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paper is the providential remedy. We have never seen any small enough to cure the disease. Another studies the Duke of Wellington's despatches, in hope of attaining brevity. Another has blanks by which a secretary furnishes uniform answers to all the people who would like his recommendation for Chief Justice, or, if they cannot be that, would be glad of a subordinate commission in the quartermaster's department. But the system of blanks goes only a very little way in relief. Another used a manifold letter-writer for his letters of affection, and sent them in triplicate to different friends. But this plan was upset when he had one returned by a wounded spirit not appreciated. Members of Congress sometimes detail their wives to write their autographs for them. Mr. Fillmore used the best plan we know, if the thing is to be done at all, in dictating to a phonographic reporter his letters. They were then written out at the reporter's leisure, signed and posted; yet the original copies of the letters were preserved in the phonographic notes. Sixty letters of average length could perhaps thus be dictated in an hour; but we should say that an hour of such work would be all the concentrated work any man ought to do in a day. The most effective man we ever knew never answered any letters at all. All that he wrote were the letters which affairs made necessary for the communication of information to his fellow-laborers. For the rest, let them come and see him, as, alas! they did. It will probably be in this way eventually that the "burden of modern civilization" will be tipped off its back into the sea.

We need not apologize for this excursus on letter-writing, for the illustration it furnishes of the difficult conditions imposed on mental effort by modern barbarism is an illustration which covers very wide ground. Correspondence is the most oppressive of a series of demands made on men of affairs which interrupt the regularity of mental effort for which any system provides. And no study of the subject is in the least adequate, which does not allude to such external demands and interruptions. They must be provided for as well as the mind's personal and immediate requisitions. If they cannot be resisted or avoided, the reply made to the requisitions of the mind itself must be adapted, as far as possible, to their rapacity.

We are not bound to travel into detail to discuss the adaptations which will be found the most successful. Every department of mental effort has to furnish its own, the tricks by which different hunted hares escape from the hounds let loose upon them in the barbarism in which we live, the methods by which men doing their own duty meet, in contest or in submission, the invaders who ask them also to do theirs. Nor is it fair to speak as if all such invasions of a man's own plan of life ought to be avoided or evaded. In a world where our whole duty is to bear each other's burdens, it ill becomes any man of us to choose the particular way in which he will bear

them, the particular yoke which he will carry.

It is evident that, if one is to shift from point to point among a multitude of important cares in such complex affairs, the maximum of working time must be reduced, even below the poor three hours which we have given as the average of daily exertion. Baron Rothschild, who may be supposed to have arranged as nicely as any man can the methods for disposing rapidly of demands made on his thought, is said to meet them thus. He stands in a central office in his place of affairs, where he can speak, if necessary, to his heads of department. Those who have personal business with him are bidden to prepare in writing what they would say; they are introduced, and give to him or read to him the memorandum. He answers, and the conversation, if any is necessary, follows, both standing. Brevity is attempted by the two expedients of a standing position and of written inquiry. How necessary this is, any clergyman will say who has known a visitor take three hours in saying he wants to be married. On the other hand, the value of personal presence is not lost, and the assistants, if necessary, are within call. Thus a hundred visitors, perhaps, are disposed of in a forenoon. Concentration could hardly go farther. We have described these details to say that it would evidently be impossible to work in that way, even up to our poor little average of three hours daily. The more varied the subjects of work so highly concentrated, the shorter must its period necessarily be.

Of the palliatives possible for the relief of the pressure of such work as falls on the student or other literary workman, VOL. LXXII. - 5TH S. VOL. X. NO. I.



we do not speak in detail, because every condition of mental activity must of necessity provide its own. The transferring of the mechanical operation of writing, by those who have much work of composition, to the hand of an amanuensis, is the only one of these expedients which we are to speak of here. It does not seem well to use this relief to the full, as did an alderman of one of our chief cities, who, confident that he could always hire a reader to read for him, and a clerk to write for him, neglected to acquire for himself the two accomplishments of writing and reading. There are purposes of both accomplishments, which cannot be attained by proxies. So this officer found, when, in an attempt to escape from the arrest which threatened him, because his various writings so inconsistent with each other, he arrived at the fork of two roads, looked sadly at the finger-post, whose guidance was useless to him because he was without his reader, and so returned to meet the sheriff, and to acknowledge that there were occasions when one must do his own reading, as he had found before by the state of his bank-books that he had better have done some of his own writing. Sentimental or exacting correspondents, too, are apt to expect that a letter shall be in the handwriting of the author. To meet this difficulty, the English offices have clerks in readiness, who, in three days after a change of ministry, are able to write in the handwriting of the new officials, and to execute for them their “private and confidential memoranda." Without going into such niceties, it may be said that any duty so mechanical as the mere forming of letters into words is probably better done by a young person whose whole attention is turned to it, than it can be by the person who is also engaged in determining what the words shall be. We have no doubt, therefore, that, on the whole, the employment of an amanuensis improves the quality of the work performed. It is very true, that, when the experiment of dictating is first tried, the luxury of the ease it gives is apt to be so great, that it tends to looseness and verbosity of style; for there is no better check on sesquipedalianism than the necessity of writing down one's sesquipedalian words for one's self. And in the beginning, if one is lying on a sofa, and using another's hand, he puts in his long words and long

