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This pastiche appeared in the New York Sun in 1910. As far as I am aware it has not been republished since then.


He Applies Deduction to Manuscripts and Surprises Watson.

"I hardly find it necassary to read a manuscript now, at least in the first instance," said Sherlock Bones, who has taken to editing a magazine. "Somehow, by the look, I might almost say the touch, of a manuscript, I can judge of its availability for our magazine. Briefly, I call it intuition. Much in the same way that a bank cashier can detect a false bill passing through his hands, an aditor should instinctively feel the wrong note in a manuscript as applied to his particular publication."

Just then a literary editor entered with a contribution. Mr Bones had been engaged studying a manuscript folder through a pocket lens. He glanced in the literary editor's directon.

"I see, Watson," he remarked, "our contributor follows the rules, also that the entry clerk is becoming negligent."

An expression of surprise swept over the literary editor's face.

"Why, how do you know that, Mr Bones?" he asked.

Mr Bones tossed the lens on the desk and leaning back in his chair joined the finger tips of both hands together.

"Briefly, Watson, in the simplest manner possible. When you entered, a two cent stamp dropped to the floor. It was undoubtedly attached to the manuscript. That proves the contributor understands the rules. That it was not removed by the entry clerk also, I am afraid, proves a certain slackness in the staff."

The literary editor smiled faintly.

"We have a new contributor here," remarked the literary editor, placing the manuscript in the managing editor's hand. "I think he's worth encouraging."

The managing editor barely ran his fingers through the sheets, looked sharply at the last page, and after passing the manuscript before his face, returned it to the literary editor.

"On the contrary, Watson, the usual printed slip will, I hope, discourage him. The hero of the story is, I presume, a rollicking fellow."

"Why, yes, somewhat so, but -"

"Always smoking fine cigars, riding in automobiles and dining in expensive cafés?" said the managing editor.

"But how in the world could you know that, Mr Bones, when you hardly glanced at the manuscript?"

"My dear Watson," said the managing editor, "how often must I impress upon you the value of observation and deduction in literary decisions? Here is a manuscript on the best quality of paper typed by an expensive machine. It carries a pronounced odor of tobacco - cigars at two for a quarter, I judge.

"On the top left hand corner of the back page there is a slight discoloration made by some cordial. A chemical test would reveal which cordial, but we need not go to that trouble.

"I have no doubt if I applied my lens to the envelope, I should discover traces of the inner pocket of an automobile coat. Deduction - an author in prosperous circumstances, somewhat indulgent of the good things of life, who is pretty certain to follow the same course with his hero. As rollicking heroes are not at present suitable to the literary policy of our magazine, a printed slip will suffice in this case, Watson."

"Really, Mr Bones," said the literary editor, "I begin to think you are a magician."

"Not at all, Watson," the maging editor protested. "Merely the development of intuition as applied to manuscript decisions. For example, I see another manuscript in your pocket. From that I gather the manuscript is worth consideration, otherwise it would not be in your pocket.

"But there are points about it which have caused you to hesitate in forming an opinion or you would have handed it to me before this. You need not feel uneasy, Watson; I have already accepted the manuscript."

"Great Scott!" exclaimed the literary editor.

"Nothing to be surprised at, Watson, if you could only grasp the elements of my method. To begin with, the crumpled appearance of the manuscript is encouraging. It has evidently been to many places and rejected on the absurd old fashioned plan of reading. By the way, did you notice the clip on the manuscript?"

"Honestly, I can't say I did."

"Really, Watson, you surprise me. The author made it himself out of a hairpin. That shows constructive ingenuity of a distinctly novel character. The story has a sclever twist if I mistake not."

"Yes, it certainly has a surprise at the end, but the style - "

"And a faint odor of kerosene, I think, Watson. I am sure I can detect it even from this distance."

The literary editor handed over the manuscript in despair.

"I am utterly unable to follow your literary analysis, Mr Bones."

The Managing editor smiled indulgently.

"Precisely! A little keener scent, Watson, and you could catch a whiff of the midnight oil this poor fellow has burned over his work. Hastily typewritten, I see. That spells inspiration.

"I note he has forgotten to sign his name at the end. Excellent! He was too absorbed in the story to remember such a trivial detail. An earnest, struggling author of an ingenious mind, and an earnest, struggling hero who accomplishes something worth while, aye, Watson?"

"Yes, there is no fault to find with the hero."

"Capital, Watson! He will work hard to suit our requirements. Send him a voucher with a request for more contributions. It is quite unnecessary for me to read the manuscript. The twisted hairpin for a clip stamped the whole story as just what we want."

New York Sun, 16 January 1910

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