chapter  52
5 Pages


WithCornhill Magazine, February 1864

It need be told to no one that four years ago-four years and one month at the day on which these words will come before the readerthis Magazine was commenced under the guidance, and in the hands, of Mr. Thackeray. It is not for any of us who were connected with him in the enterprise to say whether this was done successfully or not; but it is for us-for us of all men-to declare that he was the kindest of guides, the gentlest of rulers, and, as a fellow-workman, liberal, unselfish, considerate, beyond compare. It has been said of him that he was jealous as a writer. We of the Cornhill knew nothing of such jealousy. At the end of two years Mr. Thackeray gave up the management of the Magazine, finding that there was much in the very nature of the task which embarrassed and annoyed him. He could not bear to tell an ambitious aspirant that his aspirations were in vain; and, worse again, he could not endure to do so when a lady was his suppliant. Their letters to him were thorns that festered in his side, as he has told us himself. In truth it was so. There are many who delight in wielding the editorial ferule, good men and true, no doubt, who open their hearts genially to genius when they find it; but they can repress and crush the incapable tyro, or the would-be poetess who has nothing to support her but her own ambition, if not with delight, at least with satisfaction. Of such men are good editors made. Whether it be a point against a man, or for him, to be without such power, they who think of the subject may judge for themselves. Thackeray had it not. He lacked hardness for the place, and therefore, at the end of two years, he relinquished it.