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stage, and each appeared when his cue was called. All the actors appeared in a sportive, rather than a religious, air; and, if their acting was a true index of their feelings, it is apparent that they did not have a very solemn sense of the holiness of the subject which they were try. ing to represent. Hell did not seem to them a very hot place; and, if the true inwardness of their motive could have been ascertained, it would have been love of show and approbation, rather than a desire to teach the truths of the Bible.
The characters which were represented appear to us in a most ludicrous light. Judas carried under his coat a blackbird and the entrails of an animal, so that when his soul took its flight, it might go in the shape of a blackbird and his entrails might be strewn over the stage, according to history. King David was represented as quarrelling with his wives, and then calling loudly for a glass of beer. In one German play Cain and Abel were examined by the Lord to ascertain their proficiency in the Lord's Prayer. Abel passed a creditable examination, but Cain hardly received a "pass," notwithstanding the fact that his father stood near to prompt and encourage him. Another favorite scene, illustrating the sorrows of hen-pecked husbands, was the scene of the flood and Noah
and his family entering the ark. "Noe's Wif" was the principal character, and refused to enter the ark unless she were allowed to bring with her "her gossips every one." The devil, too, played a no small part. His business was to amuse the groundlings. He was rigged up so as to look repulsive and hideous, and in one play was mistaken for a dancing bear.
The Mystery Plays, in the character which I have above described, continued to be acted upon the stage until near the close of the sixteenth century. At that time abstract impersonations, such as Vice, Virtue, and Mercy, gradually took the place of the scriptural characters. The new plays were called Moral Plays, and were designed to teach some ethical precept. They flourished in the reign of the Tudors, and reached their highest perfection in the reign of Henry VII. The devil was still retained, and his part, as in the Mysteries, was to create a laugh.
It was in the reign of Elizabeth, when the people had become too enlightened to be interested in devils and allegorical characters, that the interest in the Moral Plays began to ebb. Human passions then replaced the mythical elements, and the Moral Plays gave way to the modern drama. C. S. Palmer. ELBRIDGE, N. Y.
NAMES FOR AGGREGATIONS OF UNITS.
It is a curious fact, says a newspaper paragraph, that the English language has a different word to designate nearly every kind of beast or bird in groups. It might have added fish and human beings as well; in fact, almost every aggregation of units.
To those who make a study of the oddities of the language, the following list may prove interesting. Nearly all the terms here given are in
A collection of boats is called a fleet; of
fleets, a navy; of rays, a beam; of rubbish, a heap; of books, a library; of papers, a lot. Of bees, a hive, colony, swarm, or cast; of locusts, a cloud, plague, swarm, or army. Of herring, a shoal; of cod, a run; of whales, a school; of porpoises, a shoal.
Of partridges, a covey; of pheasants, a nide; of snipe, a whisp; of quail, a bevy; of herons, a sedge; of peacocks, a muster or strut; of doves, a flight; of rooks, a building; of grouse, a brood; of plovers, a stand; of wild-fowl, a
plump; of geese, a gaggle or lag; of wild geese, a flock; of choughs, a clattering; of nightingales, a watch; of swans, a whiteness; of dottrell, a trip; of ducks, a team; of brant, a gang; of pigeons, a company; of larks, an exaltation; of hawks, a cast.
Of serpents, a nest.
Of dogs, a kennel, or pack; of foxes, a skulk; of monkeys, a troop; of wolves, a pack; of lions, a pride; of bears, a sleuth; of buffaloes, a herd; of oxen, a drove; of sheep, a flock; of hogs, a sounder; of swine, a herd; of mules, a drove; of horses, a troop or stud.
Of robbers, a band; of ruffians, a horde; of rowdies, a mob; of troops, a body; of sailors, a crew; of children, a troop; of people, a crowd; of soldiers, a company; of companies, a regiment; of regiments, a corps; of corps, an army; of officials, a board; of lawyers, a bar; of judges, a bench; of delegates or senators, a congress; of engineers, a corps; of barons, a baronage; of beauties, a galaxy; of worshippers, a congregation; of angels, a host. This list is not exhaustive, and no doubt many can add to it. Beth Day.
SOUTH KAUKAUNA, Wis.
BIRTH OF THE "ETCHING."
Once upon a time an author wrote a story of -six thousand words, had it neatly typewritten, and sent it to a leading magazine. After twenty-eight days it was returned with thanks and a thumb mark on the first sheet. After renovation, the story went the rounds of the magazines, the high-class weeklies, and the Sunday newspapers.
