The young author was told that she had not succeeded in her grand aim, because the subject was too vast for the limits of a novel, and her acquaintance with the mythologies of the world was not sufficiently extensive or intimate. But she was encouraged to select other themes more in accordance with the spirit of the age in which she lived; and the assurance was given to her, that her writings were destined to exert a powerful influence on her race. Some faults of style were gravely reprimanded, some beauties most cordially eulogized and held up for the admiration of the world.
Edna had as little literary conceit as personal vanity
she saw and acknowledged the errors pointed out by Mr. Manning, and
resolved to avoid them in future. She felt that some objections urged
against her book were valid, but knew that she was honest and earnest in
her work, and could not justly be accused of trifling.
Gratefully and joyfully she accepted Mr. Manning's verdict, and turned her undivided attention upon her new manuscript.
While the critics snarled, the mass of readers warmly
approved; and many who did not fully appreciate all her arguments and
illustrations, were at least clear-eyed enough to perceive that it was
their misfortune, not her fault.
Gradually the book took firm hold on the affections of the
people; and a few editors came boldly to the rescue, and nobly and ably
During these days of trial, Edna could not avoid observing
one humiliating fact, that saddened without embittering her nature. She
found that instead of sympathizing with her, she received no mercy from
authors, who, as a class, out-Heroded Herod in their denunciations, and
left her little room to doubt that--
"Envy's a sharper spur than pay,
And unprovoked 'twill court the fray;
No author ever spared a brother;
Wits are gamecocks to one another."