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never made a note of a fact, o an impression, or of an anecdote in my life. The conception of a planned book was entirely outside my mental range when I sat down to write ; the ambition of being an author had never turned up among these gracious imaginary existences that one creates fondly for one's self at times in the stillness and immobility of a day dream ; yet it stands clear as the sun at noonday that from the moment I had done blackening over the first manuscript page of 'Almayer's Folly,' from the mo. ment I had, in the simplicity of my heart and the amazing ignorance of my mind, written that page the die was cast. Never had Rubicon been more blindly forded, without invocation to the gods, without fear of men."
Mr. Conrad says further that although his first novel was begun as a holiday occupation, and was written slowly, with long intervals of non-production, it was not dismissed from his mind, even when the hope of ever finishing it was very faint. “The necessity which impelled me was a hidden, obscure necessity," he says, “a completely masked and unaccountable phenomenon.”
Alberta Bancroft, whose
story, “The Earthquake Ladies," was published in the People's Magazine for April, is a San Franciscan by birth and the wife of James Steel Reid, a San Francisco attorney.
She was educated in San Francisco, in Germany, and at Ogontz School, Pennsylvania, from which she was graduated in 1893. She has written verses which have been published in Sunset and other Western magazines, in St. Nicholas, Munsey's, and Everybody's, and she has had short stories in Ainslee's, Munsey's, Sunset, the People's Magazine, and McClure's. She is also the author of a book, “Royal Rogues," a story for children, published by the Putnams in 1901. Unfortunately her health has not been good for some years, so that her literary work has been intermittent, but she is hopeful that the time will come when she will be able to devote some time every day to writing
Writers who have a endency to become discouraged when they meet with difficulties in their work should read what Hall Caine has written of his own experience and take heart again. Mr. Caine says:
“ The story I have told of many breakdowns in the attempt to write my first novel may suggest the idea that I was merely serving my apprenticeship to fiction. It is true that I was, but it would be wrong to conclude that the writing of a novel has been plain sailing to me ever since. Let me throw a crust to my critics,' and confess that I am serving my appren. ticeship still. Every book that I have written since has offered even greater difficulties. Not one of the little series but has at some moment been a despair to me. There has always been a point of the story of which I have felt confident that it must kill me. I have written nine novels (that is to say, about ninety ), and sworn as many oaths that I would never begin another. The public expects a novel to be light reading. It may revenge itself for an occasional dis. appointment by remembering that a novel is not al. ways light writing.”
Inspiration may be the first requisite for successful literary work. If one is to accomplish much, patience and industry and application are no less essential.
John M. Howells, author of the story, “At the Café d'Orsay," in the Atlantic Monthly for April, says th the only thing about himself of interest to literary people is the fact that William Dean Howells is his father, and has held that position for some forty years.
Mr. Howells — the son — has published fiction in the Century and the Harper publications, as well as in the Atlantic Monthly, but, being an architect, he has been more prolific in his contributions to more technical publications, often with regard to the architectural education offered by the French government, from which government he holds a diploma. Such stories as “ At the Café d'Orsay are the result of his seven years spent in Paris.
The Lippincotts have published Ouida's articles on female suffrage, and other as
Augusta Kortrecht, whose story, “The Little Fat Skeleton," appeared in Lippin
cott's for April, is a Southerner, now living in the East. Miss Kortrecht finished her education with two years in a Pension in Heidelberg, Germany. At the age of eighteen, having long been troubled with the desire to “express” herself, and little dismayed by the thought that there was in reality nothing to express, she wrote two stories, one of which she sold for $2.50, after a vast expenditure of tears, and stamps, and prayers. The other was returned with the editorial complaint that its “ Emersonian, psychological tone was beyond the powers of the readers” of the magazine to which she had offered it. As the youthful author had never read a word of Emerson in her life, this so depressed and frightened her that she gave up all thought of prose, and for several years devoted herself to rhymes for her small nieces and nephews to recite at school. These verses found their way into print, however, appearing from time to time in the Century“ Lighter Vein," Good Housekeeping, the Youth's Companion, the Woman's Home Companion, Life, and other magazines. Little by little her courage returned, and she was just about to take up her prose pen once more when a severe illness made all work impossible. Through the long months that she was idle, she amused herself with the fancied doings - angelic and devilish by turns — of a trio of children ; and as soon as she was able she began to put them down on paper. The first of these stories to be printed was
Charley f'om-the-Orphum-House," in McClure's for December, 1907. Lippincott's for December, 1908, published "Big-I and Little-You," and there are others to follow. Good Housekeeping for February has negro sketch, “The Widow Mary," which Miss Kortrecht has been asked to allow to be used for monologue recitations.
