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clad, as always when I saw him, in a gray suit, "cynically loose," as Carlyle neatly said-a powerfully built man, yet "loosely made," as the homely phrase is, but with not a trace of awkwardness in his movements.
One may not be certain, but I think that, even had I not known who he was, I should have recognized the "king among men"-the head finely molded; features massive, yet delicately chiseled; a noble brow; dark-brown eyes, grave, and at times keenly penetrating, otherwise heavy-lidded; his hair, still very dark, falling away from his brow; his beard somewhat straggling, and, as Horatio hath it, "a sable silvered," beneath which one readily divined the stern-set jaw-a face of resolution, dashed with melancholy.
Then the gong sounded for luncheon, and we went in at once. At luncheon my misgiving melted away in great measure, and I ventured on one or two mild stories, to which the great man seemed to take kindly, and then, the repast over, we went off to the summer-house, perched on the cliff, for a smoke. Cigars he never smoked, but "infinite tobacco" still, as in the old London days, when Carlyle found him "such company over a pipe." There, over what Thackeray calls "that great unbosomer of secrets," the ice was fairly broken, and in exchange for the pure gold of some most delightful stories about men long passed away, I gave him in return of my own base coin.
But I ask any old soldier of our Civil War, North or South, who could resist such a chance? None of our ancient war stories, none of the rough-and-ready wit of our Southern soldiers, had drifted across the seas, and here was virgin soil. One may be sure that I "worked" it "for all it was worth." And so I warmed up mine antique martial chestnut-jokes of a hoary antiquity, which may, for aught I know, "have cheered the Aryan hordes on their weary westward march from the table-lands of Asia."
I remember (one sees that I am keeping to the "frank egotism") that he chuckled much over my Christopher Columbus story, a story with which I afterward "paralyzed" the latter's august descendant, the Duke de Veragua, when his Grace was presented to me at Chicago. And he specially delighted in a little story about a man in my own town, which he begged
me (as an Englishman would) to "send to Punch," and which I sometimes tell late in the evening, when punch has been sent
He also liked the story (new to him), of the Poughkeepsie man who battered out the brains of his dear wife with a heavy oaken frame inclosing the worsted-worked motto, "God bless our home."
Of all the talkers I have ever met he was, "taking him all round," as we say, the most interesting, when "i' the vein,” which was commonly near midnight, in his den and over a pipe. Swinburne (tantum vidi, I may say) is a more brilliant talker, especially when moved by a subject he loves and knows well, such as the early English dramatists. Browning (who, to use an expression which Tennyson detested, was "awfully kind” and hospitable to me), just won your heart, and your brain too, by the simple honesty, the infectious boyishness of his talk. Matthew Arnold, too, was always to me, whether in the whirl of London society, or in a quiet corner at the Athenaeum, or in his modest Surrey home at Cobham, one of the most delightful of men to listen to. He was so cordial, so full of kindly simplicity, that I never once detected in the genial flow of his conversation that academic note which some have objected to.
But delightful as were all these, Tennyson's talk was far and away the best and most enjoyable I have ever listened to, with its dry humor, shading off suddenly into vehement earnestness; its felicity of epithet, that at times flashed out like a search-light, and lighted up the whole subject of discussion; its underlying vein of robust common sense; its wealth of apt quotation and charming reminiscence.
Like every other author whom I have ever known, Tennyson was, I think, pleased at some apt quotation from himself.
When I went away from Aldworth at the end of this first visit, he sent the carriage ahead and walked with me past the entrance-gate (or, as an irreverent old crony of mine enviously said, he "saw me off the premises").
"You must come again," he said as we shook hands.
With unblusing effrontery I pressed him to come to me at Petersburg, Virginia, where, as my introduction told him, I
was then head master of the University School and assured him that Oriental splendor awaited him at "Dotheboys Hall."
"Our hoard is little, but our hearts are great,"
I quoted from the "Idylls." He laughed, but I saw that he was pleased.
When I went down to Aldworth late in August of 1892, on my return from Greece, I at once saw a great change in the dear old man, though he was still cheerful, and when we went every day for our walk, his talk was as full of quips and as entertaining as ever. But his step was feebler, the walks were shorter, the massive brows seemed sunken, and his hearing was noticeably impaired. His dread of meeting strangers was more acute than ever.
