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a time. There was a man in Tennessee, (the city would be preferable, if you just before the war, who had a printed could keep your name out of the Dicircular, with a blank for the author's rectory,) the number of applicants in name; and I know of one author who person is limited; and as for the replied to him with a printed note, and letters, we know that the post-office a printed address on the envelope, not department is very badly managed, and a word of manuscript about it!
a great many epistles never reach their Next in frequency are the applica- destination. Besides, it's astonishing tions for private literary contributions, how soon and how easily an author - such as epithalamia, obituaries, ad- acquires the reputation of being undresses for lovers, and the like. One approachable. If he don't pour out mourning father wished me to write an his heart, in unlimited torrents and article about the death of his little girl, cascades of feeling, to a curious stranaged four months, assuring me that ger, the latter goes away with the re“her intellect was the astonishment of port that the author, personally, is all who knew her." A young lady “icy, reserved, uncommunicative; in wished for something that would "over- the man, one sees nothing of his whelm with remorse the heart of a gen- works; it is difficult to believe that tleman who had broken off an engage that cold, forbidding brow conceived, ment without any cause.” A young those rigid, unsmiling lips uttered, and gentleman, about to graduate, offered that dry, bloodless hand wrote, the ferfive dollars for an oration on “The vid passion of” – such or such a book. Past and Probable Future History of When I read a description of myself, the Human Race," long enough to oc- written in that style, I was furious ; cupy twenty minutes in speaking, and but I afterwards noticed that the num“to be made very fine and flowery.” ber of my visitors fell off very rapidly. (I had a mind to punish this youth by Most of us American authors, howcomplying with his request, to the very ever, now go to the people, instead of letter !) It is difficult to say what peo- waiting for them to come to us. And ple won't write about, when they write this is what I mean by coming to the to a Distinguished Character.
worst. Four or five years ago, I deterThere is a third class of correspond- mined to talk as well as write. Everyents, whose requests used to aston- body was doing it, and well paid ; nothish me profoundly, until I surmised ing seemed to be requisite except a that their object was to procure an little distinction, which I had already autograph in a roundabout way. One acquired by my comic and didactic wants to know who is the publisher of writings. ere was Mr. E-deyour book; one, whether you can give claiming philosophy; Drs. B- and the post-office address of Gordon Cum- C- occupying secular pulpits ; Mr. ming or Thomas Carlyle ; one, which C— inculcating loftier politics ; Mr. is the best Latin Grammar; one, T- -- talking about all sorts of counwhether you know the author of that tries and people ; Mr. W— reading exquisite poem, “The Isle of Tears”; his essays in public ; and a great many and one, perhaps, whether Fanny For- more, whom you all know. Why should rester was the grandmother of Fanny I not also “pursue the triumph and Fern. And when you consider that partake the gale”? I found that the what letters I get are not a tithe of lecture was in most cases an essay, what older and more widely known au- written in short, pointed sentences, and thors receive, you may form some idea pleasantly delivered. The audience of the immense number of persons en- must laugh occasionally, and yet regaged in this sort of correspondence. ceive an impression strong enough to
But I have not yet come to the last until next morning. The style worst. So long as you live at home, which, as I said before, I claim to have whether it's in the city or country, invented, was the very thing! I noticed, further, that there was a great deal in strength of my earlier writings) as one the title of the lecture. It must be of themselves, would slap me on the alliterative, antithetical, or, still better, back, call me familiarly “Dionysius,” paradoxical. There was profound skill and insist on my drinking with them. in Artemus Ward's “Babes in the Others, again, occupied a middle or Wood.” Such titles as “ Doubts and doubtful ground; they did not consider Duties," " Mystery and Muffins," that my personal views were strictly “Here, There, and Nowhere,” “The defined, and wanted to be enlightened Elegance of Evil,” “Sunshine and on this or that point of faith. They Shrapnel," "The Coming Cloud," " The gave me a deal of trouble. Singularly Averted Agony," and "Peeps at Pecca- enough, all these classes began their dillos,” will explain my meaning. The attacks with the same phrase, “O, we latter, in fact, was the actual title of my have a right to ask it of you : you 're a first lecture, which I gave with such Distinguished Character, you know !” signal success, - eighty-five times in It is hardly necessary to say that I one winter.
am of rather a frail constitution : so The crowds that everywhere thronged many persons have seen me, that the to hear me gave me a new and deli- public is generally aware of the fact. cious experience of popularity. How A lecture of an hour and a quarter grand it was to be escorted by the quite exhausts my nervous energy. president of the society down the cen- Moreover, it gives me a vigorous tral aisle, amid the rustling sound of appetite, and my two overpowering turning heads, and audible whispers of desires, after speaking, are, first to “ There he is ! there he is !” And al- eat, and then to sleep. But it freways, when the name of Dionysius quently happens that I am carried, perGreen was announced, the applause force, to the house of some good but which followed! Then the hush of ex- ascetic gentleman, who gives me a glass pectation, the faint smile and murmur of cold water, talks until midnight, and coming with my first unexpected flash then delivers me, more dead than alive, of humor (unexpectedness is one of my to my bed. I am so sensitive in regard strong points), the broad laugh break- to the relation of guest and host that I ing out just where I intended it, and can do naught but submit. Astræa, I finally the solemn peroration, which am told, always asks for what she showed that I possessed depth and ear- wants, and does what she feels inclined nestness as well as brilliancy! Well, to do, - indeed, why should n't she? I must say that the applauses and but I am cast in a more timid mould. the fees were honestly earned. I did There are some small country places my best, and the audiences must have which I visit where I have other sufferbeen satisfied, or the societies wouldings to undergo. Being a Distinguished n't have invited me over and over Character, it would be a neglect and a again to the same place.
