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ODD VOLUMES.

John Halifax, Gentleman.

Some one has written to the Academy of "John Halifax, Gentleman," that "it is dead, and its destiny is limbo." Mrs. Dinah Maria Craik's "John" was certainly a gentleman, and a gentleman may die in the flesh and never in the spirit, any more than can Sir Roger de Coverly as Steele and Addison drew him. "John Halifax," as it came to us in 1857, made a strong impression, for it was a wholesome book. We are pleased to learn that the London publishers make the statement that last year they sold of the various editions some 24,190 copies, and in America it sells all the year round in probably as many as fifty different editions. There are, then, many newly born books very much more dead than is "John Halifax, Gentleman."

The Kipling Foot In It.

You see, if you don't watch out carefully you are bound to put your foot in it. A maker of romance, having emphasized that his hero is drinking out of a pint cup, will sometimes make the vessel hold an imperial quart. The Academy says that Mr. Rudyard Kipling, in his story "The Day's Work," describes a steamer of 2,500 tons and her measurement is 240 feet long by 32 feet wide. Then the steamer takes aboard of her 4,000 tons dead weight. Most skippers would know that a steamer with the dimensions as described never could take such a 4,000-ton load. But then, Mr. Rudyard Kipling's readers are not all freighters or shipbrokers.

A Fifteenth Century Vellum MSS.

In a catalogue of literary rarities offered for sale in New York we find a fifteenth-century vellum manuscript of the "Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary." It is profusely illuminated in miniatures, capitals, borders, etc., worked in blue, lake, vermilion, and burnished gold. The binding is specially unique. One of the clasps has unfortunately been lost; but no effort has been made to reproduce it, as it is so fine an example of contemporary work that a reproduction would not in any way equal it. The volume has been enclosed in a fireproof case and is valued at $300.

"When Knighthood Was in Flower."

With some "timidity," writes an enthusiastic biographer, "Mr. Major sent his manuscript to the largest and oldest of the New York houses of publishers" and it came back to Shelbyville "with thanks." Then the author looked nearer home, and found a publisher. After its acceptance, the romance was set up and remained in type for a year. Times were dull, the war was barely over, and the favorable opportunity was considered wanting, Finally the book was printed, and its

success is attested by the phenomenal number of editions issued. In a Chicago newspaper, which gives three columns to Mr. Major and his book, the story is told of a fright the author had, just on the eve of the publication of his romance. Happening to look over a London catalogue, he read that a book, the title of which was, "The Illustrious Lovers," described the loves of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon. Might not he be attacked with the charge of plagiarism? Mr. Major sent at once for the book, and his mind was relieved when he found that "The Illustrious Lovers" was printed in London in 1686.

The Nun Who Was a Priest.

The new edition of "The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi," published by Little, Brown & Co., is as pretty as it can be; but Miss Alger's translation should have been revised by some Catholic version. The mistakes into which she fell, though not frequent, are fearful. Chapter XXV. opens with this startling sentence: "Santa Clara being once infirm of body, so that she could in no manner go forth to say Mass in church with the other nuns," etc. We notice other mistakes quite as serious.

Ellot's Version of the Lord's Prayer.

One of the costliest American books is a book no one can now read in the original, John Eliot's Indian Bible. The first edition, printed at Cambridge, Mass., in 1661, gives the Lord's Prayer in the following form:

Nooshun Kesukqut quttianatamumach Koowesuonk. Peyaumooutch kukketassootamoonk, Kuttenantamoonk, nen nach ohkest neane Kesukqut. Nummeetsuongash asekesukokish assamaiiuean yeuyeu kesukod. Kah ohquontamaiinnean nummatcheseongash, neane matchene hukquegig nutahquontamounonog. Ahque sagkompagunaiinnean en qutchhuaoonganit, webe pohqvohwussinnean wutch matchitut. Newutche Kutahtaun Ketassootamoonk, Kah menuhkesuonk, Kah sohsumoonk micheme. Amen.

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BOOK NOMENCLATURE.

