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Onslow Square, talked to him of my difficulty, and induced him to accept the editorship, for which he was to receive a salary of 1,000l. a year.

Then I set to work with energy to make the undertaking a success. We secured the most brilliant contributors from every quarter. Our terms were lavish almost to the point of recklessness. No pains and no cost were spared to make the new magazine the best periodical yet known to English literature.

The name of the CORNHILL MAGAZINE was suggested by Thackeray, and was, at the time, much ridiculed. Sarcastic journalists asked whether it suited the 'dignity' of literature to label a magazine with the name of a street? Should we not next have such periodicals as The Smithfield Review,' or 'The Leadenhall Market Magazine'? But the name CORNHILL MAGAZINE really set the example of quite a new class of titles for periodicals-titles that linked the magazines that bore them to historic localities in London, where perhaps they were published. Thus we have since had 'Temple Bar,' 'Belgravia,' St. Paul's Magazine,' the 'Strand,' &c., &c.

Thackeray wrote an excellent advertisement of the new magazine, in the form of a letter which is worth reproducing.

THE CORNHILL MAGAZINE,' Smith, Elder, and Co.

65, Cornhill, 1st November, 1859.


DEAR -- Our Store-House being in Cornhill, we date and name our Magazine from its place of publication. We might have assumed a title much more startling: for example, The Thames on Fire' was a name suggested; and, placarded in red letters about the City, and Country, it would no doubt have excited some curiosity. But, on going to London Bridge, the expectant rustic would have found the stream rolling on its accustomed course, and would have turned away angry at being hoaxed. Sensible people are not to be misled by fine prospectuses and sounding names: the present Writer has been for five-and-twenty years before the world, which has taken his measure pretty accurately. We are too long acquainted to try and deceive one another; and were I to propose any such astounding feat as that above announced, I know quite well how the schemer would be received, and the scheme would end.

You, then, who ask what 'THE CORNHILL MAGAZINE' is to be, and what sort of articles you shall supply for it?-if you were told that the Editor, known hitherto only by his published writings, was in reality a great reformer, philosopher, and wiseacre, about to expound prodigious doctrines and truths until now unrevealed, to guide and direct the peoples, to pull down the existing order of things, to edify new social or political structures, and, in a word, to set the Thames on Fire; if you heard such designs ascribed to him-risum teneatis? You know I have no such pretensions: but, as an Author who has written long, and had the good fortune to find a very great number of readers, I think I am not mistaken in supposing that they give me credit for experience and observation, for having

lived with educated people in many countries, and seen the world in no small variety; and, having heard me soliloquise, with so much kindness and favour, and say my own say about life, and men and women, they will not be unwilling to try me as Conductor of a Concert, in which I trust many skilful performers will take part.

We hope for a large number of readers, and must seek, in the first place, to amuse and interest them. Fortunately for some folks, novels are as daily bread to others; and fiction of course must form a part, but only a part of our entertainment. We want, on the other hand, as much reality as possible-discussion and narrative of events interesting to the public, personal adventures and observation, familiar reports of scientific discovery, description of Social Institutions—quicquid agunt homines-a Great Eastern, a battle in China, a Race-Course, a popular Preacher-there is hardly any subject we don't want to hear about, from lettered and instructed men who are competent to speak on it.

