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Sarah D. Hobart, author of the sonnet, “ Music,” which appeared in Harper's Bazar for August, is Mrs. Sarah Dyer Hobart, of Fall River, Wis. She was born in Wisconsin Territory, and has been contributing in prose and verse, over various signatures, to the press of the country for nearly fifty years. Her poems have appeared in the leading magazines, including the Century, Lippincott's Magazine, Outing, and others, and she has been a regular contributor for a number of years.to Harper's Bazar. The sonnet “Music” is one of a triad of musical poems appearing in that magazine, of which the initial number, “ The First Fugue," was published in February, 1908.
Magazine for September, came by his knowledge of the Michigan woods and lumbering while making one of the most remarkable fights for health on record. During the Spanish war Mr. Marshall, acting as a correspondent for the Hearst papers, received a spinal wound which cost him one leg and paralyzed the other. By some of the greatest surgeons in the world he was condemned for life to a wheel-chair, or to labored progression for a few steps on crutches. After a year or more in hospitals, Mr. Marshall went back to newspaper work, acting, despite his physical handicap, as editor of the McClure Syndicate and Sunday editor of the New York Herald, but the strain and the pain were too great, and he broke down under them. For several years now he has been spending much time in the woods he writes about in “Norah," and he has achieved, through sheer determination and energy, a recovery the like of which is not recorded in the history of surgery. He walks with ease for long distances, using but one cane, and he spends fourteen hours a day at his typewriter. Besides “Norah of the Woods," Mr. Marshall has sold within the year twenty-two short stories, made a novel of Miss Nethersole's play, “ The Writing on the Wall,” which has been published by G. W. Dillingham, almost completed another novel that is already accepted for publication, written three one-act plays – one of which is sold, and two are being held by David Belasco with good chances of production - and has written the music and lyrics of a musical comedy which has not been submitted as a whole because he has found such ready sale for the separate lyrics that he cannot keep the manuscript complete. His short stories have been published in the Metropolitan, Munsey's publications, Street and Smith's magazines, the Smart Set, Short Stories, and others. But the thing in which Mr. Marshall takes the most pride is his gait, which, although he admits it to be somewhat like a duck's, is still effective, and is a plain defiance of the decision of doctors and surgeons, and the past performances of men with broken backs. During his active years, Mr. Marshall had
Constance D'Arcy Mackay, who had a story, “ The Rise of Stacy Cathcart,” in the Red Book for August, left Boston University five years ago, and for four years has been engaged in newspaper and magazine work in New York city, where she lives. During the last year or two she has made rather a specialty of writing children's plays for the magazines, and now a volume of them is to be published by Henry Holt & Co. The name of the book is “ The House of the Heart," and every play in it has stood the test of actual production in children's theatres, college settlements, and public schools. Miss Mackay says she intends to keep right on writing children's plays as long as the magazines seem to want them, and looks on children's plays and the short story as her chosen field.
Edward Marshall, author of the novel, “Norah of the Woods,” in the People's
The C. M. Clark Publishing Company has recently published a novel by Miss Towndrow, entitled “The Career of Joy."
charge, in succession, of the Sunday editions of the New York Press, Journal, World, and Herald, and became eminent worker for tenement house reform, a fact which makes his novelization of the Nethersole play more interesting. He was the first of a long line of writers to call Trinity church, New York, to the bar for bad landlordism. His published books, all written since he received his injury, include “The Story of the Rough Riders,” Lizette : A Tale of the Latin Quarter of Paris,” and “The Middle Wall," a story of the sea.
Elizabeth Reid, who had a poem,“ My Dream Garden,” in Putnam's Magazine for September, is a native of New York state, and now lives in Brooklyn. Although not a graduate of any university, she has taken special courses in English, history, and economics at the West Virginia University, Cornell, and the University of Chicago. At Cornell, where she had the privilege of attending Professor Hiram Corson's classes in English literature, she says she gained new inspiration. “My Dream Garden” was written in Washington during the winter of 1903-4, while Mrs. Reid was engaged in
work at the Library of Congress. Others of her poems have been published in Outing and in Country Life in America. Mrs. Reid was married in 1905 to Sydney Reid, author and newspaper correspondent.
