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On the vice of novel-reading : being a brief in appeal, pointing out errors of the lower tribunal ... / by Young E. Allison. Allison, Young Ewing, 1853-1932. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-169-30117067 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. On the vice of novel-reading : being a brief in appeal, pointing out errors of the lower tribunal ... / by Young E. Allison. Allison, Young Ewing, 1853-1932. Courier-Journal Job Printing Co., Louisville, Ky. : 1897. 17 p. : port. ; 26 cm. Coleman At head of title: Unpublished--Author's private copy. Paper read before the Western Association of Writers at Winona Park, Indiana, June 29, 1897. Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1994. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN04172.05 KUK) Printing Master B92-169. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. Fiction in libraries. Books and reading. Unpublished- Author's Private Copy. O)n the Vice of Novel-Reading. BEING A BRIEF IN APPEAL, POINlING OUT ERRORS OF THE LOWER TRIBUNAL. Paper Read Before the Western Association of Writers at Winona Park, Indiana, June 29, 1897. By YOUNG E. ALLISON. LOUISVILLE. KY.. COURIER-JOURNAL JOB PRINTING COMPA NY. 1897. This page in the original text is blank. Photograph hv Carsick, Louisville, 1914 YOUNG E. ALLISON This page in the original text is blank. ON TIE VICE OF NOVEL READING. Ever since the Novel reached the stage of de'velopimllnt wviere it was dcinonstrat ad to be the most ilgeliious v 'hi le yet designed for conveyi g the prote an thought and faicy of ana n, there has stood in the judgnient book of Puhlic Opinion the decree that novel-reading was a vice. Of course, that jutdguent did not apply exclusively to the read(lilg of novels. It wvas a sort of suppleientitary decree in wvlici1 the iame of this new invention was speeiticallt a ided to the list of rnoral beguilements agaillst wiiicl that judgment had anciently stood. Poetry, the 1)ranma, eve n the virtuous his- tory, hadl had their noses disjointe d by this tribunal. But their great age an(l the familiarity of their presence had soft- ened the decree iii its enfore 'meiit. The Novel was a young offet der in aspect (though hie had the iiature and inheritance of the other three), and was, besides, strong in masculinity and virility. A certain sympathy tius .spruig up for the three quaint old ladies, as for old offenders whose persistence had won the wink of toleration. They actually- athieved a cer- taiti factitious respectalbility in comparison with the fresber and more active dangers afforded by the Novel. But the Novel was simply a combination of all three, more flexible a ndI adaiptable). It, therefore, merely slhares in tIne old judg- men t directed against everything in literatuire-and in all the arts-thalt displays the seductiveies's of f; iiey or taste. The judgmenits of public opinion hav.e becit consistently in the liie of distrusting anid discrediting everything tlhat appeared to be purely spiritual and intellectual, and tbat could not at once le organized into a political or religious institution or into . mechanical industry witih thue prosj ect of large sales and quick profits. Novel-reading is a vice, then, under this judgment, just as the reading of all fictions, fancies, inventions, and romances ii all their forms, poetic, dramatic, and narrative. And if the reading is a vice the writing of them, in all common sense, cat be no less than murder or arson. If it is a vice to (levote time to the readiing of novels it must be a crime to professionally pander to and profit by the vice. And if all this is true, what a wonderfully attractive corner that must be-in Hades where are old Hiomer and the ever youn g Aristoph- 4 anes, Sophocles and Asebylus, Dante, Virgil and Boccaccio, Shakespeare and Moliere, Goethe and Hugo, Balzac and Tha 'kerav, Scott and Dumas, Dickens and that wonderful child of Bohemia, who lately lay down to rest on Vailima mountain. Think of all these marvelous sois of genius gatb- ered together for their meet punishment! In one especially warm corner, perhaps, Lope Felix de Vega, the most ineor- rigible of all, slowly expiating upon sonie most ingeniously uncomfortable gridiron the 1,160 volunies of crime andI vice that are to be set down against him in the indictment, if it be a true bill. We may wonder whetber the unknown authors of "4Esther" and ";The Song of Songs" and the psychological novel of "Job" are there, too, where they properly belong. It must be a great congress with these chief criminals as the senators and a lower house made up of the most agrec.ibly vicious souls of earth, who, in their