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Charles Taylor did not take part in our negotiation (and, indeed, there was no negotiation, for I cannot remember a single instance in which Mr. Thackeray demurred to any proposal that I made to him), but his social gifts made our little dinners very pleasant. One little anecdote may indicate the somewhat unconventional manner in which the business of the CORNHILL MAGAZINE was occasionally treated. Trollope came to me in Pall Mall, where we now had a branch office, to arrange for a new serial. I told him my terms, but he demurred to my offer of 2,000l., and said that he had hoped for 3,000l. I shook my head. Well,' he replied, 'let us toss for that other 1,000l.' I asked him if he wished to ruin me, and said that if my banker heard of my tossing authors for their copyrights he would certainly close my account; and what about my clerks? How I should demoralise them if they suspected me of tossing with an author for his manuscript! We ultimately came to an agreement on my terms, which were sufficiently liberal. But I felt uncomfortable-I felt mean--I had refused a challenge. To relieve my mind I said, 'Now that is settled, if you will come over the way to my club, where we can have a little room to ourselves for five minutes, I will toss you for 1,000l. with pleasure.' Mr. Trollope did not accept the offer.
The large number of copies printed obliged us to go to press earlier in the month than most of the magazines, and we found some difficulty in getting articles up to time. There was an article by Mr. George Augustus Sala which was very much behind time, and the printer came to me with a long face. I said that I would call on Mr. Sala on my way to the City and try to get the article. I did call, and I knocked at the door of his chambers first with my knuckles and then with the knob of my stick, but without effect. There was no response. As I was going downstairs I met a friend of Sala whom I knew. If you are going to see Sala,' I said, 'you need not go upstairs, he's not there.' Do you want to see him?' he asked. Indeed I do,' said I. Then come up with me.' There was no knocking at the door this time; my friend produced a penny and put it into the slot which had been made for a letter-box. It had hardly ceased rolling on the floor before Sala appeared. He had only a page or two of his article to write, and I waited for it and carried it off. I had no idea of Mr. Sala's reason for sporting his oak' in this peculiar manner, and he did not vouchsafe any explanation.
The CORNHILL was edited by Thackeray from January 1860 to May 1862. I cannot truly say that he was, in a business sense,
a good editor, and I had to do some of that part of the work myself. This was a pleasure to me, for I had the greatest possible admiration and affection for him. Such a relation between editor and publisher would have worked ill in the case of some men; but Thackeray's nature was so generous, and my regard for him was so sincere, that no misunderstanding between us ever
I used to drive round to his house in Onslow Square nearly every morning, and we discussed manuscripts and subjects together. Later in the day frequently came little notes, of which I have a large number, and of which the following is a characteristic specimen :
MY DEAR S.,
'H. N. Y. to all Smiths.
'36 O. S., S.W.: Jan. 1, 1861.
'I am afraid we can't get Loch. He has been advised not to write except his own book, whatever that may be.
'Stephen can't do anything for Feb.
'Wynter says he will do Bread.
This is all the present news from
'W. M. T.'
Thackeray was far too tender-hearted to be happy as an editor. He could not say 'No' without himself suffering a pang as keen as that inflicted by his 'No' on the rejected contributor. He would take pains-such as, I believe, few editors have ever taken to soften his refusal. The beautiful letter to Mrs. Browning, printed in Mrs. Ritchie's article before mentioned, is an example of the pains that he took in writing to the contributors of rejected articles.
Thackeray poured out his sorrows as an editor in one of his Roundabout Papers.' It is entitled Thorns in the Cushion,' and is a good example of Thackeray's humour and an illustration of the effect upon him of editorial duties. No one can read the article without realising as I did that Mr. Thackeray came to a wise decision when he resigned the editorship of the MAGAZINE, and thus consulted his own comfort and peace of mind.
I like to think that the tender heart of this noble man of genius was not troubled by editorial thorns during the remainder of his life. But in looking back it sometimes comes to me with a feeling akin to remorse that I was the instrument of imposing on him an uncongenial task, and that I might have done more than I did to relieve him of its burden.
MORE LIGHT ON ST. HELENA.
BEING EXTRACTS FROM THE LETTERS AND JOURNALS OF SIR GEORGE BINGHAM, K.C.B., LADY BINGHAM, COLONEL MANSEL, MAJOR HARRISON, AND COLONEL GORREQUER, DISCOVERED AND TRANSCRIBED BY MISS DOROTHY MANSELPLEYDELL, EDITED BY THE RIGHT HON. SIR HERBERT MAXWELL, BART., M.P.
** LORD ROSEBERY has brought so much sympathetic insight, such industry of collation, and such a nice literary judgment to the study of Napoleon's last mournful years that his narrative of the course of events on St. Helena must remain without a rival. One may fail-many students of the great Corsican's career must fail to agree with him in tracing Napoleon's errors and misfortunes to physical decline from the date of Austerlitz. One may regret that intense commiseration for the caged tiger should so distort Lord Rosebery's sense of historic proportion that he should speak slightingly, contemptuously of the Tory Cabinet who undertook the custody of one whom the Powers of Europe had condemned as a criminal; that he should hold them up to ridicule because the measures they took and the details they prescribed seem, at this distance of time, to have inflicted unwarrantable indignity and tedium upon their captive. And, in a less degree, some may consider that he is unnecessarily vehement in belabouring the hapless Sir Hudson Lowe, who, tactless and maladroit as he is shown to have been, at all events performed his duty according to his lights and succeeded in carrying out the purpose he was there to effect-namely, to prevent the escape. for the second time, of his formidable charge. Certainly his lordship comes short in these respects, if not of magnanimity, at all events of that enviable intellectual detachment which served him so well in his monograph of Pitt. All this and perhaps more may be said in criticism, without detracting from Lord Rosebery's latest volume as a consummate piece of work, a masterly study of the unique situation which is the subject thereof. He has covered the ground so thoroughly, disentangled so adroitly the contradictory records of the period, and so mercilessly stripped from the island group the mists of prejudice and falsehood which have so long hung round them, that anything further on the subject might be deemed superfluous. But he points to one
MORE LIGHT ON ST. HELENA.
Since the publication of the first instalment of these papers the Editor has learned that the substance of the instalment appeared some years ago in Blackwood's Magazine.' The Editor begs to express his unqualified regret at the circumstance to the proprietors of Blackwood's Magazine,' and is glad to have this opportunity of so doing. The responsibility is his; but neither Miss Mansel Pleydell nor her family, in whose possession the letters and diaries have always remained, had any knowledge of the previous publication.
The remainder of the papers, which will appear in the forthcoming number, are printed, it is believed, for the first time, with the exception of two letters, one from Lady Bingham, dated May 30, 1816, and the other from Colonel Mansel, dated June 14, 1816. These two letters have already appeared in Blackwood's Magazine,' and would in the present circumstances have been omitted were it not for the continuity of the story.
In regard to the statement on p. 21, attributed to Madame Bertrand, that some antique coins had been found by Napoleon himself at Rome, it has been pointed out to the Editor by one of the first authorities on the subject that as a matter of fact Napoleon never was in Rome. On p. 34, note, Sir Herbert Maxwell accidentally referred to All the Talents' as Pitt's last Administration,' instead of the first Ministry (Grenville's) after Pitt's death.-ED. CORNHILL.