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himself. Mr. Ritchie is a native of Mississippi, but grew up in California, and became a cub reporter on the San Francisco Call the day after he was graduated from the University of California. A life crowded with incident began for him right then. Going to Japan on a shoestring" at the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese war, he worked as a correspondent for the London Telegraph in Japan and Korea. At the close of hostilities he edited an American paper in Yokohama, and returned to San Francisco just in time to "cover" the great fire of 1906. The work he did for the New York Sun at that time led to an invitation to come east and join the staff of that paper. As a Sun man he traveled to Labrador to meet Peary on his return from his polar trip, reported the Jeffries-Johnson fight at Reno, and was sent to Texas and Mexico at the time of the Madero revolution. It was while on this assignment that he witnessed the riotous expulsion of President Diaz from his capital and followed him to Vera Cruz and thence to Havana on the first leg of his journey into exile. This experience gave Mr. Ritchie the material for "The Passing of a Dictator," which was printed in the April Harper's. "The Cat and the King" is the latest of several stories which Mr. Ritchie has written from his adventures in the Far East and his familiarity with Japanese policies in Korea and Manchuria, and he says he has had great fun mingling facts and fiction in proportions calculated to keep even the Japanese statesmen guessing at how much he really knows.
Harriet Whitney Symonds, whose poem, "To-morrow's Guerdon," appeared in the December Ainslee's, wrote under her own name of Harriet Whitney Durbin up to March 2, 1012. At that time, having been a widow for several years, she became the wife of Harry C. Symonds of St. Louis, which city is her birthplace and her present home. Mrs. Symonds has written verse since childhood, and she still prefers to write verse, although she finds that the writ
ing of short stories pays her better. She has had verses and stories published in Ainslee's, Munsey's, Everybody's, the Youth's Companion, the Designer, the Ladies' World (under its old management), the People's Home Journal, the Woman's Home Companion, the Housewife, the New Age, and a number of other publications. Mrs. Symonds hopes some day to make a volume of her scattered poems.
PERSONAL GOSSIP ABOUT AUTHORS.
Furness. The patient toil that the late Horace Howard Furness put into his work is illustrated by an extract from a letter that he wrote in 1880 to Professor Francis James Child, acknowledging a letter of encouragement that he had received from Professor Child. Dr. Furness wrote:
"No one has ever yet said to me such an appreciative word anent the labor and the time that lie hidden .sometimes in a fraction of a line. Not infrequently I have spent a whole evening in hunting down a single quotation. I remember that I once went through every page of Ben Jonson, and there are nine volumes in Gifford's edition, in search of a single line - and I got it. "I spent nearly a whole night, till cockcrow, in search of queasie' in the Paston Letters, and four or five words absorbed the whole of it. So too in Latimer's Sermons after 'flibbergibe.' And sometimes, as you truly say, after all the time and trouble is spent the note is struck out."
Harraden. Beatrice Harraden writes her books over and over, trying to live them before she writes them. When "Ships That Pass in the Night" was published in 1893 Miss Harraden was entirely unknown, and she parted with the copyright to a London publisher for twenty guineas. The story instantly sprang into popularity, and hundreds of editions have been issued, both in England and in America - where it was not copyrighted. It was translated into French, German, Dutch, Polish, Swedish, Norwegian, Hungarian, Russian, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish, and done into raised Braille letters for the use of the blind. In all, nearly a million copies must have been
sold, but up to recently Miss Harraden has received, from translation rights and all, less than five hundred dollars. Some time ago, however, she was voluntarily given a percentage on several new editions.
Even as a child Miss Harraden was always trying her hand at short stories, but she had the long period of nothing but rejections through which most successful writers have had to pass. William Blackwood, the editor and publisher, took a personal interest in her work, encouraged her, and at last published in Blackwood's a little sketch entitled "The Umbrella Mender."
