Page:Studies of a Biographer 4.djvu/198

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184
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

The tallow candle, he declares, might as well wait 'for the divine moment of melting.' Nay, he recommends youthful aspirants to' avoid enthusiastic rushes with their pen.' They should sit down at their desks like lawyers' clerks and work till their tasks are done. Then they may rival Trollope, at any rate in quantity. During a period of twelve years (1859 to 1871) he did his official duties so as to leave no pretext for faultfinding; he hunted twice a week, he played whist daily, went freely into society, took his holidays, and yet turned out more work, including articles of all kinds in periodicals, than any contemporary author. He was up every morning at 5.30; spent half an hour in reading the previous day's work; and then wrote two hundred and fifty words every quarter of an hour for two hours and a half. He wrote when he was travelling on a railway, or on shipboard, and in the course of his career turned out some fifty novels, besides other work, including a Life of Cicero, which showed at least his daring. He lamented, I remember, at one time that Mrs. Gore (who wrote seventy novels and two hundred volumes) was still ahead of him; but perhaps, counting all his writing, he had equalled her before his death.