The Poet and the Editor
"MY dear sir," said the editor to the man, who had called to see
about his poem, "I regret to say that owing to an unfortunate
altercation in this office the greater part of your manuscript is
illegible; a bottle of ink was upset upon it, blotting out all but
the first line - that is to say - "
"'The autumn leaves were falling, falling.'
"Unluckily, not having read the poem, I was unable to supply the
incidents that followed; otherwise we could have given them in our
own words. If the news is not stale, and has not already appeared
in the other papers, perhaps you will kindly relate what occurred,
while I make notes of it.
"'The autumn leaves were falling, falling,'
"What!" said the poet, "do you expect me to reproduce the entire
poem from memory?"
"Only the substance of it - just the leading facts. We will add
whatever is necessary in the way of amplification and
embellishment. It will detain you but a moment.
"'The autumn leaves were falling, falling - '
There was a sound of a slow getting up and going away. The
chronicler of passing events sat through it, motionless, with
suspended pen; and when the movement was complete Poesy was
represented in that place by nothing but a warm spot on the wooden