Imagens das páginas

tions in this part of Spain, the best inventions for comfortable and agreeable living, and all those habitudes and customs which throw a peculiar and Oriental charm over the Andalusian mode of living may be traced to the Moors. Whenever I enter these beautiful marble patios, set out with shrubs and flowers, refreshed by fountains, sheltered with awnings from the sun ; where the air is cool at noonday, the ear delighted in sultry summer by the sound of falling water; where, in a word, a little paradise is shut up within the walls of home, I think on the poor Moors, the inventors of all these delights. I am at times almost ready to join in sentiment with a worthy friend and countryman of mine whom I met in Malaga, who swears the Moors are the only people that ever deserved the country, and prays to Heaven that they may come over from Africa and conquer it again.”

In a following paragraph we get a glimpse of a world, however, that the author loves still more : —

“Tell me everything about the children. I suppose the discreet princess will soon consider it an indignity to be ranked among the number. I am told she is growing with might and main, and is determined not to stop until she is a woman outright. I would give all the money



for much y to COnrted ould


on to life, tieth f litlates elopwith ; but first most toned pring s not fined. done. in reis ad


in my pocket to be with those dear little women at the round table in the saloon, or on the grassplot in the garden, to tell them some marvelous tales.”

And again : —

“Give my love to all my dear little friends of the round table, from the discreet princess down to the little blue-eyed boy. Tell la petite Marie that I still remain true to her, though surrounded by all the beauties of Seville; and that I swear (but this she must keep between ourselves) that there is not a little woman to compare with her in all Andalusia.”

The publication of “The Life of Columbus,” which had been delayed by Irving's anxiety to secure historical accuracy in every detail, did not take place till February, 1828. For the English copyright Mr. Murray paid him £3,150. He wrote an abridgment of it, which he presented to his generous publisher, and which was a very profitable book (the first edition of ten thousand copies sold immediately). This was followed by the “Companions,” and by “The Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada,” for which he received two thousand guineas. “The Alhambra” was not published till just before

Irving's return to America, in 1832, and was
brought out by Mr. Bentley, who bought it
for one thousand guineas.
“The Conquest of Granada,” which I am
told Irving in his latter years regarded as
the best of all his works, was declared by
Coleridge “a chef-d'oeuvre of its kind.” I
think it bears re-reading as well as any of
the Spanish books. Of the reception of the
“Columbus” the author was very doubtful.
Before it was finished he wrote: —

“I have lost confidence in the favorable disposition of my countrymen, and look forward to cold scrutiny and stern criticism, and this is a line of writing in which I have not hitherto ascertained my own powers. Could I afford it, I should like to write, and to lay my writings aside when finished. There is an independent delight in study and in the creative exercise of the pen; we live in a world of dreams, but publication lets in the noisy rabble of the world, and there is an end of our dreaming.”

In a letter to Brevoort, February, 23, 1828, he fears that he can never regain “That delightful confidence which I once en

joyed of not the good opinion, but the good will, of my countrymen. To me it is always ten times


7ere for much y to COnrted ould and

on to life, tieth f litlates elopwith ; but first most toned pring s not fined. done. in reis ad


more gratifying to be liked than to be admired; and I confess to you, though I am a little too proud to confess it to the world, the idea that the kindness of my countrymen toward me was withering caused me for a long time the most weary depression of spirits, and disheartened me from making any literary exertions.”

It has been a popular notion that Irving's career was uniformly one of ease. In this same letter he exclaims: “With all my exertions, I seem always to keep about up to my chin in troubled water, while the world, I suppose, thinks I am sailing smoothly, with wind and tide in my favor.”

In a subsequent letter to Brevoort, dated at Seville, December 26, 1828, occurs almost the only piece of impatience and sarcasm that this long correspondence affords. “Columbus ” had succeeded beyond his expectation, and its popularity was so great that some enterprising American had projected an abridgment, which it seems would not be protected by the copyright of the original. Irving writes: —

“I have just sent to my brother an abridgment of ‘Columbus' to be published immediately, as I find some paltry fellow is pirating an abridg

ment. Thus every line of life has its depredation. “There be land rats and water rats, land pirates and water pirates, – I mean thieves, as old Shylock says. I feel vexed at this shabby attempt to purloin this work from me, it having really cost me more toil and trouble than all my other productions, and being one that I trusted would keep me current with my countrymen ; but we are making rapid advances in literature in America, and have already attained many of the literary vices and diseases of the old countries of Europe. We swarm with reviewers, though we have scarce original works sufficient for them to alight and prey upon, and we closely imitate all the worst tricks of the trade and of the craft in England. Our literature, before long, will be like some of those premature and aspiring whipsters, who become old men before they are young ones, and fancy they prove their manhood by their profligacy and their diseases.”

But the work had an immediate, continued, and deserved success. It was critically contrasted with Robertson's account of Columbus, and it is open to the charge of too much rhetorical color here and there, and it is at times too diffuse ; but its substantial accuracy is not questioned, and the glow of the narrative springs legitimately

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