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gitimate lords of creation. It would delight you to see some of them playing Indian when surrounded by the wonders and improvements of the Old World. It is impossible to match these fellows by anything this side the water. Let an Englishman talk of the battle of Waterloo, and they will immediately bring up New Orleans and Plattsburg. A thoroughbred, thoroughly appointed soldier is nothing to a Kentucky rifleman,” etc., etc. In contrast to this sort of American was Charles King, who was then abroad : “Charles is exactly what an American should be abroad : frank, manly, and unaffected in his habits and manners, liberal and independent in his opinions, generous and unprejudiced in his sentiments towards other nations, but most loyally attached to his own.” There was a provincial narrowness at that date and long after in America, which deprecated the open-minded patriotism of King and of Irving as it did the clear-sighted loyalty of Fenimore Cooper. The most anxious time of Irving's life was the winter of 1815–16. The business worry increased. He was too jaded with the din of pounds, shillings, and pence to permit his pen to invent facts or to adorn realities. Nevertheless, he occasionally escapes from the tread-mill. In December he is in London, and entranced with the acting of Miss O'Neil. He thinks that Brevoort, if he saw her, would infallibly fall in love with this “divine perfection of a woman.” He writes: “She is, to my eyes, the most soul-subduing actress I ever saw ; I do not mean from her personal charms, which are great, but from the truth, force, and pathos of her acting. I have never been so completely melted, moved, and overcome at a theatre as by her performances. . . . Kean, the prodigy, is to me insufferable. He is vulgar, full of trick, and a complete mannerist. This is merely my opinion. He is cried up as a second Garrick, as a reformer of the stage, etc. It may be so. He may be right, and all the other actors wrong. This is certain : he is either very good or very bad. I think decidedly the latter; and I find no medium opinions concerning him. I am delighted with Young, who acts with great judgment, discrimination, and feeling. I think him much the best actor at present on the English stage. . . . In certain characters, such as may be classed with Macbeth, I do not think that Cooper has his equal in England. Young is the only actor I have seen who can compare with him.” Later, Irving somewhat modified his opinion of Kean. He wrote to Brevoort: “Kean is a strange compound of merits and defects. His excellence consists in sudden and brilliant touches, in vivid exhibitions of passion and emotion. I do not think him a discriminating actor, or critical either at understanding or delineating character; but he produces effects which no other actor does.” In the summer of 1816, on his way from Liverpool to visit his sister's family at Birmingham, Irving tarried for a few days at a country place near Shrewsbury on the border of Wales, and while there encountered a character whose portrait is cleverly painted. It is interesting to compare this first sketch with the elaboration of it in the essay on The Angler in the “SketchBook.” “In one of our morning strolls [he writes, July 15thl along the banks of the Aleen, a beautiful little pastoral stream that rises among the Welsh mountains and throws itself into the Dee, we encountered a veteran angler of old Isaac Walton's school. He was an old Greenwich out-door pensioner, had lost one leg in the battle of Camperdown, had been in America in his youth, and indeed had been quite a rover, but for many years past had settled himself down in his native village, not far distant, where he lived very independently on his pension and some other small annual sums, amounting in all to about £40. His great hobby, and indeed the business of his life, was to angle. I found he had read Isaac Walton very attentively; he seemed to have imbibed all his simplicity of heart, contentment of mind, and fluency of tongue. We kept company with him almost the whole day, wandering along the beautiful banks of the river, admiring the ease and elegant dexterity with which the old fellow managed his angle, throwing the fly with unerring certainty at a great distance and among overhanging bushes, and waving it gracefully in the air, to keep it from entangling, as he stumped with his staff and wooden leg from one bend of the river to another. He kept up a continual flow of cheerful and entertaining talk, and what I particularly liked him for was, that though we tried every way to entrap him into some abuse of America and its inhabitants, there was no getting him to utter an ill-natured word concerning us. His whole conversation and deportment illustrated old Isaac's maxims as to the benign influence of angling over the human heart. . . . I ought to mention that he had two companions — one, a ragged, picturesque varlet, that had all the air of a veteran poacher, and I warrant would find any fish-pond in the neighborhood in the darkest night; the other was a disciple of the old philosopher, studying the art under him, and was son and heir apparent to the landlady of the village tavern.”
A contrast to this pleasing picture is afforded by some character sketches at the little watering-place of Buxton, which our kindly observer visited the same year.
“At the hotel where we put up [he writes] we had a most singular and whimsical assemblage of beings. I don't know whether you were ever at an English watering-place, but if you have not been, you have missed the best opportunity of studying English oddities, both moral and physical. I no longer wonder at the English being such excellent caricaturists, they have such an inexhaustible number and variety of subjects to study from. The only care should be not to follow fact too closely, for I'll swear I have met