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People before I dared to write a story.
I gave up a position paying me $3,000 a year to enter upon my life-work, and was jeered at for my folly by most of my friends, besides being told by one of the elder Harpers that it was impossible to make a living by writing books. My first book was finished when I was thirty years of age, and until that time my entire life was devoted to preparation for that event. Since then I have supported myself and my wife most comfortably by writing alone, having no other source of income. We came South to live twenty years ago, because I could write better in warm weather than in cold, and because of the opportunities for leading an out-of-door life all the year round. My first book was published in 1886. Since then I never have had a manuscript rejected.”
Mr. Munroe is compelled to refuse the offers of small publishers each year. He has had offers more or less flattering from every publishing house of any standing in the country, besides many from England, where most of his books are brought out simultaneously with their American appear
Some of his books have been translated into French, Russian, Dutch, and Spanish
His workshop is in the third story of a tall windmill tower, and from it he commands such a delightful view of sea and land that he is compelled to draw the curtains in order to work. His favorite pastimes are yachting, camping in a wilderness, and running swift waters ( rapids ) in an open
paper, and carefully counting my words. When the whole thing is finished I make a fair copy, sometimes a typewritten one, but preferably in long hand.” He says he can work best in the morning from nine to one o'clock.
The members of Mr. Munroe's family show a decided inclination toward literature. His wife is a daughter of Amelia Barr. His eldest sister married Mrs. Stowe's only
His younger sister married Herbert Putnam, librarian of Congress, and his only brother, the editor of Brooklyn Life, married the youngest daughter of Samuel Bowles, of the Springfield Republican. Alice May Douglas, in Zion's Herald.
Tennyson. -- Canon Fleming's account of how Tennyson came to write “Crossing the Bar” appears in the just-published biography of that churchman. The poet when ill on one occasion had a nurse who was devoted to him. “When he was getting better, she said to him : 'Oh, I wish, sir, you would write a hymn.' 'I don't like hymns,' was the somewhat abrupt reply. Withia woman's tact and wistfulness, she merely said : ‘Oh, I wish you would,' and there the matter rested. The persuasiveness she threw into those simple words was not lost on Tennyson. He began to get better, and 0?'e day on the journey from Aldworth to Farringford his Crossing the Bar' came to him like a flash."
CURRENT LITERARY TOPICS.
The appreciation of this favorite author's work is well illustrated by the fact that he receives from one to a dozen letters from boys and girls daily. His most notable of all the thousands thus received was from a Western boy who, as Mr. Munroe says, “ naïvely informed that his favorite authors were Kirk Munroe, Dickens, and Walter Scott."
Mr. Munroe has thus far issued thirty-five volumes. When asked concerning his methods of writing, he said : "I write very slowly, about a thousand words per day with lead pencil, using both sides of my
Payment “After Publicaticn." – Among the minor periodicals there are some that pay before publication as a matter of principle, and there are others whose business managers are shrewd enough to know that a check for five or ten dollars with the letter of acceptance will often buy a story that twenty-five or thirty dollars would not touch if payment were indefinitely deferred, but with the greater number the information given to the author is that “payment will be made upon publication.” This seems to mean any convenient date thereafter with the best of them, and with the others a
dreary, anxious wait of weeks or months, with perhaps so strong a feeling of underpayment in the end that all the pleasure and profit have vanished. Of course the particular offending magazine goes on the author's “black list" if he or she be wise, but there are many writers who feel that they cannot afford to miss a chance of selling a story even to a slow-pay magazine.
Most writers know the worst offenders, and are probably able to name the three chief ones offhand, and also to name one that has recently undergone a change of heart and is now paying on acceptance, though hardly at its former rates. The following is a record of actual experience :
Manuscript A Sold April, 1908. Printed March, 1909.
Manuscript B - Sold October, 1908, to same people. Printed February, 1909.
A letter asking for payment received curt acknowledgment and statement that the matter would be looked into. Later came this missive : “We beg to acknowledge your claim of against the
Company. This has been placed on file, and action will be taken upon it in due course of time. Yours very truly, for the Receivers."
