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A SECOND-CLASS NOVEL.
General Grayle was a hard, resolute, sensible man, and he was a disciplinarian by inclination. and training. He had a family of four sons and three daughters; and William Grayle, who was the youngest son, and the cleverest lad, was articled to a solicitor when he was seventeen. William detested the solicitor and the office and the law, but none of the young Grayles thought seriously of gainsaying the General, so William. cast about in his mind for a means of proving to his father that he could make money without the law's aid, and to this end "Dennis O'Hara"who was William Grayle now out of his teens and commencing his twenties--wrote a novel. He bestowed a great deal of pains upon it, but when it had been rejected by four leading firms of publishers he was very much discouraged, and put the manuscript aside. By this time he was out of his articles. Then General Grayle caught a heavy cold, which developed into bronchitis, and, as he angrily refused to "coddle," he died after a week's illness, and four months later his sons received £6000 each from the executors appointed by his will.
William asked himself anxiously what he was to do with the money. It was his ambition to live in the country and hunt; but there was no possibility of doing so on the interest which 6000 would safely bring in, and to spend the capital would be madness. He could not conquer his aversion to the law as a profession, so there was nothing for it but to put his capital and his energies into some business which might bring in big profits rapidly. And then an idea occurred to William Grayle. Why should he not enter a publishing firm, and learn what sort of books really do sell, and why a mysterious insuperable obstacle seemed to stand between hard-working Dennis O'Hara and publication, which was Dennis' only means of advancement?
So Mr. William Grayle attended smoking concerts assiduously and was introduced in due course to a half-dozen journalists and a couple of elists, and he asked questions in a quiet way when he saw his opportunity. As the result he confided his purpose to a literary agent, but requested him not to reveal the identity of Dennis O'Hara and William Grayle. Four months later William became the junior partner of Mr. Albert Guddle, who had recently severed his connection with the well-known firm of Gunning, Guddle and Hooker, and had established an independent publishing business.
Grayle learned a great deal-a very great deal --in the course of the next three months, and then Dennis O'Hara sat down in his club one night and wrote a short letter to Messrs. Guddle and Grayle, to whom he despatched his manu
script novel by parcel post the same evening. On the following morning when Mr. William Grayle entered the senior partner's room to talk over various matters of business he found Mr. Guddle listlessly turning over the pages of O'Hara's manuscript.
"I say, Grayle," Mr. Guddle began in a discontented voice, "Belfer's ill, or says he is" (Mr. Belfer "read" for the firm of Guddle and Grayle), It's a 'and here are half a score of manuscripts. waste of time to keep them hanging about. Seven or eight of 'em have been all round the trade already, as I can see by the edges. You might just glance at the first few pages and the last chapter, Grayle, if you can find time, and then keep 'em a week or ten days and send 'em back with a form unless you see something that strikes. you as very extraordinary. But here are a couple that may be worth something. Here's a Christmassy kind of a yarn by Miss Bookham. Rather short and trucky, and it's been serialized, and no doubt it was built for a girls' serial, but it might do for one of our Christmas books. Good aunts, you know, give her stories to their nieces. And she's not an agency woman, so I daresay we can get her cheap. And then there's this thing by a man called O'Hara--never heard of him. He
writes a fist rather like your own," Mr. Guddle continued, pointing to the manuscript, "so perhaps you can read it; for I can't get on very well
with it. I wish these unknown authors would get their stuff typewritten. Anyhow, the manuscript is clean and looks pretty new, and it would be a pity to let a good thing slip."
"I'll read it with pleasure," said William Grayle. Ten days later he presented to Mr. Guddle a report on O'Hara's novel. It was a favorable report on the whole, but Grayle believed that it was just; for he was a proud young man and conscientious in his way, and he would have preferred to remain unheard all his life rather than obtain a hearing by unduly vaunting his work. With the report he handed the manuscript to Mr. Guddle. The senior partner read the report attentively.
"H'm, not bad," he remarked, and then he raised the manuscript in one hand and judged its weight. "It's rather a slab," he said. And then he began to speak of other matters, and did not revert to the subject of O'Hara's novel at that season. But a month later, when Mr. Belfer had been at work again for some little time, Mr. Guddle mentioned the matter once more.
