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another. As a rule, indeed, time and Then Monday ultered a cry like a war-whoop.
“ It am come all right, sare. space are alike annihilated in them, in
Missy Ada order to make two lovers happy. The she will be my little wife," he said.
says she not really care for Sir Sydney, and general terms in which they are written “ I congratulate you, Monday," answered is one of their peculiar features. One Jack. would think that, instead of being as
In half an hour more they arrived at the unlike real life as stories professing to
house of John Radford, plumber and glazier,
who was Ada's father. deal with it can be, they were photo- Mr. and Mrs. Radford and their two sons regraphs of it, and that the writers, as in ceived their daughter and her companions with the following instance, had always the that unstudied civility which contrasts so favorfear of the law of libel before their ably with the stuck-up ceremony of many in a
higher position. They were not prejudiced eyes :
against Monday on account of his dark skin. We must now request our readers to accom- It was enough for them that he was the man pany us into an obscure cul de sac opening into of Ada's choice. a narrow street branching off Holborn. For Mrs. Radford even went so far as to say, many reasons we do not choose to be more “Well, for a colored gentleman, he is very precise as to locality.
handsome and quite nice mannered, though I Of course in this cul de sac is a Private ing about her engagement to the last.”
think Ada's been a little sly in telling us nothInquiry Office, with a detective in it.
They did not know all. But in defining even him the novelist Nor was it advisable that they should. gives himself no trouble to arouse excite- Still they knew something-for exment in his readers : they have paid ample, that their new son-in-law was a their penny for the history of this inter- black man, which one would have esting person, and, that being done, thought might have struck them as phethey may read about him or not, as they nomenal. They take it, however, quite please. One would really think that the quietly and as a matter of course. Now, author of the story was also the propri- surely, even among plumbers and glazetor of the periodical.
iers, it must be thought as strange for Those who desire (he says) to make the ac- one's daughter to marry a black man as quaintance of this somewhat remarkable per- a lord. Yet, out of this dramatic situason have only to step with us into the little tion the author makes nothing at all, but dusky room where he is seated and we shall
treats it as coolly as his dramatis persona have much pleasure in introducing hiin to their notice.
do themselves. Now my notion would
have been to make the bridegroom a A sentence which has certainly the air black lord, and then to portray, with of saying, “ You may be introduced to
admirable skill, the conflicting emotions him or you may let it alone."
of his mother in-law, disgusted on the The coolness with which everything is said and done in penny fiction is indeed other by his rank.
one hand by his color, attracted on the
But sensation" is most remarkable, and should greatly recommend it to that respectable class who evidently out of the line of the penny
novelist: he gives his facts, which are have a horror of sensation."
certainly remarkable, then leaves both story, for example, that purports to de
his characters and his readers to draw scribe University life and is as much
their own conclusions. like it as the camel produced from the
The total absence of local scenery German professor's self-consciousness from these half hundred romances is also must have been to a real camel) there is curious, and becomes so very marked an underplot of an amazing kind. The wicked undergraduate, notwithstanding to take their dramatis persona out of
when the novelists are so imprudent as that he has the 'advantage of being a baronet, is foiled in his attempt to win whether ihese gentlemen have ever been
England, that one can't help wondering the affections of a young woman in
in foreign parts themselves, or even read humble life, and the virtuous hero of the
about them. Here is the conclusion of story recommends her to the considera
a romance which leaves nothing to be tion of his negro servant :
desired in the way of brevity, but is un" Talk to her, Monday,” whispered Jack, questionably a little abrupt and vague : "and see if she loves you.'
For a short time Monday and Ada were in A year has passed away, and we are far from close conversation.
England and the English climate.
• Do you
Whither we” have gone the author carelessness which was half forced.
“Oh, I does not say, nor even indicate the have been over to Higham to see the dame.''
Ah, yes,” said Sir Edward, “and how is hemisphere. It will be imagined per- the poor old creature ?". haps that we shall find out where we are Quite well,” said Clyde, as he sat down by the indication of the flora and fauna. and took up the menu of the elaborate dinner.
