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LITERARY ACTIVITY. 131

most characteristic Dutch stories, and the “Stout Gentleman,” one of his daintiest and most artistic bits of restrained humor." Irving sought relief from his malady by an extended tour in Germany. He sojourned some time in Dresden, whither his reputation had preceded him, and where he was cordially and familiarly received, not only by the foreign residents, but at the prim and antiquated little court of King Frederick Augustus and Queen Amalia. Of Irving at this time Mrs. Emily Fuller (née Foster), whose relations with him have been referred to, wrote in 1860: –

“He was thoroughly a gentleman, not merely in external manners and look, but to the innermost fibres and core of his heart : sweet-tempered, gentle, fastidious, sensitive, and gifted with the warmest affections; the most delightful and

1 I was once [says his biographer] reading aloud in his presence a very flattering review of his works, which had been sent him by the critic in 1848, and smiled as I came to this sentence: “His most comical pieces have always a serious end in view.” “You laugh,” said he, with that air of whimsical significance so natural to him, “but it is true. I have kept that to myself hitherto, but that man has found me out. He has detected the moral of the Stout Gentleman.”

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invariably interesting companion; gay and full of humor, even in spite of occasional fits of melancholy, which he was, however, seldom subject to when with those he liked; a gift of conversation that flowed like a full river in sunshine, – bright, easy, and abundant.”

Those were pleasant days at Dresden, filled up with the society of bright and warm-hearted people, varied by royal boar hunts, stiff ceremonies at the little court, tableaux, and private theatricals, yet tinged with a certain melancholy, partly constitutional, that appears in most of his letters. His mind was too unsettled for much composition. He had little self-confidence, and was easily put out by a breath of adverse criticism. At intervals he would come to the Fosters to read a manuscript of his OWn.

“On these occasions strict orders were given that no visitor should be admitted till the last word had been read, and the whole praised or criticised, as the case may be. Of criticism, however, we were very spare, as a slight word would put him out of conceit of a whole work. One of the best things he has published was thrown aside, unfinished, for years, because the friend to

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whom he read it, happening, unfortunately, not to be well, and sleepy, did not seem to take the interest in it he expected. Too easily discouraged, it was not till the latter part of his career that he ever appreciated himself as an author. One condemning whisper sounded louder in his ear than the plaudits of thousands.”

This from Miss Emily Foster, who elsewhere notes his kindliness in observing life : —

“Some persons, in looking upon life, view it as they would view a picture, with a stern and criticising eye. He also looks upon life as a picture, but to catch its beauties, its lights, – not its defects and shadows. On the former he loves to dwell. He has a wonderful knack at shutting his eyes to the sinister side of anything. Never beat a more kindly heart than his ; alive to the sorrows, but not to the faults, of his friends, but doubly alive to their virtues and goodness. Indeed, people seemed to grow more good with one so unselfish and so gentle.”

In London, some years later: —

“He was still the same; time changed him very little. His conversation was as interesting as ever [he was always an excellent relater];

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his dark gray eyes still full of varying feeling; his smile half playful, half melancholy, but ever kind. All that was mean, or envious, or harsh, he seemed to turn from so completely that, when with him, it seemed that such things were not. All gentle and tender affections, Nature in her sweetest or grandest moods, pervaded his whole imagination, and left no place for low or evil thoughts; and when in good spirits, his humor, his droll descriptions, and his fun would make the gravest or the saddest laugh.”

As to Irving's “state of mind” in Dresden, it is pertinent to quote a passage from what we gather to be a journal kept by Miss Flora Foster: —

“He has written. He has confessed to my mother, as to a true and dear friend, his love for E , and his conviction of its utter hopelessness. He feels himself unable to combat it. He thinks he must try, by absence, to bring more peace to his mind. Yet he cannot bear to give up our friendship, — an intercourse become so dear to him, and so necessary to his daily happiness. Poor Irving !”

It is well for our peace of mind that we do not know what is going down concerning us in “journals.” On his way to the Herrnhuthers, Mr. Irving wrote to Mrs. Foster: —

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“When I consider how I have trifled with my time, suffered painful vicissitudes of feeling, which for a time damaged both mind and body, - when I consider all this, I reproach myself that I did not listen to the first impulse of my mind, and abandon Dresden long since. And yet I think of returning ! Why should I come back to Dresden 2 The very inclination that dooms me thither should furnish reasons for my staying away.”

In this mood, the Herrnhuthers, in their right-angled, whitewashed world, were little attractive.

“If the Herrnhuthers were right in their notions, the world would have been laid out in squares and angles and right lines, and everything would have been white and black and snuff-color, as they have been clipped by these merciless retrenchers of beauty and enjoyment. And then their dormitories | Think of between one and two hundred of these simple gentlemen cooped up at night in one great chamber What a concert of barrel-organs in this great resounding saloon! And then their plan of marriage The very birds of the air choose their mates from preference and inclination; but this detestable

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