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that Mr. Dickens magnifies till it becomes so apparent as to expose itself. It may be necessary for an actress to rouge to a certain extent to counteract the ghastly effect of the broad stage-lights on the human countenance, but what should we say of her who daubed it on indiscriminately and unsparingly, giving as much to the nose as the cheek? So with the author, he composes in a glow, and beholds things immensely brighter than it will appear to the coldness, stupidity, or apathy of the common reader Mr. Dickens' humor is Falstaffian, we admit, but he too frequently stuffs the fine old knight so much as to make him little better than a heap of old clothes; he buries the man in the buck basket truly, but he also requires him to wear them content, but like the grave-digger in Hamlet, he has too many waistcoats to be funny. Still there is heart and feeling in all this, and while the judicious blame the artist for his sacrifice of truth and nature, they laugh at the outrageousness of the distortion. Thackeray, on the other hand, never loses his temper or his judgment, Dickens often does: both scourge the offender, but the first does it from liking the office, and the other because he is angry, and thinks the culprit deserves it. In Vanity Fair the lash is always ringing on the back of the unhappy victim, but it is applied with the calculating prudence of the slave-driver, with a physician's regard for the life of the subject: he keeps him alive for further operations, and for future punishment. Dickens batters his opponent in a passion and gives up when tired: he rails and vituperates all the time, while Thackeray, with more severity, tortures at leisure. Both fish: but one pulls his trout out of the water at once and despatches it, while the other keeps it on the hook and drowns it by swimming. Dickens administers capital punishment on the spur of the moment; Thackeray imprisons for life, and racks his prisoner occasionally by way of amusement. 'Becky is as cold and wicked—as Quilp is a monstrous abortion—Thackeray is a Mephistophiles; Dickens a Faust'—One has
most head, the other most heart | Both are great observers, but they look different ways. The observation of Thackeray is particular, that of Dickens general; while one is content to regard only the artificial, the other narrowly chronicles the natural. A modern critic has called Mr. Dickens the Hogarth of authors, and we think the epithet one of which the novelist may well be proud. In “Oliver Twist” we are perpetually reminded of the fact, and we can conceive nothing more perfect in the way of amusement than a novel written by Charles Dickens in his best manner, and illustrated by William Hogarth ! Among the scenes of that great fiction, one of the most touching things we ever read, is the scene where the poor sweet-hearted consumptive child, who is weeding the garden before any one else has risen, climbs up the gate, and putting his little arms through, clasps Oliver round the neck, wishing him “good bye” with a brother's kiss. They had both been beaten and starved together, and in the little child’s “good bye—God bless you,” rushed a world of thought, and old feelings enough to drown the voice of a poor law commissioner in tears. It is in touches like this that Mr. Dickens is so superior to the rest of his contemporaries: he often conveys a crowd of associations in a line, but too often takes a page to reiterate what destroys the whole effect of his previous effort. He leaves nothing to the reader's imagination: indeed he so overpaints his picture as not unfrequently to obliterate the original and successful design. Numberless instances of this might be given : we content ourselves by calling the reader's attention to the description of Ruth's pudding making, too well known to quote. Mr. Dickens tells a story remarkably well, and being a good mimic, he often imparts to the narrative the reality and vivacity of life: the anecdote of Macready and Prichard is one of his most successful efforts: we have the more pleasure in relating this as, it shows under cover of an apparent icy reserve,
“ Still glows the warmth of genial heat
While we are on this “trail,” we may as well relieve our recollection of another anecdote, illustrating the peculiarities of two men so well known as Wordsworth and the great tragedian.
Mr. Macready on his return from some engagement in Edinburg, called on Wordsworth, and was persuaded by the old bard to remain all night: they wandered about, talked of the drama, and parted, mutually pleased with each other. Shortly afterward, a friend who knew Macready intimately, inquiring of Wordsworth what he thought of his visiter, received from the aged poet the following account. “I was much pleased with him indeed. He is a quiet, modest, unassuming man: without the slightest taint of conceit—in short, I gathered from what he said, about acting, that he is a bad actor, and he knows it : between ourselves, he confessed as much to me.” Our friend's amusement may be easily conceived at this instance of the Poet Laureate's discrimination; it is, however, a curious instance of Mr. Macready’s “private theatricals.”