Harvey Wickham, the author of “ The Worth-While Things,” published in the Pacific Monthly for September, is a San Francisco newspaper man.
He is one of a group of young Western writers who are attempting to dramatize in fiction the new doctrines of brotherhood. In “ The Worth-While Things” is shown the human instinct of sympathy breaking through the barriers of religious differences.
" The Cork Jacket,” published in the Pacific Monthly for May, is shown the primitive right of woman to her child — the right of affection
at battle with the artificial right bestowed by blind, blundering law upon another woman. The idea of fellowship is also brought out in “Rat,” which appeared in Munsey's. Among Mr. Wickham's other successful stories may be mentioned “The Lord of Bad Valley," published in the Blue Mule, and “The Stone,” which was printed some time ago in the now-defunct Ridgeway's. The Pacific Monthly has also published his study in heredity, called “The Spider-Man."
PERSONAL GOSSIP ABOUT AUTHORS.
Grace Eleanore Towndrow, whose serial story, The Heir Apparent,” is now ning in the New Idea Woman's Magazine, has written verses and short stories since childhood, but gave no serious attention to literary work until some three years ago, when one of her stories was accepted and published by the Century, and editors began asking for her work. Since then, although meeting with the usual disappointments and set-backs that fall to the lot of authors, she has had a number of stories published in various magazines, one, somewhat more ambitious than the rest, a novelette entitled “Mrs. Clevenger," appearing in the midsummer number of the Smart Set in 1907.
Fitch. — For his rapid-fire production Clyde Fitch was often criticised. Speaking in his own defence, he once said of his methods :
“I think of my plays for two years, though I may write them in five weeks, or four, or three, or even in one week. When I begin writing the work is done quickly, for that is my natural way of working. If I had six months or a year in which to write a play, I doubt whether it would be any better done. We pursue the method which to us is the easiest and most natural.
“I have been criticised for doing too much work in a given time. Sometimes I have had four and five productions a year, but that I wrote as many plays in one year by no means follows. The truth is that I never
wrote more than two plays and one adaptation in a year.
“ The writing done, I immediately begin revising it. First I go over it with much care with a black lead pencil, heavier than the one I used for the first writing of the play, so that I may see at a glance which was the original and which the revised portion of the page. Next I go over it again to make still nicer corrections, this time with pen and ink — this so at a glance I may know whether a word that appears on the page was my first, second, or third written thought. A fourth going-over, to do still more polishing, is done with a blue pencil. The last touches are made with a red lead pencil. So on every page of a play of mine, before I relinquish it with a great sigh of relief into the hands of a typewriter copyist, appear five kinds of handwriting, each signifying to me the stage of completion of the play. The work of revision is done quickly when the production of a play is near.
Otherwise, after the second goingover I put it away, and reserve my decorative touches of red and blue until a few days before it is submitted to the managerial eye and the managerial judgment.
“I make almost no changes in my play at rehearsals,” added Mr. Fitch. “When I have gone over my play the fourth and last time, it may not be perfect, but it is as near perfection as I can bring it, with my original plan of it. But the writing and revising a play is merely the tree putting forth its leaves. The two-years' thinking of the play before it is written is the solid portion of the tree, its root, and trunk, and branches.
“ An idea of a play comes to me usually from reflection upon some peculiarity of character I have observed."
Mr. Fitch made play-writing pay. His income from his dramas has been estimated at all the way from $75,000 to $150,000 a year.
New York Tribune.
Hewlett. – Mr. Hewlett gave me some interesting data in regard to his method of work, saying :
“I will not say that I work by.inspiration, for I think that is a very foolish, unmeaning
word, and I have no patience with the uses to which it is put or the abuses it suffers. I have written my books as I have because at the time of working at them I loved the spirit of those ages so much that I naturally infused it into them. I could not help myself. You can't explain why you do a thing or why you don't do it, that is, satisfactorily. You can employ words, but they leave you in the dark.
