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bank, partly from losses incurred in trying to establish a newspaper in which he was concerned, partly from losses at cards.

Thus early thrown on his own resources, he was fain. to take up literature as a profession. His first regular employment was on Fraser's Magazine, in which he wrote under the invented name of Michael Angelo Titmarsh. Such sketches as The Great Hoggarty Diamond revealed at once the hand of a great master. Yet Thackeray met but small appreciation at the time (1837–38) when Dickens, one year his junior, had taken the public by storm with Pickwick and Oliver Twist. Thackeray's fame was of slow growth, and in these early years he had to suffer coldness and rebuffs that sorely tried his sensitive soul.

In 1837 Thackeray married Isabella, daughter of Colonel Matthew Shawe; and from this union came three daughters. IIis married life was grievously unhappy, but this was in no wise due to human fault. Says his biographer, Anthony Trollope,

“ His wife became ill, and her mind failed her. There was a period during which he would not believe that her illness was more than illness; and then he clung to her, and waited on her with an assiduity of affection which only made his task the more painful to him. At last it became evident that she should live in the companionship of some one with whom her life might be altogether quiet, and she has since been domiciled with a lady with whom she lias been happy. Thus she was, after but a few years of married life, taken away from him, and he became, as it were, a widower till the end of his days."

About 1841 began Thackeray's connection with the famous London Punch. In “a good day for himself, the journal, and the world, Thackeray found Punch," said his friend Shirley Brooks, afterwards editor of the paper. His active connection with the famous repository of humor, fun, and satire lasted during the twelve years from 1841 to 1853; that is, from his thirtieth to his forty-second year. Much of Thackeray's best work appeared in its pages. In Punch he found an appreciative hearer and a liberal paymaster.

In the mean time he began (1846) to publish, in numbers (“ parts” we call them), the novel of Vanity Fair. It was brought out in twenty-four numbers, and was completed in 1848. Then it was, that, at the age of thirty-seven, Thackeray first achieved for himself name and fame. He became at once one of the recognized stars of the literary heaven of the day.

Pendennis, Esmond, and The Newcomes followed Vanity Fair; not very quickly, indeed, always at an interval of two years, — in 1850, 1852, and 1854.

This ought to have been a very happy period in Thackeray's life. All the good things that he had coveted, — success, the rewards of success, popularity, the love of a small circle of friends, - he had amply

But over it all hung the melancholy shadow of his wife's malady. Add to this, his own health was shattered ; a severe fever that attacked him in 1849 left him liable to spasms that were most depressing in their effects. Thus, at the height of his fame, he was left without either home or health.

It is in the new character of a lecturer that Thack


eray next appears. He was moved to enter this field (against the advice of many friends) by the hope that he might thus provide a sum of money for the future sustenance of his children. Having prepared with great care a series of lectures on The English Humorists of the Eighteenth Century, he first delivered the course in London in 1851, and afterwards in most of the leading cities of England. He then came to the United States, and during the winter of 1852–53 delivered his lectures to large audiences in most of our principal cities.

Having enjoyed his success in the first attempt to lecture, he, three years afterwards, prepared a second series, on The Four Georges, which he delivered both in England and the United States. Though Thackeray had none of those wonderful gifts of elocution which made it such a pleasure to listen to Dickens, he read well enough to interest his audiences in his deeply interesting matter. At any rate, the lectures were successful. A large sum of money was made and was kept.

On his return from his first trip to the United States, Thackeray published The Newcomes, one of the greatest of his works. This was followed by The Virginians (1857–59).

In 1859 Thackeray undertook the last great work of his life, — the editorship of the newly started Cornhill Magazine. The fame of the editor made this periodical a marked success from the beginning. Thackeray contributed to it every month one of the charming articles known as the Roundabout Papers. He also published in it his novels of Lovel the Widower, and The Adven

tures of Philip. He was writing for it a new novel, Denis Duval, at the time that death overtook him.

Thackeray died on the day before Christmas, 1863, very suddenly and unattended, in his bed, early in the morning, in the fifty-third year of his life. Dickens tells us that the last written words of the unfinished novel of Denis Duval were, “And my heart throbbed with an exquisite bliss.” And the great yet most friendly rival adds the touching words: “God grant that on that Christmas Eve, when he laid his head back on his pillow, and threw up his arms as he had been wont to do when very weary, some consciousness of duty done, and Christian hope throughout life humbly cherished, may have caused his own heart so to throb when he passed away to his Redeemer's rest!”

Thackeray was an imposing figure of a man, — in height six feet four, powerfully built, erect in his gait, and with a countenance peculiarly expressive, and capable of much dignity. His massive head was thickly covered with hair, which, long before his death, became silvery white. His nose had been broken in a school fight, while he was quite a little boy, by another little boy at the Charter House.

By many Thackeray is spoken of as a cynic. But, whatever of cynical there may be in his writings, as a man he was the reverse of a cynic. All the evidence goes to show that he was really one of the most softhearted of human beings, sweet as charity itself, who went about the world dropping pearls, doing good, and never willfully inflicting a wound. Hear what Dickens

has to say :

“My long acquaintance with him is marked in my remembrance of him by many occasions when he was supremely humorous, when he was irresistibly extravagant, when he was softened and serious, when he was charming with children. But by none do I recall him more tenderly than by two or three that start out of the crowd, when he unexpectedly presented himself in my room, announcing how that some passage in a certain book had made him cry yesterday, and how that he had come to dinner, “because he couldn't help it,' and must talk such passage over.

No one can ever have seen him more genial, natural, cordial, fresh, and honestly impulsive than I have seen him at those times. No one can be surer than I of the greatness and goodness of the heart that then disclosed itself."

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Various opinions are entertained as to the relative place of Thackeray among the novelists of the nineteenth century; but no one denies that he ranks among the masters, and it is held by many capable critics that he is the greatest delineator of character since Fielding. It was his aim to represent men and women as they are, with that mixture of good and evil and of strength and foible which is to be found in their characters; but it was also his constant endeavor so to represent human nature that his readers should learn to love what is good, and to hate what is evil. He is one of the healthiest writers since the days of Scott.

In point of style, Thackeray was a very great master, and his novels deserve the most careful study as inimitable models of pure and beautiful English.

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