are looking out for external success, when they should be busy with the training that leads to it.
What success commonly stands for is this, that a writer has either done really good work-work excellent in itself-or else has done the kind of work that the public demands, good or bad. This last is a lower standard of success, of course, though it often brings greater pecuniary rewards; but it is a clear and definite thing, nevertheless, and needs as distinct a training as the other.
In either case triumph usually follows merit, though often slowly.
“There never was a good tongue,” says old Fuller
, “that lacked ears to hear it.”
“Excel and you will live” (excelle et tu vivras), says the prince of French aphorists, Joseph Joubert
There are grades in merit: it is merit to produce a work of genius; but there is also a great, though lower, merit in studying the taste of your time, watching its tendencies, and thereby producing just the work that is currently demanded-just what readers want and children cry for. This also needs labor and special preparation.
The advice I should therefore give to every young person who asks me how to find a publisher, would be, if I dared — for we are all weak --“First produce something so good that no publisher can afford to do without it.”