literary purpose has shaped itself in early years and has proved the adequate task of a lifetime.
This is not ordinarily to be expected, or even desired.
Some men simply fill in a wide background without the possibility of predicting where the foreground of their intellectual work will lie. No matter; they may at any moment reap the advantage of this early breadth.
There are no departments of study which are more apt to prove useful in the end than those on which Time has for a while set up the sign No Thoroughfare
. It has been said that no one is rich in knowledge who cannot afford to let two-thirds of it lie fallow; nor can any one tell in which particular field he may at any moment be called on to resume production, or, at least, to take the benefit of some early harvest that was merely ploughed in.
While I am therefore proud, as an American, of the clever writing and even of the genius of many of the authors who owe nothing to colleges; and while I rejoice to see it demonstrated as has been shown by Mr. Howells
and Mr. James
, that much of the strength and delicacy of English style can be attained without