A volume of short stories for children was followed by a long illness, brought on by overwork, after which Miss Harraden wrote "Ships That Pass in the Night." Since the appearance of this book Miss Harraden has published a novel every three or four years. She does not believe in taking advantage of her reputation to turn out hasty work, but lives out her novel in hand by dwelling in the environment she means to give to her characters, and many a "working day" she does not write a word, but sits at her desk thinking of scenes and characters.
She thinks out her characters for several years, beginning with one whom she comes to know so thoroughly that she could tell what sort of shoes he wears, and what he thinks about suffrage. From the circle of possible acquaintances of that one she builds up her list of characters, trying to live in the places where they live and studying the subjects which have any bearing on their characteristics or occupations or interests. For example, when she portrayed “Tamar," the Splendid sulky Jewess expert in gems in "Out of the Wreck I Rise," she made a three-years' exhaustive study of gems and antiques and methods of auctioning antiques.
When once she has begun the actual writing of a book she works at it regularly as far as she can, and even if she does not put down a word on paper she keeps herself at her desk for two or three hours in order not to lose the habit of steady work.
"And sometimes," she said once. I find it so much easier to work than just sit there and keep on wishing that I were out for a
tramp that I find myself quite cheerfully writing on a morning when I had sworn that the skies were too foggy for any gentleminded person to expect a poor author to evolve ideas."- New York Sun.
King.-Basil King, the author of "The Inner Shrine," is fifty-three years old, but he never attempted to write fiction until he was forty-two. Then failing eyesight, and the probability of approaching blindness, caused him to turn from his profession for another means of livelihood. He had always thought he could write a story. He tried it. His first attempt was published in the Atlantic Monthly, in the form of a short story. It was not long before he found he could write a novel better, and took up the longer form of fiction.
"I had written books under my own name," said Mr. King; "but they were modest efforts, and my success was only moderate. In 1908 Harper's wanted my book, The Inner Shrine,' to publish as a serial, but up to that time they had never taken a serial except from the very best authors. After they had taken the works of Thomas Hardy, Gilbert Parker, and Mrs. Deland, it can readily be seen that hesitation on their part to feature a serial for the coming year by a man who was practically unknown was natural. It was suggested that my novel be run serially, but anonymously.
"At that time I was very ill, I was losing my sight rapidly, and when the publishers suggested the story should be printed anonymously, I jumped at the idea, for the simple reason that this would allow me to pass along unmolested. I was going abroad to remain two years. I was so ill I took no particular interest in the serial when it was published, and, as a matter of fact, I did not know at the time that it had aroused any curiosity. I had very little communication with the United States during the first year of my stay abroad.
"The Wild Olive' and 'The Street Called Straight' were published anonymously, too, but I am now so much better in health, and I have got <) accustomed to my loss of sight - my vision is now about onethird normal and I have become used to
myself under affliction that I don't feel shy before the public.
"I took up writing when I began to lose my sight," said Mr. King in answer to a question. "I found I was cut off from the reach of many other things. I was here in New York when, one day, I was struck by the sight of a typewriter. I immediately bought one of the smallest I could find, and all my books have been written on it. I took up writing in 1901. I believe I have written only four short stories in all. I am not a short-story writer. I don't see things concisely. I remember hearing Mrs. Mary Wilkins Freeman say she saw and thought of things concisely.
"Yet my books come to me fully made from the start. I see the story all through. For instance, 'The Wild Olive,' the most successful book I have written, I got from a remark Edward Sheldon, the playwright, who is an old friend of mine, made in my home in Dublin, N. H. He was sitting and I was walking up and down in a room at the time. The instant he made the remark, before I had taken half a turn around, I said: There is my new book, title and all.' Naturally, though, the story was arranged and modified, and it grew afterward.
"I have no system about writing. In fact, I don't feel as if I were more than a kind of instrument on which somebody else was playing, rather like a spiritualistic medium, as it were. Oh, no, I am not a spiritualist! I believe a good many people feel that kind of detachment.
"I write anywhere. I have no difficulty in writing on a train or on a steamer. As far as my experience goes, the more comfortable I am, the more pressed for time, the better I can write. When I bought a big house in Boston and filled it up with conveniences for writing, I often found myself like stagnant water. But when I rush over here on business, or go abroad, or go out West, I feel quite fertile in ideas.
"It may amuse you to know that I wrote a large part of 'The Wild Olive' on the corner of a washstand in a little room at Berne, Switzerland. My wife and my family had all the big rooms and I had to
take the smallest. The table was small and littered with books. There was no other place on which to put my little typewriter, so I naturally drifted to the washstand.
"I never set out to teach a lesson, but life, you see, is a great teacher, and I cannot set forth anything that looks to me anything like life without seeing some deduction to be drawn from it. That deduction some people would call a lesson and some a moral. I call it the natural result of circumstances. I think the function of a novelist is that of a public entertainer, first of all. He is primarily the servant of the public, rather than its teacher.
"Do I draw my characters from life? I could n't tell you. I have never drawn a portrait of anybody. They say no one coulď imagine a new odor. I suppose no one could imagine a wholly new character. One must use traits he has seen in some one. 'And do you feel the loss of your sight? "There are so many recompenses that I am content."- New York Times.
Norris. Mother' was intended for the Delineator prize short story contest," said Kathleen Norris the other day, when seen in her Port Washington home. "I intended to write a humorous story when I commenced it. It was to be called 'Mary Lou's Beau,' but when I got into it, the character of the mother took hold of me and I found I could n't make her funny. She was so lovable that I began the story all over again and made her the heroine instead of the daughter. But I could n't get the story into anything like the limited number of words the Delineator wanted. They required three thousand and I could easily see that my story was going to run three times that number of words. So I abandoned it when it was only half finished and wrote another. When 'Mother' was finished the American Magazine accepted it, although it was nearly tem thousand words long. I had to cut it a little, but after it was published and people seemed to like it, Mr. Phillips, the editor of the American, suggested that I add about twenty-five thousand more words and tell what happened before I began where the
story as published in the magazine commenced. The Rich Mrs. Burgoyne' was conceived and written in even a more casual way. I was lunching downtown with some friends and I told them I had an idea for a short story and described it to them. One of them thought it was too good an idea to waste on a short story, that I ought to make a novel of it. He happened to know the editor of the Woman's Home Companion, Miss Gertrude B. Lane, and a day or so later he asked her if she was looking for a serial. It appeared she was. He told her about the idea in my story and she seemed to think that it would suit the Companion, so in another day or so Miss Lane and I dined together and talked things over. It staggered me a little when she said she would have to have the copy for the first instalment of the novel by the first of the year. She wanted a scenario of the whole book, too, and I had just two months to do both things. Well, I finished the scenario in a fortnight and the first two instalments were delivered by January 1, and the whole novel a month later. But I made up my mind while I was writing it that I'd never write another novel to order or against time. I could easily have made The Rich Mrs. Burgoyne' twice as long as it is, and made it a much better book, and while I was writing it I did SO much want to do it."
Regarding her first printed story, which appeared in the Atlantic, Mrs. Norris says: "This story had been the rounds of the magazines, but when it finally appeared in the Atlantic I received four letters from editors to whom it had previously been submitted, and by whom it had been rejected, complimenting me upon my work and asking the privilege of considering my next story. One of these was Mr. McClure of McClure's Magazine. I wrote him thanking him for his praise and told him that the story had been submitted to him on such and such a day and had been returned with a printed note of thanks a fortnight later." Mrs. Norris can concentrate upon her work to a remarkable degree even under the most unfavorable circumstances, as was evidenced
That" turned out to be a best seller, perhaps much to the astonishment of those casual lookers-on.
A recent successful story was based in its plot on a newspaper story that her husband read to her about a woman's saving a child in flood time by mounting a stepladder and holding the child in safety for hours. Mrs. Norris transposed the incident to a familiar setting, put in real, familiar, true-to-life characters and made one of the appealing stories of the year.-New York Sun.
