It is not good that a book should be alone: this is a companion volume to A Bunch of Everlastings. 'O God,' cried Caliban from the abyss,
O God, if you wish for our love, Fling us a handful of stars!
The Height evidently accepted the challenge of the Depth. Heaven hungered for the love of Earth, and so the stars were thrown. I have gathered up a few, and, like children with their beads and berries, have threaded them upon this string. It will be seen that they do not all belong to the same constellation. Most of them shed their luster over the stern realities of life: a few glittered in the firmament of fiction. It matters little. A great romance is a portrait of humanity, painted by a master-hand. When the novelist employs the majestic words of revelation to transfigure the lives of his characters, he does so because, in actual experience, he finds those selfsame words indelibly engraven upon the souls of men.