Or, out of a mere wayward fantasy, were I to go, by moonlight, and stand beside the stone Pout of the Shaker Spring at Canterbury, Monsieur du Miroir would set forth on the same fool's errand, and would not fail to meet me there. Shall I heighten the reader's wonder?
This specimen "The Man in the Street" was written in a way that was fresh and original; the thoughts were struck out by the shock of the words, the sounding ring of the adverbs and adjectives caught the reader's ear. The paper was as different from the serious and profound article on Nathan as the Lettres persanes from the Esprit des lois. "You are a born journalist," said Lousteau.
Before that news arrived, we had settled down in a degree of despair; but now we are preparing and planning our peaceable departure from this loathsome place. I would ask the reader's attention to the conduct of Capt.
Moggridge, the huge, good-natured, guffawing pillar of New Zion, on whom, at the moment, however, we will not call. A nice dull place, you may say, from which to issue invitations to a romance. Well, of course, it must seem so if pretty places are the reader's idea of romance. Curiously enough, the preference of the Lady Romance herself is for just such dull places.
The scholar, the divine, the statesman, the country gentleman, are absent, partly because Dickens had no knowledge of them, and partly because he forbore to hold them up to the ridicule which he loved to pour over his characters. His methods imposed upon him certain limitations; he aimed at commanding his reader's attention by compelling laughter and tears, but especially laughter.
Yet it is hard to separate fact and fiction here; to decide between the true and the false; to pluck from the haze with which time has enveloped them, and to distinguish the puppets of actual flesh and blood who lived and moved and had their being, and the phantoms of imagination called into life and given each its local habitation and its name by the poet's pen working its immemorial spell upon the reader's credulity.
The next letter I shall give refers to the illness with which old Mr. Sheridan was attacked in the beginning of the year 1788, and of which he died in the month of August following. It is unnecessary to direct the reader's attention to the passages in which she speaks of her lost sister, Mrs.
We are sorry we cannot indulge our reader's curiosity with a full and perfect account of this accident; but as there are such various accounts, one of which only can be true, and possibly and indeed probably none; instead of following the general method of historians, who in such cases set down the various reports, and leave to your own conjecture which you will chuse, we shall pass them all over.
As I was known to have actually got books published in England, and to be a professional journalist and reviewer, I dare say some of those who applied to me for encouragement thought I was actuated by literary jealousy; but people are apt to think they have a plot when they have only an incident, or two or three incidents; and many who can write clever and even brilliant letters have no idea of the construction of a story that will arrest and sustain the reader's attention.
I do not mean to enter into details on this nauseating subject; and I shall only trespass on the reader's patience by relating, though it be in anticipation, one fact which concerns myself, and which will prove that spies and their wretched reports cannot be too much distrusted. During the second year of the Consulate we were established at Malmaison.