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Title: Stevenson's Perfect Virtues - As Exemplified by Leigh Hunt
Author: Brewer, Luther Albertus, 1858-1933
Language: English
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Library of Congress.)



STEVENSON'S PERFECT VIRTUES



  STEVENSON'S
  PERFECT VIRTUES

  AS EXEMPLIFIED BY LEIGH HUNT


  BY
  LUTHER A. BREWER


  PRIVATELY PRINTED FOR THE
  FRIENDS OF LUTHER ALBERTUS
  AND ELINORE TAYLOR BREWER
  CEDAR RAPIDS IOWA CHRISTMAS
  NINETEEN TWENTY-TWO



  _Copyrighted 1922 by
  Luther A. Brewer_



STEVENSON'S PERFECT VIRTUES

  _Gentleness and cheerfulness are the perfect virtues._

                                    --Robert Louis Stevenson


Stevenson was right. There is not a more admirable trait in one's
character than that of cheerfulness. Combined with that other virtue
named by Stevenson, gentleness, and what more is needed to make a
companionable and a beloved man.

These two attributes were possessed in an emphatic way both by Stevenson
and by Leigh Hunt. That's why some of us are so fond of Hunt. That's why
he is growing in esteem as he is becoming better known to lovers and
students of the literature produced in England during the first half of
the nineteenth century.

For it is certain that Hunt is coming into his own. First editions of
his writings year by year are advancing in price. They are becoming
scarce and in some instances exceedingly difficult to obtain. Catalogues
of rare book dealers are listing fewer of his works, and when quotations
are made they invariably are in advance of those of a year or two ago.

The cultivation of cheerfulness frequently is enjoined throughout his
writings. He had many visitors in his home, attracted there by his
personal qualities and by his gentleness of heart. He was fond of
music, which formed a staple in the entertainment and the conversation.

Barry Cornwall (B. W. Procter), a long time intimate friend, in his
_Recollections of Men of Letters_, mentions the evenings at Hunt's
house: "Hunt never gave dinners, but his suppers of cold meat and salad
were cheerful and pleasant; sometimes the cheerfulness (after a 'wassail
bowl') soared into noisy merriment. I remember one Christmas or New
Year's evening, when we sat there till two or three o'clock in the
morning, and when the jokes and stories and imitations so overcame me
that I was nearly falling off my chair with laughter. This was mainly
owing to the comic imitations of Coulson, who was usually so grave a
man. We used to refer to him as an encyclopedia, so perpetually, indeed,
that Hunt always spoke of him as 'The Admirable Coulson!' This _vis
comica_ left him for the most part in later life, when he became a
distinguished lawyer."

It was this same Barry Cornwall who introduced Hawthorne to Hunt, a
charming account of Hawthorne's visit being recorded in _Our Old Home_.
"I rejoiced to hear him say," he writes, "that he was favored with most
confident and cheering anticipations in respect to a future life; and
there were abundant proofs, throughout our interview, of an unrepining
spirit, resignation, quiet relinquishment of the worldly benefits that
were denied him, thankful enjoyment of whatever he had to enjoy, and
piety, and hope shining onward into the dusk--all of which gave a
reverential cast to the feeling with which we parted from him. I wish he
could have had one draught of prosperity before he died."

There are many of us ready to give expression to the same wish.

Speaking of Hunt's _Autobiography_, a book second only in interest to
Boswell's _Johnson_ said Carlyle, this caustic writer had the grace to
say that the reader might find in that book "the image of a gifted,
gentle, patient, and valiant human soul, as it buffets its way through
the billows of time, and will not drown though often in danger; cannot
be drowned, but conquers and leaves a track of radiance behind it."

The _Spectator_, London, said this autobiography was one of the most
graceful and genial chronicles of the incidents of a human life in the
English language. "The sweetness of temper, the indomitable love and
forgiveness, the pious hilarity, and the faith in the ultimate triumph
of good revealed in its pages show the humane and noble qualities of the
writer."

