Letters from Duncan Campbell Scott to Copeland and Day, 1895

Annotated, and with an Introduction, by Vanessa Warne


Duncan Campbell Scott’s first book of poetry, The Magic House and Other Poems, was published in Canada in 1893.1 In addition to having been issued in a banner year for Canadian poetry,2 this book was the product of a series of complex international negotiations— negotiations which would produce three different editions and which would see the book distributed in three countries within a two-year period. The following letters record Scott’s transactions with Copeland and Day, the American publishers of The Magic House. Firstly and most obviously, these letters contain useful and detailed information about both the publication and the early reception of this volume. The letters also show a rarely seen side of Scott, that of Scott the businessman—a man with acumen for making deals, a willingness to engage in self-promotion and an interest in the processes and aesthetics of book production. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, these letters provide insight into the kind of cross-border transactions that took place in this period of uncertainty and controversy over international trade and copyright laws. They consequently shed light on the complexities and material conditions of late nineteenth-century Canadian publishing.

An early announcement of the completion and intended publication of The Magic House appeared in Books and Notions, a Canadian trade magazine for booksellers and fine goods merchants, in May of 1893. In a brief article, it was reported that Scott "has now ready for publication a volume of verse and a volume of prose, and is negotiating with Canadian publishers for their issue."3 There is no further mention of The Magic House in Books and Notions until December of 1893 when a long and enthusiastic review of the now published book appeared.4 In the intervening months, Scott had made arrangements with British publishers Methuen and Company to have his book printed, bound and distributed in England. An arrangement had also been made for the Ottawa bookseller and publisher J. Durie and Son to serve as Canadian agents for Methuen and to distribute the book in Canada. Both the British and the Canadian editions were printed by Constable and Company in Scotland at the Edinburgh University Press. The printed sheets were then returned to London to be bound by Methuen. The only distinctions between the two editions can be found on the title page and spine, where the name and address of Methuen and Company have been replaced in the Canadian edition with that of J. Durie and Son. In late October of the same year, the two editions were made available for purchase and met with a series of positive reviews in both Canadian and international periodicals.5

The positive character of the contemporary reception of The Magic House is made evident by Scott’s first letter to Copeland and Day. In this letter, Scott transcribes passages from eleven reviews which had appeared in the Scottish, English and American presses.6 Of course, the nature of Scott’s contact with his prospective publisher insured that this compilation would contain primarily favorable appraisals of his work, and it is thus not surprising to find that the excerpts have been edited by Scott in such a manner that they glow with praise. Several of the excerpts are also marked by an undercurrent of paternalism. For example, the Edinburgh newspaper, The Scotsman, makes a revealing comment on the international status of Canadian poetry at this time:

If there is any more such poetry produced in Canada as is to be found in Duncan Campbell Scott’s book, "The Magic House and Other Poems," readers at home should be glad to have it. For genuine imaginative richness, technical dexterity and natural charm, it is poetry that will hold its own place in any comparison.7

There is an element of surprise and perhaps even condescension in this review. In addition to reminding the modern reader of Canada’s colonial status at the end of the nineteenth-century, as a place away from "home," the excerpt equates the value of this particular Canadian production with its ability to hold its ground "in any comparison." It can be assumed that the subject of such comparisons would be the work of well-established British poets such as Arnold, Tennyson, and D.G. Rossetti. It is also interesting to note the preference of several reviewers for poems which contain clearly identifiable Canadian content, or what the New York Independent’s critic refers to as "faithful reflections of Canadian color."8 Such comments are valuable for the information they provide on the international reception of Scott’s work, as well as for the manner in which they extend beyond Scott to express a variety of opinions about the nature and value of Canadian poetry in general. On this broader level, the excerpts appear to indicate an increasing awareness of the existence of a Canadian national literature in this period.

Of course, these reviews served a far more immediate purpose for Scott as he sought the support of an American publisher. Scott’s negotiations with the Boston offices of Copeland and Day began in June of 1895, approximately eighteen months after the publication of the British and Canadian editions. The original printing run by Constable had produced 400 extra sets of printed sheets which had not been used in either the Canadian or British editions and which had remained unbound. In contacting Copeland and Day, Scott was looking for an American publisher who would be willing to assume possession of these sheets and assemble them for sale on the American market.9 Such an arrangement would allow for the profitable distribution of the remaining stock of printed pages to an as yet untapped American audience. It would also allow Scott to by-pass the complex and unstable arena of international distribution and copyright law by having books intended for sale on the American market bound in the United States.

