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a little in the past tense. Buckthorne's advice to his friend is, never to be eloquent to an author except in praise of his own works, or, what is nearly as acceptable, in disparagement of the work of his contemporaries. “If ever he speaks favorably of the productions of a particular friend, dissent boldly from him ; pronounce his friend to be a blockhead; never fear his being vexed. Much as people speak of the irritability of authors, I never found one to take offense at such contradictions. No, no, sir, authors are particularly candid in admitting the faults of their friends.” At the dinner Buckthorne explains the geographical boundaries in the land of literature : you may judge tolerably well of an author's popularity by the wine his bookseller gives him. “An author crosses the port line about the third edition, and gets into claret; and when he has reached the sixth or seventh, he may revel in champagne and burgundy.” The two ends of the table were occupied by the two partners, one of whom laughed at the clever things said by the poet, while the other maintained his sedateness and kept on carving. “His gravity was explained to us by my friend Buckthorne. He informed me that the concerns of the house were admirably distributed among the partners. Thus, for instance, said he, the grave gentleman is the carving partner, who attends to the joints; and the other is the laughing partner, who attends to the jokes.” If any of the jokes from the lower end of the table reached the upper end, they seldom produced much effect. “Even the laughing partner did not think it necessary to honor them with a smile; which my neighbor Buckthorne accounted for by informing me that there was a certain degree of popularity to be obtained before a bookseller could afford to laugh at an author's jokes.” In August, 1820, we find Irving in Paris, where his reputation secured him a hearty welcome: he was often at the Cannings' and at Lord Holland's ; Talma, then the king of the stage, became his friend, and there he made the acquaintance of Thomas Moore, which ripened into a familiar and lasting friendship. The two men were drawn to each other; Irving greatly admired the “noble-hearted, manly, spirited little fellow, with a mind as generous as his fancy is brilliant.” Talma was playing Hamlet to overflowing houses, which hung on his actions with breathless attention, or
were carried fainting from the boxes. The actor is described as short in stature, rather inclined to fat, with a large face and a thick neck; his eyes are bluish, and have a peculiar cast in them at times. He said to Irving that he thought the French character much changed—graver; the day of the classic drama, mere declamation and fine language, had gone by ; the Revolution had taught them to demand real life, incident, passion, character. Irving's life in Paris was gay enough, and seriously interfered with his literary projects. He had the fortunes of his brother Peter on his mind also, and invested his earnings, then and for some years after, in enterprises for his benefit that ended in disappointment. The “Sketch-Book” was making a great fame for him in England. Jeffrey, in the “Edinburgh Review,” paid it a most flattering tribute, and even the savage “Quarterly ’’ praised it. A rumor attributed it to Scott, who was always masquerading; at least, it was said, he might have revised it, and should have the credit of its exquisite style. This led to a sprightly correspondence between Lady Littleton, the daughter of Earl Spencer, one of the most accomplished and lovely women of England, and Benjamin Rush, Minister to the Court of St. James, in the course of which Mr. Rush suggested the propriety of giving out under his official seal that Irving was the author of “Waverley.” “Geoffrey Crayon is the most fashionable fellow of the day,” wrote the painter Leslie. Lord Byron, in a letter to Murray, underscored his admiration of the author, and subsequently said to an American : “His Crayon, I know it by heart; at least, there is not a passage that I cannot refer to immediately.” And afterwards he wrote to Moore, “His writings are my delight.” There seemed to be, as some one wrote, “a kind of conspiracy to hoist him over the heads of his contemporaries.” Perhaps the most satisfactory evidence of his popularity was his publisher's enthusiasm. The publisher is an infallible
It is worthy of note that an American should have captivated public attention at the moment when Scott and Byron were the idols of the English-reading world.
In the following year Irving was again in England, visiting his sister in Birmingham, and tasting moderately the delights of London. He was, indeed, something of an invalid. An eruptive malady, the revenge of nature, perhaps, for defeat in her earlier attack on his lungs, appearing in his ankles, incapacitated him for walking, tormented him at intervals, so that literary composition was impossible, sent him on pilgrimages to curative springs, and on journeys undertaken for distraction and amusement, in which all work except that of seeing and absorbing material had to be postponed. He was subject to this recurring invalidism all his life, and we must regard a good part of the work he did as a pure triumph of determination over physical discouragement. This year the fruits of his interrupted labor appeared in “Bracebridge Hall,” a volume that was well received, but did not add much to his reputation, though
it contained “Dolph Heyliger,” one of his