ROUND PEGS AND SQUARE HOLES
his not acquiring distinction at sixty, and counted on my fingers the men who had done their best work late in life. Taking up some of the editorials he had sent me (undeniable proofs, so he had maintained, of his inability to do anything better or, rather, different), I picked out a sentence here and there, reading it aloud and dilating on his choice of words; I showed him how his style would tell in an up-to-date novel, and how forceful his short, pithy epigrams would be scattered throughout its text.
“Little by little he began to enthuse: I had kindled his pride—something that had lain dormant for years—and the warmth of its revival soon sent the blood of a new hope tingling through his veins. He now confessed that he had always wanted to write sustained fiction without ever having had either the opportunity or the strength to begin. Inspired by my efforts, others of his friends at home joined in the bracing up, recognizing as I had done the charm and quality of the man—his wit and tenderness, his philosophy and knowledge of the life about him. They forgot, of course, as had I, that in fiction—and in all imaginative literature for that matter—something more is required than either a knowledge of men or the