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In an article upon George Michel, the painter mer of Montmartre, in the Century for November, 1893, Virginia Vaughan says: "To a more deliberate intellectual artist each new work is an event, the record of a step which brings him nearer to his goal, of which he never loses sight."

This, it seems to me, would make a good motto for all writers who earnestly desire selfimprovement and the uplifting of our national literature. America has not yet attained, a high place in letters. Possibly she is still too young to be admitted to the elderly company of the East, but a close observer may find other causes for this than tenderness of age. How many of our writers are working for art's sake? It needs little more than a glance at current American literature to detect the absence of the "high seriousness" which makes classics. Do our writers set up a goal- a lofty standard of excellence and make each new effort a serious step toward its attainment? Do we not rather have in view the ephemeral fitness of an article or a story for the pages of certain well-paying publications? There are few Grays these times to labor three years on "An Elegy," and there are few poems written which are not their own epitaphs. Oliver Wendell Holmes is, indeed, "The Last Leaf" of a literary sum

The competition of business has invaded letters. The magazines vie with each other in announcing attractive lists of contributors for ensuing volumes; and the newspapers have captured illustrious names and advertise "Our new $10,000 story." Columns of literary notes are published, exciting literary aspirants with stories of the amounts which have been paid for popular tales and enumerating the editions into which they have run. But when have we seen it heralded that a story or a poem has appeared that will entitle America to a place in literature, and that bears the certain evidence of unselfish love for art and of being a distinct stride toward a goal?

In this spirit of mercantilism, we are in too great haste to print. We seem not to look beyond the glory of print and a remunerative strip of paper. Shall some future critic have just occasion to write that our characteristic impatience was what prevented the making of a national literature? It does require Job-like patience, sublime self-denial, and courage to labor upon one article, or story, or poem, selected, possibly from a wealth of ideas, as leading most directly to a high goal, while the writings of others are being printed, and talked


about, and paid for, - all for pure love of the art. In these days of making literature a profession one is compelled to forego the self-satisfaction of doing the best for art's sake. We seem to be forced to write according to the demand. How many are honestly striving to elevate the standard of this supposed demand? Surely there are themes of paramount interest, powerful emotions pulsating American life, which are ready for the effort of the true artist for art's sake, and which, if treated in a true literary manner, not the affected, traditional sense of literature, but in a broad, progressive, earnest, artistic manner, would make us a national literature.

There is no reason why the writer who does his work from pure love of his art should be a dreamer. He can toil on in as practical a way

as in any other pursuit. The most useful inventions have been made only through years of experiment, and often of sacrifice. A novel, a poem, or a play that will become an American classic cannot be dashed off and hustled into print, any more than a sewing machine or a locomotive can be devised in a day. Shall it be said that in all our broad land there are no disinterested lovers of the most enduring of all arts? Possibly in some luxurious library or some uncarpeted attic there is a "mute, inglorious Milton," and a generous public is waiting for him to burst the bonds of his obscurity. And if his work have the undying quality, the startling discovery will be made that the demand has been adapting itself to the supply, rather than the reverse. HARRISBURG, Penn.

H. M. Hoke.


My first attempt at writing took the form of a novel. When I had reached the five hundred and sixtieth page I was interrupted in my work, and I did not see the manuscript again for a year. At the end of that time I read it over. It was not at all satisfactory, and with a good deal of disgust for my ornate and elaborate style of the previous year, I rewrote it. A liberal pruning soon reduced the manuscript to one hundred pages, and I found that I had inadvertently cut out all my love-scenes, sacrificed my hero, and left my heroine as a mere figure-head, to give point to the adventures of a picnic party. I then put the manuscript away, and at the end of several months read it once more. It struck me as still being too long, so I further reduced it, and after writing it out three or four times, finally condensed it into twenty pages of manuscript. On the whole I thought it pretty good, and determined to let the reading public have the benefit of it, so naming it "A Picnic Party," I sent it off to a local journal.

