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ÆT. 46.] SYDNEY SMITH-DR. STRAHAN-IRVING. 159 I labored under a nervous illusion, when I pestered Mr. A. and you with my regrets at your house being full; but I comfort myself with thinking that your friendship for me will long survive this absurdity on my part."
“ SEYMOUR-STREET WEST, July 5, 1824. “Had I not been privately performing the part of a great philosopher, I should have been dreadfully soured by the cross accident that prevented me from going to S. on the day appointed. I bore it heroically, but I must positively make out my visit next week, for fear I should become a mere dead letter
-a stalactyte in your memories-or, as the Academicians phrase it in their catalogues, wrought into marble! Now, what a dreadful fate it must be to be wrought into marble!.. Your friend Sydney Smith called on me for a few seconds—I can scarcely say minutes—talked about a thousand things, and went away laughing.' I don't think the worse of his heart for this flighty way; it is his head that is distracted by the multitude of his engagements and acquaintances in London. Dr. Strahan* says he never met such pleasant people in all his lifewith an Aberdeen shortness of emphasis upon the ăll, that is purely northern. Dear good man! I like him for his affection for you. . . . He met Sir Charles Morgan at my house; and now Dr. S. and Lady M. are to meet and become friends. ... He likes to see all the lions, he says; so I brought him yesterday morning to a den of large roaring ones. We sat down nineteen to breakfast; Generals Lallemand and PepéLord Dillon, loudest of all — Washington Irving, half lamb, half lionand a long list of etceteri. The Canadian Pastor was highly pleased.
“ Have you happened to see the notice of the author of being brought to Newgate bar? : . There is something in this event that shocks me more than it ought to do. I knew, though not intimately, that man, and met him in the house of , in Edinburgh Castle; so you may guess he was not in bad company. He was a man addicted to gallantry, but was the handsomest man ever seen. But of his probity in money matters, there was then no suspicion. He had married an heiress, lived in good style, and was said to be worth 20001. a year. That was twenty years ago. A few weeks since he called on me to borrow, or rather beg. I gave him a trifle, and since, I suppose,
* The Right Rev. Dr. Strahan, late Bishop of Toronto, Canada.
desperate distress has driven him to this crime. He had a child-the beauty of which is now before my mind—a little angel. Alas ! I fear it is the same being who is charged as an accomplice in the robbery, and supposed to be his son. T. C."
| Having been applied to by one of those exiles, who so often experienced the active generosity of his friendship, for an advance of money upon certain objects of vertu, Campbell writes to a confidential friend : August , 1824–“I beg you will recommend me to some judge of antique seals and medals, who will at least tell me their value, if he should not choose to purchase some of them.” “ Colonel Stanhope," he adds, “has been pressing me to go to Greece; but it won't do. I can't get away; but things are going on there better than our newspapers represent.” He then announces, for the first time, a new enterprise in his own more special field, and says, “I have a new poem-Theodric-a very domestic story, finished, and about 500 lines long, common heroic rhyme; so so, I think; I am rather in good heart about it, though not over sanguine.-T. C.”
The criticisms of his friend, to whom the MS. poem was submitted, are thus acknowledged and approved :
“ August 14, 1824. “... I have thrown in a great many elucidating lines into my new poem, which I hope you will find sufficient to obviate the obscurity you complained of. ... I don't know whether I am not over sanguine; but you and I have now motived my story better. I have accounted for Constantine's death in a more natural way, by a renewal of the family strife; but you will judge when you see it. I now perceive very clearly that the story is too abrupt as it stands.
The state of his son's health, meanwhile, had become more · and more discouraging; and to the same friend he writes :“ Thomas is not more outrageous, but more dogged and disagreeable, if possible ; excessively anxious to convince us how very cordially he hates both his mother and me. ..But I must really determine not to let this misfortune depress me. ..
Such was the daily state of feelings under which this poem was composed, corrected, and published.
ÆT. 47.) LITERARY FRIENDSHIP-EDITORIAL PATRONAGE. 161
As editor of the “New Monthly,” Campbell had frequent opportunities of showing the “frater-feeling” which warmed his heart in all transactions with literary men. He was very fastidious as to his own writings, but indulgent to those of others; yet, in the exercise of his functions as censor of the articles, so various in subject and merit, that were brought before him, he showed that sound taste and discrimination which speedily raised his journal to a standard of excellence which left it with. out a rival. With all his vigilance, however, he was deceived more than once as to the merit of papers, to which he had given his sanction, and the mortification was acutely felt. His kindly feelings at times got the better of his judgment. Whenever poverty and distress came before him, his critical severity was too apt to be disarmed; and while he thought he was but paying a just tribute to merit, he was, in fact, yielding to the compassionate impulse of his own heart.
