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Title: Famous Authors (Men)
Author: Harkins, E. F. (Edward Francis)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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FAMOUS AUTHORS--MEN


[Illustration: Reproduced, by permission, from "A Pair of Patient
Lovers."--Copyright, 1901, by Harper & Brothers.

WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS.]


FAMOUS AUTHORS (MEN)

by

E. F. HARKINS

Author of "Famous Authors (Women)," "The Schemers," etc.

Illustrated



L·C·Page·&·Company
Boston Publishers

Copyright, 1901
By L. C. Page & Company
(Incorporated)

All rights reserved

Fourth Impression, February, 1906

Colonial Press
Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
Boston, U.S.A.



PREFACE


_The aim of this book is to present to the reading public sketches of
some of its American literary heroes. There are heroes young and old;
but in literature, especially, age has little to do with favorites. At
the same time, it will be noted that the subjects of these sketches
occupy places in or near the centre of the literary stage. The lately
dead, like Maurice Thompson; the hero of the last generation, like
Edward Everett Hale; the young man who has made his first successful
flight--these do not come within the scope of the present work. So, if
some reader miss his favorite, let him understand that at least there
was no malice in the exclusion._

_A part of the aim has been to present the social or personal as
well as the professional side of the authors. Many of the anecdotes
commonly told of well-known novelists are apocryphal or imaginary.
Care, therefore, has been taken to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Wherever it was possible, preference has been given the statements of
the authors themselves._

_The sketches are arranged chronologically, that is, in the order of
the authors' first publications. No other arrangement, indeed, would
seem fair among so gifted and popular a company, writing for a public
that discriminates while it encourages and enjoys._



CONTENTS


                                  _Page_

  Preface                              5
  William Dean Howells                11
  Bret Harte                          27
  Mark Twain                          43
  "Lew" Wallace                       59
  George W. Cable                     75
  Henry James                         91
  Francis Richard Stockton           107
  Joel Chandler Harris               123
  S. Weir Mitchell                   139
  Robert Grant                       155
  F. Marion Crawford                 169
  James Lane Allen                   185
  Thomas Nelson Page                 201
  Richard Harding Davis              215
  John Kendrick Bangs                231
  Hamlin Garland                     247
  Paul Leicester Ford                263
  Robert Neilson Stephens            279
  Charles D. G. Roberts              299
  Winston Churchill                  317



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                         _Page_

  William Dean Howells           _Frontispiece_
  Bret Harte                                 27
  George W. Cable                            75
  Francis Richard Stockton                  107
  S. Weir Mitchell                          139
  Robert Grant                              155
  F. Marion Crawford                        169
  James Lane Allen                          185
  Thomas Nelson Page                        201
  Richard Harding Davis                     215
  John Kendrick Bangs                       231
  Hamlin Garland                            247
  Robert Neilson Stephens                   279
  Charles G. D. Roberts                     299
  Winston Churchill                         317



WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS


Mr. Howells has reached that point of life and success where he can
afford to sit down and look back. But he is not that sort of man. He
will probably continue to work and to look forward until, in the words
of Hamlet, he shuffles off this mortal coil.

William Dean Howells was born in Martin's Ferry, Belmont County, Ohio,
March 1, 1837. He has therefore reached the ripe age of sixty-four.
When he was three years old his father moved from Martin's Ferry to
Hamilton and bought _The Intelligencer_, a weekly paper. Nine years
afterward he sold _The Intelligencer_ and moved to Dayton, becoming
proprietor of the _Dayton Transcript_. This paper had been a
semi-weekly, but Mr. Howells changed it to a daily; and his son William
went to work for him. It was William's business to rise at four in the
morning and sell the paper about town. But the _Transcript_ proved a
failure, so the Howells family left Dayton and moved into the country
on the banks of the Miami, where for a year a log-cabin was their home.

Mr. Howells tells a characteristic story of those struggling days,
"When I was a boy," he said some years ago, "I worked on my father's
paper. Among other things, I set type. Those were days of great
struggle for all of us. The paper was not profitable, and ours was a
large family. My tastes and ambitions were all literary, and I wanted
to write a story. Instead of writing it and then setting it up in type,
I composed it at the case and put it in type as I invented it. We
printed a chapter of it weekly in the paper, and so it was published
as fast as I got it up. I tried to get three or four chapters ready
in advance, but I could not do it. All I could possibly accomplish
was to have one installment ready every time the paper went to press.
This went on for a long while, and that story became a burden to me.
It stretched out longer and longer, but I could see no way to end
it. Every week I resolved that that story should be finished in the
next week's paper; every week it refused to be finished. Finally I
became positively panic stricken, and ended it somehow or other. The
experience discouraged me to some extent. I made up my mind that I
could not invent."

In 1851, when William was fourteen, the family moved from the country
to Columbus, where his father got employment as a clerk in the House of
Representatives, and also as a compositor on the _Ohio State Journal_.
William went to work as a reporter on the _Journal_. Five years later
he became the Columbus correspondent of the _Cincinnati Gazette_. In
1859 he took the position of news editor of the _Ohio State Journal_.
Later that same year Howells senior, from whom the son evidently
inherited his industry and ambition, bought the _Ashtabula Sentinel_
and transferred the property to Jefferson, whither the family moved.
William took the position of subeditor of the _Sentinel_.

From time to time poems by young Howells had appeared in the Ohio
newspapers. Some of his verses, too, had even been published by _The
Atlantic Monthly_. In 1860, in collaboration with John J. Piatt, he
published his first volume of verse--"Poems by Two Friends." In 1860,
also, Howells's "Life of Abraham Lincoln" was published. With the
earnings of this immediately popular work our author journeyed to the
East by way of Canada. In Boston he first met James Russell Lowell, who
was then editor of _The Atlantic Monthly_. Afterward he visited the
publishers, Messrs. Ticknor and Fields, primarily in connection with
one of his poems which _The Atlantic_ then had in hand, "The Pilot's
Story." Mr. Fields introduced Howells to Mr. Ticknor, "who, I fancied,"
says Howells in his "Literary Friends and Acquaintance," "had not
then read my poem; but he seemed to know what it was from the junior
partner, and he asked me whether I had been paid for it. I confessed
that I had not, and then he got out a chamois-leather bag, and took
from it five half-eagles in gold and laid them on the green cloth top
of the desk, in much the shape and of much the size of the Great Bear.
I have never since felt myself paid so lavishly for any literary work,
though I have had more for a single piece than the twenty-five dollars
that dazzled me in this constellation. The publisher seemed aware
of the poetic character of the transaction; he let the pieces lie a
moment, before he gathered them up and put them into my hand, and said,
'I always think it is pleasant to have it in gold.'"

While making his residence in Boston, Howells met Oliver Wendell
Holmes, Hawthorne and Emerson. Emerson rather discouraged him by
remarking as they were saying good-bye to each other, that one might
very well give a pleasant hour to poetry "now and then."

When the young Ohioan met Mr. Fields again he proposed himself as
assistant editor of _The Atlantic Monthly_. Mr. Fields replied that if
the post had not just been filled the intrepid poet certainly should
have had it.

"He was charmingly kind," writes Mr. Howells of the interview; "he
entered with the sweetest interest into the story of my economic life,
which had been full of changes and chances already. But when I said
very seriously that I was tired of these fortuities, and would like to
be settled in something he asked with dancing eyes,

"'Why, how old are you?'

"'I am twenty-three,' I answered, and then the laughing fit took him
again.

"'Well,' he said, 'you begin young, out there!'"

From 1861 to 1865, during the War of the Rebellion, Mr. Howells was
United States Consul at Venice, which position was a reward for
his life of Lincoln. In Venice he wrote occasionally for American
newspapers; and there he also wrote the articles of which, eventually,
his delightful "Venetian Life" and "Italian Journeys" were composed.

Returning to this country, he re-entered the newspaper world, working
mostly for the _New York Tribune_ and the _New York Times_; and he
also became a regular contributor to _The Nation_. In 1866 he achieved
his great ambition, Mr. Fields appointing him assistant editor of _The
Atlantic Monthly_. From that year until 1886, when he moved to New
York, he lived on terms of enviable intimacy with the group of great
writers which made Boston the one brilliant literary centre the country
has ever seen.

However, this success did not come until after many defeats. Mr.
Howells's letters from Venice were published regularly in the _Boston
Advertiser_; but elsewhere, for the most part, the young author had
met little encouragement. It was only just before he left Venice,
when Lowell, then, with Prof. Charles Eliot Norton, joint editor of
the _North American Review_, accepted Howells's article on "Recent
Italian Comedy," that the cloud broke. Lowell accepted the manuscript
in "one of his loveliest letters," as Mr. Howells says. "His message"
the author confesses, "came after years of thwarted endeavor, and
reinstated me in the belief that I could still do something in
literature. To be sure, the letters in the _Advertiser_ had begun to
make their impression; among the first great pleasures they brought me
was a recognition from my diplomatic chief in Vienna; but I valued my
admission to the _North American_ peculiarly because it was Lowell let
me in, and because I felt that in his charge it must be the place of
highest honor." Financially, the encouragement was slight. The _North
American_ was "as poor as it was proud"; and it paid Howells for his
article at the rate of only two dollars a page. From the _Advertiser_
he had been paid at the rate of about a dollar a thousand words. It was
on March 19, 1866, his twenty-ninth birthday, that the vagrant author
began his work on _The Atlantic_ at a salary of fifty dollars a week.

"The whole affair," Mr. Howells writes, "was conducted by Fields with
his unfailing tact and kindness, but it could not be kept from me that
the qualification I had as practical printer for the work was most
valued, if not the most valued, and that as proof-reader I was expected
to make it avail on the side of economy. Somewhere in life's feast
the course of humble-pie must always come in; and if I did not wholly
relish this bit of it, I dare say it was good for me, and I digested it
perfectly."

It was a most delicate position which he occupied on _The Atlantic_
from 1866 to 1872, when Fields withdrew and Mr. Howells became
sole editor. In the beginning, as he says himself, he ventured to
distinguish mediocrity in some verses by Whittier. "He sent me a poem,"
says Howells, "and I had the temerity to return it, and beg him for
something else. He magnanimously refrained from all show of offence,
and after a while, when he had printed the poem elsewhere, he gave me
another. By this time, I perceived that I had been wrong, not as to
the poem returned, but as to my function regarding him and such as he.
I had made my reflections, and never again did I venture to pass upon
what contributors of his quality sent me. I took it, and printed it,
and praised the gods; and even now I think that with such men it was
not my duty to play the censor in the periodical which they had made
what it was. They had set it in authority over American literature, and
it was not for me to put myself in authority over them. Their fame was
in their own keeping, and it was not my part to guard it against them."

At another time, when a choice was accidentally enforced between a poem
by Holmes and a poem by Emerson, Mr. Howells had the courage to request
Emerson that his poem might be held over for the next number. Emerson
wrote back to "return the proofs and break up the forms." "I could not
go to this iconoclastic extreme with the electrotypes of the magazine,"
says Mr. Howells, "but I could return the proofs. I did so, feeling
that I had done my possible, and silently grieving that there could be
such ire in heavenly minds."

From 1872 until 1880 Mr. Howells was sole editor of _The Atlantic_;
and the rich social and literary experience which he gained during
that term he has embodied in that most delightful of American bookmen's
chronicles, "Literary Friends and Acquaintance."

Mr. Howells's first piece of fiction, "Their Wedding Journey," was
published in 1872, the year that he became sole editor of _The
Atlantic_. Seven years ago in a newspaper interview, Mr. Howells made
this statement in regard to this work: "I wrote 'Their Wedding Journey'
without intending to make it a piece of fiction or considering it to be
one after I had finished it. It was simply a book of American travel,
which I hoped to make attractive by a sugar coating of romance. I was
very familiar with the route over which I had taken the bridal couple,
and I knew it was beautiful, and, like most American scenery, was not
appreciated. The book was more of a success than I expected it to be.
I attributed its success to the descriptions of American scenery and
places. I gave it to a family friend and asked her to mark those parts
of it which she thought real incidents. I was very much astonished and
greatly pleased to find, when she returned it, that she had marked some
passages which were purely invention. This made me ask myself if I
might not hope to write a novel some day."

The question was evidently answered in the affirmative, for after
1872 Mr. Howells's output of fiction became regular and profuse. His
novels have all been more or less popular. He is fondest himself of
"A Modern Instance," we are told; and he regards "A Hazard of New
Fortunes" as his best novel. It may safely be said that the book which
it was the greatest pleasure to him to write is "Literary Friends and
Acquaintance," published late last year. Altogether his works number
about seventy-five. Mr. Howells is a plodder. "I believe," he once said
to an interviewer, "in the inspiration of hard work." As a rule all
successful authors have held this belief.

Mr. Howells resigned from _The Atlantic_ in 1880 to engage in general
literary work. Six years later he formally transferred his allegiance
from Boston to New York by accepting charge of "The Editor's Study" in
_Harper's_. Afterward, for a time, he was editor of _The Cosmopolitan_.
Late in 1900 he resumed his editorial connection with _Harper's_.

Although admired the world over, and dignified with the title of Doctor
of Laws, which he got from Yale in 1871, Mr. Howells is hospitable and
genial, just as Dr. Holmes was; and many young writers with more or
less glittering names owe much to his counsel and his encouragement.



[Illustration: BRET HARTE.]



BRET HARTE


Bret Harte has been called the writer of the best short stories in the
English language. A literary court of arbitration would doubtless find
that the best of his short stories are without superiors. It should not
be forgotten that the reading public is still under the magic spell
which Mr. Harte wove more than a third of a century ago with "The Luck
of Roaring Camp," "Plain Language from Truthful James," "Tennessee's
Partner," "Miggles" and the other works which first called attention
to the author's still unquestioned genius. "The Luck of Roaring Camp"
and "Under the Redwoods" mark the present extremes of one of the most
romantic chapters in our literary history.

Some years ago, when the popular writer and his wife were spending the
summer at Newport, a woman said confidentially to Mrs. Harte, "What
is your husband's real name?" It evidently did not seem natural to
the inquirer that an author could always have borne such a crisp and
striking name; and the same idea, that the name must be simply a happy
pseudonym, has, we believe, struck many others. The idea is partly
wrong and partly right. Francis Brett Harte was his name originally.
That form was changed to Francis Bret Harte, then to F. Bret Harte,
and finally to the attractive form which long ago endeared itself to
the whole English-reading world. For it is well known, undoubtedly,
that the Bret Harte stories are quite as popular in England and in the
British colonies as in the United States; that Germany yields to none
in her admiration for them; and that one of them, "Gabriel Conroy,"
has been printed in at least fourteen languages. Indeed, a quarter of
a century ago the name of Bret Harte was as powerful the world over as
was Mr. Kipling's a few years since. Perhaps the felicitous brevity of
the name was one of the elements of that power.

Bret Harte was born in Albany, N. Y., on August 25, 1839. His father
was at that time a teacher in the Albany Female Seminary. Bret was
still in boyhood when his father died. The boy, who had received an
ordinary public school education, went to California with his mother in
1854. The Golden State was then one enormous mining-camp. The laws were
largely unwritten. A passion either for gold or for adventure had taken
possession of thousands of persons and thrown them together in one of
the wildest parts of the world. In this exciting school of life young
Harte studied his first lessons of life. For three years he was thrown
hither and thither, with his eyes and his ears wide open, and with his
mind sponging up the lively incidents which, through his skillful pen,
have since become the idyls of the pioneer West, with all its vice and
virtue, its heroes and cravens, its showy wealth and its heart-touching
poverty. For a year he was an express rider, with a route lying among
the ravines and gulches of the northern part of the State; and what he
had not learned by his own observation he learned during this period
from other observers. This was the time when Yuba Bill and the other
heroic road-agents took form in his imagination. At another time he
picked up the trade of compositor in a newspaper office in Eureka; and
at still another time he went out prospecting, and there was a sign of
later days in the fact that before the three years of his uncertainty
came to an end he taught school for a short while. It was then that,
for the first time, he indulged the literary instincts awakened by
his experience in the newspaper office in Eureka. This budding age is
outlined in "M'liss."

In 1857 the young man settled down in San Francisco as a compositor
in the office of the _Golden Era_, a weekly periodical. A few
round-about-town sketches called "A Boy's Dog," "Sidewalkings," and
"In a Balcony," submitted most humbly and respectfully to the editor,
brought to the ambitious printer the reward of an invitation to join
the editorial staff. With the acceptance of the invitation began a most
brilliant literary career. We are indebted to a friend of the author's
for the statement: "Those were busy days, and much of the matter ground
out in that time of probation is as pregnant with genius and wit as
any that he has seen fit to retain in his complete edition." But the
edition is not yet complete, we may remark.

When, not long afterward, a weekly called _The Californian_ was
established in San Francisco, the new writer went over to it
enthusiastically. In the columns of this periodical and of some of
the daily papers appeared the poems and the sketches which rounded
out Mr. Harte's "time of probation." _The Californian_ was the means
of acquainting him with Mark Twain, also a new figure on the literary
horizon. Indeed, it has been said by men who knew the little group of
enthusiasts connected with _The Californian_ that it was Harte who
induced the Mississippi pilot first to put to use his genius as a
humorist.

This catch-penny work of the days of _The Californian_ was profitable
to Harte simply as experience. Like many another story-teller, he came
to the conclusion that steady employment, with a few leisure hours in
the day, would do more to advance him than anything else, and so he
found work, first in the United States Surveyor General's office, then
with the United States Marshal, and later in the mint. Shortly before
going to the mint he was introduced to Easterners by a sketch in _The
Atlantic Monthly_, "The Legend of Monte Diablo," which introduction was
due largely to the patronage of Jessie Benton Fremont, one of the most
cultivated women in California. His secretaryship at the mint, which
began in 1864, led to a very productive period, some of the fruits
of which are "John Burns of Gettysburg," "The Pliocene Skull," "The
Society on the Stanislow" and the remarkable "Condensed Novels," in the
writing of which, as one of the old-time critics remarked "a new set of
faculties was required."

At this point naturally comes in the question, What was Bret Harte's
first book? The question was answered last year by the author himself,
in this statement: "When I say that my first book was not my own, and
contained beyond the title page not one word of my own composition, I
trust that I shall not be accused of trifling with paradox, or tardily
unbosoming myself of plagiary. But the fact remains that in priority of
publication the first book for which I became responsible, and which
probably provoked more criticism than anything I have written since,
was a small compilation of California poems indited by other hands.
There was an ominous calm when the book reached the market. Out of it
the bolt fell. A well-known mining weekly, which I will poetically veil
under the title of the Red Dog _Jay Hawk_, was the first to swoop down
upon the tuneful and unsuspecting quarry as follows: 'The hog wash
and "purp" stuff ladled out from the slop bucket of Messrs. ---- and
Company, of 'Frisco, by some lop-eared Eastern apprentice and called
"A Compilation of Californian Verses," might be passed over as far as
criticism goes. A club in the hands of any able-bodied citizen of Red
Dog and a steamboat ticket to the bay, cheerfully contributed from this
office, would be all sufficient. But when an imported greenhorn dares
to call his flapdoodle mixture "Californian," it is an insult to the
State that has produced the gifted Yellow Hammer, whose lofty flights
have from time to time dazzled our readers in the columns of the _Jay
Hawk_. That this complacent editorial jackass, browsing among the dock
and the thistles which he has served up in this volume, should make
allusion to California's greatest bard, is rather a confession of
idiocy than a slur upon the genius of our esteemed contributor.'"

There were other bolts quite as forceful, but as a sample of the
literary criticism found in California in the great mining days,
and also of the reins that kept editorial enterprise in check, the
foregoing will suffice.

In 1868, while Mr. Harte was still working in the mint and quietly
hitching his literary wagon to a star, Mr. Roman, an ambitious San
Francisco publisher, projected _The Overland Monthly_, a periodical
that has had considerable influence on the literary growth of the
far West. He invited the secretary of the mint to be its editor. The
invitation was accepted, and the editor-to-be at once went to work on
a story for the first number, which was to appear in July. The scheme
of the magazine was thoroughly Eastern, but the editor decided that,
for the honor of the West, his story should have a strong local flavor.
He called it "The Luck of Roaring Camp," and, without a thought of any
impropriety, had it put into type. For the sake of accuracy we take the
liberty of relating the consequences as they were related in the old
days:

"The first intimation that it was likely to arouse criticism of any
kind, good or bad, came to him in the form of a protest from the young
woman who read proof on the paper. She sent word to him that if matter
as indecent as 'The Luck of Roaring Camp' was to be printed in _The
Overland Monthly_ she could not retain her place as an employee of
the paper. Harte read the story over again in proof to see where the
indecencies were, but could find none. Then he took it to the owner of
the paper, and asked his opinion of it. The owner took it home and
read it to his wife. It made her cry, and she thought it was a powerful
production, but she agreed with the proof-reader that it was too daring
in its conception, and too frank in its details even for the not-over
particular society which inhabited California. Harte heard her judgment
with amazement. He was utterly unable to see anything improper in the
story. Finally the owner of the paper so far went over to the side of
the story's critics as to say that he thought the story would have to
be left out. Harte took a day and a night to think the matter over, and
then he announced his own decision. He said that if the story was left
out of that month's issue of _The Overland Monthly_ he would himself
insist on being left out of all connection with the paper in the
future. There was no quarrel. He simply was certain that his judgment
was good, and felt that if it was considered bad on this occasion by
the owner, he would never be able to suit him in the future. Finally,
after the matter had been placed on this definite basis, the owner
made up his mind to let the story run." We have met the account of the
momentous difficulty in a slightly different form, but the account
which we have repeated may be accepted as substantially correct.

"The Luck of Roaring Camp" did not please the Californians, and it
seemed for some time as if the censure of the feminine critics would be
justified popularly; but when the flattering opinions of the Eastern
readers were reported, the gold hunters changed their minds. No doubt
they were astonished to hear that a Boston publishing house, at that
time the most powerful organization of its kind in the land, had
offered to accept anything the author might offer at his own terms.

Harte was busy sending provisions to the snowbound camps in the Sierras
in the fall of 1868, so that his next story, "The Outcasts of Poker
Flat," made its appearance as late as January, 1869. That same year,
too, "Plain Language from Truthful James," popularly known as "The
Heathen Chinee," came to delight the reading public; and since that
time Bret Harte's fame has remained more or less brilliant.

For a time he filled the chair of Modern Literature in the University
of California. In 1871 he came East. The journey was a triumph. Nothing
like it ever occurred before, or has occurred since. Once in the East,
_The Atlantic Monthly_ agreed to pay him one thousand dollars a month
for a poem and a short story; but the author soon found the agreement
irksome. He lectured and wrote at his leisure in this country until
1878, when he was appointed United States Consul at Crefeld, Germany,
and two years later he was sent to Glasgow. His term there closed in
1885, and ever since he has made London his home.

However, he has always been Californian in his stories. His latest
offering, "Under the Redwoods," is as reflective of the growing days
of the West as are early masterpieces like "Tennessee's Partner" and
"Miggles." His star may be a trifle lower in the heavens than it was
when he went abroad, but it is still of the first magnitude.



MARK TWAIN


Mark Twain's real name is Samuel Langhorne Clemens. There is a story
to the effect that one of his ancestors, by name Gregory Clement, an
adherent of Cromwell, added his voice to the condemnation of Charles
I. and was beheaded for it by Charles II. However, it is neither as
Clement nor as Clemens that the most celebrated of contemporaneous
American authors is, or has been, popularly known, but by the
pen-name of Mark Twain, which he adopted when he was piloting on the
Mississippi, more than forty years ago.

In fun or in earnest--it is hard to fathom his moods--Mr. Clemens
said lately that he was working on an autobiography which must not
be opened until he has been in his grave for a century. So far as
the main facts are concerned, however, the humorist's autobiography
is already an open book. It has been chronicled piece by piece in
a hundred magazines and in a thousand newspapers since 1868, when
"Innocents Abroad" appeared, up to the present day. Probably no other
living author has been so beset by the requests of editors and the
importunities of reporters; and assuredly no other living author has
been more amiable or more liberal in his responses. No, a good portion
of the autobiography of Mr. Clemens, or Mark Twain,--we shall use each
name impartially,--will be submitted to the public within a hundred
hours after his death--and may that inevitable conclusion be far, far
off!

As a man and as a writer Mr. Clemens has invariably carried the colors
of the typical American. A stern sense of duty and of honor, a
seldom absent sense of humor, inexhaustible energy, dauntless pluck,
unfeigned simplicity and abiding sympathy and fidelity, are the salient
characteristics of the typical American--of Mr. Clemens. At the same
time, above and beyond the writer's unexcelled powers of observation
and richness of imagination is his fine sense of artistry. "Mark
Twain's humor will live forever," Mr. Howells is reported to have said
some years ago, "because of its artistic qualities. Mark Twain portrays
and interprets real types, not only with exquisite appreciation and
sympathy, but with a force and truth of drawing that makes them
permanent." So fastidious a critic as Prof. Barrett Wendell has lately
dwelt on the constant and irresistible charm of Huckleberry Finn.

Mr. Clemens was born in a little Missouri village named Florida on
Nov. 30, 1835. His father, John Marshall Clemens, of a good Virginia
family, was one of the pioneers who, early in the century, crossed the
Alleghanies and sought new fortunes in the unsettled West. His mother,
whose maiden name was Elizabeth Lampton, also, like her husband, came
of good English stock. Her forefathers had plunged into the wilds with
Daniel Boone; and she herself has been described as "one of those
beautiful, graceful, and vivacious Kentucky girls who have contributed
so much to the reputation of that fortunate State." A cousin of Mr.
Clemens, by the way, who was one of the humorist's playmates sixty
years ago, is the Rev. Eugene Joshua Lampton, who, by some of the
people in Missouri, is called "the Bishop of the diocese." Elder
Lampton is the possessor of the original subscription list which Mr.
Clemens carried when he was a newspaper boy in Hannibal. But this is
reaching ahead a little.

They say that Mr. Clemens's mother was not only remarkably winsome but
remarkably intelligent. When the author was a youngster one of his
relatives said of him: "He's a perfect little human kaleidoscope."
"Yes," added another, "and he gets that from his mother." Samuel's
mother could "write well," which was no small accomplishment in the
south-west in the thirties.

