It contains a great hospital, to which Stevenson seems to refer here.]

[Note 37: _Webster, Jeremy Taylor, Burke_. John Webster was one of the Elizabethan dramatists, who, in felicity of diction, approached more nearly to Shakspere than most of his contemporaries. His greatest play was _The Duchess of Malfi_ (acted in 1616). Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), often called the "Shakspere of Divines," was one of the greatest pulpit orators in English history. His most famous work, still a classic, is _Holy Living and Holy Dying_ (1650-1). Edmund Burke (1729-1797) the parliamentary orator and author of the _Sublime and Beautiful_ (1756), whose speeches on America are only too familiar to American schoolboys.]

[Note 38: _Junius_. No one knows yet who "Junius" was. In the _Public Advertiser_ from 21 Jan. 1769 to 21 Jan. 1772, appeared letters signed by this name, which made a sensation. The identity of the author was a favorite matter for dispute during many years.]

[Note 39: _David Hume_. The great Scotch skeptic and philosopher (1711-1776).]

[Note 40: _Shakespeare's fairy pieces with great scenic display._ So far from this being a novelty to-day, it has become rather nauseating, and there are evidences of a reaction in favour of _hearing_ Shakspere on the stage rather than _seeing_ him.]

[Note 41: _Calvinism_. If this word does not need a note yet, it certainly will before long. The founder of the theological system Calvinism was John Calvin, born in France in 1509. The chief doctrines are Predestination, the Atonement (by which the blood of Christ appeased the wrath of God toward those persons only who had been previously chosen for salvation--on all others the sacrifice was ineffectual), Original Sin, and the Perseverance of the Saints (once saved, one could not fall from grace). These doctrines remained intact in the creed of Presbyterian churches in America until a year or two ago.]

[Note 42: _Two bob_. A pun, for "bob" is slang for "shilling."]

[Note 43: _Never read Othello to an end_. In _A Gossip on a Novel of Dumas's,_ Stevenson confessed that there were four plays of Shakspere he had never been able to read through, though for a different reason: they were _Richard III, Henry VI, Titus Andronicus_, and _All's Well that Ends Well_. It is still an open question as to whether or not Shakspere wrote _Titus_.]

[Note 44: _A liberal and pious education_. It was Sir Richard Steele who made the phrase, in _The Tatler_, No. 49: "to love her (Lady Elizabeth Hastings) was a liberal education."]

[Note 45: _Trait d'union_. The French expression simply means "hyphen": literally, "mark of connection."]

[Note 46: _Malvolio_. The conceited but not wholly contemptible character in _Twelfth Night_.]

[Note 47: _The Egoist_. _The Egoist_ (1879) is one of the best-known novels of Mr. George Meredith, born 1828. It had been published only a very short time before Stevenson wrote this essay, so he is commenting on one of the "newest" books. Stevenson's enthusiasm for Meredith knew no bounds, and he regarded the _Egoist_ and _Richard Feverel_ (1859), as among the masterpieces of English literature. _Daniel Deronda_, the last and by no means the best novel of George Eliot (1820-1880), had appeared in 1876.]



In anything fit to be called by the name of reading, the process itself should be absorbing and voluptuous; we should gloat over a book, be rapt clean out of ourselves, and rise from the perusal, our mind filled with the busiest, kaleidoscopic dance of images, incapable of sleep or of continuous thought. The words, if the book be eloquent, should run thence-forward in our ears like the noise of breakers, and the story, if it be a story, repeat itself in a thousand coloured pictures to the eye. It was for this last pleasure that we read so closely, and loved our books so dearly, in the bright, troubled period of boyhood. Eloquence and thought, character and conversation, were but obstacles to brush aside as we dug blithely after a certain sort of incident, like a pig for truffles.[1] For my part, I liked a story to begin with an old wayside inn where, "towards the close of the year 17--," several gentlemen in three-cocked hats were playing bowls.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

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