Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/94

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Correspondent and School-Teacher.—1857-8

I HAD saved enough money to keep me for a few months, and concluded to remain in Racine till spring. Although without any regular employment, I was not idle. I continued my contributions to the Neue Zeit, even venturing to alternate letters with brief essays on social and political subjects, which were as readily accepted. I was justified then in believing that I should succeed as a German writer. I also knew that, owing to the limited field open to German journalism and literature in this country, a career as such would hardly be satisfactory as regarded either material profit or reputation. I saw, too, the incomparably wider sphere in both respects of the Anglo-American journalist. I had acquired such familiarity with English that there seemed to be no reason why I should not, with proper diligence, succeed before long in learning to write with sufficient fluency and correctness to enable me to enter that wider arena. I therefore determined to devote myself unremittingly to the task. I practised English composition for several hours every day, unless absent from home. I had to be my own teacher, and I followed a very simple and, as the result proved, effective method. I took a newspaper article or magazine, or a chapter in a novel, or some standard matter, read it over carefully several times, and then tried to reproduce it with pen and paper. Having the model before me, I could always correct my own work. After two months practice, I felt able to venture an article on European politics for the Daily Advocate, the local Republican paper. I took it to the editor myself, explaining that it was my first attempt