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picturing him with long hair. This insult is utterly without excuse, even of cheapness, for it is as easy to make plates for engraving with short hair as with long. And the Holy Spirit has pronounced long hair a shame to man."
A letter received recently by The Writer's Literary Bureau deserves more than ordinary attention. It reads as follows:
DEER PARK, Md., September 22, 1894. Writer's Literary Bureau, Boston, Mass.:
I write to ask your terms and mode of disposing of manuscript. I have had some success several years ago, but lately have been unable to dispose of manuscript, and am tired of writing in the dark.
In order to test somewhat my own merit, as well as the critical ability of prominant magazines, I have sent verse from the most distinguished English poets, - Browning, Shelley, Swinburne, etc., under my own and other unknown signatures. It has been returned just with the same formula, and without one sign of recognition by the most prominant magazines in this country. Of course, after this I have been in despair of getting anything off on its own merits, for I am perfectly con fidant that the deception was not recognized, and if such work was not accepted, I could send nothing that would be. Please let me hear from you. I consider literary success now simply a matter of advertizement. The enduring quality, of course, depends on value. With respect,
I send enclosed letter as testimonial of former success. I have made the same experiment with prose as with verse. The same result, but this was not so well tested.
The copy is verbatim, with the exception of the signature, which ought rightly to be printed, but which is withheld out of consideration for the feelings of the writer. It is charitable to assume that the action which she so frankly describes was taken without full realization of what she was doing, and for that reason alone she is spared public exposure. In sending the work of well-known writers to editors under her own and other unknown signatures, however, she has both been doing a contemptible thing, and has made herself punishable under the laws which forbid attempts to obtain money under false pretences. She would say, of course, that she would have returned any money that might have been sent to her for a poem not her own; but so might any thief, caught in an act of knavery, say that he intended to return his stolen goods, and that he was stealing only to see whether or not such a theft was possible. "The Editor's Story," by Richard Harding Davis, in
Harper's Magazine for August, has a special ing magazines — and it would not be in the least application to this woman's case. to their discredit if it were so. Editors generally are widely read, but no human being can have read everything, or even every good thing that has been written. Still, it is rather possible than probable that the editors whom Mrs. approached under false pretences were deceived by her. They may only have thought her trickery to be beneath contempt.
Apart from all moral considerations involved, such an experiment as that she has described proves nothing at all, excepting that the experimenter is unworthy of respect. The rejection by an editor of any manuscript is no reflection whatever upon its merit. Availability is the final test which every editor applies. A manuscript may be perfect of its kind, beyond criticism so far as literary merit is concerned, and yet unavailable for a given periodical for any one of half a hundred reasons. "Paradise Lost" has made Milton's name immortal, but there is probably not a publisher in the world who would accept it for publication if it were offered in manuscript by its author for the first time to-day. Shelley's "Ode to a Skylark" is an exquisite bit of vivid melody, but it is quite conceivable that if Shelley were alive and had just written his ode, he might offer it in vain to half-a-dozen editors before he found one who wanted just such a poem precisely at that time. "John Gilpin's Ride" has been a household word to countless hosts of readers, old and young, but the editor of St. Nicholas or the editor of the Youth's Companion might find it unavailable if it were really a new poem and were offered by its author for original publication now. The editor who sent back the poem by Swinburne that Mrs. submitted as her own production simply meant - assuming that he was deceived- that, however good the poem might be, he did not want it for his magazine. The chances are a thousand to one that he would have rejected it just the same if Mr. Swinburne had offered it, as a new manuscript, himself.
Mrs. - assumes too much in feeling sure that she succeeded in deceiving the editors on whom she tried her contemptible experiment. She may be right in her belief, however. It is absolutely impossible that any editor shall have read everything that has been published, or even every famous poem, story, or essay that the world has known. It is more than possible that a given poem by Browning, for example, should be new to five out of six editors of lead
The important lesson of the whole matter is that availability, and not merit alone, is the test which every editor applies to every manuscript submitted to him for publication in the periodical which he conducts. Literary success is not "simply a matter of advertizement," or of advertisement, either. It is conceivable that the same editor who rejected Browning's poem when Mrs. offered it might accept an orig
inal poem of hers, if she should send it to him. She says herself that she has had some success in former years, and the "letter" to which she refers in her postscript is a manifold circular from a biographical cyclopædia maker saying that she is entitled to a place in his valuable work.
