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AFTER READING HORACE WALPOLE. I doubt the impertinence of writing about Horace Walpole may not be forgiven. One may hardly hope profitably to sound those praises which have been told a thousand times by better men, and if one likes to discriminate in qualities, what signifies that discrimination to other whole-hearted lovers? But I am full of gratitude from a long re-reading of the letters, and one whose vocation is, or ought to be, to record himself one way or another in print, may fitly raise in gratitude his little heap of words out of sight of more imposing monuments-a scribbler so often has to write of things and books and people that have bored him to death. So I hope you will bear with me, and after all I shall be none the wiser if you don't.

I have read nothing but these letters for the last month; and if a phrase or two should slip from them along my pen, I hope you will not count it profanation or affectation-I can't help it, and the subject justifies them more than another. A strange thing, by the way, is an archaism. To these it is irresistible at the risk of sense or sincerity, to those it is as infuriating as though you had called them a bad name. I like to use one now and then, and would make it criminal in other people. Horace Walpole in his letters hardly uses one, preferring the sauce of cant phrases current with his intimates, which was odd in a man who loved the past so much and so belittled the present.

There is one of the qualities that warm his readers, for to read him at all presupposes sympathy with it. The dear past with its charming letters! It was an out-patient of Bedlam who first suggested that Mr. Walpole's were written with an eye on posterity, or else it was an envious generation that can write no better than it can talk, that has exchanged good letters for bald, as it has exchanged good manners for bluff rudeness, amusement for insipid dissipation, endeavor after excellence for the tricks of undeserved advertisement. Mr. Walpole despised posterity: he made a shrewd guess of the rascal it would be. And, by the way, he made the same charges against the generation that came in with his old age as I have made against this; they are good honest charges to bring against any generation. But he did not write his charming letters for posterity. He wrote them because he had parts and was good-natured, and wished to amuse his friends. If we had his ability and good-nature we should write the like. He was idle and we are busy? Pray how many of our idle people—and we have a good number in the second generation from profitable trade, if our aristocrats are idle no longer -how many of them write good letters? The best I ever got were written by the busiest woman of my acquaintance-I have Horace's word that women write better letters than men-but she was not of this generation. Mr. Walpole complains that his

letters are shown about; he writes often hurriedly in the intervals of society, often painfully, with gouty fingers. Besides, it is possible to be quite as busy in collecting pictures and curios, in writing books and printing others, and in obliging one's friends, as in cheating one's neighbors in the city or blackening innocence in a law court.

To talk of pessimism-the last touch of it was not very wise-have you ever observed that men who are good men in practice are often pessimists in theory, whereas your genial and vehement optimist is often a very dirty rogue? Mr. Walpole was good-natured, serviceable, generous, incorruptible, and yet his mistrust of his fellow-creatures' virtues was only equalled by his contempt of their abilities. While there is a man who seems to be convinced that the world is stocked full of courage and honor and generosity, who loses his self-control when anybody-in a book or play, for example -suggests that it contains any quality but these, and whose life has been a life I would not care to describe. The one man found that experience left him but very few people for friendship, but these he loved and they loved him; the other is boisterously fond of all the world, and would not give, nor be given, a sixpence to save a death in a ditch. I suggest no conclusion, but I know so many instances of these states, that unless I have proof of an optimist's virtue, I doubt he is a rascal. ` In this I am not writing as a philosopher (but a philosopher, Horace Walpole said, was a supercilious brute); by pessimism I mean merely a rough opinion of one's fellows or one's age. Who shall say which is the better justified, Mr. Walpole's or mine? Politics, I suppose, remain much the same, with the motives of politicians. In his day selfinterest was more crudely unabashed, and the dissinction between money and other bribes-a distinction convenient to a richer period-was thought of less importance than now. In the art of letters I maintain the advantage was with Mr. Walpole, albeit his complaints of the minor vices of authors have ceased entirely to have ground. It is true that "the mob of gentlemen who write with ease" is considerably greater in this our day. But in his time-since it was people of taste, not board-school millions who set the fashions of literature-writers were better educated than now; some equipment of scholarship was counted an advantage to them; to be illiterate was not then the common condition of a "literary man." They were better paid, to boot, oddly enough, if you except our popular novelists; even Goldsmith, the unlucky, got £100 for a poem. And if you come to names and achievements-Johnson, Gray, Sheridan, Goldsmith, Fielding, SterneI can tell you of a greater poet and (in my opinion) a greater novelist now alive, but the humorists? I think, on the whole, that Mr. Walpole's time will stand a close scrutiny of names. By the way, three

of those I have mentioned were quite unappreciated by Mr. Walpole, their contemporary: I leave the moral to you. Let us turn to the stage, which in his time was not, as a living and producing thing, divorced from letters. They had Garrick: we have --but it is idle to talk of acting. For plays they, as we, were largely the lucky slaves of Shakespeare. But they had Goldsmith and Sheridan, and had not forgotten Congreve. It may be that there are no comedies in English unquestionably great save certain of Shakespeare's and "The Way of the World"; still the comedies of Sheridan and Goldsmith were comedies, not farces dashed with sentiment or melodrama.

