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of children, that amiable organ at the back of his honest head inust be perfectly monstrous. All children ought to love him. I know two that do, and read his books ten times for once that they peruse the dismal preachments of their father. I know one, who, when she is happy, reads Nicholas Nickleby; when she is unhappy, reads Nicholas Nickleby; when she is in bed, reads Nicholas Nickleby; when she has nothing to do, reads Nicholas Nickleby; and when she has finished the book, reads Nicholas Nickleby over again. This candid young critic at ten years of age said, “I like Mr. Dickens's books much better than your books, papa ;” and frequently expressed her desire that the latter author should write a book like one of Mr. Dickens's books. Who can? Every man must say his own thoughts, in his own voice, in his own way: lucky is he who has such a charming gift of nature as this, which brings all the children in the world trooping to him, and being fond of him!
I remember when that famous Nicholas Nickleby came out, seeing a letter from a pedagogue in the North of England, which, dismal as it was, was immensely comical. “Mr. Dickens's ill-advised publication,” wrote the poor schoolmaster, “has passed like a whirlwind over the schools of the North.” He was a proprietor of a cheap school: Dotheboys Hall was a cheap school. There are many such establishments in the Northern counties. Parents were ashamed, that never were ashamed before, until the kind satirist laughed at them ; relatives were frightened; scores of little scholars were taken away; poor schoolmasters had to shut their sliops up; every pedagogue was voted a Squeers (and many suffered, no doubt, unjustly): but afterwards schoolboys' backs were not so much caned; schoolboys' meat was less tough, and more plentiful; and schoolboys' milk was not so sky-blue. What a kind light of benevolence it is that plays round Crummles and the Phenomenon, and all those poor theater-people, in that charming book! What a humor! and what a good humor! I coincide with the youthful critic whose opinion las just been mentioned, and own to a family admiration for Nicholas Nickleby.
One might go on, though the task would be endless and needless, chronicling the names of kind folks with whom this kind genius has made us familiar. Who does not love the Marchioness and Mr. Richard Swiveller? Who does not sympathize, not only with Oliver Twist, but his admirable young friend the Artful Dodger? Who has not the inestimable advantage of possessing a Mrs. Nickleby in his own family? Who does not bless Sairey Gamp, and wonder at Mrs. Harris? Who does not venerate the chief of that illustrious family, who, being stricken by misfortune, wisely and greatly turned his attention to “coals,” — the accomplished, the epicurean, the dirty, the delightful Micawber?
I may quarrel with Mr. Dickens's art a thousand and a thousand times: I delight and wonder at his genius; I recognize in it - I speak with awe and reverence a commission from that Divine Beneficence, whose blessed task we know it will one day be to wipe every tear from every eye. Thankfully I take my share of the feast of love and kindness which this gentle and generous and charitable soul has contributed to the happiness of the world. I take and enjoy my share, and say a benediction for the meal.
2.- THE BACHELOR'S CANE-BOTTOMED CHAIR.
In tattered old slippers that toast at the bars,
To mount to this realm is a toil, to be sure,
This snug little chamber is crammed in all nooks,
Old armor, prints, pictures, pipes, china (all cracked),
No better divan need the Sultan require
That praying-rug came from a Turcoman's camp;
Long, long through the hours, and the night and the
chimes, Here we talk of old books, and old friends, and old
times; As we sit in a fog made of rich Latakie, This chamber is pleasant to you, friend, and me.
But of all the cheap treasures that garnish my nest,
'Tis a bandy-legged, high-shouldered, worm-eaten seat,
If chairs have but feeling in holding such charms,
It was but a moment she sat in this place;
When the candles burn low, and the company's gone,
She comes from the past, and revisits my room;