Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/54

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ing endured a six years' exile, occupying a Colonial Professorship on the island of Mauritius, records upon his return, "I began life again at the age of thirty-one; my capital was a pretty extensive knowledge acquired by voracious and indiscriminate reading."

Mr. Morgan Robertson, the writer of sea stories, is a conspicuous example of a man who for years had lived apart from books, one decade before the mast, and another as an expert diamond setter and then suddenly surprised himself by revealing the Inborn Talent. But his is an exceptional case. There are a good many men whose love of adventure has given them a rich variety of experience, whose early life has been spent in the danger-places of the world. They are apt to think that they possess the gift because they have the material—and yet these two things have practically nothing in

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