Lapas attēli




[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

There was a diffident knocking at the door on a Sunday night. On the dark landing that ended a broken staircase stood a small, delicate youth, who spoke unmistakably from Scotland.

"My name is Barrie. I am the new leader writer." He proceeded to explain that he was "a-awfully tired" after the long journey from Edinburgh. He had taken the precaution of writing a leading article in the train for next day's paper, which he hoped would satisfy the occasion. And he would like to go home to bed.

No. 8.

The leading article was written in pencil, on both sides of the two fly leaves, yellow glazed, of a pocket edition of Horace, there and then torn out. The writing was minute, and most legible — apparently.

I received the visitor with the dignity becoming to a youngster of twenty, appointed but a few hours earlier to the position of sub-editor-in-charge of the Nottingham Daily Journal, then proudly the oldest provincial daily paper. I had lied a little about my age. I had mustered up courage to ask two pounds a week!

The senior proprietor said: "H'm! Yes! We pay monthly. That will be eight pounds a month."

I learned, in due course, that Barrie had asked three pounds a week, which had been accepted with "H'm! Yes! That will be twelve pounds a month."

Barrie was a spendthrift in generosity, but he never forgave this ingenious reduction of a suggested three pounds per week to an actual two pounds fifteen and fourpence per week. The proprietors of the Nottingham Daily Journal were extremely rich, and grimly watched their paper die without making any effort to save it. My own instructions had been to assume my position and responsibility at four o'clock on Sunday afternoon. The key of the vast building, containing thousands of pounds' worth of machinery, was left for me, under the front door mat !

In undisturbed solitude I got together a paper, on which the composing staff set to work at eight. At a quarter to eight the foreman printer, immortalized, as all the details of the establishment were, in Barrie's first published novel, "When a Man's Single," entered the room.

"Good evening," said he. "I'm the fore

man printer. I pretty well run this place. I've been here, man and boy, thirty-nine years; and I've seen thirty-seven young fellows in that chair."

He was as good as his word.

He had two names for copy. There was "noos," to which he attached importance according to its local application. To be sure, he could cite Macaulay for a precedent. And there was literary matter, which he called "tripe."

Barrie's work was acutely literary, and suffered always. He, a sensitive creature, endured agony. Our autocrat had a soft

place, but Barrie refused to negotiate it. For myself, I once procured the insertion of an important speech on Protection, by Henry Chaplin, by making it the introduction to the Mansfield Flower Show. So it became preference copy"!

Barrie's contract for " say, twelve pounds a month," was to supply two columns of literary matter per day. One column was to consist of a leading article, as to which general but never particular instructions were given in an eight-page, illegible letter to the writer. Barrie often remarked that he had managed to decipher everything but the religion of the senior proprietor.

One day he told me he had arrived at a conclusion on that point. A splendidly generous act of the worthy man had seemed a key to the cipher!

Barrie wrote five leaders a week; a weekly column of gossipy notes signed "Hippomenes"; a weekly essay - many of these were reprinted in "My Lady Nicotine," having in their original state been infinitely beyond the vision of the average reader of the Nottingham Journal- and book reviews, carefully measured with a tape, to fill up twelve columns per week.

The Saturday leader was for years written by a local accountant, of immense erudition and amazing views. Barrie used to fling the Saturday paper from him with disgust.

Barrie in those early days had an intense consciousness of his importance. It was not vanity. He hated his surroundings, and always knew his superiority. The newspaper men of the town had a little club, meeting in

a tavern, called the Kettle. I sought it a while ago; but it is gone. Barrie went once or twice, but was frankly disgusted. One of its members is a well-known barrister now; another samples fiction for a firm outpouring penny novelettes; another is the headmaster of a public school; another became, indiscriminately, a fascinating writer about Parliament and an exigent judge of bulldogs.

Barrie's first play was written on approval· for Minnie Palmer. It was called "Polly's Dilemma": at any rate, the heroine was Polly, and it was printed as a Christmas number detail of the Journal, so that we might borrow the type to make it into a booklet, and so try to sell it. His first fiction was published in Bow Bells - twenty thousand words of succulent sentiment, for which he got three guineas. He bought some desired print with the money, and pasted the story on the back as indicating its fons et origo.