Copeland & Day were quick to accept Scott’s enterprising proposition. By late November of 1895, they had printed a new American title page and had prepared the 400 volumes for distribution and sale. Negotiations for the publication of another book began soon after and in 1896, Scott would publish his first collection of short stories, In the Village of Viger, with Copeland and Day. This was to be followed, in 1898, by the publication of Labor and The Angel, Scott’s second volume of verse.10 The letters transcribed here are thus limited in scope to the earliest phase of Scott’s business relationship with Copeland and Day. They are also limited in the sense that they provide us with only Scott’s half of the correspondence between poet and publisher. Yet, despite these limitations, the letters remain a useful source for information on the publication of The Magic House and on Duncan Campbell Scott’s career, his character and the international climate in which he worked and published.

•      •      •


I have transcribed the letters exactly as they appear in their original form. The first four letters were typed by Scott, whereas the fifth was handwritten. I have transcribed the typewritten letters according to Scott’s own pen and ink corrections and insertions. Any known discrepancies between Scott’s excerpts and the original reviews have been noted. I am grateful to John G. Aylen for permission to publish and to Tracy Ware for his assistance with this project.


Notes to the Introduction


  1. Duncan Campbell Scott, The Magic House and Other Poems (Ottawa: J. Durie and Son, 1893; London: Methuen and Company, 1893; Boston: Copeland and Day, 1895). [back]

  2. Notable amongst the books of Canadian poetry published in 1893 are Bliss Carman’s Low Tide on Grand Pré, Charles G.D. Roberts’ Songs of the Common Day, William Wilfred Campbell’s The Dread Voyage and Later Canadian Poets, edited by J.E. Wetherell. [back]

  3. Books and Notions May 1893: 8. The volume of prose mentioned here is probably The Village of Viger (Boston: Copeland and Day, 1896). [back]

  4. Rev. of The Magic House and Other Poems, Books and Notions Dec. 1893: 17. [back]

  5. Conclusions concerning the late October publishing date are based on the dates of reviews in both Books and Notions and The Glasgow Herald (see below), as well as a copy of The Magic House that was dedicated by Scott to Mrs. S.G. Lampman on November 25th, 1893 (copy currently held in the Lorne Pierce Collection, Queen’s University). [back]

  6. The somewhat conspicuous absence of excerpts from the Canadian press would appear to be an indication of Scott’s thoughts on the clout of Canadian reviewers. His decision to omit Canadian reviews must, however, remain an area for speculation and little more. [back]

  7. Rev. of The Magic House and Other Poems, The Scotsman. Bibliographical details unknown. [back]

  8. Rev. of The Magic House and Other Poems, The Independent 27 June 1894: 22. [back]

  9. Scott’s decision to approach this particular company may have been influenced by the fact that Bliss Carman had published Songs from Vagabondia with Copeland and Day in 1894.  Carman would go on to publish More Songs from Vagabondia with Copeland and Day in 1896. Archibald Lampman would also publish his Lyrics of Earth with the Boston company in 1895. [back]

  10. Notice was given of preparations for Labor and the Angel in an advertising brochure entitled A Descriptive List of the Publications of Messrs Copeland and Day (Boston: Copeland and Day, 1897). Following directly after a listing for The Magic House, an untitled "New Book of Verse" is advertised as being "in preparation" and the following assessment is given: "Mr. Scott’s versatility is emphasized in these poems, which, while equaling in merit those collected in ‘The Magic House,’ have an even wider range in subject, selection and treatment." [back]


Letter 1

                                                                                   [Page 1 of 4]

                                                                            108 Lisgar Street
                                                                                            June 13
th. 1895.



