Biographical Study of A.W. Kinglake by Rev. W. Tuckwell - HTML preview

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{1} When "Heartsease" first appeared, Percy Fotheringham was believed to be a portrait; but the accomplished authoress in a letter written not long before her death told me that the character was wholly imaginary.

 {2} Pedigrees are perplexing unless tabulated; so here is Kinglake's genealogical tree.


{3} "Eothen," p. 33. Reading "Timbuctoo" to-day one is amazed it should have gained the prize. Two short passages adumbrate the coming Tennyson, the rest is mystic nonsense. "What do you think of Tennyson's prize poem?" writes Charles Wordsworth to his brother Christopher. "Had it been sent up at Oxford, the author would have had a better chance of spending a few months at a lunatic asylum than of obtaining the Prize." A current Cambridge story at the time explained the selection. There were three examiners, the Vice-Chancellor, a man of arbitrary temper, with whom his juniors hesitated to disagree; a classical professor unversed in English Literature; a mathematical professor indifferent to all literature. The letter g was to signify approval, the letter b to brand it with rejection. Tennyson's manuscript came from the Vice-Chancellor scored all over with g's. The classical professor failed to see its merit, but bowed to the ViceChancellor, and added his g. The mathematical professor could not admire, but since both his colleagues ordained it, good it must be, and his g made the award unanimous. The three met soon after, and the Vice-Chancellor, in his blatant way, attacked the other two for admiring a trashy poem. "Why," they remonstrated, "you covered it with g's yourself." "G's," said he, "they were q's for queries; I could not understand a line of it."

 {4} "Enoch Arden," p. 34.

 {5} "Eothen," p. 169. Reprint by Bell and Sons, 1898.

 {6} "Eothen," p. 17.

{7} His deferential regard for army rank was like that of Johnson for bishops. Great was his indignation when the "grotesque Salvation Army," as he called it, adopted military nomenclature. "I would let those ragamuffins call themselves saints, angels, prophets, cherubim, Olympian gods and goddesses if they like; but their pretension in taking the rank of officers in the army is to me beyond measure repulsive."

 {8} "Eothen," p. 190 in first edition. It was struck out in the fourth edition.

 {9} "Eothen," p. 18. Reprint by Bell and Sons, 1898.

 {10} He is very fond of this word; it occurs eleven times.

 {11} "Quarterly Review," December, 1844.

 {12} "Eothen," p. 46.

 {13} Poitier's "Vaudeville."

{14} One characteristic anecdote he omits. Two French officers were attached to our headquarters; and the staff were partly embarrassed and partly amused by Lord Raglan's inveterate habit, due to old Peninsular associations, of calling the enemy "the French" in the presence of our foreign guests.

 {15} Some of us can recall the lines in which Sir G. Trevelyan commemorated "The Owl's" nocturnal flights:

"When at sunset, chill and dark,

Sunset thins the swarming park,

Bearing home his social gleaning -

Jests and riddles fraught with meaning,

Scandals, anecdotes, reports, -

Seeks The Owl a maze of courts

Which, with aspect towards the west,

Fringe the street of Sainted James,

Where a warm, secluded nest

As his sole domain he claims;

From his wing a feather draws,

Shapes for use a dainty nib,

Pens his parody or squib;

Combs his down and trims his claws,

And repairs where windows bright

Flood the sleepless Square with light."

{16} Greville, vii. 223, quotes from a letter written after Inkerman to the Prince Consort by Colonel Steele, saying "that he had no idea how great a mind Raglan really had, but that he now saw it, for in the midst of distresses and difficulties of every kind in which the army was involved, he was perfectly serene and undisturbed."

 {17} "Go quietly" might have been his motto: even on horseback he seemed never to be in a hurry. Airey used to come in from their rides round the outposts shuddering with cold, and complaining that the Chief would never move his horse out of a walk. "I daresay," said Carlyle, "Lord Raglan will rise quite quietly at the last trump, and remain entirely composed during the whole day, and show the most perfect civility to both parties."

{18} The first death! out of how many he nowhere reckons: he shrinks from estimates of carnage, and we thank him for it. But an accomplished naturalist tells me that the vulture, a bird unknown in the Crimea before hostilities began, swarmed there after the Alma fight, and remained till the war was over, disappearing meanwhile from the whole North African littoral.

{19} "D-n your eyes!" he said once, in a moment of irritation, to his attache, Mr. Hay. "D-n your Excellency's eyes!" was the answer, delivered with deep respect but with sufficient emphasis. Dismissed on the spot, the candid attache went in great anger to pack up, but was followed after a time by Lady Canning, habitual peacemaker in the household, who besought him if not to apologize at least to bid his Chief good-bye. After much persuasion he consented. "Hardly had he entered the room when Sir Stratford had him by the hand. 'My dear Hay, this will never do; what a devil of a temper you have!' The two were firmer friends than ever after this" (LANE POOLE'S Life of Lord Stratford, chapter xiii.).

