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ing of “vanity” in a letter of March, 1820, when Scott and Lockhart and all the Reviews were in a full chorus of acclaim, he says: “I wish I did possess more of it, but it seems my curse at present to have anything but confidence in myself or pleasure in anything I have written.”

In a similar strain he had written, in September, 1819, on the news of the cordial reception of the “Sketch-Book” in America : —

“The manner in which the work has been received, and the eulogiums that have been passed upon it in the American papers and periodical works, have completely overwhelmed me. They go far, far beyond my most sanguine expectations, and indeed are expressed with such peculiar warmth and kindness as to affect me in the tenderest manner. The receipt of your letter, and the reading of some of the criticisms this morning, have rendered me nervous for the whole day. I feel almost appalled by such success, and fearful that it cannot be real, or that it is not fully merited, or that I shall not act up to the expectations that may be formed. We are whimsically constituted beings. I had got out of conceit of all that I had written, and considered it very questionable stuff; and now that it is so extravagantly bepraised, I begin to feel afraid that I shall not do as well again. However, we shall see as we get on. As yet I am extremely irregular and precarious in my fits of composition. The least thing puts me out of the vein, and even applause flurries me and prevents my writing, though of course it will ultimately be a stimulus. . . . “I have been somewhat touched by the manner in which my writings have been noticed in the ‘Evening Post.’ I had considered Coleman as cherishing an ill-will toward me, and, to tell the truth, have not always been the most courteous in my opinions concerning him. It is a painful thing either to dislike others or to fancy they dislike us, and I have felt both pleasure and selfreproach at finding myself so mistaken with respect to Mr. Coleman. I like to out with a good feeling as soon as it rises, and so I have dropt Coleman a line on the subject. “I hope you will not attribute all this sensibility to the kind reception I have met to an author's vanity. I am sure it proceeds from very different sources. Vanity could not bring the tears into my eyes as they have been brought by the kindness of my countrymen. I have felt cast down, blighted, and broken-spirited, and these sudden rays of sunshine agitate me more than they revive me. I hope — I hope I may Irving had not contemplated publishing in England, but the papers began to be reprinted, and he was obliged to protect himself. He offered the sketches to Murray, the princely publisher, who afterwards dealt so liberally with him, but the venture was declined in a civil note, written in that charming phraseology with which authors are familiar, but which they would in vain seek to imitate. Irving afterwards greatly prized this letter. He undertook the risks of the publication himself, and the book sold well, although “written by an author the public knew nothing of, and published by a bookseller who was going to ruin.” In a few months Murray, who was thereafter proud to be Irving's publisher, undertook the publication of the two volumes of the “Sketch-Book,” and also of the “ Knickerbocker’” history, which Mr. Lockhart had just been warmly praising in “Blackwood’s.” Indeed, he bought the copyright of the “Sketch-Book” for two hundred pounds. The time for the publisher's complaisance had arrived sooner even than Scott predicted in one of his kindly letters to Irving, “when ‘Your name is up and may go From Toledo to Madrid.’”

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yet do something more worthy of the appreciation lavished on me.”

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Irving passed five years in England. Once recognized by the literary world, whatever was best in the society of letters and of fashion was open to him. He was a welcome guest in the best London houses, where he met the foremost literary personages of the time, and established most cordial relations with many of them; not to speak of statesmen, soldiers, and men and women of fashion, there were the elder D'Israeli, Southey, Campbell, Hallam, Gifford, Milman, Foscolo, Rogers, Scott, and Belzoni fresh from his Egyptian explorations. In Irving's letters this old society passes in review : Murray's drawing-rooms; the amusing blue-stocking coteries of fashion of which Lady Caroline Lamb was a promoter; the Countess of Besborough's, at whose house The Duke could be seen ; the Wimbledon country seat of Lord and Lady Spence; Belzoni, a giant of six feet five, the centre of a group of eager auditors of the Egyptian marvels; Hallam, affable and unpretending, and a copious talker; Gifford, a small, shriveled, deformed man of sixty, with something of a humped back, eyes that diverge, and a large mouth, reclining on a sofa, propped up by cushions, with none of the petulance that you would expect from his Review, but a mild, simple, unassuming man, – he it is who prunes the contributions and takes the sting out of them (one would like to have seen them before the sting was taken out); and Scott, the right honest-hearted, entering into the passing scene with the hearty enjoyment of a child, to whom literature seems a sport rather than a labor or ambition, an author void of all the petulance, egotism, and peculiarities of the craft. We have Moore's authority for saying that the literary dinner described in the “The Tales of a Traveller,” whimsical as it seems and pervaded by the conventional notion of the relations of publishers and authors, had a personal foundation. Irving's satire of both has always the old-time Grub Street flavor, or at least the reminiscent tone, which is, by the way, quite characteristic of nearly everything that he wrote about England. He was always

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