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BIBLE CHARACTERS

CHARLES READE'S NOVELS

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New Collected LIBRARY EDITION, complete in Seventeen Volumes, set in long.

primer type, printed on laid paper, and elegantly bound in cloth, price 3s. 61

each. The volumes are appearing in the following order :1. Peg Woffington; and Christie 7. Love Me Little, Love Me Johnstone.

Long. 2. Hard Cash.

8. The Double Marriage.

9. Griffith Gaunt. 3. The Cloister and the Hearth.

10. Foul Play.
With a Preface by Sir WALTER
BESANT.

11. Put Yourself in His Place.

12. A Terrible Temptation. 4. *It is Never Too Late to Mend.'

13. A Simpleton.
5. The Course of True Love 14. A Woman-Hater.

Never Did Run Smooth; and 15. The Jilt, and other Stories; and
Singleheart and Doubleface.

Good Stories of Man and

Other Animals.
6. The Autobiography of a Thief;
Jack of all Trades; A Hero

16. A Perilous Secret.
and a Martyr; and The Wan 17. Readiana; and Bible Charac.
dering Heir.

ters.

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POPULAR EDITION, post Svo, illustrated boards, 2s. each. Peg Woffington.

Foul Play. Christie Johnstone.

Put Yourself in His Place. 'It is Never Too Late to Mend.' A Terrible Temptation. The Course of True Love Never

A Simpleton.
Did Run Smooth.

The Wandering Heir.
The Autobiography of a Thief ;
Jack of all Trades; and James

A Woman-Hater.
Lambert.

Singleheart and Doubleface.
Love Me Little, Love Me Long. Good Stories of Man and Other
The Double Marriage.

Animals.
The Cloister and the Hearth.

The Jilt, and other Stories. Hard Cash.

A Perilous Secret. Griffith Gaunt.

Readiana.

CHEAP EDITIONS. Medium 8vo, 6d. each; cloth, is. each.
It is Never Too Late to Mend.' | The Cloister and the Hearth.

Peg Woffington; and Christie Johnstone.

'It is Never Too Late to Mend' and The Cloister and the Hearth, in

One Vol., medium 8vo, cloth, 2s.

Christie Johnstone. With Frontispiece. Choicely printed in Elzevir style.

Fcap. 8vo, half-Roxburghe, 2s. 6d.
Peg Woffington. Choicely printed in Elzevir style. Fcap. 8vo, half-Roxburghe,

25. 6d.

The Cloister and the Hearth. In Four Vols., post 8vo, with an Introduction

by Sir WALTER BESANT, and a Frontispiece to each vol., 145. the set; and the ILLUSTRATED LIBRARY EDITION, with Illustrations on every page, Two Vols.,

crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 42s. net. Bible Characters. Fcap. 8vo, leatherette, is.

Selections from the Works of Charles Reade. With an Introduction by

Mrs. Alex. IRELAND. Crown 8vo, buckram, with Portrait, 6s. ; CHEAP
EDITION, post 8vo, cloth limp, 2s. 6d.

LONDON: CHATTO & WINDUS.

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READIANA

COMMENTS ON CURRENT

EVENTS

BIBLE

CHARACTERS

LIBRARY EDITION

LONDON
CHATTO & WINDUS, PICCADILLY

1896

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PREFACE

Many people think they can discern a novelist's real opinions in his works, and, of course, when he speaks in his own person, they can. But surely the dialogue of fictitious characters must be an unsafe guide to an author's real mind; for it is the writer's business to make his characters deliver their convictions, not his, and as eloquently as possible. My good friend, Mr. Chatto, has thought it worth while to ransack the files for my personal convictions on various subjects and to publish them. In this he has consulted friendship rather than interest. However, honest and lasting convictions are worth something, and this volume contains nothing else.

I find I have gone a little beyond the mark in calling the execution of Murdoch illegal. It is not primâ facie illegal to hang a man who kills an officer in the discharge of his duty, but in this country law goes by precedent; Murdoch garroted the gaoler, not with the intention of killing him, but of escaping whilst the gaoler was disabled for a time. The desire for liberty is as natural and overpowering as hunger, and the prisoner acted upon it with no murderous intention whatever. He never left the neighbourhood, sure proof he did not know he had killed the gaoler, and he went into tears when he heard the old man was dead. The people who at that date misgoverned this nation had tempted Murdoch to the act by leaving Hastings Gaol inefficiently guarded. When they hung the youth they had tempted,—hung him to hide their own fault,—the spectators of the execution were fewer than ever assembled to see a hanging before or since, and the only cry that came from this handful of spectators was, “Murder! Murder !!” Just three months after this butchery,

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