This appreciation of Hunt is in contrast with the portrait drawn by
Dickens in _Bleak House_, where the character of Harold Skimpole was so
patent a caricature of Hunt that mutual friends promptly remonstrated
with the author, and this influenced Dickens, in the later numbers of
the monthly parts in which the book was issued, to modify his picture.

In writing of his father after his death, Thornton evidently had in mind
this ungenerous act of Dickens when he penned these sentences: "His
consideration, his sympathy with what was gay and pleasurable, his
avowed doctrine of cultivating cheerfulness were manifest on the
surface, and could only be appreciated by those who knew him in society,
most probably even exaggerated as salient traits, on which he himself
insisted with a sort of gay and ostentatious wilfulness. In the spirit
which made him disposed to enjoy 'anything that was going forward' he
would even assume for the evening a convivial aspect, and urge a liberal
measure of the wine with the gusto of a bon vivant. Few who knew him so
could be aware, not only of the simple and uncostly sources from which
he habitually drew his enjoyments, but of his singularly plain life,
extended even to a rule of self denial. Excepting at intervals when wine
was recommended to him, or came to him as a gift of friendship, his
customary drink was water, which he would drink with the almost daily
repetition of Dr. Armstrong's line, 'Nought like the simple element
dilutes.'... His dress was always plain and studiously economical. He
would excuse the plainness of his diet, by ascribing it to a delicacy of
health, which he overrated. His food was often nothing but bread and
meat at dinner, bread and tea for two meals of the day, bread alone for
luncheon or for supper. His liberal constructions were shown to others,
his strictness to himself. If he heard that a friend was in trouble, his
house was offered as a 'home'; and it was literally so, many times in
his life."

Apropos of this, it is of interest to note that his house was an asylum
for Keats for weeks, at a time when the young poet was sick in body and
mind. It was Leigh Hunt who gave Keats, in the _Examiner_, the first
favorable review he received.

It is but fair to note that Dickens later disclaimed any intent to
portray in Harold Skimpole the foibles of Leigh Hunt. I have several
letters from Dickens to Hunt making delicate reference to the subject.
As late as June 28, 1855, four years prior to Hunt's death, Dickens
wrote: "I hope you will not now think it necessary to renew that painful
subject with me. There is nothing to remove from my mind--I hope,
nothing to remove from yours. I thought of the little notice which has
given you (I rejoice most heartily to find) so much pleasure--as the
best means that could possibly present themselves of enabling me to
express myself publicly about you as you would desire. In that better
and unmistakable association with you by name, let all end."

Shortly after the death of Hunt Dickens made it a point to say in his
_All the Year Round_ that it was the graces and charms of manner of
Hunt, "which had many a time delighted him, and impressed him as being
unspeakably whimsical and attractive," that were recalled when the
character in question was drawn, and that he had no thought "that the
admired original would ever be charged with the imaginary vices of the
fictitious creature"--an explanation that does not clear the great
novelist.

Dickens also bears tribute to Hunt's cheerfulness despite the reasons
he had for sadness. "His life was, in several respects, a life of
trouble, though his cheerfulness was such that he was, upon the whole,
happier than some men who have had fewer griefs to wrestle with." In
Hunt's correspondence, Dickens saw evidence that he was "sometimes
over-clouded with the shadow of affliction, but more often bright and
hopeful, and at all times sympathetic: taking a keen delight in all
beautiful things--in the exhaustless world of books and art, in the
rising genius of young authors, in the immortal language of music, in
trees and flowers, and old memorial nooks of London and its suburbs; in
the sunlight which came, as he used to say, like a visitor out of
heaven, glorifying humble places."

"The very philosophy of cheerfulness," says R. H. Horne, in _A New
Spirit of the Age_, "and the good humour of genius imbue all his prose
papers from end to end."

Says Thornton, his eldest son: "Leigh Hunt's whole teaching of himself
as well as others, inculcated the promotion of cheerfulness as a duty,
not for the selfish gain of the one man himself, but for the sake of
making the happier atmosphere for others and rendering the more perfect
homage to the Author of all good and happiness."

