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[136] critics who cling to the plot are not aware of their own demise; but Mr. Howells has found it out. To find it out is justly to silence them; for, as Charles Lamb says in his poem exemplifying ‘the lapidary style,’ which the late Mr. Mellish never could abide:--

It matters very little what Mellish said,
Because he is dead.

But if we grant for a moment, as a matter of argument, that whatever yet speaks may be regarded, for controversial purposes, as being alive, it may be well enough pointed out, that, if plot is dead and only characters survive, then there is a curious divergence in this age between the course of literature and the course of science. If anything marks the science of the age it is that plot is everything. Museums were formerly collections of detached specimens, only classified for convenience under a few half-arbitrary divisions. One may still see such collections surviving, for instance, in that melancholy hall through which people pass, as rapidly as possible, to reach the modern theatre known as the Boston Museum. But in all

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Mellish (2)
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