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Title: Modern English Books of Power
Author: Fitch, George Hamlin, 1852-1925
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  [Illustration: CHARLES DICKENS READING "THE CHIMES" AT 58
  LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS ON THE SECOND OF DECEMBER, 1844. FROM A
  SKETCH BY DANIEL MACLISE, R.A.]



MODERN
ENGLISH BOOKS
OF POWER

BY GEORGE HAMLIN FITCH

"A GOOD BOOK IS THE PRECIOUS
LIFE-BLOOD OF A MASTER SPIRIT, EMBALMED AND TREASURED
UP ON PURPOSE TO A LIFE BEYOND LIFE."
MILTON: AREOPAGITICA

ILLUSTRATED

BARSE & HOPKINS
NEW YORK   NEWARK
N.Y.       N.J.



_Copyright_, 1912
by BARSE & HOPKINS

The articles in this
book appeared originally in the
Sunday book-page of the San Francisco _Chronicle_.
The privilege of reproducing them
here is due to the courtesy of
M.H. de Young, Esq.



TO AMERIQUE
WHOSE
LOVE AND ENCOURAGEMENT
HELPED ME TO WRITE
THIS BOOK



CONTENTS


                                                             PAGE

INTRODUCTION                                                   ix

THE VITAL QUALITY IN LITERATURE                                xi

   To Get the Spiritual Essence of a Great Book One Must
   Study the Man Who Wrote It--The Man Is the Best
   Epitome of His Message.

MACAULAY'S ESSAYS IN EUROPEAN HISTORY                           3

   Foremost English Essayist--His Style and Learning
   Have Made Macaulay a Favorite for Over a Half
   Century.

SCOTT AND HIS WAVERLEY NOVELS                                  11

   Greatest Novelist the World Has Known--Made History
   Real and Created Characters That Will Never Die.

CARLYLE AS AN INSPIRER OF YOUTH                                20

   Finest English Prose Writer--His Best Books, _Past
   and Present_, _Sartor Resartus_ and the _French
   Revolution_.

DE QUINCEY AS A MASTER OF STYLE                                30

   He Wrote the _Confessions of an English
   Opium-Eater_--Dreamed Dreams and Saw Visions and
   Pictured Them in Poetic Prose.

CHARLES LAMB AND THE ESSAYS OF ELIA                            38

   Best Beloved of All the English Writers--Quaintest
   and Tenderest Essayist Whose Work Appeals to All
   Hearts.

DICKENS, THE FOREMOST OF NOVELISTS                             47

   More Widely Read Than Any Other Story-Teller--The
   Greatest of the Modern Humorists Appeals to the
   Readers of All Ages and Classes.

THACKERAY, GREATEST MASTER OF FICTION                          56

   The Most Accomplished Writer of His Century--Tender
   Pathos Under an Affectation of Cynicism and Great Art
   in Style and Characters.

CHARLOTTE BRONTË; HER TWO GREAT NOVELS                         66

   _Jane Eyre_ and _Villette_ are Touched With
   Genius--The Tragedy of a Woman's Life That Resulted
   in Two Stories of Passionate Revolt Against Fate.

GEORGE ELIOT AND HER TWO GREAT NOVELS                          76

   _Adam Bede_ and _The Mill on the Floss_--Her Early
   Stories Are Rich in Character Sketches, With Much
   Humor and Pathos.

RUSKIN, THE APOSTLE OF ART                                     87

   Art Critic and Social Reformer--Best Books Are
   _Modern Painters_, _The Seven Lamps_ and _The Stones
   of Venice_.

TENNYSON LEADS THE VICTORIAN WRITERS                           96

   A Poet Who Voiced the Aspirations of His
   Age--_Locksley Hall_, _In Memoriam_ and _The Idylls
   of the King_ Among His Best Works.

BROWNING, GREATEST POET SINCE SHAKESPEARE                     106

   How to Get the Best of Browning's Poems--Read the
   Lyrics First and Then Take Up the Longer and the More
   Difficult Works.

MEREDITH AND A FEW OF HIS BEST NOVELS                         115

   One of the Greatest Masters of Fiction of the Last
   Century--_The Ordeal of Richard Feverel_, _Diana of
   the Crossways_ and Other Novels.

STEVENSON, PRINCE OF MODERN STORY-TELLERS                     123

   His Stories of Adventure and Brilliant
   Essays--_Treasure Island_ and _Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
   Hyde_ His Most Popular Books.

THOMAS HARDY; HIS TRAGIC TALES OF WESSEX                      131

   Greatest Living Writer of English Fiction--Resenting
   Harsh Criticisms, the Prose Master Turns to Verse.

KIPLING'S BEST SHORT STORIES AND POEMS                        140

   Tales of East Indian Life and Character--Ideal
   Training of the Genius That Has Produced Some of the
   Best Literary Work of Our Day.

BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                  151

   Short Notes of Both Standard and Other Editions, With
   Lives, Sketches and Reminiscences.

INDEX                                                         165



Illustrations


                                                           FACING
                                                             PAGE

Charles Dickens Reading _The Chimes_ at 58 Lincoln's Inn
  Fields on the Second of December, 1844. From a Sketch
  by Daniel Maclise, R.A.                                  _Title_

Thomas Babington Macaulay at the Age of Forty-nine--After
  an Engraving by W. Holl, from a Drawing by George
  Richmond, A.R.A.                                              6

Sir Walter Scott--This Portrait is taken from Chantrey's
  Bust now at Abbotsford, which, according to Lockhart,
  "Alone Preserves for Posterity the Expression most
  fondly Remembered by All who Ever Mingled in his
  Domestic Circle."                                            12

White Horse Inn--From an Illustration to _Waverley_,
  Drawn by G. Cattermole and Engraved by E. Finden             14

Thomas Carlyle--From the World-Famed Masterpiece of
  Portraiture by James McNeill Whistler                        20

Archhouse, Ecclefechan, Dumfriesshire, the Birthplace of
  Thomas Carlyle--From a Photograph in the Possession of
  Alexander Carlyle, M.A., on which Carlyle has Written
  a Memorandum to Show in which Room he was Born               26

Thomas De Quincey--From an old Engraving                       30

De Quincey with Two Daughters and Grandchild--From a
  Chalk Drawing by James Archer, R.S.A., made in 1855          34

Charles Lamb--From the Portrait by William Hazlitt             38

Mary and Charles Lamb--From the Painting by F.S. Cary
  made in 1834                                                 44

Charles Dickens at the Age of Twenty-seven--From the
  Portrait by Daniel Maclise, R.A.                             48

Original Pickwick Cover Issued in 1837 with Dickens'
  Autograph--Most of Dickens' Novels were Issued in
  Shilling Installments before being Published in the
  Complete Volume                                              52

William Makepeace Thackeray--From a Drawing by Samuel
  Laurence, Engraved by J.C. Armytage                          56

Title-page to _Vanity Fair_, Drawn by Thackeray, who
  Furnished the Illustrations for Many of his Earlier
  Editions                                                     58

William Makepeace Thackeray--A Caricature Drawn by
  Himself                                                      62

Charlotte Brontë--From the Exquisitely Sympathetic Crayon
  Portrait by George Richmond, R.A., now in the National
  Portrait Gallery of London                                   66

Mrs. Gaskell--From the Portrait by George Richmond, R.A.
  Mrs. Gaskell's _Life of Brontë_ is one of the Finest
  Biographies in the Language                                  72

George Eliot in 1864--From the Etching by Mr. Paul
  Rajon--Drawn by Mr. Frederick Burton--From the
  Frontispiece to the First Edition of _George Eliot's
  Life_, by Her Husband, J.W. Cross                            76

George Eliot's Birthplace, South Farm, Arbury, Nuneaton        80

John Ruskin--From a Photograph Taken on July 20, 1882, by
  Messrs. Elliott & Fry                                        88

John Ruskin--From the Semi-Romantic Portrait by Sir John
  E. Millais                                                   92

Lord Alfred Tennyson--After an Engraving by G.J. Stodart
  From a Photograph by J. Mayall                               96

Facsimile of Tennyson's Original Manuscript of _Crossing
  the Bar_. (Copyright by the Macmillan Company)              100

Robert Browning--From a Photograph by Hollyer after the
  Portrait by G.F. Watts, R.A.                                106

Elizabeth Barrett Browning--After the Portrait by Field
  Talfourd                                                    110

George Meredith with His Daughter and Grandchildren--From
  a Photograph Taken Shortly Before His Death                 118

Flint Cottage, Boxhill, the Home of George Meredith--His
  Writing was done in a Small Swiss Chalet in the Garden      120

Robert Louis Stevenson--The Author's Intimate Associates
  Pronounce this Photograph a Perfect Presentation of His
  Most Typical Expression                                     126

Stevenson's Home at Valima, Samoa, Looking Toward Vaea        128

Thomas Hardy--A Portrait Which Brings Out Strikingly the
  Man of Creative Power, the Artist, the Philosopher and
  the Poet                                                    132

Rudyard Kipling--A Striking Likeness of the Author in a
  Characteristic Pose                                         140

Rudyard Kipling--From a Cartoon by W. Nicholson               144



_Introduction_


_My aim in this little book has been to give short sketches and
estimates of the greatest modern English writers from Macaulay to
Stevenson and Kipling. Omissions there are, but my effort has been to
give the most characteristic writers a place and to try to stimulate
the reader's interest in the man behind the book as well as in the
best works of each author. Too much space is devoted in most literary
criticism to the bare facts of biography and the details of essays or
novels or histories written by authors. My plan has been to arouse
interest both in the men and their books so that any reader of this
volume may be stimulated to extend his knowledge of the modern English
classics._

_These chapters include the greatest English writers during the last
one hundred and fifty years and they have been prepared mainly for
those who have no thorough knowledge of modern English books or
authors. They are of limited scope so that few quotations have been
possible. But they have been written with an eager desire to help
those who care to know the best works of modern English authors. In
the same spirit the most appropriate illustrations have been secured
and a helpful bibliography has been added. If this book helps readers
to secure one lasting friend among these authors it will have done
good missionary work; for to make the books of one man or woman of
genius a part of our mental possessions is to be set on the broad
highway to literary culture._



_The Vital Quality in Literature_

    _To Get the Spiritual Essence of a Great Book One Must Study
    the Man Who Wrote It--The Man Is the Best Epitome His
    Message._


_In this volume as in its predecessor, "Comfort Found in Good Old
Books," my aim has been to enforce the theory that behind every great
book is a man, greater than the best book that he ever wrote. This
strong spiritual quality which every one of the great authors puts
into his best books is what we should strive to secure when we read
these great classics. Unless we get this spiritual part we miss the
essence of the book._

_Hence it has been my aim in this volume to make clear what manner of
men wrote these books which serve as the landmarks of modern English
literature._

_The scope of this book is limited, but from Macaulay to Kipling the
effort has been to include those representative modern English
authors who both in prose and verse best reflect the spiritual
tendencies of their age. Whether essayists, historians, novelists or
poets each of these writers has furnished something distinctive; each
has caught some salient feature of his age and fixed it for all time
in the amber of his thought._

_And what a bead-roll is this of great English worthies: Macaulay, the
most brilliant and learned of all English essayists; Scott, the finest
story-teller of his own or any other age; Carlyle, the inspirer of
ambitious youth; De Quincey, the greatest artist in style, whose words
are as music to the sensitive ear; Dickens, the master painter of
sorrows and joys of the common people; Thackeray, the best interpreter
of human life and character; Charlotte Brontë, the brooding Celtic
genius who laid bare the hearts of women; George Eliot, the greatest
artist of her sex in mastery of human emotion; Ruskin, the first to
teach the common people appreciation of art and architecture;
Tennyson, the melodious singer who voiced the highest aspiration of
his time; Browning, the greatest dramatic poet since Shakespeare;
Charles Lamb, one of the tenderest of essayists; George Meredith, the
most brilliant and suggestive novelist of the Victorian age;
Stevenson, the best beloved and most artistic story-teller of his day;
Hardy, the master painter of tragedies of rural life; and Kipling, the
interpreter of Anglo-Indian life, the singer of the new age of science
and discovery, the laureate of the gospel of blood and iron._

_The work of each of these men and women who make up the splendid roll
of English immortals varies in quality, in style, in capacity to touch
the heart and inspire the thought of the reader of to-day. But great
as are their differences, all meet on the common ground of a
warm-hearted, sympathetic humanity that knows no distinctions of race
or creed, no limitations of time or place. The splendid sermons on the
gospel of work that Carlyle preached after long wrestlings of the
spirit are as full of inspiration to the youth of to-day as they were
when they came out from the mind of the man who actually lived the
laborious life that he commended; the little lay discourses that may
be found scattered through Thackeray's novels and essays are born of
agony of spirit, and it is their spiritual power which keeps them
fresh and full of inspiration in this age of doubt and materialism._

_And so we might go down through the whole list. Each of these great
writers had his Gethsemane, from which he emerged with the power of
moving the hearts of men. So when we read that most beautiful essay of
Lamb's on "Dream Children," our hearts ache for the lonely man who
sacrificed the best things in life for the sake of the sister whom he
loved better than his own happiness. And when we read Thackeray's
eloquent words on family love we know that he wrote in his heart's
blood, for the dearest woman in the world to him was lost forever in
this world, when the light of her reason was clouded._

_And so I have tried in these essays to show how bitter waters of
sorrow have strengthened the spirit of all these masters of English
thought and style, until they have poured out their hearts in eloquent
words that can never die. Far across the gulf of years their sonorous
voices reach our ears. Pregnant are they with the passionate
earnestness of these men and women of genius, these bearers of the
torch of spiritual inspiration passed from hand to hand down the
centuries._

_When our souls are moved by some great bereavement then the words of
these inspired writers soothe our griefs. When we are beaten down in
the dust of conflict they come with the refreshment of water from
springs in the everlasting hills. When we are bitter over great
losses or sore over hope deferred or stricken because friends have
proved faithless, then they soften our hearts and give us courage to
take up once more the battle of life._



MODERN ENGLISH BOOKS OF POWER



MACAULAY'S ESSAYS IN EUROPEAN HISTORY

    THE FOREMOST ESSAYIST IN ENGLISH LITERATURE--HIS STYLE AND
    LEARNING HAVE MADE MACAULAY A FAVORITE FOR OVER A HALF
    CENTURY.


Macaulay belonged to the nineteenth century, as he was born in 1800,
but in his cast of mind, in his literary tastes and in his intense
partisanship he belonged to the century that includes Swift, Johnson
and Goldsmith. He stands alone among famous English authors by reason
of his prodigious memory, his wide reading, his oratorical style and
his singular ascendancy over the minds of young students. The only
writers of modern times who can be classed with him as great personal
forces in the development of young minds are Carlyle and Emerson, and
of the three Macaulay must be given first place because of a certain
dynamic quality in the man and his style which forces conviction on
the mind of the immature reader. The same thing to a less extent is
true of Carlyle, who suffers in his influence as one grows older.
Emerson is in a class by himself. His appeal is that of pure reason
and of high enthusiasm--an appeal that never loses its force with
those who love the intellectual life.

Many famous men have testified to the mental stimulus which they
received from Macaulay's essays. Upon these essays, contributed to the
EDINBURGH REVIEW in its prime, Macaulay lavished all the resources of
his vast scholarship, his discursive reading in the ancient and modern
classics, his immense enthusiasm and his strong desire to prove his
case. He was a great advocate before he was a great writer, and he
never loses sight of the jury of his readers. He blackens the shadows
and heightens the lights in order to make heroes out of Clive and
Warren Hastings; he hammers Boswell and Boswell's editor, Croker, over
the sacred head of old Dr. Johnson; he lampoons every eminent Tory, as
he idealizes every prominent Whig in English political history.
Macaulay's style is declamatory; he wrote as though he were to
deliver his essays from the rostrum; he abounds in antithesis; he
works up your interest in the course of a long paragraph until he
reaches his smashing climax, in which he fixes indelibly in your mind
the impression which he desires to create. It is all like a great
piece of legerdemain; your eyes cannot follow the processes, but your
mind is amazed and then convinced by the triumphant proof of the
conjuror's skill.

Macaulay had one of the most successful of lives. His early advantages
were ample. He had a memory which made everything he read his own,
ready to be drawn upon at a moment's notice. He was famous as an
author at the early age of twenty-five; he was already a distinguished
Parliamentary orator at thirty; at thirty-three he had gained a place
in the East Indian Council. He never married, but he had an ideal
domestic life in the home of his sister, and one of his nephews,
George Otto Trevelyan, wrote his biography, one of the best in the
language, which reveals the sweetness of nature that lay under the
hard surface of Macaulay's character. He made a fortune out of his
books, and in ten years' service in India he gained another fortune,
with the leisure for wide reading, which he utilized in writing his
history of England. He died at the height of his fame, before his
great mental powers had shown any sign of decay. Take it all in all,
his was a happy life, brimful of work and enjoyment.

Thomas Babington Macaulay was born October 25, 1800, the son of a
wealthy merchant who was active in securing the abolition of the slave
trade. His precocity is almost beyond belief. He read at three years
of age, gave signs of his marvelous memory at four, and when only
eight years old wrote a theological discourse. He entered Trinity
College, Cambridge, at eighteen, but his aversion to mathematics cost
him college honors. He showed at Cambridge great fondness for Latin
declamation and for poetry. At twenty-four he became a fellow of
Trinity. He studied law, but did not practice. Literature and politics
absorbed his attention. At twenty-five he made his first hit with his
essay on Milton in the EDINBURGH REVIEW.

This was followed in rapid succession by the series of essays on which
his fame mainly rests. In 1830 he was elected to Parliament, and in
the following year he established his reputation as an orator by a
great speech on the reform bill. But financial reverses came when he
lost the lucrative post of Commissioner in Bankruptcy and his
fellowship at Trinity lapsed. To gain an income he accepted the
position of secretary of the Board of Control of Indian Affairs, and
soon after was offered a seat in the Supreme Council of India at
Calcutta at $50,000 a year. He lived in India four years, and it was
mainly in these years that he did the reading which afterward bore
fruit in his _History of England_.

  [Illustration: THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY AT THE AGE OF
  FORTY-NINE--AFTER AN ENGRAVING BY W. HOLL, FROM A DRAWING BY
  GEORGE RICHMOND, A.R.A.]

At thirty-nine Macaulay began his _History of England_, which
continued to absorb most of his time for the next twenty years. While
he was working on his history he published _Lays of Ancient Rome_,
that had a success scarcely inferior to that of Scott's _Lady of the
Lake_ or Byron's _Childe Harold_. He also published his essays, which
had a remarkable sale. His history, the first two volumes of which
appeared in 1848, scored a success that astounded all the critics.
When the third volume appeared in 1855, no less than twenty-six
thousand, five hundred copies were sold in ten weeks, which broke all
records of that day. Macaulay received royalties of over $150,000 on
history, a sum which would have been trebled had he secured payment
on editions issued in the United States, where his works were more
popular than in his own country. His last years were crowded with
honors. He accepted a peerage two years before his death. When the end
came he was given a public funeral and a place in Westminster Abbey.

With Carlyle, Macaulay shares the honor of being the greatest of
English essayists. While he cannot compare with Carlyle in insight
into character and in splendor of imagination, he appeals to the wider
audience because of his attractive style, his wealth of ornament and
illustration and his great clearness. Carlyle's appeal is mainly to
students, but Macaulay appeals to all classes of readers.

Macaulay's style has been imitated by many hands, but no one has ever
worked such miracles as he wrought with apparent ease. In the first
place, his learning was so much a part of his mind that he drew on its
stores without effort. Scarcely a paragraph can be found in all his
essays which is not packed with allusions, yet all seem to illustrate
his subject so naturally that one never looks upon them as used to
display his remarkable knowledge.

Macaulay is a master of all the literary arts. Especially does he love
to use antithesis and to make his effects by violent contrasts. Add to
this the art of skilful climax, clever alliteration, happy
illustration and great narrative power and you have the chief features
of Macaulay's style. The reader is carried along on this flood of
oratorical style, and so great is the author's descriptive power that
one actually beholds the scenes and the personages which he depicts.

Of all his essays Macaulay shows his great powers most conspicuously
in those on Milton, Clive, Warren Hastings and Croker's edition of
Boswell's Johnson. In these he is always the advocate laboring to
convince his hearers; always the orator filled with that passion of
enthusiasm which makes one accept his words for the time, just as
one's mind is unconsciously swayed by the voice of an eloquent
speaker. It is this intense earnestness, this fierce desire to
convince, joined to this prodigal display of learning, which stamps
Macaulay's words on the brain of the receptive reader. Only when in
cold blood we analyze his essays do we escape from this literary
hypnotism which he exerts upon every reader.

The essays of Macaulay are full of meat and all are worth reading,
but, of course, every reader will differ in his estimate of them
according to his own tastes and sympathies. It is fine practice to
take one of these essays and look up the literary and historical
allusions. No more attractive work than this can be set before a
reading club. It will give rich returns in knowledge as well as in
methods of literary study. Macaulay's _History_ is not read to-day as
it was twenty years ago, mainly because historical writing in these
days has suffered a great change, due to the growth of religious and
political toleration. Macaulay is a partisan and a bigot, but if one
can discount much of his bias and bitterness it will be found
profitable to read portions of this history. Macaulay's verse is not
of a high order, but his _Lays_ are full of poetic fire, and they
appeal to a wider audience than more finished verse.

Of all the English writers of the last century Macaulay has preserved
the strongest hold on the reading public, and whatever changes time
may make in literary fashions, one may rest assured that Macaulay will
always retain his grip on readers of English blood.



SCOTT AND HIS WAVERLEY NOVELS

    THE GREATEST NOVELIST THE WORLD HAS KNOWN--HE MADE HISTORY
    REAL AND CREATED CHARACTERS THAT WILL NEVER DIE.


It is as difficult to sum up in a brief article the work and the
influence of Sir Walter Scott as it is to make an estimate of
Shakespeare, for Scott holds the same position in English prose
fiction that Shakespeare holds in English poetry. In neither
department is there any rival. In sheer creative force Scott stands
head and shoulders above every other English novelist, and he has no
superior among the novelists of any other nation. He has made Scotland
and the Scotch people known to the world as Cervantes made Spain and
the Spaniards a reality for all times.

But he did more than Cervantes, for his creative mind reached over the
border into England and across the channel to France and Germany, and
even to the Holy Land, and found there historical types which he made
as real and as immortal as his own highland clansmen. His was the
great creative brain of the nineteenth century, and his work has made
the world his debtor. His work stimulated the best story teller of
France and gave the world _Monte Cristo_ and _The Three Guardsmen_. It
fired the imaginations of a score of English historical novelists; it
was the progenitor of Weyman's _A Soldier of France_ and Conan Doyle's
_Micah Clarke_ and _The White Company_.

Scott's mind was Shakespearean in its capacity for creating characters
of real flesh and blood; for making great historical personages as
real and vital as our next-door neighbors, and for bursts of sustained
story telling that carry the reader on for scores of pages without an
instant's drop in interest. Only the supreme masters in creative art
can accomplish these things. And the wonder of it is that Scott did
all these things without effort and without any self-consciousness. We
can not imagine Scott bragging about any of his books or his
characters, as Balzac did about Eugenie Grandet and others of his
French types. He was too big a man for any small vanities. But he was
as human as Shakespeare in his love of money, his desire to gather his
friends about him and his hearty enjoyment of good food and drink.

