Before starting to America I had completed Orley Farm, a novel which appeared in shilling numbers 鈥?after the manner in which Pickwick, Nicholas Nickleby, and many others had been published. Most of those among my friends who talk to me now about my novels, and are competent to form an opinion on the subject, say that this is the best I have written. In this opinion I do not coincide. I think that the highest merit which a novel can have consists in perfect delineation of character, rather than in plot, or humour, or pathos, and I shall before long mention a subsequent work in which I think the main character of the story is so well developed as to justify me in asserting its claim above the others. The plot of Orley Farm is probably the best I have ever made; but it has the fault of declaring itself, and thus coming to an end too early in the book. When Lady Mason tells her ancient lover that she did forge the will, the plot of Orley Farm has unravelled itself 鈥?and this she does in the middle of the tale. Independently, however, of this the novel is good. Sir Peregrine Orme, his grandson, Madeline Stavely, Mr. Furnival, Mr. Chaffanbrass, and the commercial gentlemen, are all good. The hunting is good. The lawyer鈥檚 talk is good. Mr. Moulder carves his turkey admirably, and Mr. Kantwise sells his tables and chairs with spirit. I do not know that there is a dull page in the book. I am fond of Orley Farm 鈥?and am especially fond of its illustrations by Millais, which are the best I have seen in any novel in any language. Being in the presence of these two postures producesvery different feelings. To-day as he finished the perusal of these most satisfactory renderings of last month鈥檚 accounts, Keeling felt that he had arrived at a stage, at a plateau on the high upland of his financial prosperity. It stretched all round him sunny and spacious, and he had no doubt in his own mind as to whether it had not been worth while to devote thirty years of a busy life in order to attain it. The reward of his efforts, namely, the establishment of this large and remunerative business, and the enjoyment of an income of which a fifth part provided him with all that he could want in the way of material comfort and complete ease in living, seemed to him a perfectly satisfactory return for his industry. But as far as he could see, there was no further expansion possible in Bracebridge: he had attained the limits of commercial prosperity there, and if he was to devote his energies, now still in their zenith to a further increase of fortune, he knew that this expansion must take the form of establishing fresh branches of business in other towns. He did not for a moment doubt his ability to succeed elsewhere as he had succeeded here, for he had not in the course of his sober industrious life arrived at any abatement of the forces that drive an enterprise to success. But to-day the doubt assailed him as to whether it was worth while. 大发快三计划格式 Being in the presence of these two postures producesvery different feelings. Norah got up, smiling at him. Her internal blush had filtered through to her face. Kennedy nodded again, cautiously. "You will not accept anything further from him, of course." As he spoke he became aware that Keeling was not paying the smallest attention to him; he appeared unconscious of him. His finger still tapped his desk, and he was frowning at his ink-bottle. Then he dismissed, as if settled, whatever was occupying his mind. 鈥業 shall see you to-morrow afternoon, then,鈥?he said. 鈥楶erhaps you will bring your sister with you, as you tell me she is a book-lover too.鈥? Being in the presence of these two postures producesvery different feelings.