Reference > Fiction > Nonfiction > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Henry Fielding (1707–1754)
Critical and Biographical Introduction by Sir Leslie Stephen (1832–1904)
“I AM,” says Fielding incidentally, in his most famous novel, “the founder of a new province of writing.” The claim, though bold, is certainly not groundless. The English novel, as we know it, has in the main been developed upon the lines laid down by Fielding. It is true that Fielding, like every leader of a new literary dynasty, inherited much from earlier rulers. He looked back with reverence to Cervantes; and critics have shown that he was influenced by Lesage, and more distinctly by Marivaux. In English literature, Defoe and Richardson in some respects anticipated him; but with differences which show his originality. ‘Robinson Crusoe’ is simply a narrative of facts, though the facts did not happen to take place. The author expects us to be interested in a strange series of adventures, and is not consciously aiming at the portrayal of life and character. Richardson, on the contrary, began by composing edifying moral epistles, into which a story was introduced by way of connecting thread. To his own mind the didactic element always represented the ultimate aim; though his readers become a good deal more interested in Clarissa than in the moral which she was intended to point.  1
  But Fielding—as he again tells us—means deliberately to describe “human nature.” Like Shakespeare before him or Scott after him, he is to set before us impartially the world as it presented itself to him; to give us living and moving types of the real human beings whom he had seen acting under the ordinary conditions of contemporary society. The novel, thus understood, has grown and flourished and taken many different forms. We wonder at times what our ancestors did to amuse themselves in the days before it was invented. Contemporary moralists denounced the habit of frivolous reading as they do now. What was the seduction to which these frivolous readers yielded? They had novels in the old sense of the word, stories such as had been once told by Boccaccio and had lately been furbished up by Mrs. Behn. Or they might seek for more prolonged enjoyment in the voluminous romances of the ‘Grand Cyrus’ kind, which, hopelessly unreadable as they appear to us, were still intensely fascinating to many readers; to Fielding’s cousin Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, for example, and to his contemporary Dr. Johnson. And then, of course, the drama formed a larger proportion of light reading than at present. But the comedy of the time to which they were principally confined, brilliant as some of it is, shows but a very limited aspect of human life. It introduced them to a smart game of intrigue played by fine ladies and gentlemen, always clearly before the footlights. The novel, with its flexibility, its freedom from all external restrictions, enables us to enjoy to the full the pleasure—obviously one of the greatest of pleasures—of steadily contemplating ourselves. We do not see the characters by a single flash, as they appear in some ingenious entanglement of affairs, but watch their growth and development, their conduct through a whole series of events, share their friendships and enmities, and are not prevented from following them by the necessities of scenical representation. Fielding showed his genius by perceiving the capabilities of the still crude form of art, and he turned them to account in some directions with a success scarcely surpassed.  2
  Fielding explains his own theory of the art in some of those running commentaries in which some critics think—though I do not—that he indulged too freely. He aspired, as he tells us, to set forth human nature. Naturally it had to be the human nature of his own day, and of his own day in England; and a brief summary of his life will show what that implies. Fielding’s father was a soldier and ultimately a general; but though connected with various great people, he seems to have been always impecunious. Fielding, born April 22d, 1707, at Sharpham near Glastonbury, was sent to Eton, where he was the contemporary of the elder Pitt, of Lyttelton, and of many men who afterwards played a conspicuous part in the great game of politics. Fielding, however, on leaving school had to leave the arena in which a long purse was then essential. His father had married a second time, and was burthened with a second family. Though he made an allowance of £200 a year to Henry, it was an allowance, said the son, which “anybody might pay who would.” Untroubled by such considerations, he made love to a rich young lady, and even put the young lady’s guardian in fear of his life. Perhaps this performance accounts for his being packed off to Leyden to study law. Studying law, however, was not so much to his taste as writing plays; and his first performance was acted when he was just of age. Leyden and the law were soon deserted, and Fielding plunged into the pleasures of a town life in London. He was six feet high, strong and active, with enormous capacity for enjoyment and not over-delicate in his tastes. Vigorous appetites and a narrow allowance made some provision of ways and means essential. He had to choose, said his cousin Lady Mary, between the trades of a hackney coachman and a hackney author. The profession of author was just coming into distinct existence; and the struggles and hardships of the career have been commemorated by the best-known authors of the day.  3