When Samuel was about nine years old his father decided to move to
Hannibal, in the same State. The prime cause of this immigration was
the failure of the elder Clemens to make Salt River navigable; hence,
as one writer has suggested, the probable origin of the old synonym for
disaster, "gone up Salt River."

Young Clemens was sent to school in Hannibal. Some of his schoolmates
are living in the old town to-day. He seems to have enjoyed the rule
of two teachers, Miss Newcomb and Miss Lucy Davis. Physically, he was
not a strong boy, but intellectually he seems always to have been more
than a match for any boy of his age. He had two brothers, Orion, who
was considerably older, and Henry, who was the youngest of them all.
Samuel attended school until his father died in 1847. The death of the
father, who had just been elected county judge, was a hard blow to the
family. After the death of his father, the subject of our sketch went
to work for the local newspaper as a carrier. Afterward he served as
"devil" and type-setter, and then, having completed his apprenticeship
and thinking to better himself elsewhere, he set off on foot for the
East. Doing odd jobs at the case and the press, he finally reached
Philadelphia. Thence he went to New York. But the East did not please
him, and at seventeen he was back in Hannibal.

He was now on his uppers, as the phrase is, and, in addition to
its adventurous side, the financial side of steamboat life on the
Mississippi magnetized him. There, for instance, was the pilot, the
guide of the great smoking craft, a man who knew everything thought
worth knowing, a man looked up to by every merchant, every traveler
and every desperado. Samuel determined to become a pilot, and the
picturesque Capt. Horace E. Bixby took him under his wing. In his "Life
on the Mississippi" Mark Twain describes with all his eloquence the
interesting and exciting life of a pilot on the treacherous river.
And was not the pilot's a great and attractive post for a young man?
"If you will take," says Mark, "the longest street in New York, and
travel up and down it, conning its features patiently until you know
every house and window and door and lamp-post and big and little sign
by heart, and know them so accurately that you can instantly name the
one you are abreast of when you are set down at random in that street
in the middle of an inky-black night, you will then have a tolerable
notion of the amount and the exactness of a pilot's knowledge who
carries the Mississippi River in his head. And then if you will go on
until you know every street-crossing, the character, size and position
of the crossing-stones, and the varying depth of mud in each of those
numberless places, you will have some idea of what the pilot must
know in order to keep a Mississippi steamer out of trouble. Next, if
you will take half of the signs on that long street and _change their
places_ once a month, and still manage to know their new positions
accurately on dark nights, and keep up with these repeated changes
without making any mistakes, you will understand what is required of a
pilot's peerless memory by the fickle Mississippi."

The life on the river, with its ever-changing dramatic and entertaining
incidents, awoke the young man's sleeping imagination--gave him a
strong desire to put to use the modest literary methods which he had
acquired as an itinerant printer. Mr. Howells, too, it will be noticed,
first had the passion for authorship aroused in him by the types and
the presses.

The first sketches which Mr. Clemens sent to the local papers were
signed "Iosh," a meaningless signature, which quickly made the young
author desire something better. The improvement came to him when one
day he heard a "big black negro" who was taking soundings call out
"Mark twain!" which meant that there were two fathoms of water. The
call struck the pilot's fancy, and he kept it in mind for future use.

Mr. Clemens served in the pilot-house--one of the best school-houses
in the world, it may be said--until the war broke out. Then he ran
blockades for a while, and for two weeks he carried a gun in the
Confederate army, under General Harris. The two weeks' service cooled
his ardor, and he went farther west with his brother Orion, who,
as a sympathizer with the Union side, had received an appointment
as Secretary of the Territory of Nevada. Samuel was to act as his
brother's secretary, but as in this office he did nothing and earned
nothing, he, after an attempt at prospecting, joined the staff of the
_Virginia City Enterprise_. It was as the _Enterprise's_ correspondent
at the capital of the Territory, Carson City, that Mr. Clemens first
used the striking pseudonym "Mark Twain." But he had no taste for
routine work; or, rather, his manner of garnishing, often with his
stinging satire, his routine work, did not suit the taste of the editor
of the _Enterprise_, and at the end of six months Mark Twain stamped
the dust of Nevada from his shoes and struck out for California, where
he readily secured employment on the _Union_. In the spring of 1865 he
took an interest with Bret Harte in a short-lived weekly called _The
Californian_, and some of the humorous articles which he wrote for that
publication were widely copied in the East. Later the _Union_ sent him
to the Hawaiian Islands to describe the sugar industry. His work as a
correspondent was very successful, and so was the lecture tour which he
made in California when he returned.

Major Pond, by the way, relates that Mark Twain committed his lecture
to memory and was entirely confident of success; still, desiring
to forestall even the possibility of failure, he arranged with some
friend of his--Major Pond has forgotten her name--to sit in a box
and start the applause if he should look in her direction and stroke
his mustache. "Instead of failing, however," the Major reports, "the
lecture started propitiously, and that caused Mark to forget his
instructions to the lady. By and by, unconsciously, when the audience
was filled to the neck with pleasure and sore with laughter, he
unwittingly turned to the box where his friend sat and pulled his
mustache. At the time he was saying nothing particularly good or funny,
but the anxious lady took his action for the signal, and almost broke
her fan on the edge of the box in a fury of applause." It took all the
nerve which Mark had accumulated among the gamblers and crevasses of
the Mississippi to pass through the embarrassment.

In 1867 Mr. Clemens published his first book, "The Jumping Frog
of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches," of which about four
thousand copies were sold. That same year he went to Europe with the
excursionists aboard the Quaker City.

This excursion proved to be the turning point in his career. He had a
commission to write sketches of the journey for the _Alta Californian_.
The sketches were duly published, and were then collected and offered
to a publisher for marketing in book form. The material did not appeal
to the publisher; it was startlingly uncut and undried. But Mark
was insistent, and by and by the book appeared under the title of
"Innocents Abroad." That book established Mark Twain's reputation as a
humorist. During the thirty-three years which have intervened between
that day and the present, Mark Twain's reputation has been maintained
at a matchless height. No one has been deemed worthy by the reading
public--which, after all, is the Supreme Court in literary matters--to
be called his rival. And since the publication of "Innocents Abroad"
Mark Twain's career has been public property, with no signs, no fences,
not even a dog therein to bark at night.

Mark Twain's career stands unequalled in the literary history of
America. He has been honored as an author and as a lecturer in almost
every part of the world. He made a fortune and lost it; and now he is
making another.

The literary historian must record in his case the prodigious
achievement of an author remaining for at least thirty-three years--and
who knows how many more will follow?--in almost steady demand in print
and on the platform.

But in more than a literary sense was that excursion to Europe on the
Quaker City the turning-point in Mark Twain's career, for it was on
that memorable journey that he met Miss Olivia L. Langdon of Elmira,
N. Y., who afterward became his wife; who is the subject of the most
eloquent words which he ever penned, and who, if we are to believe
their long-termed friend, Major Pond, "makes his works so great."



"LEW" WALLACE


Gen. "Lew" Wallace is the author of the most popular story ever written
by an American. "Ben Hur" has been translated into every language which
can boast of a literature. In the summer of 1900 it was estimated that
nine hundred thousand copies of the book had been sold. It is safe to
say that by this time the million mark has been reached. This literary
phenomenon is enlarged by the fact that "Ben-Hur" has never appeared
in a cheap, that is, a paper-covered, edition. The General has been
urged repeatedly to authorize the publication of such an edition, but
his refusal has been firm from the first. A friend of his who once
heard the author repeat his refusal, exclaimed: "Good for you!" It is
a question whether this friendly enthusiasm served any high purpose.
If, as has often been reported, "Ben Hur" has converted many readers to
Christianity, then its circulation might well be furthered in every way
possible.

We mention this circumstance because of the half-sacred nature which,
not simply in the minds of emotional readers but also in the mind of
the stern-charactered author himself, the book has been gradually
assuming. A few years ago General Wallace, while on a lecture tour
among the big cities, related how "Ben Hur" was conceived and brought
forth. He frankly admitted that prior to its conception, his religious
views were unstable. But as the ideas took hold of him, as chapter
followed chapter, as the central figure emerged under his pen from
the mist of the early years in Bethlehem into the divine glow of the
later years around Jerusalem, his own life underwent changes, until at
length, when the work was done, he stepped forth a militant Christian
for the first time in his life. We have heard many authors describe the
manner in which their books were born, but Lew Wallace's description
of the birth of "Ben Hur," for impressiveness and for entertainment,
stands alone.

If the General had done nothing else but write the tale of Christ his
fame would be certain of outlasting generations. But, as a matter of
fact, the wonderful book represents only one of his many qualifications
to sit among the Immortals, as we shall see presently.

The author was born in Brookville, Ind., on April 10, 1827. His father
was David Wallace, who, after graduation from West Point and a two
years' service in the army, adopted the profession of law and went to
live in the little Indiana town. Six years after Lewis was born his
father was elected lieutenant governor by the Whigs, and three years
later he was elected governor. From 1841 to 1843 Governor Wallace
represented his district in Congress. His political career was brought
to a close simply, it is said, because he voted for an appropriation
to assist Professor Morse to establish telegraph communication between
Baltimore and Washington. Lewis's mother was Esther Test, a daughter
of a well-known Indiana judge, who is described as a woman of marked
beauty and culture, and to whom may be traced the son's artistic and
literary genius. She died in 1837, but her children were fortunate to
be reared and trained by a woman of extraordinarily strong character,
Zerelda Saunders, the daughter of an Indianapolis doctor, who, when she
had devotedly completed her performance of the none too attractive
duties of a stepmother, worked for the causes of temperance and equal
suffrage, according to a woman who knew her well, with "eloquence,
dignity, enthusiasm and conscientiousness."

General Wallace avoided school. Thus he missed the basis which
erudition demands, but he at least improved his passion for art and
for literature. What he enjoyed most was to stroll out of town to the
wild-grown fields and woods, and there he would read his favorite books
and study nature. Not one of our authors knows nature more intimately.
In fact, in those juvenile days he thought seriously of becoming an
artist; and though, if the thought had ever been realized, literature
would have lost much, still art might have gained in equal proportion.
For at the General's home in Crawfordsville are some excellent examples
of his skill with the brush. One of his notable pictures represents
the conspirators concerned in the assassination of President Lincoln.
Another equally remarkable work of art is his portrait of the Sultan
of Turkey. Many of the General's friends have valuable samples of his
artistic genius.

We mention these facts to show that there was once good ground for
the author's ambition to be an artist. Yet at the age of eighteen,
just when one would expect such a talent to exert itself irresistibly,
young Wallace enlisted to fight against Mexico. He was made a second
lieutenant and ordered to guard the stores at the mouth of the Rio
Grande. In Mexico he found the material for "The Fair God," his
first novel, on which he worked occasionally for twenty years. At
the end of the Mexican war he returned to Indiana to study law, in
which respect, it will be noticed, he followed in the footsteps of
his father. Three years after his admission to the bar he married
Susan Elston, of Crawfordsville, herself of no mean literary gifts,
as her three collections of charming sketches, "The Land of the
Pueblos," "The Storied Sea," and "The Repose in Egypt," attest. The
Wallaces lived in Crawfordsville until the outbreak of the War of the
Rebellion. Thereupon the young lawyer went straight to Indianapolis
and offered his services to the governor. For a while he served as
adjutant-general. Then he took the colonelcy of a regiment of zouaves,
and with such vigor and success that early in September, 1861, he was
brevetted brigadier-general. For gallantry at Fort Donelson he was
afterwards brevetted major-general. At the close of the war he was
one of the most distinguished soldiers in the land. As a recognition
of his great services--in July, 1864, according to Secretary Stanton
and General Grant, he had saved Washington from destruction--he was
appointed to the commission which tried the assassins of Lincoln. That
duty done, he returned to Crawfordsville.

This return home signalized the real beginning of his literary career.
He was now not far from forty years of age, and he was not content to
live on his military reputation. Law had little power over him. So he
turned to the manuscript which had been growing slowly for many years;
and 1873 saw the publication of "The Fair God," the souvenir of the
author's service in the Mexican war. Compared with the average romance,
"The Fair God" possesses exceptional power and originality. "Ben-Hur"
appeared in 1880; but it must not be supposed that General Wallace gave
this second book his exclusive attention for the seven years that had
passed. It was half written when, in 1878, President Hayes appointed
the distinguished Indianian Governor of New Mexico. The visitor at the
Wallace homestead in Crawfordsville will be shown the beech tree in
the shade of which the work was done. To the way in which he works we
shall turn later. The concluding half of the tale was written at spare
moments in the governor's palace in Santa Fé, which Mrs. Wallace has
described as "the last rallying-place of the Pueblo Indians."

At first the more captious of the critics accented their discovery
that "Ben-Hur" showed no rhetorical improvement over "The Fair God";
and, though they were right, they erred sadly in trying to measure
the book with narrow rules. It has defects, as the most sympathetic
critic must admit; but the impartial critic must also admit that in
boldness and grandeur of conception and in vigor and beauty of style,
the story stands unequalled in American literature, and, in parts,
unexcelled in the romantic literature of any nation. Here and there
are unbalanced sentences, graceless phrases, misplaced words, and
interpolations that detract from the unity of effect desirable in all
works of art; but here and there, too, especially in the chapters
descriptive of the Grove of Daphne and of the chariot race, is a vivid
power at once more charming and more thrilling than anything to be
found in any other English novel. "A great historical romance," as
one of our critics remarked many years ago, "is not to be made with
reference to the square and the compass. It must be a vivid historical
impression, and at the same time a wisely considered story of life."
"Ben-Hur" adequately fulfills these two fundamental conditions.
Moreover it perfectly fulfills, delicately yet impressively, the
great moral purpose which the author imposed upon himself. As we
recall the author's narrative of the writing of the tale, this moral
purpose, beginning gently, gradually acquired a force that mastered
him completely. It was like a flood that first trickles through the
seam in the dam, and then, gathering in volume, sweeps all before
it. The characters themselves, from Christ to the faithful steward,
display the highest flight of imagination to be found in any American
novel. Indeed, many of the landscape features themselves are so
wonderfully vivid that the same praise awarded Tom Moore for his
imaginative descriptions of the East may judiciously be extended to
General Wallace. We have heard the General say that a scene which he
had regarded as purely fictitious or imaginative appeared in surprising
reality when, years after the book was published, he first visited
Palestine.

Of the tremendous sensation which "Ben-Hur" made when it appeared, and
of the phenomenal success which it has maintained even down to the
present time, it is, we presume, unnecessary to speak. The author, as
we noted before, has guarded its fame diligently, jealously; in fact,
although Lawrence Barrett urged him years ago to allow the book to be
dramatized, he did not yield to solicitation in this form until 1900.
This circumstance reminds us that the General once wrote a play called
"Commodus," but its multiplicity of leading characters has kept it in
his desk. It would bankrupt any manager in America, they told him. "The
Prince of India," the romance published in 1893, suffered, as it must
have suffered, by comparison with "Ben-Hur." Judged by itself, it is
delightful. It exemplifies the writer's remarkable creative force and
his ever-youthful enthusiasm. Probably the last notable work from the
General's pen will be the autobiography on which he has been at work
for the last few years.

General Wallace's diplomatic experience at Constantinople is worthy
of a chapter, but we must content ourselves with saying that it added
brilliancy to the honors which he had earned as a soldier and as an
author. Of late the General has been living a semi-pastoral life at his
estate in Indiana. He has himself described his daily habits:

"I begin to write at about 9 A.M. Keep at work till noon. Resume about
1.30 P.M., and leave my studio about 4. I then exercise for two hours.
I walk or ride horseback, according to the weather. When it rains I
put on a heavy pair of boots and trudge five to seven miles across the
country. I usually ride about a dozen miles. To this habit of taking
regular exercise I attribute my good health. I eat just what I want and
as much as I want. When night comes I lie down and sleep like a child,
never once waking until morning. I usually retire at 9.30 and rise at
7.30, aiming to secure nine hours' sleep. I smoke at pleasure, a pipe
or a cigar, but never a cigarette, which I consider the deadliest thing
a person can put in his mouth. The amount of work I produce in a day
varies greatly. Sometimes I write four hundred and sometimes twelve
hundred words. What I write to-day in the rough, to-morrow I revise,
perhaps reducing it to twenty words, perhaps striking out all the day's
work and beginning at the same point once more. That constitutes my
second copy. When proofs come from the publisher another revision takes
place. It consists chiefly of condensation and expurgation."

He was asked once what he considered the secret of his success. "Work,"
he answered, "and, as an author, the doing it myself with my own hand,
not by means of a typewriter, or amanuensis or stenographer. To work I
would add universal reading."

"Who is your favorite novelist?" the questioner went on.

"Sir Walter Scott."

"What is your favorite novel?"

"'Ivanhoe.'"

"And your favorite poem?"

"'Idylls of the King.'"

"What do you consider the sublimest poetry in the world?"

"You will find it in the Psalms and Job, in Homer, in Milton and in
Shakespeare."

"Who, in your judgment, are the three greatest warriors the world has
produced?"

"Alexander, Cæsar, Napoleon."

"Who, in your opinion, were the greatest American statesmen?"

"George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. Alexander
Hamilton is, in my judgment, the father of the American Constitution.
But that Constitution would never have been adopted save for the
support given it by the great name of George Washington."

We have said, after all, far too little of this distinguished man,
but all that we might say would hardly give the right emphasis to
the greatness of his manifold deeds and to the charm of his personal
character.



[Illustration: GEORGE W. CABLE.]



GEORGE W. CABLE


During his visit to this country a few years ago Mr. J. M. Barrie said
to the students at Smith College that no American novelist merits a
higher rank than Mr. George W. Cable. True as, in the abstract, this
foreign estimate of Mr. Cable's worth is, it would awaken a rather
feeble echo among the devourers of our colonial literature. Yet one
of the Southerner's characteristic stories, "The Grandissimes," for
instance, or "Posson Jone," or "Madame Delphine," is deserving of a
recommendation to the liveliest admirer of eighteenth century heroes
and heroines.

At bottom, there is much in common between Mr. Barrie and Mr. Cable,
and this circumstance may account for the Scotchman's enthusiastic
utterance at Smith College. Each has a poetical love for nature; each
has portrayed a picturesque corner of the world with the kindest
intention, the broadest sympathy and the choicest skill; each has been
the object of misunderstanding at home and of warm admiration abroad,
and each has led where others may only follow. It is perfectly natural
that two such lovable and loving men should clasp hands across the sea.

We must admit that the writer who has pictured New Orleans as vividly
as Balzac pictured his beloved Paris was better known, say, ten years
ago, than he is to-day. Then he had fewer distractions than he has
to-day. Then he had reached the climax of his literary productivity.
Then he was personally endearing himself to his fellow-countrymen with
his inimitably delightful recitations and songs. There have been
authors who drew larger audiences, and who, to use a homely phrase,
made more noise on their tours, but there has never been an author
whose readings from his works gave sweeter pleasure; and, as for his
manner of singing the Creole folksongs, it was indescribably charming.
Mr. John Fox, Jr., is the only other American author who has ventured
to sing folk-songs publicly; and we may say, without fear of suggesting
the odious comparison, that the younger man has been very successful,
too.

"Many years ago," Mr. Cable once said, "when I discovered that these
folk-songs of the slaves of former Louisiana Creoles had a great charm
of their own and were preserved by tradition only, I was induced to
gather them and reduce them to notation. I found that others were so
strongly interested in the songs that, without pretending to any
musical authority or original charm of voice, I was tempted to sing one
or two of them before public audiences. The first time I did so was in
Boston, and since then I have rarely been allowed to leave them out of
my entertainment, when the length of my literary program left room for
them."

But we must look back farther. To start at the very beginning, George
Washington Cable was born in New Orleans on October 12, 1844. His
father was of Virginian descent; his mother of New England. They were
married in Indiana ten years before George was born, and they moved to
New Orleans after the hard times of 1837. The father died in 1859, and
then George, at the age of fifteen, went to work to help support the
family. He was a very small boy for his age; and indeed it is related
that in 1863, when the family was sent outside the Union lines for
refusing to take the oath of allegiance, his sisters had no difficulty
in obtaining permission to have their "little brother" accompany them.
The "little brother," however, was not so harmless as he looked. He
volunteered to fight for the Confederacy, and was mustered into the
Fourth Mississippi Cavalry, then in Gen. Wirt Adams's brigade. For
a time after the war he rolled cotton on the New Orleans levees and
carried a surveyor's chain along the banks of the Atchafalaya; and by
and by he found a place on the _New Orleans Picayune_. He is therefore
to be counted among the authors whose literary career started in the
reporter's room. His strong taste for culture and his zeal for the
public welfare soon made an outlet for themselves in short articles
touching on current topics; and, though the articles were much enjoyed
by the readers of the _Picayune_, the young writer before long felt
the distaste for newspaper work which, early or late, comes to almost
every journalist with high literary aims. Journalism is the best school
of experience in the world, but it can be attended too long.

Cable resisted the fascinations of journalism firmly and wisely. At
the height of his success he left the _Picayune_ and went into the
counting-room of a cotton house. He had a good eye for the picturesque
features of daily life, the features met commonly in the daily papers,
and at his leisure he wrote a few short stories based on New Orleans
characters. One day these stories, which he had made no attempt to
sell, came into the hands of an agent of the old _Scribner's Monthly_,
who happened to visit Louisiana in connection with the well-remembered
Great South papers. This agent, by name Edward King, praised the
stories, and, at the author's request, sent one of them to New York.
The story, for some reason, came back; but the next one sent, "Sieur
George," brought a note of acceptance and encouragement from Richard
Watson Gilder, Doctor Holland's associate.

A few years later a volume of these Louisiana sketches was published
under the title of "Old Creole Days." It was immediately recognized as
a notable addition to our short story literature. Nevertheless, the
author stuck to his desk in the counting-room. Many another ambitious
young writer, in the circumstances, would have given up his position
and leaned entirely upon his pen. Young Cable had a cool head. He knew
that he was moving forward handsomely, and that if he yielded to the
excitement of the situation for a moment he might fall back. So his pen
rusted for two years, when he accepted an order for a serial story.
This turned out to be "The Grandissimes," a clear and entertaining
exposition of the author's views of the old-fashioned Southern life,
a happy mingling of fact and fiction, of fun and sobriety, of calm
appreciation of the Louisiana aristocracy and a warm toleration of the
struggles of the poor negro slaves. Of course, this attitude added
nothing to the author's popularity among Southerners.

To illustrate this, a Southern woman, who happened to visit
Northampton, where of late Mr. Cable has made his home, was asked if
she ever read his stories. "Of course not," she indignantly answered;
"I wouldn't think of looking at them." However, she was persuaded to
look at them after a while; and it is a peculiar tribute to their
delicate yet powerful charm that the woman expressed regret that she
had misconceived his work and opposed his ideas.

"The Grandissimes" was so successful that the publishers are said
to have sent the author a check for five hundred dollars more than
the contract price. This first long tale was followed by another much
the same in vein and in atmosphere, "Madame Delphine," which is the
story-teller's own favorite. The subject and the style are equally
delightful.

In 1879, when Mr. Cable was thirty-five years old, the business house
in which he had worked to keep his feet on earth dissolved, and the
clerk had to choose between returning to journalism and devoting
himself entirely to literature. By this time he seems to have been more
self-reliant and more confident. At any rate, he chose literature. The
first thing he did was to decline to write for more than one publisher.
It must be said again that a steadier head never produced a story.

A strong sense of duty, in fact, early established control of his
work. His interests were not permitted to grow narrow. He realized
that he possessed exceptionally abundant resources for the production
of miscellaneous literature touching on the development of the middle
South, and he determined to make the most of his possessions. In 1880,
for example, we find him engaged in a special article on New Orleans
for the Census Bureau, and his native city was also the theme of an
article which he wrote for the "Encyclopedia Britannica." One of his
critics has said: "Since Hawthorne's Custom House reports, few pages of
the Government documents have been enriched by so discriminating a pen
as in the exhaustive census monograph upon the past and present of the
Southern metropolis." This paper led to a series of articles entitled
"The Creoles of Louisiana," written for _The Century_, in which the
reader will note an artistic combination of dry history and vivid
imagination.

That such a painstaking, conscientious, dutiful writer should ever be
charged with falling into an anachronism may seem preposterous; but
although the charge has been made, we find no instance in which it
has been sustained. A writer who once visited him brushed the charge
aside vigorously: "Mr. Cable's plan of work," he said, "is unusually
methodical, for his counting-room training has stood him in good stead.
All his notes and references are carefully indexed and journalled, and
so systematized that he can turn, without a moment's delay, to any
authority he wishes to consult. In this respect, as in many others,
he has not, perhaps, his equal among living authors. In making his
notes, it is his usual custom to write in pencil on scraps of paper.
These notes are next put into shape, still in pencil, and the third
copy, intended for the press, is written in ink on note-paper--the
chirography exceedingly neat, delicate and legible. He is always exact,
and is untiring in his researches.... Before attempting to write upon
any historical point, he gathers together all available material
without reckoning time or trouble; and, under such conditions, nothing
is more unlikely than that he should be guilty of error."

The business life which fortunately imposed so valuable a system
upon him incidentally inspired his second novel, "Dr. Sevier," many
of the scenes in which are faithful pictures of his own experiences
as a youth. As in the historical sketches, so in this second novel
the poetic imagination of the author fairly rivals his grasp of the
prosaic relations existing between man and man. But such relations
were supremely vital from his viewpoint, and his third novel,
"Bonaventure," was written in moments stolen from the discussion of the
questions of elections, prison systems, and the future of the negro.
The reader will note in the hero of this story the personification
of the practical strengthening and yet spiritualizing gospel which
the author has enunciated in his private and public religious work.
For it is important to chronicle that Mr. Cable has done as much to
Christianize several communities as the most energetic minister would
be expected to do; and from his scrupulous performance of not merely
the ordinary Christian duties but also of duties self-imposed, he has
never allowed literature or society to beguile him.

