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156 The Position
believe that I shall succeed in getting a hearing; he thinks
the combination of the religious and cultured world too
strong for me to stand against.
If he means that the reviewers will burke me as far as
they can, no doubt he is right; but when I am dead there
will be other reviewers and I have already done enough to
secure that they shall from time to time look me up. They
won't bore me then but they will be just like the present
Capping a Success
When I had written Erewhon people wanted me at once
to set to work and write another book like it. How could
I ? I cannot think how I escaped plunging into writing some
laboured stupid book. I am very glad I did escape. Nothing
is so cruel as to try and force a man beyond his natural
pace. If he has got more stuff in him it will come out in
its own time and its own way : if he has notólet the poor
wretch alone; to have done one decent book should be enough ;
the very worst way to get another out of him is to press him.
The more promise a young writer has given, the more his
friends should urge him not to over-tax himself.
A Lady Critic
A lady, whom I meet frequently in the British Museum
reading-room and elsewhere, said to me the other day:
" Why don't you write another Erewhon P "
(t Why, my dear lady," I replied, " Life and Habit was
They say these things to me continually to plague me
and make out that I could do one good book but never
any more. She is the sort of person who if she had known
Shakespeare would have said to him, when he wrote Henry
ike IVth :
" Ah, Mr. Shakespeare, why don't you write us another
Titus Andronicus ? Now that was a sweet play, that
And when he had done Antony and Cleopatra she would
have told him that her favourite plays were the three parts
of King Henry VI.