sojourn here, yielded for a moment to siren voices. If every- thing in fiction-from the astonishing conspiracies over- thrown by " Old Sleuth" to the magnificent visions that old John Milton saw, of incarnate ambition like a branded criminal driven out before the radiant hosts of heaven-if all the fiction that makes up the spirit of the novel is in- cluded in this index expuryalorius of eternity, then we may well have a doubt, my friends, whether hell can hold us all. It is a curious exercise for persons immersed in writing and study as an occupation, and l)ossessing a catholic toler- ance for all occupations, to bark back to the time whetn they were still within the jurisdiction of the world that acts but does not study. In all the average towns, hamlets and country-sides of the world human nature beats with exactly the same pulse. If a change come, it comes slowly and it changes all together, so that all are still alike. In the small towns novel-reading has been considered about as contemptu- ously as playing the fiddle, though admitted to be less dan- gerous than family card-playing. It was estimated that a novel-reader was confirming his indolence, and in danger of coming to the poor-house; a fiddler was prophesied to get into jail for vagrancy or larceny; while a card-player had entered a path that might lead as far as the gallows and comn- prehend all the crimes. This opinion still largely exists in towns and country-sides. We find it maintaining itself even in large cities, among all sorts of very good peo- ple, even among the most exceptional men of business, of the professions an(l of the pulpits. Novel-reading, as a mental vice, accor(lilng to tbis opinion, may be Conipare(l with opium-eating as a moral vice. It is thought to enervate and( corrupt lby nieans of a luxurious excitement, purely fictitious and temporary. At an anuiial meeting of members of the public library of a large city, the librarian rea(l the aggregate number of calls for books of each class during the year. Let us assume that there were calls for 65,000 works of fiction, 5,000 of history antid biography, 2,000 of science and philosophy, an d, say, 75 of theology. One of the trustees, who had pretentions as to responsibility for the public coliscience that would have (iwarfed the pyramid of Cheops, arose and appealed to the members to suggest a plan for counteracting the dleplorable tendency of the times to the reading of fiction. It did not occur to anybody to reconimend the abolition of time printing press, and 80 a discussion began. One of the most distiti- guished and scholarly ministers an(l educators of the world, who was a member, came to the rescue of the Novel. He sai(l, in substance, that the large majority of the men and won-en in the world were laborers for the bread they ate, and it was his opinion that when such persons were resting after the day's toil, indulging their leisure, it was impossible to expect them to read works oil theology and the abstruse sciences, while it was natural for them to seek amusement in novels and romances. He thought reading novels was much l)etter than idle gossijl, or loitering in saloons or in thestreets. His renmarks were received with great applause, and this declaration of his liberality of opinion was widely com- mented upon. But is there any real liberality in conisiderino the reading of novels as only just a better use of one's leisure than gossip- ing, guzzl ing in saloons or wandering idly about the streets The idea that novel-reading hbas no value except as a relaxation and amusement is born of the same dense and narrow ignorance which concludes that alcoholic (drinks and wine serve no real purpose but to promote drunkenness and wife-beatin1g; that opium promotes only luxurious debauch- ery, and that all the elegant, graceful and beautiful ceremo- nies amid customs of society are invented merely to amuse and gratify the vain selfishness of the rich. The most curious aspect of novel-reading, considered as a vice, is that the great majority of those indulging in it, like 6 those who indulge in drinking, gambling and other vices, are themselves willing to admit that it is indefensible if less perilous than other vices. They excuse it, just as the dis- tinguished minister did, as an amusement so harmless, as compared with other vices, that you may indulge it and yet skirt hell-fire by a. margin of a million miles. Some hypo- crites conceal and deny the indulgence like your secret toper; others apologize for not indulging when they are in the com- pany of notorious but pleasing offentders, as the hypocrite feigns benevolence. Every one of you doubtless has in mind the amiable man of business-maybe youirtailor, your