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Instead of the dog Toby, his attendant is a
monkey with a ring tail, and a remarkably
intelligent cast of countenance.


The poet is born, not made. I am made, not
born. All the world of editors and managers
of theatres, has conspired to make me a comic
writer, when Nature intended me for a serious
one. I was made to write poems in blank
verse and in cantos; editors have made me
write crambo rhymes to fill up half pages. Nature
designed that I should lucubrate for the
high-heeled sock; managers have resolved that
I shall scribble for the low-heeled buskin. Do
what I will, I cannot escape from the thrall of
these tyrants, who have leagued themselves together
to pervert my genius to base uses. If I
propose to a publisher to write him a three-
volume novel, he smiles at me incredulously and
says: "Not in your line; can't you give me a
bundle of those light, comic, trifles which you
know so well how to hit off?" Hit off, indeed!
I hate hitting off. I never hit off. I ponder, I
excogitate, I burn the midnight oil, I study;
and this dull, unperceptive fellow asks me to
"hit off" something. I should like to hit him
off. I assure the reader, on my honour as a
gentleman, and, let me add, a scholar, that my
blank verse is of a very high order indeed.
Friends have said "equal to Tennyson," and I
am not disposed to accuse them of flattery.
But what happens to my blank verse? Invariably
and consistently "declined with thanks."
Professing and practising various branches of
the literary art, as is the custom, now-a-days, I
contribute to the leading columns of the newspapers:
my forte is politics. All, who have the
pleasure of my acquaintance in the private circle,
know that I could come out strong in party strife;
but where is the editor who will allow me to
write a political leader? Echo answers, where?
When I go down to the office in the afternoon,
fully expecting to be put on to Church-rates or
Schleswig-Holstein, what do I find? Why,
that Church-rates and Schleswig-Holstein have
been served out to two of the greatest idiots in
the universe; and II, forsooth, who could
shake the whole bench of bishops in their square-toed
shoes and crumple up Denmark with half a
quire of note-paperI am obliged to be content
with the smallest crumbs that fall from the editorial
table. "Crasher, you had better write
about that police casemake it light and readable;
or you may take up the nursemaid and
perambulator questionsmart, you know,

The first of the month comes round, and there
is reviewing to be done. I hasten to the office,
in the hope of being entrusted with a history in
fourteen volumes, or somebody's political life
and times. Do I get them? Of course not.
They are carried off by the two dullest bores
in the universe, and the impenetrable editor
hands me the monthly parts of the penny periodicals,
concerning which I am expected to say
that they sustain their reputation, and are fully
up to their usual standard which, I take this
unfettered opportunity of declaring, is very low
indeed. Why don't I remonstrate? I do. And
what do I get by it? "Stick to your line, my
good sir, and that is the light, the airy, the
amusing."The light! the airy! the amusing!
I, who have read Thucydides in the original, and
waded to the last chapter of Alison!

I have the distinguished honour, also, to write
for the monthly magazines. There is nothing of
which I am more firmly convinced than that I am
the man to write a sensation story to run through
twenty numbers, and be published afterwards in
three volumes, with a portrait of the author.
But catch any editor letting me. I should like
to catch one at it very much. "No, my dear
sir; Spindler does those thingsit's his line;
yours, you know, is the touch-and-go sort of
thing. Let me have one of your light sketches,
something like 'Up a Tree,' or 'Down a Well,' or
'Over the Bender'something sharp and short.
Mind, not above five pages, for Spindler's story
is long this month." Yesconfound him; it
always is longand dreary. I never could,
never shall, understand, why Spindler is allowed
to spin out so many pages of that dull trash
every month. Everybody yawns over it. Nobody
likes it. The editor doesn't like it. Still,
he maintains the opinion that Spindler is the
man for the continued story. It is acknowledged
that I am smart, readable, entertaining; yet
Spindler is permitted to huddle me up into a
corner. If Spindler takes a fancy to spin out,
I must cut down. I must wait upon Spindler
fill in his hollow places. Pad him, in fact.
And, between you and me, reader, I know
Spindler to be an ass.

Then, again, there is my friend and patron, the
manager of the Theatre Royal. Ask him what
he thinks of Crasher? "Clever fellow, smart
fellow; devilish smart and no mistake!" But let
me propose a comedy or a drama to him. What
then? Why he turns the subject, and asks me
if I have thought about the Christmas burlesque?
or if I could not do a little pi├Ęce de circonstance
for him? "Hit off something of the day,"
he says; "the Exhibition; the Japanese
Ambassadorssomething that will play half an hour,
and make the people roar." There it is again;
I must always be hitting off something. And
I must make the audience roar with laughter
when I want to make them weep. Now I know
that it is much more difficult to make people
laugh than to make them cry; but then you
don't get so much kudos for laughter as for
tears. A bit of claptrap sentiment is "fine
feeling," "exquisite pathos." and so forth, in the
review; a side-splitting witticism, or a stroke
of humour, is simply "an amusing absurdity."
Besides, a little grief goes a great way. Melt
your audience to tears twice in the course of
three long acts, and your drama is a success.
But in a farce, or a burlesque, you must produce
incessant laughter, or you are voted dull. You
must shake the walls; you must make the pit
sway to and fro in convulsions; you must cause