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and all the pupils are expected to acquire enough of these branches so that they will use a verb in the plural with a plural subject, and vice versa.
"Special attention and individual instruction given to pupils who show a tendency to confuse 'shall' and 'will.'" WASHINGTON, D. C. Meredith Rhys.
SATURATED WITH DIALECT.
I looked at her half stupidly, I was so much amazed.
"My dear, you must not mind it" she went on to say. "I have been reading dialect stories. You know it should be, and doubtless is, the aim of our first-class magazines to teach their great world of readers the best enunciation (excuse the size of the word) of the English language, but I am steeped in slang from my brain to my finger-tips, perhaps I should say in dialect, only it is so hard to choose between them, I mean the dialects. One gets confused between Tennessee, Louisiana, and Texas, they are all so different, you know.
"One of our best, perhaps in some respects the best, magazines has in its last number no less than three dialect stories, and good ones, too. Well, it's all right, of course. I do like to puzzle them out, though sometimes I long in the narration for the sweet, simple English of Irving, the straightforward, robust style of Scott.
Let me see if I can remember a sentence in one
of the stories that haunts me. O, yes; it was written in a description of the search of a young girl through a deserted house. Here it is:
"Suddenly it [the gloom] was penetrated by a milky white glimmer, a glimmer duplicated at equidistant points, each fading as its successor sprang into brilliance.'
"And here is another :
"She shielded the feeble flicker with her hand, her white-hooded head gleamed as with an aureole as the divergent rays rested on the opaque mists.'
"There! there's grandeur of description and illustration for you!
'Well, my son, you are late," my critical aunt went on, as a stalwart young man entered. "Yas, mother. I b'lieve I'm feelin' po❜ly this mornin'," he made answer.
"What, George! you've been reading dialect stories, too!" she said, laughing.
He opened his bright eyes wider. 'How in the world did you know?" he asked.
"By your dialect, my son, which is purely Tennesseean," she answered.
"Well, you're right. I sat up till twelve reading one of those dialect yarns. I like 'em, too, only it's a dismal fact that I feel like letting go all the niceties of grammar and rhetoric for a week afterward. How utterly refreshing it must be to get out of the common routine, and say 'naw' for no, and 'gyard' for good, and 'critter' for creature, and 'gell' for girl, or 'giurl,' and 'hyar' for here, and to call things just as they suggest themselves to the untrained mind! What a delightfully lazy existence phonetically speaking- those fellows must
have! There's lots of alliteration, too. you remember in one story the 'tiny, tawney, tinted owl,' the 'stare of stolid surprise,' and the cry that set the silence to shuddering'? All in two short sentences, and plenty more in the long ones. It shows that the writer studies for effects; if not, what is she writing for, I should like to know?
"Hyar, M'ria!" he called to the wide-eyed
maid, "a cup of cawfy 'n' a small sample o' that salmon settin' on the salva, shinin' so
"Silly boy!" exclaimed his mother, as the laugh went 'round, and he came to a stop for want of a final word.
"I know it; but remember, my dearest 'maw,' I am saturated with dialect." Mary A. Denison.
WASHINGTON, D. C.
THE HOME OF MRS. MARY A. DENISON.
Mrs. Denison, the author of "That Husband of Mine," is a woman of multi-genius and many attractions. She is a sweet, gentle woman of middle age, with a face glorified into positive beauty by its expresion alone, although it is far from lacking the natural elements of beauty, with the softest complexion, and a fluffy cloud of natural curls, very lightly sprinkled with gray. In mental gifts she is even above the average. She is not only one of our best novelists, having written more stories than twice the years of her life, stories always pure and exalted in tone, books that can be introduced at the fireside, but she is, also, the author of some of the leading juvenile work. She was the "backbone" at one time of the Youth's Companion, having done more, perhaps, than any other of its many brilliant contributors to build it up during its early struggles, so that to the public her name became synonymous with that of the paper, in fact.
Mrs. Denison is an artist, also, of no mean ability, though she has little time to devote to artistic work. She is musical, too, and varies her story writing with songs, both written and composed by herself. She is a practical musician, also, knowing the violin as well as the piano; and as her younger sister, Mrs. Lizzie Eaton, plays on almost every instrument extant, an evening visit to the sisters is like attending a musicale.
In fact, Mrs. Denison belongs to a talented family, all through; with five stalwart brothers, besides the little music-loving sister, every one of them full of talent in some shape.