  [Illustration: SIR WALTER SCOTT THIS PORTRAIT IS TAKEN FROM
  CHANTREY'S BUST NOW AT ABBOTSFORD, WHICH, ACCORDING TO LOCKHART,
  "ALONE PRESERVES FOR POSTERITY THE EXPRESSION MOST FONDLY
  REMEMBERED BY ALL WHO EVER MINGLED IN HIS DOMESTIC CIRCLE"]

It has become the fashion among some of our hair-splitting critics to
decry Scott because of his carelessness in literary style, his
tendency to long introductions, and his fondness for description.
These critics will tell you that Turgeneff and Tolstoi are greater
literary artists than Scott, just as they tell you that Thackeray and
Dickens do not deserve a place among the foremost of English
novelists. This petty, finical criticism, which would measure
everything by its own rigid rule of literary art, loses sight of the
great primal fact that Scott created more real characters and told
more good stories than any other novelist, and that his work will
outlive that of all his detractors. It ignores the fact that
Thackeray's wit, pathos, tenderness and knowledge of human nature make
him immortal in spite of many defects. It forgets that Dickens' humor,
joy of living and keen desire to help his fellow man will bring him
thousands of readers after all the apostles of realism are buried
under the dust of oblivion.

Scott had the ideal training for a great historical novelist. Yet his
literary successes in verse and prose were the result of accident. It
is needless here to review his life. The son of a mediocre Scotch
lawyer, he inherited from his father his capacity for work and his
passion for system and order. From his mother he drew his love of
reading and his fondness for old tales of the Scotch border. Like so
many famous writers, his early education was desultory, but he had the
free run of a fine library, and when he was a mere schoolboy his
reading of the best English classics had been wider and more thorough
than that of his teachers.

Forced by boyish illness to live in the country, he early developed a
great love for the Scotch ballads and the tales of the romantic past
of his native land. These he gathered mainly by word of mouth. Later
he was a diligent student and collector of all the old ballads. In
this way his mind was steeped in historical lore, while by many
walking tours through the highlands he came to know the common people
as very few have ever known them.

  [Illustration: WHITE HORSE INN FROM AN ILLUSTRATION TO "WAVERLEY"
  DRAWN BY G. CATTERMOLE AND ENGRAVED BY E. FINDEN]

Thus for forty years, while he was a working lawyer and a sheriff of
his county, he was really laying up stores of material upon which he
drew for his many novels. His literary tastes were first developed by
study of German and by the translation of German ballads and plays.
This practice led him to write _The Lay of the Last Minstrel_, and its
success was responsible for _Marmion_, and _The Lady of the Lake_. But
great as was his triumph in verse, he dropped the writing of poems
when Byron's work eclipsed his own.

Then, in his forty-third year, he turned to prose and began with
_Waverley_; that series of novels which is the greatest ever produced
by one man. The success of his first story proved a great stimulus to
his imagination, and for years he continued to produce these novels,
three of which may be ranked as the best in English literature. The
element of mystery in regard to the authorship added to Scott's
literary success. It was his habit to crowd his literary work into the
early hours from four to eight o'clock in the morning; the remainder
of the day was given up to legal duties and the evening to society.
His tremendous energy and his power of concentration made these four
hours equal to an ordinary man's working day. His mind was so full of
material that the labor was mainly that of selection. Creative work,
when once seated at his desk, was as natural as breathing. Scott came
to his desk with the zest of a boy starting on a holiday, and this
pleasure is reflected in the ease and spontaneity of his stories.

But much as he liked his literary work, Scott would not have produced
so great a number of fine novels had he not been impelled by the
desire to retrieve large money losses. His old school friend,
Ballantyne, forced into bankruptcy the printing firm in which Scott
was a secret partner. The novelist was not morally responsible for
these debts, but his keen sense of honor made him accept all the
responsibility, and it drove him to that unceasing work which
shortened his life. He paid off nearly all the great debt, and he gave
in this task an example of high courage and power of work that has
never been surpassed and seldom equaled. You may read the record of
those last years in Lockhart's fine _Life of Scott_. Get the one
volume edition, for the full work is too long for these busy days, and
follow the old author in his heroic struggle. It will bring tears to
your eyes, but it will make you a lover of Scott, the man, who was as
great as Scott, the poet and novelist.

Ruskin, when he was making up a list of great authors, put opposite
Scott's name, "Every line." That bit of advice cannot be followed in
these strenuous times, but one must make a selection of the best, and
then, if he have time and inclination, add to this number. To my mind,
the four great novels of Scott are _Ivanhoe_, _Quentin Durward_, _The
Talisman_ and _The Heart of Midlothian_. The first gives you feudal
England as no one else has painted it, with a picture of Richard the
Lion-Hearted which no historian has ever approached. It contains some
of the most thrilling scenes in all fiction.

James Payn, who was a very clever novelist, relates the story that he
and two literary friends agreed to name the scene in all fiction that
they regarded as the most dramatic. When they came to compare notes
they found that all three had chosen the same--the entry of the
unknown knight at Ashby de la Zouch, who passes by the tents of the
other contestants and strikes with a resounding clash the shield of
the haughty Templar. This romance also contains one of Scott's finest
women, the Jewess Rebecca, who atones for the novelist's many insipid
female characters. Scott was much like Stevenson--he preferred to draw
men, and he was happiest when in the clash of arms or about to
undertake a desperate adventure.

_Quentin Durward_ is memorable for its splendid picture of Louis XI,
one of the ablest as well as one of the meanest men who ever sat on a
throne. The early chapters of this novel, which describe the
adventures of the young Scotch soldier at the court of France, have
never been surpassed in romantic interest. _The Talisman_ gives the
glory and the romance of the Crusades as no other imaginative work has
done. It stands in a class by itself and is only approached by Scott's
last novel, _Count Robert of Paris_, which gives flashes of the same
spirit.

Of the Scotch novels it is difficult to make a choice, but it seems to
me _The Heart of Midlothian_ has the widest appeal, although many
would cast their votes for _Old Mortality_, _The Antiquary_ or _Rob
Roy_ because of the rich humor of those romances. Scott's dialect,
although true to nature, is not difficult, as he did not consider it
necessary to give all the colloquial terms, like the modern "kailyard"
writers.

If you read three or four of Scott's novels you are pretty apt to read
more. It is an easy matter to skip the prolix passages and the
unnecessary introductions. This done, you have a body of romance that
is far richer than any present-day fiction. And their great merit is
that, though written in a coarse age, the _Waverley_ novels are sweet
and wholesome. One misses a great source of enjoyment and culture who
fails to read the best of Scott's novels. Take them all in all, they
are the finest fiction that has ever been written, and their continued
popularity, despite their many faults, is the best proof of their
sterling merit.



CARLYLE AS AN INSPIRER OF YOUTH

    THE FINEST ENGLISH PROSE WRITER OF THE LAST CENTURY--HIS BEST
    BOOKS, "PAST AND PRESENT," "SARTOR RESARTUS" AND THE "FRENCH
    REVOLUTION."


As an influence in stimulating school and college students, Macaulay
must be given a foremost place, but greater than Macaulay, because of
his spiritual fervor and his moral force, stands Thomas Carlyle, the
great prophet and preacher of the nineteenth century, whose influence
will outlast that of all other writers of his time. And this spiritual
potency, which resides in his best work, is not weakened by his love
of the Strong Man in History or his fear of the rising tide of popular
democracy, in which he saw a dreadful repetition of the horrors of the
French Revolution. It was the Puritan element in his granite
character which gave most of the flaming spiritual ardor to
Carlyle's work. It was this which made him the greatest preacher of
his day, although he had left behind him all the old articles of faith
for which his forefathers went cheerfully to death on many a bloody
field.

  [Illustration: THOMAS CARLYLE FROM THE WORLD-FAMED MASTERPIECE OF
  PORTRAITURE BY JAMES MCNEILL WHISTLER]

Carlyle believed a strong religious faith was vital to any real and
lasting work in this world, and from the day he gave out _Sartor
Resartus_ he preached this doctrine in all his books. He was born into
a generation that was content to accept the forms of religion, so long
as it could enjoy the good things of this world, and much of Carlyle's
speech sounded to the people of his day like the warnings of the
prophet Isaiah to the Israelites of old. But Carlyle was never daunted
by lack of appreciation or by any ridicule or abuse. These only made
him more confident in his belief that the spiritual life is the
greatest thing in this world. And he actually lived the life that he
preached.

For years Carlyle failed to make enough to support himself and his
wife, yet he refused a large income, offered by the LONDON TIMES for
editorial work, on the ground that he could not write to order nor
bend his opinions to those of others. He put behind him the
temptation to take advantage of great fame when it suddenly came to
him. When publishers were eager for his work he spent the same time in
preparing his books as when he was poor and unsought. He labored at
the smallest task to give the best that was in him; he wrote much of
his work in his heart's blood. Hence it is that through all of his
books, but especially through _Past and Present_ and _Heroes and Hero
Worship_, one feels the strong beat of the heart of this great man,
who yearned to make others follow the spiritual life that he had found
so full of strength and comfort.

Carlyle's life was largely one of work and self-denial. He was born of
poor parents at the little village of Ecclefechan, in Dumfriesshire,
Scotland. His father, though an uneducated stone-mason, was a man of
great mental force and originality, while his mother was a woman of
fine imagination, with a large gift of story telling. The boy received
the groundwork of a good education and then walked eighty miles to
Edinburgh University. Born in 1795, Carlyle went to Edinburgh in 1809.
His painful economy at college laid the foundation of the dyspepsia
which troubled him all his days, hampered his work and made him take a
gloomy view of life. At Edinburgh he made a specialty of mathematics
and German. He remained at the university five years.

The next fifteen years were spent in tutoring, hack writing for the
publishers and translation from the German. His first remunerative
work was the translation of Goethe's _Wilhelm Meister_, a version
which still remains the best in English. After his marriage to Jane
Welsh he was driven by poverty to take refuge on his wife's lonely
farm at Craigenputtock, where he did much reading and wrote the early
essays which contain some of his best work. The EDINBURGH REVIEW and
FRASER'S were opened to him.

Finally, in 1833, when he was nearly forty years old, he made his
first literary hit with _Sartor Resartus_ which called out a storm of
caustic criticism. The Germanic style, the elephantine humor, the
strange conceits and the sledge-hammer blows at all which the smug
English public regarded with reverence--all these features aroused
irritation. Four years later came _The French Revolution_, which
established Carlyle's fame as one of the greatest of English writers.
From this time on he was freed from the fear of poverty, but it was
only in his last years, when he needed little, that he enjoyed an
income worthy of his labors.

Carlyle's great books, beside those I have mentioned, are the lives of
_Cromwell_ and of _Frederick the Great_. These are too long for
general reading, but a single volume condensation of the _Frederick_
gives a good idea of Carlyle's method of combining biography and
history. Carlyle outlived all his contemporaries--a lonely old man,
full of bitter remorse over imaginary neglect of his wife, and full
also of despair over the democratic tendencies of the age, which he
regarded as the outward signs of national degeneracy.

Carlyle's fame was clouded thirty years ago by the unwise publication
of reminiscences and letters which he never intended for print. Froude
was chosen as his biographer. One of the great masters of English,
Froude was a bachelor who idealized Mrs. Carlyle and who regarded as
the simple truth an old man's bitter regrets over opportunities
neglected to make his wife happier. Everyone who has studied Carlyle's
life knows that he was dogmatic, dyspeptic, irritable, and given to
sharp speech even against those he loved the best. But over against
these failings must be placed his tenderness, his unfaltering
affection, his self-denial, his tremendous labors, his small rewards.

When separated from his wife Carlyle wrote her letters that are like
those of a young lover, an infinite tenderness in every line. One of
her great crosses was the belief that her husband was in love with the
brilliant Lady Ashburton. Her jealousy was absurd, as this great lady
invited Carlyle to her dinners because he was the most brilliant
talker in all England, and he accepted because the opportunity to
indulge in monologue to appreciative hearers was a keener pleasure to
him than to write eloquent warnings to his day and generation.
Froude's unhappy book, with a small library of commentary that it
called forth, is practically forgotten, but Carlyle's fame and his
books endure because they are real and not founded on illusion.

Carlyle opens a new world to the college student or the ambitious
youth who may be gaining an education by his own efforts. He sounds a
note that is found in no other author of our time. Doubtless some of
this attraction is due to his singular style, formed on a long study
of the German, but most of it is due to the tremendous earnestness of
the man, which lays hold of the young reader. Never shall I forget
when in college preparatory days I devoured _Past and Present_ and was
stirred to extra effort by its trumpet calls that work is worship and
that the night soon cometh when no man can work.

His fine chapter on _Labor_ with its splendid version of the _Mason's
Song_ of Goethe has stimulated thousands to take up heavy burdens and
go on with the struggle for that culture of the mind and the soul
which is the more precious the harder the fight to secure it. I
remember copying in a commonplace book some of Carlyle's sonorous
passages that stir the blood of the young like a bugle call to arms.
Reading them over years after, I am glad to say that they still
appealed to me, for it seems to me that the saddest thing in this
world is to lose one's youthful enthusiasms. When you can keep these
fresh and strong, after years of contact with a selfish world, age
cannot touch you.

  [Illustration: ARCHHOUSE, ECCLEFECHAN, DUMFRIESSHIRE THE
  BIRTHPLACE OF THOMAS CARLYLE--FROM A PHOTOGRAPH IN THE POSSESSION
  OF ALEXANDER CARLYLE, M.A. ON WHICH CARLYLE HAS WRITTEN A
  MEMORANDUM TO SHOW IN WHICH ROOM HE WAS BORN]

In this appeal to all that is best and noblest in youth, Carlyle
stands unrivaled. He has far more heart, force and real warm blood
than Emerson, who saw just as clearly, but who could not make his
thought reach the reader. A course in Carlyle should be compulsory in
the freshman year at every college. If the lecturer were a man still
full of his early enthusiasms it could not fail to have rich results.
Take, for instance, those two chapters in _Past and Present_ that are
entitled "Happy" and "Labor." In a dozen pages are summed up all
Carlyle's creed. In these pages he declares that the only enduring
happiness is found in good, honest work, done with all a man's heart
and soul. And after caustic words on the modern craving for happiness
he ends a noble diatribe with these words, which are worth framing and
hanging on the wall, where they may be studied day by day:

    Brief brawling Day, with its noisy phantasms, its poor
    paper-crown's tinsel-gilt, is gone; and divine everlasting
    Night, with her star-diadems, with her silences and her
    veracities, is come! What hast thou done, and how? Happiness,
    unhappiness; all that was but wages thou hadst; thou hast
    spent all that, in sustaining thyself hitherward; not a coin
    of it remains with thee; it is all spent, eaten; and now thy
    work, where is thy work? Swift, out with it; let us see thy
    work!

_Sartor Resartus_ is very hard reading, but if you make up your mind
to go through it you will be repaid by many fine thoughts and many
noble passages of impassioned prose. Under the guise of Herr Diogenes
Teufelsdrockh, Carlyle tells the story of his early religious doubts,
his painful struggles that recall Bunyan's wrestlings with despair,
and his final entry upon a new spiritual life. He wrote to let others
know how he had emerged from the Valley of the Shadow of Pessimism
into the delectable Mountains of Faith. Carlyle was the first of his
day to proclaim the great truth that the spiritual life is far more
important than the material life, and this he showed by the humorous
philosophy of clothes, which he unfolded in the style of the German
pedants. Carlyle evidently took great pleasure in developing this
satire on German philosophy, which is full of broad humor.

_The French Revolution_ has been aptly called "history by lightning
flashes." One needs to have a good general idea of the period before
reading Carlyle's work. Then he can enjoy this series of splendid
pictures of the upheaval of the nether world and the strange moral
monsters that sated their lust for blood and power in those evil
days, which witnessed the terrible payment of debts of selfish
monarchy. Carlyle reaches the height of his power in this book, which
may be read many times with profit.

The sources of Carlyle's strength as a writer are his moral and
spiritual fervor and his power of making the reader see what he sees.
The first insures him enduring fame, as it makes what he wrote eighty
years ago as fresh and as full of fine stimulus as though it were
written yesterday. The other faculty was born in him. He had an eye
for pictures; he described what he saw down to the minutest detail; he
made the men of the French Revolution as real as the people he met on
his tour of Ireland. He made Cromwell and Frederick men of blood and
iron, not mere historical lay figures. And over all he cast the
glamour of his own indomitable spirit, which makes life look good even
to the man who feels the pinch of poverty and whose outlook is dreary.
You can't keep down the boy who makes Carlyle his daily companion; he
will rise by very force of fighting spirit of this dour old
Scotchman.



DE QUINCEY AS A MASTER OF STYLE

    HE WROTE "CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER"--DREAMED
    DREAMS AND SAW VISIONS AND PICTURED THEM IN POETIC PROSE.


Of all the English writers Thomas De Quincey must be given the palm
for rhythmical prose. He is as stately as Milton, with more than
Milton's command of rhythm. If you read aloud his best passages, which
are written in what he calls his bravura style, you have a near
approach to the music of the organ. De Quincey was so nice a judge of
words, he knew so well how to balance his periods, that one of his
sentences gives to the appreciative ear the same delight as a stanza
of perfect verse.

Ruskin had much of De Quincey's command of impassioned prose, but he
never rose to the same sustained heights as the older author. In
fact, De Quincey stands alone in these traits: the mass and accuracy
of his accumulated knowledge; the power of making the finest
distinctions clear to any reader, and the gorgeous style, thick with
the embroidery of poetical figures, yet never giving the impression of
over-adornment. And above all these merits is the supreme charm of
melodious, rhythmical sentences, which give the same enjoyment as fine
music.

  [Illustration: THOMAS DE QUINCEY FROM AN OLD ENGRAVING]

Forty years ago De Quincey's _Confessions of an English Opium-Eater_
was read by everyone who professed any knowledge of the masters of
English literature. To-day it is voted old-fashioned, and few are
familiar with its splendid imagery. His other works, which fill over a
dozen volumes, are practically forgotten, mainly because his style is
very diffuse and his constant digressions weary the reader who has
small leisure for books.

No one, however, should miss reading the _Confessions_, the
_Autobiography_ and some one essay, such, for instance, as "Murder as
One of the Fine Arts," or "The Flight of a Tartar Tribe," or "The
Vision of Sudden Death" in _An English Mail Coach_. All these contain
passages of the greatest beauty buried in prolix descriptions. The
reader must be warned not to drop De Quincey because of his
digressions. With a little practice you may skip those which do not
appeal to you, and there is ample sweetness at the heart of his work
to repay one for removing a large amount of husk.

De Quincey has always impressed me as a fine example of the defects of
the English school and college training. Although he could write and
speak Greek fluently at thirteen, and although he had equally perfect
command of Latin and German, he was absolutely untrained in the use of
his knowledge and he knew no more about real life when he came out of
college than the average American boy of ten. With a splendid
scholarly equipment at seventeen, when thrown upon his own resources
in London, he came to the verge of starvation, and laid the seeds of
disease of the stomach, which afterward drove him to the use of opium.

All his training was purely theoretical; in the practical affairs of
life he remained to the day of his death a mere child. As he says in
his _Confessions_, he could have earned a good living as a corrector
of Greek proofs in any big London publishing house, but it never
occurred to his schoolboy mind that his mastery of this difficult
classical language was of any practical value. In our day De Quincey
would have been the greatest magazinist of the age, because his best
work was in the short essay; but it is to be feared that the
publishers of his time fattened on the good things which he produced
and gave small sums to the man who turned out these masterpieces with
so little effort.

De Quincey was born in 1785 and died in 1859. His life was peculiar
and its facts became very well known even in his own time because in
his _Autobiography_ and his _Confessions_ he disclosed its details
with the frankness of a child. These works are surcharged with some
exaggeration, but in the main they ring true. As precocious as
Macaulay, he had much of that author's fondness for books, and when he
first went to public school at eleven years of age he had read as much
as most men when they take a college degree. His mind absorbed
languages without effort. At fifteen he could write Greek verse, and
his tutor once remarked, "That boy could harangue an Athenian mob
better than you or I could address an English one."

He lost his father at the age of seven, and his mother seems to have
given little personal attention to him. He was in nominal charge of
four guardians, and at seventeen, when his health had been seriously
reduced by lack of exercise and overdosing of medicines, the sensitive
boy ran away from the Manchester Grammar school and wandered for
several months in Wales. He was allowed a pound a week by one of his
guardians, and he made shift with this for months; but finally the
hunger for books, which he had no money to buy, sent him to London.
There he undertook to get advances from money-lenders on his
expectations. This would have been easy, as he was left a substantial
income in his father's will, but these Shylocks kept the boy waiting.

In his _Confessions_ he tells of his sufferings from want of food, of
his nights in an unfurnished house in Soho with a little girl who was
the "slavey" of a disreputable lawyer, of his wanderings in the
streets, of the saving of his life by an outcast woman whom he has
immortalized in the most eloquent passages of the book. Finally, he
was restored to his friends and went to Oxford. His mental
independence prevented him from taking a degree, and chronic
neuralgia of the face and teeth led him to form the habit of taking
opium, which clung to him for life.

  [Illustration: DE QUINCEY WITH TWO DAUGHTERS AND GRANDCHILD--FROM
  A CHALK DRAWING BY JAMES ARCHER, R.S.A. MADE IN 1855.]

De Quincey was a close associate of Coleridge, Wordsworth, Southey,
Lamb and others. He was a brilliant talker, especially when stimulated
with opium, but he was incapable of sustained intellectual work. Hence
all his essays and other work first appeared in periodicals and were
then published in book form. It is noteworthy that an American
publisher was the first to gather his essays in book form, and that
his first appreciation, like that of Carlyle, came from this country.

Much of De Quincey's work is now unreadable because it deals with
political economy and allied subjects, in which he fancied he was an
expert. He is a master only when he deals with pure literature, but he
has a large vein of satiric humor that found its best expression in
the grotesque irony of "Murder as One of the Fine Arts." In this essay
he descants on the greatest crime as though it were an accomplishment,
and his freakish wit makes this paper as enjoyable as Charles Lamb's
essay on the origin of roast pig.

De Quincey's fame, however, rests upon _The Confessions of an English
Opium-Eater_. This is a record unique in English literature. It tells
in De Quincey's usual style, with many tedious digressions, the story
of his neglected boyhood, his revolt at school discipline and monotony
that had shattered his health, his wanderings in Wales, his life as a
common vagrant in London, his college life, his introduction to opium
and the dreams that came with indulgence in the drug. The gorgeous
beauty of De Quincey's pictures of these opium visions has probably
induced many susceptible readers to make a trial of the drug, with
deep disappointment as the result. No common mind can hope to have
such visions as De Quincey records.

His imagination has well been called Druidic; it played about the
great facts and personages of history and it invested these with a
background of the most solemn and imposing natural features. These
dreams came to have with him the very semblance of reality. Read the
terrible passages in the _Confessions_ in which the Malay figures;
read the dream fugues in "Suspira," the visions seen by the boy when
he looked on his dead sister's face, or the noble passages that
picture the three Ladies of Sorrow. Here is a passage on the vision of
eternity at his sister's death bier, which gives a good idea of De
Quincey's style:

    Whilst I stood, a solemn wind began to blow--the saddest that
    ear ever heard. It was a wind that might have swept the fields
    of mortality for a thousand centuries. Many times since upon
    summer days, when the sun is about the hottest, I have
    remarked the same wind arising and uttering the same hollow,
    solemn, Memnonian, but saintly swell; it is in this world the
    one great audible symbol of eternity.

It is a great temptation to quote some of De Quincey's fine passages,
but most of them are so interwoven with the context that the most
eloquent bits cannot be taken out without the loss of their beauty. De
Quincey was a dreamer before he became a slave to opium. This drug
intensified a natural tendency until he became a visionary without an
equal in English literature. And these visions, evoked by his splendid
imagination, are worth reading in these days as an antidote to the
materialism of present-day life; they demonstrate the power of the
spiritual life, which is the potent and abiding force in all
literature.



CHARLES LAMB AND THE ESSAYS OF ELIA

    THE BEST BELOVED OF ALL THE ENGLISH WRITERS--QUAINTEST AND
    TENDEREST ESSAYIST WHOSE WORK APPEALS TO ALL HEARTS.


