Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day/H. M. Stanley
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H. M. Stanley
|J. A. Froude→|
H. M. STANLEY.
Rather more than three years ago on the 16th of October 1869 Mr. Henry M. Stanley, travelling correspondent of the 'New York Herald,' being then in Madrid, received a telegram from the proprietor of that journal calling him to Paris. The message from Mr. James Gordon Bennett was to this effect: 'Come to Paris on important business.' The nature of this business was communicated to Mr. Stanley in the following conversation, quoted from the introductory chapter of his book:
Mr. Bennett asked :
HE FOUND LIVINGSTONE.
in some mud freak, such as idiotically biting my hand, turning a somersault, or slashing at trees, in order to allay those exciting feelings that were well-nigh uncontrollable. My heart beats fast; but I must not let my face betray my emotions, lest it should detract from the dignity of a white man appearing under such extraordinary circumstances.'
The circumstances of such a meeting as that of the two travellers are indeed unique. It is not to be wondered at that Mr. Stanley wanted to 'kick up his heels' on the occasion.
Reviews of his book, 'How I found Livingstone,' reports of his receptions and speeches, and of dinners given in his honour, have filled the columns of the daily and weekly press to such an extent as to render a review of Mr. Stanley's travels in extenso unnecessary. We may, however, remark that, as a narrator of the incidents of travel and adventure, he is far behind several of his predecessors in 'doing Africa.' Grant, Speke, Du Chaillu, and Burton have all written more picturesque accounts of their performances. Mr. Stanley's book only becomes interesting when the reader is more than half way through its pages. From the time he records his meeting with Livingstone, however, the interest in his doings becomes supreme.
There are two gentlemen who have travelled who could have done justice to the subject. Mr. Sala| and Mr. Hepworth Dixon could both have given us a series of picturesque sketches of such an adventure, unrivalled in their way. There was, however, the little difficulty of getting to Ujiji. This it was, probably, that deterred them both from writing a book of travels that would have put all their previous performances into the shade. There remains the fact that Mr. Stanley did get there. This places his book beyond the pale of ordinary criticism. His readers will never forget that he found Livingstone. In the knowledge of this, any literary faults he may have will be readily pardoned.