Here is another picture of the cheerful situation, taken from "Our
Cottage," which appeared in _The New Monthly Magazine_ for September,
1836:

  Autumn, the princely season, purple-robed
  And liberal-handed, brings no gloom to us,
  But, rich in its own self, gives us rich hope
  Of winter-time; and when the winter comes,
  We burn old wood, and read old books that wall
  Our biggest-room.

"We burn old wood, and read old books"--there's the kindly cheerfulness
that is appealing. Isn't that a picture to drive hence any thought of
sadness?

His son, Thornton, felicitously said that all his life he was striving
to open more widely the door of the library, and the windows that look
out upon nature. He loved the green fields of suburban London, and never
was more happy than when sauntering along the leafy lanes. With books
for companions and nature for inspiration, how can any mortal be other
than cheerful.

All the literary men of his time delighted in his society. All were his
friends. Many a mention is made of the happy and cheerful gatherings at
his home. Hazlitt speaks of "the vinous quality of his mind" as
producing a fascination and an intoxication at once upon those who came
in contact with him.

Professor Dowden, on the other hand, says it was not a heavy wine, but a
bright, light wine that coursed through his veins--

  Tasting of Flora and the country green,
  Dance and Provençal song and sunburnt mirth.

It is natural for one acquainted with the writings of Leigh Hunt to
associate him with cheerfulness, for kindness and cheerfulness are to be
found in everything he wrote. Even in his letters in which he tells of
some of his perplexities there is found the optimistic note.

Which recalls what Hunt wrote of associations with Shakespeare. It is
quite natural to associate the idea of Shakespeare with anything which
is worth mention. "Shakespeare and Christmas" are two ideas that fall as
happily together as "wine and walnuts." "Shakespeare and May," and
"Shakespeare and June" call up many essays about spring and violets. One
may say "Shakespeare and Love," and put himself at once in the midst of
a bevy of bright damsels, as sweet as rosebuds. "Shakespeare and Life"
puts before one the whole world of youth, and spirit, and life itself.

"Hunt and Cheerfulness" are inseparable in the mind of one who knows the
story of his life and its struggles.

There's the cheerful note in this rondeau which appeared in _The New
Monthly Magazine_, 1838:

  Jenny kiss'd me when we met,
    Jumping from the chair she sat in;
  Time, you thief! who love to get
    Sweets into your list, put that in:
  Say I'm weary, say I'm sad;
    Say that health and wealth have missed me;
  Say I'm growing old, but add--
        Jennie kiss'd me!

The Jennie here immortalized is said to have been Jane Welsh Carlyle.

Perhaps Hunt's most quoted poem is his "Abou Ben Adhem," in which he
asks the angel to "write me as one that loves his fellow-men." This is
typical of his life's attitude to mankind. He had a kindly feeling for
all. The line was placed on his tombstone in Kensal Green Cemetery by
those who knew him best, his friends feeling that it most fittingly
indicated the kindliness of his character.

This poem rightly is considered the most meritorious of all Hunt wrote,
and it is quoted here because we love it:

  Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
  Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
  And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
  Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
  An angel writing in a book of gold:--
  Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
  And to the presence in the room he said,
  "What writest thou?"--The vision rais'd its head,
  And with a look made of all sweet accord,
  Answer'd, "The names of those who love the Lord."
  "And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
  Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
  But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee then,
  Write me as one that loves his fellow-men."

  The angel wrote, and vanish'd. The next night
  It came again with a great wakening light,
  And show'd the names whom love of God had bless'd,
  And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

The cheerful note is sounded in many of his poems:

  May, thou month of rosy beauty,
  Month, when pleasure is a duty.

