Thus, in almost exactly the course of a technical generation—from the appearance of Pamela in 1740 to that of Humphry Clinker in 1771—the wain of the novel was solidly built, furnished with four main wheels to move it, and set a-going to travel through the centuries. In a sense, inasmuch as Humphry Clinker itself, though Smollett’s best work, can hardly be said to show any absolutely new faculties, character, or method, the process was even accomplished in two-thirds of the time, between Pamela and Tristram Shandy. We shall see in the next chapter how eagerly the examples were taken up: and how, long before Smollett died, the novel of this and that kind had become one of the most prolific branches of literature. But, for the moment, the important thing is to repeat that it had been thoroughly and finally started on its high road, in general by Richardson, Fielding, and Smollett; in particular and wayward but promising side-paths by Sterne.
THE MINOR AND LATER EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY NOVEL
 A little of the work to be noticed in this chapter is not strictly eighteenth century, but belongs to the first decade or so of the nineteenth. But the majority of the contents actually conform to the title, and there is hardly any more convenient or generally applicable heading for the novel before Miss Austen and Scott, excluding the great names dealt with in the last chapter.
It is at last beginning to be recognised in principle, though it is still much too often forgotten in practice, that the minor work of a time is at least as important as the major in determining general literary characteristics and tendencies. Nor is this anywhere much more