John Davis Batchelder Collection (Library of Congr.

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T." inquires : —

" Life's but a means unto an end : that end,
Beginning;, mean, and end of aU things. — God.
The deadhave all the glory of the world."

is from " Festus," by Philip James Bailey.
Dana, Ind.



J. L. S.



No. 10. — Preference among the books of John
Burroughs depends upon one's tastes. His latest
volume, " Indoor Studies," made up of essays on
authors and literary, scientific, and critical subjects,
is regarded by some as his best work. My choice,
however, is *' Signs and Seasons." j. L. s.

Dana, Ind.



No 3a. — I offer the following quotations from
which to select a heading for a book label : —

" Understandest thou what thou readest ? " — Acts viii : 30.

"Books are the medicine of the mind." — Inscription evtr
tfu door oftkt library at A Uxandria.

" Books are men of higher stature, and the only men that
speak aloud for future times to hear." — Mrs. Browning ^
" Lady Geraldino's Courtship**

** Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred in a
book ; he hath not eat paper, as it were ; he hath not dnmk
ink ; his intellect b not replenished ; he b only an animal, only
sen^ble in the duller parts." — " Love*s Labor Lost.**

"Haec studia adolescentiam alunt, senectutem oblectant,
secundas res ornant, adversu perfugium ac solatium prxbent,
delecunt domi, non impediunt foris, pemoctant nobiscum, per-
qrriiumtur, rusticantur." — Cicero^ " Pro Archia Pogta.**

" Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and
some few to be chewed and digested." —Bacon.

" My never-failing friends arc thev,
With whom I converse day by day."

— SoHthcy.
"Books, the drifted relics of aU that.** ~~ Gtor£r Eliot ^
" MiddUmarch.

R. K.
Wbstfibld, Ind.

No. 3a. — Perhaps " C. D. B." would be satisfied
with the following form, which I use in my
book-plate : —

TO MY FRIBNDS:

You are welcome to the book you borrow, but please comply
with these requests : —
I St. Do not turn down the leaves.
2d. Do not turn the leaves with the wet thumb.
3d. Do not place the book on the table face downward.
4th. Return the book when you have read it.
" We get no good
By being ungenerous even to a book."

— E. B. Browning.
Dana, Ind. j. l. s.

No. 35. — To your correspondent who wishes to
learn French by himself, I would say : There is but
one efficient way. Let him take a short, easy mas-
terpiece of the language, such as '' Candide^^* or
''Histoire de Charles XII.^ both by Voltaire, or
^ Paul et Virginiey* and puzzle out the text care-
fully, sentence after sentence. He should use the
dictionary as sparingly as possible, and make fre-
quent reviews. Above all, let him discard all gram-
mars and made-up systems, whatever their preten-
tions may be. If he perseveres, doing some work
every day, he will be astonished at his own rapid pro-
gress. This method applies as well to Italian or
Spanish, though these two languages, except for
a special purpose, have no practical value. Span-
iards and Italians borrow all their literature from
the French. a. de R.

Brooklyn, N. Y.

No. 35. — French may serve you better. All
languages are simple and easy, particularly if your



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138



The Author.



object is to read and not to speak. Study the
grammar, — any grammar, — till acquainted with
the conjugation of verbs, then begin to read, with
the aid of a lexicon. The Meisterschaft System is
all that is claimed for it, but it is designed for those
who wish to speak the language, or, " to get on " in
the language. The Meisterschaft System gives the
highest, the most elegant forms of language. It
may not be possible to learn to speak fluently from
books, but it is possible to learn to speak sufficiently
to be understood, and this knowledge obtained from
books leads quickly to a fluent use in the country
where the language is spoken. No system is better
than another to him who is determined to learn ;
he will learn by any system. s.

Pkovtdbnck, R. I.



PERSONAL GOSSIP ABOUT WRITERS.