slight if I were left alone for two minIf my literary style was so admirably utes. And the people seem to think adapted to this new vocation, it was, on that the most delightful topic of converthe other hand, a source of great annoy- sation which they can select is — myance. Only a small class was suffi- self. How weary of myself I become! ciently enlightened to comprehend my I have wished, a thousand times, that true aim in inculcating moral lessons my popular work, “ The Tin Trumpet,” under a partly humorous guise. All had never been written. I cannot the rest, unfortunately, took me to be blame the people, because there are either one thing or the other. While - and — who like nothing better some invited me to family prayer- than to be talked about to their faces, meetings, as the most cheering and and to take the principal part in the welcome relief after the fatigue of conversation. Of course the people speaking, the rougher characters of think, in regard to lecturers, ex uno the place would claim me (on the disce omnes.
In travelling by rail, the same thing sometimes, after months or even years, happens over and over. When I leave in “Book Notices,” or other newspaper a town in the morning, some one is articles. Thus the serene path of litsure to enter the car and greet me in a erature, which the aspiring youth imloud voice: “How are you, Mr. Green? agines to be so fair and sunny, overWhat a fine lecture you gave us last spread with the mellowest ideal tints, night!” Then the other travellers turn becomes rough and cloudy. No doubt and look at me, listen to catch my words, I am to blame: possibly I am rightly and tell the new-comers at every sta- treated : I “belong to the public," I tion, until I 'm afraid to take a nap for am told with endless congratulatory fear of snoring, afraid to read lest iteration, and therefore I ought not to somebody should be scandalized at my feel the difference between the public's novel, or to lunch lest I should be re- original humoring of my moods, and ported as a drunkard for taking a sip my present enforced humoring of its of sherry (the physician prescribes it) moods. But I do feel it, somehow. I from a pocket-flask. At such times I have of late entertained the suspicion, envy the fellow in homespun on the that I am not wholly the creation of seat in front of me, who loafs, yawns, popular favor. “The public," I am eats, and drinks as he pleases, and no- sure, never furnished me with my comic body gives him a second glance. or my lively-serious vein of writing. If
When I am not recognized, I some- either of those veins had not been found times meet with another experience, good, they would not have encouraged which was a little annoying until I be- me to work them. I declare, boldly, came accustomed to it. I am the sub- that I give an ample return for what I ject of very unembarrassed conversa- get, and when I satisfy curiosity or yield tion, and hear things said of me that to unreasonable demands upon my pasometimes flatter and sometimes sting. tience and good-humor, it is "to boot.” It is true that I have learned many cu- Nevertheless, it is a generous public, rious and unsuspected facts concerning on the whole, and gives trouble only my birth, parentage, history, and opin- through thoughtlessness, not malice. ions; but, on the other hand, I am hu- It delights in its favorites, because miliated by the knowledge of what tex- imagining that they so intensely enjoy ture a great deal of my reputation is its favor. And don't we, after all ? (I made. Sometimes I am
say we purposely, and my publisher founded with Graves, whom, as an au- will tell you why.) Now that I have thor, I detest; my “ Tin Trumpet" written away my vexation, I recognize being ascribed to him, and his “Drip- very clearly that my object in writing pings from the Living Rock” being ad- this article is apology rather than commired as mine! At such times, it is plaint. All whom I have ever rudely very difficult to preserve my incognito. treated will now comprehend the unforI have wondered that nobody ever reads tunate circumstances under which the the truth in my indignant face.
act occurred. If some one should visAs a consequence of all these trials, it me to-morrow, I have no doubt he I sometimes become impatient, inac. will write: “Mr. Dionysius Green is cessible to compliment, and — since the all, and more than all, one would antitruth must be told — a little ill-tem- cipate from reading his charming works pered. My temperament, as my family Benevolence beams from his brow, fanand friends know, is of an unusually cy sparkles from his eyes, and genial genial and amiable quality, and I never sympathy with all mankind sits ensnub an innocent but indiscreet ad- throned upon his lips. It was a rare mirer without afterwards repenting of pleasure to me to listen to his conversamy rudeness. I have often, indeed, a tion, and I could but wish that the many double motive for repentance ; for those thousands of his admirers might enjoy snubs carry their operation far beyond the privilege of an interview with so their recipients, and come back to me Distinguished a Character !”
When morning winds sweep meadow lands
In green and russet billows,
And silver all the willows,
Or with its motion swaying,
Or down the current playing.
Where the thick wood commences,
Beyond the zigzag fences,
And noon is hot, and barn-roofs gleam
White in the pale-blue distance, I hear the saucy minstrels still
In chattering persistence.
When Eve her domes of opal fire
Piles round the blue horizon, Or thunder rolls from hill to hill
A Kyrie Eleison,
Still, merriest of the merry birds,
Your sparkle is unfading, Pied harlequins of June, no end
Of song and masquerading.
What cadences of bubbling mirth
Too quick for bar or rhythm ! What ecstasies, too full to keep
Coherent measure with them!
O could I share, without champagne
Or muscadel, your frolic, The glad delirium of your joy,
Your fun un-apostolic,
Your drunken jargon through the fields,
Your bobolinkish gabble, Your fine anacreontic glee,
Your tipsy reveller's babble !
Nay, - let me not profane such joy
With similes of folly,
So delicately jolly!
O boundless self-contentment, voiced
In flying air-born bubbles !
And drowns our earth-born troubles !
Hope springs with you: I dread no more
Despondency and dullness;
That gives such perfect fullness.
The Life that floods the happy fields
With song and light and color Will shape our lives to richer states,
And heap our measures fuller.