broker, your banker, your lawyer, your grocer-who cultivates your good opinion, and for the sake of the customer in you tolerates lightly the doubtfulness of your employment. He will even introduce the subject of books as a respectful and diplomatic concession to your heresies-muchl as atll of us humor lunaties amiably and curiously, by broaching the subject of their delusions. He is tolerant because of fat success; his income is large, he spends it in a fine house, full of costly adornments, of which he has no knowledge except in the measure of cost and the correctness of their usage; he has equipages, and gives dinners and sits securely in Abraham's bosom of society. He pays you the deferential compliment of asking what books you are reading. It maybe you are just out of the profound philosophical complexities and pathetic problems of " Les Miserables." Perhaps you have immersed yourself again in the paradoxes of " Vanity Fair," or have been pumping up the flabby tires of your better na- ture with the fresh air of" David Co0lerfiel(d." It is possible that "1 Tess of the Durbervilles," or "A Window in Thrums " has been newly received, and has been enliglitening your mind and conscience as to your relations to the world about you. Whatever it has been, you suggest the fact. "It is a novel" He replies doubtfully: "Certainly," you respond with enthusiasm. "A master- piece." "Well," protests the amiable Philistine, "I have -so little time-for amusing myself, you know. My daughter, now, sle is a great novel-reader. She buys a great many novels. Last year I read a book called " The Greatnesq of Our Country." It is a wonderful book. It said in that book that the United States could support a population of 400,000,- 000. I had no idea of that before. I asked Prof. So and So 7 about it and lie said why not: that China had 400,000,000 people. It is surprising what we learn from books," etc., etc., etc. This man has got one bald statistical suggestion in his head out of a book that is made to sell on trainis. le recog- nizes it. It recalls dimly mathematics whichl he was taught at school. It is a concrete suggestion; it requires no effort to understand or remember. It is so wonderful to him that he his no time to amuse himself with the heart allegories and the practical questions of the condition of those possible 400,000,000 as revealed ill "Les Miserables." His daughter will do that and he buys for her novels, bicycles, gloves and chocolates with equal fond readiness to humor what he con- siders w hims pardonable in children. The idea that novel-reading is a harmless and mere amuse- ment expresses fully the judgment that it is a vice, an encourager of indolence. There may be two reasons for the judgment, one existing in the novel itself, the other in the tribunal. Let us first consider the nature af the tribunal. The supreme constituted authority - not. only of affairs in this life blut in the ordering of all the future existences that man has conceived-is Public Opinion. Public opinion is the decree of humaii nature determined in impenetrable secrecy, enforced wvith cerenmonious and bewilderinng circumlocution. It is thius double-natured. The organized public opinion that we see, hear, feel and obey is the costumed officialism of human nature, through ages of custom charged with enforcing upon individuals the demands of the many. The other is that tacit and nearly always unconscious understanding among men and women, which binds them in mysterious cohesion through a belief in or a dread of something that they can not understand, because they can not feel it with their hands, control it with their strength or disturb it with their threats. The myriads of mankind in this secret tribunal are silent because they are ignorant of speech. They are (lull of brain and low in nervous organization, so that percep- tion with them is a cerebral agony and even feeling responds only to the shock of actual physical suffering. Organized public opinion, when compared with this unnamable and resistless silent force of human instinct is like a small body of the police in the presence of a vast sullen mob. If the mob is deter- mined and throws capable leaders forward, the police either 8 desert to the mob or disappear. If the mob does not under- stand itself and produces no leaders the police rule it. It is fair to speak of this tacit common instinct as ignorant, lecause the world always has been shared betwvveen Ignorance and his twin brother, Indolence. Knowledge is the rarest coin that circulates among men. No one can accumulate knowledge unless lie possesses the broad catliolicity of purpose to labor ceaselessly for truth, to accept it from whliatsoever source it comes, in