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‘ [56] to read.’ All the empire of Great Britain, circling the globe, affords to her poets or novelists but a petty and insular audience compared with that addressed by George Sand or Victor Hugo. A Roman Catholic convert from America, going from Paris to Rome, and having audience with a former pope, is said to have been a little dismayed when his Holiness instantly inquired, with eager solicitude, as to the rumored illness of Paul de Kock—the milder Zola of the last generation. In contemporaneous fame, then, the mere accident of nationality and language plays an enormous part; but this accident will clearly have nothing to do with the judgment of posterity.

If any foreign country could stand for a contemporaneous posterity, one would think it might be a younger nation judging an older one. Yet how little did the American reputations of fifty years ago afford any sure prediction of permanent fame in respect to English writers! True, we gave early recognition to Carlyle and Tennyson, but scarcely greater than to authors now faded or fading into obscurity,—Milnes (Lord Houghton), Sterling,

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