phrases and unnecessary sentences, in the mere luxury of freedom, as the school-boy cavorts and plunges as he first rushes out into the open air. But this is but the incident of a beginning, and with a little discipline and criticism any man can learn to write with the pen of an amanuensis in the same style as with his own. Some of Scott's best novels were written by the hand of others, some by his own. some by his own. We would challenge the most exquisite criticism to discern between the two classes from the mere internal evidence afforded by their composition.

We can perfectly well hear the whine or the snort of indig nation with which conscious genius has put by our suggestions in this paper, long before reading to this point, where we close. Conscious genius is very apt to say that it must work without rules. It has a good deal to tell about the tides of inspiration; and it is prone to suppose that those tides are very irregular. It will ridicule the possibility of any science of mental effort; it will say that man must wait till he is inspired; and that until he is inspired, all effort is vain. It says a great deal more on this subject, but in this dictum is the pith of the whole. Now, we are willing to own that we know nothing of the methods of genius except as we read of them in the lives of men of genius. But from those authorities we have to remark, that, if Goethe and Schiller, Walter Scott, even Byron and Bulwer, are men of genius, not to go outside our own generation, genius is as glad to work under absolute, fixed, and methodical conditions as is any hod-carrier. Even Byron, we say; for when Byron was engaged upon a poem, he knew perfectly well that it would not finish itself, but that his persistent will must finish it. The extraordinary amount of work he did finish in his short career is a monument to the persistency and steadiness of his working power. And we doubt if there be any touchstone more certain to distinguish between real genius and Brummagem, than is the test which determines whether the mind in question is fresh, vivid, and in true condition for effort, on every blessed morning given it by God; or whether it can only boast certain fungous growths of gaudy color, but of most perishable substance, which spring up on some mornings, and

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are nowhere to be found on others, lawless and irregular, and therefore, if not quite worthless, quite untrustworthy.

The truth is, that all mental effort, like all bodily effort, must fulfil the conditions of effort which God has imposed. This is as true of the highest efforts of divine poetry, as it is of the daily-bread work of the mere artisan of letters, who makes no pretence to genius or inspiration. We have been speaking, thus far, only of the two tools which are employed, the body and the mind, in such endeavor. But for the soul, which employs them, if they are to be kept at their full power, there must be constant accessions of the Life from which the soul is born. It is Life which bends the fingers to the pen. It is Life which drives the pen along the page. It is Life which makes the page live, and teach its lesson. This Life of the soul must be renewed and increased with every day of the soul's effort, or the page at length ceases to glow, just as the fingers fail to grasp the pen. The soul must be, indeed, newborn to its daily work as each day comes round. The soul must each day reassert its mastery over body and mind, without which they are only two rebel slaves setting in uproar the whole of the soul's kingdom. We have said enough, perhaps, to show that, for full mental power, this empire of the soul must be a stern one. The soul must deny the body in its appetites of meat, of drink, even of sleep and of play. It must cut off the stimulants which the body would like. It must insist on the repose without which the body dies. We have seen also the restraints and the commands which it imposes on the mind. The mind would gladly run in a thousand directions in the morning's effort; and the soul grimly holds it to one duty, or, at the most, to two. We see, again, that the soul does not let off either servant to a holiday because they choose to beg for it. When the hour of work comes, they work; when it is at end, they stop. Whether they like to work, or like to stop, the soul makes the decision. For such absolute empire, the soul needs new tides of Life daily. And God has been pleased to grant such tides, recurring with the regularity of his own sunlight if the soul accedes to the conditions. If the soul uses to his glory the Life of to-day, under the conditions which he has fixed for its various exertions, he

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