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the effect of temporarily frightening Mr. Skimping- The Society of Authors made an appointment ton-Brown, for it was at this time that he sent to with this honest tradesman to meet their accountant. the Society a letter in which he said that most in- But the accountant found the office locked up, fluential people were willing to come forward and and received a note stating that his books were speak to his honesty and generosity.
at his suburban office ! It happened that another autior had some idea At last, upon threats of legal procedure, Mr. of publishing a work with Mr. Skimpington-Brown. Skimpington-Brown appeared, and, with tears in his To this gentleman, whom he seemed to think might eyes, refunded £10. He said that was all he pospossibly prove a new victim, the worthy publisher sessed. mentioned the first author's book, and stated that he This was all the satisfaction that could be was bringing out a second edition of it, for which possibly obtained for the author. Nothing would there was already a demand for nearly 3,000 copies ! have been gained by legal procedure, and the But the two authors were acquainted with each author was advised to take Mr. Skimpingtonother, and this communication reached the first Brown's little all. author. As he said, “the state of things is worse now than ever. As long as the book was practically unpublished, there was a chance of getting a new publisher for it; but if this man, having evidently no position, no capital, and, indeed, no
THE CHESTNUT BELL. right to the name of publisher, really keeps his hold on the book, it is a ruined work.
HE sound of the Chestnut Bell is now bein fact, publish it himself, and yet he deprives the
coming rare in America ; heard indeed as author of his chance of finding another publisher.”
seldom as those of the Sunken City, commeSo it was determined that, at all events
, the morated by Rückert, which "peal once more their book must be got out of his hands, and that after- old melodious chime” butonce or twice in a century, wards the possibility of making him disgorge some and then only to the Sunday child who is born to of the plunder must be considered.
hear what is inaudible to the Philistine. But before The agreement was unstamped, that is, for prac- the last kling of this extraordinary instrument dies It must be admitted that it had
be worth while to record its history, affixed to it a penny postage stamp. In it the and give for the first time what is probably a true publisher covenanted to "print, publish, and push(!) clue to its origin. the book, and meet all demands up to 1,000 About four years ago Senator Jerome, of New copies.” This latter phrase alone would have put York who, because of his immaculate life, admiranyone of experience upon his guard. It is almost able gravity, and personal resemblance to a famous invariably the prelude to the following dodge for picture by Murillo, has always been known as Saint extortion. A large number of copies is named, Jerome-was one day pouring forth in a speech a say 10,000; then a correspondingly large figure is grand series of moral axioms, which, however named as the publisher's risk, say £ 50. The admirable, “had not,” as Heine says, "novelty for author may feel that £50 is not much for 10,000 merit,” when all at once Senator Riddleberger, copies; more, he may ask some one who knows, of Virginia, the licensed clown, jester, and mischief and will be informed that the demand is not very maker of the Senate, called to a point of order. exorbitant. So he pays it. Then only 100 copies And on being asked what it was he replied : “Mr. are printed. The author objects. The other per- Speaker, I want the Senator from New York to stop son says: “I never said I should produce 10,000 ringing that d-d old Chestnut bell of his.” copies. No good publisher ever produces such The mot was new and it spread “like wildfire" large editions of new men's work. I said I would over the Union. Wherever the Frenchman of 'meet demands' up to that number. I have as 1840 would have cried connu, the American roared yet not been asked for more than I have printed.” Chestnut. If an orator uttered a truism-if any But the author may say: "It did not cost you body dared to say “be virtuous and you will be £50 to produce 100 copies." To which the other happy"--"Chestnut!” was sure to be heard. Woe person may reply: “I never said it did.”
to the narrators of old Joes, for the nuts were cast Only in one way had Mr. Skimpington-Brown at them, and they were abashed. Ere long the contracted to do something definite. He said he Chestnut Bell itself appeared. It was a small would advertise up to £20. He was asked to pro- highly resonant apparatus of a tintinnabulistic or duce vouchers for this sum. He then said that he campanological nature, worn as an appendage to the had only advertised to the extent of £9, and that, button hole--it went with a spring, and its sound of course, the surplus would be refunded.