Crawford. — Marion Crawford, the novelist, is a
handsome, stalwart man, who resembles no one so
little as a literary man. He stands fully six feet
high, is ruddy of face, broad-shouldered and long-
limbed, and can walk forty miles at a stretch. When
engaged on any delicate piece of writing he walks
more than ever, for he holds with Mill that the
best of all mental spurs is a long walk, and that
fatigue of the body clears the mind. Mr. Craw-
ford lives during the greater part of the year in
Italy. Early in life he went out to India, and hb
stay there acclimatized him to the tropics, so that
now he cannot live with any comfort in a raw, cold
atmosphere such as our own. Besides, he considers
that a descriptive writer has more to describe in
Italy than anywhere else in the world, — more of the
beauty of natuae and the loveliness of decay. —
//no York Star,

Daudet. — ^Alphonse Daudet, the most successful
French novelist of the day, gives this account of
his method of writing novels : " I first of all lay
down my notes in a little pocket-book which I
carry about me. Then I write out these notes,
crossing them off the pocket-book with a red pencil
as I go along. The notes, just after they are writ-
ten, are copied cleanly by my wife, who corrects
any little errors of redundancy which I may have
committed. I then take my wife's copy and go
through it carefully, adding and cutting to suit my
taste. The result of this manipulation is a con-
formation of the hieroglyphics which shock the eye.
There is only one man in the world who could
interpret them, and that is my private secretary, —
wofth his weight in gold, let me say. To this long-
suffering gentleman, therefore, my illegible manu-



script passes, and from his hands it emerges nearly
what it ought to be, but not quite. After a few
quieter struggles, however, it is ready for the
printer. My wife is a positive boon to me. I don't
really know what I should do without her. A
really curious thing is that Mme. Daudet despises
novels. I write them, you know, and she despises
them. She often says that my novels bore her. I
think she really prefers my note-books. In my
opinon, we read too many books. What we want
is to come into contact with life. There are those
who make books from books, and those who
make books from what they see. There are
books which are only the successors of other
books, and these are simply old works done up as
new. According to my ideas, a book should only
be written when one has nothing to say." — Roches^
ter Democrat and Chronicle,

Dickens. — The writers who sneer at the prac-
tice of "cutting" one's own MSS. ought to con-
sider the example of Charles Dickens. He was
pre-eminently the great " cutter." " Cutting " was
his grand maxim, priming down florid sentences
and adding little effective points of his own. Slips
of his work are to be seen astonishingly improved
by these touchings, — a labyrinth of insertions,
transpositions, and erasures, all in his favorite blue
ink, which he adopted when ** Copperfield " had
run about half its course. The original " copy " or
MS. of nearly all his works is to be seen in the
Forster Library, at South Kensington, in great
stout quartos. It is curious to note how every line
almost is carefully amended or altered, and the
substituted passages written in the very minutest
characters. So close are the lines and so
" squeezed " the writing that the effect is bewilder-
ing; but his printers knew his ways perfectly.
Each page holds about forty lines of close writing,
and each line some twenty words, making about
800 words in each page. He followed one system,
and never failed in the practice, — to make words
erased illegible. This must have cost him time and
trouble, for it is done in thorough fashion. The
erring sentence is laboriously effaced by a series of
minute flourishings. — New York Tribune,

Flaubert. — The cause of my going so slowly is
just this, that nothing in that book ("Madame
Bovary " ) is drawn from myself. Never has my
own personality been so useless to me. It may be,
perhaps, that hereafter I shall do stronger things.
I hope so, but I hardly imagine I shall do anything
more skilful. Here ever3rthing is of the head. If
it has been false in aim I shall always feel that it
has been a good mental exercise. But, after all.



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139



what is the non-natural to others is the natural to
me,— the extraordinary, the fantastic, the wild
chase, mythologic, or metaphysic. *' Saint Antoine *^
did not require of me one quarter of the tension of
mind " Madame Bovary ** has caused me. ** Saint
Antoine" was a discharge. I had nothing but
pleasure in writing it, and the eighteen months
devoted to the composition of its 500 pages were
the most thoroughly voluptuous of my life hitherto.
Judge, then, of my condition in writing " Madame
Bovary." I must needs put myself every minute
into a skin not mine, and antipathetic to me. For
six months now I have been making love Platoni-
cally, and at the present moment my exaltation of
mind is that of a good Catholic. I am longing to
go to confession. — Correspondance de Gustave
Flaubert.

