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and more struck with the disorder on all sides. My first glance had been one of bewilderment; I now looked with deliberation and amazement at my surroundings. Confusion, dust, and litter — it seemed the accumulation of ages. I afterward learned that for more than two years no books, magazines, or manuscripts had been moved from this, Walt Whitman's peculiar sanctum.
“ There were no bookcases, large shelves, or writing desk ; there was no receptacle for newspapers, and, apart from the two overloaded tables, the floor had received all of them. Upon this his general table the daily papers had been dropped when read ; the weeklies had followed, and in their turn the monthly magazines. An immense number of periodicals and pamphlets had been received in the course of two years, and all were still here. Almost everything was yellow with age and soiled with the constant tramping of feet.
“The mass, which was nearly solid, was two feet in depth, and had many transverse ridges. Mr. Whitman had never bought stationery ; he utilized wrapping papers, old letters, and envelopes, and as he was in the habit of making his poems over and over, afterward tearing up rejected bits, I found, on clearing up, bushels of fine litter, evenly dispersed.
“On the left of the bed the mass of rubbish had reached a height of at least four feet. On investigation, however, there proved to be a lounge underneath. The tables stood like cows in a meadow with the grass up to their bodies ; and the legs of the bed, also, were buried out of sight. The only thing that had gone up with time was the imposing easy chair. This, with its white wolfskin, surmounted the pile like a throne. The wolfskin was sadly moth-eaten, as were the old and poor garments that hung upon the walls.
“At one of the tables a bent metal drop light held a chipped argand burner at a dangerous angle, and within this dingy glass shone a feeble ray of light, just making visible the pallid face and hoary hair of the dying man. As I stood on the mass and
looked down, the sight was beyond description. The owner was only a few inches above his worldly possessions ; he seemed a part of them, and the picture would have been incomplete without him.
“I began by picking up the newspapers nearest the door, folding them, and stacking them on the landing at the head of the stairs. Little by little I made my way into his room, but it was slow work, and not much could be effected during the first week.
“I continued to put things in order, always desisting when my patient showed the least sign of annoyance. I would often go into the room on the pretext of putting wood in the stove, and I soon learned to perceive just how much or how little I could do. The bound volumes, invariably thrown face downward into the mass, I arrayed upon some shelves in the little rooin. Many were presentation copies — among them one by Longfellow and one by Tennyson. These shelves were already doing double duty, but in this crowded house there always seemed to be room for a little more.
“ Periodicals I piled outside with the newspapers, and as no shred of writing was to be taken out, all the script was made into a mound in one corner of the room. In this confused pile were rolls of manuscript writ
different colored bits of paper ; many were pinned together. No wonder some one said that Whitman's manuscripts resembled Joseph's coat! In the litter were innumerable letters ; thousands of requests for autographs ; poems that had been submitted to his criticism ; friendly letters from home and abroad ; all his business correspondence ; postal cards, notes of congratu. lation, invitations, envelopes unnumbered, visiting cards, wrapping papers of all brands and sizes, a variety of string of all lengths, and ranging from the fine colored cord which druggists use to the heaviest and coarsest of twine. There were several pieces of rope, coins, pins galore, countless pictures, and many photographs of himself. Strings were
interwoven through the accumulated layers that it would take days to come to the ends of them. Voths flew around the room in perfect security, and industrious spiders
had curtained the corners and windows. On the door hung the old hat, and on a table a plaster bust of the poet stood sentinel."
CURRENT LITERARY TOPICS.
are interested in journalism to specialize on folks. That is the greatest, the most interesting, the most pliable, the most numerous, the most fascinating, the most unusual, the most satisfying subject in the world — folks.
“And if you have anything like a sense of humor, for heaven's sake nurse it. Humor is the scarcest commodity in the United States. It is extinct elsewhere, almost. Don't let the serious-minded persons tell you anything about dignity and all that sort of rot. If you can write funny stuff write it, and you'll be riding in your own automobile when the serious-minded person is writing serious protests to the paper against pay-as-you-enter street cars."