became a terror in the land. I am now in posses
sion of six different kinds of Chestnut Bells—none of excommunication of the Church of Rome, ending of them are loud, but all are of piercing, insulting, by closing the book against the offender, extinaggravating, tone. It has happened that even
guishing the candle, and ringing the bell. clergymen when using platitudes or dropping into ("Reliq. Antiq., i, 1, Gawaine and Gavin, 3023– cant, have been called to silence by the dreadful Halliwell.") Also to bear the bell, to carry off the bell.
prize, to be unsurpassed as a liar. For a bell, a It is usual in the United States whenever a new whetstone, a knife, and, in America, a hat have slang term appears for all the minor literati of the
here or there been substituted. press to at once invent its origin. Consequently
It is very strange that Friedrich in his “Symbolik there were innumerable anecdotes, every one more der Natur,” says of the chestnut that it is a type of anthentic than the others, telling how and when the the unchangeable, of the old which ever persists in term Chestnut came into existence. Of these I
remaining—which is the very spirit of all that is have made a collection, with the result of distrust
hackneyed, “the reason for this being that its ing them all. In such cases it is almost invariably leaves femain so long unchanged." " the oldest which is truest.” The oldest in this
most races name their national fools from some case is Italian. In Northern Italy, especially in
popular dish, as Jack Pudding, in England ; Florence, when a man would discredit or snub Hanswurst, in Germany; Pickle Herring, in another, and intimate that what he says is untrue, Holland; Jean Potage, in France ; so the Italians or contemptible, or worn out, he puts his thumb
call a silly, stupid, would-be witty fellow a Marone, between his fore and middle finger, and presents
which is a large kind of chestnut.” But the it. This is called making the Chestnut. In
real ancient meaning of the nut is BeharrlichNaples they call it la fica, or the fig, but the
keit, obstinate endurance, like that of an old castagna or Chestnut is the most ancient term.
story which holds its own for ever. Therefore All of the American origins confine themselves the Greeks called it the Euboic acorn, and conto the Chestnut, but say nothing of the bell. secrated it to Jupiter, he being of all the gods For the bell is the real object, “Chestnut ” being the most unyielding. only the adjective which qualifies it. This part of It is also to be noted that the Greeks and the problem is specially interesting.
Romans carried little silver bells, the tinkling of There has long been known in Bavaria, possibly which drove away witchcraft and evil spells—which in other parts of Germany, but I have only known
latter certainly include old Joe Millers, so well it in the Bayerisches Land, what is called the
known to possess a kind of dire and intolerable Lügnermesser or Liar's Knife. This is a knife of
fascination. I have a fac simile of one of these wood exactly resembling those which are used by ancient chestnut bells, with its strange incantation, grocers in England to scoop butter or lard.
which I carry in my dressing case as a warning. There is a hole in it in which hangs a hawk's I trust that the reader will not conclude, from what bell, and on the blade is an inscription of which
I have written, that I need it! the following is, though not a translation, a toler
C. G. LELAND. able imitation :
Who liftes thys Knyfe
The Death of a Scholar.—"Come and see The most remarkable of these knives which I
the difference there is between the powerful Rabbis have ever seen is in the possession of Miss Mary of the Land of Israel and the pious Rabbis of B. Reath, of Philadelphia. Another was in the
Babylon. Resh Lakish made a funeral oration great Art Exhibition at Munich in 1888. A third in honour of a certain disciple of the wise, and is in the Artists' Club of Munich. Whenever a
exclaimed, ‘Alas! the Land of Israel has lost a member tells a doubtful or a worn-out or commonly great man !' Whereas Rabbi Nachman at Babylon known story, and tries to pass it off for new, some declined delivering a funeral oration on a similar one rings the bell. All three bore inscriptions in occasion ; for, said he, 'What can I say more than old Bavarian which were, however, so peculiar and Alas! a basketful of books is lost’s"-Talmud requiring so much explanation, that it is hardly Megillah. worth while to give them here.
