« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
and devise ; ingenious and ingenuous ; immerge Whenever I try to write well, I always and emerge.
find I can do it”; leave out always, which is “The number of emigrants arriving in this unnecessary. country is increasing and alarming”; say, * First of all I shall give you a lesson in immigrants. Emigrants are those going out French, and last of all in music”; omit of from a country; immigrants, those coming all in both instances, as unnecessary. into it.
“ They sought him throughout the whole The soil in those islands is so very thin, country” ; leave out whole, which is implied that little is produced in them beside cocoa- in throughout. nut trees " ; " beside cocoa-nut trees” means “I bought a new pair of shoes”; say, a pair strictly alongside, or by the side, of them. of new shoes. Besides, or except, should be used. Besides Do you believe that he will receive my letalso signifies in addition to : as, “I sat beside ter ?" ; observe that in the former word the the President, and conversed with him be- diphthong is ie, and in the latter ei. A consides.
venient rule for the spelling of such words As far as I am able to judge, the book is is the following : c takes ei after it ; all well written”; say, So far as, etc.
other consonants are followed by ie : as, de“Do you know who this dog-headed cane ceive, reprieve. belongs to ?”; say, whom. In expressing in “ St. John's is about two days nearer Engwriting the idea conveyed in this question, a land than Halifax." Does this mean that St. better form of sentence would be : “Do you John's is nearer to England than Halifax is, know to whom this belongs ?" In familiar or nearer to England than to Halifax ? dialogue, however, the latter mode might be “He is a distinguished antiquarian”; say, thought too formal and precise.
antiquary. Antiquarian is an adjective ; anti“Who did you wish to see ?”; say, whom. quary, a noun. “Whom say ye that I am ?” This is the Beware of using Oh ! and O indiscrimiEnglish translation, given in Luke ix : 20, nately ; Oh ! is used to express the emotion of the question of Christ to Peter. The of pain, sorrow, or surprise ; as, “Oh! the exword whom should be who. Other instances ceeding grace of God.” O is used to exof grammatical inaccuracies occur in the press wishing, exclamation, or a direct address Bible ; for example, in the Sermon on the to a person ; as: Mount, the Saviour says : “Lay not up for
“O mother, will the God above yourselves treasures on earth, where moth
Forgive my faults like thee?" and rust doth corrupt," etc. "Moth and rust" “I will retain two-thirds, and give you the make a plural nominative to doth corrupt," balance”; say, remainder. a singular verb. The following, however, is “Will you accept of this slight testimocorrect : But lay up for yourselves treas- nial ?” Omit of, which is superfluous, and ures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust weakens the sentence. doth corrupt."
“The robber entered the dwelling, and “Let each of us mind their own busi- secretly carried off the silver"; say, thief ; ness”; say, his own business.
a robber attacks violently, and commits his “The first edition was not as well printed depredations by main force ; a thief is one as the present”; say, so well, etc.
who uses secrecy and deception. No less than fifty persons were there" ; 'Go and fetch me my riding-whip ” ; say, say, fewer, etc. Less refers to quantity ; bring. Fetch means to go and bring ; go and fewer to number.
fetch is repetition. “Such another victory, and we shall be Mute and dumb. A dumb man has not the ruined" ; say, Another such victory, etc. power to speak ; a mute man either does not
“Give me both of those books ” ; leave choose, or is not allowed to speak. It is, out of
therefore, more proper to say of a person
who can neither hear nor speak, that he is
deaf and dumb," than that he is a deaf mute."
To leave and to quit are often used as synonymous terms, though improperly ; to leave implies a design of returning soon — to quit, an absence of a long time, or forever ; as, in Shakespeare :
the very rats Instinctively had quit it." - Tempest, i., 2. “I shall leave my house for a month before next autumn ; but I shall not be obliged to quit it until after Christmas."
Strong and robust. These words are frequently misused ; a strong man is able to bear a heavy burden, but not necessarily for a long time ; a robust man bears continual fatigue with ease ; a strong man may be active and nimble ; while an excess of muscular development, together with a clumsiness of action, exclude these qualities from the robust man :Strong as a tower in hope, I cry Amen!"