Then the author concluded that it lacked humor. He inserted some humor, and the story made another return trip. Then he added a little pathos, more excitement, deeper action, and stronger characters; and after each change the story was rejected.
The author could think of no more changes to make. He knew that the story was goodor had been; and, as a last resort, he took it to a friendly editor, who had not received a call from this particular manuscript, and begged
him to look over it and tell him what was wrong. The editor took the story, and promised to read it as soon as he had time.
Five years afterward, the editor found the story and the time to read it, and proceeded to ornament it with his blue pencil. When the author examined the manuscript he was astounded to find every paragraph, except the
first, crossed out. Now the author had sworn a terrible oath not to add a single word to the story, come what might. He had sworn also to try once more. So he read the sole remaining paragraph, which follows:
"Farmer Gabriel Sumner stood looking at a black speck which moved slowly up the icy mountain side. The wind was rising, and great clouds of snow scudded along before him, often shutting out of view the moving speck. At such times he leaned forward, straining his eyes to their utmost, and held his breath in suspense."
That was all. What could he do with it? After an hour of intense thought, he remodelled it thus:
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(P. O. Box 1905.) VOL. VII.
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.
Editors of periodicals are popularly supposed to lay more or less stress in buying "contribu
tions" on the value of a well-known name, but in making up the quotation-sheets that they send out to the newspapers some of them do not seem to act in accordance with this theory. For instance, Harper's Weekly recently had a quatrain, "Life's Contrasts," signed "T. B. A.". -initials which will be quite generally recognized. In the quotation-sheet the quatrain was credited simply "Harper's Weekly." The editor of Life often omits the names of contributors from the credits on his quotation-sheet, sometimes even when the knowledge of the author's name would increase the reader's interest in the poem. Other editors make the same mistake.
The proper way, of course, in such cases is always to give credit to the author of the quotation as well as to the periodical from which it has been taken. This is the practice of all careful newspaper editors, and it is only just that this should be the rule. In the long run it will be for the advantage of the periodicals. to have proper credit given to the author whose stories or whose poems they have bought. It is strange that their editors do not see this. more clearly, and in consequence use more care in making up their regular quotation-sheets.
[ 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.]
(1.) Would it do to send the accompanying illustration to a story you have translated along with the manuscript? Could another cut be taken from that?
(2.) In translating a story is it necessary to give the name of the author, or is it sufficient merely to say: "Translated from the German," or the Swedish, or some other language?
[(1.) An illustration cut from any magazine or periodical can be reproduced either by photographic process or by re-drawing.
(2.) In crediting a translated story the name of the author should invariably be given. "From the French of Victor Hugo," for example, is a good way of putting it. -W. H. H.]
I confess I am quite taken aback at the small whirlwind I have raised by my article on "Dialect," which was published in the January WRITER, and which I protest was written quite in fun. I thought everybody would see that, as a matter of course, I meant the illiterate, whose use of the dialect is common, just as it is in Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, anywhere. I have lived too long in the South to wish or attempt to injure the feelings of any Southern person. Many of the Southerners by whom I have been surrounded for years are among my dearest personal friends.
To say I was surprised at the way my little squib was taken would be expressing myself too mildly by far. I was almost hurt to think I was so little understood.
The next time I try to be funny," which is, perhaps, not my forte, I will follow the example of the small children in their first attempts at drawing, who label their efforts, "This is a horse," or a cow, as the case may be. I will, in the inimitable language of Artemus Ward, write underneath, "This is a Goak." Far be it from me to disparage the great and glorious word-painters of the world. I like them, and I like dialect-in reason. And now, dear friends of the pen and pencil, that I have made my explanation, with my politest bow, I hope it will be acceptable to my most courteous critics.
WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mary A. Denison.
EDITORS AND PUBLISHERS.
I want to speak in commendation of that capital little article, “Both Ends of the Line," which was published in the February WRITER. It is thoughtful, practical, and correct, and ought to be widely read. I also want to say a few words for the publishers I know. They are, with few exceptions, a noble set of men, and uniformly kind and courteous. The editors of the Youth's Companion are princes among their kind; so are those of Harper's Young People, and, in fact, of all of the Harpers' publications. I have had the honor to take refusals from them as well as acceptances, and in all cases my articles come back as spotless as they left my hands, barring sometimes the accidents of mail usage, and generally accompanied by pleasant words from the editors themselves in their own handwriting.
