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“Oh, I beg your pardon,” remarked Mr. Fiction, apologetically; "a work of travels, perhaps.”

“ No, sir; certainly not, Mr. Fiction. It is a work on a theme of universal and enduring interest, and not referring to any particular country or time."

“A theme," ejaculated Mr., Fiction to himself. “A theme! That is a word which very few of

my
authors ever use.

Plots,' stories,' incidents,' heroes,' heroines,' denouements, and so forth, are quite familiar to my ears; but theme' does sound somewhat strange. Pray, Mr. Jenkins, what may your work be ?"

" "The Universe, sir.'”

Mr. Fiction was confounded. “I don't exactly understand you, Mr. Jenkins.”

“Oh, I flatter myself, sir, there is nothing unintelligible in what I have said,” replied Joseph, with a forced self-complacent smile.

“Oh, I simply mean that I do not know whether The Universe' be the subject or the title of your proposed work.”

“It is both, sir," said Mr. Jenkins, emphatically.

“Oh! And how many volumes do you propose making it?" "Only one."

Only one! We are not fond of publishing works in only one volume; we always prefer three; because the expense of advertising three volumes is no greater than the expense of advertising one. Could you not, at any rate, spin it out to two volumes, supposing that, on examination, I approve of the work ?"

“Oh, dear no, sir; I could not do that. Spin it out! Why, to add a single line to it would completely spoil it.”

“It is a work of light or miscellaneous literature, is it not?” inquired Mr. Fiction, half dubiously.

“Certainly not, sir," replied Mr. Jenkins, mouthing the words in a particular manner, and

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looking as if he deemed the question an improper reflection on the constitution of his mind, and the purpose to which he had applied his talents.

"Not a work of fiction ; nor a book of travels; nor consisting of light or miscellaneous literature! Pray, then, Mr. Jenkins, will you be good enough to inform me what is the nature of your proposed work?”

"It is a poem, sir; the volume will consist of one great poem, sir,” replied Mr. Jenkins, emphatically, and with a dash of self-consequence in his manner.

Mr. Fiction looked aghast. Had Mr. Jenkins been a burglar, and been in the act of plundering his apartments at the time, he could scarcely have looked more astonished than he did on the occasion.

We never publish any poetry,” said the bibliopole, after he had slightly recovered his breath.

“But this work, Mr. Fiction, is not a poem

A gen

of an ordinary class; neither, I flatter myself, is the subject treated in an ordinary manner. The manuscript has been seen by a number of competent judges, and they, one and all, declare that they never saw anything that could”

Joseph was interrupted in the delivery of his sentence by the abrupt self-introduction of the clerk, with the usual announcement, tleman wishes to see you, sir.”

"Show him into another room; I'll be with him presently," said Mr. Fiction.

And, as he spoke, he rose from his seat; which, of course, Mr. Jenkins understood to be a signal for him to do the same.

“Then, Mr. Fiction," observed Mr. Jenkins, slowly taking up his hat, "you do not think it advisable to undertake the publication of “The Universe.""

"We never publish any poetry."
“Then, good morning, Mr. Fiction.”
"Good morning, Mr. Jenkins."

CHAPTER V.

Makes a third attempt to get a purchaser for his manuscript

Fails as before_Resolves to publish the work on his own account—Some secrets worth knowing respecting authorship and publishing-Extent of the sale of “The Universe."

This looked ominous; and, sanguine as was Mr. Jenkins' temperament, he began to have serious apprehensions that, after all, he should not succeed in procuring a publisher for “ The Universe.” Not that he thought one iota the less of the production, but that there was now a probability of his failing to persuade a publisher that its merits were as great as he and his Scottish admirers conceived they were. Still, possessing, as he did, no inconsiderable share of that quality—the quality of perseverance—for which his countrymen get so much credit, he resolved not to relinquish the attempt to find a publisher for a work, which, he felt assured, would not only prove pecuniarily profitable both

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