Charles and Henry.
Still, one may dislike the man and his books without thinking it probable that his brother Henry will supersede him in the public interest; nay, without thinking it right that he should. Dislike him as you will, you must acknowledge that Charles Kingsley had a lyrical gift that—to set all his novels aside—carries him well above Henry’s literary level. It is sufficient to say that Charles wrote “The Pleasant Isle of Aves” and “When all the world is young, lad,” and the first two stanzas of “The Sands of Dee.” Neither in prose nor in verse could Henry come near such excellence. But we may go farther. Take the novels of each, and, novel for novel, you must acknowledge—I say it regretfully—that Charles carries the heavier guns. If you ask me whether I prefer Westward Ho! or Ravenshoe, I answer without difficulty that I find Ravenshoe almost wholly delightful, and Westward Ho! as detestable in some parts as it is admirable in others; that I have read Ravenshoe again and again merely for pleasure, and that I can never read a dozen pages of Westward Ho! without wishing to put the book in the fire. But if you ask me which I consider the greater novel, I answer with equal readiness that Westward Ho! is not only the greater, but much the greater. It is a truth too seldom recognized that in literary criticism, as in politics, one may detest a man’s work while admitting his greatness. Even in his episodes it seems to me that Charles stands high above Henry. Sam Buckley’s gallop on Widderin in Geoffry Hamlyn is (I imagine) Henry Kingsley’s finest achievement in vehement