One of the first bestsellers of the industrial age, The Last Days of Pompeii (Edward Bulwer Lytton, 1834) had avid readers for more than a century, from the early years of mass literacy to the advent of tv. I have been paging through a Heritage Press edition (1957).
Here’s a sample of what we’re missing:
‘I feel humbled when I look at his limbs,’ replied, at the left of Sosia, a slighter and younger figure, with his arms folded on his breast.
The slave looked first at one, and then at the other. ‘Virtus in medio! — virtue is ever in the middle!’ muttered he to himself; ‘a goodly neighbourhood for thee, Sosia– a gladiator on each side!’
‘That is well said, Lydon,’ returned the huge gladiator; ‘I feel the same.’