To return, however, to the story in question, which shows the eminent actor in a very amiable point of view; the simplicity of his guest is truly ludicrous. A gentleman, of the name of Prichard, having failed as an actor, settled down into the more useful occupation of stage-manager of Drury Lane Theatre. He had the peculiarity of being an extravagant admirer of celebrity, but the chief idol of his worship was Mr. Macready. His delight was intense when he heard that the great tragedian was engaged to play a number of his favorite characters. It seemed to be an honor to hear him talk. He resolved, therefore, to show him every attention. On Mr. Macready's first visit he was almost driven to despair by the reserved manners of the actor, who seemed a frozen man with the powers of locomotion. He, notwithstanding, paid unremitting attention to the hero of his worship: looked to the fire in his dressing-room, placed lofty wax tapers there, and by a thousand delicate services expressed his deference. After a week's perseverance he was rewarded by an inclination of his idol's head. A few days more the face ripened into a smile: then came a more rapid thawing; and one morning Mr. Macready was so touched by the deferential respect and attention of the stage-manager that he actually spoke to him, “Good morning, Mr. Prichard.” Balaam was not more astounded at his donkey's speech, than Prichard at his lion's condescension—in a little time it ripened into “Good morning, Prichard" and one morning, never to be forgotten by the obsequious Prichard, Mr. Macready said, “Prichard, you don't look well; you want a change of air! I have a little cottage at Elstree; come down on Saturday and stay till Monday.” In a state of speechless rapture the admiring stage-manager accepted the invitation. Never minutes crawled so slowly as those which intervened; at length the blissful time arrived, and in a state of joyful trepidation the highly honored man mounted the stage that was to convey him to this terrestrial seventh heaven. No monarch on his throne sat with a greater pride. He looked as though he felt all the passengers knew he was going to see Mr. Macready. His look seemed to proclaim, “Gentlemen, I am actually going on a visit to the great Mr. Macready—what do you think of that s” In due time he was deposited at the door of the cottage. Mr. Macready received him at the porch, led him to the parlor, and then told his servant to show Mr. Prichard his room. In this neat little dormitory the bewildered visiter endeavored to calm the tumultuous rapture of his mind. Af. ter some little delicate devotion to his toilet he descended to the parlor, where he was introduced to Mrs. Macready. “My dear, this is my kind friend, Mr. Prichard, whose attention to me at the theatre I have named to you.” Mrs. Macready, in her usual ladylike manner welcomed him. Mr. Prichard flowered a little and said, “The pleasure he felt in showing his respect for so resplendant a genius as Mr. Macready was his greatest happiness and reward,” &c. He was interrupted in his blushing and glowing enumeration by the tragedian's saying, “We don't dine till six, we shall have time for a stroll in the garden and paddock.” Mr. Macready pointed out in his sententious way the wonders around. “That is my little paddock—there is my boy's horse—there is a small hen.” Mr. Prichard put forth a word or two of rhetoric. “How blissful for a man of genius, tired with the fret and fever of the world to retire, and in the calm seclusion,” and so on. Mr. Macready nipped this fine crop of oratory by saying, “That's a cow, it supplies our family with milk.” “Happy cow, (exclaimed the manager,) to supply so great a man's family with milk.” Prichard in the intense adoration of the minute wished himself a cow ! As Jupiter for love of Lö turned himself into a bull, so would Prichard have done the synonymous for Mr. Macready. Behold Mr. Prichard actually seated at the same table with Mr. and Mrs. Macready! In the course of the evening the courteous host happened to say to this simple-minded manager, “Prichard, make yourself at home; ask for whatever you want; I have a warm bath in the house; one would, I am sure, do you good; if you think so, you have only to ring; tell my man;–it is prepared in a minute —now don't stand on any ceremony—it is no trouble.” Dinner passed off; Mr. Macready was condescending—the manager seemed translated; towards midnight he was led to his room by his hero, and told that he was to consider himself at home, and do as he liked. Left alone, he gave himself up to a variety of pleasing