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"But," he ends, "should the negotiations come to nothing, the situation will be much worse than before. The danger will be all the greater, for the im
DICKENS AND NEW GRUB STREET.
The letters of Charles Dickens to W. H. Wells, his assistant on Household Words, the Daily News and All the Year Round, compiled by Mr. Lehmann, form a notable addition to literature. The astounding versatility of Dickens' genius, his swift comprehension, his unerring faculty for aiming at essentials, combined with an inexorable attention to detail, is vividly brought out in this record of the most brilliant and humane editor of his time. Punctilious in the discharge of his own obligations, Dickens had a vast charity and understanding for the frailties of Fleet Street. He tempered the wind to the shorn contributor, no impecunious journalist asked for an advance in vain.
Fleet Street as Dickens knew it has largely passed away. Its genial Bohemianism is slowly giving place to a chastened respectability, suggestive of cocoa, for it has none of the exuberance of Chadband. Opulent buildings have superseded the dirty and delightful publishing offices, and the editor comes a long way after the cashier. In these days the man in the chair knows nothing of cheques-a shivering journalist is referred to the countinghouse, where superior persons eye him up and down and debate whether or no he can have five pounds to pay his rent.
In the days of Dickens it was otherwise.
Sala is very good [he writes]. Don't run him too close in the money way. I can't bear the thought of making anything like a hard bargain with him.
mense amount of inflammable material lying about in Europe will catch fire in some corner or other, as it did in Herzegovina in 1875."
"Charles Dickens as Editor." By R. C. ehmann. Smith Elder. 12s. 6d. net.
There rises before me, as I read those wise and humane words, "He can have money... while he is at work," the memory of one of the saddest tragedies of Fleet Street. A young and erratic journalist with a reputation for brilliant writing and unpunctual delivery was contributing a series of articles to a weekly journal. Mindful of his reputation, the editor gave instructions he was not to be paid until the series was finished and the complete MSS. was in the office. Repeated applications met with decided refusals. The work needed concentration of mind, freedom from monetary pressure,
and the certainty of a good meal. Cash for brains would have answered the purpose admirably; the knowledge that money awaits the completion of an article has a stimulating effect on the pen; but the modern editor-with some few exceptions-is divorced from human intercourse with his contributor, and understands nothing of these things. The young journalist having delivered copy to the value of some thirty pounds, still without monetary result, gave up the struggle, and wrote Finis to the end of his life instead of the series. He died from starvation.
The same capacity for bearing with temperamental weakness, as apart from moral deficiency, is shown again and yet again in Dickens' editorial comments.
One gets occasional glimpses of the inseparably connected harassments with a man of his catholic sympathies. Occasionally a hungry contributor, possibly denied by the long-suffering Wells, chased the editor into the country and stormed "Gad's Hill."
power of the Press so great or so farreaching, and yet a reference to Dickens' comments and criticisms on popular topics shows that most of the burning questions of to-day were subjectmatter for discussion in the columns of Household Words:
Do they teach trade in Workhouses, and try to fit their people (the worst part of them) for Society? Come with me to Tothill Fields, Bridewell, or to Shepherd's Bush, and I will show you what a workhouse girl is. Or look to my "Walk in a Workhouse" and to the glance at the youths I saw in one place, positively kept like wolves.
One is inclined to speculate as to Miss Power's proposed trip to Alexandria. Before now journalists have received mysterious commissions to proceed forthwith to the North Pole or the Congo-necessitating an immediate settlement in full. Dickens' letter suggests a beautiful acceptance of her story; the "no doubt" covers everything. Also Miss Power was at Gad's
Turn again to the agitation as to the sale of Peerages: present-day writers must needs stand aghast to find their most telling headlines forestalled, their most eloquent diatribes discounted.
Modern journalism, we are told, has struck a new note! Never was the
worried and fretted to death by being scenting out talent and many young overwhelmed with proofs."
writers who made their debut in the pages of Household Words owed much of their success to his helpful criticism and generous praise. His alterations were invariably improvements made with every consideration for the author. Among his young men in Household Words were James Payn, Wilkie Collins, the joyous Sala, Charles Reade, and Charles Lever-a goodly company, influenced and encouraged by the greatest genius of his age. Among the women writers were Harriet Martineau, Mrs. Gaskell, and Mrs. Lynn Linton.
