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Full text of "Thackeray"

JOHN M. KELLY LIBRARY 



/r\ 



DONATED BY 



PETER W. MOORE 
1988 



- 



r 




WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY 



FROM A DRAWING BY 
SAMUEL LAURENCE. 



FHACKERAY 



BY 



G. K. CHESTERTON 

AND 

LEWIS MELVILLE 



WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS 



LONDON 

HODDER AND STOUGHTON 
27 PATERNOSTER ROW 

1903 



PRINTED BY 

HAZELL, WATSON AND VINEY, LD., 
LONDON AND AYLESBURY 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKKUAY, dmt 1853 .... Forntixpiece 

AY. M. THACKERAY (from a drawing- bv Daniel Maclise about 1840) . 1 

LAEKBEAEE, THE HO.MK OF THACKERAY S MOTHER ..... 2 

THE CHARTERHOTSE ix THE TIME OF THACKERAY ...... L 2 

Ricii.Moxn THACKERAY, FATHER OF THE NOVELIST ...... 3 

W. M. THACKERAY ix 1822 4 

THACKERAY AT THE AGE OF THREE, WITH HIS FATHER AXD MOTHER . . 5 
THACKERAY AMOXG THE FRASERIAXS ...... 6 

HIE NEPVE ST. ArorsTix, PARIS, 1836. . 7 

W. M. THACKERAY (by Frank Stone, 1836). . . 9 

No. 18, ALBIOX STREET, HYDE PARK ...... .10 

No. 13, GREAT GORAM STREET, BRKXSWICK SAFARI: . . . . .11 

DRAWIXG FROM PUNCH: APTHORS" MISERIES, No. 6 12 

"CoMic TALES AXD SKETCHES" . : . . . . . . .13 

BPST OF THACKERAY (after Joseph Durham). . . . . . .14 

WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY ......... 15 

THE STRAXGERS" ROOM, REFORM Ci,rn ........ 17 

No. 13 (xow 16), YOUXG STREET, KEXSIXGTOX . .... 18 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 



No. 36, OXSLOW SQUARE, BROMPTON ........ 19 

CHATEAU DK BaEQUEaEcauE, BouLOGNE-sua-Msa, 1854 . . . . 20 

MR. MICHAEL ANGELO TITMARSH 21 

W. M. THACKERAY (from a sketch by Sir John E. Millais, P.R.A.) . . 23 
\Y. M. THACKERAY (from the painting by Samuel Laurence in the National 

Portrait Gallery) ....... 24 

\V. M. THACKERAY (from a photograph) . . . . . . .25 

THE WRITING TABLE AXD CHAIR USED BY THACKERAY AT YOUNG STREET, 

OXSLOW SQUARE, AND PALACE GREEX ....... 27 

W. M. THACKERAY (from a pencil drawing by Richard Doyle in the British 

Museum) ........ 28 

% 

A POSTHUMOUS PORTRAIT OE THACKERAY (by Sir John Gilbert, R.A.) . . 29 

W. M. THACKERAY (from a photograph) .- 30 

A PAGE OF THACKERAY S MANUSCRIPT . ... . . . .31 

THE HOUSE AT No. 2, PALACE GREEX, KENSINGTON, IN WHICH THACKERAY 

DIED ........... .32 

THACKERAY S GRAVE ix KEXSAL GREEX CEMETERY 33 

W. M. THACKERAY (from the statuette by Sir Edgar Boehm, R.A.) . . 34 



THACKERAY 



AMID all the eulogies and 
all the slanders that are 
lavished upon the English char 
acter. very few people would 
appear to take any real trouble 
to obtain a sincere view of it. 
Rhetorical phrases about its in 
articulate strength and nobility 
do not commonly bring us very 
much further, for it may be 
questioned whether it is good for 
a people excitedly to articulate 
their own inarticulate disposi 
tion. Hut, when all is said and 
done, it may truly be said that 
among all the national tempera 
ments the English is pre-emi 
nently simple and profoundly 
well-meaning. This well-mean- 
iiuniess combined with this 

o 

simplicity is responsible for every 

QllC of its CTHllCS, aild it IS tllC 

basis of its real and indestructible 
magnificence. But this union of moral soundness with mental 
innocence is responsible also for a certain tendency noticeable in 
all English life and character : the tendency to get hold of the 
truth, but to get hold of it falsely ; to grasp the fact, but to 




" 






(Reproduced from the Biographical Edition of Thackeray s Works, 
by kind permission of Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co.) 



2 



THACKERAY 




From a photo by H. D. Badcock, Ottery St. Mary 

LARKBEARE 
The home of Thackeray s Mother in Devonshire 



grasp it somehow by 
the wrong end. A hun 
dred instances might 

o 

be given of this. To 
take a random ex 
ample. I was taught 
at my mother s knee, 
in the intervals of 
hymns and childish 
ballads, that Germans 
smoked bad cigars. I 

o 

see now that this is 
true, and yet un- 



fathomably false ; that 



is to say, there are, if you choose to put it in that way, more bad 
cigars smoked in Germany than in England, but that is only because, 
tobacco being cheaper, more cigars of every kind are smoked. It 
is as if a Hindoo peasant, who had never seen a jewel in his life, 
were to say that England was a land of false diamonds. In India 

only the rulers have 

w 

such things at all ; in 
the Strand any one 
may have them ; and 

%. 

similarly the cigar is 
in England merely a 
badge of luxury, while 
abroad it is often a 
common possession, 
like a pipe. In this 
mere casual instance 
we have the constant 

THE CHARTERHOUSE IN THE TIME OF THACKERAY English attitude : tllC 





From a tainting by an unknown artist, in the pnss^ssion rf Mrs. Richmond Ritchie 
RICHMOND THACKERAY, FATHER OF THE NOVELIST 
(Reproduced by kind permission of the owner) 



4 



THACKERAY 




, .,. , .i 

strong and even humble 
curiosity which does really 
know something about 
foreign nations, but along 
with it that strano e ten- 

O 

dency to put the true thing 
the wrong way round, to 
seize on the unimportant 
side of the matter first. 
It is just as if a foreign 
critic of England instead 
of knowing nothing at all 
about us, as is usually the 
case were to grasp the 
fact that the most lux 
urious English people went 
fox-hunting, and then ex 
plain it by saying that 
these Sybarites had one 
weird hatred a venomous 
hatred of foxes. Such a 
man would have got the 
facts right and the truth 
wrong ; and such is our 
constant national condition 
witli regard to foreign 
ideas. But there is an 
even more curious ex 
ample of it than this, and 
that is the fact that even 
in our own discussions, 
and in the matter of the great reputations of our own country, we 





W. M. THACKERAY IN 1822 

After the plaster cast by J. Devile 

Collection of Augustin Rischgitz 



THACKERAY 



THACKERAY 

AT THE 
AGE OF THREE, 

with his 
Father and Mother, 

Mr. and Mrs. 
Richmond Thackeray 

From a 

water-colour sketch 

done in India l>y 

Chinnery in 1814, u<nv 

in flic possession of 
Mrs. Richmond Ritchie 

(Reproduced from the 

Biographical Edition ot 

Thackeray s Works, 

by kind permission of 

Messrs. 
Smith, Elder & Co.) 




exhibit this same singular tendency to catch hold of truth only by 
the tail or the hind leg. Our judgments that is, our current and 
conventional judgments on our great men of genius have a singular 
disposition to begin in enormous letters with the unimportant defect, 
and miss in comparison the great merit out of which that defect 



