The Benevolent Author by Mark Twain
A poor and young literary beginner had tried in vain to get his
manuscripts accepted. At last, when the horrors of starvation were
staring him in the face, he laid his sad case before a celebrated
author, beseeching his counsel and assistance. This generous man
immediately put aside his own matters and proceeded to peruse one of
the despised manuscripts. Having completed his kindly task, he shook
the poor young man cordially by the hand, saying, "I perceive merit in
this; come again to me on Monday." At the time specified, the
celebrated author, with a sweet smile, but saying nothing, spread open
a magazine which was damp from the press. What was the poor young
man's astonishment to discover upon the printed page his own article.
"How can I ever," said he, falling upon his knees and bursting into
tears, "testify my gratitude for this noble conduct!"
The celebrated author was the renowned Snodgrass; the poor young
beginner thus rescued from obscurity and starvation was the afterward
equally renowned Snagsby. Let this pleasing incident admonish us to
turn a charitable ear to all beginners that need help.
The next week Snagsby was back with five rejected manuscripts. The
celebrated author was a little surprised, because in the books the
young struggler had needed but one lift, apparently. However, he
plowed through these papers, removing unnecessary flowers and digging
up some acres of adjective stumps, and then succeeded in getting two
of the articles accepted.
A week or so drifted by, and the grateful Snagsby arrived with
another cargo. The celebrated author had felt a mighty glow of
satisfaction within himself the first time he had successfully
befriended the poor young struggler, and had compared himself with the
generous people in the books with high gratification; but he was
beginning to suspect now that he had struck upon something fresh in
the noble-episode line. His enthusiasm took a chill. Still, he could
not bear to repulse this struggling young author, who clung to him
with such pretty simplicity and trustfulness.
Well, the upshot of it all was that the celebrated author presently
found himself permanently freighted with the poor young beginner. All
his mild efforts to unload this cargo went for nothing. He had to
give daily counsel, daily encouragement; he had to keep on procuring
magazine acceptances, and then revamping the manuscripts to make them
presentable. When the young aspirant got a start at last, he rode into
sudden fame by describing the celebrated author's private life with
such a caustic humor and such minuteness of blistering detail that the
book sold a prodigious edition, and broke the celebrated author's
heart with mortification. With his latest gasp he said, "Alas, the
books deceived me; they do not tell the whole story. Beware of the
struggling young author, my friends. Whom God sees fit to starve, let
not man presumptuously rescue to his own undoing."