Cultivating literature as I do upon a little oatmeal, and driving, when in a position to be driven at all, in that humble vehicle, the 'bus, I have had, perhaps, exceptional opportunities for observing their mutual position and behaviour; and it is very peculiar.
One would think that in writing about literary men and matters there would be no difficulty in finding a title for one's essay, or that any embarrassment which might arise would be from excess of material. I find this, however, far from being the case.
To the truly benevolent mind, indeed, nothing is more satisfactory than to hear of a miser denying himself the necessaries of life a little too far and ridding us of his presence altogether.
The fact is, if a young man is naturally indolent, the spur of necessity will drive him but a very little way, while the having enough to live upon is often the means of preserving his self-respect.
It is better, however, for his own reputation that the story-teller should risk a few actions for libel on account of these unfortunate coincidences than that he should adopt the melancholy device of using blanks or asterisks.
One forgives the critic - perhaps - but never the good-natured friend.
There are, it is true, at present no great prizes in literature such as are offered by the learned professions, but there are quite as many small ones - competences; while, on the other hand, it is not so much of a lottery.
For my part, I do not feel that the scheme of future happiness, which ought by rights to be in preparation for me, will be at all interfered with by my not meeting again the man I have in my. mind.
How large and varied is the educational bill of fare set before every young gentleman in Great Britain; and to judge by the mental stamina it affords him in most cases, what a waste of good food it is!
Some Critics on the Hearth are not only good-natured, but have rather too high, or, if that is impossible, let us say too pronounced, an opinion of the abilities of their literary friends.
But, on the other hand, the occasional and precarious dripping of coppers has by no means a genial effect.
In England, literary pretence is more universal than elsewhere from our method of education.
And what holds good of verse holds infinitely better in respect to prose.
For my part, I do not much believe in the predilections of boyhood.
In all highly civilised communities Pretence is prominent, and sooner or later invades the regions of Literature.
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