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That well up from her soul, and make thy nest
Sweet child, so rest!
Brightness and joy to dissipate the cold,
Rest as thou art, and let the years grow old !
Remain, sweet maid,
Her prize is won;
Not knowing why
When thou art nigh,
Why shouldst thou change?
And Raphael's hand transfixed them as they fell, The world, in wonderment at this new birth,
Prayed to be lifted where the seraphs dwell.
Undimmed by time:
But thou, remain,
Weak as we are,
Barton Hill. HANDWRITING AND WRITERS.
CHAT do you think of my becoming an author and relying for
support upon my pen ?” says Nathaniel Hawthorne, in a letter written when he was a student in Bowdoin College. “Indeed, I think the illegibility of my handwriting is very author-like.” That illegibility he retained all his life, and after bis death several of his manuscripts remained long unpublished because no one was able to decipher their intricacies.
But there may be some question as to his adjective of "author-like." Many writers have been even worse scribes than Hawthorne himself, but, on the other hand, there are many whose penmanship is remarkable for neatness and beauty. Among living authors, Howells, Holmes, Bret Harte, Andrew Lang, William Norris, Frederick Locker, and George Macdonald write hands that are plain and legible and often beautiful, without any strongly distinctive characteristics. Among the authors of the past, Gray, Moore, Leigh Hunt, Walter Scott, and Buchanan Read possessed a pleasing running hand which also failed to express any decided individuality. Longfellow's handwriting was a bold, frank back-hand. Bryant's was aggressive and pleasing to the eye, but had no poetical characteristics; and Keats's was rather too clerical for the most dainty of modern poets.
Thackeray's penmanship was marvellously neat, but so small that it could not always be read with comfort by any but microscopic eyes. He is reported to have said that if all other methods of livelihood were to fail him he would undertake to write the Lord's Prayer on his thumb-nail. Charles Dickens's writing was much less beautiful, but almost equally minute, and his habit of writing with blue ink upon blue paper, with frequent interlineations and cross-lines, made his copy a burden alike to compositor and proof-reader. Douglas Jerrold was an offender of the same sort. He jotted down his jokes upon little slips of blue paper in letters smaller than the type in which they were presently to be set. Captain Marryat's handwriting was so fine that whenever the copyist rested from his labors he was obliged to stick a pin where he left off, in order to find the place again. Charlotte Bronté's handwriting appeared to have been traced with a needle. Other experts in microscopic penmanship are the English novelists R. D. Blackmore and William Black, who write tiny characters that are almost undecipherable at first sight, and the Americans George Cable and Julian Hawthorne. The latter forms his letters with care and precision, but they are almost infinitesimal in size.
Nothing is more noticeable than the difference between the hands of those who seem satisfied with their words, who seem to find pleasure in the rapidity with which they express their thoughts, and the hands of those who are dissatisfied with their words and are disposed to torture language until it expresses something more or something less. Mathematicians, as a rule, write untidy, scrambling hands, because their thought so constantly distances their powers of expression in words or symbols that they grow careless in their attempt to keep pace with it. Lawyers, on the other hand, usually write a precise and orderly hand, because they are fond of verbiage and are accustomed to employ more words than are necessary to express their thought. Fluent writers like Anthony Trollope or Professor Tyndall write an easy running hand, but poets like Swinburne, Tennyson, or Browning seem to throw over the words they write shadows of dissatisfaction that they express something more or something less, or at all events something different, as though words were a wrong to their soul and a sort of parody on the true expressiveness of sound. Carlyle reconstructs with pen and gall what his mind and eyes have seen, and in the patient but crabbed and oddly-emphasized handwriting much of his temperament may be read. “ Eccentric and spiteful little Hourishes," says one of his friends, “ dart about his manuscript in various odd ways, sometimes evidently intended as a cross to a t, but constantly recoiling in an absurd fashion, as if attempting a calligraphical summersault, and destroying the entire word from which they sprung. Some letters slope one way and some another, some are halt, maimed, and crippled, and all are blind." He was himself highly amused at a story told by his London publishers. A Scotch compositor had just been added to the force of their printers on the strength of a recommendation from the Edinburgh Review. His first “take” was some of Carlyle's manuscript.“What! have you got that man here ?” he fairly roared. “I fled from Scotland to get away from him!” Balzac's copy was even worse ; few printers could read it, and those who could made an express stipulation with their employer to work at it only one hour at a time. Even after the hieroglyphics had been translated into print, the proof-sheets came back more illegible than the original copy. A French writer describes them as sending out from each printed word a dash of ink like a rocket, finally breaking into a fiery ring of phrases, epithets, and nouns. These were interlined, crossed, written upside down, mixed, interlaced, and knotted, forming a word-puzzle which made even the stoutest compositor quail.
Byron was nearly as bad. His handwriting was a mere scrawl, and his additions in the proof were generally greater than the original text. To one poem, which contained only four hundred lines in the first draught, one thousand were added in proofs. Dean Stanley, a short time before his death, was invited by a New York magazine to contribute an article on some timely topic. A paper was promptly written and duly received, but the editor, to his great consternation, could not read it himself, and found it undecipherable by the most expert printers. Finally the editor was obliged to return the manuscript to England to be re-written, and then the timeliness of the subject had evaporated.
