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Title: The Amenities of Book-Collecting and Kindred Affections
Author: Newton, A. Edward
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Printed in the United States of America


_If, as Eugene Field suggests, womenfolk are few in that part of
paradise especially reserved for book-lovers I do not care. One woman
will be there, for I shall insist that eight and twenty years probation
entitles her to share my biblio-bliss above as she has shared it here
below. That woman is my wife._




A man (or a woman) is the most interesting thing in the world; and next
is a book, which enables one to get at the heart of the mystery; and
although not many men can say why they are or what they are, any man who
publishes a book can, if he is on good terms with his publisher, secure
the use of a little space to tell how the book came to be what it is.

Some years ago a very learned friend of mine published a book, and in
the introduction warned the "gentle reader" to skip the first chapter,
and, as I have always maintained, by inference suggested that the rest
was easy reading, which was not the case. In point of fact, the book was
not intended for the "gentle reader" at all: it was a book written by a
scholar for the scholar.

Now, I have worked on a different plan. My book is written for the
"tired business man" (there are a goodly number of us), who flatters
himself that he is fond of reading; and as it is my first book, I may be
permitted to tell how it came to be published.

One day in the autumn of 1913, a friend, my partner, with whom it has
been my privilege to be associated for so many years, remarked that it
was time for me to take a holiday, and handed me a copy of the
"Geographical Magazine." The number was devoted to Egypt; and, seduced
by the charm of the illustrations, on the spur of the moment I decided
on a trip up the Nile.

Things moved rapidly. In a few weeks my wife and I were in the
Mediterranean, on a steamer headed for Alexandria. We had touched at
Genoa and were soon to reach Naples, when I discovered a feeling of
homesickness stealing over me. I have spent my happiest holidays in
London. Already I had tired of Egypt. The Nile has been flowing for
centuries and would continue to flow. There were books to be had in
London, books which would not wait. Somewhat shamefacedly I put the
matter up to my wife; and when I discovered that she had no insuperable
objection to a change of plan, we left the steamer at Naples, and after
a few weeks with friends in Rome, started _en grande vitesse_ toward

By this time it will have been discovered that I am not much of a
traveler; but I have always loved London--London with its wealth of
literary and historic association, with its countless miles of streets
lined with inessential shops overflowing with things that I don't want,
and its grimy old book-shops overflowing with things that I do.

One gloomy day I picked up in the Charing Cross Road, for a shilling, a
delightful book by Richard Le Gallienne, "Travels in England." Like
myself, Le Gallienne seems not to have been a great traveler--he seldom
reached the place he started for; and losing his way or changing his
mind, may be said to have arrived at his destination when he has
reached a comfortable inn, where, after a simple meal, he lights his
pipe and proceeds to read a book.

Exactly my idea of travel! The last time I read "Pickwick" was while
making a tour in Northern Italy. It is wonderful how conducive to
reading I found the stuffy smoking-rooms of the little steamers that
dart like water-spiders from one landing to another on the Italian

It was while I was poking about among the old book-shops that it
occurred to me to write a little story about my books--when and where I
had bought them, the prices I had paid, and the men I had bought them
from, many of whom I knew well; and so, when my holiday was done, I
lived over again its pleasant associations in writing a paper that I
called "Book-Collecting Abroad." Subsequently I wrote
another,--"Book-Collecting at Home,"--it being my purpose to print these
papers in a little volume to be called "The Amenities of
Book-Collecting." I intended this for distribution among my friends, who
are very patient with me; and I sent my manuscript to a printer in the
closing days of July, 1914. A few days later something happened in
Europe, the end of which is not yet, and we all became panic-stricken.
For a moment it seemed unlikely that one would care ever to open a book
again. Acting upon impulse, I withdrew the order from my printer, put my
manuscript aside, and devoted myself to my usual task--that of making a

Byron says, "The end of all scribblement is to amuse." For some years I
have been possessed of an itch for "scribblement"; gradually this
feeling reasserted itself, and I came to see that we must become
accustomed to working in a world at war, and to realizing that life must
be permitted to resume, at least to some extent, its regular course; and
the idea of my little book recurred to me.

It had frequently been suggested by friends that my papers be published
in the "Atlantic." What grudge they bore this excellent magazine I do
not know, but they always said the "Atlantic"; and so, when one day I
came across my manuscript, it occurred to me that it would cost only a
few cents to lay it before the editor. At that time I did not know the
editor of the "Atlantic" even by name. My pleasure then can be imagined
when, a week or so later, I received the following letter:--

_Oct. 30, 1914._


     The enthusiasm of your pleasant paper is contagious, and I find
     myself in odd moments looking at the gaps in my own library with a
     feeling of dismay. I believe that very many readers of the
     "Atlantic" will feel as I do, and it gives me great pleasure to
     accept your paper.

Yours sincerely,

Shortly afterward, a check for a substantial sum fluttered down upon my
desk, and it was impossible that I should not remember how much Milton
had received for his "Paradise Lost,"--the receipt for which is in the
British Museum,--and draw conclusions therefrom entirely satisfactory to
my self-esteem. My paper was published, and the magazine, having a hardy
constitution, survived; I even received some praise. There was nothing
important enough to justify criticism, and as a result of this chance
publication I made a number of delightful acquaintances among readers
and collectors, many of whom I might almost call friends although we
have never met.

Not wishing to strain the rather precarious friendship with Mr. Sedgwick
which was the outcome of my first venture, it was several years before I
ventured to try him with another paper. This I called "A Ridiculous
Philosopher." I enjoyed writing this paper immensely, and although it
was the reverse of timely, I felt that it might pass editorial scrutiny.
Again I received a letter from Mr. Sedgwick, in which he said:--

     Two days ago I took your paper home with me and spent a delightful
     half-hour with it. Now, as any editor would tell you, there is no
     valid reason for a paper on Godwin at this time, but your essay is
     so capitally seasoned that I cannot find it in my heart to part
     with it. Indeed I have been gradually making the editorial
     discovery that, if a paper is sufficiently readable, it has some
     claim upon the public, regardless of what the plans of the editor
     are. And so the upshot of my deliberation is that we shall accept
     your paper with great pleasure and publish it when the opportunity

The paper appeared in due course, and several more followed. The favor
with which these papers were received led the "Atlantic" editors to the
consideration of their reprint in permanent form, together with several
which now appear for the first time. All the illustrations have been
made from items in my own collection. I am thus tying a string, as it
were, around a parcel which contains the result of thirty-six years of
collecting. It may not be much, but, as the Irishman said of his dog,
"It's mine own." My volume might, with propriety, be called "Newton's
Complete Recreations."

I have referred to my enjoyment in writing my "Ridiculous Philosopher."
I might say the same of all my papers. I am aware that my friend, Dr.
Johnson, once remarked that no man but a block-head writes a book except
for money. At some risk, then, I admit that I have done so. I have
written for fun, and my papers should be read, if read at all, for the
same purpose, not that the reader will or is expected to laugh loud. The
loud laugh, in Goldsmith's phrase, it may be remembered, bespeaks the
vacant mind. But I venture to hope that the judicious will pass a not
unpleasant hour in turning my pages.

One final word: I buy, I collect "Presentation Books"; and I trust my
friends will not think me churlish when I say that it is not my
intention to turn a single copy of this, my book, into a presentation
volume. Whatever circulation it may have must be upon its own merits.
Any one who sees this book in the hands of a reader, on the library
table, or on the shelves of the collector, may be sure that some one,
either wise or foolish as the event may prove, has paid a substantial
sum for it, either in the current coin of the realm, or perchance in
thrift stamps. It may, indeed, be that it has been secured from a
lending library, in which case I would suggest that the book be returned
instantly. "Go ye rather to them that sell and buy for yourselves." And
having separated yourself from your money, in the event that you should
feel vexed with your bargain, you are at liberty to communicate your
grievance to the publisher, securing from him what redress you may; and
in the event of failure there yet remains your inalienable right, which
should afford some satisfaction, that of damning




I. BOOK-COLLECTING ABROAD                                              1

II. BOOK-COLLECTING AT HOME                                           36

III. OLD CATALOGUES AND NEW PRICES                                    65

IV. "ASSOCIATION" BOOKS AND FIRST EDITIONS                           107

V. "WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN"                                            129

VI. JAMES BOSWELL--HIS BOOK                                          145

VII. A LIGHT-BLUE STOCKING                                           186

VIII. A RIDICULOUS PHILOSOPHER                                       226

IX. A GREAT VICTORIAN                                                249

X. TEMPLE BAR THEN AND NOW                                           267

XI. A MACARONI PARSON                                                292

XII. OSCAR WILDE                                                     318

XIII. A WORD IN MEMORY                                               343


CARICATURE OF TWO GREAT VICTORIANS                _Frontispiece in Color_
W. M. Thackeray and Charles Dickens

TITLE OF "PARADISE LOST." First Edition                                6


"OLD TINSLEY"                                                         12

MADDING CROWD"                                                        14

BERNARD QUARITCH                                                      14

TITLE OF MS. OF "LYFORD REDIVIVUS"                                    16

BERNARD ALFRED QUARITCH                                               16

SAMUEL JOHNSON                                                        20
Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds about 1770, for Johnson's Step-Daughter,
Lucy Porter. Engraved by Watson

PAGE OF PRAYER IN DR. JOHNSON'S AUTOGRAPH                             23

TITLE OF KEATS'S COPY OF SPENSER'S WORKS                              24

BY ROSSETTI                                                           26

DR. JOHNSON'S CHURCH, ST. CLEMENT DANES                               31
From a pen-and-ink sketch by Charles G. Osgood


HAND                                                                  35

GEORGE D. SMITH                                                       36
Photographed by Genthe

TOBACCO"                                                              40

DR. A. S. W. ROSENBACH                                                42
Photographed by Genthe

TITLE OF "ROBINSON CRUSOE." First Edition                             45

TITLE OF "OLIVER TWIST"                                               47
Presentation Copy to W. C. Macready

ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATION FOR "VANITY FAIR"                               48
Becky Sharp throwing Dr. Johnson's "Dixonary" out of the
carriage window, as she leaves Miss Pinkerton's School

From the first pen-and-ink sketch, by Thackeray, afterwards

OF MY DEAD LIFE"                                                      50

TITLE OF GEORGE MOORE'S "PAGAN POEMS"                                 51
Presentation Copy to Oscar Wilde

TITLE OF BLAKE'S "MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL"                        52

CHARLES LAMB'S HOUSE AT ENFIELD                                       54

OF THE 'NARCISSUS'"                                                   56

THE AUTHOR'S BOOK-PLATE                                               60

HENRY E. HUNTINGTON                                                   72

STOKE POGES CHURCH                                                    74
A fine example of fore-edge painting


"A LEAF FROM AN UNOPENED VOLUME"                                      82
Specimen page of an unpublished manuscript of Charlotte Brontë


BOËTHIUS'S "DE CONSOLATIONE PHILOSOPHIÆ"                              90

TITLE OF GEORGE HERBERT'S "THE TEMPLE." First Edition                 97


M---- AT HASTINGS"                                                   105


"INLAND VOYAGE"                                                      109

OF VERSES"                                                           110

NEW BUILDING OF THE GROLIER CLUB                                     114

DICKENS                                                              116

FOR DICKENS'S "CHRISTMAS CAROL"                                      116
From the original water-color drawing

COQUETTES"                                                           118

INSCRIPTION TO SWINBURNE                                             121


GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES"                                     126

INSCRIPTION BY JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY                                  128

CHARLES LAMB                                                         130

FRANCES MARIA KELLY                                                  132

MISS KELLY IN VARIOUS CHARACTERS                                     136

MS. DEDICATION OF LAMB'S WORKS TO MISS KELLY                         137

AUTOGRAPH LETTER OF LAMB TO MISS KELLY                               139

CHARLES AND MARY LAMB                                                144

JAMES BOSWELL OF AUCHINLECK, ESQR.                                   146
Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Engraved by John Jones

SAMUEL JOHNSON IN A TIE-WIG                                          150
Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Engraved by Zobel

BOSWELL                                                              159

TITLE OF MASON'S "ELFRIDA." First Edition                            163

"CORSICA"                                                            167

BY HIM AS AN ADVOCATE                                                168

BOSWELL'S "TOUR"                                                     174
Engraved by Trotter

BOSWELL                                                              176

SAMUEL JOHNSON                                                       184
Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Engraved by Heath


MRS. PIOZZI                                                          186
Engraved by Ridley from a miniature

EXTRACT FROM MS. LETTER OF MRS. THRALE                               191

TITLE OF MISS BURNEY'S "EVELINA." First Edition                      199

MRS. THRALE'S BREAKFAST-TABLE                                        200

SAMUEL JOHNSON. THE "STREATHAM PORTRAIT"                             204
Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Engraved by Doughty

MS. INSCRIPTIONS BY MRS. THRALE                                      206

First Edition                                                        207

TOUR IN WALES"                                                       219

MISS AMY LOWELL, OF BOSTON                                           222

SAMUEL JOHNSON                                                       225


CHARLES LAMB'S PLAY-BILL OF GODWIN'S "ANTONIO"                       236

MS. LETTER FROM WILLIAM GODWIN                                       241

ANTHONY TROLLOPE                                                     250
From a photograph by Elliot and Fry

TEMPLE BAR AS IT IS TO-DAY                                           268

OLD TEMPLE BAR: DEMOLISHED IN 1666                                   276

TEMPLE BAR IN DR. JOHNSON'S TIME                                     280

TEMPLE BAR                                                           291

BEHALF OF DR. DODD                                                   306

DR. JOHNSON                                                          312

CARICATURE OF OSCAR WILDE                                            319
From an original drawing by Aubrey Beardsley

AMERICA                                                              326
From a contemporary English caricature


HARRY ELKINS WIDENER                                                 344

TITLE OF STEVENSON'S "MEMOIRS OF HIMSELF"                            349
Printed for private distribution only, by Mr. Widener

BEVERLY CHEW                                                         350

HENRY E. HUNTINGTON AMONG HIS BOOKS                                  352
Photographed by Genthe

HARRY ELKINS WIDENER'S BOOK-PLATE                                    355






If my early training has been correct, which I am much inclined to
doubt, we were not designed to be happy in this world. We were simply
placed here to be tried, and doubtless we are--it is a trying place. It
is, however, the only world we are sure of; so, in spite of our
training, we endeavor to make the best of it, and have invented a lot of
little tricks with which to beguile the time.

The approved time-killer is work, and we do a lot of it. When it is
quite unnecessary, we say it is in the interest of civilization; and
occasionally work is done on so high a plane that it becomes sport, and
we call these sportsmen, "Captains of Industry." One of them once told
me that making money was the finest sport in the world. This was before
the rules of the game were changed.

But for the relaxation of those whose life is spent in a persistent
effort to make ends meet, games of skill, games of chance, and kissing
games have been invented, and indoor and outdoor sports. These are all
very well for those who can play them; but I am like the little boy who
declined to play Old Maid because he was always "it." Having early
discovered that I was always "it" in every game, I decided to take my
recreation in another way. I read occasionally and have always been a

Many years ago, in an effort to make conversation on a train,--a foolish
thing to do,--I asked a man what he did with his leisure, and his reply
was, "I play cards. I used to read a good deal but I wanted something to
occupy my mind, so I took to cards." It was a disconcerting answer.

It may be admitted that not all of us can read all the time. For those
who cannot and for those to whom sport in any form is a burden not to be
endured, there is one remaining form of exercise, the riding of a
hobby--collecting, it is called; and the world is so full of such
wonderful things that we collectors should be as happy as kings. Horace
Greeley once said, "Young man, go West." I give advice as valuable and
more easily followed: I say, Young man, get a hobby; preferably get two,
one for indoors and one for out; get a pair of hobby-horses that can
safely be ridden in opposite directions.

We collectors strive to make converts; we want others to enjoy what we
enjoy; and I may as well confess that the envy shown by our fellow
collectors when we display our treasures is not annoying to us. But,
speaking generally, we are a bearable lot, our hobbies are usually
harmless, and if we loathe the subject of automobiles, and especially
discussion relative to parts thereof, we try to show an intelligent
interest in another's hobby, even if it happen to be a collection of
postage-stamps. Our own hobby may be, probably is, ridiculous to some
one else, but in all the wide range of human interest, from
postage-stamps to paintings,--the sport of the millionaire,--there is
nothing that begins so easily and takes us so far as the collecting of

And hear me. If you would know the delight of book-collecting, begin
with something else, I care not what. Book-collecting has all the
advantages of other hobbies without their drawbacks. The pleasure of
acquisition is common to all--that's where the sport lies; but the
strain of the possession of books is almost nothing; a tight, dry closet
will serve to house them, if need be.

It is not so with flowers. They are a constant care. Some one once wrote
a poem about "old books and fresh flowers." It lilted along very nicely;
but I remark that books stay old, indeed get older, and flowers do not
stay fresh: a little too much rain, a little too much sun, and it is all

Pets die too, in spite of constant care--perhaps by reason of it. To
quiet a teething dog I once took him, her, it, to my room for the night
and slept soundly. Next morning I found that the dog had committed
suicide by jumping out of the window.

The joys of rugs are a delusion and a snare. They cannot be picked up
here and there, tucked in a traveling-bag, and smuggled into the house;
they are hard to transport, there are no auction records against them,
and the rug market knows no bottom. I never yet heard a man admit paying
a fair price for a rug, much less a high one. "Look at this Scherazak,"
a friend remarks; "I paid only nine dollars for it and it's worth five
hundred if it's worth a penny." When he is compelled to sell his
collection, owing to an unlucky turn in the market, it brings
seventeen-fifty. And rugs are ever a loafing place for moths--But that's
a chapter by itself.

Worst of all, there is no literature about them. I know very well that
there are books about rugs; I own some. But as all books are not
literature, so all literature is not in books. Can a rug-collector enjoy
a catalogue? I sometimes think that for the over-worked business man a
book-catalogue is the best reading there is. Did you ever see a
rug-collector, pencil in hand, poring over a rug-catalogue?

Print-catalogues there are; and now I warm a little. They give
descriptions that mean something; a scene may have a reminiscent value,
a portrait suggests a study in biography. Then there are dimensions for
those who are fond of figures and states and margins, and the most
ignorant banker will tell you that a wide margin is always better than a
narrow one. Prices, too, can be looked up and compared, and results,
satisfactory or otherwise, recorded. Prints, too, can be snugly housed
in portfolios. But for a lasting hobby give me books.

Book-collectors are constantly being ridiculed by scholars for the pains
they take and the money they spend on first editions of their favorite
authors; and it must be that they smart under the criticism, for they
are always explaining, and attempting rather foolishly to justify their
position. Would it not be better to say, as Leslie Stephen did of Dr.
Johnson's rough sayings, that "it is quite useless to defend them to any
one who cannot enjoy them without defense"?

I am not partial to the "books which no gentleman's library should be
without," fashionable a generation or two ago. The works of Thomas
Frognall Dibdin do not greatly interest me, and where will one find room
to-day for Audubon's "Birds" or Roberts's "Holy Land" except on a
billiard-table or under a bed?

The very great books of the past have become so rare, so high-priced,
that it is almost useless for the ordinary collector to hope ever to own
them, and fashion changes in book-collecting as in everything else.
Aldines and Elzevirs are no longer sought. Our interest in the Classics
being somewhat abated, we pass them over in favor of books which, we
tell ourselves, we expect some day to read, the books written by men of
whose lives we know something. I would rather have a "Paradise Lost"
with the first title-page,[1] in contemporary binding, or an "Angler,"
than all the Aldines and Elzevirs ever printed.


Paradise lost.


Written in

Licensed and Entred according
to Order.

Printed, and are to be sold by _Peter Parker_
under _Creed,_ Church neer _Aldgate_; And by
_Robert Boulter_ at the _Turks Head_ in _Bishopsgate-Street_;
And _Matthias Walker_, under _St. Dunstons_ Church
in _Fleet-Street_, 1667.

That this feeling is general, accounts, I take it, for the excessively
high prices now being paid for first editions of modern authors like
Shelley, Keats, Lamb, and, to come right down to our own day, Stevenson.
Would not these authors be amazed could they know in what esteem they
are held, and what fabulous prices are paid for volumes which, when they
were published, fell almost stillborn from the press? We all know the
story of Fitzgerald's "Rubaiyat": how a "remainder" was sold by Quaritch
at a penny the copy. It is now worth its weight in gold, and Keats's
"Endymion," once a "remainder" bought by a London bookseller at
fourpence, now commands several hundred dollars. I paid three hundred
and sixty dollars for mine--but it was once Wordsworth's and has his
name on the title-page.

But it is well in book-collecting, while not omitting the present, never
to neglect the past. "Old books are best," says Beverly Chew, beloved of
all collectors; and I recall Lowell's remark: "There is a sense of
security in an old book which time has criticized for us." It was a
recollection of these sayings that prompted me, if prompting was
necessary, to pay a fabulous price the other day for a copy of
"Hesperides, or the Works both Humane and Divine of Robert Herrick,
Esq.," a beautiful copy of the first edition in the original sheep.

We collectors know the saying of Bacon: "Some books are to be tasted,
others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested"; but the
revised version is, Some books are to be read, others are to be
collected. Mere reading books, the five-foot shelf, or the hundred best,
every one knows at least by name. But at the moment I am concerned with
collectors' books and the amenities of book-collecting; for, frankly,--

    I am one of those who seek
    What Bibliomaniacs love.

Some subjects are not for me. Sydney Smith's question, "Who reads an
American book?" has, I am sure, been answered; and I am equally sure
that I do not know what the answer is. "Americana"--which was not what
Sydney Smith meant--have never caught me, nor has "black letter." It is
not necessary for me to study how to tell a Caxton. Caxtons do not fall
in my way, except single leaves now and then, and these I take as
Goldsmith took his religion, on faith.

Nor am I the rival of the man who buys all his books from Quaritch.
Buying from Quaritch is rather too much like the German idea of hunting:
namely, sitting in an easy chair near a breach in the wall through which
game, big or little, is shooed within easy reach of your gun. No, my
idea of collecting is "watchful waiting," in season and out, in places
likely and unlikely, most of all in London. But one need not begin in
London: one can begin wherever one has pitched one's tent.

I have long wanted Franklin's "Cato Major." A copy was found not long
ago in a farmhouse garret in my own county; but, unluckily, I did not
hear of it until its price, through successive hands, had reached three
hundred dollars. But if one does not begin in London, one ends there. It
is the great market of the world for collectors' books--the best market,
not necessarily the cheapest.


With Explanatory NOTES.

Printed and sold by B. FRANKLIN,

My first purchase was a Bohn edition of Pope's Homer, the Iliad and the
Odyssey in two volumes--not a bad start for a boy; and under my youthful
signature, with a fine flourish, is the date, 1882.

I read them with delight, and was sorry when I learned that Pope is by
no means Homer. I have been a little chary about reading ever since. We
collectors might just as well wait until scholars settle these

I have always liked Pope. In reading him one has the sense of progress
from idea to idea, not a mere floundering about in Arcady amid
star-stuff. When Dr. Johnson was asked what poetry is, he replied, "It
is much easier to say what it is not." He was sparring for time and
finally remarked, "If Pope is not poetry it is useless to look for it."

Years later, when I learned from Oscar Wilde that there are two ways of
disliking poetry,--one is to dislike it, and the other, to like Pope,--I
found that I was not entirely prepared to change my mind about Pope.

In 1884 I went to London for the first time, and there I fell under the
lure of Dr. Johnson and Charles Lamb. After that, the deluge!

The London of 1884 was the London of Dickens. There have been greater
changes since I first wandered in the purlieus of the Strand and Holborn
than there were in the hundred years before. Dickens's London has
vanished almost as completely as the London of Johnson. One landmark
after another disappeared, until finally the County Council made one
grand sweep with Aldwych and Kingsway. But never to be forgotten are the
rambles I enjoyed with my first bookseller, Fred Hutt of Clement's Inn
Passage, subsequently of Red Lion Passage, now no more. Poor fellow!
when, early in 1914, I went to look him up, I found that he had passed
away, and his shop was being dismantled. He was the last of three
brothers, all booksellers.

From Hutt I received my first lesson in bibliography; from him I bought
my first "Christmas Carol," with "Stave 1," not "Stave One," and with
the green end-papers. I winced at the price: it was thirty shillings. I
saw one marked twenty guineas not long ago. From Hutt, too, I got a copy
of Swinburne's "Poems and Ballads," 1866, with the Moxon imprint, and
had pointed out to me the curious eccentricity of type on page 222. I
did not then take his advice and pay something over two pounds for a
copy of "Desperate Remedies." It seemed wiser to wait until the price
reached forty pounds, which I subsequently paid for it. But I did buy
from him for five shillings an autograph letter of Thomas Hardy to his
first publisher, "old Tinsley." As the details throw some light on the
subject of Hardy's first book, I reproduce the letter, from which it
will be seen that Hardy financed the publication himself.

When, thirty years ago, I picked up my Hardy letter for a few shillings,
I never supposed that the time would come when I would own the complete
manuscript of one of his most famous novels. Yet so it is. Not long
since, quite unexpectedly, the original draft of "Far from the Madding
Crowd" turned up in London. Its author, when informed of its discovery,
wrote saying that he had "supposed the manuscript had been pulped ages
ago." One page only was missing; Mr. Hardy supplied it. Then arose the
question of ownership, which was gracefully settled by sending it to the
auction-room, the proceeds of the sale to go to the British Red Cross. I
cannot say that the bookseller who bought it gave it to me exactly, but
we both agree that it is an item which does honor to any collection.
Although it is the original draft, there are very few corrections or
interlineations, the page reproduced (see next page) being fairly


I paid five shillings for this letter many years ago, in London. Maggs,
in his last catalogue, prices at fifteen guineas a much less interesting
letter from Hardy to Arthur Symons, dated December 4, 1915, on the same

Only those who are trying to complete their sets of Hardy know how
difficult it is to find "Desperate Remedies" and "Under the Greenwood
Tree" "in cloth as issued."

My love for book-collecting and my love for London have gone hand in
hand. From the first, London with its wealth of literary and historic
interest has held me; there has never been a time, not even on that
gloomy December day twenty years ago, when, with injuries subsequently
diagnosed as a "compound comminuted tibia and fibula," I was picked out
of an overturned cab and taken to St. Bartholomew's Hospital for
repairs, that I could not say with Boswell, "There is a city called
London for which I have as violent an affection as the most romantic
lover ever had for his mistress."

The book-shops of London have been the subject of many a song in prose
and verse. Every taste and pocket can be satisfied, I have ransacked the
wretched little shops to be found in the by-streets of Holborn one day,
and the next have browsed in the artificially stimulated pastures of
Grafton Street and Bond Street, and with as much delight in one as in
the other.



"The extensive literature of catalogues is probably little known to most
readers. I do not pretend to claim a thorough acquaintance with it but I
know the luxury of reading good catalogues and such are those of Bernard

I cannot say that "I was 'broke' in London in the fall of '89," for the
simple reason that I was not in London that year; but I am never
long in London without finding myself as light in heart and pocket as
Eugene Field--the result of yielding to the same temptations.

I knew the elder Quaritch well, and over a cup of tea one winter
afternoon years ago, in a cold, dingy little room filled with priceless
volumes in the old shop in Piccadilly, he confided to me his fears for
his son Alfred. This remarkable old man, who has well been called the
Napoleon of booksellers, was certain that Alfred would never be able to
carry on the business when he was gone. "He has no interest in books, he
is not willing to work hard as he will have to, to maintain the standing
I have secured as the greatest bookseller in the world." Quaritch was
very proud, and justly, of his eminence.

How little the old man knew that this son, when the time came, would
step into his father's shoes and stretch them. Alfred, when he inherited
the business, assumed his father's first name and showed all his
father's enthusiasm and shrewdness. He probably surprised himself, as he
surprised the world, by adding lustre to the name of Bernard Quaritch,
so that, when he died, the newspapers of the English-speaking world gave
the details of his life and death as matters of general interest.

The book-lovers' happy hunting-ground is the Charing Cross Road. It is a
dirty and sordid street, too new to be picturesque; but almost every
other shop on both sides of the street is a bookshop, and the patient
man is frequently rewarded by a find of peculiar interest.

One day, a few years ago, I picked up two square folio volumes of
manuscript bound in old, soft morocco, grown shabby from knocking about.
The title was "Lyford Redivivus, or A Grandame's Garrulity."

[Illustration: Title of MS. of "Lyford Redivivus"]

Examination showed me that it was a sort of dictionary of proper names.
In one volume there were countless changes and erasures; the other was
evidently a fair copy. Although there was no name in either volume to
suggest the author, it needed no second glance to see that both were
written in the clear, bold hand of Mrs. Piozzi. The price was but
trifling, and I promptly paid it and carried the volumes home. Some
months later, I was reading a little volume, "Piozziana," by Edward
Mangin,--the first book about Mrs. Thrale-Piozzi,--when, to my surprise,
my eye met the following:--


"He probably surprised himself as he surprised the world by adding
lustre to the name of Bernard Quaritch."]

     Early in the year 1815, I called on her [Mrs. Piozzi] then resident
     in Bath, to examine a manuscript which she informed me she was
     preparing for the press. After a short conversation, we sat down to
     a table on which lay two manuscript volumes, one of them, the fair
     copy of her work, in her own incomparably fine hand-writing. The
     title was "Lyford Redivivus"; the idea being taken from a
     diminutive old volume, printed in 1657, and professing to be an
     alphabetical account of the names of men and women, and their
     derivations. Her work was somewhat on this plan: the Christian or
     first name given, Charity, for instance, followed by its etymology;
     anecdotes of the eminent or obscure, who have borne the
     appellation; applicable epigrams, biographical sketches, short
     poetical illustrations, &c.

     I read over twelve or fourteen articles and found them exceedingly
     interesting; abounding in spirit, and novelty; and all supported by
     quotations in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, French, Celtic, and
     Saxon. There was a learned air over all, and in every page, much
     information, ably compressed, and forming what I should have
     supposed, an excellent popular volume. She was now seventy-five;
     and I naturally complimented her, not only on the work in question,
     but on the amazing beauty and variety of her hand-writing. She
     seemed gratified and desired me to mention the MS. to some London
     publisher. This I afterwards did, and sent the work to one alike
     distinguished for discernment and liberality, but with whom we
     could not come to an agreement. I have heard no more of "Lyford
     Redivivus" since, and know not in whose hands the MS. may now be.

A moment later it was in mine, and I was examining it with renewed

My secret is out. I collect, as I can, human-interest books--books with
a _provenance_, as they are called; but as I object to foreign words, I
once asked a Bryn Mawr professor, Dr. Holbrook, to give me an English
equivalent. "I should have to make one," he said. "You know the word
_whereabouts_, I suppose." I admitted that I did. "How would
_whenceabouts_ do?" I thought it good.

In recent years, presentation, or association, books have become the
rage, and the reason is plain. Every one is unique, though some are
uniquer than others. My advice to any one who may be tempted by some
volume with an inscription of the author on its fly-leaf or title-page
is, "Yield with coy submission"--and at once. While such books make
frightful inroads on one's bank account, I have regretted only my
economies, never my extravagances.

I was glancing the other day over Arnold's "Record of Books and
Letters." He paid in 1895 seventy-one dollars for a presentation Keats's
"Poems," 1817, and sold it at auction in 1901 for five hundred.[2] A few
years later I was offered a presentation copy of the work, with an
inscription to Keats's intimate friends, Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke,
for a thousand dollars, and while I was doing some preliminary financing
the book disappeared, and forever; and I have never ceased regretting
that the dedication copy of Boswell's "Life of Johnson," to Sir Joshua
Reynolds, passed into the collection of my lamented friend, Harry
Widener, rather than into my own. "I shall not pass this way again"
seems written in these volumes.

But my record is not all of defeats. The "whenceabouts" of my
presentation "Vanity Fair" is not without interest--its story is told in
Wilson's "Thackeray in the United States."

     The great man took particular delight in schoolboys. When, during
     his lecturing tour, he visited Philadelphia, he presented one of
     these boys with a five-dollar gold-piece. The boy's mother objected
     to his pocketing the coin, and Thackeray vainly endeavored to
     convince her that this species of beneficence was a thing of course
     in England. After a discussion the coin was returned, but three
     months later the lad was made happy by the receipt of a copy of
     "Vanity Fair," across the title-page of which he saw written, in a
     curiously small and delicate hand, his name, Henry Reed, with W. M.
     Thackeray's kind regards, April, 1856.

One day, some years ago, while strolling through Piccadilly, my
attention was attracted by a newspaper clipping posted on the window of
a bookshop, which called attention to a holograph volume of Johnson-Dodd
letters on exhibition within. I spent several hours in careful
examination of it, and, although the price asked was not inconsiderable,
it was not high in view of the unusual interest of the volume. I felt
that I must own it.

When I am going to be extravagant I always like the encouragement of my
wife, and I usually get it. I determined to talk over with her my
proposed purchase. Her prophetic instinct in this instance was against
it. She reminded me that the business outlook was not good when we left
home, and that the reports received since were anything but encouraging.
"That amount of money," she said, "may be very useful when you get
home." The advice was good; indeed, her arguments were so unanswerable
that I determined not to discuss it further, but to buy it anyhow and
say nothing. Early the next morning I went back, and to my great
disappointment found that some one more forehanded than I had secured
the treasure. My regrets for a time were keen, but on my return to this
country I found myself in the height of the 1907 panic. Securities
seemed almost worthless and actual money unobtainable; then I
congratulated my wife on her wisdom, and pointed out what a fine fellow
I had been to follow her advice.

Six months later, to my great surprise, the collection was again offered
me by a bookseller in New York at a price just fifty per cent in advance
of the price I had been asked for it in London. The man who showed it to
me was amazed when I told him just when he had bought it and where, and
the price he had paid for it. I made a guess that it was ten per cent
below the figure at which it had been offered to me. "I am prepared," I
said, "to pay you the same price I was originally asked for it in
London. You have doubtless shown it to many of your customers and have
not found them as foolish in their enthusiasm over Johnson as I am. You
have had your chance to make a big profit; why not accept a small
one?" There was some discussion; but as I saw my man weakening, my
firmness increased, and it finally ended by my handing him a check and
carrying off the treasure.


_Engraved by Watson_]

The collection consists of original manuscripts relating to the forgery
of Dodd, twelve pieces being in Dr. Johnson's handwriting. In 1778 Dr.
William Dodd, the "unfortunate" clergyman, as he came to be called, was
condemned to death for forging the name of his pupil, Lord Chesterfield,
to a bond for forty-two hundred pounds. Through their common friend
Edmund Allen, Johnson worked hard to secure Dodd's pardon, writing
letters, petitions, and addresses, to be presented by Dodd, in his own
or his wife's name, to the King, the Queen, and other important persons,
Johnson taking every care to conceal his own part in the matter. In all
there are thirty-two manuscripts relating to the affair. They were
evidently used by Sir John Hawkins in his "Life of Johnson," but it is
doubtful whether Boswell, although he quotes them in part, ever saw the

Pearson, from his shop in Pall Mall Place, issues catalogues which for
size, style, and beauty are unexcelled--they remind one more of
publications _deluxe_ than of a bookseller's catalogue. It is almost
vain to look for any item under a hundred pounds, and not infrequently
they run to several thousand. A catalogue now on my writing table tells
me of a Caxton: "Tully, His Treatises of Old Age and Friendship," one of
four known copies, at twenty-five hundred pounds; and I'd gladly pay it
did my means allow.

From Pearson I secured my holograph prayer of Dr. Johnson, of which
Birkbeck Hill says: "Having passed into the cabinet of a collector it
remains as yet unpublished." It is dated Ashbourne, September 5, 1784
(Johnson died on December 13 of that year), and reads:--

     Almighty Lord and Merciful Father, to Thee be thanks, and praise
     for all thy mercies, for the awakening of my mind, the continuance
     of my life, the amendment of my health, and the opportunity now
     granted of commemorating the death of thy Son Jesus Christ, our
     Mediator and Redeemer. Enable me O Lord to repent truly of my
     sins--enable me by thy Holy Spirit to lead hereafter a better life.
     Strengthen my mind against useless perplexities, teach me to form
     good resolutions and assist me that I may bring them to effect, and
     when Thou shalt finally call me to another state, receive me to
     everlasting happiness, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Prayers in Dr. Johnson's hand are excessively rare. He wrote a large
number, modeled evidently upon the beautiful Collects--prose sonnets--of
the Church of England Prayer Book; but after publication by their first
editor, Dr. George Strahan, in 1785, most of the originals were
deposited in the Library of Pembroke College, Oxford; hence their

[Illustration Page of Prayer in Dr. Johnson's Autograph]

From Pearson, too, came my beautiful uncut copy of "A Journey to the
Western Islands of Scotland," with a receipt for one hundred pounds in
Johnson's handwriting on account of the copyright of the book, and, more
interesting still, a brief note to Mrs. Horneck (the mother of
Goldsmith's "Jessamy Bride"), reading: "Mr. Johnson sends Mrs. Horneck
and the young ladies his best wishes for their health and pleasure in
their journey, and hopes his Wife [Johnson's pet name for the young
lady] will keep him in her mind. Wednesday, June 13." The date completes
the story. Forster states that Goldsmith, in company with the Hornecks,
started for Paris in the middle of July, 1770. This was the dear old
Doctor's good-bye as the party was setting out.

To spend a morning with Mr. Sabin, the elder, in his shop in Bond Street
is a delight never to be forgotten. The richest and rarest volumes are
spread out before you as unaffectedly as if they were the last
best-sellers. You are never importuned to buy; on the contrary, even
when his treasures are within your reach, it is difficult to get him to
part with them. One item which you particularly want is a part of a set
held at a king's ransom; some one has the refusal of another. It is
possible to do business, but not easy.


His son, Frank, occasionally takes advantage of his father's absence to
part with a volume or two. He admits the necessity of selling a book
sometimes in order that he may buy another. This, I take it, accounts
for the fact that he consented to part with a copy of "The Works of
that Famous English Poet, Mr. Edmond Spenser"--the fine old folio of
1679, with the beautiful title-page. A "name on title" ordinarily does
not add to a book's value; but when that name is "John Keats" in the
poet's hand, and in addition, "Severn's gift, 1818," one is justified in
feeling elated.

John Keats! who in the realm of poetry stands next to the great
Elizabethans. It was Spenser's "Fairy Queen" which first fired his
ambition to write poetry, and his lines in imitation of Spenser are
among the first he wrote. At the time of the presentation of this
volume, Severn had recently made his acquaintance, and Keats and his
friends were steeped in Elizabethan literature. The finest edition of
the works of Spenser procurable was no doubt selected by Severn as a
gift more likely than any other to be appreciated by the poet.

Remember that books from Keats's library, which was comparatively a
small one, are at the present time practically non-existent; that among
them there could hardly have been one with a more interesting
association than this volume of Spenser. Remember too that Keats's

    Sweet are the pleasures that to verse belong,
    And doubly sweet a brotherhood in song,--

was addressed to my great-great-uncle, George Felton Mathew; and let me
refer to the fact that on my first visit to England I had spent several
days with his sister, who as a young girl had known Keats well, and it
will be realized that the possession of this treasure made my heart

Stimulated and encouraged by this purchase, I successfully angled for
one of the rarest items of the recent Browning sale, the portrait of
Tennyson reading "Maud," a drawing in pen and ink by Rossetti, with a
signed inscription on the drawing in the artist's handwriting:--

    I hate the dreadful hollow behind the little wood.

Browning's inscription is as follows:--

     Tennyson read his poem of Maud to E.B.B., R.B., Arabel and
     Rossetti, on the evening of Thursday, Septr. 27, 1855, at 13 Dorset
     St., Manchester Square. Rossetti made this sketch of Tennyson as he
     sat reading to E.B.B., who occupied the other end of the sofa.

R.B. March 6, '74.
19 Warwick Crescent.

W. M. Rossetti and Miss Browning were also present on this famous
evening, which is vivaciously described by Mrs. Browning in an autograph
letter to Mrs. Martin inserted in the album.

     One of the pleasantest things which has happened to us here is the
     coming down on us of the Laureate, who, being in London for three
     or four days from the Isle of Wight, spent two of them with us,
     dined with us, smoked with us, opened his heart to us (and the
     second bottle of port), and ended by reading "Maud" through from
     end to end, and going away at half-past two in the morning. If I
     had had a heart to spare, certainly he would have won mine. He is
     captivating with his frankness, confidingness, and unexampled
     naïveté! Think of his stopping in "Maud" every now and
     then--"There's a wonderful touch! That's very tender. How beautiful
     that is!" Yes, and it was wonderful, tender, beautiful, and he read
     exquisitely in a voice like an organ, rather music than speech.


Thus are linked indissolubly together the great Victorians: Browning,
Tennyson, Rossetti, and Mrs. Browning. It would be difficult to procure
a more interesting memento.

At 27 New Oxford Street, West, is a narrow, dingy little shop, which you
would never take to be one of the most celebrated bookshops in
London--Spencer's. How he does it, where he gets them, is his business,
and an inquiry he answers only with a smile; but the fact is, there they
are--just the books you have been looking for, presentation copies and
others, in cloth and bound. Spencer owes it to book-collectors to issue
catalogues. They would make delightful reading. He has always promised
to do it, but he, as well as we, knows that he never will.

But he is kind in another way, if kindness it is: he leaves you alone
for hours in that wonderful second-story room, subjected to temptation
almost too great to be resisted. Autograph letters, first drafts of
well-known poems, rare volumes filled with corrections and notes in the
hand of the author, are scattered about; occasionally, such an
invaluable item as the complete manuscript of "The Cricket on the

It was from the table in this room that I picked up one day a rough
folder of cardboard tied with red tape and labeled "Lamb." Opening it, I
found a letter from Lamb to Taylor & Hessey, "acknowledging with thanks
receit of thirty-two pounds" for the copyright of "Elias (Alas) of last
year," signed and dated, June 9, 1824. I felt that it would look well in
my presentation "Elia," in boards, uncut, and was not mistaken.

My acquaintance with Mr. Dobell I owe to a paragraph that I read many
years ago in Labouchere's "Truth." One day this caught my eye:--

     From the catalogue of a West End Bookseller I note this: "Garrick,
     David. 'Love in the Suds. A Town Eclogue,' first edition. 1772.
     Very rare. 5 guineas." The next post brought me a catalogue from
     Bertram Dobell, the well-known bookseller in the Charing Cross
     Road. There I read, "Garrick, David. 'Love in the Suds. A Town
     Eclogue,' first edition, 1772, boards, 18 pence." The purchaser of
     the former might do well to average by acquiring Mr. Dobell's copy.

Old Dobell is in a class by himself--scholar, antiquarian, poet, and
bookseller.[4] He is just the type one would expect to find in a shop on
the floor of which books are stacked in piles four or five feet high,
leaving narrow tortuous paths through which one treads one's way with
great drifts of books on either side. To reach the shelves is
practically impossible, yet out of this confusion I have picked many a
rare item.

Don't be discouraged if, on your asking for a certain volume, Mr. Dobell
gently replies, "No, sorry." That means simply that he cannot put his
mental eye on it at the moment. It, or something as interesting, will
come along. Don't hurry; and let me observe that the prices of this
eighteenth-century bookshop are of the period.

I once sought, for years, a little book of no particular value; but I
wanted it to complete a set. I had about given up all hope of securing a
copy when I finally found it in a fashionable shop on Piccadilly. It was
marked five guineas, an awful price; but I paid it and put the volume in
my pocket. That very day I stumbled across a copy in a better condition
at Dobell's, marked two and six. I bethought me of Labby's advice and

From Dobell came Wordsworth's copy of "Endymion"; likewise a first
edition of the old-fashioned love-story, "Henrietta Temple," by
Disraeli, inscribed, "To William Beckford with the author's
compliments," with many pages of useless notes in Beckford's hand; he
seems to have read the volumes with unnecessary care. Nor should I
forget a beautiful copy of Thomson's "Seasons," presented by Byron "To
the Hon'ble Frances Wedderburne Webster," with this signed impromptu:--

    Go!--volume of the Wintry Blast,
    The yellow Autumn and the virgin Spring.
    Go!--ere the Summer's zephyr's past
    And lend to loveliness thy lovely Wing.

The morning's mail of a busy man, marked "personal," takes a wide scope,
ranging all the way from polite requests for a loan to brief statements
that "a prompt remittance will oblige"; but at the bottom of the pile
are the welcome catalogues of the second-hand booksellers--for books, to
be interesting, must at least be second-hand. Indeed, as with notes
offered for discount, the greater the number of good indorsers the
better. In books, indorsements frequently take the form of bookplates. I
am always interested in such a note as this: "From the library of
Charles B. Foote, with his bookplate."

Auction catalogues come, too. These also must be scanned, but they lack
the element which makes the dealers' catalogues so interesting--the
prices. With prices omitted, book-auction catalogues are too
stimulating. The mind at once begins to range. Doubt takes the place of

The arrival of a catalogue from the Sign of the Caxton Head, Mr. James
Tregaskis's shop in High Holborn, in the parish of
St.-Giles's-in-the-Fields, always suspends business in my office for
half an hour; and while I glance rapidly through its pages in search of
nuggets, I paraphrase a line out of Boswell, that "Jimmie hath a very
pretty wife." Why shouldn't a book merchant have a pretty wife? The
answer is simple: he has, nor are good-looking wives peculiar to this
generation of booksellers.

Tom Davies, it will be remembered, who, in the back parlor of his little
bookshop in Russell Street, Covent Garden, first introduced Boswell to
Johnson, had a wife who, we are told, caused the great Doctor to
interrupt himself in the Lord's Prayer at the point, "Lead us not into
temptation," and whisper to her, with waggish and gallant good humor,
"You, my dear, are the cause of this." Like causes still produce like


_From a pen-and-ink sketch by Charles G. Osgood_]

From Tregaskis I secured my "Memoirs of George Psalmanazar," 1764, an
interesting book in itself; but its chief value is the signature and
note, "Given to H. L. Thrale by Dr. Sam Johnson," I suppose about 1770.
Following Mrs. Thrale's usual practice, there are scattered through the
volume a number of notes and criticisms in her handwriting. It was
Psalmanazar, afterwards discovered to be a notorious old scamp, whose
apparent piety so impressed Dr. Johnson that he "sought" his company;
and of whom he said, "Sir, contradict Psalmanazar! I should as soon
think of contradicting a Bishop."

[Illustration: Inscription to Mrs. Thrale in Dr. Johnson's Hand]

Side by side with this volume on my shelves stands the "Historical and
Geographical Description of Formosa," a work of sheer imagination if
ever there was one.

My "Haunch of Venison," 1776, in wrappers, uncut, with the rare portrait
of Goldsmith drawn by Bunbury (he married Goldsmith's Little Comedy, it
will be remembered), also came from him, as did my "London, A poem in
imitation of the third Satire of Juvenal," and the first edition of the
first book on London, Stow's "Survay," 1598.

From another source came one of the last books on London, "Our House."
This book, delightful in itself, is especially interesting to me by
reason of the personal inscription of its charming and witty writer: "To
A.E.N., a welcome visitor to 'Our House,' from Elizabeth Robins

Continuing along Holborn citywards, one comes to (and usually passes)
the Great Turnstile, a narrow court leading into Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Here is another bookshop that I frequent,--Hollings's,--not for the
rarest things, but for the choice little bits which seem almost
commonplace when you are buying them, and give so much pleasure when you
get them safely on your shelves at home. I never spend a few hours with
Mr. Redway, the manager, without thinking of the saying of one of our
most delightful essayists, Augustine Birrell, who, to our loss, seems to
have forsaken literature for politics: "Second-hand booksellers are a
race of men for whom I have the greatest respect; ... their catalogues
are the true textbooks of literature."

One sometimes has the pleasure of running across some reference in a
catalogue to a book of which one has a better or more interesting copy
at half the price. For example, I saw quoted in a catalogue the other
day at eighty pounds a "Set of the Life of the Prince Consort, in _five_
volumes, with an inscription in each volume in the autograph of Her
Majesty Queen Victoria. The first volume being published before Her
Majesty was proclaimed Empress of India, she signed as Queen; the other
four volumes Her Majesty signed as Queen-Empress."

In my collection there are _seven_ volumes, the five mentioned above and
two additional volumes, the "Speeches and Addresses" and the "Biography
of the Prince Consort." My copies also are signed, but note: the volume
of "Speeches and Addresses" has this intensely personal inscription:--

To Major General, the Hon. A. Gordon, in recollection of his great, &
good master from the beloved Prince's broken hearted Widow


_Jan: 12. 1863_.

The "Biography" has this:--

     To Major General, The Hon. Alexander Gordon, C.B. in recollection
     of his dear Master from the great Prince's affectionate and
     sorrowing Widow,


_April, 1867._

Volume one of the "Life" is inscribed:--

     To Lieutenant General, The Hon. Sir Alexander Gordon, K.C.B., in
     recollection of his dear Master, from


_January 1875_.

Volume two:--

     To Lieut. General, The Hon. Sir Alexander Hamilton Gordon, K.C.B.,


_Dec. 1876_.

Volume three:--

     To General, The Hon. Sir Alex. H. Gordon, K.C.B., from


_Dec. 1877_.

The inscriptions in the last three volumes are identical, except for the
dates. All are written in the large, flowing hand with which we are
familiar, and indicate a declining scale of grief. Time heals all
wounds, and as these volumes appear at intervals, grief is finally
assuaged and Majesty asserts itself.

[Illustration: Inscription to General Sir A. Gordon in Queen Victoria's



In the preceding chapter I wrote of the amenities of book-collecting in
London, of my adventures in the shops of Bond Street and Piccadilly, of
Holborn and the Strand--almost as though this paradise of the
book-collector were his only happy hunting-ground. But all the good
hunting is not found in London: New York has a number of attractive
shops, Philadelphia at least two, while there are several in Chicago and
in unexpected places in the West.

Where in all the world will you find so free a buyer, always ready to
take a chance to turn a volume at a profit, as George D. Smith? He holds
the record for having paid the highest price ever paid for a book at
auction: fifty thousand dollars for a copy of the Gutenberg Bible,
purchased for Mr. Henry E. Huntington at the Hoe sale; and not only did
he pay the highest price--he also bought more than any other purchaser
of the fine books disposed of at that sale.

I have heard Smith's rivals complain that he is not a bookseller in the
proper sense of the word--that he buys without discretion and without
exact knowledge. Such criticism, I take it, is simply the natural result
of jealousy. George D. Smith has sold more fine books than perhaps any
two of his rivals.

[Illustration: GEORGE D. SMITH

"G. D. S." as he is known in the New York Auction Rooms. Like "G. B. S."
of London, he is something of an enigma. What are the qualities which
have made him, as he undoubtedly is, the greatest bookseller in the

_From a photograph by Arnold Genthe_]

There is no affectation of dignity or of knowledge about him, and it is
well that there is not. No one knows all there is to know about books; a
man might know much more than he--such men there are--and yet lack the
qualities which have enabled him to secure and retain the confidence and
commissions of his patrons. He is practically the main support of the
auction-rooms in this country, and I have frequently seen him leave a
sale at which he had purchased every important book that came up. He had
knowledge and confidence enough for that, and I cannot see why his
frankness and lack of affectation should be counted against him. It
takes all kinds of men to make a world, and George is several kinds in

Twenty-five years ago, in London, early in my book-collecting days, I
came across a bundle of dusty volumes in an old book-shop in the
Strand,--the shop and that part of the Strand have long since
disappeared,--and bought the lot for, as I remember, two guineas.
Subsequently, upon going through the contents carefully, I found that I
had acquired what appeared to be quite a valuable little parcel. There
were the following:--

     "Tales from Shakespeare": Baldwin and Cradock, fifth edition, 1831.

     Lamb's "Prose Works": 3 volumes, Moxon, 1836.

     "The Letters of Charles Lamb": 2 volumes, Moxon, 1837; with the
     inscription, "To J. P. Collier, Esq. from his friend H. C.

     Talfourd's "Final Memorials of Charles Lamb": 2 volumes, Moxon,

By the way, the last was Wordsworth's copy, with his signature on the
title-page of each volume; and I observed for the first time that the
book was dedicated to him. Loosely inserted in several of the volumes
were newspaper clippings, a number of pages of manuscript in John Payne
Collier's handwriting, a part of a letter from Mary Lamb addressed to
Jane Collier, his mother, and in several of the volumes were notes in
Collier's handwriting referring to matters in the text: as where,
against a reference to Lamb's "Essay on Roast Pig," Collier says, in
pencil, "My mother sent the pig to Lamb." Again, where Talfourd,
referring to an evening with Lamb, says, "We mounted to the top story
and were soon seated beside a cheerful fire: hot water and its better
adjuncts were soon before us," Collier writes, "Both Lamb and Talfourd
died of the 'Better Adjuncts.'"

There was a large number of such pencil notes. The pages of manuscript
in Collier's heavy and, as he calls it, "infirm" hand begin:--

     In relation to C. Lamb and Southey, Mr. Cosens possesses as
     interesting a MS. as I know. It is bound as a small quarto, but the
     writing of Lamb, and chiefly by Southey is post 8vo. They seem to
     have been contributions to an "Annual Anthology" published by
     Cottle of Bristol.

     The MS. begins with an "Advertisement" in the handwriting of
     Southey, and it is followed immediately by a poem in Lamb's
     handwriting headed "Elegy on a Quid of Tobacco," in ten stanzas
     rhiming alternately thus:--

    It lay before me on the close grazed grass
    Beside my path, an old tobacco quid:
    And shall I by the mute adviser pass
    Without one serious thought? now Heaven forbid![5]

The next day, Collier copied more of the poem, for on another sheet he
remarks, "As my hand is steadier to-day I have copied the remaining

On still another sheet, referring to the Cosens MS., Collier writes:--

     The whole consists of about sixty leaves chiefly in the handwriting
     of Southey and it contains ... productions by Lamb, one a sort of
     _jeu d'esprit_ called "The Rhedycinian Barbers" on the
     hair-dressing of twelve young men of Christ Church College, and the
     other headed, "Dirge for Him Who Shall Deserve It." This has no
     signature but the whole is in Lamb's clear young hand, and it shows
     very plainly that he partook not only of the poetical but of the
     political feeling of the time.

     The signatures are various, Erthuryo, Ryalto, Walter, and so forth,
     and at the end are four Love Elegies and a serious poem by Charles
     Lamb, entitled, "Living without God in the World."

     How many of these were printed elsewhere, or in Cottle's
     "Anthology," I do not know. I would willingly copy more did not my
     hand fail me.

J. P. C.

[Illustration: Autograph MS. of Lamb's Poem, "Elegy on a Quid of

Twenty years later, in New York one day, George D. Smith asked me if I
would care to buy an interesting volume of Southey MSS., and to my great
surprise handed me the identical little quarto which Collier had many
years before found so interesting that he had made excerpts from it. It
might not have made such instant appeal to my recollection of my
purchase in London had it not been for an inserted note, almost
identical with the one on the loose slip in my Lamb volume, obviously in
Collier's "infirm" hand, repeating briefly what he had said on the loose
sheets in my volumes at home.

Mr. Cosens, the former owner of the manuscripts, had added a note: "In
1798 or 1799 Charles Lamb contributed to the 'Annual Anthology' which a
Mr. Cottle, a bookseller of Bristol, published jointly with Coleridge
and Southey. This manuscript is partly in the handwriting of Southey and
was formerly the property of Cottle of Bristol."

Upon investigation I ascertained that the little volume of manuscript
verse had passed from Mr. Cosens's possession into that of Augustin
Daly, at whose sale it had been catalogued as a Southey MS., with small
reference to its Lamb interest. Although the price was high, the
temptation to buy was too strong to be resisted; so after many years the
small quarto of original poems by Lamb, Southey, and others, and
Collier's description of it, stand side by side in my library. For me
the three poems by Lamb outweigh in interest and value all others. The
volume is labeled, "Southey Manuscripts, a long time since the property
of a Mr. Cottle of Bristol."

The most scholarly bookseller in this country to-day is Dr.
Rosenbach--"Rosy" as we who know him well call him. It was not his
original intention to deal in rare books, but to become a professor of
English, a calling for which few have a finer appreciation; but mere
scholars abound. He must have felt that we collectors needed some one to
guide our tastes and deplete our bank accounts. In both he is unequaled.

His spacious second-floor room in Walnut Street is filled with the
rarest volumes. "Ask and it shall be given you"--with a bill at the end
of the month. It is a delightful place to spend a rainy morning, and you
are certain to depart a wiser if a poorer man. I once spent some hours
with the doctor in company with my friend Tinker--not the great Tinker
who plays ball for a bank president's wage, but the less famous Tinker,
Professor of English at Yale. We had been looking at Shakespeare folios
and quartos, and Spenser's and Herrick's and Milton's priceless volumes
of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when, looking out of the
window, Rosy remarked, "There goes John G. Johnson." "Oh!" said my
friend, "I thought you were going to say John Dryden. It would not have
surprised me in the least."

