s of the rest. But before we part for the time being, let me offer the uncritical reader one valuable touchstone. Let him recall the stories he has read, say, five years ago. If he can find a live man or woman anywhere amongst his memories, who is still as a friend or an enemy to him, he has, fifty to one, read a sterling book. Dickens' people stand this test with all readers, whether they admire him or no. Even when they are grotesque they are alive. They live in the memory even of the careless like real people. And this is the one unfailing trial by which great fiction may be known.
Reade's position in literature is distinctly strange. The professional critics never came within miles of a just appreciation of his greatness, and the average 'cultured reader' receives his name with a droll air of allowance and patronage. But there are some, and these are not the least qualified as judges, who regard him as ranking with the great masters. You will find, I think, that the m