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arrested by a voice which cried, as the French say, "to succours." The voice proceeded from a small boy on the ground, whom a big fellow in a blouse was kicking with his wooden shoes. Before I had time to interfere, Irenæus loosed my arm, and saying, "Friend, hold my coat," went at the bully like a bull. There was a vision of a big carcass roaring on the ground, and a pair of blue legs finished with "sabots" in the air, while the little sufferer thought it a good opportunity to "save himself," as the French say again. Irenæus has come into my views from that date. There is nothing like a practical illustration. Once upon a time a man was mad with the delusion that his nose had grown so large that it could not go through the door of his bedroom, so that he was a close prisoner there. His physician, after two mortal hours of vain argument, took counsel, and in a moment sent his clenched fist like a catapult against the member in question, then "saved himself" into the street. The monomaniac was soon after him, in spite of his streaming nose, with his hand on his collar. "Strike, but hear," said the doctor; "my dear fellow, you are a cured man."
So Irenæus was a cured man, and I needed not to prolong the discussion. I was going to quote Aristotle to him, and show him how the wisest of Greeks considered the noblest manhood to lie in military virtue, because the soldier's sphere of action is beset with the greatest dangers, even with death, the end of all things. I was going to bring the ladies to bear upon him, and show him that woman was seldom far wrong in her instincts, being gifted by nature to see truths in a moment which men come at by circuitous reasonings, and that one of these instincts was admiration for the warrior-not to be accounted for by the colour of his cloth, for footmen
have gaudier liveries-but by the inherent romance of a profession whose business it is to be above the fear of death-the fear most natural to all created beings, undervalue its absence as we may. But Irenæus needed no more words; his little adventure had stirred the manhood of his heart. We had no longer differences to adjust; so, although we met to discuss, we both went to sleep on our respective sofas. I have since been informed that he has subscribed to the Patriotic Fund; and it is even whispered that he attends his parish church regularly, and that they think of electing him churchwarden. I wish no worse fate to all men of peace, although I cannot help thinking they brought the Russian war upon us. I hear that the Czar was burnt instead of Guy Fawkes in some places this year. Now, although I do not like effigy-burnings, even of men of straw, I would rather have substituted one member of the Peace Society-I mean Mr John Bright; for although Mr Bright and men of his stamp are not much like Helen in other respects, they are like her in being "teterrima belli causa." If it had not been for them and their lowering the character of our nation, the Czar would never have cast a sheep's eye on Constantinople. Having thus satisfied my vindictive feelings by a bright bonfire, I would wish to see all men of peace by profession cease, not by extinction, but by mediatisation, as the political existence of the lesser German powers has been merged in the greater. Nor do I entirely despair of taking one day my youngest born to Madame Tussaud's waxwork, and seeing there, mid the resplendent uniforms of her Majesty's Ministers, Cardinal Wiseman, and Mr Perry the military martyr-the sober habiliments, contrasted with the red and white cheeks, of the Last Manof Peace.
A FEW PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF CHRISTOPHER NORTH.
BY THE AUTHOR OF " TEN THOUSAND A-YEAR."
[The ensuing brief but interesting and affecting sketch of one so long the glory of The Magazine, was written by the author for the purpose of his forthcoming "MISCELLANIES; columns of The Magazine so long irradiated by the genius of Professor WILSON.] " but at our request he has allowed it first to appear in the
ON a bright frosty day in December 1827, as I was quitting the mathematical class in the University of Edinburgh, of which I had been a member about two months, one of my class-fellows said suddenly, "If you want to see Christopher North, he's yonder!" This my companion knew to have been long my desire, for I was in those early days one of Christopher North's most enthusiastic admirers. My curiosity was gratified in a moment. Walking rapidly across the quadrangle towards his classroom (that of Moral Philosophy) with a sort of hasty, impetuous step, as though he were behind his time, was Professor Wilson, then in the very prime of life.* gown, put on carelessly, fluttered in A faded, tattered the keen wind, and seemed a ludicrous appendage to as fine, tall, manly a figure, and free, fearless bearing, as I have ever looked upon. As he came nearer, his limbs and their motions gave the idea of combined strength, agility, and grace; and there was a certain sort of frank, buoyant unaffectedness about his demeanour that seemed to indicate light-hearted consciousness of great mental and physical endowments. When he came near enough for his face to be seen with distinctness, in it I forgot everything else about him; and I shall never forget the impression it produced. What a magnificent head! How finely chiselled his features! What compression of the thin but beautifully formed lips! What a bright blue flashing
"Eye, like Mars, to threaten or command!" Add to all this the fair transparent complexion, flowing auburn hair, and the erect commanding set of his head
upon his shoulders, and surely no anything beyond it. As for his eye, Grecian sculptor could have desired suddenly disappeared. it lightened on me as he passed, and
embodied; and, in a word, I think I had seen power and genius visibly celebrated man's personal appearance that never before or since can any expectation as Professor Wilson's air, face, and figure went beyond what I have so far surpassed an admirer's after the lapse of twenty-seven years, bad imagined. I say this calmly, during which I have a thousand times recalled the scene which I have now suring him that no one then knowing faintly sketched for the reader; asthink my sketch too highly coloured. this gifted and far-famed man will
crowding into his class-room than As I heard that many more were were entitled to do so, I followed thoughts for the nonce all poor Protheir example, discarding from_my angles, and parallelopipeds; and when fessor Wallace's sines, co-sines, triI entered the Moral Philosophy class, I found that Professor Wilson had just begun his lecture. with considerable rapidity, as it were vehemently urging his words out of He read it lips compressed with the natural Sedgwick, of Cambridge, when speaking in public, has sometimes reminded energy of his character. Professor me of Professor Wilson's manner.