W. H. H.
[ Questions relating to literary work or literary topics will be answered in this department. Questions must be brief, and of general interest. Questions on general topics should be directed elsewhere.]
In writing a story is it well to introduce letters which throw light on the tastes and life of the characters, but do not elucidate the plot?
A. H. M. C.
[Theoretically, everything that is introduced. in a story should serve to elucidate the plot. Practically, anything may be introduced that tends to make the story interesting. If letters which throw light on the tastes and life of the characters, but do not elucidate the plot, enhance the interest of the narration, the author will do wisely, by all means, if he puts them in. -W. H. H.]
Can you devote space in your next issue to giving your opinion on this point - whether it is better for a writer to keep to his own signature and not write under any assumed names? Is it better to lose no opportunity of letting
your name be seen, or to allow yourself to be known only by your best work? Anthony Trollope advised the former course, on the ground that if you take a second name, you only have to work up a second reputation. Besides, one dislikes the appearance of doing anything one is ashamed to own. On the other hand, work may be good of its sort, yet be of an inferior sort, and one cannot always be at his best. Perhaps the two-name arrangement is merely a businesslike one. But the point upon which I seek light is this would, or would not, the editor of a review, or of one of the leading magazines, if he received an essay on Ibsen's heroines or a good story or poem, be prejudiced against it if he recognized the author as having written comic verses or an article on stocking-darning? I don't know why he should, since versatility is a good thing in itself, and probably editors of reviews do not read either the comic or the domestic papers. Feeling sure that a great many of your readers are interested in this matter, I hope you will make room for my questions and your advice at an early date.
M. H. F. L.
[The question of the writer's signature was fully discussed by the editor of THE WRITER in an article published in the number of the magazine for February, 1888. This article is commended to the attention of "M. H. F. L." and others who are interested in the subject. It was said there that "Sometimes an author who has won fame in some special way may find it to his advantage to do writing of another kind anonymously or under a borrowed signature. . . . As a rule, the writer who means to make writing a business will find it to his advantage to put his signature to everything he writes, and to make that signature as widely known as possible. . . . Some brains may be weighty enough to make more than one name immortal, but the trouble is generally of another kind. Writers who have habitually used more than one name have generally acknowledged their error after a time, and have devoted themselves to one signature, dropping all the others." It may be, however, that if one is versatile enough to be able to write housekeeping articles, comic verses, critical analyses of Tolstoi, and essays on the differential calculus, the use of more than one signature will be advisable. As a matter of fact, one writer rarely excels in so many different lines, and if he does all of these things, the chances are that he does not
do any one of them surpassingly well. The presumption is, therefore, that if he does them all, he does them all indifferently, and for that reason his reputation in any one department suffers because of the reputation he has gained in other lines. The versatile man is usually surpassed by the specialist in any line of work that he may undertake. If, therefore, a writer is engaged in two kinds of work utterly dissimilar, like joke-writing and serious critical work, for instance, — it may be well for him to have two signatures, one for each style of work. W. H. H.]
THE SCRAP BASKET.
The statute of the late Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, Secretary of State under President Arthur, was unveiled at Newark recently. The statute stands in the upper end of the park opposite the Essex Club and within sight of the Frelinghuysen mansion, which is at the north end of the park.
Now that THE WRITER has undertaken to edit "newspaper English," what has it to say of the paragraph above, taken from an architectural periodical? If the "statute" had not been repeated, it might have passed for a typographical blunder. As it stands, does it imply an attempt at dialect writing?
NEW ORLEANS, La.
A. H. N.
Item (for "particle," "extract," or "paragraph ").
Is being done, and all passives of this form. Jeopardize.
Jubilant (for "rejoicing").
Juvenile (for "boy").
Lady (for "wife").
Last (for "latest").
Loan or loaned (for "lend" or "lent ").
Majority (relating to places or circumstances, for "most").
Mrs. President, Mrs. Governor, Mrs. General, and all similar titles.
Mutual (for "common").
Official (for "officer ").
Over his signature.
Pants (for "pantaloons ").
Partially (for "partly ").
Past two weeks (for "last two weeks," and all similar expressions relating to a definite time).
Tell me, ye winged winds,
That round my pathway roar,
Do ye not know some spot
Where mortals weep no more?
The weary soul may rest?