"Belfer's had a look at O'Hara's novel," said the senior partner to Mr. Grayle, "and his report is more favorable than yours. He likes the stuff. You mustn't think, you know, Grayle, that I don't rely on your judgment, but you aren't in the writing line yourself, and you haven't had any
thing like Belfer's experience. I've read a good deal of the yarn myself. It's good solid work, though I'm not inclined to think it will set the Thames on fire. However, it's safe, and I'm disposed to take it as a second-class novel."
"What's that?" asked Mr. William Grayle, with genuine interest.
"Well, you see," replied Mr. Guddle, "I do about twenty of 'em in the year, and they go to pay salaries and postage, and so on. There are the books you push and boom if you can. Those are the first-class novels. There's and there's -; as you know, we publish for both. Sometimes there's a lot of money in it, as you've seen; but they're both big pots and both agency men, and of course the agents know pretty well what's in a book to a fraction, and they see that the author gets a jolly big suck at the orange. That's their interest. I don't blame the agents, as men of business: naturally they want a big turnover to take their commission on and a paying clientele, and they're quite right to get both if they can. But agency is death on the grand old profits that there used to be for us, Grayle, and it's a fact that out of three books I published for —, I lost over one. A thumping advance, you know, on account of a 25 per cent royalty rising to 17% per cent, and only the English volume rights. Well, the second of the books was overweighted, and I lost —not much, but still I lost. So it's a speculation, and publishing for the big men means hard work and anxious work sometimes; and you've got to make the small fry help to pay staff expenses and bring in sums that are more or less trifling but certain no risk, no worry, and no hard work. Now, O'Hara is just that man. And he's not an agency man, so if we offer him a deferred royalty after, say, 500 copies, the chances are he'll take it.
"I don't quite understand," said Grayle. "Surely if a book's good enough to publish it's worth pushing."
"Oh, certainly, to the extent of 750 or 1000 copies," replied Mr. Guddle, "but not beyond, unless it's a safe sale from the very first. And, taking them in the lump, it would mean a loss to push these minor works beyond that. Every now and then, in the lump, you get a book that has a much bigger sale in it, if it were pushed; but ordinarily, if you were to put £20 or £30 extra into advertising a minor work and a lot of time and energy into shoving it along-well, you wouldn't do what I call really satisfactory business with two out of three. So the best thing is to clump 'em in altogether, regard 'em as safeties, and deal with 'em all in the same way. The quality of this yarn of O'Hara's will get it an easy sale of 750 copies in England. I never stint my second-class books unduly, and I'll spend £10 in
advertising-I'll spend that in cash. I'll have 1000 copies printed, and I'll bind 250 at once and the rest as needed. I may sell a few to the colonies and a small edition to America. But no expense, mind me, after the first 1000; no taking moulds--it's wise but strict economy that does it with second-class novels, Grayle. Liberate the type and go on to the next. The book will cost me from £80 to £85 all told, and it will bring in £120 to £125; I can make sure of that. Now, if I had to pay the author a royalty of a shilling a copy on the published price of the six shilling edition, and to account to him for 750 copies, it would cost me £37 10s. to settle up with the author, and where should I be unless I pushed the book? And then it wouldn't be a safe second-class novel. But if I pay him 10 per cent on the published price--and mind you, Grayle, that's generous; it's the published price, not the price to the trade; and he must be told it's generous, for we might like to see his next-well, if I pay him 10 per cent after 500 copies, and pay him on 250 or thereabouts he'll get about £7 108., and I shall do very well indeed. And it 'll be better for him," added Mr. Guddle with a chuckle and a wink; "won't lead him into extravagance, or make him think he can live by authorship, and if he comes here with another book, he'll come in a proper frame of mind. Why, some smallish firms live entirely by publishing second-class books in this way."
"But isn't it just a tiny bit hard on the author?" asked William Grayle dryly, "to be condemned to a kind of fiasco beforehand?”
