The Project Gutenberg eBook, Famous Authors (Men), by E. F. (Edward Francis) Harkins

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at

Title: Famous Authors (Men)

Author: E. F. (Edward Francis) Harkins

Release Date: April 28, 2014 [eBook #45523]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



E-text prepared by sp1nd, Chris Whitehead,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
Internet Archive


Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See



Cover for Famous Authors—men

The cover image was restored by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain. The photograph on the cover image is of Mark Twain.




William Dean Howells.

Reproduced, by permission, from "A Pair of Patient Lovers."—Copyright, 1901, by
Harper & Brothers.



Title page


Copyright, 1901
By L. C. Page & Company


All rights reserved

Fourth Impression, February, 1906

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



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[6] 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.


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


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 D. G. Roberts 299
Winston Churchill 317



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[12] 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[13] 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[14] 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[15] 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[16] 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[17] 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[18] "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[19] 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[20] 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[21] 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[22] 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[23] 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[24] 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.[25] 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.

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[29] 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[30] 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[31] 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,[32] 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[33] 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[35] 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[36] 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[37] 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[38] 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[39] 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,[41] 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'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[44] 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[45] 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,[46] 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[47] 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[48] 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[49] 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[50] 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[51] 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[52] 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[53] 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;[54] 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.[55]

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[56] 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[57] 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."



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[60] 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[61] 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[62] 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,[63] 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[64] 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,[65] 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[66] 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[67] 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[68] 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,[69] 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[70] 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[71] 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[72] 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[73] 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?"


"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[74] 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.

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[76] 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[77] 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[78] 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[79] 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[80] 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[81] 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[82] 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[83] 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[84] 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[85] 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[86] 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[87] 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[88] 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 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[92] 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[95] 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[96] 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[97] 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[98] 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[99] 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[100] 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[101] 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[102] 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[103] 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[104] 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,[105] 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.

Francis Richard Stockton.
Photo by Parker, Morristown.

Photo by Parker, Morristown.




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[108] 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[109] 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[110] 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 Cœur 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[111] 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[112] 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[113] 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[114] "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[115] 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,[116] 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[118] 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[119] 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[120] 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[121] 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[122] (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.



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[124] 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[126] 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.,[128] 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[129] 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.[130] 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[131] 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[132] 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:[133] 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[134] 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.[135] 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[136] 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.

Dr. 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[140] 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[141] 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[142] 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[143] 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[144] 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[145] 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[146] 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[147] 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[148] 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[149] 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[150] '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[151] 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[152] 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[153] 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.

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[156] 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[157] 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[158] 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[160] 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[161] 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[1762 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[163] 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[164] 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[166] 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[167] 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[168] 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.

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[170] 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[172] 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[173] 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[174] 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[175] 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[176] 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[177] 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.[178] 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[179] 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[181] 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[182] 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[183] 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.

James Lane Allen.

Photo by Hollinger, N. Y.




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[186] 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[187] 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;[188] 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[189] 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;[190] 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[191] 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[194] 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[196] 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[197] 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[198] 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[199] 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.

Thomas Nelson Page.

Photo by Davis & Sanford.




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[202] 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[203] 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[204] 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[205] 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[206] 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[208] 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[209] 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[210] 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[212] 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[213] 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[214] 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.

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[216] 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[217 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[219] 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[221] 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[222] 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[223] 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[224] 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.[225] 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[226] 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[227] 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[228] 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[229] 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.

John Kendrick Bangs.

Photo by Hollinger, N. Y.




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[232] 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[233] 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[234] 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,[235] 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[236] 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[237] 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[238] 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[239] 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[241] 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[242] 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[243] 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[244] 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[245] 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.

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,[248] 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.[249] "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[250] 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,[252] 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[253] 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[254] 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;[255] 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[256] 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[258] 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[259] 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[260] 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[261] 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.



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[264] 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[265] 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,[267] 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[268] 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[269] 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[270] 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[271] 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[272] 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[273] 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[274] 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[275] 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,"[276] 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[277] 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.

