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will want something more scientific than a villainous photograph, accompanied by such words of wisdom as "whiskers sandy; no marks." And when that day at length comes, Mr. Henry's monograph will become a textbook for beginners. In the meantime, many others beside the professed criminologist will find Mr. Henry's charts a fascinating study, and will search their own finger tips to find whether they exhibit Arches, Loops,
Whorls, Central Pockets, Lateral Pockets, Twined Loops, or Accidentals. One would like to know whether the criminal mind tends to be associated with any particular type, and whether any signs of heredity in finger-patterns have yet been discovered; but the science is still so little emerged from the period of experiment that as yet it has not even been given a name. Some people, perhaps, would call it Dactylotypography.
THE FUTURE OF THE SIX-SHILLING NOVEL.
The six-shilling novel has now existed riotously for some ten years, and, to the casual observer, its position would seem to be assured, impregnable. Yet the real fact is that those most concerned are profoundly dissatisfied with it. A publisher whose reputation for successful fiction is second to none in London said the other day that he was ready to try any experiment for change, even to the length of issuing novels at thirty-one-and-six; and he was not talking facetiously. A famous authors' agent, commenting on this despairing remark, said that novels might be issued at thirty-one-and-six or at half-a-crown, but that, in any event, the six-shilling price was bound to be altered. A leading West End publisher, to whom we mentioned the matter, said, with the utmost calmness: "I think it would be a good thing, as regards many novels, to return to the thirty-one-and-six figure." “But surely," we urged, “such a change would destroy your business in novels so issued." “It would,” he said; "and I should be delighted to have my business in certain novels destroyed absolutely. You must understand," he added, "that no one has any fault to
find with the present price of novels which sell well. It is the work of the new author, and of the author with a reputation but circulation, that causes the trouble and the dissatisfac. tion. Such work, take it all round, results in a loss to the seller."
Here undoubtedly was truth. A cessful novel is satisfactory, whatever its price; and, therefore, it is satisfactory at six shillings. The bookseller makes his fourpence out of it, and it does not stick on his shelves. What the publisher makes out of it is known only to the publisher; but that he makes something considerable is proved by the extraordinary competition among publishers for SUCcessful and partially successful authors. Any one acquainted with the arcanum of a publisher's office, and especially any publisher's literary adviser, knows the ravenous appetite of publishers for successful authors. Let a man write a novel which sells only two thousand copies, and he will find half-a-dozen firms anxious to accept all risks and pay him from £75 to £100 on account of royalties upon delivery of the MS. of his next novel. Even if a novel sells but a thousand copies, thus
clearing its first edition, the author that lights on their window-sill may may in future choose his publisher prove to be the Arabian bird; and after from several, and obtain from £30 to the bitterness of a thousand disap£50 in advance on his next MS.
pointments they hope on, hope on, with It is the new author who fails to a sublime and miraculous fortitude. make a hit that is the cause of tears. In the meantime the condition of In nine cases out of ten the publisher affairs has distinctly worsened for expects to lose on a first book, and he author and publisher, and, perhaps, is not disappointed. He prints, say,
also for the bookseller. Who, then, has seven hundred and fifty copies, and profited, since the public certainly sells from two hundred to five hundred. reads more than ever? It is the libraries If he sells five hundred he considers which have profited. They buy for himself well out of the affair. As for four shillings that for which they forthe author, his receipts vary from nil merly paid fifteen, but one does not up to £10—and this for something upon perceive that they have reduced their which he has probably lavished subscription-rates. Silently but steadily year's labor. The worst is that the money has been diverted from the sales of first books are steadily decreas- pockets of the publishers and authors ing; they are from thirty