{20} The story of an old quarrel between Sir Stratford Canning and the then Grand Duke Nicholas at St. Petersburg in 1825 is disproved by Canning's own statement. The two met once only in their lives, at a purely formal reception at Paris in 1814.

{21} La Femme was a "Miss" or "Mrs." Howard. She followed Louis Napoleon to France in 1848, and lived openly with him as his mistress. In the once famous "Letters of an Englishman" we are told how shortly after the December massacre the elite of English visitors in Paris were not ashamed to dine at her house in the President's company: and in 1860, Mrs. Simpson, in France with her father, Nassau Senior, found her, decorated with the title of Madame de Beauregard, inhabiting La Celle, near Versailles, once the abode of Madame de Pompadour, "with the national flag flying over it, to the great scandal of the neighbourhood."

 {22} Bachaumont's criticism of Latour. Lady Dilke's "French Painters," p. 165.

 {23} Here is one of the stanzas:

"L'Autriche--dit-on--et la Russie

Se brouillent pour la Turquie.

Des aujourd'hui il n'en est plus question.

En invitant une femme charmante,

Le Turc--et je l'en complimente -

Est devenu pour nous un trait d'union."

{24} "Blackwood's Magazine," December, 1895, p. 802.

{25} I inserted this quotation before reading the "Etchingham Letters." Sir Richard would wish me to erase it as hackneyed; but it applies to Kinglake's talk as accurately as to Virgil's writing, and I refuse to be defrauded of it.

 {26} This delightful phrase is Lady Gregory's. One would wish, like Lord Houghton, though suppressing his presumptuous rider, to have been its author.

 {27} Of course Kinglake was not alone in this opinion. It was voiced in a delightful jeu d'esprit, now forgotten, which it is worth while to reproduce:


"The following Latin poem, from the pen of the well-known German poet, Gustave Schwetschke, was distributed by Prince Bismarck's special request amongst the Plenipotentiaries immediately after the last sitting on Saturday:


"'Gaudeamus igitur

Socii congressus,

Post dolores bellicosos,

Post labores gloriosos,

Nobis fit decessus.

"'Ubi sunt, qui ante nos

Quondam consedere,

Viennenses, Parisienses

Tot per annos, tot per menses?

Frustra decidere.

"'Mundus heu! vult decipi,

Sed non decipiatur,

Non plus ultra inter gentes

Litigantes et frementes

Manus conferatur.

'Vivat Pax! et comitent

Dii nunc congressum,

Ceu Deus ex machina

Ipsa venit Cypria

Roborans successum.

"'Pereat discordia!
 Vincat semper litem
 Proxenetae probitas, {27a}

Fides, spes, et charitas,

Gaudeamus item!

 "G. S."

 "THE OTHER VERSION. (From the "Pall Mall Gazette.")

"A correspondent informs us that the version given in 'The Standard' of yesterday of the congratulatory ode ('Gaudeamus igitur,' etc.) addressed to the Congress by 'the wellknown German poet Gustave Schwetschke,' and 'distributed by Prince Bismarck's request among the Plenipotentiaries,' is incorrect. The true version, we are assured, is as follows:

"'Rideamus igitur,

Socii Congressus;

Post dolores bellicosos,

Post labores bumptiosos,

Fit mirandus messus. 

"Ubi sunt qui apud nos

Causas litigare,

Moldo-Wallachae frementes,

Graeculi esurientes?

Heu! absquatulare. 

"'Ubi sunt provinciae

Quas est laus pacasse?

Totae, totae, sunt partitae:

Has tulerunt Muscovitae,

Illas Count Andrassy. 

"'Et quid est quod Angliae

Dedit hic Congressus?

Jus pro aliis pugnandi,

Mortuum vivificandi -

Splendidi successus! 

"'Vult Joannes decipi

Et bamboosulatur.

Io Beacche! Quae majestas!

Ostreae reportans testas

Domum gloriatur!'"

"This version, which from internal evidence will be seen to be the true one, may be roughly Englished thus:

"Let us have our hearty laugh,

Greatest of Congresses!

After days and weeks pugnacious,

After labours ostentatious,

See how big the mess is! 

"'Where are those who at our bar

Their demands have stated:

Robbed Roumanians rampaging,

Greeklings with earth-hunger raging?

Where? Absquatulated! 

"'Where the lands we've pacified,

With their rebel masses?

All are gone; yes, all up-gobbled:

These the Muscovite has nobbled,

Those are Count Andrassy's. 

"'And what does England carry off

To add to her possessions?

The right to wage another's strife,

The right to raise the dead to life -

Glorious concessions! 

"'Well, let John Bull bamboozled be

If he's so fond of sells!

Io Beacche! Hark the cheering!

See him home in triumph bearing

BOTH {27b} the oyster shells!'" 

{27a} "Der ehrlich Miikler." 

{27b} Peace and Honour. 

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