I send you under separate cover a volume of poems entittled [sic] "The Magic House and other poems." This book was published in London by Methuen & Co. and in Canada by Durie & Son Ottawa. It has never been upon the American market, and it is with the idea of placing it there that I write you this present letter. I have the sheets of four hundred (400) copies unbound in the hands of Methuen & Co. These are my property, the firm mentioned having no claim upon them in any way.1 Now what I would deem it a favor for you to consider is the possibility of bringing out an American edition of the book. I would be willing to hand you over the sheets, which as you will observe, are printed by Constable, if you would agree to put the book upon the market under your name and allow me a fair percentage. The only printing to be done would be the title page, and you will notice that to make the book of sufficient bulk to bind well there are several pages at the back which have been used as a book list, this space would be available to you for your own advertisements.2 I enclose you extracts from criticisms and reviews.

                                                       Yours very truly
                                                       Duncan Campbell Scott.

Copeland & Day
            Publishers, Cornhill
                     Boston Mass. U.S.A.

                                                                                  [Page 2 of 4 ]


"The Speaker" London Eng.
     A charming decorative touch, "lilac messages of love,"3 etc., distinguishes Mr. Duncan Campbell Scott’s "Magic House and Other Poems," but is not by any means the main distinction. This, we understand, is Mr. Scott’s first book; yet he has already thought and felt his way a considerable depth into the heart of things, and is, besides, a master of certain forms of verse. This is, for what it fulfils and for what it promises, one of the most remarkable books of verse published within the last decade. The sweet grave cheerfulness of the stanzas "To the Memory of My Father,"4 the aspiration in "From the Farm on the Hill," the stifled sobbing in "Memory," show moods possible only to strength and restraint. In description Mr. Scott is always good, often perfect, —5

"Weekly Sun" London Eng.
     Messrs. Methuen & Co. have this week published a charming volume of poems by Duncan Campbell Scott, which deserves a wide circulation. The author sounds a happy joyous note, and the poems have great melodic charm. —6

"The Morning Post" London Eng.
     Mr. Duncan Campbell Scott can write powerfully as well as gracefully. His sketch of "A Night in June" is a pretty picture, full of poetical fancies, and "At the Cedars" is a stirring description of a dramatic incident. From the background of some of his pieces it is to be inferred that he hails from Canada, and if so the Dominion may be credited with having produced a poet who is something more than a versifier.—7

     "The Guardian" London Eng.
     The main fact about Mr. Scott’s poems is that they evince a great command of really splendid and picturesque poetic phrase.— Mr. Scott’s poems are interesting in themselves, and still more interesting in the hope they hold out of finer work in the future. His verse shows thought and imagination as well as skilful diction. —8

                                                                                  [Page 3 of 4]


     "Liverpool Daily Post"
     Mr. Scott’s little volume is apparently the work of a new writer. He has a fine appreciation of the beauties of nature, and in the poem entitled "In the Country Churchyard" he displays no little power. Many of his lyrics are delightfully fresh and flowing. Of these "A Portrait," "The Message," and "The End of the Day" are specially worthy of mention. Mr. Scott has a distinct poetic gift. —9


     "The Glasgow Herald"
     "The Magic House & Other Poems" by Duncan Campbell Scott, is a finely printed volume of daintily-rounded verses, full of simple and tender felicities of fancy. Mr. Scott has in good measure the instinct of the artist. His book raises good expectations.10

     "The Edinburgh Scotsman"
     If there is any more such poetry produced in Canada as is to be found in Mr. Duncan Campbell Scott’s book, "The Magic House and Other Poems," readers at home should be glad to have it. For genuine imaginative richness, technical dexterity and natural charm, it is poetry that will hold its own place in any comparison. The poem mentioned in the title is a good instance of Mr. Scott’s peculiar luxury of imagination and skill in harmonious metrification. It has a daring effect of internal rhyme, on which the voice of a less skilful singer would soon break. —11


     "The Nation"
     Mr. Duncan Campbell Scott’s "Magic House and Other Poems" shows the same fine qualities.12 He also reveals an exceptional dramatic faculty in the poem "At the Cedars"—a lumberman’s tragedy—and turns to an exquisite mode of meditative thought and fine expression in his poem "A Country Churchyard." —13

                                                                                  [Page 4 of 4]

     "The Critic"