to forty per to the pockets of the libraries. In the cent. less to-day than they were six old days nearly every three-volume years ago. And so there is naturally novel cleared its expenses, and a new disgust. The author is disgusted be- author could be fairly sure of a reasoncause his reward is so absurdly trifling; able emolument. A number of blame. the publisher is disgusted because he is lessly inane writers existed in comfort often at an actual monetary loss; and upon their modest share of so many the bookseller is disgusted because he thirty-one-and-sixpences. Then the fiat finds his shop encumbered with dead went forth, and without a cry these stock. The question may be asked: unfortunate persons sank beneath the "Why are mediocre novels produced at waves of reform. That was nothing-all? No one wants them." But some- at least, it was nothing to literature, one does want them. The author But it was not all. The public buy more wants them, and the author will have novels now than they did, but the imthem. It was assumed ten years ago provement in this respect has not by that the abolition of the three-volume any means been sufficient to atone for novel would mean the abolition of the that tremendous leakage into the pockmediocre new writer. But how blind ets of the libraries. Now, as then, an assumption! You cannot change the average reader gets his novels nature by an edict of the libraries. from the library, and not from the Mediocrity is immortal; nothing can bookseller. And the libraries pursue scotch it. Instead of being annihilated their golden path, purchasing as many, the mediocre new writer is more nu- or as few, of a novel at six shillings as merous than ever. “But,” you say, “why they did of a novel at thirty-one-anddoes the publisher publish the fel- six. The successful, the meritorious low's stuff and why does the bookseller writers have suffered to some extent, buy it?" Simply because hope springs and, as for the rest, they have suffered eternal in the human breast, and be. enormously. cause the supply of non-mediocre au- It is useless to blame the libraries. thors is unequal to the demand. The The libraries occupy an empyrean in publisher is very human, and the book- which remonstrances cannot be heard. seller scarcely less so. Every sparrow
There are two remedies, and it is these
remedies which the publishing world cheapening the speculative novel is is now thoughtfully pondering. The twofold-first to popularize it, and secfirst is to increase the price of specula- ond to reduce the pecuniary risks at. tive novels, and to rely for support tached to it. If you print on thinner wholly on the libraries instead of part
Almsier binding, ly on the libraries and partly on the spending £60 instead of £100 on an edi. booksellers. The objection to such a tion at a smaller price per copy, you course is that the libraries would prob- will naturally stand to lose proportionably decline to sanction it. Why, in. ately less on dead stock. And it is the deed, as commercial concerns should risk of loss, not the hope of gain, they sanction it except under compul. which chiefly affects the publisher of sion? And who would apply the com- a first book. As for the new author, pulsive force? The second remedy is the new author must openly reconcile to decrease the price of speculative himself to writing his first book for novels. Now the three-and-sixpenny naught. He must not even pretend novel has been tried and has proved a that the thing will be remunerative. It failure; but the half-crown novel, the should be distinctly understood on all shilling novel, have yet to go through hands that a first book can only pay an exhaustive test. Decidedly there are when a miracle happens. On such an signs that the half-crown novel is com- understanding the new author may ing into fashion. Mr. John Murray be- start fair-without illusions. After all, gan a new half-crown series only last a first book is a mercantile experiment, week, and it is reported that Mr. and it is only proper that the experiHeinemann will shortly renew his ac
ment should involve the least possible tivity in this direction. The object of risk. The Academy.
In youth, when idle hearts to love inclined
Flit on from flower to flower, love passed me by;
That one the judgment pleased, but not the eye.
I lived, love's battled votary. Swift would fly
Fair youth, and thought, sweet love unfound, to die.
As stars at dawn love yields to nobler fire;
Dead in its ashes lies extinct desire.
Arthur Gray Butler.
BY THE AUTHOR OF "ELIZABETH AND HER GERMAN GARDEN."
