a somewhat narrowed range of allusion and illustration; a little deficiency in that mellow richness of soil which can be made only out of the fallen leaves of many successive vegetations; a want, in fact, of background.
It is to be readily admitted that there is no magic in a college, and that any writer who has a vast love of knowledge may secure his background for himself, as did, for example, Theodore Parker
Yet he cannot obtain it without what is, in some sense, the equivalent of a college; long early years spent in various studies, and especially in those liberal pursuits formerly known as the Humanities.
No doubt there is much material accessible in other ways, as by wide travel, or even in the forecastle or on a ranch.
But, after all, the main preservative of knowledge is in the art of printing; and while the merely bookish man may never make a writer, there is nothing that so enriches prose-writing as some background of book-knowledge.
In case of old Burton
, just mentioned, the book-knowledge clearly mastered the man; and the same is the case with one who might perhaps have been the most