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Metropolitan for August, began writing vaudeville stories for the New York Morning Telegraph, under the name of Helen Green, eight years ago. She wrote other fiction, also, living at different times in New York, Northeast Canada, the tropics, and the American West, but wherever she was she turned out twelve columns a week for the Telegraph until 1910. In 1912 she began writing magazine stories. She now lives on an island in Prince William Sound, Alaska, where her husband is manager of a large copper mine, and she is at work on an Alaska book.
PERSONAL GOSSIP ABOUT AUTHORS.
Browning. Among the Browning manuscripts sold in May was a little group in Elizabeth Barrett's delicate handwriting, containing her suggestions for verbal alterations in Browning's "Dramatic Romances and Lyrics," which he was preparing for the press. "It is curious to find Elizabeth Barrett, whose ear, to judge from her Own poetry, was not remarkably sensitive, criticising the imperfect rhythm of Robert Browning. But Miss Barrett was a better critic than poet at this period (which, be it remembered, was before the 'Sonnets from the Portuguese' and 'Aurora Leigh').” Her notes on "Saul" are reproduced by the writer in the Cornhill to illustrate her method. She writes:
Of the great ride from Ghent to Aix, Miss Barrett wrote with the enthusiasm of conviction: "You have the very trampling and breathing of the horses all through-and the sentiment is left in its right place, through all the physical force and display.
I know you must be proud of the poem, and nobody can forget it who has looked at it once. By the way, how
the 'galloping' is a good galloping word! And how you felt it, and took the effect up and dilated it by repeating it over and over in your first stanza, ... doubling, folding one upon another, the hoof-treads."
De Coulevain. The novelist who wrote under the nom de guerre of " Pierre de Coulevain" and who was in real life Mlle. Favre, died a fortnight ago in Switzerland. Favre, who was no longer young, was a recluse, shrinking from human companionship. She had been a governess in England, where she found the material for her book, "L'Ile Inconnue." One who knew her says that "the idea of death obsessed her and she carried about with her in one of the innumerable trunks by which she was always surrounded for she delighted in a wandering life the dress and shoes she intended to wear in her coffin." - New York Tribune.
at many a kind of work in order to increase his knowledge of men and things and forward his literary career. He had even been a clerk in a publishing house at nine dollars a week in order to learn more about how books are made. We are told that when the manuscript of "The Blazed Trail" was finished he gave it to Jack Boyd, the foreman, to read. Boyd began it after supper one evening and when White awoke the next morning at four o'clock he found him still at it. As Boyd never even read a newspaper, White regarded this as a triumph and felt that success was assured.
CURRENT LITERARY TOPICS.
Editing for Girls. A very delicate question inevitably faces any American publication that wishes to exercise leadership in thought. Either it has to confine itself to topics and treatment which are suitable to all members of the family at any age, and thereby cut itself off from much that is important, or else it has to take for granted that it is written for intelligent adults, and in this case there will be a certain amount of scolding whenever anything is published that is not especially adapted to the immature mind. For our part, we have chosen the second course. We should like to be popular among the fourteen-year-olds, even those of conventional parentage, but we are not willing to give up the entire expression of our thought on all serious matters of the day. Nothing, it need scarcely be said, will be published in this paper that is not entirely moral, but a great deal will be published that is extremely frank.- Harper's Weekly. The End of the Story. One of the chief joys of which advancing civilization has deprived us is that of reading books with a comfortable certainty as to the outcome. In an carlier and more restful day the novelreader was never haunted by the shadow of an impending doom. Let the trials of Arabella be never so heart-rending, let Mordaunt be baffled by fate in every chapter but the last, none the less the reader could
banish his fears in the certainty that at last Arabella would fall into Mordaunt's arms, and that the cruel uncle, brought finally to pious repentance, would declare the happy pair the heirs to his enormous wealth.
All this may have been silly, but it was immensely comforting. That it in no way. detracted from the interest is proved by the enthusiasm with which many of the old stories were read and re-read. To-day things are very different. The traditional happy ending is frowned upon; the hero often either fails altogether to win his prize or else wins it only to find that the gilded idol was of clay. Even in the lightest of comedy scenes we are oppressed with the thought of tragedy to follow; we cannot guess the outcome till we reach the end of the book, and then too often we only wish it had been otherwise.
The rampant realists announce that this is like life itself. Life is uncertain and frequently tragic; why should the creatures of fiction be foreordained to happiness? Demanding realism at any expense, the novelist of to-day goes forth to wallow in misery and proclaims that he is doing well.
This is the great justification of the modern story-ending, that it is true to life. That is exactly what is the matter with it. We do not read fiction, unless we are suffering from morbidness, in order to get an extra dose of the uncertainty of life. We read it to be entertained. Should we find much pleasure in watching an acrobat if we really half expected him to break his neck in the course of the performance? This pall of uncertainty which envelops so many stories of to-day may be realistic, but it does not make the sort of reading which is a delight in comfortable hours of mental relaxation.
