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life as a reporter; developed into space writer, then editor, and was known as the most caustic and brilliant journalist on any of the Western papers. With the death of his wife, he had thrown up this position and was, when I met him, conducting a small country paper.

“What possessed me I don’t know, but after seeing him half a dozen times that winter—and I often passed through his town—I made up my mind that his brilliant talk, quaint philosophy, and mastery of English were wasted on what he was doing, and that if I could persuade him to write a novel he would not only drop into the hole his Maker had bored for him, but would make a name for himself. All that he had to do was to put himself into type and the rest would follow. Of course he protested; he was fifty years old, he said, had but little means, no experience in fiction, his work not being imaginative but concerned with the weightier and more practical things of the day.

“All this made me only the keener to do something to drag him out of the pit and start him in a new direction.

“The first thing was to make him believe in himself. I pooh-poohed the idea of his failure to succeed at fifty as being any reason for