Naturally his social and political studies drew many invitations to
address public meetings. It was at Johns Hopkins University, while
lecturing on literary art, that, upon the suggestion of President
Gilman, he ventured for the first time to read selections from his
own stories. The delight of the audience was no less a surprise to him
than the realization of his own elocutionary skill. This he set about
to cultivate, and with such success that for years afterward he was
enthusiastically welcomed to the great cities. It was once estimated
that in his busiest years on the platform he traveled more than ten
thousand miles every twelve months.

For various reasons, particularly that he might be able to write of the
South impartially and that he might be nearer the literary market, he
moved to Simsbury, Conn., in 1884, and the next year to Northampton,
Mass., where he has lived ever since. But he has never lost sight
of his native concern in the progress of the South; and as for his
philanthropy, in Northampton it has spread wider and wider.

There, on the edge of one of the quietest and loveliest towns in
Massachusetts, he has had built for himself a home suited to all his
excellent tastes, and there he lives, intent always on making someone
happy, and writing simply enough to maintain the brilliancy and
popularity of his name.



HENRY JAMES


Henry James has been at pains, lately, to put a stop to a report that
he proposes to return to America, yet by descent and at heart he is
undoubtedly as loyal an American as his neighbor in England, Bret
Harte. Even a cosmopolite may be patriotic.

Mr. James has been called the first American cosmopolitan author. It
is an unusually interesting fact that, like Mr. Harte, who also lives
in England, James was born in Albany, N. Y., the date of his birth
being April 15, 1843. His grandfather, William James, who made a
fortune in the Syracuse salt works, had settled in Albany soon after
his immigration from Ireland. His millions were divided among eleven
children, one of whom was Henry James, Sr., the novelist's father.
This branch of the James family moved to Germany when our author was a
boy; and there he and his brothers and sister were educated for some
years. It used to be said that, like his distinguished contemporaries,
Howells and Aldrich, James never enjoyed the advantages of a college
education; but it is a fact, nevertheless, that the James children were
thoroughly educated. Henry James, Sr., intellectually, was a remarkable
man, and Miss Walsh of New York, whom he married, has been described
as "his complement in the possession of sterling practical qualities
and the sustaining common sense of woman." Besides, there were the
educational advantages of travel which the James children enjoyed. When
the Jameses returned to this country they settled in Cambridge. It was
there that Howells made the acquaintance of the elder James.

We are tempted to quote extensively from Howells's memories of Henry
James, Sr., but we shall confine our quotation to a single paragraph:

"At all times he thought originally in words of delightful originality,
which painted a fact with the greatest vividness. Of a person who
had a nervous twitching of the face, and who wished to call up a
friend to them, he said: 'He _spasmed_ to the fellow across the
room, and introduced him.' His written style had traits of the same
adventurousness, but it was his speech which was most captivating. As I
write of him I see him before me: his white bearded face, with a kindly
intensity which at first glance seemed fierce, the mouth humorously
shaping the mustache, the eyes vague behind the glasses; his sensitive
hand gripping the stick on which he rested his weight to ease it from
the artificial limb he wore."

Henry James, Jr., is one of five children. Equally as celebrated as
Henry, both at home and abroad, is William James, a professor at
Harvard. In March, 1865, a month before his twenty-second year, Henry
James made his first appearance in literature with a contribution to
_The Atlantic Monthly_, entitled "A Story of a Year," which naturally
had to do with the War of the Rebellion. It was _The Atlantic_ which
also published his first serial story, "Poor Richard," which ran
through three numbers. Later followed "Gabrielle de Bergerac" and
"Watch and Ward," each a little more ambitious than its predecessors;
and finally came his first long story, "Roderick Hudson," which lasted
through twelve numbers of _The Atlantic_. The stories aroused a great
deal of comment, most of which was favorable. This encouraged him to
abandon all thought of law, which he had studied at Harvard, and make
literature his profession. About the same time he went to England,
where he has since spent most of his time.

Like Harte, James has suffered from the charge of expatriation. The
very fact that the English reading public, which is a most discerning
public, was quick to appreciate the rare quality of James's style has
been sufficient to keep some American critics in bad temper--as if the
mere matter of residence has any intimate connection with literature!
If James were an utter snob, if he slurred Americans or disclaimed
any acquaintance with them, if his cynicism were not well founded, or
if his satire were simply burlesque, he might justly be attacked; but
as, personally, he is gentle and unassuming, as his cynicism is not
a mania, and as his satire is more or less truthful, the belligerent
critics have been largely wasting their ammunition. Probably no story
of his has ever stirred up bitterer talk than "Daisy Miller," with
its unconventional American heroine; yet it was only justice, not to
mention literary acumen, which prompted so spirited an American as
Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, in his "Short Studies of American
Authors," to say of the author of "Daisy Miller" that "he has achieved
no greater triumph than when, in this last-named book, he succeeds in
holding our sympathy and even affection, after all, for the essential
innocence and rectitude of the poor wayward girl whose follies he has
so mercilessly portrayed." It is a singular commentary on the injustice
of the denouncers of "Daisy Miller" that the young lady of Boston whom
gossip made the original of the story was "cut" by society.

His friends and enemies were still further divided by "The American"
and "The Portrait of a Lady," and we suspect that the author was
poking a little fun at the hostile camp when he had the American woman
journalist in the latter story say, "I was going to bring in your
cousin--the alienated American. There is a great demand now for the
alienated American, and your cousin is a beautiful specimen. I should
have handled him severely."

Mr. James's friends say that he went to England, originally, for the
benefit of his health. It cannot be gainsaid that he has a temperament
which makes itself at home in all lands. He is, indeed, as much a
citizen of Paris as of London, and his stories in French have been
warmly praised by French critics. But it may be that, after all, he
saw the wisdom of writing reminiscently, of writing at a distance from
his subjects. Mr. Cable, for example, saw it when he moved North from
New Orleans; and, furthermore, we know that many an author has been
condemned unjustly for telling the truth. The great novelist is not the
idealist, with his world of prize-baby angels and impossible saints; he
is a photographer, and his mind and his hand are a camera that cannot
lie. Mr. Warner once said that the object of the novel is to entertain;
Mr. James has said that it is to represent life. James Lane Allen, we
remember, joined the two statements thus: "The object of the novel is
to entertain by representing life."

James's reach is transatlantic. Americans and Britons alike share
prominence in his works. Then, too, of late, his characters have grown
more and more ethereal and ghostly; they have such faint connection
with the world of chalk-cliffs and prairies that the question of their
citizenship is insignificant. Physically they appear to us only in
episodes; intellectually they are universal types. But, really, the
last word on Henry James's art was said long ago by _The Spectator_:

"Mr. Henry James is certainly a very remarkable illustration of the
tendency of our age to subdivide, in the finest way, the already rather
extreme division of labor, till a very high perfection is attained
in producing articles of the most curiously specialized kind, though
apparently without the power of producing anything outside that kind.
For a long time we have had novelists who are wonderfully skillful in a
particular form of novels, but who seem unable to master more than one
form for themselves. But Mr. Henry James, though he has attained a very
great perfection in his own line, seems not to aim at anything quite so
considerable as a story of human life of any sort. He eschews a story.
What he loves is an episode, i. e., something which by the nature of
the case is rather a fragment cut out of life, and _not_ a fair or
average specimen of it, nor even such a part of it as would give you
the best essence of the whole,--but rather an eddy in it, which takes
you for an interval out of its main current, and only ends as you get
back into the main current again, or at least at the point at which you
might get back into the main current again, if some event (accidental,
in relation to the art of the story) did not occur to cut off abruptly
the thread of the narrative.... One might perhaps say that Mr. Henry
James has discerned in relation to literature what has long been known
in relation to art--that with artists of any genius, 'sketches' are apt
to be more satisfying than finished pictures. But then the sketches
we like so much in artists' studios are, though unfinished pictures,
still pictures of what the painter has been most struck with, pictures
in which he has given all that struck him most, and left only what did
not strike him to be filled in by the fancy of the public. Now, Mr.
Henry James does not give us sketches of the most striking features in
what he sees of human life and passion, so much as finished pictures of
the little nooks and bays into which human caprice occasionally drifts,
when the main current of life's deeper interests has left us for a
moment on one side, and rushed past us.... Mr. Henry James is not so
much a novelist as an episodist, if such a term be allowable. But he is
a wonderful episodist."

All in all, that is the keenest and fairest criticism of James's works
ever written. It should be taken with every one of his stories, just as
soda is taken with brandy. Such a criticism is not fugacious; it is
complementary.

It brings to mind the amusing criticism of "The Sacred Fount," notably
Carolyn Wells's "Verbarium Tremens," published in _The Critic_, with
its bright termination--

    The mad gush of "The Sacred Fount" is ringing in my ear,
    Its dictional excitements are obsessing me, I fear.
    For its subtle fascination makes me read it, then, alack,
    I find I have the James-james, a very bad attack!

James is an exceedingly neat man, and this side of him at once
strikes every visitor to his home. The only known exception to this
characteristic neatness is his handwriting, which is said to be as
vexatious as Horace Greeley's was. "I have a letter from him before
me now," says one of his correspondents. "The signature I know to be
'Henry James.' You might take it for Henryk Sienkiewicz."

The same correspondent relates a story which throws a new light on his
personality:

"You will be astonished, possibly, to know that his income from his
writing is a scant three hundred pounds a year, though in spite of this
there has never come a man in need to Henry James to whom he has not
offered a part of what he calls his own.

"Not so long ago a novelist in England died. He left two little
children, absolutely alone in the world. One of that man's friends
put by a little sum for them, and, out of the kindness of his heart,
wrote to other literary men soliciting their help. He sought a maker of
books who lives in a castle ... whom he knew to have an income of over
twenty thousand pounds from his literary work.

"'Won't you aid these little folk?' he asked. Not a cent was
forthcoming.

"Henry James was written in the matter. By return mail came a check for
fifty pounds, one-tenth of his whole year's income."

We have been informed that this estimate of Mr. James's income is
rather small; but, even if his income be as large as that of the "maker
of books who lives in a castle," the fact remains that Mr. James proved
his generosity handsomely.

James has acquired his extraordinarily brilliant style at the expense
of incessant and determined effort. The dazzling spontaneities are
really the product of toilsome hours. He works mostly in the morning,
writing slowly, and his stories are written again and again before
they go off to his publisher's. With him writing is a profession, a
task; he is not the child of moods. Occasionally he visits friends--old
friends, like Marion Crawford--but the greater part of the year he
spends quietly and almost reclusely in England.



[Illustration: Photo by Parker, Morristown.

FRANCIS RICHARD STOCKTON.]



FRANCIS RICHARD STOCKTON


At a dinner given in honour of Mr. Frank R. Stockton by the Author's
Club of New York, early in the year 1901, Mr. Richard Watson Gilder,
the Editor of _The Century_, is reported to have told the following
story: "A young man once came to me and said that he would like to
contribute to _The Century_ every month. I asked him what he wanted to
write. 'Oh,' he said, 'I'd like to send you each month a story like
"The Lady or the Tiger?"'" Mr. Gilder, we are told, said at the end of
his speech that night: "When I think of the immense amount of pleasure
Mr. Stockton brought into the life of Stevenson it seems to me that
alone would be to him a benediction forever."

The Editor of _The Century_ thus happily illustrated the attitude of
the reading world toward Mr. Stockton: on one side is an eager desire
to emulate him, and on the other an equally eager desire to go to him
for pleasure or for comfort. There is a natural grace about his stories
which has often deceived the inexpert into an attempt to rival him,
while the sweet and simple comedy of the stories has for more than a
quarter of a century been the delight of young and old. The young man
who visited Mr. Gilder, and the brilliant novelist solacing himself
with the acquaintance of Pomona, Ardis Claverden, Mrs. Null, and
Chipperton, are types.

The object of this variety of admiration was born in Philadelphia on
April 5, 1834. He belongs to the Stockton family of New Jersey, but
not, he has informed us, to the Princeton branch. His father, William
S. Stockton, was a well-known writer on church government.

On the matter of his ancestry Mr. Stockton has given us this
interesting information: "The ancestor of the Stockton family in New
Jersey came from Flushing, L. I., in 1690, and purchased a tract
of several thousand acres, to which he gave the Indian name of
Oneanickon. His oldest son, Richard, did not settle here, but went to
Stony Brook, afterward Princeton, where he founded that illustrious
line of Stocktons, among whom were the signer of the Declaration of
Independence, and Commodore Stockton, to whom this country owes, in
great part, the possession of California, and to whom the negro race
owes Liberia. My ancestor was the second son, John Stockton, and his
descendants, like himself, were generally yeomen, or farmers; but they
remained true to Oneanickon, and that estate, shorn of many of its
acres, but still containing the site of the old homestead of Richard
and Abigail Stockton, now remains in the possession of my branch of
the family, where it has been for 211 years, a pretty long stretch for
America."

The story-writer's father married twice, and his second wife was the
mother of Francis Richard. She was a Virginian, and from her side of
the family tree was derived the name Ardis found in "Ardis Claverden."
There is a Stocktonian touch in the familiar story that the author's
Christian name was imposed upon him by one of his half-sisters, who
borrowed a part of it from Francis I. of France and a part from Richard
Coeur de Lion. The same relative gave Francis's sister the full name
of Napoleon's second wife. Strange to say, Mr. Stockton has avowed a
difficulty in giving his characters names.

The boy first was sent to a private school in West Philadelphia.
Later he attended the public schools, and at the age of eighteen was
graduated from the Central High School with the degree of Bachelor of
Arts. It was noticed at school that his bent was to literature. In
fact, this was obvious to his parents when he was only ten, for at
that age he began to scribble verses. In spite of this proclivity,
however, Francis, after leaving the high school, took up engraving as
a profession. Just one bond was left existing between himself and the
world of letters, and that was his membership in an organization of
young men called the "Forensic and Literary Circle." Upon this slight
basis has been erected an exceptionally successful career, for it was
to the Circle that the "Ting-a-ling Stories" were first read. The
Circle also heard "Kate" as soon as it was written. This tale and "The
Story of Champaigne" were published by the _Southern Messenger_; and it
is sufficient to relate that they created a demand for more like them.
Thereafter, until 1874, Stockton wrote many short stories, his star all
the time rising a little higher above the horizon.

But in 1874 the star blazed forth wondrously with the appearance of
the first part of "Rudder Grange." From that day the author's place
among the foremost American humorists has been secure. "Rudder Grange"
is undoubtedly his most popular work, for it is in demand even at this
late day. We have heard it said that among many of Mr. Stockton's
admirers--and who, by the way, would attempt to number those happy
beings?--it is regarded as his masterpiece. We shall let the statement
pass without examination, believing as we do that in this case
comparisons would be particularly odious. However, it is no backhanded
compliment to say that upon the profusion and the quaintness of the
humour of "Rudder Grange" the author has never improved.

Meantime, we should say here, the young Pennsylvanian had definitely
adopted literature as a profession. He had served an apprenticeship on
the _Philadelphia Morning Post_; later he had joined Edward Eggleston
on _Hearth and Home_; then he had become a member of the editorial
staff of _Scribner's Monthly_. It was while occupying this last
position that he wrote "Rudder Grange." Afterward he cast his lot with
the editors of _St. Nicholas_. In 1880, determining to devote his time
entirely to story-writing, he abandoned editorial work for good and all.

Even more remarkable than the success of "Rudder Grange" was the
success of "The Lady or the Tiger?" How the reading public has pondered
that cunningly made mystery! How it has written and talked about it!
Truly it has been--and is to-day, indeed--one of the nine wonders of
the literary world! It still is unsolved. Mr. Stockton himself cannot,
or perhaps will not, offer any solution. So much has been said of the
puzzle that doubtless by this time the subject is distasteful to him.
He has declared repeatedly that he does not know whether the Lady or
the Tiger----. But there! We are raking a fire that perhaps had better
be allowed to go out. Just for the sake of history we will add that a
comic opera based on the story was produced in 1889.

During the last twenty years Mr. Stockton has written the stories
that make up the greater part of the familiar Shenandoah edition. He
always dictates his manuscript for publication, and he does his work in
the morning. In the early days he dictated to his wife, who was Miss
Marian E. Tuttle, of Amelia County, Virginia; but in recent years he
has employed a stenographer. We have seen the statement that when the
author has his subject well in mind he delivers fifteen hundred words
before the morning is over.

A few years ago Stockton moved from Convent Station, New Jersey, to
Charles Town, Jefferson County, West Virginia. The estate, named
Claymont, embraces one hundred and fifty acres, and it was once a part
of a large estate owned by Washington. There the author spends the
pleasant seasons of the year, taking his vacation in the winter.

In answer to a question as to his recreations, the famous humorist
has informed us: "I generally spend my afternoons out-of-doors, and
my recreation is driving--doing the driving myself. For a good many
years I have driven every afternoon. I lately calculated (the date of
his letter is Dec. 4, 1901) that in the eight months I usually spend
in the country I have driven as many miles as would take me across the
continent. Wherever I am I explore every road within a radius of a
dozen miles or more. My mare, Kitty, used to be my traveling companion,
but now Kitty is old and I drive a pair of younger animals. But in
wandering through the fields and woods Kitty still goes with me, caring
no more for roads and regular ways than a poet does for the market
reports. My wife and I are very fond of the country, and in all our
married life, except for one month when we hired a furnished house in
Washington, we have never kept house in a city.

"I am not a farmer, but I have a farm, and it is a great pleasure to
me to overlook its operations; but I have inherited from my ancestors
a great love of gardening, and to my garden of two acres and a half I
give my special attention. Under my study windows I also have a little
walled garden, thirty feet square, which is crowded with flowers from
the tulip season to the days of the hardy marigold and the enduring
cosmos. I very much enjoy the woods and fields about my present home.

"I used to be an enthusiastic fisherman, and have fished for many years
in many waters, but of late I have not lived near any suitable stream
or body of water, and in my outdoor hours I prefer the whip to the rod."

In appearance Mr. Stockton is small and spare, with partly white hair.
At first glance he might be taken for a sad man, and judging by his
portrait one would hardly associate him with humor--ah! and such
quaint, original humor. That is the author in repose. Animated, he is
another man. "The big, dark eyes, full of patient, weary expression,
are luminous," says one who knew him years ago; "the mouth, close and
discouraged, expands into smiling curves, sweet and sympathetic; the
whole soul is in the face, and, from head to foot, Frank Stockton is
the genial, responsive man. It is like a brilliant burst of sunshine
following a cloud, suddenly and unexpectedly, and therefore more
delicious in surprise and beauty."

No one, it is said, by the way, has ever heard Stockton laugh, but he
is reputed to be a "beautiful smiler."

Mr. George Cary Eggleston once spoke of the author of "Rudder Grange"
as "the greatest story-teller America has ever produced." Certainly
America has produced no more delightful or more original humorist.
He has given an immense amount of pleasure to the young and to the
old. Now the critic is constrained to acclaim him as a spring of
purest humor, and again to question whether he is not an incomparable
spinner of fairy-tales. From the very first (note "The Ting-a-ling
Stories") he has been very happy in his tales for children--whimsical
and fanciful, but never artificial or clownish. He is always master
of the situation, and he can be dignified, and even imposing, in his
drollest adventures. His stories are not a mere day's tickling. They
will refresh and entertain generations to come. This is no prophecy; it
is rather an opinion derived from the history of his successes up to
date. His early productions are no less popular than his later ones.
Stockton is no stylist; he is a plain humorist. Style may be acquired,
but humor must be born in a man. To be sure, there are several kinds
of humor, and each kind has its devotees, some choosing Chicago slang,
others the laboriously exaggerated bad spelling, and still others that
vulgar offshoot colloquially known as "freshness;" but we think that
they are wiser and happier who choose the odd, sweet, and charming kind
developed by the creator of Pomona, Mrs. Lecks, and Mrs. Aleshine. The
characters in Mr. Stockton's books are one of the best companies to be
met in our literature.

Unlike most American writers, Frank R.--as he has called himself ever
since his literary beginning--has drawn back from personal contact with
the reading public, for, as we have said, he is a shy man. It must be
hoped by his idealizing admirers that he will never overcome that
shyness. Some authors are to be seen and heard--though few of them are
to the platform manner born, like Mr. Cable or John Fox, Jr. We would
have this beloved story-teller of the present moment remain where he
has ever been--in the background, close to Wonderland. There, we like
to imagine, he dwells only to conjure up the inimitable children of
his brain and send them forth to give us pleasure. What a beautiful
life--to ease the troubled, to cheer the downcast, to amuse all sorts
and conditions of men and women and children!--to be conscious of all
that and yet to continue unaffectedly simple and genial!

In the portrait accompanying this sketch the reader will see the
kindliness of the eyes. It is the direct reflection of kindliness of
the heart. Yes, in that heart, freshened daily perhaps by the waters of
some fountain of perpetual youth, is kindliness (we have testimony to
that effect before us), sweetness, and unlimited cheerfulness--enough,
indeed, to re-create all those who seek his heart in his books.



JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS


In an article published by _The Bookman_ not very long ago Mr. James
Lane Allen remarked that Uncle Remus was one of the two names in
American fiction which have attained anything like universality of
acceptance, the other name being, of course, Uncle Tom. And yet fame
was thrust upon Mr. Joel Chandler Harris.

It happened in this wise. Mr. Harris went to work for the _Atlanta
Constitution_ as an editorial writer in 1876, succeeding Mr. Samuel
W. Small, who has since prefixed to his name the title of Reverend.
Mr. Small had made a success with sketches dealing with a character
called Uncle Si, and Capt. Evan P. Howell, the editor of the
_Constitution_, desired to have the success maintained in some form.
So he approached Mr. Harris with the suggestion that he should try his
hand at negro sketches. The young writer was diffident. He pleaded
inexperience, incapability; but Captain Howell wouldn't listen to the
excuses. In a good-natured way he pursued his associate, requesting,
begging, entreating, encouraging. If Mr. Harris would only put into
black-and-white those plantation stories with which he was accustomed
to entertain the staff! If he would only get his courage up! Finally,
the young man yielded and put some of the memories of his boyhood in
Putnam County, Georgia, into the mouth of a negro named Uncle Remus.
Uncle Remus he has been ever since the publication of the first
sketch--Uncle Remus, famous and beloved throughout the land.

Captain Howell is said to have gone to the editors' room the morning of
the first appearance of Uncle Remus and shouted: "Well, Harris, you're
a trump! If you just keep up that lick your fortune is made. Everybody
is talking about Uncle Remus, so give us another story." It was given
willingly.

Mr. Harris was born in 1848 in what used to be known as Middle Georgia.
Like many another of our well-established authors, he received a good
part of his education at the printer's case in a country newspaper
office. It was at the case--just as in the story of Howells and of
Mark Twain--that the Georgian acquired his love of journalism--a love
which often very naturally develops into a love for higher and more
durable literature. He joined the staff of the _Atlanta Constitution_
at the age of eighteen. For a time he served as dramatic critic, in
addition to his other service; but he soon found that he had no taste
for the theatre. It must be that it was his hard lot to fall among poor
actors, for it was not long before he gave up the work and formed a
determination to visit the theatre as seldom as possible. Thereafter,
he was virtually permitted by the editor of the _Constitution_ to
follow his own bent.

But the story is moving along a little too fast. It should be said
that Mr. Harris was fortunate in his birthplace. Eatonton, the capital
of Putnam County, was not a lively spot, in a mercantile sense, in
the days before the war, but it could boast of an excellent school,
Eatonton Academy.

Speaking of Eatonton, the _Baltimore American_, some thirteen or
fourteen years ago, printed this strange biography of Mr. Harris under
the title of "A Humorist's Sad Romance":

"Joel C. Harris, the famous humorist, of the _Atlanta_ (Ga.)
_Constitution_, has had a strangely romantic career. His father was a
missionary, and it was at the small town of Boog-hia, on the southern
coast of Africa, that Joel was born. He was educated by his father,
and is a profound Sanscrit scholar, besides being thoroughly versed in
Hebraic and Buddhist literature. Just before the Civil War he emigrated
to America, and taught school in a village near Lake Teeteelootchkee,
Fla. There he fell in love with Sallie O. Curtis, daughter of a wealthy
planter, and soon was engaged by Colonel Curtis as a private tutor. The
parents made no objection to their daughter's choice of a husband, but
the war came on before the marriage could take place, and so Colonel
Curtis and Mr. Harris went away to the war. The Colonel lost all his
property during the strife, and at the battle of Columbia, S. C., a
grape shot tore his leg into shreds. When the war closed Miss Sallie
died of yellow fever, and Mr. Harris became the support and comfort of
the maimed sire of his dead sweetheart. The two yet live together in a
vine-covered cottage near Atlanta. Mr. Harris is hardly forty years of
age, but his snow-white hair tells the sorrow of his life. He is noted
for his generosity, his amiability and his tenderness."

The fact is that from the time of his birth until General Sherman swept
toward the sea after burning Atlanta, Mr. Harris lived in Eatonton.
When he was six years old he could read, and it is said that a stray
copy of "The Vicar of Wakefield," met in his juvenile days, did much to
develop his taste for good literature. Joel attended Eatonton Academy
for a few terms, and at the age of twelve went to work for Colonel
Turner, the publisher of a weekly called _The Countryman_.

It was the boy's own enterprise and ambition which brought this about.
It was Joel himself who heard that Colonel Turner was in need of a
boy with "willing hands" to learn the printer's trade, and who went
unbidden and unendorsed to apply for a job. The publisher and the
youngster took a liking to each other on sight, and young Harris was
put to work forthwith.

Those were unquestionably among the happiest days of the humorist's
life. This is not saying, of course, that his cup of happiness is not
brimming over to-day; but those were days of new contentment. The young
printer's work was not burdensome; but the happiest fact of all is that
his employer, Colonel Turner, had a rich library, in which his youngest
workman was free to browse in leisure moments. The acorn of taste for
good books which the boy had cultivated at home here developed into an
oak; and the soil in which the acorn took root was fertile, and there
was ample room for the spread of every growing limb and bough.