When the gray November weather bages where roses grew; and though came, and hung its soft dark clouds through all the years since my father's low and unbroken over the brown of death I have held my head so high that the ploughed fields and the vivid emer- it hurt, and loftily refused to listen to ald of the stretches of winter corn, the their repeated suggestions that I heavy stillness weighed my heart should revisit my old home, something down to forlorn yearning after in the sad listlessness of the November the pleasant things of childhood, days sent my spirit back to old times the
petting, the comforting, the with a persistency that would not be warming faith in
unfailing set aside, and I woke from my musings wisdom of elders. A great need of surprised to find myself sick with longsomething to lean on, and a great ing. weariness of independence and respon- It is foolish but natural to quarrel sibility took possession of my soul; and with one's cousins, and especially foollooking round for support and comfort ish and natural when they have done in that transitory mood, the emptiness nothing, and
victims of of the present and the blankness of the chance. Is it their fault that my not future sent me back to the past with being a boy placed the 'shoes I should all its ghosts. Why should I not go and otherwise have stepped into at their see the place where I was born, and disposal? I know it is not; but their where I lived so long; the place where blamelessness does not make me love I was so magnificently happy, so ex- them more. “Noch ein dummes Frauenquisitely wretched, so close to heaven, zimmer!” cried my father, on my arso near to hell, always either up on a rival into the world-he had three of cloud of glory, or down in the depths them already, and I was his last hope with the waters of despair closing over -and a dummes Frauenzimmer I have my head? Cousins live in it now, dis- remained ever since; and that is why tant cousins, loved with the exact for years I would have no dealings measure of love usually bestowed on with the cousins in possession, and that cousins who reign in one's stead; cous- is why, the other day, overcome by the ins of practical views who have dug tender influence of the weather, the up the flower-beds and planted cab- purely sentimental longing to join hands again with my childhood was with him on his pious journeys to enough to send all my pride to the places he had lived in as a boy. Often winds, and to start me off without have we been together to the school he warning and without invitation on my was at in Brandenburg, and spent pilgrimage.
pleasant days wandering about the old I have always had a liking for pil- town on the edge of one of those lakes grimages, and if I had lived in the that lie in a chain in that wide green Middle Ages would have spent most of plain; and often have we been in Potsmy time on the way to Rome. The dam, where he was quartered as a lieupilgrims, leaving all their cares at tenant, the Potsdam pilgrimage includ. home, the anxieties of their riches or ing hours in the woods around and in their debts, the wife that worried and the gardens of Sans Souci, with the the children that disturbed, took only second volume of Carlyle's "Frederick" their sins with them, and, turning their under my father's arm; and often did backs on their obligations, set out with we spend long summer days at the that sole burden, and perhaps a cheer- house in the Mark, at the head of the ful heart. How cheerful my heart same blue chain of lakes, where his would have been, starting on
mother spent her young years, and morning, with the smell of the spring where, though it belonged to cousins, in my nostrils, fortified by the approv- like everything else that was worth al of those left behind, accompanied having, we could wander about as we by the pious blessings of my family, chose, for it was empty, and sit in the with every step getting farther from deep windows of rooms where there the suffocation of daily duties, out into was no furniture, and the painted the wide fresh world, out into the glori- Venuses and Cupids on the ceiling still ous free world, so poor, so penitent, smiled irrelevantly and stretched their and so happy! My dream, even now, futile wreaths above the emptiness beis to walk for weeks with some friend neath. And while we sat and rested, that I love, leisurely wandering from my father told me, as my grandmother place to place, with no route arranged had a hundred times told him, all that and no object in view, with liberty to had happened in those rooms in the go on all day or to linger all day, as far-off days when people danced and we choose; but the question of luggage, sang and laughed through life, and no unknown to the simple pilgrim, is one body seemed ever to be old or sorry. of the rocks on which my plans have There was, and still is, an inn within been shipwrecked, and the other is the a stone's throw of the great iron gates, certain censure of relatives, who, not with two very old lime trees in front fond of walking themselves, and hav- of it, where we used to lunch on our ing no taste for noonday naps under arrival at a little table spread with a hedges, would be sure to paralyze my
red and blue check cloth, the lime plans before they had grown to matu- blossoms dropping into our soup, and rity by the honest horror of their cry, the bees humming in the scented “How very unpleasant if you were to shadows overhead. I have a picture of meet anyone you know!" The rela- the house by my side as I write, done tive of five hundred years back would from the lake in old times, with a boat simply have said, "How holy."
full of ladies in hoops and powder in My father had the same liking for the foreground, and a youth playing a pilgrimages-indeed, it is evident that guitar. The pilgrimages to this place I have it from him-and he encouraged were those I loved the best. it in me when I was little, taking me But the stories my father told me,