I read the other day in 'The Illustrated London News,' (in my own room at home,) that I was at that moment at Bordeaux, purchasing first-class claret for first-class contributors, and second class for those of inferior cru. Let me adopt this hospitable simile; and say that at our contributors' table, I do not ask or desire to shine especially myself, but to take my part occasionally, and to invite pleasant and instructed gentlemen and ladies to contribute their share to the conversation. It may be a Foxhunter who has the turn to speak; or a Geologist, Engineer, Manufacturer, Member of the House of Commons, Lawyer, Chemist,— what you please. If we can only get people to tell what they know, pretty briefly and good-humouredly, and not in a manner obtrusively didactic, what a pleasant ordinary we may have, and how gladly folks will come to it! If our friends have good manners, a good education, and write in good English, the company, I am sure, will be all the better pleased; and the guests, whatever their rank, age, sex be, will be glad to be addressed by well-educated gentlemen and women. A professor ever so learned, a curate in his country retirement, an artisan after work-hours, a schoolmaster or mistress when the children are gone home, or the young ones themselves when their lessons are over, may like to hear what the world is talking about, or be brought into friendly communication with persons whom the world knows. There are points on which agreement is impossible, and on these we need not touch. At our social table, we shall suppose the ladies and children always present; we shall not set rival politicians by the cars; we shall listen to every guest who has an apt word to say; and, I hope, induce clergymen of various denominations to say grace in their turn. The kindly fruits of the earth, which grow for all-may we not enjoy them with friendly hearts? The field is immensely wide; the harvest perennial, and rising everywhere; we can promise competent fellow-labourers a welcome and a good wage; and hope a fair custom from the public for our stores at THE CORNHILL MAGAZINE.'

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The cover of the magazine, designed by Mr. Godfrey Sykes, a young student at the South Kensington Schools of Art, had the good fortune to strike the popular taste, and I still think it most effective. When I showed the sketch of the cover to Thackeray, he said: What a lovely design! I hope you have given the man a good cheque!' The only complaint that has ever been made against the design is that the sower shown in it is sowing with his left hand. But a sower uses his hands alternately. He goes down the row scattering with his right

hand, and as he comes back he scatters with his left. I was in the country just after this criticism on the design appeared in the papers, and actually saw a man sowing with his left hand; and, of course, I made the most of the circumstance.

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It was arranged that Thackeray was to write 'Lovel the Widower 'for the magazine; but we thought it well to secure a second novel, and decided on asking Anthony Trollope to write a serial. In his Autobiography' Trollope describes his astonishment at finding the CORNHILL MAGAZINE, after its advent had been announced so long, still unsupplied with a serial, and he quotes this as a proof of Thackeray's incorrigible habit of loitering. Framley Parsonage,' he says, had to take the foremost place in the new magazine in default of a novel which Thackeray ought to have written but did not. But there was no default on Thackeray's part. His Lovel the Widower,' as had been arranged, made its appearance in the first number of the CORNHILL. Framley Parsonage' was given the place of honour in the new magazine by Thackeray's own arrangement and on grounds of pure courtesy; it was exactly as a host would invite a guest to walk into a room before himself. This is an example of Thackeray's quaint and chivalrous courtesy in literary matters. He would not claim the first place in his own magazine. He looked upon himself as the host, and upon Trollope as his guest.


It occurred to me that if I could secure Tennyson as a regular contributor to the new magazine he would prove a great attraction. His Idylls of the King' had not long appeared, and I thought I would ask him to write for us another set of Idylls.' Tennyson was then on a visit to Mrs. Cameron on Putney Heath, and I wrote to ask if I might call upon him on a matter of business. He made an appointment, and during our interview I offered to pay him five thousand guineas for as many lines as were contained in the Idylls of the King' (in fact for 4,750 lines), on condition that the poems should be printed in the CORNHILL MAGAZINE and that I should publish them for three years afterwards. That offer was really a 'record' as far as the market rates of poetry up to that time were concerned. When compared with anything Tennyson had yet received for his poems it might fairly be described as extravagant.

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Tennyson listened to my proposal with entire calmness. He asked me to smoke with him and chatted pleasantly; but gave me no idea as to whether my offer was acceptable. Mrs. Tennyson presently came into the room, and Tennyson, addressing

her, said: 'My dear, we are much richer than we thought we were. Mr. Smith has just offered me five thousand guineas for a book the size of the "Idylls." And,' he continued, if Mr. Smith offers five thousand, of course the book is worth ten!' A remark at which we all laughed. Nothing came of this proposal, which I had no temptation to renew after the rapid success achieved by the magazine. But Thackeray obtained from Tennyson his fine poem Tithonus' for the second number.

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We had secured a quite remarkable body of contributors; public attention was keenly fixed on the new venture, and when the first number appeared in January 1860 the sale was astonishing. It was the literary event of the year. Along Cornhill nothing was to be seen but people carrying bundles of the orange-coloured magazine. Of the first number some 120,000 copies were sold, a number then without precedent in English serial literature.