  Fielding belonged by birth to the social class which looked down upon the hack author. Happily for itself, as Chesterfield remarked, it had a more solid support than was to be found in its brains. Fielding too had received a classical education, a fact which he is a little too fond of indicating by allusions in his works. Play-writing was the most gentlemanlike part of the profession, and therefore the most attractive to the young man. The comedy presupposed some familiarity with good society. Congreve, Addison, Steele, and many others condescended to write plays, though they were also admitted to the highest circles. Moreover, a successful play was more remunerative than any other form of literary work. Gay had made a little fortune by ‘The Beggar’s Opera.’ Fielding naturally followed such examples with some gleams of success. It is indeed needless for any one to read his performances now. He is, generally speaking, in an artificial note, aping Congreve or adapting Molière. In ‘Tom Thumb,’ indeed,—a jovial burlesque, full of nonsense and high spirit and broad satire,—we see unmistakably the genuine Fielding. It gave one of the only two pretexts, we are told, upon which Swift ever indulged in a laugh.  4
  The comedies may be kindly consigned to oblivion. There was much else that Fielding would gladly have forgotten, in the part of his life which most impressed his biographers. The reckless, jovial rake, with pockets overflowing one day and empty the next, with a velvet coat sometimes on his back and sometimes in pawn, sometimes admitted to the drawing-room of Lady Mary and then carousing with boon companions in a tavern, or eclipsed for a period in the sponging-house,—is the Fielding of this period, and has been taken as the only Fielding. The scanty anecdotes which remain have stamped the impression upon later readers. We are presented to Fielding in the green-room, drinking champagne and chewing tobacco. A friend has warned him that a passage in his play will offend the audience. “Damn them!” he had replied, “let them find that out!” The friend now reports that the audience are hissing. “Damn them!” he exclaims, “they have found it out, have they?” The hisses, however, as we happen to know, affected him a good deal. Then we are told how Fielding emptied his pockets into those of a poorer friend; and when the tax-gatherer came, said, “Friendship has called for the money; let the collector call again!” No doubt that was one aspect of Fielding. To do him justice, it must be noted that a fuller record would have shown some less equivocal proofs of good feeling.  5
  We dimly make out that the chief incident of Fielding’s dramatic career was his share in a quarrel between Cibber, then manager, and certain actors to whom, as Fielding thought, Cibber had behaved unfairly. Cibber, the smart, dapper little Frenchified coxcomb, was just the type of all the qualities which Fielding most heartily despised; and they fell foul of each other with great heartiness. On the other hand, he was equally enthusiastic on behalf of his friends. Chief among them were Hogarth, whose paintings are the best comment on Fielding’s novel, and Garrick, whom, though of very different temperament, he admired and praised with the most cordial generosity. “Harry Fielding,” as his familiars call him, was no doubt a wild youth, but to all appearance a most trustworthy and warm-hearted friend. Fielding moreover was a devoted lover. The facts about his marriage are all uncertain: but we know that he courted Charlotte Cradock of Salisbury; that he was writing poems to her in 1730, and that he married her (probably) about 1735. If we wish to know what Miss Cradock was like, we are referred to Sophia in ‘Tom Jones’; and still more to Amelia. Amelia was his first wife, it is said, “even to that broken nose,” which according to Johnson ruined the success of the story. Both novels were written after her death, and are indicative of a lasting passion, which, whatever else it may have been, was worthy of a masculine and tender nature. Miss Cradock’s lover was not free from faults,—faults tangible enough and evidently the cause of much bitter remorse; but he was at least a lover who worshiped her with unstinted and manly devotion. The marriage, which took place when he was about twenty-eight, changed his life. Vague stories—dates and facts in Fielding’s life, all of provoking flimsiness and inconsistency—indicate that he tried to set up as a country gentleman on some small property of his wife’s; that the neighboring squires spited the town wit, who, if not very refined, was at least a writer of books, and therefore justly open to suspicion of arrogance; but that Fielding himself, which is not surprising, made a bad farmer; and that before long he was back in London, with his finances again at the ebb and additional burthens to support. His first effort was in his old line: he took a small theatre and brought out a successful political farce. Walpole was at this time still at the height of power, but a formidable and heterogeneous opposition was gathering against him. Whigs, Tories, and Jacobites were uniting to denounce corruption, which was right enough; but imagining, not so rightly, that the fall of Walpole would imply the end of corruption. Fielding was a hearty Whig; a believer in the British Constitution, and a despiser of French frog-eaters, beggarly unbreeched Scotsmen, and Jacobites, and Papists, and all such obnoxious entities. He joined heartily, however, in the cry against Walpole by his ‘Pasquin: A Dramatic Satire on the Times.’ The piece had a great run; and Fielding, always sanguine, no doubt hoped that at last he was getting his feet upon solid ground. But Walpole was a dangerous enemy. He obtained the passage of an Act of Parliament which made it necessary to obtain a license for plays.  6
