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H.W.

THE subject of this paper is notas from


its title might at first seem probablethe
individual who never will go home on
affectionate persuasion, to save the life of his
nearest and dearest relative. Nor is it that
other individual who leaves mysterious trunks,
horses, ponies, greyhounds, gigs, watches,
wheel-barrows, down long-suffering yards or
in patient lodgings, where they run into debt
and must at last be sold, unless fetched away
within fourteen days. Nor is it that Somebody
who appears to have an unaccountable
objection to come forward and hear of
something to his advantage; nor that impalpable
creature who from year's end to year's end is
in a convulsive state of advertisement about
a lever, or an anchor, or a dove, or a scorpion,
or a trumpeter, or a turbot, or some other
cabalistic sign tending to the general
confusion and madness. H. W. is the shorter
name for Household Words by which this
Journal is familiarly known among the
persons employed in its production; and we
purpose to describe the processes by which
this Journal is produced.

We have already described the manufacture
of paper.* But before we can possibly go to
the printer's we have to dispose (as we know
to our cost) of our Voluntary Correspondent.
We will give our readers some account of
him in his most irrational aspect.
(* See Vol. I., page 529.)

His name is Legion. He writes everything
on every description of paper, and with
every conceivable and inconceivable quality
of illegible ink. Like the players in Hamlet,
nothing comes amiss to him; "tragedy,
comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical,
historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-
comical, historical-pastoral, scene individable,
or poem unlimited." But if he particularly
excel in any one species of composition, it is
perhaps, as to our experience, in the poem
unlimited.

He has a general idea that literature is the
easiest amusement in the world. He figures
a successful author as a radiant personage
whose whole time is devoted to idleness and
pastimewho keeps a prolific mind in a sort
of corn-sieve, and lightly shakes a bushel of
it out sometimes, in an odd half hour after
breakfast. It would amaze his incredulity
beyond all measure, to be told that such
elements as patience, study, punctuality,
determination, self-denial, training of mind and
body, hours of application and seclusion to
produce what he reads in seconds, enter into
such a career. He has no more conception
of the necessity of entire devotion to it, than
he has of an eternity from the beginning.
Correction and re-correction in the blotted
manuscript, consideration, new observation,
the patient massing of many reflections,
experiences and imaginings for one minute
purpose, and the patient separation from the
heap of all the fragments that will unite to
serve itthese would be Unicorns or Griffins
to himfables altogether. Hence, he can
often afford to dispense with the low
rudiments of orthography; and of the principles
of composition it is obvious that he need
know nothing.

He is fond of applying himself to literature
in a leisure hour, or "a few leisure
moments." He "throws his thoughts" upon
paper. He rarely sends what he considers
his best production. His best production is
not copiedsomehow, it seldom is. He is
aware that there are many remarkable defects
in the manuscript he encloses, but if we will
insert that, "on the usual terms," he has
another at home that will astonish us. He
is not at all vain, but he "knows he has it in
him." It is possible that it may be in him;
but it is certain that under these
circumstances it very, very, seldom comes out.

Sometimes he will write, without sending
anything, to know "if we are open to voluntary
contributors?" He will be informed "Yes,
decidedly. If their contributions be adapted
to these pages." He will then write again, to
know what style of contribution would be
preferred? He will be informed in answer
that he had better try his own style. He
writes back, to the effect that he has no style,
no subject, no knowledge, and nothing to tell;
and will therefore feel obliged to us for a few
suggestions.

He calls sometimes. When he calls, he
has often been a captain or a major. He
comes with a foregone conclusion that we are
always sitting in a padded chair (after a little
early corn-sieve practice) open, like some

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