Frances R. Sterrett, whose story, “ The Captain's Luck," appeared in Short Stories for April, has been for some time editor of the woman's department of the Minneapolis Evening Journal, and has the advantage of practical newspaper training. She has always lived in Minnesota, and her first story was published some years ago in a Minnesota magazine, now dead, and dealt with the early history of her state. Since then she has done much writing, occasionally using her own name, but more frequently employing various pseudonyms — a method which she recognizes to be impractical and unbusinesslike, to say the least. She has had stories and articles accepted by Scribner's, the Century, the Youth's Companion, the Ladies' Home Journal, the New England Magazine, the Delineator, the Red Book, Harper's Bazar, the Associated Sunday Magazines, and other periodicals, as well as by syndicates. Not long ago she spent a summer in Alaska, going down the Yukon from Dawson to Nome, and then across Behring Strait to Arctic Siberia, and “The Captain's Luck" is but one of the tales that she brought back to write. This summer she expects to go to Europe.
PERSONAL GOSSIP ABOUT AUTHORS.
Allen. - The late Grant Allen used several pen-names in offering to editors the diverse productions of a versatile if not remarkable mind. Mr. Courtney tells us that soon after the accession of James Payn to the editorial chair of the Cornhill, the same post brought to Grant Allen two letters. “One, addressed by Payn to him in his real name, was to inform him with regret that his scientific articles would not suit the new character of the magazine. The other, sent to 'J. Arbuthnot Wilson,' was to invite contributions from that gentleman as the author of a tale called "VIr. Chung.'” New York Tribune.
Laurence North, whose novel, “Syrinx,” was published in the Smart Set for April, is a member of one of the most exclusive and cultivated literary circles in England. He is a young newspaper man of London, and in the “Syrinx" he has drawn upon many
Crawford. - Marion Crawford could accomplish a great deal because he wrote methodically. He had magnificent physique, he had high health, and he had application and method. You only have to see his handwriting to realize that he was a man of method rather than of inspiration. He regarded novel writing as a profession, which it certainly is, just as much as the law is a profession or as medicine is a profession. When he was in this country he had a room in the Macmillan building to which he retired at a certain hour every day and wrote for a certain length of time. If one writes in this way one can accomplish a much greater amount of work than by waiting for inspiration, which may never come.
If there ever was a versatile author it was Marion Crawford. A man that could write “Mr. Isaacs,” The · Saracinesca" series, and “The Witch of Prague" was certainly versatile, and the curious thing is, that with the exception of the two New York stories, to which I have referred, he kept pretty well up to his standard.
In 1881, when the Critic was in the first year of its existence, Samuel Ward, popularly known as · Uncle Sam,” brought his nephew, young Crawford, into our office and asked us if for old times' sake we would give him a chance to show what he could do with his pen.
“He wanted to be a writer," Uncle Sam said, and the way to accomplish that object was to write." I am sorry that I have not the first volume of the Critic by me, so I could look over some of the things that he contributed to its columns. Not only did he write book reviews and editorials, but he even dropped into verse.
He was an enthusiastic writer and a clever one. He showed immediately a knack for the profession of his choice, and one day, some time after this, Uncle Sam Ward dropped into our office and said that his nephew had written a novel. We were immediately interested, but I remember that I had a feeling of relief when he added that it had been accepted by a publisher. I thought the publisher must have a good deal of confidence to accept the first manuscript of a young author, and the confidence, as it
proves, was not misplaced. The novel was “Mr. Isaacs," and its instant success is one of the notable incidents in the history of literature. From that time forward Mr. Crawford's position as a novelist was sured. — Jeanette L. Gilder, in the Chicago Tribune.