whatsoever guise, witlh whatsoever message it brings hiin, and to abide whatsoever results may follow. If he expects an angel and a devil comes, it is still the trutlh he is seeing, it is still knowledge he is gaining. The genius of knowledge-seeking was glorified ill that obscure German chemist who, experimenting up1)onI himself with a new solu- tion into which a fatal wrong ingredient had entered, cried in the agony of death to his assistant: "Note my symptoms carefully and make an autopsy - I am sure it is a new poison we have liberated! " If the vast majority of men shrink from. and evade irksome labor with their mutscles- even though life and comfort depend upon it - a still vaster majority shirk the disciplined toil and tension of the mind, which, if it have real purpose, makes little of the only rewards that spur men to muscular labor. The men who have really thought and labored and strug- gled for the abstract jewel of truth, and to beautify and make happy the world we live in, are, to the masses of indolent, ignorant, selfish human beings that have swarmed through the ages, as parasites upon some huge animal. The mass of humanity, considered as a whole, separated from these rest- less and stinging parasites, observed through the perspective of history, tradition and science, resembles nothing so much as some monstrous dull-brained and gloomy animal, alter- nately dozing and raging through the centuries, now as if stupefied in its own bulk or then as if furious with the mad- ness of brute power. In fact, though mankind have achieved the dignity of a history that, fills the thoughtful with wonder, yet as a mass they are filled with as much violence, injustice, ruthlessness and selfishness as if it were but yesterday they had emerged from the primitive struggles with wild beasts, the tangled forests, the trackless mountains, and the pitiless elements, and yet stood flushed with savage exultation but dull with physical weariness. In that vast human bulk that sprawls over every continent, the primitive 9 ferocity still exists, veiled perhaps under familiar livery and uniform, but untanmed by centuries of training. It is this gloomii inass, saturated with superstitious cowardice, savage with, the selfish instinct of grlce(], or dull with the lan guor of gorged1 and exhausted passion, that deliberates not in words or tlhouglht, liut in sonic impenetrable free-masonry of in- stinct like thlat whieh) beggars illustrate when they silently display their deformities and lmutilations as the most elo- qIuent appeals. This gloomy mass is at once the instigator and the instrument of mortal destiny. Individuals may es- cape for a timie, but they uIlust eventually fall or lift the mass to rmeet them. The most profound philosophers an(l most latient students know as little of tlis silent, gloomy hunman force as geogra- phers know of the archipelagoes of the Antarctic. The philosopher begins with pure reason and expands it; the student delves into the records of other students; in unfath- omal)le depths below both are the myriads who eat, drink, sleep ald(1 seek their prey as their primitive parents once did wheu they disputedl carcasses with the beasts of the forests. It is this gloomy, savage force that has made the contem- plative soul of spiritual inquiry writhe under the startling contradictions of history. When this force has been aroused with fear it has snarled and roared defiance; when it has been enraged by opposition or the lash of mastership it has cooled its ferocity ini the 1)10o0( of countless wvars, pillages and sacri- fices; when satiated or pleased it has grunted with pleasure or relaxe(d itself in orgies so gross anld unspeakable that mod- erl history, with instinctive (lecency, has kept the story of them veiled behind (lead languages. This gloomy, savage force has always been the same whether mastered or master- ing. When some daring and cunning genius of its oWIn nature has cowed it, as the Alexanders, Ctesars and Napoleons have done, it has niarche(l out to slaughter and be slaughtered with a sullen pride in the daring that this mightier ferocity has put upon it. When it has mastered its Drusus, its Domi- tian, its Nero, its Vespasian and its Louis XVI, it has indulged in wantoti excesses of rage and destruction until, spent with exhaustion, a new master has arisen to tie it up like a whipped dog. It was this gloomy and savage force that crowded into the greatest tribunal of all history, and yelled with discordant and frenzied rage into the very face of the noblest and gen- tlest incarnation of spiritual light that ever spent its brief 16 moment on earth: "Crucify Him! Release unto us Barabbas, the Thief." It was this savage