Of all the English writers of the last century none is so well beloved
as Charles Lamb. Thirty years ago his _Essays of Elia_ was a book
which every one with any claim to culture had not only read, but read
many times. It was the traveling companion and the familiar friend,
the unfailing resource in periods of depression, the comforter in time
of trouble. It touched many experiences of life, and it ranged from
sunny, spontaneous humor to that pathos which is too deep for tears.
Into it Lamb put all that was rarest and best in his nature, all that
he had gleaned from a life of self-sacrifice and spiritual culture.

  [Illustration: CHARLES LAMB FROM THE PORTRAIT BY WILLIAM
  HAZLITT]

Such men as he were rare in his day, and not understood by the
literary men of harder nature who criticised his peculiarities and
failed to appreciate the delicacy of his genius. Only one such has
appeared in our time--he who has given us a look into his heart in _A
Window in Thrums_ and in that beautiful tribute to his mother,
_Margaret Ogilvie_. Barrie, in his insight into the mind of a child
and in his freakish fancy that seems brought over from the world of
fairyland to lend its glamour to prosaic life, is the only successor
to Lamb.

Lamb can endure this neglect, for were he able to revisit this earth
no one would touch more whimsically than he upon the fads and the
foibles of contemporary life; but it's a great pity that in the
popular craze about the new writers, all redolent with the varnish of
novelty, we should consign to the dust of unused shelves the works of
Charles Lamb. All that he wrote which the world remembers is in Elia
and his many letters--those incomparable epistles in which he quizzed
his friends and revealed the tenderness of his nature and the delicacy
of his fancy.

Robert Louis Stevenson is justly regarded as the greatest essayist of
our time, but I would not exchange the _Essays of Elia_ for the best
things of the author of _Virginibus Puerisque_. Stevenson always,
except in his familiar early letters, suggests the literary artist who
has revised his first draft, with an eye fixed on the world of readers
who will follow him when he is gone. But Lamb always wrote with that
charming spontaneous grace that comes from a mind saturated with the
best reading and mellow with much thought. You fancy him jotting down
his thoughts, with his quizzical smile at the effect of his quips and
cranks. You cannot figure him as laboriously searching for the right
word or painfully recasting the same sentence many times until he
reached the form which suited his finical taste. This was Stevenson's
method, and it leaves much of his work with the smell of the lamp upon
it. Lamb apparently wrote for the mere pleasure of putting his
thoughts in form, just as he talked when his stammering tongue had
been eased with a little good old wine.

It is idle to expect another Lamb in our strenuous modern life, so we
should make the most of this quaint Englishman of the early part of
the last century, who seemed to bring over into an artificial age all
the dewy freshness of fancy of the old Elizabethan worthies. Can
anything be more perfect in its pathos than his essay on "Dream
Children," the tender fancy of a bachelor whom hard fate robbed of the
domestic joys that would have made life beautiful for him? Can
anything be more full of fun than his "Dissertation on Roast Pig," or
his "Mrs. Battle's Opinion on Whist"? His style fitted his thought
like a glove; about it is the aroma of an earlier age when men and
women opened their hearts like children. Lamb lays a spell upon us
such as no other writer can work; he plays upon the strings of our
hearts, now surprising us into wholesome laughter, now melting us to
tears. You may know his essays by heart, but you can't define their
elusive charm.

Lamb had one of the saddest of lives, yet he remained sweet and
wholesome through trials that would have embittered a nature less fine
and noble. He came of poor people and he and his sister Mary inherited
from their mother a strain of mental unsoundness. Lamb spent seven
years in Christ's Hospital as a "Blue Coat" boy, and the chief result,
aside from the foundations of a good classical scholarship, was a
friendship for Coleridge which endured through life. From this school
he was forced to go into a clerkship in the South Sea house, but after
three years he secured a desk in the East India house, where he
remained for thirty years.

Four years later his first great sorrow fell upon Lamb. His sister
Mary suddenly developed insanity, attacked a maid servant, and when
the mother interfered the insane girl fatally wounded her with a
knife. In this crisis Lamb showed the fineness of his nature. Instead
of permitting poor Mary to be consigned to a public insane asylum, he
gave bonds that he would care for her, and he did care for her during
the remainder of her life. Although in love with a girl, he resolutely
put aside all thoughts of marriage and domestic happiness and devoted
himself to his unfortunate sister, who in her lucid periods repaid his
devotion with the tenderest affection.

Lamb's letters to Coleridge in those trying days are among the most
pathetic in the language. To Coleridge he turned for stimulus in his
reading and study, and he never failed to get help and comfort from
this great, ill-balanced man of genius. Later he began a
correspondence with Southey, in which he betrayed much humor and great
fancy. In his leisure he saturated his mind with the Elizabethan poets
and dramatists; practically he lived in the sixteenth century, for his
only real life was a student's dream life. He contributed to the
London newspapers, but his first published work to score any success
was his _Tales From Shakespeare_, in which his sister aided him. Then
followed _Poets Contemporary With Shakespeare_, selections with
critical comment, which at once gave Lamb rank among the best critics
of his time. He wrote, when the mood seized him, recollections of his
youth, essays and criticisms which he afterward issued in two volumes.

Twenty-five essays that he contributed to the LONDON MAGAZINE over the
signature of Elia were reprinted in a book, the _Essays of Elia_, and
established Lamb's reputation as one of the great masters of English.
Another volume of _Essays of Elia_ was published in 1833. In 1834 Lamb
sorrowed over the death of Coleridge, and in November of the same year
death came to him. Of all English critics Carlyle is the only one who
had hard words for Lamb, and the Sage of Chelsea probably wrote his
scornful comment because of some playful jest of Elia.

Charles Lamb's taste was for the writers of the Elizabethan age, and
even in his time he found that this taste had become old-fashioned. He
complained, when only twenty-one years old, in a letter to Coleridge,
that all his friends "read nothing but reviews and new books." His
letters, like his essays, reflect the reading of little-known books;
they show abundant traces of his loiterings in the byways of
literature.

Here there is space only to dwell on some of the best of the _Essays
of Elia_. In these we find the most pathetic deal with the sufferings
of children. Lamb himself had known loneliness and suffering and lack
of appreciation when a boy in the great Blue Coat School. Far more
vividly than Dickens he brings before us his neglected childhood and
all that it represented in lonely helplessness. Then he deals with
later things, with his love of old books, his passion for the play,
his delight in London and its various aspects, his joy in all strange
characters like the old benchers of the Inner Temple.

  [Illustration: MARY AND CHARLES LAMB FROM THE PAINTING BY F.S.
  CARY MADE IN 1834]

The essay opens with that alluring picture of the South Sea house, and
is followed by the reminiscences of Christ's Hospital, where Lamb
was a schoolboy for seven years. These show one side of Lamb's
nature--the quaintly reminiscent. Another side is revealed in "Mrs.
Battle's Opinions on Whist," with its delicate irony and its playful
humor, while still another phase is seen in the exquisite phantasy of
"Dream Children," with its tender pathos and its revelation of a heart
that never knew the joys of domestic love and care. Yet close after
this beautiful reverie comes "A Dissertation On Roast Pig," in which
Lamb develops the theory that the Chinese first discovered the virtues
of roast suckling pig after a fire which destroyed the house of Ho-ti,
and that with the fatuousness of the race they regularly burned down
their houses to enjoy this succulent delicacy.

_The Last Essays of Elia_, a second series which Lamb brought out with
a curious preface "by a friend of the late Elia," do not differ from
the earlier series, save that they are shorter and are more devoted to
literary themes. Perfect in its pathos is "The Superannuated Man,"
while "The Child Angel" is a dream which appeals to the reader more
than any of the splendid dreams that De Quincey immortalized in his
florid prose. Lamb in these essays gives some wise counsel on books
and reading, urging with a whimsical earnestness the claims of the
good old books which had been his comfort in many dark hours. It is in
such confidences that we come very close to this man, so richly
endowed with all endearing qualities that the world will never forget
Elia and his exquisite essays.



DICKENS THE FOREMOST OF NOVELISTS

    MORE WIDELY READ THAN ANY OTHER STORY TELLER--THE GREATEST OF
    THE MODERN HUMORISTS APPEALS TO THE READERS OF ALL AGES AND
    CLASSES.


Charles Dickens is the greatest English novelist since Scott, and he
and Scott, to my mind, are the greatest English writers after
Shakespeare. Many will dissent from this, but my reason for giving him
this foremost place among the modern writers is the range, the
variety, the dramatic power, the humor and the pathos of his work. He
was a great caricaturist rather than a great artist, but he was
supreme in his class, and his grotesque characters have enough in them
of human nature to make them accepted as real people.

To him belongs the first place among novelists, after Scott, because
of his splendid creative imagination, which has peopled the world of
fiction with scores of fine characters. His genial humor which has
brightened life for so many thousands of readers; his tender pathos
which brings tears to the eyes of those who seldom weep over imaginary
or even real grief or pain; his rollicking gayety which makes one
enjoy good food and good drink in his tales almost as much as if one
really shared in those feasts he was so fond of describing; his keen
sympathy with the poor and the suffering; his flaming anger against
injustice and cruelty that resulted in so many great public reforms;
his descriptive power that makes the reader actually see everything
that he depicts--all these traits of Dickens' genius go to make him
the unquestioned leader of our modern story tellers. Without his humor
and his pathos he would still stand far above all others of his day;
with these qualities, which make every story he ever wrote throb with
genuine human feeling, he stands in a class by himself.

Many literary critics have spent much labor in comparing Dickens with
Thackeray, but there seems to me no basis for such comparison. One was
a great caricaturist who wrote for the common people and brought tears
or laughter at will from the kitchen maid as freely as from the
great lady; from the little child with no knowledge of the world as
readily as from the mature reader who has known wrong, sorrow and
suffering. The other was the supreme literary artist of modern times,
a gentleman by instinct and training, who wrote for a limited class of
readers, and who could not, because of nature and temperament, touch
at will the springs of laughter and tears as Dickens did. Dickens has
created a score of characters that are household words to one that
Thackeray has given us.

  [Illustration: CHARLES DICKENS AT THE AGE OF TWENTY-SEVEN--FROM
  THE PORTRAIT BY DANIEL MACLISE, R.A.]

Both were men of the rarest genius, English to the core, but each
expressed his genius in his own way, and the way of Dickens touched a
thousand hearts where Thackeray touched but one. Personally, Thackeray
appeals to me far more than Dickens does, but it is foolish to permit
one's own fancies to blind or warp his critical judgments. Hence I set
Dickens at the head of modern novelists and give him an equal place
with Scott as the greatest English writer since Shakespeare.

Take it all in all, Dickens had a successful and a happy life. He was
born in 1812 and died in 1870. His boyhood was hard because of his
father's thriftlessness, and it always rankled in his memory that at
nine years of age he was placed at work pasting labels on boxes of
shoe blacking. But he had many chances in childhood and youth for
reading and study, and his keen mind took advantage of all these. He
was a natural mimic, and it was mere blind chance that kept him from
the stage and made him a great novelist. He drifted into newspaper
work as a shorthand reporter, wrote the stories that are known as
_Sketches by Boz_, and in this way came to be engaged to write the
_Pickwick Papers_, to serve as a story to accompany drawings by
Seymour, a popular artist. But Dickens from the outset planned the
story and Seymour lived only to illustrate the first number.

The tale caught the fancy of the public, and Dickens developed
Pickwick, the Wellers and other characters in a most amusing fashion.
Great success marked the appearance of the _Pickwick Papers_ in book
form, and the public appreciation gave Dickens confidence and
stimulus. Soon appeared _Oliver Twist_, _Nicholas Nickleby_, _Old
Curiosity Shop_ and the long line of familiar stories that ended with
_The Mystery of Edwin Drood_, left unfinished by the master's hand.

All these novels were originally published in monthly numbers. In
these days, when so many new novels come from the press every month,
it is difficult to appreciate the eagerness with which one of these
monthly parts of Dickens' stories was awaited in England as well as in
this country. My father used to tell of the way these numbers of
Dickens' novels were seized upon in New England when he was a young
man and were worn out in passing from hand to hand. Dickens first
developed the Christmas story and made it a real addition to the joy
of the holiday season. His _Christmas Carol_ and _The Cricket on the
Hearth_ still stand as the best of these tales that paint the simple
joys of the greatest of English Holidays. Dickens was also a great
editor, and in HOUSEHOLD WORDS and ALL THE YEAR ROUND he found a means
of giving pleasure to hosts of readers as well as a vehicle for the
monthly publication of his novels.

Dickens was the first to make a great fortune by giving public
readings from his own works. His rare dramatic ability made him an
ideal interpreter of his own work, and those who were fortunate enough
to hear him on his two trips to this country speak always of the
light which these readings cast on his principal characters and of the
pleasure that the audience showed in the novelist's remarkable powers
as a mimic and an elocutionist.

Most of the great English writers have labored until forty or over
before fame came to them. Of such were Scott, Thackeray, Carlyle and
George Eliot. But Dickens had an international fame at twenty-four,
and he was a household word wherever English was spoken by the time he
was thirty. From that day to the day of his death, fame, popularity,
wealth, troops of friends, were his portion, and with these were
joined unusual capacity for work and unusual delight in the exercise
of his great creative powers.

In taking up Dickens' novels it must always be borne in mind that you
will find many digressions, many bits of affectation, some mawkish
pathos. But these defects do not seriously injure the stories. You
cannot afford to leave _Pickwick Papers_ unread, because this novel
contains more spontaneous humor than any other of Dickens' work, and
it is also quoted most frequently. The boy or girl who cannot follow
with relish the amusing incidents in this book is not normal. Older
readers will get more from the book, but it is doubtful whether they
will enjoy its rollicking fun with so keen a zest. Mr. Pickwick, Sam
Weller and his father, Bob Sawyer and the others, how firmly they are
fixed in the mind! What real flesh and blood creatures they are,
despite their creator's exaggeration of special traits and
peculiarities!

  [Illustration: ORIGINAL PICKWICK COVER ISSUED IN 1837 WITH
  DICKENS' AUTOGRAPH--MOST OF DICKENS' NOVELS WERE ISSUED IN
  SHILLING INSTALLMENTS BEFORE BEING PUBLISHED IN THE COMPLETE
  VOLUME]

After the _Pickwick Papers_ the choice of the most characteristic of
Dickens' novels is difficult, but my favorites have always been _David
Copperfield_ and _A Tale of Two Cities_, the one the most spontaneous,
the freshest in fancy, the most deeply pathetic of all Dickens' work;
the other absolutely unlike anything he ever wrote, but great in its
intense descriptive passages, which make the horrors of the French
Revolution more real than Carlyle's famous history, and in the sublime
self-sacrifice of Sidney Carton, which Henry Miller, in "The Only
Way," has impressed on thousands of tearful playgoers. That _David
Copperfield_ is not autobiographical we have the positive assertion of
Charles Dickens the younger, yet at the same time every lover of this
book feels that the boyhood of David reproduces memories of the
novelist's childhood and youth, and that from real people and real
scenes are drawn the humble home and the loyal hearts of the
Peggottys, the great self-sacrifice of Ham, the woes of Little Emily
and the tragedy of Steerforth's fate. One misses much who does not
follow the chief actors in this great story, the masterpiece of
Dickens.

Other fine novels, if you have time for them, are _Nicholas Nickleby_,
which broke up the unspeakably cruel boarding schools for boys in
Yorkshire, in one of which poor Smike was done to death; or _Our
Mutual Friend_ which Dickens attacked the English poor laws; or
_Dombey and Son_, that paints the pathos of the child of a rich man
dying for the love which his father was too selfish to give him; or
_Bleak House_, in which the terrible sufferings wrought by the law's
delay in the Court of Chancery are drawn with so much pathos that the
book served as a valuable aid in removing a great public wrong, while
the satire on foreign missions served to draw the English nation's
attention to the wretched heathen at home in the East Side of London,
of whom Poor Jo was a pitiable specimen. In other novels other good
purposes were also served.

But several pages could be filled with a mere enumeration of Dickens'
stories and their salient features. You cannot go wrong in taking up
any of his novels or his short stories, and when you have finished
with them you will have the satisfaction of having added to your
possessions a number of the real people of fiction, whom it is far
better to know than the best characters of contemporary fiction,
because these will be forgotten in a twelvemonth, if not before. The
hours that you spend with Dickens will be profitable as well as
pleasant, for they will leave the memory of a great-hearted man who
labored through his books to make the world better and happier.



THACKERAY GREATEST MASTER OF FICTION

    THE MOST ACCOMPLISHED WRITER OF HIS CENTURY--TENDER PATHOS
    UNDER AN AFFECTATION OF CYNICISM AND GREAT ART IN STYLE AND
    CHARACTERS.


Of all modern English authors, Thackeray is my favorite. Humor,
pathos, satire, ripe culture, knowledge of the world and of the human
heart, instinctive good taste and a style equaled by none of his
fellows in its clearness, ease, flexibility and winning charm--these
are some of the traits that make the author of _Vanity Fair_ and
_Esmond_ incomparably the first literary artist as well as the
greatest writer of his age. Whether he would have been as fine a
writer had he been given a happy life is a question that no one can
answer. But to my mind it has always seemed as though the dark shadow
that rested on his domestic life for thirty years made him
infinitely tender to the grief and pain of others. Probably it came
as a shock to most lovers of Thackeray to read in a news item from
London only three or four years ago that the widow of Thackeray was
dead, at the great age of ninety years. She had outlived her famous
husband nearly a full half century, but of her we had heard nothing in
all this time. When a beautiful young Irish girl she was married to
the novelist, and she made him an ideal wife for a few years. Then her
mind gave way, and the remainder of her long career was spent within
the walls of a sanatorium--more lost to her loved ones than if she had
been buried in her grave. The knowledge of her existence, which was a
ghastly death in life, the fact that it prevented him from giving his
three young girls a real home, as well as barred him under the English
law from marrying again--all these things to Thackeray were an
ever-present pain, like acid on an open wound. It was this sorrow,
from which he could never escape that gave such exquisite tenderness
to his pathos; and it was this sorrow, acting on one of the most
sensitive natures, that often sharpened his satire and made it
merciless when directed against the shams and hypocrisies of life.

  [Illustration: WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY FROM A DRAWING BY
  SAMUEL LAURENCE, ENGRAVED BY J.C. ARMYTAGE]

Thackeray's fame rests mainly on two great books--_Vanity Fair_ and
_Henry Esmond_. The first has been made very real to thousands of
readers by the brilliant acting of Mrs. Fiske in Becky Sharp. The
other is one of the finest historical novels in the language and the
greatest exploit in bringing over into our century the style, the mode
of thought, the very essence of a previous age. Thackeray was
saturated with the literature of the eighteenth century, and in
_Esmond_ he reproduced the time of Addison and Steele as perfectly as
he made an imitation of a number of the SPECTATOR. This literary _tour
de force_ was made the more noteworthy by the absolute lack of all
effort on the novelist's part. The style of Queen Anne's age seemed a
part of the man, not an assumed garment. While in the heroine of
_Vanity Fair_ Thackeray gave the world one of the coldest and most
selfish of women, he atoned for this by creating in _Esmond_ the
finest gentleman in all English literature, with the single exception
of his own Colonel Newcome.

Strict injunctions Thackeray left against any regulation biography,
and the result is that the world knows less of his life before fame
came to him than it does of any other celebrated author of his age.
The scanty facts show that he was born in Calcutta in 1811; that he
was left a fortune of $100,000 by his father, who died when he was
five years old; that, like most children of Anglo-Indians, he was sent
to school in England; that he was prepared for college at the old
Charter House School; that he was graduated from Trinity College,
Cambridge, and that while in college he showed much ability as a
writer of verse and prose, although he took no honors and gained no
prizes. After reading law he was moved to become an artist and spent
some time in travel on the Continent.

  [Illustration: TITLE-PAGE TO "VANITY FAIR" DRAWN BY THACKERAY, WHO
  FURNISHED THE ILLUSTRATIONS FOR MANY OF HIS EARLIER EDITIONS]

But this delightful life was rudely cut short by the loss of his
fortune and he was forced to earn his living by literature and
journalism. Under various pseudonyms he soon gained a reputation as a
satirist and humorist, his first success being _The Great Hoggarty
Diamond_. Then years of work for PUNCH and other papers followed
before he won enduring fame by _Vanity Fair_, which he styled "a novel
without a hero."

Charlotte Brontë, who gained a great reputation by _Jane Eyre_, added
to Thackeray's vogue by dedicating to him in rarely eloquent words the
second edition of her novel, against which preachers fulminated
because of what they called its immoral tendencies. Then in rapid
succession Thackeray wrote _Pendennis_, _Henry Esmond_, _The
Newcomes_, _The Virginians_, _Lovel the Widower_ and _The Adventures
of Philip_. All these are masterpieces of wit, satire and humor, cast
in a perfect style that never offends the most fastidious taste, yet
they are neglected to-day mainly because they do not furnish exciting
incidents.

Thackeray, like Dickens in his readings, made a fortune by his
lectures, first on "The English Humorists," and later on "The Four
Georges," and, like Dickens, he received the heartiest welcome and the
largest money returns from this country.

He died alone in his room on Christmas eve in the fine new home in
London which he had recently made for himself and his three daughters.

Thackeray was a giant physically, with a mind that worked easily, but
he was indolent and always wrote under pressure, with the printer's
devil waiting for his "copy." He was a thorough man of the world, yet
full of the freshness of fancy and the tenderness of heart of a little
child. All children were a delight to him, and he never could refrain
from giving them extravagant tips. The ever-present grief that could
not be forgotten by fame or success made him very tender to all
suffering, especially the suffering of the weak and the helpless. Yet,
like many a sensitive man, he concealed this kindness of heart under
an affectation of cynicism, which led many unsympathetic critics to
style him hard and ferocious in his satire.

Like Dickens, Thackeray was one of the great reporters of his day,
with an eye that took in unconsciously every detail of face, costume
or scene and reproduced it with perfect accuracy. The reader of his
novels is entertained by a series of pen pictures of men and women and
scenes in high life and life below stairs that are photographic in
their clearness and fidelity. Dickens always failed when he came to
depict British aristocratic life; but Thackeray moved in drawing-rooms
and brilliant assemblages with the ease of a man familiar from youth
with good society, and hence free from all embarrassment, even in the
presence of royalty.

Thackeray's early works are written in the same perfect, easy,
colloquial style, rich in natural literary allusions and frequently
rhythmic with poetic feeling, which marked his latest novel. He also
had perfect command of slang and the cockney dialect of the Londoner.
No greater master of dialogue or narrative ever wrote than he who
pictured the gradual degradation of Becky Sharp or the many
self-sacrifices of Henry Esmond for the woman that he loved.

Howells and other critics have censured Thackeray severely because of
his tendency to preach, and also because he regarded his characters as
puppets and himself as the showman who brought out their
peculiarities. There is some ground for this criticism, if one regards
the art of the novelist as centered wholly in realism; but such a hard
and fast rule would condemn all old English novelists from Richardson
to Thackeray.

It ought not to disturb any reader that Defoe turns aside and gives
reflections on the acts of his characters, for these remarks are the
fruit of his own knowledge of the world. In the same way Thackeray
keeps up a running comment on his men and women, and these bits of
philosophy make his novels a storehouse of apothegms, which may be
read again and again with great profit and pleasure. The modern novel,
with its comparative lack of thought and feeling, its insistence
upon the absolute effacement of the author, is seldom worth reading a
second time. Not so with Thackeray. Every reading reveals new beauties
of thought or style. An entire book has been made up of brief extracts
from Thackeray's novels, and it is an ideal little volume for a pocket
companion on walks, as Thackeray fits into any mood and always gives
one material for thought.

