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Hard Fate Of Authors








Sir E. B. (now Lord) Lytton, in the memoir which he
prefixed to the collected works of Laman Blanchard,
draws the following affecting picture of that author's
position, after he had parted from an engagement upon
a popular newspaper:--

"For the author there is nothing but his pen, till that and life
are worn to the stump: and then, with good fortune, perhaps on his
death-bed he receives a pension--and equals, it may be, for a few
months, the income of a retired butler! And, so on the sudden loss
of the situation in which he had frittered away his higher and
more delicate genius, in all the drudgery that a party exacts from
its defender of the press, Laman Blanchard was thrown again upon
the world, to shift as he might and subsist as he could. His
practice in periodical writing was now considerable; his
versatility was extreme. He was marked by publishers and editors
as a useful contributor, and so his livelihood was secure. From
a variety of sources thus he contrived, by constant waste of
intellect and strength, to eke out his income, and insinuate
rather than force his place among his contemporary penmen. And
uncomplainingly, and with patient industry, he toiled on, seeming
farther and farther off from the happy leisure, in which 'the
something to verify promise was to be completed.' No time had
he for profound reading, for lengthened works, for the mature
development of the conceptions of a charming fancy. He had given
hostages to fortune. He had a wife and four children, and no
income but that which he made from week to week. The grist must
be ground, and the wheel revolve. All the struggle, all the
toils, all the weariness of brain, nerve, and head, which
a man undergoes in his career, are imperceptible even to his
friends--almost to himself; he has no time to be ill, to be
fatigued; his spirit has no holiday; it is all school-work. And
thus, generally, we find in such men that the break up of the
constitution seems sudden and unlooked-for. The causes of disease
and decay have been long laid; but they are smothered beneath the
lively appearances of constrained industry and forced excitement."

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