There is (as I now find) no remorse for time long past, even for what may have mortified us or made us ashamed of ourselves when it was happening: there is a pleasant panoramic sense of what it all was and how it all had to be. Why, if we are not vain or snobbish, need we desire that it should have been different? The better things we missed may yet be enjoyed or attained by someone else somewhere: why isn't that just as good? And there is no regret, either, in the sense of wishing the past to return, or missing it: it is quite real enough as it is, there at its own date and place
As the books grew bigger and more ambitious, the situations in question sometimes became political ones, and so it became necessary to start painting in the social background on a scale which eventually became panoramic.