[Barry Pain, writer.] Autograph Letter Signed [to James Payn, editor of the Cornhill Magazine], discussing the reception of his breakthrough story 'The Hundred Gates', the next story he has planned, and the pressures of his teaching work.

Barry Pain [Barry Eric Odell Pain] (1864-1928), writer of light verse and humorous stories, and horror and fantasy fiction [James Payn (1830-1898), editor of the Cornhill Magazine]
Publication details: 
5 October 1889; Edgeborough, Guildford, Surrey.
SKU: 22748

3pp, 12mo. Bifolium. Fifty-one lines of text in a close neat hand, the last page written lengthwise. In good condition, lightly aged, with traces of white paper mount adhering to blank reverse of second leaf. Folded once. The letter is signed 'Barry Pain'. The recipient is not named, but is James Payn, editor of the Cornhill Magazine, who had just published the story that made Pain's name, 'The Hundred Gates'. (In the aftermath of the story's publication, Pain would become a contributor to Punch and The Speaker, would join the staffs of the Daily Chronicle and Black and White, and would be compared by Robert Louis Stevenson to Maupassant.) The letter begins: 'I was very glad to hear that you liked "The Gates" several of the papers have given it favourable notices, I see; but the "Illustrated" does not seem to think much of it. I have, as you surmise, already received a most liberal honorarium from Messrs Smith, Elder and Co.' He turns to another story, 'The Celestial Grocery', writing: 'I should be very sorry if the publication of it in Cornhill caused you any annoyance. If you should think it up to the Cornhill standard, and should care to accept it, perhaps it might wait for a few months to give the very few people who ever read it time to forget it. I should be glad to recast it - as I did the Hundred Gates - if you think I could improve it'. He would 'very much have liked to have sent something else', but has 'nothing finished yet - though I have several things commenced'. Regarding his present teaching post he writes: 'This place is an army crammer's, and I do over thirty seven hours teaching every week - which leaves very little time or energy for the mechanical work of writing and one's ideas.' He has considered leaving Edgeborough 'for some other post where I should have more leisure for writing. As soon as I get anything finished I will send it to you.' He concludes by explaining that he is sending the letter to Payn's London address at Warrington Crescent, as he does not know if he has 'returned to the Cornhill office yet'. He is sorry to hear that Payn has been ill.