“An artist goes through a country twenty times, and suddenly he sees a picture there and paints it, that is all. It sounds simple, but can you tell why he did not see the picture the first time, or, finally seeing it, why he must throw aside all the remainder of his work and paint that? I can't. It all belongs to the intricacies of mood which are beyond the ken of wisdom,
“I will give you an example at its best and worst.
* Once George Eliot was in Devonshire, and she had occasion to go to the house of a woman who lived upstairs in a very simple cottage. As she went up the stairs she saw an opened door, and looking through into the room, she noted a long table, some chairs on one side, and a larger chair, as if for a teacher, on the other. That, it is claimed, is the only view she had, and in an
her question regarding it, the woman she had come to see remarked that it was the place where the Peterites held their meetings. With that scant information, ocular and verbal, she wrote the wonderful account of the sect in Silas Marner,' which is said by those who know to give an absolutely accurate idea of that religious body. Here you have the idea at its best.
“ Before she wrote 'Romola' she spent some eighteen months in Florence studying, or rather delving into the archives, and probably there never was a worse novel of the Italian Renaissance written than that. There you have
the example at worst.
“All that is necessary is to love enough, and you can write as you will. Your characters will be mediaeval people or they will be modern, as you determine by that power of finding the natural method through su
preme affection. You can't go wrong if you love your work. You simply can't - I must emphasize this truth.
But don't think that means that you have to cut out hard work. Quite the contrary, or so it has been in my case. I was three years writing “The Queen's Chair.' I have labored unceasingly, particularly with the work in which I have been most keenly interested. I believe the deeper the love, the more willingly and patiently you will toil.
“I do not write novels. I write poems, for the novel is distinguished from the poem in this, that the novel is concerned with what happens, the poem with the way things happen. After I have finished a work I forget it. I am sincere in saying that I doubt if I could quote a paragraph from any one of my works. I scarcely remember the characters. Think of living with all the people one had created! I simply could not do it. My only safety is in forgetting.
Balzac did it. He was a genuine novelist, as was Dumas. Thackeray showed that he kept his people by him, not to the extent of the other two, but enough to prove that they were to him immortal.
“When I read Balzac I am impressed with the way he will take up a character of a previous story and let you see that he is conscious in his mind of all the things that happened to that man and woman that he never wrote about. He has carried them about with him, and made them so personal that he knows exactly what they did between any two epochs portrayed. He will say to himself, “He lived in 1600, and so he must have seen so and so,' or he will apparently think, 'She was in Lyons then, that was the time of such and such an event which she must have known about, and in all literature I doubt if you will come across an instance where you feel that each character was a distinct entity, and lived to the author not merely in the story, but after the story was completed and he had gone on and taken up other fiction. Trollope was like Balzac in this, too.
" It would seem that between the tract and the anecdote the novel of to-day is practically non-existent, and poetry – the world
does n't care for it anymore. When it is written actors recite it as if they were afraid of being laughed at which they would be." - London Letter in the Boston Herald. Tennyson. — The wind
sweeping through the garden of an old Lincolnshire rectory one morning in the beginning of last century, and blew upon a child of five years old, who opened his arms to the blast and let it carry him along, crying as he traveled : “I hear a voice that's calling in the wind.” That was Tennyson's first line of poetry. The first poem he ever composed was written upon a slate one Sunday morning at Louth. The subject, set him by his brother Charles, was “ Flowers," and little Alfred covered his slate with blank verse after the model of Thomson's “ Seasons." His next attempt was an elegy written at the request of his grandfather. When it was written the old man put ten shillings into the boy's hand, and said : “There, that is the first money you have ever earned by your poetry, and, take my word for it, it will be the last." - Rehoboth Sunday Herald.
Winter. -- Mrs. Henrietta Stannard, whom novel-readers know as “ John Strange Winter," is just finishing her hundredth novel. For many years she has turned out a novel every three months. To a London Express writer Mrs. Stannard described the extraordinary method she adopts when writing her novels.