6 



THACKERAY 



Maguinn 



Thackeray 
Churchill 



Ains- f/ i 
worth .. 



ft D Orsay 



^^is^r^WVM \v, V 




Coleridge 



Theo. Hook 



Dunlop 



Fraser 



Lock hart 



THACKERAY AMONG THE FRASERIANS 
Drawn by Daniel Maclise, 1835 



arises. Tims, for instance, Englishmen have wearied themselves 
with asserting 1 that Dickens was vulgar and could not describe 
a gentleman. Dickens could not describe a gentleman, but he was 
never vulgar except when he attempted that snobbish and unworthy 
enterprise. Most men do become vulgar when they describe those 
who are called vulgar people ; and it is precisely here that Dickens 
was never vulgar there is no trace of vulgarity about Silas AVegg 
or Dick Swiveller. The supreme function of Dickens in the 
universe was to point out that robust and humorous common life 
is not vulgar, cannot in its nature be vulgar, and the only thing 
that his countryman can see about him is that he could not 
describe a member of the upper classes. We might as well say 
that Michael Angelo never really painted a chartered accountant. 



THACKERAY 



Here again our sincere people have got to the wrong end of the 
telescope. Hut of all these examples there is none more 
perfect and more amusing than the fashion which called Thackeray 
a cynic. He was a cynic, if the critics will, in the same sense that 
Leonardo da Vinci was a chemist or Mr. Chamberlain a horti- 
culturalist. Hut the cynic in him was not merely subordinate to 
his other characteristics ; it was the mere product nay, the 
by-product -of them. His cynicism was a minor result, a thing 
left over by his triumphant tendency to sentiment. 

Thackeray, from the beginning of his life until the end, 
consistently and seriously preached a gospel. His gospel, like all 
deep and genuine ones, may be hard to sum up in a phrase, but 
if we wished so to sum it up we could hardly express it better than 
by saying 
that it was 
the philoso 
phy of the 
beauty and 
the glory of 
fools. He 
believed as 
profoundly 
as St. Paul 
that in the 
u 1 1 i m a t e 
real m o f 
ess eii ti al 
values God 
made the 
foolish 

from a. dra tning I y .yrc LroT.ve, A. A. A. 
tllillgS Of RUE NEUVE ST. AUGUSTIN, PARIS, 1836 

(Reproduced from "Thackeray s Haunts and Homes," by kind permission of 
tlie eartll tO Messrs. Scnbner s Sons and Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co.) 



ft ft 

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: 



Cue 



ft [fflSl 

SOT kpaalL 

^XsMuffiiaiKE> 



jn^jpM*j.ttju" u i"ij^i*5:"* 



8 THACKERAY 

confound the wise. He looked out with lucent and terrible 
eyes upon the world with all its pageants and achievements ; he 
saw men of action, he saw men of genius, he saw heroes ; and 
amid men of action, men of genius, and heroes he saw with 
absolute sincerity only one thing worth being a gentleman. And 
when we understand what he meant by the phrase, the absolute 
sufficiency of a limpid kindliness, of an obvious and dignified 
humility, of a softness for noble memories and a readiness for any 
minute self-sacrifice, we may, without any affected paradox, but 
rather with serious respect, sum up Thackeray s view of life by 
saying that amid all the heroes and geniuses he saw only one 
thing worth being a fool. 

The real falsehood if there be a falsehood of Thackeray s 
view of the world was, in fact, the very opposite of that cynicism 
and worldliness once attributed to him. In so far as he did mis 
represent life, it was rather in the direction of showing too much 
bold disdain of Vanity Fair and too much absolute faith in the 
saints, his unworldly women and his easily swindled e-entlemen. 

* / o 

He permitted this pietism of his to blind him to the vivid atrocities 
of the character of Helen Pendennis, supposing that her having 
lived all her life in a country homestead was some kind of 
preventive against cruelty and paganism and heathen pride. 
Thackeray is, if. anything, too much on the side of the angels. 
He was a monk who rushed out of his monastery to cry 
out against a gaudy masquerade that was roaring around it. 
and ever since his monk s frock has been mistaken for one of 
the masquerade dresses and applauded as the best joke in the 
whole fancy dress ball. 

There are, of course, exceptions, or what may appear to be 
exceptions, to such a generalisation. So deep and genuine was 
Thackeray s insight into the normal human spirit that lie detected 
this element of idealism where it might least be expected. The 




W. M. THACKERAY 

From a portrait painted by Frank Stone in 1836, in the possession ot Mrs. Richmond Ritchie, 
and reproduced by kind permission of the owner 



10 



THACKERAY 





character of Major Pendennis, 
for instance, is simply a great 
lighthouse or beacon tower, not 
merely of social satire, but of 
eternal ethical philosophy. In 
Major Pendennis, consciously or 
unconsciously, is traced the 
valuable truth that almost every 
man is, by the nature of things, 
an idealist. To go to great 
houses, to wear the latest and 
yet the most dignified attire, 
to know the right people, to 
do and say at every instant 

* */ 

the thing which is most per 
fectly and exquisitely ordinary, 
this is a principle of life against 
which a sane man might have 
a great deal to say ; but one thing he could not say, lie 
could not say that it is materialistic. One moral merit it has : 
at least it is totally useless. A place in Society is not something 
to drink ; an invitation card from Lord Steyne is not something 
to eat. Poor old Pendennis did not sleep softer in his incom 
parable clothing; he was a poor man, lonely and constantly 
troubled. Nothing supported him but his own monstrous and 
insane religion. He was, as it were, a glorious heretic, a 
martyr to false gods ; and nothing sadder or more honourable 
has ever been conceived in fiction than that scene in the end 
of " Pendennis," in which the old man, having, with a valour and 
energy that stirs us like a cavalry charge, defeated all machina 
tions that would have robbed his nephew of name and fame, 
suddenly finds the nephew himself ready to fling down the whole 



NO. 18, ALBION STREET, HYDE PARK 

The residence of Thackeray s mother, where the novelist 

lived for a time on his return from Paris in 1837 



THACKERAY 



11 



laborious edifice in the name 
of an unintelligible scruple. 
"And Shakespeare was right, 
and Cardinal Wolsey, begad. 
If 1 had served my God as 
I ve served you- It has 

the pathos of the meeting of 
two faiths ; the good Moslem 
staring at the good Crusader. 

This was the greatness of 
Thackerav, the man whom 

* 

sentimentalists without hearts 
or stomachs have conceived as 
a mere satirist, that he felt, 
perhaps, more fully and heavily 
than any other Englishman 
the immeasurable and almost 
unbearable emotion that is in 
volved in the mere fact of 

human life. Dickens, with his indestructible vanity and boyish 
ness, is always looking forward. Thackeray is always looking 
back in life. And no man will ever properly comprehend him 
until he has reached for a moment that state of the soul in 
which melancholy is the greatest of all the joys. 








NO. 