Manuscripts C, D, E, F - Sold to magazine. Special bargain made for the lot after a long correspondence ; payment to be made promptly upon publication. C and D were printed in January and February. E and F not yet used. No payment and absolutely no attention paid to letters.
Manuscript G- Paid for four months after publication.
Manuscript H – Paid for three months after publication.
Manuscript I – Now two months overdue.
It is only fair to say that this is offset by a still longer list of prompt payments, and that the unfortunate manuscripts were of a special character and not suited to every periodical, though two or three of them might have been accepted by a magazine with
businesslike methods. “ Viator," in New York Sun.
Detectives in Fiction. - If you ask London publishers they will tell you that no
book sells so well as a detective story, and that people still find a fascination in the achievements of Edgar Allan Poe's Dupin, Gaboriau's Lecocg and Tabaret, and the redoubtable Sergeant Cuff of Wilkie Collins.
These men were the forerunners of Sherlock Holmes, and their feats of criminal tracking were remarkable those achieved by the famous character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Perhaps the least known is Cuff, who figures in “ The Moonstone."
Cuff looked for clews in trifles. Investigating a smear on a newly-painted door, he was told by the superintendent who had the case in hand that it was made by the petticoats of the women servants. Cuff asked which petticoat, and the sergeant replied that he could not charge himself with such trifles.
“In all my experience along the dirtiest ways of this dirty little world,” replied Cuff, “I have never met such a thing as a trifle yet. We must see the petticoat that made the smear, and we must know for certain that the paint was wet.”
Lecocq, the beau ideal of the French detective, was wont to explain his deductions to assistants, just as Sherlock Holmes did to his friend Watson. In the story of “ File No. 113," a safe has been robbed. There is a scratch on the door of the safe which seems to have been made by the key slipping from the lock. But Lecocq explained that the paint was hard, and that the scratch could not have been made by the trembling hand of the thief letting the key slip.
He therefore had an iron box made, painted with green varnish like the safe. As Lecocq inserted the key, he asked his assistant to endeavor to prevent him using he key, just as he was about to insert it in che lock. The assistant did so, and the key held by Lecocq, pulled aside from the lock, slipped along the door, and traced upon it a diagonal scratch from top to bottom, the exact reproduction of the one shown in a photograph of the safe. Thus it was proved that two persons were present at the robbery ; one wished to take the money, and the other to prevent its being taken.
In the play Sherlock Holmes, the detective, with the aid of an accomplice, raises an alarm of fire at the house of the Larrabees, during the excitement of which he is able to investigate the mystery of certain purloined documents.
A somewhat similar incident occurs in Edgar Allan Poe's “The Purloined Letter," when Dupin, having obtained entrance to the house of a minister of the state, who had purloined a letter of great importance from a lady, wished to take it from its hiding place -- a card rack over the mantelpiece — and substitute a facsimile. While Dupin was talking to the minister there was a sudden report of
a pistol beneath the window, followed by fearful screams and loud shouting. The minister rushed to the window, and while his attention was thus distracted Dupin took the real letter and substituted the false one which he had prepared. Needless to say, the diversion had been created by Dupin's assistants.
Although “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” somewhat overshadowed the stories of other detectives which appeared in the Strand Magazine, one should not forget to mention Martin Hewitt, Investigator, and Dick Donovan.
Both these detectives worked alone, and were past masters in the art of solving robbery mysteries, murders, and the crimes of secret societies.
And the value of noting trifles, particularly in detective work, is strikingly illustrated in “The Case of Mr. Foggatt.” The latter had been murdered in his chambers, which were situated at the top of the building in which Hewitt had an office. Hewitt was the first one on the scene. The door was locked, and when he got inside the room he found Foggatt lying across the table, shot dead. There was a sheer drop of fifty feet outside the windows. How had the murderer got in, and how had he escaped ?
On the sideboard were the freshly-bitten remains of an apple. Hewitt noticed that it had been bitten by a person who had lost two teeth, one at the top and one below. He also saw that the dead man had an excellent set of false teeth, with none missing.