     A number of the poems in "The Magic House," by Duncan Campbell Scott, have already appeared in "SCRIBNERS[.]"14 Brought together, they make a creditable volume. The work is finished, spontaneous, delicate, melodious and individual. Where he succeeds best, and where he excels, is in such a bit of stirring narrative as "At the Cedars," or in this exquisite "Song."— We extend to Mr. Scott a hearty welcome. His "Magic House" is stocked with many delights, sweet with charming music and gay with bright pictures. —15

     "New York Post"
     It is in such a volume as Mr. Carman’s16 and Mr. Scott’s that the hope of our cis-Atlantic poetic literature lies, for they differ from the young London poets in being unhackneyed, and from Mr. Garland17 and his kind in showing enough of cultivation to avoid a note of provincialism which still hangs around the whole school of dialect-writers. —18

     "New York Independant" [sic]
     Mr. Scott is an artist refined, difficult to please and patiently laborious, with a turn for unusual word-combinations and fanciful quirks of style; but he has the quality of imagination which commands certain magic, slight, airy, the very essence of fascination. Mr. Scott’s verse is clearly and strongly descriptive with a wholesome truthfulness to nature. What we like best are the faithful reflections of Canadian color and the fine perspectives of Canadian scenes; these make the beautiful pages authentic and captivating. — 19

Letter 2

                                                                                  [Page 1 of 1]

                                                                           108 Lisgar Street
                                                                                      June 20th. 1895

     I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favour of the 18th inst. The terms you offer are quite satisfactory to me.  There is only one point upon which I cannot quite understand your letter. You propose a royalty of 25% "provided the first cost to you, which would be made only as a basis for custom duties, be arranged as suggested on the previous page."20 Would you please have the kindness to explain this point more clearly, as I do not feel certain that I have your full meaning. The price you propose is, I think, a fair one; the book sells for $1.25 here and s.5 in London.21 Will you require Methuen & Co.’s invoice in duplicate? Will they send the sheets by freight or express? and by what line? I ask these questions now to save time. If you have any instructions to give regarding the shipment I will be glad to convey them to Methuen & Co. I felt in writing you in the first instance that the fact of the reviews in your press would, perhaps, influence you against a favorable view of the matter. I would like to say, however, that the book has never been on sale in your country, and very few, if any, copies have found their way there.

                                                                Yours very truly
                                                                Duncan Campbell Scott.

Copeland & Day
              69 Cornhill
                           Boston Mass. U.S.A.

Letter 3

                                                                                  [Page 1 of 1]

                                                                            108 Lisgar Street
                                                                                        Ottawa Ont.
                                                                                 June 28th. ’95.

     I have to acknowledge yours of 25th. inst. with thanks. I wrote yesterday to Methuen & Co. to carry out your directions with reference to the invoice, the shipping, and the extra paper.22
     I am sure that they will have no objection to supplying the latter, and I trust they will act promptly.

                                                                             Yours Sincerely
                                                                             Duncan C. Scott

Copeland & Day
              69 Cornhill
                           Boston Mass. U.S.A.

Letter 4

                                                                                    [Page 1 of 1]

                                                                            108 Lisgar Street
                                                                       21st. September 1895.


     Mr. E.W. Thomson23 who is now in the city has informed me that he submitted to you my volume of short stories "In the village of Viger." I have been in communication with Copp, Clarke and Co. of Toronto and they have given a favourable answer as regards taking plates for a Canadian edition of the book. I think it would be possible to arrange with that firm or with William Briggs to take a set of plates at a fair price, say—one hundred dollars. If you can give me a favourable answer I will at once approach them.24
     Some weeks ago I heard from Methuen & Co. that the sheets of ["]The Magic House["] had been sent to your London agent.25 Have you heard anything of them?

                                                                             Yours sincerely
                                                                             Duncan C. Scott

Copeland & Day
                        Boston Mass.

Letter 5

                                                                                   [Page 1 of 1]

                                                                            108 Lisgar Street
                                                                                    Nov. 26. 95.

     The books you kindly sent came to hand this morning. I like them exceedingly: far better than the English edition : the title page is one of the best I have seen, and everything is in most excellent taste.26 I have had great pleasure in mailing you a photograph wh[ich] should reach you at the same time as this writing.27

                                                                               Yours faithfully
                                                                Duncan Campbell Scott.