In about two months it came back to me with the following note:


I beg to return enclosed manuscript. It is in my opinion very cleverly written, but too long for the pages of the Oracle. Could you not try your hand on short society bits for us? I think "A Picnic Party" might find acceptance with the Post or Sunny Hours. Yours, etc.,


I never received any letter that gave me more pleasure. The "very cleverly written" was incense to my soul. I immediately acted on the suggestion made, despatched "A Picnic Party" to the Post, and devoted my time to writing society bits, "mere pot-boilers," I told myself. I composed a great many of them, but the editor of the Oracle never said that the pot-boilers were cleverly written, although I endeavored to please him with humorous and satirical sketches in the character of a small boy, an old maid, a farmer, a man-about-town, and a philosopher. I can't say how many stamps the society bits cost me, or how long it was before

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This necessitated a fresh copy, which having been carefully made, with all the improvements in punctuation that I could think of, I sent it to one of the large magazines. In due time it came back to me as before with "Too late for this season," written on a piece of note-paper. Believing that time was made for slaves, and that in all likelihood another summer would have arrived before the manuscript was returned, I posted the article again. It reached me a little sooner than usual, with a printed refusal, with the words, "Non-acceptance does not necessarily imply lack of merit," underlined in red pencil.

I don't like printed refusals, but the underlined words were a little balm to me, although riper experience inclines me to doubt if they were so marked for my special benefit.

At the next editorial door I approached I was informed that they "had enough sketches of the kind to last for three years.”

I began to realize that the literary market must be glutted, but feeling it a pity that " a cleverly written article" should be lost to the world, I sent it out three or four times more, its

many travels obliging me to take several fresh copies, and leaving me heartily tired of the thing. At last I decided to be generous, and wrote to the editor of the Post, reminding him of his first letter, and said he could have "A Picnic Party" without paying for it if he wished. He accepted my offer, and two months later I was in print. Truth compels me to add that the magazine that had the temerity to print my maiden effort collapsed shortly afterwards, although I am naturally disinclined to believe that my innocent little sketch was entirely responsible for the fact, especially as shortly afterward a humorous paper used one of my "society bits."

I had written a great many articles for a certain paper before I dared to suggest that "what was worth printing was worth paying for," but to show that these demands, when reasonably made, are responded to by editors that have souls, I wish to say that my editor replied at once to my hint. In answer to my letter he sent me, by return mail, a nice, new, crisp one-dollar bill — full payment for an article that had taken me a week to write.

I felt snubbed.

A dozen rejected manuscripts couldn't have humbled me as that dollar did, but it was certainly not the fault of the editor. What possible concern could it be to him, that a pen in the halting hand of a novice took an entire week for writing what should have been done in a couple of hours? J. M. Loes.



If I were asked, "What is the first qualification for success in authorship?" I should say promptly, "Common sense." A writer may have genius, literary talent, education, industry, and all the other literary virtues, but if he does

not have common sense along with the rest, he is sure to be more or less a failure. Common sense alone will not win success in authorship; but it is the first and most important requisite. BROOKLYN, N. Y. Edward L. White.

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Short, practical articles on any topic connected with literary work are always wanted for THE WRITER. Literary people are invited especially to send in suggestions for the "Helpful Hints" department, and items of information about any literary work on which they may be engaged. The chief object of THE WRITER is to be a magazine of mutual help for authors, and its pages are always open for anything practical which may tend in this direction. Bits of personal experience, suggestions regarding methods, and ideas for making literary work easier or more profitable are especially desired. Articles must be short, because the magazine is small.

The sixth bound volume of THE WRITER, with full index and title-page, is now ready for

delivery. It contains more than 230 pages, and is neatly bound in cloth, in style uniform with the preceding volumes. A complete set of bound volumes of THE WRITER is something that no writer's library should be without. Nowhere else can be found so many practical, helpful articles and suggestions regarding the best and most profitable methods of literary work. It will not be possible always to secure a complete bound set of THE WRITER, for the supply of some of the volumes is so small that already the price of single volumes has been advanced, and the supply is sure to be exhausted at no distant day. Those who would like complete sets of the magazine, therefore, will do well to send in their orders now. The purchase of a set will be a good investment, for complete sets of the magazine are sure to increase in value as the years go by.

