“Mr. Ridgeley,” said Miss Giddings, “can’t you give us an American book?”
“’When the little fishes fly
Like swallows in the sky,’
An American will write an American book,” said Bart, laughing. “But your question is a good answer to my solemn twaddle on literature.”
“No, I don’t quite rate it as twaddle,” said Ida.
“Don’t you though?” asked Bart.
“No,” seriously. “Now what is the effect of our American literature upon the general character of English literature? We certainly add to its bulk.”
“And much to its value, I’ve no doubt,” said Bart. “Well, with increased strength and vigor, we shall begin by imperceptible degrees, to modify and change the whole, and the whole will ultimately become Americanized, till the English of this continent, partaking of its color and character, imparts its tone and flavor finally to the whole everywhere. I have not much faith in a purely American literature, notwithstanding Miss Giddings’ advertisement.”
“Mr. Ridgeley,” said Miss Giddings, “your notions are depressing. I don’t believe in them, and will oppose my woman’s intuitions to your man’s argument.”
“My dear Miss Giddings,” said Bart, laughing, “you value my notions quite as highly as I do; and I wouldn’t take the criticisms of a young man who ran away from the only college he ever saw, and who has only heard the names of a few authors.”
“I wont. They are not American; and yet there seems to be force in them.”
ABOUT LAWYERS, AND DULL.
Mr. Giddings was always much interested in all young men, and put himself in their way and society, and while he affected nothing juvenile, no man could make himself more winning and attractive to them. It was said by his enemies, who were of his political household, that in this, as in all else, he was politic; that he sought out and cultivated every young man in the circle of his acquaintance; made himself familiar with his make-up; flattered and encouraged him with little attentions; sent him speeches and books, and occasional letters, and thus attached nearly all the rising young men of Northeastern Ohio to himself personally. This may have been one source of his great and long continued popularity and strength; he thoroughly educated at least one generation of voters.
However that may be, he was much in the old office where he had done so much effective work, and laid the foundations of his position at the bar, which was with those of the first in the State.
He associated on terms of the pleasantest intimacy with the young men, and early evinced a liking for Bart, who, poor fellow, was ready to like anybody who would permit him.