Abbildungen der Seite

must really forgive me if I am not acquaint'ed with the exact condition of your pri'vate affairs'. I am, however, aware' from experience that the money matters of mōst writing people1 are a little embarrassed."

Augusta winced2 and Mr. Meeson, rising heavily from his chair, went to a large safe which stood near, and extracted from it a bundle of agree'ments. These he glanced at one by one till he found what he was looking for. "Here is the agree'ment," he said; "let me see? ah, I thought so-copyright fifty pounds, half proceeds' of rights of translation, and a clause3 binding you to offer any future work you may produce' during the next five years to our house on the seven per cent. agreement, or a sum not exceed'ing one hundred pounds for the copyright. Now, Miss Smithers, what have you to say? You signed this paper of your own free will. It so happens that we have made a large profit on your book: indeed', I dōn't mind telling you that we have got as much as we gave you, back from America for the sale of the American rights; but that is no ground for your coming to ask more money than you agreed' to accept. I never heard of such a thing in the whole côurse of my professional experience; never!" and he paused, and once more eyed her sternly.

"At any rate, there ought to be something to come to me from the rights of translation-I saw in the paper that the book was to be translated into French and German," said Augusta faintly.

"Oh! yes, no doubt-Eu'stace, oblige' me by touching the bell.” The young gentleman did so, and a tall, měľanchŏly-looking clèrk appeared'.

"No. 18," snarled Mr. Meeson, in the tone of peculiar amiability that he reserved' for his employés, "make out the translation account' of 'Jemima's Vow', and fill up a chèque of bălance 5 due to the author."

1) M. uses the term writing people contemptuously for authors, as if they had only to do the work of a clèrk.

2) It was as if she had received a sharp blow that made her draw back. 3) A clause is a păragraph in a legal document, stipulating for some particular condition.

4) Rights to is'sue reprints of the book in America.

5) A cheque or check is an order upon a bank, au'thorising the payment of money. The one Augusta received was for the balance of her account with M., i. e. the amount' due to her after all expenses had been paid.

No. 18 vănished like a thin, unhappy ghost, and Mr. Meeson once more addressed' the girl before' him. "If you want money, Miss Smithers," he said, "you had better write us another book. I am not going to deny that your work is good work—a little too deep, and not quite orthodox enough, perhaps; but still good. I tested it myself', when it came to hand-which is a thing I don't often do-and saw it was good selling quality, and you see I didn't make a mistake'. I believe' 'Jemima's Vow' will sell twenty thousand without stopping-here's the account."

As he spoke the spectre-like clèrk put down a neatly-ruled bit of paper and an unsigned' chèque on the desk before his employer, and then smiled a shadowy smile and vănished.

Mr. Meeson glanced throu(gh) the account', signed the cheque, and handed it, together with the account', to Augusta, who proceed'ed to read it. It ran thus:—

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

1) This is a phrase of frequent occur'rence in commercial correspond'ence for to receive (letters, accounts', etc.). M. means, when the man'uscript of A.'s novel had been sent in.

2) Do. is an abbreviation of ditto.

3) Compounds like herewith, therewith, wherewith, etc., consisting of here, there, where with a preposition, are especially used in tech'nical, poět'ic or archa'ic language.

In ordinary language we use a prep. with a personal, demonstrative, interrogative or relative pronoun.

her feet and looking

Augusta looked, and then slowly crumpled up the chèque in her hand. "If I understand', Mr. Meeson," she said, "you have sold the two rights of translation of my book, which you persùa'ded me to leave in your hands, for £14; out of which I am to recēive £3, 1 s.?” "Yes, Miss Smithers. Will you be so kind as to sign the recei(p)t; the fact is that I have a good deal of business to attend to." "No, Mr. Meeson," said Augusta, rising to exceedingly handsome and impōsing in her anger. "No; I will not sign the recei(p)t, and I will not take this chèque. And, what is more, I will. not write you any more books. You have entrapped me. You have taken advantage of my ignorance and inexpērience, and entrapped' me so that for five years I shall be nothing but a slave to you, and, althōu(gh) I am now one of the most popular writers in the country, shall be obliged to accept a sum for my books upon which I cannot live. Do you know that yesterday I was offered a thousand pounds for the copyright of a book like 'Jemima's Vow' ?-it's a large sum; but I have the letter. Yes, and I have the book in man'ūscript now; and if I could publish it I should be lifted out of poverty, together with my poor little sister!" and she gave a sob. "But," she went on, "I cannot publish it, and I will not let you have it and be treated like this; I had räther starve. I will publish nothing for five years, and I will write to the papers and say why-because' I have been cheated, Mr. Meeson!"

