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editor. An uncommonly well-written animal story, dealing with a fight to the death between two black leopards, caught the attention of the whole office staff of a certain popular magazine of adventure ; it really a careful piece of work, and, as subsequent inquiry revealed, was based upon many hours of patient study of a lithe and sleek black leopard formerly contained in the zoological collection in Bronx Park. But, unfortunateiy, the misguided author laid the scene of his story in a Mexican forest, and one member of the magazine staff happened to be enough of a naturalist to remember that black leopards, in their native haunts, are never found very far removed from the Malay peninsula.
Lastly, a word of two about the greatest tragedy that can befall the manuscript department of a publishing house — the loss of a manuscript. Most houses make it their proud boast that no manuscript has ever been lost by them ; and, indeed, final and irrevocable loss is extremely rare. But all houses have had numerous attacks of acute temporary heartburn, with a complete overturning of the entire office machinery, in a mad and desperate hunt after the mislaid document.
A single case of actual loss has come to the attention of the present writer. several years ago, and happened to one of the largest publishing houses in the country, through the carelessness of a young boy employed to wrap and label the manuscripts to be returned. In some way, two of these manuscripts became confused : and the first intimation that the firm had of the tragedy was when an irate author wrote to know why someone else's manuscript had been sent him in place of his own, and what the publishers proposed to do about it. Further inquiry revealed the additional tragedy that the other manuscript had gone hopelessly adrift ; and the situation became still more painful when the author avowed his intention to hold the manuscript sent him by mistake, as a hostage, until his own was found.
All this is now somewhat ancient history ; but there are certain persons connected with the manuscript depart
ment of the house in question who to this day do not like to hear the words “lost manuscript” mentioned.
One young woman, with enviable record for accuracy, when asked whether she could remember of any manuscript having been lost during her tenure of office replied decisively : “No, indeed, I never have any trouble in finding manuscripts ; my trouble is to get rid of them !" And she then proceeded to instance one manuscript which had reposed in the office sale for more than twelve years, and was still waiting to be claimed. Every month or two," she added, “ when I have a little leisure time, I send out a whole batch of letters, begging authors to call for their manuscripts, or asking where they will authorize me to forward them. But usually I get no reply, or else a request to keep the manuscript a little longer, until the author has a permanent address."
All things considered, the publisher's Reader is a wholesome influence in the publishing world to-day. His influence is exerted chiefly in eliminating what is worthless and in raising the whole average standard of the great mass of writings that range from frank mediocrity to something just short of genius. A Reader's opinions must necessarily in a measure reflect the standards of the publishing house for which he reads ; and here and there we may find a Reader whose tendency is to recommend changes of a sort that commercializes rather than improves.
But this is the exceptional case. It may be said, without fear of contradiction, that most publishers and Readers to-day are co-operating in an honest attempi to raise the standard. They cannot lose sight of the fact that books are business proposition, as well as an aesthetic delight ; but they can, and do, stretch many a point in favor of the finer qualities. As one Reader, who happens also to be a member oi a firm, expressed it : “If we did not publish at least one or two volumes a year on which we were fully prepared to lose money, we should think there was thing radically wrong with us." The Bookman.
of the Popular Magazine, which
says: “ There are no stories of the white slaves in the Popular Magazine, and the writers never seem to have heard of an instance of marital infelicity. It is good to pick up a magazine of this kind with stories of the healthy sort, stories of big enterprises undertaken by men, stories of the stock exchange, of the army and navy, of baseball and other sports, an occasional love story, too, with the curtain falling upon the marriage scene, not rising upon it.”
The Writer is published the first day of every month. It will be sent, postpaid, One Year for ONE DOLLAR.
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A queer case, brought under the English libel law, has been before the courts in England. The English Illustrated Magazine a while ago published a story under the name of W. Pett Ridge, which, as it was shown in court, was written by a Bournemouth grocer's clerk. Mr. Pett Ridge brought a libel action, asserting that his reputation as a writer had been greatly injured by having credited to him such stuff as that written by the grocer's clerk. The magazine editor's defence was that he supposed that the manuscript, which came without a letter and with only a stamped envelope addressed to “W. Pett Ridge” enclosed, was one of Mr. Pett Ridge's earlier efforts. He offered two guineas for it, while Mr. Pett Ridge's price, according to his counsel, for a story of equal length — twenty columns – is twenty guineas. Jerome K. Jerome, testifying as an expert about the damage to the author's reputation, said that editors watch the work of authors, and that any one reading this story in the English Ulustrated Magazine would think that Mr. Pett Ridge was going to pieces that he had softening of the brain. The magazine was required to pay £150 damages.
