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With Illustrations by the Author and John Leech




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ALL bibliographers of Thackeray are brought face to face with the problem : What were his earliest contributions to Fraser's Magazine ? There are only two things to guide the searcher. The first is a letter from Thackeray at Weimar in which he mentions that Fraser has just come out. This, however, is of little value, except that it shows he knew of the magazine from its first appearance in 1830. The second is much more important and proves that he had contributed before 1835—and this is to admit by inference that even then he had obtained some standing in the world of letters, since the contributors to the magazine were by no means a race of “leetle' men—for in the number dated January, 1835, there appeared a drawing by Maclise showing the chief contributors to the periodical-Maginn (the editor), Barry Cornwall, Lockhart, John Galt, Ainsworth, Sir Egerton Brydges, G. R. Gleig, Theodore Hook, Southey, Coleridge, Carlyle, etc., and our Mr. Titmarsh-dining at the house of Mr. Fraser. It was doubtless through Maginn that Thackeray obtained his introduction to Fraser's Magazine. In 1831 “Father Prout' in Paris had introduced the Doctor to Thackeray as a possible editor of a magazine that the young man, then possessed of means, desired to establish. Maginn, a big man in those days, would not go into the matter until five hundred pounds was put down—which may explain the tale, still current, that Thackeray lent him that sum. The magazine was never published, but the men became firm friends.

The first contribution that may safely be attributed to Thackeray is to be found in The Fraser Papers for May (1834), and is a version of Béranger's Il était un Roi d'Yvetot. This must not be confused with the later versions, called The King of Yvetot and The King of Brentford, included among the Imitations of Béranger in The Paris Sketch Book. The original adaptation is printed in this edition among the Ballads.

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There are several articles that competent judges believe to have been written by Thackeray. However, conjecture is not certainty, and “internal evidence' is frequently misleading. It has not been thought advisable, therefore, to reprint these doubtful' articles ; but the following list may be of interest.

(i) Elizabeth Brownrigge (August, September, 1832);
(ii) Hints for a History of Highwaymen (March, 1834), a

review of Lives and Exploits of English Highwaymen,

Pirates, and Robbers, by C. Whitehouse; (iii) A Dozen of Novels (April, 1834), reviews of stories of which,

with the exception of Miss Edgeworth's Helen, the modern

reader has probably never heard ; (iv) Highways and Low-ways; or Ainsworth's Dictionary, with

notes by Turpin (June, 1834), a review of Rookwood ; (v) Paris and the Parisians in 1835 (February, 1836), a review

of a book with that title by T. A. Trollope; (vi) Another Caw from the Rookwood; or Turpin out again

(April, 1836); (vii) The Jew of York (September, 1836), a burlesque; (viii) Mr. Grant's Great Metropolis (December, 1836), a review; (ix) One or Two Words about One or Two Books (April, 1837),

reviews of Savage Landor's Satire on Satirists and an

anonymous tragedy, The Student of Padua ; (x) Letters from Cambridge to Oliver Yorke, about the Art of

Plucking (June, July, August, 1837); (xi) Paris Pastimes for the Month of May (June, 1839); and (xii) Paris Rebels of the Twelfth of May (August, 1839).

But even if these articles were written by Thackeray—and they certainly bear traces of his workmanship—there must be others, still undiscovered, especially between 1830 and 1834, for, in the latter year, Thackeray was recognised as an established contributor. Mr. John Camden Hotten supposed that these unknown papers dealt with the Fine Arts and that they were written while the author was still studying in Paris and before the pseudonyms of Yellowplush, Titmarsh, and Fitz-Boodle were employed.

There was included in each monthly number of Fraser's Magazine a sketch, accompanied by a portrait, of some prominent man of letters, and it is possible that Thackeray may have

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