We notice among the late items of literary news, that Mr. Barrie has now written more than half of the sequel to "Sentimental Tommy." The provisional title is, "The Celebrated Tommy," but this may be changed before it appears in "Scribner's Magazine" in 1900.

So important is the title of a book considered, that an author often changes it even after the book has been printed. A Scotch writer said that once when he was perplexed with the difficulty of selecting an appropriate and unused title for his book, it was suggested to him that in such a strait he should "request the prayers of the congregation."

The task of making a choice does not become easier as time goes on, and much thought is bestowed on the grave question. The late Mr. James Payn, the English novelist, dwelt upon the annoyances he had been subjected to; twice he had been forced to pay heavy damages to pub lishers for unconsciously infringing copyright by choosing titles of novels that had been published but of which he, in common with a large majority of readers, had never heard. Jules Claretie had a similar experience in making a selection some time ago. He first called his novel "L'Eil du Mort" or "The Dead Man's Eyes." Immediately a suit was brought against him, for this had been used more than twenty years before; and though the original had been. neither successful nor popular, yet M. Claretie was worsted and had to change the name to "L'Accusateur." The book has been translated and published in this country as 'The Crime of the Boulevard.'

to do what we have done here,--to give to the volume the name of the first story in the collection.' We feel inclined to protest against Mr. Hale's modest way of expressing his opi of the value of a good name, for it is difficult to fancy that a volume containing such delightful stories as 'The Man Without a Country' should have had to make much of a struggle to gain the favor of the public.

It is often interesting to learn the origin of a book's name, especially if is a curious one. Mr. Julian Hawthorne, in reply to the comments upon the title of his story, 'A Fool of Nature, said that he had several names under consideration before deciding. One was 'Murgatroyd's Majority;' another, 'An Innocent Traitor;' and a third, which he liked best himself, 'A Sow's Ear' (out of which, however, it would be impossible to make a silk purse); but he feared this would not please the public, so he finally made a fourth choice, declaring that 'titles are ticklish things.'

Marie Corelli's 'Romance of Two Worlds' was originally called 'Uplifted,' and the later and more attractive title was suggested by her stepbrother, the late Eric Mackay, the poet.

Mr. Edward Everett Hale confesses that the subject has ever been a serious one with him, especially in choosing a felicitous title for a collection of short stories. When his volume, 'If, Yes, and Perhaps,' appeared, the public could make nothing of the title; and 'after struggling through five or six editions,' says Mr. Hale, 'we were obliged

Hawthorne's experience in having his 'Marble Faun' appear in England under the title of "Transformation' was repeated with Mr. Harold Frederic. 'The Damnation of Theron Ware' was issued in London as 'Illumination.' The author was occupied several years in the composition of the novel, and a copy of the first half was sent to this country in 1893 under the title afterward used here. When he at last decided, on its completion, to name it 'Illumination,' he forgot to inform the American publishers; and they are not few who must consider it a fortunate omission. Mr. Fred

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'Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker,' 'Harold Bradley, Playwright,' 'John Ship, Mariner,' and 'Caleb West, Master Diver.'

Gilbert Parker has evinced a genius for titles, as the adoption of such good ones as The Seats of the Mighty' and 'The Battle of the Strong' testify.

There has ever been magic in an alliterative name, as illustrated by 'Golden Gossip,' 'Captains Courageous,' 'Penelope's Progress,' 'Red Rock,' and, above all, by that happy book by which Ian Maclaren first appealed to the public, who wel comed the beautiful alliteration contained in "Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush."

M. R. SILSBY, in Self-Culture. SENECA FALLS, N. Y.

AUTHORS AS SELF-CRITICS.

In the "Francesco Petrarca," which Professor Robinson of Columbia has recently issued, there is fresh evidence of the familiar fact that a writer is the worst possible judge of his own claims to greatness.