The ringing of the Liar's Bell is a kind of shutting off or condemnation, and as such is manifestly derived from the "bell, book, and candle,” the form
"THE ART OF AUTHORSHIP.”
But in May, 1890, she received the following letter
from her correspondent :In August, 1888, a well-known English novelist “ DEAR MADAM,
“ May 2, '90. received the following letter :
“Some time since I wrote to you concerning a
lecture I was about to give to a number of young “ Coventry,
men upon the art of composition, and asked your “DEAR MADAM,
“ August 21, '88. aid. You most generously responded to my appeal, “I am wanting to address our young people, in
and gave me the privilege of using your kind words response to their request, by way of a lecture upon of counsel and experience in the event of my being the art of composition and the means essential to desirous to put the lecture into printed form. I secure a forcible and interesting style of expression. thought you would like to see the extract from your I have thought that the only way by which I could letter thus incorporated into the lecture-a lecture add any considerable interest and usefulness to an I have expanded into book form and published evening's pleasant intercourse upon such a topic through Messrs. Clarke & Co., Fleet St., under the would be to secure, if at all possible, a personal title ‘The Art of Authorship.' The little volume testimony of the experience of one or two of our now issued is simply the lecture amplified-matter most skilful and honoured authors.
growing under my hands until it far exceeded the
limits of the pamphlet I at first intended. “To that end I have taken the very great liberty
“For your valued aid I again thank you most to write to you and solicit your generous help. heartily, and am May I be permitted to ask whether in early life you
Very faithfully yours, gave yourself to any special training with a view to
“Mrs. Louisa Parr.
“GEORGE BAINTON." the formation of style, and also whether you can give us any information of your own methods that The author gave the Correspondence to this would aid us to realize, in some degree at least, the Society. She denies having given Mr. Bainton secrets of your own great powers in the use of a leave to print her letter, and considers that its clear and forcible English.
appearance in a collection of letters headed “The
Art of Authorship,” and published as a book by “I write to you because your finely conceived
Mr. Bainton, is a breach of faith. novels are cherished friends of my own, delightful
On receiving these letters it was decided to incompanions which give me more pleasure than I
vestigate the case a little and to appeal to a few of can well say; and also because I feel in asking such
our members, whose names were mentioned both in a favour, that you must be so accustomed to people the book and in public advertisement as “personal getting truly attached to you by reason of your contributors," and ascertain if they thought likebeautiful stories, that you will very readily forgive wise. the request even though you cannot grant it. But
It will not be possible to print all the replies in if you are able to spare a few minutes to do me this
full, but here are a few extracts : kind service, I can assure you of the gratitude of many beside myself.
Mr. Alfred Austin says: “Pray excuse this long letter, and if am giving
“I answered Mr. Bainton's enquiries concerning you any trouble, or ignorantly making an undue
how I formed my style, from motives of courtesy demand on your time, do more than forgive me,
and good nature, and I hear of the use he has take no notice of me, and you will be appreciated
made of what I wrote with surprise and regret.” and understood by
Mr. Hall Caine :“Yours most faithfully and respectfully,
“The man wrote to me to say that he was about
to lecture on style to his young men, who were “ GEORGE BAINTON."
enthusiastic readers of mine, etc., etc., and would “ Mrs. Parr.
take it as an honour, etc., if I would write them a
letter on my personal aims and endeavours, early Now this was really a very polite and appreciative efforts, etc., with much of the same sort.
