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Though disappointed with the result of his first effort to dis
pose of his poem, Joseph renews the attempt with another eminent publisher-Waits on, and is admitted to an interview with, the latter-His mode of dealing with authorsThe nature and result of the interview.
While the fruitless attempt which we have just recorded was being made to induce Mr. Harold to purchase the manuscript of “ The Universe," the finances of the author, as will be easily supposed, were becoming lower and lower every day. As a question of pounds, shillings, and pence, and wholly without reference to the reputation he so confidently expected to obtain for it, it now became a point of urgent importance that Mr. Jenkins should lose no time in procuring a purchaser.
He therefore resolved to renew the effort without delay. Accordingly, on the following day, he called on Mr. Fiction, another publisher of celebrity, to submit his manuscript to him. Mr. Fiction's plan of doing business differed materially from that pursued by Mr. Harold. Proud of his aristocratic connexions, the latter made it a rule not to see any person who was not himself the
possessor of a title, or who came without an introduction from some aristocratic acquaintance. Mere merit was nothing in his eyes. Even a second Shakspeare, coming to him without the recommendation of some nobleman, or person of family, would not succeed in his efforts to obtain an interview with him; while the man that could boast of some illustrious prefix to his name-such as “ The Marquis of,” “ Lord,” or even "Sir" —was sure, however humble his intellectual pretensions, to be received with the most obsequious politeness. Mr. Fiction, on the other hand, though no spectful to persons of rank—and the feeling is a very proper one-conceived it possible that
there might be merit in a book, though no noble blood ran in the author's veins. In support of this hypothesis, he was in the habit of musing over, in his own mind, the names of many of the greatest men that the world ever produced all of whom had no distinctions of birth
or rank to boast of.
His plan, therefore, was, to grant personal interviews to all who called upon him, lest some of them—and, possibly, the least likely in appearance-might have some “happy idea" to suggest, or promising proposal to make. But, in order that there should be no undue expenditure of time with literary men, from whom, after hearing their propositions, he saw no reason to expect “ anything to his advantage," he had given standing orders to one of his clerks to enter the apartment precisely five minutes after the interview had commenced, and to say, "A gentleman wants to see you, sir." If the work which the other party had to propose for publication did not appear to Mr. Fiction a promis
ing speculation, he desired his clerk to usher the imaginary gentleman "into an adjoining room," adding, “I'll be with him this moment;" and then rising, and turning to the author, he would make a low bow, and express a hope that he would excuse him. Of course there was no alternative for the poor literary man, but to walk nimself out of the room, Mr. Fiction politely accompanying him to the door. If, on the other hand, the bibliopole liked the “idea” for that is the technical word when an author has any promising work to propose for publication -the clerk was desired, when he rushed into the room, announcing that “a gentleman” wished to see Mr. Fiction, to “tell the gentleman that he was very much engaged just now.
Should this chapter meet the eye of any inexperienced author, who may happen to make proposals to Mr. Fiction for the publication of a work, and hear him give the above instructions to the clerk, instead of desiring him to “put the gentleman into the other room;" let him
take courage, and try to make for himself the best terms he can.
Joseph presented himself on the morning formerly mentioned, outside the counter of Mr. Fiction's bibliopolic premises. His name was intimated in the usual way; and the party making the intimation immediately returned, and desired him to walk up to Mr. Fiction's room. He was ushered into the presence of the enterprising bibliopole, and politely asked to take a chair.
“Good morning, sir.”
"I have come to propose to you the publication of a work”
“A work of fiction, in three vols." interposed the spirited bibliopole.
“No, sir, a work of a very different description," said Mr. Jenkins, with a slight dash of selfimportance in his manner, as if he considered a work of fiction to be unworthy his genius.