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Interesting Stories Of Thackeray

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In tbc January number of the Alian tio James T. FntLDa tolla tbo follcwing stories of Tiiackekav : TllACKKHAY A8 A LBOTUBÍR. The nmefc finiMied nnd elegaot of all lecMrers, Thaokeray ofen mado a poor appjaranoo wlion he iittempted to mako a aet speech to a public assem bij. He altaost always broke down after tlie first imo or tbrea centenosa, He prepared bat ha intended to say with great cxaotne, aod bid fuvorite delusiou was ibat hu ffjfl übr.i.t t!) Bstonhoverybody wii li i remarkable effort. it never disturbed hiiii that ha oommonly made a woful raitare whon In; aUempted spoecbmaking, but !ie gat down with sucli cool s.rci.iry, il' ie fwnd tlint bo could not reenfl he wished to gay, that bis ios could not help joining ti a s'.niio wiili lim when hecametoa stnndftill Oufté ha askod me to travel with lim frora Londniiio Manc.ln.stor tohear .1 great -pec-cli bo was gatas; lo ma!te ai i!i.) foundiiR of tbe Free Library inttitution in tbat plaoe. All tho way dewn bc yu8 discoursin? of certain effecls hs intonded to produce on tbc Manchester done by lm . loquent nppeals to ther pocket. Tbja roseara was to have grtat iJlucneo with tha tieh tnerohaots, Ibis nne wiih tbe elcrr?, apd so on. He that altho.igh 1-iekens and uiilwcr and Kir James Stephen, all eloquent s eakera, wcro to preorde him, he intended to tent each of oq tbi ppeclal oouasioD. Ho insisted tbat 1 should bo neated direotly in front oïhim. si that I should havo tho fnll forco of bis mHgifl eli quenoe. The occasion was a mest hriüiant one. Tickets bad been in deinnni at unbeurd of prioes, several eeka bfure the day appointed. Tbe groat ha:l. then opentd for the first time to the public, itm filled by an udienee Mioh as is si'ldom cunvened, even in England. The lliree speeches whiob carne before Tbaokeray was cilled upon were adiinrabiy suited to tha occasion, and :no6t flnqucnily s;)oken. Sir John Portur, trhn preïided, then rose, and, nfter añino eomplïmentary alluaiona to tbo aulhor of " Vanity Fair," introduoed him to tha crowd, who weleomed him with Hoging plaudita. As he roso he gave me a huif wiok under his specticles, as ïf to sa; : "Now for it. The others havo done very woil, but I will show 'em a grace bejond 'ha reaeh ot tbeir art " Ho began in a olear and channitig manner, and ws nbsolutely perfect for three minutes. In tho mi-idlê of a tnosi earnet and elabórate aeuteooe, he suddenly stoppcd, gave a look of oomic despair at tbs c il ii, crimmed botb banda into bis trowsors' pockets, and deliberately s.t d'.wn. Kvtrybody 8epmed to understand that it was ono of Thackeray's nufinishoJ spoeobis, and ibera were no signs of surprise or discontent among the audiencu. He cootinaed to sic oa the platform in a perleotly eomposed munner, and when the meeting was over he said to mo. without a sign of disoomfiture, "My boy, you have my profoundest sympatliy. This day you have accidentally njissed bearit.g ene of tho fiueat speeches e-er eomposcd for deüvery bv the prent liritish orator." And I never heard bim mention tho subject .igain. tiiackeray's playfülnk-s. "Thackeray's playfulness was a raarked peculiarily ; a great denl of the timo he 8eemed like a school-boy just releas ed from bis task. In tho mtdt of the most serious topie under discussion he was fond of asking permission to sing a comic song, or he would beg to be albwed to enüven the occasion by tbe instant ïutroduction cf a brief doublé shuíiltí. Charles Lamb told Barry Cornirall, when thy were oneo making up a dinner party togather, net to invite a cortain lugtibrious friend of theirs. "Bccausa," said Charlas, "he would cast a (kmper evoo over a funeral." I havo often contras'ed tbe habitual qualities of that gloomy irk-nd of tboirs witb the astonndiog spirits of both Thackeray and Diokens. They always seemed to me to be et.ndii)g ia the sunshine, and to be coostuüfcly warning other people out of oloadlaDd. Duriug Thaokeray'g first vifit to America bis jollity knew