SHAKESPEARE, Richard II., i., 3. “For one who, though of drooping mien, had yet
From nature's kindliness received a frame
WORDSWORTH, Excursion, VI. To hear and to listen have each distinct de
grees of meaning. To hear implies no effort or particular attention. To listen implies some eagerness to hear. An old proverb says : “ They that listen seldom hear any good of themselves."
“ Isaac Newton invented the law of gravi. tation”; say, discovered. Galileo discovered the telescope"; say, invented.
Ought and should both express obligation, but the latter is not so binding as the for
“ Children ought to love their parents, and should be neat in their appearance."
“That bourne from whence no traveler returns.” How often are precisely these words spoken? They are improperly quoted from Shakspere, in " Hamlet,” and correctly read as follows:“ That undiscovered country, from whose bourne
No traveler returns."
The reason of this correction is clearly seen by supplying what is needed to complete the sense : Whether he will or will not.
The Danube empties into the Black Sea”; say, flows ; to empty means to make vacant ; no river can properly be called empty until it is entirely dried up. New YORK, N. Y.
FORMS OF THOUGHT.
The newer dictionaries reveal many new there acquires polite manners and social recwords adopted from the spoken into the ognition. Modern magazine writers written language,-some slang, some local- contractions and vulgarisms, even in staid isms, some conversationalisms, some "tech- old essays, and no longer think of apologize nicalisms." Slang is commonly esteemed ing in a phrase for such usage. But — the voice of the masses, and therefore (no It is no doubt a fact clear to every one better reason for the “therefore") is inele- that commercialism and merchandisable litgant. The fact is, however, that slang is a erary stuff are giving direction to thought great feeder of the language, which dies at at this time. That is as much as to say that the bottom and lives at the top, like coral; the business end of literary effort dominates. for slang is vivid, terse, living, contagious, Conviction, zeal, research, and investigation pat, full of red blood, and often comes for- are secondary. Such things bound up in ward from the kitchen into the parlor, and merchandisable packages do not "take," are
not “good sellers,” are a drug upon the views it, is a bit of impertinence as great as market, become shopworn, and finally go to the interruption of a person speaking. Не the book junk dealer. Literature ground has no tolerance for a writer who breaks
"order" is like the music of the " lip one phrase in order to glue in another.” mandolin, pretty thin. Few nowadays hear This he denominates stupidity. One should "pencils walk," — if Charles Knight may be write as an architect builds, who“ sketches subpænaed to utter here his phrase. It is out his plan, and thinks it over down to its the clack of the mad-brained, hurry-footed smallest details." typewriter, and the result is hard reading, There are some mediocre thinkers to-day, though easy writing.
who advise the author to sit down and write, To be a little more specific as to forms of and as he proceeds and his studies thereon thought, it may be stated that Schopenhauer enlarge they say he will become more laments the style of those who “coin new
thusiastic, and the fire will burn stronger on words and write prolix periods, which go the altar of the heart ; the subject matter round and round the thought and wrap it up will fuse better, and the light of inspiration in disguise.” He likes neither those who will be stronger. These mediocre advisers "jot down their thoughts bit by bit, in short, state, with no want of assumption, that the ambiguous and paradoxical sentences, which advised will write better than when he is full apparently mean much more than they say,” of his subject and coolly selects from his nor those who “hold forth with a deluge of abundance what he desires to say. words and the most intolerable diffuseness, It is needless here to caution any one as if no end of fuss were necessary to make against constructing patchwork stuff. And the reader understand the deep meaning of it is equally useless to remind anyone the sentences, whereas it is some quite against reprinting dead matter and secondsimple, if not actually trivial, idea." He says hand stuff. Only Christ can resurrect that “longest of all lasts the mask of un- Lazarus. intelligibility.” Vagueness of manner argues And now, the literature of the hour is vagueness of thought, he thinks.
