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brig lying in the Irish creek, among others. Sterling naturally said, "If you want an adventure of the Sea-king sort, and propose to lay your money and your life into such a game, here is Torrijos and Spain at his back; here is a golden fleece to conquer, worth twenty Eastern Archipelagos."- Boyd and Torrijos quickly met; quickly bargained. Boyd's money was to go in purchasing, and storing with a certain stock of arms and etceteras, a small ship in the Thames, which should carry Boyd with Torrijos and the adventurers to the south coast of Spain; and there, the game once played and won, Boyd was to have promotion enough, 'the colonelcy of a Spanish cavalry regiment,' for one express thing. What exact share Sterling had in this negotiation, or whether he did not even take the prudent side and caution Boyd to be wary, I know not; but it was he that brought the parties together; and all his friends knew, in silence, that to the end of his life he painfully remembered that fact.
And so a ship was hired, or purchased, in the Thames; due furnishings began to be executed in it; arms and stores were gradually got on board; Torrijos with his Fifty picked Spaniards, in the mean while, getting ready. This was in the spring of 1830. Boyd's 5000l. was the grand nucleus of finance; but vigorous subscription was carried on likewise in Sterling's young democratic circle, or wherever a member of it could find access; not without considerable result, and with a zeal that may be imagined. Nay, as above hinted, certain of these young men decided, not to give their money only, but themselves along with it, as democratic volunteers and soldiers of progress; among whom, it need not be said, Sterling intended to be foremost. Busy weeks with him, those spring ones of the year 1830! Through this small Note, accidentally preserved to us, addressed to his friend Barton, we obtain a curious glance into the subterranean workshop:
'To Charles Barton, Esq., Dorset Sq., Regent's Park.
'MY DEAR CHARLES, I have wanted to see you to talk to you about my foreign affairs. If you are going to be in Lon
don for a few days, I believe you can be very useful to me, at a considerable expense and trouble to yourself, in the way of buying accoutrements; inter alia, a sword and a saddle, not you will understand, for my own use.
'Things are going on very well, but are very, even frightfully near; only be quiet! Pray would you, in case of necessity, take a free passage to Holland, next week or the week after; stay two or three days, and come back, all expenses paid ? If you write to B at Cambridge, tell him above all things to hold his tongue. If you are near Palace Yard to-morrow before two, pray come see me. Do not come on purpose; especially as I may perhaps be away, and at all events shall not be there until eleven, nor perhaps till rather later.
'I fear I shall have alarmed your Mother by my irruption. Forgive me for that and all my exactions from you. If the next month were over, I should not have to trouble any one. affectionately,
Busy weeks indeed; and a glowing smithy-light coming through the chinks! The romance of Arthur Coningsby lay written, or half-written, in his desk; and here, in his heart and among his hands, was an acted romance and unknown catastrophes keeping pace with that.
Doubts from the doctors, for his health was getting ominous, threw some shade over the adventure. Reproachful reminiscences of Coleridge and Theosophy were natural too; then fond regrets for Literature and its glories: if you act your romance, how can you also write it? Regrets, and reproachful reminiscences, from Art and Theosophy; perhaps some tenderer regrets withal. A crisis in life had come; when, of innumerable possibilities one possibility was to be elected king, and to swallow all the rest, the rest of course made noise enough, and swelled themselves to their biggest.
Meanwhile the ship was fast getting ready: on a certain day, it was to drop quietly down the Thames; then touch at Deal, and take on board Torrijos and his adventurers, who were to
be in waiting and on the outlook for them there. Let every man lay-in his accoutrements, then; let every man make his packages, his arrangements and farewells. Sterling went to take leave of Miss Barton. "You are going, then; to Spain? To rough it amid the storms of war and perilous insurrection; and with that weak health of yours; and we shall never see you more, then!" Miss Barton, all her gaiety gone, the dimpling softness become liquid sorrow, and the musical ringing voice one wail of woe, 'burst into tears,' so I have it on authority: here was one possibility about to be strangled that made unexpected noise! Sterling's interview ended in the offer of his hand, and the acceptance of it; any sacrifice to get rid of this horrid Spanish business, and save the health and life of a gifted young man so precious to the world and to another!
