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The first thought that struck the new Rector as he viewed his parish from the top of the high hill just above the village was, "What a wee place!" and the second, "What a pretty place!" And, indeed, the village itself was both wee and pretty. About thirty houses nestling into the hills, and the road running down the valley between, past the Post Office, the centre of life for a few minutes each day; the Hotel, and the Store, down to the edge of the Lake, and the wharf where the daily steamer was the only connection with the outside world at that end, as the daily stage was at the other, from which the new Rector first viewed his domain. The high hills on either side, with the little village at the edge of the lake, which here stretched as far as one could see, and dotted with beautifully wooded islands, made indeed a charming picture, and the Rector's thought was, "If only the people are as broad as the view." For this Rector, though a very young man, knew several things about human nature, and among others that the tendency in isolated communities is never to broad-mindedness.

After some weeks' work he discovered that his parish was not celebrated for its liberal views any more than hundreds of other places great and small, and set himself first to find out the cause and then to remedy the evil. The cause to his studious mind seemed largely due to the almost absolute dearth of reading matter, and the lack of wish to read what there was. After a great deal of thought the remedy began to evolve itself from the Rectorial brain, and that remedy was nothing less than to found a Library! But how? In a little spot, shut in very much from the outside world, especially during the long winters, and among a people who, with very few exceptions, had never realized the lack of books, how was this Library to be collected? It was indeed, a problem, but our Rector was not in the habit of giving up anything

he began, and after long thought he first of all talked to the people and told them how much they needed books, and they gradually began to believe him, for one strong mind can do wonderful things in the way of what we call "educating public sentiment." These people did not know that they were being educated, or they probably would have resented it, but instead they gradually began to feel their need of books. This need the Rector supplied from his own limited store as long as possible, and when the summer visitors had fled, leaving the little place to itself and its own resources for long weary winter months, then it was that the scheme began to take definite shape. As a preliminary the Rector obtained permission to have a quondam schoolhouse, a little dilapidated building at the side of the road, swept and garnished, and supplied with lamps, benches and book shelves. Over the door the village carpenter, who was also the churchwarden and future librarian, placed an imposing sign, bearing the mystic words "Public Library.' Then the people realized that they wanted books, as the Rector had all along been leading them to do, and were prepared for the next step. This took the form of regular evenings devoted to talks on books, poets, and great men; a Shakespeare evening, a Tennyson evening, and so on. Then the Rector would explain in glowing language born of his own love for these great men, their thoughts and ideas as conveyed through the medium of their works, and read to his audience or recited to them out of the storehouse of his prodigious memory, such things as he thought would most interest and appeal, arousing a wish to know more of those who



Whole souled ardour is infectious, and when the evenings were over, and the collections came to be taken up to stock the empty rows of shelves in front of them, the response was wonderfully gratifying, and it very soon became necessary to have a treasurer and committee to superintend the disposal of the funds. During the winter the good work went steadily on, readings and lectures, and once in a long while, perhaps, a visit from an outside lecturer, with magic lantern views of great cities, great pictur s, and so on.

The Library grew with each meeting, donations began to come in from the neighbouring houses, and the farmers drove for miles through cold and snow to enjoy what formed almost the only break in the monotonous round of the winter's work. And so it went on until before the spring was fully come the Rector realized, as he gazed at the well-stocked shelves, and with perhaps even more satisfaction at the gaping holes which showed where books were taken out, that his aim was in a fair way to be accomplished, and that his people not only had food for their minds, but that they realized the necessity for it.

And in a wondrously short time he could see the effect of the broadening, humanizing influence of great minds on the minds of his neighbours, displaying itself in an eminently practical way in a more tolerant attitude towards some one else, who perhaps did not go to the same small church as themselves. For this Library was for the benefit of all sorts and conditions of men, women and creeds, and is still carried on in the same spirit, although the broad-minded originator is no longer with them. But his Library still grows on his lines, good liter

ature, standard authors, and as little as possible of either ancient or modern rubbish.

The influx of summer visitors increases each year, and they fully recognize their good fortuue in having such a Library to draw upon, and it is understood that, though welcome to use it as much as they wish, they are expected to leave behind them some token of their app eciation in the shape of donations of books or money.

In this way a constant renewal of books is secured until now, though only about four years old, the librarian, with a capital "L," finds his duties growing quite perceptibly arduous.