The loud wind dwindled to a whisper low,
Whose billows round me play,
Where weary man may find
The bliss for which he sighs, -
And friendship never dies?
The loud waves, rolling in perpetual flow,
Stopped for a while, and sighed to answer, "No."
And thou, serenest moon,
That with such lovely face
Asleep in night's embrace,
Hast thou not seen some spot
Where miserable man
May find a happier lot?
Behind a cloud the moon withdrew in woe,
And a voice, sweet but sad, responded,
Tell me, my secret soul,
Is there no resting-place
From sorrow, sin, and death?
Is there no happy spot
Where mortals may be blest,
Faith, Hope, and Love, best boons to mortals given, Waved their bright wings, and whispered, "Yes, in heaven." The poem may be found in "The Fireside Encyclopædia of Poetry," edited by Henry T. Coates, and published by Porter & Coates,
Philadelphia; in "Swinton's Fifth Reader " (p. 422), published by Ivison, Blakeman, & Co., New York and Chicago; in Bryant's "Library of Poetry and Song" (p. 268); in "Parker's National Fifth Reader," published by A. S. Barnes & Co., New York and Chicago; and in Charles Mackay's collected poems. Charles
Mackay, LL. D., is a Scottish author, born at Perth in 1812, and lately residing at Fern Dell, near Dorking, county of Surrey, England. He has written several volumes of poems and a number of works in prose. The original title of his poem was "The Inquiry."
N. W. AYER & SON'S AMERICAN NEWSPAPER ANNUAL FOR 1893-94 1,481 pp. Cloth, $5.00. Philadelphia: N. W. Ayer & Son. Ayer's "Newspaper Annual," always a standard book, is better this year than ever before, since the date of publication has been changed from September 1 to the end of December, thus bringing the information that the book contains up to the date which it bears. The present volume is dated 1893-94. Next year's volume will be dated 1895, and so on. The work is best described by its title page, which speaks of it as "a catalogue of American newspapers, a carefully-prepared list of newspapers and periodicals published in the United States and Canada, with information regarding their circulation, issue, date of establishment, political or other
distinctive features, names of editors and publishers, and street addresses in cities of 50,000 inhabitants and upward, together with the population of the counties and places in which the papers are published, and a description of every place in the United States and Canada in which a newspaper is published." There are also separate lists of religious and agricultural publications and the various class publications, lists of the press and editorial associations of the United States and Canada, etc. In all there are 20,774 periodicals classified, and 4,500 changes have been made from the previous year's edition. To writers the value of such a book is evident, since it gives all the information about all the periodicals of the country that is required by those who have manuscripts to sell, and are looking for new markets. To the general contributor to the press a directory of this kind is almost indispensable.
W. H. H.
THE BOOK OF THE FAIR. An historical and descriptive presentation of the world's science. art, and industry, as viewed through the Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893. By Hubert Howe Bancroft Part XI. 40 pp. Paper, $1.00. Chicago and San Francisco: The Bancroft Company. 1894. Part XI. of the sumptuous Bancroft "Book of the Fair" completes the description of the electrical department at the Chicago Exposition, and begins the description of the department devoted to horticulture and forestry. The high standard of the previous issues of the work is fully maintained. Some of the halftone pictures of the horticultural exhibits are particularly beautiful, two of the most notable of all being that of the bed of Texas cacti, and that of the Australian tree ferns. The full-page illustrations are pictures of the Franklin statue; the Electricity building, north front; the Edison electric tower; the east entrance, Horticultural building; a group of botanical exhibits; the Horticultural building from the southeast corner; and the exhibits from the Gould conservatory, Horticultural hall.
W. H. H.
PUBLIC LIBRARIES IN AMERICA. By William I. Fletcher. Illustrated. 169 pp. Cloth, $1.00. Boston: Roberts Bros. 1894.
Probably nobody in this country knows any more about public libraries than Mr. Fletcher, and for that reason his book on "Public Libraries in America," which is the second volume of the Columbian Knowledge Series, possesses special interest. It begins with an historical sketch of the public library movement, and goes on to discuss library buildings, classification and catalogues, selection and purchase of books, reference work, special collections, and all the details of library work and management. Representative libraries are discussed, and there are a number of pictures of leading libraries and librarians. There is a special chapter treating of the librarian, his work, and his training for it, and another chapter gives informa