[Illustration: DR. A. S. W. ROSENBACH

_Photograph by Arnold Genthe_]

Don't expect ever to "discover" anything at Rosenbach's, except how
ignorant you are. Rosy does all the discovering himself, as when, a few
years ago, he found in a volume of old pamphlets a copy of the first
edition of Dr. Johnson's famous "Prologue Spoken at the Opening of the
Theatre in Drury Lane." It will be remembered that this Prologue
contains several of the Doctor's most famous lines: criticisms of the
stage, as true to-day as when they were uttered; as where he says,--

    The Drama's Laws, the Drama's patrons give,
    For we that live to please, must please to live.

It has also the line in which, speaking of Shakespeare, he says, "And
panting Time toil'd after him in vain." Garrick having criticized this
line, Johnson remarked, "Sir, Garrick is a prosaical rogue. The next
time I write I will make both Time and Space pant."

The discovery by Dr. Rosenbach of this Prologue shows that the days of
romance in book-hunting are not over. It is not to be found in the
British Museum. So far as we know, it is the only copy in existence.
Rosy has declined to sell it, though tempting offers have been made, for
he is a booklover as well as a bookseller.

That he is a rare judge of human nature, too, is evidenced by a little
card over his desk on which is printed the text,--

"It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer; but when he hath gone his
way then he boasteth."--PROVERBS XX. 14.

That is exactly what I did when I secured from him my "Robinson Crusoe,"
the first edition in two volumes, with the third, which may not be
Defoe's. It lacks one "point" perhaps: the word "apply," the last word
on page 1 of the preface, is correctly spelled, not spelled "apyly," as
in some copies I have seen. The matter, I believe, is not clear. The
type may have been correctly set at first and have become corrupted in
process of printing, or a few copies may have been so printed before the
error, being noted, was corrected.[6] After page 304, of Volume 1, the
paper is of thinner and poorer quality than in the pages preceding it.
The three volumes are clean, the binding contemporary calf, the folding
maps immaculate, and the first two volumes were once the property of
"Mr. William Congreve." Altogether it is a book of which this collector

For some unexplained reason I have never been able to buy as many books
from Walter Hill of Chicago as I should like. He is one of the most
amiable and reliable men in the business. His catalogues issued from
time to time are delightful. He once put me under an obligation which I
have not yet repaid and which I want to record.

Several years ago I met him in the streets of Philadelphia and said to
him, "Hello! what are you doing here? Are you buying or selling?"

"Both," said he; "I bought some nice books only a few minutes ago at

"Don't tell me," I cried, "that 'Oliver Twist,' that presentation copy
to Macready, was among them."

"It was," said he; "why, did you want it?"

"Want it!" said I; "I have just been waiting for my bank account to
recover from a capital operation, to buy it."

[Illustration: Title of "Robinson Crusoe." First Edition]

"All right," said he, "I'll turn it over at just what I paid for it, and
you can send me your check when you are ready."

I was mean enough to accept his offer, and the book is to-day worth at
least twice what I paid.

Yet, come to think of it, several nice volumes, "collated and perfect,"
came from him. There is my "Vicar," not the first edition, with the
misprints in volume 2, page 159, paged 165; and page 95, "Waekcfield"
for "Wakefield,"--that came from North,--but the one with Rowlandson
plates. And "Evelina," _embellished with engravings_, and wretchedly
printed on vile paper; and "She Stoops to Conquer," with all the errors
just as they should be--a printer's carnival; and I have no doubt there
are many more.

Sessler has some unexpectedly fine things from time to time. He goes
abroad every year with his pocket full of money, and comes back with a
lot of things that quickly empty ours. Dickens is one of his
specialties, and from him I have secured at least five of the twenty-one
presentation Dickenses that I boast of. A few years ago quite a number
came on the market at prices which to-day seem very low. In my last
book-hunting experience in London I saw only one presentation Dickens;
but as the price was about three times what I had accustomed myself to
pay Sessler, I let it pass.

[Illustration: Title of "Oliver Twist"]

Sessler studies his customer's weaknesses--that's where his strength
lies. When I came back from Europe some years ago, I discovered that he
had bought for me, in my absence, at the Lambert sale, one item which
he knew I could not resist. It was a little pen-and-ink drawing by
Thackeray, the first sketch, afterwards more fully elaborated,
illustrating "Vanity Fair," where, at the end of the first chapter, the
immortal Becky, driving away from Miss Pinkerton's school, throws Dr.
Johnson's "Dixonary" out of the window of the carriage as it drives off.

I think that all who knew him will agree with me that Luther S.
Livingston was too much of a gentleman, too much of a scholar,--perhaps
I should add, too much of an invalid,--to take high rank as a

His knowledge was profound. He was an appreciative bibliographer,
witness the work he did on Lamb for Mr. J. A. Spoor of Chicago; but I
always felt a trifle embarrassed when I asked him the _price_ of
anything he had to sell; one could ask him anything else, but to offer
money to Livingston seemed rather like offering money to your host after
an excellent dinner.


_From the first pen-and-ink sketch, by Thackeray, afterwards

He enjoyed the love and respect of all book-collectors and we all
congratulated him when he graduated from the bookshop to the library.
For many years in charge of the rare-book department of Dodd, Mead &
Company, and subsequently a partner of Robert Dodd, he was the first
custodian of the choice collection of books formed by the late Harry
Elkins Widener and bequeathed by the latter's mother to Harvard. A more
admirable selection could not have been made. A scholar and a
gentleman, he brought to that position just the qualities needed for a
post of such distinction, but, unhappily, he lived hardly long enough to
take possession of it. He died at Christmas, 1914, after a long and
painful illness.

James F. Drake, in New York, specializes in association books and in
first editions of nineteenth-century authors. His stock I have
frequently laid under contribution. My Surtees and many other
colored-plate books came from him, and first editions innumerable of
authors now becoming "collected."

I know of no bibliography of George Moore, but my set is, I think,
complete. Many are presentation copies. George Moore's many admirers
will remember that his volume, "Memoirs of My Dead Life," is much sought
in the first English edition. I have the proof sheets of the entire
volume, showing many corrections, as in the specimen on page 50. My
"Literature at Nurse,"--a pamphlet attacking the censorship of the novel
established by Mudie,--which was published at threepence, and now
commands forty dollars, is inscribed to Willie Wilde; while "Pagan
Poems" was a suitable gift "To Oscar Wilde with the author's

[Illustration: Specimen Proof-Sheet of George Moore's "Memoirs of My
Dead Life"]

There is no halt in the constantly advancing value of first editions of
Oscar Wilde. That interest in the man still continues, is evidenced by
the steady stream of books about him. Ransome's "Oscar Wilde,"
immediately suppressed; "Oscar Wilde Three Times Tried," and "The
First Stone," privately printed by the "Unspeakable Scot," already
difficult to procure, are among the latest.

[Illustration: Title of George Moore's "Pagan Poems"]

For books of the moment, published in small editions which almost
immediately become scarce, Drake's shop in Fortieth Street is
headquarters; and as my club in New York is near by, I find myself
frequently dropping in for a book and a bit of gossip.

There are drawbacks as well as compensations to living in the country.
"Gossip about Book Collecting" has its charms, as William Loring Andrews
has taught us. It is sometimes difficult to get it, living as I do
"twelve miles from a lemon"; and so, when I am in New York and have
absorbed what I can at Drake's, who is very exact in the information he
imparts, I usually call on Gabriel Wells. How Wells receives you with
open arms and a good cigar, in his lofty rooms on the Avenue
overlooking the Library, is known to most collectors. Books in sets
are,--perhaps I should say, were,--his specialty; recently he has gone
in for very choice items, which, when offered, must be secured, or
anguish is one's portion thereafter. My last interview with him resulted
in my separating myself from a bunch of Liberty Bonds, which I had
intended as a solace for my old age; but a few words from Wells
convinced me that Dr. Johnson was right when he said, "It is better to
live rich than die rich"; and so I walked away with a copy of Blake's
"Marriage of Heaven and Hell," which is about as rare a book as one can
hope to find at the end of a busy day.

It was, if I remember correctly, Ernest Dressel North who first aroused
my interest in Lamb, bibliographically. I had learned to love him in a
dumpy little green cloth volume, "Elia and Eliana," published by Moxon,
which I had picked up at Leary's, and which bears upon its title-page
the glaring inaccuracy,--"The Only Complete Edition." I have this
worthless little volume among my first editions; to me it is one, and it
is certainly the last volume of Lamb I would part with.

It must be all of thirty years ago that I went to London with a list of
books by and about Charles Lamb--some twenty volumes in all--which North
had prepared for me. I came across this list not long ago, and was
amused at the prices that he suggested I might safely pay. Guineas where
his list gives shillings would not to-day separate the books from
their owners.

[Illustration: Title of Blake's "Marriage of Heaven and Hell"]

It was at this time, too, that I made my first Lamb pilgrimage, going to
every place of interest I could find, from Christ's Hospital, then in
Newgate Street, where I saw the Blue-Coat boys at dinner, to the
neglected grave in Edmonton Churchyard, where Charles and Mary Lamb lie
buried side by side. The illustration facing page 54 is made from a
negative I procured in 1890, of the house at Enfield in which Lamb lived
from October, 1829, until May, 1833.

A good story is told of my friend, Edmund D. Brooks, the bookseller of
far-off Minneapolis. Brooks, who knows his way about London and is as
much at home with the talent there as any other man, set out one day to
make a "quick turn," in stock-market parlance. Armed with a large sum of
money, the sinews of book-buying as well as of war, he casually dropped
in on Walter Spencer, who was offering for sale the manuscript of
Dickens's "Cricket." The price was known to be pretty steep, but Brooks
was prepared to pay it. What he did not know was that, in an upper room
over Spencer's shop, another bookseller, also with a large sum in
pocket, was debating the price of this very item, raising his offer by
slow degrees. But it did not take Brooks long to discover that
negotiations were progressing and that quick action was necessary.
Calling Spencer aside, he inquired the price, paid the money, and took
the invaluable manuscript away in a taxi. The whole transaction had
occupied only a couple of minutes. Spencer then returned to his first
customer, who continued the attack until, to close the argument, Spencer
quietly remarked that the manuscript had been sold, paid for, and had
passed out of his possession.

It reminds one of the story of how the late A. J. Cassatt, the master
mind of the railroad presidents of his time, bought the Philadelphia,
Wilmington & Baltimore Railway right under the nose of President Garrett
of the Baltimore & Ohio. There were loud cries of anguish from the
defeated parties on both occasions, but the book-selling story is not
over yet, for a few hours later Sabin, the bookseller _de luxe_, had the
Dickens manuscript displayed in his shop-window in Bond Street, and
Brooks had a sheaf of crisp Bank of England notes in his pocket, with
which to advance negotiations in other directions.

I take little or no interest in bindings; I want the book as originally
published, in boards uncut, in old sheep, or in cloth, and as clean and
fair as may be.

I am not without a sense for color, and the backs of books bound in
various colored leathers, suitably gilt, placed with some eye for
arrangement on the shelves, are to me as beautiful and suggestive as any
picture; yet, as one cannot have everything, I yield the beauty and
fragrance of leather for the fascination of the "original state as


Nor am I unmindful how invariably in binding a book, in trimming, be it
ever so little, and gilding its edges, one lops off no small part of
its value. This fact should be pointed out to all young collectors. They
should learn to let their books alone, and if they must patronize a
binder, have slip-cases or pull-cases made. They serve every purpose.
The book will be protected if it is falling apart and unpresentable, and
one's craving for color and gilt will be satisfied. As Eckel says in his
"Bibliography of Dickens," "The tendency of the modern collector has
steadily moved toward books in their original state,--books as they were
when created,--and it is doubtful if there will be much deviation from
this taste in the future."

Only the very immature book-buyer will deprive himself of the pleasure
of "collecting," and buy a complete set of some author he much esteems,
in first editions, assembled and bound without care or thought other
than to produce a piece of merchandise and sell it for as much as it
will fetch. The rich and ignorant buyer should be made to confine his
attention to the purchase of "subscription" books. These are produced in
quantity especially for his benefit, and he should leave our books
alone. The present combination of many rich men and relatively few fine
books is slowly working my ruin; I know it is. We live in a law-full
age, an age in which it seems to be every one's idea to pass laws. I
would have a law for the protection of old books, and our legislators in
Washington might do much worse than consider this suggestion.


One other form of book the collector should be warned against--the
extra-illustrated volume. The extra-illustration of a favorite author is
a tedious and expensive method of wasting money, and mutilating other
books the while. I confess to having a few, but I have bought them at a
very small part of what they cost to produce, and I do not encourage
their production.

I know something of the art of inlaying prints. I had a distinguished
and venerable teacher, the late Ferdinand J. Dreer of Philadelphia, who
formed a priceless collection of autographs, which at his death he
bequeathed to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Mr. Dreer was a
collector of the old school. He was a friend of John Allan, one of the
earliest book-collectors in this country, of whom a "Memorial" was
published by the Bradford Club in 1864. Mr. Dreer spent the leisure of
years and a small fortune in inlaying plates and pages of text of such
books as he fancied. I remember well as a lad being allowed to pore over
his sumptuous extra-illustrated books, filled with autograph letters,
portraits, and views, for hours at a time. Little did I think that these
volumes, the object of such loving care, would be sold at auction.

Many years after his death the family decided to dispose of a portion of
his library. Stan. Henkels conducted the sale. When the well-known
volumes came up, I was all in a tremble. It seemed hardly possible that
any of the famous Dreer books were to come within my grasp. But alas!
fashions change, as I have said before. A "History of the Bank of North
America," our oldest national bank, which enjoys the unique distinction
of not calling itself a national bank, went, not to an officer or
director of that sound old Philadelphia institution, but to George D.
Smith of New York, for a song--in a high key, but a song nevertheless.

An "Oration in Carpenter's Hall" in Philadelphia brought close to a
thousand dollars; but, in addition to the rare portraits and views,
there were fifty-seven autograph letters in it. Sold separately, they
would have brought several times as much. Smith was the buyer. Then
there came a "History of Christ Church," full of most interesting
material, as "old Christ Church" is the most beautiful and interesting
colonial church in America. Where was the rector, where were the wardens
and the vestry thereof? No sign of them. Smith was the buyer.

The books were going and for almost nothing, in every case to "Smith."
At last came the "Memoirs of Nicholas Biddle," of the famous old Bank of
the United States. Hear! ye Biddles, if any Biddles there be. There are,
in plenty, but not here. Smith, having bought all the rest, stopped when
he saw me bidding; the hammer fell, and I was the owner of the most
interesting volume in the whole Dreer collection,--the volume I had so
often coveted as a boy, with the letters and portraits of Penn,
Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Marshall, and so forth,--in all
twenty-eight of them, and mine for ten dollars apiece, book, portraits,
and binding thrown in. It is painful to witness the slaughter of
another's possessions; it makes one wonder--But that is not what we
collect books for.

In the last analysis pretty much everything, including poetry, is
merchandise, and every important book sooner or later turns up in the
auction rooms. The dozen or fifty men present represent the bookbuyers
of the world--you are buying against them. When you sell a book at
auction the whole world is your market. This refers, of course, only to
important sales. At other times books are frequently disposed of at much
less than their real value. These sales it pays the book-collector to
attend, personally, if he can; or, better still, to entrust his bid to
the auctioneer or to some representative in whom he has confidence. Most
profitable of all for the buyer are the sales where furniture, pictures,
and rugs are disposed of, with, finally, a few books knocked down by one
who knows nothing of their value.

Many are the volumes in my library which have been picked up on such
occasions for a very few dollars, and which are worth infinitely more
than I paid for them. I have in mind my copy of the first edition of
Boswell's "Corsica," in fine old calf, with the inscription "To the
Right Honourable, the Earl Marischal of Scotland, as a mark of sincere
regard and affection, from the Author, James Boswell." This stands me
only a few dollars. In London I should have been asked--and would have
paid--twenty pounds for it.

Some men haunt the auction rooms all the time. I do not. I have a living
to make and I am not quick in making it; moreover, the spirit of
competition invariably leads me astray, and I never come away without
finding myself the owner of at least one book, usually a large one,
which should properly be entitled, "What Will He Do With It?"

       *       *       *       *       *

No book-collector should be without a book-plate, and a book-plate once
inserted in a volume should never be removed. When the plate is that of
a good collector, it constitutes an indorsement, and adds a certain
interest and value to the volume.

I was once going through the collection of a friend, and observing the
absence of a book-plate, I asked him why it was. He replied, "The
selection of a book-plate is such a serious matter." It is; and I should
never have been able to get one to suit me entirely had not my good
friend, Osgood of Princeton, come to my rescue.

[Illustration: The book-plate illustrates an incident described in
Boswell. Johnson and Goldsmith were walking one day in the Poets' Corner
of Westminster Abbey. Looking at the graves, Johnson solemnly repeated a
line from a Latin poet, which might be freely translated, "Perchance
some day our _names_ will mingle with these." As they strolled home
through the Strand, Goldsmith's eye lighted upon the heads of two
traitors rotting on the spikes over Temple Bar. Remembering that Johnson
and he were rather Jacobitic in sentiment, pointing to the heads and
giving Johnson's quotation a twist, Goldsmith remarked, "Perhaps some
day our _heads_ will mingle with those."]

He was working in my library some years ago on an exquisite appreciation
of Johnson, when, noticing on my writing-table a pen-and-ink sketch, he
asked, "What's this?" I replied with a sigh that it was a suggestion for
a book-plate which I had just received from London. I had described in a
letter exactly what I wanted--an association plate strictly in
eighteenth-century style. Fleet Street was to be indicated, with Temple
Bar in the background. It was to be plain and dignified in treatment.
What came was indeed a sketch of Fleet Street and very much more.
There were scrolls and flourishes, eggs and darts and _fleurs-de-lis_--a
little of everything. In a word it was impossible. "Let me see what I
can do," said Osgood.

When I returned home that evening there was waiting for me an exquisite
pencil sketch, every detail faultless: Fleet Street with its tavern
signs, in the background Temple Bar with Johnson and Goldsmith, the
latter pointing to it and remarking slyly, "_Forsitan et nomen nostrum
miscebitur istis_." I was delighted, as I had reason to be. In due
course, after discussions as to the selection of a suitable motto, we
finally agreed on a line out of Boswell: "Sir, the biographical part of
literature is what I love most"; and the sketch went off to Sidney Smith
of Boston, the distinguished book-plate engraver.

I have a fondness for college professors. I must have inherited it from
a rich old uncle, from whom I unluckily inherited nothing else, who had
a similar weakness for preachers. Let a man, however stupid, once get a
license to wear his collar backwards, and the door was flung wide and
the table spread. I have often thought what an ecstasy of delight he
would have been thrown into had he met a churchman whose rank permitted
him to wear his entire ecclesiastical panoply backwards.

My weakness for scholars is just such a whimsy. As a rule they are not
so indulgent to collectors as they should be. They write books that we
buy and read--when we can. My lifelong friend, Felix Schelling (in
England he would be Sir Felix) is more lenient than most. My copy of his
"Elizabethan Drama," which has made him famous among students, is uncut
and, I am afraid, to some extent unopened. Frankly, it is too scholarly
to read with enjoyment. Indeed, I sometimes think that it was my protest
that led him to adopt the easier and smoother style apparent in his
later books, "English Literature during the Lifetime of Shakespeare,"
and "The English Lyric." Be this as it may, he has shown that he can use
the scholarly and the familiar style with equal facility; and when he
chooses, he can turn a compliment like one of his own sixteenth-century

I had always doubted that famous book-index story, "Mill, J. S., 'On
Liberty'; Ditto, 'On the Floss,'" until one day my friend Tinker sent me
a dedication copy of his "Dr. Johnson and Fanny Burney," in which I
read--and knew that he was poking fun at me for my bookish

     This copy is a genuine specimen of the first edition, uncut and
     unopened, signed and certified by the editor.


     No copy is now known to exist of the suppressed first state of the
     first edition--that in which, instead of the present entry in the
     index, under Pope, Alexander, page 111, occurred the words, "Pope
     Alexander 111."

How much more valuable this copy would have been if this
blunder--"point," the judicious would call it--had not been corrected
until the second edition!

The work of my office was interrupted one summer morning several years
ago by the receipt of a cable from London, apparently in code, which, I
was advised, would not translate. Upon its being submitted to me I found
that it did not require translating, but I was not surprised that it was
somewhat bewildering to others. It read, "_Johnson Piazza Dictionary
Pounds Forty Hut_." To me it was perfectly clear that Mrs.
Thrale-Piozzi's copy of Johnson's Dictionary in two volumes folio was to
be had from my friend Hutt for forty pounds. I dispatched the money and
in due course received the volumes. Inserted in one of them was a long
holograph letter to the Thrales, giving them some excellent advice on
the management of their affairs.

     I think it very probably in your power to lay up eight thousand
     pounds a year for every year to come, increasing all the time, what
     needs not be increased, the splendour of all external appearance,
     and surely such a state is not to be put in yearly hazard for the
     pleasure of keeping the house full, or the ambition of outbrewing
     Whitbread. Stop now and you are safe--stop a few years and you may
     go safely on thereafter, if to go on shall seem worth the while.

Johnson's letters, like his talks, are compact with wisdom, and many of
them are as easy as the proverbial old shoe. Fancy Sam Johnson, the
great lexicographer, writing to Mrs. Thrale and telling her to come home
and take care of him and, as he says, to

    Come with a whoop, come with a call,
    Come with a good will, or come not at all.

I own thirty or forty Johnson letters, including the one in which he
describes what she called his "menagerie"--dependents too old, too poor,
or too peevish to find asylum elsewhere. He writes, "We have tolerable
concord at home, but no love. Williams hates everybody. Levet hates
Desmoulines, and does not love Williams. Desmoulines hates them both.
Poll loves none of them."

But I must be careful. I had firmly resolved not to say anything which
would lead any one to suspect that I am Johnson-mad, but I admit that
such is the case. I am never without a copy of Boswell. What edition?
Any edition. I have them all--the first in boards uncut, for my personal
satisfaction; an extra-illustrated copy of the same, for display;
Birkbeck Hill's, for reference, and the cheap old Bohn copy which thirty
years ago I first read, because I know it by heart. Yes, I can truly say
with Leslie Stephen, "My enjoyment of books began and will end with
Boswell's 'Life of Johnson.'"

  | "Thou fool! to seek companions in a crowd!    |
  |   Into thy room and there upon thy knees,     |
  | Before thy bookshelves, humbly thank thy God, |
  |   That thou hast friends like these!"         |



The true book-lover is usually loath to destroy an old book-catalogue.
It would not be easy to give a reason for this, unless it is that no
sooner has he done so than he has occasion to refer to it. Such
catalogues reach me by almost every mail, and I while away many hours in
turning over their leaves. Anatole France in his charming story, "The
Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard," makes his dear old book-collector say,
"There is no reading more easy, more fascinating, and more delightful
than that of a catalogue"; and it is so, for the most part; but some
catalogues annoy me exceedingly: those which contain long lists of books
that are not books; genealogies; county (and especially town) histories,
illustrated with portraits; obsolete medical and scientific books; books
on agriculture and diseases of the horse. How it is that any one can
make a living by vending such merchandise is beyond me--but so are most

Living, however, in the country, and going to town every day, I spend
much time on the trains, and must have something to read besides
newspapers,--who was it who said that reading newspapers is a nervous
habit?--and it is not always convenient to carry a book; so I usually
have a few catalogues which I mark industriously, thus presenting a fine
imitation of a busy man. One check means a book that I own, and I note
with interest the prices; another, a book that I would like to have;
while yet another indicates a book to which under no circumstances would
I give a place on my shelves. When my library calls for a ridding up,
these slim pamphlets are not discarded as they should be, but are stored
in a closet, to be referred to when needed, until at last something must
be done to make room for those that came to-day and those that will come

On one of these occasional house-clearings I came across a bundle of old
catalogues which I have never had it in me to destroy. One of them was
published in 1886, by a man I knew well years ago, Charles Hutt, of
Clement's Inn Gateway, Strand. Hutt himself has long since passed away;
so has his shop, the Gateway; and, indeed, the Strand itself--his part
of it, that is. I sometimes think that the best part of old London has
disappeared. Need I say that I refer to Holywell Street and the Clare
Market district which lay between the Strand and Lincoln's Inn Fields,
which Dickens knew and described so well? Hutt in his day was a man of
considerable importance. He was the first London bookseller to realize
the direction and value of the American market. Had he lived, my friends
Sabin and Spencer and Maggs would have had a serious rival.

All the old catalogues before me are alike in one important respect,
namely, the uniformly low prices. From the standpoint of to-day the
prices were absurdly low--or are those of to-day absurdly high? I, for
one, do not think so. When a man puts pen to paper on the subject of the
prices of rare books, he feels--at least I feel--that it is a silly
thing to do,--and yet we collectors have been doing it always, or almost
always,--to point out that prices have about reached top notch, and that
the wise man will wait for the inevitable decline before he separates
himself from his money.

Now, it is my belief that books, in spite of the high prices that they
are bringing in the shops and at auction, have only just begun their
advance, and that there is no limit to the prices they will bring as
time goes on. The only way to guess the future is to study the past; and
such study as I have been able to make leads me to believe that for the
really great books the sky is the limit.

"The really great books!" What are they, and where are they? I am not
sure that I know; they do not often come my way, nor, when they do, am I
in a position to compete for them; but as I can be perfectly happy
without an ocean-going yacht, contenting myself with a motor-boat, so
can I make shift to get along without a Gutenberg Bible, without a first
folio of Shakespeare, or any of the quartos, in short, _sans_ any of
those books which no millionaire's library can be without. But this I
will say, that if I could afford to buy them, I would pay any price for
the privilege of owning them.

A man may be possessed of relatively small means and yet indulge
himself in all the joys of collecting, if he will deny himself other
things not so important to his happiness. It is a problem in selection,
as Elia points out in his essay "Old China," when a weighing for and
against and a wearing of old clothes is recommended by his sister
Bridget, if the twelve or sixteen shillings saved is to enable one to
bring home in triumph an old folio. As a book-collector, Lamb would not
take high rank; but he was a true book-lover, and the books he liked to
read he liked to buy. And just here I may be permitted to record how I
came across a little poem, in the manuscript of the author, which
exactly voices his sentiments--and mine.

I was visiting Princeton not long ago, that beautiful little city, with
its lovely halls and towers; and interested in libraries as I always am,
had secured permission to browse at will among the collections formed by
the late Laurence Hutton. After an inspection of his "Portraits in
Plaster,"--a collection of death-masks, unique in this country or
elsewhere,--I turned my attention to his association books. It is a
difficult lot to classify, and not of overwhelming interest; not to be
compared with the Richard Waln Meirs collection of Cruikshank, which has
just been bequeathed to the Library; but nothing which is a book is
entirely alien to me, and the Hutton books, with their inscriptions from
their authors, testifying to their regard for him and to his love of
books, are well worth examination.

I had opened many volumes at random, and finally chanced upon Brander
Matthews's "Ballads of Books," a little anthology of bookish poems, for
many years a favorite of mine. Turning to the inscription, I found--what
I found; but what interested me particularly was a letter from an
English admirer, one Thomas Hutchinson, inclosing some verses, of which
I made a copy without the permission of any one. I did not ask the
librarian, for he might have referred the question to the trustees, or
something; but I did turn to a speaking likeness of "Larry" that hung
right over the bookcase and seemed to say, "Why, sure, fellow
book-lover; pass on the torch, print anything you please." And these are
the verses:--



    Though in its stern vagaries Fate
      A poor book-lover me decreed,
    Perchance mine is a happy state--
      The books I buy I like to read:
    To me dear friends they are indeed,
      But, howe'er enviously I sigh,
    Of others take I little heed--
      The books I read I like to buy.


    My depth of purse is not so great
      Nor yet my bibliophilic greed,
    That merely buying doth elate:
      The books I buy I like to read:
    Still e'en when dawdling in a mead,
      Beneath a cloudless summer sky,
    By bank of Thames, or Tyne, or Tweed,
      The books I read--I like to buy.


    Some books tho' tooled in style ornate,
      Yet worms upon their contents feed,
    Some men about their bindings prate--
      The books I buy I like to read:
    Yet some day may my fancy breed
      My ruin--it may now be nigh--
    They reap, we know, who sow the seed:
      The books I read I like to buy.


    Tho' frequently to stall I speed,
      The books I buy I like to read;
    Yet wealth to me will never hie--
      The books I read I like to buy.

Two things there are which go to make the price of a book--first the
book itself, its scarcity, together with the urgency of the demand for
it (a book may be unique and yet practically valueless, because of the
fact that no one much cares to have it); and second, the plentifulness
of money, or the ease with which its owner may have acquired his
fortune. No one will suppose that, at the famous auction in London
something over a hundred years ago, when Earl Spencer bid two thousand,
two hundred and fifty pounds for the famous Boccaccio, and the Marquis
of Blandford added, imperturbedly, "ten," and secured the prize--no one
will suppose that either of the gentlemen had a scanty rent-roll.

In England, the days of the great private libraries are over. For
generations, indeed for centuries, the English have had the leisure, the
inclination, and the means to gratify their taste. They once searched
the Continent for books and works of art, very much as we now go to
England for them. They formed their libraries when books were plentiful
and prices low. Moreover, there were fewer collectors than there are
to-day. We are paying big prices,--the English never sell except at a
profit,--but, all things considered, we are not paying more for the
books than they are worth. There are probably now in England as many
collectors as there ever were, but nevertheless the books are coming to
this country; and while we may never be able to rival the treasures of
the British Museum and the Bodleian, outside the great public libraries
the important collections are now in this country, and will remain here.

And I am not sure how much longer the London dealers are going to retain
their preëminence. We hear of New York becoming the centre of the
financial world. It will in time become the centre of the bookselling
world as well, the best market in which to buy and in which to sell.
With the possible exception of Quaritch, George D. Smith has probably
sold as many rare books as any man in the world; while Dr. Rosenbach, on
the second floor of his shop in Philadelphia, has a stock of rare books
unequaled by any other dealer in this country.

Ask any expert where the great books are, and you will be told, if you
do not know already, of the wonders of Mr. Morgan's collections; of how
Mr. Huntington has bought one library after another until he has
practically everything obtainable; of Mr. William K. Bixby's
manuscripts, of Mr. White's collection of the Elizabethans, and of Mr.
Folger's Shakespeares.

There are as many tastes as there are collectors. Caxtons and incunabula
of any sort are highly regarded; even the possession of a set of the
Shakespeare folios makes a man a marked man, in spite of the fact that
Henrietta Bartlett says they are not rare; but then, Miss Bartlett has
been browsing on books rarer still, namely, the first quartos, of which
there are of "Hamlet" two copies only, one in this country with a
title-page, but lacking the last leaf, while the other copy, in the
British Museum, has the last leaf but lacks the title-page; and "Venus
and Adonis," of the first eight editions of which only thirteen copies
are known to exist. All of these are as yet in England, except one copy
of the second edition, which is owned by the Elizabethan Club of Yale
University. Of "Titus Andronicus" there is only one copy of the first
printing, this in the library of H. C. Folger of New York. Surely no one
will dispute Miss Bartlett's statement that the quartos are rare indeed.


A few years ago he conceived the idea of forming the greatest private
library in the world. With the help of "G. D. S." and assisted by a
staff of able librarians, he has accomplished what he set out to do.]

But why continue? Enough has been said: the point I want to make is that
fifty years from now someone will be regretting that he was not present
when a faultless first folio could have been had for the trifling sum of
twenty-five thousand dollars, at which figure a dealer is now offering
one. Or, glancing over a copy of "Book Prices Current" for 1918, bewail
the time when presentation copies of Dickens could have been had for
the trifling sum of a thousand dollars. Hush! I feel the spirit of
prophecy upon me.

I sat with Harry Widener at Anderson's auction rooms a few years ago, on
the evening when George D. Smith, acting for Mr. Huntington, paid fifty
thousand dollars for a copy of the Gutenberg Bible. No book had ever
sold for so great a price, yet I feel sure that Mr. Huntington secured a
bargain, and I told him so; but for the average collector such great
books as these are mere names, as far above the ordinary man as the
moon; and the wise among us never cry for them; we content ourselves
with--something else.

In collecting, as in everything else, experience is the best teacher.
Before we can gain our footing we must make our mistakes and have them
pointed out to us, or, by reading, discover them for ourselves. I have a
confession to make. Forty years ago I thought that I had the makings of
a numismatist in me, and was for a time diligent in collecting coins. In
order that they might be readily fastened to a panel covered with
velvet, I pierced each one with a small hole, and was much chagrined
when I was told that I had absolutely ruined the lot, which was worth,
perhaps, ten dollars. This was not a high price to pay for the discovery
I then made and noted, that it is the height of wisdom to leave alone
anything of value which may come my way; to repair, inlay, insert,
mount, frame, or bind as little as possible.

This is not to suggest that my library is entirely devoid of books in
bindings. A few specimens of the good binders I have, but what I value
most is a sound bit of straight-grained crimson morocco covering the
"Poems of Mr. Gray" with one of the finest examples of fore-edge
painting I have ever seen, representing Stoke Poges Church Yard, the
scene of the immortal "Elegy." I was much pleased when I discovered that
this binding bore the stamp of Taylor & Hessey, a name I had always
associated with first editions of Charles Lamb.

How many people have clipped signatures from old letters and documents,
under the mistaken notion that they were collecting autographs. I happen
to own the receipt for the copyright of the "Essays of Elia." It was
signed by Lamb twice, originally; one signature has been cut away. It is
a precious possession as it is, but I could wish that the "collector" in
whose hands it once was had not removed one signature for his
"scrapbook"--properly so called. Nor is the race yet dead of those who,
indulging a vicious taste for subscription books, think that they are
forming a library. My coins I have kept as an ever-present reminder of
the mistake of my early days. Luckily I escaped the subscription-book


A fine example of fore-edge painting]

What we collect depends as well upon our taste as upon our means, for,
given zeal and intelligence, it is surprising how soon one acquires a
collection of--whatever it may be--which becomes a source of
relaxation and instruction; and after a little one becomes, if not
exactly expert, at least wise enough to escape obvious pitfalls. When
experience directs our efforts the chief danger is past. But how much
there is to know! I never leave the company of a man like Dr. Rosenbach,
or A. J. Bowden, or the late Luther Livingston, without feeling a sense
of hopelessness coming over me. What wonderful memories these men have!
how many minute "points" about books they must have indexed, so to
speak, in their minds! And there are collectors whose knowledge is
equally bewildering. Mr. White, or Beverly Chew, for example; and Harry
Widener, who, had he lived, would have set a new and, I fear, hopeless
standard for us.

Not knowing much myself, I have found it wise not to try to beat the
expert; it is like trying to beat Wall Street--it cannot be done. How
can an outsider with the corner of his mind compete with one who is
playing the game ever and always? The answer is simple--he can't; and he
will do well not to try. It is better to confess ignorance and rely upon
the word of a reliable dealer, than to endeavor to put one over on him.
This method may enable a novice to buy a good horse, although such has
not been my experience. I think it was Trollope who remarked that not
even a bishop could sell a horse without forgetting that he was a
bishop. I think I would rather trust a bookseller than a bishop.

And speaking of booksellers, they should be regarded as Hamlet did his
players, as the abstract and brief chronicles of the time; and it would
be well to remember that their ill report of you while you live is much
worse than a bad epitaph after you are dead. Their stock in trade
consists, not only in the books they have for sale, but in their
knowledge. This may be at your disposal, if you use them after your own
honor and dignity; but to live, they must sell books at a profit, and
the delightful talk about books which you so much enjoy must, at least
occasionally, result in a sale. Go to them for information as a possible
customer, and you will find them, as Dr. Johnson said, generous and
liberal-minded men; but use them solely as walking encyclopædias, and
you may come to grief.

I have on the shelves over yonder a set of Foxe's "Martyrs" in three
ponderous volumes, which I seldom have occasion to refer to; but in one
volume is pasted a clipping from an old newspaper, telling a story of
the elder Quaritch. A young lady once entered his shop in Piccadilly and
requested to see the great man. She wanted to know all that is to be
known of this once famous book, all about editions and prices and
"points," of which there are many. Finally, after he had answered
questions readily enough for some time, the old man became wise, and
remarked, "Now, my dear, if you want to know anything else about this
book, my fee will be five guineas." The transaction was at an end. Had
Quaritch been a lawyer and the young lady a stranger, her first question
would have resulted in a request for a retainer.

But I am a long time in coming to my old catalogues. Let me take one at
random, and opening it at the first page, pick out the first item which
meets my eye. Here it is:--

     ALKEN, HENRY--Analysis of the Hunting Field. Woodcuts and colored
     illustrations. First edition, royal 8vo. original cloth, uncut.
     Ackerman, 1846. £2.

It was the last work but one of a man who is now "collected" by many
who, like myself, would as soon think of riding a zebra as a hunter. My
copy cost me $100, while my "Life of Mytton," third edition, I regarded
as a bargain at $50. Had I been wise enough to buy it five and thirty
years ago, I would have paid about as many shillings for it.

With sporting books in mind it is quite natural to turn to Surtees. His
"Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities" is missing from this catalogue, but
here are a lot of them. "Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour" in full levant
morocco, extra, by Tout, for three guineas, and "Ask Mamma" in cloth,
uncut, for £2 15_s._ "Handley Cross" is priced at fifty shillings, and
"Facey Romford's Hounds" at two pounds--all first editions, mind you,
and for the most part just as you want them, in the original cloth,
uncut. My advice would be to forget these prices of yesteryear, and if
you want a set of the best sporting novels ever written (I know a
charming woman who has read every one of them) go at once to them that

But while we are thinking of colored-plate books, let us see what it
would have cost us to secure a copy of À Beckett's "Comic History of
Rome." Here it is, "complete in numbers as originally published," four
guineas; while a "Comic History of England," two volumes, bound by
Riviere from the original parts, in full red levant morocco, extra, cost
five guineas. I have tried to read these histories--it cannot be done.
It is like reading the not very funny book of an old-time comic opera
(always excepting Gilbert's), which depended for its success on the
music and the acting--as these books depend on their illustrations by
Leech. It is on account of the humor of their wonderfully caricatured
portraits of historic personages, in anachronistic surroundings, that
these books live and deserve to live. What could be better than the
landing of Julius Cæsar on the shores of Albion, from the deck of a
channel steamer of Leech's own time?

Did you observe that the "History of Rome" was bound up from the
original parts? This, according to modern notions, is a mistake. Parts
should be left alone--severely alone, I should say. I have no love for
books "in parts," and as this is admitted heresy, I should perhaps
explain. As is well known, some of the most desired of modern books,
"Pickwick" and "Vanity Fair" for example, were so published, and
particulars as to one will indicate the reason for my prejudice against
all books "in parts."

In April, 1916, in New York, the Coggeshall Dickens collection was
dispersed, and a copy of "Pickwick" in parts was advertised, no doubt
correctly, as the most nearly perfect copy ever offered at a public
sale. Two full pages of the catalogue were taken up in a painstaking
description of the birthmarks of this famous book. It was, like most of
the other great novels, brought out "twenty parts in nineteen,"--that
is, the last number was a double number,--and with a page of the
original manuscript, it brought $5350. When a novel published less than
a century ago brings such a price, it must be of extraordinary interest
and rarity. Was the price high? Decidedly not! There are said to be not
ten such copies in existence. It was in superb condition, and manuscript
pages of "Pickwick" do not grow on trees. All the details which go to
make up a perfect set can be found in Eckel's "First Editions of Charles

Briefly, in order to take high rank it is necessary that each part
should be clean and perfect and should have the correct imprint and
date; it should have the proper number of illustrations by the right
artist; and these plates must be original and not reëtched, and almost
every plate has certain peculiarities which will mislead the unwary. But
this is not all. Each part carried certain announcements and
advertisements. These must be carefully looked to, for they are of the
utmost value in determining whether it be an early or a later issue of
the first edition. An advertisement of "Rowland and Son's Toilet
Preparations" where "Simpson's Pills" should be, might lead to painful

But it is difficult to say whether the possession of a copy of
"Pickwick" like the Coggeshall copy is an asset or a liability. It must
be handled with gloves; the pea-green paper wrappers are very tender,
and not everyone who insists on seeing your treasures knows how to treat
such a pamphlet; and, horror of horrors! a "part" might get stacked up
with a pile of "Outlooks" on the library table, or get mislaid
altogether. So on the whole I am inclined to leave such books to those
whose knowledge of bibliography is more exact than mine, and who would
not regard the loss of a "part" as an irretrievable disaster. My
preference is to get, when I can, books bound in cloth or boards "as
issued." They are sufficiently expensive and can be handled with greater
freedom. My library is, in a sense, a circulating library: my books move
around with me, and a bound book, in some measure at least, takes care
of itself. Having said all of which, I looked upon that Coggeshall
"Pickwick," and lusted after it.

There is, however, an even greater copy awaiting a purchaser at
Rosenbach's. It is a presentation copy in parts, the only one known to
exist. Each of the first fourteen parts has Dickens's autograph
inscription, "Mary Hogarth from hers most affectionately," variously
signed--in full, "Charles Dickens," with initials, or "The Editor."
After the publication of the fourteenth part Miss Hogarth, his
sister-in-law, a young girl in her eighteenth year, died suddenly, and
the shock of her death was so great that Dickens was obliged to
discontinue work upon "Pickwick" for two months. No doubt this is the
finest "Pickwick" in the world. It has all the "points" and to
spare--and the price, well, only a very rich or a very wise man could
buy it.

[Illustration: "Blake being unable to find a publisher for his songs,
Mrs. Blake went out with half a crown, all the money they had in the
world, and of that laid out 1s. 10d. on the simple materials necessary
for setting in practice the new revelation. Upon that investment of 1s.
10d. he started what was to prove a principal means of support through
his future life.... The poet and his wife did everything in making the
book,--writing, designing, printing, engraving, everything except
manufacturing the paper. The very ink, or color rather, they did

But to return to my catalogue. Here is Pierce Egan's "Boxiana," five
volumes, 8vo, as clean as new, in the original boards, uncut,--that's my
style,--and the price, twelve pounds; three hundred and fifty dollars
would be a fair price to-day. And here is the "Anecdotes of the Life and
Transactions of Mrs. Margaret Rudd," a notorious woman who just escaped
hanging for forgery, of whom Dr. Johnson once said that he would have
gone to see her, but that he was prevented from such a frolic by his
fear that it would get into the newspapers. I have been looking for it
in vain for years; here it is, in new calf, price nine shillings, and
Sterne's "Sentimental Journey," first edition, in contemporary calf, for

Let us turn to poetry. Arnold, Matthew, not interesting; nothing, it
chances, by Blake; his "Poetical Sketches," 1783, has always been
excessively rare, only a dozen or so copies are known, and "Songs of
Innocence and of Experience," while not so scarce, is much more desired.
This lovely book was originally "Songs of Innocence" only; "Experience"
came later, as it always does. Of all the books I know, this is the most
interesting. It is in very deed "W. Blake, his book," the author being
as well the designer, engraver, printer, and illuminator of it.

To attempt in a paragraph any bibliographical account of the "Songs" is
as impossible as to give the genealogy of a fairy. In the ordinary
sense the book was never published. Blake sold it to such of his friends
as would buy, at prices ranging from thirty shillings to two guineas.
Later, to help him over a difficulty (and his life was full of
difficulties), they paid him perhaps as much as twenty pounds and in
return got a copy glowing with colors and gold. Hence no two copies are
exactly alike. It is one of the few books of which a man fortunate
enough to own any copy may say, "I like mine best." The price to-day for
an average copy is about two thousand dollars.

I can see clearly now that in order to be up to date there must be a new
edition of this book every minute. I had just suggested $2000 as the
probable price of the "Songs" when a priced copy of the Linnell
Catalogue of his Blake Collection reached me. This, the last and
greatest Blake collection in England, was sold at auction on March 15,
1918, and accustomed as I am to high prices I was bewildered as I turned
its pages. There were two copies of the "Songs"; each brought £735. The
"Poetical Sketches" was conspicuous by its absence, while the "Marriage
of Heaven and Hell" was knocked down for £756. The drawings for Dante's
"Divina Commedia," sixty-eight in all, brought the amazing price of
£7665. And these prices will be materially advanced before the
booksellers are done with them, as we shall see when their catalogues
arrive. We come back to earth with a thud after this lofty flight, in
the course of which we seem to have been seeing visions and dreaming
dreams, much as Blake himself did.


An unpublished manuscript in the autograph of Charlotte Brontë, written
in microscopical characters on sixteen pages measuring 3-1/2 by 4-1/2
inches; in a wrapper of druggist's blue paper]

Continuing to "beat the track of the alphabet," we reach Brontë and note
that now scarce item, "Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell," the
genuine first edition printed by Hasler in 1846, for Aylott & Jones,
before the title-page bore the Smith-Elder imprint; price two pounds
five. Walter Hill's last catalogue has a Smith-Elder copy at $12.50, but
the right imprint now makes a difference of several hundred dollars.
About a year ago Edmund D. Brooks, of Minneapolis, was offering
Charlotte Brontë's own copy of the book, with the Aylott and Jones
imprint, with some manuscript notes which made it especially interesting
to Brontë collectors, the most important of whom, by the way, is my
lifelong friend, H. H. Bonnell of Philadelphia, whose unrivaled Brontë
collection is not unworthy of an honored place in the Brontë Museum at
Haworth. I called his attention to it, but he already had a presentation
copy to Ebenezer Elliott, the Corn-Law rhymer.

Burns: the first Edinburgh edition, for a song; no Kilmarnock
edition--that fine old item which every collector wants has always been
excessively scarce; and in this connection let me disinter a good story
of how one collector secured a copy. The story is told of John Allan,
from whom, as a collector, I am descended by the process of clasping
hands. My old friend, Ferdinand Dreer, for more than sixty years a
distinguished collector in Philadelphia, was an intimate friend of
Allan's, and passed on to me the collecting legends he had received from
him. Allan was an old Scotchman, living in New York when the story
begins, who by his industry had acquired a small fortune, much of which
he spent in the purchase of books. He collected the books of his period
and extra-illustrated them. Lives of Mary Queen of Scots, and Byron;
Dibdin, of course, and Americana; but Burns was his ruling passion. He
had the first Edinburgh edition, and longed for the Kilmarnock--as who
does not? He had a standing order for a copy up to seven guineas, which
in those days was considered a fair price, and finally one was reported
to him from London at eight. He ordered it out, but it was sold before
his letter arrived, and he was greatly disappointed. Some time afterward
a friend from the old country visited him, and as he was sailing, asked
if he could do anything for him at home. "Yes," said Allan, "get me, if
you possibly can, the Kilmarnock edition of Burns." His friend was
instructed as to its scarcity and the price he might have to pay for it.
On his return his friend, engaged as usual in his affairs, discovered
that one of his workmen was drunk. In those days it was not considered
good form to get drunk except on Saturday night. How could he get drunk
in the middle of the week? Where did he get the money? The answer was
that by pawning some books ten shillings had been raised. "And what
books had you?" "Oh, Burns and some others; every Scotchman has a copy
of Burns." Then, suddenly remembering his old friend in New York, he
asked, "What sort of a copy was it?" "The old Kilmarnock," was the
reply. Not to make the story too long, the pawn-ticket was secured for a
guinea, the books redeemed, and the Kilmarnock Burns passed into Allan's

[Illustration: Title of the Kilmarnock Edition of Burns's Poems]

After his death his books were sold at auction (1864). This was during
our Civil War, and several times the sale was suspended owing to the
noise of a passing regiment in the street. Notwithstanding that times
were not propitious for book-sales, his friends were astonished at the
prices realized: the Burns fetched $106. It was probably a poor copy. A
generation or two ago not as much care was paid to condition as now.
Very few uncut copies are known. One is owned by a man as shouldn't.
Another is in the Burns Museum in Ayrshire, which cost the Museum
Trustees a thousand pounds; the Canfield, which was purchased by Harry
Widener for six thousand dollars, and the Van Antwerp copy, which, at
the sale of his collection in London in 1907, brought seven hundred
pounds; but much bibliographical water has gone over the dam since 1907,
and for some reason the Van Antwerp books, with the exception of one or
two items, did not bring as good prices as they should have done. They
were sold at an unfortunate moment and perhaps at the wrong place. In
Walter Hill's current catalogue there is a Kilmarnock Burns, in an old
binding, which looks very cheap to me at $2600. At the Allan sale an
Eliot Bible brought the then enormous sum of $825. Supposing an Eliot
Bible were obtainable to-day, it would bring, no doubt, five thousand
dollars, perhaps more.

This is a long digression. There are other desired volumes besides
Burns. Here is a "Paradise Lost," perhaps not so fine a copy as Sabin is
now offering for four hundred pounds; but the price is only thirty
pounds; and this reminds me that in Beverly Chew's copy, an
exceptionally fine one, as all the books of that fastidious collector
are, there is an interesting note made by a former owner to this effect:
"This is the first edition of this book and has the first title-page. It
is worth nearly ten pounds and is rising in value. 1857."

Alphabetically speaking, it is only a step from Milton to Moore, George.
Here is his "Flowers of Passion," for which I paid fifteen dollars ten
or more years ago--priced at half a crown.

But let us take up another catalogue, one which issued from the
world-famous shop in Piccadilly, Quaritch's. Forty years ago Quaritch
thought it almost beneath his dignity as a bookseller to offer for sale
any except the very rarest books in English; very much as, up to within
the last few years, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge did not
think it worth their while to refer more than casually to the glories of
English literature. When we open an old Quaritch catalogue, we step out
of this age into another, which leads me to observe how remarkable is
the change in taste which has come over the collecting world in the
last fifty years. Formerly it was the fashion to collect extensively
books of which few among us now know anything: books in learned or
painful languages, on Philosophy or Religion, as well as those which,
for the want of a better name, we call "Classics"; books frequently
spoken of, but seldom read.

Such books, unless very valuable indeed, no longer find ready buyers. We
have come into our great inheritance. We now dip deep in our "well of
English undefyled"; Aldines and Elzevirs have gone out of fashion. Even
one of the rarest of them, "Le Pastissier François," is not greatly
desired; and I take it that the reason for this change is chiefly due to
the difference in the type of men who are prominent among the buyers of
fine books to-day. Formerly the collector was a man, not necessarily
with a liberal education, but with an education entirely different from
that which the best educated among us now receive. I doubt if there are
in this country to-day half a dozen important bookbuyers who can read
Latin with ease, let alone Greek. Of French, German, and Italian some of
us have a working knowledge, but most of us prefer to buy books which we
can enjoy without constant reference to a dictionary.

The world is the college of the book-collector of to-day. Many of us are
busy men of affairs, familiar, it may be, with the price of oil, or
steel, or copper, or coal, or cotton, or, it may be, with the price of
the "shares" of all of these and more. Books are our relaxation. We make
it a rule not to buy what we cannot read. Some of us indulge the vain
hope that time will bring us leisure to acquaint ourselves fully with
the contents of all our books. We want books written in our own tongue,
and most of us have some pet author or group of authors, or period, it
may be, in which we love to lose ourselves and forget the cares of the
present. One man may have a collection of Pope, another of Goldsmith,
another of Lamb, and so on. The drama has its votaries who are never
seen in a theatre; but look into their libraries and you will find
everything, from "Ralph Roister Doister" to the "Importance of Being
Earnest." And note that these collections are formed by men who are not
students in the accepted sense of the word, but who, in the course of
years, have accumulated an immense amount of learning. Clarence S.
Bement is a fine example of the collector of to-day, a man of large
affairs with the tastes and learning of a scholar. It has always seemed
to me that professors of literature and collectors do not intermingle as
they should. They might learn much from each other. I yield to no
professor in my passion for English literature. My knowledge is
deficient and inexact, but what I lack in learning I make up in love.

But we are neglecting the Quaritch catalogue. Let us open it at random,
as old people used to open their Bibles, and govern their conduct by the
first text which met their eyes. Here we are: "Grammatica Graeca,"
Milan, 1476; the first edition of the first book printed in Greek; one
of six known copies. So it is possible for only six busy men to
recreate themselves after a hard day's work with a first Greek Grammar.
Too bad! Here is another: Macrobius, "The Saturnalia"--"a miscellany of
criticism and antiquities, full of erudition and very useful, similar in
their plan to the 'Noctes Atticæ' of Aulus Gellius." No doubt, but as
dead as counterfeit money. Here is another: Boethius, "De Consolatione
Philosophiæ." Boethius! I seem to have heard of him. Who was he? Not in
"Who's Who," obviously. Let us look elsewhere. Ah! "Famous philosopher
and official in the Court of Theodoric, born about 475 A.D., put to
death without trial about 524." They had a short way with philosophers
in those days. If William the Second to None in Germany had adopted this
method with his philosophers, the world might not now be in such a

_Note_: A college professor to whom I was in confidence showing these
notes the other day, remarked, "I suggest that you soft-pedal that
Boethius business, my boy." (How we middle-aged men love to call each
other boys; very much as young boys flatter themselves with the phrase,
"old man.") "The 'Consolation of Philosophy' was the best seller for a
thousand years or so. Boethius's reputation is not in the making, as
yours is, and when yours is made, it will in all probability not last as
long." I thought I detected a slight note of sarcasm in this, but I may
have been mistaken.

[Illustration: Fifteenth-century English manuscript on vellum, "De
Consolatione Philosophiæ." Rubricated throughout. Its chief interest is
the contemporary binding, consisting of the usual oak boards covered
with pink deerskin, let into another piece of deerskin which completely
surrounds it and terminates in a large knot. A clasp fastens the outer
cover. It was evidently intended to be worn at the girdle. The British
Museum possesses very few bindings of this character and these service
books. Lay books are of even greater rarity.]

Let us look further. Here we are: "Coryat's Crudities, hastily
gobbled up in five Moneths Trauells." Tom Coryat was a buffoon and a
beggar and a braggart, who wrote what has come to be regarded as the
first handbook on travel. Browning thought very highly of it, as I
remember, and Walter Hill is at this very minute offering his copy of
the "Crudities" for five hundred dollars. The catalogues say there are
very few perfect copies in existence, in which case I should like to
content myself with Browning's imperfect copy. I love these old books,
written by frail human beings for human beings frail as myself. Clowns
are the true philosophers, and all vagabonds are beloved, most of all,
Locke's. Don't confuse my Locke with the fellow who wrote on the "Human
Understanding," a century or two ago.

Here is the "Ship of Fools," another best seller of a bygone age. The
original work, by Sebastian Brandt, was published not long after the
invention of printing, in 1494. Edition followed edition, not only in
its original Swabian dialect, but also in Latin, French, and Dutch. In
1509 an English version,--it could hardly be called a translation,--by
Alexander Barclay, appeared from the press of Pynson--he who called
Caxton "worshipful master." For quite two hundred years it was the rage
of the reading world. In it the vices and weaknesses of all classes of
society were satirized in a manner which gave great delight; and those
who could not read were able to enjoy the fine, bold woodcuts with which
the work was embellished. No form of folly escaped. Even the mediæval
book-collector is made to say:--

    Still am I busy bookes assemblynge,
    For to have plentie it is a pleasaunt thynge,
    In my conceyt and to have them ay in hande,
    But what they mene do I not understande.

This is one of the books which can usually be found in a Quaritch
catalogue, if it can be found anywhere. At the Hoe sale a copy brought
$1825; but the average collector will make shift to get along with an
excellent reprint which was published in Edinburgh forty years or so
ago, and which can be had for a few shillings, when he chances to come
across it.

Here is a great book! The first folio of Shakespeare, the cornerstone of
every great Library. What's in a name? Did Shakespeare of Stratford
write the plays? The late Dr. Furness declined to be led into a
discussion of this point, wisely remarking, "We have the plays; what
difference does it make who wrote them?" But the question will not down.
The latest theory is that Bacon wrote the Psalms of David also, and to
disguise the fact tucked in a cryptogram, another name. If you have at
hand a King James's version of the Bible, and will turn to the
forty-sixth Psalm and count the words from the beginning to the
forty-sixth word, and will then count the words from the end until you
again come to the forty-sixth word, you may learn something to your

But, whoever wrote them, the first folio--the plays collected by Heming
and Condell, and printed in 1623, at the charges of Isaac Iaggard, and
Ed. Blount--is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, volume in all
literature. In it not less than twenty dramas, many of which rank among
the literary masterpieces of the world, were brought together for the
first time. Is it any wonder, therefore, that the first folio of
Shakespeare, Shakespeare! "not our poet, but the world's," is so highly
regarded? The condition and location of practically every copy in the
world is known and recorded. Originally the price is supposed to have
been a guinea, and a century passed before collectors and scholars
realized that it, like its author, was not for an age, but for all time.
In 1792 a copy brought £30, and in 1818 "an original copy in a genuine
state" changed hands at £121; but what shall be said of the price it
fetches to-day?