At first the lad delved among the Elizabethans. Sir Thomas Browne, too,
became one of his favorite authors--nowadays Mr. Harris leans toward
Thackeray, Stevenson, Scott, Kipling and James Whitcomb Riley--a good
catholic taste. Few boys ever enjoyed a more advantageous course of
reading. Gradually the juvenile printer drifted from his books into
writing, just as a student one day quits the gallery and starts to
paint some work of his own. Colonel Turner responded to the ambition of
his protégé most generously. He praised the little works judiciously,
and before long young Harris was prompted to doff his anonymity and
stand up to be judged by himself. Thereafter he became a regular
contributor to _The Countryman_--which was truly rustic in scope as
well as in title--and the name of Harris began to be spoken throughout
Georgia.

This pleasant existence was interrupted by the war, which to the editor
and his assistant was indeed the fulfilment of an ancient threat.
When Sherman left Atlanta to march to the sea, he shaped his course
through Eatonton, and before him fled the loyal Southerners. Among
the last to leave the town was the proprietor of _The Countryman_.
Young Harris remained behind to look after the property. Little damage
was done in Eatonton, but the budding author, finding the state of
affairs chaotic, started, when the war was over, to make his fortune
elsewhere. He found employment on various newspapers, first in Macon,
then in New Orleans, then in Forsyth, and then in Savannah. In Savannah
he secured an editorial position on the _Morning News_, of which W.
T. Thompson, the author of "Major Jones's Courtship," and other once
popular humorous writings, was then the general manager. In Savannah,
the vagrant Eatontonian married Miss La Rose, and there he lived,
with ever-increasing success, until 1876, when yellow fever swept
through the town. Then he moved to Atlanta and went to work for the
_Constitution_. And here we shall take up the original thread of this
article.

In 1880, four years after the beginning of Mr. Harris's connection
with the _Constitution_, the Uncle Remus sketches, which meantime had
won much praise throughout the country, were numerous enough to make
a book of, and "Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings" was published by
the Appletons. The book solidified the author's fame. It had the good
fortune to be reprinted in England. Even then, more than twenty years
ago, it was reasonable to say that Uncle Remus was one of the foremost
characters in American fiction. In 1883, "Nights with Uncle Remus," was
published; the following year "Mingo and Other Sketches in Black and
White"; in 1887, "Free Joe and Other Georgian Sketches." Up to date,
Harris's books number at least sixteen.

But we must not lose sight of the fact that all the time the successful
story-teller kept up his editorial work on the paper to whose fame
he was contributing so materially. Indeed, until his retirement from
newspaper work, in 1900, his chief title was that of a "hard-working
journalist." It was his habit until within recent years to give his
mornings and afternoons to the _Constitution_ work, and his evenings
to miscellaneous literary work. He was able to maintain this arduous
program for so long a time because of his apparently inexhaustible
good nature and his simple manner of life; and, moreover, attention
to duties at hand soon became second nature in him. In recent years,
however, he gave only his mornings to his editorial labors. "His
habit," says an Atlanta correspondent, "was to come down to the office
at nine o'clock in the morning, get his editorial assignments for the
day, and then go home and do his work, sending his copy down early in
the afternoon." Such was his spirit of independence that if the editor
chanced to be late in coming down to the office he would not waste time
in waiting for him, but would pick up his bundle of newspapers and
start for home. Nevertheless, he would send in his copy without fail.
On making his morning visit to the office Mr. Harris was never out of
sorts. His good humor was perennial, and he never failed to impart
it to his co-workers. Though it was his lot to write editorials on
political topics, he never enjoyed the rancor of partisan politics, and
he managed to put into his editorials enough of humor to make the work
pleasant to himself as well as to others.

At the same time, the idol of the _Constitution_ staff, it is said,
never took a hearty interest in politics; he simply bowed to the
fact that as an editorial writer he could hardly eschew politics
entirely. But he felt that he owed much to the _Constitution_ for the
opportunity it had given him to make his reputation; and he allowed
this circumstance to outweigh his personal inclinations until the time
came when he found that he would either have to give up his editorial
work or neglect his literary contracts. So, finally, on Sept. 6, 1900,
he departed from the office of the _Constitution_ for good, taking
with him the tearful love of all his associates. As a sort of legacy,
he left two sons on the paper, Julian, the managing news editor, and
Evelyn, the city editor.

And then, almost at the end of his fifty-second year, the dearest
Georgian of them all entered upon an unembarrassed literary career,
with every promise of doing more work and better work than ever. But
even if this promise should rest unfulfilled--which seems almost out
of question--we have with us Uncle Remus and Aunt Minervy Ann, Brer
Rabbit and Brer Fox, creations unsurpassed in originality and in
delightfulness.

Mr. Harris's work is done at his home in West End, one of the suburbs
of Atlanta, and few visitors are permitted to interrupt him. Not that
he is gruff; he is simply retiring. He prefers to be known by his
books. They who know him intimately--and they are not many--say that he
is remarkably kind and hospitable. We respect his desire for privacy.
We will not even knock on the door and beg one glimpse of his private
life. With the whole reading public we shall be content to note his
boundless cheerfulness and rare enjoyableness as a story-teller.



[Illustration: DR. S. WEIR MITCHELL.]



S. WEIR MITCHELL


About sixty years ago Oliver Wendell Holmes, taking dinner one night in
Philadelphia with his friend, Dr. John K. Mitchell, was so pleased with
one of Dr. Mitchell's boys, by name Silas Weir, then a little more than
ten years old, that he gave the boy a copy of his famous ballad on the
frigate Constitution.

Some seventeen years later, in 1856, when Silas was a young doctor,
with a brand-new degree, he showed Dr. Holmes a book of poems which he
hoped to have published. Dr. Holmes advised the young man to put the
poems away until he was forty, and then to reconsider his determination
to have them published. "The publication of these verses at this
time," said the genial but shrewd Autocrat, "will do you no good. They
will not help you in your life as a physician, and they cannot stand
alone." The soundness of Dr. Holmes's judgment was later proved by
the circumstance that the young man blossomed into one of the most
distinguished physicians of his time. Dr. Mitchell's volume of poems,
"The Hill of Stones," published about four years ago, contains just one
of the poems offered to the Boston poet in 1856, namely, "Herndon."
As an author, Dr. Mitchell is less celebrated than his friendly
counsellor; but as a doctor he is far more celebrated than was Dr.
Holmes in his palmiest days.

S. Weir Mitchell, one of the six sons of Dr. John Kearsley Mitchell,
was born in Philadelphia on February 16, 1829. His father was then
a leader in his profession. He was one of the first Americans to
investigate scientifically "animal magnetism," as hypnotism was called
in the early part of the last century; and, moreover, he was a highly
valued contributor to the medical periodicals of the day. It is
noteworthy that he had a taste for literature. Two of his lyrics, "The
Old Song and the New Song" and "Prairie Lea," had a wide popularity in
their day.

At the age of fifteen Weir Mitchell entered the University of
Pennsylvania. There he spent three years; and afterward he entered
Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, in which his father was a
professor. One of the severest disappointments in the son's life
came in 1870, twenty years after graduation, when, notwithstanding
the solicitation of influential friends, he failed of election to a
professorship in Jefferson College. However, this disappointment, like
the one which he met when he consulted Dr. Holmes about his first book
of poems, worked eventually to his greater glory.

After graduation from Jefferson College Dr. Mitchell, as we shall call
our author henceforth, went to Paris, whence, owing to an attack of
smallpox, he was obliged to return in less than two years.

By this time the young doctor had lost sight of his literary star. His
ambition was to teach medicine. The first article from his pen appeared
in the _American Journal of Medical Science_. Other articles followed
with quick regularity, but to none of these early writings, we believe,
does Dr. Mitchell attach much importance. From 1858 until 1862, when he
enlisted as an army surgeon, the doctor devoted his spare hours to the
study of poisons, particularly snake poisons. Not long after the Civil
War, by the way, one of the largest rattlesnakes ever sent to him died
of cold. Dr. Mitchell had the skin preserved and tanned, and he sent
it to Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes with the suggestion that it might make
a worthy binding for "Elsie Venner." "I thank you for it," Dr. Holmes
wrote back, "especially because it makes an attractive binding, and I
know that its bark is better than its bite." It would be interesting to
pursue Dr. Mitchell's scientific achievements, but such a pursuit would
be too long to agree with the purpose of this sketch.

However, his career as a war surgeon is worth looking at, for it had
something to do with his subsequent advent as a writer of fiction. Dr.
Mitchell and his associates made a deep study not only of the effects
of certain wounds but also of the effects of environment. Much of
the curious information thus derived was given to the world through
the medical papers. It was undoubtedly the study followed during
this period which formed the base of Dr. Mitchell's now universally
recognized success as a neurologist. The universality of his fame as a
specialist in nervous diseases has two substantial witnesses. One is
the oration delivered at Edinburgh University in 1895, when he received
the title of Doctor of Laws. In that oration he was spoken of as "the
chief ornament to medical science in the new world." The other witness
is the story of his visit some years ago to Dr. Charcot, one of the
great French authorities on nervous diseases. Dr. Mitchell did not give
his name; he merely said that he was from Philadelphia, and that there
was something the matter with his nerves.

"Why," said Dr. Charcot, "you should never have come beyond
Philadelphia for advice for such an ailment. You have a physician in
your own city better qualified to manage your case than I am."

"Indeed," the visitor is said to have remarked; "and who may he be?"

"Dr. S. Weir Mitchell," replied Dr. Charcot; "and as I know him by
correspondence I will venture to give you a letter to him. You should
consult him upon your return home."

"No, thanks," said the American smiling, "I am Dr. S. Weir Mitchell."

Certainly a handsome compliment for Dr. Mitchell! And certainly a
remarkable piece of professional modesty on the part of Dr. Charcot!

Perhaps it is well to say at this point that, in 1896, Harvard
University also honored Dr. Mitchell with the title of Doctor of Laws;
that he is a member of the American National Academy of Sciences, an
honorary member of the Clinical Society of London, the London Medical
Society, the Royal Academy of Medicine of Rome, and a corresponding
member of many other foreign medical societies; and that he was once
President of the Congress of American Physicians and Surgeons. In 1888
the University of Bologna conferred on him the title of Doctor of
Medicine.

Dr. Mitchell's entrance into romantic literature was made anonymously
and, it might be said, accidentally. Soon after the close of the
Civil War, the story goes, he and some professional associates one
day discussed all sides of the question whether the loss of the limbs
involves the loss of the victim's individuality. As a result of that
discussion Dr. Mitchell wrote the story of the fictitious case of one
George Dedlow, who had suffered the loss of his arms and his legs.
The story, which, as they who have read it know, is an intensely
interesting complication of romance and science, came to the hands
of the Rev. Dr. Furness, one of Dr. Mitchell's friends, who took the
liberty of sending it to Edward Everett Hale, in Boston. Dr. Hale, who,
at that time, was at the height of his literary power, saw that the
story was rare material, and he submitted it forthwith to the editor
of _The Atlantic Monthly_. It was promptly accepted, and the first Dr.
Mitchell knew of what had happened was when he received a proof of the
story, together with a good-sized check and a note complimenting him on
the freshness and attractiveness of his article. "The Case of George
Dedlow," indeed, was described so realistically that, according to
tradition, subscriptions were raised for the poor victim's support and
comfort. The newspapers, too, started a discussion of the prodigy, and
it was a long time before the public became persuaded that the tale was
utter fiction, put together with extraordinary skill.

Dr. Mitchell's first book was "Children's Hours," a collection of
fairy tales, illustrated by Dr. John Packard. The book was in no sense
a great literary effort; it was intended to serve, and did serve, a
charitable purpose. His first novel was "In War Times," published
serially in _The Atlantic Monthly_ in 1885. Between that time and the
publication of "Hugh Wynne" in 1897, the Philadelphian wrote a number
of works, the most notable among which were a few dramatic poems. The
poems delighted the critical; they were caviare to the general. Dr.
Mitchell is not a poet of the "golden clime" of which Tennyson speaks;
he has simply found in poetry the fittest vehicle for the expression
of some attractive and stirring ideas. His verse reveals his fine
sympathy with the true poets rather than his intimate association with
them.

Unqualified success came to the veteran author with the publication in
1897 of "Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker," which will be remembered in years to
come as one of the choicest of American novels. The writing of "Hugh
Wynne," which was done at Bar Harbor in the summer of 1896, in less
than two months, took years of preparation. It is said that he wrote
to a woman "for the name and a full description of every article of
apparel worn by a lady in America in the years before and about the
time" of the Revolution. Moreover: "One will find on the shelves of
his library at home," says a casual biographer, "great rows of books
consulted in the preparation of the novel, and among them, as samples,
will be noticed Keith's 'Provincial Councillors of Pennsylvania,'
Watson's 'Annals,' Trumble's 'The Knightly Soldier,' Fiske's 'Critical
Period of American History,' 'The True George Washington,' by Ford;
Professor McMaster's 'History of the United States,' 'The Cannoneer,'
by Buell, and scores of others, some of them very rare." We find it
also said that every chapter of importance in the story was written
at least twice, and that some chapters were written even three times,
before the manuscript was sent to the publisher. Nothing which Dr.
Mitchell has written since shows a power equal to the power of "Hugh
Wynne." That novel, therefore, must be regarded as his supreme literary
effort. "The Adventures of François" proved entertaining and nothing
more; its early popularity was an echo of the immense popularity of
the Revolutionary story. "Dr. North and His Friends" is not, as many
suppose, an autobiography; but it may fairly be said that by means
of Dr. North the author relates some of his most remarkable personal
impressions and personal experiences.

Dr. Holmes was once a little disturbed, and much amused, at the
same time, by a reference to his "medicated writings." The careful
reader will note a strong pathological element in most of Dr.
Mitchell's works; not enough, however, to warrant describing them as
"medicated." The fact is, Dr. Mitchell has made good use of his rare
scientific knowledge in the development of many of his characters.
One of his intimate friends is reported to have said once that the
doctor is constantly studying human characteristics, especially the
characteristics of singular persons. "He picks out their brains in a
very fine and delicate way," said the friend. "Thus he studies human
nature, much in that same synthetical manner in which he dissects a
physical malady."

Personally the author of "Hugh Wynne" is described as gentle, cordial,
and, in convivial company, very entertaining. It has frequently
been said of him that he appears to be what he is,--a scholar and a
scientist.

Some years ago, when Dr. Mitchell was a guest in one of the
semi-literary clubs in London, he and the circle around him fell into
a discussion of problem novels, which finally resolved itself into a
discussion of "Tess of the D'Urbervilles," then in the heyday of its
popularity. Dr. Mitchell took his ground on two points: he expressed
admiration of Mr. Hardy as an artist, but utter dislike of the scheme
of "Tess." A man who had meantime joined the circle entered quietly and
unobtrusively into the conversation, admitting the force of some of
Dr. Mitchell's general objections to problem novels, but maintaining
the ethical and artistic merits of the plan of Judge Hardy's new book.
The newcomer showed such an intimate knowledge of the construction of
"Tess" that the American paid more than ordinary attention to him. At
length, when the company was dispersing, Dr. Mitchell's host, with an
innocent smile, proceeded to make the two debaters formally acquainted
with each other.

"This is a friend of mine, Doctor," he said to his guest, "about whose
work you know a great deal. Allow me to introduce to you Thomas Hardy,
with whom you can hardly find any fault for defending poor Tess."

The acquaintance thus curiously begun has since ripened into a rich
friendship.

Dr. Mitchell does most of his literary work at Bar Harbor, in the
summer. There is no sign of the end of this pure labor of love; but
the work which exists already is sufficient, in itself, to show that
a man burdened with the gravest interests of medical science may give
profitable and brilliant employment to his imagination.



[Illustration: ROBERT GRANT.]



ROBERT GRANT


Robert Grant leads the American satirists. Many writers, unnamed
paragraphers and critics of high degree, have pursued him relentlessly;
but he will not surrender. Contrariwise, it is more likely that they
will yet surrender to him. He has Napoleon's way of turning upon
pursuers.

The satirist is not always clearly understood. For some of this
misunderstanding the satirist himself is to blame. Mr. Grant, for
example, has never yet explained what he meant by saying in "The Art of
Living" that a satisfactory life demands an income of ten thousand a
year. On the other hand, some of the misunderstanding is due to a lack
of humor among his critics. And at the bottom of the misunderstanding
is the natural inconsistency which prompted Mr. Aldrich to write in
"Marjorie Daw"--"I have known a woman to satirize a man for years, and
marry him after all."

An incident which took place not long ago illustrates Judge Grant's
sincerity. The statement had been made in a periodical now defunct
that "a sufficiency of money has made things pretty pleasant for our
literary philosopher." Although averse, unlike many professional
writers, to taking advantage of opportunities for controversy, the
Judge made this reply to the statement: "It is true that for some years
I have had a comfortable income; but if I have been able to command the
advantages of modern life at the rate of $10,000 a year, it is because
I have earned the money by the sweat of my brow through literary and
legal work, and not because my 'judicial seat' is 'padded' with
inherited stocks and bonds.... It may interest those who have convinced
themselves that my philosophy is founded on a patrimony, to know that
from the time I left the Law School in 1879 the yearly income which I
have received from vested property has been so small as barely to pay
for the life insurance which I carry, and that I have acquired the
money which I spend or save by my own exertions. It is true that I was
brought up in comfort and given every opportunity to follow my tastes,
but this is all I owe to family income."

The incident is worth recalling for the light which it throws on the
novelist's economical position. The man who is competent to make ten
thousand a year is welcome to his enjoyment of it.

Robert Grant first earned some celebrity as a writer while at Harvard,
which he entered after his graduation from the Boston Latin School in
1869, when he was seventeen years old. His literary career began with
his contributions to the college papers, notably _The Lampoon_. That
his literary skill was recognized at Harvard is proved by his election
to the office of class poet at graduation, in 1873. That summer, while
abroad, he seems to have determined upon following his first taste, to
use his own expression; for at the end of the summer he went back to
Harvard for a three years' course in English and foreign literature,
upon the completion of which he received the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy.

Why he decided to choose another profession has never been divulged,
but, anyhow, at the end of the summer of 1876, he entered the Harvard
Law School. Three years afterward he was graduated from it, and
forthwith he became a member of the Bar and an active practitioner.

Mr. Grant left Harvard with a budding reputation. In company with Mr.
F. J. Stimson ("J. S. of Dale"), Barrett Wendell (now professor of
English at Harvard), F. G. Attwood, whose untimely death has bereft
our literature of one of its happiest decorators, and Mr. John T.
Wheelwright, now a lawyer in Boston, he had polished _The Lampoon_
considerably. Perhaps his most popular work at this time was "The
Little Tin Gods on Wheels; or, Society in our Modern Athens," a
burlesque after the Greek manner, which appeared in _The Lampoon_,
with illustrations by Attwood. In fact, it was to be found in a book
published by Sever, together with the young satirist's other promising
works, "The Wall Flowers," "The Chaperons," and "Oxygen, a Mt. Desert
Pastoral," squibs dealing with the foibles of fashionable society.

Thus favorably introduced to the reading public, he lost no time in
striking the iron while it was hot, and in 1880 gave out his first
novel, "The Confessions of a Frivolous Girl," which, by reason of its
remarkable exposition of the character of the leading lady, as she
may be called, and its popular attractiveness, won immediate success
at home and abroad. Three years later his second book, "The Knave of
Hearts," the autobiography of a ruthless young man, was published; and
the same year appeared in _The Century_ the articles which make up
"An Average Man," and a satire on Wall Street entitled "The Lambs, a
Tragedy." In 1883, too, it may be mentioned, Mr. Grant read at the Phi
Beta Kappa reunion at Harvard a poem called "Yankee Doodle." In 1885
"A Romantic Young Lady," another skit on fashionable life, made its
appearance; and that year he also served as the poet of the two hundred
and fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Boston Latin
School.

The following year, 1886, he finished what, up to that time, was by far
his most serious work, "Face to Face," which was published anonymously.
In it Anglomania and the labor problem are touched on boldly and
brilliantly, and even to-day the points of the book are fresh and
sparkling. Later came "The Reflections of a Philosopher," "The Opinions
of a Married Man," "Searchlight Letters," "The Art of Living," and,
last of all, "Unleavened Bread." "He says," once remarked a man, "what
you have thought and wanted to say yourself"; and a better compliment
could hardly be paid his philosophy.

A writer who went to see Judge Grant some years ago said: "He has
cultivated to a rare degree the faculty which is of the utmost
importance to every literary man, namely, that of concentration. The
greater part of his writing is done during the intervals of business
in the morning hours at his office. There, the casual visitor is
almost certain to find him, seated at his desk, with his manuscript
spread out before him. He will drop his pen, upon the instant, to
consider some point of legal technique, with which imagination has
nothing whatever to do, listen attentively, take notes or give advice,
as though this were the sole object of his existence; then, when the
interruption ceases, he will turn back to his unwritten page, finishing
that and another too, it may be, before the morning goes, if he is in
the vein. This power of leaving off and beginning again quickly was
not easily acquired. It is the result of long training in years of
practical experience. But, like every true artist, Mr. Grant really
carries his work with him wherever he goes. He is always recording and
storing up impressions, taking mental notes, or working out details
of construction, even when these matters seem to be the farthest from
his thoughts; and he is accustomed to say that the actual writing
of a story troubles him very little since, with him, when writing
begins, the most difficult part of the task is already accomplished.
But, in spite of his fluent pen, he has learned to look at his work
objectively, and he is extremely self-critical, having destroyed more
than once a tale half told, from conviction that it failed to do him
justice."

In 1882 Mayor Green of Boston selected Mr. Grant as his private
secretary, and in 1888 Mayor O'Brien of Boston appointed him a member
of the board of water commissioners. This latter post he held until a
few years ago, when he was appointed a Judge in the Probate Court of
Suffolk County, sitting in Boston. There, almost every day, he may
be seen by anyone visiting Boston, a medium-sized, delicate-looking
man, with shrewd features, an eye sharp as a detective's, a somewhat
brisk manner, and a faint but pleasant voice, to which the most learned
counsel lend eager ears. Since his appointment to the Bench he has
limited his literary activity to two hours a day, which short but
productive period he has been wont to spend generally at the Athenæum
Library on Beacon Street, a stone's throw from the Court House.

Judge Grant is very happy in his children, and this circumstance may
account for his delightful books for boys, "Jack Hall" and "Jack in the
Bush." He is a keen though perhaps not enthusiastic sportsman. Every
few years he and his wife, who was Miss Galt, the eldest daughter of
Sir Alexander Tillock Galt, the Canadian statesman, go bicycling in
Europe.

This excursive disposition does not narrow his enjoyment of what
is best in town life. It has been said of him: "He is not only an
admirable talker with a nimble wit, apt at repartee, but he is also a
genial sympathetic listener, thus combining very happily the qualities
which make a man hail-fellow-well met wherever he goes; and no one
meeting Mr. Grant for the first time can fail to recognize and delight
in that quick sense of humor which is so characteristic of his writing."

A few years ago he was interviewed regarding his likes and dislikes.
He said that his favorite prose authors were Thackeray and Balzac, his
favorite poets, Shakespeare and Goethe, his favorite book, "Vanity
Fair," his favorite play, "Hamlet," his favorite heroines in fiction,
Becky Sharp and Eugénie Grandet, his favorite heroes in fiction, Santa
Claus and Brer Rabbit; and he admires truth most in men and loving
sympathy in women.

His strength as a writer lies in an unsurpassed ability to detect and
delineate shams, and this ability shines brilliantly in the character
of Selma White, the heroine of "Unleavened Bread." The book is a
protest against superficiality; the character of Selma White is a
monument of vanity. We have all met Selmas, rampant women--there are
men like them, of course--who flatter themselves that they are born to
grace every resting-place and brush aside difficulties that would have
staggered Napoleon or Catherine de Medici. The author has contradicted
the opinion that Selma is a shaft aimed at women's clubs. "It is simply
that modern women's clubs are the best medium for that kind of women,"
he says "that I depicted Selma as a prime mover in some of them. But
she exists outside of women's clubs probably more plentifully than in
them."

It has been said that Judge Grant is timid about forcing his way into
public attention. The reply quoted from early in this article was an
exception to an apparently firmly established rule. At the time when
comment on his ten-thousand-a-year proposition was severest Judge Grant
wrote to a friend for advice, and he was very easily persuaded to give
no heed to his critics. At the same time, if what he had thought of
saying would have blown the fog away, it would have been better for him
then to have settled the question decisively. But, he was content for
the nonce to have his retiring disposition approved; and a philosopher
of this type rather invites than forbids attack. But, after all,
even his harshest critics praise his rare skill in the exposition of
character, his remarkable fertility of wit, and his complete mastery
of the technique of literature. Nor is it to be gainsaid that his
career has illustrated the wisdom of his lines in "The Lambs":

    Success is Labor's prize
      Work is the mother of fame.
    And who on a boom shall rise
      To the height of an honest name?
    The bee by industry reapeth
      The stores which enrich the hives.
    All that is thrifty creepeth,
      For toil is the law of lives,
    And he who reaps without sowing,
      A bitter harvest reaps;
    The law of gradual growing
      Is the law that never sleeps.



[Illustration: F. MARION CRAWFORD.]



F. MARION CRAWFORD


Since 1893, when he made his first tour through the country as a
lecturer, F. Marion Crawford has become a somewhat familiar figure to
many Americans, who have noted his athletic form, his handsome face,
his melodious voice, his polished deportment. He is easily the best
known of the American authors who make their homes abroad.

In Major Pond's "Reminiscences," by the way, they who have heard Mr.
Crawford read from his novels or recite his description of Pope Leo
XIII, will find a very interesting account of the author's experiences
during his American tours.

Mr. Crawford is a cosmopolite of the first rank. He was born in Bagni
di Lucca, Italy, August 2, 1854. His father was Thomas Crawford,
the famous sculptor, who, born in the west of Ireland and reared in
America, had, some years before, been sent to Rome to master his
profession. He had finished studying with the great Thorwaldsen, and
had made a reputation of his own, when he met and married Miss Louisa
Ward, who was visiting Rome with Dr. Samuel G. Howe and his wife,
Julia Ward Howe. Marion was the youngest of four children. One of his
sisters, Mrs. Fraser, has made no small name for herself as a writer.