Copeland & Day
              69 Cornhill
                           Boston Mass.


Notes to the Letters


  1. As was often the case in this period, Scott appears to have paid the costs involved in the publication of his first book and was subsequently the owner of the unused materials. [back]

  2. Despite Scott’s suggestion, no advertising appeared in the American edition of this volume.  In both the British and Canadian editions, a title page announcing a "List of Books" was followed by 20 pages of advertising for the Methuen company. The advertising sections of these two editions are identical and are dated "May 1893," suggesting that they were duplications of a standard, pre-prepared list. [back]

  3. The phrase "lilac messages of love" is misquoted from the poem "The Message" (The Magic House: 9). The lines in question read "The only thing my heart can bear/ Is a lilac message of love" (19-20). [back]

  4. The reviewer is referring to the poem by its dedication rather than its correct title, "In the Country Churchyard." [back]

  5. Rev. of The Magic House and Other Poems, The Speaker: a liberal review 2 Dec. 1893: 621. There are no substantial differences between Scott’s excerpt and the original review. The review does, however, go on to quote from several poems, including "An Impromptu" (1-4), "The Voice and the Dusk" (13-16), and "The River Town" (17-20), the last of which is proclaimed "as good as Tennyson." The review ends by saying "Mr. Duncan Campbell Scott is apparently Canadian and we welcome him and his poetry most heartily to the old country." [back]

  6. Rev. of The Magic House and Other Poems, Weekly Sun. Bibliographical details unknown. [back]

  7. Rev. of The Magic House and Other Poems, The Morning Post. Bibliographical details unknown. [back]

  8. Rev. of The Magic House and Other Poems, The Guardian Feb 7 1894: 210. In quoting from this review, Scott has made several unacknowledged omissions.  To begin with, he has omitted the unfavorable phrase "not quite amounting to mastery" from the first line of the review, which reads: "The main fact about Mr. Scott’s poems is that they evince a great command—not quite amounting to mastery—of really splendid and picturesque poetic phrase." Scott goes on to accurately indicate the omission of a substantial section of the review, including a discussion of the two sonnets "To Winter," as well as the following point of criticism: "Music and rhythm do not always come to his call." The line beginning "Mr. Scott’s poems…" follows and is quoted accurately. Scott concludes by reproducing only the more positive parts of the final sentence of the review, which reads: "His greatest danger is that he may let his vocabulary write his poems for him—it seems to us responsible for one or two in the present volume—but his verse shows thought and imagination as well as skilful diction, and we hope that all his gifts may grow together." The review ends here. [back]

  9. Rev. of The Magic House and Other Poems, Liverpool Daily Post. Bibliographical details unknown. [back]

  10. Rev. of The Magic House and Other Poems, The Glasgow Herald Nov 2 1893:10. There are several differences between Scott’s excerpt and the original review. First, Scott’s excerpt consists of the first and the final two lines of the original review and does not acknowledge the omission of a middle section, which includes quotations from three poems, "The Ideal" (1-9), "Life and Death" (13-14), and "A Flock of Sheep" (9-16). More specifically, the first line of the original review reads as follows: "‘The Magic House & other poems’ by Duncan Campbell Scott is a finely printed volume of daintily-rounded verses, not burdened with thought, but full of simple and tender felicities of fancy." In this case, Scott has removed the phrase "not burdened with thought" without acknowledging the omission. On a similar note, the original review ends as follows: "Mr. Scott seems to have in good measure the instinct of the artist, and he may become quite a master in form and colour. His book raises good expectations." Here, Scott has made another unacknowledged omission and has changed the phrase "Mr. Scott seems to have" to the more definite "Mr. Scott has." [back]

  11. Rev. of The Magic House and Other Poems, The Scotsman. Bibliographical details unknown. [back]

  12. In this review, the discussion of Scott’s book follows directly after a discussion of the poetry of Bliss Carman. The phrase "same fine qualities" thus refers to fore-mentioned qualities of Carman’s book, Low Tide on Grand Pré (London: David Nutt, 1893). [back]

