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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