Dr. Charles Andrews, of St. Paul, Minn., the rector of the largest and most cultivated congregation of that progressive Western city, is one of the finest theologians and orators in the pulpit; and another brother, James Andrews, of Baltimore, is also a natural orator, though, being a business man, his gift for public speaking has been unused, except on rare occasions.
Two brothers are artists, Dr. Robert Andrews, of Cambridge, who is also a scientific scholar and lecturer; and Joseph Andrews, of Newton, Mass., who makes the most clever penand-ink sketches, with the touch of the fairies in his fingers, as well as the strength of manhood, though he is not an artist by profession, finding other work more remunerative.
This vein of talent in literature, music, and art seems to be carried through the following generation, also. Miss Angie Andrews, of Cambridge, although still in her 'teens, is already a contributor to St. Nicholas; and Miss Estelle Andrews, of Newton, is a brilliant pianist, and has received many compliments from the best critics, though only an amateur as yet. Another niece of Mrs. Denison, Miss Mamie Andrews, of Baltimore, is also full of
musical talent; while her sister Annie has done some really fine work in art.
Mrs. Denison's husband was gifted also, and if he had not been so wedded to his work of philanthropy, Rev. Charles Denison might have rivalled his distinguished cousin, George Deni
son Prentice. But he laid both fortune and genius on the altar of our common humanity, and now his crown in heaven is rich in stars, which is better far than earthly fame. Margaret Sullivan Burke.
WASHINGTON, D. C.
AFFECTATION IN LITERATURE.
There is a world of literary life and thought in this country into which the ordinary reader has not penetrated, and in considering some of the emanations therefrom it is not clear to my mind that the "ordinary reader" is, as a loser, very much to be pitied. I refer to the class of our littérateurs pure and simple-those who have separated themselves from the sympathies of ordinary life, and who not only eschew politics, and theology, and the ordinary social questions, but surround themselves with as much unreality in every way as possible.
The idea with these transcendental persons is to cultivate a literary life, independent of all surrounding conditions except those which arise from their association with each other or from the common studies in old-world literature in which all of this type are supposed to be proficient. Authors of this class are the sworn foes of the realism of magazine literature in the present day, and cannot understand why the reading public should care more for the periodical expressions of men distinguished in practical or professional life than for their own ostensibly deeper and more enduring themes. They look upon these doctors of divinity, famous generals, men high in the political world, and the like, as ephemeral and accidental, and upon themselves, I suppose, as the eternal verities. When they meet with discouragements and detect lack of popular appreciation they console themselves with the feeling that they cannot write down to the level of the American people, and they rail against the "commercialism and dull realism of the
To show the discrowned and subordinate state of mere literature, let us imagine Byron come back to earth with his whims and crotchets and somewhat noisy sadness. The paragraphers of to-day would have no mercy upon him. Yet Byron never penetrated into the domain of the mystical or hypercritical as deeply as some of our modern literary tribe delight to do. He was as easily comprehended as a spelling book—that is, if one understood the true meaning of the social as well as political revolution of which Byron stood forth the most conspicuous literary illustrator.
I believe that some of our most distinguished, and in a sense successful, literary folk are throwing their lives away for want of skill to read the signs of the times and see just what the world really wants. For one thing, the mass of readers do not want a literary tracery, so delicate that in following its complexities. they shall lose sight of the main threads.
"Ah!" you say, "but we are not writing for the herd, the perishable mass, — but for immortality."
Immortality always seemed to me, for one, to be a very indefinite sort of thing. Lord Byron and Sir Walter Scott seemed to have as fair an outlook for immortality as any literary men of their day and generation - and neither of these were mere dreamers or weavers of mystic and impalpable conceits. They were both breezy, modern men in their treatment of every subject—either in verse or in prose. But both of these "immortals" have been practically discrowned for a generation or more. The taste of the world has steadily fixed itself more upon present things, and this change of taste has colored and directed literature and art no less than other branches of æsthetic progress. It may be impossible to drive our romantic poets and other literary folk to a full realization of this change in popular demand. There are writers among us all of whose models are antique or mediæval. They write in a tongue unknown to the mass of the readers of popular magazines. To say nothing of their allusions to vaguely-understood and out-of-the-way phases of old-world history, their style itself is not the style of the present day. It is not the style of the men and women who ride on railroads and read daily papers. It is unreal, introversive, reactionary. I admit that there are great names among those included in this class, and some of them may prove im
perishable. But I would ask: Why delve and sweat in this renaissance crusade - this reproduction of vanished forms-when our own age demands so much of the true scholar and poet for its proper illustration?
