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Enoch Soames - Max Beerbohm

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SEVEN MEN by Max Beerbohm


When a book about the literature of the eighteen-nineties was
given by Mr. Holbrook Jackson to the world, I looked eagerly in
the index for SOAMES, ENOCH.  I had feared he would not be
there.  He was not there.  But everybody else was.  Many
writers whom I had quite forgotten, or remembered but faintly,
lived again for me, they and their work, in Mr. Holbrook
Jackson's pages.  The book was as thorough as it was brilliantly
written.  And thus the omission found by me was an all the
deadlier record of poor Soames' failure to impress himself on
his decade.

I daresay I am the only person who noticed the omission.
Soames had failed so piteously as all that!  Nor is there a
counterpoise in the thought that if he had had some measure of
success he might have passed, like those others, out of my mind,
to return only at the historian's beck.  It is true that had his gifts,
such as they were, been acknowledged in his life-time, he would
never have made the bargain I saw him make--that strange
bargain whose results have kept him always in the foreground of
my memory.  But it is from those very results that the full
piteousness of him glares out.

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