Уильям Теккерей: биография

Страница 5

about his affair with Ellen Ternan and so he championed Yates. Dickens helped Yates to draft letters both to Thackeray, and in his defense, to the club’s committee. Despite Dickens’ intervention, Yates eventually lost the vote of the club’s members, but the quarrel was stretched out through journal articles and pamphlets. Thackeray told Charles Kingsley, "What pains me most is that Dickens should have been his advisor; and next that I should have had to lay a heavy hand on a young man who, I take it, has been cruelly punished by the issue of the affair, and I believe is hardly aware of the nature of his own offence, and doesn’t even now understand that a gentleman should resent the monstrous insult which he volunteered."

This quarrel was resolved only in Thackeray’s last months when one evening the two met on the stairs of the Athenaeum, a London club. Thackeray impulsively held out his hand to Dickens. The latter returned the greeting, and the old quarrel was patched up.

Later Years

It was as if Thackeray had an intuition that he must make haste to hail and farewell to his old friend. It was only a few nights later – December 23, 1863 – that he went to sleep for the last time. He was found dead on the morning of Christmas Eve. The master had called the roll; and Thackeray, like the beloved Colonel Newcome in one of his novels, responded gently, "Adsum – I am here." Towards the end of his life, Thackeray was proud that through his writings, he had regained the patrimony lost to bank failures and gambling. He passed on to his daughters an inheritance sufficient for their support and also a grand house in Kensington.

He was buried in the Kensal Green Cemetery on December 30. An estimated 2000 mourners came to pay tribute, among them was Charles Dickens. After his death, a commemorative bust was placed in Westminster Abbey.

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