image pending 107

Of this treatise Mr. Brown remarks in his journal, “I have
completed a third and fourth parts of the dialogue of Alcuin,
in which the topic of marriage is discussed with some degree
of subtlety at least.”

He then goes on to speak of a romance which he began at
this time, but never finished.

“When this was finished, I commenced something in the
form of a Romance. I had at first no definitive conceptions of
my design. As my pen proceeded forward, my invention was
tasked, and the materials that it afforded were arranged and
digested. Fortunately I continued to view this scheme in the
same light in which it had at first presented itself. Time there-
fore did not diminish its attractions. The facility I experienc-
ed in composition, and the perception of daily progress en-
couraged me, and my task was finished on the last day of De-

“I hardly know how to regard this exploit. Is it a respec-
table proof of perseverance or not? Considering my character
in its former appearances, this steadiness of application might
not have been expected. What is the nature or merit of my
performance? This question is not for me to answer. My de-
cision is favourable or otherwise, according to the views which
I take of the subject. When a mental comparison is made
between this and the mass of novels, I am inclined to be pleas-
ed with my own production. But when the objects of compa-
rison are changed, and I revolve the transcendant merits of
Caleb Williams, my pleasure is diminished, and is preserved
from a total extinction only by the reflection that this perform-
ance is the first. That every new attempt will be better than
the last, and that considered in the light of a prelude or first
link, it may merit that praise to which it may possess no claim,
considered as a last best creation.

“It was at first written in an hasty and inaccurate way. Be-
fore I can submit it to a printer, or even satifactorily rehearse it
to a friend, it must be wholly transcribed. I am at present en-
gaged in this employment. I am afraid, as much time will be
required by it, as was necessary to the original composition. I

 image pending 108

do not fear but that I shall finish my labour, barring all extra-
ordinary accidents.”