  [Illustration: WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY A CARICATURE DRAWN BY
  HIMSELF]

Of all Thackeray's novels _Vanity Fair_ is the best known and most
popular. It is a remarkable picture of a thoroughly hard, selfish
woman whom even motherhood did not soften; but it is something more
than the chronicle of Becky Sharp's fortunes. It is a panoramic sketch
of many phases of London life; it is the free giving out by a great
master of fiction of his impressions of life. Hence _Vanity Fair_
alone is worth a hundred books filled merely with exciting adventures,
which do not make the reader think. The problems that Thackeray
presents in his masterpiece are those of love, duty, self-sacrifice;
of high aims and many temptations to fall below those aspirations; of
sordid, selfish life, and of fine, noble, generous souls who light up
the world and make it richer by their presence.

Thackeray, in _Vanity Fair_, has sixty characters, yet each is drawn
sharply and clearly, and the whole story moves on with the ease of
real life. Consummate art is shown in the painting of Becky's gradual
rise to power and the great scene at the climax of her success, when
Rawdon Crawley strikes down the Marquis of Steyne, is one of the
finest in all fiction. Though Becky knows that this blow shatters her
social edifice, she is still woman enough to admire her husband in the
very act that marks the beginning of the decadence of her fortunes.
_Vanity Fair_, read carefully a half-dozen times, is a liberal
education in life and in the art of the novelist.

Personally, I rank _Pendennis_ next to _Vanity Fair_ for the pleasure
to be derived from it. From the time when the old Major receives the
letter from his sister telling of young Arthur's infatuation for the
cheap actress, Miss Fotheringay, the story carries one along in the
leisurely way of the last century. All the people are a delight, from
Captain Costigan to Fowker, and from the French chef, who went to the
piano for stimulus in his culinary work, to Blanche Amory and her
amazing French affectations. But _Pendennis_ is not popular.

Nor is _Henry Esmond_ popular, although it is worthy to rank with _The
Cloister and the Hearth_, _Adam Bede_ and _Tess of the D'Urbervilles_.
There is little relief of humor in _Esmond_, but the story has a
strong appeal to any sympathetic reader, and it is the one supreme
achievement in all fiction in which the hero tells his own story.
Thackeray's art is flawless in this tale, and it sometimes rises to
great heights, as in the scenes following the death of Lord
Castlewood, the exposure of the Prince's perfidy, the selfishness of
Beatrice and the great sacrifice of Esmond.

Space is lacking to take up Thackeray's other works, but it is safe to
say if you read the three novels here hastily sketched you cannot go
amiss among his minor works. Even his lighter sketches and his essays
will be found full of material that is so far above the ordinary level
that the similar work of to-day seems cheap and common. Happy is the
boy or girl who has made Thackeray a chosen companion from childhood.
Such a one has received unconsciously lessons in life and in culture
that can be gained from few of the great authors of the world.



CHARLOTTE BRONTË AND HER TWO GREAT NOVELS

    "JANE EYRE" AND "VILLETTE" ARE TOUCHED WITH GENIUS--TRAGEDY OF
    A WOMAN'S LIFE THAT RESULTED IN TWO STORIES OF PASSIONATE
    REVOLT AGAINST FATE.


Charlotte Brontë is always linked in my memory with Thackeray because
of her visit to the author of _Vanity Fair_ and its humorous and
pathetic features. She went to London from her lonely Yorkshire home,
and the great world, with its many selfish and unlovely features, made
a painful impression on her. Even Thackeray, her idol, was found to
have feet of clay. But this "little Puritan," as the great man called
her, was endowed with the divine genius which was forced to seek
expression in fiction, and nowhere in all literature will one find an
author who shows more completely the compelling force of a powerful
creative imagination than this little, frail, self-educated woman,
who had none of the advantages of her fellow writers, but who
surpassed them all in a certain fierce, Celtic spirit which forces the
reader to follow its bidding.

  [Illustration: CHARLOTTE BRONTË FROM THE EXQUISITELY SYMPATHETIC
  CRAYON PORTRAIT BY GEORGE RICHMOND, R.A. NOW IN THE NATIONAL
  PORTRAIT GALLERY OF LONDON]

He who would get a full realization of the importance of this Celtic
element in English literature cannot afford to neglect _Jane Eyre_ and
_Villette_, the best of Charlotte Brontë's works. Old-fashioned these
romances are in many ways, oversentimental, in parts poorly
constructed, but in all English fiction there is nothing to surpass
the opening chapters of _Jane Eyre_ for vividness and pathos, and few
things to equal the greater part of _Villette_, the tragedy of an
English woman's life in a Brussels boarding school.

Who can explain the mystery of the flowering of a great literary style
among the bleak and desolate moors of Yorkshire? Who can tell why
among three daughters of an Irish curate of mediocre ability but
tremendously passionate nature one should have developed an abnormal
imagination that in _Wuthering Heights_ is as powerful as Poe's at his
best, and another should have matured into the ablest woman novelist
of her day and her generation? These are freaks of heredity which
science utterly fails to explain.

Charlotte Brontë was born in 1816 and died in 1855. She was one of six
children who led a curiously forlorn life in the old Haworth parsonage
in the midst of the desolate Yorkshire moors. The outlook on one side
was upon a gloomy churchyard; on the other three sides the eye ranged
to the horizon over rolling, dreary moorland that looked like a
heaving ocean under a leaden sky. One brother these five sisters had,
a brilliant but superficial boy, with no stable character, who became
a drunkard and died after lingering on for years, a source of intense
shame to his family. The girls were left motherless at an early age.
Four were sent to a boarding school for clergymen's daughters, but two
died from exposure and lack of nutritious food, and the others,
starved mentally and physically, returned to their home. This was the
school that Charlotte held up to infamy in _Jane Eyre_.

The three sisters who were left, in the order of their ages, were
Emily, Charlotte and Anne. They, with their brother, lived in a kind
of dream world. Charlotte was the natural story-teller, and she wove
endless romances in which figured the great men of history who were
her heroes. She also told over and over many weird Yorkshire legends.
These children devoured every bit of printed matter that came to the
parsonage, and they were as thoroughly informed on all political
questions as the average member of Parliament.

At an age when normal girls were playing with their dolls these
precocious children were writing poems and stories. Their father
developed the ways of a recluse and never took his meals with his
children. Living in this dream world of their own, these children
could not understand normal girls. They were terribly unhappy at
school and came near to death of homesickness. Finally Emily and
Charlotte found a congenial school and in a few years they both made
great strides in education. Charlotte tried teaching and also the work
of governess, but finally both decided to open a girls' school of
their own. To prepare themselves in French, Emily and Charlotte went
to a boarding school in Brussels.

This was the turning point in Charlotte's life. Intensely ambitious,
she worked like a galley slave and soon mastered French so that she
wrote it with ease and vigor. There is no question that she had a
girlish love for her teacher, as passionate as it was brief, and that
her whole outlook was broadened by this experience of a world so
unlike the only one that she had known.

The story of Charlotte's life is told beautifully by Mrs. Gaskell, the
well-known author of _Cranford_. It is one of the finest biographies
in the language, and also one of the most stimulating. The reader who
follows Charlotte's stormy youth is made ashamed of his own lack of
application when he reads of the girl's tireless work in self-culture
in the face of much bodily weakness and great unhappiness.

Read of her experiences in Brussels and you will get some idea of the
tremendous vitality of this frail girl with the luminous eyes and the
fiery spirit that no labor could tire. Mrs. Gaskell has drawn largely
upon Charlotte's letters, which are as vivid and full of character as
any of her fiction. Genius flashes from them; one feels drawn very
close to this woman who raged against her physical infirmities, but
overcame them bravely. When the spirit moved her she poured out her
soul to her friend in words that grip the heart after all these
years.

The boarding-school project fell through, and for some years the three
sisters lived at home and devoted themselves to literary work. The
first fruits of their pen was a small volume of poems by Currer, Ellis
and Acton Bell, the pseudonyms of Charlotte, Emily and Anne. This book
fell practically stillborn from the press, but the sisters were
undaunted and each began a novel. Without experience of life it is not
strange that these stories lacked merit.

Charlotte drew her novel from her Brussels experience and called it
_The Professor_. Though it was far the best, it was rejected, but
Emily's _Wuthering Heights_ and Anne's _Agnes Gray_ were published.
Emily's novel revealed a powerful but ill-regulated imagination, with
scenes of splendid imaginative force, yet morbid and unreal as an
opium dream. It received some good notices, but Anne's was mediocre
and fell flat. Nothing daunted by the refusal of the publishers to
bring out her first book, Charlotte began _Jane Eyre_, largely
autobiographical in the early chapters, and this book was promptly
accepted and published in August, 1847.

_Jane Eyre_ was a great success from the day it came from the press.
It was an epoch-making novel because it dragged into the fierce light
of publicity many questions which the English public of that day had
decided to leave out of print. To us of today it contains nothing
unusual, for modern women writers have gone far beyond Charlotte
Brontë in their demands for freedom from many strict social
conventions. What makes the book valuable is the glimpse which it
gives of the wild revolt of a passionate nature against the coldness,
the hypocrisy and the many shams of the social life of England in the
middle of the last century.

This novel is also noteworthy for its intense picture of the
sufferings of a lonely, unappreciated girl, who felt in herself the
stirrings of genius and who hungered and thirsted for appreciation.
The terrible pictures of Lowood, the fiction name of the Cowan's
Bridge School, where her two sisters contracted their fatal illness,
are stamped upon the brain of every reader, as are those of the
humiliations of the governess. The style of this book was a revelation
in that period of formal writing. Like Stevenson, Charlotte Brontë
wrought with words as a great artist works with his colors, and many
of her descriptions in _Jane Eyre_ have never been surpassed. Hers was
that brooding Celtic imagination which, when given full play, takes
the reader by the hand and shows him the heights and depths of human
love and suffering.

  [Illustration: MRS. GASKELL FROM THE PORTRAIT BY GEORGE RICHMOND,
  R.A. MRS. GASKELL'S "LIFE OF BRONTË" IS ONE OF THE FINEST
  BIOGRAPHIES IN THE LANGUAGE]

The success of _Jane Eyre_ opened wide the doors of London to the
unknown author. For a time her identity was hidden, but when it was
revealed she was induced to go up to London and see the great world.
Thackeray was especially kind to her, but his efforts to entertain
this Yorkshire recluse were dismal failures. Nothing is more amusing
than his daughter's story of the great novelist, slipping out of the
house one night, when he had asked several celebrities to meet
Charlotte Brontë. The party was a terrible fiasco, and so he escaped,
putting his finger to his lips as he opened the front door to warn his
daughter that she must not reveal his flight. Charlotte's
correspondence with her publisher is also full of pathos. It shows how
keenly she felt her aloofness from the world, which she could not
overcome.

The story of _Villette_ is the real story of Charlotte's experiences
in a Brussels boarding school, where she first tasted the delights of
literary study and her genius first found adequate expression. The
original draft of this novel was called _The Professor_. Charlotte
knew that it contained good material. So, after the death of her
sisters, she took up the subject, and with all her mature power
produced _Villette_--one of those novels struck off at a white heat,
like George Sand's _Indiana_ or Balzac's _Seraphita_. The story is
largely autobiographical, but the episodes of Charlotte's life are
touched with romance when they appear as the experiences of Lucy Snow,
the forlorn English girl in the Continental school, among people of
alien natures and strange speech.

In _Shirley_, Charlotte Brontë revealed much genuine humor in the
malicious portraits of the three curates, who were drawn from real
life. In fact, throughout her books one will find most of the
characters sketched from real people. Hence, if one reads the story of
her life he can trace her from her return from her Continental life
down through the cruel years almost to the end. Back she came to her
gloomy home from Brussels only to watch in succession the lingering
death of her brother and her two sisters. Think of these three
sisters, two marked for sure and early death, laboring at literary
work every day with the passion and intensity that come to few men.
Think of Emily, the eldest, with fierce pride refusing help to climb
the steep stairway of the parsonage home when her strength was almost
spent and her racking cough struck cold on the hearts of her sisters.
And think of Charlotte in her terrible grief turning to fiction as the
only resource from unbearable woe and loneliness. It is one of the
great tragedies of literature, but out of it came the flowering of a
brilliant genius.



GEORGE ELIOT AND HER TWO GREAT NOVELS

    "ADAM BEDE" AND "THE MILL ON THE FLOSS"--HER EARLY STORIES ARE
    RICH IN CHARACTER SKETCHES, WITH MUCH PATHOS AND HUMOR.


George Eliot is a novelist in a class by herself. She never impressed
me as a natural story-teller, save when she lived over again that
happy girlhood which served to relieve the sadness of her mature life.
In parts of _Adam Bede_ and throughout _The Mill on the Floss_ she
seems to tell her stories as though she really enjoyed the work. All
the scenes of her beautiful girlhood in the pleasant Warwickshire
country, when she drove through the pleasant sweet-scented lanes and
enjoyed the lovely views that she has made immortal in her
books--these she dwelt upon, and with the touch of poetry that
redeemed the austerity of her nature she makes them live again,
even for us in an alien land. So, too, the English rustics live for
us in her pages with the same deathless force as the villagers in
Hardy's novels of Wessex life. And George Eliot and Thomas Hardy are
the two English writers who have made these villagers, with their
peculiar dialect and their insular prejudices, serve the purpose of
the Greek chorus in warning the reader of the fate that hangs over
their characters.

  [Illustration: GEORGE ELIOT IN 1864 FROM THE ETCHING BY MR. PAUL
  RAJON--DRAWN BY MR. FREDERICK BURTON--FROM THE FRONTISPIECE TO THE
  FIRST EDITION OF "GEORGE ELIOT'S LIFE," BY HER HUSBAND, J.W.
  CROSS]

Of all English novelists, George Eliot was probably the best equipped
in minute and accurate scholarship. Trained as few college graduates
are trained, she was impelled for several years to take up the study
of German metaphysics. Her mind, like her face, was masculine in its
strength, and though she suffered in her youth from persistent
ill-health, she conquered this in her maturity and wrought with
passionate ardor at all her literary tasks. So keen was her conscience
that she often defeated her own ends by undue labor, as in the
preparation for _Romola_, whose historical background swamps the
story.

Above all she was a preacher of a stern morality. She laid down the
moral law that selfishness, like sin, corrodes the best nature, and
that the only happiness lies in absolute forgetfulness of self and in
working to make others happy. Thus all her books are full of little
sermons on life, preached with so much force that they cannot fail to
make a profound impression even upon the careless reader.

George Eliot impresses one as a very sad woman, with an eager desire
to recapture the lost religious faith of her happy, unquestioning
childhood and a still more passionate desire to believe in that
immortality which her cold agnostic creed rejected as illogical. It
was pitiful, this strong-minded woman reaching out for the things that
less-endowed women accept without question. It was even more pitiful
to see her, with her keen moral sense, violate all the conventions of
English law and society in order to take up life with the man who
stimulated her mind and actually made her one of the greatest of
English novelists.

Left alone, it is very doubtful whether George Eliot ever would have
found herself, ever would have developed that mine of reminiscence
which produced those perfect early stories of English country life. To
George Henry Lewes, the man for whose love and companionship she
incurred social ostracism, readers in all English-speaking countries
owe a great debt of gratitude, for it was his wise counsel and his
constant stimulus and encouragement which resulted in making George
Eliot a writer of fine novels instead of an essayist on ethical and
religious subjects. It detracts little from this debt that Lewes was
also responsible for the stimulus of George Eliot's bent toward
philosophical speculation and to that cold if clear scientific
thought, which spoiled parts of _Middlemarch_ and ruined _Daniel
Deronda_.

Marian Evans was born at Ashbury farm in Warwickshire in 1819 and died
in 1880. Her father was the agent for a large estate, and the happiest
hours of her girlhood were spent in driving about the country with
him. Those keen eyes which saw so deeply into human nature were early
trained to observe all the traits of the English rustic, and those
childish impressions gave vitality to her humorous characters. Before
she was ten years old Marian had read Scott and Lamb, as well as
_Pilgrim's Progress_ and _Rasselas_. When thirteen years old she
revealed unusual musical gifts. She had the misfortune at seventeen to
lose her mother, and for years after she managed her father's house.

Evidently the old farmer, whom his daughter has sketched with loving
hand in _Adam Bede_, took great pride in the mental superiority of his
daughter, for he hired tutors for her in Latin, Greek, Italian and
German. All four languages she mastered as few college men master
them. She read everything, both old and new, and her intimacy with the
wife of Charles Bray of Coventry led her to refuse to go to church.
This free thinking angered her father and caused him to demand that
she leave his house. After three weeks her love and her keen sense of
duty led her to conform to her father's wishes and to resume the
church-going, which in his eyes was a part of life that could not be
dropped.

But that early departure from the established religion carried her
into the field of German skepticism. She translated Strauss' _Life of
Jesus_. For three years her studies were interrupted by the serious
illness of her father. When he died she went to Geneva and remained on
the Continent a year. Then she came home and took up her residence
with the Brays. The development of her mind was very rapid. She served
for some time as editor of the WESTMINSTER REVIEW. She then formed
a strong friendship with Herbert Spencer, and through Spencer she met
George Henry Lewes, who made a special study of Goethe and the German
philosophers, and who was the editor of the LEADER, the organ of the
Free Thinkers.

  [Illustration: GEORGE ELIOT'S BIRTHPLACE, SOUTH FARM, ARBURY,
  NUNEATON]

Lewes and Marian Evans soon became all the world to each other, but
Lewes had an insane wife, and the foolish law of England forbade him
to get a divorce or to marry again. So the two decided to live
together and to be man and wife in everything except the sanction of
the law. The result was disastrous for a time to the woman. There is
no question that the social isolation that resulted hurt her deeply.
Her close friends like Spencer remained loyal, and her husband was
always the devoted lover as well as the ideal companion.

Two years after this new connection Lewes induced his wife to try
fiction. Her first story was _The Sad Adventures of the Rev. Amos
Barton_ which was followed by _Janet's Repentance_. These stories
appeared under the pen name of George Eliot, which she never
relinquished. Gathered into book form under the title _Scenes From
Clerical Life_, these stories in a minor key made a profound
impression on Charles Dickens, who divined they were the work of a
woman of unusual gifts.

The praise of Lewes and the appreciation of Dickens and other experts
gave great stimulus to her mind, and she produced _Adam Bede_, perhaps
her best work, which had a great success. In the following year came
_The Mill on the Floss_, an even greater success. Then in quick
succession came the other early novels, _Silas Marner_, _Romola_ and
_Felix Holt_. A break of six years follows, and then came
_Middlemarch_ and _Daniel Deronda_.

Lewes died in 1878, and two years later this woman, almost exhausted
by her tremendous literary labors, married J.W. Cross, an old friend,
but, like Charlotte Brontë, she had only short happiness, for she died
in the following year. The nations praised her, but she never
recovered from the shock of Lewes' death.

Of George Eliot's work the things that impress one most are her fine
descriptions of natural scenes, her keen analyses of character and her
many little moral sermons on life and conduct. With an abnormal
conscience and a keen sense of duty, life proved very hard for her.
This is reflected in the somberness of her stories and in the dread
atmosphere of fate that hangs over her characters. But over against
this must be placed her joy in depicting the rustic character and
humor and her delight in reproducing the scenes of her childhood in
one of the most beautiful counties of England.

Herbert Spencer, who was long associated with George Eliot, and for a
time contemplated the possibility of a union with that remarkable
woman, pays her a high tribute in _The Study of Sociology_. After
explaining the origin in women of the ability to distinguish quickly
the passing feelings of those around, he says: "Ordinarily, this
feminine faculty, showing itself in an aptitude for guessing the state
of mind through the external signs, ends simply in intuitions formed
without assignable reasons; but when, as happens in rare cases, there
is joined with it skill in psychological analysis, there results in
extremely remarkable ability to interpret the mental states of others.
Of this ability we have a living example (George Eliot) never hitherto
paralleled among women, and in but few, if any, cases exceeded among
men."

Perhaps the reader who does not know George Eliot would do well to
begin with _The Mill on the Floss_, her finest work, which is full of
humor, lovely pictures of English rural life and an analysis of soul
in Maggie Tolliver that has never been surpassed. Yet the end is cruel
and unnatural, as hard and as unsatisfying as the author's own
religious creed. Next read _Adam Bede_, one of the saddest books in
all literature, with comic relief in Mrs. Poyser, one of the most
humorous characters in English fiction.

George Eliot drew Dinah Morris from her favorite aunt, who was a
Methodist exhorter, and the power and spontaneity of this novel came
from the sharpness and clearness of her early impressions, joined to
her love of living over again her girlhood days, before doubt had
clouded her sky. Also read _Silas Marner_ with its perfect picture of
Raveloe, "an English village where many of the old echoes lingered,
undrowned by new voices." These descriptions are instinct with poetry,
and they affect one like Wordsworth's best poems or like Tennyson's
vignettes of rural life. The pale weaver of Raveloe will always remain
as one of the great characters in English fiction.

Of George Eliot's more elaborate work it is impossible to speak in
entire praise. If you have the leisure, and these books I have named
please you, then by all means read _Romola_, which is a remarkable
study of the degeneracy of a young Greek and of the noble strivings of
a great-hearted woman. The pictures of Florence in the time of
Savonarola are splendid, but they smell of the lamp. _Middlemarch_ is
also worth careful study for its fine analysis of character and
motive. In all George Eliot's books her characters develop before our
eyes, and this is especially true in this elaborate study of the
pathos and the tragedy of human life.

George Eliot wrote little poetry, but one piece may be commended to
careful attention, "The Choir Invisible." It sums up with impassioned
force her ethical creed, which she put in these fine lines:

    Oh, may I join the choir invisible
    Of those immortal dead who live again
    In minds made better by their presence: live
    In pulses stirred to generosity,
    In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn
    For miserable aims that end in self.
           *       *       *       *       *
                       This is life to come
    Which martyred men have made more glorious
    For us who strive to follow. May I reach
    That purest heaven, be to other souls
    The cup of strength in some great agony,
    Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love.
    Beget the smiles that have no cruelty--
    Be the sweet presence of a good diffused,
    And in diffusion ever more intense.
    So shall I join the choir invisible,
    Whose music is the gladness of the world.

This was the creed of George Eliot, which she preached in her books
and which she followed in her life. This was the only hope of
immortality that she cherished--to "live again" in minds that she
stimulated.



RUSKIN THE APOSTLE OF ART

    HIS WORK AS ART CRITIC AND SOCIAL REFORMER--BEST BOOKS ARE
    "MODERN PAINTERS," "THE SEVEN LAMPS" AND "THE STONES OF
    VENICE."


John Ruskin deserves a place among the great English writers of the
last century, not only because of his superb style and the amount of
his work, but because he was the first to encourage the study of art
and nature among the people. So enormous have been the strides made in
the last twenty years in popular knowledge of art and architecture,
and so great the growth of interest in the beauties of nature that it
is difficult to appreciate that a little over a half century ago, when
Ruskin first came into prominence as a writer, the English public was
densely ignorant of art, and was equally ignorant of the world of
pleasure to be derived from beautiful scenery.

It was Ruskin's great service to the world that he opened the eyes of
the public to the glories of the art of all countries, and that he
also revealed the wonders of architecture. Many critics have laid bare
his infirmities as a critic, but a man of colder blood and less
emotional nature would never have reached the large public to which
Ruskin appealed. Like a great orator he was swayed by the passion of
convincing his audience, and the very extravagance of his language and
the ardor of his nature served to make a profound impression upon
readers who are not usually affected by such appeals as his.

Ruskin was one of the most impractical men that ever lived, but in the
exuberance of his nature and in his rare unselfishness he started a
dozen social reforms in England, any one of which should have given
fame to its founder. He gave away a great fortune in gifts to the
public and in private generosity. He founded museums, established
scholarships, tried to put into practical working order his dream of a
New Life founded on the union of manual labor and high intellectual
aims, labored to induce the public to read the good old books that
help one to make life worth living.

  [Illustration: JOHN RUSKIN FROM A PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON JULY 20,
  1882, BY MESSRS. ELLIOTT & FRY]

That much of his good work was neutralized by his lack of common sense
detracts nothing from the world's debt to Ruskin. The simple truth is
that he was a reformer as well as a great writer, and the very fervor
of his religious and social beliefs, his contempt of mere money
getting, his hatred of falsehood, his boundless generosity and his
childlike simplicity of mind--all these traits at which the world
laughed lifted Ruskin above the other men of genius of his time and
placed him among the world's great reformers.