"My dear Grayle," said Mr. Guddle, "I set up in business as a commercial man, not as a philanthropist or art-patron. I carry on my trade on the usual business principles; I make as much money as I can, where I can, and how I can. I give an author as little for a book as he'll take. Hang it all, if a man wanted to sell you houses or horses or dogs, you'd get 'em as cheap as you could, wouldn't you? It's the vendor's lookout; if he's got any sense he knows how business men deal. And it's a competitive world, Grayle, and either you can make a fortune in this business as a commercial man, or leave it alone and drop out and see others do it. Well, we're giving a lot of time to a second class novel. Will you write to this man O'Hara and offer him 10 per cent on the published price after 500 copies have been sold?"
"Oh, yes, of course I'll make the offer," answered William Grayle.
"Oh--and look here, Grayle," Mr. Guddle resumed, "Belfer thinks there may really be something big in the novel, so we'll just snap up the copyright under a clause of the agreement. Every now and then you get hold of a book that booms itself. So instead of making it a license to us to
publish and preserving the copyright to the author, we'll make the cession of the copyright to us the consideration for which we pay the 10 per cent. Twig? O'Hara won't understand the wording. Perhaps it's a woman; let's hope so. And if he or she consents to that I'll change my mind and we'll speculate to the extent of having moulds taken. The book may prove a property, and it's as well to look all round the deal. But I'll dictate the form of agreement. And now let's go on to something bigger."
A painstaking German scholar, we read in the Manchester (England) Guardian, Dr. Hermann Ullrich, has recently issued an interesting bibliography, "Robinson and Robinsonaden," in which he records the various editions not only of "Robinson Crusoe," but also of its numerous imitations. Defoe'e masterpiece was published in 1719, with a catchpenny title of sixty-nine words, of which posterity has ignored all but the two words, "Robinson Crusoe." It immediately struck the popular fancy, and four editions were issued in the same year, as well as several editions of the "Further Adventures." The serial publication followed instead of preceding the publication in book form, both parts appearing in the "Original London Post" from October, 1719, to October, 1720. During the middle of the last century, the popularity of "Robinson Crusoe" waned somewhat, but during the present century editions nave been published in almost every year, and in some years several editions have appeared. Among the editors of the different editions have been Mrs. Barbauld, Sir Walter Scott, C. Lewis, William Hazlitt, Henry Kingsley, Austin Dobson and G. A. Aitkin; and the illustrators include T. Stothard, R. A.; George Cruikshank, C. A. Doyle, "Phiz" and J. D. Watson. Perhaps no English book has been more appreciated on the continent than "Robinson Crusoe." A French translation was printed at Amsterdam in 1720, and immediately ran through several editions. Two versions in German appeared in 1710, and each was reprinted frequently. A Dutch translation appeared in 1721, an Italian in 1731, a Danish in 1744, and a Swedish in 1745. In Spain it had the honor of a place on the "In
dex." In consequence, the first Spanish edition was published in France in 1835, and when the book was eventually printed in Spain in 1849 it was preceded by a "disertacion religiosa," in which, no doubt, the heretical nature of the original was dealt with. During the present century "Robinson Crusoe" has appeared in Polish, Arabic, Ancient Greek, Turkish, Finnish, Maori, Bengali, Maltese, Hungarian, Armenian, Hebrew, Welsh, Portuguese; Esthonian, Persian and Urdu. Dr. Ullrich seems to have overlooked Professor F. W.Newman's Latin version of Part I. This he entitles "Rebilius Cruso," and it was intended as a text book for school boys.
The imitations of "Robinson Crusoe" have been very numerous, and some of them have almost rivaled in popularity their prototype. Curiously enough, the imitators seem to have thought that Crusoe's Christian name was of more importance than his surname, and "Robinson" almost invariably forms part of the title. One of the earliest imitations was the "Hollandische Robinson Crusoe," published at Leipsic in 1721, the later editions of which omitted the "Crusoe" from the title. Then there were the German, the Saxon, the Swedish, the American and the French "Robinson Crusoe." "Der Schweizerische Robinson" of J. R. Wyss did not appear until 1812, but has frequently been reprinted, and the English translation, the "Swiss Family Robinson," is a great favorite with boys. This imitation exits in German, English, French, Italian, Swedish and other languages.