Every one knows, for instance, that George Eliot, creator of "Silas Marner," "Aunt Glegg" and of "Adam Bede," never quite forgave her public for not honoring her chiefly as a poet. It makes a generation which revels in the "Tulliver" family and which barely knows the first line of "Oh, may I join the choir invisible," smile, but it was a real cross to George Eliot not to have her poems considered her best work.

Mary Wilkins, too, by writing plays, persists in flying in the face of the Providence that made her a subtle student of quiet, unemotional character, and withheld from her, lest she might be unduly puffe up, the dramatic gift. She is said. to be at work on a new play, despite the fact that her former effort was not seriously regarded.

Professor Robinson shows, however, that it is not a distinctly modern or an exclusively feminine. trait to desire renown on other grounds than those on which it has been won. In the introduction to his work on Petrarch he tells how the fourteenth century Italian poet chafed at the popu larity of his sonnets to "Laura," which have made him the beloved of lovers and the admired of poets ever since. He would have preferred his glory to lie in his work as an educator, and regarded his treatises on the revival of Latin learning as vastly more valuable contributions to liter. ature than his "Canzoniere." Indeed, he positively fumed at the vogue of his songs. In later years he ridiculed the passion that made him a poet at twenty-three. He expressed, in letters to his contemporaries, his disgust at the taste which lauded and learned his sonnets and coldly passed his profound disquisitions by: In one he almost petulantly regrets that he ever wrote the "trifling things in the vulgar tongue," and wishes that

from his earliest youth he had confined himself to sonorous Latin writings. He even intimates that he has no great respect for the feeling that inspired his sonnets. It did not appeal to him in his scholarly maturity!

After this one wonders if research would reveal that Dante confided to his intimates his scorn for the "Beatrice" episode, that Shakespeare's real ambition was to rest his reputation on a medical treatise, or that Sappho really based her boast about "striking the stars" upon a long lost culinary work.

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EDWARD FITZGERALD'S REWARD.

Is there in all literature a more curious fate than FitzGerald's? In his lifetime he did not sell probably over 500 copies of his books. At his death, like a wise man, he appointed Mr. Aldis Wright his literary executor, the copyrights were transferred to the Messrs. Macmillan, and the publication of his collected remains in 1889 was followed in 1890 by the half-guinea edition of the 'Rubaiyat,' which from that day to this has had a steadily increasing sale. Within the last ten years it is hardly too much to say that FitzGerald has become more popular than Browning; he is certainly a far more living literary influence among those who write, and the width of the demand for his work may be inferred from a single fact. It was at last decided to issue the "Rubaiyat" in the "Golden Treasury" series at half a crown: an edition of 10,000 was prepared, and publication. was fixed for last Monday. But the advance demand exceeded all expectation so much that it was found impossible to deliver the copies ordered, and the date of publication had to be postponed, 7,000 of the edition having been disposed of before it even came on sale in the shops. I wonder if this posthumous renown delights the grim soul of that old hermit, or is the empty glass turned down the true symbol for his tomb?-Pall Mall Gazette.

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Good Enough to be True.

The mother superior of a convent in a little Irish town bought at the local book-seller's a volume which, being somewhat shortsighted, she thought was written by Canon Doyle, and for the edification of the community it was read aloud at meal times. The novices were thrilled at the freedom with which lovemaking was alluded to. "Well, well," said the mother superior, "the dear canon is preparing us for a miracle of grace. The frivolous flirt, by the mercy of heaven, no doubt ends by taking the veil." Presently, however, some one looked at the title page and discovered that the word "Conan" and not "Canon" stood printed there. "Well," said the mother superior, "the bookseller is a pious man, and now that we have paid for it, we should be wasteful not to read it. The story is good enough to be true."

THE MISCELLANY SHELF.

Forty Miles of Book-Shelves.

