But though these exercises in history were never a compulsory lesson, there was another kind of composition which was so, namely, writing verses, and it was one of the most disagreeable of my tasks. Greek and Latin verses I did not write, nor learnt the prosody of those languages. My father, thinking this not worth the time it required, contented himself with making me read aloud to him, and correcting false quantities. I never composed at all in Greek, even in prose, and but little in Latin. Not that my father could be indifferent to the value of this practice, in giving a thorough knowledge of those languages, but because there really was not time for it. The verses I was required to write were English. When I first read Pope's Homer, I ambitiously attempted to compose something of the same kind, and achieved as much as one book of a continuation of the Iliad. There, probably, the spontaneous promptings of my poetical ambition would have stopped; but the exercise, begun from choice, was continued by command. Conformably to my father's usual practice of explaining to me, as far as possible, the reasons for what he required me to do, he gave me, for this, as I well remember, two reasons highly characteristic of him: one was, that some things could be expressed better and more forcibly in verse than in prose: this, he said, was a real advantage. The other was, that people in general attached more value to verse than it deserved, and the power of writing it, was, on this account, worth acquiring. He generally left me to choose my own subject, which, as far as I remember, were mostly addresses to some mythological personage or allegorical abstractions; but he made me translate into English verse many of Horace's shorter poems: I also remember his giving me Thomson's "Winter" to read, and afterwards making me attempt (without book) to write something myself on the same subject. The verses I wrote were, of course, the merest rubbish, nor did I ever attain any facility of versification, but the practice may have been useful in making it easier for me, at a later period, to acquire readiness of expression.1 I had read, up to this time, very little English poetry, Shakespeare my father had put into my hands, chiefly for the sake of the historical plays, from which, however, I went on to the others. My father never was a great admirer of Shakespeare, the English idolatry of whom he used to attack with some severity. He cared little for any English poetry except Milton (for whom he had the highest admiration), Goldsmith, Burns, and Gray's Bard, which he preferred to his Elegy: perhaps I may add Cowper and Beattie. He had some value for Spenser, and I remember his reading to me (unlike his usual practice of making me read to him), the first book of the Fairie Queene; but I took little pleasure in it. The poetry of the present century he saw scarcely any merit in, and I hardly became acquainted with any of it till I was grown up to manhood, except the metrical romances of Walter Scott, which I read at his recommendation and was intensely delighted with; as I always was with animated narrative. Dryden's Poems were among my father's books, and many of these he made me read, but I never cared for any of them except Alexander's Feast, which, as well as many of the songs in Walter Scott, I used to sing internally, to a music of my own: to some of the latter, indeed, I went so far as to compose airs, which I still remember. Cowper's short poems I read with some pleasure, but never got far into the longer ones; and nothing in the two volumes interested me like the prose account of his three hares. In my thirteenth year I met with Campbell's Poems, among which Lochiel, Hohenlinden, the Exile of Erin, and some others, gave me sensations I had never before experienced from poetry. Here, too, I made nothing of the longer poems, except the striking opening of Gertrude of Wyoming, which long kept it place in my feelings as the perfection of pathos.
'Even worse. If we have children, I will not have this noose hung round their heads. I didn't have any money and I haven't needed it. I've loved winning money gambling because that is found money, money that comes out of the air like a great surprise. If I'd inherited money, I'd have gone the way of all those playboy friends of Tracy's you complained about so much. No, Marc-Ange.' Bond drained his Steinhager decisively. 'It's no good.'
Victor Temkin, who looks like a character out of Dickens and comes across with the gruff friendliness of television's Ed Asner, is sitting in his midtown office on Friday afternoon trying to deal with three things at once. The telephone is jangling, visitors are dropping by unannounced, and I'm throwing him questions about the publishing business.
