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ing it to an inch" and skating Arbuthnot lamented.
henceforth there is no more
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 former was the precursor of Greville, the latter of Isaac Disraeli. pole 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
last years passed as regularly
Marlborough Junto. "When a 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 "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 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 Horace Walpole as "Last of the Romans. No better commentary could be instanced than the description of the frontis
piece to his 'Memories of to be a talebearer, an eavesGeorge the the Second': "The dropper, a common butt in the author leaning on a globe of taverns of London." Dickens the world, between Heracleitus calls him an unconscious coxand Democritus, presents his comb." It was Carlyle who book to the latter. In the first drew attention to Boswell's landscape is 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?
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
higher nature. But Carlyle,
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
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."
VOL. CLXV.-NO. DCCCCXCIX.
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 unbuttoninghow 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