He observed, too, that an active young man could, by standing on the window sill, draw himself on the roof and thus escape. Thus. Hewitt comes to look for a tall, athleticlooking young man with two teeth missing. He finds him, obtains by a ruse another apple which he has bitten, compares the two, and ultimately obtains the startling story of the murder from the murderer himself after the coroner's jury had returned a verdict of “accidental death.” — Tit-Bits.
Use of Shall and Will. - The common misuse of the auxiliaries "shall” and “will ” may easily be corrected if we remember that "will ” implies volition, that is, choice or self-determination. It is discourteous to assert our own will unnecessarily, while it is always courteous to leave to others the free choice of their acts. Therefore we avoid the determinate “ will ” in the first person when it is not necessary, and say for simple futurity, “I shall go.” But when we referring to the acts of others we courte. ously imply that they are acting by their own choice and say for simple futurity, “ You will go,” or “He will go.”
When an element of deliberate self-determination comes in, “will ” is used for all three persons. “I will go” means that I am willing to accede to another's request, or that I am determined to go, in spite of another. “He will go," "You will go " imply the same thing - that the subject of the verb, you or he, either consents kindly or is determined to go.
Next, when the volition is in the speaker and his will or wish determines another's acts, we say, “You shall go” or “He shall
Thus a father consents to a child's request, saying “You shall go,” because the child's act depends on the father's choice. So when we impose our determination on another say, “You shall go,” “He shall go."
In indirect narrative use the form that would be used if the person quoted were speaking. “ John said that he should be glad to come and that the others would find him at the pier." This illustration is cited from Professor E. H. Lewis, of Chicago, who says this is a rule too often broken.
“ Shall you
In questions it is easy to see that shall is always used in the first person — the form of simple futurity — for normally we do not question others to learn our own wish or choice. Thus we say always, “Shall I go ?" But in the second and third person the rule is to use the form expected in the answer. “Will you go ?” implies the question, Are you willing to go or determined to go ? The answer is, “I will go.” go ?” means merely, Is it your present intention ? And the answer is, “I shall go," expressing simple futurity.
Should and would, of course, follow respectively the rules for shall and will
, except that “should” sometimes means ought," and then is not regarded as an auxiliary, but used alike in the three persons. Even here, however, the sense of obligation outside the will of the actor comes in, and when we say, He should go," we mean that, regardless of his own wish, he “ought” to go, whereas “He would go” may imply consent or determination, as well as simple condition.
The most common error, and therefore the one most to be guarded against, is in the use of “I will ” instead of “I shall,” where simple futurity is to be expressed. In accepting an invitation, “ I shall be glad to go” merely predicts the future state of gladness, and intimates the invited one's gratitude. “I will gladly go assumes that the would-be host is eager to secure one's presence, and this form is therefore less selfeffacing “I shall be glad to hear from you" is of course correct, as “I will” would here imply that by an effort one might succeed in being pleased. “I shall hope to see you" is also the more polite form because of a similar implication of doing the expected guest a favor by expecting him. “I shall be at home to my friends” is the modest way to say it. “I will be” implies that they are begging one to receive them. In general, we have chiefly to remember that “ I shall” is used unless there is special reason for saying “I will."
1. Simple futurity : I shall, you will, he will.
II. Self-determination : I will, you will, he will.
III. Action determined by the speaker : You shall, he shall.
IV. Indirect narrative : Same form as if person quoted were speaking.
V. In questions, Shall I ? in first person. In second and third persons the form properly expected in the answer. - Christian Science Monitor.
