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not "good sellers," are a drug upon the view's it, is a bit of impertinence as great as market, become shopworn, and finally go to the interruption of a person speaking. Ho the book junk dealer. Literature ground has no tolerance for a writer who breaks

"order" is like the music of the "up 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 subpoenaed 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 any one 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 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.

To save

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 himseli." other and different standards of taste and For many words

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




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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."

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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 sunnels, 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

distinctive way. Common sense should go from those who are not like us ; we differ hand in hand with inspiration, as it did not with those who do not agree with us. To when some sentimental writer on the Inde- say : “I differ from you in opinion” is as pendence (Kan.) Reporter was moved by wrong as it is to say : “He is different to the romance of a moonlight night to this his father in looks." - W. H. H. ] effusion : “ Last night was a symphony in silver ; a fairy

Is Mrs. Susan Marr Spalding still living ? world asleep in the white moonlight. The gentle

W. E. P. wind of the south stole through the leafless branches [ Mrs. Susan Marr Spalding was born in of the shade trees and breathed among the grasses Bath, Me., July 4, 1841, and died in West with the voice of springtime. At midnight the city

Medford, Mass., March 12, 1908. — W. H. H. ] lay steeped in the mystery of illimitable spaces, of the wheeling stars and a dead planet, glowing with light. 'Twas a night of romance and unspoken

HOW TO WRITE TRIOLETS. thoughts. Vague, inarticulate whisperings arose from shadowy porches, and the sound of strolling footsteps

Easy is the triolet echoed dreamily in the slumbering streets. Last

If you really learn to make it ! night was a poppied vision, a perfume from Arcady." Once a neat refrain you get,

Easy is the triolet.

As you see - I pay my debt Professor William Cleaver Wilkinson, who With another rhyme. Deuce take it ! has long occupied the chair of poetry and Easy is the triolet criticism in the University of Chicago, must

If you really learn to make it !

- W. E. Henley. have devoted quite as much time to the

That prince of triolet-writers, Austin Dobwriting of poetry as to criticism. At all

son, points out that a triolet must consist of events, we are told that he has gathered into

eight lines with two rhymes, the first pair of five volumes the best of his verses in epic

lines being repeated as the seventh and and lyric fields.

W. H. H.

eighth, while the first is repeated as the

fourth — "and this law," he explains, “is in“NEWSPAPER ENGLISH” EDITED.

flexible.” How easy it sounds, does it not ?

The art of the triolet comes to us, like so The voluntary was got

The voluntary through with, with played to the end, with many forms of old verse, from France. In serious results. no serious results.

fact, one Adenèz-le-Roi, who flourished in

the thirteenth century, wrote “a” triolet that He said that of course He said that of course he would have liked to he would have liked to ran to 20,000 verses ! This is the first known have got the senatorship. get the senatorship.


Of English writers who have Constructed of steel, Constructed of steel, pointed at one end, and pointed at one end, and for” this form of verse-making, Mr. Dobson, with circular windows with circular windows like the portholes of a like the portholes of a

Edmund Gosse, and Robert Bridges are the man-o'-war, they have a man-o'-war, they have a most eminent. The former contributed his very unique appearance. very odd appearance.

“Rose Leaves " series of triolets to the The idea is to have a The idea is to have a Graphic thirty years ago. Of these, the most handkerchief from every handkerchief from every

charming is : Executive Secre.

Executive Secre tary Tobie has for- tary Tobie has forwarded

Rose kissed me to-day, warded a dainty article. a dainty one.

Will she kiss me to-morrow ?
Let it be as it may,

Rose kissed me to-day,

But the pleasure gives way

To a savor of sorrow. Which is right, to say, “I differ with you

Rose kissed me to-day or “I differ from you," in the case of a dif

Will she kiss me to-morrow ? ference of opinion ?

J. M. G. Until Mr. Dobson wrote “Rose Leaves," [“I differ with you" is the proper phrase nobody save Mr. Bridges had written triolets to express a difference in opinion. We differ since Patrick Carey (A. D. 1651 ). Of the



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few written by Mr. Gosse, the following may be selected :

Happy, my life, the love you proffer,

Eternal as the gods above ;
With such a wealth within my coffer,
Happy my life. The love you proffer –
If your true heart sustains the offer -

Will prove the Koh-i-noor of love ;
Happy, my life! The love you proffer,

Eternal as the gods above. Other modern writers who have composed pretty and engaging triolets include Justin Huntly McCarthy, Cotsford Dick, Arthur Seymour, A. R. Ropes (“Adrian Ross”), and Norman Gale. Haddon Chambers notes the following as being a very perfect specimen of a triolet. He says that it was written by a young Irishman named Daly, who was one of the gifted band of journalists associated with the early days of the Sydney Bulletin :

' Glory calls me, I must go,"

Said the lover to his lady.
(Voble words are these, I trow,
· Glory calls me, I must go").
Back he came -

le - another beau
Toying with her tresses shady !
Glory calls me - I must go,"

Said the lover to his lady. Finally, Edmund Gosse kindly calls attention to a remarkable triolet written by Henri de Croy in the thirteenth century :

Je Bois ;
Si Je
Ne Vris,
Je Bois.

Aside from his newspaper work, most of his writing has been in the nature of light contributions to Puck, Life, and other humorous publications. He has had numerous contributions in Short Stories, the Associated Sunday Magazines, the People's Magazine, Young's, the National Magazine, the Blue Book, the Scrap Book, the Illustrated Sunday Magazine, the Bohemian, the Gray Goose, and others. The incidents of Interrupted Journey” really occurred, practically as outlined. Mr. McElravy prefers to base his stories, whenever possible, upon some fragment of real life, believing that by so doing he is more successful in getting a convincing effect, and at the same time has fresher situations to handle. He says he has found“ breaking into" the magazines a very difficult task, but one that grows in its attraction every year. If there is a royal road to authorship, he says, he never struck it, but in looking over some of his first efforts he is convinced that this really was n't altogether the fault of the editors.

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Mary Barrett Howard, whose sketch, “In Search of Quiet," appeared in the People's Magazine for February, lives in Fredonia, N. Y., and has been writing for about four years, chiefly for church papers and the newspapers, although she has had stories accepted by the Youth's Companion, the Delineator, the Designer, and other magazines.

R. C. Pitzer, whose story, “When Spring Comes," was printed in the People's Magazine for February, was born in Denver of pioneer parentage about thirty years ago, and spent much of his boyhood in the hills with his father, who was one of the old and vanished breed of pioneer gold-hunters. He went to New York after the Spanish war, where, he says, he lived on cornmeal for two years in the studios, and then retired in disorder “to the tall timber" to learn the A, B, C of literary art. He studied at home for four years, putting himself through a university course as well as he could, and then began again. He has now been a short

Robert C. McElravy, whose story, .“ An Interrupted Journey," was printed in Appleton's for February, was born in West Liberty, Ia., in 1879, and for the last seven years has been in newspaper work in Denver.

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