Harriet Martineau's Autobiography and Memorials of Harriet Martineau

Harriet Martineau's Autobiography and Memorials of Harriet Martineau

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Harriet Martineau's Autobiography and Memorials of Harriet Martineau

Harriet Martineau's Autobiography and Memorials of Harriet Martineau

Read FREE!

Excerpt

I have referred, some pages back, to a great opening for work, of a delightful kind, which offered while I was busy about Comte. As I have explained, the whole version, except half of Comte's first volume (that is, about a sixteenth part) was done between Christmas 1852 and the following October: and it remains to be told what else I bad to do while engaged on that version. In April 1852, I received a letter from a literary friend in London, asking me, by desire of the Editor of "Daily News," whether I would "send him a I 'leader' occasionally." I did not know who this editor was; had hardly seen a number of the paper, and had not the remotest idea whether I could write 'leaders:' and this was my reply. I saw that this might be an opening to greater usefulness than was likely to be equalled by anything else that I could undertake; so I was not sorry to be urgently invited to try. The editor, my now deeply-mourned friend, Mr. Frederick Knight Hunt, and I wrote frank and copious letters, to see how far our views and principles agreed; and his letters gave me the impression which all my subsequent knowledge of him confirmed; that he was one of the most upright and rational of men, and a thorough gentleman in mind and manners. I sent him two or three articles, the second of which (I think it was) made such a noise that I found that there would be no little amusement in my new work, if I found I could do it. It was attributed to almost every possible writer but the real one. This "hit" set me forward cheerily; and I immediately promised to do a I leader' per week, while engaged on Comte. Mr. Hunt begged for two; and to this I agreed when I found that each required only two or three hours in an evening, and that topics abounded. I had sufficient misgiving and uncertainty to desire very earnestly to have some conversation . . .

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