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[152] chance to rise higher, I will bless you all the days of my life. I have had much to keep me down --poverty and sickness; but for the next year I can write constantly if I can only get encouragement.

This is taken literally, except that the spelling is corrected, from the last letter of the kind that reached me. They come almost invariably from small towns or inland cities, and this one is from a village on the Pacific coast. It is based, as they usually are, upon two utter delusions. These are, firstly, that publication, like the proverbial kissing, “goes by favor,” so that all one needs is a friend at court; and secondly, that literature is the one vocation that needs neither training nor practice nor gradual preparation. Let us consider these two errors a little.

First, as to “influence.” If there is a class of men on the face of the earth who may be said to know their own minds, it is, I think, the editors of American periodicals. They may not aim at the right thing, ,but they at least know what they aim at. What they seek is what their public desires; but their own interpretation of this is a matter of life and death to them, and they stand by it. So far as I have seen, no men are less influenced by the ties of personal friendship or by the judgment of others. In a considerable experience of literature

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