The exhilarating effect of this success on its editor is amusingly described by Mr. James T. Fields in his 'Yesterdays with Authors.' Mr. Fields says:

'The enormous circulation achieved by the CORNHILL MAGAZINE, when it was first started with Thackeray for its editor-in-chief, is a matter of literary history. The announcement by his publishers that a sale of a hundred and ten thousand of the first number had been reached made the editor half delirious with joy, and he ran away to Paris to be rid of the excitement for a few days. I met him by appointment at his hotel in the Rue de la Paix, and found him wild with exultation and full of enthusiasm for excellent George Smith, his publisher. "London," he exclaimed, "is not big enough to contain me now, and I am obliged to add Paris to my residence! Great heavens," said he, throwing up his long arms, "where will this tremendous circulation stop! Who knows but that I shall have to add Vienna and Rome to my whereabouts? If the worst comes to the worst, New York, also, may fall into my clutches, and only the Rocky Mountains may be able to stop my progress!" Those days in Paris with him were simply tremendous. We dined at all possible and impossible places together. We walked round and round the glittering court of the Palais Royal, gazing in at the windows of the jewellers' shops, and all my efforts were necessary to restrain him from rushing in and ordering a pocketful of diamonds and "other trifles," as he called them; "for," said he, "how can I spend the princely income which Smith allows me for editing the CORNHILL, unless I begin instantly somewhere?" If he saw a group of three or four persons talking together in an excited way, after the manner of that then riant Parisian people, he would whisper to me with immense gesticulation: "There, there, you see the news has reached Paris, and perhaps the number bas gone up since my last accounts from London." His spirits during those few days were colossal, and he told me that he found it impossible to sleep, "for counting up his subscribers."

The success of the CORNHILL was so far beyond my expectation that I thought that its editor ought to share in the fruits of

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that success; I told Mr. Thackeray he must allow me to double his editorial payment. He seemed much touched by my communication. I have said that our payments to contributors were lavish. As figures are generally interesting, I may mention that the largest amount expended on the literature of a single number was 1,183l. 38. 8d. (August 1862), and the total expenditure under that head for the first four years was 32,280l. 118., the illustrations costing in addition 4,376/. 118.

The largest payment made for a novel was 7,000l., to Mrs. Lewes (George Eliot) for 'Romola.' The largest payment made for short articles was 12. 128. a page to Mr. Thackeray, for his Roundabout Papers.' In regard to the payment to Mrs. Lewes, an incident seems to deserve honourable record as a signal proof of the author's artistic sensibility. Mrs. Lewes read part of 'Romola' to me, and anyone who has heard that lady read and remembers her musical and sympathetic voice will understand that the MS. lost nothing in effect by her reading. On the following day I offered her 10,000l. for the book for the CORNHILL MAGAZINE, and for a limited right to subsequent publication. It was stipulated that the book should form sixteen numbers of twenty-four pages each. Before the appearance of the first part Mrs. Lewes said that she found that she could not properly divide the book into as many as sixteen parts. I took exception to this alteration of our arrangement, and pointed out that my offer was based on the book being in sixteen parts, and that my calculations were made with regard to the MAGAZINE being able to afford a payment of so much a number. She said that she quite understood that the alteration would make a difference to me, but that she supposed the amount of the difference could easily be calculated. George Lewes and I did all we possibly could to persuade her to reconsider her decision, but in vain. We pointed out to her that the publication in the MAGAZINE was ephemeral, and that the work would be published in a separate form afterwards and be judged as a whole. However, nothing could move her, and she preferred receiving 7,000l. in place of 10,000l. for the book. Romola' did not increase the sale of the MAGAZINE; it is difficult to say what, if any, effect it had in sustaining the sale. As a separate publication it had not, I think, the success it deserved.

The first novel written by Miss Thackeray, the charming Story of Elizabeth,' appeared in the CORNHILL MAGAZINE towards the end of 1862. As I was coming away from her father one morning early in that year, she slipped out of the dining-room, put

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