When, a few years ago, a Philadelphia collector paid the record price of
almost twenty thousand dollars, people unlearned in the lore of books
expressed amazement that a book should bring so large a sum; but he
secured one of the finest copies in existence, known to collectors as
the Locker-Lampson copy, which had been for a short time in the
possession of William C. Van Antwerp, of New York, who, unluckily for
himself and for the book-collecting world, stopped collecting almost as
soon as he began. This splendid folio has now found a permanent resting
place in the Widener Memorial Library at Harvard. It is no doubt
inevitable that these notable books should at last come to occupy
honored niches in great mausoleums, as public libraries really are, but
I cannot escape the conviction that Edmond de Goncourt was right when he
said in his will:--

"My wish is that my drawings, my prints, my curiosities, my books--in a
word these things of art which have been the joy of my life--shall not
be consigned to the cold tomb of a museum, and subjected to the stupid
glance of the careless passer-by; but I require that they shall all be
dispersed under the hammer of the auctioneer, so that the pleasure which
the acquiring of each one of them has given me shall be given again, in
each case, to some inheritor of my own tastes."

I wish that my friends, the Pennells, had followed this course when they
gave up their London apartments in the Adelphi and disposed of their
valuable Whistler collection. But no, with characteristic generosity the
whole collection goes to the nation as a gift--the Library of Congress
at Washington is to be its resting-place. The demand for Whistler is
ever increasing with his fame which, the Pennells say, will live
forever. Those who have a lot of Whistler material smile--the value of
their collections is enhanced. Those of us who, like the writer, have to
be content with two butterflies, or at most three, sigh and turn aside.

Possession is the grave of bliss. No sooner do we own some great book
than we want another. The appetite grows by what it feeds on. The
Shakespeare folio is a book for show and to be proud of, but we want a
book to love. Here it is: Walton's "Compleat Angler," beloved by gentle
men, such as all collectors are. We welcome the peace and contentment
which it suggests, "especially," as its author says, "in such days and
times as I have laid aside business and gone a-fishing."

Therein lies the charm of this book, for those of us who are wise enough
occasionally to lay aside business and go a-fishing or a-hunting, albeit
only book-hunting; for it is the spirit of sport rather than the sport
itself that is important. Old Isaak Walton counted fishermen as honest
men. I wonder did he call them truthful? If so, there has been a sad
falling off since his day, for I seem to remember words to this effect:
"The fisherman riseth up early in the morning and disturbeth the whole
household. Mighty are his preparations. He goeth forth full of hope.
When the day is far spent, he returneth, smelling of strong drink, and
the truth is not in him."

I wish that some day I might discover an "Angler," not on the banks of a
stream, but all unsuspected on some book-stall. It is most unlikely;
those days are past. I shall never own a first "Angler." This little
book has been thumbed out of existence almost, by generations of readers
with coarse, wet hands who carried the book in their pockets or left it
lying by the river in the excitement of landing a trout. Five
impressions, all rare, were made before the author died in his
"neintyeth" year, and was buried in the South Transept of the Cathedral
of William of Wykeham.

But Walton wrote of Fishers of Men as well as of fishing. His lives of
John Donne, the Dean of St. Paul's; of Richard Hooker, the "Judicious,"
as he is usually called, when called at all; of George Herbert, and
several other men, honorable in their generation, are quaint and
charming. These lives, published originally at intervals of many years,
are not rare, nor is the volume of 1670, the first collected edition of
the Lives, unless it is a presentation copy. Such a copy sold twenty
years ago for fifteen pounds. Some years ago I paid just three times
this sum for a copy inscribed by Walton to the Lord Bishop of Oxford. I
did not then know that the Bishop of Oxford was also the famous Dr. John
Fell, the hero of the well-known epigram:--

    I do not like you Dr. Fell,
    The reason why I cannot tell;
    But this I know and know full well,
    I do not like you Dr. Fell,--

or I would willingly have paid more for it.

But I am wandering from my text. To return to the "Angler." Fifty pounds
was a fair price for a fine copy fifty years ago. George D. Smith sold a
copy a few weeks since for five thousand dollars, and the Heckscher copy
a few years ago brought thirty-nine hundred dollars; but the record
price appears to have been paid for the Van Antwerp copy, which is
generally believed to be the finest in existence. It is bound in
original sheepskin, and was formerly in the library of Frederick
Locker-Lampson. It was sold in London some ten years ago and was
purchased by Quaritch for "an American," which was a sort of _nom de
guerre_ of the late J. P. Morgan, for £1290.

[Illustration: The rare first edition, and, according to Mr. Livingston
in "The Bibliophile," the earlier issue of the two printed in that year.
A very large copy. From the Hagen collection. Said to be the finest copy
in existence. It is bound in contemporary vellum, and measures 3-1/2 ×
6-1/8 inches.]

When "Anglers" could be had for fifty pounds, "Vicars" brought ten, or
fifteen if in exceptionally fine condition, and the man who then spent
this sum for a "Vicar" chose as wisely as did the Vicar's wife her
wedding gown, "not for a fine glossy surface, but for qualities as would
wear well." These two little volumes, with the Salisbury imprint and a
required blunder or two, will soon be worth a thousand dollars. When I
paid £120 for mine some years ago, I felt that I was courting ruin,
especially when I recalled that Dr. Johnson thought rather well of
himself for having secured for Goldsmith just half this sum for the
copyright of it. Boswell's story of the sale of the manuscript of the
"Vicar of Wakefield," as Johnson related it to him, is as pretty a bit
of bibliographical history as we have. Those who know it will pardon the
intrusion of the story for the sake of the pleasure it may give others.

"I received," said Johnson, "one morning a message from poor Goldsmith
that he was in great distress, and as it was not in his power to come to
me, begged that I would come to him as soon as possible. I sent him a
guinea, and promised to come to him directly. I accordingly went as soon
as I was drest, and found that his landlady had arrested him for his
rent, at which he was in a violent passion. I perceived that he had
already changed my guinea, and had got a bottle of Madeira and a glass
before him. I put the cork into the bottle, desired he would be calm,
and began to talk to him of the means by which he might be extricated.
He then told me that he had a novel ready for the press, which he
produced to me. I looked into it and saw its merit; told the landlady I
should soon return, and having gone to a bookseller, sold it for sixty
pounds. I brought Goldsmith the money, and he discharged his rent, not
without rating his landlady in a high tone for having used him so ill
... and Sir," continued Johnson, "it was a sufficient price, too, when
it was sold; for then the fame of Goldsmith had not been elevated, as it
afterwards was by his 'Traveller'; and the bookseller had such faint
hopes of profit by his bargain, that he kept the manuscript by him a
long time, and did not publish it till after 'The Traveller' had
appeared. Then, to be sure, it was accidentally worth more money."

Here we have a characteristic sketch of the two men--the excitable,
amiable, and improvident Goldy, and the wise and kindly Johnson,
instantly corking the bottle and getting down to brass tacks, as we
should say.

The first edition of "Robinson Crusoe" is another favorite book with
collectors; as why should it not be? Here is a copy in two volumes
(there should be three) in red morocco, super extra, gilt edges, by
Bedford. It should be in contemporary calf, but the price was only £46.
Turning to a bookseller's catalogue published a year or two ago, there
is a copy "3 vols. 8vo. with map and 2 plates, in original calf
binding," and the price is twenty-five hundred dollars.

A note in one of Stan. Henkel's recent auction catalogues, and there are
none better, clears up a point which has always troubled me, and which I
will quote at length for the benefit of other collectors who may not
have seen it.

     The supposed "points," signifying the first issues of this famous
     book, are stumbling-blocks to all bibliographers.

     Professor W. P. Trent, of Columbia University, undoubtedly the
     foremost authority on Defoe, after extended research and the
     comparison of many copies, states that he is of the opinion that
     any purchaser entering Taylor's shop at the sign of the Ship, in
     Pater Noster Row on April 25th, 1719 (usually taken as the date of
     issue), might have been handed a copy falling under any of the
     following categories:--

     With "apply" in the preface, and "Pilot," on page 343, line 2.

     With "apply" in the preface, and "Pilate" on page 343.

     With "apyly" in the preface, and "Pilate" on page 343.

     With "apyly" in the preface, and "Pilot" on page 343.

     It is unquestionably wrong, in his opinion, to call any one of
     these "first issue." Prof. Trent sees no reason to believe that
     there was a re-issue with "apyly" corrected in the preface. Both
     these mistakes were quite probably corrected while the sheets were
     passing through the press, and it depends on how the sheets were
     collated by the binder what category of the four given any special
     copy belongs to.

This is a great relief to me, as my copy, which was once Congreve's,
while leaving nothing to be desired in the matter of condition, binding,
and plates, has the word "apply" in the preface and "pilot" on page
343; but it is perfectly clear, having in mind the spacing of the types,
that the longer word has given way to the shorter.

There is, however, another edition of "Robinson Crusoe" which, for
rarity, puts all first editions in the shade. So immediate was the
success of this wonderful romance that it was issued in a newspaper,
very much as popular novels are now run. It was published in the
"Original London Post," or "Heathcot's Intelligence," numbers from 125
to 289, October 7, 1719, to October 19, 1720. This was publication in
parts with a vengeance. Of the entire series of 165 leaves, only one is
in facsimile. I see that I have not yet said that I own this copy. There
is a copy in the British Museum, but I am told that it is very
imperfect, and I know of no other.

I was, a few evenings ago, looking over Arnold's "First Report of a
Book-Collector." I had just given an old-time year's salary for a
manuscript poem by Keats, and I was utterly bewildered by reading this:
"Only a few months after I began collecting, more than one hundred pages
of original manuscripts of Keats that were just then offered for sale
came in my way and were secured at one-fifth of their value." If the
price I paid for one page is any criterion as to the value of one
hundred pages, Mr. Arnold is by now a very rich man; and elsewhere in
his "Report" he gives a list of books sold at Sotheby's in 1896 at
prices which make one's mouth water.

  Chapman's Homer, 1616, £15;
  Chaucer's Works, 1542, £15 10;
  "Robinson Crusoe," 1719-20, £75;
  Goldsmith's "Vicar," 1766, £65;
  Goldsmith's "Deserted Village," 1770, £25;
  Herrick's "Hesperides," 1648, £38;
  Milton's "Paradise Lost," 1667, £90.

But why continue? The point of it all is his comment: "If the beginner
is alarmed by these prices, let him remember that such are paid only for
well-known and highly prized rarities"; and remember, too, that this is
the comment of an astute collector upon the prices of only twenty years

[Illustration: First Page of a Rare Edition of "ROBINSON CRUSOE"]

It is, however, only proper to bear in mind, when referring to English
auction prices, that the "knockout" may have been, and probably was, in
operation. This time-honored and beneficent custom results in enriching
the London book-dealer at the expense of the owner or the estate whose
books are being sold. The existence of the "knockout" is pretty
generally admitted by the London dealers, but they usually couple the
admission with the statement that no reputable dealer will have anything
to do with its operations. It is always the other fellow who is in the
ring. Reduced to its simplest terms, a "knockout" consists of a clique
of men who agree that certain books (or anything else) shall be bought
at auction without competition. One book, or class of books, shall be
bought by A, B will buy another, C another, and so on. At some
convenient time or place after the books have been delivered, a second
auction is held and they are again put up. This time there is real
competition, but the profits go into a pool which is equally divided
among the members. This custom has taken such a strong hold on the trade
that it seems impossible to break it up. Should a private person bid at
a sale at which the scheme is intended to operate, he would get, either
nothing, or books at such a price as would cause him to remember the
sale to his dying day. There is nothing analogous to it in this country,
and it was to escape from its operations that it was decided to sell the
great Hoe collection at Anderson's in New York City a few years ago.

Most of the books then sold realized the highest prices ever known. Many
of the London dealers were represented,--Quaritch, Maggs, and several
others came in person,--and the sale will long be remembered in the
annals of the trade.

After the above explanation it is hardly necessary to say that "Book
Auction Records," published by Karslake in London, has no value whatever
as a guide to prices, in comparison with "American Book Prices Current,"
to the compilation of which the late Luther S. Livingston devoted so
much of his time--time which we now know should have been spent in doing
original work in bibliography.

Returning for a moment to Mr. Arnold and his contributions to
bibliography, he did the booksellers a good turn and helped collectors
justify their extravagance to their wives by publishing some years ago
"A Record of Books and Letters." Mr. Arnold devoted the leisure of six
years to forming a collection of books with perseverance and
intelligence; then he suddenly stopped and turned over to Bangs &
Company, the auctioneers, the greater part of his collection, and
awaited the result with interest. I say "with interest" advisedly, for
the result fully justified his judgment. In his "Record" he gives the
date of acquisition, together with the cost of each item, in one column,
and in another the selling price. He also states whether the item was
bought of a bookseller or a collector, or at auction. He had spent a
trifle over ten thousand dollars, and his profit almost exactly equalled
his outlay. I said his profit, but I have used the wrong word. His
profit was the pleasure he received in discovering, buying, and owning
the treasures which for a time were in his possession. The difference in
actual money between what he paid and what he received, some ten
thousand dollars, was the reward for his industry and courage in paying
what doubtless many people supposed to be extravagant prices for his

[Illustration: Autograph MS. of a Poem by Keats--"To the Misses M---- at

[Illustration: signature]

Let us examine one only. It is certainly not a fair example, but it
happens to interest me. He had a copy of Keats's "Poems," 1817, with an
inscription in the poet's handwriting: "My dear Giovanni, I hope your
eyes will soon be well enough to read this with pleasure and ease."
There were some other inscriptions in Keats's hand, and for this
treasure Arnold paid a bookseller, in 1895, seventy-one dollars. At the
auction in 1901 it brought five hundred dollars, and it subsequently
passed into the Van Antwerp collection, finally going back to London,
where it was sold in 1907 for ninety pounds, being bought by Quaritch.
Finally it passed into the possession of the late W. H. Hagen and, at
the sale of his library, in May, 1918, was knocked down to "G.D.S." for
$1950. From him I tried to secure it, but was "too late."[7]

My copy of the Poems has, alas, no inscription, but it cost me in excess
of five hundred dollars; and a well-known collector has just paid
Rosenbach nine thousand dollars for Keats's three slender volumes, each
with inscriptions in the poet's hand. Three into nine is a simple
problem: even I can do it; but the volume of "Poems" is much rarer than
"Endymion" or "Lamia."



No books have appreciated more in value than presentation or association
volumes, and the reason is not far to seek. Of any given copy there can
hardly be a duplicate. For the most part presentation copies are first
editions--_plus_. Frequently there is a note or a comment which sheds
biographical light on the author. In the slightest inscription there is
the record of a friendship by means of which we get back of the book to
the writer. And speaking of association books, every one will remember
the story that General Wolfe, in an open boat on the St. Lawrence as he
was being rowed down the stream to a point just below Quebec, recited
the lines from Gray's "Elegy,"--

    "The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
       And all that beauty, all that wealth, e'er gave
     Await alike the inevitable hour.
       The paths of glory lead but to the grave,"--

adding, "I would rather be the author of that piece than have the honor
of beating the French to-morrow." When Wolfe left England he carried
with him a copy of the "Elegy," the gift of his fiancée, Miss Katherine
Lowther. He learned the poem by heart, he underscored his favorite
lines, among them the passage quoted; he filled the book with his
notes. After his death the book and a miniature of the lady were
returned to her, and only a few days ago this book, a priceless volume
of unique association interest, was offered for sale. The first man who
saw it bought it. He had never bought a fine book before, but he could
not resist this one. When I heard of the transaction I was grieved and
delighted--grieved that so wonderful a volume had escaped me, delighted
that I had not been subjected to so terrible a temptation. What was the
price of it? Only the seller and the buyer know, but I fancy some
gilt-edged securities had to be parted with.

How the prices of these books go a-soaring is shown by the continuous
advance in the price of a copy of Shelley's "Queen Mab." It is a notable
copy, referred to in Dowden's "Life of Shelley." On the fly leaf is an
inscription in Shelley's hand, "Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, from
P.B.S."; inside of the back cover Shelley has written in pencil, "You
see, Mary, I have not forgotten you"; and elsewhere in the book in
Mary's hand, we read, "This book is sacred to me, and as no other
creature shall ever look into it, I may write in it what I please. Yet
what shall I write? That I love the author beyond all powers of
expression and that I am parted from him"; and much more to the same
effect. At the Ives sale in 1891 this volume of supreme interest brought
$190; in 1897, at the Frederickson sale, it brought $615; and a year ago
a dealer sold it for $7500; and cheap at that, I say, for where will you
find another?

I have before me a copy of Stevenson's "Inland Voyage." Pamphlets aside,
which, by reason of their manner of publication, are now rare, it may be
said to be the author's first book. It has an inscription, "My dear
Cummy: If you had not taken so much trouble with me all the years of my
childhood, this little book would never have been written. Many a long
night you sat up with me when I was ill; I wish I could hope by way of
return to amuse a single evening for you with my little book! But
whatever you may think of it, I know you will continue to think kindly
of the Author." I thought, when I gave four hundred dollars for it, that
I was paying a fabulous price; but as I have since been offered twice
that sum, Rosenbach evidently let me have a bargain. He tells me that it
is good business sometimes to sell a book for less than it is worth. He
regards it as bait. He angles for you very skilfully, does Rosy, and
lands you--me--every time.

[Illustration: Autograph Inscription by Stevenson, in a Copy of his
"Inland Voyage]

"A Child's Garden of Verses" is another book which has doubled in value
two or three times in the last few years. Gabriel Wells is now offering
a copy, with a brief inscription, for three hundred dollars, having sold
me not long ago, for twice this sum, a copy in which Stevenson's writing
is mingled with the type of the title-page so that it reads:--

                         ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
                              his copy of
                          A CHILD'S GARDEN OF
                 and if it is [in] the hands of any one
                       else, explain it who can!
                         but not by the gift of
                         ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

That Stevenson afterward changed his mind and gave it to "E. F. Russell,
with hearty good will," is shown by another inscription. This copy was
purchased at the sale for the British Red Cross in London, shortly after
the outbreak of the war. It may be some time before it is worth what I
paid for it, or the price may look cheap to-morrow--who shall say?

Watching the quotations of the first editions of Stevenson is rather
like looking at the quotations of stocks you haven't got, as they
recover from a panic. A point or two a day is added to their prices; but
Stevenson's move five or ten points at a time, and there has been no
reaction--as yet. Only a year or two ago I paid Drake fifty dollars for
a copy of "The New Arabian Nights"; and a few days ago I saw in the
papers that a copy had just been sold for fifty pounds in a London
auction room.[8]

[Illustration: Title of a Unique Copy of Stevenson's "Child's Garden of

I cannot quite understand Stevenson's immense vogue. Perhaps it is the
rare personality of the man. Try as we may, it is impossible to separate
the personality of a man from his work. Why is one author "collected"
and another not? I do not know. Practically no one collects Scott, or
George Eliot, or Trollope; but Trollope collectors there will be, and
"The Macdermots of Ballycloran" and "The Kellys and the O'Kellys" will
bring fabulous prices some of these days--five hundred dollars each;
more, a thousand, I should say; and when you pay this sum, look well for
the errors in pagination and see that Mortimer Street is spelt Morimer
on the title-page of volume three of the former. And remember, too, that
this book is so rare that there is no copy of it in the British
Museum--at least so I am told; but you will find one on my shelves, in
the corner over there, together with everything else this great
Victorian has written--of all novelists my favorite. Trollope proved the
correctness of Johnson's remark, "A man may write at any time if he will
set himself doggedly at it." This we know Trollope did, we have his word
for it. His personality was too sane, too matter of fact, to be
attractive; but his books are delightful. One doesn't read Trollope as
Coleridge did Shakespeare--by flashes of lighting (this isn't right, but
it expresses the idea); but there is a good, steady glow emanating from
the author himself, which, once you get accustomed to it, will enable
you to see a whole group of mid-Victorian characters so perfectly that
you come to know them as well as the members of your own family, and, I
sometimes think, understand them better.

But for one collector who expresses a mild interest in Trollope, there
are a thousand who regard the brave invalid, who, little more than
twenty years ago, passed away on that lonely Samoan island in the
Pacific, as one of the greatest of the moderns, as certain of
immortality as Charles Lamb. They may be right. His little toy books and
leaflets, those which

    The author and the printer
    With various kinds of skill
    Concocted in the Winter
    At Davos on the Hill,

and elsewhere, are simply invaluable. The author and the printer were
one and the same--R. L. S., assisted, or perhaps hindered, by S. L. O.,
Mrs. Stevenson's son, then a lad. Of these Stevensons, "Penny Whistles"
is the rarest. But two copies are known. One is in a private collection
in England; the other was bought at the Borden sale in 1913 by Mrs.
Widener, for twenty-five hundred dollars, in order to complete, as far
as might be, the Stevenson collection now in the Widener Memorial
Library. It was a privately printed forerunner of "A Child's Garden of
Verses," published several years later.

It is a far cry from these bijoux to Stevenson's regularly published
volumes; but when it is remembered that these latter were printed in
fairly large editions and relatively only a few years ago, it will be
seen that no other author of yesterday fetches such high prices as

In recent years there have been published a number of bibliographies
without which no collector can be expected to keep house. We are
indebted to the Grolier Club for some of the best of these. Its members
have the books and are most generous in exhibiting them, and it must
indeed be a churlish scholar who cannot freely secure access to the
collections of its members.

Aside from the three volumes entitled "Contributions to English
Bibliography," published and sold by the Club, the handbooks of the
exhibitions held from time to time are much sought, for the wealth of
information they contain. The Club's librarian, Miss Ruth S. Granniss,
working in coöperation with the members, is largely responsible for the
skill and intelligence with which these little catalogues are compiled.
The time and amount of painstaking research which enter into the making
of them is simply enormous. Indeed, no one quite understands the many
questions which arise to vex the bibliographer unless they have
attempted to make for themselves even the simplest form of catalogue.
Over the door of the room in which they work should be inscribed the
text, "Be sure your sin will find you out." Some blunders are redeemed
by the laughter they arouse. Here is a famous one:--

  Shelley--Prometheus--unbound, etc.
      " --Prometheus--bound in olive morocco, etc.

But for the most part the lot of the bibliographer, as Dr. Johnson said
of the dictionary-maker, is to be exposed to censure without hope of

That Oscar Wilde continues to interest the collector is proved, if proof
were necessary, by the splendid bibliography by Stuart Mason, in two
large volumes. Its editor tells us that it was the work of ten years,
which I can readily believe; and Robert Ross, Wilde's literary executor,
says in the introduction, that, in turning over the proof for ten
minutes, he learned more about Wilde's writings than Wilde himself ever
knew. It gave me some pleasure, when I first took the book up, to see
that Mason had used for his frontispiece the caricature of Wilde by
Aubrey Beardsley, the original of which now hangs on the wall near my
writing-table, together with a letter from Ross in which he says, "From
a technical point of view this drawing is interesting as showing the
artistic development of what afterwards was called his Japanese method
in the 'Salome' drawings. Here it is only in embryo, but this is the
earliest drawing I remember in which the use of dotted lines, a
peculiarity of Beardsley, can be traced."[9]


Another favorite bibliography is that of Dickens, by John C. Eckel. His
"First Editions of Charles Dickens" is a book which no lover of
Dickens--and who is not?--can do without. It is a book to be read, as
well as a book of reference. In it Mr. Eckel does one thing, however,
which is, from its very nature, hopeless and discouraging. He
attempts to indicate the prices at which first editions of his favorite
author can be secured at auction, or from the dealers in London and this
country. Alas, alas! while waiting to secure prizes at Eckel's prices I
have seen them soaring to figures undreamed of a few years ago. In his
chapter on "Presentation Copies," he refers to a copy of "Bleak House"
given by Dickens to Dudley Costello. "Some years ago," he says, "it sold
for $150.00. Eighteen months later the collector resold the book to the
dealer for $380.00, who made a quick turn and sold the book for ten per
cent advance, or $418.00." These figures Mr. Eckel considers
astonishing. I now own the book, but it came into my possession at a
figure considerably in excess of that named.

A copy of "American Notes," with an inscription, "Thomas Carlyle from
Charles Dickens, Nineteenth October, 1842," gives an excellent idea of
the rise in the price of a book, interesting itself and on account of
its inscription. At auction, in London, in 1902, it sold for £45. After
passing through the hands of several dealers it was purchased by W. E.
Allis, of Milwaukee; and at the sale of his books in New York, in 1912,
it was bought by George D. Smith for $1050. Smith passed the book on to
Edwin W. Coggeshall; but its history is not yet at an end, for at his
sale, on April 25, 1916, it was bought by the firm of Dutton for $1850,
and by them passed on, the story goes, to a discriminating collector in
Detroit, a man who can call all the parts of an automobile by name.
Fortunately, while this book was in full flight, I secured a copy with
an inscription, "W. C. Macready from his friend Charles Dickens,
Eighteenth October, 1842." Now, what is my copy worth?

[Illustration: Inscription to Charles Dickens, Junior, from Charles

Seven years ago I paid Charles Sessler nine hundred dollars for three
books: a presentation "Carol," to Tom Beard, a "Cricket," to Macready,
and a "Haunted Man," to Maclise. At the Coggeshall sale a dealer paid a
thousand dollars for a "Carol," while I gave Smith ten per cent advance
on a thousand dollars for a "Chimes," with an inscription, "Charles
Dickens, Junior, from his affectionate father, Charles Dickens." This
copy at the Allis sale had brought seven hundred and seventy-five
dollars, at which time I was prepared to pay five hundred dollars for


_From the original water-color drawing_]

I always return from these all-star performances depressed in spirit and
shattered in pocket. "Where will it stop?" I say to myself. "When will
you stop?" my wife says to me. And both questions remain unanswered;
certainly not, while presentation Dickenses can be had and are lacking
from my collection. I now possess twenty-one, and it is with
presentation Dickenses as with elephants--a good many go to the dozen;
but I lack and sadly want--Shall I give a list? No, the prices are going
up fast enough without stimulation from me. Wait until my "wants" are
complete; then let joy be unconfined.

A final word on Dickens: the prices are skyrocketing because everyone
loves him. Age cannot wither nor custom stale his infinite variety. As a
great creative genius he ranks with Shakespeare. He has given pleasure
to millions; he has been translated into all the languages of Europe.
"Pickwick," it is said, stands fourth in circulation among English
printed books, being exceeded only by the Bible, Shakespeare, and the
English Prayer-Book; and the marvel is that when Dickens is spoken of,
it is difficult to arrive at an agreement as to which is his greatest

But this paper is supposed to relate to prices rather than to books
themselves. Other seductive arguments having failed, one sometimes hears
a vendor of rare books add, in his most convincing manner, "And you
couldn't possibly make a better investment." The idea, I suppose, is
calculated to enable a man to meet his wife's reproachful glance, or
something worse, as he returns home with a book under his arm. But
when one is about to commit some piece of extravagance, such as buying a
book of which one already has several copies, one will grasp at any
straw, the more so as there may be some truth in the statement.


_From the manuscript formerly in the Coggeshall collection, much reduced
in size_]

There are, however, so many good reasons why we should buy rare books,
that it seems a pity ever to refer to the least of them. I am not sure
that I am called on to give any judgment in the matter; but my belief is
that the one best and sufficient reason for a man to buy a book is
because he thinks he will be happier with it than without it. I always
question myself on this point, and another which presses it closely--can
I pay for it? I confess that I do not always listen so attentively for
the answer to this second question; but I try so to live as to be able
to look my bookseller in the eye and tell him where to go. I govern
myself by few rules, but this is one of them--never to allow a book to
enter my library as a creditor.

"Un livre est un ami qui ne change jamais"; I want to enjoy my friends
whenever I am with them. One would get very tired of a friend if, every
time one met him, he should suggest a touch for fifty or five hundred
dollars. On the shelves in my office are some books that are mine, some
in which there is at the moment a joint ownership, and some which will
be mine in the near future, I hope--and doubtless in this hope I am not
alone; but the books on the shelves around the room in which I write
are mine, all of them.

The advice given by "Punch" to those about to marry--"Don't"--seems,
then, to be the best advice to a man who is tempted to buy by the hope
of making a profit out of his books; but I observe that this short and
ugly word deters very few from following their inclinations in the
matter of marriage, and this advice may fall, as advice usually falls,
on deaf ears. Only when a man is safely ensconced in six feet of earth,
with several tons of enlauding granite upon his chest, is he in a
position to give advice with any certainty, and then he is silent; but
it will nevertheless be understood that I do not recommend the purchase
of rare books as an investment, and this in spite of the fact that many
collectors have made handsome profits out of the books they have sold.
While a man may do much worse with his money than buy rare books, he
cannot be certain that he can dispose of them at a profit, nor is it
necessary that he should do so. He should be satisfied to eat his cake
and have it; books selected with any judgment will almost certainly
afford this satisfaction, and of what other hobby can this be said with
the same assurance?

[Illustration: Title of Meredith's "Modern Love," with Autograph
Inscription to Swinburne]

The possession of rare books is a delight best understood by the owners
of them. They are not called upon to explain. The gentle will
understand, and the savage may be disregarded. It is the scholar whose
sword is usually brandished against collectors; and I would not have him
think that, in addition to our being ignorant of our books, we are
speculators in them also. Let him remember that we have our uses.

    Unlearned men of books assume the care,
    As eunuchs are the guardians of the fair.

It may as well be admitted that we do not buy expensive books to read.
We may say that it is a delight to us to look upon the very page on
which appeared for the first time such a sonnet as "On First Looking
into Chapman's Homer," or to read that bit of realism unsurpassed, where
Robinson Crusoe one day, about noon, discovered the print of a man's
naked foot upon the sand; but when we sit down with a copy of Keats, we
do not ask for a first edition; much less when we want to live over
again the joys of our childhood, do we pick up a copy of Defoe which
would be a find at a thousand dollars. But first editions of Keats's
Poems, 1817, in boards, with the paper label if possible, and a Defoe
unwashed, in a sound old calf binding, are good things to have. They are
indeed a joy forever, and will never pass into nothingness. I cannot see
why the possession of fine books is more reprehensible than the
possession of valuable property of any other sort.

In speaking of books as an investment, one implies first editions. First
editions are scarce; tenth editions, as Charles Lamb stutteringly
suggested, are scarcer, but there is no demand for them. Why, then,
first editions? The question is usually dodged; the truth may as well
be stated. There is a joy in mere ownership. It may be silly, or it may
be selfish; but it is a joy, akin to that of possessing land, which
seems to need no defense. We do not walk over our property every day; we
frequently do not see it; but when the fancy takes us, we love to forget
our cares and responsibilities in a ramble over our fields. In like
manner, and for the same reason, we browse with delight in a corner of
our library in which we have placed our most precious books. We should
buy our books as we buy our clothes, not only to cover our nakedness,
but to embellish us; and we should buy more books and fewer clothes.

I am told that, in proportion to our numbers and our wealth, less money
is spent on books now than was spent fifty years ago. I suppose our
growing love of sport is to some extent responsible. Golf has taken the
place of books. I know that it takes time and costs money. I do not play
the game myself, but I have a son who does. Perhaps when I am his age, I
shall feel that I can afford it. My sport is book-hunting. I look upon
it as a game, a game requiring skill, some money, and luck. The pleasure
that comes from seeing some book in a catalogue priced at two or three
times what I may have paid for a copy, is a pleasure due to vindicated
judgment. I do not wish to rush into the market and sell and secure my
profit. What is profit if I lose my book? Moreover, if one thinks of
profit rather than of books, there is an interest charge to be
considered. A book for which I paid a thousand dollars a few years ago,
no longer stands me at a thousand dollars, but at a considerably greater
sum. A man neat at figures could tell with mathematical accuracy just
the actual cost of that book down to any given minute. I neither know
nor want to know.

There is another class of collector with whom I am not in keen sympathy,
and that is the men who specialize in the first published volumes of
some given group of authors. These works are usually of relatively
little merit, but they are scarce and expensive: scarce, because
published in small editions and at first neglected; expensive, because
they are desired to complete sets of first editions. Anthony Trollope's
first two novels have a greater money value than all the rest of his
books put together--but they are hard to read. In like manner, a
sensational novel, "Desperate Remedies," by Hardy, his first venture in
fiction, is worth perhaps as much as fifty copies of his "Woodlanders,"
one of the best novels of the last half century. George Gissing, when he
was walking our streets penniless and in rags, could never have supposed
that a few years later his first novel, "Workers in the Dawn," would
sell for one hundred and fifty dollars, but it has done so. I have a
friend who has just paid this price.

Just here I would like to remark that for several years I have been
seeking, without success, a copy of the first edition of that very
remarkable book, Samuel Butler's "The Way of All Flesh." Booksellers
who jauntily advertise, "Any book got," will please make a note of this

Nor do I think it necessary to have every scrap, every waif and stray,
of any author, however much I may esteem him. My collection of Johnson
is fairly complete, but I have no copy of Father Lobo's "Abyssinia." It
was an early piece of hack-work, a translation from the French, for
which Johnson received five pounds. It is not scarce; one would hardly
want to read it. It was the recollection of this book, doubtless, that
suggested the "Prince of Abissinia" to Johnson years later, when he
wanted to write "fiction," as the dear old ladies in "Cranford" called
"Rasselas"; but it has never seemed necessary to my happiness to have a
copy of "Lobo." On the other hand I have "stocked" "Rasselas" pretty
considerably, and could supply any reasonable demand. Such are the
vagaries of collectors.

[Illustration: IN A COPY OF "RASSELAS"]

Only once, I think, have I been guilty of buying a book I did not
particularly want, because of its speculative value--that was when I
stumbled across a copy of Woodrow Wilson's "Constitutional Government in
the United States" with a long inscription in its author's cursive hand.
Even in this case I think it was my imagination rather than avarice
that led me to pay a fancy price for a book which some day when I am not
"among those present" will fetch as many thousands as I paid hundreds.
In 1909, when the inscription was written, its author was a relatively
unimportant man--to-day he is known throughout the world and is in a
position to influence its destinies as no other man has ever been.

[Illustration: The constitution of the United States, like the
constitution of every living state, grows and is altered by force of
circumstances and changes in affairs. The effect of a written
constitution is only to render the growth more subtle, more studious,
more conservative, more a thing of carefully, almost unconsciously,
wrought sequences. Our statesmen must, in the midst of origination, have
the spirit of lawyers.

Woodrow Wilson
Princeton, 18 Oct., '09.

No paper dealing with the prices of books would be complete without the
remark that condition is everything. Any rare book is immensely more
valuable if in very fine condition. Imagine for a moment a book worth,
say, six hundred dollars in good condition,--for example, the "Vicar of
Wakefield,"--and then imagine--if you can--a copy of this same book in
boards uncut. Would twenty-five hundred dollars be too high a price for
such a copy? I think not.

Another point to be remembered is that the price of a book depends, not
only on its scarcity, but also on the universality of the demand for it.
And once again I may take the "Vicar" as an example of what I mean. The
"Vicar" is not a scarce book. For from six to eight hundred dollars,
dependent upon condition, one could, I think, lay his hands on as many
as ten copies in as many weeks. It is what the trade call a
bread-and-butter book--a staple. There is always a demand for it and
always a supply at a price; but try to get a copy of Fanny Burney's
"Evelina," and you may have to wait a year or more for it. It was the
first book of an unknown young lady; the first edition was very small,
it was printed on poor paper, proved to be immensely popular, and was
immediately worn out in the reading; but there is no persistent demand
for it as there is for the "Vicar," and it costs only half as much.

In reading over whatever I have written on the subject of the prices of
rare books, I am aware that my remarks may sound to some like a
whistle--a whistle to keep up my courage at the thought of the prices I
am paying. But so long as the "knockout" does not get a foothold in this
country,--and it would immediately be the subject of investigation if it
did, and be stopped, as other abuses have been,--the prices of really
great books will always average higher and higher. "Of the making of
many books there is no end," nor is there an end to the prices men will
be willing to pay for them.

[Illustration: This first book of my writings is dearest to my soul,
Because all of 'em's bought called "The Old Swimmin' Hole."

Ever thine,
{Benj. F. Johnson, Boone Co., Ind.--
{James Whitcomb Riley.

For--Wallace H. Cathcourt(?), Cleveland, Ohio Indianapolis, Jan. 23



On a cold, raw day in December, 1882, there was laid to rest in Brompton
Cemetery, in London, an old lady,--an actress,--whose name, Frances
Maria Kelly, meant little to the generation of theatre-goers, then busy
with the rising reputation of Henry Irving and Ellen Terry. She was a
very old lady when she died--ninety-two, to be exact; she had outlived
her fame and her friends, and few followed her to her grave.

I have said that the day was cold and raw. I do not know certainly that
it was so; I was not there; but for my sins I have passed many Decembers
in London, and take the right, in Charles Lamb's phrase, to damn the
weather at a venture.

Fanny Kelly, as she was called by the generations that knew her, came of
a theatrical family, and most of her long life had been passed on the
stage. She was only seven when she made her first appearance at Drury
Lane, at which theatre she acted for some thirty-six years, when she
retired; subsequently she established a school of dramatic art and gave
from time to time what she termed "Entertainments," in which she
sometimes took as many as fourteen different parts in a single evening.
With her death the last link connecting us with the age of Johnson was
broken. She had acted with John Philip Kemble and with Mrs. Siddons. By
her sprightliness and grace she had charmed Fox and Sheridan and the
generations which followed, down to Charles Dickens, who had acted with
her in private theatricals at her own private theatre in Dean
Street,--now the Royalty,--taking the part of Captain Bobadil in _Every
Man in his Humor_.

Nothing is more evanescent than the reputation of an actor. Every age
lingers lovingly over the greatness of the actors of its own youth; thus
it was that the theatre-goer of the eighteen-eighties only yawned when
told of the grace of Miss Kelly's Ophelia, of the charm of her Lydia
Languish, or of her bewitchingness in "breeches parts." To some she was
the old actress for whom the government was being solicited to do
something; a few thought of her as the old maiden lady who was obsessed
with the idea that Charles Lamb had once made her an offer of marriage.

It was well known that, half a century before, Lamb had been one of her
greatest admirers. Every reader of his dramatic criticisms and his
letters knew that; they knew, too, that in one of his daintiest essays,
perhaps the most exquisite essay in the language, "Dream Children, A
Reverie," Lamb, speaking apparently more autobiographically than usual
even for him, says:--

[Illustration: Charles Lamb]

"Then I told how, for seven long years, in hope sometimes, sometimes in
despair, yet persisting ever, I courted the fair Alice W----n; and,
as much as children could understand, I explained to them what coyness,
and difficulty, and denial meant to maidens--when suddenly, turning to
Alice, the soul of the first Alice looked out at her eyes with such a
reality of re-presentment, that I became in doubt which of them stood
there before me, or whose that bright hair was; and while I stood
gazing, both the children gradually grew fainter to my view, receding
and still receding, till nothing at last but two mournful features were
seen in the uttermost distance, which, without speech, strangely
impressed upon me the effects of speech:--

"'We are not of Alice, nor of thee, nor are we children at all. The
children of Alice call Bartrum father. We are nothing; less than
nothing, and dreams. We are only what might have been.'"

I am quoting, not from the printed text, but from the original
manuscript, which is my most cherished literary possession; and this
lovely peroration, if such it may be called, is the only part of the
essay which has been much interlineated or recast. It appears to have
occasioned Lamb considerable difficulty; there was obviously some
searching for the right word; a part of it, indeed, was entirely

The coyness, the difficulty, and the denial of Alice: was it not
immortally written into the record by Lamb himself? Miss Kelly's
rejection of an offer of marriage from him must be a figment of the
imagination of an old lady, who, as her years approached a century, had
her dream-children, too--children who called Lamb father.

There the matter rested. Fanny Kelly was by way of being forgotten; all
the facts of Lamb's life were known, apparently, and he had lain in a
curiously neglected grave in Edmonton Churchyard for seventy years.
Innumerable sketches and lives and memorials of him, "final" and
otherwise, had been written and read. His letters--not complete,
perhaps, but volumes of them--had been published and read by the
constantly increasing number of his admirers, and no one suspected that
Lamb had had a serious love-affair--the world accepting without reserve
the statement of one of his biographers that "Lamb at the bidding of
duty remained single, wedding himself to the sad fortunes of his

Then, quite unexpectedly, in 1903, John Hollingshead, the former manager
of the Gaiety Theatre, discovered and published two letters of Charles
Lamb written on the same day, July 20, 1819. One, a long letter in
Lamb's most serious vein, in which he formally offers his hand, and in a
way his sister's, to Miss Kelly, and the other a whimsical, elfish
letter, in which he tries to disguise the fact that in her refusal of
him he has received a hard blow.

[Illustration: Miss Frances Maria Kelly]

By reason of this important discovery, every line that Lamb had written
in regard to Fanny Kelly was read with new interest, and an admirable
biography of him by his latest and most sympathetic critic, Edward
Verrall Lucas, appearing shortly afterwards, was carefully studied to
see what, if any, further light could be thrown upon this interesting
subject. But it appears that the whole story has been told in the
letters, and students of Lamb were thrown back upon the already
published references.

In the Works of Lamb, published in 1818, he had addressed to Miss Kelly
a sonnet:--

    You are not, Kelly, of the common strain,
    That stoop their pride and female honor down
    To please that many-headed beast, the town,
    And vend their lavish smiles and tricks for gain;
    By fortune thrown amid the actor's train,
    You keep your native dignity of thought;
    The plaudits that attend you come unsought,
    As tributes due unto your natural vein.
    Your tears have passion in them, and a grace
    Of genuine freshness, which our hearts avow;
    Your smiles are winds whose ways we cannot trace,
    That vanish and return we know not how--
    And please the better from a pensive face,
    And thoughtful eye, and a reflecting brow.

And early in the following year he had printed in a provincial journal
an appreciation of her acting, comparing her, not unfavorably, with Mrs.
Jordan, who, in her day, then over, is said to have had no rival in
comedy parts.

Lamb's earliest reference to Miss Kelly, however, appears to be in a
letter to the Wordsworths, in which he says that he can keep the
accounts of his office, comparing sum with sum, writing "Paid" against
one and "Unpaid" against t'other (this was long before the days of
scientific bookkeeping and muchvaunted efficiency), and still reserve a
corner of his mind for the memory of some passage from a book, or "the
gleam of Fanny Kelly's divine plain face." This is an always quoted
reference and seems correctly to describe the lady, who is spoken of by
others as an unaffected, sensible, clear-headed, warm-hearted woman,
plain but engaging, with none of the vanities or arrogance of the
actress about her. It will be recalled that Lamb had no love for
blue-stocking women, and speaking of one, said, "If she belonged to me I
would lock her up and feed her on bread and water till she left off
writing poetry. A female poet, or female author of any kind, ranks below
an actress, I think." This shortest way with minor poets has, perhaps,
much to recommend it.

It was Lamb's whim in his essays to be frequently misleading, setting
his signals at full speed ahead when they should have been set at
danger, or, at least, at caution. Thus in his charming essay "Barbara
S----" (how unconsciously one invariably uses this adjective in speaking
of anything Lamb wrote), after telling the story of a poor little stage
waif receiving by mistake a whole sovereign instead of the half a one
justly due for a week's pay, and how she was tempted to keep it, but did
not, he adds, "I had the anecdote from the mouth of the late Mrs.
Crawford." Here seemed to be plain sailing, and grave editors pointed
out who Mrs. Crawford was: they told her maiden name, and for good
measure threw in the names of her several husbands. But Lamb, in a
letter to Bernard Barton in 1825, speaking of these essays, said: "Tell
me how you like 'Barbara S----.' I never saw Mrs. Crawford in my life,
nevertheless 'tis all true of somebody." And some years later, not long
before he died, to another correspondent he wrote: "As Miss Kelly is
just now in notoriety,"--she was then giving an entertainment called
"Dramatic Recollections" at the Strand Theatre,--"it may amuse you to
know that 'Barbara S----' is all of it true of her, being all
communicated to me from her own mouth. Can we not contrive to make up a
party to see her?"

There is another reference to Miss Kelly, which, in the light of our
subsequent knowledge, is as dainty a suggestion of marriage with her as
can be found in the annals of courtship. It appeared in "The Examiner"
just a fortnight before Lamb's proposal. In a criticism of her acting as
Rachel in "The Jovial Crew," now forgotten, Lamb was, he says,
interrupted in the enjoyment of the play by a stranger who sat beside
him remarking of Miss Kelly, "What a lass that were to go a gypsying
through the world with!"

Knowing how frequently Lamb addressed Elia, his other self, and Elia,
Lamb, may we not suppose that on this occasion the voice of the stranger
was the voice of Elia? Was it unlikely that Miss Kelly, who would see
the criticism, would hear the voice and recognize it as Lamb's? I love
to linger over these delicate incidents of Lamb's courtship, which was
all too brief.

But what of Mary? I think she cannot but have contemplated the
likelihood of her brother's marriage and determined upon the line she
would take in that event. Years before she had written, "You will smile
when I tell you I think myself the only woman in the world who could
live with a brother's wife, and make a real friend of her, partly from
early observations of the unhappy example I have just given you, and
partly from a knack I know I have of looking into people's real
character, and never expecting them to act out of it--never expecting
another to do as I would in the same case."

Mary Lamb was an exceptional woman; and even though her brother might
have thought he kept the secret of his love to himself, she would know
and, I fancy, approve. Was it not agreed between them that she was to
die first? and when she was gone, who would be left to care for Charles?

Before I come to the little drama--tragedy one could hardly call it--of
Lamb's love-affair as told in his own way by his letters, I may be
permitted to refer to two letters of his to Miss Kelly, one of them
relatively unimportant, the other a few lines only, both unpublished,
which form a part of my own Lamb collection. These letters, before they
fell from high estate, formed a part of the "Sentimental Library" of
Harry B. Smith, to whom I am indebted for much information concerning
them. It will be seen that both these letters work themselves into the
story of Lamb's love-affair, which I am trying to tell. So far as is
known, four letters are all that he ever addressed to the lady: the two
above referred to, and the proposal and its sequel, in the collection of
Mr. Huntington of New York, where I saw them not long ago. I have held
valuable letters in my hand before, but these letters of Lamb! I confess
to an emotional feeling with which the mere book-collector is rarely

[Illustration: Miss Kelly in Various Characters.]

The earlier and briefer letter is pasted into a copy of the first
edition of the "Works of Charles Lamb," 1818, "in boards, shaken," which
occupies a place of honor on my shelves. It reads: "Mr. Lamb having
taken the liberty of addressing a slight compliment to Miss Kelly in his
first volume, respectfully requests her acceptance of the collection.
7th June, 1818." The compliment, of course, is the sonnet already

[Illustration: Mr Lamb having taken the liberty of addressing a
slight compliment to Mrs. Kelly in his first volume, respectfully
requests her acceptance of the Collection.

7th June 1818]

The second letter was written just ten days before Lamb asked Miss Kelly
to marry him. The bones playfully referred to were small ivory discs,
about the size of a two-shilling piece, which were allotted to leading
performers for the use of their friends, giving admission to the pit.
On one side was the name of the theatre; on the other the name of the
actor or actress to whom they were allotted. The letter reads:


     If your Bones are not engaged on Monday night, will you favor us
     with the use of them? I know, if you can oblige us, you will make
     no bones of it; if you cannot, it shall break none betwixt us. We
     might ask somebody else; but we do not like the bones of any
     strange animal. We should be welcome to dear Mrs. Liston's, but
     then she is so plump, there is no getting at them. I should prefer
     Miss Iver's--they must be ivory I take it for granted--but she is
     married to Mr. ----, and become bone of his bone, consequently can
     have none of her own to dispose of. Well, it all comes to this,--if
     you can let us have them, you will, I dare say; if you cannot, God
     rest your bones. I am almost at the end of my bon-mots.


     9th _July_, 1819.

This characteristic note in Lamb's best punning manner ("I fancy I
succeed best in epistles of mere fun; puns and that nonsense") may be
regarded as a prologue to the drama played ten days later, the whole
occupying but the space of a single day.

[Illustration: Dear Miss Kelly,--

If your Bones are not engaged on Monday night, will you favor us with
the use of them? I know, if you can oblige us, you will make no bones of
it; if you cannot, it shall break none betwixt us. We might ask somebody
else, but we do not like the bones of any strange animal. We should be
welcome to dear Mrs. Listons, but then she is so plump, there is no
getting at them. I should prefer Miss Iver's--they must be ivory I take
it for granted--but she is married to Mr. ----, and become bone of his
bone, consequently can have none of her own to dispose of. Well, it all
comes to this,--if you can let us have them, you will, I dare say; if
you cannot, God rest your bones. I am almost at the end of my bon-mots.

C Lamb

9th July, 1819]

And now the curtain is lifted on the play in which Lamb and Miss Kelly
are the chief actors. Lamb is in his lodgings in Great Russell Street,
Covent Garden, the individual spot he likes best in all London. Bow
Street Police Court can be seen through the window, and Mary Lamb seated
thereby, knitting, glances into the busy street as she sees a crowd of
people follow in the wake of a constable, conducting a thief to his
examination. Lamb is seated at a table, writing. We, unseen, may glance
over his shoulder and see the letter which he has just finished.


     We had the pleasure, _pain_ I might better call it, of seeing you
     last night in the new Play. It was a most consummate piece of
     acting, but what a task for you to undergo! at a time when your
     heart is sore from real sorrow! It has given rise to a train of
     thinking which I cannot suppress.

     Would to God you were released from this way of life; that you
     could bring your mind to consent to take your lot with us, and
     throw off forever the whole burden of your Profession. I neither
     expect nor wish you to take notice of this which I am writing, in
     your present over-occupied & hurried state.--But to think of it at
     your pleasure. I have quite income enough, if that were to justify
     me for making such a proposal, with what I may call even a handsome
     provision for my survivor. What you possess of your own would
     naturally be appropriated to those for whose sakes chiefly you have
     made so many hard sacrifices. I am not so foolish as not to know
     that I am a most unworthy match for such a one as you, but you have
     for years been a principal object in my mind. In many a sweet
     assumed character I have learned to love you, but simply as F. M.
     Kelly I love you better than them all. Can you quit these shadows
     of existence, & come & be a reality to us? Can you leave off
     harassing yourself to please a thankless multitude, who know
     nothing of you, & begin at last to live to yourself & your friends?

     As plainly & frankly as I have seen you give or refuse assent in
     some feigned scene, so frankly do me the justice to answer me. It
     is impossible I should feel injured or aggrieved by your telling me
     at once, that the proposal does not suit you. It is impossible that
     I should ever think of molesting you with idle importunity and
     persecution after your mind [is] once firmly spoken--but happier,
     far happier, could I have leave to hope a time might come when our
     friends might be your friends; our interests yours; our
     book-knowledge, if in that inconsiderable particular we have any
     little advantage, might impart something to you, which you would
     every day have it in your power ten thousand fold to repay by the
     added cheerfulness and joy which you could not fail to bring as a
     dowry into whatever family should have the honor and happiness of
     receiving _you_, the most welcome accession that could be made to

     In haste, but with entire respect & deepest affection, I subscribe


     20 _July_, 1819.

No punning or nonsense here. It is the most serious letter Lamb ever
wrote--a letter so fine, so manly, so honorable in the man who wrote it,
so honoring to the woman to whom it was addressed, that, knowing Lamb as
we do, it can hardly be read without a lump in the throat and eyes
suffused with tears.

The letter is folded and sealed and sent by a serving-maid to the lady,
who lives hard by in Henrietta Street, just the other side of Covent
Garden--and the curtain falls.

Before the next act we are at liberty to wonder how Lamb passed the time
while Miss Kelly was writing her reply. Did he go off to the "dull
drudgery of the desk's dead wood" at East India House, and there busy
himself with the prices of silks or tea or indigo, or did he wander
about the streets of his beloved London? I fancy the latter. In any
event the curtain rises a few hours later, and Lamb and his sister are
seen as before. She has laid aside her knitting. It is late afternoon.
Lamb is seated at the table endeavoring to read, when a maid enters and
hands him a letter; he breaks the seal eagerly. Again we look over his
shoulder and read:--

HENRIETTA STREET, _July_ 20th, 1819.

     An early & deeply rooted attachment has fixed my heart on one from
     whom no worldly prospect can well induce me to withdraw it, but
     while I thus frankly & decidedly decline your proposal, believe me,
     I am not insensible to the high honour which the preference of such
     a mind as yours confers upon me--let me, however, hope that all
     thought upon this subject will end with this letter, & that you
     henceforth encourage no other sentiment towards me than esteem in
     my private character and a continuance of that approbation of my
     humble talents which you have already expressed so much and so
     often to my advantage and gratification.

     Believe me I feel proud to acknowledge myself

Your obliged friend

Lamb rises from his chair and attempts to walk over to where Mary is
sitting; but his feelings overcome him, and he sinks back in his chair
again as the curtain falls.

It moves quickly, the action of this little drama. The curtain is down
but a moment, suggesting the passage of a single hour. When it is
raised, Lamb is alone; he is but forty-five, but looks an old man. The
curtains are drawn, lighted candles are on the table. We hear the rain
against the windows. Lamb is writing, and for the last time we intrude
upon his privacy.

Now poor Charles Lamb, now dear Charles Lamb, "Saint Charles," if you
will! Our hearts go out to him; we would comfort him if we could. But
read slowly one of the finest letters in all literature: a letter in
which he accepts defeat instantly, but with a smile on his face; tears
there may have been in his eyes, but she was not to see them. See Lamb
in his supreme rôle--_of a man_. How often had he urged his friends to
play that difficult part--which no one could play better than he. The
letter reads:--


     _Your injunctions shall be obeyed to a tittle._ I feel myself in a
     lackadaisical no-how-ish kind of a humor. I believe it is the rain,
     or something. I had thought to have written seriously, but I fancy
     I succeed best in epistles of mere fun; puns & that nonsense. You
     will be good friends with us, will you not? Let what has past
     "break no bones" between us. You will not refuse us them next time
     we send for them?

Yours very truly,
C. L.

     P.S. Do you observe the delicacy of not signing my full name?

     N.B. Do not paste that last letter of mine into your book.

We sometimes, mistakenly, say that the English are not good losers. To
think of Charles Lamb may help us to correct that opinion.

All good plays of the period have an epilogue. By all means this should
have one; and ten days later Lamb himself provided it. It appeared in
"The Examiner," where, speaking of Fanny Kelly's acting in "The
Hypocrite," he said,--

"She is in truth not framed to tease or torment even in jest, but to
utter a hearty Yes or No; to yield or refuse assent with a noble
sincerity. We have not the pleasure of being acquainted with her, but we
have been told that she carries the same cordial manners into private

The curtain falls! The play is at an end.

[Illustration: Charles and Mary Lamb]



Sitting one evening with my favorite book and enjoying the company of a
crackling wood fire, I was interrupted by a cheerful idiot who, entering
unheard, announced himself with the remark, "This is what I call a
library." Indifferent to a forced welcome, he looked about him and
continued, "I see you are fond of Boswell. I always preferred Macaulay's
'Life of Johnson' to Boswell's--it's so much shorter. I read it in

Argument would have been wasted on him. If he had been alone in his
opinion, I would have killed him and thus exterminated the species; but
he is only one of a large class, who having once read Macaulay's essay,
and that years ago, feel that they have received a peculiar insight into
the character of Samuel Johnson and have a patent to sneer at his

Having a case of books by and about the dear old Doctor, I have acquired
a reputation that plagues me. People ask to see my collection, not that
they know anything about it, or care, but simply to please me, as they
think. Climbing to unusual intellectual heights, when safe at the top,
where there is said to be always room, they look about and with a
knowing leer murmur, "Oh! rare Ben!" I have become quite expert at
lowering them from their dangerous position without showing them the
depths of their ignorance. This is a feat which demands such skill as
can be acquired only by long practice.

Macaulay's essay is anathema to me. If it were a food-product, the
authorities would long since have suppressed it on account of its
artificial coloring matter; but prep.-school teachers and college
professors go on "requiring" its reading from sheer force of habit; and
as long as they continue to do so, the true Samuel Johnson and the real
James Boswell will both remain unknown.

Out of a thousand who have read this famous essay and remember its
wonderfully balanced sentences, which stick in the memory like burrs in
the hair, perhaps not more than one will be able to recall the
circumstances under which it was written. Purporting to be a review of a
new edition of Boswell's "Life of Johnson," edited by John Wilson
Croker, it is really a personal attack on a bitter political enemy.
Written at a time when political feeling ran high, it begins with a lie.
Using the editorial "We," Macaulay opens by saying, "We are sorry to be
obliged to say that the merits of Mr. Croker's performance are on a par
with those of a certain leg of mutton on which Dr. Johnson dined while
travelling from London to Oxford, and which he, with characteristic
energy, pronounced to be as bad as could be."


_Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Engraved by John Jones_]

Let us see how sorry Macaulay really was. In a letter written to his
sister just before Croker's book appeared he writes: "I am to review
Croker's edition of Bozzy.... I detest Croker more than cold boiled
veal.... See whether I do not dust the varlet's jacket in the next
number of the 'Edinburgh Review.'" And he did, and the cloud of dust he
then raised obscured Johnson, settled on Boswell, and for a time almost
smothered him.

