot, bloated with family pride, . yet stooping

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to be a talebearer, an eavesdropper, a common butt in the taverns of London." Dickens calls him "an unconscious coxcomb." It was Carlyle who first drew attention to Boswell's

higher nature. But Carlyle, with his love of exaggerated alternative, and his fatal incapacity for thinking out things thoroughly, delineates Johnson as a sort of practical Don Quixote, with Boswell as Sancho Panza. Johnson sallies forth with the broadsword of truth to slay giants; the sensual, ignorant Boswell has yet the saving instinct of hero-worship, and chooses and serves valiantly a spiritual master.


All this is hyperbole. It is true that Boswell drank deep, but then so on occasion did Johnson: it was a drinking age. The question is not whether he drank, but what he did while drinking. Boswell loved to listen to wisdom-a gift almost as rare as wisdom itself—and port stimulated the wisdom and kindled the conversation. their opening rendezvous in the Mitre Tavern each finished a bottle, and, among other things, discussed orthodoxy. It was on this that Johnson, with the genial glow around him, exclaimed, "Give me your hand-I have taken a liking to you." It is true that Boswell, before he met Johnson first at Davies's shop in 1763, had been in search of a celebrity, but when one comes close up to him one discerns the reason. He had coquetted with Romanism. was a man of weak will but good instincts, who had hitherto seen the better and followed the


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worse; he searched for a Mentor to brace his resolutions-for a tonic. There is something touching and not ridiculous in his early perseverance to propitiate the oracle. He will take no rebuff. He calls on him in the Temple. He waylays him at one o'clock in the morning. This is no Silenus approaching Socrates. As he himself remarks of Goldsmith: "He had sagacity enough to cultivate assiduously the acquaintance of Johnson, and his faculties were gradually enlarged. . . . It was idleness in painful earnest, sympathy eager for support. It is true, again, that Boswell "blustered about the dignity of a born gentleman." But what does the Doctor observe on this very subject: "To be sure, sir, if you were only to dine once, and it were never to be known where you dined, you would choose rather to dine with the first man for genius, but to gain most respect you should dine with the first duke in England." It is true, further, that Boswell was a bore: "I wonder, sir, that you have not more pleasure in writing than in not writing." Johnson: "Sir, you may wonder." But for this grande curiosité he would never have been snubbed, nor we enlightened. At any rate, Johnson gave him a handsome testimonial on their Scotch journey for "acuteness," gaiety of conversation, and civility of manners. And Boswell, be it remembered, served his bustling apprenticeship against the wishes of the family he so much revered. His old Whig father regarded Johnson as a dangerous Tory "Dominie."


His wife who afterwards reconciled herself by a pot of her own marmalade remarked caustically that she had seen many a bear led by a man, but never before a man led by a bear. The bore as martyr is surely a rara avis. Two considerations must also be borne in mind. One, that Boswell was hypochondriacal—a touch of nature that made them kin. The other, that he rejoiced in a faculty in which Johnson was deficient an extreme patience

perhaps inherited from that Dutch ancestress of whom he was so proud. The microscopic finish of his detail was not obtained during the 276 days only of actual association without immense effort. "The stretch of mind," he naïvely asserts, "and prompt assiduity by which so many conversations were preserved, I myself, at some distance of time, contemplate with wonder." A man inspired with one idea is usually either a genius or a madman. Boswell was certainly no madman; we are persuaded that he was a genius. If we except Spence, Boswell was the first who substituted the oratio recta for the obliqua-who made a drama of a diary. This practice afterwards became common. Hazlitt interspersed it in his "Conversations with Northcote "; Medwin employed it in those with Byron; Trelawny in those with Shelley. As individuality, fostered by English freedom and sociability, multiplied, these diaries increased. Their name is now legion. "D-me, sir, they breed," as the old Duke of Cumberland remarked of the


papers. The consequence has been a vast number of secondhand platitudes and ineptitudes. "Un sot a toujours un plus sot qui l'admire."

The diaries that enthral that present great actors off the stage, and commanders at ease —have been comparatively few. One such diary was destroyed -Byron's. But portions of his journals are embalmed in Moore's Life, and agree so closely with the spirit of his letters that some mention of them must here be made. No one in perusing them can fail to be struck with their predominant, even violent, sincerity. Byron's writing was mainly a vent for his impetuous feelings. In all his compositions, public as well as private, a sense of lurid smoke from the flame of passion is manifest; they are the craters of his heart. His emphasis and directness of expression, the shrewd common-sense imputed to him by Disraeli, his vivid intuitions of men, things, and scenery, his moody sense of doom-originally implanted by the Calvinist superstitions of his nurse, and apparent in his very scepticism-his thirst for action, his untamable genius for rebellion, his proud intensity in collision with the filmed hollowness of fashionable life,— all these forces are welded together, not in chaos, as might have been supposed, but in a weird creative harmony. Let us cull one example from his Ravenna diary: "Hear the carriage-order pistols and greatcoat as usual-necessary articles -weather cold-carriage open

and inhabitants somewhat savage, rather treacherous and highly inflamed by politics. Fine fellows, though, good material for a nation. Out of chaos God made a world, and out of high passions comes a people." And out of high passions came Byron. If only he had oftener transcended the domain of the merely passionate! The Swiss diary-a fragment -contains an episode of characteristic scorn about the English lady who exclaimed of Mont Blanc, "Did you ever see anything more rural?' as if it was Highgate or Hampton or Brompton or Haye's!" while his earliest diary of all shows a specimen of quite "Don Juan" calibre : "Went to bed and slept dreamlessly, but not refreshingly: awoke and up an hour before being called, but dawdled three hours in dressing. When one subtracts from life infancy (which is vegetation), sleep, eating and swilling buttoning and unbuttoning how much remains of down right existence?-the summer of a dormouse."

But the most methodical diary of any, one beginning while Byron was a boy and lasting till 1867, is that of Henry Crabb Robinson-a man whose elevation of spirit, alertness of mind, and volatile salt companioned him with the most various intellects of his protracted life. The intimate of the Clarksons and Mrs Barbauld, the comrade of Hazlitt, the friend and correspondent of Goethe and his court, of Tieck and Schelling, the acquaintance of Schiller and Madame de

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