am at the last gasp. Please send me a hundred
The money arrived the day after his death. Poor fellow! I wish he had during his lifetime some of the tens of thousands of dollars that have since been paid in purchase of his books. He said on one occasion to a friend: “I have carried a volcano in my bosom up and down Paternoster Row for a good two hours and a half. Can you lend me a shilling? I have been without food these two days.” My readers, to-day the struggle of a good many literary people goes on. To be editor of a newspaper as I have been, and see the number of unavailable manuscripts that come in, crying out for five dollars, or anything to appease hunger and pay rent and get fuel! Oh, it is heartbreaking! After you have given all the money you can spare you will come out of your editorial rooms crying.
Disraeli was seventy-five when “Endymion” was published. Disraeli’s “Endymion” came at a time when books in America were greater than they ever were before or have been since. A flood of magazines came afterwards, and swamped them. Before this time new books were rarely made. Rich men began to endow them. It was a glorious way of spending money. Men sometimes give their money away because they have to give it up anyhow. Such men rarely give it to book-building.
In January, 1881, Mr. George L. Seavey, a prominent Brooklyn man at that time, gave $50,000 to the library of the Historical Society of New York. Attending a reception one night in Brooklyn, I was shown his check, made out for that purpose. It was a great gift, one of the first given for the intellectual food of future bookworms.