I suspect that Macaulay prepared himself for writing his smashing
article by reading Croker's book through in half a dozen evenings,
pencil in hand, searching for blemishes. After that, his serious work
began. Blinded by his hatred of the editor, he makes Johnson grotesque
and repulsive, and grossly insults Boswell. He started with the premise
that Boswell was mean, but that his book was great. Then the proposition
defined itself in his mind something like this: Boswell was one of the
smallest men that ever lived, yet his "Life of Johnson" is one of the
greatest books ever written. Boswell was always laying himself at the
feet of some eminent man, begging to be spit upon and trampled upon, yet
as a biographer he ranks with Shakespeare as a dramatist; and so he goes
on, until at last, made dizzy by the sweep of his verbal seesaw and the
lilt of his own brutal rhetoric, he finally reaches the conclusion that,
_because_ Boswell was a great fool, he was a very great writer.

Absurdity can go no further. Well may we ask ourselves what Boswell had
done to be thus pilloried? Nothing! except that he had written a book
which is universally admitted to be the best book of its kind in any

What manner of a man was James Boswell? He was, more than most men, a
mass of contradictions. It would never, I think, have been easy to
answer this question. Since Macaulay answered it, in his cocksure way,
and answered it wrongly, to answer it rightly is most difficult. It is
so easy to keep ringing the changes on Macaulay. Any fool with a pen can
do it. Some time ago, apropos of the effort being made to preserve the
house in Great Queen Street, in London, in which Boswell lived when he
wrote the biography, some foolish writer in a magazine said, "Boswell
shrivels more and more as we look at him.... It would be absurd to
preserve a memorial to him alone."--"Shrivels!" Impossible! Johnson and
Boswell as a partnership have been too long established for either
member of the firm to "shrivel." Unconsciously perhaps, but consciously
I think, Boswell has so managed it that, when the senior partner is
thought of, the junior also comes to mind. Johnson's contribution to the
business was experience and unlimited common sense; Boswell made him
responsible for output: the product was words, merely spoken words,
either of wisdom or of wit. Distribution is quite as important as
production--any railroad man will tell you so. Boswell had a genius for
packing and delivering the goods so that they are, if anything, improved
by time and transportation.

Let me have one more fling at Macaulay. He missed, and for his sins he
deserved to miss, two good things without which this world would be a
sad place. He had no wife and he had no sense of humor. Either would
have told him that he was writing sheer nonsense when he said, "The very
wife of his [Boswell's] bosom laughed at his fooleries." What are wives
for, I should like to know, if not to laugh at us?

But reputation is like a pendulum, and it is now swinging from Macaulay.
James Boswell is coming into his own. The biographer will outlive the
essayist, brilliant and wonderful writer though he be; and I venture the
prophecy that, when the traveler from New Zealand takes his stand on the
ruined arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's, he will
have a pocket edition of Boswell with him, in which to read something of
the lives of those strange people who inhabited that vast solitude when
it was called London.

       *       *       *       *       *

James Boswell was born in 1740. His father was a Scottish judge, with
the title of Lord Auchinleck. Auchinleck is in Ayrshire, and the estate
had belonged to the Boswells for over two hundred years when the
biographer of Johnson was born. As a young man, he was rather a trial to
his father, and showed his ability chiefly in circumventing the old
man's wishes. The father destined him for the law; but he was not a good
student, and was fond of society; so the choice of the son was for the

We, however, know Boswell better than he knew himself, and we know that
when he fancied that he heard the call to arms, what he really wanted
was to parade around in a scarlet uniform and make love to the ladies.
But even in those early days there must have been something attractive
about him, for when he and his father went up to London to solicit the
good offices of the Duke of Argyle to secure a commission for him, the
duke is reported to have declined, saying, "My Lord, I like your son.
The boy must not be shot at for three shillings and six-pence a day."

Boswell was only twenty when he first heard of the greatness of Samuel
Johnson and formed a desire to meet him; but it was not until several
years later that the great event occurred. What a meeting it was! It
seems almost to have been foreordained. A proud, flippant, pushing young
particle, irresponsible and practically unknown, meets one of the most
distinguished men then living in London, a man more than thirty years
his senior and in almost every respect his exact opposite, and so
carries himself that, in spite of a rebuff or two at the start, we find
Johnson a few days later shaking him by the hand and asking him why he
does not come oftener to see him.


_Engraved by Zobel_]

The description of the first meeting between Johnson and Boswell,
written many years afterwards, is a favorite passage with all good
Boswellians. "At last, on Monday, the 16th of May[10] [1763], when I was
sitting in Mr. Davies' back parlour, after having drunk tea with him
and Mrs. Davies, Johnson unexpectedly came into the shop; and Mr.
Davies, having perceived him through the glass-door in the room in which
we were sitting, advancing toward us,--he announced his aweful approach
to me, somewhat in the manner of an actor in the part of Horatio, when
he addresses Hamlet on the appearance of his father's ghost, 'Look, my
Lord, it comes!'"

This is a good example of Boswell's style. In the fewest possible words
he creates a picture which one never forgets. We not only hear the talk,
we see the company, and soon come to know every member of it.

Without this meeting the world would have lost one of the most
delightful books ever written, Boswell himself would probably never have
been heard of, and Johnson to-day would be a mere name instead of being,
as he is, next to Shakespeare, the most quoted of English authors. As
Augustine Birrell has pointed out, we have only talk _about_ other
talkers. Johnson's is a matter of record. Johnson stamped his image on
his own generation, but it required the genius of Boswell to make him
known to ours, and to all generations to come. "Great as Johnson is,"
says Burke, "he is greater in Boswell's books than in his own." That we
now speak of the "Age of Johnson" is due rather to Boswell than to the
author of the "Dictionary," "Rasselas," and endless "Ramblers."

Someone has said that the three greatest characters in English
literature are Falstaff, Mr. Pickwick, and Dr. Johnson. Had James
Boswell created the third of this great trio, he would indeed rank with
Shakespeare and with Dickens; but Johnson was his own creation, and
Boswell, posing as an artist, painted his portrait as mortal man has
never been painted before. In his pages we see the many-sided Johnson,
the great burly philosopher, scholar, wit, and ladies' man--Boswell
makes him a shade too austere--more clearly than any other man who ever
lived. As a portrait-painter, Boswell is the world's greatest artist;
and he is not simply a portrait-painter--he is unsurpassed at
composition, atmosphere, and color. His book is like Rembrandt's Night
Watch--the canvas is crowded, the portraits all are faultless and
distinct, but there is one dominating figure standing out from the
rest--one masterly, unsurpassed, and immortal figure.

Boswell, when he first met Johnson, was twenty-two years of age. A year
later he writes him: "It shall be my study to do what I can to render
your life happy; and if you die before me, I shall endeavor to do honor
to your memory." He kept his word. From that hour almost to the time of
Johnson's death (I say almost, for just before the end there seems to
have fallen upon their friendship a shadow, the cause of which has never
been fully explained), they were unreservedly friends. Superficially
they had little in common, but in essentials, all that was important;
and they supplemented each other as no two men have ever done before or
since. Reading the Life casually, as it is usually read, one would
suppose that they were very much together; but such is not the case.
Birkbeck Hill, Boswell's most painstaking editor, has calculated that,
including the time when Boswell and Johnson were together in the
Hebrides, they could have seen each other only for 790 days in all; and
this on the assumption that Boswell, when in London, was always in
Johnson's company, which we know was not the case; moreover, when they
were apart there were gaps of years in their correspondence.

Boswell, however, weaves the story of Johnson's life so skillfully that
we come to have the feeling that whenever Johnson was going to say
anything important, Boswell was at his side. Johnson, in speaking of his
Dictionary once said, "Why, Sir, I knew very well how to go about it and
have done it very well." Boswell could have said the same of his great
work. We had no great biography before his, and in comparison we have
had none since. The combination of so great a subject for portraiture
and so great an artist had never occurred before and may never occur
again. Geniuses ordinarily do not run in couples.

Boswell hoped that his book would bring him fame. Over it he labored at
a time when labor was especially difficult for him. For it he was
prepared to sacrifice himself, his friends, anything. Whatever would add
to his book's value he would include, at whatever cost. A more careful
and exact biographer never lived. Reynolds said of him that he wrote as
if he were under oath; and we all remember the reply he made to Hannah
More, who, when she heard he was engaged in writing the life of her
revered friend, urged him to mitigate somewhat the asperities of his
disposition: "No, madam, I will not cut his claws or make my tiger a cat
to please anyone."

And for writing this book Boswell has been held up to almost universal
scorn. His defenders have been few and faint-hearted. I have never
derived much satisfaction from Boswell's rescue (the word is Lowell's)
by Carlyle. That unhappy old dyspeptic, unable to enjoy a good dinner
himself, could not forgive Boswell his gusto for the good things of

What were Boswell's faults above those of other men, that stones should
be thrown at him? He drank too much! True, but what of it? Who in his
day did not? Johnson records that many of the most respectable people in
his cathedral city of Lichfield went nightly to bed drunk.

He was an unfaithful husband! Admitted; but Mrs. Boswell forgave him,
and why should not we?

He was proud! He was, but the pride of race is not unheard of in the
scion of an old family; nor did he allow his pride to prevent his
attaching himself to an old man who admitted that he hardly knew who was
his grandfather.

He had a taste for knowing people highly placed! He had, and he came to
number among his friends the greatest scholar, the greatest poet, the
greatest painter, the greatest actor, the greatest historian, and most
of the great statesmen of his day; and these men, though they laughed
with him frequently, and at him sometimes, did not think him altogether
a fool.

He was vain and foolish! Yes, and inquisitive; yet while neither wise
nor witty himself, he had an exquisite appreciation of wit in others. He
carried repartees and arguments with accuracy. Mrs. Thrale very cleverly
said that his long-head was better than short-hand; yet, as some one has
pointed out, to follow the hum of conversation with so much intelligence
required unusual quickness of apprehension and cannot be reconciled with
the opinion that he was simply endowed with memory.

He lived beyond his means and got into debt! I seem to have heard
something of this of other men whose fathers were not enjoying a
comfortable estate and whose children were not adequately provided for.

Let there be an end to a discussion of the weaknesses of Boswell. They
have been sufficiently advertised and his good qualities overlooked. If
a man is a genius, let his personal shortcomings be absorbed in the
greatness of his work. The worst that can be fairly said of Boswell is
that he was vain, inquisitive, and foolish. Let us forget the silly
questions he sometimes put to Johnson, and remember how often he started
something which made the old Doctor perform at his unrivaled best.

The difficulty is that Boswell told on himself. As he was speaking to
Johnson one day of his weaknesses, the old man admitted that he had
them, too, but added, "I don't tell of them. A man should be careful
not to tell tales of himself to his own disadvantage." It would have
been well if Boswell could have remembered this excellent bit of advice;
but Johnson's advice, whether sought or unsought, was too frequently

One of his most intimate friends, Sir Joshua Reynolds, has testified to
his truthfulness, and even a casual reader of the Life will admit that
he was courageous. Tossed and gored by Johnson, as he frequently was, he
always came back; and, much as he respected the old man, he was never
overawed by him. He differed with him on the wisdom of taxing the
American Colonies, on the merits of the novels of Fielding, on the
poetry of Gray, and on many other subjects. To differ with Johnson
required courage and conversational ability of no common order. Indeed,
it may be doubted whether, next to Johnson himself, Boswell was not the
best talker in the circle--and Johnson's circle included the most
brilliant men of his time. He was sometimes very happy in his reference
to himself: as where, having brought Paoli and Johnson together, he
compares himself to an isthmus connecting two great continents. Indeed,
the great work is so famous as a biography of Johnson that few people
realize to what an extent and how subtly Boswell has made it his own

Johnson once said, "Sir, the biographical part of literature is what I
love best." I am inclined to think that it is so with most of us. It
would have been impossible for Boswell, the biographer _par
excellence_, not to have told in one way or another the story of his
own life. He told it in his account of the island of Corsica, and in his
letters to his life-long friend, Temple. These deserve to be better
known than they are. They are indeed just such letters as Samuel Pepys
might have written in cipher to his closest friend, whom he had already
provided with a key.

The first letter of this correspondence is dated Edinburgh, 29 July,
1758, when Boswell was eighteen years of age; and the last was on his
writing-desk in London when the shadow of death fell upon him,
thirty-seven years later.

The manner in which these letters came to be published is interesting.
An English clergyman touring in France, having occasion to make some
small purchases at a shop in Boulogne, observed that the paper in which
they were wrapped was a fragment of an English letter. Upon inspection a
date and some well-known names were observed, and further investigation
showed that the piece of paper was part of a correspondence carried on
nearly a century before between Boswell and a friend, the Reverend
William Johnson Temple. On making inquiry, it was ascertained that this
piece of paper had been taken from a large parcel recently purchased
from a hawker, who was in the habit of passing through Boulogne once or
twice a year, for the purpose of supplying the different shops with
paper. Beyond this no further information could be obtained. The whole
contents of the parcel were immediately secured.

At the death of the purchaser of these letters they passed into the
hands of a nephew, from whom they were obtained, and published in 1857,
after such editing and expurgating as was then fashionable. Who did the
work has never been discovered, nor does it matter, as the letters
fortunately passed into the collection of J. P. Morgan, and are now,
finally, being edited, together with such other letters as are
available, by Professor Tinker of Yale. Students of eighteenth-century
literature have good reason for believing that a volume of supreme
interest is in preparation for them; for such self-revealing letters,
such human documents as those of James Boswell, could have been written
only by their author, or by Samuel Pepys. As these letters are little
known, let me give a few excerpts from them as originally published. On
one of his journeys to London, Boswell writes:--

     I have thought of making a good acquaintance in each town on the
     road. No man has been more successful in making acquaintances
     easily than I have been; I even bring people quickly on to a degree
     of cordiality ... but I know not if I last sufficiently, though
     surely, my dear Temple, there is always a warm place for you.

Further along on the road he writes again:--

     I am in charming health and spirits. There is a handsome maid at
     this inn, who interrupts me by coming sometimes into the room. I
     have no confession to make, my priest; so be not curious.

On his way back to Edinburgh he goes somewhat out of his way to stop
again at this inn and have another look at the handsome
chambermaid,--her name was Matty,--and finds that she has disappeared,
as handsome chambermaids have a way of doing; but Boswell comforts
himself by reflecting that he can find mistresses wherever he goes. He
remembers also that he had promised Dr. Johnson to accept a chest of
books of the moralist's own selection, and to "read more and drink

[Illustration: James Boswell.

Inner Temple, London 1769.--

A present from my worthy friend Temple.


Again he writes from Edinburgh:--

     I have talked a great deal of my sweet little mistress; I am,
     however, uneasy about her. Furnishing a house and maintaining her
     with a maid will cost me a great deal of money, and it is too like
     marriage, or too much a settled plan of licentiousness; but what
     can I do? I have already taken the house, and the lady has agreed
     to go in at Whitsuntide; I cannot in honour draw back.... Nor am I
     tormented because my charmer has formerly loved others. Besides she
     is ill-bred, quite a rompish girl. She debases my dignity: she has
     no refinement, but she is very handsome and very lively. What is it
     to me that she has formerly loved? So have I.

Temple's letters to Boswell have not been preserved, but he appears to
have warned him of the danger of his course, for Boswell comes back

     I have a dear infidel, as you say; but don't think her unfaithful.
     I could not love her if she was. There is a baseness in all deceit
     which my soul is virtuous enough to abhor, and therefore I look
     with horror on adultery. But my amiable mistress is no longer bound
     to him who was her husband: he has used her shockingly ill; he has
     deserted her, he lives with another. Is she not then free? She is,
     it is clear, and no arguments can disguise it. She is now mine, and
     were she to be unfaithful to me she ought to be pierced with a
     Corsican poniard; but I believe she loves me sincerely. She has
     done everything to please me; she is perfectly generous, and would
     not hear of any present.

Boswell seemed to enjoy equally two very different things, namely, going
to church and getting drunk. On Easter Sunday he "attends the solemn
service at St. Paul's," and next day informs Mr. Temple that he had
"received the holy sacrament, and was exalted in piety." But in the same
letter he reports that he is enjoying "the metropolis to the full," and
that he has had "too much dissipation."

He resolves to do better when his book on Corsica appears, and he has
the reputation of a literary man to support. Meanwhile, he confesses:--

     I last night unwarily exceeded my one bottle of old Hock; and
     having once broke over the pale, I run wild, but I did not get
     drunk. I was, however, intoxicated, and very ill next day. I ask
     your forgiveness, and I shall be more cautious for the future. The
     drunken manners of this country are very bad.

Boswell's affairs with chambermaids, grass widows, and women of the town
moved along simultaneously with efforts to land an heiress. He asks
Temple to help him in an affair with a Miss Blair. Temple did his best
and failed. He reported his failure and Boswell was deeply dejected for
five minutes; then he writes:

     My dear friend, suppose what you please; suppose her affections
     changed, as those of women too often are; suppose her offended at
     my _Spanish stateliness_ [italics mine]; suppose her to have
     resolved to be more reserved and coy in order to make me more in

Then he felt that he must have a change of scene, and off he was to

     I got into the fly at Buckden [he says], and had a very good
     journey. An agreeable young widow nursed me, and supported my lame
     foot on her knee. Am I not fortunate in having something about me
     that interests most people at first sight in my favour?

In a letter to Mrs. Thrale, Johnson once wrote: "It has become so much
the fashion to publish letters that in order to avoid it, I put as
little into mine as I can." Boswell was not afraid of publication. His
fear, as he said, was that letters, like sermons, would not continue to
attract public curiosity, so he spiced his highly. Did he do or say a
foolish thing, he at once sat down and told Temple all about it, usually
adding that in the near future he intended to amend. His comment on his
contemporaries is characteristic. "Hume," he says, "told me that he
would give me half-a-crown for every page of Johnson's Dictionary in
which he could not find an absurdity, if I would give him half-a-crown
for every page in which he could find one."

He announces Adam Smith's election to membership in the famous literary
club by saying: "Smith is now of our club--it has lost its select
merit." Of Gibbon he says: "I hear nothing of the publication of his
second volume. He is an ugly, affected, disgusting fellow, and poisons
our literary club to me."

As he grows older and considers how unsuccessful his life has been, how
he had failed at the bar both in Scotland and in London, he begins to
complain. He can get no clients; he fears that, even were he entrusted
with cases, he would fail utterly.

     I am afraid [he says], that, were I to be tried, I should be found
     so deficient in the forms, the quirks and the quiddities, which
     early habit acquires, that I should expose myself. Yet the delusion
     of Westminster Hall, of brilliant reputation and splendid fortune
     as a barrister, still weighs upon my imagination. I must be seen in
     the Courts, and must hope for some happy openings in causes of
     importance. The Chancellor, as you observe, has not done as I
     expected; but why did I expect it? I am going to put him to the
     test. Could I be satisfied with being Baron of Auchinleck, with a
     good income for a gentleman in Scotland, I might, no doubt, be
     independent. What can be done to deaden the ambition which has ever
     raged in my veins like a fever?

But the highest spirits will sometimes flag. Boswell, the friendly,
obliging, generous roué, was getting old. He begins to speak of the

     Do you remember when you and I sat up all night at Cambridge, and
     read Gray with a noble enthusiasm; when we first used to read
     Mason's "Elfrida," and when we talked of that elegant knot of
     worthies, Gray, Mason and Walpole?

"Elfrida" calls itself on the title-page, "A Dramatic Poem written on
the model of the Ancient Greek Tragedy." I happen to own and value
highly the very copy of this once famous poem, which Boswell and Temple
read together; on the fly leaf, under Boswell's signature, is a
characteristic note in his bold, clear hand: "A present from my worthy
friend Temple."

[Illustration: TITLE OF MASON'S "ELFRIDA." First Edition]

He becomes more than ever before the butt of his acquaintance. He tells
his old friend of a trick which has been played on him--only one of
many. He was staying at a great house crowded with guests.

     I and two other gentlemen were laid in one room. On Thursday
     morning my wig was missing; a strict search was made, all in vain.
     I was obliged to go all day in my nightcap, and absent myself from
     a party of ladies and gentlemen who went and dined with an Earl on
     the banks of the lake, a piece of amusement which I was glad to
     shun, as well as a dance which they had at night. But I was in a
     ludicrous situation. I suspect a wanton trick, which some people
     think witty; but I thought it very ill-timed to one in my

When his father dies and he comes into his estates, he is deeply in
debt; he hates Scotland, he longs to be in London, to enjoy the Club, to
see Johnson, to whom he writes of his difficulties, asking his advice.
Johnson gives him just such advice as might be expected.

     To come hither with such expectations at the expense of borrowed
     money, which I find you know not where to borrow, can hardly be
     considered prudent. I am sorry to find, what your solicitations
     seem to imply, that you have already gone the length of your
     credit. This is to set the quiet of your whole life at hazard. If
     you anticipate your inheritance, you can at last inherit nothing;
     all that you receive must pay for the past. You must get a place,
     or pine in penury, with the empty name of a great estate. Poverty,
     my dear friend, is so great an evil, that I cannot but earnestly
     enjoin you to avoid it. Live on what you have; live, if you can, on
     less; do not borrow either for vanity or pleasure; the vanity will
     end in shame, and the pleasure in regret; stay therefore at home
     till you have saved money for your journey hither.

His wife dies and Johnson dies. One by one the props are pulled from
under him; he drinks, constantly gets drunk; is, in this condition,
knocked down in the streets and robbed, and thinks with horror of
giving up his soul, intoxicated, to his Maker. "Oh, Temple, Temple!" he
writes, "is this realizing any of the towering hopes which have so often
been the subject of our conversation and letters?" At last he begins a
letter which he is never to finish. "I would fain write you in my own
hand but really cannot." These were the last words poor Boswell ever

       *       *       *       *       *

But Boswell's life is chiefly interesting where it impinges upon that of
his great friend. A few months after the famous meeting in Davies's
book-shop, he started for the Continent, with the idea, following the
fashion of the time, of studying law at Utrecht, Johnson accompanying
him on his way as far as Harwich.

After a short time at the University, during which he could have learned
nothing, we find him wandering about Europe in search of
celebrities,--big game,--the hunting of which was to be the chief
interest of his life. He succeeded in bagging Voltaire and
Rousseau,--there was none bigger,--and after a short stay in Rome he
turned North, sailing from Leghorn to Corsica, where he met Paoli, the
patriot, and finally returned home, escorting Thérèse Levasseur,
Rousseau's mistress, as far as London. Hume at this time speaks of him
as "a friend of mine, very good-humored, very agreeable and very mad."

Meanwhile his father, Lord Auchinleck, who had borne with admirable
patience such stories as had reached him of his son's wild ways,
insisted that it was time for him to settle down; but Boswell was too
full of his adventures in the island of Corsica and his meeting with
Paoli, to begin drudgery at the law. His accounts of his travels made
him a welcome guest at London dinner-parties, and he had finally decided
to write a book of his experiences.

At last the father, by a threat to cut off supplies, secured his son's
return; but his desire to publish a book had not abated, and while he
finally was admitted to the Scotch bar, we find him corresponding with
his friend Mr. Dilly, the publisher, in regard to the book upon which he
was busily employed. From an unpublished letter, which I was fortunate
enough to secure quite recently from a book-seller in New York, Gabriel
Wells, we may follow Boswell in his negotiations.

EDINBURGH, _6 August, 1767_.


     I have received your letter agreeing to pay me One Hundred Guineas
     for the Copy-Right of my Account of Corsica, &c., the money to be
     due three months after the publication of the work in London, and
     also agreeing that the first Edition shall be printed in Scotland,
     under my direction, and a map of Corsica be engraved for the work
     at your Expence.

     In return to which, I do hereby agree that you shall have the sole
     Property of the said work. Our Bargain therefore is now concluded
     and I heartily wish that it may be of advantage to you.

     I am Sir

Your most humble Servant

     TO MR. DILLY, Bookseller, London.


Through the kindness of my fellow collector and generous friend, Judge
Patterson of Philadelphia, I own an interesting fragment of a brief in
Boswell's hand, written at about this period. It appears therefrom that
Boswell had been retained to secure the return of a stocking-frame of
the value of a few shillings, which had been forcibly carried off. The
outcome of the litigation is not known, but the paper bears the
interesting indorsement, "This was the first Paper drawn by me as an
Advocate. James Boswell."


But I am allowing my collector's passion to carry me too far afield. The
preface of Boswell's "Account of Corsica" closes with an interesting bit
of self-revelation. He says, characteristically,--

     For my part I should be proud to be known as an author; I have an
     ardent ambition for literary fame; for of all possessions I should
     imagine literary fame to be the most valuable. A man who has been
     able to furnish a book which has been approved by the world has
     established himself as a respectable character in distant society,
     without any danger of having that character lessened by the
     observation of his weaknesses. To preserve a uniform dignity among
     those who see us every day is hardly possible; and to aim at it
     must put us under the fetters of a perpetual restraint. The author
     of an approved book may allow his natural disposition an easy play,
     and yet indulge the pride of superior genius, when he considers
     that by those who know him only as an author he never ceases to be
     respected. Such an author in his hours of gloom and discontent may
     have the consolation to think that his writings are at that very
     time giving pleasure to numbers, and such an author may cherish the
     hope of being remembered after death, which has been a great object
     of the noblest minds in all ages.

A brief contemporary criticism sums up the merits of "Corsica" in a
paragraph. "There is a deal about the Island and its dimensions that one
doesn't care a straw about, but that part which relates to Paoli is
amusing and interesting. The author has a rage for knowing anybody that
was ever talked of."

Boswell thought that he was the first, but he proved to be the second
Englishman (the first was an Englishwoman) who had ever set foot upon
the island. He visited Paoli, and his accounts of his reception by the
great patriot and his conversation with the people are amusing in the
extreme. To his great satisfaction it was generally believed that he was
on a public mission.

     The more I disclaimed any such thing, the more they persevered in
     affirming it; and I was considered as a very close young man. I
     therefore just allowed them to make a minister of me, till time
     should undeceive them.... The Ambasciadore Inglese--as the good
     peasants and soldiers used to call me--became a great favorite
     among them. I got a Corsican dress made, in which I walked about
     with an air of true satisfaction.

On another occasion:--

     When I rode out I was mounted on Paoli's own horse, with rich
     furniture of crimson velvet, with broad gold lace, and had my guard
     marching along with me. I allowed myself to indulge a momentary
     pride in this parade, as I was curious to experience what should
     really be the pleasure of state and distinction with which mankind
     are so strangely intoxicated.

The success of this publication led Boswell into some absurd
extravagances which he thought were necessary to support his position as
a distinguished English author. Praise for his work he skillfully
extracted from most of his friends, but Johnson proved obdurate. He had
expressed a qualified approval of the book when it appeared; but when
Boswell in a letter sought more than this, the old Doctor charged him to
empty his head of "Corsica," which he said he thought had filled it
rather too long.

Boswell wrote at least two of what we should to-day call press notices
of himself. One is reminded of the story of the man in a hired
dress-suit at a charity ball rushing about inquiring the whereabouts of
the man who puts your name in the paper. To such an one Boswell
presented this brief account of himself on the occasion of the famous
Shakespeare Jubilee.

     One of the most remarkable masks upon this occasion was James
     Boswell, Esq., in the dress of an armed Corsican Chief. He entered
     the amphitheatre about twelve o'clock. He wore a short
     dark-coloured coat of coarse cloth, scarlet waistcoat and breeches,
     and black spatter-dashes; his cap or bonnet was of black cloth; on
     the front of it was embroidered in gold letters, "Viva la Liberta,"
     and on one side of it was a handsome blue feather and cockade, so
     that it had an elegant as well as a warlike appearance. On the
     breast of his coat was sewed a Moor's head, the crest of Corsica,
     surrounded with branches of laurel. He had also a cartridge-pouch
     into which was stuck a stiletto, and on his left side a pistol was
     hung upon the belt of his cartridge-pouch. He had a fusee slung
     across his shoulder, wore no powder in his hair, but had it plaited
     at full length with a knot of blue ribbon at the end of it. He had,
     by way of staff, a very curious vine all of one piece, with a bird
     finely carved upon it emblematical of the sweet bard of Avon. He
     wore no mask, saying that it was not proper for a gallant Corsican.
     So soon as he came into the room he drew universal attention. The
     novelty of the Corsican dress, its becoming appearance, and the
     character of that brave nation concurred to distinguish the armed
     Corsican Chief.

May we not suppose that several bottles of "Old Hock" contributed to his
enjoyment of this occasion? Here is the other one:--

     Boswell, the author, is a most excellent man: he is of an ancient
     family in the West of Scotland, upon which he values himself not a
     little. At his nativity there appeared omens of his future
     greatness. His parts are bright, and his education has been good.
     He has travelled in post-chaises miles without number. He is fond
     of seeing much of the world. He eats of every good dish, especially
     apple pie. He drinks Old Hock. He has a very fine temper. He is
     somewhat of a humorist and a little tinctured with pride. He has a
     good manly countenance, and he owns himself to be amorous. He has
     infinite vivacity, yet is observed at times to have a melancholy
     cast. He is rather fat than lean, rather short than tall, rather
     young than old. His shoes are neatly made, and he never wears

The success of "Corsica" was not very great, but it sufficed to turn
Boswell's head completely. He spent as much time in London as he could
contrive to, and led there the life of a dissipated man of fashion. He
quarreled with his father, and after a series of escapades with women of
the town and love-affairs with heiresses, he finally married his cousin,
Margaret Montgomerie, a girl without a fortune. Much to Boswell's
disgust, his father, on the very same day, married for the second time,
and married his cousin.

For a time after marriage he seemed to take his profession seriously,
but he deceived neither his father nor his clients. The old man said
that Jamie was simply taking a toot on a new horn. Meanwhile Boswell
never allowed his interest in Johnson to cool for a moment. When he was
in London,--and he went there on one excuse or another as often as his
means permitted,--he was much with Johnson; and when he was at home, he
was constantly worrying Johnson for some evidence of his affection for
him. Finally Johnson writes, "My regard for you is greater almost than I
have words to express" (this from the maker of a dictionary); "but I do
not chuse to be always repeating it; write it down in the first leaf of
your pocketbook, and never doubt of it again."

Neither wife nor father could understand the feeling of reverence and
affection which their Jamie had for Johnson. I always delight in the
story of his father saying to an old friend, "There's nae hope for
Jamie, mon. Jamie is gaen clean gyte. What do you think, mon? He's done
wi' Paoli--he's off wi' the land-louping scoundrel of a Corsican; and
whose tail do you think he has pinned himself to now, mon? A dominie,
mon--an auld dominie: he keeped a schule, and ca'd it an academy."

Mrs. Boswell, a sensible, cold, rather shadowy person, saw but little of
Johnson, and was satisfied that it should be so. There is one good story
to her credit. Unaccustomed to the ways of genius, she caught Johnson,
who was nearsighted, one evening burnishing a lighted candle on her
carpet to make it burn more brightly, and remarked, "I have seen many a
bear led by a man, but never before have I seen a man led by a bear."
Boswell was just the fellow to appreciate this, and promptly repeated it
to Johnson, who failed to see the humor of it.

In 1782 his father died and he came into the estate, but by his
improvident management he soon found himself in financial difficulties.
Johnson's death two years later removed a restraining influence that he
much needed. He tried to practice law, but he was unsuccessful. Never an
abstemious man, he now drank heavily and constantly, and as constantly
resolved to turn over a new leaf.

Shortly after Johnson's death, Boswell published his "Journal of the
Tour of the Hebrides," which reached a third edition within the year and
established his reputation as a writer of a new kind, in which anecdotes
and conversation are woven into a narrative with a fidelity and skill
which were as easy to him as they were impossible to others.

The great success of this book encouraged him to begin, and continue to
work upon, the great biography of Johnson on which his fame so securely
rests. Others had published before him. Mrs. Piozzi's "Anecdotes of the
Late Samuel Johnson" had sold well, and Hawkins, the "unclubable
Knight," as Johnson called him, had been commissioned by the booksellers
of London to write a formal biography, which appeared in 1787; while of
lesser publications there was seemingly no end; nevertheless, Boswell
persevered, and wrote his friend Temple that his

     mode of biography which gives not only a history of Johnson's
     visible progress through the world, and of his publications, but a
     view of his mind in his letters and conversations, is the most
     perfect that can be conceived, and will be more of a life than any
     work that has yet appeared.

He had been preparing for the task for more than twenty years; he had,
in season and out, been taking notes of Johnson's conversations, and
Johnson himself had supplied him with much of the material. Thus in
poverty, interrupted by periods of dissipation, amid the sneers of many,
he continued his work. While it was in progress his wife died, and he,
poor fellow, justly upbraided himself for his neglect of her.


_Engraved by Trotter_]

Meanwhile, a "new horn" was presented to him. He had, or thought he had,
a chance of being elected to Parliament, or at least of securing a place
under government; but in all this he was destined to be disappointed. It
would be difficult to imagine conditions more unfavorable to sustained
effort than those under which Boswell labored. He was desperately hard
up. Always subject to fits of the blues, which amounted almost to
melancholia, he many a time thought of giving up the task from which he
hoped to derive fame and profit. He considered selling his rights in the
publication for a thousand pounds. But it would go to his heart, he
said, to accept such a sum; and again, "I am in such bad spirits that I
have fear concerning it--I may get no profit, nay, may lose--the public
may be disappointed and think I have done it poorly--I may make enemies,
and even have quarrels." Then the depression would pass and he could
write: "It will be, without exception, the most entertaining book you
ever read." When his friends heard that the Life would make two large
volumes quarto, and that the price was two guineas, they shook their
heads and Boswell's fears began again.

At last, on May 16, 1791, the book appeared, with the imprint of Charles
Dilly, in the Poultry; and so successful was it that by August twelve
hundred copies had been disposed of, and the entire edition was
exhausted before the end of the year. The writer confesses to such a
passion for this book that of this edition he owns at present four
copies in various states, the one he prizes most having an inscription
in Boswell's hand: "To James Boswell, Esquire, Junior, from his
affectionate father, the Authour." Of other editions--but why display
one's weakness?

"Should there," in Boswell's phrase, "be any cold-blooded and morose
mortals who really dislike it," I am sorry for them. To me it has for
thirty years been a never-ending source of profit--and pleasure, which
is as important. It is a book to ramble in--and with. I have never, I
think, read it through from cover to cover, as the saying is, but some
day I will; meanwhile let me make a confession. There are parts of it
which are deadly dull; the judicious reader will skip these without hint
from me. I have, indeed, always had a certain sympathy with George Henry
Lewes, who for years threatened to publish an abridgment of it. It could
be done: indeed, the work could be either expanded or contracted at
will; but every good Boswellian will wish to do this for himself;
tampering with a classic is somewhat like tampering with a will--it is
good form not to.

[Illustration: To James Boswell Esq: Junior, from his affectionate

The Authour.]

What is really needed is a complete index to the sayings of Johnson--his
_dicta_, spoken or written. It would be an heroic task, but heroic tasks
are constantly being undertaken. My friend Osgood, of Princeton, a ripe
scholar and an ardent Johnsonian, has been devoting the scanty leisure
of years to a concordance of Spenser. No one less competent than he
should undertake to supervise such a labor of love.

It will be remembered that the Bible is not lacking in quotations, nor
is Shakespeare; but these sources of wisdom aside, Boswell, quoting
Johnson, supplies us more frequently with quotations than any other
author whatever. Could the irascible old Doctor come to earth again, and
with that wonderful memory of his call to mind the purely casual remarks
which he chanced to make to Boswell, he would surely be amazed to hear
himself quoted, and to learn that his _obiter dicta_ had become fixed in
the minds of countless thousands who perhaps have never heard his name.

I chanced the other day to stop at my broker's office to see how much I
had lost in an unexpected drop in the market, and to beguile the time,
picked up a market letter in which this sentence met my eye: "The
unexpected and perpendicular decline in the stock of Golden Rod mining
shares has left many investors sadder if not wiser. When will the public
learn that investors in securities of this class are only indulging
themselves in proving the correctness of Franklin's [_sic_] adage, that
the expectation of making a profit in such securities is simply _the
triumph of hope over experience_?" Good Boswellians will hardly need to
be reminded that this is Dr. Johnson on marriage. He had something
equally wise to say, too, on the subject of "shares"; but in this
instance he was speaking of a man's second venture into matrimony, his
first having proved very unhappy.

       *       *       *       *       *

Most men, when they write a book of memoirs in which hundreds of living
people are mentioned, discreetly postpone publication until after they
and the chief personages of the narrative are dead. Johnson refers to
Bolingbroke as a "cowardly scoundrel" for writing a book (charging a
blunderbuss, he called it) and leaving half a crown to a beggarly
Scotchman to pull the trigger after his death. Boswell spent some years
in charging his blunderbuss; he filled it with shot, great and small,
and then, taking careful aim, pulled the trigger.

Cries of rage, anguish, and delight instantly arose from all over the
kingdom. A vast number of living people were mentioned, and their merits
or failings discussed with an _abandon_ which is one of the great charms
of the book to-day, but which, when it appeared, stirred up a veritable
hornets' nest. As some one very cleverly said, "Boswell has invented a
new kind of libel." "A man who is dead once told me so and so"--what
redress have you in law? None! The only thing to do is to punch his

Fortunately Boswell escaped personal chastisement, but he made many
enemies and alienated some friends. Mrs. Thrale, by this time Mrs.
Piozzi, quite naturally felt enraged at Boswell's contemptuous remarks
about her, and at his references to what Johnson said of her while he
was enjoying the hospitality of Streatham. The best of us like to
criticize our friends behind their backs; and Johnson could be frank,
and indeed brutal, on occasion. Mrs. Boscawen, the wife of the admiral,
on the other hand, had no reason to be displeased when she read: "If it
is not presumptuous in me to praise her, I would say that her manners
are the best of any lady with whom I ever had the happiness to be

Bishop Percy, shrewdly suspecting that Boswell's judgment was not to be
trusted, when he complied with his request for some material for the
Life, desired that his name might not be mentioned in the work; to which
Boswell replied that it was his intention to introduce as many names of
eminent persons as he could, adding, "Believe me, my Lord, you are not
the only Bishop to grace my pages." We may suspect that he, like many
another, took up the book with fear and trembling, and put it down in a

Wilkes, too, got a touch of tar, but little he cared; the best beloved
and the best hated man in England, he probably laughed, properly
thinking that Boswell could do little damage to his reputation. But what
shall we say of Lady Diana Beauclerk's feelings when she read the stout
old English epithet which Johnson had applied to her. Johnson's
authorized biographer, Sir John Hawkins, dead and buried "without his
shoes and stawkin's," as the old jingle goes, had sneered at Boswell and
passed on; verily he hath his reward. Boswell accused him of stupidity,
inaccuracy, and writing fatiguing and disgusting "rigmarole." His
daughter came to the rescue of his fame, and Boswell and she had a
lively exchange of letters; indeed Boswell, at all times, seemed to
court that which most men shrink from, a discussion of questions of
veracity with a woman.

But on the whole the book was well received, and over his success
Boswell exulted, as well he might; he had achieved his ambition, he had
written his name among the immortals. With its publication his work was
done. He became more and more dissipated. His sober hours he devoted to
schemes for self-reform and a revision of the text for future editions.
He was engaged on a third printing when death overtook him. The last
words he wrote--the unfinished letter to his old friend Temple--have
already been quoted. The pen which he laid down was taken up by his son,
who finished the letter. From him we learn the sad details of his death.
He passed away on May 19, 1795, in his fifty-fifth year.

Like many another man, Boswell was always intending to reform, and never
did. His practice was ever at total variance with his principles. In
opinions he was a moralist; in conduct he was--otherwise. Let it be
remembered, however, that he was of a generous, open-hearted, and loving
disposition. A clause in his will, written in his own hand, sheds
important light upon his character. "I do beseech succeeding heirs of
entail to be kind to the tenants, and not to turn out old possessors to
get a little more rent."

What were the contemporary opinions of Boswell? Walpole did not like
him, but Walpole liked few. Paoli was his friend; with Goldsmith and
with Garrick he had been intimate. Mrs. Thrale and he did not get along
well together; he could not bear the thought that she saw more of
Johnson than he, and he was jealous of her influence over him. Fanny
Burney did not like him, and declined to give him some information which
he very naturally wanted for his book, because she wanted to use it
herself. Gibbon thought him terribly indiscreet, which, compared with
Gibbon, he certainly was. Reynolds and he were firm friends--the great
book is dedicated to Sir Joshua.

Of Boswell, Johnson wrote during their journey in Scotland, "There is no
house where he is not received with kindness and respect"; and
elsewhere, "He never left a house without leaving a wish for his
return"; also, "He was a man who finds himself welcome wherever he goes
and makes friends faster than he can want them"; and "He was the best
traveling companion in the world." If there is a greater test than this,
I do not know it. It is summering and wintering with a man in a month.
Burke said of him that "good humor was so natural to him as to be
scarcely a virtue to him." I know many admirable men of whom this cannot
be said.

Several years ago, being in Ayrshire, I found myself not far from
Auchinleck; and although I knew that Boswell's greatest editor, Birkbeck
Hill, had experienced a rebuff upon his attempt to visit the old estate
which Johnson had described as "very magnificent and very convenient," I
determined, out of loyalty to James Boswell, to make the attempt. I
thought that perhaps American nerve would succeed where English
scholarship had failed.

We had spent the night at Ayr, and early next morning I inquired the
cost of a motor-trip to take my small party over to Auchinleck; and I
was careful to pronounce the word as though spelled Afflek, as Boswell
tells us to.

"To where, sir?"

"Afflek," I repeated.

The man seemed dazed. Finally I spelled it for him,

"Ah, sir, Auchinleck,"--in gutturals the types will not
reproduce,--"that would be two guineas, sir."

"Very good," I said; "pronounce it your own way, but let me have the

We were soon rolling over a road which Boswell must have taken many
times, but certainly never so rapidly or luxuriously. How Dr. Johnson
would have enjoyed the journey! I recalled his remark, "Sir, if I had no
duties and no reference to futurity, I would spend my life driving
briskly in a post-chaise with a pretty woman." Futurity was not
bothering me and I had a pretty woman, my wife, by my side. Moreover, to
complete the Doctor's remark, she was "one who could understand me and
add something to the conversation." We set out in high spirits.

As we approached the house by a fine avenue bordered by venerable
trees,--no doubt those planted by the old laird, who delighted in such
work,--my courage almost failed me; but I had gone too far to retire. To
the servant who responded to my ring I stated my business, which seemed
trivial enough.

I might as well have addressed a graven image. At last it spoke. "The
family are away. The instructions are that no one is to be admitted to
the house under pain of instant dismissal."

Means elsewhere successful failed me here.

"You can walk in the park."

"Thanks, but I did not come to Scotland to walk in a park. Perhaps you
can direct me to the church where Boswell is buried."

"You will find the tomb in the kirk in the village."

Coal has been discovered on the estate, and the village, a mile or two
away, is ugly, and, to judge from the number of places where beer and
spirits could be had, their consumption would seem to be the chief
occupation of the population. I found the kirk, with door securely
locked. Would I try for the key at the minister's? I would; but the
minister was away for the day. Would I try the sexton? I would; but he,
too, was away, and I found myself in the midst of a crowd of barefooted
children who embarrassed me by their profitless attentions. It was cold
and it began to rain. I remembered that we were not far from Greenock
where "when it does not rain, it snaws."

My visit had not been a success, I cannot recommend a Boswell
pilgrimage. I wished that I was in London, and bethought me of Johnson's
remark that "the noblest prospect in Scotland is the high-road that
leads to England." On that high-road my party made no objection to
setting out.

I once heard an eminent college professor speak disparagingly of
Boswell's "Life of Johnson," saying that it was a mere literary
slop-pail into which Boswell dropped scraps of all kinds--gossip,
anecdotes and scandal, literary and biographical refuse generally. I
stood aghast for a moment; then my commercial instinct awakened. I
endeavored to secure this nugget of criticism in writing, with
permission to publish it over the author's name. In vain I offered a
rate per word that would have aroused the envy of a Kipling. My friend
pleaded "writer's cramp," or made some other excuse, and it finally
appeared that, after all, this was only one of the cases where I had
neglected, in Boswell's phrase, to distinguish between talk for the sake
of victory and talk with the desire to inform and illustrate. Against
this opinion there is a perfect chorus of praise rendered by a full

[Illustration: SAMUEL JOHNSON

_Painted by Sir J. Reynolds. Engraved by Heath_]

The great scholar Jowett confessed that he had read the book fifty
times. Carlyle said, "Boswell has given more pleasure than any other man
of this time, and perhaps, two or three excepted, has done the world
greater service." Lowell refers to the "Life" as a perfect granary of
discussion and conversation. Leslie Stephen says that his fondness for
reading began and would end with Boswell's "Life of Johnson." Robert
Louis Stevenson wrote: "I am taking a little of Boswell daily by way of
a Bible. I mean to read him now until the day I die." It is one of the
few classics which is not merely talked about and taken as read, but is
constantly being read; and I love to think that perhaps not a day goes
by when some one, somewhere, does not open the book for the first time
and become a confirmed Boswellian.

"What a wonderful thing your English literature is!" a learned Hungarian
once said to me. "You have the greatest drama, the greatest poetry, and
the greatest fiction in the world, and you are the only nation that has
any biography." The great English epic is Boswell's "Life of Johnson."




Sometime, when seated in your library, as it becomes too dark to read
and is yet too light,--to ring for candles, I was going to say, but
nowadays we simply touch a button,--let your thoughts wander over the
long list of women who have made for themselves a place in English
literature, and see if you do not agree with me that the woman you would
like most to meet in the flesh, were it possible, would be Mrs. Piozzi,
born Hester Lynch Salusbury, but best known to us as Mrs. Thrale.

Let us argue the matter. It may at first seem almost absurd to mention
the wife of the successful London brewer, Henry Thrale, in a list which
would include the names of Fanny Burney, Jane Austen, George Eliot, the
Brontës, and Mrs. Browning; but the woman I have in mind should unite
feminine charm with literary gifts: she should be a woman whom you would
honestly enjoy meeting and whom you would be glad to find yourself
seated next to at dinner.

[Illustration: MRS. PIOZZI Engraved by Ridley from a miniature]

The men of the Johnsonian circle affected to love "little Burney," but
was it not for the pleasure her "Evelina" gave them rather than for
anything in the author herself? According to her own account, she was so
easily embarrassed as to be always "retiring in confusion," or "on
the verge of swooning." It is possible that we would find this rather
limp young lady a trifle tiresome.

Jane Austen was actually as shy and retiring as Fanny Burney affected to
be. She could hardly have presided gracefully in a drawing-room in a
cathedral city; much less would she have been at home among the wits in
a salon in London.

Of George Eliot one would be inclined to say, as Dr. Johnson said of
Burke when he was ill, "If I should meet Burke now it would kill me."
Perhaps it would not kill one to meet George Eliot, but I suspect few
men would care for an hour's tête-à-tête with her without a preliminary
oiling of their mental machinery--a hateful task.

The Brontës were geniuses undoubtedly, particularly Emily, but one would
hardly select the author of "Wuthering Heights" as a companion for a
social evening.

Mrs. Browning, with her placid smile and tiresome ringlets, was too
deeply in love with her husband. After all, the woman one enjoys meeting
must be something of a woman of the world. She need not necessarily be a
good wife or mother. We are provided with the best of wives and at the
moment are not on the lookout for a good mother.

It may at once be admitted that as a mother Mrs. Thrale was not a
conspicuous success; but she was a woman of charm, with a sound mind in
a sound body. Although she could be brilliant in conversation, she
would let you take the lead if you were able to; but she was quite
prepared to take it herself rather than let the conversation flag; and
she must have been a very exceptional woman, to steady, as she did, a
somewhat roving husband, to call Dr. Johnson to order, and upon occasion
to reprove Burke, even while entertaining the most brilliant society of
which London at the period could boast.

At the time when we first make her acquaintance, she was young and
pretty, the mistress of a luxurious establishment; and if she was not
possessed of literary gifts herself, it may fairly be said that she was
the cause of literature in others.

In these days, when women, having everything else, want the vote also
(and I would give it to them promptly and end the discussion), it may be
suggested that to shine by a reflected light is to shine not at all.
Frankly, Mrs. Thrale owes her position in English letters, not to
anything important that she herself did or was capable of doing, but to
the eminence of those she gathered about her. But her position is not
the less secure; she was a charming and fluffy person; and as firmly as
I believe that women have come to stay, so firmly am I of the opinion
that, in spite of all the well-meaning efforts of some of their sex to
prevent it, a certain, and, thank God, sufficient number of women will
stay charming and fluffy to the end of the chapter.

On one subject only could Mrs. Thrale be tedious--her pedigree. I have
it before me, written in her own bold hand, and I confess that it seems
very exalted indeed. She would not have been herself had she not stopped
in transcribing it to relate how one of her ancestors, Katherine Tudor
de Berayne, cousin and ward of Queen Elizabeth and a famous heiress, as
she was returning from the grave of her first husband, Sir John
Salusbury, was asked in marriage by Maurice Wynne of Gwydir, who was
amazed to learn that he was too late, as she had already engaged herself
to Sir Richard Clough. "But," added the lady, "if in the providence of
God I am unfortunate enough to survive him, I consent to be the lady of
Gwydir." Nor does the tale end here, for she married yet another, and
having sons by all four husbands, she came to be called "Mam y
Cymry,"--Mother of Wales,--and no doubt she deserved the appellation.

With such marrying blood in her veins it is easily understood that, as
soon as Thrale's halter was off her neck,--this sporting phrase, I
regret to say, is Dr. Johnson's,--she should think of marrying again;
and that having the first time married to please her family, she should,
at the second venture, marry to please herself. But this chapter is
moving too rapidly--the lady is not yet born.

       *       *       *       *       *

Hester Lynch Salusbury's birthplace was Bodvel, in Wales, and the year,
1741. She was an only child, very precocious, with a retentive memory.
She soon became the plaything of the elderly people around her, who
called her "Fiddle." Her father had the reputation of being a scamp,
and it fell to her uncle's lot to direct, somewhat, her education.
Handed from one relation to another, she quickly adapted herself to her
surroundings. Her mother taught her French; a tutor, Latin; Quin, the
actor, taught her to recite; Hogarth painted her portrait; and the
grooms of her grandmother, whom she visited occasionally, made her an
accomplished horsewoman. In those days education for a woman was highly
irregular, but judging from the results in the case of Mrs. Thrale and
her friends, who shall say that it was ineffective? We have no Elizabeth
Carters nowadays, good at translating Epictetus, and--we have it on high
authority--better at making a pudding.

Study soon became little Hester's delight. At twelve years she wrote for
the newspapers; also, she used to rise at four in the morning to study,
which her mother would not have allowed had she known of it. I have a
letter written many years afterwards in which she says: "My mother
always told me I ruined my Figure and stopt my Growth by sitting too
long at a Writing Desk, though ignorant how much Time I spent at it.
Dear Madam, was my saucy Answer,--

    "Tho' I could reach from Pole to Pole
       And grasp the Ocean with my Span,
     I would be measur'd by my Soul.
       The Mind's the Standard of the Man."

She is quoting Dr. Watts from memory evidently, and improving, perhaps,
upon the original.

But little girls grow up and husbands must be found for them. Henry
Thrale, the son of a rich Southwark brewer, was brought forward by her
uncle; while her father, protesting that he would not have his only
child exchanged for a barrel of "bitter," fell into a rage and died of
an apoplexy. Her _dot_ was provided by the uncle; her mother did the
courting, with little opposition on the part of the lady and no
enthusiasm on the part of the suitor. So, without love on either side,
she being twenty-two and her husband thirty-five, she became Mrs.
Thrale. "My uncle," she records in her journal, "went with us to the
church, gave me away, dined with us at Streatham after the ceremony, and
then left me to conciliate as best I could a husband who had never
thrown away five minutes of his time upon me unwitnessed by company till
after the wedding day was done."


More happiness came from this marriage than might have been expected.
Henry Thrale, besides his suburban residence, Streatham, had two other
establishments, one adjoining the brewery in Southwark, where he lived
in winter, and another, an unpretentious villa at the seaside. He also
maintained a stable of horses and a pack of hounds at Croydon; but,
although a good horsewoman, Mrs. Thrale was not permitted to join her
husband in his equestrian diversions; indeed, her place in her husband's
establishment was not unlike that of a woman in a seraglio. She was
allowed few pleasures, and but one duty was impressed upon her, namely,
that of supplying an heir to the estate; to this duty she devoted
herself unremittingly.

In due time a child was born, a daughter; and while this was of course
recognized as a mistake, it was believed to be one which could be

Meanwhile Thrale was surprised to find that his wife could think and
talk--that she had a mind of her own. The discovery dawned slowly upon
him, as did the idea that the pleasure of living in the country may be
enhanced by hospitality. Finally the doors of Streatham Park were thrown
open. For a time her husband's bachelor friends and companions were the
only company. Included among these was one Arthur Murphy, who had been
_un maître de plaisir_ to Henry Thrale in the gay days before his
marriage, when they had frequented the green rooms and Ranelagh
together. It was Murphy who suggested that "Dictionary Johnson" might be
secured to enliven a dinner-party, and then followed some discussion as
to the excuse which should be given Johnson for inviting him to the
table of the rich brewer. It was finally suggested that he be invited to
meet a minor celebrity, James Woodhouse, the shoemaker poet.

Johnson rose to the bait,--Johnson rose easily to any bait which would
provide him a good dinner and lift him out of himself,--and the dinner
passed off successfully. Mrs. Thrale records that they all liked each
other so well that a dinner was arranged for the following week, without
the shoemaker, who, having served his purpose, disappears from the

And now, and for twenty years thereafter, we find Johnson enjoying the
hospitality of the Thrales, which opened for him a new world. When he
was taken ill, not long after the introduction, Mrs. Thrale called on
him in his stuffy lodgings in a court off Fleet Street, and suggested
that the air of Streatham would be good for him. Would he come to them?
He would. He was not the man to deny himself the care of a young, rich,
and charming woman, who would feed him well, understand him, and add to
the joys of conversation. From that time on, whether at their residence
in Deadman's Place in Southwark, or at Streatham, or at Brighton, even
on their journeys, the Thrales and Johnson were constantly together; and
when he went on a journey alone, as was sometimes the case, he wrote
long letters to his mistress or his master, as he affectionately called
his friends.

Who gained most by this intercourse? It would be hard to say. It is a
fit subject for a debate, a copy of Boswell's "Life of Johnson" to go to
the successful contestant. Johnson summed up his obligations to the lady
in the famous letter written just before her second marriage, probably
the last he ever wrote her. "I wish that God may grant you every
blessing, that you may be happy in this world ... and eternally happy in
a better state; and whatever I can contribute to your happiness I am
ready to repay for that kindness which soothed twenty years of a life
radically wretched."

On the other hand, the Thrales secured what, perhaps unconsciously, they
most desired, social position and distinction. At Streatham they
entertained the best, if not perhaps the very highest, society of the
time. Think for a moment of the intimates of this house, whose
portraits, painted by Reynolds, hung in the library. There were my Lords
Sandys and Westcote, college friends of Thrale; there were Johnson and
Goldsmith; Garrick and Burke; Burney, and Reynolds himself, and a number
of others, all from the brush of the great master; and could we hear the
voices which from time to time might have been heard in the famous room,
we should recognize Boswell and Piozzi, Baretti, and a host of others;
and would it be necessary for the servant to announce the entrance of
the great Mrs. Siddons, or Mrs. Garrick, or Fanny Burney, or Hannah
More, or Mrs. Montagu, or any of the other ladies who later formed that
famous coterie which came to be known as the Blue-Stockings?

But Johnson was the Thrales' first lion and remained their greatest. He
first gave Streatham parties distinction. The master of the house
enjoyed having the wits about him, but was not one himself. Johnson
said of him that "his mind struck the hours very regularly but did not
mark the minutes." It was his wife who, by her sprightliness and her wit
and readiness, kept the ball rolling, showing infinite tact and skill in
drawing out one and, when necessary, repressing another; asking--when
the Doctor was not speaking--for a flash of silence from the company
that a newcomer might be heard.

But I am anticipating. All this was not yet. A salon such as she created
at Streatham Park is not the work of a month or of a year.

If Mrs. Thrale had ever entertained any illusions as to her husband's
regard for her, they must have received a shock when she discovered, as
she soon did, that Mr. Thrale had previously offered his hand to several
ladies, coupling with his proposal the fact that, in the event of its
being accepted, he would expect to live for a portion of each year in
his house adjoining the brewery. The famous brewery is now Barclay &
Perkins's, and still stands on its original site, where the Globe
Theatre once stood, not far from the Surrey end of Southwark Bridge. A
more unattractive place of residence it would be hard to imagine, but
for some reason Mr. Thrale loved it.