  Fielding’s occupation was gone. It was quite plain that no license would be given to farces aimed at the prime minister. He gave up the theatre and made another effort. He entered at one of the Inns of Court and began to study the law. He was still only thirty-two, and full of abundant energy. He would leave his tavern (perhaps it would have been better not to have gone to it) to go home and pore over “abstruse authors” till far into the night. He was called to the bar in 1740, and duly attended the quarter-sessions. Briefs, however, did not come. Then, as now, attorneys looked with some suspicion upon men distracted by literary aims. Fielding, in fact, was obliged to support himself during his legal studies by working at his old trade. He tried the usual schemes of a professional author of those days. He brought out a periodical on the Spectator model, called the Champion. He wrote a ‘Vindication’ of the old Duchess of Marlborough, for which the duchess paid five guineas,—only, we will hope, an installment. During the rebellion of 1745, he published a journal intended to arouse John Bull out of his apparent apathy. He had already struck out another and more fruitful line. In 1742 he brought out ‘Joseph Andrews’—to indulge in a great guffaw at Richardson’s sentimental ‘Pamela.’ As he developed the story he fell in love with his characters as Dickens fell in love with Pickwick, and became more serious in his aims. By this book he made about £200, and his success encouraged him to publish by subscription in 1743 three volumes of ‘Miscellanies.’ In those days a subscription was a kind of joint-stock patronage, and showed chiefly that the author had friends among “persons of quality.” Fielding probably made £400 or £500, which was no doubt a welcome transient help. The ‘Miscellanies’ include one of his most remarkable if not pleasantest performances, ‘Jonathan Wild the Great.’ ‘Joseph Andrews’ had shown his true power, and it is perhaps rather remarkable that ‘Tom Jones’ did not follow until 1749. Whatever Fielding’s anxieties, it is noticeable that he did his work as thoroughly as if he had been independent of the pay. Before speaking of his literary performance, however, I will continue the story of his life.  7
  His wife died at the end of 1743. His grief, it is said, was so great that his friends feared the loss of his reason. He had however children to care for, and was too brave a man to relax in his fight with the fates. He had still some hopes of success at the bar, and at one moment, probably on some gleam of success, declared that he would write no more. In 1747 he married Mary Daniel, who had been an attached servant of his first wife. He did not know, he said, where to find a better mother for his children or nurse for himself; and she seems to have justified his anticipations.  8
  A patron or two had helped him during his struggles. Ralph Allen, who had made a fortune by farming the posts, was a lover of literature and a friend of Pope and Warburton. To Fielding, and to Fielding’s children after their father’s death, he was a steady benefactor, and Fielding showed his gratitude characteristically by portraying his friend as “Allworthy” in ‘Tom Jones.’ Another patron, by whom Fielding declared himself to have been mainly supported during the composition of ‘Tom Jones,’ was his old schoolfellow Lyttelton; and it was through Lyttelton that in 1748 Fielding was appointed justice of the peace for Westminster. The office was a singular one. In those days, and for at least two generations more, London, though a large town even upon our present scale, was merely an aggregation of villages. It had no systematic police. Dogberry and Verges were still represented by decrepit watchmen and stupid parish constables. They were ruled by magistrates who were often of the family of Shallows and Silences. The chaos which prevailed had at last induced Parliament to provide a paid and professional magistrate. But according to the custom of those days, he was to be paid by fees. The consequences are indicated by the name of “trading justices” applied to these officials. Impartial and speedy administration of justice was not the way to get fees. Fielding threw himself into his duties with characteristic energy. He tried to be honest, and thereby reduced “£500 of the dirtiest money on earth” to £300, most of which went to his clerk. He did his best to call attention to abuses. He wrote a remarkable pamphlet proposing a reform of the corrupting poor-laws. Another pamphlet upon gin-drinking had great influence in producing the first Act which attempted to discourage intemperance. He took up, perhaps with more zeal than discretion, some of the strange tragedies which illustrated the squalor and misery of the London slums.  9
