QRコード
QRCODE

店長情報 トップページ
店長情報

アクセスカウンタ
読者登録
メールアドレスを入力して登録する事で、このブログの新着エントリーをメールでお届けいたします。解除は→こちら
現在の読者数 0人
プロフィール
extremely

2018年04月12日

There is among the more atrabilious



“My Dearest Mother,—It is dreadfully hot, and we are all gasping for breath. Kate is very unwell. She cannot walk now, and is obliged to go out in the carriage. Children thrive. As for me, I am teaching myself German, and writing a little now and then ‘The Diary of a Blasé:’ one part has appeared in the Metropolitan—very good magazine stuff. I have a fractional part of the gout in my middle right finger. Is it possible to make V—— a member of the Horticultural? He is very anxious, and he deserves it; the personal knowledge is the only difficulty; but I know him, and I am part of you, and therefore you know him. Will that syllogism do? We are as quiet here as if we were out of the world, and I like it. I wanted quiet to recover me. Since I have been here I have discovered what I fancy will be new in England—a variety of carnation, with short stalks—the stalks are so short that the flowers do not rise above the leaves of the plant, and you have no idea how pretty they are; they are all in a bush (? blush). There are two varieties here, belonging to a man, but he will not part with them. He says they are very scarce, and only to be had at Vervier, a town eight miles off. They are celebrated for flowers at Liége, but a flower-woman from Liége, to whom I showed them, said she had never seen them there; so I presume the man was correct. Have you heard of them? By-the-by, you should ask V—— to send for some Ghent roses—they are extremely beautiful. I did give most positive orders that Fred should not go out unless with Mr. B—— or one of the masters. He remained[72] three days in Paris, having escaped from the gentleman who had charge of him, and cannot, or will not, account for where he was, or what he did. He did not go to his school until his money was gone. He is at a dangerous age now, and must be kept close. Write me or Kate a long letter, telling us all the news. I intend to come home in October, or thereabouts; but I must arrange according to Kate’s man?uvres. If she goes her time of course I must be with her, and then she will winter here, I have no doubt, as we cannot travel in winter with babies, nor indeed do I wish to; as travelling costs a great deal of money—and I have none to spare.

“God bless you, mamma. This is a famous place for your complaint, if it comes on again. The cures are miraculous. Love to Ellen. She sha’n’t come German over me when we meet. I don’t think I ever should have learnt it, only G—— gave himself such airs about it.”

The letter is not a masterpiece, but it is good-natured and wholesome. The “Fred,” who had been playing truant so enviably in Paris, was afterwards the Lieutenant Frederick Marryat who perished in the wreck of the Avenger.

His departure for America is a convenient date at which to stop and survey Marryat’s literary work. After 1837, he did some things as good as anything he had done before, and some at once unlike what he had already written, and yet excellent of their kind. “Poor Jack” and “Percival Keene” have touches of the old sea life, and flashes of fun, not inferior to his earlier writing. The “Phantom Ship” has a character of its own; the children’s stories of his last years are excellent. All these are later than 1837. Still, if he had ceased to write entirely in that year, his place in literature would be as high as it is. We should have “The King’s Own,” “Peter Simple,” “Mr. Midshipman Easy,” “Japhet,” “Jacob Faithful,” and “Snarley Yow,” and with these we should possess the best of him. In those eight busy years Marryat had poured out the harvest of his experience profusely. His beginning in literature had been singularly fortunate. The time was favourable to writers of any originality certainly. A brilliant magazine article made a reputation. There was a marked readiness to recognize ability and reward it. What amount of praise and pudding would be given in[74] these days for another essay on Milton it would be useless to guess, but undoubtedly it could hardly be greater than the share which fell to Macaulay for his early effort. Carlyle made a place for himself by a few articles. The wind which blew for them blew for others also. As has almost always been the case in great literary periods, the readiness of the reader to recognize and admire was as strong as the productive power of the writer. The audience met the playwright half way. Sir Walter Scott had prepared the market for the novelist. He had enormously increased the taste for novels, and whoever could write at all was the surer of a hearing, because “Waverley” had made stories a necessity to readers. kind of men of letters a secret belief that the sum of popularity is a fixed quantity, of which whatever is earned by one man is necessarily lost by another. That one nation’s gain is another’s loss in commerce, was an accepted axiom with economists of the days of darkness before Adam Smith. It has been given up on maturer consideration, and is assuredly no more true in literature than international trade. A great writer who gains a great popularity increases the chance of the smaller men. Sir Walter and Jane Austen helped the Mrs. Meeke in whom Macaulay delighted.

Marryat had profited amply by the opening. With great adaptability he had thrown himself into the literary fight of his time. As has been already said, he soon showed himself at home in the regular business of literature—in writing for the press and in editing. To take the satisfactory though vulgar test of money, he was able to make his market, and put his price up. Nor[75] was he at all reluctant to insist on the value of his goods. “I do not,” he said in 1837, “write for sixteen guineas a sheet now. I let them off for twenty guineas, as I do not wish to run them hard; and I now have commenced with the New Monthly at that rate for one year certain, and the copyright secured to me. Times are hard, and I do not wish to break the backs of the publishers, although I ride over them roughshod. I have also made very much better terms for my books. ‘Snarley Yow,’ comes out on the 1st of June. I have parted very amicably with Saunders and Otley, who would not stand an advance. I will make hay when the sun shines; for every dog has his day, and I presume my time will come as that of others.” Twenty guineas a sheet was the exceptional price which Fraser was paying Carlyle in those very years, and was five guineas above the usual rate. Obviously here was a gentleman who knew that business was business. With this determination to make the last penny there was to make, he naturally contributed his chapter to the history of the quarrels of authors with their publishers.  


Posted by extremely at 23:26Comments(0)