force, serving all masters with equal ferocious zeal, that Theodosius turned against the Serapion at Alexandria, in the name of Christianity, to blot out of existence the inestimable treasures of knowledge and literature that had been accumulated by centuries of labor. At all times this gloomy force has been more wantonly cruel than wild beasts. Man has been epigrammatically described as a reasoning animal, a laughing animal, a con- structive animal and even as "aln animal that gets drunk ;" l)ut the truest description is that lie is the cruel and rapacious animal. The greatest student of the jungle, who has written of the beasts of the forest with the intuition of genius, has given us this formula: "Now this is the Law of the Jungle-as old and as true as the sky, And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die: X a "Ye may kill for yourselves and your mates and your cubs, as they need and ye can, But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill man." You may spend the remainder of your life attacking that formula of animal nature if you please, but you will find it at last still truth. Man kills not only the beasts, but his own species for pleasure, or in sheer wantonness of cruelty. He loves killing as an exercise; he loves it as a spectacle; he loves it as the origin of his greatest emotion. When that there is merely a brutish criminal to be hanged, human beings crowd the converging roads to the spectacle as centuries ago they crowded to the Colosseum. And it is to be recorded to the credit of wild beasts that no traveler ever yet came upon a battlefield that they had strewn with the dead bodies of their own kind. Lest it be contended that this is a psychological portrait of the mass of mankind caricatured by bitter cynicism, let us examine the aspect of its physiology. The whole brain of an average Caucasian makes up fifty ounces of the 140 pounds weight of his body. There are thus 137 pounds of fleshly necessity to three pounds of intellectual possibility -forty-six parts of heavy dough to one part of leaven. The difference in the brain weight of races, and which decides the question of intellectual superiority, is about two ounces. The difference in the brain weight of individuals of the same race, indicating mental superiority is about two ounces. 11 Now aIs the brains of individuals of all races inust in propor- tiorn be equally occupie(l with tile execution of those func- tiorns which we call instinet ajid those acts thait may be called merely automol)ile (since they are the results of traiji- ing and constant imitation, an(l have utterly no relation to intellectuality or mental initiative), it nialyv be fairly assuimed that the spiritual essence of races anld indlividuals exists in a little grayish pulp-like lump of brain weighing two ounces out of an average bodily weiglt of 140 pounds. In the mass of hniiianity, thjen, there is one par-t possible to flower into the noble perceptions of spiritual anl( intellectual life, to 1,120 parts of (lull, uniform, automatic aninmalism. What chiance lhas thlis solitary microbe of spiritual and ntellectual ligiht agai nst the swarntinig lbactcria of aninuldismn That single microbe is nierely a possibility. It may be mnuti- lated, it may be dwarfed, it may fail froml weakness, it may be corrupted. It is discouraging to tbiiik how few lhave gr'own into strong life throulgh all the peerils of existence. Under these circumstances it is but natural that even the small proportion of mankind eiidowed with the divine possi- bilities conferre(1 by two ounces of brain, should be contam- inated with many of the corruptions froin below. Of those who seem to l)e coicernseol with spiritual perceptions there is a vast iiumber mere elharlatans and pretenders wlho, like the ingenious Japanese, are content to miake cunning imitations of the real things adapted to sell to the best advantagte. They patter the formulas of religio i, of sciaclee, of art and morals, and ostentatiously display thenmselv es in the costume of intellectuality to flatter, cajole and niystitfv the gloomy ignorance of their fellows. This is the select officialism of the secret human nature, its recognized and authorized police-the constituted authior- ities of Public Opinion. It is among these thiat we should find the possibilities of development mnulch increased. What do we find That the solitary microbe merely begins its strug- gle here. It dare not destroy its swarining eneies since upon their continued existence its own lifie depends. It must regulate, control and direct them if it would live and develop, or with cowar(lly cunliing compromise the struggle at the outset and become a servant where it seems to com- mand. This is the first terrace-step of superiority peopled by those who can understand others above thlem and interpret to the mass below. 