  The queerest case was that of Betsy Canning, with which all England rang for a year or two, and which is still worth reading in the State Trials. A servant-girl in London had accounted for a month’s absence by inventing a story about having been kidnapped by gipsies. A gipsy was actually condemned for this imaginary offense: but the girl herself was ultimately convicted of perjury and sent to America to improve the morals of the colonists. Fielding believed her story, took up her case with more than judicial warmth, and exposed himself to some sharp criticism. He exerted himself, again, to put down the highwaymen who flourished in the absence of police, and who were regarded by Englishmen with a certain perverted pride as exuberant products of British liberty. Fielding, while very ill, set to work to devise a system for limiting their energies. Practically, I fear, it meant simply the employment of “trepans” who betrayed the other members of their gangs. Fielding says however that for the time he succeeded in putting down robbery, and sacrificed his health in the effort. His constitution had in fact been breaking down, from gout and an irregular life. His sanguine disposition led him to believe in one pretense of quackery after another: in the great Bishop Berkeley’s tar-water; in the treatment of the Dr. Thompson who had already, it was said, killed Pope; and even in the miraculous virtues of a well at Glastonbury. He was always being “cured” without improving his health. At last he was sent to Lisbon as a last hope. He sailed in the summer of 1754, and kept a journal which remains to testify to his indomitable gallantry, buoyant spirits, and flow of good-humor to the last. He died at Lisbon on the 8th of October, 1754, leaving his widow and children to the care of the kindly Allen and of his half-brother Sir John Fielding, who had succeeded him as justice of the peace. The trust was worthily discharged.  10
  Till the age of twenty-eight, we see, Fielding had been a reckless and impetuous pleasure-hunter. From that time till his death at the age of forty-seven, he was engaged in a hard struggle to support himself and his family and in an energetic attempt to do his duty in a thankless office. The stains of the earlier period have injured his memory, and it cannot be denied, imply serious moral defects; but here I must touch the inevitable argument. It is most true that to judge any man justly you must allow for the moral standard of his time. Advantage, however, is often taken of this truth to draw questionable consequences. Whenever it is proved that a man broke one of the Ten Commandments, it is roundly replied that in his day there were only nine. Therefore, it is inferred, his want of honesty or decency ceases to be a defect. Both fact and inference are often doubtful. Fielding, for example, makes Tom Jones guilty of taking money from a woman under circumstances which we all feel to be degrading. Nobody, it is replied, thought such conduct degrading then. I utterly disbelieve the fact. A similar story is told of Marlborough, and perhaps it was true; but it was certainly told by a malicious libeler, and was meant to injure him. I feel sure that not only Richardson and Johnson, who were obtrusively moralists, but such men as Addison or even the easy-going Steele, would have thought of Tom Jones just what Colonel Newcome thought. Some of our ancestors were gentlemen, with feelings of delicacy, and should not be libeled even to save a novelist’s reputation. And in any case, such a statement would explain the fact but does not alter it for us. Coarseness is rightly disgusting, though we may show how men came to be coarse, and perhaps show too that it did not then imply all that it would imply in the present day.  11
  Nothing, indeed, is more difficult than to compare the moral standard of a distant time with that of our own. That vice was common in England under Anne and the Georges, is undeniable; but I do not know that it is altogether extinct to-day. I fancy that a modern police magistrate could still tell us stories which would prove that the world, the flesh, and the Devil have not yet been renounced by everybody. M. Zola’s world does not seem to be purer than Fielding’s. Look beneath the surface anywhere and you can find ugly things enough, especially if you have a taste for the revolting.  12
  It is easier, no doubt, to judge of the surface; and there we may find an explanation, though not a justification, of Fielding’s obtuseness on certain points. He was in the world of fiction what Walpole was in the world of politics. Both of them were men of strong common-sense, and of great qualities which were strangely mixed with much that is coarse and repulsive. They were both given to boisterous conviviality, to vast consumption of “the roast beef of old England,” and to tremendous post-prandial sittings over their bottles, at which the talk was no more delicate than the fare. They indulged in cock-fighting, and cudgel-playing, and rough practical joking, till we fancy that only a pugilist or a rough of to-day could find such an atmosphere congenial. Such tastes however could be combined with a real love of art and literature: Walpole, for example, collected a great picture gallery; and he and his like often studied the classics like men of the world, if not like scholars. Neither can it be said that in the days when the British Empire was being built up, there was a want of public spirit or energy, though some of the accepted modes of political warfare were base enough. We are liable to misunderstandings if we argue from the want of refinement to the want of some high mental and moral qualities; though undoubtedly we find a strange obtuseness upon some points of the moral code, where higher views and more delicate sensibilities are required.  13
