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MANUAL FOR YOUNG LADIES,
WITH HINTS ON •
LOVE, COURTSHIP, MARRIAGE, AND THE
TRUE OBJECTS OF LIFE.
KENT'S NEW COMMENTARY;
A MANUAL FOR YOUNG MEN,
BY C. H. KENT.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1881, by CHARLES H. Kent, in the office
of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.
The attempt of an unprofessional writer to compile a book with the expectation that it will meet with favor and be a success, is an experiment that few care to make ; and especially so, if he has read of the fate of thousands who have written only to have their work dead in a week on the hands of their publishers. Writers, too, who were no novices in literary labor, have had such experience; even so distinguished a writer as Lord Beaconsfield, for his “Endymion " was a failure, and a heavy loss to the publishers.
The old saying, that “they who know nothing, fear nothing,” no doubt applies to those thirsting for fame in authorship, venturing where “angels fear to tread," &c. However, we remember reading of men who have made a success and a fortune in ventures in which no man of experience would bave risked a dime. An eccentric character, styling himself Lord Timothy Dexter, once lived in Newburyport, Mass. He displayed his peculiar genius in various ways. His geographical knowledge was somewhat at fault, but had it been better, he would not have made a fortune as he did, by shipping an entire cargo of the old-fashioned brass warming-pans to the West Indies. The natives used the pans for molasses ladles, and the covers for strainers. This man also wrote a book which was a success by way of originality. He adopted a novel and original method, which no author or publisher before or since has dared to imitate. The title was striking—“A Pickle for the Knowing Ones,” and a most remarkable feature about the book was, that everybody could read it, but not one could tell the subject it treated upon. He despised marring his book with punctuation marks, and threw them all in on the last page, leaving readers to punctuate to suit themselves. There were the “dots ;” season to your taste.” It was too much of a “pickle."
We also felt we were inspired to write a book, and so the “ NEW COMMENTARY was compiled. We trembled, however, one day, at
the sight of a big pile of books right from the book-makers' hands, and wondered who would want a copy. We almost wished with Job, when he exclaimed, “0, that mine adversary had written a book," and not us, and then we should be relieved of the task of looking at them and dreading the ordeal that they must pass through before the fate of the venture would be decided. At last we made up our mind that it was just as well to settle the question at once, as to whether the “New COMMENTARY” was worthy of notice or not. We selected our man as the one who was to be the judge of what merit it contained, if any. With no little reluctance we dropped a copy into the post office to his address, to go on its mission, not knowing what might be its fate. Had the gentleman himself appeared at our office, we doubt whether we should have had the courage to have presented a copy to him then and there. We knew him to be not only an eminent scholar, but a most severe critic. In due time a letter came bearing the post-mark which we knew was the proof that our “New COMMENTARY” had reached its destination. We never broke open a letter with greater reluctance than we did this one. In fact, we looked at the envelope some time before we could muster up courage to open it. We fairly dreaded to face the revelation we knew it must contain. But aware that suspense is always more terrible to endure than the worst reality, we overcame our weakness and opened the letter. We
stood up” to read the verdict, being too nervous to sit down. We read it through once, and then again. We could not believe our eyes or our senses. In fact, it was too much for us. We were overcome-dumbfounded. Our eyes seemed to be failing us, blinded by undue and unusual moisture-they servant.'—we couldn't help it. How could we, when we read "hitting the nail on the head," “ your way of clinching every nail by pertinent and striking examples, so largely new to readers, is most commendable. Jacob Abbott began that line of writing for the young, and he has had no lineal successor, unless you prove to be the man. I hope you may."
We couldn't comprehend the situation ; we couldn't believe that we had become a full-fledged author without preparation or experience, and unskilled in scholastic lore. But, here was an endorse. ment of the work by a well-known college president; a man who abhors shams and slip-shod work of every kind; neither is he given