Page:Studies of a Biographer 1.djvu/49

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35
NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY

machinery, a famous dentist, a great Puritan divine, a Romanising bishop, the Colonel Newcome of the old reformers, and a once brilliant dramatist. I do not think that my dip into one volume has produced a result differing much from the average. My readers must judge whether it goes to justify my statement. To me it seems that at every haul one finds some specimens which, though they require the reader to do his part, are full of suggestions to the moderately thoughtful reader. 'What a knowledge of human nature you must have acquired!' has been said to me, with a touch, I know, of sarcasm. Perhaps I might, if the B's had not tended to turn the A's out of my head, and if a succinct record of a man's main performances were the same thing as a knowledge of the man himself. But this I may say; that I have received innumerable suggestions for thought, and had many vignettes presented to my imagination, which to a man of any thought or imagination should have been full of interest. If, that is, I had been a Macaulay, I should have approximated to that word perception of the historical panorama which he had to construct by assimilating the raw materials of history. Macaulay had faults which have been so