Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, March 15, 1887, Page 3, Image 3

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as must have been in that African wilderness, it requires no
great exercise of the imagination to conceive of such actions
as the author depictsjbut put the same characters down in the
heart of London and make them mingle with people of mod
ern ideas, and their system of thought and actions would im
mediately be open to ridicule. Indeed, one of the most strik
ing things in the story is the difference between Holly's and
Vincey's ideas on the one hand, and those of Aycsha on the
other. Each is supriscd at what the other tells and in the
case of Leo and Aycsha, they are only brought to a unity of
conception by the power of love, which in their case is unus
ually strong.
Viewing this book as a whole, we do not think that it will
take a very high place in literature. There is nothing in it
calculated to shape the purposes of mankind and to set them
to new methods of thought. Still, we do not suppose that
such was the author's intention, and it would be foolish in
deed to criticise the work for what was not intended to be
brought out.The book certainly has the advantage of being a
novelty. We do not remember to have read anything which ap
proaches it in style. Read from time to time, such a work
would be a source of some amusement and even instruction;
but any prolonged indulgence in such reading would, we
think, lend to an unhealthy state of mind, and would proba
bly end in tiring the reader with the presentation of impossi
ble events.
We notice that in the April number of Scribners Magazine
will be begun the publication of those letters of Thackeray,
which have, as yet, never been published. The letters taken
as a whole, will cover that portion of the novelist's life about
which least has been known; and in view of the fact that there
are manypassages in Thackeray.slife well calculated to furnish
the materials for a romance of no ordinary character, these
letters will no doubt be eagerly received by the public.
Just in this connection we would like to say a word or two
in regard to this great Englishman. We may be mistaken,
but it does seem to us that Thackeray's novels are becoming
less and less frequently read as we draw away from the
times for which he wrote. We will except his "Vanity Fair"
and "Pendennis," which almost everyone has read; but even
in these, although two of his very best novels, Thackeray
has by no means exhausted the art of pleasing his reader, and
making him feel as much at home as if he were in actual con
versation with the author. In fact, one of the things that al
ways pleased us most, when reading Thackeray, was the per
fect ease with which he makes his reader understand what he
says. He seems to take one right into his confidence from
the very start, and to pour out to him that vast fund of Wit,
pleasantry, and satire always at his command. Where, let
it be asked, will one find the follies and vices of a gay and
frivolous society exposed with such stinging ridicule as we find
in some of Thackeray's works? It almost seems as if we could
see the blushes of shame called forth by his words. And yet
this was but one phase of Thackeray's curious nature. No
man could be more gentle, kind, and pleasant than he when
he wished to be so: we turn over another page of the nov
el before us, and we almost fancy that a woman, a mother,
is speaking to us; and it may be, kindly reproaching us for
our misdeeds. This changing nature of Thackeray is what
makes him so charming, because it but shows that he was
bwayed by the same moods and the same impulses as we are,
. thereby making it so easy for us to sympathize with his
characters, because he puts himself at one time or another
into each and every oneof them in turn.
Turning from his novels we come to his lives, or rather
sketches, of those famous English humorists, whose names
will live as long as the world lasts. These sketches are
not written in the style ol the stereotyped biographies which
are generally so stale and uninteresting, for they show the
men to us exactly as they must have appeared to each other;
taking us with them anywhere; introducing us to them at
their meals, their clubs, and, in short, giving us so perfect an
acquaintance with the wits themselves, as to cause us to
wish either to extend to them the hand of friendship across
the gulf of time, or turn from tlum in disapproval. It just oc
curs us as we write, that while reading these sketches one of
our favorite mental pictures of Thackeray was seeing him sit
ting in the midst of a company of choice spirits, his hands
thrust into his breeches pockets (as in a picture of him we
ncc saw in The Century) and looking quizzically over his
glasses at his interested auditors.
It was once said in ourhearing.that Thackeray never creat
ed a single manly characler,or one with whom we could enter
into full sympathy, and whose life, taken as a whole, could
possibly be a reflex of any character in real life. The reason
for this it seems to us is that Thackeray was too full of wom
anly emotions and caprices himself to thouroughly portray
the feminine character from a proper standpoint. Those who
have read his life will reveal numberless proofs of this trait in
his nature.
In conclusion we would strongly urge every student who is
not as yet acquainted with the great novelist's works, to avail
himself of the opportunity offered to make himself thoroughly
familiar with the author. He will speedily learn to apprec
iate him and to recognize in him a man, who"probably put
more genuine feeling into his works, than almost ?ny other
writer of fiction. It would be well to read his books in the
order of their production; for in this way one will be able to
note the . progress of the author's mind and to follow, or
rather to accompany him through his various conditions ol
mind and feeling to the end.
The rapidity with which our noted men are passing away
is astonishing. Truly, it seems as if the harvest of grealne s
and goodness is ripe; and the reaper with his keen sickle is
gathering the golden sheaves to his garner. Grant, Logan,
with numerous other great men, live only in memory, Each
has written his life with deeds of greatness. But time rolls
relentlessly on and they have been called hence . For each
the nation has bowed its head in sorrow. And now comes an
other mark in the flight of time, a strong, deep-felt sorrow;
Beecher, the beloved divine and benefactor has gone to his
final rest. No man among the late departed has been more
sincerely mourned. No brighter intellect has cast its light up
on the dark, sin troubled paths of humanity. Few men have
more firmly engrafted themselves into the hearts of their con
gregations. He was not sullied by those narrow traits of
mind that take the charm from so many ministers of the gos
pel. He cast his lot among men and raised his warning voice
calling on them to be christians in the broadest, noblest
sense of the word. He could look beyond the limits of his
own doctrinal forms and see and appreciate good in others.
He was an orator in the truest sense. His discourses for
years have been considered masterpieces and read by thou
sands of other congregations who know him only through
fame. His fine, robust person, and commanding appearance
secured the attention of the audience even before he spoke.
But few of his sermons were prepared. Clear, logical
thoughts,put forth in strong language give evidence that his