TOBAGO ROBINSON CRUSOE'S ISLAND. To the New York Times:
I read in the Times an item regarding "goats from Crusoe's Island." Will you allow me to say that ex-Mayor Grace is entirely wrong, in common with many other people, in reference to the location of Defoe's immortal and wonderful book. Robinson Crusoe had nothing to do with Juan Fernandez.
In my careful researches for information for a new illustrated edition I shall shortly publish, I find William Lee, whose biography of Defoe is the best extant, says:
"It is evident he acquired some incidents from Selkirk, who lived four years on Juan Fernandez, but the ever-varying events, the useful and improving moralities, and the fascinating style, are all his own."
Defoe describes exactly the location of the island on page 179 of "Robinson Crusoe," as follows:
"In the gulf or mouth of the mighty river Oroonooko our island lay, which I perceived lay W. and N. W. was the great Island Trinidad, on
the north point of the mouth of that river. I asked Friday a thousand questions about the country, its inhabitants, the sea, the coast, and what nations were there, but could get no other name but Caribs, from whence I easily understood that these were the Caribbees, etc."
Now, the correct island is Tobago, owned by Mr. Hope, an Englishman, of Trinidad. They show the cave and other interesting matters described in the book, but we know for a certainty that Defoe never was there, and the diverting episodes were the creation of his wonderful brain. But, regarding goats (and they are in Tobago as well as in Trinidad), they are exactly like the "tomato-can-eating Yorkville goat," whatever the goat is in Juan Fernandez, over 6,000 miles. away. Cowper's poem, beginning
THE GUTENBERG BIBLE.
On Nov. 7 last at the Rev. William Makellar book sale in London a copy of the Gutenberg Bible, on paper, with a number of margins mended. and several slight defects remedied, was sold for £2,590, It is the same copy that in 1822 fetched £190 in 1841 at the Duke of Sussex sale, and £3'900 in 1884 at the Sir John Hayford Thorold sale. At the Thorold sale, when it was described as a magnificent copy, it was puchased by Jackson, the book dealer. In January, 1897, it was catalogued by Bernard Quaritch and priced at £4,000, he showing how in 1471 it had belonged to Johan Vlyegher, a perpetual beneficed priest in Utrecht. Cathedral. Later it was purchased by the late clergyman, whose library was sold at Sotheby's. He had had the old blue morocco binding (probably the work of Thouvenin) replaced by a modern binding of green morocco.
There are, as most people perhaps do not know, three copies of the Gutenberg Bible, the first of printed books and incomparably the most precious of all books, in New York libraries-the Lenox copy on paper, for which James Lenox paid £500 in 1847 at the Wilks sale; the Brinley Cole-Ives copy on paper, now in the library of J. W. Ellsworth, which brought $8,000 in 1881 at the third Brinley sale and $14,800 in 1891 at the Ives sale, and the vellum copy in the collection of J. Pierpont Morgan. The following are the higest prices given at auction for copies of the Gutenberg Bible: Ashburnham sale. 1897, vellum copy.. Thorold sale, 1884 paper, (present copy)..
Perkins sale, vellum copy, (resold at Ashburnham
Perkins sale, 1873, paper copy, (now in Alfred H.
Sotheby sale, 1898, paper copy (present copy).
Lord Hopetoun sale, 1889, paper copy.
HOW MARK TWAIN GATHERED MATERIAL FOR A STORY. A fresh illustration of Mark Twain's ability to bring success out of seeming misfortune is given in the following paragraph:
The corporations controlling the street-cars of Berlin in order to guard against being beaten out of an occasional fare require the conductor to give each passenger a ticket which is afterward collected by an inspector who boards the car at fixed points. The system struck Mark Twain, who chanced to be in Berlin recently, as funny, and, in order to test its efficiency, he paid his fare fifteen times in one day, throwing the ticket out of the window every time as soon as he had paid his fare. Each time he handed the conductor his fare he received one of the tickets, and when he had destroyed this he was each time required to pay his fare again to the inspector. The conductor watched this performance with unrestrained amazement, and the other occupants of the car seemed to think the foreigner well punished for his carelessness. The joke was not on the victim, however, for Mark Twain in this way collected material for a story for which he received $500.
