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Martin Eden 45

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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

books at the least possible expense of time. And hardest of all was it to shut up the algebra or physics, put note-book and pencil aside, and close his tired eyes in sleep. He hated the thought of ceasing to live, even for so short a time, and his sole consolation was that the alarm clock was set five hours ahead. He would lose only five hours anyway, and then the jangling bell would jerk him out of unconsciousness and he would have before him another glorious day of nineteen hours. In the meantime the weeks were passing, his money was ebbing low, and there was no money coming in. A month after he had mailed it, the adventure serial for boys was returned to him by The Youths Companion. The rejection slip was so tactfully worded that he felt kindly toward the editor. But he did not feel so kindly toward the editor of the San Francisco Examiner. After waiting two whole weeks, Martin had written to him. A week later he wrote again. At the end of the month, he went over to San Francisco and personally called upon the editor. But he did not meet that exalted personage, thanks to a Cerberus of an office boy, of tender years and red hair, who guarded the portals. At the end of the fifth week the manuscript came back to him, by mail, without comment. There was no rejection slip, no explanation, nothing. In the same way his other articles were tied up with the other leading San Francisco papers. When he recovered them, he sent them to the magazines in the East, from which they were returned more promptly, accompanied always by the printed rejection slips. The short stories were returned in similar fashion. He read them over and over, and liked them so much that he could not puzzle out the cause of their rejection, until, one day, he read in a newspaper that manuscripts should always be typewritten. That explained it. Of course editors were so busy that they could not afford the time and strain of reading handwriting. Martin rented a typewriter and spent a day mastering the machine. Each day he typed what he composed, and he typed his earlier manuscripts as fast as they were returned him. He was surprised when the typed ones began to come back. His jaw seemed to become squarer, his chin more aggressive, and he bundled the manuscripts off to new editors. The thought came to him that he was not a good judge of his own work. He tried it out on Gertrude. He read his stories aloud to her. Her eyes glistened, and she looked at him proudly as she said:- "Aint it grand, you writin those sort of things." "Yes, yes," he demanded impatiently. "But the story--how did you like it?" "Just grand," was the reply. "Just grand, an thrilling, too. I was all worked up." He could see that her mind was not clear. The perplexity was strong in her good-natured face. So he waited. "But, say, Mart," after a long pause, "how did it end? Did that young man who spoke so highfalutin get her?" And, after he had explained the end, which he thought he had made artistically obvious, she would say:- "Thats what I wanted to know. Why didnt you write that way in the story?" One thing he learned, after he had read her a number of stories, namely, that she liked happy endings. "That story was perfectly grand," she announced, straightening up from the wash-tub with a tired sigh and wiping the sweat from her forehead with a red, steamy hand; "but it makes me sad. I want to cry. There is too many sad things in the world anyway. It makes me happy to think about happy things. Now if hed married her, and--You dont mind, Mart?" she queried apprehensively. "I just happen to feel that way, because Im tired, I guess. But the story was grand just the same, perfectly grand. Where are you goin to sell it?" "Thats a horse of another color," he laughed. "But if you _did_ sell it, what do you think youd get for it?" "Oh, a hundred dollars. That would be the least, the way prices go." "My! I do hope youll sell it!" "Easy money, eh?" Then

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