Suggestions for Newspaper Writers. — Some excellent advice for newspaper writers was given by Samuel G. Blythe in an address delivered recently before the third annual convention of the Intercollegiate Press Association. Mr. Blythe said he did not regard newspaper work as a road to wealth, but as a way “to live a big, broad life.” After saying that it is the duty of every man who contemplates entering journalism to get all the knowledge he can, he continued : “No person, however, can teach a man to write. You can be taught the principles of writing, the grammar, and the rhetoric, and all that, but you must teach yourself to write. The mere facility of writing correct English does n't mean anything. There are scores of persons around newspaper offices who can write correct English. The trouble is they have n't any ideas to anglicize correctly.
“The man who goes into journalism and who desires a big success must specialize. After his experience as an all-round reporter on all the assignments, pick out one subject and specialize it. Likewise he should try to make his stuff as different from the stuff of other men on the papers as he can. I found that out early, and when I was a cub reporter I tried to write every item in a way the other reporters would n't think of writing. The results were disastrous in instances, and I had a lot of trouble with city editors and copy readers, but I finally got into the place that whenever there was story they wanted handled in an unusual way – that did n't start, “There was a meeting last night, and so forth - I got it.
" It took years, years when I was beaten to a pulp by men who could n't see it as I did, but I won out. And in looking over the ground I determined on my specialty early. I chose people — folks. People want to read about other people. If you will allow me, I will advise you young gentlemen who
Edward Everett Hale's Style. — Frank B. Sanborn, commenting upon some of Dr. E. E. Hale's limitations, admits that he had " that incommunicable gift - style.” And he proceeds to account for it. “I once remarked to Dr. Hale that I found something French in his manner of writing a lively clearness, which we instinctively connect with Gallic authors, who seem to have it by nature. I said : “You must have read much French early. He replied : 'I did.' Being once laid up with a wounded or broken leg, he had the range of the numerous French books in the library of his uncle, Alexander Everett, and so got that familiarity with good French which is one of the best helps in writing English.” A blessed broken leg !
Le ers Copyright? - An interesting legal and literary dispute seems certain to arise over the letters of the late George Meredith. The London solicitors of the Meredith executors have issued a statement calling attention to the fact that the copyright of all letters written by Meredith is. now vested in the executors. It will be recalled that there was a dispute over the ownership of the letters written by Charles Lamb, but then the courts decided that the owner of a letter was the proprietor of the paper with the words written on it, and not the proprietor of the composition independent of its inscription. Yet the same court later made the decision, in another case, that the possessor of the letters written by
Hints About Play-writing. — There must be one leading and controlling THEME, with usually a subordinate Theme connected with it. There may be still other incidental Themes, but the main Theme must govern.
While the Scenario embraces the Plot, and while you must have a Plot before you can determine on all the details of the scenes, or rather what scenes to have, the Scenario goes a little further than the base Plot.
You will observe as you proceed that each Act has its Plot, as well as the play, and that each scene in which anything is at issue has its Plot and is a little play in itself.
A play (like a clock ) is an arrangement of wheels within wheels; the Proposition (or general story ) being the balance wheel, the Acts the hour wheels, the scenes the minute wheels, the incidents in the scenes the second wheels.
It is of the utmost importance that the student, at the very outset, rid himself of the idea or delusion that because he sees his characters, in his mind's eye, move and dance, and laugh and weep, and otherwise disport themselves, they necessarily constitute between themselves any fraction or part of a play. Their Actions, even created them man and woman, might fall very far short of drama. . . . A dipper filled from the sea had as well be called the sea as two hours of life drawn from the vastness of existence be called a play.
Whenever and wherever the Action ceases it becomes mere life and ceases to be drama. In real life a wife would weep inconsolably for an indefinite time over the loss of a loved one, but in a play it would not be entertainment to listen to a woman's sobs for
three hours. . . . Life is subject to the laws of the drama.
