BOOKS AND BOOKMEN They cannot be separated any more than sheep and a shepherd, but I am minded to speak of the bookman rather than of his books, and so it will be best at the outset to define the tribe. It does not follow that one is a bookman because he has many books, for he may be a book huckster or his books may be those without which a gentleman’s library is not complete.  And in the present imperfect arrangement of life one may... more...

IDust “I see the ships,” said The Eavesdropper, as he stole round the world to me, “on a dozen sides of the world. I hear them fighting with the sea.” “And what do you see on the ships?” I said. “Figures of men and women—thousands of figures of men and women.” “And what are they doing?” “They are walking fiercely,” he said,—“some of... more...

ON THE VICE OF NOVEL READING. Ever since the Novel reached the stage of development where it was demonstrated to be the most ingenious vehicle yet designed for conveying the protean thought and fancy of man, there has stood in the judgment book of Public Opinion the decree that novel-reading was a vice. Of course, that judgment did not apply exclusively to the reading of novels. It was a sort of supplementary decree in which the name of this new... more...

BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION. There comes a time in the career of every man of genius who has devoted a long life to the instruction and enlightenment of his fellow-creatures, when he receives before his death all the honours paid by posterity. Thus when a great essayist or historian lives to attain a classic and world-wide fame, his own biography becomes as interesting to the public as those he himself has written, and by which he achieved his... more...

1881. Question 1.—Sound is said to travel about four times as fast in water as in air. How has this been proved? State your reasons for thinking whether sound travels faster or slower in oil than in water. <p 184> Answer(a).—Mr. Colladon, a gentleman who happened to have a boat, wrote to a friend called Mr. Sturm to borrow another boat and row out on the other side of the lake, first providing himself with a large ear-trumpet.... more...


CHAPTER I My Boyhood Reading Early Recollections To get the best out of books, I am convinced that you must begin to love these perennial friends very early in life. It is the only way to know all their "curves," all those little shadows of expression and small lights. There is a glamour which you never see if you begin to read with a serious intention late in life, when questions of technique and grammar and mere words begin to seem too... more...

PREFACE. As the title-page of this volume indicates, no more is here attempted than a memorial of Charles Dickens in association with his Readings. It appeared desirable that something in the shape of an accurate record should be made of an episode in many respects so remarkable in the career of the most popular author of his generation. A commemorative volume, precisely of this character, was projected by the writer in the spring of 1870.... more...

Chapter I. Material and Method. If the writer who ventures to say something more about books and their uses is wise, he will not begin with an apology; for he will know that, despite all that has been said and written on this engrossing theme, the interest of books is inexhaustible, and that there is always a new constituency to read them. So rich is the vitality of the great books of the world that men are never done with them; not only does... more...