What is it that charms us most in him? Is it wit? Or humor? Or egotism? Or unselfishness? Or-I will come to my own creed in a moment, but first I am old-fashioned enough to insist on talking of wit and humor. It is a common observation that jokes and jokes must largely form the wit of letters do not pass current to another generation. Even those but twenty years out of date fall flatperhaps more especially those. When they linger on, as in the pages of Mr. Punch, we do not shrink and roar at them, much less smile. On the whole, those in Horace Walpole are exceptionally apt, and even the puns are generally good, though they had a context and manner that are hard to recover. But they are not always even happy, and I am sometimes tempted to suspect that his quotations of George Selwin are not always so kind as they seem. Humor is another thing: rare humor is for all ages. Mr. Walpole's vein of irony when, as often happens, it is sustained in the bland, subtle method, is irresistible. There is an occasional odd touch of sympathetic and unexpected humor- -a "modern" touch, it often is. Such as his "laughing for half an hour "over the death of the negus-drinking baronet, a laugh which echoes as one reads. And sometimes a story with a point of humor goes straight to one's sense of the comical. Do you remember the story of the stile and the passing coach and "there was Mr. Conway and Lady Ailesbury looking on"? A little coarse, our pedants of delicacy would say, but it is a story of hearty laughter. Yes, and the pedants of delicacy if they told it-and since it happened it positively had to be told-would have left it far less delicate, with their foolish obscurity, than Mr. Walpole.

able right of accident, formed English society, were England in a sense. That society was, as it were, a fixed stratum of caste, and therefore there was hardly room for snobbery, which belongs to societies of shifting sand. Of course I do not mean to say that a community of strata is an ideal social polity: I am aware that the shifting sand may bring more happiness to a nation at large. But for those who belong to it that compact society meant-sua si bona norant-advantages of social life quite beyond the vulgar advantages of wealth and power. To those who belonged to it: no doubt if one had lived then and not been of this society, its advantages might have been a nuisance. But reading of it a hundred years later one feels the charm, of course, as not outside it. A society of equality, with courtesies well understood, with familiarities regulated but sufficient, on a friendly acquaintance, for pleasant intercourse: a society in short, where everybody knew everybody and of everybody, and there need be no hesitations nor mistakes. In the flowing, unregulated, multitudinous society of modern England there may be greater pleasure in the bulk; the pleasures of snobbery, of social ambition, and progressive exclusiveness, and the rest of it, are all an addition, no doubt. I do not despise snobbery: it is convenient to the minor satirist, and I firmly believe that it is mainly responsible for keeping our Government-of either party-stable and respectable. And the other society could not last; it was almost an anachronism a hundred years ago, and it would be ridiculous now. But it afforded an unembarrassed scope for those who had ability to impart or to receive the added charm of grace or intellect, and it surrounded its best examples, in St. James' or in country houses, with a vanished atmosphere of which the pleasantness lingers, as nowhere else, in Horace Walpole.

Yet wit and humor do not account, to my mind, for all the charm. You may add the antiquarian interest, the interest of customs, the friendship, the tact, the genuine good sense. All these you may add and I am not satisfied. Something is left, and alas! I have no better name for it but a trite and much misused one-atmosphere. The atmosphere is of a compact, intimate society, found, not made by individual choice, yet impregnable. A very few hundred people, secure of position, there by indubit

