Biographical Study of A.W. Kinglake by Rev. W. Tuckwell - HTML preview
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It is just eleven years since Kinglake passed away, and his life has not yet been separately memorialized. A few years more, and the personal side of him would be irrecoverable, though by personality, no less than by authorship, he made his contemporary mark. When a tomb has been closed for centuries, the effaced lineaments of its tenant can be recoloured only by the idealizing hand of genius, as Scott drew Claverhouse, and Carlyle drew Cromwell. But, to the biographer of the lately dead, men have a right to say, as Saul said to the Witch of Endor, "Call up Samuel!" In your study of a life so recent as Kinglake's, give us, if you choose, some critical synopsis of his monumental writings, some salvage from his ephemeral and scattered papers; trace so much of his youthful training as shaped the development of his character; depict, with wise restraint, his political and public life: but also, and above all, re-clothe him "in his habit as he lived," as friends and associates knew him; recover his traits of voice and manner, his conversational wit or wisdom, epigram or paradox, his explosions of sarcasm and his eccentricities of reserve, his words of winningness and acts of kindness: and, since one half of his life was social, introduce us to the companions who shared his lighter hour and evoked his finer fancies; take us to the Athenaeum "Corner," or to Holland House, and flash on us at least a glimpse of the brilliant men and women who formed the setting to his sparkle; "dic in amicitiam coeant et foedera jungant."
This I have endeavoured to do, with such aid as I could command from his few remaining contemporaries. His letters to his family were destroyed by his own desire; on those written to Madame Novikoff no such embargo was laid, nor does she believe that it was intended. I have used these sparingly, and all extracts from them have been subjected to her censorship. If the result is not Attic in salt, it is at any rate Roman in brevity. I send it forth with John Bunyan's homely aspiration:
And may its buyer have no cause to say,
His money is but lost or thrown away.