At the age of two, Marion was sent to live for awhile with kinsfolk in
Bordentown, N. J. "Among the earliest things that I remember," he said
once to an interviewer, "is my great delight in watching the coming and
going of the trains as they shot across the farm near the old house."

His father died in 1857, and then Marion was taken back to Italy, where
he spent his early days.

"Most of my boyhood," he said, to an interviewer, when he was in this
country on his first lecture tour, "was spent under the direction of a
French governess. Not only did I learn her language from her, but all
of my studies, geography, arithmetic, and so forth, were taught me in
French, and I learned to write it with great readiness, as a mere boy,
because it was the language of my daily tasks. The consequence is that
to this day I write French with the ease of English. There have been
times when I know that I have lost some of my facility in speaking
French through long absence from the country, but the acquirement of
writing is always with me, which shows the value of early impressions
in that direction."

When twelve years old Marion was sent to St. Paul's School, Concord,
N. H., where he remained for two years. Readers familiar with his
portraits will remember that in most of them he is represented as
smoking. This inveterate habit he acquired during his first year's
residence at St. Paul's.

The age of fifteen found the migrant youth back in Rome again, where
he took up the study of Greek and mathematics. Later he studied with a
private tutor at Hatfield Broadoak, in Essex, England, and from this
school he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he passed four
terms. There he perfected himself in German, Swedish and Spanish. He
found German of good use when, later, he studied at Karlsruhe and at
Heidelberg. At the age of twenty-two he returned to Rome to study at
the University of Rome. There one of the professors interested him
in Buddhism and the other Oriental mysteries. This professor, who
recognized the young pupil's aptitude in languages, advised him to
go to India and study Sanscrit, and then returning, he could readily
obtain a professorship. The advice appealed to young Crawford, and he
borrowed a hundred pounds and sailed for Bombay. There he occasionally
wrote articles for one of the newspapers, but his employment was
uncertain, and two pounds represented all his worldly possessions when
the editor of the _Bombay Gazette_ informed him that the editor of the
_Allahabad Indian Herald_ was in need of a "good man." Would he take
the position? "Would a duck swim?" said Mr. Crawford; and off he went
to Allahabad, a thousand miles away. There he learned that the "good
man" was supposed to fill the posts of reporter, managing editor and
editorial writer, with now and then a turn at type-setting. Thus none
of the sixteen hours of the working day would be wasted. But Mr.
Crawford couldn't afford to grumble. Instead he buckled down to what he
describes as the hardest eighteen months' work of his life.

In 1880, at the age of twenty-six, with no valuable possessions except
his experience, he returned to Rome, and thence, early in 1881, he set
out for America. The old steamship in which he took passage broke down
in mid-ocean, and Mr. Crawford's great physical strength and nervous
energy were in constant demand. As the only cabin passenger on board,
he had the honor of alternating on deck with the captain and the mates.
At Bermuda, where the ship put in for repairs, he narrowly escaped
drowning. Finally, at the end of two months, the ship reached New
York. In this country he made his home at times with his uncle, Samuel
Ward, the Horace of "Dr. Claudius," and at times with his aunt, Mrs.
Julia Ward Howe. He had not been long in the country before he entered
Harvard College, where he took a special course in Sanscrit under Prof.
Charles Lanman.

He left Harvard in a state of uncertainty. He was ready to do anything
to earn a living. He tried unsuccessfully to place some articles on
philology. He reviewed books, principally for the _New York Times_. He
lectured on "The Origin of Sacrifice." He won a small sum of money with
an article on the silver question. One day early in May, 1882, his kind
uncle, Samuel Ward, asked him to dinner at the New York Club, which was
then situated in Madison Square. But here is where Mr. Crawford should
come in to tell his own interesting story:

"As was perfectly natural, we began to exchange stories while
smoking, and I told him (Mr. Ward), with a great deal of detail, my
recollections of an interesting man whom I met in Simla. When I had
finished, he said to me: 'That is a good two-part magazine story,
and you must write it out immediately.' He took me around to his
apartments, and that night I began to write the story of 'Mr. Isaacs.'
Part of the first chapter was written afterward, but the rest of that
chapter and several succeeding chapters are the story I told to Uncle
Sam. I kept at it from day to day, getting more interested in the work
as I proceeded, and from time to time I would read a chapter to Uncle
Sam. When I got through the original story I was so amused with the
writing of it that it occurred to me that I might as well make Mr.
Isaacs fall in love with an English girl, and then I kept on writing to
see what would happen. By and by I remembered a mysterious Buddhist
whom I had met once in India, and so I introduced him, still further to
complicate matters. I went to Newport to visit my aunt, Mrs. Julia Ward
Howe, while I was in the midst of the story, and continued it there.
It was on June 13, 1882, while in her home, that I finished the last
chapter of 'Mr. Isaacs,' and, Uncle Sam appearing in Newport at that
time, I read him the part of the story which he had not heard. 'You
will give it to me,' he said, 'and I shall try to find a publisher.' He
had for many years frequented the bookstore of Macmillan, and was well
acquainted with the elder George Brett. He took the manuscript to Mr.
Brett, who forwarded it to the English house, and in a short time it
was accepted.

"Having tasted blood, I began, very soon after finishing 'Mr. Isaacs,'
to write another story for my own amusement, 'Dr. Claudius.' Late in
November I was advised by the Messrs. Macmillan that in order to secure
an English copyright, as well as an American copyright, I must be on
English soil on the day of publication. So I went to St. John, New
Brunswick, where I had a very pleasant time, and continued to write the
story of 'Dr. Claudius,' which I finished in December. 'Mr. Isaacs'
was published on December 6, and I, of course, knew nothing about its
reception. However, toward the end of the month I started on my return
journey to the United States, and when I arrived in Boston on the
day before Christmas, and stepped out of the train, I was surprised
beyond measure to find the railway news stand almost covered with great
posters announcing 'Mr. Isaacs.' The next morning, at my hotel, I found
a note awaiting me from Thomas Bailey Aldrich, then editor of _The
Atlantic Monthly_, asking me for an interview, at which he proposed
that I write a serial for his magazine. I felt confident then, and do
now, that 'Dr. Claudius' would not be a good serial story. However, I
promised that Mr. Aldrich should have a serial, and began soon after to
write 'A Roman Singer,' which was completed in February, 1883."

That is Mr. Crawford's own story of his start as a novelist, told to
us nine years ago in a Boston hotel. The original of Mr. Isaacs was a
diamond dealer in Simla named Jacobs. We have heard it related that the
chief figure in "A Roman Singer" was partly sketched from a musician
now resident in Boston, whom the novelist had known intimately in Rome.
The American scenery of "Dr. Claudius" was, of course, fresh in the
author's mind.

Mr. Crawford said last year: "What a novelist needs in order to succeed
is energy above all else. But he also needs to be very poor. No man
with money will work hard enough when he is young to succeed. He needs
to begin early, work hard, and sit long in one place. If he has money
he won't sit long in one place." Mr. Crawford had no money when he
started, but he had abundant energy, and he could sit for a day in one
place. Hence his success. In "The Three Fates" the close reader will
discern a glimpse of the foundation of Mr. Crawford's literary career.

In May, 1883, the rising author went back to Italy, where he wrote "To
Leeward" and "Saracinesca." The next year he spent in Constantinople,
and there he was married to Miss Elizabeth Berdan, the daughter of
General Berdan. In 1885 he settled permanently at Sorrento. "Villa
Crawford," his home, stands on a high bluff, overlooking the Bay of
Naples. There, in a room padded to keep out sound, the author of "Mr.
Isaacs" has done most of his literary work for the last fifteen years.

Mr. Crawford has frequently been called "a born novelist," and we
have yet to find a critic who, judging him by all that he has done,
is inclined to deny him the right to that high title. His dialogue is
vivid, his problems, as a rule, logically worked out, his dramatic
situations strong and timely. Not all his works, however, are of
even power or attractiveness; and no one recognizes this fact more
clearly than the novelist himself. He has said that the book which he
enjoyed writing most is "Mr. Isaacs"; the book which has for him the
most reality is "Pietro Ghisleri," and the book of the most polish is
"Zoroaster." In years gone by "Zoroaster" was studied in the English
departments of many colleges.

"I believe," said Mr. Crawford, last year, "that the novelist is the
result of a demand. Consequently, I believe that it is the province
of the novel to amuse, to cultivate, mainly to please. I do not
believe that the novel should instruct. The story is the great thing.
Therefore, I do not believe in problem novels, or what they call
realism. It is disagreeable to the people." Yet, in his thirty-six
works, he has said, to use his own words, some "pretty tall things."

Mr. Crawford attributes much of his skill in writing English to the
letters which his mother used to write to him when he was away at
school. After she had married Mr. Terry, her home in Rome, the Palazzo
Odescalchi, became the meeting-place of many brilliant men and women.
Artists, poets and literarians crowded her house every Wednesday
afternoon, and this choice admiration of her ended only with her
death. Of French, German, and, of course Italian, her brilliant son is
as sure a master as he is of English; he writes Turkish and Russian
readily, and he converses fluently in most of the Eastern tongues. His
recreation is yachting. Indeed he holds a shipmaster's certificate
entitling him to navigate sailing vessels on the high seas. Five years
ago he proved his seamanship by navigating his yacht, an old New York
pilot boat, across the seas to Sorrento.

All in all, a delightful and accomplished author and
gentleman-at-large.



[Illustration: Photo by Hollinger, N. Y.

JAMES LANE ALLEN.]



JAMES LANE ALLEN


A few novelists know the world which renews its youth every spring and
that dies every autumn, as intimately as Thoreau knew it. One of these
novelists is Thomas Hardy, whose description of Egdon Heath in "The
Return of the Native" has long been in use as a model in the English
Department at Harvard. One of these also is James Lane Allen, the
Kentucky schoolmaster.

The chapter entitled "Hemp" in "The Reign of Law," contains abundant
evidence of this loving power. Here is a random choice:

"One day something is gone from earth and sky: Autumn has come, season
of scales and balances, when the earth, brought to judgment for its
fruits, says, 'I have done what I could--now let me rest!'

"Fall!--and everywhere the sights and sounds of falling. In the woods,
through the cool silvery air, the leaves, so indispensable once, so
useless now. Bright day after bright day, dripping night after dripping
night, the never-ending filtering or gusty fall of leaves. The fall
of walnuts, dropping from bare boughs with muffled boom into the deep
grass. The fall of the hickory-nut, rattling noisily down through the
scaly limbs and scattering its hulls among the stones of the brook
below. The fall of buckeyes, rolling like balls of mahogany into the
little dust paths made by sheep, in the hot months, when they had
sought those roofs of leaves. The fall of acorns, leaping out of their
matted green cups as they strike the rooty earth. The fall of red
haw, persimmon, and pawpaw, and the odorous wild plum in its valley
thickets. The fall of all seeds whatsoever of the forest, now made ripe
in their high places and sent back to the ground, there to be folded in
against the time when they shall rise again as the living generations;
the homing, downward flight of the seeds in the many-colored woods all
over the quiet land."

Mr. Mabie, writing once in _The Outlook_, dwelt on what has been called
the "landscape beauty" of Mr. Allen's work. "No American novelist," he
said "has so imbedded his stories in Nature as has James Lane Allen;
and among English novels one recalls only Mr. Hardy's three classics
of pastoral England, and among French novelists George Sand and Pierre
Loti. Nature furnishes the background of many charming American
stories, and finds delicate or effective remembrance in the hands of
writers like Miss Jewett and Miss Murfree; but in Mr. Allen's romances
Nature is not behind the action; she is involved in it. Her presence
is everywhere; her influence streams through the story; the deep and
prodigal beauty which she wears in rural Kentucky shines on every page;
the tremendous forces which sweep through her disclose their potency in
human passion and impulse...."

And when James MacArthur was editing _The Bookman_ he said: "Poetry,
'the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge,' according to
Wordsworth, 'the impassioned expression which is in the countenance
of all science,'--that poetry irrespective of rhyme and metrical
arrangement which is as immortal as the heart of man, is distinctive
in Mr. Allen's work from the first written page. Like Minerva issuing
full-formed from the head of Jove, Mr. Allen issues from his long
years of silence and seclusion a perfect master of his art--unfailing
in its inspiration, unfaltering in its classic accent." It was Mr.
MacArthur, who, speaking of "The Choir Invisible," said that "it would
be difficult to recall any other novel since 'The Scarlet Letter' that
has touched the same note of greatness, or given to one section of
our national life, as Hawthorne's classic did to another, a voice far
beyond singing."

Mr. MacArthur's remark that Mr. Allen came forth from "his long years
of silence and seclusion a perfect master of his art" is largely true.
Although born about half a century ago, it was not until 1884 that he
settled down to writing. Not many of our distinguished writers passed
thirty before tasting the bitter-sweet fruit of authorship.

Mr. Allen was born on a farm in Fayette County, Kentucky, a few miles
from Lexington; and on the farm he spent his early childhood. His
mother's maiden name was Helen Foster. Her parents, who were of the
Scotch-Irish stock which settled in Pennsylvania before the Revolution,
had found a permanent home in Mississippi. On his father's side he is
a descendant of the Virginians who formed the Kentucky pioneers. The
son was graduated from Kentucky University--which has been pictured
in the history of his latest hero, David,--in 1872. For several years
afterward he taught in district schools, at first near his home, and
later in Missouri. Still later he became a private tutor; then he took
a professorship in his alma mater; and at length he brought his career
as a teacher to a close while at Bethany College, West Virginia. That
very year, 1884, he moved to New York, put away his text-books, and
plunged into the sea of literature. One who knew him in those days has
described him as "a blond young giant with a magnificent head and a
strong, kindly face."

From the day of his decision to be a writer until the present time Mr.
Allen has worked industriously and successfully. Fifteen years ago the
chief literary and critical magazines published many of his essays, and
from time to time his short stories appeared in _Harper's Magazine_ and
_The Century Magazine_. These short stories were afterward collected
and published under the title of "Flute and Violin." Then appeared at
irregular intervals "The Blue Grass Region of Kentucky," "A Kentucky
Cardinal" and its sequel, "Aftermath," "A Summer in Arcady," "The Choir
Invisible," and, latest of all, "The Reign of Law."

The author's high reputation was firmly established by "A Kentucky
Cardinal" and "Aftermath." "In these two books," said one critic,
looking backward, "Nature was interwoven benignantly with the human
nature resting on her bosom, leading her lover, Adam Moss, with
gentle influences to the human lover, and, when bereft of human love,
receiving him back into her healing arms." The books made as deep an
impression upon Englishmen as upon Americans; indeed, as late as the
spring of 1900 the _London Academy_ devoted a page to a flattering and
most sympathetic review of them. The gentle, playful humor, the healthy
joyousness, the rare tenderness displayed by Mr. Allen in these two
books, are irresistible. Months, and even years, after laying the books
down, the reader must remember the many delightful sketches of which
they are made.

"And while I am watching the birds, they are watching me. Not a
little fop among them, having proposed and been accepted, but perches
on a limb, and has the air of putting his hands mannishly under his
coat-tails and crying out to me, 'Hello! Adam, what were you made for?'
'You attend to your business, and I'll attend to mine,' I answer, 'You
have one May; I have twenty-five!' He didn't wait to hear. He caught
sight of a pair of clear brown eyes peeping at him out of a near tuft
of leaves, and sprang thither with open arms and the sound of a kiss."

What charming sport! What uncommon perception! And here is one of his
choice, frank, bucolic sentiments:

"The longer I live here the better satisfied I am in having pitched
my earthly camp-fire, gypsylike, on the edge of a town, keeping it on
one side, and the green fields, lanes and woods on the other. Each,
in turn, is to me as a magnet to the needle. At times the needle of my
nature points towards the country. On that side everything is poetry.
I wander over field and forest, and through me runs a glad current of
feeling that is like a clear brook across the meadows of May. At others
the needle veers round, and I go to town--to the massed haunts of the
highest animal and cannibal. That way nearly everything is prose. I can
feel the prose rising in me as I step along, like hair on the back of
a dog, long before any other dogs are in sight. And, indeed, the case
is much that of a country dog come to town, so that growls are in order
at every corner. The only being in the universe at which I have ever
snarled, or with which I have rolled over in the mud and fought like a
common cur, is Man."

"Summer in Arcady" shocked many who had fallen in love with the
pastoral simplicity and spiritual delicacy of the two preceding books;
but it was generally admitted that the book showed an advance in the
author's powers, particularly in his power of vivid dialogue. In his
first novel Mr. Allen had written that "The simple, rural, key-note
of life is still the sweetest," and a change to another key-note,
tremulous with pathos and tragedy, surprised the reading public; but
the opinion that it was likely to prove a stepping-stone to higher
things found general favor. Nor was this opinion unsound, for "The
Choir Invisible" lifted its author for the time above the heads of all
his contemporaries.

Both here and in England the book fairly leaped to success; both here
and in England it was praised almost unqualifiedly. An American critic,
writing of it, said: "Mr. Allen stands to-day in the front rank of
American novelists. 'The Choir Invisible' will solidify a reputation
already established and bring into clear light his rare gifts as an
artist. For this latest story is as genuine a work of art as has come
from an American hand." An English critic noted that it was "highly
praised, and with reason." "It is written," he said, "with singular
delicacy, and has an old-world fragrance which seems to come from the
classics we keep in lavender."

The book succeeded so immensely that an attempt was made to dramatize
it, but the attempt failed. The atmosphere of the book proved to be too
ethereal, too spiritual, for dramatization.

That "The Choir Invisible" solidified Mr. Allen's reputation was
demonstrated by the eagerness of the demand for "The Reign of Law." In
some respects this is Mr. Allen's greatest work: it reveals even a
deeper knowledge of nature than he ever revealed before, and it deals
more intimately with things which have revolved around his own career.

Fame has little to do with the sale of books. If "The Kentucky
Cardinal," "The Choir Invisible," and "The Reign of Law" had not been
sold by the thousands, Mr. Allen's fame would still be of more than
transient quality. There is nothing ephemeral about these stories:
they are, strictly speaking, a part of our classical literature. The
vividness of the pictures will always be fresh and interesting.

Taking too literally Mr. Allen's remark in "The Reign of Law" that
Kentucky University is a ruin and will always remain a ruin, the
reading public has generally decided, we have found, that the
university, the author's alma mater, does not exist. It does exist,
but, apparently, not in the condition in which the author would have
it. Before "The Reign of Law" had been long on the market, he and the
president of Kentucky University fell into a controversy which makes
an interesting chapter in the academic side of the history of the Blue
Grass State.

Mr. Allen works slowly and carefully, as may be inferred from the
number and the character of his books. And he lives quietly, modestly.
He is not in the least given to the exploitation of his habits and his
manners, even so far as they may be connected with his literary work.
Little has ever been heard of him by the thousands who hurry to read
his books, and who read them only to praise him. Some time ago his
publishers issued a brochure dealing with his career, and the vital
facts contained in it, if put together, would not cover more than
twenty or thirty ordinary lines.

It should be said before ending, however, that the author of "The Reign
of Law" is looked up to almost filially by the younger writers of the
middle West. They are never weary of applauding him and of indicating,
publicly as well as privately, his extraordinary reputation. Traces of
his style, notably as it appears in his Corot-like pictures of nature,
may be found in their writings. Indeed, it is quite likely that nothing
would please one of these fine young men more than to have it said of
his work that it resembles the masterly work of James Lane Allen.



[Illustration: Photo by Davis & Sanford.

THOMAS NELSON PAGE.]



THOMAS NELSON PAGE


Thomas Nelson Page first came into national prominence seventeen years
ago through the publication by _The Century Magazine_ of the short
story called "Marse Chan." He received eighty dollars for the story.

A few years ago, in conversation with Mr. Frank G. Carpenter, the
author related the incidents which led to the writing of "Marse Chan."
At the bottom was a letter which a friend had shown him. "This letter,"
said Mr. Page, "was from an illiterate girl in Georgia to her soldier
sweetheart. The letter was poorly written and poorly spelled, but full
of pathos. The girl had, it seems, trifled with the man, but after
he had left for the war she had realized her great love for him and
written to him. She wrote: 'I know I have treated you mean. I ain't
never done right with you all the time. When you asked me to marry you,
I laughed, and said I wouldn't have you, and it makes me cry to think
you are gone away to the war. Now, I want you to know that I love you,
and I want you to git a furlow and come home and I'll marry you.' With
a few words of affection the letter closed, but a postscript was added:
'Don't come home without a furlow, for unless you come home honorable
I won't marry you.' This letter was received by the soldier only a
few days before the battle of Seven Pines, and after he was shot it
was found in his breast pocket, just over his heart. The pathos of it
struck me so forcibly that out of it came the story of 'Marse Chan.'"

Thomas Nelson Page was thirty-one when "Marse Chan" appeared, and
at that time his shingle was new outside his office in Richmond. Mr.
Page was born in Hanover County, Virginia, on April 23, 1853, and is
consequently now in his forty-ninth year. A description of the house
in which he was born--Oakland, it was called--may be found in "Two
Little Confederates." On both sides he is a lineal descendant of Gen.
Thomas Nelson, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
It has been said that there is scarcely an old family in all Virginia
to which the author is not related in some degree. One of his cousins
is the Princess Troubetskoy, Amélie Rives before her marriage, whose
first husband was John Armstrong Chanler. At the time of the birth of
Thomas the Pages were comparatively wealthy, but later, during the war,
they lost most of their wealth. Thomas's first reading lessons, in
the Waverley novels, were given him by an aunt, who also taught him
to read the Episcopal prayer-book. His education was interrupted by
the outbreak of the war, for his father accepted a commission in the
Confederate army. Occasionally the boy visited his father in camp, when
the troops were on the road from Oakland to Richmond. Once he witnessed
a bombardment. Happily, he was old enough to appreciate the gossip of
the war which passed around the negro cabins.

Like all the slaveholders, the Pages were much reduced in riches when
the war ended, but, nevertheless, at the age of sixteen, Thomas was
sent to Washington and Lee University. Of his college days he once said:

"My standing was not high. I don't know that I had much ambition to be
one of the first honor men. At any rate, I got no medals of any kind. I
suppose I was a fair average student, but I hear that I devoted myself
more to outside reading than to my studies. I was a member of the
literary society, and for a time was the editor of the college paper.
Contrary to the usual custom, I wrote short articles instead of long
essays, and from this got the nick-name of 'The Short-Article Editor.'
I wrote, I suppose, much for the pleasure of seeing myself in print.
I was very bashful in those days, and I know that I trembled when I
first got up to speak in the literary society. I had a chum at college
who is now one of the most famous lawyers of the country. He excels as
a debater. He was also bashful, and during our college days he joined
with me in a method of improving our oratorical powers. We would get
together in a room, and, having closed the doors, would debate with
each other, upon some question. One would stand on one side of the
table and one on the other and we would declaim away, each having a
fifteen minutes' speech and a like time for answers. This practice
helped me materially in my work as a lawyer."

After his graduation from Washington and Lee University, Mr. Page
secured employment as a teacher in a private school in Kentucky, not
far from Louisville. There he taught for a year, and he says that he
enjoyed it very much. He kept his pen at work steadily. The influential
paper in the part of the country where he was teaching, was, of course,
_The Louisville Courier-Journal_. The young teacher was intensely
interested in Ik Marvel's books, and he wrote some essays in imitation
of Marvel and sent them to the _Courier-Journal_. They were rejected.
From what he has said since, their rejection was not a source of much
discouragement to him.

At the end of a year the rebuffed essayist returned to his home in
Virginia, and, soon after, deciding to study law, he entered the law
school of the University of Virginia. Greatly to his credit, he got
his degree in a year. Meantime, however, he kept up his interest in
literature. While at the University of Virginia he contributed to the
college paper. It was also his habit, while at home, to write stories
on slates for the entertainment of his friends, and erase the stories
after he had read them. At school, too, he began to write stories in
the negro dialect, and he continued this practice in his law office
in Richmond. At his office he wrote the first of his works accepted
by the magazines, a poem called "Unc' Gabe's White Folks," which was
published in _Scribner's_ in 1876. He received fifteen dollars for
it. He was very proud of that unpretentious check. Later he wrote
a historical article relating to the centennial celebration in old
Yorktown, and then he sent out his first story, "Marse Chan." It was
paid for promptly, but, like many another story sent to the magazines,
particularly stories from unknown authors, it remained unpublished for
several years. Finally, overcome by impatience, the author wrote to
ascertain what had become of it, and shortly afterward he received a
proof of it. With its publication in 1884 came instant popularity.

But at no time previous to his moving to Washington was literature
first in Page's mind. In the beginning, at Richmond, he wrote only at
night, when his day's work was done; and for a time he actually ceased
writing fiction entirely lest it might interfere with the practice of
his profession. For, as a matter of fact, he has been a very successful
lawyer. Six months after he had settled down in Richmond he was
able to support himself with his earnings at the bar, and during the
eighteen years which followed, that is, up to the time of his settling
down in Washington, his income was chiefly from law.

So, it was some time before "Marse Chan" was succeeded by "Meh Lady,"
"Unc' Edinburg's Drowndin'," "Polly" and "Ole 'Stracted." It was said
in those days that the stories were like variations on a single theme;
but we are inclined to agree with the critic who said: "For this we
feel no disposition to quarrel with Mr. Page, being eager to hear the
tale as often as he may find ways to tell it, and grateful to him for
such beautiful and faithful pictures of a society now become portion
and parcel of the irrevocable past." To Mr. Page and his equally
delightful contemporary, Mr. Joel Chandler Harris, the reading public
is indebted for no small number of the most charming features of
American literature.

It may please those who enjoy particulars to know that the popular
writer regards "Unc' Edinburgh Drowndin'," which was first to follow
"Marse Chan," as his best picture of Virginia life. Mr. Page, in
1886, married Miss Anne Seddon Bruce, the daughter of Charles Bruce
of Charlotte County, Virginia, largely for whose entertainment he had
written his early stories; and before the death of Mrs. Page in 1888
Mr. Page had written "Meh Lady" and had published "In Ole Virginia," a
collection of his works, all in dialect.