The old novel, with its leisurely motion. and interminable length, had many faults, but at least it did not sin through a misconception of its purpose. Reformers are necessary evils, and the man who is forever crying out to us to mend our ways is like the slave whose duty was to remind the king of old, in the midst
necessary and not pleasant. countless re
Unpleasant, too, are the minders of the imminence of misfortune and tragedy in daily life. Why should we carry this gloom with us into fiction? Why not, rather, enjoy to the full whatever the novelists have to tell, knowing well that it will all come right in the end?
The writers of romance, whose minds have not been obscured by a fog of petty truths, have always recognized this fact. Ivanhoe must wed his insipid Rowena, and the reader must never doubt that he is going to do so. D'Artagnan must win the military glory for which he longs; let his clothes be riddled with bullets, not one of them must be allowed to reach a vital spot before the marshal's staff is his. What should we think of David Balfour if, instead of living to write his memoirs, he had inopportunely died amid the Highland crags? It is only the novel-writers of today, the selfproclaimed students of humanity, who keep their readers in doubt, who veil the ending as something too awful to be disclosed before its time which, indeed, it often is. We may read their books with interest, but we read the others with delight. The Bellman can venture to prophesy which type of book will have the more enduring life.The Bellman.
Prices Paid for Poetry. "Three times as much magazine verse is printed to-day as ever before," said Dr. Edward T. Wheeler, President of the Poetry Society of America. There are magazines that exclude fiction and essays. Chicago has Poetry, a Maga
zine of Verse, Boston has Poet-Lore and the Poetry Journal, London has the Poetry Review and Poetry and Drama, and Paris has La Phalange. Among the popular magazines, those most popular are those that print the most poetry."
"What about the reward of poetry?" Dr. Wheeler was asked. "You say that the magazines print three times as much poetry now as in former years. Is not the tendency, then, to cheapen verse? Does not
the poet receive less for his poem now than twenty years ago?"
On the contrary," replied Dr. Wheeler, "he receives more. He sells more verse and gets more for it. Not long ago the Poetry Society authorized me to investigate the condition of the magazine poetry market. I sent the following letter to twentyseven leading American monthly and weekly magazines :
I am endeavoring to procure for the Poetry Society of America definite data regarding the rates of compensation paid by the magazines for poetry and the basis on which such rates are computed. Are you willing to send me replies to the following questions? 1. By what method do you fix the price of a poem accepted for publication? By the number of lines, or the character of the poem, or how?
2. Do you pay upon acceptance or upon publication, or sometimes one way or sometimes the other? 3. What are your rules of payment, and what is the minimum for very short poems, such as quatrains?
"Of the first eighteen replies received, this is a brief summary. All pay on acceptance,' or within a week or ten days thereafter. In six replies the merit of the poem is given as the first consideration in fixing the price, the length of the poem receiving secondary consideration. In four replies, the length of the poem is said usually 'to determine the price, and one editor states that merit is all he considers. To my second question, five editors replied that they paid from fifty cents to a dollar a line. Six gave fifty cents a line as their regular rate, and one said that he always paid a dollar a line. The minimum rate for very short poems was given in one letter as $10, in two as $5. in one as $2.50, and in one as $2, for couplets.'
"So you see, the rewards for poetry are increasing instead of decreasing. There are many poets, you know, who have no income other than from poetry, and who, nevertheless live comfortably. Alfred Noyes writes poetry for a living, and so, I believe, does John Masefield. In this country, Arthur Guiterman and Berton Braley live on the proceeds of the sale of their verse." - New York Times.
Scouting for New Authors. Churchill Williams, associate editor of the Saturday
Evening Post, and an author himself, was describing the methods used in discovering writers. In his office he explained to the interviewer how he goes about this important task.
"If you could come down to my house you would find it stacked with the latest magazines. I go through many of these, and when I come across stories of unusual merit I try to find their authors. I do not mean that I try to take an author away from a periodical with which he is connected, but I try to induce him to send us some material. But we do not give commissions. We always reserve the right to reject a story, even if we have told an author to write for
Every week almost I go over to New York, where I meet some of these authors and I negotiate with them for stories. All the ideas that rule this paper originate right here with Mr. Lorimer, our editor. He gets an idea for a special article, for instance, and then names some one he thinks competent to handle it. Then I go over and meet the man. And it is pleasant work. There never was a man more happy in his position than I am. I find that I have as much room for creative effort as if I were writing myself. It is a great pleasure to find talent where no one saw it before. I do not think I am boasting when I say we discovered Montague Glass. We saw some of his humorous skits in some trade journals. I then found him in a downtown lawyer's office in by no means affluent circumstances. And we engaged him for the Post."