The price of Vol. for 1892-93, is $1.50. bound set of the six will be for the present Nine Dollars, or, with a subscription for THE WRITER for 1894 added, Ten Dollars. No better present could be given to any literary worker. The prices of volumes of THE WRITER ordered singly are: Vol. I. (1887), $2.00; Vol. II. ( 1888), $1.50; Vol. III. (1889), $2.00; Vol. IV. (1890), $1.50; Vol. V. ( 1891 ), $1.50; Vol. VI. ( 1891–92), $1.50. Those who desire to complete their sets should send their orders now, before it is too late.

VI. of THE WRITER, The price of a complete volumes of the magazine


A few complete sets of THE AUTHOR which was merged with THE WRITER at the beginning of 1892 may still be had. They comprise the three bound volumes for 1889, 1890, and 1891, which will be sold separately for Two Dollars each, or together for Five Dollars. These volumes of THE AUTHOR CONtain a fund of information about authors and literary work to be obtained nowhere else, and, like the volumes of THE WRITER, they are sure to be enhanced in value as time goes on. The number of complete sets available is comparatively small.

What better investment can any writer make than to spend fifteen dollars for a complete set

of the bound volumes of THE WRITER and THE AUTHOR, together with a subscription for THE WRITER for 1894, either for himself or as a useful present to a literary friend?

W. H. H.


Having read Mrs. Denison's article in the January WRITER, and being also "saturated with dialect," I beg leave to say a few words from another point of view.

Why, may I ask, should one become so steeped in dialect that one feels like "letting go all the niceties of grammar and rhetoric," niceties inherent and acquired, any more than one would feel constrained to let go the eighth commandment after reading the adventures of a thief? How can it be in any sense refreshing to "get out of the common routine, and say 'naw' for no"?

Wouldn't it be as refreshing and suggest just as "delightfully lazy" an existence to forego one's bath for a month, because of a certain hero, who proved that a man might be a "man for a' that"?

The dialect story is vastly instructive and entertaining, whether it suggests new words and phrases that are apt and striking, or impales in cold type the mistakes which long familiarity has led us to condone. Said one intelligent young person who had had but meagre educational advantages, "I always mispronounced 'creek,' and never knew I was wrong until I saw it spelled 'crick'in a dialect story." There is a fascination in "chasing verbal monstrosities to their lair"; and what a subtle charm has a peculiar pronounciation upon lips polite! The conversation of my little Southern cousin, who habitually and unconsciously slurs her r's, is a perpetual delight.

In the assembly room of the Woman's Building last summer, the Countess of Aberdeen, in a clear, thrilling voice, spoke so earnestly, so winningly, in the interests of "my gells," that one at least in that vast audience conceived a lasting admiration for the great lady who was so sweetly human.

That dialect is a power when deftly used no one can deny. Whole pages of description will not give so deep an insight into a human heart,

or conjure up so vivid a picture of stolidity, brutality, or ignorance, of self-sacrifice, simple faith, or divine tenderness, as will the terse, rugged sentences, ungrammatical, unrhetorical, though they be:

"Homely phrases, but each letter

Full of hope, and yet of heartbreak;
Full of all the tender pathos

Of the Here and the Hereafter."

Surely our literature is deep enough and broad enough to admit the dialect story on an equality with the "sweet, simple English of Irving, and the straightforward, robust style of Scott." A. M. Jackson.



Please kindly inform Mary A. Denison, through the pages of THE WRITER, that she is very much mistaken, not to say unjust, in asserting that some one heard "you-uns " uttered "down in Louisiana," unless the expression was used only as a quotation.

I was born" down in Louisiana," spending my early childhood in the southern portion, and the past eighteen years in the northern part, embracing three different parishes, and never have I heard a native Louisianian, either black or white, say "you-uns." A Georgian, who lived in this town several years ago, once admitted that he had heard the phrase used by the illiterate of his state.

Accusing Louisianians of using vernacular peculiar to another state, simply because both are Southern, is as bad as saying that American women are noted for their discordant voices, when I venture to say that no other women in the universe have softer or more melodious voices in conversation than the women of the South; while the difference between the voice of a Southern and a Northern woman is sufficiently marked to enable a Southerner, blindfolded, to select either one you designate as soon as she speaks.

We Louisianians suffer enough from melted snow and ice coming down upon us from the Northern country, without the added injury of a shower of Northern ink, following the lead of such parasites as Cable and one or two others.

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