GREAT CORAM STREET, BRUNSWICK 
SQUARE 

Thackeray s residence from 1837 to 1840, where " The Paris 
Sketch-Book " was written 



G. K. CHESTERTON. 



Thackeray 



Jerrold 




DRAWING FROM PUNCH : AUTHORS MISERIES, No. 6 



THE CHARACTERS AND PLACES 
OF THACKERAY S BOOKS 

" OINCE the author of Tom Jones was buried, no writer of 
^_ fiction among us has been permitted to depict to the 
utmost of his power a MAX. We must drape him and give him 
a certain conventional simper. Society will not tolerate the Xatural 
in our Art. Many ladies have remonstrated and subscribers left 
me, because, in the course of the story, I described a young man 
resisting and affected by temptation. My object was to say, that 
he had the passions to feel, and the manliness and generosity to 
overcome them. You will not hear it is best to know it what 




De La Pluche M. A. Titmarsh Major Gahagan 

"COMIC TALES AND SKETCHES" 



14 



THACKERAY 




W. M. 
THACKERAY 

From a 
terra-cotta hist 

by 

Sir Edgar Boehni, R.A. 
after the plaster 

cast by 
Joseph Durham 

In the 

National Portrait 
Gallery 



moves in the real world, what passes in society, in the clubs, colleges, 
mess-rooms, what is the life and talk of your sons. A little 
more frankness than is customary has been attempted in this story; 
with 110 bad desire on the writer s part, it is hoped, and w r ith no 
ill-consequence to any reader. If truth is not always pleasant, at 
any rate truth is best, from whatever chair from those whence 
graver w r riters or thinkers argue, as from that at winch the story 
teller sits as he concludes his labour, and bids his kind reader 
farewell." So runs a passage in the preface to " Pendennis." 

"If truth is not always pleasant, at any rate truth is best." 



THACKERAY 



15 



There, in a sentence, is the secret underlying all Thackeray s work. 
The novelist is inclined to portray the men and women of fiction 
rather than the men and women of life. This fault of his weaker 
brethren of the quill Thackeray avoided. His characters are 
always human. There are no immaculate heroes, no perfect 
heroines, no utterly unredeemed scoundrels of either sex to be 
met with in the pages of his books. He conceived it to be his 



WILLIAM 
MAKEPEACE 
THACKERAY 

(Reproduced 

from the 
Biographical Edition 

of 
Thackeray s Works, 

by 
kind permission 

of Messrs. 
Smith, Elder & Co.) 




16 THACKERAY 

duty to describe the world as lie saw it, and to draw the men 
and women he knew. If he has nowhere joined pure goodness 
to pure intelligence, if he has not bestowed on any woman the 
humour of Becky Sharp at til the simplicity of Amelia Sedley, it is 
because he had never met this union of forces in life. To have 
described the unreal and passed it off as the real would have 
been an offence against the pen which was able to boast : 

Stranger ! I never writ a flattery, 

Nor signed the page that registered a lie. 

" I cannot help telling the truth as I view it, and describing 
what I see. To describe it otherwise than it seems to me would 
be falsehood in that calling in which it has pleased Heaven to place 
me; treason to that conscience which says that men are weak; that 

V 

truth must be told ; that faults must be owned ; that pardon must 
be prayed for ; and that Love reigns supreme over all." This is 
Thackeray s confession of literary faith. 

"My object is not to make a perfect character of anything like 
it," he wrote to his mother when " Vanity Fair " was appearing in 
monthly parts. " Our friend is not Amadis or Sir Charles 
Grandison," he wrote of Philip Firmin, " and I don t for a moment 
set him up as a person to be revered or imitated, but try to draw 
him faithfully as Xature made him." 

The late Anthony Trollope stigmatised Thackeray as an un 
methodical writer. Certainly the great man, as author, bound himself 
by no hard and fast rules. His plan was to create mentally two or 
three of his chief characters and write from page to page, with 
only a general notion of the course he would be taking a few 
chapters later. But then to compensate for the lack of method he 
lived with his characters, shared their joys and sorrows, and spoke 
of them as if they were real creatures of flesh and blood. " Being 
entirely occupied with my two new friends, Mrs. Pendennis and 




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H a. 



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55 



18 



THACKERAY 




her son Arthur Pendennis, " he 
wrote to Mrs. Brookfield from 
Brighton in 1849, "I got up 
very early again this morning. 
He is a very good - natured, 
generous young fellow, and 1 
begin to like him considerably. 
I wonder if he is interesting to 
me from selfish reasons, and be 
cause I fancy we resemble each 
other in many parts." " 1 wonder 
what will happen to Pendennis 
and Fanny Bolton," he remarked 
in another letter to the same 
correspondent ; " writing and 
sending it to you, somehow it 
seems as if it were true." Mrs. 
Ritchie remembers entering her 

O 

father s study one morning about 

two years later and being motioned away, and how, an hour later, 
he went to the school-room and, half-laughing, half-ashamed, said : 
" I do not know what James can have thought of me when 
he came in with the tax-gatherer after you left, and found me 
blubbering over Helen Pendennis s death." 

" I don t control my characters," he asserted one day. " I am 
in their hands, and they take me where they please." And when 
a friend remonstrated with him for having made Esmond marry 
"his mother-in-law," he only replied: "/didn t make him do it; 
they did it themselves." It may be because the characters were 
so real to the creator that they live in the memory of the reader. 
If Thackeray \vas the first to shed tears over the death of Helen, 
certainly he has not been the last. Who can read with dry eves 



NO. 13 (now 16), YOUNG STREET, 
KENSINGTON 

Thackeray s home from 1846 to 1853, where "Vanity Fair," 
"Pendennis," and "Esmond" were written 



THACKERAY 



19 




of the reconciliation of mother 
and son at the death-bed? "As 
they- were talking the clock 
struck nine, and Helen reminded 
him how, when he was a little 
boy, she used to go up to his 
bed-room at that hour and hear 
him say Our Father. And once 
more, oh once more, the young 
man fell down at his mother s 
sacred knees, and sobbed out the 
prayer which the Divine Tender 
ness littered for us, and which 
has been echoed for twenty ages 
since by millions of sinful and 
humble men. And as he spoke 
the last w r ords of the supplica 
tion, the mother s head fell down 
on her boy s, and her arms closed 
around him, and together they repeated the words for ever and 
ever and Amen. 

Headers of Thackeray s works must have noticed how frequently 
the characters reappear in tales other than that in which they are 
first introduced. Reference is made to them and to their doings 
in book after book, until we feel that we know them personally. 
Thackeray loved to reintroduce his old friends, and it was his 

/ 

intention frustrated by an all too early death -to write a novel 
of the times of Henry V., in which the ancestors of his Pendennises 
and Warringtons should have foregathered. A long and fascinating 
article might be written tracing the subsequent careers of the 
characters from the glances w^e obtain of them at odd moments. 
How many novelists are there who have such a gallery of 



NO. 36, ONSLOW SQUARE, BROMPTON 
Where Thackeray lived from 1853 to 1862, during which 
period he wrote the Lectures on the Georges," the end of 
" The Newcomes," " The Virginians," part of " Philip," and 
many of the " Roundabout Papers." 



20 



THACKERAY 




From a drawing by Eyre Crowj, A.R.A, 

CHATEAU DE BREQUERECQUE, BOULOGNE-SUR-MER, 1854 
(Reproduced from "Thackeray s Haunts and Homes," by kind permission ot 
Messrs. Scribner s Sons and Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co.) 



characters as 
can be col 
lected from 
T h a c k e - 
ray s books r ( 
What admir 
able realism! 
What mar 
vellous in 
sight into the 
natures of 
m e 11 and 
women ! 

