網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

"" London, August 7th, 1849. “I have received your ladyship’s note, and am much concerned to learn that the gentleman in question is unwell.

“I don't know at what time my daughter-in-law will return.

“ But if you will write me a note when the gentleman will be sufficiently well to look at pictures in gentlemen's houses, I will send you an order by my servant to show them, if my daughter-in-law should not be at the moment inhabiting the apartments. Ever yours, most faithfully, WELLINGTON."

LETTER FROM LORD FITZROY SOMERSET TO LADY BLESSINGTON.

“Horse Guards, June 11th, 1848. * Dear Lady BLESSINGTON,—The Duke of Wellington will be happy to consider your nephew, H. F-, a candidate for a commission by purchase, and to introduce him into the service when his other very numerous engagements may permit. Believe me, very faithfully yours,

“ FITZROY SOMERSET."

He was

THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON

(LATE MARQUIS OF DOURO). The eldest son of the late Duke of Wellington by a daughter of the second Lord Longford, who died in 1831, was one of the most intimate friends of the Countess of Blessington. born in 1807; completed his education at Trinity College, Cambridge; was returned to Parliament, and represented Aldborough in 1829–30–31, and again entered Parliament for Norwich in 1837, which place he represented till 1852. He married, in 1839, Lady Elizabeth Hay, daughter of the Marquis of Tweedale ; was aid-de-camp to his father from 1842 to 1852, and in the latter year succeeded to the title. He was appointed Master of the Horse to the Queen, January, 1853; Lieutenant Commandant of the Victoria (Middlesex) Rifles, August, 1853.

Lady Blessington, whose insight into character was not the least remarkable of her qualities, said of the Marquis of Douro that “he had a fund of common sense, of rich humor, and of good nature sufficient for half a dozen elder sons of the nobility.”

It is difficult to touch on the character of a man whose position in society, however exalted, is that of a private individual bearing an historic name, and having no personal distinction apart from it. Free from ostentation, simple in his tastes and

manners, reserved in society, but fond of it, and easily drawn toward those who shine in it, naturally generous and warmhearted, keenly perceptive of the ridiculous, of a very original turn of mind, shrewd and sensible, a close observer of character, with a profound admiration and respect for the memory of his illustrious father, the qualities of this young nobleman were calculated to render him a favorite in such circles as those of Gore House, and with those who presided over them.

FROM THE MARQUIS OF DOURO.

“ Tuesday. “My dear Lady BLESSINGTON,—I have shown your verses to the most brilliant German professor in the world, and he can make nothing of them. I therefore restore them to you, resisting the temptation to compose a translation, which certainly never could be detected. Yours sincerely,

“ Douro."

CHAPTER X.

SIR EDWARD BULWER LYTTON. EDWARD LYTTON Bulwer, born in 1805, the third son of William Earle Bulwer, Esq., of Heydon Hall and Wood Dalling, Norfolk (brigadier general), by his marriage in 1798 with Elizabeth Barbara, daughter and sole heiress of Richard Warburton Lytton, Esq., of Knebworth Park, Herts,* succeeded to the Knebworth estates by the will of his mother, who died the 19th of December, 1844, and taking the surname of Lytton by sign manual, became the representative of his mother's family, and the head of the two other ancient houses of Lytton of Knebworth, and of Robinson or Norreys.

In 1838, on account of his literary merit, he was created a baronet. He married, 29th of August, 1827, Rosina, only surviving daughter of Francis Wheeler, Esq., of Lizzard Connel, coun

* This venerable lady, Mrs. Elizabeth Barbara Bulwer Lytton, died at her house, in Upper Seymour Street, at the age of seventy, 19th of December, 1844. There is no trait in the character of Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton more remarkable or creditable than that of strong filial attachment, with all its feelings of high respect and tender affection, which, at cvery period of his career, he appears to have entertained for his mother.

He was

ty Limerick, and had issue, Edward Robert, born 8th of November, 1832, and a daughter, named Emily Elizabeth, deceased. Bulwer's precocious poetical talents, like those of Byron, manifested themselves before he was seven years

of

age. placed at private schools in the neighborhood of Knebworth at an early age; was for some time under the care of private tutors preparatory to his being sent to college, and completed his education at Cambridge. He wrote a poem on "Sculpture" while he was at college, which obtained the prize for poetry. One of his earliest productions was a collection of small poems

-“Weeds and Wild Flowers"--which was printed in 1826, when he was twenty-one years of age, but was not published. This production was followed by “O'Neil, the Rebel,” in 1827. His next work was “ Falkland ;" but the name and fame of Bulwer only became known after the publication of " Pelham,” in 1828.* A writer in Bentley's Miscellany, apparently conversant with Bulwer's labors, and acquainted with his habits and modes of application to study, observes, " Bulwer worked his way to eminence-worked it through failure, through ridicule. His facility is only the result of practice and study. He wrote at first very slowly, and with great difficulty ; but he resolved to master the stubborn instrument of thought, and mastered it. He has practiced writing as an art, and has re-written some of his

essays, unpublished, nine or ten times over. Another habit will show the advantage of continuous application. He only

