I have known but one editor over whom any literary recommendations of mine appeared to have the slightest influence; and even this was not, after all, a real influence, but consisted only in knowing him so intimately as to foretell pretty accurately what his judgment would be. As to coaxing him against his judgment, it was impossible.
In truth, literary men are secretly rather distrusted by editors, and with some reason, as. having too many favorites and being too lenient.
The late Professor Longfellow
, for instance, would soon have bankrupted any publisher who should have accepted the intellectual work that he praised, for he was so amiable that he praised almost everything; and there is evidence that Holmes
, as they grow older, are growing almost as tolerant.
If the best literary endorsement thus goes for very little, what can the second-best be worth?
Moreover, the editor is constantly looking out for new names; he hungers and thirsts after the genius of the future.
Just as the great trotting horses of the turf fare often those which the keen eye of a jockey has rescued from a dray or a coal-cart, so it is the editor's dream to detect a coming Mark Twain
or Bret Harte
in some nameless young aspirant.
Past celebrities, he knows very well, go rapidly off the stage; what he wants is a fresh one.
The difficulty is to know his rising genius when still harnessed to the coal-cart;