a discount of only thirty per cent, consented to cash them; not, however, without sundry grimaces, and, what was still more galling, holding, more than once, the unfortunate papers high in air between his forefinger and thumb. So ill, indeed, did I like this last action, that I felt much inclined to snatch them away. I restrained myself, however, for I remembered that it was very difficult to live without money, and that, if the present person did not discount the bills, I should probably find no one else that would.
But if the treatment which I had experienced from the publisher, previous to making this demand upon him, was difficult to bear, that which I subsequently underwent was far more so: his great delight seemed to consist in causing me misery and mortification; if, on former occasions, he was continually sending me in quest of lives and trials difficult to find, he now was continually demanding lives and trials which it was impossible to find; the personages whom he mentioned never having lived, nor consequently been tried. Moreover, some of my best lives and trials which I had corrected and edited with particular care, and on which I prided myself no little, he caused to be cancelled after they had passed through the press. Amongst these was the life of Gentleman Harry. They are drugs, sir, said the publisher, drugs; that life of Harry Simms has long been the greatest drug in the calendar - has it not, Taggart?
Taggart made no answer save by taking a pinch of snuff. The reader, has, I hope, not forgotten Taggart, whom I mentioned whilst giving an account of my first mornings visit to the publisher. I beg Taggarts pardon for having been so long silent about him; but he was a very silent man - yet there was much in Taggart - and Taggart had always been civil and kind to me in his peculiar way.
Well, young gentleman, said Taggart to me one morning, when we chanced to be alone a few days after the affair of the cancelling, how do you like authorship?
I scarcely call authorship the drudgery I am engaged in, said I.
What do you call authorship? said Taggart.
I scarcely know, said I; that is, I can scarcely express what I think it.
Shall I help you out? said Taggart, turning round his chair, and looking at me.
If you like, said I.
To write something grand, said Taggart, taking snuff; to be stared at - lifted on peoples shoulders -
Well, said I, that is something like it.
Taggart took snuff. Well, said he, why dont you write something grand?
I have, said I.
What? said Taggart.
Why, said I, there are those ballads.
Taggart took snuff.
And those wonderful versions from Ab Gwilym.
Taggart took snuff again.
You seem to be very fond of snuff, said I, looking at him angrily.
Taggart tapped his box.
Have you taken it long?
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|