Speaking of Jack London, Mr. Williams said: "He reads extensively and absorbs a tremendous lot - economics, philosophy, and science. He finds time to put out a good deal of work and meritorious work at that. He has built himself a fine home in Glen Ellen, Calif., and I should not be surprised if his income were thirty or forty thousand dollars a year. And at one time he barely had enough to eat." Albert Mordell in Philadelphia Record.
masses whose soul she studies with such admirable skill and fidelity?" asks a writer in the New York Evening Post, who goes on to say: "The old New York familiesin The Custom of the Country' have such attractive names as Dagonet, Marvell, and Van Degen, but the climbers from the small factory towns of the Middle West are called Undine Spragg, Bertha Shallum, and Indiana Frusk. The girl in The Reef' is Sophie Viner. The idea seems to be that, coming from the cultureless region where everything is ugly, these successful Middle Western manufacturers and their women must bear ugly names. As a matter of fact the tribes who come out of Pittsburgh will: bear euphonious names like Howard, Gregory, Thompson, Roberts, Moffatt, and Brown. The Henry James influence is distinctly visible in this lorgnette attitude which would saddle the vulgar masses with a hideous nomenclature."
Commenting on this, the San Francisco Argonaut remarks: "An Eastern critic asks why Mrs. Wharton chooses such ugly names for her middle-class heroines, and cites the name of Sophie Viner, the chief girl in. 'The Reef.' Now Sophie Viner is not a beautiful name, but we fail to see what else this particular damosel could have been. called. The name fits her like a glove. As soon as we know that she is called Sophie Viner we seem to have a premonition of exactly what she will do. To have called. her Montmorency, for example, or Dagonet, would have frustrated the whole story. If we were writing a novel, which solemnly promise not to do, the name of the heroine, or the hero, would be made the subject of prayer and meditation, although not of fasting. Any one can find beautiful names, but to find appropriate names is a very different matter. Imagine changing the name of Mr. Pecksniff, or of Mr. Snodgrass, or of Mr. Pickwick. It could not be done without fatal results. And Sophie Viner by any other name would be quite another girl."
A "New Style” in Journalism. There is also, it seems, a new style of reportorial and
If this is human nature, give us sub-human nature. If this is new, give us the old. Give us reporting and editorial writing that show knowledge of facts, possession of ideas, directness, lucidity, and brevity of expression.
It is an affront to poor human nature to advertise in its name empty, meaningless rhetoric, pathos, and a sad "derangement of epitaphs."-Chicago Record-Herald.
Naming the "World's Work."— In the Bookman Isaac Marcosson relates how the World's Work got its name. A conference was held to determine the character of the new magazine. Rudyard Kipling was in this country, and being a member of the socalled "D. P." family, he "sat in." Doubleday, so the story goes, was for a magazine with a literary flavor.
"No," said Page. "We want a magazine that is live, virile, constructive that will be the voice of the democracy."
After he had his way, the question of a title came up. Kipling, who had listened attentively, spoke up :
"What you really want is a magazine that Ideals with the work of the world."
In a flash Page leaped to his feet, pounded the table (for he is very demonstrative ), and said:
English possess the richest language in the world, but pride themselves upon keeping their wealth of words between the covers of a dictionary and expressing themselves in slang.
If our language is growing at the rate of five thousand words a year none of us need hope to acquire any considerable proportion of the new words as they find their way into the dictionaries, but a good vocabulary is a great asset to any one, not merely to writers, speakers, and teachers.
What are you doing as the years pass to increase your vocabulary, in other words, to secure your share of the wealth of words?
Reading good literature gives you easy means of becoming acquainted with new words. Even in old works you will find many possible and useful additions to your vocabulary, but the surest means of increasing your store of words, and at the same time increasing precision - not preciseness — is to get into the habit of consulting the dictionary.
Of course, nearly every home boasts a dictionary. A majority of business establishments have one for use as a last resort in emergencies, but comparatively few persons recognize the dictionary as a source of lasting information — and even of genuine entertainment as well as a friend in need when a dispute is to be settled or when there is doubt as to the spelling of a word.
The dictionary habit, once formed, is a constant and positive source of pleasure as well as of profit.
To reach its greatest usefulness the dictionary must be available at the cost of a minimum expenditure of energy. In the library it should be at the reader's elbow, and, preferably, where it is not necessary to lift its weight. Upon its availability depends to a large extent, the reader's acquirement of the habit of consulting it not merely to ascertain the meaning of a word in order that the sentence containing it may be understood, but to discover derivations and shades of meaning.
The habit of consulting encyclopedias and other reference books is profitable, and pos