The Library of the British Museum has been estimated to contain about forty miles of bookshelves, and the provision of more space is a daily necessity. Perhaps there is no other library as great, but there are many libraries in most civilized countries which number their contents by hundreds of thousands. These vast bulks of material require not only the storage and attention necessary for their preservation, but must be arranged in an accessible form. No doubt much of this mighty accumulation of books is useless, but it is not the theory of the modern librarian that he should decide and distinguish between the wheat and the chaff. Much of our most valuable knowledge of the past has been gained from books which had been preserved by chance in spite of an apparently justified contempt by the contemporary standard of criticism. The librarian has to preserve and to provide means of ready access to all that come his way, whatever may be his private opinion as to relative merits. From such reasons have sprung the modern arts of bibliography and of indexing. Those who are familiar only with the clumsy catalogues of older institutions could best realize the precision and convenience of modern inventions.

How to Open a New Book. From "Modern Bookbinding Practically Considered," by William Matthews:

Hold the book with its back on a smooth or covered table; let the front board down, then the other, holding the leaves in one hand while you open a few leaves at the back, then a few at the front, and so go on, alternately opening back and front, gently pressing open the sections till you reach the center of the volume. Do this two or three times and you will obtain the best results. Open the volume violently or carelessly in any one place, and you will likely break the back and cause a start in the leaves. Never force the back; if it does not yield to gentle opening, rely upon it the back is too tightly or strongly lined. A connoisseur many years ago, an excellent customer of mine, who thought he knew perfectly how to handle books, came into my office when I had an expensive binding just brought from the bindery ready to be sent home; he, before my eyes, took hold of the volume and, tightly holding the leaves in each hand, instead of allowing them free play, violently opened it in the center and exclaimed, "How beautifully your bindings open!" I almost fainted. He had broken the back of the volume, and it had to be rebound."

ent words, nor those of Moliere more than 8,000. Shakespeare wrote all his tragedies and comedies with 15,000 words. Voltaire and Goethe each employed 20,000. Milton's "Paradise Lost" contains only 8,000 words, and in the Old Testament not more than 5,642 different words are used. The latest English dictionaries contain not less. than 260,000 different words. Next in rank comes the German language with 80,000 words, and then come in succession the Italian, with 35,000; the French, with 30,000; and the Spanish, with 20,000 words. Among the Oriental languages, the Arabic is the most copious, its vocabulary being even richer than that of the English language.

"Words, Words, Words." According to a statistician in Paris, the works of Corneille do not contain more than 7,000 differ

The Denver "Tribune" Primer.

The first public sale of a copy of the first edi tion of Field's Tribune Primer, Denver, 1882, recently occurred on the floor of the House of Congress, when Frank L. Haney of Washington paid Congressman Champ Clark of Missouri $125 for one of the few copies known to exist. This copy had belonged to Mrs. B. White of Mexico, Mo., who negotiated the sale through Mr. Clark. The Washington correspondent of a Chicago newspaper, who noted the transaction, said that there were seven copies of the first edition known, but this can hardly be true. Mr. Haney's copy is one, Francis Wilson's another, and there is one other. These are the known copies.

The Most Valuable Library of Miniature Books in Existence.

A French amateur, Mr. George Salomon, possesses a library of miniature books containing no fewer than 700 volumes. A volume admitted into this liliputian library must not exceed 2 inches by 13 inches in size. A book of exactly that size is an edition of "La Fontaine," the largest in the collection. Around this edition are gathered all the classics that have been published in miniature form. Pocket editions of popular French songs, from 1790 to 1820, form a very complete collection. All these books are bound in the most costly and finished style. History is well represented, and among religious subjects the most remarkable book is an edition, in two volumes, of the Old and New Testaments, illustrated with 264 very tiny plates. A volume of the regulations hours and ceremonies of the French Court is bound in leather and ornamented with exquisitely chased silver mountings. Bibles in miniature are very numerous, and are published in several languages. Among illustrated almanacs the English editions stand first, especially "The English Bijou Almanac, but the smallest in the whole collection is a French edition of "Chemin de la Croix," of which the type measures only 1 inch in height and 4-inch in width, and contains 119 pages.

Something About "Gyp."