The drama, depending always on what happens NOW, before the eye, whatever is said or done must affect the characters and the Action in the present time. Things have to happen in a given order or the play falls into “STORY." "Story is that material something which is told, whereas it should be acted. The acting or telling of something in advance of its proper place of communication to the audience is also
set going, everything that happens should happen by reason of what has happened in preceding scenes. True, something of the past, not seen, may at times have to be narrated, but it is always something that affects the Action of the moment.
Story” is where essential things are described and not represented.
It is best for you not to be too full in regard to rising, crossing, place of entrance, exit, positions, and stage details of the acting. Much can be left to the stage manager.
Unless the happenings in a play are UNEXPECTED or lead to the Unexpected, you have no play. Whatever in a play secures
a laugh is worth money.- W. T. Price, in the New York World.
Earnings of Novelists To-day.-I do not believe that there are twenty novelists in England to-day making a thousand a year out of their novels, and I have been collecting facts - cold, sad facts — about the rewards of fiction for a long time. The sincere novelist is the worst off of all. There are just four sincere novelists in England to-day who are making over a thousand a year, and they make it by their other qualities, not their sincerity. The rest of the sincere novelists - the novelists who are doing sincere, valuable work — are not making a thousand a year, and they never will. Edgar Jepson, in London T. P.'s Weekly.
The majority of lawyers and doctors do not earn more than £100 a year after seven
years of apprenticeship and practice. Now novels ; that is, the material they contain is in seven years a novelist who has not mis- equal to that given with greater amplificataken his vocation ought to produce at least
tion in novels. Many examples might be ten novels. And it will be a hard ng if offered to prove this. Dickens' “ Dr. Marian author with ten novels in his baggage gold” does not confine itself to a single incannot first and last clear £100 a year. It cident or to one trait of character, nor does will not be startling if he clears a great deal his “Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings.” Irving's
Of course, novel writing is a limited legend, “Rip Van Winkle,” covers the profession; but then the number of men events of a life; so does. Flaubert's “A who experience a genuine call to it is cor- Simple Heart." Stevenson's “Will o' the respondingly limited. It differs in two ways
Mill”, would not at all meet the requirefrom the more regular professions. Influ- ments of the magazine editors of to-day in ence will not help progress in it. A rich or respect to the ground it covers, nor would a powerful friend can enormously smooth
his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Kipling the path of a young lawyer or doctor. He wrote many tales restricted to single epican do nothing for a young novelist. The sodes, but among those which made him novelist has to stand on his own feet with famous
that go beyond this. the public. Even a mighty editor cannot
“Without Benefit of Clergy,” to many minds. force a novelist on the public. I regard this
one of the most finished of short stories, is as an advantage to the literary profession. the story of a life. Henry James has writThe other point of difference is that for a ten one or two most dramatic short stories, novelist the conditions of labor are infinitely
une of them dealing with ghosts, which are more agreeable than in the regular profes
more than detached episodes. sions. He can work when and where he The truth is that the editors want likes. He is tied to no place. He needs no
standard to guide them, and have fixed upon office and no apparatus. — Arnold Bennett,
this, but in so doing they have not studied in London T. P.'s Weekly.
precedent or considered the fact that the
chief thing, after all, is not conformity to Rules for Fiction Writers. - A writer in the
any arbitrary rule, but the accuracy, vividNew York Sun undertook to learn why
ness, and skill with which the writer of any young authors find it so difficult to obtain
production depicts life, either as a single inrecognition from the magazines, and gath
cident or as a whole. Manuals on the art ered a variety of information. Among other
of short story writing are numerous, and lay things, he was told that no more common
down very rigid rules of procedure. They mistake is made by would-be magazine
are written by persons unknown to fame as writers than to assume that a short story
writers of fiction, and are presumably editors is a condensed novel. Some people," this
or “ Readers,” thus seeking to establish editor went on, "do not seem to understand
themselves as authorities. So far as can be that the short story should be restricted to a
learned, popular authors of short stories single incident. If it is a story of adventure,
have the ability — inborn, not learned from there must be only one adventure. If it is
books — to tell them effectively. Somea love affair, it must be only one episode in
times the tales they tell are but single incithe courtship. If it is a character sketch, it
dents, sometimes they are more, and the latrust deal with one trait of character only."