     *       *       *       *

  May's the blooming hawthorn bough;
  May's the month that's laughing now.
  I no sooner write the word,
  Than it seems as though it heard,
  And looks up and laughs at me,
  Like a sweet face rosily--

If the rains prolong unduly the winter, he can love May in books; for

    There is May in books for ever;
  May will part from Spenser never;
  May's in Milton, May's in Prior;
  May's in Chaucer, Thompson, Dyer;
  May's in all the Italian books;
  She has old and modern nooks,
  Where she sleeps with nymphs and elves
  In happy places they call shelves,
  And will rise, and dress your rooms
  With a drapery thick with blooms.
    Come, ye rains then, if ye will,
  May's at home, and with me still;
  But come rather, thou, good weather,
  And find us in the fields together.

This certainly is redolent of cheer. But he also longs for "manly,
joyous, gipsy June."

  O, could I walk round the earth
  With a heart to share my mirth,
  With a look to love me ever,
  Thoughtful much, but sullen never,
  I could be content to see
  June and no variety;
  Loitering here, and living there,
  With a book, and frugal fare,
  With a finer gipsy time,
  And a cuckoo in the clime,
  Work at morn, and mirth at noon,
  And sleep beneath the sacred moon.

In one of the items in his pleasant book, _Table-Talk_, Hunt speaks for
greater cheerfulness in English literature. He cites Suckling's famous
_A Ballad Upon a Wedding_, in which allusion is made to the once popular
belief that the sun danced on Easter-day:

  Her feet beneath her petticoat,
  Like little mice, stole in and out,
    As if they fear'd the light;
  But, Oh! She dances such a way,
  No sun upon an Easter-day
    Is half so fine a sight.

And then he remarks that it is a pity that we do not have, if not more
such beliefs, yet more such poetry, to stand us instead of them. "Our
poetry," he writes, "like ourselves, has too little animal spirits. It
has plenty of thought and imagination; plenty of night-thoughts, and
day-thoughts too; and in its dramatic circle, a world of action and
character. It is a poetry of the highest order and the greatest
abundance. But though not sombre--though manly, hearty, and even
luxuriant--it is certainly not a very joyous poetry. And the same may be
said of our literature in general. You do not conceive the writers to
have been cheerful men. They often recommend cheerfulness, but rather as
a good and sensible practice than as something which they feel
themselves." A little later he says, "I am only speaking of the rarity
of a certain kind of sunshine in our literature, and expressing a
natural rainy-day wish that we had a little more of it." He thinks there
should be a joyous set of elegant extracts in a score of volumes, "that
we could have at hand, like a cellaret of good wine, against April or
November weather!"

Hunt believed in a "cheerful religion." "We are for making the most of
the present world," he wrote. He had not any gloomy forebodings as to
the things that may come after death. His _London Journal_, as Frank
Carr so well states, "breathed such uniform gladness and hopefulness
that every page is pervaded with an odor of homely sanctity, as of
hidden violets."

And again: He "noticed the flowers when their timorous splendours peeped
through the snow at the first impulse of life in the dark earth, and
when, afterwards, as a mantle they spread their glory over garden and
field; greeted the birds, from the lark's early carol, and the arrival
of the swallows, until the woods became vocal with multitudinous
voices."

As to Hunt's religion, by the way, there has been much discussion. I
have Leigh Hunt's copy of a volume bearing this long title: "_The
Mystical Initiations; or, Hymns of Orpheus, translated from the original
Greek: with a preliminary dissertation on the Life and Theology of
Orpheus_," containing this observation in Hunt's hand-writing:

     Mr. Taylor's faith sometimes makes him eloquent; but if he had
     united, with his Platonical abstractions, the true Christian power
     of socially working at all times, he need not have feared whatever
     seemed coming. Platonism and Christianity, if either be thoroughly
     understood, are formed admirably to go together. The first shapes
     the human being to beauty and imagination, the latter to love and
     immortality. The first perfects him individually, the latter to
     endless companionship. Platonism lifts the philosopher towards
     heaven: Christianity takes up the whole human race, and puts them
     there.