  13. "Recent Poetry," The Nation June 7 1894: 433. This article reviews publications by twenty different North American poets.  The section concerning Scott opens as follows: "One thing that leads to the belief that Mr. Carman’s merits may be partly those of his early surroundings is the fact that Mr. Duncan Campbell Scott’s ‘The Magic House and Other Poems’ (Ottawa: Durie) shows some of the same fine qualities." In quoting from the review, Scott has shortened this sentence but has not acknowledged the change. The sentence that follows is, however, quoted accurately. In the original review, this sentence is followed by a quotation of the first seven lines of "In the Country Churchyard." Scott acknowledges his omission of both this quotation and the remainder of the review with a final dash. [back]

  14. The following poems were printed in Scribner’s Magazine before their republication in The Magic House and Other Poems: "The Hill Path", "Youth and Time", "Song [I have done]", "At Les Eboulements", "The Magic House", "The Reed Player", "At the Lattice", "For Remembrance", "In November", and "Song [Here’s the last rose]."  These poems appeared in Scribner’s Magazine between May 1888 and January 1892. For more information, see Laura Groening’s "Duncan Campbell Scott: An Annotated Bibliography" in volume eight of The Annotated Bibliography of Canada’s Major Authors (Robert Lecker and Jack David eds., Downsview: ECW Press, 1994).  I am indebted to Groening for this information. [back]

  15. "Canadian Poetry and Verse," The Critic: an illustrated monthly review of literature, art and life April 7 1894: 236. In addition to The Magic House, this article reviewed William Wilfred Campbell’s The Dread Voyage (Toronto: William Briggs, 1893) and Charles G.D. Roberts’ Songs of the Common Day (Longmans: Green and Co., 1893). Scott’s excerpt makes several omissions from the original review, only one of which is accurately acknowledged.  The first sentence is quoted accurately, but the second and third sentences of the original article read as follows: "Brought together, they make a creditable volume, and the best of them—some of the shorter lyrics—are very good indeed. One notices a few flaws on workmanship, here and there, and it is evident that Mr. Scott’s ear is not always sure of the rhythm of his lines; but, generally speaking, the work is finished, spontaneous, delicate, melodious and individual." Scott has condensed the first of these sentences and has omitted the more critical statements offered by the second. Several lines follow concerning the "tiring effect" of "mere cataloguing" upon the reader. These have also been omitted by Scott without acknowledgment. The next omission, of the entire poem "Song [Here’s the last rose]" (1-19), is accurately acknowledged. The sentence "Where he exceeds best…" follows and is quoted accurately. The final two sentences are also quoted accurately. The review ends here and the omission which Scott indicates with the final dash does not exist. [back]

  16. The volume by Bliss Carman under review here is Low Tide on Grand Pré. [back]

  17. Hamlin Garland (1860-1940), was a minor American writer known for both his short stories and his autobiographical writings. In 1893, he published his first and only book of poetry, Prairie Songs (Cambridge: Stone and Kimball, 1893). [back]

  18. "Recent Poetry," The Evening Post June 9 1894: 16. This article was originally published in The Nation (see above). Scott does not acknowledge the fact that this article is a reprint but chooses instead to divide the review of his work in two and acknowledge both newspapers as sources. In the original review, the section which Scott assigns to The Evening Post is divided from the section which he assigns to The Nation by a quotation from "In the Country Churchyard." In quoting this section, Scott makes a minor change to the original review by omitting the reviewer’s mention of "Mr. Santayana," thus limiting the hope of cis-Atlantic poetry to himself and Carman. He also omits the final sentence of the paragraph which reads "Dialect, like slang, can be endured as flavoring only—it soon grows wearisome if offered as food." His final dash acknowledges both this omission and the omission of the remainder of the article. [back]

  19. "Recent Verse," The Independent June 27 1894: 22. Scott makes several unacknowledged omissions from this article, including the phrase "a trifle monotonous" which originally followed after the word "airy" as it is quoted by Scott. He also fails to acknowledge his omission of the following sentence concerning lines 21 through 23 of "The Reed Player": "The lines we have italicized are as soft and as musical as any flute tune; but we cannot find much meaning in them beyond the mellow bubbling of vowels and a fine lapse of consonants." Scott then makes minor changes to the final sentence of the original review which reads: "Not all of Mr. Scott’s verse has this fault: a great part of it is clearly good and strongly descriptive with a wholesome truthfulness to nature- what we like best are the faithful reflections of Canadian color and the fine perspectives of Canadian scenes: these make the beautiful pages authentic and captivating." The dash with which Scott ends this quotation is misleading, as the final sentence of the quotation is the final sentence of the review. [back]