ter may be the more artistic and the more This assertion is often made, but it is
impressive. purely arbitrary. It is based, presumably, Magazine editors have the right to set on the practice and theory of Maupassant, Their own standards and fix their own rules whose artistic skill as a short story writer and regulations. Some of them frankly is rather extravagantly rated. Facts do not admit that they prefer a trivial incident artissustain it. Many short stories that rank tically treated to a dramatic theme or strikhigh are nothing less than condensed ing plot less skilfully handled ; while others
lavor the latter. It is not to be assumed that their limitations are causing the rejection of any great amount of superior literature, but rather that they publish the best they can get, which is, for the most part, not very good. Nevertheless, by the adoption of such restrictive rules they do not impress themselves upon the public as literary purveyors who invariably know a good thing when they see it. Their standard in short fiction is in line with the oracular announcement that emanates now and then from publishing houses, to the effect that the public prefers novels of action or adventure rather than of romance ;
or that it wants swift movement, and will have none of the old-fashioned rambling style of fiction ; or that it demands plot, and will refuse stories whose interest lies in their psychology – each ukase depending on the character of the “best sellers” of the moment. Then comes along some one with a sentimental romance that catches the popular fancy, or a Mrs. Wharton with a study of social life,
Dr. Morgan, who digresses from his main narrative on every page, yet delights the novel-reading world, and all the theories are upset. The main thing in long or short fiction, as before remarked, is truth to life, whatever may be the technical rules laid down. Terre Haute Star.
The Poet's Work. — Writing of her own work, Mrs. Browning has said : ' Poetry has been to me as serious a thing as life itself - and life has been a
very serious thing ; there has been no playing at skittles for me in either. I never mistook pleasure for the final cause of poetry, nor leisure for the hour of the poet. I have done my work, so far, as work — not as mere hand and head work, apart from the personal being, but as the completest expression of that being to which I could attain and as work I offer it to the public, feeling its shortcomings more deeply than any of my readers, because measured from the height of my aspiration ; but feeling, also, that the reverence and sincerity with which the work was done should give it some protection from the reverent and sincere."
Objectionable Words and Phrases. The editor of the Bookman has devised an inferno of objectionable words and phrases, and this is the list he makes :
Along these lines." “ Aristocratic." “ Automobile."
Brainy." * Bright" (for “ clever " or “ brilliant"). * By leaps and bounds." “ Clubman.” “ Dandy ” ( as an adjective ). “ Elegant
(for “good,” agreeable"). “ Enthuse." “ Exclusive" (as a social term ). · Exquisite." “ Fictionist.” “ Genteel." * Gentlemanly." “He (she, it) struck a new note.”
Inquiry." “ In touch with " ( except as a technical term in military or naval discourse ).
Locate ( as an intransitive verb ). “ Lunch." “Nom de plume." “ Ovation." “ Parlour." “ 'Phone," for telephone," either as noun or verb. “ Pleased to meet you."
Prince Albert coat." “ Residential district." “ Smart” (for “clever " ). “ Social standing." “ Storiette."
Stylish.” “ Sur le tapis." “ The Four Hundred." “ The story grips the reader." “ Thinker." “ Up to date.” “ Vest."
The Record Price for Verse. —The London Chronicle mentions what it believes to be the most profitable verse on record. Victor Hugo, it says, was even more successful than Tennyson as regards money matters, and left over £200,000 at his death. A large proportion of this was derived from fiction, for “Les Miserables” alone brought him in £16,000 ; but even allowing for this, it seems probable that his poems and plays were more remunerative than those of his great English contemporary.
Neither Tennyson nor Hugo, however, can equal the record of James Smith, of “Rejected Addresses fame, who was better paid for a trilling effort of verse than any poet since