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be self-collected. He must be alone with it. A good book is the purest essence of a human soul. How can a man take it in a crowd, with bustle of all sorts going on around him 2 The good of a book is not the facts that can be got out of it, but the kind of resonance that it awakens in our own minds. A book may strike out of us a thousand things, may make us know a thousand things, which it does not know itself. For this purpose I decidedly say that no man can read a book well with the bustle of three or four hundred people about him. Even forgetting the mere facts which a book contains, a man can do more with it in his own apartment, in the solitude of one night, than in a week in such a place as the British Museum. “Neither with regard to circulating libraries are we bound to utter any kind of censure: circulating libraries are what they can be in the circumstances. I believe, if a man had the heroism to collect a body of great books, to get together the cream of the knowledge that exists in the world, and let it be gradually known that he had such a library, that he would find his advantage in it in the long run ; but it would be only in the long run; he must wait ten or twenty years, perhaps a lifetime; he must be a kind of martyr. You cannot expect
a purveyor of circulating literature to be that. The question for such a person to ask is not ** Are you wanting to read a wise book?” but, ** Have you got sixpence in your pocket to pay for the reading of any book 2 ” Consequently, he must have an eye to the prurient appetite of the great million, and furnish them with any kind of garbage they will have. The result is melancholy—making bad worse; for every bad book begets an appetite for reading a worse one. Thus we come to the age of pinchbeck in literature, and to falsehood of all kinds. “‘So, leaving all other institutions and the Dritish Museum and the circulating libraries to stand, I say that a deservedly good library of good books is a crying want in this great London. How can I be called on to demonstrate a thing that is as clear as the sun? London has more men and intellects waiting to be developed than any place in the world ever has assembled. Yet there is no place on the civilized earth so ill-supplied with materials for reading for those who are not rich. I have read an account of a public library in Iceland, which the King of Denmark has founded there. There is not a peasant in Iceland that cannot bring home books to his hut better than men can in London. Positively it is a kind of disgrace to us, which we ought to assemble and put an end to with all convenient despatch. “‘The founding of a Library is one of the greatest things we can do with regard to results. It is one of the quietest of all things. But there is nothing that I know of at the bottom more important. Everyone able to read a good book becomes a wiser man. He becomes a centre of light and order, and of just insight into the things around him. A collection of good books contains all the nobleness and wisdom of the world before us. Every heroic and victorious soul has left his stamp upon it. This collection of books is the best of all universities. I'or the university only teaches how to read the book. You must go to the book itself for what is in it. I call it a church also. Every devout soul that ever lived speaks out of it. It is a church, but with no quarrelling; no church-rates'—(the remainder of the sentence was drowned in cheers and laughter, in the midst of which Mr. Carlyle sat down).” Poor Mr. James Grant, whose remarks on M. jan, Carlyle's manner as a lecturer, have §. already afforded us some amusement, *** was present at this meeting at the Freemasons' Tavern, and he thus set down his impressions of Carlyle's speech on that occasion:
“I was present some months ago, during the delivery of a speech by Mr. Carlyle at a meeting held in the Freemasons' Tavern, for the purpose of forming a Metropolitan Library; and though that speech did not occupy in its delivery more than five minutes, he made use of some of the most extraordinary phraseology I ever heard employed by a human being. He made use of the expression “this London,’ which he pronounced “this Loondun,' four or five times. Now this is a phrase which must have been affected; the most illiterate man in ‘this London' would hare said, “in such a place as London,’ ‘this great and populous place,’ ‘this vast metropolis,' or used some other expression possessing a little more euphony than ‘this London';—a phrase which grated grievously on the ears even of those of Mr. Carlyle's own countrymen who were present, and which must have sounded doubly harsh in the ears of an Englishman, considering the singularly broad Scotch accent with which he spoke.”" Your ears, did you say, my poor friend ? Of what kind your “ears” were, is sufficiently apparentl
* Portraits of Public Characters. Vol. ii. pp. 157-58.
JOHN STERLING. - HARRIET MARTINEAU. - CORRE-
HAVING now dealt with The French Revolution, and