That Marion Crawford's uncle, “ Sam" Ward, urged him to write the story of “Mr. Isaacs," his first book, is known to many persons, but details of his early authorship disclosed by a writer in the New York Evening Post are new to the public :
Crawford related the romantic story of a Simla dealer in precious stones, a Mohammedan named Jacobs, and Mr. Ward was so interested that he insisted upon his nephew accompanying him that night to his rooms, in Clinton place, now East Eighth street, and there commencing to write the story he had told. Crawford wrote a story long enough for two numbers of a magazine, but the two most important magazines of New York refused the manuscript. Thereupon, the author decided to make his hero fall in love with an English girl and see what happened. The manuscript was sent to Macmillan's in London, and for a year Crawford heard nothing of it. He had just finished ‘Dr. Claudius,' when the reached him that Mr. Isaacs' had been published. It took the British public about another year to discover its merits - it took this country a year longer — and then arose a paean of praise that struck the author as being rather overdone, for Marion Crawford had exaggerated opinion about his powers as a writer. He treated writing as a business, and once he had discovered that he had imagination he let it run. He could easily turn out 6,000 words a day, and when this fact was first published, and the late Charles A. Dana said that no
man could write in a day more than 1,000 words that were worth reading, Crawford did not take umbrage. He used to say that this country was chiefly remarkable for her large number a second-class writers."
Darwin.-. The modesty of a great man of science is shown in the relations between Darwin and his publisher, John
Murray, of which Mr. Murray gives an account in Science Progress. When he sent to his publisher the famous "Origin of Species," Darwin wrote : "It may be conceit but I believe the subject will interest the public, and I am sure that the views are original. If you think otherwise, I must repeat my request that you will freely reject my work. I shall be a little disappointed ; I shall be in no way injured.” He was
astounded” at the fact that the trade ordered 1,493 copies before publication and delighted with Dr. Wilberforce's article in the Quarterly Review. “I quizzed splendidly,” he said. “I really believe that I enjoyed it as much as if I had not been the unfortunate butt.” When he brought to Mr. Murray his book on earthworms, of which seven editions were sold within a year, Darwin said : “I doubt very much whether it will interest the public, as the subject is not an attractive one."
Dublin Review passed into a second edition. - The Book Buyer.
Standard Literary Phrases. — In the Bookman T. W. Crowningshield compiles list of standard literary phrases. Here are some of them : “But why do I tell you all this?" she murmured. He ficked his last louis on the red — and won ! June, with its roses, has come again.
And so they two, hand in hand, passed together into the scented and mysterious night.
“ Brandy ! Brandy ! For God's sake, fetch me brandy!"
The doctor looked down at the white face on the pillow. His eyes were grave ; his lips were set.
“Remember, Chalkley ! I am at home to no one."
In that brief moment his entire life passed in review before him.
But when at last the lights of the village came into view.
The hand of time had dealt lightly with that gentle face.
“It is enough for me, dear, that you are what you are ; that you are simply you," she faltered.
He could be there in an hour. There might yet be time.
She lifted the sleeping babe in her arms - a new mother-light dawning in her eyes.
His child, he mused. His very own. Oh! the mystery and beauty of it all.
She breathed more freely. One danger had at least been passed.
He turned in dismay and beheld before him a majestic figure robed in red. He gazed into a pair of searching eyes — they were the eyes of Cardinal Richelieu.
The girl's pure lips were lifted to his in sweet sur. render.
CURRENT LITERARY TOPICS.