Quite well, she sent her best respects," he A lady and gentleman before the dawn of added, but he said nothing of the lodger, pretty day have been climbing up an arid road in the Miss Mary Westlake. direction of a dark ridge,
And when, a moment afterward, the door
opened and Grace came flowing in with her Observe, again, the ingenious vague- lithe noiseless step, dressed in one of Worth's ness of the description : an “arid masterpieces, a wonder of amber, satin, and road” which may mean Siberia, and a antique lace, he raised his eyes and looked at “dark ridge” which may mean the
her with an earnest scrutiny--so earnest that
she paused with her hand on his chair, and Himalayas.
met his eyes with a questioning glance.
like | The dawn suddenly comes upon thein in all its
my new dress?" she said with
a calm smile. glory. Birds twittered in their willow gorges,
“ Your dress?" he said. “Yes, yes, it is and it was a very glorious day. Arthur and Emily had passed the night at the ranche, and
very pretty, very.' But to himself he added, he had now taken her up to look at the mine
“Yes, they are alike, strangely alike.” which at all events had introduced them. He Which last remark may be applied had previously taken her to see his mother's grave, the mother whom he had so loved. The
with justice to the conversations of all mine after some delay proved more prosperous
our novelists. There appears no necesthan ever. It was not sold, but is the ap- sity for their commencement, no reason panage'' of the younger sons of the house of for their continuance, no object in their Dacres.
conclusion ; the reader finds himself in With the exception of the “ ranche," a forest of verbiage from which he is exit will be reinarked that there is not one
tricated only at the end of the chapter, word in the foregoing description to fix which is always, however, “to be conlocality. The mine and the ranche to
tinued.” gether seem indeed to suggest South
It is true that these story-tellers for America. But-I ask for information the million generally keep
the million generally keep "a gallop for -do birds twitter there in willow
the avenue'' (an incident of a more or gorges ? Younger sons of noble fami- less exciting kind to finish up with), but lies proverbially come off second best in it is so brief and unsatisfactory that it this country, but if one of them found hardly rises to a canter ; the author his only “ appanage" was a mine, he never seems to get into his stride. The would surely with some justice make a following is a fair example : remonstrance.
But before we let the curtain fall, we must The readers of this class of fiction will glance for one moment at another picture, a not have Dumas at any price-or, at all
sad and painful one. In one of those retreats,
worse than a living tomb, where reside those events, not at a penny. Mr. Collins
whose reason is dead, though their bodies still tells us how “Monte Christo'' was once live, is a small spare cell. The sole occupant spread before them, and how they turned is a woman, young and very beautiful. from that gorgeous feast with indiffer- Sometimes she is quiet and gentle as a child ; ence, and fell back upon their tripe and witness ; but the only word she utters is Re
sometimes her fits of phrensy are frightful to onions—their nameless authors. But venge, and on her hand she always wears a some of those who write for them have plain gold band with a cross of black pearls. adopted one peculiarity of Dumas. The short jerky sentences which disfigurt the upon before I read the tale which pre
This conclusion, which I chanced “ Three Musketeers,” and indeed all ceded it, naturally interested me imthat great novelist's works, are very fre- mensely. Here, thought I, is at last an quent with them, which induces me to exciting story ; I shall now find one of believe that they are paid by the line.
those literary prizes in hopes perhaps of On the other hand, some affect fash- hitting upon which the penny public enionable description and conversation dures so many blanks. I was quite prewhich are drawn out in “ passages that pared to have my blood curdled ; my lead to nothing” of an amazing length. lips were whetted for a full draught of
“Where have I been,'' replied Clyde with a gore ; yet, I give you my word, there
was nothing in the whole story worse done more than any man ever did before. than a bankruptcy.
Run no more danger."
“ Sire, if I have served you, grant my repenny fiction so remarkable; there is
“ It shall be so, mysterious youth. Thou nothing whatever in the way of dramatic shalt be my secret agent. Take this ring, and interest to account for it ; nor of impro- When Ralpho shows that ring, obey him as if
wear it for my sake ; and hark ye, gentlemen, priety either. Like the lady friend of
he were ourselves.' Dr. Johnson, who congratulated him
We will," cried the nobles. that there were no improper words in his Then the King took the Star of St. Stanisdictionary, and received from that un- laus, and fixed it on our hero's breast. conciliatory sage the reply, “ You have Now, to my mind, though his preferbeen looking for them, have you ?" I ring to be" a secret agent to becomhave carefully searched my fifty samples ing generalissimo of the Polish cavalry is of penny fiction for something wrong, as modest as it is original, “ Ralphois and have not found it. It is as pure as too goody goody to be called “the mysmilk, or at all events as milk and water. terious. He reminds me, too, in his Unlike the Minerva Press, too, it does way of mixing chivalry with self-interest, not deal with eminent persons : wicked of those enterprising officers in fighting peers are rare ; fraud is usually confined regiments who send in applications for within what may be called its natural their own V.C.s while their comrades limit-the lawyer's oftice ; the attention remain in modest expectation of them. paid to the heroines not only by their I am inclined to think, however, from heroes, but by their unsuccessful and the following advertisement, that some objectionable rivals, is generally of the author has been recently piling up the most honorable kind ; and platitude and virtues of his hero too strongly for the dulness hold undisputed sway.