no bounds, and it bocarne necossarv often to represa bim whon he wis walking the streets. I well reraomber his uproarious shouting and dancing, when he was told tbat tho tickets to bis lirst course of readiugs were all sold, and when we rode together from bis hotel to the lecture hall he ius'sted on thrusting both his long laas out of the carnege window ia dcference, as he said, to lila niagnaniniouá ticket-holders. One of tho most comioal and intercstng oooasioni I rcmember, in conneetioD with Thsokeray, was going with him to a grand concert given fifteen or twenty years ago by Madame Sontag. We Bat icar en entrance door in tho hall, and every one who canie in, nislo aud female, riiaclieray pretended to bnow, and gave each one a name aud brief oLroniole, as the presonce flitteJ by. It ws ia Uoston, and as he liad been in town only ;i day or two, and knew only half a doze: aeoplc in it, the biographies were most oouvuising. As I happcned to kuow several people who passed by, t was droll enough lo hear this great uiaster of oliaracter give them their dues. Mr. Chonte moved by in bis regal, effluent marnier. The large style of the niau, so ïnuutiiiicent and yet 80 modest, at onee Krrfgt.ed T haokeray's attention, and he forboro to plaoe him in bis extemporanoous oatslopue. I remember n pallid, incisive-faced girl flutteriii pust, ind how Thuckpray exulied in tho history of this "frail HuIb bit of porcelüin," as he called hor. ïhere was something in her manner tbat made him hate her, and he infistt'd sh had murdered somebndy on her way to tho hall. Altogethcr thia marvellous prelude to tho concert made a doop impression on Thackeray'8 ono lisiener, iuto whose ear ho whii-pored hi fattl ipgionitieus, Tbore ia oie man still living and moving ubout tho streets I walk in ocoaüionally, whcni I never cncountor without almont a bliuddcr, reinomboring as I do the unerring ehaft whiuh Thaekeray sent that night int o tbe unknowu ïnnn's uliaraeter." HE KATS AN "AMERICAN OYSTER." Thaekeray aunounoed to me by lottr in the ea'iy autumn of 18ö'J that lio had determined to visit Aintrioa, aud o)l(l sail fnr Boston by the Canada oa the 30th of October. All the neoessary arrangoments for his lecturing tour had been made without tronblinglim with aoy of tho details. He arrived on a fi-osty November evenicg, and wont direutly to tbo Tremont House, whererooms had been engaged for him. I reraembor lus delight n getting off the sea, and the onthusiasm with which he hailed tho nnnouncement that dinner would bo ready shortly. A few frienda wero roady to sit down with him, anri he soemed greatly to enjoy tho novelty oí an Ameriuan repast. Jn London ha bd been very curious in his inquiries abnut American oysterg, 88 marvelloua atorie?, which hu did not believe, had bcvw to!d him of their great sizo. Wo had tükeu cro that tlm largest speoimens to be prooured sbould a'arlle hii unwontcd visión when he oame to tbo table, although I blush at the romeinbranco of it now, wo apolnized in our wioked wayvvardness to bim for what wo called tho extrsmo smallncss of the oysterp, promisiug that wo wnuld do botter next time. Bix bloated Falstaffian bivalves lay bcforo him in their shells. I notieed that ho gazed at them anxiously with forK upraised, thim be vvlnpt-red to mo, with a look of anguish, "How shall I do it ? ' I dascribed to him the f-isnple proces1 by whieh the iVeo-born citisons of Ameriua wero accustome.l to accomplish such a tafk. He seerncd satislied tjiat the lliing was feasible, seleckd the emallest ODe in tho half dozen, and then bowcd his head as if he wero snying gracc. All eyes wero upoD hirn to watoh tho effect of a new BenSffttOQ l.'i liiu peruuii uf B-... d. 6 lisli autbor. Opening his mouth very wido, ba struggled for a moment, and then all was ovc-r. I shall nevor forget the comic bok of despiir ho cast upon tho (ither fivo over-occuj)ic:l shells. I liroKe tlis' perfret stüluess by asking him bo-,7 ho feit. ':Protouii ily grateful," ho asped, "ard as if I had swaüowed a üttlc baby."


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