But one must not leave off without a note of more obvious humanity. One likes Horace Walpole's sturdy loyalty to and care for his father's memory, even though it strengthened that Whiggery of his which to me is one of his few antipathies. And here I wish to do penance for an offence. In the days of my comparative youth I believed a scandalous story, to the effect that Horace Walpole was really the son of Car, Lord Hervey, the brother of the more famous John, who preceded him in the title the second of the then Earl of Bristol-and wrote the interesting memoirs and married the renowned Molly Lepel, the lady who was in due time. to receive some of Horace's most agreeable letters. I used to believe this wicked story; it was attractive, and if it had been true, it would have fitted in very nicely. For the Herveys were a distinguished, lettered, eccentric, brilliant family, and the Walpoles were very much the reverse; if you except Sir Robert, whose genius was as unlike Horace's as an elephant is to a greyhound, who was there? It

was pleasant to see resemblances in Hervey's Memoirs. But that was no justification for believing a scandal on wholly insufficient evidence and printing one's belief in a little book. I hereby do penI hereby do penance, and beg pardon in the shades of Horace, Sir Robert, Car Hervey-if that is necessary, and more especially of Lady Walpole, the first wife, not "the Skerrit." To resume, one likes Horace Walpole's loyalty to his cousin, General Conway, and admires that close friendship of sixty years. One likes perhaps even more his tender affection and care for his old blind friend, Madame du Deffand. But how much there is in reading the letters of sixty years to make one sad. I think the saddest imagination of a novelist never affected me more than that record of how in a long life a man's friends die or changed. After a series of letters to a friend his name drops out; there are no more letters: presently you read in a letter to another a regret for the friend's death. One reads-it is the keenest example the many long letters to George Montagu, ranging over forty years, and varying from jolly fun to earnest advice; there is a long interval; and when his death is mentioned (to Mr. Cole) it is added: "he had dropped me, partly from politics and partly from caprice." It distresses one though -or is it because?—it happened so long ago, and all the more if one cannot add the sentimentalist's "Let us hope"-and so forth.


I have mentioned antipathies, and I confess to a very few, that are minor and accidental. He was intolerant, politically, to Catholics, and he took a somewhat exceeding care of himself in the way of temperance. His creed was Whiggery, though as reasoned as Whiggery may be. It followed that he was unfeeling to those executed for treason in '46. But all this matters little-still, I wish with all my heart that he had appreciated Charles II.

Horace Walpole is for every humonr. If you are wise he confirms you with a pleasant philosophy, though he hated the name; if you are flippant, he tells you a comical, perhaps a wicked story; if you are complaisant, he charms you with agreeable courtesies; if you would rail at your age, he turns you many a contemptuous text from his. When first I read him it was as he would have liked to be read, in an old country house, which he would have tasted (but I think he never went thither), lying on the grass in a hot summer. The edition was Peter Cunningham's best, the volumes easy to handle on one's back. I was really young then, and care was a whimsical, toothless, puppet. When last I read him it was in London and the weather was mostly savage, and care was grown to as vicious a dog as Madame du Deffand's Tonton. The edition was in one huge volume, three large ones bound together, and making the very fattest book I ever saw outside Holy Writ, which I suppose is made awkward to read to augment the piety of the reader. Both

times was I charmed all through and lived altogether in the days of the Georges, Second and Third. And so I have taken the liberty of exhibiting my gratitude with such decency as I might. In doing this, I am grown equanimous, and if I have made any odious comparisons I beg pardon. I did not mean them.

G. S. STREET in Lippincott's Magazine.



H. T. Peck, of Columbia University, and S. S. McClure, publisher, discussed before the Nineteenth Century Club, at the Waldorf-Astoria, recently, the question "Is cheap literature cheapening literature?" Prof. Peck, who spoke in the affirmative, introduced his remarks by saying that "cheap literature means many books, and many books mean, In other days, when people superficial reading." of limited means were intent on purchasing a book they took thought before buying, and those who owned books read them carefully and with discrimination. The man of a few books is a better man intellectually than the man of multitudinous books. "The man of a few books is becoming rare; the man of multitudinous books is becoming a nuisance." "Readers cheapen literature by reading Hall Caine instead of Trollope or Thackeray. Too much is read and too much is written. The popular superstition of the day is that one must keep up with the new books. When a man despairs of doing this he takes to book reviews, finally falls to literary notes, and after that, of course, reads no literature at all."

Cheap literature, Professor Peck also urged, tends to the deterioration of the work of authors of the present day. Men of genius, who might write something that would live, were tempted to devote themselves to the more immediately profitable work of writing for the magazines and newspapers and turning out popular novels. In consequence, modern authors were lowering the standards, and as a result write a little worse each day. Everyone writes nowadays. Pens, ink and stationery are all that is required. Publishers will take "flyers" as experiments. Stories are syndicated, published in cheap magazines and in paper editions. Successful authors write at least three books a year unless they are very lazy, and this because they all are bribed by the publishers' big prices.

