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PAGE 3

Thomas B. Macaulay
by [?]

But then we must remember that Sydney Smith never much liked Macaulay–they were too near alike. Whenever they met there was usually a wordy duel. “He is so overflowing with learning that it runs over and he stands in the slop,” said Smith.

Tom talked a great deal, he was fond of music and games, and was never so pleased as when engaging in some wild frolic with his sisters and any chance youngster that happened to stray in. His sister, Lady Trevelyan, has recorded that during those days of gloom which followed her father’s failure, matters were made worse by the stricken man moping at home and tightening the domestic discipline.

Tom never resented this, but on the instant the father would leave the house, it was the signal of a wild pandemonium of disorder. Tom would play he was a tiger, and crawling under the sofa would emit fearful growls that would cause the children to scream with pretended fright. Next they would play fire, and pile all the furniture in the center of the room, heaping books, clothing, rugs on top. Then Tom would “rescue” his mother if she appeared on the scene, and seizing her in his arms carry her to a place of safety, and then engage in a pillow-fight if she came back.

This wild frolic was always a delight to the children, and Tom’s homecoming was ever watched with eager anticipation. His visits shot the gloom through with sunshine, and when he went away even the neighbors’ children were in tears. His health and enthusiasm infected everybody he met.

In the course of looking after his father’s business Macaulay unlearned most of the previous lessons of his life, and taught himself that to do for others and sink self was the manly method. But so lightly did he bear the burden that it is doubtful if he ever considered he was making any sacrifice.

When his father died, Macaulay put entirely out of his mind the question of a household separate and apart from that of his mother and sisters. He devoted himself entirely to them; he wanted no other love than theirs.

Unlike so many men of decided talent, the best and most loving side of Macaulay’s nature was made manifest at home. His bubbling wit, brilliant conversation, and good-cheer were for his own fireside, first; and all that cutting, critical, scathing flood of invective was for the public that wore a rhinoceros-hide.

* * * * *

Macaulay’s article on Milton, published during his twenty-fifth year, in the “Edinburgh Review,” is generally regarded as a most wonderful achievement. “Just think!” the critics cry–“the first article printed to be of a quality that electrified the world!” But we must remember that this youth had been getting ready to write that article for ten years.

At college Macaulay shirked mathematics and philosophy, spending his time and attention on things he liked better. The only study in which he excelled was composition. Even in babyhood his command of language had been a wonder to the neighborhood in which he lived. Hannah More had for a time taken him under her immediate charge and prophesied great things of his literary faculty; and his mother was not slow in seconding the opinion.

At Cambridge he already had more than a local reputation as a writer, and it was this reputation that secured him the commission to write for the “Review.” The terrible Jeffrey was getting old and his regular staff had pretty nearly worked out their vein. Jeffrey wrote up to London (being south) to a friend telling him that the “Review” must have new blood, and imploring him to be on the lookout for some young man who had ideas in his ink-bottle.

This friend knew the vigor and incisiveness of Macaulay’s style, and as he read the letter from Jeffrey he exclaimed, “Macaulay!”