I n his 
earlier years, 

however, he was too bitter, and his stories contain far too many scoun 
drels. " I don t know where I get all these rascals for my books," he 
said apologetically ; " I have certainly never lived with such people." 
The Yellowplush Correspondence does not contain a single man 
or woman we should like to meet. Yellowplush is a scamp ; Dawkins 
is silly and snobbish ; Blewitt, the cardsharper, is a bully and a fool ; 
Lady Griffin is riot pleasant, and though she is badly treated, her 
revenge is too cruel ; the Earl of Crabs the creation of a master 
hand is a terrible man, whose sense of humour only makes him more 
dangerous ; and Deuceace himself, cardsharper, swindler, fortune- 
hunter ... yet with such a father what was lie to become ? The 
foolish Mathilda demands some pity ; for at least she is loyal to the 
man who married her only because he thought she had money : " My 
Lord, my place is with him." 

Who will record the unwritten chapters of the life of the 
Honourable Algernon Percy Deuceace ? There is plenty of material, 
if not for authentic history, at least for legitimate speculation. It 



THACKERAY 



21 



is known that at Lord Bagwig s the Honourable Algie won from 
young Tom Rook the sum of thirty pounds ; that with his friend 
Mr. Ringwood (who, with the invaluable assistance of his hostess, 
trapped the commercial traveller, Pogson, into the signing of 
bills for huge amounts at the house of Madame la Baronne de 

o 

Florval-Delval, nee de Melval-Xorval) lie won heavily at the 
card-table from Mr. Vanjohn ; and that with Blundell-Blundell 



MR. 

MICHAEL 

ANGELO 

TITMARSH 

as he 
appeared 

at 
Willis s Rooms 

in his 
celebrated character 

ot 
Mr. Thackeray 

From 
a sketch 

h 

John Leech 




22 THACKERAY 

(who was up at Oxford with Arthur Pendennis) he contrived 
to swindle Colonel Altamont. Then there is the paragraph in 
" GaUgnanfs Messenger" quoted in the last chapter of " A 
Shabby Genteel Story": "Married at the British Embassy, by 
Bishop Luxcombe, Andrew Fitch, Esq., to Marianne Caroline 
Matilda, widow of the late Antony Carrickfergus, of Lombard 
Street, and Gloucester Place, Esquire. . . . Miss Runt officiated as 
bridesmaid ; and we remarked among the company Earl and 
Countess Crabs, General Sir Rice Curry, K.C.B., Colonel Wapshot, 
Sir Charles Swang, the Hon. Algernon Percy Deuceace and his 
lady, Count Punter, and others of the elite of the fashionables now 
in Paris. The bridegroom was attended by his friend Michael 
Angelo Titmarsh, Esq., and the lady was given away by the Right 
Hon. the Earl of Crabs. ..." Had the Hon. Mrs. Deuceace 
forgiven her husband the blow in the liais, with the account of 
which the adventure of Mr. Deuceace at Paris concluded ? Was 
the younger couple reconciled to the elder ? and if so, by what 
means ? As the author does not solve the problem, each reader 
must do so for himself. 

" Catherine," a satire upon the " Newgate Novels," naturally 
contains a collection of jail-birds ; and these, of course, are not 
treated as they would have been by Ainsworth or Bulwer Lytton, 
but are shown in all their hideousness. " A Shabby Genteel Story 
is a very fine piece of work, but its theme is unpleasant the 
trapping into a mock marriage of trusting Cinderella and the 
characters objectionable : Mr. and Mrs. Gann and the Misses 
Macarty ; Brandon, Tufthunt, and Cinqbars. Fitch is the one 
honest person, save the heroine, and he is vulgar. Tufthunt is, 
perhaps, the worst man Thackeray ever depicted, for Sir Francis 
Clavering is weak rather than vile, and Brandon the Dr. Firmin 
of " Philip suffers from a moral sense so perverted that he cannot 
realise his own weakness. 



THACKERAY 



23 



The rascal Fitz-Boodle 
is a humorist of the first 
water. His iniquity was 
the writing of those scandal 
ous chronicles of his friends 
private lives, "Men s 
Wives," which tell of the 
scoundrel Walker, the 
blackguard Boroski, and the 
selfish, vain, and terribly 
vulgar Mrs. Dennis 
Haggarty. The stories of 
"Dorothea" and "Ottilia." 
however, are agreeable 
enough. Even " Barry 
Lyndon," one of the author s 
masterpieces, is a disagree 
able story. This, indeed, 
Thackeray fully realised. 
"You need not read it," he 
said to his eldest daughter ; 
you would not like it." 
The villain Barry, who never 
realises that he is not a 
hero, and his foolish wife, 
are only in part counter 
balanced by Barry s vulgar, 
loving mother, who goes to 
him in the day of his ruin 
and nurses him until he 
dies of delirium trcwc ttx in 
the nineteenth year of his 




See note on page 40. 



24 



THACKERAY 



residence in the Fleet 
prison. 

After " Barry Lyn 
don appeared " Vanity 
Fair," "Pendennis," "The 
Xewcomes," " Esmond," 
and " Tlie Virginians," 
which contain so vast a 
number of characters that 
it is impossible to treat 
of them one by one. 

" Wherever shines the 
sun, you are sure to find 
Folly basking in it. 
Knavery is the shadow at 
Folly s heels," Thackeray 
wrote in the character 
sketch of " Captain Hook 
and Mr. Pigeon." It seems 
as if he had not quite 
grasped the fact that there 
were other tilings than 

folly and knavery to write about, and that a surfeit of rogues has 
an unpleasant after-effect. " Oh ! for a little manly, honest, God- 
relying simplicity, cheerful, affected, and humble ! " lie had prayed 
in one of his earliest reviews; but it was only with "Vanity Fair 
that he began to give it. 

It has been stated by more than one critic that Thackeray could 
not depict a good woman, and that those that were without blemish 
were also without any attractive qualities. Vet Helen Pendennis 
was a good woman, a good wife, and a good mother ; and 
Laura Bell was clever as well as good ; and certainly Ethel Xewcome 




From the painting by Samuel Laurence in the National 
Portrait Gallery 

W. M. THACKERAY 



THACKERAY 



was not a fool ; nor Theo and Kitty Lambert other than good and 
true women. It seems strange that while his female readers can 
forgive him Becky Sharp, greatest of adventuresses, and can tolerate 
even Blanche Ainory of " Mes Larmes," they cannot pardon him 
Amelia Sedley. There are many other admirable sketches. Mrs. 
Peggy O Dowd, lion-hearted, loyal and wise enough ; the Dowager 
Countess of Southdown, Mrs. Bute Crawley, Miss Briggs, Miss 
Crawley, the lovable Catherine (the " Little Sister " of " Philip ") ; 
Miss Fotheringay and Fanny Bolton, who ensnared the affections 

of young Pendennis what man has not met one or both of 

these ? Madame de 

Florae, the old lady 

with the beautiful 

face ; the terrible 

Campaigner; Mrs. 

\Varrington, who pre 

ferred to be known as 

Madame Esmond; 

Lady Castlewood. 

tender, loving, unrea 

soning, who can rise 

to the dignity of a 

great situation : " My 

daughter may receive 

presents from the 

Head of our House ; 

my daughter may 

thankfully take kind- 

nesses from her 

father s, her mother s, 

, From a fihotograph 

her brother s dearest w. M. THACKERAY 

, (Reproduced from the Biographical Edition of Thackeray s Works, by 

; and be gratetlll kind permission of Messrs. Smiih, Elder 




Co.) 



