Biographical Study of A.W. Kinglake HTML version

Early Years
The fourth decade of the deceased century dawned on a procession of Oriental pilgrims,
variously qualified or disqualified to hold the gorgeous East in fee, who, with bakshish in
their purses, a theory in their brains, an unfilled diary-book in their portmanteaus, sought
out the Holy Land, the Sinai peninsula, the valley of the Nile, sometimes even Armenia
and the Monte Santo, and returned home to emit their illustrated and mapped octavos. We
have the type delineated admiringly in Miss Yonge's "Heartsease," {1} bitterly in Miss
Skene's "Use and Abuse," facetiously in the Clarence Bulbul of "Our Street." "Hang it!
has not everybody written an Eastern book? I should like to meet anybody in society now
who has not been up to the Second Cataract. My Lord Castleroyal has done one--an
honest one; my Lord Youngent another--an amusing one; my Lord Woolsey another--a
pious one; there is the 'Cutlet and the Cabob'--a sentimental one; Timbuctoothen--a
humorous one." Lord Carlisle's honesty, Lord Nugent's fun, Lord Lindsay's piety, failed
to float their books. Miss Martineau, clear, frank, unemotional Curzon, fuddling the
Levantine monks with rosoglio that he might fleece them of their treasured hereditary
manuscripts, even Eliot Warburton's power, colouring, play of fancy, have yielded to the
mobility of Time. Two alone out of the gallant company maintain their vogue to-day:
Stanley's "Sinai and Palestine," as a Fifth Gospel, an inspired Scripture Gazetteer; and
"Eothen," as a literary gem of purest ray serene.
In 1898 a reprint of the first edition was given to the public, prefaced by a brief eulogium
of the book and a slight notice of the author. It brought to the writer of the "Introduction"
not only kind and indulgent criticism, but valuable corrections, fresh facts, clues to
further knowledge. These last have been carefully followed out. The unwary statement
that Kinglake never spoke after his first failure in the House has been atoned by a careful
study of all his speeches in and out of Parliament. His reviews in the "Quarterly" and
elsewhere have been noted; impressions of his manner and appearance at different
periods of his life have been recovered from coaeval acquaintances; his friend Hayward's
Letters, the numerous allusions in Lord Houghton's Life, Mrs. Crosse's lively chapters in
"Red Letter Days of my Life," Lady Gregory's interesting recollections of the Athenaeum
Club in Blackwood of December, 1895, the somewhat slender notice in the "Dictionary
of National Biography," have all been carefully digested. From these, and, as will be
seen, from other sources, the present Memoir has been compiled; an endeavour--sera
tamen--to lay before the countless readers and admirers of his books a fairly adequate
appreciation, hitherto unattempted, of their author.
I have to acknowledge the great kindness of Canon William Warburton, who examined
his brother Eliot's diaries on my behalf, obtained information from Dean Boyle and Sir
M. Grant Duff, cleared up for me not a few obscure allusions in the "Eothen" pages. My
highly valued friend, Mrs. Hamilton Kinglake, of Taunton, his sister-in-law, last
surviving relative of his own generation, has helped me with facts which no one else
could have recalled. To Mr. Estcott, his old acquaintance and Somersetshire neighbour, I
am indebted for recollections manifold and interesting; but above all I tender thanks to
Madame Novikoff, his intimate associate and correspondent during the last twenty years