Why a writer should not be discouraged by rejections is suggested by a magazine article written by Reginald J. Smith, head of the London firm of Smith, Elder, & Co., and editor of the Cornhill Magazine. Mr. Smith says that for the magazine he edits there are read annually something like three
Some good suggestions as to what magazine stories ought and ought not to be are given in a note sent out by the publishers
thousand manuscripts, of which on an average only one in two hundred is accepted. About six hundred book manuscripts a year are offered to his firm for publication, ard of these somewhat less than two per cent. are accepted. These figures may seem depressing to authors, but it should be borne in mind that they show the manuscript demand of
firm, and that very many of the manuscripts rejected by that firm no doubt find acceptance elsewhere. Instead of discouraging writers, these statistics should teach them to be persistent. If a manuscript is good, it will find acceptance somewhere, and the writer should keep on trying with it until he succeeds in placing it, or until he is convinced by a long series of rejections that the manuscript really is not good.
published in all of the leading young people's periodicals, the Youth's Companion alone having printed scores of these adventure and farm talest
. In addition to writing stories, Mr. Hendrick has spent seven years as managing editor of papers in Ithaca, N. Y., Titusville, Penn., and elsewhere, but he now confines himself entirely to story-writing. His home is in Wolcott, N. Y.
W. H. H.
WRITERS OF THE DAY.
Roe L. Hendrick, whose story, "A Pair of 'Pintos,'” appeared in the Youth's Companion for June 12, was born in western
New York in 1867, and except for a trial at school teaching in his late teens has devoted his entire life to newspaper and literary work. He learned to set type and chase “locals and ads." before he could vote, and then worked as
a reporter and telegraph editor in Rochester, Buffalo, Cleveland, and New York. In 1891 a chance paragraph contributed to the New York Herald led to a request for more, and for the next eight years Mr. Hendrick devoted himself to "jokes," — i.e., paragraphs, dialogues, and jingles. At the outset there were not more than a dozen writers in the entire country who made a serious business of “small humor," and the reward ampie, considering the outlay of labor, it being easy to pick up from fifty to a hundred dollars a week. Passing years, however, brought a degree of competition that seriously curtailed the reward, and Mr. Hendrick turned to juvenile fiction. In the past ten years he has written nearly a thousand short stories, which have been
Ethelyn Leslie Huston, who had a story, “ The Man in Gray,” in Ainslee's Magazine for June, is a newspaper woman who is now director of the welfare work in the store of the L. S. Donaldson Company, of Minneapolis. Mrs. Huston was born in Toronto, Canada, and received her early education in a convent school. Later she went to live in Nebraska and was graduated from Bellevue College. She began her newspaper work on the Westside Star, a weekly paper in Cleveland, where she spent three years.
Then she joined the editorial staff of the Cleveland Press, and later wrote for the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Record-Herald, and the Chicago Chronicle, acting as dramatic critic on the Chronicle. While in Chicago she was vice president of the Independent Pen Woman's club, an organization which brought such men as Elbert Hubbard, Edwin Markham, and Vereshchagin, the famous Russian artist, to the city. Beiore going to Minneapolis, Mrs. Huston was on the Sunday staff of the New York Herald, and she is now a regular contributor to the New York World syndicate. Her stories have been published in the Smart Set, Ainslee's, and other magazines. When she was on the Cleveland Press, Mirs. Huston spent a week in the Ohio State prison. It
kuown that deplorable conditions existed there, and to get convincing proof one night she disguised herself, went down into one of the tenement districts of the city, got arrested derelict, and was sentenced to a week's imprisonment. The story that she wrote of her experiences reformed conditions in the
prison and drove out the superintendent in disgrace.
Francis M. Kieron, whose paper, * The Battle of Guilford Court House," has just been published in the Journal of American History (New York ) for the first quarter of 1913, was born in Iowa, but later lived in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he attended St. Thomas College. He married Miss Margaret A. Thornton, of St. Paul, who is a graduate of the academic department of the University of Minnesota. Mr. Kieron's essays on literature and history have appeared in general publications, but it is only lately that he has written for historical magazines, and he regards this work as a kind of forerunner for a complete history of the American Revolution which he has anticipated for some time. For years he has been greatly interested in the American history of the middle and latter part of the eighteenth century. Americana. of New York, will publish his second magazine paper, an article on the Life of Montcalin, in its August number. Mr. and Mrs. Kieron now live in Beaumont, California.
just put it out of my mind and let it take its course, and in time it completes itself. Then, and not until then, I begin writing, and work rapidly and without stress."
Some of her stories, Mrs. Burnett says, have their beginning in incidents which are brought to her attention. This the
with her story, “T. Tembarom," in which the hero is a real person, who still is. alive.
“I was confined to my bed,” she said, in speaking of the origin of that story, “by a
hurt in a carriage accident, and to relieve the tedium of a long convalescence a young relative often came to see me. Το lead me to forget my discomfort, he related the laugh-provoking experiences he had when, a soldier of fortune, he was making his start in life. At first I was just entertained and did not think of what he told me as material. Then I began to fancy what a person taken suddenly from the life and surroundings this young
described would do if he found himself in the English environment I wrote of in 'The Shuttle.' A story began to take form, and after a time completed itself, though I have been slow in setting it down. You see, I had two gardens to make and to encourage after they were made, and time does slip away at such a
rate when one is working with a garden.”