Among this small body of men whose spiritual force continues to live in
their books or through the influence of their great self-sacrifices,
Ruskin deserves a place, for he gave fortune, work and a splendid
enthusiasm to the common people's cause.

Ruskin's whole life was abnormal, and his early training served to
accentuate those weaknesses of mind and will that made failures of so
many schemes for the public good. If Ruskin had been trained in the
English public schools he would have learned common sense in boyhood.
As it was, his father and mother shielded the boy in every way from
all contact with the world. Ruskin's father was a prosperous wine
merchant with much culture; his mother was a religious fanatic, whose
passion for the Bible imposed upon her boy the daily reading of the
Scriptures and the daily memorizing of scores of verses.

Such training in most cases causes a revolt against religion, but in
Ruskin's case it resulted in training his boyish ear to the cadences
of the Bible writers and in filling his mind with the sublime imagery
of the prophets, with the result that when he began to write he had
already formed a style, the richest and most varied of the last
century.

The boy was a mental prodigy, for he taught himself to read when four
years old, and at five he had devoured hundreds of books and was
already writing poems and plays. At ten, when he had his first tutor,
his knowledge was wide and he had become a passionate lover of natural
scenery, as well as no mean artist with pen and pencil. Scott's novels
and Byron's _Childe Harold_ formed much of his reading at a time when
most boys are content with the stories of Ballantyne or Mayne Reid.
The range of his mental activity until he entered Oxford at eighteen
was very wide. He was interested in mineralogy, meteorology,
mathematics, drawing and painting. What probably expanded his mind
more than all else was the education of travel. His father spent about
half his time journeying through England and the Continent in an
old-fashioned chaise and John always shared in these expeditions. At
Oxford he competed for the Newdigate prize in poetry, and after being
twice defeated won the coveted honor. He never gained any high
scholarship, but he received valuable training in writing.

There is no space here to chronicle more than a few of his many
activities after leaving college. He first came into prominence by his
passionate defense of the painter Turner against the art critics, and
his study of Turner led him to adopt art criticism as his life work.
At twenty-three years of age, when most youths are puzzled about their
vocation, Ruskin had completed the first volume of _Modern Painters_,
the publication of which gave him fame and made him a social lion in
London. Other volumes of this great work followed swiftly and caused a
great commotion in the world of art and letters because of the radical
views of the author and the remarkable qualities of his style.

This was followed by _The Seven Lamps of Architecture_, in which
Ruskin expounded his radical views on this kindred art; _The Stones of
Venice_, an eloquent book enforcing the argument that Gothic
architecture sprang from a pure national faith and the domestic
virtues; _King's Treasuries_, a noble plea for good books; _Fors
Clavigera_, a series of ninety-six parts published in eight volumes,
the record of his social experiments; _Preterita_, one of the most
charming books of youthful reminiscences in any language, and many
others. Ruskin's mental activity was enormous. He had to his credit in
his fifty-five active years no less than seventy-two volumes and one
hundred magazine articles, as well as thousands of lectures.

This outline sketch of Ruskin's life would be incomplete without
mention of the great sorrows that darkened his days but gave eloquence
to his writings. The first was the desertion of his wife, who married
the painter Millais, and the second was the loss by death of Rose La
Touche, a beautiful Irish girl whom he had known from childhood. She
refused to marry him because of their differences of religion; even
refused to see him in her fatal illness unless he could say that he
loved God better than he loved her. Her death brought bitter despair
to Ruskin, but the world profited by it, for grief gave his work
maturity and force. The last ten years of Ruskin's life were spent at
his beautiful home at Brantwood, surrounded by the pictures that he
loved and served faithfully by devoted relatives.

  [Illustration: JOHN RUSKIN FROM THE SEMI-ROMANTIC PORTRAIT OF SIR
  JOHN E. MILLAIS]

Ruskin's books are not to be read continuously. Many dreary passages
may be found in all of them, which the judicious reader skips. But his
best works are more full of intellectual stimulus than those of any
writer of his time with the single exception of Carlyle. _Modern
Painters_ overflows with the enthusiasm of a lover of art and of
nature who preaches the gospel of sincerity and truth. It is marked,
like all his work, by eloquent digressions on human life and conduct,
for Ruskin held that the finest art was simply the flowering of a
great soul nurtured on all that was highest and best. _The Seven
Lamps_ does for architecture what his first work did for painting. The
book is written in more ornate style than any other, but he who loves
impassioned prose will find many specimens here that can only by
equaled in De Quincey's best work. Read the peroration of the "Lamp
of Sacrifice" and you will not need to be told that this is the finest
tribute to the work of the builders of the mediæval cathedral. Here is
a part of this eloquent passage:

    It is to far happier, far higher exaltation that we owe those
    fair fronts of variegated mosaic, charged with wild fancies
    and dark hosts of imagery, thicker and quainter than ever
    filled the depth of midsummer dream; those vaulted gates,
    trellised with close leaves; those window labyrinths of
    twisted tracery and starry light; those misty masses of
    multitudinous pinnacle and diademed tower; the only witnesses,
    perhaps, that remain to us of the faith and fear of nations.
    All else for which the builders sacrificed has passed away.
    * * * But of them and their life and their toil upon earth,
    one reward, one evidence, is left to us in those great heaps
    of deep-wrought stone. They have taken with them to the grave
    their powers, their honors and their errors; but they have
    left us their adoration.

No space is left here to mention in detail Ruskin's other works, but
_Unto This Last_, _The Stones of Venice_, _Sesame and Lilies_ and _The
Crown of Wild Olive_ may be commended as well worth careful reading.
Also _Preterita_ is alive with noble passages, such as the pen-picture
of the view from the Dale in the Alps, or of the Rhone below Geneva.
Read also Ruskin's description of Turner's "Slave Ship" or the
impressive passage on the mental slavery of the modern workman in the
sixth chapter of the second volume of _The Stones of Venice_. Read
these things and you will have no doubt of the genius of Ruskin or of
his command of the finest impassioned prose in the English language.



TENNYSON LEADS THE VICTORIAN WRITERS

    THE POET WHO VOICED THE ASPIRATIONS OF HIS AGE--"LOCKSLEY
    HALL," "IN MEMORIAM" AND "THE IDYLLS OF THE KING" AMONG HIS
    BEST WORKS.


Of all the great English writers of the Victorian age it is probable
that the next century will give the foremost place to Tennyson. Better
than any other poet of his day, he stands as a type of the English
people in obedience to law, in strong religious faith, in splendid
imaginative force and in a certain unyielding cast of mind that made
him bide his time during the dark years when he was bitterly
criticized or coldly neglected. Tennyson had to the full the poet's
temperament, but he had also a superb physique, which carried him into
his eighty-fourth year. From a boy he was a lover of nature, and in
nearly every poem that he wrote are found many proofs of his close
observation in English woods and fields. Through a period of general
skepticism he kept unimpaired his strong faith in God and in
immortality that lends so much force to his best verse.

  [Illustration: ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON AFTER AN ENGRAVING BY G.J.
  STODART FROM A PHOTOGRAPH BY J. MAYALL]

Tennyson's genius found its natural expression in verse, and it is his
distinction that while he explored many realms of thought he was
always clear and always musical. Browning had more passion, but it was
the misfortune of the author of _The Ring and the Book_ that he could
not refrain from a cramped and obscure style of verse that makes much
of his work very hard reading. Many Browning societies have been
formed to study the works of the poet whom they are proud to call
master; but Tennyson needs no societies, as the man in the street and
the woman whose soul is troubled can understand every line he has
written. Nor is Tennyson lacking in passion, as any one may see by
reading _Locksley Hall_ or _Maud_.

Tennyson summed up in his poetry all the spiritual aspiration and the
eager search for knowledge of his time. He explored all domains of
thought, and he enriched his verse with the fruit of his studies. All
the great elemental forces are found in his poems: he is the laureate
of love and sorrow, of grief and aspiration. Throughout his verse runs
the great natural law that the man who is not pure in heart can never
see the glory of the poet's vision.

The purity of his own life was reflected in his verse, just as the mad
license and the furious self-indulgence of Byron are mirrored in _Don
Juan_, _Manfred_ and _Cain_. Even to extreme old age Tennyson
preserved that high poetic faculty which he manifested in early youth.
One of his latest poems, _Crossing the Bar_, is also one of the finest
in the language, breathing the old man's assurance of a life beyond
the grave and a reunion with the dear friend of his youth, whom he
mourned and immortalized in _In Memoriam_.

Alfred Tennyson had one of the finest lives in the roll of English
authors. He was born in 1809 and lived to 1892. He spent his early
years in one of the most beautiful parts of Lincolnshire. He enjoyed
the personal training of his father, a very accomplished clergyman,
and much of his boyhood and youth was spent in the open air. In this
way he absorbed that knowledge of birds and animals, trees and flowers
and all the aspects of nature which is reflected in his verse. As a
youth he experimented in many styles of verse, and when only eighteen
he issued, with his brother Charles, _Poems by Two Brothers_. The next
year he and Charles entered Trinity College, Cambridge. There they
received the greatest impulse toward culture in a society of
undergraduates known as the "Apostles." Its membership included
Thackeray, Trench, Spedding, Monckton Milnes and Alfred and Arthur
Henry Hallam, sons of the famous author of _The Middle Ages_.

In his second year at college Tennyson won the Chancellor's gold medal
with his prize poem, _Timbuctoo_, and in the following year he
published his first volume, _Poems, Chiefly Lyrical_. He left college
without a degree, and in 1833 he issued another volume of poems which
contained some of his best work--_The Lady of Shalott_, _The Lotos
Eaters_, _The Palace of Art_ and _A Dream of Fair Women_. Any one of
these poems if issued to-day would make the reputation of a poet, but
this book made little impression on the Victorian public which had
lost its taste for poetry and was devoted mainly to prose fiction. The
world has yet to catch the note of this master singer.

In 1837 Arthur Hallam, Tennyson's friend and other self, the one man
who predicted that he would be the greatest poet of his age, died
suddenly in Vienna while traveling abroad. The shock made a profound
impression on Tennyson. For ten years he put forth no work. Finally,
in 1842, he issued two volumes of poems that at once caught the public
fancy. Among the poems that brought him fame were _Locksley Hall_,
_Lady Godiva_, _Ulysses_, _The Two Voices_ and _Morte d' Arthur_. The
latter was the seed of the splendid _Idylls of the King_. Five years
later he published _The Princess_, with its beautiful songs, and three
years after _In Memoriam_ the greatest elegiac poem in the language,
in which he lamented the fate of Arthur Hallam and poured forth his
own grief over this irreparable loss. In the same year he married Miss
Emily Sellwood, who made his home a haven of rest and of whom he once
said that with her "the peace of God came into my life."

_Maud_, his most dramatic poem, was issued in 1855. As early as 1859
he published the first part of _The Idylls of the King_, but it was
not until 1872 that the complete sequence of the _Idylls_ was given
to the public. These Arthurian legends are cast by Tennyson in his
most musical blank verse, and he has given to them a tinge of
mysticism that seems to lift them above the everyday world into a
realm of pure romance and chivalry.

  [Illustration: FACSIMILE OF TENNYSON'S ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT OF
  "CROSSING THE BAR" COPYRIGHT BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY]

_Enoch Arden_, a domestic idyll, written in 1864, made a great hit. It
was followed by several plays--_Queen Mary_, _Harold_, _Becket_ and
others--all finely written, but none appealing to the great public. Up
to his last years Tennyson remained the real laureate of his people,
his words always tinged with the fire of inspiration. Only three years
before his death he wrote _Crossing the Bar_, a poem which met with
instant response from the English-speaking world because of its signs
of courage in the face of death and its proofs of steadfast faith in
the life beyond the grave.

No adequate estimate of Tennyson's work can be made in the small space
allotted to this article. All that can be done is to mention a few of
his best works and to quote a few of his stirring lines. If the reader
will study these poems he will be pretty sure to read more of
Tennyson. To my mind, _Locksley Hall_ is Tennyson's finest poem, as
true to-day as when it was written seventy years ago. The long,
rolling, trochaic verse, like the billows on the coast that it
pictures, suits the thought. The poem is the passionate lament of a
returned soldier from India over the mercenary marriage of the cousin
whom he loved. Here are a few of the lines that will never die:

    Many a night I saw the Pleiades, rising through the mellow shade,
    Glitter like a swarm of fireflies tangled in a silver braid.
    Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords with might;
    Smote the chord of Self, that, trembling, pass'd in music out of sight.
    Cursed be the sickly forms that err from honest Nature's rule!
    Cursed be the gold that gilds the straiten'd forehead of a fool!
    Comfort? Comfort scorn'd of devils! this is truth the poet sings,
    That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier things.
    But the jingling of the guinea helps the hurt that Honor feels,
    And the nations do but murmur, snarling at each other's heels.
    Mated with a squalid savage--what to me were sun or clime?
    I the heir of all the ages in the foremost files of time.
    Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward, let us range,
    Let the great world spin forever down the ringing grooves of change.
    Thro' the shadow of the globe we sweep into the younger day:
    Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay.

It would be difficult among the poets of the last century to parallel
these passages for their imaginative sweep and magnetic appeal to the
reader. The new criticism that disparages Tennyson and raises Browning
to the seventh heaven calls _Locksley Hall_ old-fashioned and
sentimental, but to me it is the greatest poem of its age. Next to
this I would place _In Memoriam_, which has never received its just
recognition. Readers of Taine will recall his flippant Gaelic comment
on Tennyson's conventional but cold words of lament. Nothing, it seems
to me, is further from the truth. The many beautiful lines in the poem
depict the changing moods of the man who mourned for his dead and
finally found comfort in the words of the Bible--the only source of
comfort in this world for the sorely wounded heart. The whole poem, as
his son Hallam says, emphasizes the poet's belief "in an omnipotent
and all-loving God, who has revealed himself through the highest
self-sacrificing love in the freedom of the human will and in the
immortality of the soul."

The meter of _In Memoriam_ serves to fix the poem in the memory. It
seems to fit the thought with perfect naturalness. It is not strange
that Queen Victoria should have placed this poem next to the Bible as
a means of comfort after the loss of her husband, whom she loved so
dearly that all the attractions of power and wealth never made her
forget him a single day.

_The Idylls of the King_ are also unappreciated in these days, yet
they contain a body of splendid poetry that cannot be duplicated. They
represent the author's dreams from early youth, when his imagination
was first fired by old Malory's chronicle of the good King Arthur.
They breathe a chivalry as lofty as Sidney's, and they teach many
ethical lessons that it would do the present-day world good to take to
heart. These noble poems, cast in the most musical blank verse in our
literature, were the work of thirty years, written only when the poet
felt genuine inspiration. They represent, as the poet told his son,
"the dream of a man coming into practical life and ruined by one sin.
It is not the history of one man or of one generation, but of a whole
cycle of generations." And the old poet added these fine words:
"Poetry is like shot silk with many glancing colors. Every reader must
find his own interpretation according to his ability and according to
his sympathy with the poet."

Other fine poems of Tennyson which one should read are the noble _Ode
on the Death of the Duke of Wellington_, _Break, Break, Break_, the
perfect songs in _The Princess_, and _Crossing the Bar_. If you read
these aright you will wish to know more of Tennyson, the poet who
reconciled science and religion and kept his old faith strong to the
end.



BROWNING GREATEST POET SINCE SHAKESPEARE

    HOW TO GET THE BEST OF BROWNING'S POEMS--READ THE LYRICS FIRST
    AND THEN TAKE UP THE LONGER AND THE MORE DIFFICULT WORKS.


The greatest of English poets since Shakespeare, is the title given to
Robert Browning by many admirers of recognized ability as critics. For
his dramatic force and his insight into human nature there is no
question that Browning deserves this high rank. In these two qualities
he stands above Tennyson. But a large part of his work is written in a
style so crabbed that it acts as a bar to one's enjoyment of many fine
poems. Only the most resolute reader can go through _Sordello_ or _The
Ring and the Book_, the latter, with its interminable discussions of
motive and its curious descriptions of half-forgotten legal and church
methods of the seventeenth century. If one-half this long poem of
over twenty thousand lines had been cut out, it would have been vastly
improved.

  [Illustration: ROBERT BROWNING FROM A PHOTOGRAPH BY HOLLYER AFTER
  THE PORTRAIT BY G.F. WATTS, R.A.]

The advocates of Browning hold that the study of the poet's
obscurities is good mental discipline, but I am of the belief that
poetry, like music, should not demand too great exertion of the mind
to appreciate its beauty. Wagner's "Seigfried" and "Parsifal" are
altogether too long to be enjoyed thoroughly. The composer would have
done well to eliminate a third of each, for as they are produced they
strain the attention to the point of fatigue, and no work of art
should ever tire its admirers.

In the same way Browning offends against this primal canon of art. A
man who was capable of writing the most melodious verse, as is shown
in some of his lyrics, he refused to put his thoughts in simple form,
and often clothed them in obscurity. The result is that the great
public which would have enjoyed his studies of character and his
powerful dramatic faculty is repelled at the outset by the
difficulties of understanding his poems. Browning added to this
obscurity by constant reference to little-known authors. This was not
pedantry, any more than Milton's use of classic mythology was
pedantry. Both men possessed unusual knowledge of rare books, and both
were much given to quoting authors who are unknown to the general
reading public.

But with all these difficulties in the way, there still remains a body
of verse in Browning's work which will richly repay any reader. The
lyrics and short poems like _The Pied Piper of Hamelin_, _Pippa
Passes_, _Prospice_, _O Lyric Love_, _The Last Ride_, _One Word More_,
_How They Brought the Good News_, _Herve Riel_, the epilogue to
_Asolando_, _The Lost Leader_, _Men and Women_, and _A Soul's Tragedy_
will give any reader a taste of the real Browning. If you like these
poems, then try the more ambitious poems like _A Blot in the
'Scutcheon_, _The Inn Album_, _Fifine at the Fair_ and others.

Browning, above all other English poets, seems to have had the power
of seizing upon a character at a crucial hour in life and laying bare
all the impulses that impel one to high achievement or great
self-sacrifice. He seems always to have worked at the highest
emotional stress, so that his words are surcharged with feeling. In
many of his poems this emotional element is painful in its intensity.
Character to him was the main feature, and his selections comprise
some of the most picturesque in all history. That he was able to make
these people live and move and impress us as real flesh-and-blood
human beings shows the great creative power of the man, who ought to
have written some of the world's finest plays.

Robert Browning was born in 1812 and died in 1889. His father, though
a clerk in the Bank of England, was a fine classical scholar and had
dabbled in verse. His mother was an accomplished musician. Browning
had every early advantage, and while still a lad he came under the
spell of Byron and had his poetical faculty greatly stimulated by the
"Napoleon of rhyme." Then came Shelley and Keats, and their influence
set him upon the course which he followed for many years. His first
poem was _Pauline_, which has passages of rare beauty set among dreary
commonplaces. He followed this with _Paracelsus_ and _Strafford_,
which opened to him the doors of all London salons and made his
reputation. _Sordello_, one of his most difficult poems, came next,
but he varied these dramatic tragedies with a series of short poems
called _Bells and Pomegranates_. In this the finest thing was _Pippa
Passes_, which was warmly praised by Elizabeth Barrett, who
afterwards became his wife. Among the many poems that Browning
produced in five years were _Colombe's Birthday_, _A Blot in the
'Scutcheon_, _Dramatic Romances and Lyrics_ and _A Soul's Tragedy_.

Browning, in 1846, married Elizabeth Barrett, the author of _Lady
Geraldine's Courtship_ and other poems, a woman who had been an
invalid, confined to her room for years. Love gave her strength to
arise and walk, and love also gave her the courage to defy the foolish
tyranny of her father and elope with Browning. What kind of man that
father was may be seen in his comment after the marriage: "I've no
objection to the young man, but my daughter should have been thinking
of another world." They went to Italy, where for fifteen years they
made an ideal home. Mrs. Browning's story of her love is seen in
_Sonnets From the Portuguese_, and some of her finest work is in _Casa
Guidi Windows_. Each stimulated the other, while there was a notable
absence of that jealousy which has often served to turn the love of
literary men and women into the fiercest hatred.

Mrs. Browning died suddenly in 1861, and the poet for some time was
stunned by this unlooked-for calamity. He spent two years in
seclusion at work on poems, but then he gathered up his courage and
once more took his old place in the social life of London. In
_Prospice_ and _One Word More_, written in the autumn following his
wife's death, he shows that he has overcome all doubts of the reality
of immortality. These two poems alone would entitle Browning to the
highest place among the world's great poets. In addition he wrote the
memorial to his wife, _O Lyric Love_, that is the cry of the soul left
here on this earth to the soul of the beloved in Paradise. To the
sympathetic this poem, with its solemn rhythm, will appeal like
splendid organ music.

  [Illustration: ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING AFTER THE PORTRAIT BY
  FIELD TALFOURD]

Among Browning's other poems that are noteworthy are _Fifine at the
Fair_, _Red Cotton Nightcap Country_, _The Inn Album_ and _Dramatic
Idylls_. Browning's last poem, _Asolando_, appeared in London on the
same day that its author died at Venice. As the great bell of San
Marco struck ten in the evening, Browning, as he lay in bed, asked his
son if there were any news of the new volume. A telegram was read
saying the book was well received. The aged poet smiled and breathed
his last.

In beginning the reading of Browning it is well to understand that at
least half or maybe two-thirds of his work should be discarded at the
outset, as it is of interest only to scholars. My suggestion to one
who would learn to love Browning is to get a little book, _Lyrical
Poems of Robert Browning_, by Dr. A.J. George. The editor in a preface
indicates the best work of Browning, and also brings out strongly the
fact that readers, and especially young readers, must be given poems
which interest them. His selections of lyrics have been made from this
standpoint, and his notes will be found very helpful. He develops the
point that Browning's great revelation to the world through his poems
was his strong and abiding assurance that man has in him the principle
of divinity, and that many of the experiences that the world calls
failures are really the stepping stones of the ascent to that conquest
of self and that development of the whole nature which means the
highest life. He says also that Browning is one of the most eloquent
expounders of the doctrine of the reality of a future life, in which
those who live a noble and unselfish life will get their reward in an
existence free from all physical ills.

In this little book will be found _Pippa Passes_, a noble series of
lyrics, which develops the idea of the silent influence of a little
silk weaver of Asolo upon four sets of people in the great crises of
their lives. In each episode Pippa sings a song that awakens remorse
or kindles manhood or arouses patriotism or duty. It is a perfect
poem. Among other lyrics given here are _Evelyn Hope_, which must be
bracketed with Burns' _To Mary in Heaven_ or with Wordsworth's _Lucy_
and _Prospice_, which sounds the note of deep personal love that is as
sure of immortality as of life. It is as beautiful and as inspiring as
Tennyson's _Crossing the Bar_. Other poems due to Browning's love for
his wife are _My Star_ and _One Word More_.

If these lyrics appeal to you, then take up some of Browning's longer
poems, _A Blot in the 'Scutcheon_, _Colombe's Birthday_, _A Soul's
Tragedy_, _Fra Lippo Lippi_ and _Rabbi Ben Ezra_. Very few readers in
these days have time or patience to read _The Ring and the Book_, but
it will repay your attention, as it is the most remarkable attempt in
all literature to revive the tragedy of the great and innocent love of
a woman and a priest.

Among the many fine passages in Browning, I think there is nothing
which equals these lines in _O Lyric Love_, the beautiful invocation
to his wife:

    O lyric Love, half angel and half bird
    And all a wonder and a wild desire--
    Boldest of hearts that ever braved the sun,
    Took sanctuary within the holier blue
    And sang a kindred soul out to his face--
    Hail then, and hearken from the realms of help!
    Never may I commence my song, my due
    To God who best taught song by gift of thee,
    Except with bent head and beseeching hand--
    That shall despite the distance and the dark,
    What was, again may be; some interchange
    Of grace, some splendor once thy very thought,
    Some benediction anciently thy smile.