I think no gentleman will ever return a manuscript with no acknowledgment whatever.
It is certainly sometimes very difficult — and Jean Halifax tells why to know just what will be acceptable to the different periodicals. The only way to get at a solution is to send the poem or sketch to one editor after another until it finds a market. In that way I seldom fail to
place all my manuscripts at last, so that a return does not trouble me in the least. "But," says one, "that's what editors are paid for; they ought to be courteous." No, they are not specially paid for being courteous, only for the work they do as Readers, and as writers for the press. No amount of salary will make a gentleman, if the instinct be not born in him.
Having experienced their courtesy both here and abroad, I came to the conclusion long ago that editors were the hardest worked, and in general the most delightful, people in the world. Mary A. Denison.
WASHINGTON, D. C.
THE COLOR PRINTER. A treatise on the use of colors in typographic printing. By John F. Earhart. 137 pp. and 90 colored plates. Cloth, $12.50. Cincinnati: Earhart & Richardson. 1892.
The most artistic book on printing that has ever come to the attention of THE WRITER is John F. Earhart's monumental work, "The Color Printer." It is a beautiful volume, 84 by 10%1⁄2 inches in size, containing 137 pages of letterpress and ninety color-plates, printed in from two to twenty colors each. It is handsomely bound in cloth, with edges marbleized and cover stamped in gold and fine colors. Some idea of the patience and technical skill required for the production of such a work is given by the fact that to produce a limited edition of it 625 different forms and 1,625,000 impressions were necessary. The book contains 166 colors, hues, tints, and shades, produced by mixtures of two colors each, with the proportions printed below each color. A great variety of fine color effects is produced by printing colors in lines and solids over gold bronze, printed also in lines and solids. A diagram of complementary colors, accompanied by simple rules for obtaining an endless variety of harmonious color combinations, is one of the most valuable features of the book. Another interesting feature is a miniature landscape printed in ten colors, showing impressions of each block, both separate and as registered into its proper place as the picture grows toward completion. Specimens of embossing done on an ordinary job press are given, together with a description of the very simple method by which the work is done. There are thirty-nine lists of twocolor combinations, containing more than 2,000 different combinations, and forty-two lists of three-color combinations, containing more than 1,400 different combinations selected from the
colors shown in the book. Each of these combinations is marked as being good, very good, or excellent, making it easy for the printer following the book as a guide in practical work to select the best. In selecting these combinations, the author has been governed solely by the natural laws of harmony and contrast of colors. The book, accordingly, will answer the purpose of all those who desire to use colors intelligently and effectively, producing the best results in the simplest manner, without waste of time or material.
To printers ambitious to do the best of color work, "The Color Printer" will be an invaluable aid, and, as Mr. De Vinne has said, there is not a printing office in the country that uses $100 worth of color in a year that will not save the price of the book through using the exact formulas that are given for making tints. At the same time the book is sure to do much to raise the standard of color printing, and to improve the taste of every one who studies its delicate and artistic color combinations. Simply as a work of art, "The Color Printer" will fascinate any one who looks at it; from first to last it is an exquisite specimen of the perfection of the printer's art. Its preparation has evidently been a labor of love with Mr. Earhart, and he has every reason to feel satisfied with his achievement. The price of the book now is $12.50 a copy, but an early advance in price is probable, for the edition is limited, and is selling very rapidly. It would be strange, indeed, if it were not, for the work is a masterpiece of typographic skill, and is sure to be sought after, not only by printers, but by artists and book collectors everywhere, as well.
W. H. H.
THE FOUNDATIONS OF RHETORIC. By Adams Sherman Hill. 371 pp. Cloth, $1.10. New York: Harper & Bros. 1893.
No better idea of the nature and purpose of "The Foundations of Rhetoric" can be given than by a quotation from the preface of the book.
"For practical purposes," says Professor Hill, there is no better definition of a good style than Swift's- PROPER WORDS IN PROPER PLACES. Differ as good writers may in other respects, they are all distinguished by the judicious choice and the skilful placing of words. They all aim (1) to use no word that is not established as a part of the language in the sense in which they use it, and no word that does not say what they wish it to say so clearly as to be understood at once, and either so strongly as to command attention, or so agreeably as to win attention; (2) to put every word in the place fixed for it by the idiom of the language, and by the principles which govern communication between man and man,— the place which gives the word its exact value in itself and in its relations with other words;