greatly relished by the auditory. A The lecture was eloquent, and small incident showed how he was absorbed with his subject, though the out his pocket-handkerchief, and after lecture was probably one that he had often read to his class. He had taken drawing it across his forehead, crushed it up, and placed it on the left hand
side of his paper, partly under a book. By-and-by he required his handkerchief, and felt first in one pocket, then in the other; then in his breast, then glanced hastily round, evidently in quest of his handkerchief, but without pausing for a moment in the flow of his impassioned rhetoric. These efforts he renewed several times; but it was not till he had finished his lecture that he suddenly saw what he had been looking for, and which we had seen all the while. He uttered a loud "Oh!" as he thrust it into his pocket, and withdrew. I have several times reminded him of this little circumstance, and he always laughed heartily, saying, "Very likely-very probably. I'm very thoughtless about such things." All I recollect of his lecture was, that it dealt much with Plato; but I was completely occupied with Wilson, feeling that I could pay my respects to Plato at any time. I am bound to say, that this distinguished man did not favourably impress me as a Lecturer on Moral Philosophy; inasmuch as he seemed to lack that calm, didactic manner, alone befitting the treatment of difficult, profound, abstract subjects. I think those who frequented his class must have found it difficult to realise what they had heard from him. I do not indeed recollect seeing any one taking notes; but I do recollect thinking one or two passages in his lecture very fine.
I did not see Professor Wilson again, except perhaps casually, and at a distance, till a few days before I quitted Edinburgh, in the autumn of 1828. I had had no opportunity of meeting him in society; and I was resolved not to leave Scotland without being able to say that I had spoken to Professor Wilson. But how was this to be done? Having been informed that he had concurred with Professor Pillans in awarding to me the prize for English poetry, I thought, after many qualms and misgivings, that an allusion to that circumstance might, to a generous man of genius, serve to take off the edge of the liberty I proposed to myself, of calling, as a student quitting the university, to pay my parting respects to one of the
Professors. So one afternoon, after walking hesitatingly up and down the street in which he lived, and other adjoining ones, I summoned up spirit enough to call at his house, and inquire if he were at home. The answer was, yes; and on being asked my name, I mentioned it, adding, "a student in the university." In a moment or two's time the servant returned, saying "The Professor would see me." Somewhat nervously I followed, and in a moment found myself, if I am not mistaken, in his library. The room had a disordered appearance, as if its occupant were careless. He had a loose wrapper round him, bis shirt collar was thrown open, and he seemed writing. "Pray take a seat," said he, addressing me by name, and then his piercing eyes were fixed on me with what I thought a slightly impatient curiosity. "I feel, sir, that I have taken a great liberty," I began; "but I am an English student, with very few friends in Scotland, and before leaving the university and Scotland, I felt anxious to have the honour of paying my parting respects to you." "Oh, well, I am much obliged to you. So you are leaving the university? Are you the Mr Warren that gained the prize for English verse?" I told him I was; on which his whole manner altered, and became exceedingly cordial and gracious, and his smile was fascinating. “Well," said he, " as you are an Englishman at a Scotch University, I was a Scotchman at an English university-at Oxford;" and he talked with animation on the topic. I explained that the reason why I could not attend his, among other classes, was that I wished to enter at an inn of court immediately. "Oh, pho!" said he, laughing good - humouredly, "you have not lost much by missing my lectures! You must read for yourself on these subjects." After some other conversation, I happened to say
"There is only one other person besides yourself, sir, whom I should have liked to see before returning to England." "Who's that?" he asked, "Mr De Quincey, the 'OpiumEater."" "Mr De Quincey! Why he's staying with me now! Well, I
The Martyr Patriots, WARREN's Miscellanies, vol. ii.
