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established custom to find something home by the St. John River during worth reading about children's books the years she spent in New Brunswick. and their authors in every literary You will not think it strange either, and review.
it will set you wondering how many are “But what is there to write about?” the ties that bind writers and artists in asks someone. “Is anything ever the same age, and in distant ages, alknown about the writers of children's though they may live in different books unless they become very fa- countries. mous?” More might be known if Yes, there is much to be said, once more writers would do what Hugh we have taken children's books to our Walpole did in “Jeremy" when he paid heads as well as our hearts. Perhaps his tribute to Mrs. Ewing as an influ- I cannot do better than quote from a ence in his writing. I wonder if even recent letter of the editor of THE Hugh Walpole knows that Mrs. Ewing BOOKMAN, since it was in THE BOOKliked to have “The Adventures of MAN that the first sustained reviewing Huckleberry Finn" read aloud to her of children's books appeared: “Why it in her last illness.
is that children's books have received “Her appreciation of fun remained so little careful attention in the past is as keen as ever, and strange as it may a mystery. Surely, no class of books is seem”, wrote her sister but it doesn't so important in the development of the seem strange to me "one of the very reading habits of a nation. If for this few books she liked to have read aloud reason alone, they should be studied, was Mark Twain's ‘Adventures of criticized, appreciated. Yet they are Huckleberry Finn'; the dry humor of it, worthy of attention in themselves. - the natural way in which everything Classics of beauty and romance are is told from a boy's point of view, - numbered among them. The great and the vivid and beautiful descriptions authors turn to the child mind in moods of river scenery all charmed her.” of gaiety and of fantasy and, in those
Reread "Jackanapes", and if you've moods, create a very special type of never read it, “Reka Dom", a story book that often springs from the deepfull of pictures of Mrs. Ewing's own est inspiration."
GETTING INTO SIX FIGURES
By Arnold Patrick
VI: GEORGE BARR MCCUTCHEON
UT on the Wea plains, where “a Indiana has produced many writing
grain of wheat springs into a folk. There Booth Tarkington still million dollars”, in Tippecanoe County, has his winter home. There James Indiana, George Barr McCutcheon was Whitcomb Riley was born. There born. On a farm, too, of parentage George Ade is a gentleman farmer, with partly Scotch, and Scotch by way of vast estates, and Meredith Nicholson Virginia and Kentucky. In these days indulges in politics and writing. But few books sell as did Mr. McCutcheon's like most fathers, the elder McCutchearly successes. Three hundred thou- eon did not view a career of the pen as sand was a good sale, and the famous entirely satisfactory for his sons. “Graustark", which he marketed out- True, he had once himself written a right for five hundred dollars, has been drama of love and intrigue, which was bound and distributed to the number performed by the rural for rural conof a million copies. Nor has his name sumption; but this was an act of moever been absent for long from the best mentary madness, not a bid for eternal seller lists. Last year, with “East of fame. So when George and John took the Setting Sun", another Graustark to writing and drawing at an early age, tale, he was read with delight in thou- the pater familias was disturbed. sands of homes.
John McCutcheon, the brother, is Mr. McCutcheon is a gentleman of John T. McCutcheon of Chicago, middle age, kindly, fond of golf, tem- writer and famous cartoonist. Two perate, interested in the world at large more successful brothers it is not easy as well as that of literature. In his to find. Yet it was George who was New York City apartment, his remark- first interested in drawing; in fact, it able library of first editions is his proud- was George who taught his brother est possession. But although he reads John how to draw. The author of those books in their lavish leather cases, “Graustark" is four years the older. he does not fail to keep in touch with They must have made an interesting current literary happenings, and he pair in those early days on the farm, may be found several times a week at George doing the chores, and small one or another of the clubs discussing brother following him around and helpwith young and old the books of the ing as he could. At eight, George season. He enjoys the construction of wrote his first romance. It was called his romances; yet his favorite among “Panther Jim", and it was never his own works is “Mary Midthorne", finished. Product of an imagination a realistic story of Indiana life. It is stimulated by yellowbacks smuggled to this life that he has turned for his into bedroom and hidden under pillow, newest story, on which he has been at it yet had its bearing on future creawork for many months.