The songs in _Pippa Passes_ should be read, as they are as near
perfect as Shakespeare's songs or the songs of Tennyson in _The
Princess_.



MEREDITH AND A FEW OF HIS BEST NOVELS

    ONE OF THE GREATEST MASTERS OF FICTION OF LAST CENTURY--"THE
    ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL," "DIANA OF THE CROSSWAYS" AND OTHER
    NOVELS.


George Meredith is acknowledged by the best critics to be among the
greatest English novelists of the last century; yet to the general
reader he is only a name. Like Henry James, he is barred off from
popular appreciation by a style which is "caviare to the general."
Thomas Hardy is recognized as the finest living English novelist, but
there is very little comparison between himself and Meredith.
Professor William Lyon Phelps, who is one of the best and sanest of
American critics, says they are both pagans, but Meredith was an
optimist, while Hardy is a pessimist. Then he adds this illuminating
comment: "Mr. Hardy is a great novelist; whereas, to adapt a phrase
that Arnold applied to Emerson, I should say that Mr. Meredith was not
a great novelist; he was a great man who wrote novels."

It is only within the last twenty-five years that Meredith has had any
vogue in this country. At that time a good edition of his novels was
issued, and critics gave the volumes generous mention in the leading
magazines and newspapers. But the public did not respond with any
cordiality. The novel with us has come to be looked upon mainly as a
source of amusement, and a writer of fiction who demands too keen
attention from his readers can never hope to be popular. Meredith, as
Professor Phelps says, was a great man who, among other intellectual
activities, wrote some good novels. Doubtless he did more real good to
literature as the inspirer of other writers than he did with his
books. For more than the ordinary working years of most men he was one
of the chief "readers" for a large London publishing house. To him
were submitted the manuscripts of new novels, and it was his privilege
to recognize the genius of Thomas Hardy, of the author of _The Story
of an African Farm_ and other now famous English novelists.

Meredith was a singularly acute critic of the work of others, but when
he came to write himself he cast his thoughts in a style that has been
the despair of many admirers. In this he resembled Browning, who never
would write verse that was easy reading. Meredith's thought is usually
clear, yet his brilliant but erratic mind was impelled to clothe this
thought in the most bizarre garments. Literary paradox he loved; his
mind turned naturally to metaphor, and despite the protests of his
closest friends he continued to puzzle and exasperate the public. He
who could have written the greatest novels of his age merely wrote
stories which serve to illustrate his theories of life and conduct. No
man ever put more real thought into novels than he; none had a finer
eye for the beauties of nature or the development of character. But he
had no patience to develop his men and women in the clear, orthodox
way. He imagined that the ordinary reader could follow his lightning
flashes of illumination, his piling up of metaphor on metaphor, and
the result is that many are discouraged by his methods, just as nine
readers out of ten are wearied when they attempt to read Browning's
longer poems. His kinship to Browning is strong in style and in
method of thought, in his way of leaping from one conclusion to
another, in his elimination of all the usual small connecting words
and in his liberties with the language. He seemed to be writing for
himself, not for the general public, and he never took into account
the slower mental processes of those not endowed with his own vivid
imagination.

  [Illustration: GEORGE MEREDITH WITH HIS DAUGHTER AND
  GRANDCHILDREN--FROM A PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN SHORTLY BEFORE HIS DEATH]

Meredith's life was that of a scholar; it contained few exciting
episodes. He was of Welsh and Irish stock. At an early age he was sent
to Germany, where he remained at a Moravian school until he was
fifteen. He then returned to England to study law, but he never
practiced it. For a number of years he was a regular contributor to
the London MORNING POST, and in 1866 he acted as correspondent during
the Austro-Italian war. For many years he served as chief reader and
literary adviser to Chapman & Hall, the English publishers, and in
that capacity he showed an insight that led to the development of many
authors whose first work was crude and unpromising. Meredith himself
began his literary career with _The Shaving of Shagpat_, a series of
Oriental tales the central idea of which is the overcoming of
established evil. Shagpat stands for any evil or superstition, and
Shibli Bagarag, the hero, is the reformer. This book, with its wealth
of metaphor, opened the door for Meredith, but he did not score a
success until he wrote _The Ordeal of Richard Feverel_, two years
later. Despite its faults, this is his greatest book, and it is the
one which readers should begin with. It is overloaded with aphorism in
the famous "Pilgrim's Scrip," which is a diary kept by Sir Austin, the
father of Richard. The boy is trained to cut women out of his life,
and just when the father's theory seems to have succeeded Richard
meets and falls in love with Lucy, and the whole towering structure
founded on the "Pilgrim's Scrip" falls into ruin. The scene in which
Richard and Lucy meet is one of the great scenes in English fiction,
in which Meredith's passionate love of nature serves to bring out the
natural love of the two young people. Earth was all greenness in the
eyes of these two lovers, and nature served only to deepen the love
that they saw in each other's gaze and felt with thrilling force in
each other's kisses. But even stronger that this scene is that last
terrible chapter, in which Richard returns to his home and refuses to
stay with Lucy and her child. Stevenson declared that this parting
scene was the strongest bit of English since Shakespeare. It certainly
reaches great heights of exaltation, and in its simplicity it reveals
what miracles Meredith could work when he allowed his creative
imagination full play.

Another story which is usually bracketed with this is _Diana of the
Crossways_. This great novel was founded on a real incident in English
history of Meredith's time. Diana Warwick was drawn from Caroline
Norton, one of the three beautiful and brilliant granddaughters of
Sheridan, author of _The School for Scandal_. Her marriage was
disastrous, and her husband accused her of infidelity with Lord
Melbourne, Prime Minister at the time. His divorce suit caused a great
scandal, but it resulted in her vindication. Then later she was
accused of betraying to a writer on the TIMES the secret that Sir
Robert Peel had decided to repeal the corn laws. This secret had been
confided to her by Sidney Herbert, one of her admirers. Meredith's
novel, in which the results of Diana's treachery were brought out,
resulted in a public inquiry into the charge against Caroline
Norton, which found that she was innocent. But the fact that Meredith
used such an incident as the climax of his story gave _Diana of the
Crossways_ an enormous vogue, and did much to bring the novelist into
public favor.

  [Illustration: FLINT COTTAGE, BOXHILL, THE HOME OF GEORGE
  MEREDITH--HIS WRITING WAS DONE IN A SMALL SWISS CHALET IN THE
  GARDEN]

No more brilliant woman than Diana has ever been drawn by Meredith,
but despite the art of her creator it is impossible for the reader to
imagine her selling for money a great party secret which had been
whispered to her by the man she loved. She was too keen a woman to
plead, as Diana pleaded, that she did not recognize the importance of
this secret, for the defense is cut away by her admission that she was
promised thousands of pounds by the newspaperman at the very time that
her extravagances had loaded her with debts.

Space is lacking here to do more than mention three or four of
Meredith's other novels that are fine works of art. These are _Rhoda
Fleming_, _Sandra Belloni_, _Evan Harrington_ and _The Egoist_. Each
is a masterpiece in its way; each is full of human passion, yet tinged
with a philosophy that lifts up the novels to what Meredith himself
called "honorable fiction, a fount of life, an aid to life, quick with
our blood." The novel to him was a means of showing man's spiritual
nature, "a soul born active, wind-beaten, but ascending."

A score of novels Meredith wrote in his long life. The work of his
later years was not happy. _The Amazing Marriage_ and _Lord Ormont and
His Aminta_ are mere shadows of his earlier work, with all his old
mannerisms intensified. But if you like Richard and Diana, then you
can enlarge your acquaintance with Meredith to your own exceeding
profit, for he is one of the great masters of fiction, who used the
novel merely to preach his doctrine of the richness and fulness of
human life if we would but see it with his eyes.



STEVENSON PRINCE OF MODERN STORY-TELLERS

    HIS STORIES OF ADVENTURE AND HIS BRILLIANT ESSAYS--"TREASURE
    ISLAND" AND "DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE" HIS MOST POPULAR BOOKS.


It is as difficult to criticise the work of Robert Louis Stevenson as
it is to find faults in the friend that you love as a brother. For
with all his faults, this young Scotchman with his appealing charm
disarms criticism. Nowhere in all literature may one find his like for
warming the heart unless it be Charles Lamb, of gracious memory, and
the secret of this charm is that Stevenson remained a child to the end
of his days, with all a child's eagerness for love and praise, and
with all a child's passion for making believe that his puppets are
real flesh and blood people. When such a nature is endowed with
consummate skill in the use of words, then one gets the finest, if not
the greatest, of creative artists.

In sheer technical skill Stevenson stands head and shoulders above all
the other literary craftsmen of his day; but this skill was not used
to refine his meaning until it wearied the reader, as in the case of
Henry James, nor was it used to bewilder him with the richness of his
resources, as was too often the case with George Meredith. With
Stevenson, style had actually become the man; he could not write the
simplest article in any other than a highly finished literary way.
Witness the amazingly eloquent defense of Father Damien which he
dashed off in a few hours and read to his wife and his stepson before
the ink was dry on the sheets.

Above all other things Stevenson was a great natural story-teller.
With him the story was the main consideration, yet in some of his
short tales such as _Markheim_, or _A Lodging for the Night_, or _The
Sire de Maletroit's Door_, the story itself merely serves as a thread
upon which he has strung the most remarkable analysis of a man's soul.
He has the distinction of having written in _Treasure Island_ the best
piratical story of the last century. If he could have maintained the
high level of the opening chapter he would have produced a work
worthy to rank with _Robinson Crusoe_. As it is, he created two
villains, the blind man Pew and John Silver, who are absolutely unique
in literature. The blind pirate in his malevolent fury is a creature
that chills the heart, while Silver is a cheerful villain who murders
with a smile. In _Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde_ Stevenson has aroused that
sense of mystery and horror which springs from the spectacle of the
domination of an evil spirit over a nature essentially kind and good.

Stevenson came of a race of Scotch men of affairs. His grandfather was
the most distinguished lighthouse builder of his day and his father
gained prominence in the same work that demands the highest
engineering skill with great executive capacity. Stevenson himself
would have been an explorer or a soldier of fortune had he been born
with the physical strength to fit his mental endowments. His childhood
was so full of sickness that it reads like a hospital report. His life
was probably preserved by the assiduous care and rare devotion of an
old Scotch nurse, Alison Cunningham, whom he has immortalized in his
letters and in his _A Child's Garden of Verse_. The sickly boy was an
eager reader of everything that fell in his way in romance and
poetry. Later he devoted himself to systematic training of his powers
of observation and his great capacity for expressing his thoughts.

His youth was spent in migrations to the south in winter and in
efforts to thrive in Scotland's dour climate in the summer. His school
training was fitful and brief, but from the age of ten the boy had
been training himself in the field which he felt was to be his own.
His first literary work was essays and descriptive sketches for the
magazines. Then came short stories in which he revealed great
capacity. Recognition came very slowly. He was comparatively unknown
after he had produced such charming work as _An Inland Voyage_ and
_Travels With a Donkey_, not to mention the _New Arabian Nights_.
Popularity came with _Treasure Island_, written as a story for boys,
and the one work of Stevenson's in which his creative imagination does
not flag toward the end; but fame came only after the writing of _The
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde_--the most remarkable story of
a dual personality produced in the last century. After this he wrote a
long succession of stories, not one of which can be called a
masterpiece because of the author's inability to finish his novels as
he planned them. Lack of patience or want of sustained creative power
invariably made him cut short his novels or end them in a way that
exasperates the reader.

  [Illustration: ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON--THE AUTHOR'S INTIMATE
  ASSOCIATES PRONOUNCE THIS PHOTOGRAPH A PERFECT PRESENTATION OF HIS
  MOST TYPICAL EXPRESSION]

Some months Stevenson spent in California, but this State, with its
romantic history and its singular scenic beauty, appeared to have
little influence on his genius. In fact, locality seemed not to color
the work of his imagination. His closing years were spent in Somoa, a
South Sea Island paradise, in which he reveled in the primitive
conditions of life and recovered much of his early zest in physical
life. Yet his best work in those last years dealt not with the
palm-fringed atolls of the Pacific, but with the bleak Scotch moors
which refused him a home. In his letters he dwells on the curious
obsession of his imagination by old Scotch scenes and characters, and
on the day of his death he dictated a chapter of _Weir of Hermiston_,
a romance of the picturesque period of Scotland which had in it the
elements of his best work.

It is idle to deny that Stevenson appeals only to a limited audience.
Despite his keen interest in all kinds of people, he lacked that
sympathetic touch which brings large sales and wide circulation. About
the time of his death his admirers declared he would supersede Scott
or Dickens; but the seventeen years since his death have seen many
changes in literary reputations. Stevenson has held his own remarkably
well. As a man the interest in him is still keen, but of his works
only a few are widely read.

Among these the first place must be given to _Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde_, partly because of the profound impression made upon the public
mind by the dramatization of this tale, and partly because it appeals
strongly to the sense of the mystery of conflicting personality. Next
to this is _Treasure Island_, one of the best romances of adventure
ever written. Readers who cannot feel a thrill of genuine terror when
the blind pirate Pew comes tapping with his cane have missed a great
pleasure. One-legged John Silver, in his cheerful lack of all the
ordinary virtues, is a character that puts the fear of death upon the
reader. The opening chapter of this story is one of the finest things
in all the literature of adventure.

Of Stevenson's other work the two Scotch stories, _Kidnaped_ and
_David Balfour_, always seemed to me to be among his best. The
chapter on the flight of David and Allan across the moor, the contest
in playing the pipes and the adventures of David and Catriona in
Holland--these are things to read many times and enjoy the more at
every reading. Stevenson, like Jack London, is a writer for men; he
could not draw women well, When he brings one in there is usually an
end of stirring adventure, just as London spoiled _The Sea Wolf_ with
his literary heroine.

  [Illustration: STEVENSON'S HOME AT VALIMA, SAMOA, LOOKING TOWARD
  VAEA]

Of Stevenson's short stories the finest are _The Pavilion on the
Links_, a tale of Sicilian vengeance and English love that is full of
haunting mystery and the deadly fear of unknown assassins; _Markheim_,
a brilliant example of this author's skill in laying bare the conflict
of a soul with evil and its ultimate triumph; _The Sire de Maletroit's
Door_, a vivid picture of the cruelty and the autocratic power of a
great French noble of the fifteenth century, and _A Lodging for the
Night_, a remarkable defense of his life by the vagabond poet, Villon.
Other short stories by Stevenson are worth careful study, but if you
like these I have mentioned you will need no guide to those which
strike your fancy.

The vogue of Stevenson's essays will last as long as that of his
romances; for he excelled in this literary art of putting his
personality into familiar talks with his reader. He ranks with Lamb
and Thackeray, Washington Irving and Donald G. Mitchell. Read those
fine short sermons, _Pulvis et Umbra_ and _Aes Triplex_, the latter
with its eloquent picture of sudden death in the fulness of power
which was realized in Stevenson's own fate. Read _Books Which Have
Influenced Me_, _A Gossip on Romance_ and _Talk and Talkers_. They are
unsurpassed for thought and feeling and for brilliancy of style.

But above everything looms the man himself--a chronic invalid, who
might well have pleaded his weakness and constant pains as an excuse
for idleness and railings against fate. Stoic courage in the strong is
a virtue, but how much greater the cheerful courage that laughs at
sickness and pain! Stevenson writing in a sickbed stories and essays
that help one to endure the blows of fate is a spectacle such as this
world has few to offer. So the man's life and work have come to be a
constant inspiration to those who are faint-hearted, a call to arms of
all one's courage and devotion.



THOMAS HARDY AND HIS TRAGIC TALES OF WESSEX

    GREATEST LIVING WRITER OF ENGLISH FICTION--BECAUSE OF
    RESENTMENT OF HARSH CRITICISMS THE PROSE MASTER TURNS TO
    VERSE.


No one will question the assertion that Thomas Hardy is the greatest
living English writer of fiction, and the pity of it is that a man
with so splendid an equipment for writing novels of the first rank
should have failed for many years to give the world any work in the
special field in which he is an acknowledged master. Hardy seems to
have revolted from certain harsh criticism of his last novel, _Jude
the Obscure_, and to have determined that he would write no more
fiction for an unappreciative world. So he has turned to the writing
of verse, in which he barely takes second rank. It is one of the
tragedies of literature to think of a man of Hardy's rank as a
novelist, who might give the world a second _Tess_ or _The Return of
the Native_, contenting himself with a ponderous poem like _The
Dynasts_, or wasting his powers on minor poems containing no real
poetry.

Hardy's best novels are among the few in English fiction that can be
read again and again, and that reveal at every reading some fresh
beauties of thought or style. The man is so big, so genuine and so
unlike all other writers that his work must be set apart in a class by
itself. Were he not so richly endowed his pessimism would be fatal,
for the world does not favor the novelist who demands that his fiction
should be governed by the same hard rules that govern real life. In
the work of most novelists we know that whatever harsh fate may befall
the leading characters the skies will be sunny before the story
closes, and the worthy souls who have battled against malign destiny
will receive their reward. Not so with Hardy. We know when we begin
one of his tales that tragedy is in store for his people. The dark
cloud of destiny soon obscures the heavens, and through the lowering
storm the victims move on to the final scene in which the wreck of
their fortunes is completed.

  [Illustration: THOMAS HARDY--A PORTRAIT WHICH BRINGS OUT
  STRIKINGLY THE MAN OF CREATIVE POWER, THE ARTIST, THE PHILOSOPHER
  AND THE POET]

Literary genius can work no greater miracle than this--to make the
reader accept as a transcript of life stories in which generous,
unselfish people are dealt heavy blows by fate, while the mean-souled,
sordid men and women often escape their just deserts. Hardy is not
unreligious; he is simply and frankly pagan. Yet he differs from the
classical writers in the fact that he is keenly alive to all the
strong influences of nature on a sympathetic mind, and he is also a
believer in the power of romantic love.

No one has ever equaled Hardy in making the reader feel the living
power of trees and other objects of nature. You can not escape the
influence of his scenic effects. These are never theatrical--in fact
they seem to form a vital part of every story. The scenes of all his
novels are laid in his native Dorsetshire, which he has thinly
disguised under the old Saxon name of Wessex. In _Far From the Madding
Crowd_ Hardy first demonstrated the tremendous possibilities of rural
scenes as a vital background for a story, but in _The Return of the
Native_ he actually makes Egdon heath the most absorbing feature of
the book. All the characters seem to take life and coloring from this
heath, which has in it the potency of transforming characters and of
wrecking lives. And in _Tess_ the peaceful, rural scenes appear to
accentuate the tragedy of the heroine's unavailing struggles against a
fate that was worse than death.

Hardy's parents intended him for the church, but the boy probably gave
some indications of his pagan cast of mind, for they finally
compromised by apprenticing him to an ecclesiastical architect. In
this calling the youth worked with sympathy and ability; the results
of this training may be seen in the perfection of his plots and in his
fondness for graphic description of churches and other picturesque
buildings. One curious feature of this training may be seen in Hardy's
sympathy and reverence for any church building. As Professor William
Lyon Phelps very aptly says of Hardy: "No man to-day has less respect
for God and more devotion to his house."

The antipathy of Hardy to any kind of publicity has kept the facts of
his life in the background, but it is an open secret that much of the
longing of Jude for a college education was drawn from his own
boyhood. It is also a matter of record that as a boy he served as
amanuensis for many servant maids, writing the love letters which
they dictated. In this way, before he knew the real meaning of sex and
the significance of life he had obtained a deep insight into the
nature of women, which served him in good stead when he came to draw
his heroines. All his women are made up of mingled tenderness and
caprice, and though female critics of his work may claim that these
traits are over-drawn, no man ever feels like dissecting Hardy's
women, for the reason that they are so charmingly feminine.

One may fancy that Hardy took great delight in his architectural work,
for it required many excursions to old churches in Dorsetshire to see
whether they were worth restoring. When he was thirty-one Hardy
decided to abandon architecture for fiction. His first novel,
_Desperate Remedies_, was crude, but it is interesting as showing the
novelist in his first attempts to reveal real life and character. His
second book, _Under the Greenwood Tree_, is a charming love story, and
_A Pair of Blue Eyes_ was a forerunner of his first great story, _Far
From the Madding Crowd_. It may have been the title, torn from a line
of Gray's _Elegy_, or the novelty of the tale, in which English
rustics were depicted as ably as in George Eliot's novels, that made
it appeal to the great public. Whatever the cause, the book made a
great popular hit. I can recall when Henry Holt brought it out in the
pretty Leisure Hour series in 1875. Three years later Hardy produced
his finest work, _The Return of the Native_. He followed this with
more than a dozen novels, among which may be mentioned _The Mayor of
Casterbridge_, _The Woodlanders_, _Tess of the d'Urbervilles_, and
_Jude the Obscure_.

In taking up Hardy one should begin with _Far From the Madding Crowd_.
The story of Bathsheba Everdene's relations with her three lovers,
Sergeant Troy, Boldwood and Gabriel Oak, moves one at times to some
impatience with this charming woman's frequent change of mind, but she
would not be so attractive or so natural if she were not so full of
caprice. His women all have strong human passion, but they are
destitute of religious faith. They adore with rare fervor the men whom
they love. In this respect Bathsheba is like Eustacia, Tess, Marty
South or Lady Constantine. Social rank, education or breeding does not
change them. Evidently Hardy believes women are made to charm and
comfort man, not to lead him to spiritual heights, where the air is
thin and chill and kisses have no sweetness.

In his first novel Hardy lightened the tragedy of life with rare
comedy. These comic interludes are furnished by a choice collection of
rustics, who discuss the affairs of the universe and of their own
township with a humor that is infectious. In this work Hardy surpasses
George Eliot and all other novelists of his day, just as he surpasses
them all in such wholesome types of country life as Giles Winterbourne
and Marty South of _The Woodlanders_. No pathos is finer than Marty's
unselfish love for the man who cannot see her own rare spirit, and
nothing that Hardy has written is more powerful than Marty's lament
over the grave of Giles:

    "Now, my own, my love," she whispered, "you are mine, and on'y
    mine, for she has forgot 'ee at last, although for her you
    died. But I--whenever I get up I'll think of 'ee, and whenever
    I lie down I'll think of 'ee. Whenever I plant the young
    larches I'll think none can plant as you planted; and whenever
    I split a gad, and whenever I turn the cider-wring, I'll say
    none could do it like you. If I forget your name, let me
    forget home and heaven! But, no, no, my love, I never can
    forget 'ee, for you was a good man and did good things!"

_The Return of the Native_ is generally regarded as Hardy's finest
work. Certainly in this novel of passion and despair he has conjured
up elements that speak to the heart of every reader. The hand of fate
clutches hold of all the characters. When Eustacia fails to go to the
door and admit her husband's mother she sets in motion events that
bring swift ruin upon her as well as upon others. At every turn of the
story the somber Egdon heath looms in the background, more real than
any character in the romance, a sinister force that seems to sweep the
characters on to their doom. _Tess_ is more appealing than any other
of Mr. Hardy's works, but it is hurt by his desire to prove that the
heroine was a good woman in spite of her sins against the social code.
What has also given this work a great vogue is the splendid acting of
Mrs. Fiske in the play made from the novel.

In _Jude the Obscure_ Hardy had a splendid conception, but he
developed it in a morbid way, bringing out the animalism of the hero's
wife and forcing upon the reader his curious ideas about marriage.