'There was a time when literary men didn't write because their books had a vogue. They treated their work seriously. It was an art as well as a profession, and they put their heart and soul into it. They were not grasping. Gibbon took. twelve years to write the first volume of his great history, and twenty-four years to complete the series. Tennyson made notes for "The Idylls of the

King" as long ago as 1833. Three years at least elapsed between the appearance of each of Thackeray's novels. What the reading public wants and what the money-ridden authors need is a race of vigorous critics, men of courage, audacity, wit, satire and knowledge, who would not give pallid appreciations of books but would scourge the writers to a sense of responsibility by criticisms that would smash, blister, excoriate and draw blood!"

S. S. McClure, taking the negative side, traced the history of cheap literature in this country from the time when Harper & Brothers forty years ago began the publication of standard fiction in what was then considered a remarkably cheap form, to the passage of the International Copyright Law. The cheap literature that followed the first attempt was mainly of the "blood-and-thunder" kind, detective stories, etc., that sold sometimes a million copies a week. "The cheap literature of to-day," Mr. McClure went on, "is the standard literature of the world, and the standard is higher than ever before."

that make men famous are usually their best books. The taste of the reading public of to-day is better that it ever was. Mr. Howells says so, and Mr. Brander Matthews thinks so. The people who buy books are the best critics. Their judgment is sound and their standard is growing higher each year. Soon I think they will spend two dollars a year instead of one dollar on literature."

Answering Professor Peck's appeal for a race of vigorous critics, Mr. McClure declared that there was "no use under heaven for the critic." The man who bought the book was the real critic, and so discriminating was he that a publisher could not sell a poor book. In saying this, Mr. McClure declared, he spoke from experience. As for the modern reader spending too much time in trying to keep abreast of the mutitudinous literature of the day, Mr. McClure said the people of this country spent on the average only two cents a week on literature. "Prof. Peck thinks every one has too many books. He is like a man in a woollen mill who wonders why people buy wool, or a man in a candy shop who wonders why people buy candy. He lives in New York, the book factory; he gets his books for nothing." Proceeding to controvert the first speaker's assertion that authors of this generation gave way to the temptation of doing profitable rather than high-class work, Mr. McClure referred to such men as George Meredith, Robert Louis Stevenson, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, J. M. Barrie and others, and asked if they could be tempted.

"I read all of Meredith's books in six weeks. There were fourteen of them. I quizzed him about each one when we met, and asked him how genius felt in action. Did I bribe him? A man who thought of bribing him could not read his books. Did I bribe Stevenson? No, I said: 'When you write a novel I'll pay so much for it.' He said, 'I'm writing two. The one first finished you shall have.' I did not get it until years later, after he was dead. As for the cheapness of magazines and the influence of the syndicate which publishes great books in penny newspapers, I may say that the books that have made many of the distinguished men of the day famous were syndicated by me. And the books

Miss Isabel Hapgood, who was induced to speak for the club, said that, in her opinion, the real question was not "Is cheap literature cheapening literaure?" but rather "Are cheap books cheapening brains?" Miss Hapgood thought that they and gave as an illustration of her point the instance of a young woman who declared that she had been reading literature, and it turned out that she had read none of the standard authors, but instead the "Heavenly Twins" and "A Yellow Aster." That was because she had been allowed to take up any books that had been brought into the house. Her tastes had not been directed, and it was Miss Hapgood's conviction that cheap books—not cheap literature-had rendered her mind such that she would find the standard authors "pokey," and that in this way cheap books were cheapening brains and doing harm.


Eighty-nine pounds nineteen shillings and elevenpence on a penny invested! About four years ago a blacksmith noticed on a second-hand bookstall in Camden Town a very old book priced at a penny. He bought it, and, after attempting to read it, threw it aside and soon forgot it. One of his lodgers happening to see the book, and noticing that it was dated 1450, asked permission to show it to the British Museum authorities. A day or two later the blacksmith was requested to call, and the secretary, to his surprise, asked him what he would take for the book. In some slight confusion, the man said, "What will you give?" "Will 60 suit you?" was the answer of the secretary. The blacksmith was so dumfounded that the secretary thought he was ridiculing his offer, and therefore immediately increased it to £90, which was at once accepted. Sooner than have lost the book, however, which was the first book that Gutenberg ever printed, and, therefore almost priceless, the Museum authorities would have paid almost any sum that had been asked.-London Tit-Bits.


It has recently been decided that copies of the newly-printed catalogue of the British Museum, which runs to some 300 volumes folio size, may be bought for about £85. Parts of it, dealing with "Bibles" and other single subjects, are sold separately, and are bulky volumes in themselves.