12 Tue microbe that might have become glorious ounces of brain has been content to become merely a little wart of pulp which finds expression in skill aind quickness and more of coveted leisure. There is the next higher terrace and an- other and another, until finally it becomes a pyramid, ever more fragile and symmetrical, the apex of which is a delicate spire, where the purest intellects are elevated to a-n ever in- creasing height in ever decreasing lluml)ers, until in the dizzy altitude above the groveling l)ase l)elow they are wrapped little lby little in the cold solitude of incarnate genius burn- ing like suis with their owni essence. It is so far up that the eyes deceive ta'l( men dispute who it is that stands at the top, but, whoever he may be, he has carried by the force of strength, determination and paticllt wvill the whole swarm of his evil bacteria with him. They swarm through every terrace below, increasing in force as the pyranaid enlarges downward. It is the pyrami(lal bulk of human nature with its finest lbrain, trute to anatomic principles, at the top. That radiance at the summit is the delighlt and the aspiration of all l)elow. As it rises as slowly as growth of a coral reef it increases the courage of those below in proportion as they are near. But the whole bulk is alive with the bacteria of aii- mnalism, nudter iniereasing control as it rises, still with the ferocity, rapacity and selfisli passionis of the gloomy maiss at the l)ottom and forever ini revolt. Is this not proved by his- tory, writtei and( unwritten Is it not provedl )y the glhastly secrets of individual introspection that men never reveal or admit to others; secrets guar(led by a system of coiivenitions so impenetrable and vast that to attempt to personalize it in the sneaking figure of Hypocrisy would be as absurd as to try to enlarge the significance of an ivory chessman by setting it up on a lady's jewel lbox andi naming it Moloch. All men feel how nmuch of them is brute and how muiuclh is reasot ; but it is the uninmpartable secret of huniami society whose betrayal has beeui rendered impossible by uniiversal (lellials in advance, enacted into what we call e'illlillal laws, under w\Thlich admissions are denied by the brand of proportiouiate iinfianies, to deoniotstrate that the traitor who hiaas acted or spoken has not put into expression the secrets of the niass. Great armies and constabularies are kept to coniuiiit upon a large scale the murders and violence which, wvhie, committed ulponi a small scale, they punish. What is the record of the officialism of public opinion 13 There has been nothing so abhorrent. and cruel, so sordid, mean, frivolous, indecent or insanie, that the represntaitive fashion and respectability of sonie s1leCiIi(id civilization has not justified, approve(l au(d sustaine(l it. It has licensed every Wanton passion of the body. It. has even indulged, con- temiptuously at tiiies, those individuals illspirCd thirouglh the mysterious selection of iniinortal genius to satf-ginird the slendler flame of spiritual liglht anid life. Buit those indulged 1have always beeii nlade to feel thlat thee were secure only ;s long as their performances excited jaltled appetites as at nov- elty. If dwarf an(l mdmonstrosities staled ; if dancing girls palle(d; if gladiators wearie(l; if there were no niew games inivented-thien bring in a poet or artist -sonic queer fel- low whio had discovered somethi, thliat lie called truth or beauty, aind let him amu-se. But if hle does not amuse, or if lie wear out his welcome, afwvay withi hin. In the history of our own civilization, as our ideals go, .there was one divine incarnation of spiritual and intehlletnal ]ite thiat struggled through the tears, blood and (ldirt of existence l without one stain upon the purity of h1is natuNr. This essence was a b)eacon lighlt that has slonme steadily through tcarly two thousand years. Aiid Him the offihiclisni of human nature, ini exaltatioii of savage contempt, nailedI upon a cross, aid set up for an ominious warning to the whiole world. It lhd already marked the noble Socrates, amil, like Cleopatra to her slave, handed him a cup of poison. It was afterward to com- pel Galileo to swallowv in siamae and agolny his testimony to unalterable truthi. Eveni in this year, under the title of a great church, it has, with pitiless persistence, forced a great stu(lemit and educator, not to deny a historical fact that lie had (hiscovered, but to humbly regret its promulgation. As if the concealment of a truth for your advantage in moral controversy were