  Fielding’s novels illustrate this as clearly, as his friend Hogarth’s pictures. Both of them portray scenes now and then which grate upon our nerves, and show a coarseness of fibre which would to-day have to be sought in the lower haunts of debauchery. What we have to remember is that such faults were then not inconsistent with some excellences which they would now exclude. In the case of Fielding, we can have no difficulty in recognizing many of the highest qualities. In the first place, his novels are a genuine extract of hard-bought experience. They are conspicuous for absolute veracity. He speaks because he has thought and felt. We are conscious that he paints all from the life. As novel-writing became a profession, this is the merit which became rare. A young gentleman can easily give himself the airs of knowledge of the world by picking up a few smart epigrams in reproducing the stock characters of his predecessors. He does not write because he has “studied men and cities,” but appropriates second-hand experience because he wants to write a novel. His “art,” as he is proud to call it, may be admirable, his style unimpeachable, his plot carefully constructed; but after all, he cannot atone for the one great defect of having nothing to say by trying to say it gracefully. One cannot read Fielding without perceiving the contrast: he has really been “through the mill”; he has bought his knowledge at a heavy price; and even if it sometimes results in rather commonplace observations, a commonplace which has been hammered into a man by hard facts is very different from a commonplace which has been learnt from a book. It comes with a certain momentum, with a weight and force, which can redeem even occasional triteness. His words have the intensity of thorough conviction. The first impression made by the world upon a man of great shrewdness and vigor is naturally the prevalence of humbug. Society, he observes, is a great masquerade. To see things as they are, you must strip men of their disguises: you will then often find a strange likeness between heroes and highwaymen, patriots and pickpockets, priests and jugglers, and discover selfishness in Protean forms at the bottom of the most pretentious qualities. “All virtue,” said Fielding’s clever contemporary Mandeville, “is a sham.” “All men,” said Swift, soured by failure, “are Yahoos.”  14
  It is Fielding’s characteristic merit that he could take a completer and saner view. His brave, generous nature could never give up a belief in virtue or in the substantial happiness of a good heart. He could see, as he proved by Jonathan Wild, into the very soul of a thorough villain, the depth beyond depth of treachery and sensuality that can be embodied in human form. His moral is, as he puts it, that a man may “go to heaven with half the pains which it cost him to purchase hell.” The villain, even as things go, naturally overreaches himself. Knowledge of the world takes the gloss off much; but it properly leads to a recognition of the supreme advantage of unworldly simplicity. Parson Adams, one of the great humorous creations, is the embodiment of that sentiment. He represents the conviction of the observer who has seen life in its ugliest phases, that the most lovable of human beings is the man who from sheer simplicity and kindliness remains comically unconscious of the trickery and selfishness of his neighbors. It is not the less characteristic because Adams appears to have been the portrait of a real friend, and implies that Fielding often turned from his rowdy companions to appreciate the simple country parson whom they would have regarded as a predestined butt for rough practical jokes. In proportion to his love of such characters was his hatred of the hypocrite—the humbug who knows himself to be a humbug. His loathing for “Blifil,” the typical hypocrite, progresses to most obvious failure in ‘Tom Jones’; for he becomes so angry that he caricatures instead of impartially analyzing the loathsome object. This, again, is the secret of Fielding’s humor. His worldly experience, instead of souring him, has intensified his admiration of the simplicity and goodness which is ridiculed or disbelieved by the man who is hardened by such experience. He was generous to the core; when he has to speak of any one whom he admires or who has done him a service, he pours out the heartiest and most genuine gratitude. He overflows with honest admiration of the men whom he could appreciate; he praises even the later work of Richardson, whose ‘Pamela’ he had satirized, and who, one is sorry to admit, did not return the generosity. The warmth of his belief in goodness, and this cordiality and hearty good-will, always running through his books, give the characteristic flavor to his humor. It flows so spontaneously and abundantly that we feel it to be unmistakably as genuine as it is kindly.  15