It seems to me that the whole question resolves itself into this: Is literature in its final form fixed by the dainty taste of the antiquary and the classicist, or do the people make the poet, and is their approbation the decisive verdict?
The greatest of all who ever took stylus, quill, or harp in hand was emphatically the poet of the people. The strokes of Shakespeare were throughout bold, and his presentations were such as the veriest rustic could understand. I wonder what some of our dainty men and women singers or romancists would think if they were required to write down to the people as Shakespeare did. I am strongly inclined to suspect that such writing is, after all, writing up. I know that this view would meet with serious disapprobation in some of the affected circles of our American Athens and among those other poets of our land who aspire to wander among old pillars and plinths and to cull sprigs of ivy from their desolation. But how about the average tastes of the great American people?
A LITERARY SCRAP-BOOK.
A literary scrap-book is of invaluable aid to the literary worker, and materials for it may be gathered from the papers and magazines which pass through one's hands from day to day.
Such a book lies before me as I write. It is worth more to its owner than any book of essays or criticism, for it includes a wide range of subjects, treated by many different authors.
A few specimen titles may be quoted: "The
Philosophy of the Short Story," Brander Matthews, in Lippincott's; "Virility in Fiction," Maurice Thompson, in the Independent; "The Writer's Inspiration," William H. Hills, in the American; "The Outlook for the American Poet," J. H. Haggerty, in America; "The Psychology of the Modern Novel," Professor George T. Ladd, in the Critic; "How Plays Are Written," Steele Mackaye, in THE AUTHOR; and "Short Stories and Short-Story Writing,"
Hezekiah Butterworth, in THE WRITER. This last was from a duplicate copy; THE WRITERS are too valuable to clip.
My scrap-book contains about sixty valuable and critical articles, and I am adding to it all the time.
When the article is printed on both sides of the page, I paste it to the "stubs "
with which the scrap-book is provided.
Many of us authors have but a limited space for our lares and penates, and cannot keep magazines, even though they contain matter which may be of interest to us in the future. In the literary scrap-book many valuable articles may be preserved. Adelaide Rouse.
NEW YORK CITY.
WHY MUST ALL STORIES END HAPPILY?
I. - They Do.
The finishing up of a story is the most important feature of it; but the question now presents itself to all writers, whether or not one's idea of what the termination might be, if the characters really lived and existed, should be sacrificed to a happy, cheerful ending.
We all know the sorrow that is brought to a child's heart when the lovely wax doll of the story is carried off by the dog and the brave rescuer fails to appear in time, or when the jaunty, comical monkey, enshrined in the lov ing little heart as the symbol of everything amusing and gay, is suddenly kicked and abused by its organ-grinder owner. Children love brightness and sunshine, and they should have it; but how about the grown-up storyreaders, who confess to this same childishness about having the tale "turn out well"?
The writer, dear me, has he anything to say after all? He feels that he has, although he admits that his feeble wail is drowned in the sea of shouts that arise from the hungry public clamoring for cheerfulness. Still, his art demands that he depict nature; and to marry the hero to the heroine in the end, when it has been his task through something like 4,000 or 5,000 words to prove their utter uncongeniality, is nothing short of a crime to him. If it were actual life, he knows a divorce would follow in three months; but because the characters are.
Punch and Judy figures in his hand, to bepulled and jerked in all directions at his will, must he feel compelled to cater to a love of happy endings, when every fibre in his body protests against such injustice?
The Public has its claims, the Writer has his, but have not the creatures of fiction their rights. also?
Miss Mary Wilkins, in "Jane Field," gave us an ending that was not only artistic and dramatic, but natural and practically life-like. What if it did leave us with a sad wistfulness that the poor, narrow, suffering woman might have come rightfully into a portion, at least, of the wealth that she had dishonestly taken possession of? That has nothing to do with it.. The termination, as Miss Wilkins has given it, is life. The whole strength of the story lies in that any other ending would have detracted from the power of the story, and made it weak.
Still, we recognize in the little love episode, with its happy finale, the writer's amiable desire not to leave us with too much sadness. To some this undoubtedly redeemed the story from utter blackness; but to the writer-reader it was so small a part it might easily be erased and never be missed.
But Miss Wilkins has won a name and fame; she can afford to coddle and humor her inclinations, which, whether fortunately or unfortunately, the great majority of writers cannot do.