     I should like to be a worshiper in a Christian temple, in which
     whatsoever is good and beautiful should be held, for those reasons,
     to be divinely true; in which Plato's unmalignant evil should be
     the ground for Christ's all-benevolent good to stand upon; and in
     which no more limits should be assigned to whatever was sincere,
     loving, and imaginative, than to that boundless and beautiful sky,
     which is surely large enough to hold it.

In these days when so many feel forebodings of trouble it is pleasant to
recall that two such men as Robert Louis Stevenson and Leigh Hunt, each
of whom had reason for gloomy thoughts, persisted in looking upon the
bright things of life. Not anywhere in the writings of these two men
will one find them dwelling on their miseries. Per contra, both preached
cheerfulness. In darkest hours they saw the sunshine and the flowers.
Like our own Lincoln, they plucked the thistle and planted the flower
where they thought the flower would grow. The reading of these two
authors is recommended--as is also a better and more intimate
acquaintance with Charles Lamb. Here is a triumvirate that will drive
into outer darkness all fits of the blues. God will be shown to be in
his heaven, and all will be well with the world.

"Hunt," says Shelley, "was one of those happy souls which are the salt
of the earth, and without whom this earth would smell like what it is--a
tomb; who is what others seem."

Hunt viewed his many misfortunes in a kindly spirit, showing us often
what fine things may come to us out of human suffering. It is a
benediction, a peace-compelling exercise to spend an evening with Hunt.
His optimism is catching. One cannot get away from it. He writes of
Samuel Johnson: "How much good and entertainment did not the very
necessities of such a man help to produce us." This is a saying we may
apply to Hunt himself.

_Leigh Hunt's London Journal_, one of his best publications, states that
its object is "Pleasure ... the pleasure recommended alike by the most
doubting experiment, and the most trusting faith--that of making the
utmost of this green and golden world, the smallest particles of whose
surface we have not yet learned to turn to account--that of profiting
alike from the toil that is incumbent on us, and from 'the lilies of the
valley that toil not, neither do they spin.'... We say nothing we do not
think, and manifest no feelings which are not those of our daily life
and our most habitual enjoyments, our talisman against trouble, and our
best reward for exertion--a leaf, a flower, a fine passage of music, or
poetry, or painting, a belief in a thousand capabilities of earth and
man, give us literally as much delight as we say they do. We should not
otherwise have been able to get through 'a sea of troubles,' not to
recommend as we do the loving light that has saved us."

Hunt's motto for his _Indicator_, a publication praised by Charles Lamb,
is a cheerful one: "A dram of sweet is worth a pound of sour." It was
taken from Spenser, one of Hunt's favorites, and was suggested by Mrs.
Novello, mother of Mary Cowden Clarke, as we are told in _Letters to an
Enthusiast_: "By the way, did you know that my mother was the godmother
of the 'Indicator?' She suggested its name, and Leigh Hunt adopted it,
and the passage as a motto which she had pointed out as offering ground
for a good title."

Hunt could get cheerfulness out of a pebble even. "Strike it," he says,
"and you will get something out of him: warm his heart, and out come the
genial sparks that shall gladden your hearth, and put hot dishes on your
table." The brook singeth, states Coleridge in that beautiful stanza:

  A voice of a hidden brook
    In the leafy month of June,
  That to the sleeping woods all night
    Singeth a quiet tune.

And Hunt observes it would not sing so well without the stone.

Then in his light, airy way he calls our attention to that exquisite
little poem by Wordsworth on the fair maiden who died by the river Dove:

  A violet by a mossy stone
    Half hidden from the eye;
  Fair as the star, when only one
    Is shining in the sky.

And he asks if anything can express a lovelier loneliness, than the
violet half hidden by the mossy stone.

Hunt finds other gentle qualities in a stone, citing the opening lines
of Keats's _Hyperion_, where he describes the dethroned monarch of the
gods, sitting in his exile:

  Deep in the shady sadness of a vale,
  Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn,
  Far from the fiery noon, and Eve's one star,
  Sate gray-hair'd Saturn, quiet as a stone.

