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Among the best of his novels (for all are good, though in dif. serent degrees) are-Pickwick Papers, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, Dombey and Son, Our Mutual Friend, The Ola Curiosity Shop, Great Expectations, and Christmas Stories.



There is no substitute for thorough-going, ardent, sincere earnestness.


I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.

THACKERAY. 1811-1863. William Makepeace Thackeray, another great novelist, was born in 1811. He received a good education, and afterwards studied painting for some years, intending to make himself an artist. He did become an artist, and a great one, too, but not in the way he intended. Instead of an artist of the pencil he became an artist of the pen.

If we compare Thackeray and Dickens, it is impossible to say which was the greater. Probably they were equally great, though in different ways. Thackeray had the wider culture; Dickens, the greater genius. The former held up to ridicule the follies of the higher classes of society; the latter reached the same result by describing the miseries of the lower. Thus both labored for the good of society and placed themselves among the benefactors of the race.

Among the greatest of Thackeray's novels are— Vanity Fair Dendennis, Henry Esmond, The Virginians (a sequel to Esmond), and The Newcomes. Besides these he is the author of two ad. mirable courses of lectures on The Four Georges and The Engglish Humorists, which contain some of the finest criticism in the language.



If fun is good, truth is better, and love best of all.

II. Might I give counsel to any young hearer, I would say to him, Try to frequent the company of your betters. In books and life, that is the most wholesome society; learn to admire rightly; the great pleasure of life is that. Note what great men admired; they admired great things: narrow spirits admire basely, and worship meanly.

English Humorists, Lecture IV.

LORD LYTTON. 1805–1873. Sir Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (formerly Bulwer), who was born in 1805, and died in 1873, is another novelist of the first class. Indeed, Dickens, Thackeray, and Bulwer-Lytton may be said to form the great triumvirate of Victorian novelists, legitimate and worthy successors of the great “Wizard”* of the preceding age. Which is the greatest is a matter of opinion, some preferring one, some another. Lord Lytton is more learned and metaphysical than the others, and seems to delight in the region of the magica) and supernatural, as in Zanoni and A Strange Story. Most of his characters are drawn from high life, with which he was most familiar, and he particularly excels in the delineation of love. His principal works are

e-Pelham, Eugene Aram, The Last Days of Pompeii, Rienzi, The Caxtons, and Kenelm Chillingly, the latter published since his death. He is also author of two excellent dramas, Richelieu and The Lady of Lyons, and a number of poems and poetical translations.



There is no policy like politeness; and a good manner is the best thing in the world, either to get a good name or to supply the want of it.


Reading without purpose is sauntering, not exercise. More is got from one book on which the thought settles for a definite end in knowledge, than from libraries skimmed over by a wandering eye. A cottage flower gives honey to the bee,-a king's garden none to the butterfly.

* Scott is often called “ The Wizard of the North."

GEORGE ELIOT. 1820-1880. “George Eliot” (Miss Mary Ann C. Evans, Mrs. Lewes, Mrs. Cross) was the greatest female novelist that England has produced, and the greatest, probably (unless George Sand be an exception), that ever lived. She was as supreme in fiction as Mrs. Somerville in science and Mrs. Browning in poetry.

Her principal novels are—Scenes of Clerical Life, Silas Mar. ner, Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Romola, Felix Holt the Radical, Middlemarch, and Daniel Deronda. She also publish. ed a number of poems, of which The Spanish Gypsy, a drama, is the best.

George Eliot was the reputed wife for many years of George H. Lewes, author of a History of Philosophy and other works. After his death, which occurred in 1878, she was married to Mr. John Walter Cross, and soon after died (in 1880).


I. Our deeds determine us as much as we determine our deeds.

Adam Bede.

II. O the anguish of that thought that we can never atone to our dead for the stinted affection we gave them, for the light answers we returned to their plaints or their pleadings, for the little rev erence we showed to that sacred human soul that lived so close to us, and was the divinest thing God has given us to know !

Adam Bede

CHARLES READE. 1814–1884. Among the great novelists of this age, a place in the front rank must be assigned to Charles Reade, who was born in 1814, educated at Oxford, studied law, then turned his attention to literature, and after a brilliant career as a writer of fiction, died in 1884. His first novel, and one of his best, was Peg Woffington, which was followed by Christie Johnstone, Never Too Late to Mend, exposing the abuses of the prison system of England, White Lies, Love Me Little Love Me Long, The Cloister and the Hearth, one of the best historical novels ever written, Put Yourself in His Place, showing

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the cruelty practiced in trade unions, Griffith Gaunt, and many others. The last named provoked a great deal of censure, because it presented a dark social picture, involving jealousy and infidelity, in too vivid colors—an example that has since been followed by Hardy and other popular novelists. Reade has never been surpassed in portrayal of character. He makes his men and women not mere lay figures, but real flesh and blood. He is especially successful in his delineation of female characters, in which he surpasses even Dickens and Thackeray. His dialogue is animated, his plots well managed, and his style easy and attractive.

SIR WM. HAMILTON. 1788–1856. Sir William Hamilton was born in 1788, educated at Oxford, afterwards studied law, was for thirty-five years a professor in the University of Edinburgh, and died in 1856. He was the greatest mental philosopher of his age, probably the greatest of all time. Not that he was a greater thinker or added more to the science of mind than Aristotle or Locke or even than Reid, of whom he was a disciple; but that he knew more, possessing as he did the accumulated learning of all the others, increased by the results of his own reasoning. And great as was his command over all the stores of learning, ancient and modern, his mastery over the power of expression was scarcely less remarkable. His style has been pronounced “a model of philosophical writing.”

His principal works are his Essays from the Edinburgh Review, his Edition of Reid's Works, and his Lectures.

DARWIN. 1809-1882. Charles Darwin, F. R. S., an eminent naturalist and the chief advocate of the “ Darwinian (or evolution) Theory," was born in 1809, and died in 1882. His principal works are- The Variation of Animals and Plants, The Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, and Expression in Man and Animals.

CARLYLE. 1795-1881. Thomas Carlyle, one of the most original and vigorous writers of the age, was born in Scotland in 1795, and was educated at the University of Edinburgh. He was a worshipper of power, whether mental, physical, or political; and his chief heroes were Mohammed, Cromwell, Napoleon, and Frederick the Great. He was very eccentric, both in thought and style, having been influ. enced in both these respects by his study of Germa. literature. His greatest works are--.

--Sartor Resartus, Hero Worship, The French Revolution, Life of Frederick the Great, and several volumes of Essays. (See Froude's Life of Carlyle.)



Earnestness alone makes life eternity.


Cast forth thy act, thy word, into the ever-living, ever-working universe: it is a seed-grain that cannot die; unnoticed to-day, it will be found flourishing as a banyan grove-perhaps, alas! as a hemlock forest-after a thousand years.


Most true is it, as a wise man teaches us, that “doubt of any sort cannot be removed except by action.” On which ground, too, let him who gropes painfully in darkness or uncertain light, and prays vehemently that the dawn may ripen into day, lay this other precept well to heart, which to me was of invaluable service: “ Do the duty which lies nearest thee,” which thou knowest to be a duty! Thy second duty will already have become clearer.

RUSKIN. 1819-1900. John Ruskin is the greatest art-critic of his time. He was born in 1819, was educated at Oxford, and was long a Professor in that University. He is one of the greatest masters of prose composition. In beauty of style he is unequalled by any author of the century except De Quincey and Macaulay.

His most celebrated works are Modern Painters, Seven Lamps of Architecture, and Stones of Venice.

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