But it is in the winter evenings still that the first purpose is best fulfilled, when the villagers and farmers meet for the exchange of books, and spend the evenings in games and amusements of various kinds.

And I think the Rector would be gratified conld he know how many times his name is affectionately mentioned in connection with this wayside monument of what one man's perseverence can accomplish for his people, if he is really interested in them. For we might very well transpose the old rhyme and say :

"We may live without love!
We may live without cooks!
But where is the man
Who could live without books?"


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Wilkie Collins once said: "If I lost the power of writing I could hang out a shingle with the words, Wilkie Collins' plots made here,' and I am certain I could make a handsome living."

Without egotism, Miss M. E. Braddon might easily say exactly the same thing were she so minded, for there is no more skilful weaver of plots than the lady who has written some 60 long romances, and one of whose novels, "Run to Earth," has just been published in the popular sixpenny form.

Miss Braddon's literary life has now extended for over 40 years, seeing that her first novel, "The Trail of the Serpent," was written and published in serial form in 1859, when she was only about 22.

Miss Mary Dickens, the granddaughter of Charles Dickens, the great novelist, and herself a novelist of distinction, has claimed for Miss Braddon that "no woman has given to her fellow-creatures a larger amount of honest, wholesome pleasure," and few will be disposed to question the accuracy of this statement, who recall the number of successes she has made since she sprang into sudden fame with " Lady Audley's Secret," just four decades ago.

It was only the other day that Joseph Hatton told once again the dramatic event which led to the production of that story, which Miss Braddon herself declares was founded on the methods of Wilkie Collins.


John Maxwell, the publisher, had determined to start a magazine called "Robin Goodfellow,' in opposition to one recently issued by Charles Dickens. "Robin Goodfellow "was edited by Chas. Mackay, a literary man of great distinction and charm.


French Wit and Humor

English Wit and Humor

Irish Wit and Humor

Scotch Wit and Humor

With handsome cover design in gold and phototype frontispiece in each of Alphonse Daudet, Sidney Smith, Thomas Moore and Thomas Campbell, respectively. 16mo, cloth, 50 cents net per volume; by mail 55 cents. Full limp leather, 80 cents net per volume; by mail, 85 cents.

The selections which appear in French Wit and Humor have been translated from the French especially for this volume and represent specimens of the best wit and humor of different periods of French history.

In English, Irish and Scotch Wit and Humor, the best anecdotes, witticisms and humorous stories in the English language are brought together, making a veritable feast of brilliant sayings and epigrams.

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By an unfortunate accident the serial story which was to be a special feature of the first number was not forthcoming at the appointed time, and the editor and publisher alike were at their wits' end what to do, for the date of the first appearance had been extensively advertised, and a postponement would be exceedingly detrimental to its success.

Miss Braddon heard of the difficulty, and went to see the editor There were only 24 hours to spare between her visit and the definite announcement that the magazine could not come out on the appointed day. The editor explained this to her as a reason for declining the possibility of accepting her offer to write a serial story for it, adding that, of course, there would not be time for her to do the work for the first number.

"But what is the latest time you could give me?" persisted Miss Braddon, evident. ly determined not to be put off from the carrying out of her project by mere consideration of time.

"Well," replied the editor, "if the manu script of the opening chapters for the first number were to be on my breakfast table in the morning, that would be in time."


Miss Braddon went home. Next morning, when the editor wen: down to breakfast, he found among his letters a package of manuscript. He opened it and read the first few chapters of Lady Audley's Secret," the plot of which Miss Braddon had had in mind, but the writing had been done at fever heat after she had left the editorial office. The situation was saved, the magazine came out, and the name of Mary Elizabeth Braddon was soon famous all over the English-speaking world.

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adays, however, she rarely works more than two hours in the morning, from 11 to 1, when she goes for a walk. Even in that comparatively short time, so rapidly does she write, that on her good days she will produce 3,000 words.

In those early days of rapid writing, too, she frequently began a story without knowing how it was going to end, trusting, no doubt, to her characters to develop themselves and to tell their own story, as other writers, like Justin McCarthy, have done. Now, however, she has changed that method, for she works out a scenario or scheme of the plot and makes sketches of the characters, these studies being often very elaborate, before she begins to write.

