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RICHARDSON's

PAMELA

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know them was to have nothing to say, or no grace in listening. And there was a third kind which became prominent in the second ten years of George II.'s reign, about the time when Pope published the last of his Satires. This was the novel. New forms of literature, as I have before said, always have the advantage in freshness and force of interest over old forms. The novel appeared in a new form with Richardson's “ Pamela” in 1740. About the time when Horace Wal. pole wrote the letter from which I quoted at the beginning of the lecture, ladies at Ranelagh Gardens, then one of the fashionable resorts, were holding up to each other their copies of “ Pamela," to show that they had in their possession the most popular book of the day. The industrious antiquarian has cast doubt upon the literal truth of this story, pointing out that Ranelagh Gardens were not opened to the public till eighteen months after “Pamela ” had begun to run through many editions. Vauxhall, however, was open, if Ranelagh was not, and the incident may have been observed there. At any rate, the fact expressed by the story is true enough, that “Pamela" was at once and universally popular. In January, 1741, the editor of the Gentleman's Magazine wrote follows : “ Several encomiums on a series of Familiar Letters, published but last month, entitled 'Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded,' came too late for this Magazine, and we believe there will be little occasion for inserting them in our next; because a Second Edition will then come out to supply the Demands of the Country, it being judged in town as great a sign of want of curiosity not to have read • Pamela'as not to have seen the French and Italian dancers.” This testimony is almost as quaint and significant as the story about Ranelagh Gardens. Books must be new in form as well as in substance before they create such a furore as that indicates. There has been nothing like it in my time. The nearest approach

as

I recollect is J. R. Green's “Short English History.” Fashionable ladies carried it about with them on their visits to country-houses.

Richardson has long received the honor of being regarded as the founder of the English Novel, but of late it has been customary to go a little farther back, and trace the beginnings of the novel in the papers by Addison and Steele in the Tatler and the Spectator. The novel, it is said, was developed, not created, by Richardson. Now, this is hardly fair to the ingenious printer, if it is meant to deny him the credit of having invented or stumbled upon a

new species of composition—the novel of manners, stories in which the characters are drawn from ordinary domestic life, and of which the interest lies in picturing how they affect one another and how they are affected by circumstances. It is true that the novel was developed, and not created ; but it is not more true of Richardson's novel than of any other new species of composition, such as Marlowe's tragedy, or Scott's romantic tale, or Byron's personal epic. All alike are developed, not created, in the sense of having many affinities with the kind of literature immediately anterior to them. Thus in the novel of manners there are two elements—there is a description of ordinary character, and there is plot-interest-i. e., there is a story. Both of these elements are found in the generation before Richardson, but not in combination. It was he that combined them in his novel of manners, and therefore is he entitled to the praise of having invented a new species of composition.

You will find abundant descriptions of manners in the Spectator, and many delicate studies of character, Whoever wishes to get a living knowledge of the Queen Anne time must give evenings to the Spectator, and observe the incidents that are pictured as occurring in the shops and the streets and the places of amusement, at balls and tea-tables and dinner-tables, and the private

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sanctuaries where fine ladies issue adorned for conquest. The quiet Spectator penetrated everywhere. Especially in the letters from fictitious correspondents,-from Jenny Simper, Aurelia Careless, Betty Cross-stitch, Constantine Comb-brush, Florinda, Corinna Jeraminta, Jack Courtly, Toby Rentfree, Will Cymon, Dick Love. sick, and so forth,-you will find many happy studies of manner and character, many of the touches of nature that make all the world kin. But there is no story to weave the detached studies together. We learn how Jenny Simper-being, as she described herself, a young woman with her fortune to make-went to church, and was much aggrieved because the clerk of the parish, an ex-gardener, wreathed the pews so thickly with evergreens that she could not make eyes at the desirable baronet during the service ; but it had not occurred to any body to make a heroine out of Jenny Simper, or a hero out of the baronet, or a story out of incidents within the probabilities of ordinary life. There were stories to read in the days of Queen Anne ; there have been stories from the very beginning of literature; but they were of a different kind from the stories told in novels of manners. There were, in the first place, the great long-winded romances, full of amazing adventures, heroes of superhuman strength and courage and generosity, and heroines of surpassing beauty and constancy. The sceptical spirit had banished them from polite society in town, but they still lingered in the country and in the less enlightened strata of middle-class life, and, on the whole, perhaps did good with all their unreality, through their high standard of ideal conduct. There were stories of another kind, stories of fashionable intrigue, to which the name of novel was sometimes given-stories that served no good purpose. Finally, though this was not in the reign of Queen Anne, but in the reign of her successor, George I.,—there came the novels of adventure and crime—the invention of Defoe.

