Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/206

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STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

not so much of the assaults of a determined enemy as of the naïve irreverence of a child who expresses in pure simplicity his view of some accepted dogma. He may have hit upon a really grave objection, but it implies no personal antipathies. This, as it requires no wizard to say, is the secret of the method by which Holmes unlocked the doors of so many hearts. The tenderness and simplicity combined were irresistible passports to admittance; even his logic appeared in the form of a dazzling display of wit; and the pathos touches us because it is presented without the slightest tinge of affectation. Nobody can be at once more feeling and more free from sentimentalism. His compliments, always delicately turned and sometimes exquisite, often remind me of Boswell's portrait of Garrick 'playing round' Johnson with a 'fond vivacity,' and looking up in his face with a lively archness, till the old gentleman was warmed into ' gentle complacency.' If Garrick was presumably the better actor, he could not have been more dexterous in administering praise. But I need not try to expound what every one perceives who has read his poems, such especially as the famous Last Leaf and Dorothy Q., and the Chambered Nautilus. The last of these,