'Ill-health,' as often afterwards in Sterling's life, when the excuse was real enough but not the chief excuse; 'ill-health, and insuperable obstacles and engagements,' had to bear the chief brunt in apologising: and, as Sterling's actual presence, or that of any Englishman except Boyd and his money, was not in the least vital to the adventure, his excuse was at once accepted. The English connexions and subscriptions are a given fact, to be presided over by what English volunteers there are: and as for Englishmen, the fewer Englishmen that go, the larger will be the share of influence for each. The other adventurers, Torrijos among them in due readiness, moved silently one by one down to Deal: Sterling, superintending the naval hands, on board their ship in the Thames, was to see the last finish given to everything in that department; then, on the set evening, to drop down quietly to Deal, and there say Andad con Dios, and return.
Behold! Just before the set evening came, the Spanish Envoy at this Court has got notice of what is going on; the Spanish Envoy, and of course the British Foreign Secretary, and of course also the Thames Police. Armed men spring suddenly on board, one day, while Sterling is there; declare the ship seized and embargoed in the King's name; nobody on board to stir till he has given some account of himself in due time and place! Huge consternation, naturally, from stem to stern. Sterling, whose presence of mind
seldom forsook him, casts his eye over the River and its craft; sees a wherry, privately signals it, drops rapidly on board of it: "Stop!" fiercely interjects the marine policeman from the ship's deck. — "Why stop? What use have you for me, or I for you?" and the oars begin playing. "Stop, or I'll shoot you!" cries the marine policeman, drawing a pistol. "No, you won't." "I will!""If you do you'll be hanged at the next Maidstone assizes, then; that's all," and Sterling's wherry shot rapidly ashore; and out of this perilous adventure.
That same night he posted down to Deal; disclosed to the Torrijos party what catastrophe had come. No passage Spainward from the Thames; well if arrestment do not suddenly come from the Thames! It was on this occasion, I suppose, that the passage in the open boat to St. Valery occurred; - speedy flight in what boat or boats, open or shut, could be got at Deal on the sudden. Sterling himself, according to Hare's authority, actually went with them so far. Enough, they got shipping, as private passengers in one craft or the other; and, by degrees or at once, arrived all at Gibraltar, - Boyd, one or two young democrats of Regent Street, the fifty picked Spaniards, and Torrijos, — safe, though without arms; still in the early part of the year.
WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY
[From The English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century, 1853. Smith, Elder & Co. London, 1869.
"The lectures ["The English Humourists'] soon became popular, as they deserved to be. Thackeray was not given to minute research, and his facts and dates require some correction. But his delicate appreciation of the congenial writers and the finish of his style give the lectures a permanent place in criticism. His 'light-in-hand manner,' as Motley remarked of a later course, 'suits well the delicate hovering rather than superficial style of his composition.'"-SIR LESLIE STEPHEN, "Thackeray," Dictionary of Natronal Biography, Vol. LVI, p. 99.
"We think there was no disappointment with his lectures. Those who knew his books found the author in the lecturer. Those who did not know his books were charmed in the lecturer by what is charming in the author
the unaffected humanity, the tenderness, the sweetness, the genial play of fancy, and the sad touch of truth, with that glancing stroke of satire which, lightning-like, illumines while it withers. The lectures were even more delightful than the books, because the tone of the voice and the appearance of the man, the general personal magnetism, explained and alleviated so much that would otherwise have seemed doubtful or unfair. For those who had long felt in the writings of Thackeray a reality quite inexpressible, there was a secret delight in finding it justified in his speaking; for he speaks as he writes simply, directly, without flourish, without any cant of oratory, commending what he says by its intrinsic sense, and the sympathetic and humane way in which it was spoken.". GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS, "Thackeray in America," 1853. Literary and Social Essays, p. 130. Harper & Brothers, New York, 1895.]
"Jeté sur cette boule,
Laid, chétif et souffrant;
Faute d'être assez grand:
Une plainte touchante
Le bon Dieu me dit: Chante,
Chante, pauvre petit!
Chanter ou je m'abuse,
Tous ceux qu'ainsi j'amuse
In those charming lines of Béranger one may fancy described the career, the sufferings, the 'genius, the gentle nature of Goldsmith, and the esteem in which we hold him. Who, of the millions whom he has amused, doesn't love him? To be the most beloved of English writers, what a title that is for a man! A wild youth, wayward but full of tenderness and affection, quits the country village where his boyhood has been passed in happy musing, in idle shelter, in fond longing to see the great world out of doors, and achieve name and fortune: and after years of dire struggle and neglect and poverty, his heart turning back as fondly to his native place as it had longed eagerly for change when sheltered there, he writes a book and a poem, full of the recollections and feelings of home; he paints the friends and scenes of his youth, and peoples Auburn and Wakefield with remembrances of Lissoy. Wander he must, but he carries away a home-relic with him and