Nothing certainly can be more quiet than a stone. It utters not a
syllable nor a sigh.

Shakespeare had the knack of seeing power in things gentle:

              Weariness
  Can snore upon the flint, when restive sloth
  Finds the down pillow hard.

"If you are melancholy for the first time, you will find upon a little
inquiry that others have been melancholy many times, and yet are
cheerful now," Hunt writes in the _Indicator_. "If you are melancholy
many times, recollect that you have got over all those times."

This is good advice, and true. Exercise is recommended as a promoter of
cheerfulness. Such a high opinion of the value of exercise was held by
Plato that he maintained it was a cure even for a wounded conscience. In
the same article Hunt suggests that one should not want money for
money's sake. Certes, Hunt never craved money for the purpose of
hoarding it. Nearly all his life he needed money acutely, but when a
generous sum came into his possession he did not know how to keep it;
nay, he did not know how to use it properly. He was always "hard up,"
simply because he was a child in money matters. Withal, he was
optimistic and cheerful, even to the extent of remaining at home because
he did not possess the means of purchasing presentable clothing. When
his wife wrote him that after paying for a loaf of bread she would not
have a penny in her pocket, Hunt writes her in a cheerful way. Some of
us with a less keen perception of cheerful situations, or with less
ability to surmount calamities would find it rather difficult to be as
cheerful as Hunt seemed to be.

Hunt's correspondence, both published and unpublished, bears testimony
to his cheerfulness even when the clouds were the darkest. Speaking of
the two volumes of _Correspondence_ edited in 1862 by his son Thornton,
Edmund Ollier, the publisher, thus bears tribute to the man and his
buoyancy of spirit even under very trying circumstances. In these
volumes, he says, "we see him as those who knew him familiarly saw him
in his everyday life. Sometimes overclouded with the shadow of
affliction, but more often bright and hopeful, and at all times taking a
keen delight in beautiful things; in the exhaustless world of books and
art; in the rising genius of young authors; in the immortal language of
music; in trees, and flowers, and old memorial nooks of London and its
suburbs; in the sunlight which came, as he used to say, like a visitor
out of heaven, glorifying humble places; in the genial intercourse of
mind with mind ... A heart and soul so gifted could not but share
largely in the happiness with which the Divine Ruler of the Universe has
compensated our sorrows; and he had loving hearts about him to the last,
to sweeten all."

Hunt's gentleness and cheerfulness are shown in his essays, as well as
in his poetry. Perhaps none of his essays evidences these qualities of
his heart and mind more forcibly than "A Day by the Fire," which was
written for the _Reflector_ in 1812, when he was twenty-eight years of
age. "I am one of those that delight in a fireside," he begins, at once
thereby telling us that he loves kindliness and cheerfulness. For no man
who loves a fire on the hearth, especially a fire made of old wood, can
be a sour old curmudgeon. It is as impossible as it is for one not to
love a sweet little girl.

Hunt would have his fire left quite to itself, without a tea-kettle,
"bubbling and loud-hissing," which "throws up a steamy column," as
Cowper tells it. Such a fire "has full room to breathe and to blaze,"
and he can poke it as he pleases. "Poke it as I please!" he continues.
"Think, benevolent reader, think of the pride and pleasure of having in
your hand that awful, but at the same time artless, weapon, a poker; of
putting it into the proper bar, gently levering up the coals, and seeing
the instant and bustling flame above!"

The use of the poker with one's fire is as natural as shaking hands with
a friend. And

  Then shine the bars, the cakes in smoke aspire
  A sudden glory bursts from all the fire,
  The conscious wight rejoicing in the heat,
  Rubs the blithe knees and toasts th' alternate feet.

