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The caller's eye had caught the photograph of Tommie Billups, standing on the desk of Mr. Billups.
"That your boy, Billups?" he asked.
"Yes," said Billups, "he's a sophomore up at Binkton College."
"Looks intellectual rather than athletic," said the caller.
"Oh, he's an athlete all right," said Billups. "When it comes to running up accounts, and jumping his board-bill, and lifting his voice, and throwing a thirty-two pound bluff, there isn't a gladiator in creation that can give my boy Tommie any kind of a handicap. He's just written for an extra check."
“And as a proud father you are sending it, I don't doubt,” smiled the caller.
"Yes," grinned Billups; "I am sending him a rain-check 1 got at the ball-game yesterday. As an athlete, he'll appreciate its value."--J. K. B.
The supervisor of a school was trying to prove that children are lacking in observation.
To the children he said, "Now, children, tell me a number to put on the board."
Some child said, "Thirty-six." The supervisor wrote sixty-three.
He asked for another number, and seventy-six was given. He wrote sixty-seven.
When a third number was asked, a child who apparently had paid no attention called out:
Theventy-theven. Change that you thucker!"
The following is a recipe for an author:
A typewriter, plenty of postage-
Oscar Wilde, upon hearing one of Whistler's bon mots exclaimed: "Oh, Jimmy; I wish I had said that!" "Never mind, dear Oscar," was the rejoinder, "you will!”
THE AUTHOR “Would you advise me to get out a small edition?"
THE PUBLISHER "Yes, the smaller the better. The more scarce a book is at the end of four or five centuries the more money you realize from it."
AMBITIOUS AUTHOR "Hurray! Five dollars for my latest story, 'The Call of the Lure!'
FAST FRIEND "Who from?"
A lady who had arranged an authors' reading at her house succeeded in persuading her reluctant husband to stay home that evening to assist in receiving the guests. He stood the entertainment as long as he could-three authors, to be exactand then made an excuse that he was going to open the front door to let in some fresh air. In the hall he found one of the servants asleep on a settee.
"Wake up!" he commanded, shaking the fellow roughly. "What does this mean, your being asleep out here? You must have been listening at the keyhole."
An ambitious young man called upon a publisher and stated that he had decided to write a book.
"May I venture to inquire as to the nature of the book you propose to write?" asked the publisher, very politely.
"Oh," came in an offhand way from the aspirant to literary fame, “I think of doing something on the line of 'Les Miserables,' only livelier, you know."
"So you have had a long siege of nervous prostration?" we say to the haggard author. "What caused it? Overwork?"
"In a way, yes," he answers weakly. "I tried to do a novel with a Robert W. Chambers hero and a Mary E. Wilkins heroine."-Life.
Mark Twain at a dinner at the Authors' Club said: “Speaking of fresh eggs, I am reminded of the town of Squash. In my early lecturing days I went to Squash to lecture in Temperance Hall, arriving in the afternoon. The town seemed very poorly billed. I thought I'd find out if the people knew anything at all about what was in store for them. So I turned in at the general store. 'Good afternoon, friend,' I said to the general storekeeper. 'Any entertainment here tonight to help a stranger while away his evening?' The general storekeeper, who was sorting mackerels, straightened up, wiped his briny hands on his apron, and said: 'I expect there's goin' to be a lecture. I've been sellin' eggs all day."
An American friend of Edmond Rostand says that the great dramatist once told him of a curious encounter he had had with a local magistrate in a town not far from his own.
It appears that Rostand had been asked to register the birth of a friend's newly arrived son. The clerk at the registry office was an officious little chap, bent on carrying out the letter of the law. The following dialogue ensued:
"Your name, sir?"
"Man of letters, and member of the French Academy."
"Very well, sir. You must sign your name. Can you write? If not, you may make a cross."-Howard Morse.
George W. Cable, the southern writer, was visiting a western city where he was invited to inspect the new free library. The librarian conducted the famous writer through the building until they finally reached the department of books devoted to fiction.
"We have all your books, Mr. Cable," proudly said the librarian. "You see there they are-all of them on the shelves there: not one missing."
And Mr. Cable's hearty laugh was not for the reason that the librarian thought!
Brief History of a Successful Author: From ink-pots to fleshpots.---R. R. Kirk.
"It took me nearly ten years to learn that I couldn't write stories."
"I suppose you gave it up then?”
"No, no. By that time I had a reputation."
"I dream my stories," said Hicks, the author. "How you must dread going to bed!" exclaimed Cynicus.
The five-year-old son of James Oppenheim, author of "The Olympian," was recently asked what work he was going to do when he became a man. “Oh," Ralph replied, "I'm not going to work at all." "Well, what are you going to do, then?" he was asked. "Why," he said seriously, "I'm just going to write stories, like daddy."
William Dean Howells is the kindliest of critics, but now and then some popular novelist's conceit will cause him to bristle up a little.
"You know," said one, fishing for compliments, "I get richer and richer, but all the same I think my work is falling off. My new work is not so good as my old."
"Oh, nonsense!" said Mr. Howells. "You write just as well as you ever did. Your taste is improving, that's all."
James Oliver Curwood, a novelist, tells of a recent encounter with the law. The value of a short story he was writing depended upon a certain legal situation which he found difficult to manage. Going to a lawyer of his acquaintance he told him the plot and was shown a way to the desired end. "You've saved me just $100," he exclaimed, "for that's what I am going to get for this story."
A week later he received a bill from the lawyer as follows: "For literary advice, $100." He says he paid.
"Tried to skin me, that scribbler did!"
"What did he want?"
"Wanted to get out a book jointly, he to write the book and I to write the advertisements. I turned him down. I wasn't going to do all the literary work."
At a London dinner recently the conversation turned to the various methods of working employed by literary geniuses. Among the examples cited was that of a well-known poet, who, it is said, was wont to arouse his wife about four o'clock in the morning and exclaim, “Maria, get up; I've thought of a good word!" Whereupon the poet's obedient helpmate would crawl out of bed and make a note of the thought-of word.
About an hour later, like as not, a new inspiration would seize the bard, whereupon he would again arouse his wife, saying, "Maria, Maria, get up! I've thought of a better word!"
The company in general listened to the story with admiration, but a merry-eyed American girl remarked: "Well, if he'd been my husband I should have replied, ‘Alpheus, get up yourself; I've thought of a bad word!'"
"There is probably no hell for authors in the next worldthey suffer so much from critics and publishers in this.”—Bovee.
A thought upon my forehead,
I want to be an author,
With genius on my brow;
-Ella Hutchison Ellwanger.
That writer does the most, who gives his reader the most knowledge, and takes from him the least time.-C. C. Colton.
Habits of close attention, thinking heads,
The author who speaks about his own books is almost as bad as a mother who talks about her own children.-Disraeli.