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Old 07-06-2016, 05:57 AM   #1
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Paine, Albert Bigelow: The Bread Line. v1. 06 Jul 2016

The Bread Line By Albert Bigelow Paine (1861–1935)

The Bread Line was first published in 1900.
This book is in the public domain in countries where copyright is “Life+80” or less, and in the USA.


Albert Bigelow Paine was an American author and biographer best known for his work with Mark Twain. He wrote in several genres, including fiction, humor, and verse, for children and adults. His most notable work was a three-volume biography of Mark Twain.

Here is a humorous story of life in New York in the late 1890’s, and of the attempt of four young writers and artists to start a weekly paper. They strike upon a wonderful scheme that will earn millions, but the road to success is full of speed bumps and pot holes. Based on the experiences of Paine and three friends, when they founded a weekly literary magazine which failed in three weeks.

EXCERPT:
Spoiler:
This is the story of a year, beginning on New Year’s eve.

In the main it is the story of four – two artists and two writers – and of a paper which these four started. Three of them – the artists and one of the writers – toiled and dwelt together in rooms near Union Square, and earned a good deal of money sometimes, when matters went well. The fourth – the other writer – did something in an editorial way, and thus had a fixed income; that is, he fixed it every Saturday in such manner that it sometimes lasted until Wednesday of the following week. Now and then he sold a story or a poem “outside” and was briefly affluent, but these instances were unplentiful. Most of his spare time he spent in dreaming vague and hopeless dreams. His dreams he believed in, and, being possessed of a mesmeric personality, Barrifield sometimes persuaded others to believe also.

… … …

“Did any of – you – fellows,” he began, puffing the smoke into the air and following it with his eyes, “ever hear of a man named Frisby? Did you, Perny? Did you, Stony?” dropping his eyes from one to the other.

“I have,” said Van Dorn. “Runs a paper called the ‘Voice of Light,’ with prize packages and the worst illustrations in the world.”

“That’s the man!” assented Barrifield. “Old friend of mine. Yankee by birth, and one of the keenest publishers in the country. That paper, the ‘Voice of Light,’ has a circulation of nearly one half-million copies!

“He ought to get better pictures, then,” grunted Van Dorn.

“Exactly!” nodded Barrifield. “And that’s one place we’ll improve on Frisby’s scheme.”

“I didn’t suppose religious papers ever had schemes,” observed Livingstone.
Barrifield grinned.

“Did you ever see a copy of the ‘Voice’?” he asked.

“I have,” said Perner. “It offers twenty-five dollars’ worth of books and a trip to the Holy Land for one year’s subscription.”

“That’s it! That’s the paper!” laughed Barrifield.

“But our paper won’t be a religious paper, will it, old man?” asked Livingstone, anxiously.

“Not in the sense of being ecclesiastic. It will be pure in morals and tone, of course, and, at the same time, artistic and beautiful – such a paper as the ‘Youth’s Friend,’ only larger in its scope. It will, as I have said before, appeal to the whole family, young and old, and that is another improvement we’ll make on Frisby’s scheme.”

“What’s the price of Frisby’s paper?” asked Perner.

“Two dollars a year. Poor matter, poor pictures, poor paper, poor printing, poor prizes, and two dollars a year. We’ll give them high-class matter, high-class pictures, fine printing, beautiful paper, splendid prizes, all for one dollar a year; and that’s where we’ll make the third and great improvement on Frisby’s scheme.”

“But how’ll you do it without money, Barry? That’s the improvement we want,” laughed Livingstone.

“That,” said Barrifield, letting his voice become a whisper once more – “that isn’t an improvement. That’s Frisby’s scheme!


Text was obtained from archive.org; Embedded small-caps font “Alegreya”. OCR errors were corrected; punctuation, italics and diacritics formatted; illustrations manually cleaned and enhanced. Chapter heads are cross-linked to Table of Contents.
This work is assumed to be in the Life+70 public domain OR the copyright holder has given specific permission for distribution. Copyright laws differ throughout the world, and it may still be under copyright in some countries. Before downloading, please check your country's copyright laws. If the book is under copyright in your country, do not download or redistribute this work.

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Last edited by GrannyGrump; 07-06-2016 at 10:09 AM.
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