Sometimes, however, even the writer himself cannot read what he has written. We are told of Jules Janin, for instance, that when a reckless compositor came to him and besought him to decipher some pages of his own manuscript, the great man replied that he would rather re-write than attempt to read over again what he had once written. Napoleon's handwriting was not only illegible, it is said that his letters
from Germany to Josephine were at first taken for rough maps of the seat of war. Rufus Choate, whose signature has been aptly compared to a gridiron struck by lightning, was equally unfortunate. While baving his house repaired, he had promised to send the model for a carved mantel-piece. Failing to obtain what he wanted, he wrote to his workman to that effect. The carpenter eyed the missive from all points of view, and finally decided that it must be the promised plan : so he set to work to fashion what must have been the most original mantel-piece that ever ornamented a room.
But no penman, either American or foreign, could have been worse than Horace Greeley. “Good God !” said a new compositor to whom a "take" of the editor's copy had been handed, “if Belshazzar had seen this writing on the wall, he would have been more terrified than he was.” It may have been this very man of whom a good story is told. Becoming disgusted with his typographical blunders, Greeley sent a note up to the foreman, requesting him to discharge the man at once, as he was too inefficient a workman to be any longer employed on the Tribune. The foreman obeyed the instructions; but, before leaving, the compositor managed to get possession of Greeley's note. He at once went to a rival office and applied for a position, showing the note as a letter of recommendation. The foreman pored long and earnestly over the crabbed penmanship. Finally he thought he saw a clue, —“Oh, I see ! 'good and efficient compositor, and a long time employed on the Tribune, -Horace Greeley,'”-and immediately set him to work.
Once upon a time Mr. M. B. Castle, of Sandwich, Illinois, invited Mr. Greeley to lecture. To this the following reply was sent :
“DEAR SIR,—I am overworked, and growing old. I shall be sixty next February third. On the whole, it seems I must decline to lecture henceforth, except in this immediate vicinity, if I do at all. I cannot promise to visit Illinois on that errand, -certainly not now.
“Yours, HORACE GREELEY. “M. B. CASTLE,
Sandwich, Ill." We can partly imagine the great efforts made by the lecture committee and others to decipher Horace's pot-hooks, and the delight which they must have felt at their ultimate success. That they were successful, will be seen from the following answer forwarded in due time to Mr. Greeley :
“SANDWICH, ILL., May 12. “HORACE GREELEY, New York Tribune.
“DEAR SIR,—Your acceptance to lecture before our association next winter came to hand this morning. Your penmanship not being the plainest, it took some time to translate it, but we succeeded, and would say your time—third of February'-and terms—sixty dollars'-are perfectly satisfactory. As you suggest, we may be able to get you other engagements in this immediate vicinity ; if so, we will advise you. “Yours respectfully,
“ M. B. CASTLE."
Joaquin Miller's writing is illegible in itself, and is rendered doubly difficult by the fact that the author's spelling is of the most ecoentric kind. But who was the literary man who once said, “Sense and knowledge come by experience and study, but the power to spell correctly is the direct gift of God”? Many other authors openly acknowledge their orthographical imperfections and depend upon the intelligent proof-reader to supply the missing vowels and consonants. Goethe himself, who took all knowledge for his province, was fain to leave spelling as a' terra incognita. The Father of his Country spelled familiar words one way, while Lady Washington spelled them another, and neither managed to be correct. Nay, it is well known that William Shakespeare spelled his own name in several different ways. Mary Queen of Scots, whose English was feeble, signed indifferently Mary, Marie, Marye. In France, Malherbe spelled his surname in at least five different ways.
William S. Walsh.
DOES COLLEGE TRAINING PAY?
GENTLEMAN interested in educational questions recently in
stituted a series of inquiries in the offices of prominent railroad corporations, among the employees of manufacturing associations, and in different lines of business and commerce, with a view to ascertain what proportion of the persons engaged in clerical and other employments were graduates of collegiate institutions. The details of the investigation, which was carefully and conscientiously made, would be tedious, but the general result is interesting in that it shows not only that the college-bred man is, in business, an exception to his fellows, but that not a few of the leading men in the industrial and commercial world, men who are a part of it and themselves help to make it what it is, prefer, when employing, to engage young men who have grown up in the business rather than those who have enjoyed the advantages of collegiate training. As a great manager of railroad interests stated the case, “ College graduates have too much to forget."
This is a surprising exhibit, and seems to indicate that the value of college training is not appreciated by men actually engaged in those lines of occupation which make the business interests of the country what they are. Among the farmers and handicraftsmen of the country the proportion of college-trained men to the entire number is probably even smaller than in the city offices, for few college-bred men, unless driven by dire necessity, will go upon the farm or use their hands in earning their livelihood. Since the college graduates, therefore, are not to be found in agriculture, nor in industrial occupations requiring technical training and manual skill, nor in the offices where trade and commerce are managed, the question naturally arises, What becomes of them ?
Before considering this, however, it is well to inquire what propor