ephemeral, necessarily so since it but repretime and the wear and tear upon the reader, sents the taste and spirit of this age. The he advises the writer to give “the quintes- next and the next ages, as all well know, sence only, mere leading thoughts, nothing judging by the lamp of the past, will have that the reader would think for himself." other and different standards of taste and For “many words to communicate few spirit. The age in which we live is provinthoughts is everywhere the unmistakable cial, so to say, and hence peculiar to this day, sign of mediocrity.” But "a writer should and people, and taste. The next will have never be brief at the expense of being clear, its desires and modes of mind, and they will to say nothing of being grammatical.” Care- be unlike ours, and these methods of less writing implies want of confidence of thought in turn will be antiquated to the the writer in his subject, or a confession that next approaching age.
Much of the SOlittle importance is attached to the question called literature of the day will not survive. in hand, and is an outrageous lack of re- Practically speaking, it is stillborn. The litgard for the reader.” A writer should not erature that is to be born out of the womb “break up his principal sentences into little of time may be of giant stature, or it may be pieces, for the purpose of pushing into the of enfeebled birth. The law of the survival gaps thus made two or three other thoughts of the fittest applied to literature, testing by way of parenthesis, – thereby
that suited to all men for all time, would sciously and wantonly confusing the reader.” bury most of that of the hour. He decries sentences that are "rich in in- Following up Schopenhauer's line of critivolved parentheses," and thus “interrupt cism, — though not
muckraker with what was begun to say,” "inserting some hysteria or a critic who has failed in literaquite alien matter." This, as Schopenhauer ture, - it may not be amiss to say some
things that signify that all roads do not lead fulness is a very superior one,
- a mantle to Rome. Much of the present-day litera- for a multitude of sins. ture is mechanically correct enough, and yet Style is both method and thought, both is truly unlettered forms of thought, signifi- manner of language (or fashion of phrasecant of a clumsy thinker. A word-monger ology) and well-born athletic ideas. may be classically able to put puny thoughts It has been said : One who writes politics in gaudy raiment, and present lace-fringed is supposed not to know anything, but one phrases and embroidered remarks, with the who writes an educational or a religious pedantic mark upon them, but when summed article or book must be a scholar indeed. up they are, after all, but mere frescoed The too old-maidish temper of modern litwind. To talk on tiptoe is not evidence in erature is not wholly deplorable, but forms itself of high thinking or enduring senti- of thought constructed behind screens and ment. A literary contortionist can't infuse lace curtains, about plush carpets, Aphrodite, eternality into his work by gaining the repu- the Queen of Sheba, Scheherezade, and tation of being able to turn a fine phrase or about what he said " and then“ what she a diaphanous quirk. Over-ripe culture and said " lack the nerve of outdoor favor and full understanding of the best literary stand- masculinity, such is found in “Tom ards will not compensate for a painful dally- Brown" at Rugby, or at Oxford. And, ing along with a pet thought that would bet- again, much of it smacks of the amateur in ter be dismissed in a business way in a keen the use of words, of the filing of the pensentence. A measured, mathematical tread galloper (reporter). The sense may, too, of words, like the throbbing feet of a mov- be crowded and obscure, showing an ing division of the army animating ; but skilled, immature pen. Or evidences of the what of it ? A word-mason may lay up his word-mangler may grin through a muddy literary structure, periect as the bricks in a style and beclouded ideas. An untidy manbuilding, and affably and skilfully concede ner of private thinking will naturally dress the studied unstudied efforts, as do the best its progeny slovenly, — perhaps the best it littérateurs of the times, but nevertheless has, – resulting in a patchwork effect, a you know the walls look straight, cold, me- Joseph-coat appearance. chanical, uncomfortable, unnatural. It is It is well known that some of Scott's not sufficient to pick up a waif of an idea, critics pointed out, with what they supposed put trousers on it, coat, collar, tie, cuffs,
of infallible intuitive sense, the stick a diamond pin in its dickey, put a rat- “labored" parts of some of his stories ; and tan in its thin, pale, bloodless hand, and a that in his Journal he smiled at his allboutonnière in its lapel, make a dude of it, knowing critics for pronouncing “labored”. pronounce it perfect, and turn it loose on an what was in fact written as swiftly as his “unsuspecting public," thinking it is going pen could gallop over the paper. to live forever. In the language of the An old rheumatic pencil has no prescripbishop of the street-corner : “Nay, nay, tive right, by reason of age, to imitate the Pauline ; not so !”