Henley. — William Ernest Henley, whose verses
have just been published by Scribner, is a Scotch-
man, a literary prot^g^ of Robert Louis Stevenson,
and the editor of Scotfs Observer, He is one of the
men who have had greatness thrust upon them,
and he has paid a fearful physical price for his
mental development. He began life as a laborer
unconscious of latent intellectual power, unversed
in the primary elements of education, and a man of
dissipated habits. He met with a terrible accident, '
both lower limbs being crushed beneath a boulder,
and while at the hospital for treatment met Robert
Louis Stevenson, who was also a patient at the in-
stitution. Then commenced the mental existence
which has led him through the stages of newspaper
correspondent, art editor, and magazine contributor
to the rank of poet. His limbs are still completely
paralyzed, and he does all his work in an invalid
chair, out of which towers his massive blonde head,
set on a magnificent pair of shoulders. His con-
versation is brilliant, and he counts his friends
among the cleverest and most brilliant literary m^n
of London. — Current Literature.

Ibsen. — Henrik Ibsen, whose works are a popu-
lar fad in London just now, is a man of solitary
life. For twenty-five years he has lived in self-
imposed exile from his native Norway. No lands
call him master ; no household calls him its head.
In wanderings over Europe he goes into no society,
and in his many temporary abodes he takes nothing
with him that he calls his own. A friend charged
with messages to him in Rome could only find him
after much patient searching, and, though well
known to many by sight, he has no mtimate friends.
Up to the age of thirty-six Mr. Ibsen lived as an
ordinary member of society; he is now nearly
sixty-two. The first part of his life was not happy.



His father became insolvent when Henrik was a
child eight years old, and his early youth was
clouded with extreme poverty. His first start in
life was made at the age of sixteen, as a chemist's
apprentice; it was not a smoothing career for a
fiery and discontented youth. He wrote a tragedy
in his hours of leisure and had it printed pseudony-
mously at his own expense. It was on the subject
of Catilina. He came to be glad to sell the edition
for what it would fetch as waste paper, and to buy
a dinner with the proceeds. He always looked
forward to going to the University, but Chrlstiania
did not greatly please him when at last he got there.
He read hard, but not for any course in particular,
and when Ole Bull, the violinist, offered him a post
in his new theatre at Bergen he gladly took it. He
was there for five years. In 1857 he married Su-
sanna Thoresen, whose mother was a Norwegian
author of note, and settled in Christiania with a
post in the theatre similar to the one he had held in
Bergen. In 1864 he left Norway. His life, unevent-
ful until then, has remained for the outside world,
and apart from hb work, equally uneventful down
to the present day. But his life cannot be separ-
ated from his labors. His writings are his life.
They are not conjecturally autobiographic, but
literally and designedly so. "Every thing that I
have written," he says, "is most intimately con-
nected with what I have experienced or have not
experienced. Each new poem has served for me
the purpose of purifjring and enlightening the mind;
for one is never without a certain share in and re-
sponsibility toward the society to which one belongs.
When I am writing I must be alone ; if I have
the eight characters of a drama to do with, I have
society enough ; they keep me busy ; I must learn
to know them. And this process of making their
acquaintance is slow and painful. I make, as a rule,
three casts of my dramas, which differ considerably
from each other. I mean in characteristics, not in
the course of the treatment. When I first settle
down to work out my material I feel as if I had got
to know my characters on a railway journey ; the
first acquaintance is struck up and we have chatted
about this and that. When I write it down again I
already see everything much more clearly, and I
know the people as I should if I had stayed with
them for a month at a watering place. I have
grasped the leading points of their characters and
their little peculiarities, but I might yet make a mis-
take in important points. At last, in the final cast,
I have reached the boundary of my acquaintances ;
I know my people from close and lasting inter-
course ; they are my trusted friends, who have no



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surprises in store for me ; as I see them now so
shall I always see them. My starting point is a
certain idea struggling into shape ; whether the idea
be clothed in modem or historic dress b at bottom
quite indifferent to me ; just at present modem life
is nearer to me, as in my younger years were the
historic times. The result is often essentially dif-
ferent from the idea ; my starting point and my
finish are not the same, any more than are dreams
and realities. Suppose you had read and heard a
great deal about a certain town, and at last you
stood before it; well, just as the impression you
brought with you changes into the reality when
seen with unclouded vision, just as the reality dom-
inates the dream, so the poem — which is for me
the reality — dominates the vague and wavering
idea that at first filled me. But in after-days, when
I can calmly gaze on my work, I see the connection
between my poem and my life, that was invisible
to me before, and the whole drama only appears
to me as a moment in my spiritual development."
— New York Tribune,