On the other hand, Streatham was delightful. It was a fine estate,
something over an hour's drive from Fleet Street in the direction of
Croydon. The house, a mansion of white stucco, stood in a park of more
than a hundred acres, beautifully wooded. Drives and gravel-walks gave
easy access to all parts of the grounds. There was a lake with a
drawbridge, and conservatories, and glass houses stocked with fine
fruits. Grapes, peaches, and pineapples were grown in abundance, and Dr.
Johnson, whose appetite was robust, was able for the first time in his
life to indulge himself in these things to his heart's content. In these
delightful surroundings the Thrales spent the greater part of each year,
and here assembled about them a coterie almost, if not quite, as
distinguished as that which made Holland House famous half a century

A few years ago Barrie wrote a delightful play, "What Every Woman
Knows"; and I hasten to say, for the benefit of those who have not seen
this play, that what every woman knows is how to manage a husband. In
this respect Mrs. Thrale had no superior. Making due allowance, the play
suggests the relationship of the Thrales. A cold, self-contained, and
commonplace man is married to a sprightly and engaging wife. With her to
aid him, he is able so to carry himself that people take him for a man
of great ability; without her, he is utterly lost. To give point to the
play, the husband is obliged to make this painful discovery. Mrs.
Thrale, mercifully, never permitted her husband to discover how
commonplace he was. Could he have looked in her diary he might have read
this description of himself, and, had he read it, he would probably have
made no remark. He spoke little.

"Mr. Thrale's sobriety, and the decency of his conversation, being
wholly free from all oaths, ribaldry and profaneness, make him
exceedingly comfortable to live with; while the easiness of his temper
and slowness to take offence add greatly to his value as a domestic man.
Yet I think his servants do not love him, and I am not sure that his
children have much affection for him. With regard to his wife, though
little tender of her person, he is very partial to her understanding;
but he is obliging to nobody, and confers a favor less pleasingly than
many a man refuses one."

Elsewhere she refers to him as the handsomest man in London, by whom she
has had thirteen children, two sons and eleven daughters. Both sons and
all but three of the daughters died either in infancy or in early
childhood. Constantly in that condition in which ladies wish to be who
love their lords, Mrs. Thrale, by her advice and efforts, once, at
least, saved her husband from bankruptcy, and frequently from making a
fool of himself. She grew to take an intelligent interest in his
business affairs, urged him to enter Parliament, successfully
electioneered for him, and in return was treated with just that degree
of affection that a man might show to an incubator which, although
somewhat erratic in its operations, might at any time present him with a

       *       *       *       *       *

Such was the household of which Dr. Johnson became a member, and which,
to all intents and purposes, became his home. Retaining his lodgings in
a court off Fleet Street, he established in them what Mrs. Thrale
called his menagerie of old women: dependents too poor and wretched to
find asylum elsewhere. To them he was at all times considerate, if not
courteous. It was his custom to dine with them two or three times each
week, thus insuring them an ample dinner; but the library at Streatham
was especially devoted to his service. When he could be induced to work
on his "Lives of the Poets," it became his study; but for the most part
it was his arena, where, in playful converse or in violent discussion,
he held his own against all comers.

In due time, under the benign influence of the Thrales, he overcame his
repugnance to clean linen. Mr. Thrale suggested silver buckles for his
shoes, and he bought them. As he entered the drawing-room, a servant
might have been seen clapping on his head a wig which had not been badly
singed by a midnight candle as he tore the heart out of a book. The
great bear became bearable. One of his most intimate friends, Baretti, a
highly cultivated man, was secured as a tutor for the Thrale children,
of whom the eldest, nicknamed "Queenie," was Johnson's favorite.

Henry Thrale's table was one of the best in London. By degrees it became
known that at Streatham one might always be sure of an excellent dinner
and the best conversation in England. Dr. Johnson voiced, not only his
own, but the general opinion, that to smile with the wise and to feed
with the rich was very close upon human felicity; and he would have
admitted, had his attention been called to it, that there was at least
one house in London in which people could enjoy themselves as much as at
a capital inn.

[Illustration: TITLE OF MISS BURNEY'S "EVELINA." First Edition]

And people did. For the best description of life at Streatham we must
turn to the pages of Fanny Burney (Madame d'Arblay). Her diary is a work
of art, but that part of it which pleases most is where the art is so
concealed that one feels that the daily entries are intended for no
other eye than the writer's. It is its confidential character which is
its greatest charm. As the years pass, it loses this quality, and to the
extent that it does so it becomes less interesting to us. "Evelina" has
just been published and Fanny has become a welcome guest at the Thrales'
when the record opens. "I have now to write an account of the most
consequential day I have spent since my birth; namely, my Streatham
visit," is an early entry. Johnson is there and "is very proud to sit by
Miss Burney at dinner." Mrs. Thrale, described as a very pretty woman,
gay and agreeable, without a trace of pedantry, repeats some lines in
French, and Dr. Johnson quotes Latin which Mrs. Thrale turns into
excellent English.

Then the talk is of Garrick, who, some one says, appears to be getting
old, on which Johnson remarks that it must be remembered that his face
has had more wear and tear than any other man's. Then Mrs. Montagu is
mentioned, and the merits of her book on Shakespeare are discussed, and
Reynolds and his art, and finally the talk drifts back again to
"Evelina," and Dr. Johnson, stimulated by the gayety of an excellent
dinner in such surroundings, cries, "Harry Fielding never drew so good a
character.... There is no character better drawn anywhere--in any book,
by any author"; and Fanny pinches herself in delight, under the table,
as she had a right to do, for was not the great Cham of literature
praising her?

And so with talks and walks and drives and dinners and tea-drinkings
unceasing, with news, gossip, and scandal at retail, wholesale, and for
exportation, it was contrived that life at Streatham was as delightful
as life can be made to be. Occasionally there was work to be done. Dr.
Johnson was called on for an introduction to something, or the
proof-sheets of "The Lives of the Poets" arrived, and it became Mrs.
Thrale's duty to keep the Doctor up to his work--no easy task when a
pretty woman was around, and there were always several at Streatham.
Breakfast was always served in the library, and tea was pouring
incessantly. Thanks to Boswell and to "Little Burney," we know this life
better than we know any other whatever; and what life elsewhere is so
intimate and personal, so well worth knowing?


One morning Mrs. Thrale, entering the library and finding Johnson there,
complained that it was her birthday, and that no one had sent her any
verses. She admitted to being thirty-five, yet Swift, she said, fed
Stella with them till she was forty-six. Thereupon Johnson without
hesitation began to compose aloud, and Mrs. Thrale to write at his

    "Oft in danger, yet alive,
     We are come to thirty-five;
     Long may better years arrive,
     Better years than thirty-five.
     Could philosophers contrive
     Life to stop at thirty-five,
     Time his hours should never drive
     O'er the bounds of thirty-five.
     High to soar, and deep to dive,
     Nature gives at thirty-five.
     Ladies, stock and tend your hive,
     Trifle not at thirty-five;
     For howe'er we boast and strive,
     Life declines from thirty-five;
     He that ever hopes to thrive
     Must begin by thirty-five;
     And all who wisely wish to wive
     Must look on Thrale at thirty-five,"--

adding, as he concluded, "And now, my dear, you see what it is to come
for poetry to a dictionary-maker. You may observe that the rhymes run in
alphabetical order exactly."

But life is not all cakes and ale. Mr. Thrale's ample income was
constantly in jeopardy from his business speculations. He was led by a
charlatan to spend a fortune in the endeavor to brew without hops; this
failing, he sought to recoup himself by over-brewing, despite the
protests of his wife, seconded by Dr. Johnson, who was becoming an
excellent man of affairs. Listen to the man whose boast was that he was
bred in idleness and the pride of literature. "The brewhouse must be the
scene of action.... The first consequence of our late trouble ought to
be an endeavor to brew at a cheaper rate, an endeavor not violent and
transient, but steady and continual, prosecuted with total contempt of
censure or wonder, and animated by resolution not to stop while more can
be done. Unless this can be done, nothing can help us; and if this is
done we shall not want help. Surely there is something to be saved;
there is to be saved whatever is the difference between vigilance and
neglect, between parsimony and profusion."

It is proper to observe that it is Dr. Johnson, and not Andrew Carnegie,
who is speaking, and in Mrs. Thrale's copy of the Dictionary, which I
happen to own, his gift to her, there is pasted in the book a letter in
Dr. Johnson's autograph written about this time, one paragraph of which
reads, "I think it very probably in your power to lay up eight thousand
pounds a year for every year to come, increasing all the time, what
needs not be increased, the splendour of all external appearance; and
surely such a state is not to be put in yearly hazard for the pleasure
of keeping the house full, or the ambition of outbrewing Whitbread.
Stop now and you are safe--stop a few years and you may go safely on
thereafter, if to go on shall seem worth the while."

Meanwhile, Mr. Thrale was quietly digging his grave with his teeth.
Warned by his physician and his friends that he must exercise more and
eat less, he snapped his fingers at them, I was going to say; but he did
nothing so violent. He simply disregarded their advice and gave orders
that the best and earliest of everything should be placed upon his table
in profusion. His death was the result, and at forty Mrs. Thrale found
herself a widow, wealthy, and with her daughters amply provided for.
She, with Dr. Johnson and several others, was an executor of the estate,
and promptly began to grapple with the problems of managing a great
business. Not long after Thrale's death we find this entry in her
journal: "I have now appointed three days a week to attend at the
counting-house. If an angel from Heaven had told me twenty years ago
that the man I knew by the name of Dictionary Johnson should one day
become partner with me in a great trade, and that we should jointly or
separately sign notes, drafts, etc., for three or four thousand pounds,
of a morning, how unlikely it would have seemed ever to happen! Unlikely
is not the word, it would have seemed incredible, neither of us then
being worth a groat, and both as immeasurably removed from commerce as
birth, literature, and inclination could get us."

The opinion was general that Mrs. Thrale had been a mere sleeping
partner, and her friends were amazed at the insight the sparkling little
lady showed in the management of a great business. "Such," says Mrs.
Montagu, "is the dignity of Mrs. Thrale's virtue, and such her
superiority in all situations of life, that nothing now is wanting but
an earthquake to show how she will behave on that occasion."

But this state of things was not long to continue. A knot of rich
Quakers came along, and purchased the enterprise for a hundred and
thirty-five thousand pounds. Dr. Johnson was not quite clear that the
property ought to be sold; but when the sale was finally decided upon,
he did his share toward securing a good price. Capitalization of earning
power has never been more succinctly described than when, in going over
the great establishment with the intending purchasers, he made his
famous remark, "We are not here to sell a parcel of boilers and vats,
but the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice."

For Mrs. Thrale and her daughters the affair was a matter of great
moment; excitement ran high. Fanny Burney was staying at Streatham while
the business was pending, and it was arranged that on the day the
transaction was to be consummated, if all went well, Mrs. Thrale would,
on her return from town, wave a white pocket-handkerchief out of the
coach window. Dinner was at four; no Mrs. Thrale. Five came, and no Mrs.
Thrale. At last the coach appeared and out of the window fluttered a


_Engraved by Doughty_]

Mrs. Thrale's own notes are amusing. She was glad to bid adieu to the
brewhouse and to the Borough--the business had been a great burden. Her
daughters were provided for, and she did not much care for money for
herself. By the bargain she had purchased peace, and, as she said,
"restoration to her original rank in life"; recording in her journal,
"Now that it is all over I'll go to church and give God thanks and
forget the frauds, follies and inconveniences of commercial life; as for
Dr. Johnson, his honest heart was cured of its incipient passion for
trade by letting him into _some_ and _only some_ of its mysteries."

A final word on the subject of the Thrale brewhouse, which still exists.
A year or two ago I spent a morning looking for Deadman's Place, which
has disappeared, but the great enterprise dominates the whole district,
which is redolent with the odor of malt and hops. Johnson's connection
with the business is immortalized by his portrait--the famous one so
generally known--being used as its trademark. The original picture is in
the National Gallery, but an excellent copy hangs in the directors' room
of the brewery. The furnishings of this room are of the simplest. I
doubt if they would fetch at auction a five-pound note, were it not for
the fact that Johnson's chair and desk are among them. In this room a
business running annually into millions is transacted. The English love
to leave old things as they are. With them history is always in the


Not many Sundays after Mrs. Thrale's thanksgiving she had a visitor at
Streatham--a visitor who, when he left, carried with him as a token of
her regard two little calf-bound volumes, in one of which was the
inscription, "These books written by Dr. Samuel Johnson were presented
to Mr. Gabbrielle Piozzi by Hester-Lynch Thrale. Streatham, Sunday 10
June, 1781"; with a further note in an equally clear and flowing hand:
"And Twenty Eight Years after that Time presented again to his Nephew
John Piozzi Salusbury by Hester Lynch Piozzi. Brynbella 1st August,


I am able to be exact in this small matter, for the volumes in question
were given me not long ago by a friend who understands my passion for
such things. The book was the first edition of the "Prince of Abissinia"
(it was not known as "Rasselas" until after Dr. Johnson's death), and
Mrs. Thrale at the time did not know Piozzi sufficiently well to spell
his name correctly; but she was soon to learn, and to learn, too, that
she was in love with him and he with her.

She had first met Piozzi about a year before, at a musicale at the house
of Dr. Burney, Fanny's father. On this occasion she had taken advantage
of his back being turned to mimic him as he sat at the piano. For this
she was reprimanded by Dr. Burney, and she must have felt that she
deserved the correction, for she took it in good part and behaved with
great decorum during the rest of the evening.

After a year in her widow's weeds,--which must have tormented Johnson,
for he hated the thought of death and liked to see ladies dressed in gay
colors,--she laid aside her severe black and began to resume her place
in society. The newspapers marked the change, and every man who entered
her house was referred to as a possible husband for the rich and
attractive widow. Finally she was obliged to write to the papers and ask
that they would let the subject alone.

But it soon became evident to Johnson and to the rest of the world that
Piozzi was successfully laying siege to the lady; as why should he not?
The fact that he was a Catholic, an Italian, and a musician could hardly
have appeared to him as reasons why he should not court a woman of rare
charm and distinction, with whom he had been on terms of friendship for
several years; a woman who was of suitable age, the mistress of a fine
estate and three thousand pounds a year, and whose children were no
longer children but young ladies of independent fortune. That she
should marry some one seemed certain. Why not Piozzi? Her daughters
protested that their mother was disgracing herself and them, and the
world held up its hands in horror at the thought; the co-executors of
the estate became actually insulting, and Fanny Burney was so shocked at
the idea that she finally gave up visiting Streatham altogether. Society
ranged itself for and against the lady--few for, many against.

There were other troubles, too: a lawsuit involving a large sum was
decided against her, and Johnson, ill, querulous, and exacting, behaved
as an irritable old man would who felt his influence in the family
waning. I am a Johnsonian,--Tinker has called me so and Tinker may be
depended upon to know a Johnsonian when he sees one,--but I am bound to
admit that Johnson had behaved badly and was to behave worse. Johnson
was very human and the lady was very human, too. They had come to a
parting of the ways.

It was inevitable that the life at Streatham must be terminated. Its
glory had departed, and the expense of its upkeep was too great for the
lady; so a tenant was secured and Mrs. Thrale and Dr. Johnson prepared
to leave the house in which so many happy years had been spent. Dr.
Johnson was once more to make his lodgings in Bolt Court, and Mrs.
Thrale, after a visit to Brighton, was to go to Bath to repose her
purse. The engagement, or understanding, or whatever it was, with Piozzi
was broken off, and Italy was proposed as a place of residence for him.
Broken hearts there were in plenty.

Life for Mrs. Thrale at Bath proved to be impossible. If concealment did
not feed on the damask of her cheek, love did, and at last it became
evident, even to the young ladies, that their mother was pining away for
Piozzi, and they gave their consent that he be recalled.

He came at once. Mrs. Thrale, on his departure, had sent him a poem
which reached him at Dover. She now sent him another which was designed
to reach him on his return, at Calais.

    Over mountains, rivers, vallies,
    See my love returns to Calais,
    After all their taunts and malice,
    Ent'ring safe the gates of Calais.
    While Delay'd by winds he dallies,
    Fretting to be kept at Calais,
    Muse, prepare some sprightly sallies
    To divert my dear at Calais;
    Say how every rogue who rallies
    Envies him who waits at Calais
    For her that would disdain a Palace
    Compar'd to Piozzi, Love and Calais.

Pretty poor poetry those who know tell me; but if Piozzi liked it, it
served its purpose. And now Mrs. Thrale announced her engagement in a
circular letter to her co-executors under the Thrale will, sending, in
addition, to Johnson a letter in which she says, "The dread of your
disapprobation has given me some anxious moments, and I feel as if
acting without a parent's consent till you write kindly to me."

Johnson's reply is historic:--

     MADAM,--If I interpret your letter right, you are ignominiously
     married: if it is yet undone, let us once more talk together. If
     you have abandoned your children and your religion, God forgive
     your wickedness; if you have forfeited your fame and your country,
     may your folly do no further mischief. If the last act is yet to
     do, I who have loved you, esteemed you, reverenced you, and served
     you, I who long thought you the first of womankind, entreat that,
     before your fate is irrevocable, I may once more see you. I was, I
     once was, Madam, most truly yours,


     _July 2, 1784._

It was a smashing letter, and showed that the mind which had composed
the famous letter to Chesterfield and another, equally forceful, to
Macpherson had not lost its vigor. But those letters had brought no
reply. His letter to Mrs. Thrale did, and one at once dignified and
respectful. The little lady was no novice in letter-writing, and I can
imagine that upon the arrival of her letter the weary, heartsick old man
wept. Remember that his emotions were seldom completely under his
control, and that he had nothing of the bear about him but its skin.

     Sir [she wrote]; I have this morning received from you so rough a
     letter in reply to one which was both tenderly and respectfully
     written, that I am forced to desire the conclusion of a
     correspondence which I can bear to continue no longer. The birth of
     my second husband is not meaner than that of my first; his
     sentiments are not meaner; his profession is not meaner; and his
     superiority in what he professes acknowledged by all mankind. Is
     it want of fortune, then, that is ignominious? The character of the
     man I have chosen has no other claim to such an epithet. The
     religion to which he has been always a zealous adherent will, I
     hope, teach him to forgive insults he has not deserved; mine will,
     I hope, enable me to bear them at once with dignity and patience.
     To hear that I have forfeited my fame is indeed the greatest insult
     I ever yet received. My fame is as unsullied as snow, or I should
     think it unworthy of him who must henceforth protect it.

Johnson, she says, wrote once more, but the letter has never come to
light; the correspondence, which had continued over a period of twenty
years, was at an end. An interesting letter of Thomas Hardy on this
subject came into my possession recently. In it he says, "I am in full
sympathy with Mrs. Thrale under the painful opposition to her marriage
with Piozzi. The single excuse for Johnson's letter to her on that
occasion would be that he was her lover himself, and hoped to win her,
otherwise it was simply brutal." I do not think that Johnson was her
lover, and I am afraid I must agree that Johnson was brutal. In
extenuation I urge that he was a very weary, sick old man.

At the time Mrs. Thrale's detractors were many and her defenders few.
Two dates were given as to the time of her marriage, which started some
wandering lies, much to her disadvantage. The fact is that both dates
were correct, for she was married to Piozzi once by a Catholic and
several weeks later by a Church of England ceremony. In her journal she
writes under date of July 25, 1784, "I am now the wife of my faithful
Piozzi ... he loves me and will be mine forever.... The whole Christian
Church, Catholic and Protestant, all are witnesses."

For two years they traveled on the continent. No marriage could have
been happier. Piozzi, by comparison with his wife, is a rather shadowy
person. He is described as being a handsome man, a few months older than
she, with gentle, pleasant, unaffected manners, very eminent in his
profession; nor was he, as was so frequently stated, a man without a
fortune. The difference in their religious views was the cause of no
difficulty. Each respected the religion of the other and kept his or her
own. "I would preserve my religious opinions inviolate at Milan as my
husband did his at London," is an entry in her journal.

She was staying at Milan when tidings of Johnson's death reached her.
All of her correspondents hastened to apprize her of the news. I have a
long letter to her from one Henry Johnson,--who he was, I am unable to
determine,--written one day after the funeral, describing the procession
forming in Bolt Court; the taking of mourning coaches in Fleet Street
and "proceeding to Westminster Abbey where the corpse was laid close to
the remains of David Garrick, Esquire."

That Madam Piozzi, as we must now call her, was deeply affected, we
cannot doubt. Only a few days before the news of his death reached her,
we find her writing to a friend, urging him not to neglect Dr. Johnson,
saying, "You will never see any other mortal so wise or so good. I keep
his picture constantly before me." Before long she heard, too, that
several of her old friends had engaged to write his life, and Piozzi
urged her to be one of the number. The result was the "Anecdotes of the
late Samuel Johnson during the last Twenty Years of his Life." It is not
a great work, but considering the circumstances under which it was
written, her journals being locked up in England while she was writing
at Florence, greater faults than were found in it could have been
overlooked. It provided Boswell with some good anecdotes for his great
book, and it antedated Hawkins's "Life of Johnson" by about a year.

The public appetite was whetted by the earlier publication of Boswell's
"Journal of a Tour of the Hebrides," in which he had given a taste of
his quality, and the "Anecdotes" appeared at a time when everything
which related to Johnson had a great vogue. The book was published by
Cadell, and so great was the demand, that the first edition was
exhausted on the day of publication; so that, when the King sent for a
copy in the evening, on the day of its publication, the publisher had to
beg for one from a friend.

Bozzy and Piozzi thus became rival biographers in the opinion of the
public, and the public got what pleasure it could out of numerous
caricatures and satires with which the bookshops abounded, many of these
being amusing and some simply scurrilous, after the fashion of the

Meanwhile, the Piozzis had become tired of travel and wished again to
enjoy the luxury of a home. "Prevail on Mr. Piozzi to settle in
England," had been Dr. Johnson's parting advice. It was not difficult to
do so, and on their return, after a short stay in London, they took up
residence in Bath.

Here Madam Piozzi, encouraged by the success of the "Anecdotes," devoted
herself to the publication of two volumes of "Letters to and from the
late Samuel Johnson." Their preparation for the press was somewhat
crude: it consisted largely in making omissions here and there, and
substituting asterisks for proper names; but the copyright was sold for
five hundred pounds, and the letters showed, if indeed it was necessary
to show, how intimate had been the relationship between the Doctor and

As time went on, there awakened in Madam Piozzi a longing for the larger
life of Streatham, and her husband, always anxious to accomplish her
wishes, decided that she should return to the scene of her former
triumphs; but Dr. Johnson, the keystone of her social arch, was gone,
and there was no one to take his place. Her husband was a cultured
gentleman, but he was not to the English manner born.

The attempt was made, however, and on the seventh anniversary of their
wedding day Streatham was thrown open. Seventy people sat down to
dinner, the house and grounds were illuminated, and the villagers were
made welcome. A thousand people thronged through the estate. One might
have supposed that a young lord had come into his own.

It was a brave effort, but it was soon seen to be unavailing. A man's
fame may be like a shuttle-cock, having constantly to be struck to
prevent its falling; but not a woman's. She had lost caste by her
marriage. It was not forgotten that her husband was "a foreigner," that
he had been a "fiddler"; while his wife had been the object of too much
ridicule, the subject of too many lampoons.

But the lady had resources within herself; she was an inveterate reader
and she had tasted the joys of authorship. She now published a volume of
travels and busied herself with several other works, the very names of
which are forgotten except by the curious in such matters.

While she was thus engaged a bitter and scandalous attack was made upon
her by Baretti. Now, Baretti was a liar, and in proof of her good sense
and forgiving disposition, I offer in evidence the entry that she made
in her journal when she heard of his death. "Baretti is dead. Poor
Baretti!... he died as he lived, less like a Christian than a
philosopher, leaving no debts (but those of gratitude) undischarged and
expressing neither regret for the past nor fear for the future.... A wit
rather than a scholar, strong in his prejudices, haughty in spirit,
cruel in anger. He is dead! So is my enmity."

On another occasion she contrived to quiet a hostile critic who had
ridiculed her in verse; much damage may be done by a couplet, as she
well knew, and the lines,--

    See Thrale's grey widow with a satchel roam
    And bring in pomp laborious nothings home,--

were not nice, however true they might be. Madam Piozzi determined to
take him in hand. She contrived at the house of a friend to get herself
placed opposite to him at a supper-table, and after observing his
perplexity with amusement for a time, she raised her wine-glass to him
and proposed the toast, "Good fellowship for the future." The critic was
glad to avail himself of the dainty means of escape from an awkward

However, it was evident that life at Streatham could not be continued on
the old scale. Funds were not as plentiful as in the days of the great
brewmaster; so after a few years, when her husband suggested their
retiring to her native Wales, she was glad to fall in with the idea. A
charming site was selected, and a villa built in the Italian style after
her husband's design. It was called "Brynbella," meaning beautiful brow;
half Welsh and half Italian, like its owners. I fancy their lives were
happier here than they had been elsewhere, for they built upon their own
foundation. Piozzi had his piano and his violin, and the lady busied
herself with her books; while the monotony of existence was pleasantly
broken by occasional visits to Bath, where they had many friends.

And during these years, letters and notes, comment and criticism,
dropped from her pen like leaves from a tree in autumn. She lived over
again in memory her life in London, reading industriously, and busy in
the pleasant and largely profitless way which tends to make days pass
into months and months into years and leave no trace of their passing.
She must always have had a pen in her hand: it goes without saying that
she had kept a diary; in those days everyone did, and most had less than
she to record. It was Dr. Johnson who suggested that she get a little
book and write in it all the anecdotes she might hear, observations she
might make, or verse that might otherwise be lost. These instructions
were followed literally, but no little book sufficed. She filled many
large quarto volumes, six of which, entitled "Thraliana," passed through
the London auction rooms in 1908, bringing £2050. One volume, which
perhaps does not belong to the series, but which in every way accords
with Dr. Johnson's suggestion, formed part of the late A. M. Broadley's
collection until, at his death, it passed with several other items, into
that of the writer.


Mr. Broadley took an ardent interest in everything that related to Mrs.
Thrale, and published, a few years ago, her "Journal of the Welsh Tour,"
undertaken in the summer of 1774. Dr. Johnson also kept a diary on this
journey, but his is bald and fragmentary, while that of the lady is an
intimate and consecutive narrative. The original manuscript volume, in
its original dark, limp leather binding is before me. It comprises
ninety-seven pages in Mrs. Thrale's beautiful hand, beginning, "On
Tuesday, 5th July, 1774, I began my journey through Wales. We set out
from Streatham in our coach and four post horses, accompanied by Dr.
Johnson and our eldest daughter. Baretti went with us as far as London,
where we left him and hiring fresh horses they carried us to the Mitre
at Barnet"; and so on throughout the whole tour, until she made this,
her final entry:--

     September 30th. When I rose Mr. Thrale informed me that the
     Parliament was suddenly dissolved and that all the world was
     bustle; that we were to go to Southwark, not to Streatham, and
     canvass away. I heard the first part of this report with pleasure,
     the latter with pain; nothing but a real misfortune could, I think,
     affect me so much as the thoughts of going to Town thus to settle
     for the Winter before I have had any enjoyment of Streatham at all;
     and so all my hopes of pleasure blow away. I thought to have lived
     in Streatham in quiet and comfort, have kissed my children and
     cuffed them by turns, and had a place always for them to play in;
     and here I must be shut up in that odious dungeon, where nobody
     will come near me, the children are to be sick for want of air, and
     I am never to see a face but Mr. Johnson's. Oh, what a life that
     is! and how truly do I abhor it! At noon however I saw my Girls and
     thought Susan vastly improved. At evening I saw my Boys and liked
     them very well too. How much is there always to thank God for! But
     I dare not enjoy poor Streatham lest I should be forced to quit it.

I value this little volume highly, as who, interested in the lady, would
not? It is an unaffected record of a journey, of interesting people who
met interesting people wherever they went, and its publication by
Broadley was a pious act. But that the Broadley volume, published a few
years ago, gets its chief value from the sympathetic introduction by
Thomas Seccombe, must, I think, be admitted.

It is no longer the fashion to "blush as well as weep for Mrs. Thrale."
This silly phrase is Macaulay's. Rather, as Sir Walter Raleigh remarked
to me in going over some of her papers in my library, "What a dear,
delightful person she was! I have always wanted to meet her." In the
future, what may be written of Mrs. Thrale will be written in better
taste. At this time of day why should she be attacked because she
married a man who did not speak English as his mother tongue, and who
was a musician rather than a brewer? One may be an enthusiastic admirer
of Dr. Johnson--I confess I am--and yet keep a warm place in one's heart
for the kindly and charming little woman. Admit that she was not the
scholar she thought she was, that she was "inaccurate in narration":
what matters it? She was a woman of character, too. She was not
overpowered by Dr. Johnson, as was Fanny Burney, to such a degree that
at last she came to write like him, only more so. Mrs. Thrale, by her
own crisp, vigorous English, influenced the Doctor finally to write as
he talked, naturally, without that undue elaboration which was
characteristic of his earlier style.

If Johnson mellowed under the benign influence of the lady, she was the
gainer in knowledge, especially in such knowledge as comes from books.
It was Mrs. Thrale rather than her husband who formed the Streatham
library. Her taste was robust, she baulked at no foreign language, but
set about to study it. I have never seen a book from her library--and I
have seen many--which was not filled with notes written in her clear and
beautiful hand. These volumes, like the books which Lamb lent Coleridge,
and which he returned with annotations tripling their value, are
occasionally offered for sale in those old book-shops where our
resolutions not to be tempted are writ in so much water; or they turn up
at auction sales and astonish the uninitiated by the prices they bring.

Several of these volumes are in the collection of the writer: her
Dictionary, the gift of Dr. Johnson, for instance, and a "Life of
Psalmanazar," another gift from the same source; but the book which,
above all others, every Johnsonian would wish to own is the property of
Miss Amy Lowell of Boston, a poet of rare distinction, a critic, and
America's most distinguished woman collector. Who does not envy her the
possession of the first edition of Boswell's "Life of Johnson," filled
with the marginalia of the one person in the world whose knowledge of
the old man rivaled that of the great biographer himself? And to hear
Miss Lowell quote these notes in a manner suggestive of the charm of
Madam Piozzi herself, is a delight never to be forgotten.


About the time of the Piozzis' removal to Wales, they decided to
adopt a nephew, the son of Piozzi's brother, who had met with financial
reverses in Italy. The boy had been christened John Salusbury in honor
of Mrs. Piozzi, and she became greatly attached to the lad and decided
to leave him her entire fortune. He was brought up as an English boy,
and his education was a matter which gave her serious concern.

Meanwhile, the years that had touched the lady so lightly had left their
impress upon her husband, who does not seem to have been strong. He was
a great sufferer from gout, and finally died, and was buried in the
parish church of Tremeirchion, which years before he had caused to be
repaired, and had built there a burial vault in which his remains were
placed. They had lived in perfect harmony for twenty-five years, thus
effectually overturning the prophecies of their friends. She continued
to reside at Brynbella until the marriage of her adopted son, when she
generously gave him the estate and removed to Bath, that lovely little
city where so many celebrities have gone to pass the closing years of
eventful lives.

As a "Bath cat" she continued her interest in men, women, and books
until the end. Having outlived all her old friends, she proceeded to
make new; and when nearly eighty astonished everyone by showing great
partiality for a young and handsome actor,--and, if reports be true, a
very bad actor,--named Conway. There was much smoke and doubtless some
fire in the affair: letters purporting to be hers to him were published
after her death. They may not be genuine, and if they are they show
simply, as Leslie Stephen says, that at a very advanced age she became

On her eightieth birthday she gave a ball to six or seven hundred people
in the Assembly Rooms at Bath, and led the dancing herself with her
adopted son (who by this time was Sir John Salusbury Piozzi), very much
to her satisfaction.

A year later she met with an accident, from the effects of which she
died. She was buried in Tremeirchion Church beside her husband. A few
years ago, on the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Johnson, a
memorial tablet was erected in the quaint old church, reading,--

             _Near this place are interred the remains of_
                          HESTER LYNCH PIOZZI
                       DR. JOHNSON'S MRS. THRALE
                         _Born 1741, died 1821_

Mrs. Piozzi's life is her most enduring work. Trifles were her serious
business, and she was never idle. Always a great letter-writer, she set
in motion a correspondence which would have taxed the capacity of a
secretary with a typewriter. To the last she was a great reader, and
observing a remark in Boswell on the irksomeness of books to people of
advanced age, she wrote on the margin, "Not to me, at eighty." Her
wonderful memory remained unimpaired until the last. She knew English
literature well. She spoke French and Italian fluently. Latin she
transcribed with ease and grace; of Greek she had a smattering, and she
is said to have had a working knowledge of Hebrew; but I suspect that
her Hebrew would have set a scholar's hair on end. With all these
accomplishments, she was not a pedant, or, properly speaking, a
Blue-Stocking, or if she was, it was of a very light shade of blue. She
told a capital story, omitted everything irrelevant and came to the
point at once; in brief, she was a man's woman.

And to end the argument where it began,--for arguments always end where
they begin,--I came across a remark the other day which sums up my
contention. It was to the effect that, in whatever company Mrs. Piozzi
found herself, others found her the most charming person in the room.

[Illustration: SAMUEL JOHNSON]



I am not sure that I know what philosophy is; a philosopher is one who
practices it, and we have it on high authority that "there was never yet
philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently."

There is an old man in Wilkie Collins's novel, "The Moonstone," the best
novel of its kind in the language, who, when in doubt, reads "Robinson
Crusoe." In like manner I, when in doubt, turn to Boswell's "Life of
Johnson," and there I read that the fine, crusty old doctor was hailed
in the Strand one day by a man who half a century before had been at
Pembroke College with him. It is not surprising that Johnson did not at
first remember his former friend, and he was none too well pleased to be
reminded that they were both "old men now." "We are, sir," said Dr.
Johnson, "but do not let us discourage one another"; and they began to
talk over old times and compare notes as to where they stood in the

Edwards, his friend, had practiced law and had made money, but had spent
or given away much of it. "I shall not die rich," said he. "But, sir,"
said Johnson, "it is better to live rich than to die rich." And now
comes Edwards's immortal remark, "You are a philosopher, Dr. Johnson. I
have tried, too, in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know
how, cheerfulness was always breaking in."


With the word "cheerfulness," Edwards had demolished the scheme of life
of most of our professed philosophers, who have no place in their
systems for the attribute that goes furthest toward making life worth
while to the average man.

Cheerfulness is a much rarer quality than is generally supposed,
especially among the rich. It was not common even before we learned
that, in spite of Browning, though God may be in his heaven,
nevertheless, all is wrong with the world.

If "most men lead lives of quiet desperation," as Thoreau says they do,
it is, I suspect, because they will not allow cheerfulness to break in
upon them when it will. A good disposition is worth a fortune. Give
cheerfulness a chance and let the professed philosopher go hang.

But it is high time for me to turn my attention, and yours, if I may, to
the particular philosopher through whom I wish to stick my pen, and
whom, thus impaled, I wish to present for your edification--say, rather,
amusement. His name was William Godwin; he was the husband of Mary
Wollstonecraft and the father-in-law of Shelley.

Godwin was born in Cambridgeshire in 1756, and came of preaching stock.
It is related that, when only a lad, he used to steal away, not to go in
swimming or to rob an orchard, but to a meeting-house to preach; this at
the age of ten. The boy was father to the man: to the end of his life
he never did anything else. He first preached orthodoxy, later
heterodoxy, but he was always a preacher. I do not like the tribe. I am
using the word as indicating one who elects to teach by word rather than
by example.

When a boy he had an attack of smallpox. Religious scruples prevented
him from submitting to vaccination, for he said he had no wish to run
counter to the will of God. In this frame of mind he did not long
remain. He seems to have been a hard student--what we would call a
grind. He read enormously, and by twenty he considered that he was fully
equipped for his life's work. He was as ready to preach as an Irishman
is to fight, for the love of it; but he was quarrelsome as well as
pious, and, falling out with his congregation, he dropped the title of
Reverend and betook himself to literature and London.

At this time the French Revolution was raging, and the mental churning
which it occasioned had its effect upon sounder minds than his. Godwin
soon became intimate with Tom Paine and others of like opinions.
Wherever political heresy and schism was talked, there Godwin was to be
found. He stood for everything which was "advanced" in thought and
conduct; he joined the school which was to write God with a small g. All
the radical visionaries in London were attracted to him, and he to them.
He thought and dreamed and talked, and finally grew to feel the need of
a larger audience. The result was "An Enquiry Concerning Political
Justice," a book which created a tremendous sensation in its day. It
seemed the one thing needed to bring political dissent and
dissatisfaction to a head.

Much was wrong at the time, much is still wrong, and doubtless reformers
of Godwin's type do a certain amount of good. They call attention to
abuses, and eventually the world sets about to remedy them. A "movement"
is in the air; it centres in some man who voices and directs it. For the
moment the man and the movement seem to be one. Ultimately the movement
becomes diffused, its character changes; frequently the man originally
identified with it is forgotten--so it was with Godwin.

"Political Justice" was published in 1793. In it Godwin fell foul of
everything. He assailed all forms of government. The common idea that
blood is thicker than water, is wrong: all men are brothers; one should
do for a stranger as for a brother. The distribution of property is
absurd. A man's needs are to be taken as the standard of what he should
receive. He that needs most is to be given most--by whom, Godwin did not

Marriage is a law and the worst of all laws: it is an affair of
property, and like property must be abolished. The intercourse of the
sexes is to be like any other species of friendship. If two men happen
to feel a preference for the same woman, let them both enjoy her
conversation and be wise enough to consider sexual intercourse "a very
trivial object indeed."

I have a copy of "Political Justice," before me, with Tom Paine's
signature on the title-page. What a whirlwind all this once created,
especially with the young! Its author became one of the most-talked-of
men of his time, and Godwin's estimate of himself could not have been
higher than that his disciples set upon him. Compared with him, "Paine
was nowhere and Burke a flashy sophist." He gloried in the reputation
his book gave him, and he profited by it to the extent of a thousand
pounds; to him it was a fortune.

Pitt, who was then Prime Minister, when his attention was called to the
book, wisely remarked, "It is not worth while to prosecute the author of
a three-guinea book, because at such a price very little harm can be
done to those who have not three shillings to spare."

The following year Godwin published his one other book that has escaped
the rubbish heap of time--"The Adventures of Caleb Williams," a novel.
It is the best of what might be called "The Nightmare Series," which
would begin with "The Castle of Otranto," include his own daughter's
"Frankenstein," and end, for the moment, with Bram Stoker's "Dracula."
"Caleb Williams" has genuine merit; that it is horrible and unnatural
may be at once admitted, but there is a vitality about it which holds
your interest to the last; unrelieved by any flash of sentiment or
humor, it is still as entirely readable as it was once immensely
popular. Colman, the younger, dramatized it under the name of "The Iron
Chest," and several generations of playgoers have shuddered at the
character of Falkland, the murderer, who, and not Caleb Williams, is
the chief character. His other novels are soup made out of the same
stock, as a _chef_ would say, with a dash of the supernatural added.

Godwin had now written all that he was ever to write on which the dust
of years has not settled, to be disturbed only by some curious student
of a forgotten literature; yet he supposed that he was writing for

Meanwhile he, who had been living with his head in the clouds, became
aware of the existence of "females." It was an important, if belated,
discovery. He was always an inveterate letter-writer, and his curious
letters to a number of women have been preserved. He seems to have had
more than a passing fancy for Amelia Alderson, afterward Mrs. Opie, the
wife of the artist. He was intimate with Mrs. Robinson, the "Perdita" of
the period, in which part she attracted the attention of the Prince of
Wales. Mrs. Inchbald and Mrs. Reveley were also friends, with whom he
had frequent misunderstandings. His views on the subject of marriage
being well known, perhaps these ladies, merely to test the philosopher,
sought to overcome his objection to "that worst of institutions." If so,
their efforts were unsuccessful.

Godwin, however, seems to have exerted a peculiar fascination over the
fair sex, and he finally met one with whom, as he says, "friendship
melted into love." Godwin, saying he would ne'er consent, consented.
Mary Wollstonecraft, the author of the "Rights of Woman," now calling
herself Mrs. Imlay, triumphed. Her period of romance, followed fast by
tragedy, was for a brief time renewed with Godwin. She had had one
experience, the result of which was a fatherless infant daughter, Fanny;
and some time after she took up with Godwin, she urged upon him the
desirability of "marriage lines."

Godwin demurred for a time; but when Mary confided to him that she was
about to become a mother, a private wedding in St. Pancras Church took
place. Separate residence was attempted, in order to conform to Godwin's
theory that too close familiarity might result in mutual weariness; but
Godwin was not destined to become bored by his wife. She had
intelligence and beauty; indeed, it seems likely that he loved her as
devotedly as it was possible for one of his frog-like nature to do.
Shortly after the marriage a daughter was born, and christened Mary; and
a few days later the remains of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin were interred
in the old graveyard of St. Pancras, close by the church which she had
recently left as a bride.

No sketch of Godwin's life would be complete without the well-known
story of the expiring wife's exclamation: "I am in heaven"; to which
Godwin replied, "No, my dear, you only mean that your physical
sensations are somewhat easier."

Thus, by that "divinity that shapes our ends rough," Godwin, who did not
approve of marriage and who had no place in his philosophy for the
domestic virtues, became within a few months a husband, a widower, a
stepfather, and a father. Probably no man was less well equipped than he
for his immediate responsibilities. He had been living in one house and
his wife in another, to save his face, as it were, and also to avoid
interruptions; but this scheme of life was no longer possible. A
household must be established; some sort of a family nurse became an
immediate necessity. One was secured, who tried to marry Godwin out of
hand. To escape her attentions he fled to Bath.

But his objections to marriage as an institution were waning, and when
he met Harriet Lee, the daughter of an actor, and herself a writer of
some small distinction, they were laid aside altogether. His courtship
of Miss Lee took the form of interminable letters. He writes her: "It is
not what you are but what you might be that charms me"; and he chides
her for not being prepared faithfully to discharge the duties of a wife
and mother. Few women have been in this humor won; Miss Lee was not
among them.

Godwin finally returned to London. He was now a man approaching middle
age, cold, methodical, dogmatic, and quick to take offense. He began to
live on borrowed money. The story of his life at this time is largely a
story of his squabbles. A more industrious man at picking a quarrel one
must go far to find; and that the record might remain, he wrote
letters--not short, angry letters, but long, serious, disputatious
epistles, such as no one likes to receive, and which seem to demand and
usually get an immediate answer.

Ritson writes him: "I wish you would make it convenient to return to me
the thirty pounds I loaned you. My circumstances are by no means what
they were at the time I advanced it, nor did I, in fact, imagine you
would have retained it so long." And again: "Though you have not the
ability to repay the money I loaned you, you might have integrity enough
to return the books you borrowed. I do not wish to bring against you a
railing accusation, but am compelled, nevertheless, to feel that you
have not acted the part of an honest man."

Godwin seems to have known his weakness, for he writes of himself: "I am
feeble of tact and liable to the grossest mistakes respecting theory,
taste, and character." And again: "No domestic connection is fit for me
but that of a person who should habitually study my gratification and
happiness." This sounds ominous from one who was constantly looking for
a "female companion"; and it was to prove so.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is with a feeling of relief that we turn, for a moment, from the
sordid life of Godwin the philosopher to Godwin the dramatist. He was
sadly in need of funds, and, following the usual custom of an author in
distress, had written a tragedy, for which Charles Lamb had provided the

John Philip Kemble, seduced by Godwin's flattery and insistence, had
finally been prevailed upon to put it on the stage. Kemble had made up
his mind that all the good tragedies that could be written had been
written, and had not his objections been overruled, the tragedy,
"Antonio," would never have been produced, and one of Lamb's most
delightful essays, in consequence, never written.

With the usual preliminaries, and after much correspondence and
discussion, the night of the play came. It was produced at the Theatre
Royal, Drury Lane--what a ring it has! Lamb was there in a box next to
the author, who was cheerful and confident.

It is a pity to mutilate Lamb's account of it, but it is too long to
quote except in fragments.

     The first act swept by solemn and silent ... applause would have
     been impertinent, the interest would warm in the next act.... The
     second act rose a little in interest, the audience became
     complacently attentive.... The third act brought the scene which
     was to warm the piece progressively to the final flaming forth of
     the catastrophe, but the interest stood stone still....

     It was Christmas time and the atmosphere furnished some pretext for
     asthmatic affections. Some one began to cough, his neighbors
     sympathized with him, till it became an epidemic; but when from
     being artificial in the pit the cough got naturalized on the stage,
     and Antonio himself seemed more intent upon relieving his own lungs
     than the distress of the author, then Godwin "first knew fear," and
     intimated that, had he been aware that Mr. Kemble labored under a
     cold, the performance might possibly have been postponed.

     In vain did the plot thicken. The procession of verbiage stalked
     on, the audience paid no attention whatever to it, the actors
     became smaller and smaller, the stage receded, the audience was
     going to sleep, when suddenly Antonio whips out a dagger and stabs
     his sister to the heart. The effect was as if a murder had been
     committed in cold blood, with the audience betrayed into being
     accomplices. The whole house rose in clamorous indignation--they
     would have torn the unfortunate author to pieces if they could have
     got him.


The play was hopelessly and forever damned, and the epilogue went down
in the crash.

Over my writing-table hangs a dark oak frame containing a souvenir of
this performance--the programme which Charles Lamb used on this fateful
evening. It is badly crumpled, crumpled no doubt by Elia in his agony.
No reference is made to the play being by Godwin except a note in
Charles Lamb's handwriting which reads, "By Godwin," with the
significant words, "Damned with universal consent."

Godwin bore his defeat with philosophic calm. He appealed to friends for
financial assistance and to posterity for applause. But it was really a
serious matter. He was on the verge of ruin, and now did what many
another man has done when financial difficulties crowded thick and
fast--he married again.

A certain Mrs. Clairmont fell in love with Godwin even before she had
spoken to him. She was a fat, unattractive widow, and apparently did all
the courting. She took lodgings close by Godwin's, and introduced
herself--"Is it possible that I behold the immortal Godwin?"

This is flattery fed with a knife. When a widow makes up her mind to
marry, one of two things must be done, and quickly--her victim must run
or submit. Godwin was unable to run and a marriage was the result. Like
his first wedding, it was for a time kept a profound secret.

An idea of Godwin and his wife at this period is to be had from Lamb's
letters. He refers constantly to Godwin as the Professor, and to his
wife as the Professor's Rib, who, he says, "has turned out to be a
damned disagreeable woman, so much so as to drive Godwin's old
cronies"--among whom was Lamb--"from his house."

It was a difficult household. Mrs. Godwin had two children by her first
husband: a daughter whose right name was Mary Jane, but who called
herself Claire--she lived to become the mistress of Lord Byron and the
mother of his daughter Allegra; also a son, who was raised a pet and
grew up to be a nuisance. Godwin's immediate contribution to the
establishment was the illegitimate daughter of his first wife, who
claimed Imlay for her father, and his own daughter Mary, whose mother
had died in giving her birth. In due course there was born another son,
christened William, after his father.

Something had to be done, and promptly. Godwin began a book on Chaucer,
of whose life we know almost as little as of Shakespeare's. In dealing
with Chaucer, Godwin introduced a method which subsequent writers have
followed. Actual material being scanty, they fill out the picture by
supposing what he might have done and seen and thought. Godwin filled
two volumes quarto with musings about the fourteenth century, and called
it a "Life of Chaucer."

Mrs. Godwin--who was a "managing woman"--had more confidence in trade
than in literature. She opened a bookshop in Hanway Street under the
name of Thomas Hodgkins, the manager; subsequently in Skinner Street,
under her own name, M. J. Godwin. From this shop there issued children's
books, the prettiest and wisest, for "a penny plain and tuppence
colored," and more. "The Children's Book-Seller," as he called himself,
was presently successful, and parents presented his little volumes to
their children, with no suspicion that the lessons of piety and goodness
which charmed away selfishness were published, revised, and sometimes
written by a philosopher whom they would scarcely venture to name. It
was Godwin who suggested to Charles Lamb and his sister that the "Tales
from Shakespeare" be written. Godwin's own contributions were produced
under the name of Baldwin.

Lamb writes: "Hazlitt has written some things and a grammar for Godwin,
but the gray mare is the better horse. I do not allude to Mrs. Godwin,
but to the word grammar, which comes near gray mare, if you observe." It
would certainly surprise Godwin could he know that, while his own
"works" are forgotten, some of the little publications issued by the
"Juvenile Library," 41 Skinner Street, Snow Hill, are worth their weight
in gold.

The years passed on. Godwin lived more or less in constant terror of his
wife, of whom Lamb writes: "Mrs. Godwin grows every day in disfavor with
God and man. I will be buried with this inscription over me: 'Here lies
Charles Lamb, the woman-hater, I mean that hated one woman. For the
rest, God bless 'em, and when He makes any more, make 'em prettier.'"

As he grew older Godwin moderated his views of men somewhat, so that "he
ceased to be disrespectful to any one but his Maker"; and he once so far
forgot himself as to say "God bless you" to a friend, but quickly added,
"to use a vulgar expression." He remained, however, always prepared to
sacrifice a friend for a principle. He seemed to feel that truth had
taken up its abode in him, and that any question which he had submitted
to the final judgment of his own breast had been passed upon finally and

This search for truth has a great fascination for a certain type of
mind. It does not appear dangerous: all one has to do is thrust one's
feet in slippers and muse; but it has probably caused as much misery as
the search for the pole. The pole has now been discovered and can be
dismissed, but the search for truth continues. It will always continue,
for the reason that its location is always changing. Every generation
looks for it in a new place.


I bought this letter one hundred years to a day after it had been
written, for a sum which would have amazed its writer, and temporarily,
at least, have relieved him of his financial difficulties.]

One night Lamb, dropping in on Godwin, found him discussing with
Coleridge his favorite problem, "Man as he is and man as he ought to
be." The discussion seemed interminable. "Hot water and its better
adjuncts" had been entirely overlooked. Finally Lamb stammered out,
"Give me man as he ought _not_ to be, and something to drink." It must
have been on one of these evenings that Godwin remarked that he wondered
why more people did not write like Shakespeare; to which Lamb replied
that he could--if he had the mind to.

The older generation was passing away. Long before he died Godwin was
referred to as though he were a forgotten classic; but there was to be a
revival of interest in him, due entirely to the poet Shelley. The mere
mention of Shelley's name produced an explosion. He had been expelled
from Oxford for atheism. Reading revolutionary books, as well as writing
them, he had come across "Political Justice" and was anxious to meet the

He sought him out, eventually made the acquaintance of his daughter
Mary, by this time a beautiful and interesting girl of seventeen years,
and in due course eloped with her, deserting his wife Harriet. Where was
Godwin's philosophy now? we may well ask. At no time in his long life
was Godwin so ridiculous as in his relations with Shelley.

In their flight, Shelley and Mary had taken with them Mrs. Godwin's
daughter Claire. The mother made after the runaways post-haste and
overtook them in Calais, her arrival creating consternation in the camp
of the fugitives; but they all declined to return. In such scorn was
Shelley generally held, that the rumor that he had bought both Godwin's
daughter and his step-daughter for a sum in hand created no amazement,
the pity rather than the possibility of it being most discussed.

Financial affairs, too, in Skinner Street were going badly. From the
record of notes given and protested at maturity, one might have supposed
that Godwin was in active business in a time of panic.

"Don't ask me whether I won't take none or whether I will, but leave the
bottle on the chimleypiece and let me put my lips to it when I am so
dispoged." Such was the immortal Mrs. Gamp's attitude toward gin.
Godwin's last manner in money matters was much the same: money he would
take from any one and in any way when he must, but, like Mrs. Gamp, he
was "dispoged" to take it indirectly.

Indignant with Shelley, whose views on marriage were largely of his
teaching, Godwin refused to hold any communication with him except such
as would advance his (Godwin's) fortunes at Shelley's expense. Their
transactions were to be of a strictly business character (business with
Shelley!). We find Godwin writing him and returning a check for a
thousand pounds because it was drawn to his order. How sure he must have
been of it! "I return your cheque because no consideration can induce me
to utter a cheque drawn by you and containing my name. To what purpose
make a disclosure of this kind to your banker? I hope you will send a
duplicate of it by the post which will reach me on Saturday morning.
You may make it payable to Joseph Hume or James Martin or any other name
in the whole directory." And then Godwin would forge the name of "Joseph
Hume or James Martin or any other name in the whole directory," and
guarantee the signature by his own indorsement, and the business
transaction would be complete. Pretty high finance this, for a

Not until after the death of Harriet, when Shelley's connection with
Mary was promptly legalized, would Godwin consent to receive them. He
then expressed his great satisfaction, and wrote to his brother in the
country that his daughter had married the eldest son of a wealthy

If this world affords true happiness, it is to be found in a home where
love and confidence increase with years, where the necessities of life
come without severe strain, where luxuries enter only after their cost
has been carefully considered. We are told that wealth is a test of
character--few of us have to submit to it. Poverty is the more usual
test. It is difficult to be very poor and maintain one's self-respect.
Godwin found it impossible.

He, whose chief wish it had been to avoid domestic entanglements and who
wanted his gratification and happiness studied habitually, was living in
a storm-centre of poverty, misery, and tragedy. Claire was known to have
had a baby by Lord Byron, who had deserted her; Harriet Shelley had
drowned herself in the Serpentine; Fanny Godwin, his step-daughter,
took poison at Bristol. The philosopher, almost overcome, sought to
conceal his troubles with a lie. To one of his correspondents he refers
to Fanny's having been attacked in Wales with an inflammatory fever
"which carried her off."

Meanwhile, the sufferings of others he bore with splendid fortitude. In
a very brief letter to Mary Shelley, answering hers in which she told
him of the death of her child, he said, "You should recollect that it is
only persons of a very ordinary sort and of a pusillanimous disposition
that sink long under a calamity of this nature." But he covered folio
sheets in his complainings to her, counting on her sensitive heart and
Shelley's good-nature for sympathy and relief.

With the death of Shelley, Godwin's affairs became desperate. Taking
advantage of some defect in the title of the owner of the property which
he had leased, he declined for some time to pay any rent, meanwhile
carrying on a costly and vexatious lawsuit. Curiously enough, in the
end, justice triumphed. Godwin was obliged to pay two years' arrears of
rent and the costs of litigation. Of course, he looked upon this as an
extreme hardship, as another indication of the iniquity of the law. But
he was now an old man; very little happiness had broken in upon him, and
his friends took pity on him. Godwin was most ingenious in stimulating
them to efforts on his behalf. A subscription was started under his
direction. He probably felt that he knew best how to vary his appeals
and make them effective. So much craft one would not have suspected in
the old beggar.

One thing he always was--industrious. He finished a wretched novel and
at once began a "History of the Commonwealth." He finished "The Lives of
the Necromancers," and promptly began a novel; but with all his writings
he has not left one single phrase with which his name can be associated,
or a single thought worth thinking.

It is almost superfluous to say that he had no sense of humor. With his
head in the clouds and his feet in his slippers, he mused along.

Hazlitt tells a capital story of him. Godwin was writing a "Life of
Chatham," and applied to his acquaintances to furnish him with
anecdotes. Among others, a Mr. Fawcett told him of a striking passage in
a speech by Lord Chatham on General Warrants, at the delivery of which
he (Mr. Fawcett) had been present. "Every man's house has been called
his castle. And why is it called his castle? Is it because it is
defended by a wall, because it is surrounded with a moat? No, it may be
nothing more than a straw-built shed. It may be open to all the
elements; the wind may enter it, the rain may enter--but the king cannot

Fawcett thought that the point was clear enough; but when he came to
read the printed volume, he found it thus: "Every man's house is his
castle. And why is it called so? Is it because it is defended by a wall,
because it is surrounded with a moat? No, it may be nothing more than a
straw-built shed. It may be exposed to all the elements; the rain may
enter into it, all the winds of heaven may whistle around it, but the
king cannot,"--and so forth.

Things were going from bad to worse. Most of his friends were dead or
estranged from him. He had made a sad mess of his life and he was very
old. Finally, an appeal on his behalf was made to the government, the
government against which he had written and talked so much. It took pity
on him. Lord Grey conferred on him the post of Yeoman Usher of the
Exchequer, whatever that may be, with a residence in New Palace Yard.
The office was a sinecure, "the duties performed by menials." For this
exquisite phrase I am indebted to his biographer, C. Kegan Paul. It
seems to suggest that a "menial" is one who does his duty. Almost
immediately, however, a reformed Parliament abolished the office, and
Godwin seemed again in danger; but men of all creeds were now disposed
to look kindly on the old man. He was assured of his position for life,
and writing to the last, in 1836 he died, at the age of eighty, and was
buried by the side of Mary Wollstonecraft in St. Pancras Churchyard.