On Poetic Diction, and Prose. - That old difference between poetry and prose - in what does it lie ? From what does it spring ? The question is long in solving, and the answers have been many. Prose must not scan, say some; and others say poetry must be more sincere, more direct, more intuitive. The core of the matter is that poetry can take up into itself more imagination. So far as cadence goes, the rhythms of prose are more intricate and wandering, subtler, less nobly proportionate and strongly symbolical in the flow and recurrence of part answering to part. If great prose is like the Persian carpets, great verse is like the Parthenon frieze. So far as diction goes, the distinction seems to consist, somehow, in mere potency - to indicate that the wording of poetry must be at
more concrete and more significant. It would be hard to say what must not be in prose, though that, too, may presently appear : it is easier at the outset to say what
may be in prose and may not be in poetry. The diction of prose is legitimately vaguer, more general, more abstract. That “all things pass and nothing abides,” that
man is the measure of the universe," and that man is the minister and interpreter of nature”; that “when half-gods go the gods arrive," that the souls of the living are the delight of the world,” and that “the soul is its own witness and its own refuge " -- all these are great truths most greatly said, but they are not essentially poetical. High philosophy is, precisely, too high for poetry. Or take another sentence, at the top notch for beauty and haunting cadence : “When all is said, human life is, at the best ind greatest, but like a froward child that must be played with and humored a little to keep
it quiet until it falls asleep, and then the care is over.” Its excellence is still the excellence of prose. But when Rossetti turned his face upon the devious coverts of dismay," or saw the visage "sleepless with cold commemorative eyes," or knew how life's “incommunicable ways ” shall “ follow the desultory feet of death," or questioned “ How then should sound upon Life's darkening
slope The ground whirl of the perished leaves of Hope, The wind of Death's imperishable wing” this style has become as alien to that of prose as Shakspere's in the song from “Measure for Measure,” “Take, O take those lips away,” or Lovelace's in the appeal, “I could not love thee, dear, much !" - Harper's Weekly.
Profits of Play-writing.– Recent stage history records startling examples of the rise to wealth within comparatively few years of many men who took years to learn that they were geniuses.
Augustus Thomas is credited with being worth $300,000, and Clyde Fitch's fortune is even greater. George H. Broadhurst, the author of " The Man of the Hour," and who dramatized “ The Call of the North," is rated at $225,000. “The Chorus Lady” and “ The Commercial Traveler" have put as much more to the credit of James Forbes. Eugene Walter boasts of an income of $2,000 a week by reason of his three successes, “The Wolf," Paid in Full," and “ The Easiest Way.” Yet these sums seem insignificant when compared with the wealth of Charles Klein, the author of " The Third Degree." Mr. Klein derived from “The Lion and the Mouse" in one season alone $150,000 as his share of royalty.
This play has netted him nearly a half-million dollars. “ The Music Master,” of which he is also the author, was worth to Mr. Klein a fortune. To show how royalties accrue from successes it is only necessary to point to the ten weeks' engagement of “The Music Master” at the Academy of Music, New York, for which Charles Klein received as his share $19,000. At one time Vr. Klein's income touched $5,000 a week.
In a recent interview, the author of “The
Third Degree " said : “A writer in order to give to his play proper attention and careful study and preparation should devote a year to the work." If success follows, what other occupation or profession is lucrative than play-writing, which brings to a man for a year's work a half-million dollars ? - New York World.
Beginning and Ending Letters. -- The Evening Post of New York says that a large dry goods house in that city sends out letters and postal cards addressing purchasers as “Dear Customer." We are not informed concerning the precise expression of distinguished sentiments” at the end of the letter ; whether the letter is signed “ Yours affectionately” or “Yours till death.” How should the purchaser be addressed : “Dear Sir," “ Sir,” “Dear Madam," Madam," or should there be some verbal expression less definite and at the same time more particular, as that of Andrew Johnson when he addressed the foreign diplomats on
a state occasion as “ You-uns there with the gewgaws on” ?
Fisty or sixty years ago a dutiful son in New England addressed his father as “Respected Sir.” A warmer form would have been considered disrespectful, unfilial, irreverent. To-day “Sir" seems ridiculously haughty, purseproud, snobbish, when it is written by one man to another on a matter of ordinary business. A woman writing
Sir" demands her photographs back. Sir” is as a challenge. We learn from the latest treatise on etiquette — and all books on etiquette are delightful and amusing, though incomplete, for there is no chapter in any one of them on bar-room behavior --we learn from the latest guide to proper deportment among the upper classes " that
an address to a total or comparative stranger “My dear Mr. Gorm” or “My dear Mrs. Slushington” is more formal, and therefore more appropriate, than “ Dear Sir" or “Dear Vadam.” Why? Is there not a certain familiarity in the use of “ My," an expression of possession, as though the writer slapped the man on the back ? There are genteel persons who make a point of addressing a business firm as Gentlemen."