  20. The "first cost" presumably refers to the initial cost to Scott of the 400 sets of unbound sheets. It is subsequently not a real cost in the sense that Scott has already paid for the sheets and will not be in debt to Copeland and Day for them. A value, nonetheless, had to be placed on these pages for the purposes of custom duties. Whether Scott’s request for clarification is directed at the issue of cost or to some related point concerning the payment of duty is not clear. [back]

  21. According to Copeland and Day’s A Descriptive List of Publications (1896-1897), the American edition sold for $1.25. Scott thus stood to make $125 US from the sale of the 400 American volumes.  Translated into current dollars, the cost per book is approximately $19 US and Scott’s potential income from the sale of the books is approximately $1,500 US. [Conversion from 1895 dollars based on CPI numbers from John J. McCusker’s How much is that in real money? (Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1992) ]. It should also be noted that the Canadian and British prices of $1.25 and 5 shillings were in keeping with the standard exchange rate in this period of 25 cents to 1 shilling. [back]

  22. The extra paper to which Scott refers is presumably the paper which would have been required for the printing of the new title page, as well as paper that may have been added at the end of the volume for the purposes of binding. [back]

  23. Edward William Thomson (1849-1924), was a Canadian writer best known for his short stories and was a friend and correspondent to both Scott and Lampman. Thomson was living and working in Boston at this time and may have transported the manuscript to Boston after one of his visits to Ottawa. In a letter reprinted by Arthur Bourinot in Some Letters of Duncan Campbell Scott, Archibald Lampman and Others (Ottawa: Bourinot, 1959), Thomson tells Scott that he plans to be in Ottawa by September 20th,1895 and that he hopes to meet with Scott. Scott’s letter indicates that the visit took place as planned. [back]

  24. Scott’s attempts to sell the plates to a Canadian publisher proved unsuccessful. The first Canadian edition of The Village of Viger appeared in 1945, when it was published by Ryerson Press. [back]

  25. Copeland and Day’s London agent at this time was the publishing company of E. Mathews and J. Lane. The two companies co-published several works together, including Carman’s Songs from Vagabondia (1894) and More Songs from Vagabondia (1898), as well as volumes one through thirteen of The Yellow Book (1894-97). [back]

  26. The title page of the American volume was designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue and differs from that of the previous two editions in several ways. Firstly, in the American edition, the font used for the title, author and publishing information is larger and bolder in design. The title page is also decorated with Copeland and Day’s printer’s mark, which consists of a rectangular block filled by an artistically intertwined C and D, a floral pattern and the phrase "Sicut Lilium Inter Spinas" (‘As a lily between thorns’). In comparison, the British and Canadian editions are far more understated and subdued. In the course of his career, Scott would demonstrate an ongoing interest in the physical appearance of his books. This is perhaps best exemplified by Scott’s involvement in the design of the first edition of In the Village of Viger. A series of letters written by Scott to Copeland and Day attest to his particular interest in illustration and book-binding. These letters were written between January 25 and March 31, 1896 and are currently held at the Queen’s University Archives. Almost 50 years later, Scott would demonstrate his continued interest in the aesthetics of book production by commenting on illustrations prepared for the Ryerson edition of In the Village of Viger. Letters on this topic were written by Scott to E.K. Brown between September 16, 1943 and March 6, 1945 and can be found in The Poet and the Critic, edited by Robert L. McDougall (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1983). Scott also discussed illustrations for the Ryerson edition with Arthur Bourinot, as indicated by Bourinot in his introduction to More Letters of Duncan Campbell Scott (Ottawa: Bourinot, 1960). [back]

  27. Reproductions of this photograph did not appear in the American volumes. The photograph may have been intended for display by the offices of Copeland and Day. [back]