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ing the same, should be practised more or less every day.
Whenever my head feels dull and heavy from long writing, I often find it a great relief to go to an outside door or open window and indulge in two or three long, deep breaths. The oxygen thus taken in purifies the blood in the lungs, starts up the circulation, and sends a new supply of blood to the brain, clearing away the dulness, and often curing an incipient headache.
Diet is an important matter to be considered in relation to health. As each individual has a distinct physical character, no one rule can be made to apply to all. Each one should study his own nature, and seek to find out what foods and what quantities suit him best. In general, it may be said that plain, simple food, taken at regular hours, in moderate quantities, is best for the writer. While brain workers need nourishing food, they do not need stimulating food, like meat, in as large quantities as do laborers or workers in the open air.
Some brain workers, by neglecting proper exercise, lose their appetites and eat too little, and the brain becomes starved. But the great majority of Americans sin in the opposite direction, by eating too much. By going without a meal now and then, and noticing how much better one can work, how much clearer the brain, and how improved the relish for the next meal, one can easily prove that he is eating too much.
An erroneous notion prevails among some workers, that if they have a particularly arduous task before them, they must eat a hearty meal to work on. This is a mistake; the brain works far more easily on an empty stomach than on a full one. For a person in reasonably good health, it would be better, when he has a specially hard day's work to do, to begin the day with a light breakfast, eat nothing at noon, and take the evening meal when the work is put away out of sight and the whole attention can be given to the eating.
Brown wheat bread, oatmeal, milk, cream, and fresh fruits are especially recommended as a healthful diet for brain workers. Meat and vegetables should be used sparingly, though not entirely prohibited. Those who dislike graham bread on account of its coarseness, will find in the
whole wheat flour bread a very pleasant change.
As alcohol is a brain poison and nicotine, the active principle of tobacco, a nerve poison, no writer who desires long life or aims for the highest in his work should indulge even moderately in the use of liquor and tobacco. Their regular use, even in small quantities, has a straining and paralyzing effect upon the two most delicate organs of the body, the brain and nervous system. And although a strong brain may so overcome this effect as to do the work of genius in spite of it, yet even a strong brain cannot do as well with these habits as without them, and the writer who is not gifted with great genius, in these days of close competition, cannot afford to weaken his brain power by even a small extra and unnecessary load.
When one reads in a recent number of a current magazine concerning Rudyard Kipling, the rising "star of the East" just now, that on the sideboard of his working room is a "mighty tobacco jar, flanked on either side by a whiskey decanter," and in the daily paper notes a paragraph saying that this same young author has been ordered away by his doctor on account of over-strained nerves, one cannot help feeling that the two paragraphs have a definite relation to each other. And I sometimes gravely fear that that pathetic utterance of his, "I want to give good work: that is my only concern in life," will not be fulfilled in its highest possibility unless the tobacco jar and whiskey decanters are banished from his work-room.
It seems strange that such intelligent people as writers should have to be reminded to do so simple and natural a thing as to sleep. Yet there actually are people who can write brilliant editorials and bright magazine articles who do not seem to realize the simple fact that the body must have eight hours' sleep out of the twentyfour, or pay a severe penalty. A few years ago one of the editors of a daily paper told me that he never slept more than four hours out of the twenty-four, and he thought my cautions absurd. A year afterward I met him again. A threemonths' sickness and expensive doctor bills had caused him to change his mind, and no amount of money can tempt him now-a-days to crowd his writing into his sleeping hours. In reading the sketches of noted authors given in THE
WRITER from time to time, I have noticed how many there are who are particular about doing their best work in the morning and keeping their regular sleeping hours sacred to their legitimate purpose. Few really successful writers work nights.
Last, not least: the writer who aims to preserve his health must not worry. A feverish anxiety for the success that would have come just as soon if only there had been patience to wait for it has killed more writers in the beginning of their career than overwork and the sacrifices that come from underpay combined.
Keep cool. Trust in your mission. Work steadily and cheerily on, and your day will come sometime. Fretting will not bring it any quicker, while it will wear you out faster, and eventually unfit you for good work.
That writer who has formed regular and healthful habits of living, who has schooled himself to self-control, until no amount of rejected manuscript can spoil his peace of mind, and who studies his profession with a calm unchanging purpose to do his best, will certainly win some day. Eva Kinney Griffith.
The periodical literature of this country has improved probably more than any other one thing during the last quarter of a century.