It may seem strange with so experienced a writer, but it is nevertheless a fact, that at times Miss Braddon has found a plot which developed itself up to a certain point, and then refused to work out, so that it has had to be laid aside for a time. Later on, however, on taking it up again, the difficulties apparently smoothed themselves out, and it was quite easy to unravel the tangle and carry the story to a triumphant conclusion.

The same thing has happened with regard to a character, and it is remarkable that, though by now the children of Miss Braddon's brain have numbered many hundreds, they have, for the most part, been created out of " fairy nothings," being merely figments of her imagination, and not drawn from the people she knows, except in a few rare instances, a singular contrast, by the way, to such a writer as Lord Beaconsfield, nearly every one of whose characters represented a well known man or woman.


As for her plots, Miss Braddon finds them everywhere. Miss Dickens is the authority for the statement that the starting point of "London Pride," which was published in 1896, was actually found 40 years before in an account of the trial of Lord Grey in the "State Trials,"

W. S. Gilbert once said, or was credited with saying, that he always wrote his plays backward-the last act first. If Miss Braddon does not adopt this method, she occasionally uses a no less remarkable one, which

was recommended to her by the first Lord Lytton, who was greatly interested in her career, and used to write her long letters of criticism whenever a new story of hers was published.

Following that advice, Miss Braddon wrote the first third of her story, and instead of going straight on wrote the last third, thus availing herself of all the enthusiasm which she had created for herself in her characters and finishing in a fresh and vigorous manner, rather than when she was tired out, as it were, with the subject. Then, when the end was written, she would go back and finish the middle third of the work, which is ordinarily the least dramatic part.


This, however, is not the invariable habit of Miss Braddon, but it has been occasionally used not only in the days when her novels were published in the old threevolume form, but as late even as in the case of "London Pride."

Miss Braddon lives at Richmond, where she has made her home for a very long time. There she delights to amuse herself with gardening, music and literature, as well as the collecting of china, and one of her rooms is completely hung with china plates.

A maker of novels herself, she does not read very many of the novels of other people, but applies her leisure principally to history in general, and everything in the original language in which it is written, for French, German, Spanish and Italian are as familiar to her as her native English, and the fact that she wanted to master a certain book was sufficient to induce her to set to work to conquer the difficulties of a new tongue, even though Miss Dickens says she disclaims acquaintance with any other grammar but that of English.

There is one passion of Miss Braddon's life which she shares in common with another equally productive author in an entirely different line of work-G. A. Henty. Her pets are not only allowed access to her writing room, but a sofa is actually kept specially for the use of her dogs, which lie there content to be near the mistress who loves them so well, and whose walks abroad they are privileged to share.

the last, he was fixed in his decision to allow no representation of the personality of the

IIth YEAR of the Nazarene to be seen in a dramatic spectacle

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Few people know that it was the famous agnostic, Robert C. Ingersoll, who caused the writing of the novel Ben Hur." It came about through a chance meeting of the two big men in a railroad journey, when Christianity became the subject of their talk. Gen. Wallace had always been a man of strong religious inclination; indeed, the splendid description of the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem to the Wise Men in the desert had been written long before this chance acquaintance. The arguments and claims of the greatest infidel of modern times were too much for the doughty General. His senses were charmed with the eloquent and poetical presentation of the cause of agnosticism, but he was by no means convinced of its truth. The discussion made him deeply reflective, and led him to make a careful and exhaustive study of the life of the Nazarene. The result of the research and Gen. Wallace's answer to Ingersoll was "Ben Hur," a work which has been more widely read probably in later days than any printed volume save the Sacred Book of Scriptures. Gen. Wallace gives us a clear, sharply defined and most vivid view of Him "who spake as never man spoke before." He has surrounded Him with living characters, and he has depicted the scenes and times of the most interesting period of the world's history with surprising beauty. It was inevitable that a book of such powerful dramatic and romantic interest should attract the attention of serious play builders, and from time to time vain efforts were made to get the General's consent to a stage use of his thrilling story. He could not see how the scene of the Star of Bethlehem, the sinking of the Roman galley, the great chariot race, or the representation of the miracle on Mount Olivet could be presented. To him there were insurmountable mechanical difficulties in the way of the first three incidents, and, as for



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New Canadian Edition



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By DAVID GRAHAM PHILLIPS This book is equal in every respect to Anthony Hope's masterpiece "The Prisoner of Zenda."

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