The day before I left, Burne-Jones (prince of "good fellows," as he was prince of painters), with his daughter and her husband, Mr. MacKail, whose delightful Greek Anthology must be familiar to many of my readers, were to come to luncheon, driving across country from the place they had taken for the summer. They did not turn up at the hour, and after waiting twenty or thirty minutes, we went in to luncheon.
Hallam always kindly placed me next his father at table, but on that day he had suggested that I should give up my usual seat to Burne-Jones, so that the latter might have more direct talk with the poet. We had not been at the table more than ten minutes when the great hall-bell clanged sharply, and we knew that our guests had arrived. They had lost their way, and we heard their laughing voices explaining their adventures to Hallam, who had gone out into the hall to greet them. As I jumped up from my seat next the old poet to go over to the seat first assigned me, he clutched at my sleeve, and said, with rather a pathetic insistence: "Sit still, sit still; why do you want to leave me?" But I shook my head laughingly and darted around the table to the other side.
I can never forget the day I left Aldworth that fateful year -the last time I ever saw him. I was to go up to London in the afternoon, and we had walked before luncheon and had much talk (his most interesting, touching English smugglers in the "Great French War," I remember), and then after lun
cheon Hallam and I had gone out on the south terrace for a smoke.
After finishing my cigar, I went up into the library to say good-by. He was sitting near the great south windows reading, wearing his black velvet skullcap, the book held close to his face, just as I had so often seen him.
"Well, I'm off," I said cheerily, "and have come to say good-by."
He took my outstretched hand in both of his—I remember noticing at the moment what sinewy, carefully kept hands they were, with long, nervous fingers-and then he said very gently and sadly: "I am a very old man now. You may never see me again, but always come to us here when you come to England. God bless you!"
Such were the last words I heard fall from the lips of Alfred Tennyson, and the gentle old voice still lingers in my ears as a benediction.
A TRIBUTE TO THOMAS R. PRICE
From the Address on the occasion of the Presentation of his Library to the University of Virginia.
His whole soul was fired with unflagging purpose to enlarge the boundaries of his own knowledge; he was an enthusiastic and conscientious teacher; he was as singularly careless of fame as he was notably untouched of any of those ignoble jealousies that so often beset men of genius and learning; he was, in short, as Dr. Butler, President of Columbia, wrote in his report on his death to the trustees, "eager to produce men and scholars rather than books."
But the paramount reason of his publishing so little is to be found, I think, in his literary fastidiousness-his passion for perfection of form, which was "the dominant of his study and teaching." He had all Sainte-Beuve's horror of the “à peu prés"; he "loathed the smug face of facility"; he was tireless in seeking the elusive word; unwearying in his quest of some hovering, subtle rhythm of phrase, some haunting cadence, that witched him with its beauty half-revealed and mocked him with its music as it fled. Yet he was indued by
nature with a delicate ear, "the supreme touchstone of perfection," and in his graver papers writes with most convincing lucidity and precision, while he has the happy art of imparting to his lighter sketches and studies an aroma of delicate and playful humor, a felicity of allusion, an ease and grace of diction, a certain note of distinction, that makes them a joy to every reader of refined intelligence.
Whatever the award of time as to his place in scholarship and letters, he has at least left behind him to those of us who miss him and still hold him in our hearts a legacy which time cannot touch—the fragrant memory of his tender heart and open hand, the remembrance of his spotless integrity and stainless honor, of duty scrupulously fulfilled to the very end, and of all those stern and gentle virtues that noble souls reckon the highest.
PERORATION FROM A SPEECH BEFORE THE NEW ENGLAND SOCIETY OF NEW YORK
BUT it needed, I think, the splendid object-lessons given. by Southern men in this Spanish War to silence forever the cavils and doubtings of many austere patriots who for thirty years and more had proved themselves "as invincible in peace as they had been invisible in war.”
Above the first fierce mutterings of the coming storm rose high and clear, yonder at Havana, the voice of Fitzhugh Lee, grandson of "Light-Horse Harry," once the beau sabreur of the "Army of Northern Virginia,” demanding with soldierly directness prompt Spanish recognition of the sanctity of American citizenship.
Then, when the die was cast, and the Olympia, on that memorable May morning stood into Manila Bay, "on the bridge" close alongside of George Dewey, of Vermont, stood "Tom" Brumby, of Georgia (God rest his noble soul!)—and so, when the American flag was first unfurled to the breeze over the first American possession in the Eastern world, the son of an old Confederate colonel stood at the halliards.
Ten days later, at Cardenas, the first crimson libation of the war was poured out on the altar of Cuban liberty, and