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Certainly, the book did cut a very promising figure in the advertisement. It was, besides, admirably printed, on the best paper. The dedication was a masterpiece of typography; the work was divided into books, sections, and chapters — headed by Greek, Latin, German, and even Hebrew mottoes. Learned-looking notes, in the dead languages, bordered the margin of every page: there was a long introduction, and a preface, besides an elaborate index. As Alphonse de Villeneuve said, le plus fin s'y serait trompé; but it was on the dedication that Grunter most loved to dwell, and to indulge in visions of royal favour, titles, and appointments; it seemed to him so completely the beau ideal of the multum in parvo. He knew that the great are easily wearied, and therefore he had been concise — he knew that praise is fulsome to them, and therefore he had boldly assumed the censor - he knew that entreaty is vain, and therefore he had dared to command; for, after all, he said, monarchs rule for the present time, but authors give laws to the future. This dedication was as follows:
“To the Queen, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Lord High Chancellor of England, this work is dedicated, not humbly, but most proudly, by one who has not feared to paint Monarchs, Archbishops, and Lord Chancellors, from the glass of history, with the pencil of philosophy. What though the Queen of Beauty sits on Albion's throne. The author has not tuned a soft lay to the ear of youth and royal loveliness. Philosophy shades his admiring gaze; and he beholds, in that young queen, the Defender of the Faith, the Monarch of the Realm ! From the work he proudly dedicates then to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, he expects much. History! and Philosophy! what guide is more sure for a youthful sovereign ? He calls on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord High Chancellor of England, men who will one day figure on such pages as those he dedicates to them now;-men whose genius and talents would adorn any age, graciously to accept and intensely to study, and even to proffer to their youthful sovereign these fruits of a life devoted to the service of the Queen, the Church, and the State.
“ EBENEZER GRUNTER.” Nor was the work quite without merit, but then so little of that merit was Grunter's. Fitzcribb was a clever, shewy writer, with that sort of knack which the long habit of figuring before the public gives to the author, as well as to the actor. The youthful Milton had thrown in, here and there, a smart paradox, a poetical rhapsody, or an enthusiastic appeal; then too the worm-eaten pages of forgotten writers, old divines, and quaint scholiasts, had been put under contribution; and even Grunter himself looked well in print.
His crabbed style passed for originality; when he was very obscure, the world took it for granted that he was very deep, forgetting that nothing is so dark as a hollow : when he was very dry, they persuaded themselves that what was so hard to read, must have been harder still to write. And when his involved style made him quite incomprehensible, they blamed themselves for not being
able to follow the author in his flights, and kept the secret of their ability.
The book sold immensely. Many reviewers of course were there, who would judge for themselves, and who denied its merits, and exposed its faults; but these only added to its publicity, or, as Grunter said, to its fame.
“What success ?” he asked, “ever failed to excite envy? what acknowledged genius ever escaped a host of foes}" Grunter would now have thought himself incomplete without them. He might be called a fool, a plagiarist, a pretender, a quack; but what was that to the envious abuse heaped upon other great men of ancient and modern times? If at first a severe critique made him quail, at last it made him triumph; besides, the more bitter the one Reviewer, the more laudatory became another, not so much because it was Grunter's admirer, as because it was the sworn foe of his aggressor.
Then to many minor periodicals, Fitzcribb had constant access. There the puffs seemed to strive to out-puff each other, and extracts from them figured in all the advertisements,
“No library can be complete without this noble and admirable work,” said one.
Another exclaimed, “ We recommend this extraordinary and sublime production to every reader of every age, sex, and station.”
“ Here,” shouted a fourth, “ here is the grand desideratum of the scholar, the divine, and the politician! yet not to those gifted few would we confine the invigorating waters of this classic fountain. Far from us be the vile spirit of a base monopoly. Its pure and lucid stream, sweet to the sage, will give new power to the mind of beauty, and awaken betimes, in the youth of both sexes, a wholesome appetite, for the highest order of intellectual fare. This work must be most popular, and should be found in every home; the dedication is a masterpiece of eloquence.”
A fifth, “By far the best work of the age ; no one should be without it.”
A sixth, “ A work unrivalled, nay, unapproached in the present times. Every man of sense must possess himself of it, and must wish it to be the constant companion of each member of his family,"