The republic has issued periodicals since early in the century, but most of them have been shortlived, and very few of any special merit. The first magazine to attract and deserve general attention was the Knickerbocker, founded in New York by Charles Fenno Hoffman in 1832, and continued mainly by Lewis Gaylord Clark until 1860, leading a precarious, sickly life toward the close. Putnam's Monthly, also issued in New York, was of a high class, including such contributors as Parke Godwin, George William Curtis, Richard Grant White, and Fred S. Cozzens, who furnished to its pages some of their best work. It lasted four years, — 1853-57, — and was revived after the war, but was finally relinquished in '69 for business reasons.
The pioneer of the present magazines is Harper's, still called a new monthly, because, perhaps, it is the oldest extant, its age being forty years. The early numbers were largely made up from the
English periodicals, and the illustrations were crude and elementary. The recent issues contain very little from English sources, unless advance sheets of a transatlantic novel. Until within a few years it did not print the names of authors with their articles, except where those had high reputation. Anonymity has gone entirely out of fashion in periodicals. Many editors cannot be induced to publish an unsigned paper of any kind, which may be an objectionable extreme. The publishers still aim to preserve the popular character of the monthly, and continue to make a feature of articles of travel and of serial stories. They seldom admit essays of an abstract or general character, and do not lean to poetry of the Browning school. Practical subjects in prose and verse are always preferred. Their general editor is Henry M. Alden, who has been there twenty years, and is particularly competant to discharge the complicated duties of his position. They pay liberally for what they want, as high as $30 per thousand words, occasionally higher. Their nominal rate is still, I think, $10 per thousand words, which they are very ready to increase if they have any reason.
The Atlantic was issued in 1857 as the representative of Boston mind and culture in that city, and was for years in advance of any periodical in the country. Longfellow, Emerson, C. C. Felton, Edwin P. Whipple, James Russell Lowell, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Greenleaf Whittier, and other literary lights of Massachusetts appeared almost exclusively in its pages. Lowell was the first editor, succeeded by James T. Fields, W. D. Howells, and T. B. Aldrich, Horace E. Scudder now holding the place. The magazine has lost its supremacy, though still able and interesting, and prides itself on appealing to the intellectual, not to lovers of the pictorial. Its circulation is not above 10,000, mostly in New England. Although said to be fairly remunerative to its publishers, Houghton, Mifflin, & Co., it does not aim to make much money. Its contributors, paid from $10 to $15 per thousand words, are less notable than they have been, necessarily, as it cannot offer the same pecuniary inducements as the New York illustrated periodicals.
The Century, begun as Scribner's in 1870, by Charles Scribner, Dr. J. G. Holland, and Roswell Smith, has become the rival of Harper's. Less popular in quality, it is unsurpassed in enterprise and liberality, and contains some of the most striking and valuable papers in current literature. The sending of George Kennan through Russia and Siberia to determine by personal observation the
wrongs of the czar's subjects from exile and imprisonment was a masterly stroke. It is said to have cost not far from $100,000, but the money was well invested. The Kennan articles have attracted universal attention and excited universal indignation. The "Life of Lincoln," by Hay and Nicolay, and the war papers, despite the fact that they occupied a vast deal of space, largely increased the number of readers. Since the death of Scribner and Holland the magazine has been made a joint stock company, in which the principal workers are interested. Charles Scribner's two sons, both young men, were thought to derive a disproportionate advantage from the title of the periodical, which was changed, therefore, to the Century, the Scribner interest being purchased at the same time.
Richard Watson Gilder is the editor, and an excellent one. The Century's figures are as generous as those of Harper's, and as variable. The rivalry of the two periodicals has increased prices and elevated the quality of magazine work, both illustrations and letterpress. They cover a field that ordinarily a dozen or more monthlies would, and by this fact would seem to discourage similar enterprises. But really they do not. So many stories are told of the extraordinary profits of these two that new ventures of the same kind are stimulated. More than half a dozen magazines have been undertaken most of them have failed -in consequence of their extraordinary success. Scribner's is one of the new magazines. The feeling of the young men in the firm of Charles Scribner's Sons was that they had been unjustly crowded out of the older publication. Consequently they resolved to enter into competition with the older magazine as soon as the five years specified in the terms of the sale should pass. They tried to keep their purpose secret, but they could not, as their preparations were actively going on, and at the end of the sixth year, being all ready, they issued their magazine under favorable auspices. It is now three years old, and has a circulation, it is said, in excess of 100,000. It is cheaper than the Century or Harper's, being sold at twenty-five cents a copy, and is illustrated, though less elaborately than they. It has not interfered at all, I am told, with the success of the Century, nor does the extraordinary success of the Century interfere with it. The remarkable prosperity of one periodical seems to create a demand for more periodicals by increasing the public interest in them, and the taste for reading them. Scribner's has introduced several attractions, fresh lot of Thackeray's letters was one of these,
and is generally an adroit caterer to its legidence. Edward L. Burlingame, the editor, appears to be highly qualified for his place, which he fills and fits exactly. Scribner's figures for manuscript vary very little, if any, from those of the older city magazines, though they spend less on special features. A great many persons have thought that its entering the field against so formidable rivals was very rash; but its publishers say that they have far exceeded their anticipations. There has been no quarrel between the Century and Scribner's, but it is altogether probable that under the circumstances their love for one another is not illimitable.