In those days, by the way, his work was often compared by the critics
with the work of Mr. Harris. Perhaps the fairest comparison was made by
Mr. Coleman, who admired the two authors quite equally.

"Mr. Page," said the critic, "enjoys the reputation of having written
the most exquisite story of the war that has yet appeared ("Marse
Chan"). In comparison with the works of Joel Chandler Harris, though
both authors deal with the negro, the one in no wise interferes with
the proper appreciation of the other. In Uncle Remus Mr. Harris has
given us the truer insight into the character of the type to which he
belongs, while the venerable family servant is somewhat idealized by
Mr. Page, and, moreover, is made to tell a story possessing a value and
interest of its own not entirely dependent upon the personality of the
narrator and his race peculiarities. In the matter of dialect, Mr. Page
has the advantage, though this may be due, in part, to the difference
between the Virginia negro and his brother of Georgia."

The Virginian has portrayed the sweeter side of the old slavery days,
in direct contrast to Mrs. Stowe's picture of the harsher side. In the
master he has delineated forbearance, confidence, protection; in the
slave, respect, devotion and fidelity. Without a scruple he has felt
constrained to make one of his characters say of the days before the
war: "Dem wuz good ole times, marster--de bes' Sam ever see! De wuz, in
fac'! Niggers did n' hed nothin' 't all to do--jes' hed to 'ten' to de
feedin' an' cleanin' de hosses, an' doin' what de marster tell 'em to
do; an' when dey wuz sick, dey had things sent 'em out de house, an' de
same doctor came to see 'em whar 'ten' to de white folks when dey wuz
po'ly. Dyah war n' no trouble nor nuthin."

A few years ago Mr. Page was asked if he wrote rapidly. "Yes and no,"
he replied. "I write the first draft as rapidly as I can and then go
over it very carefully in the revision. I try to simplify my writings
as much as possible. The more simple it is, I think, the better it is.
I find, however, that the revision often takes away the spirit from the
first draft. I lay away the manuscript, and looking at it several weeks
later, I can see that the first draft is truer to nature than the more
stilted revision. I think I do more careful work now than I have done
in the past. My ideal is far above anything I have ever done, and I
sometimes despair of approaching it. There is one thing I do, however,
which I think is a good plan for any writer. That is, I always give
the best I have in me to the story which I am writing. I do not save
anything which I think might perhaps be of use to me in the future. The
cream, if you could use that expression, always goes to the present."

In 1891 the author of "Marse Chan" left Richmond and went to New York
to succeed Charles Dudley Warner in the conduct of "The Drawer" in
_Harper's Monthly_, Mr. Warner succeeding Mr. Howells, who at that time
left _Harper's_ for the _Cosmopolitan_, in the conduct of "The Study."
That same year Mr. Page appeared as a public reader. Two years later
he married Mrs. Henry Field of Chicago, a granddaughter of Governor
Barbour of Virginia, and since then, for the most part, he has lived
and worked in Washington. By far his most ambitious work is "Red Rock,"
a novel which has done much to affect favorably the old attitude of the
North toward the South.

Not many of our writers rest their fame on fewer works.



[Illustration: RICHARD HARDING DAVIS.]



RICHARD HARDING DAVIS


A great many persons, indeed, a great many critics, have called
Richard Harding Davis superficial. They obviously had one thing
in mind and said another. Perhaps they may have meant to say that
sometimes Mr. Davis dealt in superficialities. We lean toward Professor
Harry Thurston Peck's opinion. "Mr. Davis, in fact," he says,
"because of the predominance in him of the journalistic motive, is a
photographer rather than an artist; but he is a very skillful and adept
photographer."

No person of superficial temperament could have described with so much
humor Van Bibber's attempt to practice economy, or could have given us
the affecting conclusion of "Princess Aline," or could have written
many paragraphs of "The Exiles." No sympathetic human being who has
ever read "The Exiles" will forget the picture of the outlawed boodle
alderman in Tangier, saying to a visitor about to return to New York
with a clean conscience and a strong hunger to see the familiar sights:

"'I'll tell you what you _can_ do for me, Holcombe. Some night I wish
you would go down to Fourteenth Street, some night this spring, when
the boys are sitting out on the steps in front of the Hall, and just
take a drink for me at Ed. Lally's; just for luck. Will you? That's
what I'd like to do. I don't know nothing better than Fourteenth Street
of a summer evening, with all the people crowding into Pastor's, on one
side of the Hall, and the Third Avenue L-cars running by on the other.
That's a gay sight, ain't it now? With all the girls coming in and out
of Theiss's, and the sidewalks crowded. One of them warm nights when
they have to have the windows open, and you can hear the music in at
Pastor's, and the audience clapping their hands. That's great, isn't
it? Well,' he laughed and shook his head, 'I'll be back there some day,
won't I,' he said, wistfully, 'and hear it for myself?'"

It would be hard to find in fiction a more affecting picture done with
fewer strokes and with closer fidelity to human nature. It is a picture
which must strike the attentive reader, and particularly the attentive
New York reader, full on the heart strings.

Mr. Davis has the habit of looking at the odd things in life. Without
this habit no man can be a first-class reporter; and our author has
proved himself a first-class reporter in many parts of the world and
for many papers.

Like every well-trained reporter, Mr. Davis is continually "seeing
things." As he said to his friend Mr. Sangree, some months ago: "I
never walk one city block that I do not see twenty things to interest
me. I tire my friends sometimes by pointing them out. Their minds run
in different channels. But this ability to see things is my greatest
joy in life, incidentally my living. I cultivated it when I began
reporting, and to this day if I see a man turn in a car to look out the
window I unconsciously turn with him. He may have observed something
that escaped me--something that contains an element of human interest,
and I hold no effort wasted that may add to this general cargo of
life's impressions."

No able reporter could have worked long under Charles A. Dana and
escaped the objective habit. In fact, a story which Mr. Sangree tells
of his friend's experience on _The Evening Sun_ illustrates the point.

"At eight o' clock one spring morning," says Mr. Sangree, "the blotter
at police headquarters recorded a trifling fire on the East Side. News
being dull, Davis was sent to cover it. He found a rickety tenement
house in which fire had little more than singed the top floor. The
crowd had left, a few ashes were smouldering, and the insurance
adjusters were examining the place.

"'Nothing here,' said the policeman on watch. 'Only five hundred
dollars damage and a bum lodger asphyxiated. He's in that room.'

"The reporters peeped, saw the blackened face and rigid form, a man
unnamed and forgotten--and wrote a paragraph. _The Evening Sun_
reporter, in mousing about saw an alarm clock by the dead man's side
with the hand pointing to seven o' clock.

"'What time did you break in here?' he asked.

"'Let me see,' yawned the bluecoat; 'Seven o' clock it was. I remember
because that alarm was going off just as I got inside.'

"'That's my story,' said Davis, and he began his account, touching and
vivid, simply with: 'The man died at six-thirty. The alarm went off at
seven. It was just half an hour too late.'"

"What impressed me," said the author, discussing the story
subsequently, "was that impotent alarm clock jangling away when the
owner was dead. A man's existence had been cut off because that
fifty-cent clock could not give its alarm a few minutes earlier."

This illustrates what was meant when we said that Mr. Davis takes an
objective view of life. His experience as a reporter was invaluable
to him; and he took Dr. Hale's advice, and ended the experience at the
right time. Doubtless many good writers have been spoiled by indulging
too long in the fascinations of newspaper work.

A large part of his training as a reporter the creator of Van Bibber
obtained in his native city, during his service on the _Philadelphia
Press_, for which paper he went to work when he was a little more than
twenty. There is a portrait of him taken at the age of twenty-three,
in the disguise in which he worked while getting the information which
drove the nest of thieves out of Wood street.

While Davis was working for the _Philadelphia Press_, by the way, he
and his associates in the reporters' room fell in love with one of
Stevenson's thrilling short stories, "A Lodging for the Night." They
could not restrain their admiration; so they wrote an enthusiastic
letter to the gentle sick man off there in Samoa. And to the spokesman
of the admiring crew Stevenson replied:

     _Dear Sir:_

     Why, thank you very much for your frank, agreeable and natural
     letter. It is certainly very pleasant that all you young fellows
     wholly enjoy my work, and get some good out of it; and it was
     very kind in you to write and tell me so. The tale of the suicide
     is excellently droll; and your letter, you may be sure, will be
     preserved. If you are to escape, unhurt, out of your present
     business, you must be very careful, and you must find in your
     heart much constancy. The swiftly done work of the journalist,
     and the cheap finish and ready-made methods to which it leads,
     you must try to counteract in private by writing with the most
     considerate slowness and on the most ambitious models. And when
     I say 'writing'--O, believe me, it is re-writing that I have
     chiefly in my mind. If you will do this I hope to hear of you
     some day.

     Please excuse this sermon from

     Your obliged

     ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

This letter, brought to light a short while ago by Mr. Sangree, in a
magazine article, discloses an exchange of sentiments creditable to all
the correspondents concerned.

For a time the promising journalist was overmastered by an ambition
to be an editor, and he established a short-lived dramatic periodical
called _The Stage_. In 1889 he reported the Johnstown flood for a
Philadelphia paper, and then, the following summer, went abroad with
the All-Philadelphia cricket team. Upon his return to this country,
New York charmed him, and there, for the most part, he has lived ever
since. At first he was connected with _The Evening Sun_. During this
connection he wrote his delightful "Van Bibber" stories. But these
were not his first stories. His first stories were written while he was
editor of a paper at Lehigh College, in his student days. The stories
numbered about a dozen, and Mr. Davis collected them and paid ninety
dollars to have them published in book form. The book has scarcely ever
been heard of since. Later, while at Johns Hopkins University, he wrote
his first accepted story, "Richard Carr's Baby," a sort of foot-ball
tale, which was published in St. Nicholas. However, the "Van Bibber"
stories were his first work of any serious account; they were the first
work to bring him popularity.

After the "Van Bibber" sketches came his most sparkling gem,
"Gallegher," a newspaper story which was refused by three editors and
then published, with immediate success, in _Scribner's Magazine_.
Later appeared in quick succession "The Other Woman," "An Unfinished
Story," "My Disreputable Friend, Mr. Raegan," and the other short
stories which soon made their author's name familiar to the reading
public on both sides of the ocean.

In 1890 Davis became editor of _Harper's Weekly_. This position he
left a year or so later to travel across the continent, with "The
West Through a Car Window" as the result. Then he went to London, and
described the life there; and then he went to Egypt and wrote "The
Rulers of the Mediterranean." He was now fairly well started; and since
then his pen has never been idle.

Since Mr. Davis's advent as a serious writer of fiction he has been
subjected on one side to the most extravagant praise and on the other
to the most merciless censure. The critics on both sides have made
matters worse by dropping the subject at hand and bringing out for
public inspection vast quantities of personal anecdotes about the
unfortunate author, most of which stories are probably apocryphal.
In fact, at one time the newspaper comments were so vulgar that the
helpless victim said to a friend who visited him in New York: "If
I thought I was like the man the newspapers make me out to be, I
would not only cut my own acquaintance; I'd cut my own throat." But,
so far as the public ever found out, he took the slings and arrows
philosophically. He could afford to. One by one his new works have
prospered.

It was at the height of this hypercritical hostility that, in 1897,
Davis was suddenly missed. About the same time the stories in the
_London Times_ on the war between Turkey and Greece began to attract
universal attention. The _Times_, said one of the New York newspapers,
which had shown especial bitterness toward its former reporter, has
discovered a brilliant war correspondent. It seemed that people all
over the world were asking, Who is he? It was Mr. Davis, proving,
under the cloak of the _Times'_ traditional anonymity his right to be
respected as a descriptive writer of the first quality. He repeated
this success the next year in Cuba, during the Spanish war, when his
extraordinary skill in the description of picturesque incidents was
favored by the circumstance that the generals and admirals themselves
were sending home virtually all the news.

When, last year, Mr. Davis went to South Africa it was commonly
expected that he would take sides with the British. Never was public
expectation more emphatically at fault. In a moment he took the
measure of the British cause and the British tactics; both of these
things disgusted him. He put Mr. Kipling himself to shame by serving
"the God of Things as They Are"; and as a result he forfeited many
friendships which he had made in England. But he won the hearts of his
countrymen. His courageous honesty destroyed in this country the last
vestige of captious hostility.

To-day, at the age of thirty-eight, just at the entrance to full-blown
life, Mr. Davis is widely admired and honored. He has pleased the
light-hearted with his pretty romantic tales, and he has satisfied
the strong of heart with his many examples of an unerring sense of
the true comedy and the true pathos of life, and, moreover, of his
remarkable personal fearlessness. Perhaps the term which a friend
applied to him is most fitting--perhaps he may best be called a
"sublimated reporter"; for your sublimated reporter must be at once an
imperturbable philosopher and an artist holding the mirror up to nature.

       *       *       *       *       *

The author's marriage to Miss Cecil Clark of Chicago, at Marion,
Massachusetts, on May 4, 1899, was an event remarkable for its jollity.
Last year Mrs. Davis accompanied her husband to South Africa. She is
said to be as skillful with the pencil as he is with the pen.



[Illustration: Photo by Hollinger, N. Y.

JOHN KENDRICK BANGS.]



JOHN KENDRICK BANGS


A dozen years or so ago, when Mr. Bangs faced at home an audience,
which had gathered to hear his address on "The Evolution of the
Humorist," he said:

"I was born in and have resided in Yonkers for a number of years; I
have braved the perils of life in this community, and have endured,
without a murmur, the privations common to all of us."

A modest biography, and withal an illustration of Mr. Bangs's
philosophy. He takes things as they come--and leaves his imprint on
them. Comparisons of skill aside, no man could do more.

John Kendrick Bangs was born in Yonkers, New York, in May, 1862. His
father, Francis N. Bangs, was a prominent New York lawyer, in fact,
one of the most prominent lawyers the New York bar has ever known. His
grandfather was the Rev. Nathan Bangs, D.D., the first historian of
the Methodist Church in this country, the first editor of a Methodist
paper, and for many years president of Wesleyan University, Middletown,
Connecticut.

In 1883, after receiving such an education as any New York boy of a
well-to-do New York family receives, young Bangs was graduated with the
degree of Bachelor of Philosophy from the School of Political Science
of Columbia University, New York. For a year and a half afterward
he studied law in his father's office--studied at "long range," as
he has said himself. But all the time he was impatient to go into
literature. "I was more of a fighter," he says, "and it seemed to me
that a man has enough battles of his own to wage without rushing after
the battles of other people." Gradually his inherited fondness for
literature smothered his zeal as a student of law. While contributing
in his undergraduate days to the college paper, _Acta Columbiana_,
he had enjoyed a taste of literary glory. So, between dips into his
father's dry volumes, he wrote little sketches in his characteristic
vein. These tentative works introduced him favorably to the managers
of _Life_, and, late in 1884, he became associated with Mr. Mitchell
in the editorship of that entertaining periodical. In addition to
his editorial work he undertook to maintain the attractive "By the
Way" page, and to this valuable feature of _Life_ he contributed an
extraordinary amount of original matter. What would not have been asked
of many other men was requested of the new humorist in the most casual
manner, for he quickly proved that, besides possessing a keen literary
instinct and that kindly and delightful insight into human nature
which, brought together, double the value of a comic paper, he also
possessed remarkable energy and power of application.

In 1887, while still connected with _Life_, and shortly after his
marriage, young Bangs went abroad, and during this absence from
editorial work his first book, "Roger Camorden, a Strange Story," was
published. It was an unusual and very promising tale of hallucination,
and its success was encouraging. That same year, in collaboration with
his friend and classmate, Frank Dempster Sherman, he produced a series
of satirical and humorous pieces, which were put into a volume under
the title of "New Waggings of old Tales." Soon afterward he resigned
from _Life_, in order to devote more time to larger work.

The first product of the rising author's independent career was a
travesty on "The Taming of the Shrew" called "Katherine," which he
wrote for a dramatic association connected with the Seventh Regiment of
the New York National Guard. It followed the Shakespearean construction
rather closely, and, with its many quips and gags and jolly songs, made
a first-rate libretto for a comic opera. The popularity of the travesty
advertised the fame of Bangs from one end of Manhattan Island to the
other. The following year, for the same organization, he wrote another
travesty, "Mephistopheles, a Profanation"; and this, too, won much
popularity and further brightened its author's name.

The happy results of his experience as the father of three boys were
noticeable in the book which Mr. Bangs published in 1891, "Tiddledywink
Tales," the first of a series of amusing stories for children. The
other divisions of this series are "In Camp with a Tin Soldier," "The
Tiddledywink Poetry Book," and "Half Hours with Jimmie-Boy," books
that have endeared their author to half the grown-up children in the
land. It was by means of these books that he became a most welcome
contributor to Harper's Round Table and to the juvenile departments of
various literary syndicates. A novel, "Toppleton's Client," appeared
in 1893, and in that year also appeared his first widely successful
work, "Coffee and Repartee," a collection of Idiot papers, which has
been described, and with good reason, as a mixture of Oliver Wendell
Holmes and Bill Nye. Those were not, compared with the present time,
enthusiastic literary days, and yet in a few years fifty thousand
copies of the little book were sold. "Coffee and Repartee" was followed
at regular intervals by "The Water-Ghost," "The Idiot," "Mr. Bonaparte
of Corsica," and by the other books whose names have at some time, been
on every liberal reader's tongue.

One of the most entertaining of the New Yorker's books is "Ten Weeks
in Politics," behind the writing of which is a story worth telling. In
1894 Mr. Bangs was nominated by the Democrats for Mayor of Yonkers.
"No candidate, I sincerely believe," says his friend Mr. Corbin, "ever
entered a political campaign with greater seriousness or with a more
strenuous desire to devote himself to the public good; and except for
any one of half a dozen accidents he would have been elected. To begin
with, one of the cleverest of New York newspapers, the editorial
policy of which has been suspected of personal prejudice, appeared to
bear a grudge against Mr. Bangs, and persecuted him in prose and in
verse with the implication that he was making a farce of politics. But
the real cause of his defeat, as he explains with a quiet smile, was
the fact that he refused one midnight to turn his house into a beer
garden for the benefit of a local German band that serenaded him; and
in point of fact the votes of the musicians and their heelers were
enough to turn the scale. Though Mr. Bangs is always willing to laugh
at the figure he cut as a politician, he has never lost the sense of
his duty as a citizen. His victorious rival had the magnanimity, which
in such cases is scarcely to be distinguished from political wisdom, to
offer him a subordinate position in his administration--on the Board
of Education, I think. Mr. Bangs had the magnanimity, which could not
have contained the least scruple of policy, to accept the position and
to fill it to the best of his ability, even while he was writing his
'Ten Weeks in Politics.' This episode is thoroughly characteristic."

Mr. Bangs has spoken of that defeat as the greatest blessing that he
ever met. "In later years," he says, "when I saw how I would have been
forced to abandon my chosen profession for politics, when I learned
that the mayoralty would have taken every moment of my time, I was
glad that I had been defeated. I saw, for the first time, the truth in
the saying that a man can do more to bring success within his grasp by
standing by his original proposition, even if it be a humorous one. And
politics and humor do not mix, unless you happen to be a cartoonist."

Politics and humor mix well enough in the right man; but it is not to
be doubted that literature has been the gainer by the result of that
election in Yonkers. The defeated candidate would probably have made an
excellent Mayor. He certainly would have made a conscientious Mayor;
and by reason of this conscientiousness the reading public would have
missed books which have made us certain that Mr. Bangs is a gifted
humorist.

Mr. Corbin, by the way, tells another interesting story of his friend's
characteristic activity. "Once when I went to Yonkers," says Mr.
Corbin, "he appeared as the proprietor of a livery stable. He explained
that the business had been running down when he took it, and that by
charging himself a thousand or two a year for cab hire he was making a
'go' of it; and that moreover, as he paid his account to himself it
did not cost him anything to ride. The plain fact seemed to be that his
ready purse and his business sense had saved a humble neighbor from
misfortune."

Before closing the political chapter of Mr. Bangs's career it may prove
interesting to quote from a "send-off" which a Yonkers paper gave him
on March 10, 1894, just before the German band episode.

"Mr. Bangs," it said, "is a Democrat of the strictest kind, and can
always be relied upon to care for and advance the interests of his
party, while at the same time he will so guard and guide the municipal
ship as to avoid the rocks of reckless expenditure, and pass safely
into the harbor of wise economy. With such a candidate the Democracy
believes it can surely recapture the mayoralty, and at the same time
secure for the city a young, able, and in all respects a competent,
honest, and faithful chief magistrate.

"Mr. Bangs is popular in the club life of the city, being a member of
the old Palisade Boat Club and the Yonkers Lawn Tennis Club. In the
latter he is the Chairman of the Entertainment Committee, and also a
member of the Building and Book Committees. He is not only one of the
best lawn tennis players in the club, but in the alleys of the boat
club has proved himself a skillful bowler, having figured conspicuously
in the recent annual tournament. He recently proved himself a public
speaker of no mean order when he delivered his lecture on 'The
Evolution of the Humorist from Adam to Bill Nye,' for a charitable
object. He also took prominent part in the last charity ball, which is
the social event of the season in this city."

How that catalogue of social and athletic qualifications must have
appealed to a man of the victim's sense of humor!

Mr. Bangs takes his own medicine. He firmly believes that humor
sweetens life. "Show me a man who does not appreciate humor," he said
once, "and I will show you a man who is morbid, cynical, unresponsive
to every fine impulse of nature. Such a man is worse than a pessimist,
and more to be pitied. Take some of the greatest and most successful
men in the world. Humor has always played an important part in their
lives. Often a funny incident has marked the turning-point of a great
man's career; often some ridiculous position has been the impetus
of a new start in life. Humor is as necessary to the home as is the
cooking stove. I mean good, healthy humor. It eases the mind and it
becomes an educator; it fills and makes pleasant many a long night;
it gives encouragement to the wanderer; it relieves the tired mother
of the burden of her cares; it encourages men and women to look on
the bright side of life, and the bright side is the only side which
should be exposed to view. Literature is the best vehicle of humor. In
literature it lives the longest, and in literature it can be studied
and appreciated to the best advantage. Someone has said that literature
robs humor of its spontaneity! A mistake! A great mistake! A good,
solid humorous book, or passage in a book, can be appreciated a hundred
times over. The mind retains fun longer than it retains cold facts. You
will hear a man repeat something funny that he read, years after, when
he couldn't, for his life, tell you the rudiments of the mathematical
problems which he spent years in trying to master. A good man looks
upon a good book as a friend. He goes to it for consolation whenever
he feels blue and sullen, whenever nostalgia claims him as her own. How
quickly do the careworn, the tired, the strugglers, the successful ones
as well, find rest in the realms of humor!"

In the course of his busy life--to give some facts not to be found
in the Yonkers eulogy--Mr. Bangs has been vestryman of a church, a
purchaser of books for a public library, a journalist, and a director
of a private school. At present he is giving brilliant service as
editor of _Harper's Weekly_. Meantime, his pen, or his typewriter, is
not idle at home, as the publication a few months ago of "The Idiot at
Home" attests.



[Illustration: HAMLIN GARLAND.]



HAMLIN GARLAND


Hamlin Garland is Western in every sense of that broad term. To him
the West has been birthplace, playground, battlefield. Not only as
a writer but also as a man he takes that far-seeing, keen, sincere,
unconventional view of things in general that distinguishes the
thoroughbred Westerner. Like Jim Matteson, the hero of his latest
novel, he sympathizes with the elements. He might appear to be at home
in an Eastern drawing-room, but we think that he would prefer to live
in his own country.

There might be some dissent from the opinion that he is the foremost
of our Western novelists; but there can hardly be any dissent from
the opinion that he occupies an unique place in American literature,
for not only has he sounded a new, vibrant, resonant chord in our
literature, but he also has been our one fearless and unchangeable
literary impressionist. "I believe," he said once, to illustrate his
rule of work, "that the beauty disease has been the ruin of much
good literature. It leads to paint and putty--to artificiality. If a
thing is beautiful, well and good; but I do not believe in an artist
using literary varnish in writing of sordid things. He can discover
the beauty in sordid lives not by varnishing them, but by sympathetic
interpretation of them."

The West has been his birthplace and his playground. He was born in
the beautiful La Crosse Valley, Wisconsin, in September, 1860. His
parents were of Scotch Presbyterian stock, which fact, together with
his early environment, must account for his radical and aggressive
mental outfit. "My dear old parents," he says, "brought me up like
a Spartan soldier. I owe so much to my mother; to the goodness and
patient sympathy with which she trained and softened my blustering
boyish nature." If you look at the dedication of "Main-Travelled
Roads" you will find an echo of this eulogy: "To my father and mother,
whose half-century pilgrimage on the main-travelled road of life
has brought them only trial and deprivation, this book is dedicated
by a son to whom every day brings a deepening sense of his parents'
silent heroism." This appreciation of his parents' more than dutiful
sacrifices constantly finds expression in the author's work; it is a
salient feature of his individuality.

Seven years after his birth the family moved to Winneshiek County,
Iowa, a spot typical of the primeval West; and it was here that
Garland first got the vivid impressions of nature which he has so
successfully pictured in his stories. There is, for instance, in "Up
the Coulé," a little picture worthy of Millet.

"A farm in the valley. Over the mountains swept jagged, gray, angry,
sprawling clouds, sending a freezing, thin drizzle of rain, as they
passed, upon a man following a plough. The horses had a sullen and
weary look, and their manes and tails streamed sideways in the blast.
The ploughman, clad in a ragged gray coat, with uncouth, muddy boots
upon his feet, walked with his head inclined toward the sleet to shield
his face from the cold and sting of it. The soil rolled away, black and
sticky, with a dull sheen upon it. Near by, a boy with tears on his
cheeks was watching cattle, a dog seated near, his back to the gale."

But did Garland take any part in such experiences? He did, indeed. "I
ploughed seventy acres of land when I was ten years old," he says, "and
more each year after that. I was so small that I had to reach up to
catch hold of the handles of the plough, but I did it. I can remember
well how I felt when I started out for my first ploughing in the
spring. My muscles were then tender, my feet sank down into the soil,
throwing my weight on the ankles and the tendons of the feet. By the
end of the first day I was almost ready to drop with pain, but I had
to go on. And how my bones did ache the next morning when I was called
to go to work! I worked right along, however, going to school in the
winter until I was fifteen."

