Herbert George Wells is having trouble writing a book. The book itself is a trifling affair, since it is going to be published by a company that firmly believes in the power of leaf-gold inlays and the accentuating effect of deserts-full of white-space. In other words, the book should write itself.
But the dedication has him stumped. Having tried several approaches, he hits upon the following:
I think it was “X.L.’s” book, Aut Diabolus aut Nihil, that set me upon another line. There is, after all, your reader to consider in these matters, your average middle-class person to impress in some way. They say the creature is a snob, and absolutely devoid of any tinge of humour, and I must confess that I more than half believe it. At any rate, it was that persuasion inspiredâ€”To the Countess of X.,In Memory of Many Happy Days.
I know no Countess of X., as a matter of fact, but if the public is such an ass as to think better of my work for the suspicion, I do not care how soon I incur it.