Chapter 1: discontinuance of the guide-board

Perhaps the last indulgence yet to be won by the writer of fiction will be that of discontinuing the time-honored institution of the guide-board. Many still expect it to stand visible on his closing pages, at least, and to be marked, when necessary, “Private way,” “Dangerous passing,” that there may be no mistake. Yet surely all tendencies now lead to the abandonment of that time-honored proclamation; and this change comes simply from the fact that fiction is drawing nearer to life. In real life, as we see it, the moral is usually implied and inferential, not painted on a board; you must often look twice, or look many times, in order to read it. The eminent sinner dies amid tears and plaudits, not in the state-prison, as he should; the seed of the righteous is often seen begging bread. We have to read very carefully between the lines if we would

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