26 THACKERAY 

for one more benefit besides the thousand we owe him " ; and, 
above all, irresistible, wayward Trix that contradiction in words, 
an ambitious woman. So alluring 1 is Beatrix that it is absurd to 
expect any man to think that she was ever all bad. Who knows 
but that if Harry Esmond had been a little less sensitive of his 
own demerits, and had let her see him as he was, they might have 
married and lived as happy as most couples ? But her chance of 
redemption passed, and Beatrix became the Madame de Bernstein 
of " The Virginians." 

Thackeray s men are no whit less successful. George Osborne 
and his purse-proud father ; old Mr. Sedley and Jos ; Sir Pitt 
Crawley that most daring piece of character drawing and his 
sons, Pitt and Rawdon ; Pendennis and " Bluebeard," as Lady 
Rockingham called George Warring ton ; little Bows ; the valet, 
Morgan ; Clive Xewcome and his cousin, the little bounder, Sir 
Barnes ; the Virginians, Harry and George ; the inimitable Foker 
and the irrepressible Costigan. Thackeray drew gentlemen in a 
way that has never been excelled and rarely equalled. " They 
[the Kickleburys] are travelling with Mr. Bloundell, who was a 
gentleman once, and still retains about him some faint odour of 
that time of bloom." " It is true poor Plantagenet [Gaunt] is 
only an idiot ... a zany, . . . and yet you see he is a gentleman." 
And the author makes the reader see it is so. In spite of the 
debaucheries and his behaviour to his family, the Marquis of 
Steyne is always grand seigneur. Esmond is a gentleman, and so 
is the intriguing Major Pendennis, Half- Pay ; and Florae and 
Dobbin, and the little-worldly-wise Colonel Xewcome. It lias 
been said that the Colonel is too good for this world, too innocent, 
too ignorant, too transparently a child of nature, yet surely the 
noble-hearted man is human and true. Indeed, by this one 
character alone Thackeray could take his place among the masters. 
The whole gallery of his creations places him at the head of the 




H ^ 
11 



< 5 






fa 5 

o S- 

K 

C/3 

P 



o 
z 



w 
- 




28 



THACKERAY 






English novelists of 
the nineteenth century. 
A paper dealing 
with Thackeray s char 
acters may not ignore 

f_j 

the question of the 
" originals." Great in 
terest has always been 
taken in Thackeray s 
originals. Much has 
been written about 
them which is worth 
reading ; much also 
has been written that 
is misleading. The 
novelist was personal 
sometimes, but it was 
seldom that he 
modelled a character 
on a man or woman, 
of his acquaintance. 
He told his daughters 
that he never wilfully 
copied anyone ; and 
there is no reason to 
disbelieve his state 
ment. The Marquis of 
Steyne was a sublimation of half a dozen characters, and so were 
Captain Shandoii and Costigan ; and Becky, Dobbin, Jos Sedley, and 
Colonel Xewcome were wholly original from the celebrity point of 
view at least. Many of the people in " Esmond are portraits of 
historical personages the Duke of Hamilton, Lord Mohun, and 



From a pencil drawing by Richard Doyle in the British Alvsczim 
W. M. THACKERAY 



THACKERAY 



29 



Beatrix, for instance but in the tales of modern life there are few 
characters that can be traced to any particular source. " You know 
you are only a piece of Amelia. My mother is another half; 
my poor little wife //V,tf pour bcaucoup" the author wrote to 
Mrs. Brookfield. Edmund Yates always insisted that AVagg in 




r 






Painted -by Sir John Gilbert, R.A., and presented to the Garrick Club 

A POSTHUMOUS PORTRAIT OF THACKERAY 

Collection of Augustin Rischgitz 



30 



THACKERAY 



"Pendennis" stood for Theodore Hook; that Lord Lonsdale was 
the original of Major Pendennis s noble friend Lord Colchicum ; 
and that Bunn was the model for Dolphin, the theatrical manager. 

It has been said that 
M^MiMHMMMMWMMMHMiiMMH Mr. J. M. Evans, the 

I\&jjjjSjjjSSjjjSSSjjjSjSSSSjjSSl publisher, was portrayed 
in " The Kickleburys 
on the Rhine"; that 
Mr. Flam in " Mrs. 
Perkins s Ball was a 
portrait of Abraham 
Hayward ; that the 
Rev. W. H. Brookfield 
stood for the curate, 
Frank Whitestock ; that 
Leigh Hunt was the 
original of Gandish in 
" The Xewcomes " ; and 
that the third Marquis 
of Hertford was the 
prototype of Lord 
Steyne. Mrs. Ritchie 
once saw the young 
lady who was supposed 
to have suggested 
Becky Sharp to her 
father ; and Carlyle and 
his wife knew and 
disliked- -the original 
Blanche Amory. 

Thackeray was not 
topographical in the 




From a photograph by Ernest Ed-wards 

W. M. THACKERAY 



THACKERAY 



31 



LU 



(few, U-M o Kv, W.,J 

fin it f < I . t. Jf ) Man. Unlii-i -6 Vnffrim.. ami m 



/u HJS*\J i^-**A i Iv*? 

J-4 . 

m1W, 4*f 
(urU.,1 ( (*. 



K 

l fcu 





A PAGE OF THACKERAY S MANUSCRIPT 

Showing an original sketch in the margin 
(Reproduced from "Denis Duval," by kind permission of Mrs. Richmond Ritchie) 

sense that Dickens was. Often the briefest mention of a street 
satisfied him. Yet somehow the plaees of the principal scenes of 
his novels linger in the memory. As a young man he studied at 
Weimar, and later, while serving his apprenticeship both to art and 
letters, he resided from time to time at Paris. Had he never 
visited Germany, perhaps Amelia and Jos and Dobbin would not 
have gone Am Rhein, and the chapter about Becky and the Pum 
pernickel students would never have been written. Many of his 
characters went to Paris, which had for him a strong personal 
interest. It was there he wooed and won his wife. It was at 



THACKERAY 




from a photo by H. N. King, Avemie Road, 

THE HOUSE AT NO. 2, PALACE GREEN, KEN 
SINGTON, IN WHICH THACKERAY DIED 



"71 Paris that he wrote the auto 
biographical verse in the ballad 
which tells of the Bouilla 
baisse served at Terre s Tavern 
in the Hue Neuve des Petits 
Champs : 

Ah me ! how quick the days are 

flitting ! 

I mind me of a time that s gone, 
When here I d sit, as now Fin 

sitting, 

In this same place but not alone. 
A fair young form was nestled 

near me, 

A dear dear face looked fondly up, 
And sweetly spoke and smiled to 

cheer me, 

There s no one now to share 
my cup. 



" I have been to the Hotel de la Terrasse, where Becky used 
to live, and shall pass by Captain Osborne s lodgings," he wrote 
from Paris to Mrs. Brookfield. "I believe perfectly in all these 
people, and feel quite an interest in the inn in which they 
lived." It was at Brussels, in the Church of St. Gudule, the 
church in which lie was christened, that Esmond met the in 
veterate intriguer, Father Holt, masquerading in a green uniform 
as a captain in the Bavarian Elector s service ; and in the 
convent cemetery knelt before the cross which marked the 
grave of Sceur Mary Madeleine, the unhappy Lady Castlewood, 
who was his mother. In that same city many years later the 
author of " Vanity Fair," not claiming to rank among the 
military novelists, took his place with the non-combatants while 
the armies marched to the field of Waterloo, and portrayed many 



THACKERAY 




folk with anxious hearts await 
ing news that must bring 
them happiness or misery. 
" No more firing was heard at 
Brussels the pursuit rolled miles 
away. The darkness came down 
on the field and city ; and Amelia 
was praying for George, who was 
lying on his face, dead, with a 
bullet through his heart." 

