BOOK VIII. CONTAINING ABOUT TWO DAYS.
1. Chapter i. A wonderful long chapter...
Within these few restrictions, I think, every writer may be permitted
to deal as much in the wonderful as he pleases; nay, if he thus keeps
within the rules of credibility, the more he can surprize the reader
the more he will engage his attention, and the more he will charm him.
As a genius of the highest rank observes in his fifth chapter of the
Bathos, "The great art of all poetry is to mix truth with fiction, in
order to join the credible with the surprizing."
For though every good author will confine himself within the bounds of
probability, it is by no means necessary that his characters, or his
incidents, should be trite, common, or vulgar; such as happen in every
street, or in every house, or which may be met with in the home
articles of a newspaper. Nor must he be inhibited from showing many
persons and things, which may possibly have never fallen within the
knowledge of great part of his readers. If the writer strictly
observes the rules above-mentioned, he hath discharged his part; and
is then intitled to some faith from his reader, who is indeed guilty
of critical infidelity if he disbelieves him.
For want of a portion of such faith, I remember the character of a
young lady of quality, which was condemned on the stage for being
unnatural, by the unanimous voice of a very large assembly of clerks
and apprentices; though it had the previous suffrages of many ladies
of the first rank; one of whom, very eminent for her understanding,
declared it was the picture of half the young people of her