The refusal of the authorities of Westminster Abbey to allow George Meredith to sleep among the dead whom England delights to honor was by no means surprising. In spite of the endorsement of the Society of Authors and the Prime Minister, the future of his reputation still remains in a high degree problematic. If he had died twenty-five years ago, though the work on which his fame must rest had then been accomplished, it is doubtful whether the general voice would have decreed him this solemn tribute. Indeed, from his first appearance in literature down to the time of his death no writer of his power had received less recognition for his virtues or more persistent praise for his faults. George Eliot, Swinburne, Watts-Dunton, and a following of enthusiasts felt his might, and for the most part tried to persuade the world that he was a great literary artist. Others asserted with equal vehemence that he was an incoherent thinker, making his artificial, choked, and stuttering novels the vehicle for a mass of epigram. The so-called man in the street, if he chanced to overhear the discussion, promptly decided that it did not concern him, either way. If Meredith attended to the early notices of his books, he must often have sighed as one who watches for the morning. Even so late as 1880 the Westminster Review, traditionally favorable to his reputation, commented upon the recently published Egoist-now often considered his weightiest contribution to fiction-as follows:

Mr Meredith is, perhaps, our most artistic novelist, and, for that very reason, by no means popular with mere subscribers to Mudie's. His audience is few, but

fit He is, in a word, what the world would vulgarly call too clever.... This is Mr Meredith's great fault-he overdoes his cleverness. If he was more simple, he would be far more effective. The Egoist is full of poetry, subtle observation, and sparkling epigram.1