If there is to be profit as well as pleasure in the study of biography,
what lesson can be learned from such a life?

Many years before he died Godwin had written a little essay on
"Sepulchres." It was a proposal for erecting some memorial to the dead
on the spot where their remains were interred. Were one asked to
suggest a suitable inscription for Godwin's tomb it might be

                           HOW NOT TO DO IT.

In the ever-delightful "Angler," speaking of the operation of baiting a
hook with a live frog, Walton finally completes his general instructions
with the specific advice to "use him as though you loved him." In
baiting my hook with a dead philosopher I have been unable to accomplish
this. I do not love him; few did; he was a cold, hard, self-centred man
who did good to none and harm to many. As a husband, father, friend, he
was a complete failure. His search for truth was as unavailing as his
search for "gratification and happiness." He is all but forgotten. It is
his fate to be remembered chiefly as the husband of the first

What has become of the

    Wonderful things he was going to do
    All complete in a minute or two?

Where are now his novel philosophies and theories? To ask the question
is to answer it.

Constant striving for the unobtainable frequently results in neglect of
important matters close at hand--such things as bread and cheese and
children are neglected. Some happiness comes from the successful effort
to make both ends meet habitually and lap over occasionally. My
philosophy of life may be called smug, but it can hardly be called



For a time after the death of any author, the world, if it has greatly
admired that author, begins to feel that it has been imposed upon,
becomes a little ashamed of its former enthusiasm and ends by neglecting
him altogether. This would seem to have been Anthony Trollope's case, to
judge from the occasional comment of English critics, who, if they refer
to him at all, do so in some such phrase as, "About this time Trollope
also enjoyed a popularity which we can no longer understand." From one
brief paper purporting to be an estimate of his present status, these
nuggets of criticism are extracted:--

     Mr. Trollope was not an artist.

     Trollope had something of the angry impatience of the middle-class
     mind with all points of view not his own.

     "Tancred" is as far beyond anything that Trollope wrote as "Orley
     Farm" is superior to a Chancery pleading.

     We have only to lay "Alroy" on the same table with "The Prime
     Minister" to see where Anthony Trollope stands.

     It is not likely that Trollope's novels will have any vogue in the
     immediate future; _every page brings its own flavor of unreality_.
     [Italics mine.]

And in referring to Plantagenet Palliser, who figures largely in so many
of his novels, the author says:--

     Some nicknames are engaging; "Planty Pall" is not one of these. The
     man is really not worth writing about.

     "Is He Popenjoy?" is perhaps the most readable of all Mr.
     Trollope's works. It is shorter than many.

Finally, when it is grudgingly admitted that he did some good work, the
answer to the question, "Why is such work neglected?" is, "Because the
world in which Trollope lived has passed away." It would seem that
absurdity could go no further.

American judgment is in general of a different tenor, although Professor
Phelps, of Yale, in his recent volume, "The Advance of the English
Novel," dismisses Trollope with a single paragraph, in which is embedded
the remark, "No one would dare call Trollope a genius." Short, sharp and
decisive work this; but Professor Phelps is clearing the decks for
Meredith, to whom he devotes twenty or more pages. I respect the opinion
of college professors as much as Charles Lamb respected the equator;
nevertheless, I maintain that, if Trollope was not a genius, he was a
very great writer; and I am not alone.

Only a few days ago a cultivated man of affairs, referring to an
interesting contemporary caricature of Dickens and Thackeray which bore
the legend, "Two Great Victorians," remarked, "They were great
Victorians, indeed, but I have come to wonder in these later years
whether Anthony Trollope will not outlive them both." And while the mere
book-collector should be careful how he challenges the opinion of "one
who makes his living by reading books and then writing about
them,"--the phrase is Professor Phelps's,--nevertheless, when one's
opinion is supported, as mine is, by the authority of such a novelist as
our own Howells, he may perhaps be forgiven for speaking up.


Mr. Howells not long ago, in a criticism of the novels of Archibald
Marshall, refers to him as a "disciple of Anthony Trollope," whom he
calls "the greatest of the Victorians." This is high praise--perhaps too
high. Criticism is, after all, simply the expression of an opinion; the
important question is, whether one has a right to an opinion. It is easy
to understand why the author of "Silas Lapham" should accord high place
to Trollope.

Trollope can never be popular in the sense that Dickens is popular, nor
is it so necessary to have him on the shelves as to have Thackeray; but
any one who has not made Trollope's acquaintance has a great treat in
store; nor do I know an author who can be read and re-read with greater
pleasure. But to fall completely under the lure of his--genius, I was
going to say, but I must be careful--he should be read quietly--and
thoroughly: that is to say, some thirty or forty volumes out of a
possible hundred or more.

It may at once be admitted that there are no magnificent scenes in
Trollope as there are in Thackeray; as, for example, where Rawdon
Crawley in "Vanity Fair," coming home unexpectedly, finds Becky
entertaining the Marquis of Steyne. On the other hand, you will not
find in any of his best stories anything so deadly dull as the endless
talk about Georgie Osborne, aged variously five, seven, or ten years, in
the same volume. How often have I longed to snatch that infant from his
nurse and impale him on the railings of St. James's Park!

For the most part, people in Trollope's stories lead lives very like our
own, dependent upon how our fortunes may be cast. They have their
failures and their successes, and fall in love and fall out again, very
much as we do. At last we begin to know their peculiarities better than
we know our own, and we think of them, not as characters in a book, but
as friends and acquaintances whom we have grown up with. Some we like
and some bore us exceedingly--just as in real life. His characters do
not lack style,--the Duke of Omnium is a very great person indeed,--but
Trollope himself has none. He has little or no brilliancy, and we like
him the better for it. The brilliant person may become very fatiguing to
live with--after a time.

It is, however, in this country rather than in England that Trollope
finds his greatest admirers. To-day the English call him
"mid-Victorian." Nothing worse can be said. Even Dickens and Thackeray
have to fight against an injunction to this effect, which I cannot
believe is to be made permanent. Nothing is more seductive and dangerous
than prophecy, but one more forecast will not greatly increase its bulk,
and so I venture to say that, Dickens and Thackeray aside, Trollope
will outlive all the other novelists of his time. Dickens has come to
stay; Thackeray will join the immortals with two novels under his arm,
and perhaps one novel of George Eliot and one by Charles Reade will
survive; but Beaconsfield, Bulwer-Lytton, Kingsley, and a host of others
once famous, will join the long procession headed for oblivion, led by
Ann Radcliffe.

And if it be Trollope's fate to outlast all but the greatest of his
contemporaries, it will be due to the simplicity and lack of effort with
which he tells his tale. There is no straining after effect--his
characters are real, live men and women, without a trace of caricature
or exaggeration. His humor is delicious and his plots sufficient,
although he has told us that he never takes any care with them; and
aside from his character-drawing, he will be studied for the lifelike
pictures of the upper-and middle-class English society of his time. Not
one only, but all of his novels might be called "The Way We Live Now."
Someone has said that he is our greatest realist since Fielding; he has
been compared with Jane Austen, lacking her purity of style, but dealing
with a much larger world.

"I do not think it probable that my name will remain among those who in
the next century will be known as the writers of English prose fiction."
So wrote Trollope in the concluding chapter of his autobiography. And he
adds: "But if it does, that permanency of success will probably rest on
the characters of Plantagenet Palliser, Lady Glencora, and the Reverend
Mr. Crawley." Now it is as certain that Trollope is remembered as it is
that we are in the next century; but it is not so much for any single
character, or group of characters, or, indeed, any single book, that he
is remembered, as it is for the qualities I have referred to. We may not
love the English people, but we all love England; we love to go there
and revel in its past; and the England that Trollope described so
accurately is rapidly passing away; it was going perhaps more quickly
than the English people themselves knew, even before this war began.

To read Trollope is to take a course in modern English history--social
history to be sure, but just as important as political, and much more
interesting. He has written a whole series of English political novels,
it is true, but their interest is entirely aside from politics. It may
be admitted that there are dreary places in Trollope, as there are
dreary reaches on the lovely Thames, but they can be skipped, and more
rapidly; and, as Dr. Johnson says, "Who but a fool reads a book

The reason so many American girls marry, or at least used to marry,
Englishmen, was because they found them different from the men whom they
had grown up with; not finer, not as fine, perhaps, but more
interesting. It is for some such reason as this that we get more
pleasure out of Trollope than we do out of Howells, whose work, in some
respects, resembles his. And Trollope, although he frequently stops the
progress of his story to tell us what a fine thing an English gentleman
is, never hesitated to "Paint the warts," and it is not altogether
unpleasant to see the warts--on others.

Trollope takes, or appears to take, no care with his plots. The amazing
thing about him is that he sometimes gives his plot away; but this seems
to make no difference. In the dead centre of "Can You Forgive Her?"
Trollope says that you must forgive her if his book is written aright.
Lady Mason, in "Orley Farm," confesses to her ancient lover that she is
guilty of a crime; but when she comes to be tried for it, the interest
in her trial is intense; so in "Phineas Redux," where Phineas is tried
for murder, the reader is assured that he is not guilty and that it will
come out all right in the end; but this does not in the least detract
from the interest of the story. Compare with this Wilkie Collins's
"Moonstone," probably the best plot in English fiction. The moment that
you know who stole the diamond and how it was stolen, the interest is at
an end.

I have referred to the trial in "Orley Farm." It is, in my judgment, the
best trial scene in any novel. I made this statement once to a well-read
lawyer, and he was inclined to dispute the point, and of course
mentioned "Pickwick." I reminded him that I had said the best, not the
best known. Bardell vs. Pickwick is funny, inimitably funny, never to be
forgotten, but burlesque. The trial in "A Tale of Two Cities" is heroic
romance; but the trial in "Orley Farm" is real life. The only trial
which can be compared to it is Effie Deans's, which I confess is
infinitely more pathetic, too much so to be thoroughly enjoyed.

In "Orley Farm" one can see and hear Mr. Furnival, with his low voice
and transfixing eye; one knows that the witness in his hands is as good
as done for; and as for Mr. Chaffanbrass,--and did Dickens ever invent a
better name?--he knew his work was cut out for him, and he did it with
horrible skill. One sees plainly that the witnesses were trying to tell
the truth, but that Chaffanbrass, intent on winning his case, would not
let them: he was fighting, not for the truth, but for victory. The
sideplay is excellent, the suppressed excitement in the court-room, the
judge, the lawyers, are all good.

At last Mr. Furnival rises: "Gentlemen of the jury," he said, "I never
rose to plead a client's cause with more confidence than I now feel in
pleading that of my friend, Lady Mason." And after three hours he closes
his great speech with this touching bit: "And now I shall leave my
client's case in your hands. As to the verdict which you will give, I
have no apprehension. You know as well as I do that she has not been
guilty of this terrible crime. That you will so pronounce I do not for a
moment doubt. But I do hope that the verdict will be accompanied by some
expression on your part which may show to the world at large how great
has been the wickedness displayed in the accusation."

And Trollope adds: "And yet as he sat down he knew that she had been
guilty! To his ear her guilt had never been confessed; but yet he knew
that it was so, and knowing that, he had been able to speak as though
her innocence were a thing of course. That those witnesses had spoken
the truth he also knew, and yet he had been able to hold them up to the
execration of all around them as though they had committed the worst of
crimes from the foulest of motives! And more than this, stranger than
this, worse than this,--when the legal world knew,--as the legal world
soon did know,--that all this had been so, the legal world found no
fault with Mr. Furnival, conceiving that he had done his duty by his
client in a manner becoming an English barrister and an English

I have frequently heard people say that they would like to attend a
trial. It is not worth while: trials are either shocking or stupid; the
best way to see a trial is to read "Orley Farm."

Those of us who love Trollope love him for those very qualities which
cause fatigue in others. Our lives, it may be, are fairly strenuous; it
is hardly necessary for us to have our feelings wrung of an evening.
When the day is done and I settle down in my arm-chair by the crackling
wood fire, I am no longer inclined to problems, real or imaginary. I
suppose the average man does his reading with what comfort he may after
dinner; it is the time for peace--and Trollope. It may be that the
reader falls asleep. What matter? Better this, I should say, than that
he should be kept awake by the dissection of a human soul. This
vivisection business is too painful. No, give me those long descriptions
of house-parties, those chapters made up of dinner conversations, of
endless hunting scenes, of editorials from newspapers, of meetings of
the House, of teas on the Terrace, and above all, give me the
clergy--not in real life for a minute, but in the pages of Trollope.

But nothing happens, you say. I admit that there is very little blood
and no thunder; but not all of us care for blood and thunder. Trollope
interests one in a gentler way; in fact, you may not know that you have
been interested until you look at your watch and find it past midnight.
And you can step from one book to another almost without knowing it. The
characters, the situations repeat themselves over and over again; your
interest is not always intense, but it never entirely flags. You are
always saying to yourself, I'll just read one more chapter.

After you have read fifteen or twenty of his novels,--and you will
surely read this number if you read him at all,--you will find that you
are as intimate with his characters as you are with the members of your
own family, and you will probably understand them a great deal better.
Professor Phelps says that he is constantly besieged with the question:
"Where can I find a really good story?" I would recommend that he keep a
list of Trollope's best novels at hand. Surely they are in accord with
his own definition of what a novel should be--a good story well told. I
will make such a list for him if he is in any difficulty about it.

I am told by those who know, that Trollope's sporting scenes are
faultless. Never having found a horse with a neck properly adjusted for
me to cling to, I have given up riding. Seated in my easy-chair, novel
in hand, in imagination I thrust my feet into riding-boots and hear the
click of my spurs on the gravel, as I walk to my mount; for some one has
"put me up"; forgetful of my increasing girth, I rather fancy myself in
my hunting clothes. Astride my borrowed mount, following a pack of
hounds, I am off in the direction of Trumpeton Wood.

Fox-hunting, so fatiguing and disappointing in reality, becomes a
delight in the pages of Trollope. The fox "breaks" at last, the usual
accident happens, someone misjudges a brook or a fence and is thrown. If
the accident is serious, they have a big man down from London. I know
just who he will be before he arrives; and when the services of a
solicitor or man of business are required, he turns out to be an old

Although I have never knowingly killed a grouse or a partridge, being
utterly unfamiliar with the use of shooting irons of any kind, Trollope
makes me long for the first of August, that I may tell my man to pack my
box and take places in the night mail for Scotland.

And then comes the long hoped-for invitation to spend a week end at
Matching Priory; or, it may be that the Duke of Omnium's great
establishment, Gatherum Castle, is to be open to me. Dukes and
duchesses, lords and ladies, M.P.'s, with the latest news from town, of
ministries falling and forming--I have been through it all before. I
know the company; when a man enters the room, I know in advance just
what turn the gossip will take.

But, above all, the clergy! Was there ever a more wonderful gallery of
portraits? Balzac, you will say. I don't know--perhaps; but beginning
with the delightful old Warden, his rich, pompous, but very human
son-in-law, Archdeacon Grantley, Bishop Proudie and his shrewish lady,
and that Uriah Heep of clergymen, Mr. Slope--it is a wonderful
assemblage of living men and women leading everyday lives without
romance, almost without incident.

Trollope was the painter, perhaps I should say the photographer, _par
excellence_ of his time. He set up his camera and took his pictures from
every point of view. Possibly he was not a very great artist, but he was
a wonderfully skillful workman. As he says of himself, he was at his
writing-table at half-past five in the morning; he required of himself
250 words every quarter of an hour; his motto was _nulla dies sine
linea_--no wet towel around his brow. He went "doggedly" at it, as Dr.
Johnson says, and wrote an enormous number of books for a total of over
seventy thousand pounds. He looked upon the result as comfortable, but
not splendid.

"You are defied to find in Trollope a remark or an action out of
keeping with the character concerned. I would give a pound for every
such instance found by an objector, if he would give me a penny for
every strictly consistent speech or instance I might find in return." I
am quoting from a little book of essays by Street; and it seems to me
that he has here put his finger upon one of Trollope's most remarkable
qualities: his absolute faithfulness. He was a realist, if I understand
the word, but he did not care to deal much with the disagreeable or the
shocking, as those whom we call realists usually do.

His pictures of the clergy, of whom he says that, when he began to
write, he really knew very little, delighted some and offended others.
An English critic, Hain Friswell, a supreme prig, says they are a
disgrace, almost a libel; but the world knows better. On the whole his
clergy are a very human lot, with faults and weaknesses just like our
own. To my mind Mrs. Proudie, the bishop's lady, is a character worthy
of Dickens at his very best. There is not a trace of caricature or
exaggeration about her, and the description of her reception is one of
the most amusing chapters ever written. In another vein, and very
delicate, is the treatment of Mrs. Proudie's death. The old Bishop feels
a certain amount of grief: his mainstay, his lifelong partner has been
taken from him; but he remembers that life with her was not always easy;
one feels that he will be consoled.

Trollope tells an amusing story of Mrs. Proudie. He was writing one day
at the Athenæum Club when two clergymen entered the room, each with a
novel in his hand. Soon they began to abuse what they were reading, and
it turned out that each was reading one of his novels. Said one, "Here
is that Archdeacon whom we have had in every novel that he has ever
written." "And here," said the other, "is that old Duke whom he talked
about till everyone is tired of him. If I could not invent new
characters I would not write novels at all." Then one of them fell foul
of Mrs. Proudie. It was impossible for them not to be overheard.
Trollope got up and, standing between them, acknowledged himself to be
the culprit; and as to Mrs. Proudie, said he, "I'll go home and kill her
before the week is out."

"The biographical part of literature is what I love most." After his
death in 1882, his son published an autobiography which Trollope had
written some years before. Swinburne calls it "exquisitely comical and
conscientiously coxcombical." Whatever this may mean, it is generally
thought to have harmed his reputation somewhat. In it he speaks at
length of his novels: tells us how and when and where he wrote them;
expressing his opinion as dispassionately as if he were discussing the
work of an author he had never seen. Painstaking and conscientious he
may have been, but in his autobiography he shows no sign of it--on the
contrary, he stresses quantity rather than quality.

For this very reason a set--what the publishers call a "definitive
edition"--of Trollope will never be published. There is no demand for
one. Editions of him in sumptuous binding, gilt-top, with uncut (and
unopened) edges, under glass, will not be found in the houses of those
who select their books at the same time they make their choice of the
equipment of their billiard-room. The immortality of morocco Trollope
will never have; but on the open shelves of the man or woman whose
leisure hours are spent in their libraries, who know what is best in
English fiction, there will be found invariably six or ten of his novels
in cloth, by this publisher or that, worn and shapeless from much

There is frequently some discussion as to the sequence in which
Trollope's books should be read. Especially is this true of what his
American publishers, Dodd, Mead & Co., call the "Barsetshire" series and
the "Parliamentary" series. The novels forming what they term the "Manor
House" series have no particular connection with each other. They
recommend the following order:--


   The Warden
   Barchester Towers
   Dr. Thorne
   Framley Parsonage
   The Small House at Allington
   The Last Chronicle of Barset


   The Eustace Diamonds
   Can You Forgive Her?
   Phineas Finn
   Phineas Redux
   The Prime Minister
   The Duke's Children


   Orley Farm
   The Vicar of Bullhampton
   Is He Popenjoy?
   John Caldigate
   The Belton Estate

Good stories all of them; and the enthusiastic Trollopian may wish also
to read "The Three Clerks," in which Chaffanbrass is introduced for the
first time; "The Bertrams," of which Trollope says, "I do not remember
ever to have heard even a friend speak well of it"; "Castle Richmond,"
which is hard going: "Miss MacKenzie," in which there is a description
of a dinner-party _à la Russe_, not unworthy of the author of Mrs.
Proudie's reception in "Barchester Towers."

The list is by no means complete, but by this time we may have enough
and not wish to make Lotta Schmidt's acquaintance, or give a hoot "Why
Frau Frohman Raised Her Prices." I once knew but have forgotten.

Personally, Trollope was the typical Englishman: look at his portrait.
He was dogmatic, self-assertive, rather irritable and hard to control,
as his superiors in the Post-Office, in which he spent the greater part
of his life, well knew; not altogether an amiable character, one would
say. His education was by no means first-class, and his English is the
English we talk rather than the English we write; but he was able to use
it in a way sufficient for his purpose.

Listen to the conclusion of his Autobiography:--

     It will not, I trust, be supposed by any reader that I have
     intended in this so-called autobiography to give a record of my
     inner life. No man ever did so truly--and no man ever will.
     Rousseau probably attempted it, but who doubts but that Rousseau
     has confessed in much the thoughts and convictions, rather than the
     facts, of his life? If the rustle of a woman's petticoat has ever
     stirred my blood; if a cup of wine has been a joy to me; if I have
     thought tobacco at midnight in pleasant company to be one of the
     elements of an earthly paradise; if, now and again, I have somewhat
     recklessly fluttered a five-pound note over a card-table--of what
     matter is that to any reader? I have betrayed no woman. Wine has
     brought me no sorrow. It has been the companionship of smoking that
     I have loved, rather than the habit. I have never desired to win
     money, and I have lost none. To enjoy the excitement of pleasure,
     but to be free from its vices and ill effects--to have the sweet,
     and leave the bitter untasted--that has been my study. The
     preachers tell us that this is impossible. It seems to me that
     hitherto I have succeeded fairly well. I will not say that I have
     never scorched a finger--but I carry no ugly wounds.

     For what remains to me of life I trust for my happiness still
     chiefly to my work--hoping that when the power of work is over with
     me, God may be pleased to take me from a world in which, according
     to my view, there can be no joy; secondly, to the love of those who
     love me; and then to my books. That I can read and be happy while I
     am reading, is a great blessing. Could I remember, as some men do,
     what I read, I should have been able to call myself an educated

To trust for happiness chiefly to work and books,--to taste the sweet
and leave the bitter untasted,--some may call such a scheme of life
commonplace; but the most eventful lives are not the happiest--probably
few authors have led happier lives than Anthony Trollope.

One final word I am forced to say. Since this awful war broke out, I
read him in a spirit of sadness. The England that he knew and loved and
described with such pride is gone forever. It will, to the coming
generation, seem almost as remote as the England of Elizabeth. The
Church will go, the State will change, and the common people will come
into their own. The old order of things among the privileged class, much
pay for little work, will be reversed. It will be useless to look for
entailed estates and a leisure class--for all that made England a
delightful retreat to us. If England is to continue great and powerful,
as I earnestly hope and believe she is, England must be a better place
for the poor and not so enervating for the rich, or both rich and poor
are valiantly fighting her battles in vain.

  | For the row that I prize is yonder, |
  | Away on the unglazed shelves,       |
  | The bulged and the bruised octavos, |
  | The dear and the dumpy twelves.     |
  |                                     |
  |                     Austin Dobson.  |



The King of England is not a frequent visitor to the City of London,
meaning by "the City" that square mile or so of old London whose
political destinies are in the keeping of the Lord Mayor, of which the
Bank of England is almost the exact centre, St. Paul's the highest
ground, and Temple Bar the western boundary.

It might be said that the King is the only man in England who has no
business in the City. His duties are in the West End--in Westminster;
but to the City he goes on state occasions; and it so happened that
several years ago I chanced to be in London on one of them.

I had reached London only the night before, and I did not know that
anything out of the ordinary was going on, until over my breakfast of
bacon and eggs--and such bacon!--I unfolded my "Times" and learned that
their Majesties were that morning going in state to St. Paul's Cathedral
to give thanks for their safe return from India. It was not known that
they had been in any great peril in India; but royal progresses are, I
suppose, always attended with a certain amount of danger. At any rate
the King and Queen had reached home safely, and wanted to give thanks,
according to historic precedent, in St. Paul's; and the ceremony was set
for that very morning.

Inquiring at the office of my hotel in Pall Mall, I learned that the
Royal procession would pass the doors in something over an hour, and
that the windows of a certain drawing-room were at my disposal. It would
have been more comfortable to view the Royal party from a drawing-room
of the Carlton; but what I wanted to see would take place at Temple Bar;
so, my breakfast dispatched, I sallied forth to take up my position in
the crowded street.

It was in February--a dark, gloomy, typical London morning. The bunting
and decorations, everywhere apparent, had suffered sadly from the
previous night's rain and were flapping dismally in the cold, raw air;
and the streets, though crowded, wore a look of hopeless dejection.

I am never so happy as in London. I know it well, if a man can be said
to know London well, and its streets are always interesting to me; but
the Strand is not my favorite street. It has changed its character sadly
in recent years. The Strand no longer suggests interesting shops and the
best theatres, and I grieve to think of the ravages that time and Hall
Caine have made in the Lyceum, which was once Irving's, where I saw him
so often in his, and my, heyday. However, my way took me to the Strand,
and, passing Charing Cross, I quoted to myself Dr. Johnson's famous
remark: "Fleet Street has a very animated appearance; but the full tide
of human existence is at Charing Cross." As I neared the site of
Temple Bar, however, I observed that, for this morning, at any rate, the
tide was setting toward the City.

[Illustration: TEMPLE BAR AS IT IS TO-DAY]

My progress through the crowd was slow, but I finally reached my
objective point, the Griffin, which marks the spot where for many
centuries Temple Bar stood. Taking up my position just in front of the
rather absurd monument, which forms an "island" in the middle of the
street, I waited patiently for the simple but historic and picturesque
ceremony to begin.

Before long the city dignitaries began to arrive. First came the
Sheriffs and Aldermen in coaches of state, wearing their
scarlet-and-ermine robes. Finally, a coach appeared, out of the window
of which protruded the end of the great mace, emblem of City authority;
and at last the Lord Mayor himself, in all his splendor, in a coach so
wonderful in its gold and color that one might have supposed it had been
borrowed from Cinderella for the occasion.

While I was wondering how many times and under what varying conditions
this bit of pageantry had been enacted on this very spot, a slight wave
of cheering down the Strand apprised me of the approach of the Royal
procession. The soldiers who lined both sides of the street became, at a
word of command, more immovable than ever, standing at "attention," if
that is the word which turns men into statues. At the same time a band
began the national anthem, and this seemed the signal for the Mayor and
his attendants to leave their coaches and group themselves just east of
the monument. A moment later the Royal party, in carriages driven by
postilions with outriders, swept by; but the state carriage in which sat
the King and Queen was brought to a halt immediately in front of the
City party.

The Lord Mayor, carrying his jeweled sword in his hand, bowed low before
his sovereign, who remained seated in the open carriage. Words, I
presume, were spoken. I saw the Lord Mayor extend his greetings and
tender his sword to the King, who, saluting, placed his hand upon its
hilt and seemed to congratulate the City upon its being in such safe
keeping. The crowd cheered--not very heartily; but history was in the
making, and the true Londoner, although he might not like to confess it,
still takes a lively interest in these scenes which link him to the

While the City officials, their precious sword--it was a gift from Queen
Elizabeth--still in their keeping, were returning to their coaches and
taking their places, there was a moment's delay, which gave me a good
opportunity of observing the King and his consort, who looked very much
like the pictures of them we so frequently see in the illustrated
papers. The King looked bored, and I could not help noticing that he was
not nearly as interested in me as I was in him. I felt a trifle hurt
until I remembered that his father, King Edward, had in the same way
ignored Mark Twain, that day when the King was leading a procession in
Oxford Street, and Mark was on top of an omnibus, dressed to kill in
his new top-coat. Evidently kings do not feel bound to recognize men in
the street whom they have never seen before.

The Lord Mayor and his suite, having resumed their places, were driven
rapidly down Fleet Street toward St. Paul's, the Royal party following
them. The whole ceremony at Temple Bar, the shadow of former ceremonies
hardly more real, had not occupied much over five minutes. The crowd
dispersed, Fleet Street and the Strand immediately resumed their wonted
appearance except for the bunting and decorations, and I was left to
discuss with myself the question, what does this King business really

Many years ago Andrew Carnegie wrote a book, "Triumphant Democracy," in
which, as I vaguely remember, he likened our form of government to a
pyramid standing on its base, while a pyramid representing England was
standing on its apex. There is no doubt whatever that a pyramid looks
more comfortable on its base than on its apex; but let us drop these
facile illustrations of strength and weakness and ask ourselves, "In
what way are we better off, politically, than the English?"

In theory, the king, from whom no real authority flows, may seem a
little bit ridiculous, but in practice how admirably the English have
learned to use him! If he is great enough to exert a powerful influence
on the nation for good, his position gives him an immense opportunity.
How great his power is, we do not know,--it is not written down in
books,--but he has it. If, on the other hand, he has not the full
confidence of the people, if they mistrust his judgment, his power is
circumscribed: wise men rule and Majesty does as Majesty is told to do.

"We think of our Prime Minister as the wisest man in England for the
time being," says Bagehot. The English scheme of government permits,
indeed, necessitates, her greatest men entering politics, as we call it.
Is it so with us?

Our plan, however excellent it may be in theory, in practice results in
our having constantly to submit ourselves--those of us who must be
governed--to capital operations at the hands of amateurs who are
selected for the job by drawing straws. That we escape with our lives is
due rather to our youth and hardy constitution than to the skill of the

To keep the king out of mischief, he may be set the innocuous task of
visiting hospitals, opening expositions, or laying corner-stones.
Tapping a block of granite with a silver trowel, he declares it to be
"well and truly laid," and no exception can be taken to the masterly
manner in which the work is done. Occasionally, once a year or so, plain
Bill Smith, who has made a fortune in the haberdashery line, say, bends
the knee before him and at a tap of a sword across his shoulder arises
Sir William Smith. Bill Smith was not selected for this honor by the
king himself; certainly not! the king probably never heard of him; but
the men who rule the nation, those in authority, for reasons sufficient
if not good, selected Smith for "birthday honors," and he is given a
stake in the nation.

And so it goes. The knight may become a baronet, the baronet a baron,
the baron a duke--this last not often now, only for very great service
rendered the Empire; and with each advance in rank comes increases of
responsibility--in theory, at least. Have our political theories worked
out so well that we are justified in making fun of theirs as we
sometimes do? I think not. After our country has stood as well as
England has the shocks which seven or ten centuries may bring it, we may
have the right to say, "We order these things better at home."

       *       *       *       *       *

While musing thus, the Strand and Temple Bar of a century and a half ago
rise up before me, and I notice coming along the footway a tall, burly
old man, walking with a rolling gait, dressed in a brown coat with metal
buttons, knee-breeches, and worsted stockings, with large silver buckles
on his clumsy shoes. He seems like a wise old fellow, so I approach him
and tell him who I am and of my perplexities.

"What! Sir, an American? They are a race of convicts and ought to be
thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging." And then, seeing
me somewhat disconcerted, he adds less ferociously: "I would not give
half a guinea to live under one form of government rather than another."
Saying which, he turns into a court off Fleet Street and is lost to

It was only after he had disappeared that I realized that I had been
speaking to Dr. Johnson.

Just when the original posts, bars, and chains gave way to a building
known as Temple Bar, we have no means of knowing. Honest John Stow,
whose effigy in terra cotta still looks down on us from the wall of the
Church of St. Andrew Undershaft, published his famous "Survay of
[Elizabethan] London" in 1598. In it he makes scant mention of Temple
Bar; and this is the more remarkable because he describes so accurately
many of the important buildings, and gives the exact location of every
court and lane, every pump and well, in the London of his day.

Stow assures his readers that his accuracy cost him many a weary mile's
travel and many a hard-earned penny, and his authority has never been
disputed. He refers to the place several times, but not to the gate
itself. "Why this is, I have not heard, nor can I conjecture," to use a
phrase of his; but we know that a building known as Temple Bar must have
been standing when the "Survay" appeared; for it is clearly indicated in
Aggas's pictorial map of London, published a generation earlier;
otherwise we might infer that in Stow's time it was merely what he terms
it, a "barre" separating the liberties of London from Westminster--the
city from the shire. It is obvious that it gets its name from that large
group of buildings known as the Temple, which lies between Fleet Street
and the river, long the quarters of the Knights Templar, and for
centuries past the centre of legal learning in England.

Referring to the "new Temple by the Barre," Stow tells us that "over
against it in the high streets stand a payre of stockes"; and adds that
the whole street "from the Barre to the Savoy was commanded to be paved
in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of King Henry the Sixt" (this
sturdy lad, it will be remembered, began to "reign" when he was only
nine months old), with "tole to be taken towards the charges thereof."
This practice of taking "tole" from all non-freemen at Temple Bar
continued until after the middle of the nineteenth century, and fine
confusion it must have caused. The charge of two pence each time a cart
passed the City boundary finally aroused such an outcry against the
"City turnpike" that it was done away with. Whoever received this
revenue must have heartily bewailed the passing of the good old days;
for a few years before the custom was abandoned, the toll collected
amounted to over seven thousand pounds per annum.

[Illustration: OLD TEMPLE BAR

Demolished in 1666]

The first reference which seems to suggest a building dates back to the
time when "Sweet Anne Bullen" passed from the Tower to her coronation at
Westminster, at which time the Fleet Street conduit poured forth red
wine, and the city waits--or minstrels--"made music like a heavenly
noyse." We know, too, that it was "a rude building," and that it was
subsequently replaced by a substantial timber structure of classic
appearance, with a pitched roof, spanning the street and gabled at each
end. Old prints show us that it was composed of three arches--a large
central arch for vehicular traffic, with smaller arches, one on each
side, over the footway. All of the arches were provided with heavy oaken
doors, studded with iron, which could be closed at night, or when unruly
mobs, tempted to riot, threatened--and frequently carried out their
threat--to disturb the peace of the city.

The City proper terminated at Lud Gate, about halfway up Ludgate Hill;
but the jurisdiction of the City extended to Temple Bar, and those
residing between the two gates were said to be within the liberties of
the City and enjoyed its rights and privileges, among them that of
passing through Temple Bar without paying toll. Although Lud Gate was
the most important gate of the old city, originally forming a part of
the old London wall, from time immemorial Temple Bar has been the great
historic entrance to the City. At Temple Bar it was usual, upon an
accession to the throne, the proclamation of a peace, or the overthrow
of an enemy, for a state entry to be made into the City. The sovereign,
attended by his trumpeters, would proceed to the closed gate and demand
entrance. From the City side would come the inquiry, "Who comes here?"
and the herald having made reply, the Royal party would be admitted and
conducted to the lord mayor.

With the roll of years this custom became slightly modified. When Queen
Elizabeth visited St. Paul's to return thanks for the defeat of the
Spanish Armada, we read that, upon the herald and trumpeters having
announced her arrival at the Gate, the Lord Mayor advanced and
surrendered the city sword to the Queen, who, after returning it to him,
proceeded to St. Paul's. On this occasion--as on all previous
occasions--the sovereign was on horseback, Queen Elizabeth having
declined to ride, as had been suggested, in a vehicle drawn by horses,
on the ground that it was new-fangled and effeminate. For James I, for
Charles I and Cromwell and Charles II, similar ceremonies were enacted,
the coronation of Charles II being really magnificent and testifying to
the joy of England in again having a king.

Queen Anne enters the City in a coach drawn by eight horses, "none with
her but the Duchess of Marlborough, in a very plain garment, the Queen
full of jewels," to give thanks for the victories of the duke abroad;
and so the stately historic procession winds through the centuries,
always pausing at Temple Bar, right down to our own time.

       *       *       *       *       *

But to return to the actual "fabrick," as Dr. Johnson would have called
it. We learn that, soon after the accession of Charles II, old Temple
Bar was marked for destruction. It was of wood, and, although "newly
paynted and hanged" for state occasions, it was felt that something more
worthy of the great city, to which it gave entrance, should be erected.
Inigo Jones was consulted and drew plans for a new gate, his idea being
the erection of a really triumphant arch; but, as he died soon after,
his plan was abandoned. Other architects with other plans came forward.
At length the King became interested in the project and promised money
toward its accomplishment; but Charles II was an easy promiser, and as
the money he promised belonged to someone else, nothing came of it.
While the project was being thus discussed, the plague broke out,
followed by the fire which destroyed so much of old London, and public
attention was so earnestly directed to the rebuilding of London itself
that the gate, for a time, was forgotten.

Temple Bar had escaped the flames, but the rebuilding of London
occasioned by the fire gave Christopher Wren his great opportunity. A
new St. Paul's with its "mighty mothering dome," a lasting monument to
his genius, was erected, and churches innumerable, the towers and spires
of which still point the way to heaven--instructions which, we may
suspect, are neglected when we see how deserted they are; but they
serve, at least, to add charm and interest to a ramble through the City.

Great confusion resulted from the fire, but London was quick to see that
order must be restored, and it is much to be regretted that Wren's
scheme for replanning the entire burned district was not carried out.
Fleet Street was less than twenty-four feet wide at Temple Bar--not from
curb to curb, for there was none, but from house to house. This was the
time to rebuild London; although something was done, much was neglected,
and Wren was finally commissioned to build a new gate of almost the
exact dimensions of the old one.


The work was begun in 1670 and progressed slowly, for it was not
finished until two years later. What a fine interruption to traffic its
rebuilding must have occasioned! Constructed entirely of Portland
stone, the same material as St. Paul's, it consisted, like the old one,
of three arches--a large flattened centre arch, with small semicircular
arches on either side. Above the centre arch was a large window, which
gave light and air to a spacious chamber within; while on either side of
the window were niches, in which were placed statues of King James and
his Queen, Anne of Denmark, on the City side and of Charles I and
Charles II on the Westminster side.

The curious may wish to know that the mason was Joshua Marshall, whose
father had been master-mason to Charles I; that the sculptor of the
statues was John Bushnell, who died insane; and that the cost of the
whole, including the statues at four hundred and eighty pounds, was but
thirteen hundred and ninety-seven pounds, ten shillings.

The fog and soot and smoke of London soon give the newest building an
appearance of age, and mercifully bring it into harmony with its
surroundings. Almost before the new gate was completed, it had that
appearance; and before it had a chance to grow really old, there arose a
demand for its removal altogether. Petitions praying for its destruction
were circulated and signed. Verse, if not poetry, urging its retention
was written and printed.

    If that Gate is pulled down, 'twixt the Court and the City,
    You'll blend in one mass, prudent, worthless and witty.
    If you league cit and lordling, as brother and brother,
    You'll break order's chain and they'll war with each other.
    Like the Great Wall of China, it keeps out the Tartars
    From making irruptions, where industry barters,
    Like Samson's Wild Foxes, they'll fire your houses,
    And madden your spinsters, and cousin your spouses.
    They'll destroy in one sweep, both the Mart and the Forum,
    Which your fathers held dear, and their fathers before 'em.

But, attacked by strong city men and defended only by sentiment, Temple
Bar still continued to impede traffic and shut out light and air, while
the generations who fought for its removal passed to their rest. It
became the subject of jokes and conundrums. Why is Temple Bar like a
lady's veil? it was asked; the answer being that both must be raised
(razed) for busses. The distinction between a buss and a kiss, suggested
by Herrick, of whom the eighteenth-century City man never heard, would
have been lost; but we know that--

    Kissing and bussing differ both in this,
    We buss our wantons and our wives we kiss.

No account of Temple Bar would be complete without reference to the iron
spikes above the centre of the pediment, on which were placed
occasionally the heads of persons executed for high treason. This
ghastly custom continued down to the middle of the eighteenth century,
and gave rise to many stories, most of them legendary, but which go to
prove, were proof necessary, that squeamishness was not a common fault
in the days of the Georges.

To refer, however briefly, to the taverns which clustered east and west
of Temple Bar and to the authors who frequented them, would be to stop
the progress of this paper--and begin another. Dr. Johnson only voiced
public opinion when he said that a tavern chair is a throne of human
felicity. For more than three centuries within the shadow of Temple Bar
there was an uninterrupted flow of wine and wit and wisdom, with,
doubtless, some wickedness. From Ben Jonson, whose favorite resort was
The Devil, adjoining the Bar on the south side, down to Tennyson, who
frequented The Cock, on the north, came the same cry, for good talk and
good wine.

    O plump head-waiter at the Cock,
    To which I most resort,
    How goes the time? 'Tis five o'clock--
    Go fetch a pint of port.

This does not sound like the author of "Locksley Hall," but it is; and
while within the taverns, "the chief glory of England, its authors,"
were writing and talking themselves into immortality, just outside there
ebbed and flowed beneath the arches of Temple Bar, east in the morning
and west at night, the human stream which is one of the wonders of the


Meanwhile the importance of Temple Bar as a city gate was lessening; "a
weak spot in our defenses," a wit calls it, and points out that the
enemy can dash around it through the barber's shop, one door of which
opens into the City, and the other into the "suburbs"; but down to the
last it continued to play a part in City functions. In 1851 it is lit
with twenty thousand lamps as the Queen goes to a state ball in
Guildhall. A few months later, it is draped in black as the remains of
the Iron Duke pause for a moment under its arches, on the way to their
final resting-place in St. Paul's Cathedral. In a few years we see it
draped with the colors of England and Prussia, when the Princess Royal,
as the bride of Frederick William, gets her "Farewell" and "God bless
you" from the City, on her departure for Berlin. Five years pass and the
young Prince of Wales and his beautiful bride, Alexandra, are received
with wild applause by the mob as their carriage halts at Temple Bar; and
once again when, in February, 1872, Queen Victoria, the Prince and
Princess of Wales, and their Court go to St. Paul's to return thanks for
the Prince's happy recovery from a dangerous illness.

With this event the history of Temple Bar in its old location
practically ceases. It continued a few years longer a "bone in the
throat of Fleet Street"; but at last its condition became positively
dangerous, its gates were removed because of their weight, and its
arches propped up with timbers. Finally, in 1877, its removal was
decided upon, by the Corporation of London, and Temple Bar, from time
immemorial one of London's most notable landmarks, disappears and the
Griffin on an "island" rises in its stead.

"The ancient site of Temple Bar has been disfigured by Boehm with
statues of the Queen and the Prince of Wales so stupidly modeled that
they look like statues out of Noah's Ark. It is bad enough that we
should have German princes foisted upon us, but German statues are

In this manner George Moore refers to the Memorial commonly called the
Griffin, which, shortly after the destruction of the old gate, was
erected on the exact spot where Temple Bar formerly stood.

It is not a handsome object; indeed, barring the Albert Memorial, it may
be said to represent Victorian taste at its worst. It is a high,
rectangular pedestal, running lengthwise with the street, placed on a
small island which serves as a refuge for pedestrians crossing the busy
thoroughfare. On either side are niches in which are placed the lifesize
marble figures described by Moore. But this is not all: there are bronze
tablets let into the masonry, showing in _basso-rilievo_ incidents in
the history of old Temple Bar, with portraits, medallions, and other
things. This base pedestal, if so it may be called, is surmounted by a
smaller pedestal on which is placed a heraldic dragon or griffin,--a
large monster in bronze,--which is supposed to guard the gold of the

We do not look for beauty in Fleet Street, and we know that only in the
Victorian sense is this monument a work of art; but it has the same
interest for us as a picture by Frith--it is a human document. Memories
of the past more real than the actual present crowd upon us, and we
turn under an archway into the Temple Gardens, glad to forget the
artistic sins of Boehm and his compeers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ask the average Londoner what has become of old Temple Bar, and he will
look at you in blank amazement, and then, with an effort of memory, say,
"They've put it up somewhere in the north." And so it is.

On its removal the stones were carefully numbered, with a view to
reërection, and there was some discussion as to where the old gate
should be located. It is agreed now that it should have been placed in
the Temple Gardens; but for almost ten years the stones, about one
thousand in number, were stored on a piece of waste ground in the
Farrington Road. Finally, they were purchased by Sir Henry Meux, the
rich brewer, whose brewery, if out of sight, still indicates its
presence by the strong odor of malt, at the corner of Oxford Street and
Tottenham Court Road. Sir Henry Meux was the owner of a magnificent
country seat, Theobald's Park, near Waltham Cross, about twelve miles
north of London; and he determined to make Temple Bar the principal
entrance gate to this historic estate.

So to Theobald's Park, anciently Tibbals, I bent my steps one morning.
Being in a reminiscent mood, I had intended to follow in the footsteps
of Izaak Walton, from the site of his shop in Fleet Street just east of
Temple Bar, and having, in the words of the gentle angler, "stretched
my legs up Tottenham Hill," to take the high road into Hertfordshire;
but the English spring having opened with more than its customary
severity, I decided to go by rail. It was raining gently but firmly when
my train reached its destination, Waltham Cross, and I was deprived of
the pleasure I had promised myself of reaching Temple Bar on foot. An
antique fly, drawn by a superannuated horse, was secured at the railway
station, and after a short drive I was set down before old Temple Bar,
the gates of which were closed as securely against me as ever they had
been closed against an unruly mob in its old location.

Driving along a flat and monotonous country road, one comes on the old
gate almost suddenly, and experiences a feeling, not of disappointment
but of surprise. The gate does not span the road, but is set back a
little in a hedge on one side of it, and seems large for its setting.
One is prepared for a dark, grimy portal, whereas the soot and smoke of
London have been erased from it, and, instead, one sees an antique,
creamy-white structure tinted and toned with the green of the great
trees which overhang it.

Prowling about in the drenching rain, I looked in vain for some sign of
life. I shouted to King James, who looked down on me from his niche; and
receiving no reply, addressed his consort, inquiring how I was to secure

A porter's lodge on one side, almost hidden in the trees, supplied an
answer to my question, and on my giving a lusty pull at the bell, the
door was opened and a slatternly woman appeared and inquired my
business. "To look over Temple Bar," I replied. "Hutterly himpossible,"
she said; and I saw at once that tact and a coin were required. I used
both. "Go up the drive to the great 'ouse and hask for the clerk
[pronounced clark] of the works, Mr. 'Arrison; 'e may let ye hover."

I did as I was told and had little difficulty with Mr. Harrison. The
house itself was undergoing extensive repairs and alterations. It has
recently passed, under the will of Lady Meux, to its present owner,
together with a fortune of five hundred thousand pounds in money.

Many years ago Henry Meux married the beautiful and charming Valerie
Langton, an actress,--a Gaiety girl, in fact,--but they had had no
children, and when he died in 1900, the title became extinct. Thereafter
Lady Meux, enormously wealthy, without relatives, led a retired life,
chiefly interested in breeding horses. A chance courtesy paid her by the
wife of Sir Hedworth Lambton, who had recently married, together with
the fact that he had established a reputation for ability and courage,
decided her in her thought to make him her heir.

Sir Hedworth, a younger son of the second Earl of Durham, had early
adopted the sea as his profession. He had distinguished himself in the
bombardment of Alexandria, and had done something wonderful at
Ladysmith. He was a hero, no longer a young man, without means--who
better fitted to succeed to her wealth and name? In 1911 Lady Meux died,
and this lovely country seat, originally a hunting-lodge of King James,
subsequently the favorite residence of Charles I, and with a long list
of royal or noble owners, became the property of the gallant sailor. All
that he had to do was to forget that the name of Meux suggested a
brewery and exchange his own for it, and the great property was his. It
reads like a chapter out of a romance. Thus it was that the house was
being thoroughly overhauled for its new owner at the time of my visit.

But I am wandering from Temple Bar. Armed with a letter from Mr.
Harrison, I returned to the gate. First, I ascertained that the span of
the centre arch, the arch through which for two centuries the traffic of
London had passed, was but twenty-one feet "in the clear," as an
architect would say; next, that the span of the small arches on either
side was only four feet six inches. No wonder that there was always
congestion at Temple Bar.

I was anxious also to see the room above, the room in which formerly
Messrs. Child, when it had adjoined their banking-house, had stored
their old ledgers and cash-books. Keys were sought and found, and I was
admitted. The room was bare except for a large table in the centre, on
which were quill pens and an inkstand in which the ink had dried up
years before. One other thing there was, a visitor's book, which, like a
new diary, had been started off bravely years before, but in which no
signature had recently been written. I glanced over it and noticed a few
well-known names--English names, not American, such as one usually
finds, for I was off the beaten track of the tourist. The roof was
leaking here and there, and little pools of water were forming on the
floor. It was as cold as a tomb. I wished that a tavern, the Cock, the
Devil, or any other, had been just outside, as in the old days when
Temple Bar stood in Fleet Street.

The slatternly woman clanked her keys; she too was cold. I had seen all
there was to see. The beauty of Temple Bar is in its exterior, and, most
of all, in its wealth of literary and historic associations. I could
muse elsewhere with less danger of pneumonia, so I said farewell to the
kings in their niches, who in this suburban retreat seemed like monarchs
retired from business, and returned to my cab.

The driver was asleep in the rain. I think the horse was, too. I roused
the man and he roused the beast, and we drove almost rapidly back to the
station; no, not to the station, but to a public house close by it,
where hot water and accompaniments were to be had.

"When is the next train up to London?" I asked an old man at the

"In ten minutes, but you'll find it powerful slow."

I was not deceived; it took me over an hour to reach London.

As if to enable me to bring this story to a fitting close, I read in the
papers only a few days ago: "Vice-Admiral Sir John Jellicoe was to-day
promoted to the rank of Admiral, and Sir Hedworth Meux, who until now
has been commander-in-chief at Portsmouth, was appointed Admiral of the
Home Fleet."[12]

Good luck be with him! Accepting the burdens which properly go with rank
and wealth, he is at this moment cruising somewhere in the cold North
Sea, in command of perhaps the greatest fleet ever assembled. Upon the
owner of Temple Bar, at this moment, devolves the duty of keeping watch
and ward over England.

[Illustration: TEMPLE BAR]



It will hardly be questioned that the influence of the priesthood is
waning. Why this is so, it is not within the province of a mere
book-collector to discuss; but the fact will, I think, be admitted. In
the past, however, every country and almost every generation has
produced a type of priest which seems to have been the special product
of its time. The soothsayer of old Rome, concealed, perhaps, in a hollow
wall, whispered his warning through the marble lips of a conveniently
placed statue, in return for a suitable present indirectly offered;
while to-day Billy Sunday, leaping and yelling like an Apache Indian,
shrieks his admonitions at us, and takes up a collection in a
clothes-basket. It is all very sad and, as Oscar Wilde would have said,
very tedious.

Priests, prophets, parsons, or preachers! They are all human, like the
rest of us. Too many of them are merely insurance agents soliciting us
to take out policies of insurance against fire everlasting, for a fee
commensurate, not with the risk, but with our means. It is a
well-established trade, in which the representatives of the old-line
companies, who have had the cream of the business, look with disapproval
upon new methods, as well they may, their own having worked so well for
centuries. The premiums collected have been enormous, and no evidence
has ever been produced that the insurer took any risk whatever.

And the profession has been, not only immensely lucrative, but highly
honorable. In times past priests have ranked with kings: sometimes
wearing robes of silk studded with jewels; on fortune's cap the topmost
button, exhibit Wolsey; sometimes appearing in sackcloth relieved by
ashes; every man in his humor. But it is not my purpose to inveigh
against any creed or sect; only I confess my bewilderment at the range
of human interest in questions of doctrine, while simple Christianity
stands neglected.

The subject of this paper, however, is not creeds in general or in
particular, but an eighteenth-century clergyman of the Church of
England. It will not, I think, be doubted by those who have given the
subject any attention that religious affairs in England in the
eighteenth century were at a very low ebb indeed. Carlyle, as was his
habit, called that century some hard names; but some of us are glad
occasionally to steal away from our cares and forget our present
"efficiency" in that century of leisure. Perhaps not for always, but
certainly for a time, it is a relief to

... live in that past Georgian day
    When men were less inclined to say
    That "Time is Gold," and overlay

And to quote Austin Dobson again, with a slight variation:--

    Seventeen hundred and twenty-nine:--
    That is the date of this tale of mine.

    First great George was buried and gone;
    George the Second was plodding on.

    Whitefield preached to the colliers grim;
    Bishops in lawn sleeves preached at him;

    Walpole talked of "a man and his price";
    Nobody's virtue was over-nice:--

certainly not that of the clergyman of whom I am about to speak.

And now, without further delay, I introduce William Dodd. Doctor Dodd,
he came to be called; subsequently, the "unfortunate Doctor Dodd," which
he certainly considered himself to be, and with good reason, as he was
finally hanged.

William Dodd was born in Lincolnshire, in 1729, and was himself the son
of a clergyman. He early became a good student, and entering Clare Hall,
Cambridge, at sixteen, attracted some attention by his close application
to his studies. But books alone did not occupy his time: he attained
some reputation as a dancer and was noted for being very fond of dress.
He must have had real ability, however, for he was graduated with
honors, and his name appears on the list of wranglers. Immediately after
receiving his Arts degree, he set out to make a career for himself in

Young Dodd was quick and industrious: he had good manners and address,
made friends quickly, and was possessed of what, in those days, was
called "a lively imagination," which seems to have meant a fondness for
dissipation; with friends to help him, he soon knew his way about the
metropolis. Its many pitfalls he discovered by falling into them, and
the pitfalls for a gay young blade in London in the middle of the
eighteenth century were many and sundry.

But whatever his other failings, of idleness Dodd could not be accused.
He did not forget that he had come to London to make a career for
himself. He had already published verse; he now began a comedy, and the
death of the Prince of Wales afforded him a subject for an elegy. From
this time on he was prepared to write an ode or an elegy at the drop of
a hat. The question, should he become author or minister, perplexed him
for some time. For success in either direction perseverance and a patron
were necessary. Perseverance he had, but a patron was lacking.

While pondering these matters, Dodd seemed to have nipped his career in
the bud by a most improvident marriage. His wife was a Mary Perkins,
which means little to us. She may have been a servant, but more likely
she was the discarded mistress of a nobleman who was anxious to see her
provided with a husband. In any event, she was a handsome woman, and his
marriage was not his greatest misfortune.

Shortly after the wedding, we hear of them living in a small
establishment in Wardour Street, not then, as now, given over to
second-hand furniture shops, but rather a good quarter frequented by
literary men and artists. Who supplied the money for this venture we do
not know; it was probably borrowed from someone, and we may suspect that
Dodd already was headed the wrong way--or that, at least, his father
thought so; for we hear of his coming to London to persuade his son to
give up his life there and return to Cambridge to continue his studies.

Shortly after this time he published two small volumes of quotations
which he called "Beauties of Shakespeare." He was the first to make the
discovery that a book of quotations "digested under proper heads" would
have a ready sale. Shakespeare in the dead centre of the eighteenth
century was not the colossal figure that he is seen to be as we
celebrate the tercentenary of his death. I suspect that my friend Felix
Schelling, the great Elizabethan scholar, feels that anyone who would
make a book of quotations from Shakespeare deserves Dodd's end, namely,
hanging; indeed, I have heard him suggest as much; but we cannot all be
Schellings. The book was well received and has been reprinted right down
to our own time. In the introduction he refers to his attempt to present
a collection of the finest passages of the poet, "who was ever," he
says, "of all modern authors, my first and greatest favorite"; adding
that "it would have been no hard task to have multiplied notes and
parallel passages from Greek, Latin and English writers, and thus to
have made no small display of what is commonly called learning"; but
that he had no desire to perplex the reader. There is much good sense
in the introduction, which we must also think of as coming from a young
man little more than a year out of college.

As it was his first, so he thought it would be his last, serious venture
into literature, for in his preface he says: "Better and more important
things henceforth demand my attention, and I here, with no small
pleasure, take leave of Shakespeare and the critics: as this work was
begun and finish'd before I enter'd upon the sacred function in which I
am now happily employ'd."

Dodd had already been ordained deacon and settled down as a curate in
West Ham in Essex, where he did not spare himself in the dull round of
parochial drudgery. So passed two years which, looking back on them from
within the portals of Newgate Prison, he declared to have been the
happiest of his life. But he soon tired of the country, his yearning for
city life was not to be resisted, and securing a lectureship at St.
Olave's, Hart Street, he returned to London and relapsed into

A loose novel, "The Sisters," is credited to him. Whether he wrote it or
not is a question, but he may well have done so, for some of its pages
seem to have inspired his sermons. Under cover of being a warning to the
youth of both sexes, he deals with London life in a manner which would
have put the author of "Peregrine Pickle" to shame; but as nobody's
virtue was over-nice, nobody seemed to think it particularly strange
that a clergyman should have written such a book. In many respects he
reminds us of his more gifted rival, Laurence Sterne.

Dodd's great chance came in 1758, when a certain Mr. Hingley and some of
his friends got together three thousand pounds and established an asylum
for Magdalens, presumably penitent. The scheme was got under way after
the usual difficulties; and as, in the City, the best way to arouse
public interest is by a dinner, so in the West End a sermon may be made
to serve the same purpose. Sterne had talked a hundred and sixty pounds
out of the pockets of his hearers for the recently established Foundling
Hospital; Dodd, when selected to preach the inaugural sermon at Magdalen
House, got ten times as much. Who had the greater talent? Dodd was
content that the question should be put. The charity became immensely
popular. "Her Majesty" subscribed three hundred pounds, and the cream of
England's nobility, feeling a personal interest in such an institution,
and perhaps a personal responsibility for the urgent need of it, made
large contributions. The success of the venture was assured.