Of letter, and to it she returned a courteous answer. course I was drawn by the silly subterfuge, and
It was nice to be considered among “one or two when, some time later, a second letter asked for of the most skilful authors,” and kindness of heart permission to print my answer in a pamphlet that prompted her to assist a clergyman in his task of was to contain the text of the lecture,' I was lecturing to his young people upon a subject that, once more made victim. It was not until the like Ah Sin, “ he did not understand.”
book appeared that I realized that the man had written to everybody, that his young men’ were styles in writing. I am not aware of having even all fudge, that the book was the thing, and that, granted the permission. It would not have been in thanks to the folly of folks like myself, he had got accord with a system I hold to—which is, to spare it cheap."
the public any talk upon my methods and doings. Here it becomes evident that, at any rate to
If I wrote the words of the grant, I must have done novelists, Mr. Bainton employed an almost in
so heedlessly, and I shall require to see them in my variable form- the letter, in fact, which we began
handwriting, before I can attach any belief to the by quoting.
statement made by Mr. Bainton. The one object For Mr. Grant Allen, Mr. R. D.
of my writing, was to be of service to an audience Blackmore, Mrs. Lovett Cameron, Mr. W. S. Gilbert, Mr. Rider Haggard, Mrs. Kennard, Mr.
that he, ' a stranger to me, wrote of as being hungry
for literary instruction.'” George Meredith, Miss F. M. Peard, Mr. F. W. Robinson, John Strange Winter, Mr. Edmund Mr. George Meredith is not singular in his belief Yates, and Miss Charlotte Yonge all were ignorant that, albeit Mr. Bainton says so, he never received that Mr. Bainton intended to print their remarks ; any permission. all believed that their assistance was being asked Miss Charlotte Yonge believes the same. So by a clergyman and a stranger for his young people, does Professor Huxley. Miss F. M. Peard and none had an idea that they were being vic- writes :timised by a circular letter.
This simplicity is the more excusable that in the "I am more surprised and annoyed than I can specimens before us as we write, Mr. Bainton
say at hearing of the use Mr. Bainton has made of distinctly says he is applying to “one or two
my answer. I imagined him to be a clergyman authors. Unless one knows him personally before
rather at his wits' ends for subjects for parish hand, how is the ordinary gentleman, how is the
entertainments or lectures, and that he was merely ordinary lady, to have an idea that by this state- getting up the subject in the abstract. It did not ment Mr. Bainton may mean one or two hundred
even occur to me that he would use my name in authors ?
talking about it, much less that he would drag it Space will not allow that we should print more
into print. You will see that he speaks of 'an than brief extracts from these authors' letters. evening's pleasant intercourse.'” Mr. Rider Haggard says
Miss Peard encloses Mr. Bainton's first-and “Some years ago Mr. Bainton, or some person,
only-letter to her, which is almost the exact wrote to me saying he was going to give a lecture,
counterpart of his letter to Mrs. Parr. Miss Peard, and asked my opinion on certain literary matters.
like Mrs. Parr, is one out of “one or two,” and I replied, and, if my memory serves me, stipulated
she also is appealed to because her books are
Mr. Bainton's cherished friends. Mr. Bainton is that if he printed anything, I should have a proof. The other day I received a printed slip, which I
evidently a man of lively sympathies. took for and corrected as a proof. On further Mr. Grant Allen says :examination of covering letter, however, I found it was an extract from a printed book forwarded
“I was not aware Mr. Bainton meant to publish for my perusal.
in book form. Mr. Bainton only mentioned that he
wished for the information for an apparently private "I think it quite unjustifiable that matter obtained for one purpose should be used for another
lecture to young people. I was much annoyed at without reference to its author.”
the use Mr. Bainton made of my letter (which he
printed incorrectly). The details I gave were far Mr. Bainton does appear in Mr. Rider Haggard's more personal than I should have dreanit of making case to have gone through the form of obtaining them had I expected them to be published. What permission to print his remarks, although he disre- is perfectly allowable in answer to a private question garded the stipulation that his request evoked. But about one's own methods may seem like impertinence in some cases he appears to have gone more
and bad taste if obtruded on the general public, directly to work
which never asked to know how one writes one's
books or articles.” Mr. George Meredith says : “I received a letter some weeks back from Mr.