not a greater crime thjaii tht concealnent of a murderer for pay ! Whenever this oflicialisin has coum- cluded to amuse itself with spiritual inquiries in the name of religious controversies, it has coniducteJ them with fire and the sword, with thumbscrews anid the boot, and all nan- ncr of ingenious ferocity. The officialism of public opinion has always beeni ready to serve the demrinds of the base nature below. It was the great lawgiver, Lycurgus, who tauglit Spartami youths the commercial economy of theft and the virtue and advantage of lying. It was not only when Rome w as in decay, but when 14 she was at the zenith of glory from the first Brutus to Octa- vils, wiheii Cwsar, Cicero, Seneca, Horace, and the Plinys lived at the seat of the knowledge, w ealth, art and power of the world, that womene crowded the colosseums to feast their senses upon the ferocity of tigers anid give the (leatih signal to the gladiator who charmed by his fatal skill. It was while Shakespeare lived that English gentlemen anid mothers apprenticed( their sons to the trade of piracy. In our own century and country we have seen Abraham Lincoln, the liberator, himself, enlist under the flag of official pulilic opinion to strike a blow in the extermination of red Indians who had. committed the unl)ardollable crime of owning their own land whereon we are assembled to-day. The fashions of lust anl cruelty may change with the amilusements they permit, lbut offlcialisin promotes all with zeal. At present we laugh at Mesiner and study hypnotism; at present we sneer at the incarnations of Vishnu and inquire into Tlieosophy; at present we condemn the sacrificial "great custonm" of King Prempeli and order our killings by twelve men anl the sheriff and by elaborate machinery; at present we shudder at the sports of Commodus and wait breathlessly upon bulletins fronm Carson City. Those who scouted the fetieles of D)ahomey have waited on their knees in the Cathedral at Naples for the liquefaictioni of the blood of St. Januarius, or crawled in agony of hope to the saving pool at Lourdes. There have been those melted to tenderest com- passion at the sighit of a wounded dog or an overdriveni horse, wvho have yet owned human slaves amid contended that it was righit, even if harsh, to sell a mother and her child from one auction block to diffeirent owners. There have been those so wounded by the shortcomings of their neighbors that they have orgsanize(l white-capped h.ands of virtue to wipe out im- moralitS' il the cleansing blood of murder. A man may re.ject the nmiracle of 9Jonali and yet see an airship. :c - Now this is the tribunal that has handed down the ju(dg- ment that novel-reading is a vice. Is it not a most icatural, just aiid honest opinion Could such a tribunal properly pronouiice any other Is it not such a judgment in fact as vindicates the iitegrity of the court, while it crowns the cul- prit with glory lIi expressing the idea that the reading of novels is only an aniusement-to be taken up when there is nothing else to do-your average grocer, tailor, lawyer, or 15 what not, has but spoken to you the world's judgnment. In fact there are countless readers of novels who have grown up in this atmosphere of conviction that novels are mneant only to amuse. They are so habituated to the i(lea that novels, to them, are valueless-mere sentimet tal nt realities or spiced narratives of heated invention-so that they go through the treasure houses of genius without ever hearing the soft-voiced persuasion of knowledge orseeing the niarvelous, vivid parI- orama of human life, illustrating its aspirations, sorrows, struggles, triumphs an(l failures. Such rea(lers, convinced in advance that everything iu a novel is fictitious, lbecanse the personages discussed are fictitious in namne, never dream that study of the conduct of these personages may be useful to influence their own manners, COIduct, mIkOr'alS or sympa- thies. Indeed, sonic of them are so confident of the unreality of novels that when they are confronted with their own counterparts in fictitious personality they feel a certain sense of humiliation as of being collvicte(l of eeentricity, of all unlikeness to actual persons, which must be concealed as branding them "fit to be put into a novel." To such persons novel-readinig is a vice, because it is an indolent ex- citement, a mental opi um-eatinlg; the useless buttini -agailtst an unscalable wall-of brains intended to he fully occupie(d in, developing those parts of the nervous and inusculhr systems that find their highest application in vigorous (levotion to the washboard or the laying of gas pipes (lowYI. What a different result is aciieved l)y the rea(ler who knows the