Thackeray was pre-eminently 
the novelist of the upper classes, 
and as a natural result the ma 
jority of his characters lived in 
the West End of London, chiefly 
in the area enclosed by Park 
Lane, Oxford Street, Bond Street, 
and Piccadilly, known as Mayfair. But no part of the 
metropolis escaped him. .The Sedleys lived in Russell Square 
before they removed to St. Adelaide s Villas, Anna Maria Road, 
West, "where the houses look like baby-houses; where the people 
looking out of the first floor windows must infallibly, as you 
think, sit with their feet in the parlours; where the shrubs in 
the little gardens in front bloom with a perennial display of 
little children s pinafores, little red socks, caps, etc. (polyandria 
polygyria) ; whence you hear the sound of jingling spirits and 
women singing; whither of evenings you see city clerks plodding 
wearily. ..." Dr. Firmiii practised in Old Parr Street; and 
Colonel Newcome and James Binnie, on their return from India, 
rented a house in Fitzroy Square. Bungay and Bacon carried 
on their business in Paternoster Row, and lived over their shops. 
It was to the sponging house in Cursitor Street that Rawdon 



THACKERAY S GRAVE IN KENSAL GREEN 
CEMETERY 



THACKERAY 




From the statuette by Sir Edgar Boehm, R.A. 
W. M. THACKERAY 



Crawley was taken after 
the ball at Gaunt 
House. Among others, 
Pendennis and Warring- 
ton lived in the Temple ; 
while Colonel Xewcome 
and his son, Dr. Firmin 
and Philip, Pendennis, 
young Rawdon to name 
a few were educated at 
the Charterhouse. " The 
Newcomes " immortalised 
that public school, and 
earned for the author 
the well-deserved title of 
" Carthusianus Carthusia- 
norum." The clubs and 
Bohemian resorts of the 
day were introduced into 
the various stories : the 
visit of Colonel Xewcome 
to the "Cave of Har 
mony is not easily for 
gotten. In May fair was 
situated Gaunt House, 
and in Curzon Street, 
near by, Becky and 
Rawdon practised the 
art of living on nothing 
a year. It was in the 

*/ 

Curzon Street house that 
Becky is made to admire 



THACKERAY 



her husband, when he gives Lord Steyne the chastisement that 
ruins her for life. "When I wrote that sentence," Thackeray 
remarked subsequently, " I slapped my fist on the table and said, 
* That is a stroke of genius. 

LEWIS MELVILLE. 



William 

Makepeace 

Thackeray 

see fron tispiece 



Richmond 
Thackeray, 
Father of the 
Novelist 

see page 3 



Thackeray at the 
age of three, with 
his father and 
mother 

see page 5 



The Charterhouse 
in the time of 
Thackeray 

see page 2 



Thackeray, from 
the replica of a 
plaster cast by 
J. Devile 

see page 4 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 

William Makepeace Thackeray, the only child of Richmond and 
Anne Thackeray, was born at Calcutta on July 18th, 1811. He was 
descended from Yorkshire yeomen who for several generations had 
settled at Hampsthwaite, in the West Riding. In 170(5 his grandfather, 
likewise named William Makepeace Thackeray, sailed for India at the age 
of seventeen, to enter the service of the East India Company. Under 
Cartier, the predecessor of Warren Hastings as Governor of Bengal, 
promotion was very rapid. In 1776 he married Amelia Richmond, and the 
same year returned to England. His fourth son, Richmond Thackeray, 
father "of the novelist, went to India in 1708 also in the service of the 
Company. In 1807 he became Secretary to the Board of Revenue at 
Calcutta and undoubtedly possessed brilliant gifts for administration and 
public work. He married on October 13th, 1810, the reigning beauty 
of Calcutta, Anne, daughter of John Harman Becher. The painting by 
Chhmery, executed in 1814, gives a glimpse of the Thackerays at the time 
when their son had reached the age of three years. He is drawn perched 
a large pile of books, with his arms round his mother s neck, his father ( 

seated in a chair close by. 

Richmond Thackeray was at this time Collector of the district 
Twenty-four Pergunnahs. Two years later he died, and in 1817 his son was 
sent to England to be educated, and was placed in the charge oi his aunt 
Mrs. Ritchie, who first sent him to a school in Hampshire, and then to the 
establishment of Dr. Turner at Chiswick. About 181 Mrs. Richmond 
Thackeray married a second time, and in 1821 returned to England with her 
husband, "Major Carmichael Smyth, and settled at Addiscombe. 
following year Thackeray was sent to the Charterhouse, where he remained 
until 1828. This famous school figured largely in his writings as 
It was here that Colonel Newcome and Clive, Pendennis, George Osborne, 
Philip Firmin, and Rawdon Crawley were educated. Charterhouse was the 
scene of Thackeray s fight with Venables, in which he sustained 
unfortunate accident to his nose that caused a permanent disfigurement. 
his otherwise handsome countenance. Evidence of this is noticeable in the 
plaster cast executed by J. Devile, which represents Thackeray at 
of eleven. 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 



Larkbeare, 
the home of 
Thackeray s 
mother 

see page 2 



Thackeray 
among the 
Fraserians 

see page 6 



Rue Neuve 
St. Augustin, 
Paris 

see page 7 

No. 18, 

Albion Street, 
Hyde Park 

see page ro 



No. 13, Great 
Coram Street, 
Brunswick 
Square 

seepage n 



Tn 1825 Thackeray s mother removed to Larkbeare, a house situated a 
mile and a half from Ottery St. Mary, where her sou used to spend Ins 
holidays. On leaving school he remained at Larkbeare until he took up 
his residence at Trinity College, Cambridge, in February 1829. The 
scenery surrounding his mother s home is described in " Pendennis," Ottery 
St. Mary, Exeter, and Sidmouth figuring respectively as Clavering St. Mary, 
Chatteris, and Baymouth. 

While at Cambridge Thackeray contributed to a small paper called The 
Snob, a literary and scientific journal not conducted // member* of the 
University. In it appeared "Timbuctoo," a mock poem on the subject 
chosen for the Chancellor s medal, won that year by Alfred Tennyson. 
) Thackeray spent the long vacation in Paris, and left college after the 
following Easter term. 

Having inherited a fortune from his father, it was arranged that he should 
finish his education by travelling abroad for a couple of years. Accordingly 
he spent several months at Dresden, Rome, Paris, and Weimar, and finally 
esolved to study for the Bar on his return to England. In 1831 he entered 
the Middle Temple, and by November of that year was settled in chambers 
in Hare Court. On coming of age, however, he abandoned all pretence of 
following the profession he had chosen, and made his way to Paris, whence he 
wrote letters for The National Standard, and collected material for miscel 
laneous articles. Having speedily lost the greater part of his fortune, he 
turned his thoughts seriously to painting as a means of livelihood, and at this 
period frequented various studios, probably working in the atelier of Gros. 
Later he copied pictures assiduously at the Louvre, but though he delighted 
in the art he failed to acquire any great technical skill as a draughtsman. 