Of Dickens’s style it is impossible to speak in praise. It is jerky, ungrammatical, and created by himself in defiance of rules — almost as completely as that created by Carlyle. To readers who have taught themselves to regard language, it must therefore be unpleasant. But the critic is driven to feel the weakness of his criticism, when he acknowledges to himself — as he is compelled in all honesty to do — that with the language, such as it is, the writer has satisfied the great mass of the readers of his country. Both these great writers have satisfied the readers of their own pages; but both have done infinite harm by creating a school of imitators. No young novelist should ever dare to imitate the style of Dickens. If such a one wants a model for his language, let him take Thackeray.
With a last look around, he went over the edge. He took great care at each piton, tested each handhold and foothold before he put his weight on it. Coming down, he was a much more valuable life than he had been climbing up. He made for the glacier and trudged across the melting snow to the black patch on the icefield. There was nothing to be done about footprints. It would take only a few days for them to be melted down by the sun. He got to the body. He had seen many corpses during the war, and the blood and broken limbs meant nothing to him. He dragged the remains of Oberhauser to the nearest deep crevasse and toppled it in. Then he went carefully around the Up of the crevasse and kicked the snow overhang down on top of the body. Then, satisfied with his work, he retraced his steps, placing his feet exactly in his old footprints, and made his way on down the slope to the ammunition box.
'When Jane Murdstone meets, I say,' he went on, after waiting until my mother was silent, 'with a base return, that feeling of mine is chilled and altered.'
The Belton Estate, 1866 1757 0 0
Bond smiled at the word. "All right, Mary. Go ahead. Empty the Christmas stocking on the floor. Hope it's not going to bust any stitches." He put his book down on his lap.
And hope without an object cannot live."
‘My dear God-daughter,—I shall like to think of you particularly to-morrow, because it is the Anniversary of the day when your dear parents in church solemnly presented their precious little first-born babe to God; and I stood there to answer for her. Dear Leila, may each return of that day find you drawing nearer and nearer to Him who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me.” If we could only feel in our hearts that He really does love us, and that He deigns to care whether we love Him, what a motive it would be for doing everything as in His sight! We are too apt to think of our Saviour as very far off, and with so many to care for that we are almost beneath His notice. But this is wrong. The Sun shines and sparkles on every dewdrop in a field, as much as if it were the only dewdrop in the world. He does not pass it over, because it is little; he makes it beautiful in his light, and then draws it up towards himself.... I wish that I could come and pay you a visit; but I do not see how I am to leave Grandmamma as long as dear Aunt Fanny is an invalid. I seem wanted at home.’
Mathis opened the door and stopped on the threshold.
I had at this time written from time to time certain short stories, which had been published in different periodicals, and which in due time were republished under the name of Tales of All Countries. On the 23d of October, 1859, I wrote to Thackeray, whom I had, I think, never then seen, offering to send him for the magazine certain of these stories. In reply to this I received two letters — one from Messrs. Smith & Elder, the proprietors of the Cornhill, dated 26th of October, and the other from the editor, written two days later. That from Mr. Thackeray was as follows:—
The comedian and the man
Bond obediently picked up the Top Crystal' and for the next quarter, of an hour M led him through the whole range of diamonds down to a wonderful series of coloured stones, ruby red, blue, pink, yellow, green and violet. Finally, M pushed over a packet of smaller stones, all flawed or marked or of poor colour. "Industrial diamonds. Not what they call 'gem quality'. Used in machine tools and so forth. But don't despise them. America bought ?5,000,000 worth of them last year, and that's only one of the markets. Bronsteen told me it was stones like these that were used for cutting the St Gothard tunnel. At the other end of the scale, dentists use them for drilling your teeth. They're the hardest substance in the world. Last forever."
'It was as true,' said Mr. Barkis, 'as turnips is. It was as true,' said Mr. Barkis, nodding his nightcap, which was his only means of emphasis, 'as taxes is. And nothing's truer than them.'
'Call it so, if you will,' said Agnes.
'On the commission he is, at any rate,' said I. 'And he writes to me here, that he will be glad to show me, in operation, the only true system of prison discipline; the only unchallengeable way of making sincere and lasting converts and penitents - which, you know, is by solitary confinement. What do you say?'