secret that imagination is the soul of thought, that taste is the power of truth and that the abstractions prodnleed by imagination anid taste dealing wvithi fact to convert it to fiction, or carefully assembling fiction to convert it to flact, have been the stars that have lighted up the night of human history. By the light of these iii their varying forms matn discovered Religion, Philosophy, Science, Government and the possibility of orderly Liberty. To such a reader the novel comprehends all human society, its customs and(I secrets. The untraveled man may sit in his library and become as familiar with the world as with his native towNn; the diffident student may mingle familiarly in the society of courts; the bashful girl may learn the most engaging manniers; the slow may learn the trick of wit; the rich may learn sympathy for the poor; the weak may le warned against tfle pitfalls of temp- tation and every one may there survey himself in every 10 nspect, subjected to discussion a(id exhibition uider various disguises and under various ciircumstaincez; alnd], if lie have courage and thc desire, lie can decide what lie thinks of him- self aII1l the possibilitics of improvioig the opinion in the light of full kniowledge of the subject. The Nbiel has come as the solvent of all literary art. In its possibilities all the essentials of other literary forms are coni uued and couveyed withlout in jury. Proftssedly not History, it performs all its woniders in the guise of History and a(ddls a light andl a humain interest to chronicle that gives increased value. We (1o not get sympathetic afnd human kniowledge of Eiigland froni History, but from Scott, Thack- eray and her splendid historical novelists. We do not turn to G(iizot and Thiers for tiny knowledge of French history except its stated public facts, its documents with royal seals awui( its verified dates and details-it is to D)umas, Merimee. Balzac that all but the professional students of history go, We do not seek in the rapid sketches of Gibbon for the story of Nero, but in the pages of " Qujo Vadis." Where do we find the breathing history of Spaini except in the countless novels that its 1icturesque subjects have suggested I would scorn to un(lerestimate the profound and substantial value that the great muse of History has conferred upon the world. In all literature she deservedly ranks first in diginity, power and usefulness; but who will say that aIt her court the Prime Minister is not the Novel, which by its lightness, grace and addlress has popularized history all over the world While the Novel has none of the guise of poetry, yet it has its every essence, neglectinig only form an(d rhyme. In the Novel you may finid the measure, the accent and the figures of the whole range of poetry, and a capacity for inspiring cnthusiasim and emulation qulite as great as p)oetry uiiijoiiied to the divine enchalitress, Music. Plainly not Drajna, vet what is more dramatic than the Novel In the miracle of its pages you fluid tlCaterI, sceery, actors, audience and lauthor. You milay sit at your ease in your library chair and command the services of the most innumerable company of comedians, tragediatns; lovers, ladies, buffoons, soubrettes and pantonidmists that the world ever knew. How many novels have beeii turned into dranmas, how few dramas have beni successfully expanded into novels! Thus the Novel, while it is not History nor Poetry iior the Drama, is a combination of all. Aud it possesses more than 17 this. Its lightness einables it to tell the history of the coni- monest peasanit-a subject that History disdainted un1til tile Novel benit to the task. Its flexibility mntakes it possible to write the history of types and classes; its capacity enllbles it to coHvey science, to teach morals, to illuminate the abstriact difficulties of every philosophy, to utter the despairing llli- man lprotests stifled elsewhere, atnd to embrace every purpose for which words were created and(1 hiuntati aspirations were kindled. That it has lelt itself to basc uses is true. Iow could it escape the conttanminiationi that has s-lirchte( every other art And, as ini every other art, that which is base and false ill fiction soon (lies of its own inhierenit weakness aned is forgot- tell. But decadle by decade the Novel grows more powerful, more llol)le, aitdl more adaptable to the spiritual uses of man. The tihine will collie wvlei the Novel will stand otl the book- shelves with history, tile philosophies anmd tIme sciences, ats of equal lhonor and use--necessary to complete tile education of every scholar; yet even thenr thtere will probably be a tribu- nal to pronmounce it to be, if not a vice, at least of doubtful utility.