His lonely rooms backed on the garden of my home. My sweet mother, in her expansive kindness, would signal to him that there was tea going- midland counties tea. There was once an impossible interval, and he made amends with a copy of David Elginbrod," inscribed: "To the face at the window. He cometh not, she said." Dear soul ! She specialized on forlorn journalists. There is a millionaire newspaper man of to-day for whom she had no more to say than "You poor, neglected thing! Just turn out all your socks." And darned them.

Barrie of those days fancied himself as an actor. He would on the slightest provocation give an imitation of Irving as Romeo, and Modjeska as Juliet. In his "Rosalind" I recognize an encounter with a wellknown actress of that day, Marie de Grey. His rooms were curiously devoid of books. There was a Horace, that very Horace denuded of its fly-leaves; and there was BartIf lett's Familiar Quotations." ever he were tempted to use a quotation he turned to Bartlett, and if it were among the Familiar, out it went.

He was the most shy, the most painfully sensitive creature. He drank nothing. And he assured me that after a most conscien

tious trial of the habit he found smoking detestable. Walking was a joy to him. I suppose we must have covered hundreds of miles of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire together. He was years ahead of me in setting that rapturous first proprietorial foot on the pavement of Fleet-street.

For the owners of the Nottingham Journal economized on him, and bought their leaders from an agency at three shillings and sixpence a column, all complete, in type. Three years later, God have mercy on them, they economized on me!

The London Express. Henry George Hibbert.


Why is it that great writers have been so prone to criticise other great writers ir all ages?

Plato speaks slightingly of Homer. Lewes pronounces Plato a dull, uninteresting writer. Tom Moore declared Chaucer unreadable. Samuel Rogers, whose "Pleasures of Memory" are unremembered, thought Shakspere as a literary genius was greatly overrated. Lord Byron said to Tom Moore: "Tom, don't you think that Shakspere was something of a humbug?" Even rare Ben Jonson, who to-day is looked upon merely as a literary landmark, speaking of Shakspere, said: "Would that he had blotted out a thousand lines."


no one

Charles Lamb, who was a merciless critic at times, declared that he could not read Hume, Robertson, or Gibbon. Lord Chesterfield said that it was impossible for him to read Milton's "Paradise Lost"- a fact which he desired to be kept a secret from the public. Voltaire affirmed that Dante's reputation was growing greater because reads him." On one occasion, Sir Walter Scott and a party of friends were discussing Voltaire's Henriade." The question was asked if any of the company had ever read it. They all replied in the negative, except Sir Walter. "I have read it through," said he," and still live."

[ocr errors]

The world acknowledges Virgil to be a poet of rare, original genius, yet Pliny accuses him of being a literary imitator. Quintilian says that Seneca was of little con

sequence as a writer. Plutarch and Cicero assert that Aristotle's works are inferior, while Hemeppus flays Demosthenes. Doctor Johnson denounced Fielding as "a blockhead and barren rascal," and said that to read the odes of Akenside was enough to make one sick.

In our own time we hear the erratic Bernard Shaw declaring that he can write a better play than Shakspere. We have heard Tolstoy assert that the immortal author of "Hamlet" did not possess the ability of an ordinary writer. We hear Henry James declaring that the writings of Charles Dickens are inferior, while Arnold Bennett damns the works of George Eliot, Dickens, and Thackeray. We hear Alfred Noyes telling the world that the poems of both Tennyson and Browning "must go to the scrap heap." And finally we hear W. D. Howells declaring that Chaucer, but for a few poems, is impossible; Spenser is duller than the Presidents' messages before Roosevelt's time; Milton is a trial to the spirit in threefourths of his verse; Wordsworth is only not so bad as Byron, who thought him so much worse; Shakspere, himself, when he is reverently supposed not to be Shakspere, is reading for martyrs; Dante's science and politics outweight his poetry a thousandfold, and so on through the whole catalogue."


[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

THE WRITER is published the first day of every month. It will be sent, postpaid, ONE YEAR for ONE DOLLAR.

All drafts and money orders should be made payable to The Writer Publishing Co. Stamps, or local checks, should not be sent in payment for subscriptions.

THE WRITER will be sent only to those who Accounts cannot be have paid for it in advance. opened for subscriptions, and names will not be entered on the list unless the subscription order is accompanied by a remittance.