Wells. -H. G. Wells says, in an autobiographical note written for a recent Russian edition of his works: "I am now just fortytwo years old, and I was born in that queer indefinite class that we call in England the middle class. My mother was the daughter of an inn-keeper at a place named Midhurst, who supplied post horses to the coaches before the railways came ; my father was the son of the head gardener of Lord de L'Isle at Penhurst Place in Kent. They had various changes of fortune and position. For most of his life my father kept a little shop in a suburb of London. His shop was unsuccessful, and my mother, who had been a lady's maid, became, when I was twelve years old, housekeeper in a large country house. I, too, was destined to be a shopkeeper. I left school at thirteen for that purpose. I was apprenticed first to a chemist, and that proving unsatisfactory, to a draper. But after a year or so it became
evident to me that the facilities for higher education that were and still are constantly increasing in England offered me better chances in life than a shop and comparatively illiteracy could do, and so I struggled for and got various grants and scholarships that enabled me to study and to take a degree in science and some mediocre honors in the new and now great and growing University of London. My chief subject for graduation was comparative anatomy, and the professor in whose laboratory I worked was Professor Huxley. I began first to write literary articles, criticism and so forth, and presently short imaginative stories, in which I made use of the teeming suggestions of modern science. There is considerable demand for this sort of fiction in Great Britain and America, and my first book, 'The Time Machine,' published in 1895, attracted considerable attention; and, with two of its successors, The War of the Worlds' and 'The Invisible Man,' gave me a sufficient popularity to enable me to devote myself exclusively, and with a certain sense of security, to purely literary work.
"Success with a book, even a commercially modest success as mine has been, means in the English speaking world not merely a moderate financial independence, but the utmost freedom of movement and intercourse. A poor man is lifted out of his narrow circumstances into familiar and unrestrained intercourse with a great variety of people. He sees the world; if his work excites interest he meets meets philosophers, scientific men, soldiers, artists, professional men, politicians of all sorts, the rich, the great, and he may make such use of them as he can. He finds himself no longer reading in books and papers, but hearing and touching at first hand the big discussions that sway men, the initiatives that shape human affairs. And London is more than the capital of a kingdom; it is the centre of a world empire and of world-wide enterprises. To be a literary artist is to want to render one's impressions of the things about one. Life has interested me enormously and filled me with ideas and associations I want to present again. I have liked
life, and like it more and more. in the shop and the servants' hall, the straitened struggles of my early manhood, have stored me with vivid memories that illuminate and help me to appreciate all the wider vistas of my later social experiences. I have friends and intimates now at almost every social level, from that of a peer to that of a pauper, and I find my sympathies and my curiosities stretching like a thin spider's web from top to bottom of the social tangle. I count that wide social range one of the most fortunate accidents in my life, and another is that I am a man of diffident and ineffectual presence, unpunctual, fitful, and easily bored by other than literary effort; so that I am not tempted to cut a figure in the world and abandon that work of observing and writing, which is my proper sphere in it."
CURRENT LITERARY TOPICS.
As to the Use of Participles. Perhaps there is no fault more common in the structure of English sentences than the participle gone astray. It is left wandering at loose ends, either without a noun (or pronoun) to which it may attach itself, or with the substantive so far away that the vagrant verbal element is fain to tie itself to some nearer noun, with which it has no logical relation.
The participle is, of course, verbal in meaning, and this verb-thought of action, or being acted upon, must, also of course, find some person or thing to give it a reason for being. Often the person or thing which does what the participle tells is so clear in the writer's thought that he permits the ridiculous ellipsis which is seen in the following sentence: "Walking down the street a building struck my eye." Here, by all laws of grammar or logic, the word "walking" is connected with the word "building," and we have the absurd image that follows. There is no noun whatever to which the word "walking" belongs. The writer could have said: "When I was wali:ing down the street," supplying the pronoun thus, or he could have said: "Walking down the street, I noticed a certain build