Two Years Ago, Volume I

Two Years Ago, Volume I


(1 Review)
Two Years Ago, Volume I by Charles Kingsley





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Two Years Ago, Volume I


(1 Review)

Book Excerpt

ark is chairman of the line, and everybody's friend beside; and as he stands there being scraped, he finds time to inquire after every one of the officials by turns, and after their wives, children, and sweethearts beside.

"What a fine specimen of your English squire!" says Stangrave.

"He is no squire; he is the Whitbury banker, of whom I told you."

"Armsworth!" said Stangrave, looking at the old man with interest.

"Mark Armsworth himself. He is acting as squire, though, now; for he has hunted the Whitford Priors ever since poor old Lavington's death."

"Now then--those horse-boxes!"...

"Very sorry, sir; I telegraphed up, but we could get but one down."

"Put the horses into that, then; and there's an empty carriage! Jack, put the hounds into it, and they shall all go second class, as sure as I'm chairman!"

The grinning porters hand the strange passengers in, while Mark counts the couples with his whip-point,--

"Ravager--Roysterer; Melody--Gay-lass; all right. Why, where's that old th

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I first read Kingsley as a boy: Hereward the Wake, Westward Ho! and Water Babies—all fine tales—and have recently re-read Hereward and Water Babies.

I regret having wasted my time on Two Years Ago, a pretentious tale featuring mostly boring characters and ornate dialog such as has never been spoken by human lips.

Worst or all, perhaps, it is incredibly wordy. Half the book could be excised with no loss of meaning or meaningful emotion. Perhaps this was originally published as a serial and paid by the word. In his effort to expand description, for instance, in one lengthy passage Kingsley describes every flower blooming on a hillside. But what season can it be—spring (bluebells,) summer (roses) or fall (monkshood.) Dozens of other flowers are named, and dozens of other passages could provide similar examples.

He goes deeply into medicine, a laughable effort considering what he thought he knew then compared with present knowledge. Women are, for the most part, delicate souls to whom a harsh word will bring on the threat of collapse followed by decline and eventual death. They need much medical attention from the hero.

Only a few minor characters and the hero—a cynic and simultaneous do-gooder—are worth knowing, and even the hero is at times preposterous.