In January 1835 Thackeray appeared as one of the Fraserians in a 
sketch drawn by Maclise and published in Fmxer x Magazine. This cele 
brated cartoon depicts the Fraser writers at one of the frequent banquets 
held at 212, Regent Street. It was in this company that Thackeray first 
gained distinction as an author. 

In 1830 he was appointed Paris correspondent of The Constitutional, and 
in August of the same year he married Miss Shawe. The wedding took place 
at the British Embassy, Bishop Luscombe, at that time chaplain, officiating 

the ceremony. The newly married couple lived in apartments in the 
Rue Neuve St. Augustin, a street quite close by the Rue Neuve des Petits 
"hamps, where is situated the restaurant made famous in the "Ballad of 
Bouillabaisse." 

The Constitutional came to an end in 1837, and Thackeray returned to 
London and took up his abode for a time at 18, Albion Street, Hyde Park, 
where his mother was then living, and where he had stayed in 1834 when 
first contributing to Printer * Magazine. Anne Isabella Thackeray, his eldest 
daughter, was born at this house. A removal was made not long afterwards 
to No. 13, Great Coram Street, Brunswick Square, where the Thackerays 
lived for some years. During this period "The Paris Sketch-Book" was 
written, being published in 1840 by Macrone. Owing to the misfortune of 
his wife s illness the author s household became unsettled, and about 1843 the 
home at Great Coram Street was given up. 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 



37 



" Comic Tales 
and Sketches " 

seepage 13 



Drawing from 
" Punch " : 
" Authors 
Miseries " 

see page 12 



The Strangers 
Room, Reform 
Club 

see page 17 



Thackeray had published in 1841 a collection of "Comic Tales and 
Sketches, edited and illustrated hy Mr. Michael Angelo Titmarsh," with 
a preface dated "Paris, April 1st, 1841," from which the following is an 
extract : 

When there came to be a question of republishing the tales in these volumes, the 
three authors, Major Gahagan, Mr. Fitzroy Yellowplush, and myself, had a violent 
dispute upon the matter of editing ; and at one time we talked of editing each other all 
round. The toss of a halfpenny, however, decided the question in my favour. . . . On 
the title-page the reader is presented with three accurate portraits of the authors of these 
volumes. They are supposed to be marching hand-in-hand, and are just on the very 
brink of Immortality. 

During the same year " The History of Samuel Titmarsh and the Great 
Hoggarty Diamond " commenced to run its course in Frowns Miiyazine. 
Punch had heen started on July 17th, and Thackeray s first contributions 
appeared the following June. In the course of his ten years connection 
with this periodical he contributed something like oOO sketches irrespective 
of letterpress. One of these, reproduced on page \ l, is taken from a 
series entitled "Authors Miseries," and represents Jerrold and the artist 
himself in a railway carriage listening to the other occupants discussing the 
members of the Punch staff : 

Old Gentleman, Miss Wiggets, T-wo Authors. 

Old Gentleman: " I am so sorry to see you occupied, my dear Miss Wiggets, with 
that trivial paper, Punch. A railsvay is not a place, in my opinion, for jokes. I never 
joke never." 

Miss W. : " So I should think, sir." 

Old Gentleman : " And besides, are you aware who are the conductors of that paper, 
and that they are Chartists, Deists, Atheists, Anarchists, to a man? I have it from the 
best authority, that they meet together once a week in a tavern in St. Giles s, where they 
concoct their infamous print. The chief part of their income is derived from threatening 
letters, which they send to the nobility and gentry. The principal writer is a returned 
convict. Two have been tried at the Old Bailey ; and as for their artist as for their 
artist. ..." 

Guard: " Swin-dun ! Station!" [Exeunt two Authors. 

In the latter half of 1842 Thackeray made a tour in Ireland, and recorded 
his experiences in " The Irish Sketch-Book, " which made its appearance the 
following year. 

Thackeray, who for some time had heen a member of the Garrick 
Club, was elected to the Reform in 1840, being proposed by Mr. Martin 
Thackeray and seconded by Mr. Henry Webbe. Sir Wemyss Reid gives 
an interesting description of the author at this Club. "Again and again 
1 have heard descriptions of how he used to stand in the smoking-room, 
his back to the fire, his legs rather wide apart, his hands thrust into the 
trouser-pockets, and his head stiffly thrown backward, while he joined 
in the talk of the men occupying the semi-circle of chairs in front of 
him. . . . To some of us, at least, the Club is endeared by the thought 
that he was once one of ourselves ; that he sat in these chairs, dined at these 
tables, chatted in these rooms, and, with his wise, far-seeing eyes surveyed 
the world from these same windows." In the strangers room at the Reform 
Club hangs a portrait of Thackeray by Samuel Laurence. On one side of it 



38 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 



No. 13, 

Young Street, 
Kensington 

see page 18 



Mr. Michael 
Angelo Titmarsh 
as he appeared 
at Willis s Rooms 

see page 21 



Chateau de 
Brequerecque, 
Boulogne- 
sur-Mer 

see page 20 



No. 36, 

Onslow Square, 
Brompton 

see page 19 



there stands a bust of Sir William Molesworth, on the other of Charles 
Kuller. The latter seconded Thackeray when he was proposed hy the 
Rev. W. Harness as a member of the Athenaeum on February 12th, 1846. 
Thackeray was elected to this Club in 18-51 under the rule which provides 
for the introduction of "persons of distinguished eminence in science, 
literature, or public services." 

In 1846 Thackeray took a house at 1-3 (now 10), Young Street, Kensington, 
where he established a home for his daughters. "Vanity Fair," 
Pendennis," and "Esmond" were written .there. "Vanity Fair" made 
its appearance in yellow covers, being brought out in monthly parts by 
Messrs. Bradbury & Evans. The first number was issued in January 1847, 
the last in July 1848. 

When passing his house in Young Street with Mr. J. T. Fields, the 
American publisher, Thackeray exclaimed, "Go down on your knees, yon 
rogue, for here Vanity Fair was penned, and I will go down with you, 
for I have a high opinion of that little production myself." 

The first number of " Pendennis " appeared in November 1848, but the 
author s severe illness at the end of 1849 interrupted its publication, which 
was not concluded until 18o(). "Pendennis" was followed by "Esmond" 
in 18o2. Whilst residing in Young Street Thackeray delivered his famous 
lectures on the English humorists at Willis s Rooms. On page 21 an 
admirable caricature by John Leech is reproduced from The Mouth repre 
senting Mr. Michael Angelo Titmarsh as he appeared in these rooms in 
his celebrated character of Mr. Thackeray : 

Mr. Thackeray, of Vanity Fair, announced a simple course of lectures on a purely 
literary subject ; and for the reason that Mr. Thackeray, living entirely by his pen, was 
still recognised as a fine gentleman by all and they were many who knew him in 
private, so accordingly his room was filled by an audience as brilliant and fashionable, 
as intelligent and judicious in fact, after the lecturer, the agreeable sight of the excellent 
set of people who gathered about him with such thoughtful attention was really an 
attraction. 

