"A kind of picture of a man's own disposition," that is literature. Even the most futile attempt at self-revelation evokes sympathy. I remember, as a boy, gazing at an austere volume in my grandfather's library. It was, as far as I could ascertain, an indigestible mixture of theology and philology. But my eye was caught by the title, The Diversions of Purley. I had not the slightest idea who Purley was, but my heart went out to him at once.
"Poor Purley!" I said. "If these were your diversions, what a dog's life you must have led!" I could see Purley gazing vaguely through his spectacles as he said: "Don't pity me! It's true I have had my trials,--but then again what larks! See that big book; I did it!" Only long after did I learn that my sympathy was un-called for, as Purley was not a person but a place.
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Of all the devices for promoting a good understanding the old-fashioned Preface was the most excellent. It was not an introduction to the subject, its purpose was pe