'Maybe to neutralise the Penny Dreadful, Cassells brought out the Penny Classics. These had a bluish-green cover and were world famous novels in abridged form, but sixty or seventy pages. And W.T. Stead brought out the Penny Poets. The covers of these were pimply surface-paper, a bright orange colour, and they contained selections from Longfellow, Tennyson, Keats, and many others. I first read "Hiawatha" and "Evangeline" in the Penny Poets and thought them marvellous; so marvellous that I began to write 'poetry' myself. Stead also brought out another penny book; this had a pink cover and contained selections from the ancient classics: stories from Homer, the writings of Pliny the younger, Aesop's "Fables". I took a strong fancy to Aesop, he was a Greek slave from Samos, in the sixth century BC, and workpeople were only just beginning to be called "wage slaves". I read all these; non-selective and Catholic my reading...'