Mr. R. D. Blackmore writes :Bainton, enclosing two printed pages of his book, “When I complied with Mr. Bainton's request with his thanks to me for my kind permission' I was not aware that he intended to publish or even that he might make public use of my private remarks print my words. His letter suggested that he wanted to his young men, through him, at his request, upon aid in a lecture to young people and would use my reply for that purpose, and (as I naturally concluded) But Mr. Marion Crawford has been better for that purpose only. Now that I know the nature used than many of Mr. Bainton's contributors. of Mr. Bainton's book I do object to the use he It may seem that we have gone into this matter has made of a reply procured through the goodwill at more length than the circumstances warranted. due to a clergyman and for clerical purposes." As long as ladies and gentlemen are so far polite that
when they receive a letter, made to bear all the stamp Mr. W. S. Gilbert writes :
of a private letter in contradistinction to a circular, “When I complied with Mr. Bainton's request I they answer it, and so far charitable that, when they was not aware that it was that gentleman's intention
are told a thing by a person they know nothing of, to publish my letter in book form. His first letter they accept his statement, so long will ladies and to me suggested that he wanted aid in compiling a
gentlemen be victims. lecture. I consider that he was not justified in
To the Editor of THE AUTHOR. publishing my letter without my express permission. His action appears to me to amount to a breach of
When I sent Mr. Bainton the letter published in
his book, I was not aware that it would ever be Mrs. Lovett-Cameron says:
printed. He wrote to me in September last, saying
that he wished to address“ our young people' “I certainly had not the smallest idea that he intended to publish the letter which I wrote to him.
upon the art of composition, and he had thought
that it would add “considerable interest and useHe informed me that he was about to give a lecture
fulness to an evening's pleasant intercourse” on to young people, and I understood most clearly that
such a topic, if a few authors would give him their it was for this purpose alone that my letter would
personal experiences in acquiring their respective be made use of. I do most strongly object to the
styles. use he has made of my letter, and consider that in
It will be obvious to anyone, from the compopublishing letters written to him for private use
sition of my letter, that I had no thought of my only Mr. Bainton is guilty of a most unwarrantable
words being used verbatim. Some time afterwards breach of faith."
he wrote asking if he might make use of some parts On the other hand, the Bishop of Carlisle, Mr.
of my letter in a pamphlet in which he proposed to Thomas Hardy, and Sir John Lubbock have no
preserve his lecture, and I gave him permission to objection to the use Mr. Bainton has made of their letters, while Mr. T. Marion Crawford writes as
I cannot say that I particularly object to the use follows:
he has made of it, though I do not think it was
quite fair to issue the opinions of authors in book“Two or three years ago Mr. Bainton wrote form, after winning their confidences for a benevorequesting me to give him an expression of my lent purpose; but I do most utterly and strongly opinions in regard to the course to be followed by condemn the great discourtesy of issuing such a beginners, who would acquire some practical skill book without sending proofs of the matter to each in the use of the English language. I believe that author (and I know one author of high standing was the substance of his letter. Mr. Bainton whose permission to print Mr. Bainton did not stated clearly that he wished to make use of my trouble to ask for at all). I think far more of that answer in lecturing to young people.
than I do of his having picked our foolish brains “I complied with his request and wrote at some to make profit for himself. length. I said that I would prefer my letter not In my own case, probably a glance at proof to be printed. Mr. Bainton wrote again to thank sheets would have caused me to amplify one of my me, but added, that if I would not consent to his statements-that when I was a very young writer printing the matter, it could be of little service to "I found myself slipping into the Rhoda Broughton him. I then replied that since he so much desired school”-in such a way as to give a would-be witty it, he might make any use he pleased of my com- reviewer less chance of misrepresenting my meaning munication. The correspondence ended, and I and making merry over my comprehensive phrase. considered Mr. Bainton at liberty to print the For myself I would be the last to discuss criticism, whole, parts, or a part of what I had written. I however flippant or unjust; but as Miss Broughton now learn for the first time that he has published may have seen the much-quoted article, and pera book, and I infer that something of mine has haps have felt some annoyance through reading my appeared in it. I do not consider myself in any meaning with the writer's eyes, may I say here that way aggrieved, as Mr. Bainton's conduct towards I meant no disrespect for the strong, vigorous, and me was perfectly frank and consistent throughout.” fascinating
fascinating author, whose books have always