Of the grateful acknowledgments thus called forth from the recipients of his patronage or bounty, many instances might be adduced; but I will merely add one example, and a very pleasing one, of his solicitude to serve a meritorious stranger :
“ Oct. 2d.--I feel remorse in troubling you again, though it be to offer you my hearty thanks for your attention so kindly manifested to my friend's Essay. We are both sincerely obliged to you; and I trust you will find no cause to repent of your encouragement of a most intelligent and interesting foreigner. You have learnt, undoubtedly, the happy art of conferring a favor in a manner that renders it doubly valuable. For my own share in the business, I return you many, many thanks. Were I likely to recover, I would ask my dear friend, Joanna Baillie, to procure for me the pleasure of a personal introduction to you; but my days wax few; and it will be some gratification to you, perhaps, that you have contributed your part to the many consolatory circumstances which cheer their decline. I cannot conclude without expressing a hope, that the literary intercourse thus begun between Madame de - and yourself may not end here. She unites with me in regard.
“MARGARET HOLFORD." We are reminded by the correspondence of this autumn, that Campbell had paid the liberal annuity to his two younger sisters, commenced in 1801, and continued without interruption. -November 11th, he regrets that the day of publication is postponed, but that his poem will certainly appear in the course
of the month ; and writing to his sister, he says-—"I am sorry there should be any great expectation excited about the poem, which is not of a nature to gratify such expectation. It is truly a domestic and private story. I know very well what will be its fate ; there will be an outcry and regret that there is nothing grand or romantic in the poem, and that it is too humble and familiar. But I am prepared for this; and I also know that, when it recovers from the first buzz of such criticism, it will attain a steady popularity.-T. C.”
These remarkr show the author was not insensible to the radical defects of the poem; but, unhappily, he did not live to see his predictions realized as to its popularity. In judging of “Theodric,” however, the fact should always be kept in view, that it was composed in the midst of distracting cares, when the inspirations of poetry were vainly contending with the stronger feelings of the parent.
An event that now affected him most deeply, was the second removal of his son to Dr. Finch's. Another twelvemonth had elapsed; and as no mitigation of the malady had taken place, it was found absolutely necessary to resort to the same measure as before. This painful step again unhinged the mind of Campbell; and notwithstanding the assumed hiliarity with which he strives to act up to his philosophy, we can discover, under a cheerful mask, the traces of a deep and settled melancholy. He went more into society; he saw company frequently at his own house; but in the intervals of business or amusement, he was oppressed with a sense of heaviness which nothing could remove. Mrs. Campbell was also in a very delicate and irritable state of health ; so that, with this last affliction, the cheerfulness of domestic life was permanently obscured; yet the fond mother, he writes, “ was still buoyed up with the idea that the cure was to be instantly accomplished.” ·
In very significant allusion to this event, he writes
“ Nov. 16th.—You have heard what prevented me from writing. Matilda has continued to bear the event very well; and I have resumed my studies with tolerable tranquillity. We have had one comfortable letter from Mrs. Finch, stating that T. is reconciled to the place, and amuses himself, both with dress and with active amusements. ... I have just been reading the Report of the House of Commons on Asylums for the Insane, published many years ago; and there I find the descrip. ÆT. 47.] INCREASED ANXIETY-THEODRIO PUBLISHED. 168 tion of Dr. Finch's house holds a conspicuous superiority. The gentleman-patients have a space of nine acres of pleasureground. In short, the more I think of Laverstock, the more mitigated I feel my poor boy's misfortune. Still, I feel as if I needed a day's repose at Sydenham very much. My late cold, too, has shaken me out of all the benefit I had derived from Cheltenham, and has left a plaguing cough. . . . But let not living man complain. . . . I am to be out in print on Monday; and if I should not see you on that day, Theodric will. T. C.”
The poem accordingly appeared at the time mentioned; and, “in a week," says the author, "full of accidental occupation and anxiety.”
Change of seene was again recommended; and on the 23d of December he writes to Mr. Richardson :-“I am engaged to go westward, to Althorp, and spend the holidays at Lord Spencer's. . . . I am tempted to Althorp by the hope of seeing books, to which I should otherwise have no access. Nothing but this would have made me break my resolution of keeping close to my study; although the Spencers invited me with a cordiality, which, as my friend, you would have felt pleased with. ..."
“I am very glad that Jeffrey is going to review me; for I think he has the stuff in him to understand Theodric. You have no conception of the blazing letter which Mrs. F. has written. . . . Is it not a shame that the stories of Medwin are not publicly contradicted ? ...
On his visit to Althorp, Campbell has left several memoranda, from which I make the following extract :
“ December 28, 1824. “Here I am in Althorp—a most beautiful Castle of Indolence-lounging and learned indolence. I am breathing refreshment from the fatigues of the last month. I find it setting me on my legs again. Unhappily, however, I have seen nothing but the house and its domain; for it has rained wretchedly all but one day, and on that arrived Colburn's close pages for revision! . . . On the 23d, before leaving home, I sat down to the composition of the pages heading the Number, at eight A. M., and finished at two next morning. It is twenty close-written pages. At five, I rose, and got to the Northampton stage, which started at seven. . . . I got to Althorp just as the fami