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To-morrow?   By: (1868-1952)

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To morrow?


Victoria Cross

"Cras te victurum, cras dicis Postume semper Dic mihi cras istud, Postume quando venit? Quam longe cras istud, ubi est? aut unde petendum? Cras istud quanti dic mihi, possit emi? Cras vives? hodie jam vivere, Postume, serum est Ille sapit, quisquis Postume, vixit heri."

MART. v. lviii.


"REJECTED! rejected!"

I crushed the letter spasmodically in my hand as I walked mechanically up and down the length of the dining room, a rage of anger filling my brain and the blood thundering in my ears.

"Rejected! and that not for the first time. Another year and a half's work flung away simply flung away, and I am no nearer recognition than ever. Incredible it seems that they won't accept that."

I stopped under the gasalier and glanced again through the letter I had just received.

"DEAR SIR, With reference to your last MS., we regret to say we cannot undertake its publication, owing to the open way in which you express your unusual religious views and your contempt for existing institutions.

"At the same time, our reader expresses his admiration for your style, and his regret that your unmistakably brilliant genius should be directed towards unsatisfactory subjects. We are," etc., etc.

The blood flowed hotly over my face, and my teeth closed hard upon my lip.

Always the same thing! rejection from every quarter.

The last clause in the letter, which might have brought some momentary gratification to a man less certain, less absolutely sure of his own powers than I was, could bring none to me.

It only served to make sharper the edge of my keen disappointment. Brilliant genius! I read the words with the shadow of a satirical smile.

What need to tell me that I possessed a power that inflamed every vein, that heated all the blood in my system, that filled, till they seemed buoyant, every cell of my brain? As much need as to tell the expectant mother she has a life within her own.

I was tired of praise, tired of being called gifted, tired of hearing reiterated by others that which I knew so well myself.

We are invariably little grateful for anything freely and constantly offered to us, and I cared now simply nothing for compliments, praise, or felicitation.

These had been given to me from my childhood upwards, and yet here, at six and twenty, I was still unknown, unrecognized, obscure, and not a single line of my writing had met the public eye.

I craved and thirsted after success far more than a fever stricken man in the desert can crave after water, for the longings and desires of the body are finite, and when a fixed pitch in them has been surpassed, death grants us a merciful cessation of all desire, but the longings of the mind are infinite, absolutely without limit and without period; and where a physical desire, ungratified, must eventually destroy itself as it wears away the matter that has given it birth, a mental desire does not wane with the flesh it wastes, but remains ravening to the last, and reigns supreme over the death agony, up to the final moment of actual dissolution.

I had done what I could to attain my own wishes; I was not one of those idle, clever fellows who imagine talent independent of work, and who are too lazy to throw into words and commit to paper the brilliant but vague, unformed inspirations that visit them between the circling rings of smoke from their cigar.

I had no thought, no expectation, no wish even to be offered that celebrated sweet condition of the palm without the dust of the struggle in the arena.

But for me it had been dust, dust, and nothing but dust, and there were times when it seemed to blind, choke, overpower me.

My capacity for work was unlimited; labour was comparatively no labour to me. The mechanical work of embodying an idea in a manuscript was as nothing to me.

To write came to me as naturally as to speak... Continue reading book >>

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