** The American News Company, of New York, and the New England News Company, of Boston, and their branches, are wholesale agents for THE WRITER. It may be ordered from any newsdealer, or direct, by mail, from the publishers.

Not one line of paid advertisement will be printed in THE WRITER outside of the advertising pages.

Advertising in THE WRITER Costs fifteen cents seven dollars a quarter a line, or $2.10 an inch; page; twelve dollars a half page; or twenty dollars a page, for one insertion, remittance with the order. Discounts are five, ten, and fifteen per cent. for For continued adthree, six, and twelve months. vertising payments be made quarterly in advance.


Contributions not used will be returned, if a stamped and addressed envelope is enclosed. THE WRITER PUBLISHING CO.,

P. O. Box 1905.

88 Broad Street, Room 416,


[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

1. With a smile not altogether pleasant, . .

2. With a gasp of displeasure, .

3. With one stride,

4. Then, with a step a trifle slower,

5. With much tact, with many profuse,

6. With a little gasp of dismay,

7. Then, with increasing nervousness, .

8. With the waning of a long, cramping,

9. With her little white teeth snarled tight, 10. Without any warning,

11. With a little gasp of rage the girl, . . . 12. Without stopping even to say,

13. With the little steamer so close, 1.4. With a smile as maddeningly irresistible, 15. Then, with all the air of a young royal tyrant, 16. With a visible effort of self-control,

The author who has sold a manuscript should consider before endorsing a check sent in payment for it on which is a printed form transferring to the purchaser all rights in the manuscript. In the case of a story sold to a magazine, for instance, besides the

[blocks in formation]

H. Percival Allen, who had a poem, "Gettysburg." in Lippincott's for July, lives in Philadelphia, and says that although he is a business man he finds his greatest pleasure in the study and writing of poetry, and finds poetry his most natural means of selfexpression. As a boy he had access to the best in English literature, but it was not until he was several years past his majority that he took any real interest in poetry. Then what was at first a hobby became a serious occupation, until all his time after business hours was given to reading and to the endeavor to strengthen and improve what talent he possessed. The first of Mr. Allen's poems to appear in a magazine was "Night's Awakening," which the New England Magazine printed about eight years ago. For some time he made no further effort to have his verse printed, but later, feeling that he had progressed and might compete with current writers, he submitted his work to the magazines, and he has since had poems accepted by the American Magazine, the Book News Monthly, the Outlook, and Lippincott's. “Gettysburg," in the July Lippincott's, was suggested by reading the series of articles in the Atlantic Monthly, called "The Sunset of the Confederacy." The verses were written for a friend with

whom Mr. Allen had been discussing the battle and a recent trip he had taken to the battlefield. Mr. Allen belongs to the Philadelphia Browning Society, and is a member of the Executive Board. He has been successful in the competitions of the society. He has numerous unpublished poems, including a series of sonnets.

Helen Ward Banks, whose story, "When Polly Pretended," was printed in the Youth's Companion for July 10, belongs to the Burr family who helped settle Connecticut in 1630. One of her great-great-grandfathers was a brother of Aaron Burr. She is therefore a New Englander by inheritance, although she was born in Brooklyn, N. Y.. and brought up in Englewood, N. J. "The Passing of the Library," printed in Home Progress for last March, gives a picture of her childish days. Eight years ago she and her sisters, one of whom also writes, came into possession of the quaint old Burr house in Green's Farms- now called The Burrow, after the Burr name — which has been handed down in the family through successive generations. Here she lives, dividing her working hours between the farm, her flower garden, and her desk. She is a college woman, and has been an omnivorous reader and a teller of stories from childhood. She has written for publi- . cation for some time in a desultory way, but it is only within the last three years that she has settled down to writing as her main interest. Although she has written for various magazines, her work is largely for young people and has appeared in St. Nicholas, the Youth's Companion, and Little Folks, as well as in all the Sunday-school papers. Miss Banks has a story, illustrated by Peter Newell, to appear in the September number of To-Day's Magazine.

Shirley Cookman Hayes, who has a story, "The Cast Line," in the Popular Magazine for July 15, is a Californian by birth, and at present lives in San Francisco, where she received her education, later studying literary construction under W. C. Morrow, the

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »