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de Sfciiil, who was then enjoying the celebrity of " Delphine." He was impressed with her strength of mind, and somewhat astounded at the amazing flow of her conversation, and the question upon question with which she plied him.
In May the wanderer was in Paris, and remained there four months, studying French and frequenting the theatres with exemplary regularity. Of his life in Paris there are only the meagrest reports, and he records no observations upon political affairs. The town fascinated him more than any other in Europe; he notes that the city is rapidly beautifying under the emperor, that the people seem gay and happy, and Vive la bagatelle! is again the burden of their song. His excuse for remissness in correspondence was, "I am a young man and in Paris."
By way of the Netherlands he reached London in October and remained in England till January. The attraction in London seems to have been the theatre, where he saw John Kemble, Cooke, and Mrs. Siddons. Kemble's acting seemed to him too studied and over-labored; he had the disadvantage
. "'/ of a voice lacking rich, bases tones. Whatever he did was judiciously conceived and perfectly executed; it satisfied the head, but rarely touched the heart. Only in the part of Zanga was the young critic completely overpowered by his acting,— Kemble seemed to have forgotten himself. Cooke, who had less range than Kemble, completely satisfied Irving as Iago. Of Mrs. Siddons, who was then old, he scarcely dares to give his impressions lest he should be thought extravagant. "Her looks," he says, "her voice, her gestures, delighted me. She penetrated in a moment to my heart. She froze and melted it by turns; a glance of her eye, a start, an exclamation, thrilled through my whole frame. The more I see her the more I admire her. I hardly breathe while she is on the stage. She works up my feelings till I am like a mere child." Some years later, after the publication of the " Sketch-Book," in a London assembly Irving was presented to the tragedy queen, who had left the stage, but had not laid aside its stately manner. She looked at him a moment, and then in a deep-toned voice slowly enunciated, " You 've made me weep." The" author was so disconcerted that he said not a word, and retreated in confusion. After the publication of " Bracebridge Hall " he met her in company again, and was persuaded to go through the ordeal of another presentation. The stately woman, fixed her eyes on him as before, and slowly said, " You 've made me weep again." This time the bashful author acquitted himself with more honor.
This first sojourn abroad was not immediately fruitful in a literary way, and need not further detain us. It was the irresolute pilgrimage of a man who had not yet received his vocation. Everywhere he was received in the best society, and the charm of his manner and his ingenuous nature made him everywhere a favorite. He carried that indefinable passport which society recognizes and which needs no visi. He saw the people who were famous, the women whose recognition is a social reputation ; he made many valuable friends; he frequented the theatre, he indulged his passion for the opera; he learned how to dine, and to appreciate the delights of a brilliant salon; he was picking up languages; he was observing nature and men, and especially women. That he profited by his loitering experience is plain enough afterward, but thus far there is little to prophesy that Irving would be anything more in life than a charming fidneur.
SOCIETY AND "SALMAGUNDI."
On Irving's return to America in February, 1806, with reestablished health, life did not at first take on a more serious purpose. He was admitted to the bar, but he still halted.1 Society more than ever attracted him and devoured his time. He willingly accepted the office of "champion at the tea-parties;" he was one of a knot of young fellows of literary tastes and convivial habits, who delighted to be known
1 Irving once illustrated his legal acquirements at this time by the relation of the following anecdote to his nephew: Josiah Ogden Hoffman and Martin Wilkins, an effective and witty advocate, had been appointed to examine students for admission. One student acquitted himself very lamely, and at the supper which it was the custom for the candidates to give to the examiners, when they passed upon their several merits, Hoffman paused in coming to this one, and turning to Wilkins said, as if in hesitation, though all the while intending to admit him, "Martin, I think he knows a little law." "Make it stronger, Jo," was the reply; "d d little-"