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The series of pen-and-ink drawings I had in mind, and Mr. Benda's5 fitness to do them, was suggested by a similar set of pen drawings he made to illustrate Jacob Riis6' book, "The Old Town."7 I knew that Macmillans paid him nine hundred dollars for these drawings, which were not used in any periodical, but in the book only. I had planned to have only about a third as many pictures as were in the Riis book.
Mr. Benda telephoned me after your conversation with him. He was very polite and
considerate, as he always is, but he said that Doubleday had paid him $150 and $200
for one or two wash drawings8 to
illustrate novels, and that had he known how little he was to receive for these pen
pictures he would not have felt that he could undertake them. He also said he could
not do the drawings we had blocked out, as they would require a great deal of work
and some of them would have to be done from models. On the other hand, he had
spent a good deal of time in studying the manuscript, collecting material, and making
preliminary sketches, and he thought perhaps we might be able to substitute a set
drawings more conventional and less exacting.
These drawings, however, would have to be done at odd moments of his time, and he could not promise to deliver them before the first of March, as he could not afford to put more remunerative work aside for them. On this point he was very firm.
I am going out to his studio on Monday night, to see what we can do toward planning new compositions, and after that I can write you more fully.
I am cutting the story9 a good deal in revision, and I
can now say positively that it will run very little, if at all, longer than "O Pioneers!"10 I hope you can use the same type as in
that book, and give the
sam text pages the same
look. I have broken it up into chapters as much as I can, and liberal page-margins
and spaces at chapter-ends will make the decorations look better. Would your foreman
be willing to let the artist and me size the cuts and in decide on the reduction of the drawings, provided we do not ask for
cuts more than a third of a page in size? If you could give me the exact size of the
page and send me a sheet of the paper you will use, it would be hep helpful.
Benda asked me not to send away the three drawings I already have until we had come to some decision about those
that were or were not to follow. I will send them to you as soon as I have his
permission to do so. Meantime, please let me know whether I may size the cuts.