But not all the work was at the plough. With his brother Frank he
worked out on the prairies, sometimes herding cattle, sometimes
scouting for the neighbors. Indeed, somewhere, we believe, the author
has said that almost half his life has been spent in the meadows and
on horseback. Many recollections of these days are to be found in
"Prairie Songs," which book, in fact, is almost a complete reflection
of his boyhood days. And on the prairies, too, he met the grangers,--we
use the word in its dignified sense--"those incessant toilers who
experience, in all its bareness, the rough and bitter side of the great
'main-travelled road.'"

But the school in which he got the bulk of his education was Cedarville
Academy, in Mitchell County, just a little westward from his home.
There he made a special study of history and English composition; and
there, for the first time in his life, he had the use of a library. He
was graduated from the academy at the age of twenty-one. The following
two years he spent teaching and lecturing in the East.

The list of the subjects of his lectures show us the breadth of mind
which he had reached just as he entered citizenhood; it attests, too,
his remarkable intellectual energy and his sympathy with his times.
These are some of the literary topics: The Transcendentalists, Emerson
and Thoreau; The Balladists, with readings from Whittier, Longfellow
and Holmes; Walt Whitman, the Prophet of the New Age; The Epic of the
Age, the Novel, the American Novel; Americanism in the Novel, with
reference to William Dean Howells and Henry James; The Pioneers, Bret
Harte and Joaquin Miller; Some Representative Names, Joseph Kirkland,
E. W. Howe, George W. Cable, Joel Chandler Harris, Miss Murfree, Miss
Baylor, Miss Wilkins, Miss Jewett, Rose Terry Cooke; the City in
Fiction and the Drama; The Future of Poetry and Fiction; The Art of
Edwin Booth; Shakespeare and Browning.

There is something truly Western in the fact that Garland was attracted
to Dakota by the land boom of 1883. He soon learned, however, that the
boom was not for him; indeed, his only profit from it was experience.

In 1884, consequently, he took up the study of English literature
in the Boston Public Library. He had intended to take a course in
literature and oratory at some college, preliminary to returning to
the West to teach. But it is significant of his mental make-up that he
found college methods "too scholastic and too dry," and, in general,
opposed to his own convictions. This brings to mind what a man who
met him early in the nineties said: "It would be impossible for any
conventional critic to kill Mr. Garland with scholarly criticism; he
has a buoyancy of indifference to obstacles as free as a cyclone from
one of his own Iowa prairies; he would joyously tell the most learned
professors of Harvard College that the universities as at present
conducted in America are the bulwarks of conservatism and the foes of
progress; the people who hear him talk about realism and naturalism and
truth usually confess an exhilaration at 'finding someone now-a-days'
who believes the things he does believe with most consuming fervor."

Naturally his unconventional method of studying English literature
had an unusual result. To quote from remarks that he made in Boston a
few years ago: "The whole perspective of English literature changed
with me. Chaucer was no longer great simply because someone had said
that he was; Crabbe was not dry because some professor of English
literature had said so. I went into the philosophic development of
English literature from the earliest myth, through the drama--which,
by the way, I found to be a continuous chain, and not a miracle--up to
distinctively modern literature. Throughout, I gave to my reading a
modern man's comments. If I didn't like an author's work I didn't try
to like it. So, you see, after all, my work in the library was mainly a
process fitting me for teaching."

But all the time, as a matter of fact, he was moving farther away from
the teacher's desk. As he studied American literature it occurred to
him that the Western side of it might be still further developed. That
side certainly lacked anything corresponding to his fresh and deep
impressions of it. It was only a step from the thought to the deed.

_Harper's Weekly_ published his first poem, "Lost in the Norther,"
a description of a man lost in a blizzard, and paid him twenty-five
dollars for it. With characteristic generosity, he spent the money on
his parents, buying a copy of Grant's "Memoirs" for his father and a
silk dress for his mother. His mother, too, by the way, received half
the money paid for his first bit of fiction. This is the story that
Garland told in Washington five or six years ago:

"I had been studying in Boston for several years, when I went out to
Dakota to visit my parents. The night after I arrived I was talking
with mother about old times and old friends. She told me how one family
had gone to New York for a visit and had returned only too happily to
their Western home. As she told the story the pathos of it struck me.
I went into another room and began to write. The story was one of the
best chapters of my book 'Main-Travelled Roads.' I read it to mother,
and she liked it, and upon telling her that I thought it was worth at
least seventy-five dollars she replied: 'Well, if that is so I think
you ought to divvy with me, for I gave you the story.' 'I will,' said
I, and so when I got my seventy-five dollars I sent her a check for
half. I got many good suggestions during that trip to Dakota. I wrote
poems and stories. Some of the stories were published in _The Century
Magazine_, and I remember that I received six hundred dollars within
two weeks from its editors. It was perhaps a year later before I
published my first book."

This first book is "Main-Travelled Roads," which by some is still
regarded as his best book. During the past ten years he has been almost
restlessly busy with novels, poems, essays, and plays, in all of which
there is more or less evidence of his magnificent unconventionality.

For if there be anything magnificently unconventional in American
literature it is such works as "A Spoil of Office" and "Crumbling
Idols." "I am," said Garland, in a letter written in 1891, "an
impressionist, perhaps, rather than a realist. I believe, with Monet,
that the artist should be self-centred, and should paint life as he
sees it. If the other fellow doesn't see the violet shadows on the
road, so much the worse for him. A whole new world of color is opening
to the eyes of the present generation, exemplifying again that all
beauty, all mystery, is under our spread hand--waiting to be grasped.
I believe, also, that there is the same wealth of color-mystery in the
facts of our daily lives, and that within a single decade a race of
dramatists and novelists will demonstrate the truth of my inference."

The decade has come and gone, but the new race of dramatists and
novelists is still absent. Mr. Garland is even now far ahead of the
crowd.

He once described his manner of working to Mr. Walter Blackburn Harte,
another radical, but not so fortunate, thinker. He said that he never
writes under pressure. "I work precisely as some painters do. I have
unfinished pictures lying around my workshop. After breakfast each
morning I go into my writing-room, and whichever picture chimes in with
my mood, after a glance around, claims me for that morning. I work on
it as long as I find great pleasure in it, and I stop the moment I am
conscious of it becoming a grind. If I have any power left, I turn to
something else; if not, I quit and turn to recreation--reading, study;
or I go out for a walk. I do all my writing on blocks of manuscript
paper, and I have stacks of these lying around, as many as forty or
fifty in various stages of completion. I never write on any one thing
day after day just with the purpose of getting it done. I believe
thoroughly in moods, although I do not wait for any particular mood,
for I am in the mood every morning for something. All my work interests
me supremely, or I should not do it."

Mr. Garland was married a few years ago to Miss Zuleme Taft, of
Chicago, who has achieved some fame as a sculptor.



PAUL LEICESTER FORD


In 1876, when Paul Leicester Ford was eleven years old, he published
"The Webster Genealogy," a genealogy of Noah Webster, with notes
and corrections of his own. When he was seventeen he published
"Websteriana, a catalogue of books by Noah Webster, collated from the
library of Gordon L. Ford." At nineteen he also became the author of
"Bibliotheca Chaunciana: a list of the writings of Charles Chauncy,"
the second president of Harvard College.

So much, at least, Ford accomplished before he was out of his 'teens.
Yet, considering his environment, this record is not a matter of
wonder. Ford's father was Gordon L. Ford, a successful lawyer, a
diligent student of American history, and, in the great Greeley's day,
publisher of the _New York Tribune_; and, which is more to the point,
the collector and owner of one of the largest and richest private
libraries in the United States. Little beyond these facts is known by
those who had not the privilege of Gordon Ford's acquaintance. Mr.
Lindsay Swift speaks of him as "an idealist of the type which does not
readily pursue other than the highest ends, and which cannot throw open
the reserves of its nature."

Paul was born on March 23, 1865. On his mother's side he is descended
from Governor Bradford of Plymouth Colony, the author of the precious
manuscript in the State House at Boston. On this side, too, he is
the great-great-great-grandson of the aforementioned Chauncy and the
great-grandson of the aforementioned Webster, the lexicographer, and
the grandson of Professor Fowler of Amherst College. Paul's brother,
Worthington Chauncy Ford, by the way, is already famous, though in a
quieter way, as a statistician and publicist.

Paul was a delicate child; his very delicacy gave him the opportunity
to cultivate, under extremely favorable circumstances, his endowment of
strong mental faculties. He was educated in his father's library. It is
said that the Ford house, which stood in Clark Street, Brooklyn, was
fairly walled with books. At the time these books were transferred to
the New York Public Library their number was given out as one hundred
thousand. The library itself was a room some fifty feet square. There
the Ford boys were educated under the supervision of their cultured
parents.

Ford is by nature a student; and under his father's guidance this
disposition was sedulously cultivated. As a child he learned to set
type, and as a child, also, he assisted his father in historiographical
work. The father and the two sons established the Historical Printing
Club, issuing books and pamphlets relating to American history and
bibliography. This club was maintained until after the father's death.
Among its products were the papers to which we have already referred.

Mr. Lindsay Swift has written an interesting description of the
famous bibliographical arena in which Ford developed his genius. The
description, of course antedates the memorable transfer. The room,
"over fifty feet square, and reached from the main floor by a short
flight of steps," he says, "is well but not glaringly lighted by a
lantern at the top, while the sides, with the exception of a few small
windows, of no great utility owing to the tallness of surrounding
buildings, are fully taken up with books to the height of eight feet.
The floor is covered in part by large rugs; the walls and ceilings are
of serious tint; a fireplace is opposite the entrance; while sofas
of most dissimilar pattern and meant seemingly to hold any burden
but a human one, are placed 'disposedly' about; chairs, easy but not
seductive, are in plenty, but like the sofas give notice that here is
a government not of men but of books--here is no library built for
the lust of the flesh and pride of the eye, but for books and for
those who use them. I cannot suppose that those smitten of bibliophily
would thrill over the Ford library, since it exists for the practical
and virile, although it is, in parts, exceedingly choice. Roughly
classified to suit the easy memories of the owners, it presents an
appearance urbane and unprecise rather than military and commanding.
At irregular intervals loom huge masses of books, pamphlets, papers,
proof-sheets and engravings in cataclysmic disorder and apparently
suspended in mid air, like the coffin of the False Prophet, but, in
fact, resting on tables well hidden by the superincumbent piles. In
this room the father slowly accumulated this priceless treasure, mostly
illustrative of American history and its adjuncts, thereby gratifying
his own accurate tastes and hoping, as we may suppose, that his
children would ultimately profit by his foresight." No doubt the father
had such a hope, and before he died he lived to enjoy the fullest
realization of it. At any rate, that room was Paul Ford's college, and,
later, his literary workshop.

It might dull the reader's interest to enter into a detailed account
of all the early work that Ford did in his father's library, but we may
say that between 1886 and 1896 he published more than twenty pamphlets
and books bearing on American historiography and bibliography, besides
the bulk of "The Writings of Thomas Jefferson." As evidence of his
prodigious capacity for energy, we offer the list of works which he
published in the single year 1889: "The Franklin Bibliography: a list
of books written by or relating to Benjamin Franklin," "List of Some
Briefs in Appeal Cases Which Relate to America Tried Before the Lords
Commissioners of Appeals of Prize Cases of His Majesty's Privy Council,
1736-1758," "Check-List of American Magazines Printed in the Eighteenth
Century," "Check-List of Bibliographies, Catalogues, Reference Lists,
and Lists of Authorities of American Books and Subjects," "Some
Materials for a Bibliography of the Official Publications of the
Continental Congress for 1774," "The Ideals of the Republic; or Great
Words from Great Americans," and "Who was the Mother of Franklin's Son?"

His most notable historical works are "The True George Washington,"
which excited so much comment when it appeared in 1896, and "The
Many-Sided Franklin," published serially in _The Century Magazine_
a few years ago. Though he may take advantage of moods, he does not
wait for moods. They say that Alphonse Daudet was such a man of moods
that two months would pass sometimes and leave the paper before him
still blank. Ford is Daudet's antithesis in this respect. His pen is
always ready. Perhaps this characteristic is one of the advantages of
pursuing diverse interests. Yet, notwithstanding the immense amount
of literature which he has produced already, the New Yorker is as
painstaking as one of those Japanese artists who will labor for years
on a single vase. Once, when half-way through a book, he discovered
that he was reaching the wrong conclusion, so he destroyed what he had
done and began again. Only a writer with a heroic disregard of time and
effort, and with a sincere purpose and unlimited zeal, would make such
a sacrifice. It is what we should expect of every master-craftsman, yet
we fear that the deed is uncommon enough.

Mr. Ford's high reputation as a novelist was established by "The
Honorable Peter Stirling." Much of the success of the novel was due
without doubt to the report that the hero of it was none other than
the Hon. Grover Cleveland. Technically the story has only a slight
value; or perhaps it is fairer to say that its literary merit rises and
falls. There are passages that drag; there are clumsy passages; there
are amusing unrealities; and there are scenes photographic in their
portrayal of metropolitan life. Then, again, the broad theme naturally
interested the public--that great led and leading mass of humanity
with its mercurial temper and shifting whims and deep sympathies. The
strength and the weakness of the book--its literary dimness and its
popular attractiveness--are illustrated in Stirling's speech at the
Coldman trial.

"The event of the trial came, however, when Peter summed up. He
spoke quietly, in the simplest language, using few adjectives and
no invectives. But as the girl at the Pierce's dinner had said: 'He
describes things so that one sees them.' He told of the fever-stricken
cows, and he told of the little fever-stricken children in such a way
that the audience sobbed; his clients almost had to be ordered out of
court; the man next Dummer mopped his eyes with his handkerchief; the
judge and jury thoughtfully covered their eyes (so as to think better);
the reporters found difficulty (owing to the glary light) in writing
the words, despite their determination not to miss one; and even the
prisoner wiped his eyes in his sleeve. Peter was unconscious that he
was making a great speech; great in its simplicity, and great in its
pathos. He afterward said that he had not given it a moment's thought
and had merely said what he felt. Perhaps his conclusion indicated why
he was able to speak with the feeling he did. For he said:

"'This is not merely the case of the State _versus_ James Coldman. It
is the case of the tenement-house children against the inhumanity of
man's greed.'"

A vivid picture sketched crudely, judged from the artistic view-point;
but a picture to touch the heart of the people. This human element
in the story, together with the popular idea that the hero was the
distinguished statesman now resident in Princeton, made "The Honorable
Peter Stirling" one of the most successful books of its day.

In a greater or less degree these merits and defects are reflected in
"The Story of an Untold Love" and in "The Great K. & A. Train Robbery,"
but "Janice Meredith" reveals marked literary improvement. Janice is
unquestionably the least artificial of all his female characters. In
"Janice Meredith," too, the author is on familiar ground. One has only
to compare his Washington with the Washington whom Thackeray pictured
in "The Virginians" to realize fully that while the English novelist
was the abler writer the American is the closer student.

It would be absurd for even the author's warmest admirer to set up the
claim that "Janice Meredith" is the great American historical novel;
and although some of the friendly critics have vaguely hinted as much,
no one, we believe, has boldly gone to the extremity of a proclamation.
But it must in all justice be said that the book contains some of
the elements which one day will entitle a story to that phenomenal
distinction. Notable among these elements are a glowing imaginativeness
and a rare faithfulness of historical portraiture.

Mr. Swift has fortunately given us a description of the author with his
pen in hand. "A spirit of restlessness takes hold upon Mr. Ford when
he is hardest at work," he says, "and he shifts at pleasure from one
to another of his several desks or tables. I should imagine that the
curiosity hunter of the future who might wish to possess the desk at
which or the chair on which the author of 'Peter Stirling' sat when he
penned that book, might comfortably fill a storage-warehouse van with
new-found joys. Like most good fellows who write, Mr. Ford knows the
value of the night and often works to best advantage when honest folk
have been long abed." Again, Ford is described as being alive to every
issue of the day and of the hour. He is brilliant at conversation, and
perhaps more brilliant at controversy, "for," says Mr. Swift, "I can
imagine no opposing argument so bristling with facts as to prevent his
making a cavalry charge on a whole table of unsympathetic listeners.
Life is at its keenest pitch when one is privileged to hear his urgent
voice, with no little command withal in its notes, and to see the
invincible clearness and dominance in his black-brown eyes."

We can conclude with no happier remark than that, so far as fiction
is concerned, at least, Mr. Ford seems destined to win still greater
honors than those already in his possession.



[Illustration: ROBERT NEILSON STEPHENS.]



ROBERT NEILSON STEPHENS


As we write this sketch, we have in mind the familiar picture of Robert
Louis Stevenson, stretched out on a couch in his Samoan home, ailing,
working. There is a sad sweetness in the sharpened face, and in the
eyes is a gleam of bravery or determination. The Scot whom the entire
reading world still loves so dearly, and will continue to love, it
seems, when the babes of to-day are trembling graybeards, knew the
strenuous life much more intimately than most of its new advocates; but
it was a part of his art, and the artist conceals his art. Stevenson's
sentences glitter, for they are gems of literature; but the glitter
was given them at the expense of sublime patience and infinite pains.
Unconsciously he presented an example of heroism; consciously he showed
the young writers of his day that anything approaching perfection must
be the product of scrupulous industry. Like the diamond polisher, he
was never satisfied with a merely smooth facet: the facet dazzled or he
was not content.

We have Stevenson in mind at this time for many reasons. In the first
place, the subject of this chapter, Robert Neilson Stephens, may know
of the letter of congratulation which, when he was writing for the
_Philadelphia Press_, some of the young men of that journal sent to
the distinguished writer on the Pacific island; and possibly he may
have seen the answer that Stevenson sent--an answer filled with modest
thanks and sound advice and sincere good wishes. The letter ended with
the remark that if the young Philadelphians labored skillfully and
ambitiously they would surely make their mark. If Stevenson had lived
he would have congratulated Robert Neilson Stephens four years ago.

You will notice that there is a certain similarity between the
features of the author of "The Master of Ballantrae" and the author of
"Philip Winwood"--the same delicacy, the same lurking kindness, the
same suggestion of indomitable intellectuality. And the resemblance
extends beyond the features, also. Stevenson, in his youth, suffered
from poverty; so did Stephens. The Scotchman for a long time dipped
his pen in water, making no impression, receiving no encouragement,
entertaining no luck; so, also, did the American. It is a story almost
as old as the world, a story illustrated occasionally in the skies.
Astronomers tells us that light, fast as it travels, takes years upon
years to come to us. Often it is the same with men of genius: they
blaze long before our narrow vision gives any sign of recognition.

Someone, by the way, once sympathized with Stephens on his ill health.
Yes, he was far from strong, he admitted; "but," he said, "they may
say what they please--those who have never been poor--I would rather
be ill and well-to-do, as I am, than poor and in good health, as I
was for many years. I have had many sorrows, but hardly a sorrow that
was not aggravated, if not caused, by poverty, or that very moderate
wealth would not have ameliorated or prevented. The difference between
pecuniary ease and poverty is oftentimes simply as the difference
between heaven and hell."

We may not all agree with the sentiment suggested, that riches in most
circumstances or under most conditions are preferable to poverty with
good health, but no one can fail to discern in the sentiment the
bitter memory of a man who has been acquainted with great distress. At
any rate, his is a philosophy based on experience. To experience, also,
we may ascribe Stephens's animadversion regarding friendship.

"When a man makes any kind of success, however small," he says, "he
finds that his old friends resolve themselves into three classes. The
first class turn sullen, and show their envy in many mean ways. The
second class wax more friendly than ever, and come showering their
attentions. The third class show a reasonable pleasure at your success,
and remain just as they were before. God bless the last kind! God mend
the second! and God pity the first!"

Before generalizing farther it might be better to reveal some of
Stephens's career. Robert Neilson Stephens, a descendant of the
Jacobite fugitive who was grandfather of Alexander H. Stephens, of
Georgia, was born on July 22, 1867, in New Bloomfield, a little town
in Central Pennsylvania. The house in which he was born lay a stone's
throw from the academy founded by his grandfather and conducted by his
father.

The first distressful event came into Robert's life when, at the
age of nine, some seven years after the family had moved from New
Bloomfield to Huntingdon, on the Juniata River, his father died. His
mother, to support her children, took a position as a school teacher.
Notwithstanding the lack of wealth, however, Robert went through the
public high school. After leaving school he went to work, for three
dollars and a half a week, in a bookstore connected with a stationery
factory. Aside from his pride and his poverty, which seem to have
influenced him to no small extent, he was a delicate youth, and his
steadiest companions were books. Besides, he cultivated assiduously
the faculty of observation. This cultivation shows itself in his books.
He is unsurpassed among the novelists of the day for mastery of the
life of bygone periods.

The work in the bookstore was distasteful to him in many ways. The
narrowness and the ignorance of the factory hands chafed his delicate
sensibilities; the nature of the work itself jarred on his always
strengthening mental equipment. He looked about him for a means of
escape from this sort of prison, incarceration in which was little
sweetened by the fact that in the second year his salary was raised to
four dollars and a half. One of the modes of escape which he attempted
was stenography. By assiduous practice he acquired such facility in
this branch of writing that the Hon. John Scott, solicitor-general of
the Pennsylvania Railroad, aided by Mr. William B. Wilson, an old
friend of the boy's father, before long secured him a position in the
railroad company's office in Philadelphia. When settled down, Robert
brought his mother and brother to the city on the Delaware.

But, pleasant as its environment was, the young stenographer saw in his
new position no very rosy future. It was not--as it is not to-day--his
disposition to confound mere comfort with success. We have quoted his
remark that he would rather be rich and sick than poor and well; but
we venture to think that the riches of Mr. Rockefeller would fail to
give him absolute satisfaction so long as the feeling of professional
success were absent from him. At any rate, we judge by his present
pursuits and aims that his ideal is nearer to the revered and affluent
workman, like Zola, for example, than like to a man whose sole object
is the enjoyment and disbursement of dollars and cents.

From the Pennsylvania road he went to the _Philadelphia Press_, which
in those days was a veritable cradle of authors. Here his literary
instinct took hold of him. It had taken hold of him once before, in
Huntingdon, one vacation, when he had worked as printer's devil in the
office of a weekly newspaper, and, as often happens to "devils," had
been stricken down with what may be called typographical fever. The
great are not alone in the enjoyment of authorship. We believe that Mr.
Stephens's first literary offering, an article describing the joys and
woes of budding printers, appeared in that Huntingdon weekly.

That, however, was a mere juvenile spasm. It was nothing like the
powerful impulse that came to him just previous to his début as a
writer of theatrical notices for the _Press_. He showed so marked
an aptitude for this employment that within a year he was virtually
in full charge of the paper's important dramatic column. Stephens's
career on the _Press_ was as varied as that of the average newspaper
man, and, consequently, as interesting and precious. For the patience
that, like the steam-drill, bores its way through every obstacle; for
accumulative industry, for tireless zeal, for unaffected modesty dashed
with power, for knowledge of the overt and covert ways of men--for such
a unique mixture of crude virtue and wisdom combined commend us to the
enthusiastic journalist.

Stephens unconsciously heeded Stevenson's caution and retired from
journalism before its hypnotic spell had taken complete possession of
him. One of the reasons for his retirement from journalism was the
singular rule made by the _Press_ that members of its staff must not
write for any other periodical. Stephens had been fortunate in placing
his extra work, and naturally he felt that the rule shut out promising
opportunities.

Besides, in 1889, he had married--Mrs. Stephens was, before her
marriage, Miss Maude Helfenstein, of Chicago--and there were other
reasons for his practical view of the situation. There was no risk in
the retirement, for he had made many friends while on the _Press_,
especially among the inhabitants of the theatrical world. He received
and accepted, in 1893, an offer to become general agent for a firm of
theatrical managers.

Incidentally he was required to write cheap plays--plays for the vulgar
public that Gautier despised and ridiculed. These dutiful efforts are
hardly noteworthy, but we must mention "On the Bowery," a melodrama
which afforded the picturesque and withal good-hearted Steve Brodie a
chance to be heroic some sixty-four times a week. But although this
grade of work was uncongenial to the author, it opened the way to a
better field, and, in September, 1896, his play, "An Enemy to the
King," written during the winter of 1894-95, was produced in New York
by E. H. Sothern. As this was his first ambitious production, the
author displayed some lack of nerve. Instead of accompanying his wife
to the theatre, he shrank back to a nearby comfortable refuge, whither,
between the acts, a friend brought him tidings of the performance.
The call for him was led by Richard Harding Davis and DeWolf Hopper,
who, running across him outside the theatre, half suffocated him with
congratulatory embraces. By and by Mr. Sothern took the successful
play to Boston; and there happened the circumstance which established
the author's fame.

The play was seen in Boston by Mr. L. Coues Page, the Boston publisher,
who, recognizing in it the elements which constitute a popular
semi-historical romance, and foreseeing the extensive demand for that
branch of literature, sought the author and proposed that he should
make a novel out of his play. The proposal was readily accepted; in
fact the contract was signed twenty-four hours after the author and
publisher had first met.

The instantaneous popularity of the book, which was published in the
fall of 1897, had a two-sided effect: it induced the author to abandon
hack-work entirely and devote his best energy and proficiency to
fiction.

It is deeply to be regretted that Stephens's health declined
simultaneously with his procession to the seats of the famous, yet
these distressing conditions are hardly discernible in either the
quantity or the quality of his work. In April, 1898, his second
novel, "The Continental Dragoon," appeared, and in the following June
the latest of his plays, "The Ragged Regiment," was produced at the
Herald Square Theatre, New York. In October of that year appeared his
third novel, "The Road to Paris"; in May, 1899, "A Gentleman Player";
in May, 1900, his highly popular Revolutionary romance, "Philip
Winwood," written almost entirely in England, and published on the
same day in England, Canada, and the United States. His latest novel,
"Captain Ravenshaw," in which he returns to the scene of "A Gentleman
Player"--Elizabethan London--has just reached the public.

