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is historically correct, the total impression is false. Even when his narrative moves, it moves like a corkscrew or in a circle. A skilful historian, on the other hand, never changes his point of view without necessity or without in some way apprising his reader of the change. He never loses sight of the main idea, and he groups details in their true relations to the main idea and to each other. If an introduction is necessary, he makes it just long enough to give a clear understanding of what is to follow. He begins at the true beginning, and moves steadily towards the end

“The affairs of England during the reigns of James and Wil. liam,” writes Professor Minto, “were considerably involved, and without skilful arrangement a history of that period could hardly fail to be confused. Macaulay's exhibition of the movenients of different parties, the different aspects of things in the three parts of the kingdom, the complicated relations between James and William, and the intrigues of different individuals, is managed with great perspicuity.

“ He is exemplary in keeping prominent the main action and the main actor. After the death of Charles, our interest centres in James. We are eager to know how the change of monarch was received in London and through the country, and how James stood in his relations with France and Rome, with Scotland, and with the English clergy and the Dissenters. Macaulay follows the lead of this natural interest, and does not leave James until he is fairly settled on the throne. James once established, our interest in him is for the time satisfied, and we desire to know the proceedings of his baffled opponents. Accordingly, the historian transports us to the asylum of the Whig refugees on the Continent, describes them, and keeps their machinations in Holland, and their successive invasions of Britain, prominent on the stage until the final collapse of their designs and the execution of their leaders. That chapter of the History ends with an account of the cruelties perpetrated on the aiders and abettors of the western insurrection under Monmouth. Then the scene changes to Ireland, the next interesting theatre of events. And so on : there were various critical junctures in the history of the Government, and the events leading to each are traced separately.

“The arrangement is so easy and natural, that one almost wonders to see it alleged as a merit. But when we compare it with Hume's arrangement of the events of the same period, we see that even a historian of eminence may pursue a less luminous method. Hume relates, first, all that in his time was known of James's re lations with France; then the various particulars of his administration in England, down to the insurrection of Monmouth; then the state of affairs in Scotland, including Argyle's invasion and the conduct of the Parliament. He goes upon the plan of taking up events in local departments, violating both the order of time and the order of dependence. Macaulay makes the government of James the connecting rod or trunk, taking up, one after another, the difficulties that successively besiege it, and, when necessary, stepping back to trace the particular difficulty on hand to its original, without regard to locality. By grappling thus boldly

, . with the complicacy of events, he renders his narrative more continuous, and avoids the error of making a wide separation between events that were closely connected or interdependent. He does not, like Hume, give the descent of Monmouth in one section, and the descent of Argyle upon Scotland, an event prior in point of time, in another and subsequent section. James, after his accession, put off the meeting of the English Parliament till the more obsequious Parliament of Scotland should set a good example. Macaulay tells us at once James's motive for delaying the meeting of the English Parliament, and details what happened in Scotland during the fortnight of delay. In Hume's History, we do not hear of the proceedings instituted by the Scottish Parliament till after the execution of Argyle, by which time we are interested in another chain of events, and do not catch the influence of the proceedings in Scotland upon the proceedings in England.” 1

In fiction, the requirements of method in movement should always be observed. A story should Method in begin to move as soon as possible; it should at the outset introduce the principal characters and 1 William Minto: A Manual of English Prose Literature, part i. chap. ii. make them say something or do something to excite interest. Once started, it should keep in motion, never stagnating, never eddying, but flowing on like a river which takes to itself all tributary streams and thus grows broader and deeper.


A good example of method in story-telling is Richardson’s “ Clarissa Harlowe,” notwithstanding its length and the fact that it is composed entirely of letters. In the first letter, Miss Howe asks Clarissa to give a full account of her acquaintance with Lovelace from the beginning. From this point the story, though it moves slowly, moves as directly as the epistolary plan and the abundance of detail admit, and it ends with the death of Lovelace. There is, to be sure, a “conclusion," in which the subsequent history of the minor characters is related; but this is in form, as in fact, a postscript.

Miss Austen's method is generally good. Her “Emma," for example, introduces the heroine in the very first paragraph, concerns itself altogether with her fortunes and her match-makings, and ends with her marriage.

George Eliot's “Silas Marner” arouses interest at the beginning, first in the class to which Silas belongs, and secondly in Silas himself. Throughout the book Silas and his adopted daughter Eppie form the centre of interest, and Eppie's marriage ends the story.

The method of Hawthorne's romances is excellent throughout. “The Scarlet Letter,” for example, begins by introducing the tragedy of Hester, and it keeps the tragedy before the reader from first to last.

Of living authors,? no one excels Mr. Stevenson in the art of narration. His "Kidnapped” and “David Balfour" are especially worthy of study.

1 This was in type a month before Stevenson's death.

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Scott's method is good in the main, after he is fairly started; but often he is provokingly long in getting under way, - as in “ Ivanhoe,” for example, which begins with four pages of history followed by two pages of description. For his slowness in beginning, Scott had, however, what he deemed a good reason: he was so much disgusted by the practice of novelists who began with the most interesting incident and made the whole story an anti-climax, that he intentionally went to the other extreme.

Thackeray's method is uneven. “ The Virginians" begins better than it ends; “Henry Esmond” ends better than it begins. In “The Newcomes,” the culminating point of interest is the death of Colonel Newcome. The paragraph which describes that death — the paragraph which brought tears to Thackeray's eyes when he wrote it should have ended the book.

Dickens's method is weak in two particulars: most of his stories go backward and forward, and most end badly. The real end of “ Pickwick” is the breakfast party; of “ David Copperfield,” Mr. Peggotty's visit to Ham’s grave; of “Nicholas Nickleby," the breaking up of Dotheboys Hall; of “A Tale of Two Cities,” the death of Sidney Carton : but each of these stories has a postscript after the real end.

Without method no narrative can be perfect; but perfect method alone does not make perfect, or even good, narrative. The mechanism of an optical instrument may be more accurate than that of the human eye, but the life behind the eye is the thing of value: an author's method may be perfect, and yet his story may fail for. want of life-giving power. Method may be, if not learned, at least improved by practice; but the higher power, vision, is the gift of nature.

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EXPOSITION may be briefly defined as explanation. It does not address the imagination, the feelings, or the Exposition

will. It addresses the understanding exclu

sively, and it may deal with any subject-matter with which the understanding has to do. In the fact that exposition does not appeal to the emotions lies the essential difference between exposition and description or narration. The writer of a description or of a narrative may, without injury to his readers, look at his subject through the medium of his own personality and color it with his individual feelings: the writer of an exposition should, as far as possible, keep his individuality out of his work and present his subject to his readers exactly as it is.

Theoretically, exposition treats the matter in hand with absolute impartiality, setting forth the pure truth, — the truth unalloyed by prejudice, pride of opinion, exaggeration of rhetoric, or glamour of sentiment. Except in works of a technical character, exposition in this strict sense is comparatively rare; but it is now and then found even in political writings.

“ He [Mr. Robert Giffen] belongs to a limited class from whom the community receive an inestimable benefit, - namely, white light upon every subject upon which they require information. He will use months in ascertaining for them the truth, say, as to an

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