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[280] 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[281] 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[282] 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[283] 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[284] 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[285] 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[286] 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[287] 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[288] 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[289] 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[290] 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[291] 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[292] 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[293] 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[295] 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[296] 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[297] 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[298] 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.

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;[300] 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[301] 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,[302] 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[303] 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[304] 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.[305] 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[307] 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,[309] 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[310] 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[311] 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[312] 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 linœa; 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[313] 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[314] 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[315] 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."

Winston Churchill.

Photo by Strauss.




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[318] 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[319] 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[321] 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[322] 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,[323] 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[324] 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[325] 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[326] 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[327] 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[328] 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[329] 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[330] 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[331] 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.



Obvious printer errors have been corrected. Otherwise, the author's original spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been left intact. The unusual page numbering has been maintained.




******* This file should be named 45523-h.txt or *******

This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without permission and without paying copyright royalties. Special rules, set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission. If you do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the rules is very easy. You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and research. They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks. Redistribution is subject to the trademark license, especially commercial redistribution.


To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work (or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project Gutenberg-tm License available with this file or online at

Section 1. General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works

1.A. By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property (trademark/copyright) agreement. If you do not agree to abide by all the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession. If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B. "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark. It may only be used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement. There are a few things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works even without complying with the full terms of this agreement. See paragraph 1.C below. There are a lot of things you can do with Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works. See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C. The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation" or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works. Nearly all the individual works in the collection are in the public domain in the United States. If an individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg are removed. Of course, we hope that you will support the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with the work. You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D. The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern what you can do with this work. Copyright laws in most countries are in a constant state of change. If you are outside the United States, check the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project Gutenberg-tm work. The Foundation makes no representations concerning the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United States.

1.E. Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1. The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed, copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at

1.E.2. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees or charges. If you are redistributing or providing access to a work with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.3. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional terms imposed by the copyright holder. Additional terms will be linked to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4. Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5. Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6. You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary, compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any word processing or hypertext form. However, if you provide access to or distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (, you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other form. Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7. Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying, performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8. You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided that

1.E.9. If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark. Contact the Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1. Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm collection. Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain "Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by your equipment.

1.F.2. LIMITED WARRANTY, DISCLAIMER OF DAMAGES - Except for the "Right of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal fees. YOU AGREE THAT YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE, STRICT LIABILITY, BREACH OF WARRANTY OR BREACH OF CONTRACT EXCEPT THOSE PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 1.F.3. YOU AGREE THAT THE FOUNDATION, THE TRADEMARK OWNER, AND ANY DISTRIBUTOR UNDER THIS AGREEMENT WILL NOT BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR ACTUAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES EVEN IF YOU GIVE NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

1.F.3. LIMITED RIGHT OF REPLACEMENT OR REFUND - If you discover a defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a written explanation to the person you received the work from. If you received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with your written explanation. The person or entity that provided you with the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a refund. If you received the work electronically, the person or entity providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund. If the second copy is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4. Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS', WITH NO OTHER WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PURPOSE.

1.F.5. Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages. If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by the applicable state law. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6. INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production, promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works, harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees, that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section 2. Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers. It exists because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the assistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will remain freely available for generations to come. In 2001, the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations. To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4 and the Foundation information page at

Section 3. Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit 501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service. The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification number is 64-6221541. Contributions to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S. Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered throughout numerous locations. Its business office is located at 809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887. Email contact links and up to date contact information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official page at

For additional contact information:
Dr. Gregory B. Newby
Chief Executive and Director

Section 4. Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest array of equipment including outdated equipment. Many small donations ($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United States. Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up with these requirements. We do not solicit donations in locations where we have not received written confirmation of compliance. To SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from outside the United States. U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation methods and addresses. Donations are accepted in a number of other ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations. To donate, please visit:

Section 5. General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works.

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared with anyone. For forty years, he produced and distributed Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S. unless a copyright notice is included. Thus, we do not necessarily keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm, including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.