* The “Disowned" was published in 1829, and “ Paul Clifford" in 1830. various intervals from the latter date appeared “ Eugene Aram,” “The Siamese Twins, a serio-comic Poem,” ” “Conversations of an Ambitious Student," “ England and the English,” “ The Pilgrims of the Rhine,” “The Last Days of Pompeii,” an historico-descriptive novel, “The Crisis," a political brochure, “Rienzi, or the Tribune,” “The Duchess de la Valiere," a drama, “The Lady of Lyons,” a drama, “Richelieu," a drama, “Money," a drama,

“ Ernest Maltravers,” “ Alice, or the Mysteries,” “ Athens,” “Leila, or the Siege of Grenada," “ Calderon, the Courtier," " Night and Morning,” “Day and Night,” “Last of the Barons," “ Zanoni," "Eva, the Ill-omened Marriage, and other Tales and Poems,” “Harold,” “Lucretia," “ The New Timon” and “King Arthur” [two politico-satirical poems without the author's name). “Letters to John Bull” in favor of protection, and a drama, written for private representation, “ Not so Bad as we Seem,” were followed by two of his latest and best novels, “The Caxtons” and “My Novel.”

Vol. II.-H

At

writes about three hours a day, from ten in the morning till one-seldom later. The evenings, when alone, are devoted to reading, scarcely ever to writing. Yet what an amount of good hard labor has resulted from these three hours. He writes

very rapidly, averaging twenty pages a day of novel print.”

I very much question the fact that Sir Edward restricts his literary labor to three hours a day. I am very sure that if double the amount of time were given to the performance of the same amount of labor as he must go through, mind and body would suffer less from its accomplishment. The composition of a work, and the transcription of MS. to the extent of twenty printed pages in three hours, is too much for a continuance of many days; the time allowed for the labor is too short for its performance, without an excessive wear and tear of mental and physical energies.

A writer in Fraser's Magazine, reviewing Sir B. Brodie's “Psychological Inquiries,” makes the following observations on mental labor :

“Cuvier was usually engaged for seven hours daily in his scientific researches, these not having been of a nature to require continuous thought; and Sir Walter Scott devoted about six hours daily to literary composition, and then his mind was in a state to enjoy lighter pursuits afterward. When, however, after his misfortunes, he allowed himself no relaxation, there can be little doubt, as Eubulus observes, that his over-exertion contributed, as much as the moral suffering he endured, to the production of the disease of the brain which ultimately caused his death.

“One day, when he was thus exerting himself beyond his powers, Sir Walter said to Captain Basil Hall, who also suffered and died from disease in the brain,

“How many hours can you work ?' “Six,' answered the captain. " But can't you put on the spurs ?' “ « If I do, the horse won’t go.'

“« So much the better for you,' said Scott, with a sigh. When I put on the spurs, the horse will go well enough ; but it is killing the horse."

The fact is, it is as impossible to lay down rules for the management of the mind and the regulation of its labor as it is for the management of the body and the uses and application of its powers. The same amount of labor of the mind that one man could endure during six hours of the day, for a considerable time, without detriment to his health, bodily or physical, would prove fatal to another in half that period.

Sir Bulwer Lytton first entered Parliament for St. Ives, and next represented Lincoln.

From 1841 to 1852 he remained out of Parliament, and in the latter year was returned for his native county, Hertford.

Few English writers, whose compositions consist chiefly of works of imagination, have attained such an eminence in literature as he has done. From “Pelham” to “My Novel,” we have a series of works, extending to about fifty volumes, any one of which productions might suffice to make a reputation for an ordinary novelist.

But it is to the aggregate of the works of Sir E. B. Lytton we must look for the evidences of those remarkable intellectual qualities which are destined to make the productions of a man of his stamp live in after ages.

The author's consciousness of possessing such qualities is not only sufficiently evident in those novels—it is rather prominently obtrusive in some of them. But the author can not be more fully persuaded of the fact than his readers, that his writings are destined to influence his times, and that living proofs of his intellectual powers will long survive the latter.

One of the most characteristic features of Bulwer's writings is the singular combination of worldly experience-a perfect knowledge of life, and especially of life in the upper circles of society, a thorough acquaintance with its selfishness and specious fallacies—ses misères et ses bassesses, with the vast amount of genuine poetry that prevails in his prose writings. With the exception of Scott's novels, “ Ivanhoe” and “ The Bride of Lammermoor” especially, no works of fiction in the English language abound with so many passages of true poetry as the novels of Bulwer. The greatest misfortune that the republic of letters

« 上一頁繼續 »