The Strange Story of a Manuscript.- Francis Thompson's remarkable and beautiful essay on “Shelley," which was published last month, makes another "curiosity of literature." The story is told by the editor. Bishop (afterward Cardinal) Vaughan, who knew the poet's family well in Lancashire, and had known Francis at Ushaw College, met him in London, and out of the Bishop's wish to serve him came the suggestion that he should contribute a paper to the Dublin Review. This essay was submitted and rejected. That was in 1889, just twenty years ago. When the essay was found among the poet's papers after his death, his literary executor thought it right that the Review, for which it was originally designed, should again have the offer of it, since a new generation of readers had arisen and another editor, and since, it might have been added, the once obscure contributor had become famous as a poet, as well, it happened that this orphan among essays entered at last on its inheritance of fame. And for the first time in its career of seventy-two years the
Wit. It is imagined that wit is a sort of inexplicable visitation, that it comes and goes with the rapidity of lightning, and that it is quite as unattainable as beauty or just proportion. I am so much of a contrary way of thinking that I am convinced a man might sit down as systematically, and as successfully, to the study of wit as he might to the study of mathematics ; and I would answer for it that, by giving up only six hours a day to being witty, he should come on prodigiously before midsummer, so that his friends should hardly know him again. For what is there to hinder the mind from gradually acquiring a habit of attending to the lighter relations of ideas in which wit consists ? Punning grows upon everybody, and punning is the wit of words. I do not mean
to say that it is so easy to acquire a habit tinual search for words of the same import, of discovering new relations in ideas as in but of different length to suit the measure, words, but the difficulty is not so much or of different sound for the rhyme, would greater as to render it insuperable to habit. have laid me under the constant nece
ecessity One man is unquestionably much better cal- of searching for variety, and also have tended culated for it by nature than another ; but to fix that variety in my mind. association, which gradually makes a bad “Therefore, I took some of the tales in speaker a good one, might give a man wit the Spectator and turned them into verse ; who had it not, if any man chose to be so and after a time, when I had pretty well forabsurd as to sit down to acquire it. — Sidney gotten the prose, turned them back again, Smith, “ Wit and Humor."
By comparing my work with the original, I Learning to Write. - Benjamin Franklin, in discovered many faults, and corrected them ; his Autobiography, describes how he learned but I sometimes had the pleasure to fancy to write. te us he began by verse- that in certain particulars of small consemaking, but that his father discouraged his quence I had been fortunate enough to imattempts, and that he then turned his atten- prove the method or the language." tion to prose, in letters of an argumentative The New Grammar. - It is gratifying to nature to a boy friend on the question of
note how progress in English scholarship is educating women. He says :
keeping equal pace with industrial develop“ Three or four letters had passed when
An idea of the advance made in the my father happened to find my papers and analysis and dissection of
mother read them, and took occasion to talk to me tongue, for example, may be gained from a about my manner of writing. . He observed text-book of some 500 pages published as that though I had the advantage of my an- an aid to pupils studying English compotagonist in correct spelling and pointing sition. ( which he attributed to the printing house ), How rudimentary was the old classificaI fell far short in elegance of expression, in tion of nouns as common and proper, abmethod, in perspicuity, of which he convinced stract and concrete ! There me by several instances. I saw the justice "material nouns,"
of multitude," of his remarks, and thence grew more atten
Thus, while “sheep” is a common tive to my manner of writing.
noun, “mutton” is a material noun. Fish “ About this time I met with an
in the water is a common noun, on the table volume of the Spectator. I bought it, read a material noun. it over and over, and was much delighted Adjectives are now quantitative, demonwith it. I thought the writing excellent, and strative, multiplicative, etc.
eats wished if possible to imitate it. With that much or little dinner the adjective is quanview, I took some of the papers, and mak- titative. Verbs, besides being transitive or ing short hints of the sentiments in each intransitive, irregular, defective, and sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, auxiliary, are factitive. In the sentence, without looking at the book, tried to com- “They made him king," the verb is factitive, plete the papers again by expressing each because it requires some word besides the hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it object to make the statement complete. had been expressed before, in any suitable There are verbs of complete predication words that should occur to me. Then I (“rivers flow") and of incomplete predicacompared my Spectator with the original, tion (“the man has fallen asleep"). There discovered some of my faults, and corrected are "phrase adverbs” (“to and fro,” “now them.
and then"). “But I found I wanted a stock of words, But it is in the conjunctions that the most or a readiness in recollecting and using them, interesting evolution has taken place. Cona which I thought I should have acquired if I junctions are now co-ordinate, cumulative, had gone on making verses ; since the con- alternative, adversative, and illative. Illative