« AnteriorContinuar »
ens as a reader, only a brief extract from “Our Mutual Friend” is here inserted. It is the close of the chapter speaking of little Johnny's death at the children's hos pital:
“ The family whom God had brought together were not all asleep, but were all quiet. From bed to bed, a light womanly tread, and a pleasant fresh face, passed in the silence of the night. A little head would lift itself up into the softened light here and there, to be kissed as the face went by, — for these little patients are very loving, — and would then submit itself to be composed to rest again. The mite with the broken leg was restless, and moaned, but, after a while, turned his face towards Johnny's bed to fortify himself with a view of the ark, and fell asleep. Over most of the beds, the . toys were yet grouped as the children had left them when they last laid themselves down; and, in their innocent grotesqueness and incongruity, they might have stood for the children's dreams.
“ The doctor came in, too, to see how it fared with Johnny. And he and Rokesmith stood together, looking down with compassion upon him.
" What is it, Johnny ?' Rokesmith was the questioner, and put an arm round the poor baby as he made a struggle.
66. Him!' said the little fellow. "Those!'
taking the horse, the ark, the yellow-bird, and the man in the guards, from Johnny's bed, softly placed them on that of his next neighbor, the mite with the bro
“With a weary and yet a pleased smile, and with an action as if he stretched his little finger out to rest, the child heaved his body on the sustaining arm, and, seeking Rokesmith's face with his lips, said, 666 A kiss for the boofer lady.'
Having now bequeathed all he had to dispose of, and arranged his affairs in this world, Johnny, thus speaking, left it.”
SECOND VISIT TO AMERICA.
Dickens as a Reader and Actor. - His First Appearance in Boston.— His Last
Reading in Boston,
“Land of the forest and the rock,
Of dark blue lake and mighty river,
My own green land forever!"
“ And he took the book ... and read in the audience of the people.” – Exod. xxiv. 7.
IN December, 1867, Mr. Dickens made his
second visit to America. His fault in
timent of the people acknowledged him to be right in most, if not all, his criticisms; and when he came as a reader he was warmly welcomed. The newspaper accounts of his appearance and readings will give the best idea of them. Of his first reading, “ The Boston Journal” says, –
“ Tremont Temple was completely filled ; every seat,
and nearly every standing-place, front of the platform, except the central aisles, having an occupant.
The wealth, beauty, fashion, and intellect of the city, were present in great numbers. Longfellow, Holmes, Lowell, Quincy, and a host of others of our most eminent citizens, attended to greet the inimitable · Boz' in his new character of reader of his own works. The audience began to assemble as early as seven o'clock; but not all were seated by eight o'clock: when this was accomplished, the hall presented a magnificent appearance, there were so many splendidly-dressed ladies present.
“ The arrangements for the reading were somewhat peculiar. On the rear of the platform was a marooncolored screen about fifteen feet long by seven high, and a carpet of the same color spread in front. Along the front of the platform was a high framework of gas-pipe, with burners upon the inner side, and a narrow screen to cast the light upon the distinguished reader. In the centre of the platform stood a little crimson-colored stand, festooned with a bright fringe, with a tiny desk, which an open book more than covered, on one corner. Upon one side was a shelf, on which stood a glass decanter of water and a tumbler.
“ This purple-hued paraphernalia interested the curious and expectant audience till three minutes past eight o'clock; when a slight clapping of hands, like the first drops of a shower, announced the coming of · Boz' from the ante-room. With an elastic step he ascended the plat
form, and moved quickly to his crimson throne; the applause, meanwhile, spreading and deepening till the whole audience joined in one universal and enthusiastic plaudit, which continued for several minutes. It was as cordial a welcome as heart could wish; and, had Mr. Dickens been doubtful about his reception, every apprehension must have vanished as the swelling tide of friendly greeting poured its music upon his ear. Although time has laid a frosting upon his well-kept and trimly-shaped beard, and thinned the locks that cover his head, Mr. Dickens has still the air and port of a young man, - his step firm and free, his bearing erect and assured, and his dress the pink.of propriety, though pervaded by a touch of dandyism. Dressed in a suit of faultless black, with two small flowers – one white, the other red— deftly attached to his left lappel, a profusion of gold chains festooned across his vest, his long goatee spreading like a fan beneath his chin, his ear-locks standing almost straight from his head, and with a countenance still fresh, though no longer youthful, Charles Dickens stood, with book in hand, before his audience, and gracefully acknowledged the hearty greetings bestowed upon him. Those who saw him for the first time last night hardly realized, we think, their ideal of this gifted author. His countenance has not that soft, refined, pre-eminently intellectual look which one who so deeply stirs the finer feelings of our nature would naturally be thought to present. The mark of