But above and beyond everything else Thomas Hardy is one of the
greatest story tellers the world has ever seen. You may take up any
of his works and after reading a chapter you have a keen desire to
follow the tale to the end, despite the fact that you feel sure the
end will be tragic. Nothing is forced for effect; the whole story
moves with the simplicity of fate itself, and the characters, good and
bad, are swept on to their doom as though they were caught in the rush
of waters that go over Niagara falls. Hardy's style is clear, simple,
direct, and abounds in Biblical allusions and phrases. In nature study
Hardy's novels are a liberal education, for beyond any other author of
the last century he has brought out the beauty and the significance of
tree and flower, heath and mountain. They may be read many times, and
at each perusal new beauties will be discovered to reward the reader.



KIPLING'S BEST SHORT STORIES AND POEMS

    TALES OF EAST INDIAN LIFE AND CHARACTER--IDEAL TRAINING OF THE
    GENIUS THAT HAS PRODUCED SOME OF THE BEST LITERARY WORK OF OUR
    DAY.


Rudyard Kipling cannot be classified with any writer of his own age or
of any literary age in the past. His tremendous strength, his visual
faculty, even his mannerisms, are his own. He has written too much for
his own fame, but although the next century will discard nine-tenths
of his work, it will hold fast to the other tenth as among the best
short stories and poems that our age produced. Kipling is essentially
a short-story writer; not one of his longer novels has any real plot
or the power to hold the reader's interest to the end. _Kim_, the best
of his long works, is merely a series of panoramic views of Indian
life and character, which could be split up into a dozen short stories
and sketches.

  [Illustration: RUDYARD KIPLING A STRIKING LIKENESS OF THE AUTHOR
  IN A CHARACTERISTIC POSE]

But in the domain of the short story Kipling is easily the first great
creative artist of his time. No one approaches him in vivid
descriptive power, in keen character portraiture, in the faculty of
making a strange and alien life as real to us as the life we have
always known. And in some of his more recent work, as in the story of
the two young Romans in _Puck of Pook's Hill_, Kipling reaches rare
heights in reproducing the romance of a bygone age. In these tales of
ancient Britain the poet in Kipling has full sway and his visual power
moves with a freedom that stamps clearly and deeply every image upon
the reader's mind.

The first ten years of Kipling's literary activity were given over to
a wonderful reproduction of East Indian life as seen through
sympathetic English eyes. Yet the sympathy that is revealed in
Kipling's best sketches of native life in India is never tinged with
sentiment. The native is always drawn in his relations to the
Englishman; always the traits of revenge or of gratitude or of
dog-like devotion are brought out. Kipling knows the East Indian
through and through, because in his childhood he had a rare
opportunity to watch the native. The barrier of reserve, which was
always maintained against the native Englishman, was let down in the
case of this precocious child, who was a far keener observer than most
adults. And these early impressions lend an extraordinary life and
vitality to the sketches and stories on which Kipling's fame will
ultimately rest.

The early years of Kipling were spent in an ideal way for the
development of the creative literary artist. Born at Bombay in
December, 1865, he absorbed Hindustanee from his native nurse, and he
saw the native as he really is, without the guard which is habitually
put up in the presence of the Briton, even though this alien may be
held in much esteem. The son of John Lockwood Kipling, professor of
architectural sculpture in the British School of Art at Bombay, and of
a sister of Edward Burne-Jones, it was not strange that this boy
should have developed strong powers of imagination or that his mind
should have sought relief in literary expression.

The school days of Kipling were spent at Westward Ho, in Devon, where,
though he failed to distinguish himself in his studies, he established
a reputation as a clever writer of verse and prose. He also enjoyed
in these formative years the friendship and counsel of Burne-Jones,
and he had the use of several fine private libraries. His wide reading
probably injured his school standing, but it was of enormous benefit
to him in his future literary work. At seventeen young Kipling
returned to India, where he secured a position on the CIVIL AND
MILITARY GAZETTE of Lahore, where his father was principal of a large
school of arts.

The Anglo-Indian newspaper is not a model, but it afforded a splendid
field for the development of Kipling's abilities. He was not only a
reporter of the ordinary occurrences of his station, but he was
constantly called upon to write short sketches and poems to fill
certain corners in the paper, that varied in size according to the
number and length of the advertisements. Some of the best of his short
sketches and bits of verse were written hurriedly on the composing
stone to satisfy such needs. These sketches and poems he published
himself and sent them to subscribers in all parts of India, but though
their cleverness was recognized by Anglo-Indians, they did not appeal
to the general public. After five years' work at Lahore, Kipling was
transferred to the ALLAHABAD PIONEER, one of the most important of the
Anglo-Indian journals. For the weekly edition of this paper he wrote
many verses and sketches and also served as special correspondent in
various parts of India.

It was in 1889 that the PIONEER sent him on a tour of the world and he
wrote the series of letters afterwards reprinted under the title _From
Sea to Sea_. Kipling, like Stevenson, had to have a story to tell to
bring out all his powers; hence these letters are not among his best
work.

Vividly do I recall Kipling's visit to San Francisco. He came into the
CHRONICLE office and was keenly interested in the fine collections
which made this newspaper's library before the fire the most valuable
on this Coast, if not in the country. He was also much impressed with
the many devices for securing speed in typesetting and other
mechanical work. The only feature of his swarthy face that impressed
one was his brilliant black eyes, which behind his large glasses,
seemed to note every detail. He talked very well, but although he made
friends among local newspapermen, he was unsuccessful in selling any
of his stories to the editors of the Sunday supplements. He soon
went to New York, but there also he failed to dispose of his stories.

  [Illustration: RUDYARD KIPLING FROM A CARTOON BY W. NICHOLSON]

Finally Kipling reached London in September, 1889, and after several
months of discouragement, he induced a large publishing house to bring
out _Plain Tales From the Hills_. It scored an immediate success. Like
Byron, the unknown young writer awoke to find himself famous; magazine
editors clamored for his stories at fancy prices and publishers
eagerly sought his work. It may be said to Kipling's credit that he
did not utilize this opportunity to make money out of his sudden
reputation. He doubtless worked over many old sketches, but he put his
best into whatever he gave the public. He married the sister of
Wolcott Balestier, a brilliant American who became very well known in
London as a publishers' agent, and after Balestier's death Kipling
moved to his wife's old home in Brattleboro, Vermont, where he built a
fine country house; but constant trouble with a younger brother of his
wife caused him to abandon this American home and go back to England,
where he set up his lares at Rottingdean, in Surrey. There he has
remained, averaging a book a year, until now he has over twenty-five
large volumes to his credit. In 1907 Kipling was given the Nobel prize
"for the best work of an idealist tendency."

In reading Kipling it is best to begin with some of the tales written
in his early life, for these he has never surpassed in vigor and
interest. Take, for instance, _Without Benefit of Clergy_, _The Man
Who Was_, _The Drums of the Fore and Aft_, _The Man Who Would Be King_
and _Beyond the Pale_. These stories all deal with Anglo-Indian life,
two with the British soldier and the other three with episodes in the
lives of British officials and adventurers.

_The Man Who Would Be King_, the finest of all Kipling's tales of
Anglo-Indian life and adventure, is the story of the fatal ambition of
Daniel Dravot, told by the man who accompanied him into the wildest
part of Afghanistan. Daniel made the natives believe that he was a god
and he could have ruled them as a king had he not foolishly become
enamored of a native beauty. This girl was prompted by a native
soothsayer to bite Dravot in order to decide whether he was a god or
merely human. The blood that she drew on his neck was ample proof of
his spurious claims and the two adventurers were chased for miles
through a wild country. When captured Daniel is forced to walk upon a
bridge, the ropes of which are then cut, and his body is hurled
hundreds of feet down upon the rocks. The story of the survivor, who
escaped after crucifixion, is one of the ghastliest tales in all
literature.

Other tales that Kipling has written of Indian life are scarcely
inferior to these in strange, uncanny power. One of the weirdest
relates the adventures of an army officer who fell into the place
where those who have been legally declared dead, but who have
recovered, pass their lives. As a picture of hell on earth it has
never been surpassed. Another of Kipling's Indian tales that is worth
reading is _William the Conqueror_, a love story that has a background
of grim work during the famine year.

One of Kipling's claims to fame is that he has drawn the British
soldier in India as he actually lives. His _Soldiers Three_--Mulvaney,
the Irishman, Ortheris, the cockney, and Learoyd, the Yorkshireman--are
so full of real human nature that they delight all men and many women.
Mulvaney is the finest creation of Kipling, and most of his stories
are brimful of Irish wit. Of late years Kipling has written some fine
imaginative stories, such as _The Brushwood Boy_, _They_ and _An
Habitation Enforced_. He has also revealed his genius in such tales of
the future as _With the Night Mail_, a remarkably graphic sketch of a
voyage across the Atlantic in a single night in a great aeroplane.
Another side of Kipling's genius is seen in his _Jungle Stories_, in
which all the wild animals are endowed with speech. Mowgli, the boy who
is suckled by a wolf, is a distinct creation, and his adventures are
full of interest. Compare these stories with the work of Thompson-Seton
and you get a good idea of the genius of Kipling in making real the
savage struggle for life in the Indian jungle.

Of Kipling's long novels _The Naulakha_ ranks first for interest of
plot, but _Kim_ is the best because of its series of wonderful
pictures of East Indian life and character. _Captains Courageous_ is a
story of Cape Cod fishing life, with an improbable plot but much good
description of the perils and hardships of the men who seek fortune on
the fishing banks.

As a poet Kipling appeals strongly to men who love the life of action
and adventure in all parts of the world. In his _Departmental
Ditties_ he has painted the life of the British soldier and the
civilian in India, and his _Danny Dever_, his _Mandalay_ and others
which sing themselves have passed into the memory of the great public
that seldom reads any verse unless it be the words of a popular song.
The range of his verse is very wide, whether it is the superb imagery
in _The Last Chantey_ or the impressive Calvanism of _McAndrew's
Hymn_. His _Recessional_, of course, is known to everyone. It is one
of the finest bits of verse printed in the last twenty years.

Kipling, in spite of his many volumes, is only forty-six years old,
and he may be counted on to do much more good work.

If he turns to historical fiction he may yet do for English history
what the author of _Waverley_ has done for the history of Scotland.
Certainly he has the finest creative imagination of his age; in
whatever domain it may work it is sure to produce literature that will
live.



_Bibliography_

    _Short Notes of Both Standard and Other Editions, With Lives,
    Sketches and Reminiscences._


_These bibliographical notes on the authors discussed in this volume
are brief because the space allotted to them was limited. They are
designed to mention the first complete editions--the standard
editions--as well as the lives of authors, estimates of their works
and sketches and personal reminiscences. A mass of good material on
the great writers of the Victorian age is buried in the bound volumes
of English and American reviews and magazines. The best guide to these
articles is Poole's "Index."_

_The most valuable single volumes to one who wishes to make a study of
eighteenth and nineteenth century English writers are: "A Study of
English Prose Writers" and "A Study of English and American Poets" by
J. Scott Clark. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Price, $2 net a
volume.) These two volumes will give any one who wishes to make a
study of the authors I have discussed the material for a mastery of
their works. Under full biographical sketches the author gives
estimates of the best critics, extracts from their works and a full
bibliography, including the best magazine articles._


MACAULAY

    The editions of Macaulay are so numerous that it is useless to
    attempt to enumerate them. A standard edition was collected in
    1866 by his sister, Lady Trevelyan. Four volumes are devoted
    to the history and three to the essays and lives of famous
    authors which he wrote for the _Encyclopedia Britannica_.
    Macaulay's essays, which have enjoyed the greatest popularity
    in this country, may be found in many forms. A one-volume
    edition, containing the principal essays, is issued by several
    publishers. Sir George Otto Trevelyan's _The Life and Letters
    of Lord Macaulay_ in two volumes (1876) is a more interesting
    biography than Lockhart's _Scott_. The best single-volume
    estimate of Macaulay is J. Cotter Morison's _Macaulay_ in the
    English Men of Letters series. Good short critical sketches of
    Macaulay and his work may be found in Sir Leslie Stephen's
    _Hours in a Library_, volume 2, and in Lord Morley's _Critical
    Miscellanies_, volume 2.


SCOTT

    The edition of Scott, which was his own favorite, was issued
    in Edinburgh in forty-eight volumes, from 1829 to 1833. Scott
    wrote new prefaces and notes for this edition. Another is the
    Border edition, with introductory essays and notes by Andrew
    Lang (forty-eight volumes, 1892-1894). The recent editions of
    Scott are numerous for, despite all criticisms of his careless
    style, he holds his own with the popular favorites of the day.
    Of his poems a good edition was edited by William Minto in two
    volumes, in 1888. _The Life of Scott_ by his son-in-law, J.G.
    Lockhart, is the standard work. This was originally issued in
    seven volumes but Lockhart was induced to condense it into one
    volume, which gives about all that the ordinary reader cares
    for. This may be found in Everyman's library. Scott's
    _Journal_ and his _Familiar Letters_, both edited by David
    Douglas, contain much interesting material. The best short
    lives of Scott are by R.H. Hutton in the English Men of
    Letters series and by George Saintsbury in the Famous Scots
    series. Among the best sketches and estimates of Scott are by
    Andrew Lang in _Letters to Dead Authors_; Sir Leslie Stephen
    in _Hours in a Library_; Conan Doyle in _Through the Magic
    Door_; Walter Bagehot in _Literary Studies_; Stevenson in
    _Gossip on Romance_ and in _Memoirs and Portraits_, and S.R.
    Crockett in _The Scott Country_. _Abbotsford_, by Washington
    Irving, gives the best personal sketches of Scott at home.


CARLYLE

    Carlyle's _Essays_ and his _French Revolution_, upon which his
    fame will chiefly rest, are issued in many editions. It would
    be well if his longer works could be condensed into single
    volumes by competent hands. A revised edition of his
    _Frederick_ was issued in one short volume. For the facts of
    Carlyle's life, the best book is his own _Reminiscences
    issued_ in 1881 and edited by Froude, who was his literary
    executor with the full power to publish or suppress. Froude
    had so great an antipathy to what Carlyle himself called
    "mealy-mouthed biography" that he erred on the side of extreme
    frankness. In _Thomas Carlyle--The First Forty Tears of His
    Life_, _Life in London_ and _Letters of Jane Welsh Carlyle_,
    Froude permitted the publication of many malicious comments by
    Carlyle on his famous contemporaries. These and morbid
    expressions of remorse by Carlyle over imaginary neglect of
    his wife caused a great revulsion of public sentiment and the
    fame of Carlyle was clouded for ten years. Finally, after much
    acrimonious controversy, the truth prevailed and Carlyle came
    into his own again.

    Among the best books on Carlyle are Lowell's _Essays_, volume
    2; David Masson, _Carlyle Personally and in His Writings_;
    E.P. Whipple, _Essays and Reviews_; Emerson, _English Traits_;
    Lowell, _My Study Windows_; Morley, _English Literature in the
    Reign of Victoria_; Greg, _Literary and Social Judgments_;
    Moncure Conway, _Carlyle_, and Henley, _Views and Reviews_.

    Among magazine and review articles may be mentioned George
    Eliot in WESTMINSTER REVIEW, volume 57; John Burroughs in
    ATLANTIC MONTHLY, volume 51; Emerson in SCRIBNER'S MAGAZINE,
    volume 22; Froude in NINETEENTH CENTURY, volume 10, and Leslie
    Stephen in CORNHILL, volume 44.


DE QUINCEY

    It is a curious fact that the first complete edition of De
    Quincey's works was issued in Boston in twenty volumes
    (1850-1855) by Ticknor & Fields. Much of the material was
    gathered from English periodicals, as De Quincey was the
    greatest magazine writer of his age. This was followed by the
    Riverside edition in twelve volumes (Boston, 1877). The
    standard English edition is _The Collected Writings of Thomas
    De Quincey_, fourteen volumes, edited by David Masson
    (1889-1890). A.H. Japp wrote the standard English _Life of De
    Quincey_ (London, two volumes, 1879). The best short life is
    Masson's in the English Men of Letters series. George
    Saintsbury gives a good sketch of De Quincey in _Essays in
    English Literature_. Other estimates may be found in the
    following works: Leslie Stephen, _Hours in a Library_; H.A.
    Page, _De Quincey, His Life and Writings_ and in Mrs.
    Oliphant's _Literary History of England_.


LAMB

    Reprints of the _Essays of Elia_ have been very numerous. One
    of the best editions of Lamb's complete works was edited by
    E.V. Lucas in seven volumes, to which he added in 1905 _The
    Life of Charles Lamb_ in two volumes. Another is _Complete
    Works and Correspondence_, edited by Canon Ainger (London, six
    volumes). Ainger also wrote an excellent short life of Lamb
    for the English Men of Letters series. Hazlitt and Percy
    Fitzgerald have revised Thomas Noon Talfourd's standard
    _Letters of Charles Lamb, With a Sketch of His Life_. Among
    sketches of the life of Charles and Mary Lamb may be noted
    Barry Cornwall's _Charles Lamb--A Memoir_; Fitzgerald,
    _Charles Lamb: His Friends, His Haunts and His Books_; Walter
    Pater, _Appreciations_; R.H. Stoddard, _Personal
    Recollections_; Augustine Birrell, _Res Judicatæ_; Nicoll,
    _Landmarks of English Literature_; Talfourd, _Final Memorials
    of Charles Lamb_; Hutton, _Literary Landmarks of London_.


DICKENS

    The first collective edition of Dickens' works was issued in
    1847. The standard edition is that of Chapman & Hall, London,
    who were the original publishers of _Pickwick_. One of the
    best of the many editions of Dickens is the Macmillan Pocket
    edition with reproductions of the original covers of the
    monthly parts of the novels as they appeared, the original
    illustrations by Cruikshank, Leech, "Phiz" (Hablot Browne) and
    others, and valuable and interesting introductions by Charles
    Dickens the younger. Another good edition is in the World's
    Classics, with brilliant introductions by G.K. Chesterton. In
    buying an edition of Dickens it is well to get one with
    reproductions of the original illustrations, as these add much
    to the pleasure and interest of the novels.

    For ready reference to Dickens' works there is a _Dickens
    Dictionary_, giving the names of all characters and places in
    the novels, by G.A. Pierce, and another similar work by A.J.
    Philip. Mary Williams has also prepared a _Dickens
    Concordance_.

    Forster's _Life of Charles Dickens_, in three volumes, is the
    standard work, as Forster was closely connected with the
    novelist from the time he made his hit with _Pickwick_. George
    Gissing, the novelist, made an abridgment of Forster's _Life_
    in one volume, which is well done. Scores of shorter lives and
    sketches have been written. Among the best of these are Dr.
    A.W. Ward's _Charles Dickens_ in the English Men of Letters
    series; Taine's chapter on Dickens in his _History of English
    Literature_; Sir Leslie Stephen's article in the _Dictionary
    of National Biography_; Mrs. Oliphant's _The Victorian Age in
    English Literature_; F.G. Kitton's _Charles Dickens: His Life,
    Writings and Personality_. _The Letters_, edited by Miss
    Hogarth and Mary Dickens, are valuable for the light they
    throw on the novelist's character and work.

    In reminiscence of Dickens, the best books are Mary Dickens'
    _My Father as I Recall Him_; J.T. Fields' _In and Out of Doors
    With Charles Dickens_ and G. Dolby's _Charles Dickens as I
    Knew Him_, the last devoted to the famous reading tours.
    Edmund Yates, Anthony Trollope, James Payn, R.H. Haine and
    many others have written readable reminiscences.

    For the home life of Dickens and his haunts see F.G. Kitton's
    _The Dickens Country_; Thomas Fort's _In Kent With Charles
    Dickens_ and H.S. Ward's _The Real Dickens Land_. Of poems on
    Dickens' death the very best is Bret Harte's _Dickens in
    Camp_. _The Wisdom of Dickens_, compiled by Temple Scott, is a
    good collection of extracts.


THACKERAY

    Almost as many editions of Thackeray's works have been
    published as of Dickens' novels, and the reader in his
    selection must be guided largely by his own taste. In choosing
    an edition, however, always get one that contains Thackeray's
    own illustrations, as, though the drawing is frequently crude,
    the sketches are full of humor and help one to understand the
    author's conception of the characters. The best general
    edition is _The Biographical_, with introductions by his
    daughter, Mrs. Richmond Ritchie (London, 1897-1900). The
    Charterhouse edition of Thackeray in twenty-six volumes,
    published in England by Smith, Elder & Co. and in this country
    by Lippincott, is an excellent library set containing all the
    original illustrations.

    No regular biography of Thackeray has ever been written
    because of his expressed wish, but his daughter, Mrs. Richmond
    Ritchie, has supplied this lack with many sketches and
    introductions to various editions of her father's works.
    Anthony Trollope in his autobiography gives many charming
    glimpses of Thackeray but his sketch of Thackeray in the
    English Men of Letters series is not warmly appreciative.

    One of the best short estimates of Thackeray is Charles
    Whibley's _Thackeray_ (1905). Also valuable are sketches by
    Frederic Harrison in _Early Victorian Literature_; Brownell,
    _Early Victorian Masters_; Whipple, _Character and
    Characteristic Men_; R.H. Stoddard, _Anecdote Biography of
    Thackeray_; Andrew Lang, _Letters to Dead Authors_; G.T.
    Fields, _Yesterdays With Authors_; Jeaffreson, _Novels and
    Novelists_ and W.B. Jerrold, _The Best of All Good Company_.

    The reviews and magazines, especially in the last ten years,
    have abounded in articles on Thackeray. Among these the best
    have appeared in SCRIBNER'S MAGAZINE. A small volume, _The
    Sense and Sentiment of Thackeray_ (Harper's, 1909), gives
    numerous good extracts from the novels as well as from the
    essays.


CHARLOTTE BRONTË

    Smith, Elder & Co. of London were the publishers of _Jane
    Eyre_ and they also issued the first collected edition of
    Charlotte Brontë's works. This firm still publishes the
    standard English edition, the Haworth edition, with admirable
    introductions by Mrs. Humphrey Ward and with many
    illustrations from photographs of the places and people made
    memorable in Charlotte's novels. A good American edition is
    the Shirley edition, with excellent illustrations, many of
    them reproductions of rare daguerreotypes.

    The standard life of Charlotte Brontë until fifteen years ago
    was Mrs. Gaskell's, one of the most appealing stories in all
    literature. Clement K. Shorter's _Charlotte Brontë and Her
    Circle_ is now indispensable because of the mass of facts that
    the author has gathered in regard to the life of the sisters
    in the lonely parsonage and their remarkable literary
    development. Augustine Birrell has written a good short life
    of Charlotte, while A.M.F. Robinson (Mme. Duclaux) has a
    volume on Emily Brontë in the Famous Women series.

    T. Wemyss Reid was the first writer to make original research
    among the Brontë material and his book, _Charlotte Brontë--A
    Monograph_, paved the way for the exhaustive study of this
    strange family of genius by Clement Shorter. Other books that
    give much original material are _The Brontës in Ireland_, by
    Rev. Dr. William Wright, and _Charlotte Brontë and Her
    Sisters_, by Clement Shorter. Mr. Shorter also in _The
    Brontës--Life and Letters_ gives all of Charlotte's letters in
    the order of their dates.


GEORGE ELIOT

    The first collected edition of George Eliot's works was
    brought out in 1878-1880 in London and Edinburgh. Many
    editions have since appeared in England and in this country,
    the best one being the English Cabinet edition, published by
    A. & C. Black.

    The standard life of George Eliot is _George Eliot's Life as
    Related in Her Letters and Journals_, edited by her husband,
    J.W. Cross, who served for ten years as curate of Haworth.
    Leslie Stephen has written a remarkably good short life of
    George Eliot in the English Men of Letters series.

    Among critical articles on George Eliot may be mentioned Henry
    James in _Partial Portraits_; Mathilde Blind, _George Eliot_;
    Oscar Browning, _Life of George Eliot_ in Great Writers
    series; Dowden, _Studies in Literature_; Oscar Browning,
    _Great Writers_; Mayo W. Hazeltine, _Chats About Books_; R.H.
    Hutton, _Modern Guides of Religious Thought_; R.E. Cleveland,
    _George Eliot's Poetry_; Frederic Harrison, _The Choice of
    Books_ and Sydney Lanier, _The Development of the English
    Novel_.