Again he wrote an impassioned plea against the impassivity of the head of the chapel. He expresses himself quite clearly on this point: "You know that I have no faith in advertising beyond a certain reasonable extent. I think it a popular delusion altogether."
Placards and posters may pass away, but inimitable, eternal printers' bloomers remain.
I have [says Dickens, obviously trying to be calm] two requests to make in connection with the enclosed copy. First, that you will severely reprove the Whitefriars people in my name, for having the negligence to send me yesterday the uncorrected proof after all. Secondly, that you will very carefully correct the proof of the new matter, and, if you have any doubt, refer to the manuscript.
As a critic Dickens' judgment was sound; he had an intuitive capacity for The Eye-Witness.
Some of them attained lasting fame. All of them must have remembered the wise, kindly, vitalizing influence of the genius of Whitefriars, who understood above all others the eternal lack of pence that curses writing men and who never forgot the inalienable right of Fleet Street to demand Cash for Brains.
BOOKS AND AUTHORS.
Two volumes have been added to the charming "Tudor Shakespeare": The Life of Henry the Eighth, edited by Professor Charles G. Dunlap, of the University of Kansas; and A Midsummer Night's Dream, edited by Professor John W. Cunliffe of the University of Wisconsin. Each volume is furnished with an introduction, notes, a glossary and a list of textual variants, and each has a photogravure frontispiece, Queen Katharine in the first, and Queen Elizabeth in the second. The first impression of the daintiness, convenience and attractiveness of this edition is strengthened with each additional volume; and the editors have not made the too-common mistake of overloading the text with a superfluity of notes and illustrative suggestions. The Macmillan Co.
Any intelligent layman who is interested in medicine,-and most laymen and lay women are has an unusual opportunity offered him in the volume on "Scientific Features of Modern Medicine" published by the Columbia University Press. The volume contains eight lectures delivered by Frederic S. Lee, Professor of Physiology at Columbia University, on the Jesup foundation, last spring. Beginning with a sketch of the normal human body, and its various organs and functions, these lectures communicate the latest word of science regarding the nature and the diagnosis of disease, methods of its treatment, the relations to it of bacteria and protozoa, the problem of cancer and of tuberculosis, the treatment and the prevention of infectious diseases and the characteristics of mod
ern surgery. All this and much more is told in a style wholly free from technicalities and singularly lucid,touched, moreover, with humor, as when the lecturer, referring to the popular distrust of medicine, quotes the chilly Greek epigram: "Marcus, the doctor, called yesterday on the marble Zeus: though marble and though Zeus, his funeral is to-day."
"Rayton: a Backwoods Mystery," by Theodore Goodridge Roberts, is a story of adventure which holds the reader in genuine suspense until the author sees fit to unravel the tangle. During a game of poker, played in a backwoods settlement, one of the players suddenly finds two red crosses upon one of his cards. Misfortune immediately attends him, as it has befallen others in like circumstances according to an old tradition in the family. One after another falls victim to the diabolic fate, and many solutions are attempted and found wanting until the final disentanglement. The reader does not find himself greatly interested in any one character, even in Rayton the hero; the interest lies rather in the action of the plot, which never falters. Although almost melodramatic at times, it is healthy and stirring. L. C. Page & Co.
Socialism, in one form or another, under one name or another, theoretic, practical, economic, political, is making such rapid advances in Europe and the United States that an ardent and comprehensive exposition of its fundamental conceptions by a competent writer can hardly fail to interest even those readers who are far from accepting the writer's conclusions. Such an exposition is Miss Vida D. Scudder's "Socialism and Character" (Houghton Mifflin Co.). From Miss Scudder's point of view, Socialism is a sort of purified Christianity; and she finds Jesus as near the modern socialist in his view
of method as in his social ideal. Scudder admits that the conservative Christian and the revolutionary socialist may seem not only to speak a different language but to think in different categories, but she does not despair of a reconciliation between them, and she regards such a reconciliation as "the one chance for escape from an ominous future." The essential purpose of her book is expressed in its title: she aims to show the effect of socialism upon character, and, in so doing, to distinguish sharply between what is essential and permanent in socialism and what is transient and accidental. Her book is one to compel attention and stimulate discussion.