The Cosmopolitan is another illustrated twenty-five cent monthly, which now claims a circulation of from 70,000 to 75,000, and to be steadily gaining. It was started at Rochester, in this state, five years ago, and removed hither, the publishers afterward failing. Since then it has passed through several hands, and is now owned and edited by John Brisben Walker, reputed to be wealthy, having made much money at Denver, Colo., in real estate. It publishes in each issue a complete novel, which occupies most of its space, and is said to be a taking feature. Its usual rate for contributions is $10 to $15 per thousand words.
A still newer magazine, not illustrated, is Belford's, three years old, Robert Belford, editor, having a circulation, it is said, of 25,000, largely in the South. Many of its writers are new to the public, but they choose readable subjects and treat them well. A long story appears in each number, and is supposed to constitute its chief attraction.
Lippincott's, published by the J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, originated the complete novel feature four or five years since, and its success has induced other monthlies to adopt it. Its contributors are many of them New Yorkers, with a considerable local representation, and they are paid liberally, as prices for literature go. The magazine, not illustrated, is twenty-two years old, and its actual circulation is set down at 35,000 to 40,000. Its present editor and manager is J. M. Stoddart, to whom its recent large increase is ascribed.
These are the principal mature magazines of national fame, though there are five times as many of local repute, a number of them firmly established. I do not mention the North American, the Forum, and the new Arena, of Boston, for they, being reviews, have nothing in common with the magazines, nearly every one of which is issued by a publishing firm. While these pay better than books do, no one can begin to live by writing for them, or, in
EDGAR W. HOWE.
Two young men came to Atchison nearly thirteen years ago and started an evening paper. They were almost entire strangers to the community. No one seemed to know much about them. The paper was called the Little Globe, and the adjective applied was not misleading, for it was a mite of a journal, printed on a quarto Gordon jobbing press. It was a single sheet of ten columns, five to a side. The entire work of the paper was done by themselves, excepting the delivering, for which they hired two boys.
The typesetting was done by one brother while the other gathered items, returning at hourly intervals to deposit the news he had gleaned. The success of the paper was phenomenal, and before its first birthday it claimed for itself the largest circulation of any paper in town. It was bright and breezy, somewhat inclined to the sensational and mysterious, often keeping the small community in suspense and eager for the next edition. Many people, too, were made very uncomfortable by various allusions, until the little paper was beginning to be feared. But as it grew older it increased in wisdom, and to-day it has the reputation of being one of the cleverest newspapers in the country. No longer is it known as the Little Globe, but the Atchison Daily Globe, in bold type, informs us of its increased proportions. Its editor, business manager, advertising agent, and chief reporter is Edgar W. Howe, known to the literary world as the author of "The Story of a Country Town."
There is probably no author who has achieved the literary fame that Mr. Howe has by his stories who remains so personally unknown to his many admirers. But he possesses strong personalities. His face is not unlike that of a Catholic priest's ; closely shaven, with prominent features, excepting his eyes, which are small and bead-like, peering out from beneath heavy, shaggy brows, with a questioning glance, incredulous, but shrewd. About his mouth hovers a bit of intense cynicism, and those who read the scintillations and crumbs of wisdom that emanate from his pen and find cosy corners in prominent Eastern journals can easily believe that he is a great cynic.
Mr. Howe is only thirty-six. At times he appears ten years younger than his actual age, and then again he seems old and sedate. He is an Indianian
by birth, but in his infancy his father, who was a preacher, moved to a little town in Missouri, where he lived until he was eleven, and then he drifted back to the town about which he wrote his famous story. Staying there for a year or two, he grew restless, and then became a wanderer in the far West, setting type for his daily bread, and earning for himself the reputation of being 66 one of the worst of boys."
Mr. Howe told me the last he saw of a schoolroom was shortly after his tenth birthday. Lessons were an abomination to him, and only within recent years has he cared for books. Macaulay seems to be the only great writer who pleases him, though he candidly admits that "The History of England is a stupendous bore."
Outside of his paper, the only objects of interest are two of his children, a boy and girl, seven and nine years of age. Children, as a rule, irritate him, but in these two mites of humanity he takes much comfort, and, though known as a cold, unresponsive man, and totally indifferent to all those tender impulses that ennoble our character, these children are the joy of his life and the objects for which he works. His oldest child is a lad of eleven, who fell from grace by running away from home, and his father has never fully forgiven him for his infantile escapade.