tion. It was the product of the young mind craving high adventure as it fed irksome and left, going to work as a on the sight of wide fields and rolling reporter at six dollars a week and clouds, and listened to the slow drawl living on it. Six dollars a week was of Hoosier folk. It was the first revolt good pay in those days, and later. against the drabness of the midwest. The other night, Will Irwin told me It was animated by the same crying out that he worked for John O'Hara Cosof the soul that was later to produce grave on “The Wave" in San Francisco “Alice Adams” and “Main Street”. for that sum, writing everything from
The McCutcheon family soon moved editorials to London society news. to town, to the not-so-small village of While George McCutcheon was still at Lafayette, Indiana, where the brothers, work in Lafayette, his brother John one ten and the other six, pursued their went to Chicago and got a job on the artistic designs under cover of murky “Record". At the time, the other secrecy. The secrecy added doubtless George, Ade, was at work too on the to the enjoyment of creation; for sto- Lafayette “Journal”. Presently, howries written in the cellar by candlelight, ever, he followed John to Chicago and with disapproving parents above stairs, was engaged as a cub on the same paare far more thrilling than those in- per. Reputations are made overnight dited on the living room table in the in the newspaper game, and while midst of an admiring family circle. George McCutcheon was thinking of Approve genius, and it may be stifled; short stories and making his way tobut forbid its progress, and the ulti- ward the city editor's desk, his brother mate result is practically certain. I and his friend became famous. should err were I to give the impression George Ade, the new reporter, sat in that the brothers McCutcheon were a corner of the Chicago “Record" delicate youths of slender calves and office one night soon after his arrival. rounding shoulders. They played at He was long and lean, gaunt of face, games with as much vigor as they drew and obviously from the country. Yet pictures and dreamed novels. They when word came that a steamer had remember shins barked on the lacrosse sunk on Lake Michigan, that lives were field, and arms twisted at football. being lost and saved, he was the only Later at Purdue University they went man there to cover the assignment. out for various athletics, and even after The man at the desk had no choice; he George left college he used to go back sent the cub. The cub wormed his way to play on scrub teams against the onto the rescue boat and saw it all. He regulars. Those were the days of de- was the only one of all the city's reportveloping western football, of the fa- ers who did. In the small hours of mous series of Princeton coaches who dawn he came back to his typewriter ventured to Indiana to teach the sons and pounded out a great story, a scoop of the plains the tricks that made great story. The next morning over his own and formidable gridiron heroes.
signature the "Record" carried it, and Being a reporter was frowned on by everyone asked, “Who is George Ade?" fathers who saw business as the proper Arrived overnight. It is the old story; career for sons. Yet George Barr Mc- but it is George Ade's. The World's Cutcheon's career started much as did Fair found Ade and John T. McCutchEdna Ferber's; he was for a time Pur- eon at work together. Not long after, due correspondent for the Lafayette the “Fables in Slang" came into being, “Journal”. Then he found college and the great cartoons.
Back in Lafayette, the other Mc- had turned out another good tale in Cutcheon's first published works were “Castle Craneycrow", he decided to called “Waddleton Mail”. They were make a break with regular office hours. letters in dialect written by a gentleman His paper, however, preferred to keep supposedly titled “Mr. William Gunn, him in his old position at half time, and Esquire". I read them the other day. it was not until he moved to Chicago They are still amusing, not unlike Ed that he decided to give up the daily Streeter's soldier letters to the re- grind entirely. nowned Mable. The first short story The story of the writing of “Brewfor which Mr. McCutcheon received ster's Millions" is an unusual one. He payment was “The Ante-Mortem Con- had written “The Sherrods”, and it was dition of George Ramor”. It appeared considered unwise to bring out two in Joe Mitchell Chappell's “National novels almost at the same time under Magazine”, October, 1896. It was one name. Besides, it was an experithen that the city editor became am- ment worth trying to see if a story, bitious to write at greater length. He written by a writer of best sellers, pubconstructed a full sized romance and lished under another name, could be sent it to a New York literary agent. made a success.