To the "Home University Library" the Rev. Dr. William Barry contributes a volume on "The Papacy and Modern Times," which, although in proportions nothing more than the "political sketch" which the author calls it in his preface, has a breadth of view and a consistency of ideal which give it more than ordinary interest. Dr. Barry was himself in Rome on that historic twentieth of September, 1870, when the Italian army entered it and the temporal power of the Papacy was ended; and he writes of that day, and the history which led up to it, and the consequences which flowed from it with the scene itself vividly impressed upon his mind. His point of view is, of course, sympathetic, but it is by no means as a special pleader but as an historian that he presents his subject. To the same admirable series is added a volume on "Psychical Research" by Professor W. F. Barrett of the Royal College of Science, Dublin. Professor Barrett was formerly President of the Psychical Research Society, and he is not only familiar with the researches and experiments which have been conducted under its auspices, but has had a share in many of them. What he
writes in this volume, therefore, upon thought-reading, thought transference, suggestion, telepathy, visual hallucinations, dreams, the physical phenomena of spiritualism and automatic writing must be accepted as authoritative, so far at least as the statement of facts is concerned. As to the conclusions, readers will differ. Henry Holt & Co.
Mr. Kiyoshi K. Kawakami's volume on "American-Japanese Relations" (Fleming H. Revell Co.) is a book of more than ordinary interest and importance,-in fact, a book which no intelligent American, wishing to keep himself informed upon public and international affairs, can afford not to read. The author is a Japanese journalist, patriotic but broad-minded, and exceedingly well-informed upon all matters which touch the aspirations and policies of his government. He has made a thorough study of these, so far as they concern the relations between Japan and the United States; and his aim, in the present volume, is to present the history, from the Japanese point of view, of all questions which have arisen concerning American trade and diplomacy, the "open door," the control of Manchuria, the absorption of Korea, foreign loans, railroad-building and financing, neutralization, immigration, etc. Of all these he writes fully and fairly, in an admirably clear literary style, and with frequent citations from official documents. His undisguised aim is to justify the attitude and policy of Japan, but incidentally he seeks to remove misunderstandings which might, sooner or later, engender distrust if not strife. A certain section of the American press and a certain type of the American politician have so busied themselves in arousing suspicion and hostility toward Japan that it is highly useful to have so able and well-intentioned a presentation as this of what
may be called the Japanese "case." It is written in excellent temper, though the author would have been pardonable if, in treating of Japanese immigration and the revival of Denis-Kearneyism he had spoken with less reserve and moderation.
A most unusual and interesting book concerning the "Far East" has just been published by Doubleday, Page and Company under the title "Where Half the World is Waking Up." The author is Clarence Poe, apparently a man not yet in his middle years if his portraits tell the truth, the Editor of "The Progressive Farmer," and a Southerner. He went to Japan, Manchuria, Korea, China, Burma, the Philippines, and India, on an observation tour and with the avowed purpose of not describing the ordinary tourist-sights. He does indulge in a bit of rapture over the TajMahal, and occasionally an exquisite view or a bit of real art forces him to show his ability to appreciate and understand such things; but the book is the product of a student of social conditions, a man of wide learning in his own branches of agriculture and political economy. He is frankly religious, and his pages teem with reflections upon missionary problems. His work has taught him to write a snappy, vital, almost-slangy English and his culture introduces unexpected and apposite quotations from all over the world of literature. The wages, the home life, the methods of laboring, the farms, the mills and factories, the character and characteristics of the Orientals as workmen-these are his theme. A more concise or a more amusing book on these branches of unpolite learning has not appeared for years. His experience has taught him to look on the yellow races without sentimental haloes and to see them from a novel point of view.