(as Theocritus says) in your chest,
bowing their pale faces over their chilly knees, outcast, hungry,
repulsed from many a door. To write excellently, brightly,
powerfully, with these poor unwelcomed wanderers, returned MSS., in
your possession, is difficult indeed. It might be wiser to do as M.
Guy de Maupassant is rumoured to have done, to write for seven years,
and shew your essays to none but a mentor as friendly severe as M.
Flaubert. But all men cannot have such mentors, nor can all afford
so long an unremunerative apprenticeship. For some the better plan
is NOT to linger on the bank, and take tea and good advice, as Keats
said, but to plunge at once in mid-stream, and learn swimming of
One thing, perhaps, most people who succeed in letters so far as to
keep themselves alive and clothed by their pens will admit, namely,
that their early rejected MSS. DESERVED TO BE REJECTED. A few days
ago there came to the writer an old forgotten beginner's attempt by
himself. Whence it came, who s