THE WORLD'S OUTPUT OF BOOKS.
BY RONALD SMITH.
Having obtained through the kindness of Lord Cromer some particulars of the output of the Egytian National Printing Press, at Beulak, it occurred to me that it might be useful to show, in tabular form, the extent to which each country contributed annually to the world's literature. In pursuing inquiries with this object in view, I was met, almost at the outset, with evidence of progress in regard to the statistics of book production where it was least expected, and where expected-where, indeed, I made certain of getting it it was not forthcoming, although requested through an official channel. It would hardly strike one that Egypt and Greece would separately illustrate statistical advancement and statistical backwardness. Yet this is precisely As shown in the returns obtained through the courtesy of the British Agency at Cairo, Egypt produces annually in Arabic and European languages an average of 164 new books classified under fourteen heads, such as history, poetry, law, belles-lettres, travel, etc., and prints 226,200 copies-174,500 in Arabic and 54,700 in European languages. On the other hand, although inquiries have been made at Athens through the British Legation, no trustworthy information in regard to the production of books in Greece could be obtained, the member of the Legation to whose good offices I am indebted stating that there are no statistics of the kind. And this was no mere diplomatic answer, but the conclusion to which he had come after repeated efforts, each unsuccessful, to obtain an account of the books produced in Greece. It is rather curious, too, that in Russia, where bureaucratic development seems almost the chief end of man-at any rate, the official man-there should be no figures giving the book production of the Empire. Estimates in the nature of rough guesses, rough enough to be extremely wide of the truth, have been made, but to serve the object of this paper I could be content with nothing less than appropriate figures. And even these the authorities of the Imperial Library are not in a position to give. At any rate, though the exceedingly courteous authorities would not say positively that they either had not, or would not give the particulars requested, they found so many difficulties conveniently in the way that their answer was really a civil negative. Their diplomacy forbids them to put any one off with an indifferent story, but it is one all the same. So that Russia, as well as Greece, may be classed as lacking statistical evidence of the annual output of books within her bounds. Turning to Italy, I find already prepared by
the Central National Library at Florence a remarkably full and interesting table giving particulars of the works published in Italy since 1886. The records probably contain schedules of publications before that year, but the table which I have received through the kindness of the British Embassy in Rome, giving data of publications for twelve years, down to 1897, will suffice for my present purpose.
In Austria, no official bibliography exists up to the present date, the difficulties in the way arising from the variety of languages in which the literature of Austria is published not having been yet surmounted. That some progress is being made towards the production of an Austrian bibliography may be inferred from the fact that the authorities of the Imperial Library-that is, the Library of the Court-are collecting particulars respecting publications in the different languages of the Empire. Some data regarding Czechian, Bohemian and Polish literature have been obtained, but as yet no means have been found to obtain data, sufficiently complete, respecting Chroatian, Slavonian, Italian (Austria) publications. For it does not appear that in Germany an official bibliography exists; at any rate, no particulars giving the annual output of books are published by the German Government, and for the figures in the appended table I am indebted to the good offices of Viscount Gough and to Messrs. Williams and Norgate, the publishers. About one thousand works of all kinds are published yearly in Switzerland, but as no law exists there compelling their authors to supply copies to the National Library, the figure given is only approximate. No details are available in regard to the nature or classification of the works. In Belgium the average annual production of books varies from 2,000 to 2,200 volumes per annum, and the reviews, periodicals, etc., number between 700 and 800. The authorities issue a complete and well-indexed list in two volumes of all the books, reviews and the like published annually. There is no official account published of the book production in the Netherlands, but through the good offices of Sir Henry Howard, the British Minister at the Hague, I am enabled to give the list drawn up by Monsieur Bijvanck of the Royal Library.. This list differs only slightly from one most kindly compiled for me by Mr. J. H. Heteren, Secretary to the Dutch Society of Booksellers. The three Scandinavian KingdomsDenmark, Sweden and Norway--keep trustworthy accounts, though not official, of the books each produces. For the production in Denmark I am much indebted to Mr. Johnstone of the British Legation at Copenhagen, whose figures are compiled from the journal Norkisk Boghandlertidende. I should add that the works of many of