Sage of Chelsea and belabor the public with To be free from breaking Priscian's head aches and groans. Such an ogre pen has no in the liberating of a swarm of half-born message divine, for the reason that the ideas ; or be the creator of an orgie of words quarrel even on the nibs of the pen. sickly, writhing thoughts ; or to put anæmic Like spirits each crowding forward to be ideas into plush-lined sentences, is not the first to gain possession of the “medium," way to gain the sphere of the literary im- they have no new evangel to give a dying mortals crowned with anemones. Such me- people. chanical precision may have in its cell struc- The Spectator and the Rambler are alture, or protoplasm, the dwarfing, dulling, ready so far back that they afford little benestunting effect of a too-conscious sense of fit to the stylist nowadays. the “carping critic.” The charm of cheer- EVANSVILLE, Ind.
F. A. Myers
delphia Inquirer, noting the death of Miss Martha Finley, says : “Drop a tear over the death of the author of the 'Elsie books.' How many hundreds of thousands of girls have made their lives better and happier by these simple, wholesome narratives !” On the other hand, the New York Times Saturday Review says: “With the 'Elsie books' the pious child of fiction, whose chief part in life was to admonish her elders, seems likely to make a final exit from the stage, clearing it for the wholesome, human, unmanageable youngsters who make glad our days," and the New York Evening Post declares that Miss Finley, created the most odious child in fiction," and adds : The 'Elsie books' are destitute of humor, and are slushily sentimental ; Elsie herself is an impossible little prig who divides her time between snivelling and preaching."
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 have paid for it in advance. Accounts cannot be 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 a line, or $2.10 an inch ; seven dollars a quarter page ; twelve dollars a half page ; or twenty dollars a page, for one insertion, remittance with the order. Dis. counts are five, ten, and fifteen per cent. for three, six, and twelve months. For continued advertising payments must be made quarterly in advance.
Contributions not used will be returned, if a stamped and addressed envelope is enclosed. THE WRITER PUBLISHING CO.,
88 Broad street, Room 414, P. O. Box 1905.
The fine art of " fine writing” is not entirely neglected. The Springfield Republican, for instance, lately had this paragraph :
“Out from under the shadows of the gray-brown rock of Gibraltar yesterday morning crept sixteen great white ships, black smoke belching from their íunnels, the sharp commands of officers ringing from their bridges, and their bands moaning out the notes of Home, Sweet Home.'
Quoting the paragraph, the Hartford Courant says :
“ Or,'to put the fact in four words, the fleet sailed Saturday. Gray-brown rocks, like those of other colors, usually cast shadows ; our warships are great and white ; smoke is supposed to be black - that's one of the nasty things about it - and funnels are made to be belched from. How sharp the commands of officers are and how loud they ring, as also whether the bands moan, depend on the amount of trimming that a prose poem will carry in proportion to its waist measure."
This is not altogether just, although it is warranted to some extent. If all descriptive writing were reduced to bare statements of fact, it would tend to approach the baldness of a geometrical theorem or an algebraic solution. The descriptive writer should aim to be picturesque, but he should, of course, avoid trite phrases and worn-out epithets, striving always to put original dashes in his word-picture that will produce the effect in a
Short, practical articles on topics connected with literary work are always wanted for THE WRITER. Readers of the magazine are invited to join in making it a medium of mutual help, and to contribute to it any ideas that may occur to them. The pages of The WRITER are always open for any one who has anything helpful and practical to say. Articles should be closely condensed; the ideal length is about 1,000 words.
How differently different people look at the same things ! For example, the Phila