Prices That Have Been Paid for the First Book Printed From Movable Type.

The Perry copy of the Gutenberg Bible reappeared early in November in a London auction room for the fourth or fifth time, and was sold for £2,590. It was not a perfect copy, a number of margins having been repaired and a few minor defects skilfully mended. The late owner, the Rev. Wm. Makellar, had paid £4,000 for the Bible. previous record in the auction room is as follows: Perry sale, 1822, £168; Duke of Sussex sale, 1841, 190; Sir John Hayford Thorold sale, 1884, £3,900.

There is a bare chance that some day a copy of the famous Gutenberg or Mazarin Bible may again reach an American auction room, an event that has happened but twice. And what a red-letter day that will be in the annals of bookdom! Dollars will count as pennies do ordinarily, for the last price paid for a perfect copy (the Makellar copy was far from perfect) was $20,000. It was purchased at the Ashburnham sale by Bernard Quaritch, who early this year issued a catalogue of rare Bibles and liturgies, wherein he lists this identical book at £5,000. Counting interest at 6 per cent., the possession of this Bible is costing its owner nearly a hundred dollars a month, on the basis of its purchase price.

Eight copies on vellum and twenty-two on paper are known of this first book printed from movable types; and some of these copies are mere fragments. Of these thirty copies, but eight are in private libraries. Three of the four copies owned in America are in private libraries—the collections of John Pierpont Morgan, of New York; J. W. Ellsworth, of New York, formerly of Chicago; and Theodore Irwin, of Oswego, N. Y. The fourth copy is in the Lenox collection. Mr. Morgan's is printed on vellum, the others are on paper. Mr. Ellsworth's copy, which is believed to be the tallest copy in existence, formerly constituted a part of the remarkable collection formed by Brayton Ives. It required a bid of $14,800 to secure it at the Ives sale, in 1891, and that was $200 less than it cost its former owner.

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Psalters printed by Fust and Schoffer, the earliest of which is dated 1457; and the Bible known as the Mazarin Bible. Two copies of this last were in the Perkins sale. I well remember the excitement on that occasion. The first copy put up was the best, being printed upon vellum. The bidding commenced at £1,000 and very speedily rose to £2,200, at which point there was a long pause; it then rose in hundreds with very little delay to £3,400, at which it was knocked down to a bookseller. The second copy was on paper, and there were those present who said it was better than the other, which had a suspicion attaching to it of having been 'restored' with a fac-simile leaf. The first bid was again 1,000, which the buyer of the previous copy made guineas, and the bidding speedily went up to £2,660, at which price the first bidder paused. A third bidder had stepped in at £1,960, and now, amid breathless excitement, bid 10 more. This he had to do twice before the book was knocked down to him at £2,690."

Copies of the Gutenberg Bible have brought the following prices at auction:



Perry library, sold in London, 1822.
Sir Mark Masterman Sike's library, sold in Lon-
don, 1824.

G. and W. Nicol sale, London, 1825 .
Geo. Hibbert library, sold in London, 1829, paper

Duke of Sussex library, sold in London in 1841 . .
Wilke's library, sold in London, 1847, paper copy
(Lenox copy)

Bishop of Cashel library, sold in London in 1858,
paper copy

Henry Perkins library, sold in London, 1873, vel-
lum copy, two leaves in fac-simile
Paper copy, same sale . .
Frederick Ouvry library, sold in London, 1881, Old
Testament only.

Sir John Thorold library, sold in London in 1884,
paper copy..

Earl of Crawford library, sold in London, 1887,
paper copy in original boards . .
Lord Hopetoun library, sold in London, 1889, pa-
per copy, the first three leaves in second volume
damaged and wormed . . .

Earl of Ashburnham library, sold in London,
1897, vellum copy


Rev. Wm. Makellar library, sold in London, 1898


Gaignat sale, 1769, vellum copy ́. McCarthy-Reagh, 1875, same copy (Greenville copy)...


Brinley library sale, 1881, paper copy Brayton Ives library sale, 1891, paper copy


199.10s 504

215 190



3,400 2,699





4,000 2,590

2,100 francs

6,260 francs

$ 8,000 14,800

The Gutenberg or Mazarin Bible has been written about to the extent of many columns of type. It is known as the Gutenberg Bible because now generally regarded as the sole work of the inventor of printing, and is sometimes called the Mazarin Bible because a copy was first discovered in the library of Cardinal Mazarin. Although undated,

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