Dodd was made Chaplain. At first this was an honorary position, but
subsequently a small stipend was attached to it. The post was much to
his liking, and it became as fashionable to go to hear Dodd and see the
penitent magdalens on Sunday, as to go to Ranelagh and Vauxhall with,
and to see, impenitent magdalens during the week. Services at Magdalen
House were always crowded: royalty attended; everybody went.

Sensational and melodramatic, Dodd drew vivid pictures of the life from
which the women and young girls had been rescued: the penitents on
exhibition and the impenitents in the congregation, alike, were moved to
tears. Frequently a woman swooned, as was the fashion in those days, and
her stays had to be cut; or someone went into hysterics and had to be
carried screaming from the room. Dodd must have felt that he had made no
mistake in his calling. Horace Walpole says that he preached very
eloquently in the French style; but it can hardly have been in the style
of Bossuet, I should say. The general wantonness of his subject he
covered by a veneer of decency; but we can guess what his sermons were
like, without reading them, from our knowledge of the man and the texts
he chose. "These things I command you, that ye love one another," packed
the house; but his greatest effort was inspired by the text, "Whosoever
looketh on a woman." It does not require much imagination to see what he
would make out of that!

But for all his immense popularity Dodd was getting very little money.
His small living in the country and his hundred guineas or so from the
Magdalen did not suffice for his needs. He ran into debt, but he had
confidence in himself and his ambition was boundless; he even thought of
a bishopric. Why not? It was no new way to pay old debts. Influence in
high places was his; but first he must secure a doctor's degree. This
was not difficult. Cambridge, if not exactly proud of him, could not
deny him, and Dodd got his degree. The King was appealed to, and he was
appointed a Royal Chaplain. It was a stepping-stone to something better,
and Dodd, always industrious, now worked harder than ever. He wrote and
published incessantly: translations, sermons, addresses, poems, odes,
and elegies on anybody and everything: more than fifty titles are
credited to him in the British Museum catalogue.

And above all things, Dodd was in demand at a "city dinner." His
blessings--he was always called upon to say grace--were carefully
regulated according to the scale of the function. A brief "Bless, O
Lord, we pray thee" sufficed for a simple dinner; but when the table was
weighted down, as it usually was, with solid silver, and the glasses
suggested the variety and number of wines which were to follow one
another in orderly procession until most of the company got drunk and
were carried home and put to bed, then Dodd rose to the occasion, and
addressed a sonorous appeal which began, "Bountiful Jehovah, who has
caused to groan this table with the abundant evidences of thy goodness."

The old-line clergy looked askance at all these doings. Bishops, secure
in their enjoyment of princely incomes, and priests of lesser degree
with incomes scarcely less princely, regarded Dodd with suspicion. Why
did he not get a good living somewhere, from someone; hire a poor wretch
to mumble a few prayers to half-empty benches on a Sunday while he
collected the tithes? Why this zeal? When a substantial banker hears of
an upstart guaranteeing ten per cent interest, he awaits the inevitable
crash, certain that, the longer it is postponed, the greater the crash
will be. In the same light the well-beneficed clergyman regarded Dodd.

Dodd himself longed for tithes; but as they were delayed in coming, he,
in the meantime, decided to turn his reputation for scholarship to
account, and accordingly let it be known that he would board and
suitably instruct a limited number of young men; in other words, he fell
back upon the time-honored custom of taking pupils. He secured a country
house at Ealing and soon had among his charges one Philip Stanhope, a
lad of eleven years, heir of the great Earl of Chesterfield, who was so
interested in the worldly success of his illegitimate son, to whom his
famous letters were addressed, that he apparently gave himself little
concern as to the character of instruction that his lawful son received.

Dodd's pupils must have brought a substantial increase of his small
income, which was also suddenly augmented in another way. About the time
he began to take pupils, a lady to whom his wife had been a sort of
companion died and left her, quite unexpectedly, fifteen hundred pounds.
Nor did her good fortune end there. As she was attending an auction one
day, a cabinet was put up for sale, and Mrs. Dodd bid upon it, until,
observing a lady who seemed anxious to obtain it, she stopped bidding,
and it became the property of the lady, who in return gave her a
lottery ticket, which drew a prize of a thousand pounds for Mrs. Dodd.

With these windfalls at his disposal, Dodd embarked upon a speculation
quite in keeping with his tastes and abilities. He secured a plot of
ground not far from the royal palace, and built upon it a chapel of ease
which he called Charlotte Chapel, in honor of the Queen. Four pews were
set aside for the royal household, and he soon had a large and
fashionable congregation. His sermons were in the same florid vein which
had brought him popularity, and from this venture he was soon in receipt
of at least six hundred pounds a year. With his increased income his
style of living became riotous. He dined at expensive taverns, set up a
coach, and kept a mistress, and even tried to force himself into the
great literary club which numbered among its members some of the most
distinguished men of the day; but this was not permitted.

For years Dodd led, not a double, but a triple life. He went through the
motions of teaching his pupils. He preached, in his own chapels and
elsewhere, sermons on popular subjects, and at the same time managed to
live the life of a fashionable man about town. No one respected him, but
he had a large following and he contrived every day to get deeper into

It is a constant source of bewilderment to those of us who are obliged
to pay our bills with decent regularity, how, in England, it seems to
have been so easy to live on year after year, paying apparently nothing
to anyone, and resenting the appearance of a bill-collector as an
impertinence. When Goldsmith died, he owed a sum which caused Dr.
Johnson to exclaim, "Was ever poet so trusted before?" and Goldsmith's
debts were trifling in comparison with Dodd's. But, at the moment when
matters were becoming really serious, a fashionable living--St.
George's--fell vacant, and Dodd felt that if he could but secure it his
troubles would be over.

The parish church of St. George's, Hanover Square, was one of the best
known in London. It was in the centre of fashion, and then, as now,
enjoyed almost a monopoly of smart weddings. Its rector had just been
made a bishop. Dodd looked upon it with longing eyes. What a plum! It
seemed beyond his reach, but nothing venture, nothing have. On
investigation Dodd discovered that the living was worth fifteen hundred
pounds a year and that it was in the gift of the Lord Chancellor. The
old adage, "Give thy present to the clerk, not to the judge," must have
come into his mind; for, not long after, the wife of the Chancellor
received an anonymous letter offering three thousand pounds down and an
annuity of five hundred a year if she would successfully use her
influence with her husband to secure the living for a clergyman of
distinction who should be named later. The lady very properly handed the
letter to her husband, who at once set inquiries on foot. The matter was
soon traced to Dodd, who promptly put the blame on his wife, saying that
he had not been aware of the officious zeal of his consort.

The scandal became public, and Dodd thought it best to go abroad. His
name was removed from the list of the King's chaplains. No care was
taken to disguise references to him in the public prints. Libel laws in
England seem to have been circumvented by the use of asterisks for
letters: thus, Laurence Sterne would be referred to as "the Rev. L.
S*****," coupled with some damaging statement; but in Dodd's case
precaution of this sort was thought unnecessary. He was bitterly
attacked and mercilessly ridiculed. Even Goldsmith takes a fling at him
in "Retaliation," which appeared about this time. It remained, however,
for Foote, the comedian, to hold him up to public scorn in one of his
Haymarket farces, in which the parson and his wife were introduced as
Dr. and Mrs. Simony. The satire was very coarse; but stomachs were
strong in those good old days, and the whole town roared at the humor of
the thing, which was admitted to be a great success.

On Dodd's return to London his fortunes were at a very low ebb indeed. A
contemporary account says that, although almost overwhelmed with debt,
his extravagance continued undiminished until, at last, "he descended so
low as to become the editor of a newspaper." My editorial friends will
note well the depth of his infamy.

After a time the scandal blew over, as scandal will when the public
appetite has been appeased, and Dodd began to preach again: a
sensational preacher will always have followers. Someone presented him
to a small living in Buckinghamshire, from which he had a small addition
to his income; but otherwise he was almost neglected.

At last he was obliged to sell his interest in his chapel venture, which
he "unloaded," as we should say to-day, on a fellow divine by misstating
its value as a going concern, so that the purchaser was ruined by his
bargain. But he continued to preach with great pathos and effect, when
suddenly the announcement was made that the great preacher, Dr. Dodd,
the Macaroni Parson, had been arrested on a charge of forgery; that he
was already in the Compter; that he had admitted his guilt, and that he
would doubtless be hanged.

The details of the affair were soon public property. It appears that, at
last overwhelmed with debt, Dodd had forged the name of his former
pupil, now the Earl of Chesterfield, to a bond for forty-two hundred
pounds. The bond had been negotiated and the money paid when the fraud
was discovered. A warrant for his arrest was at once made out, and Dodd
was taken before Justice Hawkins (Johnson's first biographer), who sat
as a committing magistrate, and held him for formal trial at the Old
Bailey. Meanwhile all but four hundred pounds of the money had been
returned; for a time it seemed as if this small sum could be raised and
the affair dropped. This certainly was Dodd's hope; but the law had been
set in motion, and justice, rather than mercy, was allowed to take its
course. The crime had been committed early in February. At the trial a
few weeks later, the Earl of Chesterfield, disregarding Dodd's plea,
appeared against him, and he was sentenced to death; but some legal
point had been raised in his favor, and it was several months before the
question was finally decided adversely to him.

Dodd was now in Newgate Prison. There he was indulged in every way,
according to the good old custom of the time. He was plentifully
supplied with money, and could secure whatever money would buy. Friends
were admitted to see him at all hours, and he occupied what leisure he
had with correspondence, and wrote a long poem, "Thoughts in Prison," in
five parts. He also projected a play and several other literary

Meanwhile a mighty effort was set on foot to secure a pardon. Dr.
Johnson was appealed to, and while he entertained no doubts as to the
wisdom of capital punishment for fraud, forgery, or theft, the thought
of a minister of the Church of England being publicly haled through the
streets of London to Tyburn and being there hanged seemed horrible to
him, and he promised to do his best. He was as good as his word. With
his ready pen he wrote a number of letters and petitions which were
conveyed to Dodd, and which, subsequently copied by him, were presented
to the King, the Lord Chancellor, to any one, in fact, who might have
influence and be ready to use it. He even went so far as to write a
letter which, when transcribed by Mrs. Dodd, was presented to the Queen.
One petition, drawn by Johnson, was signed by twenty-three thousand
people; but the King--under the influence of Lord Mansfield, it is
said--declined to interest himself.


And this brings me to a point where I must explain my peculiar interest
in this thoroughgoing scoundrel. I happen to own a volume of manuscript
letters written by Dodd, from Newgate Prison, to a man named Edmund
Allen; and as not every reader of Boswell can be expected to remember
who Edmund Allen was, I may say that he was Dr. Johnson's neighbor and
landlord in Bolt Court, a printer by trade and an intimate friend of the
Doctor. It was Allen who gave the dinner to Johnson and Boswell which
caused the old man to remark, "Sir, we could not have had a better
dinner had there been a Synod of Cooks." The Dodd letters to Allen,
however, are only a part of the contents of the volume. It contains also
a great number of Johnson's letters to Dodd, and the original drafts of
the petitions which he drew up in his efforts to secure mitigation of
Dodd's punishment. The whole collection came into my possession many
years ago, and has afforded me a subject of investigation on many a
winter's evening when I might otherwise have occupied myself with
solitaire, did I happen to know one card from another.

Allen appears to have been an acquaintance of Dodd's, and, I judge from
the letters before me, called on Johnson with a letter from a certain
Lady Harrington, who for some reason which does not appear, was greatly
interested in Dodd's fate. Boswell records that Johnson was much
agitated at the interview, walking up and down his chamber saying, "I
will do what I can." Dodd was personally unknown to Johnson and had only
once been in his presence; and while an elaborate correspondence was
being carried on between them, Johnson declined to go to see the
prisoner, and for some reason wished that his name should not be drawn
into the affair; but he did not relax his efforts. Allen was the
go-between in all that passed between the two men. In the volume before
me, in all of Dodd's letters to Allen, Johnson's name has been carefully
blotted out, and Johnson's letters intended for Dodd are not addressed
to him, but bear the inscription, "This may be communicated to Dr.
Dodd." Dodd's letters to Johnson were delivered to him by Allen and were
probably destroyed, Allen having first made the copies which are now in
my possession. Most of Dodd's letters to Allen appear to have been
preserved, and Johnson's letters to Dodd, together with the drafts of
his petitions, were carefully preserved by Allen, Dodd being supplied
with unsigned copies. Allen in this way carried out Johnson's
instructions to "tell nobody."

Dodd's letters seem for the most part to have been written at night. The
correspondence began early in May, and his last letter was dated June
26, a few hours before he died. None of Dodd's letters seem to have been
published, and Johnson's, although of supreme interest, do not appear to
have been known in their entirety either to Hawkins, Boswell, or
Boswell's greatest editor, Birkbeck Hill. The petitions, so far as they
have been published, seem to have been printed from imperfect copies of
the original drafts. Boswell relates that Johnson had told him he had
written a petition from the City of London, but they _mended_ it. In the
original draft there are a few _repairs_, but they are in Dr. Johnson's
own hand. The petition to the King evidently did not require mending, as
the published copies are almost identical with the original.

In the petition which he wrote for Mrs. Dodd to copy and present to the
Queen, Johnson, not knowing all the facts, left blank spaces in the
original draft for Mrs. Dodd to fill when making her copy; thus the
original draft reads:--



     It is most humbly represented by ---- Dodd, the Wife of Dr. William
     Dodd, now lying in prison under Sentence of death.

     That she has been the Wife of this unhappy Man for more
     than--years, and has lived with him in the greatest happiness of
     conjugal union, and the highest state of conjugal confidence.

     That she has been therefore for--years a constant Witness of his
     unwearied endeavors for publick good and his laborious attendance
     on charitable institutions. Many are the Families whom his care has
     relieved from want; many are the hearts which he has freed from
     pain, and the Faces which he has cleared from sorrow.

     That therefore she most humbly throws herself at the feet of the
     Queen, earnestly entreating that the petition of a distressed Wife
     asking mercy for a husband may be considered as naturally exciting
     the compassion of her Majesty, and that when her Wisdom has
     compared the offender's good actions with his crime, she will be
     graciously pleased to represent his case in such terms to our most
     gracious Sovereign, as may dispose him to mitigate the rigours of
     the law.

The case of the unfortunate Dr. Dodd was by now the talk of the town. If
agitation and discussion and letters and positions could have saved him,
saved he would have been, for all London was in an uproar, and efforts
of every kind on his behalf were set in motion. He can hardly have been
blamed for feeling sure that they would never hang him. Johnson was not
so certain, and warned him against over-confidence.

Rather curiously, merchants, "city people," who, one might suppose,
would be inclined to regard the crime of forgery with severity, were
disposed to think that Dodd's sufferings in Newgate were sufficient
punishment for any crime he had committed. After all, it was said, the
money, most of it, had been returned; so they signed a monster petition;
twenty-three thousand names were secured without difficulty. But the
West End was rather indifferent, and Dr. Johnson finally came to the
conclusion that, while no effort should be relaxed (in a letter to Mr.
Allen he says, "Nothing can do harm, let everything be tried"), it was
time for Dodd to prepare himself for his fate. He thereupon wrote the
following letter, which we may suppose Allen either transcribed or read
to the unfortunate prisoner:--


     You know that my attention to Dr. Dodd has incited me to enquire
     what is the real purpose of Government; the dreadful answer I have
     put into your hands.

     Nothing now remains but that he whose profession it has been to
     teach others to dye, learn how to dye himself.

     It will be wise to deny admission from this time to all who do not
     come to assist his preparation, to addict himself wholly to prayer
     and meditation, and consider himself as no longer connected with
     the world. He has now nothing to do for the short time that
     remains, but to reconcile himself to God. To this end it will be
     proper to abstain totally from all strong liquors, and from all
     other sensual indulgences, that his thoughts may be as clear and
     calm as his condition can allow.

     If his Remissions of anguish, and intervals of Devotion leave him
     any time, he may perhaps spend it profitably in writing the history
     of his own depravation, and marking the gradual declination from
     innocence and quiet to that state in which the law has found him.
     Of his advice to the Clergy, or admonitions to Fathers of families,
     there is no need; he will leave behind him those who can write
     them. But the history of his own mind, if not written by himself,
     cannot be written, and the instruction that might be derived from
     it must be lost. This therefore he must leave if he leaves
     anything; but whether he can find leisure, or obtain tranquillity
     sufficient for this, I cannot judge. Let him however shut his doors
     against all hope, all trifles and all sensuality. Let him endeavor
     to calm his thoughts by abstinence, and look out for a proper
     director in his penitence, and May God, who would that all men
     shall be saved, help him with his Holy Spirit, and have mercy on
     him for Jesus Christ's Sake.

     I am, Sir,

Your most humble Servant,

     _June 17, 1777._

Then, in response to a piteous appeal, Johnson wrote a brief letter for
Dodd to send to the King, begging him at least to save him from the
horror and ignominy of a public execution; and this was accompanied by a
brief note.


     I most seriously enjoin you not to let it be at all known that I
     have written this letter, and to return the copy to Mr. Allen in a
     cover to me. I hope I need not tell you that I wish it success, but
     I do not indulge hope.


As the time for Dodd's execution drew near, he wrote a final letter to
Johnson, which, on its delivery, must have moved the old man to tears.
It was written at midnight on the 25th of June, 1777.

     Accept, thou great and good heart, my earnest and fervent thanks
     and prayers for all thy benevolent and kind efforts in my behalf.
     Oh! Dr. Johnson! as I sought your knowledge at an early hour in
     life, would to heaven I had cultivated the love and acquaintance of
     so excellent a man! I pray God most sincerely to bless you with the
     highest transports--the infelt satisfaction of humane and
     benevolent exertions! And admitted, as I trust I shall be, to the
     realms of bliss before you, I shall hail your arrival there with
     transports, and rejoice to acknowledge that you were my Comforter,
     my Advocate and my Friend! God be ever with you!


The original letter in Dodd's handwriting was kept by Johnson, who
subsequently showed it to Boswell, together with a copy of his reply
which Boswell calls "solemn and soothing," giving it at length in the
"Life." My copy is in Allen's hand, but there is a note to Allen in
Dodd's hand which accompanied the original, reading: "Add, dear sir, to
the many other favors conferred on your unfortunate friend that of
delivering my dying thanks to the worthiest of men. W. D."

Two other things Johnson did: he wrote a sermon, which Dodd delivered
with telling effect to his fellow convicts, and he prepared with
scrupulous care what has been called Dr. Dodd's last solemn declaration.
It was without doubt intended to be read by Dodd at the place of
execution, but unforeseen circumstances prevented. Various versions have
been printed in part. The original in Johnson's hand is before me and

     To the words of dying Men regard has always been paid. I am brought
     hither to suffer death for an act of Fraud of which I confess
     myself guilty, with shame such as my former state of life naturally
     produces; and I hope with such sorrow as The Eternal Son, he to
     whom the Heart is known, will not disregard. I repent that I have
     violated the laws by which peace and confidence are established
     among men; I repent that I have attempted to injure my fellow
     creatures, and I repent that I have brought disgrace upon my order,
     and discredit upon Religion. For this the law has sentenced me to
     die. But my offences against God are without name or number, and
     can admit only of general confession and general repentance.
     Grant, Almighty God, for the Sake of Jesus Christ, that my
     repentance however late, however imperfect, may not be in vain.

     The little good that now remains in my power, is to warn others
     against those temptations by which I have been seduced. I have
     always sinned against conviction; my principles have never been
     shaken; I have always considered the Christian religion, as a
     revelation from God, and its Divine Author, as the Saviour of the
     world; but the law of God, though never disowned by me, has often
     been forgotten. I was led astray from religious strictness by the
     Vanity of Show and the delight of voluptuousness. Vanity and
     pleasure required expense disproportionate to my income. Expense
     brought distress upon me, and distress impelled me to fraud.

     For this fraud, I am to die; and I die declaring that however I
     have offended in practice, deviated from my own precepts, I have
     taught others to the best of my knowledge the true way to eternal
     happiness. My life has been hypocritical, but my ministry has been
     sincere. I always believed and I now leave the world declaring my
     conviction, that there is no other name under heaven by which we
     can be saved, but only the name of the Lord Jesus, and I entreat
     all that are here, to join with me, in my last petition that for
     the Sake of Christ Jesus my sins may be forgiven.

Anything more gruesome and demoralizing than an eighteenth-century
hanging it would be impossible to imagine. We know from contemporary
accounts of Dodd's execution that it differed only in detail from other
hangings, which were at the time a common occurrence. His last night on
earth was made hideous by the ringing of bells. Under the window of his
cell a small bell was rung at frequent intervals by the watch, and he
was reminded that he was soon to die, and that the time for repentance
was short. At daybreak the great bell of St. Sepulchre's Church just
over the way began to toll, as was customary whenever prisoners in
Newgate were being rounded up for execution.

"Hanging Days" were usually holidays. Crowds collected in the streets,
and as the day wore on, they became mobs of drunken men, infuriated or
delighted at the proceedings, according to their interest in the
prisoners. At nine o'clock the Felon's Gate was swung open and the
prisoners were brought out. On this occasion, there were only two;
frequently there were more--once indeed as many as fifteen persons were
hanged on the same day. This was counted a great event.

Dodd was spared the ignominy of the open cart in which the ordinary
criminal was taken to the gallows, and a mourning coach drawn by four
horses was provided for him by some of his friends. This was followed by
a hearse with an open coffin. The streets were thronged. After the usual
delays the procession started, but stopped again at St. Sepulchre's,
that he might receive a nosegay which was presented him, someone having
bequeathed a fund to the church so that this melancholy custom could be
carried out. Farther on, at Holborn Bar, it was usual for the cortège to
stop, that the condemned man might be regaled with a mug of ale.

Ordinarily the route from Newgate to Tyburn was very direct, through
and along the Tyburn Road, now Oxford Street; but on this occasion it
had been announced that the procession would follow a roundabout course
through Pall Mall. Thus the pressure of the crowd would be lessened and
everyone would have an opportunity of catching a glimpse of the
unfortunate man; and everyone did. The streets were thronged, stands
were erected and places sold, windows along the line of march were let
at fabulous prices. In Hyde Park soldiers--two thousand of them--were
under arms to prevent a rescue. The authorities were somewhat alarmed at
the interest shown, and it was thought best to be on the safe side; the
law was not to be denied.

Owing to the crowds, the confusion, and the out-of-the-way course
selected, it was almost noon when the procession reached Tyburn. We do
not often think, as we whirl in our taxis along Oxford Street in the
vicinity of Marble Arch, that this present centre of wealth and fashion
was once Tyburn. There is nothing now to suggest that it was, a century
or two ago, an unlovely and little-frequented outskirt of the great
city, given over to "gallows parties."

At Tyburn the crowd was very dense and impatient: it had been waiting
for hours and rain had been falling intermittently. As the coach came in
sight, the crowd pressed nearer; Dodd could be seen through the window.
The poor man was trying to pray. More dead than alive, he was led to the
cart, on which he was to stand while a rope was placed about his neck.
There was a heavy downpour of rain, so there was no time for the
farewell address which Dr. Johnson had so carefully prepared. A sudden
gust of wind blew off the poor man's hat, taking his wig with it: it was
retrieved, and someone clapped it on his head backwards. The crowd was
delighted; this was a hanging worth waiting for. Another moment, and Dr.
Dodd was swung into eternity.

Let it be said that there were some who had their doubts as to the
wisdom of such exhibitions. Might not such frequent and public
executions have a bad effect upon public taste and morals? "Why no,
sir," said Dr. Johnson; "executions are intended to draw spectators. If
they do not draw spectators they do not answer their purpose. The old
method is satisfactory to all parties. The public is gratified by a
procession, the criminal is supported by it." And his biographer,
Hawkins, remarks complacently: "We live in an age in which humanity is
the fashion."

       *       *       *       *       *

"And so they have hanged Dodd for forgery, have they?" casually remarked
the Bishop of Bristol, from the depths of his easy-chair. "I'm sorry to
hear it."

"How so, my Lord?"

"Because they have hanged him for the least of his crimes."



My interest in Oscar Wilde is a very old story: I went to hear him
lecture when I was a boy, and, boy-like, I wrote and asked him for his
autograph, which he sent me and which I still have.

It seems strange that I can look back through thirty years to his visit
to Philadelphia, and in imagination see him on the platform of old
Horticultural Hall. I remember, too, the discussion which his visit
occasioned, preceded as it was by the publication in Boston of his
volume of poems, the English edition having been received with greater
cordiality than usually marks a young poet's first production--for such
it practically was.

At the time of his appearance on the lecture platform he was a large,
well-built, distinguished-looking man, about twenty-six years old, with
rather long hair, generally wearing knee-breeches and silk stockings.
Any impressions which I may have received of this lecture are now very
vague. I remember that he used the word "renaissance" a good deal, and
that at the time it was a new word to me; and it has always since been a
word which has rattled round in my head very much as the blessed word
"Mesopotamia" did in the mind of the old lady, who remarked that no
one should deprive her of the hope of eternal punishment.


_From an original drawing by Aubrey Beardsley_]

Now, it would be well at the outset, in discussing Oscar Wilde, to
abandon immediately all hope of eternal punishment--for others. My
subject is a somewhat difficult one, and it is not easy to speak of
Wilde without overturning some of the more or less fixed traditions we
have grown up with. We all have a lot of axioms in our systems, even if
we are discreet enough to keep them from our tongues; and to do Wilde
justice, it is necessary for us to free ourselves of some of these. To
make my meaning clear, take the accepted one that genius is simply the
capacity for hard work. This is all very well at the top of a copy-book,
or to repeat to your son when you are didactically inclined; but for the
purposes of this discussion, this and others like it should be
abandoned. Having cleared our minds of cant, we might also frankly admit
that a romantic or sinful life is, generally speaking, more interesting
than a good one.

Few men in English literature have lived a nobler, purer life than
Robert Southey, and yet his very name sets us a-yawning, and if he lives
at all it is solely due to his little pot-boiler, become a classic, the
"Life of Nelson." The two great events in Nelson's life were his meeting
with Lady Emma Hamilton and his meeting with the French. Now, disguise
it as we may, it still remains true that, in thinking of Nelson, we
think as much of Lady Emma as we do of Trafalgar. Of course, in saying
this I realize that I am not an Englishman making a public address on
the anniversary of the great battle.

Southey's life gives the lie to that solemn remark about genius being
simply a capacity for hard work: if it were so, he would have ranked
high; he worked incessantly, produced his to-day neglected poems,
supported his family and contributed toward the support of the families
of his friends. He was a good man, and worked himself to death; but he
was not a genius.

On the other hand, Wilde was; but his life was not good, it was not
pure; he did injury to his friends; and to his wife and children, the
greatest wrong a man could do them, so that she died of a broken heart,
and his sons live under an assumed name; yet, notwithstanding all this,
perhaps to some extent by reason of it, he is a most interesting
personality, and no doubt his future place in literature will be to some
extent influenced by the fate which struck him down just at the moment
of his greatest success.

Remembering Dr. Johnson's remark that in lapidary work a man is not upon
oath, it has always seemed to me that something like the epitaph he
wrote for Goldsmith's monument in Westminster Abbey might with equal
justice have been carved upon Wilde's obscure tombstone in a neglected
corner of Bagneux Cemetery in Paris. The inscription I refer to
translates: "He left scarcely any style of writing untouched and touched
nothing that he did not adorn."

I am too good a Goldsmithian to compare Goldsmith, with all his faults
and follies, to Wilde, with his faults and follies, and vices
superadded; but Wilde wrote "Dorian Gray," a novel original and powerful
in conception, as powerful as "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"; and remembering
that Wilde was also an essayist, a poet, and a dramatist, I think we may
fairly say that he too touched nothing that he did not adorn.

But, to begin at the beginning. Wilde was not especially fortunate in
his parents. His father was a surgeon-oculist of Dublin, and was
knighted by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland--just why, does not appear,
nor is it important; his son always seemed a little ashamed of the
incident. His mother was the daughter of a clergyman of the Church of
England. She was "advanced" for her time, wrote prose and verse, under
the _nom de plume_ of "Speranza," which were published frequently in a
magazine, which was finally suppressed for sedition. If Lady Wilde was
emancipated in thought, of her lord it may be said that he put no
restraint whatever upon his acts. They were a brilliant, but what we
would call to-day a Bohemian, couple. I have formed an impression that
the father, in spite of certain weaknesses of character, was a man of
solid attainments, while of the mother someone has said that she
reminded him of a tragedy queen at a suburban theatre. This is awful.

Oscar Wilde was a second son, born in Dublin, on the 16th of October,
1854. He went to a school at Enniskillen, afterwards to Trinity
College, Dublin, and finally to Magdalen College, Oxford. He had already
begun to make a name for himself at Trinity, where he won a gold medal
for an essay on the Greek comic poets; but when, in June, 1878, he
received the Newdigate Prize for English verse for a poem, "Ravenna,"
which was recited at the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford, it can fairly be
said that he had achieved distinction.

While at Magdalen, Wilde is said to have fallen under the influence of
Ruskin, and spent some time in breaking stones on the highways, upon
which operation Ruskin was experimenting. It may be admitted that the
work for its own sake never attracted Wilde: it was the reward which
followed--breakfast-parties, with informal and unlimited talk, in
Ruskin's rooms.

One does not have to read much of Wilde to discover that he had as great
an aversion to games, which kept him in the open, as to physical labor.
Bernard Shaw, that other Irish enigma, who in many ways of thought and
speech resembles Wilde, when asked what his recreations were, replied,
"Anything except sport." Wilde said that he would not play cricket
because of the indecent postures it demanded; fox-hunting--his phrase
will be remembered--was "the unspeakable after the uneatable." But he
was the leader, if not the founder, of the æsthetic cult, the symbols of
which were peacock-feathers, sunflowers, lilies, and blue china. His
rooms, perhaps the most talked about in Oxford, were beautifully
paneled in oak, decorated with porcelain supposed to be very valuable,
and hung with old engravings. From the windows there was a lovely view
of the River Cherwell and the beautiful grounds of Magdalen College.

He soon made himself the most talked-of person in the place: abusing his
foes, who feared his tongue. His friends, as he later said of someone,
did not care for him very much--no one cares to furnish material for
incessant persiflage.

When he left Oxford Oscar Wilde was already a well-known figure: his
sayings were passed from mouth to mouth, and he was a favorite subject
for caricature in the pages of "Punch." Finally, he became known to all
the world as Bunthorne in Gilbert and Sullivan's opera, "Patience." From
being the most talked-of man in Oxford, he became the most talked-of man
in London--a very different thing: many a reputation has been lost on
the road between Oxford and London. His reputation, stimulated by long
hair and velveteen knee-breeches, gave Whistler a chance to say, "Our
Oscar is knee plush ultra." People compared him with Disraeli. When he
first became the talk of the town, great things were expected of him;
just what, no one presumed to say. To keep in the going while the going
was good, Wilde published his volume of Poems (1881); it followed that
everyone wanted to know what this singular young man had to say for
himself, and paid half a guinea to find out. The volume immediately
went through several editions, and, as I have mentioned, was reprinted
in this country.

Of these poems the "Saturday Review" said,--and I thank the "Saturday
Review" for teaching me these words, for I think they fitly describe
nine tenths of all the poetry that gets itself published,--"Mr. Wilde's
verses belong to a class which is the special terror of the reviewers,
the poetry which is neither good nor bad, which calls for neither praise
nor blame, and in which one searches in vain for any personal touch of
thought or music."

It was at this point in his career that Wilde determined to show himself
to us: he came to America to lecture; was, of course, interviewed on his
arrival in New York, and spoke with the utmost disrespect of the


_From a contemporary English caricature_]

Considering how little ballast Wilde carried, his lectures here were a
great success: "Nothing succeeds like excess." He spoke publicly over
two hundred times, and made what was, for him, a lot of money. Looking
back, it seems a daring thing to do; but Wilde was always doing daring
things. To lecture in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston was all very
well; but it would seem to have required courage for Wilde, fresh from
Oxford, his reputation based on impudence, long hair, knee-breeches, a
volume of poems, and some pronounced opinions on art, to take himself,
seriously, west to Omaha and Denver, and north as far as Halifax.
However, he went and returned alive, with at least one story which
will never die. It was Wilde who said that he had seen in a dance-hall
in a mining-camp the sign, "Don't shoot the pianist; he is doing his
best." The success of this story was instant, and probably prompted him
to invent the other one, that he had heard of a man in Denver who,
turning his back to examine some lithographs, had been shot through the
head, which gave Wilde the chance of observing how dangerous it is to
interest one's self in bad art. He remarked also that Niagara Falls
would have been more wonderful if the water had run the other way.

On his return to England he at once engaged attention by his remark,
"There is nothing new in America--except the language." Of him, it was
observed that Delmonico had spoiled his figure. From London he went
almost immediately to Paris, where he found sufficient reasons for
cutting his hair and abandoning his pronounced habiliments. Thus he
arrived, as he said of himself, at the end of his second period.

Wilde spoke French fluently and took steps to make himself at home in
Paris; with what success, is not entirely clear. He made the
acquaintance of distinguished people, wrote verses, and devoted a good
deal of time to writing a play for Mary Anderson, "The Duchess of
Padua," which was declined by her and was subsequently produced in this
country by Lawrence Barrett and Minna Gale. In spite of their efforts,
it lived for but a few nights.

Meanwhile it cost money to live in Paris, especially to dine at
fashionable cafés, and Wilde decided to return to London; but making
ends meet is no easier there than elsewhere. He wrote a little, lectured
when he could, and having spent the small inheritance he had received
from his father, it seemed that "Exit Oscar" might fairly be written
against him.

But to the gratification of some, and the surprise of all, just about
this time came the announcement of his marriage to a beautiful and
charming lady of some fortune, Constance Lloyd, the daughter of a
deceased barrister. Whistler sent a characteristic wire to the church:
"May not be able to reach you in time for ceremony; don't wait." Indeed,
it may here be admitted that in an encounter between these wits it was
Jimmie Whistler who usually scored.

Of Whistler as an artist I know nothing. My friends the Pennells, at the
close of their excellent biography, say, "His name and fame will live
forever." This is a large order, but of Whistler, with his rapier-like
wit, it behooved all to beware. In a weak moment Wilde once voiced his
appreciation of a good thing of Whistler's with, "I wish I had said
that." Quick as a flash, Jimmie's sword was through him, and forever:
"Never mind, Oscar, you will." It may be that the Pennells are right.

But to return. With Mrs. Wilde's funds, her husband's taste, and
Whistler's suggestions, a house was furnished and decorated in Tite
Street, Chelsea, and for a time all went well. But it soon became
evident that some fixed income, certain, however small, was essential;
fugitive verse and unsigned articles in magazines afford small resource
for an increasing family. Two sons were born, and, driven by the spur of
necessity, Wilde became the Editor of "The Woman's World," and for a
time worked as faithfully and diligently as his temperament permitted;
but it was the old story of Pegasus harnessed to the plough.

Except for editorial work, the next few years were unproductive. "Dorian
Gray," Wilde's one novel, appeared in the summer of 1890. It is
exceedingly difficult to place: his claim that it was the work of a few
days, written to demonstrate to some friends his ability to write a
novel, may be dismissed as untrue--there is internal evidence to the
contrary. It was probably written slowly, as most of his work was. In
its first form it appeared in "Lippincott's Magazine" for July, 1890;
but it was subjected to careful revision for publication in book form.
Wilde always claimed that he had no desire to be a popular novelist--"It
is far too easy," he said.

"Dorian Gray" is an interesting and powerful, but artificial,
production, leaving a bitter taste, as of aloes in the mouth: one feels
as if one had been handling a poison. The law compels certain care in
the use of explosives, and poisons, it is agreed, are best kept in
packages of definite shape and color, that they may by their external
appearance challenge the attention of the thoughtless. Only Roosevelt
can tell without looking what book should and what should not bear the
governmental stamp, "Guaranteed to be pure and wholesome under the food
and drugs act." Few, I think, would put this label on "Dorian Gray."
Wilde's own criticism was that the book was inartistic because it has a
moral. It has, but it is likely to be overlooked in its general
nastiness. In "Dorian Gray" he betrays for the first and perhaps the
only time the decadence which was subsequently to be the cause of his

I have great admiration for what is called, and frequently ridiculed as,
the artistic temperament, but I am a believer also in the sanity of true
genius, especially when it is united, as it was in the case of Charles
Lamb, with a fine, manly, honest bearing toward the world and the things
in it; but alone it may lead us to yearn with Wilde

    To drift with every passion till my soul
    Is a stringed lute on which all winds can play.

It has been suggested on good authority that it is very unpleasant to
wear one's heart upon one's sleeve. To expose one's soul to the
elements, however interesting in theory, must be very painful in
practice: Wilde was destined to find it so.

Why the story escaped success at the hands of the adapter for the stage,
I never could understand. The clever talk of the characters in the novel
should be much more acceptable in the quick give-and-take of a society
play than it is in a narrative of several hundred pages; moreover, it
abounds in situations which are intensely dramatic, leading up to an
overwhelming climax; probably it was badly done.

It is with a feeling of relief that one turns from "Dorian Gray"--which,
let us agree, is a book which a young girl would hesitate to put in the
hands of her mother--to Wilde's other prose work, so different in
character. Of his shorter stories, his fairy tales and the rest, it
would be a delight to speak: many of them are exquisite, and all as pure
and delicate as a flower, with as sweet a perfume. They do not know
Oscar Wilde who have not read "The Young King and the Star Child," and
the "Happy Prince." That they are the work of the same brain that
produced "Dorian Gray" is almost beyond belief.

What a baffling personality was Wilde's! Here is a man who has really
done more than William Morris to make our homes artistic, and who is at
one with Ruskin in his effort that our lives should be beautiful; he had
a message to deliver, yet, by reason of his flippancy and his love of
paradox, he is not yet rated at his real worth. It is difficult for one
who is first of all a wit to make a serious impression on his listeners.
I think it is Gilbert who says, "Let a professed wit say, 'pass the
mustard,' and the table roars."

Wilde was a careful and painstaking workman, serious as an artist,
whatever he may have been as a man; and in the end he became a great
master of English prose, working in words as an artist does in color,
trying first one and then another until he had secured the desired
effect, the effect of silk which Seccombe speaks of. But he affected
idleness. A story is told of his spending a week-end at a country house.
Pleading the necessity of working while the humor was on, he begged to
be excused from joining the other guests. In the evening at dinner his
hostess asked him what he had accomplished, and his reply is famous.
"This morning," he said, "I put a comma in one of my poems." Surprised
and amused, the lady inquired whether the afternoon's work had been
equally exhausting. "Yes," said Wilde, passing his hand wearily over his
brow, "this afternoon I took it out again."

Just about the time that London had made up its mind that Wilde was
nothing but a clever man about town, welcome as a guest because of the
amusement he afforded, "The Soul of Man Under Socialism" appeared in the
"Fortnightly Magazine" for February, 1891. London was at once challenged
and amazed. This essay opens with a characteristic statement, one of
those peculiarly inverted paradoxes for which Wilde was shortly to
become famous. "Socialism," he says, "would relieve us from the sordid
necessity of living for others"; and what follows is Wilde at his very

What is it all about? I am not sure that I know: it seems to be a plea
for the individual, perhaps it is a defense of the poor; it is said to
have been translated into the languages of the downtrodden, the Jew, the
Pole, the Russian, and to be a comfort to them; I hope it is. Do such
outpourings do any good, do they change conditions, is the millennium
brought nearer thereby? I hope so. But if it is comforting for the
downtrodden, whose wants are ill supplied, it is a sheer delight for the
downtreader who, free from anxiety, sits in his easy-chair and enjoys
its technical excellence.

I know nothing like it: it is as fresh as paint, and like fresh paint it
sticks to one; in its brilliant, serious, and unexpected array of
fancies and theories, in truths inverted and distorted, in witticisms
which are in turn tender and hard as flint, one is delighted and
bewildered. Wilde has only himself to blame if this, a serious and
beautiful essay, was not taken seriously. "The Soul of Man Under
Socialism" is the work of a consummate artist who, taking his ideas,
disguises and distorts them, polishing them the while until they shine
like jewels in a rare and unusual setting. Naturally, almost every other
line in such a work is quotable: it seems to be a mass of quotations
which one is surprised not to have heard before.

Interesting as Wilde's other essays are, I will not speak of them; with
the exception of "Pen, Pencil and Poison," a study of Thomas Griffiths
Wainewright, the poisoner, they will inevitably be forgotten.

Of Wilde's poems I am not competent to speak: they are full of Arcady
and Eros; nor am I of those who believe that "every poet is the
spokesman of God." A book-agent once called on Abraham Lincoln and
sought to sell him a book for which the President had no use. Failing,
he asked Lincoln if he would not write an indorsement of the work which
would enable him to sell it to others. Whereupon the President, always
anxious to oblige, with a humor entirely his own, wrote, "Any one who
likes this kind of book will find it just the kind of book they like."
So it is with Wilde's poetry: by many it is highly esteemed, but I am
inclined to regard it as a part of his "literary wild oats."

After several attempts in the field of serious drama, in which he was
unsuccessful, by a fortunate chance he turned his attention to the
lighter forms of comedy, in which he was destined to count only the
greatest as his rivals. Pater says these comedies have been unexcelled
since Sheridan; this is high praise, though not too high; but it is
rather to contrast than to compare such a grand old comedy as the
"School for Scandal" with, say, "The Importance of Being Earnest." They
are both brilliant, both artificial; they both reflect in some manner
the life and the atmosphere of their time; but the mirror which Sheridan
holds up to nature is of steel and the picture is hard and cold; Wilde,
on the other hand, uses an exaggerating glass, which seems specially
designed to reflect warmth and fluffiness.

Wilde was the first to produce a play which depends almost entirely for
its success on brilliant talk. In this field Shaw is now conspicuous: he
can grow the flower now because he has the seed. It was Wilde who taught
him how, Wilde who, in four light comedies, gave the English stage
something it had been without for a century. His comedies are
irresistibly clever, sparkle with wit, with a flippant and insolent
levity, and withal have a theatrical dexterity which Shaw's are almost
entirely without. While greatly inferior in construction to Pinero's,
they are as brilliantly written; the plots amount to almost nothing:
talk, not the play, is the thing; and but for their author's eclipse
they would be as constantly on the boards to-day in this country and in
England as they are at present on the Continent.

The first comedy, "Lady Windermere's Fan," was produced at the St.
James's, February 22, 1892. Its success, despite the critics, was
instant: full of saucy repartee, overwrought with epigrams of the
peculiar kind conspicuous in the "Soul of Man," it delighted the
audience. "Punch" made a feeble pun about Wilde's play being tame,
forgetting the famous dictum that the great end of a comedy is to make
the audience merry; and this end Wilde had attained, and he kept his
audiences in the same humor for several years--until the end. Of his
plays this is, perhaps, the best known in this country. It was
successfully given in New York, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, only a year
or two ago. It might, I think, be called his "pleasant play": for a time
it looks as if a pure wife were going astray, but the audience is not
kept long in suspense: the plot can be neglected and the lines enjoyed,
with the satisfactory feeling that it will all come out right in the

"A Woman of No Importance" is in my judgment the least excellent of his
four comedies; it might be called his "unpleasant" play: it is two acts
of sheer talk, in Wilde's usual vein, and two acts of acting. The plot
is, as usual, insignificant. A certain lazy villain in high official
position meets a young fellow and offers him a post as his secretary.
The boy, much pleased, introduces his mother, and the villain discovers
that the boy is his own son. The son insists that the father should
marry his mother, but she declines. The father offers to make what
amends he can, loses his temper, and refers to the lady as a woman of no
importance; for which he gets his face well smacked. The son marries a
rich American Puritan. This enables Wilde to be very witty at the
expense of American fathers, mothers, and daughters. Tree played the
villain very well, it is said.

Never having seen Wilde's next play acted, I once innocently framed this
statement for the domestic circle: "I have never seen 'An Ideal
Husband'"; and when my wife sententiously replied that she had never
seen one either, I became careful to be more explicit in future
statements. No less clever than the others, it has plot and action, and
is interesting to the end. Of all his plays it is the most dramatic. On
its first production it was provided with a splendid cast, including
Lewis Waller, Charles Hawtrey, Julia Neilson, Maude Millett, and Fanny
Brough. In the earlier plays all the characters talked Oscar Wilde; in
this Wilde took the trouble, for it must have been to him a trouble, to
conceal himself and let his people speak for themselves: they stay in
their own characters in what they do as well as in what they say. "An
Ideal Husband" was produced at the Haymarket early in 1895, and a few
weeks later, at the St. James's, "The Importance of Being Earnest."

Wilde called this a trivial comedy for serious people. It is clever
beyond criticism; but, as one critic says, one might as well sit down
and gravely discuss the true inwardness of a soufflé. In it Wilde fairly
lets himself loose; such talk there never was before; it fairly bristles
with epigram; the plot is a farce; it is a mental and verbal
extravaganza. Wilde was at his best, scintillating as he had never done
before, and doing it for the last time. He is reported to have said that
the first act is ingenious, the second beautiful, and the third
abominably clever. Ingenious it is, but its beauty and cleverness are
beyond praise. To have seen the lovely Miss Millard as Cecily, the
country girl, to have heard her tell Gwendolen, the London society queen
(Irene Vanbrugh), that "flowers are as common in the country as people
are in London," is a delight never to be forgotten.

Wilde was now at the height of his fame. That the licenser of the stage
had forbidden the performance of "Salome" was a disappointment; but
Sarah Bernhardt had promised to produce it in Paris, and, not thinking
that when his troubles came upon him she would break her word, he was
able to overcome his chagrin.

Only a year or two before, he had been in need, if not in abject
poverty. He was now in receipt of large royalties. No form of literary
effort makes money faster than a successful play. Wilde had two, running
at the best theatres. His name was on every lip in London; even the
cabbies knew him by sight; he had arrived at last, but his stay was only
for a moment. Against the advice and wishes of his friends, with "fatal
insolence," he adopted a course which, had he been capable of thought,
he must have seen would inevitably lead to his destruction.

To those mental scavengers, the psychologists, I leave the determination
of the exact nature of the disease which was the cause of Wilde's
downfall: it is enough for me to know that whom the gods would destroy
they first make mad.

The next two years Wilde spent in solitary and degrading seclusion; his
sufferings, mental and physical, can be imagined. Many have fallen from
heights greater than his, but none to depths more humiliating. Many
noble men and dainty women have been subjected to greater indignities
than he, but they have been supported by their belief in the justice or
honor of the cause for which they suffered.

Wilde was not, however, sustained by the consciousness of innocence, nor
was he so mentally dwarfed as to be unable to realize the awfulness of
his fate. The literary result was "De Profundis." Written while in
prison, in the form of a letter to his friend Robert Ross, it was not
published until five years after his death: indeed, only about one
third of the whole has as yet appeared in English.

"De Profundis" may be in parts offensive, but as a specimen of English
prose it is magnificent; it is by way of becoming a classic: no student
of literature can neglect this cry of a soul lost to this world, intent
upon proving--I know not what--that art is greater than life, perhaps.
Much has been written in regard to it: by some it is said to show that
even at the time of his deepest degradation he did not appreciate how
low he had fallen; that to the last he was only a _poseur_--a
phrase-maker; that, genuine as his sorrow was, he nevertheless was
playing with it, and was simply indulging himself in rhetoric when he
said, "I, once a lord of language, have no words in which to express my
anguish and my shame."

One would say that it was not the sort of book which would become
popular; nevertheless, more than twenty editions have been published in
English, and it has been translated into French, German, Italian, and

It was inevitable that "De Profundis" should become the subject of
controversy: Oscar Wilde's sincerity has always been challenged; he was
called affected. His answer to this charge is complete and conclusive:
"The value of an idea has nothing whatever to do with the sincerity of
the man who expresses it."

For many years, indeed until quite recently, his name cast a blight over
all his work. This was inevitable, but it was inevitable also that the
work of such a genius should sooner or later be recognized.

Only a few years ago I heard a cultured lady say, "I never expected to
hear his name mentioned in polite society again." But the time is
rapidly approaching when Oscar Wilde will come into his own, when he
will be recognized as one of the greatest and most original writers of
his time. When shall we English-speaking people learn that a man's work
is one thing and his life another?

It is much to be regretted that Wilde's life did not end with "De
Profundis"; but his misfortunes were to continue. After his release from
prison he went to France, where he lived under the name of Sebastian
Melmoth: but as Sherard, his biographer, says, "He hankered after
respectability." It was no longer the social distinction which the
unthinking crave when they have all else: this great writer, he who had
been for a brief moment the idol of cultured London, sought mere
respectability, and sought it in vain.

Only when he was neglected and despised, miserable and broken in spirit,
sincere feeling at last overcame the affectation which was his real
nature and he wrote his one great poem, "The Ballad of Reading Gaol." No
longer could the "Saturday Review" "search in vain for the personal
touch of thought and music": the thought is there, very simple and
direct and personal without a doubt: the music is no longer the
modulated noise of his youth. The Ballad is an almost faultless work of
art. What could be more impressive than the description of daybreak in

    At last I saw the shadowed bars,
    Like a lattice wrought in lead,
    Move right across the whitewashed wall
    That faced my three-plank bed,
    And I knew that somewhere in the world
    God's dreadful dawn was red.

The life begun with such promise drew to a close: an outcast, deserted
by his friends, the few who remained true to him he insulted and abused.
He became dissipated, wandered from France to Italy and back again. In
mercy it were well to draw the curtain. The end came in Paris with the
close of the century he had done so much to adorn. He died on November
30, 1900, and was buried, by his faithful friend, Robert Ross, in a
grave which was leased for a few years in Bagneux Cemetery.

The kindness of Robert Ross to Oscar Wilde is one of the most touching
things in literary history. The time has not yet come to speak of it at
length, but the facts are known and will not always be withheld. Owing
largely to his efforts, a permanent resting-place was secured a few
years ago in the most famous cemetery in France, the Père Lachaise.
There, in an immense sarcophagus of granite, curiously carved, were
placed the remains of him who wrote:--

"Society, as we have constituted it, will have no place for me, has none
to offer; but Nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike,
will have clefts in the rock where I may hide, and sweet valleys in
whose silence I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars
so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send
the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt; she
will cleanse me in great waters and with bitter herbs make me whole."

It is too early to judge Wilde's work entirely apart from his life: to
do so will always be difficult: we could do so the sooner if we had a
Dr. Johnson among us to speak with authority and say, "Let not his
misfortunes be remembered, he was a very great man."




To have been born and lived all his life in Philadelphia, yet to be best
known in London and New York; to have been the eldest son of a rich man
and the eldest grandson of one of the richest men in America, yet of so
quiet and retiring a disposition as to excite remark; to have been but a
few years out of college, yet to have achieved distinction in a field
which is commonly supposed to be the browsing-place of age; to have been
relatively unknown in his life and to be immortal in his death--such are
the brief outlines of the career of Harry Elkins Widener.

It is a curious commentary upon human nature that the death of one
person well known to us affects us more than the deaths of hundreds or
thousands not known to us at all. It is for this reason, perhaps, at a
time when the papers bring us daily their record of human suffering and
misery from the war in Europe, that I can forget the news of yesterday
and live over again the anxious hours which followed the brief
announcement that the Titanic, on her maiden voyage, the largest,
finest, and fastest ship afloat, had struck an iceberg in mid-ocean, and
that there were grave fears for the safety of her passengers and crew.
There the first news ceased.

The accident had occurred at midnight; the sea was perfectly calm, the
stars shone clearly; it was bitter cold. The ship was going at full
speed. A slight jar was felt, but the extent of the injury was not
realized and few passengers were alarmed. When the order to lower the
boats was given there was little confusion. The order went round, "Women
and children first." Harry and his father were lost, his mother and her
maid were rescued.

In all that subsequently appeared in the press,--and for days the
appalling disaster was the one subject of discussion,--the name of Harry
Elkins Widener appeared simply as the eldest son of George D. Widener.
Few knew that, quite aside from the financial prominence of his father
and the social distinction and charm of his mother, Harry had a
reputation which was entirely of his own making. He was a born student
of bibliography. Books were at once his work, his recreation, and his
passion. To them he devoted all his time; but outside the circle of his
intimate friends few understood the unique and lovable personality of
the man to whom death came so suddenly on April 15, 1912, shortly after
he had completed his twenty-seventh year.


His knowledge of books was truly remarkable. In the study of rare books,
as in the study of an exact science, authority usually comes only with
years. With Harry Widener it was different. He had been collecting only
since he left college, but his intense enthusiasm, his painstaking care,
his devotion to a single object, his wonderful memory, and, as he
gracefully says in the introduction to the catalogue of some of the more
important books in his library, "The interest and kindness of my
grandfather and my parents," had enabled him in a few years to secure a
number of treasures of which any collector might be proud.

Harry Elkins Widener was born in Philadelphia on January 3, 1885. He
received his early education at the Hill School, from which he was
graduated in 1903. He then entered Harvard University, where he remained
four years, receiving his bachelor's degree in 1907. It was while a
student at Harvard that he first began to show an interest in
book-collecting; but it was not until his college days were over that,
as the son of a rich man, he found, as many another man has done, that
the way to be happy is to have an occupation.

He lived with his parents and his grandfather in their palatial
residence, Lynnewood Hall, just outside Philadelphia. He was proud of
the distinction of his relatives, and used to say, "We are a family of
collectors. My grandfather collects paintings, my mother collects silver
and porcelains, Uncle Joe collects everything,"--which indeed he
does,--"and I, books."

Book-collecting soon became with him a very serious matter, a matter to
which everything else was subordinated. He began, as all collectors do,
with unimportant things at first; but how rapidly his taste developed
may be seen from glancing over the pages of the catalogue of his
library, which, strictly speaking, is not a library at all--he would
have been the last to call it so. It is but a collection of perhaps
three thousand volumes; but they were selected by a man of almost
unlimited means, with rare judgment and an instinct for discovering the
best. Money alone will not make a bibliophile, although, I confess, it
develops one.

His first folio of Shakespeare was the Van Antwerp copy, formerly Locker
Lampson's, one of the finest copies known; and he rejoiced in a copy of
"Poems Written by Wil. Shakespeare, Gent," 1640, in the original
sheepskin binding. His "Pickwick," if possibly inferior in interest to
the Harry B. Smith copy, is nevertheless superb: indeed he had two, one
"in parts as published, with all the points," another a presentation
copy to Dickens's friend, William Harrison Ainsworth. In addition he had
several original drawings by Seymour, including the one in which the
shad-bellied Mr. Pickwick, having with some difficulty mounted a chair,
proceeds to address the Club. The discovery and acquisition of this
drawing, perhaps the most famous illustration ever made for a book, is
indicative of Harry's taste as a collector.

One of his favorite books was the Countess of Pembroke's own copy of Sir
Philip Sidney's "Arcadia," and it is indeed a noble volume; but Harry's
love for his mother, I think, invariably led him, when he was showing
his treasures, to point out a sentence written in his copy of Cowper's
"Task." The book had once been Thackeray's, and the great novelist had
written on the frontispiece, "A great point in a great man, a great love
for his mother. A very fine and true portrait. Could artist possibly
choose a better position than the above? W. M. Thackeray." "Isn't that a
lovely sentiment?" Harry would say; "and yet they say Thackeray was a
cynic and a snob." His "Esmond" was presented by Thackeray to Charlotte
Brontë. His copy of the "Ingoldsby Legends" was unique. In the first
edition, by some curious oversight on the part of the printer, page 236
had been left blank, and the error was not discovered until a few sheets
had been printed. In a presentation copy to his friend, E. R. Moran, on
this blank page, Barham had written:--

    By a blunder for which I have only myself to thank,
    Here's a page has been somehow left blank.
    Aha! my friend Moran, I have you. You'll look
    In vain for a fault in one page of my book!

signing the verse with his _nom de plume_, Thomas Ingoldsby.

Indeed, in all his books, the utmost care was taken to secure the copy
which would have the greatest human interest: an ordinary presentation
copy of the first issue of the first edition would serve his purpose
only if he were sure that the dedication copy was unobtainable. His
Boswell's "Life of Johnson" was the dedication copy to Sir Joshua
Reynolds, with an inscription in the author's hand.

He was always on the lookout for rarities, and Dr. Rosenbach, in the
brief memoir which serves as an introduction to the Catalogue of his
Stevenson collection, says of him:--

"I remember once seeing him on his hands and knees under a table in a
bookstore. On the floor was a huge pile of books that had not been
disturbed for years. He had just pulled out of the débris a first
edition of Swinburne, a presentation copy, and it was good to behold the
light in his face as he exclaimed, 'This is better than working in a
gold mine.' To him it was one."

His collection of Stevenson is a monument to his industry and patience,
and is probably the finest collection in existence of that much-esteemed
author. He possessed holograph copies of the Vailima Letters and many
other priceless treasures, and he secured the manuscript of, and
published privately for Stevenson lovers, in an edition of forty-five
copies, an autobiography written by Stevenson in California in the early
eighties. This item, under the title of "Memoirs of Himself," has an
inscription, "Given to Isobel Stewart Strong ... for future use, when
the underwriter is dead. With love, Robert Louis Stevenson." The
catalogue of his Stevenson collection alone, the painstaking work of his
friend and mentor, Dr. Rosenbach, makes an imposing volume and is an
invaluable work of reference for Stevenson collectors.