“I always find it easier to write in a semireclining position on the sofa,” she said. “ My stenographer sits behind me while I dictate, and all the time I am dictating I have a little table before me, and play Patience as hard as I can.
“I am fond of three kinds of Patience, but the one over which my principal novels have been written is the American method, ‘John Chinaman.'
“I don't think it would be possible for me to write without my game. I tried once, and my eyes wandered round the room, and were immediately distracted by a stray cobweb overlooked by the maid, or some object which reminded me of something I ought to have told my daughter. I went back to my
Patience, and found my ideas ran twice as smoothly.
“I am at present hard at work at a play in collaboration with my son, ‘Bootles,' and I find this play is easiest to write in the evening. But my novels are always written in the mornings, after I have answered all my letters, and I always have an enormous mail.”
CURRENT LITERARY TOPICS.
Meredith as Judge of Manuscripts.
For thirty years George Meredith served as reader and critic for a publishing house, and his judgment must have been relied upon The result did not always justify his critical view, at least so far as popular standards are concerned. In the Fortnightly Review for August there is an article by a member of the publishing firm, B. W. Matz, descriptive of Meredith's activity and quality reader.
As might be inferred, Meredith's standard for judgment of submitted manuscripts was exquisitely high. After Hugh Conway had been so successful with “Called Back," Meredith rejected a manuscript by the same author, which afterward was published by another house, under the title of “A Cardinal Sin." In 1861 he refused to indorse the manuscript of " East Lynne.” “Opinion emphatically against it,” was his terse communication to the publisher. Authors as popular as “Ouida,” Mrs. Lynn Linton, Thomas Hardy, Baring Gould, Herman Merivale submitted manuscripts which did not please Mr. Meredith. On the other hand, he was keen to any very genuine quality, and appreciative of it. Two early attempts by William Black came to his hands, and he at once felt the talent shown. Of one of these he wrote : “ In its way, very good — in the earlier part, highly promising. I have not seen the concluding portion ; but it is but a thin thread of story I have got as yet. The author's mind evinces strong sense and poetic perceptions ; he has a remarkably clear style, and a power of giving soft, pathetic touches, which I commend. He does not know much of life, nor has he
the proper artistic feeling for the development of his characters in an interesting way. Write very encouragingly. Do not lose sight of him."
Of the other manuscript submitted, his opinion was sent directly to William Black : “ Book will not do, but the author strongly encouraged. A man on whom to keep an eye." On poems submitted by Edwin Arnold, Meredith wrote : "I should say this man will do something. The collection of poems here is not of sufficient weight to justify any speculation on the book. The translation in hexameter from Bion is especially good. He should wait till he has composed a poem likely to catch the public ear. There is no distinct original mark in these poems
not enough to rely on.” On Samuel But. ler's Erewhon” he wrote: " Will not do." He said “No” to “ Immaturity," by G. B. Shaw, though there is some doubt as to whether it was the Shaw. Among his reports on rejected manuscripts are the following :
A provincial maiden aunt of the old time had about the same notions of humor and horror. A similar manner of narrating.
This is laughable enough in manuscript. But in print the ridicule would fall upon the publishers.
Might gain a prize for dullness.
Poor story of the French Terror. Historical por: traiture befitting the pen of an urchin fifty years back.
This is the vocabulary of a boy of fourteen.
Called humorous by the author. Cockneyish dia. logue, gutter English, ill-contrived incidents done in daubs, maintain the assertion.
A tale reading as if told by a romantic grandmother of the present generation.
Absurd in point of style, which is that of a child.
“ The Mystery of the Pigeon Holes”: Melancholy stuff to see and smell.
* The Autobiography of a Donkey": Faithful only to the donkey's dullness.
An infernal romance.
Feebler stuff than this might be written, but would tax an ape.
Written in a queer old maundering style, poor stuff, respectable in the mouth of one's grandmother.
Anstey might have made the subject amusing. This writer is an elephant.
Decline," wrote Meredith of a novel by “Ouida” entitled “Villiers," and of a story by Mrs. Lynn Linton, “ Isola.” “Very sour