"Cheated!" thundered the great man. "Be careful, young lady; mind what you are saying. I have a witness-Eu'stace, you hear, 'cheated' Eu'stace, 'cheated!"

"I hear," said Eustace grimly.

"Yes, Mr. Meeson, I said 'cheated'; and I will repeat it, whether I am locked up for it or not. Good morning, Mr. Meeson," and she bowed to him, and then suddenly burst into a flood of tears.

In a minute (pron. minit) Eustace was by her side.

"Don't cry, Miss Smithers; for Heaven's sake, don't. I can't beâr to see it," he said.

She looked up, her beautiful grey eyes full of tears, and tried to smile.

"Thank you," she said; "I am very silly, but I am so disappointed. If you only knew-- There, I will go. Thank you," and in another instant she had drawn herself up and left the room.

“Well," said Mr. Meeson, sēnior, who had been sitting at his desk with his great mouth ōpen, appârently too much astonished to speak. "Well, there is a vixen for you. But she'll come round 2. I've knōwn them to do that sort of thing before-there are one or two down there," and he jerked his thumb in the direction where the twenty and five tame authors sat each like a rabbit in his little hutch and did hat-work by the yard 5 "who carried on like that. But they are qui'et enough now-they don't shōw much spirit now. I know how to deal with that sort of thing-half-pay and a doŭble tale of copy-that's the ticket. Why, that girl will be worth fifteen' hundred a year to the house. What do you think of it, yoŭng man, eh (pron. ā)?"


"I think," ans(w)ered his nephew (pr. v), on whose good-tempered face a curious look of contempt and anger had gathered, "I think that you ought to be ashamed' of yourself!”

1) Vixen, properly female fox, is the name given to an ill-tempered woman. There is a vixen for you means, If you want to see a vixen, here is a re'al one.

2) She will not continue long in her present mood; she will soon give in and submit'. (Dutch: bijdraaien).

3) The usual construction after to know in the sense of to see is with an accusative followed by an infinitive without to: I never knew him come so late.

4) See p. 2, note 1.

5) A yard is a measure of length. To do work by the yard is to produce a great amount of work, mostly of no great value.

6) They behaved in the same way as Miss A. To carry on is to behave in a wild, rude manner.

7) Tale here means number, quantity. It is connected with the verb to tell in the sense of to count, which is almost ob'solete. In the Bible (Gen. 15: 5) it says: Tell the stars if thou be able to number them. The members of Parl(i)ament who count the votes in a division (stemming), are called tellers. When we say, there were a hundred persons all told, we mean reckoning every one. The sum of what is counted is called the tale. Comp.: Now Maggie's tale of visits to äunt Glegg is completed (Mill on the Floss). We speak of untold wealth.

8) Vulgar expression for, That is the right thing to do, That is what is wanted.




a pause a dreadful pause. The flash had left the cloud, but the äns(w)ering thunder had not burst upon the ear. Mr. Meeson gasped. Then he took up the cheque which Augusta had thrown upon the table and slowly crumpled it.

"What did you say, young man ?" he said at last, in a cold, hard voice.

"I said that you ought to be ashamed' of yourself," ans(w)ered his nephew (ph v), standing his ground bravely; "and, what is more, I meant it!"


"Oh! Now will you be so kind as to explain' exactly why you that, and why you meant it?"


"I meant it," ans(w)ered his nephew, speaking in a full, strong voice, "because that girl was right when she said that you had cheated her, and you know that she was right. I have seen the accounts' of 'Jemima's Vow'-I saw them this morning-and you have already made more than a thousand pounds clear profit on the book. And then when she comes to ask you for something over the beggarly fifty pounds which you doled out to her, you refuse', and offer her three pounds as her share of the translation rights-three pounds as against your eleven!"

"Go on," interrupt'ed his uncle; "pray go on."

"All right; I am going. That is not all: you actually avail' yourself of a disgrace'ful trick to entrap' this unfortunate girl into an agreement, whereby she becomes a literary bondslave for five years! As soon as you see that she has gēnius, you tell her that the expense' of

1) He stood his ground is he remained' firm, unshāken, in the position once taken up; fig. he did not flinch before M's anger. Comp.: She stood to her guns (p. 7, note 6).

2) To dole out means to distribute in small quantities, especially with a chăritable purpose, to dole out alms. Here it means to pay a scănty sum, a beggarly fifty pounds. Comp.: The côurtyard of the castle was full of people-some old men and women (o = i)_waiting for the doles which were freely given every day. (Besănt, Dor. Forster.)

« ZurückWeiter »