It is very seldom that we find an American or English woman novelist who is personally interesting. There was a tendency at one time to "boom" Amelie Rives as a phenomenon worth running a block to see, and "John Oliver Hobbes" and "Julien Gordon" have had their little day of being talked about. But none of them has the magnetism that keeps a writer in the delighted eye of the public. They impress one as being in a perpetual state of expecting to hear the button pressed, and wishing to "smile now" when the negative is exposed. The spontaneity which makes "Gyp" the delight of Paris is entirely wanting, and so also is "Gyp's" genius.

The Comtesse de Martel generally knows what she is talking about, as she is a member of one of oldest families in France and a woman of fashion. In writing the history of her social day, she is full of that prejudice without which it has been said no history of a country can be written. Her chief prejudices are against Jews and certain literary men. Her books are filled with caricatures of Hebrews well known in Paris, and her clever ridicule of the authors she dislikes. She has a screen which she has dedicated to Georges Ohnet, whose works are as popular in France as E. P. Roe's once were in this country. It is covered with quotations which Mme. de Martel considers monuments of his stupidity.

While the authors she holds up to scorn go their ways in peace and quietness, some other people have endangered her beauty and even her life. Upon one occasion vitriol was thrown at her face, and on another a pistol ball went through her hat. But all these have left her fearless. She has one peculiarity. Several years ago she was riding through a tunnel when an accident occurred which almost cost her her life. Ever since, when she is traveling, and there is a tunnel on the line, she leaves the train at the station before it and rides in a carriage to the one beyond it.

Mme. de Martel does all her work at night, beginning about eleven o'clock, and working until three. Oddly enough her publishers are Jews. They have made an arrangement with her that when her books are too vehemently anti-Semitic they may be sent to another house.

Alexandre Dumas' Kindness.

Dozens of stories are being told concerning the kind heart and generous nature of the younger Dumas. Upon one occasion he wrote a play which he sent to a publisher anonymously. eral months later he published the fact, stating that he had heard nothing of the play, and presumed it was lying in the manager's lumber-room, with hundreds of others, unopened. He neglected

to say whose lumber-room he meant. A play by Dumas was something of an event in Paris, and every manager set about a careful overhauling and reading of manuscripts that had accumulated. This was exactly what Dumas wanted. Of course, there was no doubt concerning his play when it was discovered, but incidentally many a young author received the hearing he had long sought in vain.

One day Dumas' publisher received a translation from him, with a request for fifteen hundred francs. The man of business, who knew that the translator was not Dumas', said that three hundred would be an ample price for it.

"Then," said Dumas, "draw on my account for the remaining twelve hundred."

It was discovered that the translation had been done by the widow of an old friend who had died in poverty.

A Dictionary Dilemma.

A GOOD story is told with reference to the publication of a certain Biblical dictionary. The editor is said to have given the article on the Deluge to what he considered a safe hand; but when the article was sent in, it was found to contain views which would certainly have shocked orthodox readers. It had in it too much of science and too little of theology.

What could be done? The volume had to be published forthwith. In this dilemma he put in his dictionary, "Deluge--See Flood."

This, at any rate. postponed the difficulty, and the article on the Flood was given out to a writer who it was thought could be trusted better.

But when this second article came in it was found to be worse than the first, and another postponement was necessary.

The new volume contained another reference: "Flood-See Noah"--the bewildered editor trusting that by the time Noah was reached he would succeed in finding a man who would be able to mingle science and orthodoxy in due degrees.

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Rudyard Kipling's maternal grandfather was the Rev. George E. Macdonald. It is related of him that in the days when he was courting the lady whom he afterward married, the father-inlaw-to-be-an aged Methodist, with extremely strict notions in regard to the proprieties--was injudicious enough on one occasion to enter the parlor without giving any warning of his approach. The consequence was that he found the sweethearts occupying a single chair. Deeply shocked by this spectacle, the old man said: "Mr. Macdonald, when I was courting Mrs. Brown she sat on one side of the room and I on the other." Macdonald's reply was: "That's what I should have done if I had been courting Mrs. Brown."

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