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81. CHAPTER LXXXI (continued)
At last after months of disappointment and many a tedious hour wasted in dingy ante-rooms (and of all anterooms those of editors appear to me to be the dreariest), he got a bona fide offer of employment from one of the first class weekly papers through an introduction I was able to get for him from one who had powerful influence with the paper in question. The editor sent him a dozen long books upon varied and difficult subjects, and told him to review them in a single article within a week. In one book there was an editorial note to the effect that the writer was to be condemned. Ernest particularly admired the book he was desired to condemn, and feeling how hopeless it was for him to do anything like justice to the books submitted to him, returned them to the editor.
At last one paper did actually take a dozen or so of articles from him, and gave him cash down a couple of guineas apiece for them, but having done this it expired within a fortnight after the last of Ernest's articles had appeared. It certainly looked very much as if the other editors knew their business in declining to have anything to do with my unlucky godson.
I was not sorry that he failed with periodical literature, for writing for reviews or newspapers is bad training for one who may aspire to write works of more permanent interest. A young writer should have more time for reflection than he can get as a contributor to the daily or even weekly press. Ernest himself, however, was chagrined at finding how unmarketable he was. "Why," he said to me, "If I was a well-bred horse, or sheep, or a pure-bred pigeon or lop-eared rabbit I should be more saleable. If I was even a cathedral in a colonial town people would give me something, but as it is they do not want me"; and now that he was well and rested he wanted to set up a shop again, but this, of course, I would not hear of.
"What care I," said he to me one day, "about being what they call a gentleman?" And his manner was almost fierce.
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