RUSKIN

    The great edition of Ruskin is the Library edition by E.T.
    Cook and A. Wedderburn, begun in 1903. It is splendidly
    illustrated and is a superb specimen of book-making. English
    and American editors of Ruskin are numerous.

    The standard life of Ruskin is by W.G. Collingwood, his
    secretary and ardent disciple. One of his pupils, E.T. Cook,
    published _Studies in Ruskin_, which throws much light on his
    methods of teaching art. J.A. Hobson in _John Ruskin, Social
    Reformer_ discusses his economic and social teaching. Dr.
    Charles Waldstein of Cambridge in _The Work of John Ruskin_
    develops his art theories. Good critical studies may also be
    found in W.M. Rossetti's _Ruskin_ and Frederic Harrison's
    _Tennyson, Ruskin, Mill and Other Literary Estimates_; Justin
    McCarthy, _Modern Leaders_; Mary R. Mitford, _Recollections of
    a Literary Life_ and R.H. Hutton, _Contemporary Thought and
    Thinkers_.

    Among magazine articles may be noted W.J. Stillman in the
    CENTURY, volume 13; Charles Waldstein in HARPER'S, volume 18;
    Justin McCarthy in the GALAXY, volume 13, and Leslie Stephen
    in FRAZER'S, volumes 9 and 49.


TENNYSON

    The best edition of Tennyson is the Eversley in six volumes,
    published by the Macmillans and edited by his son Hallam,
    which contains a mass of notes left by the poet and many
    explanations of peculiar words and metaphors which the father
    gave to the son in discussing his work. This edition also
    gives the changes made by the poet in his constant revision of
    his works, some of which were not improvements.

    A mass of critical commentary and reminiscence has been
    published on Tennyson and his poetical work. Among the best of
    these volumes are _Tennyson, Ruskin and Mill_, by Frederic
    Harrison; _Tennyson and His Friends_, by Mrs. Richmond
    Ritchie; _The Homes and Haunts of Tennyson_, by Napier;
    _Tennyson, His Art and Relation to Modern Life_, by Stopford
    A. Brooke; _The Poetry of Tennyson_, by Henry Van Dyke; the
    chapter on Tennyson in Stedman's _Victorian Poets_; a
    commentary on Tennyson's _In Memoriam_ by Prof. A.C. Bradley;
    _Alfred Tennyson_, by Andrew Lang; _Views and Reviews_, by
    W.E. Henley; _Yesterdays With Authors_, by J.T. Fields; _The
    Victorian Age_, by Mrs. Oliphant. Dr. Henry Van Dyke
    contributed five articles on Tennyson to SCRIBNER'S MAGAZINE,
    volume 6.


BROWNING

    An enormous literature of comment, appreciation and
    interpretation has grown up around Browning, largely due to
    the work of various Browning societies in this country and in
    Europe. The London Browning Society especially has brought out
    many papers that will be of interest to Browning students.
    Other works are Arthur Symons, _Introduction to the Study of
    Browning_ (London, 1886); G.W. Cooke, _Browning Guide Book_
    (New York, 1901); Fotheringham, _Studies_ (London, 1898);
    Stedman, _Victorian Poets_; Prof. Hiram Corson, _Introduction
    to Browning_; George E. Woodberry, _Studies in Literature and
    Life_; Hamilton W. Mabie, _Essays in Literary
    Interpretation_; A. Birrell, _Obiter Dicta_; George
    Saintsbury, _Corrected Impressions_.

    The first edition of Browning's poems appeared in two volumes
    in 1849, a second in three volumes in 1863 and a third in six
    volumes in 1868. A revised edition containing all the poems
    was issued in sixteen volumes in 1888-1889. A fine complete
    edition in two volumes, edited by Augustine Birrell and F.G.
    Kenyon, was issued in 1896, and Smith, Elder & Co., London,
    brought out a two-volume edition in 1900. In this country the
    Riverside edition of _Browning's Poetical Works_ in six
    volumes, issued by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., and the Camberwell
    edition in twelve handy volumes, with notes by Charlotte
    Porter and Helen A. Clarke, published by Crowell, are valuable
    for Browning students.

    The standard life is _The Life and Letters of Robert
    Browning_, by Mrs. Sutherland Orr, but valuable are _The Love
    Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning_,
    issued by Browning's son in 1899. For Edmund Gosse's _Robert
    Browning--Personalia_ the poet supplied much of the material
    in notes. Good short sketches and estimates are Chesterton's
    _Browning_ in the English Men of Letters series and Waugh's
    _Robert Browning_.


GEORGE MEREDITH

    The standard edition of Meredith's works is the Boxhill
    edition in seventeen volumes, with photogravure frontispieces,
    issued in this country by the Scribners. The same text is used
    in the Pocket Edition in sixteen volumes, which does not
    include the unfinished novel, _Celt and Saxon_. A mass of
    comment on Meredith may be found in the English and American
    reviews and magazines, to which Poole's _Index_ furnishes the
    best guide.

    Mrs. M.S. Henderson, _George Meredith: Novelist, Poet,
    Reformer_; George Macaulay Trevelyan, _The Poetry and
    Philosophy of George Meredith_; John Lane, _Biography of
    George Meredith_, and R. Le Gallienne, _Characteristics of
    George Meredith_.


STEVENSON

    Robert Louis Stevenson's early work appeared in fugitive form
    in magazines and reviews and even after he had written _The
    New Arabian Nights_ and _Travels With a Donkey_ he was forced
    to see such excellent matter as _The Silverado Squatters_ cut
    up into magazine articles and more than half of it discarded.
    The vogue of Stevenson was greater in this country than in
    England until he had fully established his reputation. In 1878
    _An Inland Voyage_ appeared and in 1879 _Travels With a
    Donkey_, but it was not until 1883 that _Treasure Island_ made
    him well known. The standard edition of Stevenson is the
    Thistle edition, beautifully printed and illustrated, and
    issued at Edinburgh and New York, 1894-1898. _The Letters of
    Stevenson to His Family_, originally issued in 1899, have now
    been incorporated with _Vailima Letters_ and issued in four
    volumes. They are arranged chronologically, with admirable
    biographical commentary by Sydney Colvin, to whom a great part
    of them was written. Stevenson's personality was so attractive
    that a mass of reminiscence and comment has been produced
    since his death in 1894. The best books are Graham Balfour,
    _Life of Robert Louis Stevenson_; Walter Raleigh, _R.L.
    Stevenson_; Simpson, _Stevenson's Edinburgh Days_, and
    _Memoirs of Vailima_, by Isobel Strong and Lloyd Osbourne, the
    novelist's stepchildren. Henry James in _Partial Portraits_
    has a fine appreciation of Stevenson and _Robert Louis
    Stevenson in California_, by Katharine D. Osbourne is rich in
    reminiscence.


THOMAS HARDY

    Since 1895, Thomas Hardy has written no fiction. The standard
    edition of his works is published in this country by the
    Harpers. Recently this firm has issued Hardy in a convenient
    thin paper edition which may be slipped into the coat pocket.
    His first novel, _Desperate Remedies_, appeared in 1871 but it
    was not until the issue of _Far From the Madding Crowd_ in
    1874 that he gained popular fame. Many magazine articles have
    been written on the "corner of Dorsetshire" which Hardy calls
    Wessex. Good books on the Hardy country are _The Wessex of
    Romance_, by W. Sherren, and _The Wessex of Thomas Hardy_, by
    Windle.


KIPLING

    The standard edition of Kipling is the Outward Bound edition,
    published in this country by the Scribners. It contains a
    general introduction by the author and special prefaces to
    each volume, with illustrations from bas reliefs made by the
    novelist's father. Doubleday, Page & Co. are issuing a pocket
    edition of Kipling, on thin paper with flexible leather
    binding, which is very convenient. Any additional books will
    be added to each of these editions. Kipling has told of his
    early life in India and of his precocious literary activity in
    _My First Book_ (1894). Richard Le Gallienne made a study of
    the novelist in _Rudyard Kipling--A Criticism_ and Edmund
    Gosse in _Questions at Issue_ discusses his short stories.
    Prof. William Lyon Phelps in _Essays on Modern Novelists_ has
    a fine chapter on Kipling. Andrew Lang in _Essays in Little_
    treats of "Mr. Kipling's Stories" and Barrie has an
    appreciation in CONTEMPORARY REVIEW for March, 1891. A useful
    _Kipling Index_ is issued by Doubleday, Page & Co. All titles
    are indexed so that one may locate any story or character.



_Index_


A Blot on the 'Scutcheon, 108, 110, 113.

A Child's Garden of Verse, 125.

Adam Bede, 65, 76, 82, 84.

Addison, 58.

A Dissertation on Roast Pig, 41, 71.

A Dream of Fair Women, 99.

Adventures of Philip, The, 60.

Aes Triplex, 130.

Agnes Gray, 71.

A Gossip on Romance, 130.

A Lodging for the Night, 124, 129.

Alison Cunningham, 125.

Allahabad Pioneer, 144.

Amazing Marriage, The, 122.

An English Mail Coach, 31.

An Habitation Enforced, 148.

An Inland Voyage, 126.

Anglo-Indian Life, 146.

Antiquary, The, 18.

A Pair of Blue Eyes, 135.

Apostles, 99.

Arnold, 116.

Arthurian Legends, 101.

Ashburton, Lady, 25.

Ashby de la Zouch, 17.

Asolando, 108, 111.

A Soldier of France, 12.

Asolo, 113.

A Soul's Tragedy, 108, 110, 113.

A Tale of Two Cities, 53.

Austro-Italian War, 118.

A Window in Thrums, 39.


Balestier, Wolcott, 145.

Ballantyne, 16, 90.

Balzac, 12.

Balzac's Seraphita, 74.

Bank of England, 109.

Barrett, Elizabeth, 110.

Barrie, 39.

Bathsheba Everdene, 136.

Becket, 101.

Bells and Pomegranates, 109.

Beyond the Pale, 146.

Biblical Allusions, 139.

Bleak House, 54.

Blue Coat School, 44.

Boldwood, 136.

Boswell, 4.

Bray, Charles, of Coventry, 80.

Brantwood, 93.

Break, Break, Break, 105.

Brontë, Charlotte, XII, 66 to 72.

Brontë, Emily, 68.

Browning, Robert, XII, 97, 103, 106 to 115, 117, 118.

Browning, Mrs., 110.

Brushwood Boy, The, 148.

Bunyan, 28.

Burne-Jones, 142, 143.

Burns, 113.

Byron, 7, 98, 109, 145.


Cain, 98.

California, 127.

Calvanism, 149.

Cape Cod, 148.

Captains Courageous, 148.

Carlyle, Thomas, XII, XIII, 3, 4, 8, 20 to 30, 43, 52, 53, 93.

Casa Guidi Windows, 110.

Cervantes, 11.

Chapman & Hall, 118.

Charlotte, 68.

Child Angel, The, 45.

Childe Harold, 7, 90.

Choir Invisible, The, 85.

Christmas Carol, 51.

Christmas Story, 51.

Chronicle, 144.

Clive, 4, 9.

Cloister and the Hearth, The, 65.

Coleridge, 35, 42, 43.

Colombe's Birthday, 110, 113.

Colonel Newcome, 58.

Confessions of an English Opium Eater, 36.

Count Robert of Paris, 18.

Court of Chancery, 54.

Cricket on the Hearth, The, 51.

Croker, 4.

Cromwell, 24.

Cross, J.W., 82.

Crossing the Bar, 98, 101, 105, 113.

Crown of Wild Olives, The, 94.


Dale in the Alps, 94.

Daniel Deronda, 79, 82.

Daniel Dravot, 146.

Danny Dever, 149.

David and Allan, 129.

David and Catriona in Holland, 129.

David Balfour, 128.

David Copperfield, 53, 128.

David Warwick, 120.

Defoe, 62.

Departmental Ditties, 149.

De Quincey, Thomas, XII, 30 to 38, 45, 93.
  Autobiography, 31.
  Confessions, 31, 32.

Desperate Remedies, 135.

Dickens, Charles, XII, 13, 44, 47 to 55, 61, 128.

Dinah Morris, 84.

Diana of the Crossways, 115, 120, 121, 122.

Dombey and Son, 54.

Don Juan, 98.

Doyle, Conan, 12.

Dramatic Idylls, 111.

Dramatic Romances and Lyrics, 110.

Dream Children, XIV, 41, 45.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 125, 126, 128.

Drums of the Fore and Aft, The, 146.

Dynasts, The, 132.


East India Life, 141.

Edinburgh Review, 4, 23.

Egdon Heath, 133, 138.

Egoist, The, 121.

Eliot, George, XII, 52, 76 to 86, 136, 137.

Emerson, 27, 116.

English History, 120.

English Humorists, The, 60.

Enoch Arden, 101.

Esmond, 56.

Essays of Elia, 40, 43.

Eugenie Grandet, 12.

Eustacia, 136, 138.

Evan Harrington, 121.

Evelyn Hope, 113.


Far From the Madding Crowd, 133, 135, 136.

Father Damien, 124.

Felix Holt, 82.

Fifine at the Fair, 108, 111.

Fiske, Mrs., in Becky Sharp, 58, 138.

Flight of the Tartar Tribe, The, 31.

Fors Clavigera, 92.

Four Georges, The, 60.

Fra Lippo Lippi, 113.

Fraser's Magazine, 23.

Frederick the Great, 24.

French Revolution, The, 23, 27.

From Sea to Sea, 144.

Froude, 24.


Gabriel Oak, 136.

Gaelic Comment, 103.

Gaskell, Mrs., 70.

Gethsemane, XIV.

Giles Winterbourne, 137.

Goethe, 23, 26.

Goldsmith, 3.

Gray's Elegy, 135.

Great Hoggarty Diamond, The, 59.


Hallam, Alfred, 99.

Hallam, Arthur, 99, 100, 103.

Hardy, Thomas, XIII, 77, 115, 116, 131 to 140.

Harold, 101.

Hastings, Warren, 4, 9.

Heart of the Midlothian, The, 17, 18.

Henry Esmond, 60.

Herbert, Sidney, 120.

Heroes and Hero Worship, 22.

Herve Riel, 108.

History of England, 7.

Holt, Henry, 136.

Household Words and All the Year Round, 51.

Howells' Criticism of Thackeray, 62.

How They Brought the Good News, 108.


Idylls of the King, The, 96, 100, 104.

India, 102.

Indian Life, 140.

In Memoriam, 96, 98, 100, 103, 104.

Inn Album, The, 108, 111.

Irving, Washington, 130.

Ivanhoe, 17.


James, Henry, 115, 124.

Jane Eyre, 59, 66, 68, 71, 73.

Janet's Repentance, 81.

John Silver, 125, 128.

Johnson, 3.

Jude the Obscure, 131, 134, 136, 138.

Jungle Stories, 148.


Keats, 109.

Kidnaped, 128.

King Arthur, 104.

King's Treasures, 92.

Kim, 140, 148.

Kipling, John Lockwood, 142.

Kipling, Rudyard, XIII, 140 to 149.


Labor, 26.

Lacy, 113.

Lady Constantine, 136.

Lady Geraldine's Courtship, 110.

Lady Godiva, 100.

Lady of Shalott, The, 99.

Lady of the Lake, The, 7, 15.

Lahore, 144.

Lamb, Mary, 41, 42.

Lamb, Charles, XII, 35, 38 to 46, 123, 130.

Lamp of Sacrifice, 94.

Last Chantey, The, 149.

Last Essays of Elia, The, 45.

Last Ride, The, 108.

Lay of the Last Minstrel, The, 15.

Lays of Ancient Rome, 7.

Leader, Organ of the Free Thinkers, 81.

Learoyd, 147.

Leisure Hour Series, 136.

Lewes, George Henry, 78, 81, 82.

Lincolnshire, 98.

Lockhart, 16.

Locksley Hall, 96, 97, 100, 101, 103.

London, Jack, 129.

London Magazine, 43.

Lord Ormont and His Aminta, 122.

Lotus Eaters, The, 99.

Lovel, the Widower, 60.

Lucy, 119, 120.

Lyrical Poems of Robert Browning, by Dr. A.J. George, 112.


Macaulay, Thomas Babington, 3 to 11, 20.

Malory's Chronicle, 104.

Manchester Grammar School, 34.

Mandalay, 149.

Manfred, 98.

Man Who Was, The, 146.

Man Who Would be King, The, 146.

Margaret Ogilvie, 39.

Marion Evans, 79.

Markheim, 124, 129.

Marmion, 15.

Marty South, 136, 137.

Mason's Song, 26.

Maud, 97, 100.

Mayor of Casterbridge, The, 136.

McAndrew's Hymn, 149.

Melbourne, Lord, 120.

Men and Women, 108.

Meredith, George, XII, 115 to 123, 124.

Micah Clarke, 12.

Middle Ages, The, 99.

Middlemarch, 79, 82, 85.

Millais, 92.

Miller, Henry, in The Only Way, 53.

Mill on the Floss, The, 76, 82, 84.

Milnes, 99.

Milton, 9, 107.

Mitchell, 130.

Modern Painters, 87, 91, 93.

Monckton, 99.

Monte Cristo, 12.

Moravian School, 118.

Morning Post, London, 118.

Morte d' Arthur, 100.

Mowgli, 148.

Mrs. Battle's Opinion on Whist, 41, 45.

Mulvaney, the Irishman, 147.

Murder As One of the Fine Arts, 31, 35.

My Star, 113.

Mystery of Edwin Drood, The, 50.


Napoleon of Rhyme, 109.

Naulakha, The, 148.

New Arabian Nights, 126.

Newcomes, The, 60.

Newdigate Prize, 91.

Niagara Falls, 139.

Nicholas Nickleby, 50, 54.

Nobel Prize, 146.

Norton, Caroline, 120.


Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington, 105.

Old Curiosity Shop, 50.

Old Mortality, 18.

Oliver Twist, 50.

O Lyric Love, 108, 111, 114.

One Word More, 108, 111, 113.

Ordeal of Richard Feverel, The, 115, 119.

Our Mutual Friend, 54.

Oxford, 90.


Palace of Art, The, 99.

Past and Present, 22, 26, 27.

Paracelsus, 109.

Parsifal, 107.

Pauline, 109.

Pavilion on the Links, The, 129.

Payn, James, 17.

Peel, Sir Robert, 120.

Pendennis, 60, 64.

Pew, 125, 128.

Pickwick Papers, 50, 52.

Pied Piper of Hamelin, The, 108.

Pilgrim's Progress, 79.

Pilgrim's Scrip, 119.

Pippa Passes, 108, 109, 113, 114.

Phelps, Prof. William Lyon, 115, 116, 134.

Plain Tales from the Hills, 145.

Poems by Two Brothers, 99.

Poems, Chiefly Lyrical, 99.

Preterita, 92, 94.

Princess, The, 100, 105, 114.

Professor, The, 71.

Prospice, 108, 111, 113.

Puck of Pook's Hill, 141.

Pulvis et Umbra, 130.

Punch, 59.


Queen Mary, 101.

Queen Victoria, 104.

Quentin Durward, 17, 18.


Rabbi Ben Ezra, 113.

Rasselas, 79.

Recessional, 149.

Red Cotton Nightcap Country, 111.

Reid, Mayne, 90.

Return of the Native, The, 132, 133, 136, 138.

Rhoda Fleming, 121.

Rhone below Geneva, 94.

Richardson, 62.

Richard the Lion-Hearted, 17.

Ring and the Book, The, 97, 106, 113.

Robinson Crusoe, 125.

Rob Roy, 18.

Romola, 77, 82, 85.

Rose La Touche, 92.

Rottingdean, 145.

Ruskin, John, XII, 17, 30, 87 to 95.


Sad Adventures of the Rev. Amos Barton, The, 81.

Sandra Belloni, 121.

Sands, George, 74.

San Marco, 111.

Sartor Resartus, 21, 23, 28.

Scenes From Clerical Life, 81.

School of Scandal, The, 120.

Scotch Moors, 127.

Scotch Scenes, 127.

Scotch Stories, 128.

Scott, Sir Walter, 11 to 19, 47, 52, 90, 128.

Sea Wolf, The, 129.

Seigfried, Wagner's, 107.

Sellwood, Miss Emily, 100.

Sesame and Lilies, 94.

Seven Lamps, The, 87, 92, 93.

Seymour, 50.

Shakespeare, 47, 106, 114, 120.

Shaving of Shagpat, The, 118.

Shelley, 109.

Sheridan, 120.

Shibli Bagarag, 119.

Shirley, 74.

Sicilian vengeance, 129.

Sidney, 104.

Silas Marner, 82, 84.

Sir Austin, 119.

Sire de Maletroit's Door, The, 124, 129.

Sketches by Boz, 50.

Soldiers Three, 147.

Somoa, 127.

Sonnets From the Portuguese, 110.

Sordello, 106, 109.

Southey, 43.

South Sea Islands, 127.

Spectator, 58.

Spedding, 99.

Spencer, Herbert, 81, 83.

Steele, 58.

Stevenson, XII, 11, 39, 40, 72, 120, 123 to 130.

Stones of Venice, The, 87, 92, 94, 95.

Story of an African Farm, The, 116.

Strafford, 109.

Strauss--Life of Jesus, 80.

Study of Sociology, The, 83.

Supernatural Man, The, 45

Suspira, 36.

Swift, 3.


Taine, 103.

Tales From Shakespeare, 43.

Tales of East India Life, 140.

Talisman, The, 18.

Talk and Talkers, 130.

Tennyson, Alfred, XII, 96 to 106, 113, 114.

Tennyson, Charles, 99.

Tess of the d'Urbervilles, 65, 132, 134, 136, 138.

Thackeray, William Makepeace, XII, XIV, 13, 48, 52, 56 to 66, 73, 99.

They, 148.

Thompson-Seton, 148.

Three Guardsmen, The, 12.

Three Ladies of Sorrow, 37.

Timbuctoo, 99.

Times, London, 21, 120.

Tolstoi, 13.

To Mary in Heaven, 113.

Travels With a Donkey, 126.

Treasure Island, 123, 124, 126, 128.

Trench, 99.

Trevelyan, G.O., 5.

Trinity College, Cambridge, 99.

Turgeneff, 13.

Turner, 91, 94.

Two Voices, The, 100.


Ulysses, 100.

Under the Greenwood Tree, 135.

Unto This Last, 94.

Vanity Fair, 56, 58, 59, 63.

Victorian Age, 96.

Villette, 66, 73.

Villon, 129.

Virginians, The, 60.

Virginibus Puerisque, 40.

Vision of Sudden Death, The, 31.


Waverley, 15, 19, 149.

Weir of Hermiston, 127.

Westminster Review, 80.

Wessex, 133.

Westward Ho, 142.

Weyman, 12.

White Company, The, 12.

Wilhelm Meister, 23.

William the Conqueror, 147.

Without Benefit of Clergy, 146.

With the Night Mail, 148.

Woodlanders, The, 136, 137.

Wordsworth, 35, 113.

Wuthering Heights, 67, 71.


       *       *       *       *       *

    +--------------------------------------------------------------+
    | Typographical errors corrected in text:                      |
    |                                                              |
    | Page  50: Curosity replaced with Curiosity                   |
    | Page  57: "her mind give way" replaced with                  |
    |           "her mind gave way"                                |
    | Page 101: idyl replaced with idyll                           |
    | Page 111: "Dramatic Idyls" replaced with "Dramatic Idylls"   |
    | Page 152: "English Men of Letter's" replaced with            |
    |           "English Men of Letters"                           |
    | Page 152: Brittanica replaced with Britannica                |
    | Page 168: Shalot replaced with Shalott                       |
    | Page 170: Mowglie replaced with Mowgli                       |
    |                                                              |
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       *       *       *       *       *





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