Shortly after the publication of "A Gentleman Player," the novelist,
in the assurance of a handsome income and of consequent ease, went
abroad with his wife. Abroad he has lived ever since. This fall, we
understand, he will spend traveling on the Continent. The first part of
the winter he plans to pass in Italy or in Sicily, the second part on
the Riviera. The spring of 1902 will find him in Paris, whence, by the
end of spring, he expects to start for home. We say "home" purposely,
for we are told that his protracted residence abroad has served if
anything to deepen and enliven his loyalty to his native land.

We have been privileged to read the preface to "Captain Ravenshaw."
The main part of it is a spirited and well-pointed defence of the
neo-romanticists against the eccentric assault of Mr. William Dean
Howells. Then, referring to the book itself, Stephens goes on to say:

"Now, as to this little attempt at romance in a certain kind, I wish
merely to say, for the benefit of those who turn over the first leaves
of a novel in a bookstore or library, before deciding whether to
take it or leave it, that it differs from the usual adventure story
in being concerned merely with private life and unimportant people.
Though it has incidents enough, and perils enough, it deals neither
with war nor with state affairs. It contains no royal person; not even
a lord--nor a baronet, indeed, for baronets had not yet been invented
at the period of the tale. The characters are every-day people of the
London of the time, and the scenes in which they move are the street,
the tavern, the citizen's house and garden, the shop, the river, the
public resort--such places as the ordinary reader would see if a
miracle turned back time and transported him to London in the closing
part of Elizabeth's reign. The atmosphere of that place and time, as
one may find it best in the less known and more realistic comedies
of Shakespeare's contemporaries, in prose narratives and anecdotes,
and in the records left of actual transactions, strike us of the
twentieth century as a little strange, somewhat of a world which we
can hardly take to be real. If I have succeeded in putting a breath
of this strangeness, this (to us) seeming unreality, into this busy
tale, and yet have kept the tale vital with a human nature the same
then as now, I have done something not altogether bad. Bad or good, I
have been a long time about it, for I have grown to believe that though
novel-reading properly comes under the head of play, novel-writing
properly comes under the head of work. My work herein has not gone to
attain the preciosity of style which distracts attention from the
story, or the brilliancy of dialogue which--as the author of 'John
Inglesant' says, 'declares the glory of the author more pregnantly
than it increases reality of effect.' My work has gone, very much,
to the avoidance of anachronisms. This is a virtue possessed by few
novels which deal with the past, as only the writers of such novels
know. It may be a virtue not worth achieving, but it was a whim of
mine to achieve it. Ill health forbade fast writing, the success of my
last previous work permitted slow writing, and I resolved to utilize
the occasion by achieving one merit which, as it required neither
genius nor talent, but merely care, was within my powers. The result
of my care must appear as much in what the story omits as in what it
contains. The reader may be assured at the outset, if it matters a
straw to him, that the author of this romance of Elizabethan London
(and its neighborhood) is himself at home in Elizabethan London; if he
fails to make the reader also a little at home there in the course of
the story, it is only because he lacks the gift, or skill of imparting."

Months ago the demand for "Captain Ravenshaw" was so great that the
publishers were forced to issue an unprecedentedly large first edition.
The present circumstance is an eloquent commentary on the increase of
the author's power and popularity.

That power and that popularity seem destined to grow larger book by
book. The master of a most graceful style and of diction unsurpassed
for simplicity and clearness; a trained observer, as every successful
writer must be; a diligent and uncommonly perspicacious student of the
periods from which he takes his characters, the author of "Captain
Ravenshaw" promises ably to sustain his already high reputation. As the
fulfilment of this promise depends largely on the state of his health,
we wish him well, confident that in expressing the wish we but echo the
sentiment of his wide circle of admirers.



[Illustration: CHARLES G. D. ROBERTS.]



CHARLES G. D. ROBERTS


"Professor" Roberts he is still called by his old friends in New
Brunswick, and, so far as we know, "Old Man" he is still called by his
literary companions. "The 'Old Man,'" said Richard Hovey a few years
ago, "he is fondly called by the poets who are his companions, not
that he is so much the elder of the group, but perhaps because he had
already achieved a certain measure of reputation and was a full-fledged
man of letters when the others were just beginning their callow
boy-bows to the Muse. And the name, given at the outset in a comic,
mock-filial mood, has stuck to him as a term of endearment."

Hovey--may he rest in peace!--loved and admired Roberts. He said so
in writing; he said so o' nights in the company of his old friends
in Boston. Hovey had a manner that would remind one of the rivers
branching off Roberts's familiar Bay of Fundy. At first, a stranger,
you found it empty; in a few moments, if he offered you the right hand
of fellowship, it was flooding with a warm tide.

We could readily go on for a page or two speaking of the lamented
singer, and of what it meant to know him as a friend--to share his
hospitality and his sympathy. But it occurs to us that some reader may
be inquiring why the professor from New Brunswick has been brought into
a book on American authors. We might answer, with a smile, to incite
him to become as loyal an American as General Wallace or Mark Twain.
Or we might repeat as an answer a statement made to us not long ago by
an observant inhabitant of this part of the literary world--"Professor
Roberts is quite as good an American as Henry James." But, using
American in its fullest sense, Roberts easily comes in under that head.
The shadow of the Stars and Stripes falls near his birthplace. His
public is largely a purely American public. His residence for the last
four years has been New York City. He is perhaps the most gifted author
reared in late decades by our lovely neighbor, the Dominion of Canada,
his alma mater--

    O child of nations, giant-limbed,
      Who stand'st among the nations now
    Unheeded, unadored, unhymned,
      With unanointed brow!

Speaking of Roberts in _The Writer_ once, his friend Hovey said: "All
his excursions include a return ticket to the Maritime Provinces, and
'Up and Away in the Morning' is always for the sake of 'Home, Home in
the Evening.'" This statement has been contradicted by Roberts's life
during the last few years. He is to be found in New York winter and
summer.

At the same time we should be stultifying ourselves to deny his loyalty
to his native land. It lives in many of his pages; it is kept aflame
by ties of family and of friendship. The beautiful part of the world
northeast of New England has been to him nursery, academy and studio.
Indeed, one who knew him well has said: "He is neither Briton nor
American, but assertively Canadian; and, if history ever make his dream
a reality, his own poems will not have been an entirely negligible
factor in bringing it to pass."

Charles George Douglass Roberts, M.A., F.R.S.C., F.R.S.L., was born
in Douglas, at the mouth of the Keswick River, near Fredericton, New
Brunswick, on January 10, 1860. His father, the Rev. G. Goodridge
Roberts, M.A., the son of Professor George Roberts, Ph.D., is the
rector of the English church in Fredericton, and also the canon of
Christ Church Cathedral. His mother, Emma Wetmore Bliss Roberts,
comes of what used to be known as United Empire Loyalist stock--the
same stock, by the way, that Emerson's mother came of. Her ancestors
left the colonies for the provinces at the outbreak of the American
Revolution. There were many influential families among the Loyalists,
and, on the whole, their headstrong flight has been beneficial to the
land 'way down East. The novelist's mother, it should be said, is a
sister of Bliss Carman's mother, which makes the two young writers,
Roberts and Carman, cousins by blood as well as brothers by profession.
A strong intellectual ancestry has Roberts, it will be seen, an
ancestry that fully accounts for the circumstance that his sister and
his two younger brothers are skillful at versification.

The first fourteen years of Roberts's life were spent in Woodstock,
of which parish his father was then the rector, and up to the end of
these fourteen years Charles's education had been personally supervised
by his father. Fortunate conditions!--as they who have missed such
supervision can most eloquently testify. Ideal conditions, if we are to
accept the well-digested opinion of scholastic as well as of medical
experts.

The Robertses moved from Woodstock to Fredericton in 1874. At
Fredericton, Charles attended the Collegiate School. Chief among
those who fitted the boy for college was Dr. George R. Parkin, who,
although now the head of Upper Canada College, Toronto, has perhaps
been most prominent as an Imperial Federationist advocate. In 1876
young Roberts was matriculated at the University of New Brunswick.
As for his progress there, no more need be said than that he won the
Douglas silver medal for Latin and Greek, the alumni gold medal for the
Latin essay, and a classical scholarship. In 1879 he was graduated with
honors in ethics, metaphysics and political economy. That same year he
was appointed head master of the Chatham (N. B.) Grammar School. The
next year, 1880, chronicled two notable events--his marriage, and the
publication of his first book, "Orion and Other Poems."

In 1881, at the University of New Brunswick, he took his degree of
Master of Arts for Greek and higher mathematics. During the next two
years he taught school in Fredericton.

Then there came a brief excursion which may have illustrated his
doubts about a career. He left off teaching and went to Toronto.
There, with the assistance of Goldwin Smith, he established _The
Week_, the most important of the Canadian literary periodicals.
He relinquished this work the following year to take the chair of
English and French literature in King's College, Windsor, Nova Scotia.
In 1887 he abandoned the French department for the department of
Economics and International Law. At Windsor he lived in a house in the
balmy woods--"Kingscroft," he called it--and there he planned three
books--"The Forge in the Forest," his first Acadian romance; "The Book
of the Native," and "A History of Canada."

These plans compelled the abandonment of teaching, so, in 1895,
Roberts left King's College and returned to Fredericton. At the age
of thirty-five, therefore, he formally adopted the profession of
literature.

Early in 1897 he moved to New York, where for eight months he was
associate editor of _The Illustrated American_. Since then he has
directed his efforts wholly to authorship.

And with the utmost justification. In narrative and in descriptive
power he shines brilliantly among his contemporaries. Hovey would
not answer the question: "Who is the greatest poet born on Canadian
soil?"--"but," he writes, "when I say that Roberts is _par excellence_
the 'Poet of Canada,' I have little fear that anyone will contradict
me." There is his noble hymn, "Canada," there is "Autochthon," there
is "Kinship," there is "Origins"--poems of faultless grace and
deep-founded sentiment and what one critic has termed "chiselled,
Parnassian calm." For example:

    The mount, the star, the germ, the deep,
    They all shall wake, they all shall sleep.
    Time, like a flurry of wild rain,
    Shall drift across the darkened pane.

    Space, in the dim predestined hour,
    Shall crumble like a ruined tower.
    I only, with unfaltering eye,
    Shall watch the dreams of Gods go by.

Hovey, whom we may accept as an accomplished judge of symbolist
literature, put "Do Seek their Meat from God" and "The Young Ravens
that call upon Him," two sketches in "Earth's Enigmas," and "Savory
Meats," a story published in the _Chap-Book_, together, and said that
they "form an altogether unique and extraordinary triptych. I am
inclined to think these three pieces," he says, "Roberts's most notable
contribution to literature. The problem of the struggle for existence,
of the preying of life on life, is treated with an inexorable fidelity
to the fact, a catholic sympathy, a sense of universality and mystery,
and a calm acceptance, that reaches the level of 'pathos' in the
highest Greek usage of the word. There is a finality in these three
prose poems that is known only to the greatest art."

As for Robert's novels, they are full of the perfumed freshness, the
vigorous life and the romantic wealth which constituted, and to a small
extent still constitute, the salient characteristics of the lands in
which he spent his youth. We have noted his narrative and descriptive
power. Let us take from "A Sister to Evangeline" one of Paul Grande's
visions of Yvonne de Lamourie.

"In one of these I saw her as she stood a certain morning in the
orchard, prying with insistent little finger-tips into the heart of a
young apple-flower, while I watched and said nothing. I know not to
this day whether she were thinking of the apple-flower or wondering
at the dumbness of her cavalier; but she feigned, at least, to concern
herself with only the blossom's heart. Her wide white lids downcast
over her great eyes, her long lashes almost sweeping the rondure of
her cheek, she looked a Madonna. The broad, low forehead; the finely
chiselled nose, not too small for strength of purpose; the full, firm
chin--all added to this sweet dignity, which was of a kind to compel a
lover's worship. There was enough breadth to the gracious curve below
the ear to make me feel that this girl would be a strong man's mate.
But the mouth, a bow of tenderness, with a wilful dimple at either
delectable corner always lurking, spoke her all woman, too laughing and
loving to spend her days in sainthood. Her hair--very thick and of a
purply-bronze, near to black--lay in careless fullness over her little
ears. On her head, though in all else she affected the dress of Grand
Pré maids, she wore, not the Acadian linen cap, but a fine shawl of
black Spanish lace, which became her mightily. Her bodice was of linen
homespun, coarse, but bleached to a creamy whiteness; and her skirt,
of the same simple stuff, was short after the Acadian fashion, so that
I could see her slim ankles, and feet of that exceeding smallness and
daintiness which may somehow tread heavily upon a man's heart."

And there is a strong resemblance to Thomas Hardy in at least one of
the paragraphs narrating Paul Grande's race with death toward the
Anderson farm--the paragraph dealing with the idle things that then
incongruously concerned the hero:

"Things idle as these: I see a dew-wet fir-top catch the moonlight
for an instant and flash to whiteness, an up-thrust lance of silver;
I see the shadow of a dead, gnarled branch cast upon a mossy open in
startling semblance to a crucifix--so clear, I cannot but stoop and
touch it reverently as I pass; I see, at the edge of a grassy glade, a
company of tall buttercups, their stems invisible, their petals seeming
to float toward me, a squadron of small, light wings; I hear the smooth
swish of branches thrust apart; I hear the protesting, unresonant
creak of the green underbrush as we tread it down, and the sharp
crackle of dry twigs as we thread the aisles of older forest; I hear,
from the face of a moonlit bluff upon our left, the long, mournful
_Whóo-hu-hu--Hóo-oo_ of the brown owl. I smell the savour of juniper,
of bruised snakeroot, and of old, slow-rotting wood; with once a fairy
breath of unseen _linoea_; and once at the fringed brink of a rivulet,
the pungent fragrance of wild mint. I feel the frequent wet slappings
of branches on my face; I feel the strong prickles of the fir, the
cool, flat frondage of the spruce and hemlock, the unresisting,
feathery spines of the young hackmatack trees; I feel, once, a gluey
web upon my face, and the abhorrence with which I dash off the fat
spider that clings to my chin; I feel the noisome slump of my foot as I
tread upon a humped and swollen gathering of toad-stools."

More than one judicious critic has remarked that few men of his years
have achieved--and deservedly!--the literary renown which Professor
Roberts's published works warrant. These works are as follows: "Orion
and Other Poems" (1880), "In Divers Tones" (1887), "The Canadians of
Old" (a translation from the French of de Gaspé, 1889), Appleton's
"Canadian Guide Book" (1890), "Ave, An Ode for the Shelley Centenary"
(1892), "Songs of the Common Day" (1893), "The Raid of Beauséjour"
(1894), "Reub Dare's Shad Boat" (1895), "Around the Camp Fire" (1896),
"Earth's Enigmas" (1896), "A History of Canada" (1897), "The Forge
in the Forest" (1897), "The Book of the Native" (1897), "New York
Nocturnes" (1898), "A Sister to Evangeline" (1898), "By the Marshes of
Minas" (1900), "The Heart of the Ancient Wood" (1900).

However, notwithstanding this long and excellent literary record, we
are assured that Roberts "has a keen fondness for athletics. He is an
enthusiastic football and tennis player, canoeist and fisherman, and is
equally as skilled in these as he is in the pursuits of literature."

Another novel from his pen, "Barbara Ladd," appears this fall. "I
consider it," he writes, "a sort of cross between 'The Heart of the
Ancient Wood' and a historical-psychological romance." As for the
future, he says: "Next will probably appear a collection of poems, and
a collection of animal stories. Then another romance, planned but not
yet named; and then, if the Fates are very good to me, I'll take time
for a long lyrical drama on which I have been engaged off and on for
some years."



[Illustration: Photo by Strauss.

WINSTON CHURCHILL.]



WINSTON CHURCHILL


Late in the year 1900 it suddenly became plain to some of the mystified
inhabitants of the literary world that there were two Winston
Churchills.

It is indeed remarkable how long the error lived which confounded
Winston L. S. Churchill, war correspondent and politician, and eldest
son of Lord Randolph Churchill, with plain Winston Churchill, the
author of "Richard Carvel."

The error cropped out soon after the beginning of the South African
war, when the Englishman, at a place called Estcourt, took gallant part
in the defence of an armored train bound to the relief of Ladysmith. It
was the result of one of the sentences in the report of the action:
"Winston Churchill's brilliant behavior is compared with the gallant
action in the Tirah campaign, which won the Victoria cross for Lord
Fincastle, who was also acting as a newspaper correspondent."

Immediately some persons, who should have known better, jumped to the
conclusion that this Winston Churchill was the author of a book then
extremely popular in this country. It is a notable commentary on the
persistency of false ideas that the two Churchills were not, in certain
quarters, positively distinguished from each other until they met in
Boston the middle of last December. It was an interesting meeting, as
we gather from the notes of a witness.

"The young, light-haired Englishman was in bed, in his room at the
Touraine, shortly after noon, when Major J. B. Pond arrived with a
heavily built six-footer, smooth-shaven, dark-complexioned, a pair of
merry black eyes, and a rather thick body encased in a raglan of dark
gray.

"'Mr. Churchill, Mr. Churchill,' said the Major. The man on the bed
turned over on his side and held out his hand.

"'I'm sorry to find that you are ill,' said the Churchill in the
raglan, as he caught the outstretched hand.

"'Nothing serious, I guess,' said the other; 'been travelling, you know.
But, I say, how came you by that name?'

"The author of 'Richard Carvel' smiled.

"'The first trace of it I can find in the family,' he said, 'is about
1851. It seems that there have been Winston Churchills over here for a
good many years.'

"Then there was an exchange of bouquets. Winston Churchill said that
he had always been looking forward with pleasure to a meeting with his
namesake, and the other Churchill said something in the same strain.

"'I was interested when I read your first book,' said the Englishman.
'Didn't think a great deal of that book; but the other one, "Richard
Carvel," I was willing to become responsible for that.'

"Then it developed that each had been responsible for the other to a
greater or less extent. For this reason it was inevitable that they
should meet."

As a matter of fact, mail for the Englishman, simply directed "Winston
Churchill, Boston, Mass.," had been sent to his namesake's residence
on Beacon Street. Later it was told that the American met the same
embarrassment in London. "When I was staying at Brown's Hotel," he said
to the Parliamentarian, "I found it almost impossible to get my mail.
They compelled me to sign for it personally."

The Englishman, by the way, is the author of a romance in regard to
which the London critics seem to hold an opinion similar to that which
he admittedly holds in regard to the American's first novel--"The
Celebrity."

Speaking of "The Celebrity" reminds us of the still prevalent notion
that its contemptible hero is Mr. Richard Harding Davis. In fact we
believe that the author was openly charged with having written the
satire merely to pay a private grudge. We heard an echo of the charge
as late as this year. Yet, more than two years ago Mr. Churchill, in
a public letter, took pains specifically to deny the imputation. "The
Celebrity" he said, in effect, was entirely an imaginary work. No one
at all resembling the chief character had ever been met by him. So far
from paying grudges, he had no grudge to pay. Indeed, the young writer
grew so tender on the subject that the Colonial atmosphere of "Richard
Carvel" was attributed to his desire to avoid contemporary themes. But
the truth is, he completed "The Celebrity" while temporarily short of
historical material for use in the history of Richard and his Dorothy.
Twice he thoroughly revised "The Celebrity" before sending it to the
publishers.

And who is this Winston Churchill? He is the son of Spalding Churchill
of Maine and Emma Bell Blaine of St. Louis, and he was born in the
Missouri metropolis on Nov. 10, 1871. The first sixteen years of his
life were spent in his birthplace; and there, at Smith Academy, he
prepared for college. The college proved to be the Naval Academy at
Annapolis.

As a boy he was inclined to be uncommonly studious, but at the Naval
Academy he developed a strong inclination towards athletics. It was
largely owing to his energy and his enthusiasm that the cadets revived
rowing. Like most other cadets, he learned to fence expertly; and
you will find an intimate knowledge of this accomplishment in his
treatment of one of the most dramatic scenes in "Richard Carvel." He
took to horseback riding, also to golf and to tennis, in short, to all
the pastimes that strengthen the body and enliven the mind. It is his
devotion to physical exercise which has enabled him to work long and
hard without distress.

He felt, before his graduation from Annapolis, that his place was at
the writing table, not on the deck of a man-o'-war. Apropos of which
he has said: "When a man is being trained for a definite career, it
helps him to make up his mind as to his tastes and abilities. If he is
sure he doesn't want to do that particular thing, he must know pretty
definitely what he does want to do. When he throws over a certainty
for a chance his heart must be firmly set on the kind of work involved
in the chance. For this reason a technical school helps some men to
find their vocation better than four years at a university, where the
training is general."

In 1894 he became editor of the _Army and Navy Journal_. The
following year he joined the staff of the _Cosmopolitan_ at
Irvington-on-the-Hudson. While working for the magazine he took as wife
Miss Mabel Harlakenden Hall of St. Louis, whose fortune induced him to
give up magazine work altogether and devote himself to the realization
of his dreams.

Now if Churchill lacked either determination or genius the wealth
that through marriage he became a sharer in would have have availed
him little. He might have attracted some attention as a dilettante,
or he might have done the things that a wealthy person alone can
do--establish another _Anglo-Saxon Review_, for example, or publish
small thoughts in editions de luxe. He would have succeeded if his
wife had never brought him a copper. It would have taken him longer to
succeed, that is all. Art is long, and life is short only to the poor
fellow who must ascend the ladder round by round. But not all the money
in the world can ease the labor of the brain.

Churchill's ambition, from the first moment that he felt the literary
impulse, was to write a historical novel. Annapolis had fired his
imagination. "Seeing those old houses," he once said, "which used
to be the scenes of the gayest and happiest social life before the
Revolution--they look as if the people had just gone out of them--and
reading the history of the town as it used to be, interested me
greatly in a certain aspect of the life of the colonial planters,
which had not, it seemed to me, been fully and truthfully expressed
in a novel. What I wanted to do in 'Richard Carvel' was to give a
picture of the life of colonial Maryland and Virginia, with special
reference to Annapolis, and to contrast the people who made it with
the corresponding element in England. One of the things I wanted to
bring out strongly was that, although the leading men in business, in
professional life, and in politics, in both Maryland and London, came
from the same stock, a few generations back, politically, the British
had sunk into a state of gross corruption and degradation, while the
Americans were men of the highest integrity and the cleanest motives,
mindful of their legal and moral debt to Great Britain, but resolute
not to endure more than a certain amount of injustice."

And how do you suppose Mr. Churchill prepared for the big task of
writing a historical novel? He has answered the question himself:

"By visiting all the places concerned in the story, and by reading
biographies, histories, memoirs, letters, old newspapers--in fact,
everything which could give me an insight into the life of those days,
or into the character of the people like John Paul Jones and Charles
Fox, whom I desired to introduce. Of course I read a great deal too
much; a great many books gave me no direct help and added nothing to
what I had already learned; but I have no doubt that all this reading
counted in the way of letting me into the spirit and the atmosphere and
the ideas and the business methods and the modes of life and thought
of those days. Of course, I took voluminous notes, and had no end of
trouble to keep them arranged so that I could use them, in spite of the
effort I made to keep notes on costumes in one volume, manners and
customs in another, unusual words and turns of expression in another,
incidents in another, character in another, history in another and so
on."

"Richard Carvel" was begun in St. Louis not long after the author's
marriage. It was written over again for the fifth time between
October, 1898, and April, 1899, at a little town on the Hudson, an
hour's journey from New York. Yet it is a proof of Churchill's zeal
and industry that in those six months he visited the metropolis only
five times. His habit is to work from early breakfast until one in
the afternoon, and then, after luncheon, for a few hours more, after
which he takes some physical exercise; and after dinner he picks up
the thread of the story again. You see, his literary methods are very
simple; they mean work early and late, work done doggedly, and as
scrupulously as if the keenest critic were looking over his shoulder.

The furore which "Richard Carvel" excited is too well remembered, we
think, to particularize on. The author was made a lion of everywhere,
truly, and exhibited in all the gilded cages of the East. We recall
that the mere announcement of his purpose to go to the theatre in
New York was sufficient to insure a big audience. Not another one of
our American authors whose fame is of recent acquirement, and whose
inclination is to keep far from the madding crowd has been followed
about by so many hero-worshippers as the author of "Richard Carvel" was
during the twelvemonth following the publication of the book.

Was the attention justly merited? Undoubtedly. "Richard Carvel" is an
extraordinarily powerful story. Its atmosphere is vivid; its characters
are excellently drawn; its plot is skillfully laid; its action is
vigorous and delightfully varied.

"Richard Carvel" was the first of a series of historical novels which
Churchill planned just after leaving Annapolis. It has been followed
lately by the second member of the series, "The Crisis," the writing of
which occupied nearly two years. While thus engaged the author declined
to be interrupted. Naturally, after bounding to the top of the ladder,
anything which he might have offered would have been accepted by some
publishers. "You have no idea," he once remarked, "of the temptations
that are put in the way of a man whose book has been accorded a popular
success." The temptations he brushed aside; he made up his mind to
pursue a straight road. And wisely, for, as he argues, "When a man
makes a great reputation by a single book, and then allows succeeding
books to go from his hands which do not represent the very best work
of which he is capable, the public finds it out at once. No matter if
there is good work in these hastily written books, people ignore them.
I think it is the worst thing a man can do for his reputation to write
books too fast. Of course, it is the worst possible thing he can do for
his lasting reputation, which is the thing really worth working for,
but what I mean is that it is the worst thing he can do in the short
run as well as in the long run. Why, even speaking commercially, which
is the lowest and the least and the last way in which one can look at
these things, it is a fatal mistake. And I think a novelist makes a
great mistake if he confines himself to one period or writes several
books on one epoch, though it is more or less the practice to-day. I
think we ought to go in more for versatility."

Mr. Churchill is seen in New York and Boston in the winter; in the
summer he is to be found only by traveling 'way down East. In Boston,
particularly, the Churchills have become very well known. There Mr.
Churchill puts up at the most aristocratic clubs, and Mrs. Churchill
graces the most fashionable receptions.



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber's note:

Obvious printer errors have been corrected. Otherwise, the author's
original spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been left intact.





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