Writing in _The Companion_ in 1828, he remarks:

     A man ... may begin with being happy, on the mere strength of the
     purity and vivacity of his pulse: children do so; but he must have
     derived his constitution from very virtuous, temperate, and happy
     parents indeed, and be a great fool to boot, and wanting in the
     commonist sympathies of his nature, if he can continue happy, and
     yet be a bad man: and then he could not be bad, in the worst sense
     of the word, for his defect would excuse him.

Hunt quotes approvingly this from Hannah More:

  Since life's best joys consist in peace and ease,
  And though but few can serve, yet all may please,
  O let th' ungentle spirit learn from hence,
  A small unkindness is a great offence.

"Life," says George Moore, "is a perfect gift, and our duty is to enjoy
it; by doing so we can help others to enjoy."

This was Hunt's philosophy.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

These quotations from his letters, taken from originals in our
collection, are indicative of his view of life:

     Do not be alarmed about the emptiness of your purse on Monday. In
     the course of the day you will receive some money at all
     events--enough to go on with ... Meantime I send you two sixpence
     (mighty sum!) which I have in the last corner of my pocket. You
     will not despise them, coming with his heart's love, and his best
     thanks for your cheerful letters.--Oct. 4, 1829, to Mrs. Hunt at
     Epsom.

     Heaven seems to afford us consolatory thought, and show to us
     almost certain glimpses of happiness, in proportion as we do its
     work with cheerfulness:--and what work is more properly the work of
     heaven than that of helping one another to bear our burdens and
     strengthen our patience?--Letter, Florence, 4 Nov., 1824, to Bebs,
     his wife's sister.

He writes Mrs. Hunt, his "Dearest Molly mine," thus cheerfully:

     I have got the twenty guineas, and settled with Hyatt; but I felt
     so _new_, with my waistcoat pocket full of sovereigns, and it
     seemed such a _charge_, that I thought I had better bring it up to
     you myself.

     I am again, with bitter heart, forced to disappoint you; but Mr.
     Bell says, that "certainly, certainly" (emphatically repeating it)
     I shall have the six sovereigns tomorrow morning ... Keep up your
     spirits.

     I forgot to mention ... that I have still one of the sovereigns
     which I brought away with me, as well as five shillings and
     sixpence in silver; so that I hope I shall have enough, if not
     quite enough, to pay for the fly on Sunday. If not, perhaps you can
     borrow a few shillings till the Treasury pay-day.

     I shall cut short my sighs as I am wont to do.

     I shall regard the whole period as the beginning of that true
     sunset of life, of which I have so often spoken; for if clouds are
     still about it, they only serve to enrich what the light of love
     (the only heavenly light) makes beautiful.

My friends who know me most intimately say there are two things in my
life that may not be quite normal--my fondness for work, and my liking
for Leigh Hunt. I do not have any apologies to make for either of these
characteristics. My admiration for Hunt and my consequent desire to
acquire Hunt incunabula could not be brought to fruition if I did not
work and earn. The first characteristic noted therefore is the sequence
of the second.

I have not seen fit to apologize for either of these traits--the one a
luxury perhaps, the other a necessity.

Leigh Hunt as a man and as a writer is worth knowing. He not only loved
books, but he made books for others to love. His life at times was
almost a tragedy. There were occasions when he did not have the courage
to leave his house, so lacking was he in possessing enough clothes to
make a decent appearance. At another time he did not have the price of a
loaf of bread, and so went hungry. But he never lost his courage, and
ever was hopeful and sweet tempered.

Shelley quotes a line seen by him on a sun-dial in Italy: "Colto
soltanto le ore serene"--I mark only the bright hours. Hunt and
Stevenson saw in their lives from day to day only the bright hours.

And this is the message that The Brewers would send this Christmas time
to their friends: "Gentleness and cheerfulness are the perfect virtues."
Only the bright hours are the ones we should see.



  OF THIS BOOK TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY
  COPIES WERE PRINTED IN DECEMBER
  NINETEEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY-TWO
  BY THE TORCH PRESS CEDAR RAPIDS IOWA



Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

The misprint "Leight" was corrected to "Leigh" (page 9).





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