At one time in the earlier part of Mr. Howe's career as a writer, I think, he had an idea that to be truly literary one should be eccentric. My suspicions are well grounded, for there stands yet a monument that confirms one in this belief. On his grounds there is, besides his own comfortable dwelling, a tiny house that attracts the eye of the visitor. I inquired what it was, and was told that Mr. Howe built it for the purpose of secluding himself. The house has one room, and contains a couch, chair, table, and stove. For a brief period he occupied this little den, returning to the house solely for refreshment. Here he thought Genius would adopt him for her own, and that all his future efforts would be crowned with popularity. It is generally believed that his recent literary failures were written here. Anyway, since their publication he has returned to his library, and contents himself by exploring the regions of his mind like ordinary men. Whether the latter method of writing is more conducive to success or not the world will shortly have an opportunity of judging, for he has recently put in the hands of Houghton, Mifflin, & Co. a new novel, which has the curious title of "An Ante-Mortem Statement." - Ethel Ingalls, in the New York World.
WM. H. HILLS,
EDITOR AND Publisher.
THE AUTHOR is published the fifteenth day of every month. It will be sent, post-paid, ONE YEAR for ONE DOLLAR. All subscriptions, whenever they may be received, must begin with the number for January 15, and be for one year.
THE AUTHOR will be sent only to those subscribers who have paid their subscription fees in advance, and when subscriptions expire the names of subscribers will be taken off the list, unless an order for renewal, accompanied by remittance, is received. Due notice will be given to every subscriber of the expiration of his subscription.
All drafts and money orders should be made payable to William H. Hills. Stamps, or local checks, should not be sent in payment for subscriptions.
The American News Company, of New York, and the New England News Company, of Boston, are wholesale agents for THE AUTHOR. It may be ordered from any newsdealer, or directly, by mail, from the publisher.
THE AUTHOR is kept on sale by Damrell & Upham (Old Corner Bookstore), Boston; Brentano Bros., New York, Washington, and Chicago; George F. Wharton, New Orleans; John Wanamaker, Philadelphia; and the principal newsdealers in other cities.
The bound volumes of THE WRITER and THE AUTHOR for 1890 will be ready for delivery about January 20. Orders will be received now for complete sets of both magazines to the end of 1891-four bound volumes of THE WRITER, two bound volumes of THE AUTHOR, and a year's subscription to both magazines, ending with December, 1891 -for Ten Dollars. The volumes now ready will be sent at once, prepaid; the volumes for 1890 will be sent as soon as they are received from the bindery.. The number of sets available is limited, and those who desire to take advantage of this offer should do so without delay.
"THE WRITER" FOR JANUARY.
THE WRITER for January contains: "Publishers' Judgments," by George B. Perry; "Don'ts for Amateur Writers," by J. L. Harbour; "Some Curiosities of Our Language," by E. Palmer Mathews; "Personal Reminiscences of Mary Howitt," by Jeanie Parker Rudd ; " New Words to be Looked up in the New Webster," by H. A. Schuler; editorials on "High-class Periodicals in America," "Mr. Howells and the Newspapers," "King Kalakaua as an Author,” and "Poor Authors and the Government Printing Office"; and the usual "Queries," "Book Reviews," "Helpful Hints and Suggestions,” "Literary Articles in Periodicals," and "News and Notes."
Since 1862 Count Tolstoï has lived and worked on his farm in the country, plowing his fields and wearing as homely dress as any Russian peasant. In this he follows his maxim, "that all men are created equal." Many of his works, whose publication was forbidden by the Russian censor, are circulated in manuscripts, and poor ladies earn their livelihood by copying his works for the trade. From his home, lasnaia Polana, he sends daily a great many letters, for he replies to everybody who addresses him, and such answers are copied and copies are circulated throughout Russia. Although both the censor and the pulpit prosecute his works, they are nevertheless in the hands of every one. One of the Czar's officers reads all Tolstoï's works to the Czar and the Czarina. When he was reading "The Reign of the Dark," the Czar was deeply moved, and the Czarina left the room in emotion. None of Tolstoï's plays are allowed to be publicly represented, but they are often produced in the halls of the nobility. Once when such a representation was about to be given, at an expense of 20,000 rubles, Pobiedonoscev, the chief of police, tried to prevent it, but the landlady answered that she could not obey his order, as forty members of the imperial court had promised to be present. The doctrines of Tolstoï have found not only enthusiastic admirers, but also practical followers. Some of