The following is a recipe for an author:
Take the usual number of fingers,
Add paper, manila or white,
A typewriter, plenty of postage
And something or other to write.—Life.
Oscar Wilde, upon hearing one of Whistler's bon mots exclaimed: "Oh, Jimmy; I wish I had said that!" "Never mind, dear Oscar," was the rejoinder, "you will!"
The Author: "Would you advise me to get out a small edition?"
The Publisher: "Yes, the smaller the better. The more scarce a book is at the end of four or five centuries the more money you realize from it."
Ambitious Author: "Hurray! Five dollars for my latest story, 'The Call of the Lure!'"
Fast Friend: "Who from?"
Ambitious Author: "The express company. They lost it."
A lady who had arranged an authors' reading at her house succeeded in persuading her reluctant husband to stay home that evening to assist in receiving the guests. He stood the entertainment as long as he could—three authors, to be exact—and then made an excuse that he was going to open the front door to let in some fresh air. In the hall he found one of the servants asleep on a settee.
"Wake up!" he commanded, shaking the fellow roughly. "What does this mean, your being asleep out here? You must have been listening at the keyhole."
An ambitious young man called upon a publisher and stated that he had decided to write a book.
"May I venture to inquire as to the nature of the book you propose to write?" asked the publisher, very politely.
"Oh," came in an offhand way from the aspirant to literary fame, "I think of doing something on the line of 'Les Miserables,' only livelier, you know."
"So you have had a long siege of nervous prostration?" we say to the haggard author. "What caused it? Overwork?"
"In a way, yes," he answers weakly. "I tried to do a novel with a Robert W. Chambers hero and a Mary E. Wilkins heroine."—Life.
Mark Twain at a dinner at the Authors' Club said: "Speaking of fresh eggs, I am reminded of the town of Squash. In my early lecturing days I went to Squash to lecture in Temperance Hall, arriving in the afternoon. The town seemed very poorly billed. I thought I'd find out if the people knew anything at all about what was in store for them. So I turned in at the general store. 'Good afternoon, friend,' I said to the general storekeeper. 'Any entertainment here tonight to help a stranger while away his evening?' The general storekeeper, who was sorting mackerels, straightened up, wiped his briny hands on his apron, and said: 'I expect there's goin' to be a lecture. I've been sellin' eggs all day."
An American friend of Edmond Rostand says that the great dramatist once told him of a curious encounter he had had with a local magistrate in a town not far from his own.
It appears that Rostand had been asked to register the birth of a friend's newly arrived son. The clerk at the registry office was an officious little chap, bent on carrying out the letter of the law. The following dialogue ensued:
"Your name, sir?"
"Man of letters, and member of the French Academy."
"Very well, sir. You must sign your name. Can you write? If not, you may make a cross."—Howard Morse.
George W. Cable, the southern writer, was visiting a western city where he was invited to inspect the new free library. The librarian conducted the famous writer through the building until they finally reached the department of books devoted to fiction.
"We have all your books, Mr. Cable," proudly said the librarian. "You see there they are—all of them on the shelves there: not one missing."
And Mr. Cable's hearty laugh was not for the reason that the librarian thought!
Brief History of a Successful Author: From ink-pots to flesh-pots—R.R. Kirk.
"It took me nearly ten years to learn that I couldn't write stories."
"I suppose you gave it up then?"
"No, no. By that time I had a reputation."
"I dream my stories," said Hicks, the author.
"How you must dread going to bed!" exclaimed Cynicus.
The five-year-old son of James Oppenheim, author of "The Olympian," was recently asked what work he was going to do when he became a man. "Oh," Ralph replied, "I'm not going to work at all." "Well, what are you going to do, then?" he was asked. "Why," he said seriously, "I'm just going to write stories, like daddy."
William Dean Howells is the kindliest of critics, but now and then some popular novelist's conceit will cause him to bristle up a little.
"You know," said one, fishing for compliments, "I get richer and richer, but all the same I think my work is falling off. My new work is not so good as my old."
"Oh, nonsense!" said Mr. Howells. "You write just as well as you ever did. Your taste is improving, that's all."