Harry once told me that he never traveled without a copy of "Treasure
Island," and knew it practically by heart. I, myself, am not averse to
a good book as a traveling companion; but in my judgment, for constant
reading, year in and year out, it should be a book which sets you
thinking, rather than a narrative like "Treasure Island," but--_chacun à
son goût._


But it were tedious to enumerate his treasures, nor is it necessary.
They will ever remain, a monument to his taste and skill as a collector,
in the keeping of Harvard University--his Alma Mater. It is, however,
worth while to attempt to fix in some measure the individuality, the
rare personality of the man. I cannot be mistaken in thinking that many,
looking at the wonderful library erected in Cambridge by his mother in
his memory, may wish to know something of the man himself.

There is in truth not much to tell. A few dates have already been given,
and when to these is added the statement that he was of retiring and
studious disposition, considerate and courteous, little more remains to
be said. He lived with and for his books, and was never so happy as when
he was saying, "Now if you will put aside that cigar for a moment, I
will show you something. Cigar ashes are not good for first editions";
and a moment later some precious volume would be on your knees. What
collector does not enjoy showing his treasures to others as appreciative
as himself? Many delightful hours his intimates have passed in his
library, which was also his bedroom,--for he wanted his books about him,
where he could play with them at night and where his eye might rest on
them the first thing in the morning,--but this was a privilege extended
only to true book-lovers. To others he was unapproachable and almost
shy. Of unfailing courtesy and an amiable and loving disposition, his
friends were very dear to him. "Bill," or someone else, "is the salt of
the earth," you would frequently hear him say.

"Are you a book-collector, too?" his grandfather once asked me across
the dinner-table.

Laughingly I said, "I thought I was, but I am not in Harry's class."

To which the old gentleman replied,--and his eye beamed with pride the
while,--"I am afraid that Harry will impoverish the entire family."

I answered that I should be sorry to hear that, and suggested that he
and I, if we put our fortunes together, might prevent this calamity.


His memory was most retentive. Once let him get a fact or a date
imbedded in his mind and it was there forever. He knew the name of
every actor he had ever seen, and the part he had taken in the play last
year and the year before. He knew the name of every baseball player and
had his batting and running average. When it came to the chief interest
of his life, his thirst for knowledge was insatiable. I remember one
evening when we were in New York together, in Beverly Chew's library,
Harry asked Mr. Chew some question about the eccentricities of the
title-pages of the first edition of Milton's "Paradise Lost." Mr. Chew
began rolling off the bibliographical data, like the ripe scholar that
he is, when I suggested to Harry that he had better make a note of what
Mr. Chew was saying. He replied, "I should only lose the paper; while if
I get it in my head I will put it where it can't be lost; that is," he
added, "as long as I keep my head."

And his memory extended to other collections than his own. For him to
see a book once was for him to remember it always. If I told him I had
bought such and such a book, he would know from whom I bought it and all
about it, and would ask me if I had noticed some especial point, which,
in all probability, had escaped me.

He was a member of several clubs, including the Grolier Club, the most
important club of its kind in the world. The late J. P. Morgan had sent
word to the chairman of the membership committee that he would like
Harry made a member. The question of his seconder was waived: it was
understood that Mr. Morgan's endorsement of his protégé's
qualifications was sufficient.

It was one night, when we were in New York together during the first Hoe
sale, that I had a conversation with Harry, to which, in the light of
subsequent events, I have often recurred. We had dined together at my
club and had gone to the sale; but there was nothing of special interest
coming up, and after a half hour or so, he suggested that we go to the
theatre. I reminded him that it was quite late, and that at such an hour
a music-hall would be best. He agreed, and in a few moments we were
witnessing a very different performance from the one we had left in the
Anderson auction rooms; but the performance was a poor one. Harry was
restless and finally suggested that we take a walk out Fifth Avenue.
During this walk he confessed to me his longing to be identified and
remembered in connection with some great library. He expanded this idea
at length. He said: "I do not wish to be remembered merely as a
collector of a few books, however fine they may be. I want to be
remembered in connection with a great library, and I do not see how it
is going to be brought about. Mr. Huntington and Mr. Morgan are buying
up all the books, and Mr. Bixby is getting the manuscripts. When my time
comes, if it ever does, there will be nothing left for me--everything
will be gone!"

We spent the night together, and after I had gone to bed he came to my
room again, and calling me by a nick-name, said, "I have got to do
something in connection with books to make myself remembered. What
shall it be?"


I laughingly suggested that he write one, but he said it was no jesting
matter. Then it came out that he thought he would establish a chair at
Harvard for the study of bibliography in all its branches. He was much
disturbed by the lack of interest which great scholars frequently evince
toward his favorite subject.

With this he returned to his own room, and I went to sleep; but I have
often thought of this conversation since I, with the rest of the world,
learned that his mother was prepared, in his memory, to erect the great
building at Harvard which is his monument. His ambition has been
achieved. Associated with books, his name will ever be. The great
library at Harvard is his memorial. In its _sanctum sanctorum_ his
collection will find a fitting place.

We lunched together the day before he sailed for Europe, and I happened
to remark at parting, "This time next week you will be in London,
probably, lunching at the Ritz."

"Yes," he said, "very likely with Quaritch."

While in London Harry spent most of his time with that great bookseller,
the second to bear the name of Quaritch, who knew all the great
book-collectors the world over, and who once told me that he knew no man
of his years who had the knowledge and taste of Harry Widener. "So many
of your great American collectors refer to books in terms of steel
rails; with Harry it is a genuine and all-absorbing passion, and he is
so entirely devoid of side and affectation." In this he but echoed what
a friend once said to me at Lynnewood Hall, where we were spending the
day: "The marvel is that Harry is so entirely unspoiled by his fortune."

Harry was a constant attendant at the auction rooms at Sotheby's in
London, at Anderson's in New York, or wherever else good books were
going. He chanced to be in London when the first part of the Huth
library was being disposed of, and he was anxious to get back to New
York in time to attend the final Hoe sale, where he hoped to secure some
books, and bring to the many friends he would find there the latest
gossip of the London auction rooms.

Alas! Harry had bought his last book. It was an excessively rare copy of
Bacon's "Essaies," the edition of 1598. Quaritch had secured it for him
at the Huth sale, and as he dropped in to say good-bye and give his
final instructions for the disposition of his purchases, he said: "I
think I'll take that little Bacon with me in my pocket, and if I am
shipwrecked it will go with me." And I know that it was so. In all the
history of book-collecting this is the most touching story.

The death of Milton's friend, Edward King, by drowning, inspired the
poet to write the immortal elegy, "Lycidas."

    Who would not sing for Lycidas?--
    He must not float upon his watery bier

When Shelley's body was cast up by the waves on the shore near Via
Reggio, he had a volume of Keats's poems in his pocket, doubled back at
"The Eve of St. Agnes." And in poor Harry Widener's pocket there was a
Bacon, and in this Bacon we might have read, "The same man that was
envied while he lived shall be loved when he is gone."



À BECKET, GILBERT, _Comic History of Rome_, 78;
  _Comic History of England_, 78.

ADAM, ROBERT B., 184 _n._


ADVERTISEMENTS, importance of, in verifying first
  editions of certain books, 79.

AINSWORTH, W. H., 346.



ALDERSON, AMELIA (Mrs. Opie), 232.

ALDINES, 5, 88.


ALKEN, HENRY, _Analysis of the Hunting Field_, and _Life
  of John Mytton_, illustrated by, 77.

ALLAN, JOHN, 83, 84, 85.

ALLEN, EDMUND, 21, 307 _ff._

ALLEN, JOHN, _Memorial_ of, 57.

ALLIS, WILLIAM E., 115, 116.

_American Book Prices Current_, 103.



ANDREWS, WILLIAM LORING, _Gossip about Book-collecting_, 51.


ANNE OF DENMARK, Queen of James I, 280.

ARBLAY, MADAME D'. _See_ Burney, Fanny.


ARNOLD, WILLIAM HARRIS, _Record of Books and Letters_, 18, 103-106;
  _First Report of a Book-collector_, 101, 102.


_Athenæum, The_, 106 _n._

  mentioned, 150, 165, 166, 172.

AUCHINLECK, Boswell's birthplace, the author's visit to, 181-184.



AUDUBON, JOHN J., _Birds of North America_, 5.

AULUS GELLIUS, _Noctes Atticæ_, 90.

AUSTEN, JANE, 186, 187, 253.

BACON, FRANCIS, LORD, quoted, 7;
  and Shakespeare, 92;
  _Essaies_ (1598), Widener's last purchase, 354, 355.


BANGS & CO., 104.

_Bank of North America, History of the_, 57, 58.



BARETTI, GIUSEPPE M. A., attacks Mrs. Piozzi, 216;
  mentioned, 194, 198.

BARHAM, THOMAS, _Ingoldsby Legends_, unique presentation copy
  of first edition, 347.


BARRIE, SIR JAMES M., _What Every Woman Knows_, 196.




BEARD, TOM, presentation copy of _A Christmas Carol_ to, 116.

BEARDSLEY, AUBREY, caricature of O. Wilde, 114, 319.


BECKFORD, WILLIAM, presentation copy of Disraeli's _Henrietta
  Temple_ to, 29.

BELL, CURRER, ELLIS, and ACTON, _Poems_, 83. _See_ Brontë Sisters.




BIBLE, the, Shakespeare "cryptogram" in, 92, 117. _See_ Gutenberg Bible.


_Biddle, Nicholas, Memoirs of_, 58.

BINDINGS, 54, 55, 74.

BIRRELL, AUGUSTINE, quoted, 33, 151.

BIXBY, WILLIAM K., 72, 352.


BLAKE, WILLIAM, _Marriage of Heaven and Hell_, 52, 82;
  _Poetical Sketches_, 81, 82;
  _Songs of Innocence and Experience_, 81, 82;
  Linnell collection, sale of, 82.

BLANDFORD, MARQUIS OF. _See_ Spencer, George.



BOCCACCIO, GIOVANNI, the _Decameron_, 70.

BOEHM, SIR J. E., 285, 286.

BOETHIUS, _De Consolatione Philosophiæ_ (MS.), 90, 91.



BONNELL, H. H., 83.

_Book Auction Records_, 103.

_Book Prices Current_, 72.

BOOK-COLLECTING, delights of, 2 _ff._;
  changing fashions in, 5.

BOOK-PLATES, 60, 61.

BOOKS, "as originally published," 54, 55;
  advancing prices of, 66 _ff._, 70 _ff._ _See_ Association Books,
  Bindings, Extra-illustrated Books, Presentation Books, Subscription Books.

BOOKSELLERS, Second-hand, catalogues of, 30 _ff._


BOSWELL, JAMES, quoted, on London, 13;
  Macaulay's characterization of, refuted, 148, 149;
  early years, 149, 150;
  first meeting with Johnson, 150, 151;
  his style, 151;
  portraiture of Johnson, 152;
  devotion to Johnson, 152;
  not very much in Johnson's company, 153;
  qualities as a biographer, 153, 154;
  weaknesses considered, 154 _ff._, 159 _ff._;
  Carlyle on, 154;
  conversational powers, 156;
  Life of Johnson, largely his own autobiography, 156, 157;
  letters to Temple, 157 _ff._;
  last days and death, 164, 165, 180;
  wanderings about Europe, 165, 166;
  letter to Dilly, 166;
  first paper drawn by, as an advocate, 168;
  "press notices" of himself, 170-172;
  marries Margaret Montgomerie, 172;
  continued interest in Johnson, 172, 173;
  death of his father, 173;
  financial difficulties, 173;
  effect of Johnson's death on, 173;
  publishes the _Journal of the Tour to the Hebrides_, 174;
  its success encourages him to undertake Johnson's life, 174;
  the _Life_ published (1791), 175, 176;
  wife's death, 174;
  thinks of running for Parliament, 175;
  contemporary opinions of, 181;
  Johnson on, 181;
  mentioned, 21, 30, 174, 201, 214, 226.
 _Life of Samuel Johnson_, dedication copy, to Sir Joshua
  Reynolds, 18, 19, 347;
    divers editions of, 64;
    Macaulay's essay on, considered and criticized, 145 _ff._;
    merits of, in general, 153;
    its success, 175;
    presentation copy of, to James Boswell, Jr., 176;
    effect of its publication, 178-180;
    almost universally praised, 184, 185;
    the great English epic, 185;
    Mrs. Thrale's copy of, 222;
    mentioned, 61, 98, 307, 308, 309.
 _An Account of Corsica_, 166-170, 172;
    presentation copy of, 59.

BOSWELL, JAMES, JR., 176, 180.

BOSWELL, MRS. MARGARET, her _bon mot_ on Johnson, 173;
  her death, 174;
  mentioned, 154, 164, 172.

BOWDEN, A. J., 75.


BRANDT, SEBASTIAN, _The Ship of Fools_, 91, 92.


BRITISH MUSEUM, 43, 101, 111.

BROADLEY, A. M., published Mrs. Thrale's _Journal of a
  Tour in Wales_, 218, 221.

BRONTË, CHARLOTTE, presentation copy of _Henry Esmond_ to, 347;
  mentioned, 83.



BRONTË SISTERS, 186, 187. _See_ Bell, Currer, etc.

BROOKS, EDMUND D., bookseller, 53, 54, 83.



  mentioned, 186, 187.

BROWNING, ROBERT, _Pauline_, 103;
  mentioned, 26, 27, 91, 228.



BURKE, EDMUND, inscription to, from Boswell, 185;
  mentioned, 151, 181, 187, 188, 194, 221.

BURNEY, DR. CHARLES, 194, 208.

BURNEY, FANNY (Madame d'Arblay), _Evelina_, 46, 127, 199, 200;
  her _Diary_, quoted, on life at Streatham Park, 199 _ff._;
  mentioned, 186, 187, 204, 209, 221.

BURNS, ROBERT, _Poems_, first Edinburgh edition, 83, 84;
  Kilmarnock edition, 83-86, 103.



BUTLER, SAMUEL, _The Way of all Flesh_, 124.

BYRON, ALLEGRA, 238, 244.

BYRON, GEORGE GORDON, LORD, copy of Thomson's _Seasons_
  presented by, to Frances W. Webster, 29;
  mentioned, 238.


CARLTON HOTEL, London, 268.

CARLYLE, THOMAS, presentation copy of Dickens's _American Notes_ to, 115;
  on Boswell, 154;
  mentioned, 185, 293.

CARNEGIE, ANDREW, _Triumphant Democracy_, quoted, 271.

CASSATT, A. J., 54.

CATALOGUES of second-hand books, 30 _ff._, 65 _ff._;
  amusing blunders in, 62, 113.

CAXTON, WILLIAM, his books in general, 8, 72;
  his edition of _Tully, his Treatises on Old Age and Friendship_, 22;
  mentioned, 91.

CAXTON HEAD, Sign of the, 30.

CHAFFANBRASS, MR., 256, 264.

CHAPMAN, GEORGE, translation of Homer, 102.


CHARING CROSS ROAD, the book-lover's happy hunting-ground, 15, 16.

CHARLES I, 278, 281.

CHARLES II, 278, 282.

CHARLOTTE, Queen of George III, Dodd's letter to, 309;
  mentioned, 21, 306.


CHAUCER, GEOFFREY, _Works_, 102.


CHESTERFIELD, PHILIP STANHOPE, fifth Earl of, 305, 306.

CHEW, BEVERLY, 7, 75, 87, 102, 103, 351.

_Christ Church, History of_, 58.


CICERO, _Cato Major_, Franklin's edition of, 9;
  _Treatises of Old Age and Friendship_ (Caxton), 22.

"CITY" OF LONDON, royal visit to, 266 _ff._;
  physical boundaries and jurisdiction of, 277.

CLAIRMONT, MRS. M. J., Godwin's second wife, 237. _See_ Godwin, Mrs. M. J.

CLAIRMONT, MARY JANE (Claire), Lord Byron's mistress, 238, 242, 243, 244.



CLASSICS, THE, collectors' waning interest in, 5.


COCK (tavern), THE, 283.

COGGESHALL, EDWIN W., sale of his Dickens collection, 78, 79, 115, 116.



COLLIER, JOHN PAYNE, 37, 38, 39, 41.

COLLINS, W. WILKIE, _The Moonstone_, 226, 255.


COMMON PRAYER, Book of, 117.


CONRAD, JOSEPH, inscription in _The Nigger of the Narcissus_, 56.

_Contributions to English Bibliography_, 113.

CONWAY, W. A., and Mrs. Thrale-Piozzi, 23, 224.

CORSICA, Boswell's visit To, and its results, 165, 166.

CORYAT, THOMAS, _Coryat's Crudities_, 90, 91.

COSENS, F. W., his Lamb and Southey MSS., 38-41.


COTTLE, JOSEPH, _Annual Anthology_, 38, 39 and _n._, 41.

COWPER, WILLIAM, _The Task_, Thackeray's copy of, with
  inscription, 346, 347.

"CRAWFORD, MRS.," 134, 135.

CROKER, JOHN WILSON, his edition of Boswell's _Life_ and Macaulay, 146, 147.




DAVIES, THOMAS, bookseller, 30, 150, 151, 165.


DEFOE, DANIEL, _Robinson Crusoe_, first edition, 43, 44, 99-101, 102;
  rare newspaper edition of, 101;
  mentioned, 122, 126.

DEVIL TAVERN, THE, 282, 283.


DICKENS, CHARLES, disappearance of his London, 10;
  the author's presentation copies of various works of, 46;
  Eckel's _First Editions of Charles Dickens_, 55, 79, 114, 115;
  value of presentation copies of, 73;
  Coggeshall collection of his works, 78, 115, 116;
  why prices of early editions continue to advance, 117;
  and Miss Kelly, 130;
  mentioned, 66, 152, 250, 251, 252, 253, 261.
 _A Christmas Carol_, first edition, 10, 11;
     presentation copies of, 116.
 _The Cricket on the Hearth_, manuscript of, 27, 53, 54;
     presentation copy of, to Macready, 116.
 _Oliver Twist_, presentation copy of, to Macready, 44, 46.
 _Pickwick Papers_, in parts (Coggeshall copy), 78-80;
     copy of, inscribed to Mary Hogarth, 80, 81;
     fourth in circulation among printed books, 117;
     "in parts as published," 346;
     presentation copy of, to W. H. Ainsworth, 346; 255.
 _Bleak House_, presentation copy of, to D. Costello, 115.
 _American Notes_, presentation copies of, to Carlyle, 115,
     and to Macready, 116.
 _The Haunted Man_, presentation copy of, to Maclise, 116.
 _The Chimes_, presentation copy of, to C. Dickens, Jr., 116.
 _The Village Coquette_, dedication of, 118.
 _A Tale of Two Cities_, 255.

DICKENS, CHARLES, JR., presentation copy of _The Chimes_ to, 116.

DICKINSON, JOHN EHRET, inscription from O. Wilde to, 342.

DILLY, CHARLES, publisher of _Corsica_,
  letter of Boswell to, 166, 167;
  publishes the _Life of Johnson_, 175, 176.

DISRAELI, BENJAMIN, _Henrietta Temple_, presentation
  copy of, to W. Beckford, 29;
  mentioned, 253, 324.

DOBELL, BERTRAM, Bookseller, 28 and _n._, 29.

DOBSON, AUSTIN, quatrain by, 266;
  quoted, 293.

DODD, MRS. MARY, 295, 301, 302, 306, 309.


DODD, WILLIAM (the "Macaroni Parson"), the Johnson-Dodd
  letters, 19-21, 306 _ff._;
  his history, 294 _ff._;
  _Beauties of Shakespeare_, 296, 297;
  _The Sisters_, 297;
  chaplain at Magdalen House, 298;
  character of his preaching, 299;
  made a royal chaplain, 300;
  tutor to Lord Chesterfield's son, 301;
  builds Charlotte Chapel and becomes prosperous and extravagant, 302;
  leads a triple life, 302;
  tries to purchase living of St. George's, Hanover Square, 303;
  and is disgraced, 304;
  convicted of forgery and sentenced to death, 305, 306;
  _Thoughts in Prison_, 306;
  Dr. Johnson's aid enlisted to obtain his pardon, 306, 310, 311;
  his execution, 315-317.

DODD, REV. MR., father of William, 294, 296.

DODD, MEAD & CO., 48.

DONNE, JOHN, Walton's _Life_ of, 96.

DOWDEN, EDWARD, _Life of Shelley_, 108.

DRAKE, JAMES F., bookseller, 49, 51, 110.

DREER, FERDINAND J., 57, 58, 83.

DUTTON, E. P., & CO., 115.

ECKEL, JOHN C., _First Editions of Charles Dickens_, 55, 79, 114 _ff._

_Edinburgh Review_, 147.


EGAN, PIERCE, _Boxiana_, 81.

_Elia and Eliana_, 52.

ELIOT, GEORGE. _See_ Evans, Mary Ann.


ELIZABETH, QUEEN, 189, 270, 277, 278.



ELZEVIRS, 5, 88.

ENGLAND, dispersion of great private libraries in, 70, 71.

ENGLISH LITERATURE, three greatest characters in, 151.

EVANS, MARY ANN, 111, 186, 187, 253.

_Examiner, The_, 135, 143.

EXECUTIONS, public, in England, in 18th century, 314, 315.


FELL, JOHN, Bishop of Oxford, 96.


FIELDING, HENRY, 156, 253.

FITZGERALD, EDWARD, _Rubaiyat_, 7.

FLEET STREET, in author's book-plate, 61.

FOLGER, H. C., 72.


FORE-EDGE PAINTING, fine example of, 74.


_Formosa, Historical and Geographical Description of_, 32.


_Fortnightly Magazine_, 332.


FOXE, JOHN, _The Book of Martyrs_, 76.

FRANCE, ANATOLE, _The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard_, 65.

FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN, his edition of the _Cato Major_, 9;
  mentioned, 58, 177.

FREDERICK WILLIAM, Crown Prince of Prussia, 284.






GARRETT, MR., President of B. & O. Railroad, 54.

GARRICK, DAVID, _Love in the Suds_, 28;
  mentioned, 43, 194, 200.


GASKELL, ELIZABETH C., _Cranford_, 125.

GEORGE III, 21, 214, 306, 307, 309.

GEORGE V, 266, 270.

GIBBON, EDWARD, 162, 181.


GILBERT and SULLIVAN, _Patience_, Wilde caricatured in, 324.

GISSING, GEORGE, _Workers in the Dawn_, 124.

GODWIN, FANNY, illegitimate daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, 244, 245.

GODWIN, M. J., Godwin's second wife, Lamb's comments on, 238, 239, 240;
  her bookshop on Skinner St., 239;
  pursues Shelley and his companions, 242, 243.

GODWIN, MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT, Godwin's First Wife, dies in childbirth, 233;
  mentioned 232, 238.

GODWIN, MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT, 2d, copy of _Queen Mab_ inscribed to, 108;
  marries Shelley, 244, 245.
  _See_ Shelley, Mary W.

GODWIN, WILLIAM, sketch of his life, 228 _ff._;
  a political heretic and schismatic, 229;
  _Enquiry concerning Political Justice_, 229, 230;
  _Adventures of Caleb Williams_, 231, 232;
  fascination for the fair sex, 232;
  relations with Mary Wollstonecraft, 232, 233:
  marries her, 233;
  her death, 233;
  courts Harriet Lee, 234;
  financial troubles, 234, 235;
  quarrelsomeness, 234;
  his tragedy, _Antonio_, "damned with universal consent," 235-237;
  marries Mrs. Clairmont, 237, 238;
  _Life of Chaucer_, 238, 239;
  books for children, 239;
  suggests _Tales from Shakespeare_ to the Lambs, 239;
  his opinions become less advanced, 240;
  revival of interest in, through Shelley, 242;
  absurd relations with Shelley, 243, 244;
  his financial troubles thicken, 243, 244, 245;
  his later literary work, 246;
  Hazlitt's anecdote of, 246;
  becomes Yeoman Usher of the Exchequer, 247;
  death, 247;
  essay on "Sepulchres," 247, 248;
  the "husband of the first suffragette," 248.

GOLDSMITH, OLIVER, _A Haunch of Venison_ (1776), 32;
  _The Vicar of Wakefield_, "points" of first edition, 46, 98, 102, 127;
  edition with Rowlandson plates, 46;
  _She Stoops to Conquer_, 46, 103;
  Johnson's story of the sale of MS. of the _Vicar_, 98, 99;
  _The Traveller_, 99;
  _The Deserted Village_, 102;
  mentioned, 8, 24, 61, 89, 194, 303, 304, 321, 322.


GORDON, GEN. SIR ALEXANDER, presentation copies of Martin's
  _Life of the Prince Consort_ to, from Queen Victoria, 33, 34.

_Grammatica Groeca_, 89, 90.


GRAY, THOMAS, _Poems_, 74:
  the _Elegy_, 103;
  Gen. Wolfe's copy of the _Elegy_, 107, 108;
  mentioned, 156, 163.


GRIFFIN, THE, on the Site of Temple Bar, 269, 284, 285.

GROLIER CLUB, bibliographies published by, 113 _ff._;
  exhibitions of, 113;
  mentioned, 351, 352.

GUTENBERG BIBLE, record price paid by H. E. Huntington
  for, at Hoe sale, 36, 67;
  mentioned, 73.

Hagen, W. H., his copy of _Paradise Lost_, 5 _n._;
  sale of his collection, 102, 103, 106;
  mentioned, 97.


HARDY, THOMAS, _Desperate Remedies_, 11, 13, 124;
  letter of, to "old Tinsley," 11, 12;
  _Far from the Madding Crowd_, MS. of, 11, 13, 14;
  _Under the Greenwood Tree_, 13;
  _The Woodlanders_, 124;
  quoted, 212.


HARRISON, MR., at Theobald's Park, 288, 289.

HARVARD UNIVERSITY, Harry E. Widener graduated at, 345;
  his collection now in keeping of, 349;
  the Widener Memorial Library, 353.

HAWKINS, SIR JOHN, _Life of Johnson_, 21, 174, 214;
  Boswell and, 179, 180;
  mentioned, 305, 309, 317.


HAZLITT, WILLIAM, Anecdote of Godwin, 246, 247;
  mentioned, 239.

HEATH, JAMES, engraver, 184 _n._


HENKELS, STAN, 57, 100.

HENRY VI, 275.

HERBERT, GEORGE, Walton's _Life_ of, 96;
  _The Temple_, 97.

HERRICK, ROBERT, _Hesperides_, first edition, 7, 102, 103.

HILL, GEORGE BIRKBECK, editor of Boswell, 22, 64, 153, 181, 309.

HILL, WALTER, bookseller, 44, 46, 83, 91.

HINGLEY, MR., 298.


HOE, ROBERT, sale of his collection, 36, 92, 103, 352, 354.

HOGARTH, MARY, presentation copy of _Pickwick Papers_ in parts to, 80, 81.



HOLLINGS, FRANK, bookseller, 33.


HOMER, Pope's translation of, 9;
  Chapman's, 102.

HOOKER, RICHARD, Walton's _Life_ of, 96.




HUME, DAVID, 161, 165.

HUNTINGTON, HENRY E., pays record price for Gutenberg Bible, 36;
  mentioned, 71, 72, 73, 352.

HUTCHINSON, THOMAS, _Ballad of a Poor Book-Lover_ (MS.), 69.

HUTH, ALFRED, sale of his collection, 354.

HUTT, CHARLES, bookseller, 66.

HUTT, FRED, bookseller, 10, 11, 63.

HUTTON, LAURENCE, his collection of death-masks, 68;
  mentioned, 69.


IMLAY, MRS. GILBERT. _See_ Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft.


IRVING, HENRY, 129, 268.

IVES, BRAYTON, his copy of Shelley's _Queen Mab_, 108.

JAMES I, 278, 280, 287.


JELLICOE, SIR JOHN (Viscount), 291.



JOHNSON, SAMUEL, on poetry and Pope, 10;
  holograph prayer of, 22;
  many prayers written by, 22;
  _Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland_, 23, 24;
  letter to Mrs. Horneck, 22;
  and Mrs. Davies, 31;
  Psalmanazar _Memoirs_, inscribed by, to Mrs. Thrale, 31, 32;
  _Prologue Spoken at the Opening of the Theatre in Drury Lane_, 42, 43;
  and the author's book-plate, 60, 61;
  Mrs. Thrale's copy of the _Dictionary_, 63;
  letter to the Thrales, 63;
  his letters considered, 63, 64;
  his story of the sale of the MS. of _The Vicar of Wakefield_, 98;
  translator of Lobo's _Abyssinia_, 125;
  _The Prince of Abissinia (Rasselas)_, 125, 206, 207;
  and Jonson, 145;
  Macaulay's representation of, 147;
  first meeting with Boswell, 150, 151;
  what his fame owes to Boswell, 151, 152;
  his advice to Boswell, 166;
  on Boswell's _Corsica_, 170;
  effect of his death on Boswell, 173;
  Mrs. Thrale's _Anecdotes_, 174;
  Hawkins's _Life_ of, 174;
  need of an index to his _dicta_, 176, 177;
  on Boswell, 181;
to the Thrales by Murphy, 192;
  growth and long continuance of the intimacy, 193;
  their first and greatest lion, 194, 195;
  practically a member of the Thrale household, 197, 198;
  his "menagerie of old women," 198;
  at Streatham, 199, 200;
  verses to Mrs. Thrale, 201;
  business adviser to the Thrales, 202;
  executor of Thrale's estate, 203, 204;
  Streatham portrait of, 204, 205;
  presentation copy of _The Prince of Abissinia_ to Mrs. Thrale, 206, 207;
  violent letter to Mrs. Thrale on her engagement to
  Piozzi, and her reply, 211, 212;
  effect of his death on Mrs. Thrale-Piozzi, 213, 214;
  author's imaginary meeting with, 273, 274;
  his efforts to obtain a reprieve for Dr. Dodd, 306 _ff._;
  letter of ghostly counsel to Dodd, and prayer for him, 311, 312;
  writes "gallows speech" for Dodd (undelivered), 313, 314, 317;
  on public executions, 317;
  mentioned, 5, 52, 76, 80, 111, 114, 130, 155, 184, 187, 188,
  189, 208, 215, 218, 221, 222, 226, 260, 268, 278, 282,
  303, 321, 342.
  _See_ Boswell, James; Dodd, William; Thrale-Piozzi, Hester Lynch.


JONSON, BEN, 145, 282.




Keats, John, _Endymion_, Wordsworth's copy of, 7, 29, 106;
  _Poems_ (1817), presentation copies of, 18, 104, 106, and _n._, 122;
  his copy of Spenser's _Works_, presented by Severn, 24, 25;
  influence of Spenser on, 25;
  rarity of books from his library, 25;
  prices of MSS. of his works, 101;
  _To the Misses M---- at Hastings_ (MS.), 105, 106 _n._;
  _Lamia_, 106;
  _The Eve of St. Agnes_, 355.

KELLY, FRANCES MARIA, relations with Lamb, 129-144;
  as an actress, 129, 130;
  Lamb's admiration for, 130, 131;
  his offer of marriage, 132 _ff._, 138 _ff._;
  the original of his "Barbara S----," 135;
  Lamb's earlier letters to, 136-138;
  her reply to his offer of marriage, 142.

KEMBLE, JOHN PHILIP, 130, 235, 236.




"KNOCKOUT, THE," at London auctions, 102, 103.


LAMB, CHARLES, autograph letter to Taylor & Hessey, 28;
  receipt for copyright of _Elia_, 28, 74;
  _Elia_, presentation copy of, 28;
  _Prose Works_ (1836), 37;
  _Letters_ (1837), 37;
  _Elegy on a Quid of Tobacco_, 38, 39 _n._, 40;
  in the Cosens MSS., 38, 39, 41;
  birth and growth of the author's interest in, 52, 53;
  his burial-place, 53;
  his house at Enfield, 53;
  _Old China_, 68;
  as book-collector and book-lover, 68;
  admiration for Miss Kelly, 130 _ff._;
  _Dream Children_ reminiscent of her, 130, 131;
  resurrection of his letter offering marriage to her, 132 _ff._;
  sonnet to her, 133;
  on Blue-stockings, 134;
  "Barbara S----," 134, 135;
  writes Epilogue to Godwin's _Antonio_, 235;
  describes its first performance and damnation, 236, 237;
  his copy of the play-bill, with comments, 237;
  on Mrs. Godwin, 239, 240;
  _bon mots_ of, 241;
  mentioned, 7, 48, 89, 112, 122, 129, 222, 239, 330.
  _See_ Kelly, Frances Maria.

LAMB, CHARLES and MARY, _Tales from Shakespeare_, 7, 239.

LAMB, MARY, and her brother's courtship of Miss Kelly, 136, 138, 141, 142;
  mentioned, 38, 53, 239.

LAMBERT, WILLIAM H., sale of his collection, 48.

LAMBTON, SIR HEDWORTH, assumes name of Meux and inherits
  Lady Meux's estates, 288, 289;
  on active service in the late war, 291 and _n._
  _See_ Temple Bar.

LEE, HARRIET, courted by Godwin, 234.

LEECH, JOHN, illustration for _A Christmas Carol_, 116; 78.




LINNELL, JOHN, his Blake collection, 82.

_Lippincott's Magazine_, 329.

LIVINGSTON, LUTHER S., 48, 49, 75, 97, 103.

LLOYD, CONSTANCE, Marries Wilde, 328.

LOBO, FATHER, his _Abyssinia_ translated by Dr. Johnson, 125.


LOCKE, WILLIAM J., _The Belovèd Vagabond_, 91.

LOCKER-LAMPSON, FREDERICK, his copy of the first folio of Shakespeare, 93;
  and of the _Compleat Angler_, first edition, 96;
  mentioned, 346.

LONDON, the great market of the world for collectors' books, 8 _ff._;
  and Dickens, 10;
  bookshops of, 13 _ff._;
  Stow's _Survay_ of, 32, 274, 275;
  changes in, 66, 268, 269;
  preëminence of, as a book-market, passing to New York? 71;
  Aggas's pictorial map of, 274;
  the plague and the great fire, 279.

_London_, a poem, 32.




LOWTHER, KATHERINE, and Gen. Wolfe's copy of Gray's _Elegy_, 107.

LUCAS, EDMUND V., 132, 133.

LUD GATE, 277.


MACAULAY, THOMAS BABINGTON, LORD, his essay on Boswell's
  _Johnson_ criticized, 145 _ff._

MACLISE, DANIEL, presentation copy of Dickens's _The Haunted Man_, to, 116.


MACREADY, WILLIAM C., presentation copies to, of _Oliver Twist_, 44, 46, 47,
  _American Notes_, 116,
  and _The Cricket on the Hearth_, 116.

MACROBIUS, _Saturnalia_, 90.


MAGDALEN HOUSE, Dodd chaplain at, 298, 299.

MAGGS, THE BROTHERS, booksellers, 66, 103.

MANGIN, EDWARD, _Piozziana_, quoted, 17.






MARTIN, SIR THEODORE, _Life of the Prince Consort_,
  inscribed presentation copy of, to Gen. Sir A. Gordon, 33, 34.

MARTIN, MRS., Letter of Mrs. Browning to, 26.

MARY, Queen of George V, 267, 270.

MASON, STUART, _Bibliography of Oscar Wilde_, 114.

MASON, WILLIAM, _Elfrida_, Boswell's copy of, 159, 163.


MATHEW, GEORGE FELTON, poem of Keats addressed to, 25; 106 _n._

MATTHEWS, BRANDER, _Ballads of Books_, 69.


MELMOTH, SEBASTIAN, name assumed by Wilde in Paris, 340.

MEREDITH, GEORGE, _Modern Loves_, inscribed to Swinburne, 121;
  mentioned, 250.

MEUX, SIR HEDWORTH. _See_ Lambton, Sir Hedworth.

MEUX, LADY HENRY, makes Sir H. Lambton her heir, 288, 289.

MEUX, SIR HENRY, buys Temple Bar and sets it up at Theobald's Park, 286.



MILTON, JOHN, _Paradise Lost_, first edition, with
  first title-page, 5 and _n._, 6, 87, 102, 103;
  _Lycidas_, 103, 354.

MONTAGU, ELIZABETH, 194, 200, 204.

MONTGOMERIE, MARGARET. _See_ Boswell, Margaret.

MOORE, GEORGE, _Memoirs of My Dead Life_, proof-sheets of, 49, 50;
  _Literature at Nurse_, and _Pagan Poems_, presentation copies of, 49, 51;
  _Flowers of Passion_, 87;
  quoted, on the Griffin, 285.

MORAN, E. R., 347.

MORE, HANNAH, 153, 154, 194.

MORGAN, JOHN PIERPONT, acquires Boswell's letters to Temple, 158;
  mentioned, 71, 98, 351, 352.




MURPHY, ARTHUR, introduces Johnson to the Thrales, 192, 193.



NEW YORK, and the rare-book market, 71.

NEWTON, A. EDWARD, book-plate of, 60, 61;
  visit to Auchinleck, 181-184;
  imaginary meeting with Dr. Johnson, 273, 274;
  visit to Theobald's Park (Temple Bar), 286-290.

NORTH, ERNEST D., bookseller, 46, 52.

_Oration in Carpenter's Hall_ (Philadelphia), 58.

_Original London Post_, _Robinson Crusoe_ published serially in, 101.


OSGOOD, CHARLES G., 60, 61, 176, 177.

PAINE, THOMAS, 229, 230, 231.

PAOLI, PASCAL, 156, 165, 166, 169, 170.

PATER, WALTER, quoted, on Wilde's comedies, 334.

_Patissier, François, Le_, 88.


PAUL, C. KEGAN, 247.

PEARSON, MR., bookseller, 21-23.




PENNELL, ELIZABETH ROBINS, _Our House_, presentation
  copy of, to the author, 32, 94, 328.



PERCY, HUGH (Bishop), 179.

PERCY, MRS., presentation copy of _Rasselas_ to, 125.

PERKINS, MARY. _See_ Dodd, Mary.

PHELPS, WILLIAM LYON, on Trollope, 250, 251, 258.

PICKWICK, MR., Seymour's original drawing of, 346.

PINERO, SIR A., 335.

PIOZZI, GABRIEL, copy of Johnson's _Prince of
  Abissinia (Rasselas)_ presented to, by Mrs. Thrale, 206, 207;
  his acquaintance with Mrs. T., 207-209;
  becomes engaged to her, 210;
  their marriage, 212, 213;
  his death, 223;
  mentioned, 194, 214, 217.

PIOZZI, HESTER LYNCH. _See_ Thrale-Piozzi, Hester Lynch.

PLAGUE, THE, in London, 279.

POPE, ALEXANDER, his _Homer_, 9;
  Dr. Johnson, and O. Wilde, on, 10;
  mentioned, 89.



PRINTS, collecting, 4;
  inlaying, 57.

PSALMANAZAR, GEORGE, _Memoirs_, association
copy of, 31;
  Johnson and, 31, 32.

_Punch_, 120, 335.


QUARITCH, BERNARD, the Napoleon of booksellers, 15;
  his catalogues, 87 _ff._;
  mentioned, 7, 76.

QUARITCH, BERNARD ALFRED, a worthy son of his father, 15;
  on Widener, 353, 354;
  mentioned, 8, 71, 98, 103.



_Ralph Roister Doister_, 89.

RANSOME, ARTHUR, _Oscar Wilde_, 49.


REDWAY, W. E., manager of Hollings's, 33.

REED, HENRY, Copy of _Vanity Fair_ presented to, by Thackeray, 19.



REYNOLDS, SIR JOSHUA, dedication copy of Boswell's _Johnson_ to, 18;
  mentioned, 153, 156, 181, 184 _n._, 194, 200, 347.

RICE, MRS. HAMILTON, builds Widener Memorial Library, 353;
  mentioned, 48, 112, 346.

ROBERTS, _The Holy Land_, 5.

ROBINSON, MARY DARBY ("Perdita"), 232.



ROSENBACH, A. S. W. ("Rosy"), bookseller, 41-44;
  quoted, on Widener, 348;
  his catalogue of Widener's Stevenson collection, 348;
  mentioned, 71, 75, 80, 106, 109.

ROSS, ROBERT, quoted, 114;
  and Wilde, 341, 342.

ROSSETTI, DANTE G., his sketch of Tennyson reading _Maud_, 26, 27;
  inscription to Swinburne, 106.

ROSSETTI, W. M., 26.


RUDD, MARGARET, _Anecdotes of the Life and Transactions of_, 81.


RUSKIN, JOHN, 323, 331.

RUSSELL, E. F., 110.

SABIN, FRANK, 24, 25.

SABIN, F. T., bookseller, 24, 54, 66, 87.

ST. GEORGE'S, Hanover Square, 303.

ST. PAUL'S, London, thanksgiving service in, 267, 268;
  rebuilt by Wren after the great fire, 279.

SALUSBURY, HESTER LYNCH. _See_ Thrale-Piozzi, Hester Lynch.



SALUSBURY, JOHN PIOZZI, 206, 207, 223, 224.


_Saturday Review_, quoted, on Wilde's poetry, 325.

SCHELLING, FELIX, _Elizabethan Drama_ and other books, 62;
  mentioned, 296.

SCOTT, SIR WALTER, _The Heart of Midlothian_, 256;
  mentioned, 111.

SESSLER, CHARLES, bookseller, 44, 46, 47, 116.

SEVERN, JOSEPH, copy of Spenser's _Works_ presented by, to Keats, 25.

SEYMOUR, ROBERT, original drawings for _Pickwick Papers_, 346.

SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM, folios and quartos, 67, 72;
  _Hamlet_, first quartos of, 72;
  _Venus and Adonis_, early editions of, 72;
  _Titus Andronicus_, 72;
  the first folio, 92, 93, 346;
  _Poems written by Wil. Shakespeare, Gent._ (1640), 346;
  mentioned, 43, 117, 152, 296.

SHAW, G. BERNARD, 323, 324.

SHELLEY, MRS. HARRIET, deserted by Shelley, 242;
  her death, 244.

  _See_ Godwin, Mary W., 2d.

SHELLEY, PERCY B., _Queen Mab_, presentation copy of,
  to Mary W. Godwin, 108;
  and Godwin, 242;
  elopes with Mary W. Godwin, 242;
  marries her, 244;
  death, 245, 355;
  mentioned, 7, 228.

SHERARD, ROBERT H., biographer of Wilde, 340.


SIDDONS, SARAH, 130, 194.

SIDNEY, SIR PHILIP, _Arcadia_, Countess of Pembroke's copy of, 346.

SKELTON, JOHN, _Poems_, 102, 103.


SMITH, GEORGE D., bookseller, 36 _ff._, 58, 71, 73, 96, 106, 115.

SMITH, HARRY B., his "Sentimental Library," 136;
  mentioned, 346.

SMITH, SIDNEY, engraver, 61.





SOUTHEY, ROBERT, _Life of Nelson_, 320;
  mentioned, 38, 39 and _n._, 41, 321.

SOUTHWARK, Thrale brewery in, 191, 195.



SPENCER, WALTER, bookseller, 27, 28, 53, 54, 66.

SPENSER, EDMUND, copy of his _Works_ presented to Keats by Severn, 24, 25;
  his influence on Keats, 25;
  mentioned, 177.

SPOOR, J. A., 48.

STANHOPE, PHILIP, pupil to Dr. Dodd, 301.
  _See_ Chesterfield, fifth Earl of.

STEPHEN, SIR LESLIE, 5, 64, 185.

STERNE, LAURENCE, _A Sentimental Journey_, 81;
  mentioned, 298, 304.


STEVENSON, ROBERT LOUIS, _Inland Voyages_, inscribed copy of, 109;
  _A Child's Garden of Verses_, unique copy of, 109, 110, 111;
  prices of first editions of, 110, 112, 113;
  _The New Arabian Nights_, 110;
  his popularity, 111;
  _Penny Whistles_, 112;
  Widener's collection of his works, 112, 348, 349;
  _Vailima Letters_ (holographs) 348;
  _Memoirs of Himself_ (MS.), privately printed by H. E. Widener, 348, 349;
  _Treasure Island_, 348, 349;
  mentioned, 7, 185.


STOKER, BRAM, _Dracula_, 231.

STOW, JOHN, _Survay of London_, first edition, 32;
  quoted, 274, 275.


STREATHAM PARK, the Thrales' country seat, 192, 194, 195, 196;
  life at, described by Fanny Burney, 199 _ff._;
  closed, 209;
  reopened, 215, 216.



SULLIVAN, SIR ARTHUR. _See_ Gilbert and Sullivan.


SURTEES, R. S., his sporting novels, 49, 77.

SWINBURNE, ALGERNON C., _Poems and Ballads_, first edition, 11;
  inscription to, by Rossetti, 106;
  Moore's _Modern Love_, inscribed to, 121;
  mentioned, 262.

TALFOURD, THOMAS NOON, _Final Memorials of Charles Lamb_, 37, 38.


TEMPLE, REV. WILLIAM J., Boswell's letters to,
  history of the collection, 157, 158;
  extracts from the letters, 158-165;
  his letters to B. not preserved, 159;
  mentioned, 180.

TEMPLE BAR, in the author's book-plate, 61;
  the western boundary of the "City," 267;
  history of, 274 _ff._;
  the first structure, 275-279;
  the second, built by Wren in 1670 and after, 279-281;
  demand for its removal, 281, 282;
  iron spikes on, 282;
  taverns surrounding, 282, 283;
  lessening importance of, 283, 284;
  last functions in which it played a part, 284;
  removed in 1877, 284;
  purchased by Sir H. Meux, and removed to Theobald's Park, 286;
  a visit to, described, 286-290.


TENNYSON, ALFRED, sketch of, reading _Maud_, 26, 27;
  mentioned, 283.


THACKERAY, WILLIAM M., copy of _Vanity Fair_ presented by,
  to Henry Reed, 19;
  sketch for illustration of _Vanity Fair_, 48, 49;
  _Vanity Fair_, in parts, 78, 251, 252;
  sentence written in his copy of Cowper's _The Task_, 347;
  copy of _Henry Esmond_, presented by, to Charlotte Brontë, 347;
  mentioned, 250, 253.

THEOBALD'S PARK, Temple Bar now set up at, 286 _ff._

THOMSON, JAMES, _The Seasons_, copy of, presented
  by Lord Byron to F. W. Webster, 29.

THRALE, HENRY, marries Hester L. Salusbury, 191;
  their ménage, 191 _ff._;
  parties at Streatham, 194,
  the brewery, 195;
  described by his wife, 196, 197;
  elected to Parliament, 197;
  his table among the best in London, 198;
  business troubles, 202;
  advised by Johnson, 202, 203;
  death, 203;
  mentioned, 186, 189.
  _See_ Thrale-Piozzi, Hester Lynch.

THRALE, HESTER LYNCH. _See_ Thrale-Piozzi.


THRALE-PIOZZI, HESTER LYNCH, _Lyford Redivivus_ (MS.), 16, 17;
  Psalmanazar's _Memoirs_ inscribed by Johnson to, 31, 32;
  her copy of the _Dictionary_, 63, 202;
  _Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson_, 174, 214;
  and Boswell's _Johnson_, 178, 179;
  her qualities, in general, 187, 188;
  her pedigree, 188, 189;
  birth, early years and education, 189, 190;
  marries Thrale, 191;
  their ménage, 191 _ff._;
  her one duty, 192;
  Johnson introduced to, 192;
  beginning of their long-enduring familiar intercourse, 193, 194;
  relations with Thrale, 196, 197;
  her numerous progeny, 197;
  business ability, 197, 204;
  life at Streatham, 199 _ff._;
  Johnson's verses to, 201;
  coexecutor with Johnson of Thrale's estate, 203;
  sells the brewery, 204, 205;
  acquaintance with Piozzi, 207, 209;
  verses to Piozzi, 210;
  engaged to him, 210;
  Johnson's violent letter to, and her reply, 211, 212;
  marries Piozzi, 212, 213;
  effect of Johnson's death on, 213, 214;
  _Letters to and from the late Samuel Johnson_, 215;
  other works published by, 216;
  Baretti's attack on, 216;
  builds Brynbella, 217;
  busy with her pen, 218;
  _Thraliana_, 218;
  _Journal of a Tour in Wales_, MS. of, 218-221;
  Macaulay's "silly phrase" concerning, 221;
  modern opinion of, 221;
  her influence on Johnson, 221;
  literary taste, 222;
  her copy of Boswell's _Johnson_, 222;
  death of Piozzi, 223;
  last days, at Bath, 223, 224;
  death and burial, 224;
  last words on, 224, 225;
  mentioned, 155, 161, 181.


TINKER, CHAUNCEY B., _Dr. Johnson and Fanny Burney_, dedication copy, 62;
  mentioned, 42, 158, 210.

TITANIC, steamship, loss of, 343, 344, 355.

TREGASKIS, JAMES, bookseller, 30-32.


TROLLOPE, ANTHONY, quoted, 75;
  _The MacDermots of Ballycloran_, and _The Kellys
  and the O'Kellys_, 111, 124;
  his novels considered, 111, 112, 251 _ff._, 257 _ff._;
  later criticism of, 249, 250;
  his simplicity, 253;
  his autobiography, quoted, 253, 265;
  his plots, 255;
  _Can You Forgive Her?_, 255;
  _Orley Farm_, 255, 256, 257;
  _Phineas Redux_, 255;
  the photographer _par excellence_ of his time, 260;
  his clerical gallery, 260;
  Mrs. Proudie, 261, 262;
  his autobiography, 262;
  suggested order of reading his novels, 263;
  a typical Englishman, 264;
  effect of the war on the England he wrote of, 266.


TYBURN, execution of Dodd at, 315-317.

UNITED STATES, book-shops in, 36 _ff._

"UNSPEAKABLE SCOT, THE," _The First Stone_, 51.

VAN ANTWERP, WILLIAM C., 86, 93, 96, 106, 346.



VICTORIA, QUEEN, inscribed copy of Martin's _Life
  of the Prince Consort_ presented by, to Gen. Sir A. Gordon, 33, 34;
  mentioned, 284.


WALES, PRINCE OF (afterward George IV), 232.

WALES, PRINCE OF (afterward Edward VII), 284.


WALPOLE, HORACE, _The Castle of Otranto_, 231;
  mentioned, 181, 299.

WALTON, IZAAK, _The Compleat Angler_, 7, 95, 96, 98, 248;
  his _Lives_ of Donne, etc., 96;
  mentioned, 286, 287.


WEBSTER, FRANCES W., copy of Thomson's _The Seasons_
  presented by Lord Byron to, 29.


WELLS, GABRIEL, bookseller, 51, 52, 110, 166.


WHISTLER, JAMES, Pennell collection of his works, 94;
  and Wilde, 324, 328.

WHITE, W. A., 72, 75.

WIDENER, GEORGE D., 344, 345.

WIDENER, MRS. GEORGE D. _See_ Rice, Mrs. Hamilton.

WIDENER, HARRY ELKINS, his collection given to Harvard
  University by his mother, 48;
  sketch of his life, 343, 345;
  lost on the Titanic, 344, 355;
  devotion to, and knowledge of, books, 344, 345;
  as a book-collector, 345, 346;
  some of his treasures, 346 _ff._;
  Stevenson collection, 348;
  personality and characteristics, 348, 349;
  and the Grolier Club, 350;
  his ambition to be remembered in connection with a
  great library, 352, 353;
  at the Huth sale, 354;
  his last purchase, Bacon's _Essaies_, 354, 355;
  mentioned, 19, 73, 75, 86.




WILDE, OSCAR, on poetry and Pope, 10;
  presentation copy of Moore's _Pagan Poems_ to, 49, 51;
  advancing value of first editions of, 49;
  multiplicity of books about him, 49, 51;
  _The Importance of Being Earnest_, 89, 334, 337;
  bibliography of, 114;
  Beardsley's caricature of, 114, 319;
  lectures in U.S., 318, 325, 327;
  personal appearance, 318;
  difficulties of discussing him, 320;
  his place in literature as influenced by his character, 321, 322;
  _Dorian Gray_, 322, 329-331;
  early life, 322, 323;
  leads the "æsthetic cult," 323, 324;
  at Oxford, and in London, 323, 324;
  _Poems_ (1881), 324, 325;
  _The Duchess of Padua_, 327;
  _The Woman's World_, 329;
  fairy tales, 331;
  _The Soul of Man under Socialism_, 332, 333;
  _Pen, Pencil, and Poison_, 333;
  his poems, 333, 334;
  his dramatic works--_Lady Windermere's Fan_, 335;
  _A Woman of No Importance_, 335, 336;
  _An Ideal Husband_, 336, 337;
  _Salome_, 337;
  success of the plays, 338;
  his downfall, 338, 339;
  in prison, 338;
  _De Profundis_, 338, 339;
  effect of his reputation on his works, 339, 340;
  in Paris under assumed name, 340;
  _The Ballad of Reading Gaol_, 340;
  death, 341;
  Robert Ross and, 341, 342;
  mentioned, 292.

_Wilde, Oscar, Three Times Tried_, 49.


WILDE, LADY ("Speranza"), 322.


WILSON, WOODROW, _Constitutional History of the
  United States_, with inscription, 125, 126.


WOLFE, GENERAL JAMES, sale of his copy of Gray's _Elegy_, 107, 108.

WOLLSTONECRAFT, MARY, becomes Godwin's mistress, 232, 233;
  marries him, 233, 228.
  _See_ Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft.


WORDSWORTH, WILLIAM, his copy of _Endymion_, 7, 29, 106;
  mentioned, 38, 133.

WREN, CHRISTOPHER, builds new Temple Bar, 279, 280.



The Riverside Press


U. S. A.

       *       *       *       *       *


[1] The facsimile (page 6) is from the first edition, with the first
title-page. From the Hagen collection. Mr. Hagen has written on the
fly-leaf, "Rebound from original calf binding which was too far gone to
repair." In the process of binding it was seen that the title-page was
part of a signature and not a separate leaf as in the case of the issue
with the "Second" title, 1667, which would seem to settle the priority
of these two titles.

[2] See _infra_, chapter III, p. 104, where the further
adventures of this book are related, and where its price at the Hagen
sale, May 14, 1918, becomes $1950, with A. E. N. as the bidder-up.

[3] See _infra_, chapter XI, pp. 307_ff._

[4] I had a letter from Mr. Dobell early in the war, telling me that
business was very bad in his line, and that he had taken to writing bad
war-poems, which, he said, was a harmless pastime for a man too old
to fight. I am not sure that the writing of bad poetry is a harmless
pastime, and I was just about to write and tell him so, when I read in
the _Athenæum_ that he had passed away quite suddenly.

[5] The facsimile is from the original manuscript by Charles Lamb.
First published in 1799 in what is usually referred to as Cottle's
"Annual Anthology." The poem is generally attributed to Southey, but it
sounds like Lamb, who liked tobacco, whereas Southey did not. The MS.,
in ten stanzas, is undoubtedly in Lamb's handwriting.

[6] See Professor Trent's remarks on this "point," in chapter
III, p. 100.

[7] The facsimile on page 105 is from the original manuscript of John
Keats's "To some Ladies," published in Keats's first volume (1817). The
ladies were the sisters of George Felton Mathew, to whom Keats also
addressed a poem. It will be observed that in the second verse he used
the word "gushes" at the end of the third as well as the first line.
This error does not occur in the printed text. On the other hand the
MS. shows a correction which has never been made in the printed text,
where the word "rove" is corrected to "muse." There is an interesting
communication in the Athenæum, April 16, 1904, by H. Buxton Forman,
anent this holograph.

[8] In Walter Hill's recent catalogue a copy is priced at $350.

[9] See _infra_, page 319.

[10] I received a note some time ago from Christopher Morley, saying,
"Let us hereafter and forever drink tea together on this date in
celebration of this meeting."

[11] The original of the portrait opposite was owned by Boswell, who
used the engraving as the frontispiece of his "Life of Johnson." Now
in the Johnson collection of Robert B. Adam, Esq., of Buffalo. There
is a proof plate with an inscription in Boswell's hand: "This is the
first impression of the Plate after Mr. Heath the engraver thought it
was finished. He went with me to Sir Joshua Reynolds who suggested that
the countenance was too young and not thoughtful enough. Mr. Heath
thereupon altered it so much to its advantage that Sir Joshua was quite
satisfied and Heath then saw such a difference that he said he would
not for a hundred pounds have had it remain as it was."

[12] This was written in April, 1915. Sir Hedworth Meux is not now in
active service.

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

rememberd that=> remembered that {pg 42}

A 'Becket=> À Becket {pg 359}

Bronté=> Brontë {pg 361}

GRANNIS, RUTH S., 113.=> GRANNISS, RUTH S., 113. {pg 364}

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