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15. CHAPTER XV - "THE LAST CHRONICLE OF BARSET"--"LEAVING THE POST OFFICE"--"ST. PAUL'S MAGAZINE" (continued)
I think, upon the whole, that publishers themselves have been the best editors of magazines, when they have been able to give time and intelligence to the work. Nothing certainly has ever been done better than Blackwood's. The Cornhill, too, after Thackeray had left it and before Leslie Stephen had taken it, seemed to be in quite efficient hands--those hands being the hands of proprietor and publisher. The proprietor, at any rate, knows what he wants and what he can afford, and is not so frequently tempted to fall into that worst of literary quicksands, the publishing of matter not for the sake of the readers, but for that of the writer. I did not so sin very often, but often enough to feel that I was a coward. "My dear friend, my dear friend, this is trash!" It is so hard to speak thus--but so necessary for an editor! We all remember the thorn in his pillow of which Thackeray complained. Occasionally I know that I did give way on behalf of some literary aspirant whose work did not represent itself to me as being good; and as often as I did so, I broke my trust to those who employed me. Now, I think that such editors as Thackeray and myself,--if I may, for the moment, be allowed to couple men so unequal,--will always be liable to commit such faults, but that the natures of publishers and proprietors will be less soft.
Nor do I know why the pages of a magazine should be considered to be open to any aspirant who thinks that he can write an article, or why the manager of a magazine should be doomed to read all that may be sent to him. The object of the proprietor is to produce a periodical that shall satisfy the public, which he may probably best do by securing the services of writers of acknowledged ability.
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