It could. It was. It did not find a market. Later, after Mr. McCutcheon will tell you that the success of “Graustark”, with a new “Brewster's Millions" was not an easy title, it sold some three hundred thou- book to write. You will remember it sand copies. It was “Nedra".
as the tale of a young man who is forced When I asked Mr. McCutcheon how to spend a million dollars, without any he happened to write “Graustark”, he resulting gain, by a certain date. “I found that he could not remember its didn't know how to spend a million particular inspiration. “It was the dollars," says the author, "so my pubsort of thing people wanted at the time, lisher and other friends and I put our far flung romance.' “The Prisoner of heads together and figured it out. I Zenda" had been published, but he had had to have help on the Italian episode not seen it. Later he attended the because I'd never been to Italy. Then play and found it genuinely exciting. the final climax of the yacht was a "Graustark", published by Stone and rather labored device; but it worked, Webster in Chicago, was at first a and there the story was. The pubfailure. For a time, it looked as if the lisher sent it out to various great milyoung author who had accepted pay- lionaires of the period with a letter ment of five hundred dollars had the asking if they thought it was possible best of the bargain; but all of a sudden to spend a million in any way. As I the novel began to be read, and by its remember it, most of them answered in own momentum was carried into many the negative; but the letters were used editions. On later reprint editions of in what was a very clever campaign of it, the author has received royalties, a promotion." mark of courtesy and fairness on the Contrary to most popular writers, part of the publishers, since there is no Mr. McCutcheon says that he actually legal reason for payment. If this had enjoys writing. “Of course no one been his “only story”, George Barr likes to work”, he adds; "but after I McCutcheon would probably be a city get into a novel, I enjoy seeing it to a editor today; but he was more story finish.” Unlike many of the others, teller than newspaper man.
After he he makes only one draft; but it is founded on a carefully prepared out though he dashes off sometimes into line. “If a story isn't there in the first realms of purple cloaks and beautiplace,” he says, “what's the use of tell- ful princesses. Whether he writes of ing it?" He works much more slowly wheat fields, of happiness or tragedy, than many, seldom putting more than of this much we may be sure: that he a thousand words a day on paper. He will write a good story. For the boy is one of the few writers trained in the who conceived the tale of “Panther newspaper office who write with pencil Jim” was born in the farm land that instead of direct on the typewriter, and fosters dreams and nurtured in the he prefers to work in the afternoon newspaper office that crystallizes adrather than in the morning. “I like to venture and dramatizes the parade of get any little things I may have to do events. If his wanderings in mythical out of the way, go downtown for lunch, kingdoms are greeted by a wider puband come back to quiet and peace of lic, he will yet find those who appremind for the day's writing. If I'm not ciate to the full his knowledge of the going out in the evening, I often work soil. We still have an unreasoning after dinner, too."
love for those who lift us from daily His plan of life is consistent and pro- life; but we also have a deepening portioned. He turns out an осса- gratitude for those writers who attempt sional short story; but it is the novels to tell us of American life as it really is. he prefers, the realistic novels above Whether George Barr McCutcheon all.
writes of Graustark which he has made He is writing again now of the In- his own, or of Indiana which has aldiana country he knows, and the ways been his own, he will find a pubHoosier people. He is not afraid to lic ready to read with affection and face the facts of life in his work, even respect.
CLEOPATRA IN ROME
By Elizabeth J. Coatsworth
LEOPATRA, multiminded Cleopatra,
On the left bank of the Tiber, a stately lady,