King. — Miss Grace King, whose stories "The
Christmas Story of a Little Church," " Monsieur
Motte," etc., in Harper*s^ and other journals, have
made no little furore in the world of scribes, is sum-
mering in North Carolina. She is a stately woman
of about twenty-seven, with a lovely bang of rich,
brown hair and prominent features. Her best
known writings are " Bonne Maman," a short tale
of Creole life, which appeared in Harper's^ and a
novel in Lippincotfs^ entitled " Earthlings." Miss
King belongs to a leading Creole family, and her
mother looks like a handsome old duchess. A tale
is told of Mme. King, that when she told a sales-
woman, who had never waited upon her before, to
send her parcels home to Mme. King, the girl
asked her address. The old lady was indignant.
" Not know where Mme. King lives ? Bring me
another shop-girl," she thundered forth, and the
new one comforted her by remarking upon the stu-
pidity of her sister saleswoman. One of the first
duties of a New Orleans shopman is to commit to
memory Mme. King's residence. — New York
Truth,

Thackeray. — In a letter to James Fraser, the
proprietor of Fraser'^s Magazine^ Thackeray once
wrote: "Now comes another, and not a very
pleasant point, on which I must speak. I hereby
give you notice that I shall strike for wages. You
pay more to others, I find, than to me, and so I
intend to make some fresh conditions about Yel-
lowplush. I shall write no more of that gentleman's
remarks, except at the rate of twelve guineas a



sheet, and with a drawing for each number in which
his story appears— the drawing two guineas. Pray
do not be angry at this decision on my part ; it is
simply a bargain which it is my duty to make.
Bad as he is, Mr. Yellowplush is the most popular
contributor to your magazine, and ought to be paid
accordingly ; if he does not deserve more than the
Monthly Nurse or the Blue Friars, I am a Dutch-
man. I have been at work upon his adventures
to-day, and will send them to you or not, as you
like; but in common regard for myself I won't
work under price. Well, I dare say you will be
very indignant, and swear I am the most mercenary
of individuals. Not so. But I am a better work-
man than most in your crew, and deserve a better
price. You must not, I repeat, be angry; or,
because we differ as tradesmen, break off our con-
nection as friends. Believe me that, whether I
write for you or not, I shall always be glad of your
friendship and anxious to have your good opinion.
I am ever, my dear Fraser ( independent of £. s. d. ),
very truly yours. W. M. Thackeray.

— New York Star.

Trowbridge. — John Town send Trowbridge, or
*' J. T. Trowbridge," as the boys all over the coun-
try know him, was the eighth child of a farmer, and
was bom in the winter of 1827, in western New
York, a locality then a wilderness. As he grew
older he had to work, as all boys do on a farm.
He had six or seven months of schooling each year
until he was fourteen, when that allowance was cut
down to three months in the dead of winter. There
was no luxury in his home, but he had a good
mother and father who made that home a happy
one. He studied hard by the fireside. It was in
this way that he leamed to read and translate
French before he met a person who could speak it.
He also leamed Latin and German in the~ same
way. As he worked on the farm he would " think
out " verses and plan romances, and at night he
would write them out. He sent some of these pro-
ductions to the country paper, and as he saw them
in print he felt all the pride of a general when he
sees an opposing army lay its arms at his feet. He
became convinced that literature was his field in
life, but how to enter it was a very difficult problem.
The first money he ever received for a piece of
writing was $1.50 which was paid him for " A New
Year's Address," written for the carriers of the
Niagara Courier, With this small encouragement
he went to New York City. Here his discourage-
ment increased and almost overwhelmed him. His
funds got so low that he was obliged to work in a
pencil factory in Jersey City, where his pay was



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141



sure. But even in the darkest hours he did not be-
come discouraged, and worked and hoped on. At
last his patience and perseverance was rewarded,
and his stories were sought by publishers. He writes
at the present time, to a very considerable extent,
for the Yotith^s Companion^ and his income is a
comfortable one. He is a tall, fresh-looking man
with a pleasant face. His hair is very white, but
in other ways he does not show his years. He does
not seek fashionable society, and he does not care
for it. Some people might call his manners crude.
He has a taste for speculation. — Boston Times.

Ward. — Twenty-five years ago Artemus Ward
wrote the following letter to an acquaintance in the
Mohawk Valley. It is copied from the original
time-worn manuscript, and contains a touch of that
delicate humor for which he was so justly cele-
brated : —

Waterford, Me., June 5, 1864.