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Richardson did not invent stories any more than he invented the description of manners, but that does not in the least detract from the originality of his invention of the domestic novel-a story of incidents all within the area of possible occurrences in every-day life. The idea of writing such a story came to him by accident. He was an industrious and prosperous printer-a stout, rosy, vain, prosy little man, not at all the sort of man that might be expected to be a fashionable novelist. Of poor parentage, he had been apprenticed to a London printer ; had spent some years as a press-reader or proofcorrector-not a bad position for acquiring a knowledge of literature; bad married his master's daughter, and acquired an extensive business. When he was near the age of fifty, some bookseller friends of his, struck, perhaps, by his excellence as a letter-writer, had suggested to him that he should compose a

“ familiar letterwriter"

a little volume of letters in a common style, on such subjects as might be of use to those country readers who were unable to indite for themselves." In his youth, as it happened, Richardson had had a singular experience in the way of writing letters for others. Three young women who could not write had employed him, when he was a boy of thirteen, to conduct their correspondence with their sweethearts, which he did, he tells us, much to the satisfaction of his employers, and without betraying their confidence. This may

have been known to the booksellers who suggested his writing a volume of model correspondence. At any rate, he undertook the task. But, having a genius for story-telling, it occurred to him, as he turned the project over in his mind, that he might tell a story in a series of letters, which would serve equally well as models for letterwriting, and at the same time cultivate the principles of virtue and religion in the minds of the youth of both sexes. Accordingly, he chose a country girl, Pamela, in the service of a young squire, Mr. B., and made her

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THE ORIGIN OF " PAMELA "

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relate in letters to her friends her experiences from day to day and week to week in very trying circumstances. Friends write to advise Pamela in her difficulties, and so the story is carried on with most circumstantial minuteness, Pamela describing with the most careful exactness every particular of what happens to her, and adding her own reflections, surmises, and appeals for approbation and advice. The effect of this method is that, if you have any sympathy with the heroine, you get intensely interested in her perplexities; the very fulness of the details, and the close truth to nature with which the novelist follows every turn in the girl's thoughts, compel you to read on. No one can read over a few scenes from Richardson without feeling that he is a master of his art; but few people now, I imagine, read any of his novels through. It was otherwise in his own generation, when readers had more in common with the thoughts and sentiments of his voluminous descriptive letter-writers. The fame of “Pamela "made Richardson a great personal favorite, especially with ladies. Several ladies of quality made a pet of him, deluged him with confidences, and urged him to write more ; and under their flattering encouragement he produced “ Clarissa Harlowe," a model of every virtue in higher life, and “Sir Charles Grandison,” his ideal of a perfect gentleman. “Clarissa” is universally acknowledged to be his masterpiece. An anecdote was given by Macaulay which shows how entrancing the story may become to readers once fairly caught by the current of it. He took the whole eight volumes with him when he was in India to a hill-station during the hot season, and lent the first volume to the Governor's wife. She read it and lent it to the Governor's secretary, and went to Macaulay for the second. Thus the whole eight volumes passed from hand to hand, and for a week or more the whole station was in a ferment over the fortunes of Clarissa, the readers anxiously waiting their turn for the

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