This led to a discussion of the latest of her literary children. I said I did not see how she was going to bring things out comfortably for all concerned. Mrs. Burnett laughed with the abandon of a girl, as she exclaimed:
“ Good! I am so glad you can't see how it's coming out! That really is nice to hear." – New York Times.
Chesterton.- VIr. Chesterton has been indulging in autobiography. “I appeared in a form more or less human," he writes, the top of Campden Hill, Kensington, and was christened in the little St. George's Church, close to the tall water works tower. I went to St. Paul's School, where I did no work, but wrote a lot of bad poetry, which has, fortunately, perished with the almost
PERSONAL GOSSIP ABOUT AUTHORS.
Burnett. Clitton Heights, Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett's place in Bermuda, is about midway between Hamilton and St. George. Mrs. Burnetit says she expects herself to work at her desk each morning, though she confesses with a laugh that the lure of her gardens at times is irresistible. That this often has been the case recently accounts for the fact that the final chapters of “ T. Tembarom," now [ April ] appearing serially, are not finished.
“I never sit down and plan a book," she explained. “At first, something comes me which usually is nebulous. It does not exactly float into my mind, but seems rather to float about it, as a bird might Autter near, after having decided to get acquainted. Whatever it is, I do not interiere with it never try to corral it and think it out, but
day), the sheer devil-worship of commercial empire and compulsory colonial expansion. They founded the Pro-Boer Speaker, a spirited paper, from which some of the first books from Belloc and myself were pulled and patched together. My friend, Mr. Oldershaw - now, by all the thundering wheels of time, a J. P. — pestered these poor people with my articles ; and I never shall be so proud of anything again as I was then of my companions and of my
Whether I could now be so happy and so universally hated I do not know ; but I would try. The result of this sort of Oxford skirmish was that, when the midnight of jingoism had passed, and the Daily News had been recovered for the older liberal tradition, the new editor, R. C. Lehman, gave me a place upon that paper. In that paper I have written a vast amount of nonsense and also, I happen to think, a great deal of sense."
CURRENT LITERARY TOPICS.
equally bad exercises. I got a prize for one of those prize poems which stand as the salutary humiliations at the head of so many paths of journalism and literature. Golly ! What a poem! It had a sturdy Protestant tone. It was about St. Francis Xavier, of whom I had never heard. Before I left school I had been a member of a little amateur club with a little amateur magazine, in which the beginnings of intelligence were fairly brighter. Most of my friends went to Oxford, but I played at learning to illustrate books and then went and read manuscripts in a publisher's office. In the first experiment I discovered that I could not draw pictures, but that I could talk about them ; and I think the first things of mine properly printed were two isolated reviews of art books in the Bookman. Then I became absorbed in the publisher's manuscripts, but not in the right way. Every day my critical reports became of more interest to me and of less use to him, until I suddenly realized the fact that I was some sort of journalist, and bowed myself out. I owe it to my friends and to my luck that, though I had no money in particular and married on very much less than a hundred pounds a year, I never was put to the ultimate Fleet Street test that drives men intellectual prostitution. By a coincidence, a kind of work came to my hand from a group which, though not prosperous and quite the reverse of popular, thought and talked much as I did, so that I felt but little break with the crude convictions of my boyhood. My old friends at Oxford had mingled with a very original and sincere school of politicians who were reasserting an idealistic liberalism, a traditional praise of liberty, against both the most powerful fashions of that time. At that time at Oxford everything that was moral was socialist. Everything that was immoral was imperialist. Mr. Belloc, Mr. Hammond, J. S. Phillimore, and the rest thus fought with two unpopularities at once. The outbreak of the South African war seemed to them a sort of signal for a direct defiance of what they thought ( as I did, and as I do to this
How a Successful Play was Made. -- Bayard Veiller tells in the Metropolitan for June how he wrote “ Within the Law.” It was done to bear out an assertion he made that the popular, lurid crook melodrama is the easiest stuff in the world to turn out, and that he could do one in a month. Within the Law” was written in three weeks. In its original form it was an attack on the jury system. The character corresponding to Gilder, the department store proprietor, was the judge who sentenced Mary Turner to prison. Mary was pretty much as she is now, a salesgirl accused of theft. The scene of the first act
room. The jury had been out all night. Everybody
out with the long, tedious wait for the verdict. The jury filed in, sleepy, blear-eyed, and
The proceedings were hurried as much as possible. The clerk of the court gabbled through the usual formulas. The foreman in a weary voice announced the verdict of guilty."
“In word,” says Mr. Veiller. “I showed the case of a girl who was being railroaded to prison in order that the judge