ROUND PEGS AND SQUARE HOLES
manuscript myself with all the good things I could say about it.
“At the end of the week that ominous-looking white coffin of an envelope in which so many of our hopes are buried, and which most of us know so well, was laid on my study table, and with it the short obituary notice: ‘Not adapted to our uses.’
“I was afraid to tell him, and didn’t. I arranged a dinner instead for the three of us—the editor, whom he had not yet met, being one. During the meal not a word was said about the rejected novel. I had cautioned the author—and, of course, the editor never brought his shop to a dinner-table.
“After the cigars I took up the manuscript and the discussion opened. The editor was very frank, very kind, and very helpful. He had wanted to publish it, but there were long passages—essays, really—in which the reader’s galloping interest would get stalled. Experience had taught him that it was slow-downs like these that mired so much of modern fiction.
“‘Which passages, for instance,’ I asked rather casually.
“‘Well, the part which— Hand me the manuscript and I will——’