  The want of moral delicacy indeed implies limitations. It must be admitted that Fielding’s appreciation of some of the higher phases of character is narrow. He lived in a day when common-sense was triumphant; when men lived on solid beef, and were undoubtedly made of rather ponderous flesh and blood. We may say with the help of a still greater master of the art, that in Fielding’s time there was perhaps too little of the Don Quixote and too much of the Sancho Panza in the accepted ideal. A humorist who cannot help perceiving the seamy side of things is tempted to lean too much to the cynical side. He believes in the moral code by which men are actually governed, but is perhaps too suspicious of any professions of a higher standard. High-flown sentiment has in his eyes a strong likeness to his pet aversion, hypocrisy. What he admires, indeed, is really admirable: though he may be over-anxious to keep within the plainest limits of common-sense. Fielding’s tone about women is characteristic. Had he been asked what was the greatest blessing of life, he would always have replied, as he does in ‘Tom Jones,’ the love of a good woman. His good woman, however, is decidedly not prepared to believe in woman’s rights. He laughs rather too roughly at the ladies who in those days showed certain intellectual aspirations. His Sophia is a healthy, sensible girl, fit to be the mother of sturdy, well-grown lads and lasses, unsurpassable within the domestic sphere, but certainly not troubled by aspirations to literary glory. She is unmistakably made of flesh and blood. She will love her husband devotedly, and will, we fear, have to exercise the virtue of forgiveness: yet she is everything, perhaps more than everything, that we could expect from the daughter of Squire Western. ‘Amelia,’ however, is the fullest embodiment of Fielding’s true sentiment on that subject. His last novel is the work of a man who had won and lost the highest prize in life; who feels with bitter self-reproach his unworthiness and his backslidings, and tries to make some atonement by raising a shrine to his lost idol. Some good judges have therefore taken this pathetic and tender picture to be his masterpiece, in spite of some falling off in spirit and rather dragging narrative. I will not venture to decide; but I agree with them that it at least reveals with singular power not only the massive common-sense and power of sincere presentation of facts for which Fielding was conspicuous, but also the generous and tender heart which attracts and commands our affection.  16
  If Fielding honestly described the human nature of his time, we must remember that a man who can truly describe the human nature in a village has really described it everywhere. He has a true insight into those principal springs of character which may be more or less modified, refined or made coarse, in different conditions, but which work powerfully under every disguise of habit and cultivation. Fielding’s human being was the ideal John Bull: a personage who has been ridiculed, caricatured, and denounced; who is called an “amiable buffalo” by M. Taine; and who everywhere outside of the British islands is considered to suffer under many intellectual and moral limitations. Far be it from me to deny his faults; certainly he is apt to be stolid and thick-skinned, and in Fielding’s time he showed some of his worst qualities to his neighbors, and was acquiring a certain reputation for overbearing and brutal ways. Yet John Bull was a human being. He had the passions of his kind, and showed them with little regard to delicacy; but if Fielding was a true observer, he had some great qualities which I hope he will not speedily lose. He had the abundant energy and vigor which are required for all greatness, amidst many queer prejudices, and singular blindness to some things, he had a hearty love of fair play, respect for true manhood, and in spite of his coarseness a genuine appreciation of good homely domestic virtues. Fielding, in Thackeray’s familiar phrase, was the last English writer who dared to draw a man. In a sense rather wider than Thackeray’s, that is his most obvious merit. He described with immense breadth, power, and veracity some of the essential masculine qualities which do, in fact, play an immense part in life. But we value him, I think, because he showed most forcibly how such qualities can be allied not only with a generous appreciation of allied qualities in others, but with a keen and pathetic reverence for the gentleness, simplicity, and purity which the more vigorous animal is too apt to despise. With all his insight into the baser motives, Fielding retained a certain sweet-blooded tenderness, and an enthusiasm for every generous and kindly character, which relieves the repulsive ugliness of some of his scenes by a breath as of fresh and healthy atmosphere. I can think of none of our great writers who had a harder struggle, was forced into closer association with the corrupt elements of society, or realized more keenly the hollowness of many pretenders to virtue. And yet no one could have retained more buoyancy of spirit, more generous feeling towards his successful competitors, or a more hearty faith in the reality of human goodness and appreciation of some of the truest elements of human happiness.  17

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