dare say I can manage that for you. Forgetfulness. "Is such a thing as
I was so absorbed with watching and listening to the conversation of Professor Wilson and Mr De Quincey, that I left almost supperless, in spite of the kindly pressure of Mrs Wilson. I often saw her look, as I fancied, with fond interest at her famous husband, whose demeanour had a noble simplicity. His eyes sometimes seemed to glitter and flash with the irrepressible fire of genius. I watched him with lynx-like vigilance; but all was spontaneous and genuine: not a vestige of artifice, affectation, or display: no silly "inflicting his eye on you:" but all, whether grave or frolicsome, the exuberance of a gloriously-gifted man of genius. And see how hospitable and kind he was to a young English stranger, whom he had never seen till the preceding day! Before I left, he asked me much about my
On making my appearance next evening at the appointed hour, I was at once shown into the drawingroom, where were Mrs Wilson, evidently a very amiable and kindly woman, and some of her children. In about ten minutes' time, Professor Wilson made his appearance, with one or two other gentlemen, to whom he was talking very energetically. He presently saw me, and shook hands with me cordially. "Oh, you want to see Mr De Quincey!-Come here!" and leading me into the back room, towards a door which stood open, in the angle formed by it with the wall stood a little slight man, dressed in black, pale, careworn, and with a very high forehead. "Mr De Quincey, this is a young friend of mine-a student in the university, returning to England." After a few words of course, he left us ; but Mr De Quincey seemed exceedingly languid. He spoke courteously, though evidently disinclined to talk. Shortly before we went down to supper, Professor Wilson said, “You shall sit opposite to Mr De Quincey”—and I think he added in a whisper and with a smile, “it will be a queer kind of wine that you will see him drinking!" Presently we went down to supper. Nothing could exceed the gentle unaffected kindness to me of Mrs Wilson, whom I never saw again after that evening. I saw her watching me once or twice with a good-natured amused smile, as she saw me intent upon Mr De Quincey, and his doings! I cannot at this distance of time pretend to say that his small decanter contained coffee assuredly it was not wine, but exactly resembled laudanum. He was taciturn for some time, but gradually fell into conversation, in which Professor Wilson joined with vivacity. It was on some metaphysical subject; and at length I well recollect that the discussion turned on the nature of
intentions and prospects; wished me heartily well: and when, about eleven o'clock, I had shaken hands with him and got into the street, the sun of GENIUS no longer shone on me, and I felt dull, and indeed in the dark. As I walked home, I thought myself a poor pigmy that had just been entertained by a good-humoured giant!
"d'ye no ken that's Sir Walter?" Almost while this was being said, Sir Walter Scott seemed to rouse himself from a reverie, and soon afterwards wrote rapidly on several sheets of paper, and then quitted the Court, leaning on his stick, and walking very lame.
I never saw any man who looked the man of genius he was, but Professor Wilson. Next to him was Sir Walter Scott. Him I first saw in his fifty-seventh year, when I was at college in Edinburgh, and had wandered one day, in, I think, the month of June, into one of the law courts to hear Mr Jeffrey plead. The latter's face, let me say in passing, appeared to me that of an acute, refined, sensitive, and somewhat irritable man, but not indicative of power. I had been standing for some time in the Court of Session, in which Sir Walter Scott was one of the principal clerks, who sate at a table below the judges, when my eye fell upon an elderly man, one of those sitting at the table, wearing a rusty-looking old stuff gown. His chin rested on his left hand, and his right hung by his side with a pen in it. Without having an idea who he was, my attention was soon arrested by his lofty forehead, and a pair of eyes that seemed gazing dreamily into a distant world unseen by any but himself. The more I looked at those eyes, the more remarkable appeared their character and expression: not bright, or penetrating, but invested with a grand, rapt, profound air. He sate motionless as a statue, apparently lost to all that was passing around him. A sudden suspicion arose with in me that I was looking on the mighty Northern novelist, who had publicly avowed himself the author of Waverley in the preceding February. To make assurance doubly sure, I asked a person standing beside me, who that was, indicating him. "Whaur d'ye come frae ?" said he, looking at me rather contemptuously;
Professor Wilson's noble countenance indicated, to even an ordinary observer, the impulsive energy of his character, daring and generous,—also acuteness, refinement, and power; one, in short, to fear, to admire, and to love. Everything petty and mean, he spurned with a scorn that was magnificent; to obscure and timid genius, he extended, with_tender kindliness, the hand of, as it were, the King of Letters. To pretenders, however, of all sorts, he was utterly merciless: to them, the crutch of Christopher was annihilation. It was fine to hear him talk on such a subject: his eye, his lip, his voice, his gesture, all in fierce and vivid accord.
As an instance of his watchfulness of literary merit, when newly manifested, I recollect his once saying to me," By the way, do you know any one in the Temple-a special pleader, or something of that kind-called Moile-Nicholas Thirning Moile?"* I told him that I had never heard of the name on which he pressed me much, and said, "Try to find out, then, for he is a very clever fellow. He has just published a sort of poetical version of two or three of the State Trials, which I have read, and formed a high opinion of them. Some parts are beautiful-he's a man of genius. I shall review the book in the Magazine;" and his opinion of the performance may be seen in No. 288.
Professor Wilson read with prodigious rapidity, and it was an exhaustive reading: he gathered the purpose, scope, and character of a work, on even a difficult subject, at almost a glance. Instances of this have come under my personal knowledge: and I know the pages in Blackwood's Magazine which attest Christopher North's
* It turned out that the name of "Nicholas Thirning Moile" was assumed by a friend of my own, now an eminent Queen's Counsel who had sent to me the very volume in question in his assumed name; and, after glancing at it for a moment, I acknowledged the receipt of the book to the publisher, but soon afterwards lost sight of it. It was only a few months ago that I discovered the author.