On October 30th, 18.52, Thackeray set sail for the United States, 
where he remained until the spring of 18o3. He lectured in various towns 
-New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, and Richmond amongst 
others. Upon his return to Europe he made a very .short stay in London, and 
then proceeded to Switzerland, where the story of "The Newcomes " was, 
according to his own statement, "revealed to him somehow." Much of the 
novel was written abroad while its author was travelling in Germany, 
Switzerland, Italy, or staying at the Chateau de Brequerecque at Boulogne, 
where he is said to have evolved the noble figure of Colonel Newcome. The 
Chateau de Brequerecque lies pleasantly nestled in trees and shrubberies 
on the outskirts of the town, and is surrounded by a high wall screening it 
from public gaze. " The Newcomes " was completed at No. 36, Onslow 
Square, where Thackeray moved from Young Street in 1857. " The result of 
my father s furnishings," wrote Mrs. Richmond Ritchie of this residence, 
" was a pleasant, bowery sort of home, with green curtains and carpets, 
looking out upon the elm trees of Onslow Square. We lived for seven 
years at No. 36, and it was there he wrote the Lectures on the George s, 



tt I OGR A PH 1C AT, X OTE 



No. 2, 

Palace Green, 
Kensington, 
where Thackeray 
died 

see page 32 



The M.S. of 
"Denis Duval." 

see page 31 

Thackeray s 
Grave at Kensal 
Green Cemetery 

see page 33 



and the end of The Xewcomes, and The Virginians, part of Philip, and 
many of the Roundabout Papers. His study was over the drawing-room, 
and looked out upon the elm trees." 

Thackeray stood for Parliament in the Oxford City division in July 
of 18-57, but was defeated by a small majority. In 18(50 he undertook the 
editorship of the ConihUI Mnyazhn-, of which Messrs. Smith & Elder had 
commenced publication in the January of that year. Though continuing to 
contribute to this magazine until the last, he retired from the editorship in 
April 18(5^, doubtless finding the work too exacting for his now failing health. 

In the year 18(51 the firm of Jackson <t Graham built for Thackeray the 
beautiful house at No. 2, Palace Green, Kensington, which alone of all his 
homes has the Society of Arts oval commemorative tablet inserted in its wall. 
An old house stood on the site at the time of purchase, but after careful 
consideration Thackeray wisely gave up the idea of repairing and adding 
to it, and erected in its place a fine mansion of red brick with stone 
facings in the style of Queen Anne. At this period, besides working for 
the Cornhi//, Thackeray was writing "Denis Duval," his last book, which 
remained unfinished. After several severe attacks of illness, the novelist 
died at his residence in Palace Green on December 2:kd, 18(>:3, and 
was interred at Kensal Green Cemetery on the :}()th of the month. The 
Middle Temple, of which he was a member, requested that they might be 
allowed to bury him in the Temple, near the grave of Goldsmith. The offer 
was, however, declined. A bust of Thackeray by his friend, Baron 
Marochetti, was placed in Westminster Abbey. 



W. M. Thackeray, 
from a painting 
by Frank Stone 

seepage 9 

W. M. Thackeray 
from a drawing 
by Daniel 
Maclise about 
1840 

see page I 



NOTES OX THE PORTRAITS OF 
THACKERAY 

Thackeray was striking in appearance, being over six feet in height and 
broad in proportion. He was erect in his gait and stalwart in bearing. His 
countenance was very expressive and capable of much dignity, and his 
peculiarly sweet smile, combined with a great gentleness of voice and manner, 
particularly endeared him to children. "Grand and stern and silent," 
wrote Jerrold of him in later years, "a mighty form crowned with a massive, 
snow-haired head." 

Among the portraits of Thackeray in early manhood is the painting by 
Frank Stone, executed in 183(5 about the time of his marriage with Miss 
Shawe. This picture has never been engraved. 

In 18.">.! and 18o. } Maclise made two beautiful drawings of Thackeray from 
life, depicting him as a fashionably dressed young man, seated in a ueyliye 
attitude, displaying a massive eyeglass. These are now in the Garrick Club. 
Some years later the same artist made another delicately pencilled sketch, 
which Thackeray himself very skilfully copied. 

Of the various portraits by Samuel Laurence, the one of greatest interest 
is perhaps the chalk drawing executed in 18o:> and here reproduced as a 
frontispiece. 



W. M. Thackeray, 
from the 
painting by 
Samuel 

Laurence in the 
National Portrait 
Gallery 

see page 24 



40 NOTES ON THE PORTRAITS OF THACKERAY 



Charlotte Bronte, when she first saw this portrait, exclaimed, " And there 
came up a lion out of Judith." Later she wrote: " My father stood for a 
quarter of an hour this morning examining the great man s picture. The 
conclusion of his survey was that he thought it a puzzling head ; if he had 
known nothing previously of the original s character, he could not have read 
it hi his features. I wonder at this. To me the broad brow seems to express 
intellect. Certain lines about the nose and cheek betray the satirist and 
cynic ; the mouth indicates a child-like simplicity, perhaps even a degree 
of irresoluteness, inconsistency weakness, in short, but a weakness not 
unamiable." 

A replica of the painting by the same artist in the National Portrait 
Gallery was presented by Thackeray to Sir Frederick Pollock, and remained 
for many years in the possession of the Dowager Lady Pollock. 

In the National Portrait Gallery is also a bust modelled in terra-cotta by 
Sir Edgar Boehm from the original plaster mould by Joseph Durham, A.R.A., 
which was presented to the Garrick Club. And the same sculptor executed 
in 1800 a statuette for which Thackeray when in Paris gave only two short 
sittings of half an hour s duration. "The eminent sculptor," writes Mr. 
F. G. Kitton in the Mayazhte of Art, "even in that space of time succeeded in 
all but completing one of the most successful portraits of his subject ever 
attempted." "The work of Sir John Millais possesses exceptional interest," 
continues the same writer, "and especially may this be said of a full-length 
delineation by that master-hand of his famous literary contemporary. Although 
but a slight memory-sketch, it is very characteristic of the man, and the 
portraiture so very life-like and true that Sir Edgar Boehm derived from 
it considerable assistance when completing his excellent statuette of the 
.novelist." 

The posthumous portrait of Thackeray painted by Sir John Gilbert, R.A., 
was amongst those presented to the Garrick Club. It represents the novelist 
with long white hair and spectacles seated at a small table on which tea-things 
are displayed. In the background appears Stanfield s picture of a Dutch 
vessel, which may still be seen in one of the Club apartments. 

The pencil drawing taken from the life by Richard Doyle, which is now 
in the British Museum, is an interesting and very characteristic sketch of the 
novelist. 

He was a cynic; you might read it writ 

In that broad brow, crowned with its silver hair; 

In those blue eyes, with childlike candour lit, 
In the sweet smile his lips were wont to wear. 

A cynic? Yes if tis the cynic s part 

To track the serpent s trail, with saddened eye, 

To mark how good and ill divide the heart, 
How lives in chequered shade and sunshine lie. 

Commemorative verses from Punch. 



W. M. Thackeray, 
from a copy of the 
bust by Joseph 
Durham, A.R.A. 

see page 14 

W. M. Thackeray, 
from the 
statuette by Sir 
Edgar Boehm, 
R.A. 

see pae 34 

W. M. Thackeray, 
from a sketch by 
Sir John E. 
Millais, P. R.A. 

see page 23 



Thackeray, from 
a painting by 
Sir John Gilbert, 
R.A. 

see page 29 

Thackeray, from 
a drawing by 
Richard Doyle 

see page 28 



The portrait of Thackeray by Sir John E. Millais, P. R.A., which appears on page 23, is in the 
possession of Mrs. Richmond Ritchie, and is reproduced by her kind permission. 



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