very delicate stomachs of the penny In one or two of these periodicals public, who, it is evident, resent superlathere is indeed an example of the medi- tives of all kinds, and are commonplace æval melodrama ; but Ralpho the and conventional to the marrow of their Mysterious” is by no means thrilling. bones : “T. B. Timmins is informed Indeed, when I remember that “ Ivan- that he cannot be promised another story hoe" was once published in a penny like " Mandragora,''since, in deciding the journal and proved a total failure, and contents of our journal, the tastes of then contemplate the popularity of readers have to be considered whose interest “ Ralpho, I am more at sea as to cannot be aroused by the impossible deeds of what it is that attracts the million than impossible creatures." Alas ! I wish from ever.
my heart I knew what “deeds'' or
creatures” do arouse the interest of “Noble youth,” cried the King as he embraced Ralpho, to you we must entrust the
this to me) inexplicable public ; for training of our cavalry. I hold here the list though I have before me the stories they which has been made out of the truops which obviously take delight in, why they do will come at the signal. To certain of our
so I cannot tell. nobles we have intrusted certain of our corps
At the " Answers to Correspondents," d'armée, but unto you, Ralpho, we must entrust our horse, for in that service you can display indeed, which form a leading feature in that wonderful dexterity with the sword which most of these penny journals, one may has made your name so famous.”
exclaim with the colonel in Wood“ Sire,” cried our hero, as he dropped on one knee and took the king's hand, pressing it stock,” when after many ghosts he graplo his lips, " thou hast indeed honored me by ples with Wildrake, “Thou at least are such a reward, but I cannot accept it.” palpable.” Here we have the real
“How," cried the King, “hast thou so soon readers, asking questions upon matters tired of my service ?"
that concern them, and from these we “ Not so, sire. To serve you I would shed
their the last drop of my blood. But if I were to
shall surely get at the back of accept this command, I should cease to do the minds. But it is unfortunately not so service for the cause which now it has pleased certain that these “. Answers to Correyou to say I have done. No, sire, let me respondents” are not themselves fictions, inain the guardian of my king - his secret like all the rest-only invented by the agent
. I, with my sword alone, will defend editor instead of the author, and coining my country and my king."
Be not rash, Ralpho ; already hast thou in handy to fill up a vacant page. It
is to my mind incredible that a public so and that washing the head will remove the every way different from that of the scurf.” “LEONE" is assured that “it Mechanics’ Institute, and to whom mere is not necessary to be married in two information is likely to be anything but churches, one being quite sufficient ;' that attractive, should be genuinely solicitous “ there is no truth in the saying that it is to learn that “ Needles were first made in unlucky to marry a person of the same England in Cheapside, in the reign of complexion ;” and that a gentle aperient Queen Mary, by a negro from Spain;" will remove nettle-rash.' or that “The family name of the Duke
VIRGINIE" (who, by the way, of Norfolk is Howard, although the should surely be VIRGINIUS) is thus younger members of it call themselves tenderly sympathized with : Talbot.''
“ It does seem rather hard that you Even the remonstrance of “ Our Cor- should be deprived of all opportunity of respondence Editor” with a gentleman having a tête à-tête with your betrothed, who wishes to learn " How to manufac- oping to her being obliged to entertain ture dynamite" seems to me artifical ; other company, although there are others as though the idea of saying a few words the family who can do so ; still, as her in season against explosive compounds mother insists upon it, and will not let you had occurred to him, without any par- enjoy the society of her daughter uninterticular opportunity having really offered upted, you might resort to a little harmitself for the expression of his views. less strategy, and whenever your stated
There are, however, one or two ad- evenings for calling are broken in on that vertisements decidedly genuine, and way, ask the young lady to take a walk which prove that the readers of penny with you, or go to a place of amusement. fiction are not so immersed in romance She can then excuse herself to her friends but that they have their eyes open to without a breach of etiquette, and you can the main chance and their material re- enjoy your tête-à-tête undisturbed.” sponsibilities. ANXIOUS TO KNOW,
The photographs of lady correspond. for example, is informed that “ The ents which are received by the editors widow, unless otherwise decreed, keeps of most of these journals are apparently possession of furniture on her marriage, very numerous, and, if we may believe and the daughter cannot claim it;" while their description of them, all ravishingly SKIBBS is assured that After such a beautiful. It is no wonder they receive lapse of time there will be no danger of a many applications of the following na-. warrant being issued for leaving his wife ture : and family chargeable to the parish.'' “CLYDE, a rising young doctor, twenty
As when Mr. Wilkie Collins made his two, fair, with a nice house and servants, first voyage of discovery into these un- being tired of bachelor life, wishes to reknown latitudes, the penny journals are ceive the carte-de-visite of a dark, fascilargely used for forming matrimonial nating young lady, of from seventeen to engagements, and for adjudicating upon twenty years of age; no money essential, all questions of propriety in connection but good birth indispensable. She must be with the affections. “It is just border- fond of music and children, and very loving on folly," "NANCY BLAKE' is in- ing and affectionate." formed, “ to marry a man six years your Another doctorjunior.' In answer to an inquiry from “Twenty-nine, of a loving and amiable ' LOVING OLIVIA” whether
disposition, and who has at present an ingaged gentleman is at liberty to go to a come of 1201, a year, is desirous to make theatre without taking his young lady with an immediate engagement with a lady about him,” she is told Yes ; but we imagine his own age, who must be possessed of a he would not often do so.
