funny people--your Costigans and Fokers--were not mere characters of trick and catch-word, were not empty comic masks. Behind each the human heart was beating; and ever and again we were allowed to see the features of the man.
Thus fiction in your hands was not simply a profession, like another, but a constant reflection of the whole surface of life: a repeated echo of its laughter and its complaint. Others have written, and not written badly, with the stolid professional regularity of the clerk at his desk; you, like the Scholar Gipsy, might have said that 'it needs heaven-sent moments for this skill.' There are, it will not surprise you, some honourable women and a few men who call you a cynic; who speak of 'the withered world of Thackerayan satire ;' who think your eyes were ever turned to the sordid aspects of life--to the mother-in-law who threatens to 'take away her silver bread- basket;' to the intriguer, the sneak, the termagant; to the Beckys, and Barnes Newcomes, and Mrs. Mackenzies of this w