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[259]

LI. why women authors write under the names of men.

The dapper clerk, Mr. Chuckster, in the “Old Curiosity shop,” is quite dissatisfied when Kit Nubbles is proved innocent of theft; and remarks that although the boy did not happen to take that particular five-pound note, he is no doubt always up to something or other of that kind. It is in this way that critics of a certain type contrive to console themselves, when a woman has done a good thing in literature, by pointing out the number of good things she has not yet done. To be sure, Miss Mary N. Murfree, when she was universally supposed to bear the name of Charles Egbert Craddock, was thought to have achieved creditable work; but this discovery only gives these critics opportunity to point out that had she tried various other things she might have failed in them. Can anybody positively say, for instance, that she would have written a good essay on Quaternions, or developed any especially searching views on the Wages Fund? If not, her success does no more credit to woman, in the opinion

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