My Dear Sir: There is really nothing very
remarkable in my history. I was bom in this quiet
little town about twenty-eight years ago. My father
died when I was twelve years old, and at the age of
thirteen I entered a printing office at Lancaster,
N. H. My father was a magistrate and lumber mer-
chant, — a clear-headed and thoroughly honest man,
so competent in his business as to oe consulted on
all kinds of law questions, and so honest that he
invariably had his nands full of business involving
large sums of money. I fear he was a little too
honest, for he died poor after all. I ran away from
the office at Lancaster, and entered a similar estab-
lishment at Norway, this state. This establishment
failed, and I roamed through the state, setting type
a short time in one place, and quietly running away
to another. Running away appears to have been
my chief weakness at that time. I finally landed
in Boston, and worked at my trade until I was
declared a tolerably good printer. I then went
West and South, ana for two years led a peripatetic
kind of life. I commenced writing for a paper in
Toledo, O., about ten years ago. I succeeaed as a

{>aragraphist well enough to achieve a very good
ocal reputation, and moved to Cleveland and took
charge of the Plain Dealer newspaper. I here
commenced the Artemus Ward papers. The selec-
tion of that nom de plume was purely accidental.
I wrote the first Ward sketch on a purely local sub-
ject, not supposing I should ever write another.
Somehow the name Ward entered my head and I
used it. Five years ago I moved to New York and
assumed the editori^ conduct of Vanity Fair,
succeeding Charles G. Leland. For the past four
years I have lectured almost constantly, and with a
success that is perhaps unequalled, considering
what a startling innovation I have made on a long-
established institution. My writings and lecturing
have given me a competency. I have a liber^
offer to go to England this fall on a lecturing tour,
and I may accept. I am writing now a book of
travels, giving my experiences among the Mormons.
I live in New York City, although I spend a por-
tion of my summers here with my mother. That
is about all. I have only drifted with the current,



which has carried me gayly on of its own accord.
As I am frank enough to say this, I hope I have a
right to say that I have always meant the creatures
of my burlesques should stab Error, and give Right
a friendly push. You are at liberty to use these
facts, although my letter is necessarily written in a
great hurry, for I am very busy. I am popularly
supposed to be rusticating here, but it is a ghastlv
mockery. I am working very hard. The sketch
in Leslu was pleasantly written by my friend, Frank
Wood, who died just as we all were predicting a
brilliant future for him. I thank you for your
friendly letter and kindly intention, and am faith-
fully yours, Charles F. Browne,

("Artemus Ward.")
To Charles Bowen, Fort Plain, N, Y.

— New York Sun.



LITERARY NEWS AND NOTES.



Samuel Austin Allibone died in Switzerland,
September 2. His great work was his "Critical
Dictionary of English Literature and British and
American Authors," which contains notes on
46,499 authors, classified in forty groups. The first
volume was published in 1854, and the third vol-
ume in 187 1.

Bella French Swisher, of Austin, Texas, has
written a long poem, " Florocita," which will soon
be published in book form by John B. Alden, New
York.

L S. Johnson & Co., of Boston, have begun the
publication of Farm Poultry^ a twelve-page paper
for practical poultry keepers.

Robert Bums Wilson, the Kentucky poet, began
writing verses at an early age. He is now thirty-
seven years old, and not twenty, as has been re-
cently stated. He is a painter as well as a poet.

Four new volumes in the Putnams' valuable Story
of the Nations Series will be published this fall.

Mrs. Rosa Vertner Jeffrey, the Kentucky poet, is
one of the most fascinating women of the famous
Blue Grass country. Her home is in Lexington, the
garden spot of the state.

Macmillian & Co. will publish early in the fall a
revised edition of Alfred Austin's poem, **The
Human Tragedy," which will contain likewise a pre-
fatory essay on " The Present Position and Prospects
of Poetry."

That the works of Chinese authors often run to
scores of volumes is a well-known fact, but that a
single work should fill 6^109 volumes is scarcely
creditable, says the American Bookmaker, Never-
theless, such a specimen of the printer's art is in
existence in Pekin. It is a cyclopaedia of ancient



Online LibraryJohn Davis Batchelder Collection (Library of CongrThe Author → online text (page 28 of 39)