little money, so that by their united efforts Some tender questions are mixed up he may soon become a member of a lucrawith others of a more practical sort. tive and honorable profession." “LADY HILDA" is informed that " it is How the “united efforts of two very seldom children are born healthy young people, however enthusiastic, can whose father has married before he is make a man an M.D. or an M.R.C.S. three-and-twenty; that long engagements (except that love conquers all things) is are not only unnecessary but injurious; more than one can understand. 'The
last advertisement I shall quote affects millions of readers--a fact which makes me nearly, for it is from an eminent my mouth water like that of Tantalus. member of my own profession :
When Mr. Wilkie Collins wrote of the ALEXIS, a popular author, in the Unknown Public it is clear he was still prime of life, of an affectionate disposi- hopeful of them. He thought it “a tion, and fond of home, and the extent and question of time” only. “ The largest pressing nature of whose work have pre- audience," he says, " for periodical litvented him from mixing much in society, erature in this age of periodicals must would be glad to correspond with a young obey the universal law of progress, and lady not above thirty. She must be of a sooner or later learn to discriminate. pleasing appearance, amiable, intelligent, When that period comes the readers and domestic."
who rank by millions will be the readers If it is with the readers of penny fic- who give the widest reputations, who retion that Alexis has established his turn the richest rewards, and who will popularity, I would like to know how therefore command the services of the he did it, and who he is. To discover best writers of their time. this last is, however, an impossibility. phecy has, curiously enough, been fulThese novelists all write anonymously, filled in a different direction from that nor do their works ever appear before anticipated by him who uttered it. The the public in another guise. There is penny papers-that is, the provincial sometimes a melancholy pretence to the penny newspapers do now, under the contrary put forth in the “ Answers to syndicate system, command the services Correspondents. “ Phenix,” for ex- of our most eminent novel writers ; but ample, is informed that “ The story penny fiction proper--that is to say, about which he inquires will not be pub- the fiction published in the penny litlished in book form at the time he men- erary journals-is just where it was a tions." But the fact is it will never be quarter of a century ago. so published at all. It has been written, With the opportunity of comparison like all its congeners, for the unknown afforded to its readers, one would say millions and for no one else.
this would be impossible, but as a matSome years ago, in a certain great liter- ter of fact the opportunity is not ary organ, it was stated of one of these offered. The readers of penny fiction penny journals (which has not forgotten do not read newspapers ; political to advertise the eulogy) that “its novels events do not interest them, nor even are equal to the best works of fiction to social events, unless they are of the class be got at the circulating libraries.” The described in the Police News, which, I critic who so expressed himself must remark—and the fact is not without have done so in a moment of hilarity significance-does not need to add ficwhich I trust was not produced by tion to its varied attractions. liquor ; for “the best works of fiction But who, it will be asked, are the to be got at the circulating libraries” public who don't read newspapers, and obviously include those of George Eliot, whose mental calibre is such that they Trollope, Reade, Black, and Blackmore, require to be told by a correspondence while the novels I am discussing are in- editor that“ any number over the two ferior to the worst. They are as crude thousand will certainly be in the three and ineffective in their pictures of do- thousand "? mestic life as they are deficient in dra- I believe, though the vendors of the matic incident; they are vapid, they are commodity in question profess to be unduil. Indeed, the total absence of hu- able to give any information on the mat- · mor, and even of the least attempt at it, ter, that the majority are female domesis most remarkable. There is now and tic servants. then a description of the playing of As to what attracts them in their fasome practical joke, such as tying two vorite literature, that is a much more Chinamen's tails together, the effect of knotty question. My own theory is the relation of which is melancholy in that, just as Mr. Tupper achieved his the extreme, but there is no approach to immense popularity by never going over fun in the whole penny library. And the heads of his readers, and showing yet it attracts, it is calculated, four that poetry was, after all, not such a
New Series. — Vol. XXXIII., No. 3