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|Crome Yellow||Aldous Huxley|
|Page 2 of 5||
"Do go on, do go on," said Mr. Barbecue-Smith. "I am very fond of music."
"Then I couldn't possibly go on," Denis replied. "I only make noises."
There was a silence. Mr. Barbecue-Smith stood with his back to the hearth, warming himself at the memory of last winter's fires. He could not control his interior satisfaction, but still went on smiling to himself. At last he turned to Denis.
"You write," he asked, "don't you?"
"Well, yes--a little, you know."
"How many words do you find you can write in an hour?"
"I don't think I've ever counted."
"Oh, you ought to, you ought to. It's most important."
Denis exercised his memory. "When I'm in good form," he said, "I fancy I do a twelve-hundred-word review in about four hours. But sometimes it takes me much longer."
Mr. Barbecue-Smith nodded. "Yes, three hundred words an hour at your best." He walked out into the middle of the room, turned round on his heels, and confronted Denis again. "Guess how many words I wrote this evening between five and half-past seven."
"I can't imagine."
"No, but you must guess. Between five and half-past seven-- that's two and a half hours."
"Twelve hundred words," Denis hazarded.
"No, no, no." Mr. Barbecue-Smith's expanded face shone with gaiety. "Try again."
"I give it up," said Denis. He found he couldn't summon up much interest in Mr. Barbecue-Smith's writing.
"Well, I'll tell you. Three thousand eight hundred."
Denis opened his eyes. "You must get a lot done in a day," he said.
Mr. Barbecue-Smith suddenly became extremely confidential. He pulled up a stool to the side of Denis's arm-chair, sat down in it, and began to talk softly and rapidly.
"Listen to me," he said, laying his hand on Denis's sleeve. "You want to make your living by writing; you're young, you're inexperienced. Let me give you a little sound advice."
What was the fellow going to do? Denis wondered: give him an introduction to the editor of "John o' London's Weekly", or tell him where he could sell a light middle for seven guineas? Mr. Barbecue-Smith patted his arm several times and went on.
"The secret of writing," he said, breathing it into the young man's ear--"the secret of writing is Inspiration."
Denis looked at him in astonishment.
"Inspiration..." Mr. Barbecue-Smith repeated.
"You mean the native wood-note business?"
Mr. Barbecue-Smith nodded.
"Oh, then I entirely agree with you," said Denis. "But what if one hasn't got Inspiration?"
"That was precisely the question I was waiting for," said Mr. Barbecue-Smith. "You ask me what one should do if one hasn't got Inspiration. I answer: you have Inspiration; everyone has Inspiration. It's simply a question of getting it to function."
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