25 NOVEMBER 1932, Page 6

A Spectator's Notebook

WE all of us display a strange interest in other people's earnings, and the earnings of literary men seem for some reason to arouse more curiosity than most. A couple of cases in the Courts in the past week throw some light on these matters. Mr. Compton Mackenzie, in the prosecution regarding his book Greek Memories, was stated to have received £500 for that volume, and it was added that his usual remuneration for a novel was £1,500. Figures of a different kind came Up in the action against the London Mercury heard on Monday in Westminster County Court. The question at issue was whether nine guineas was adequate remuneration for an article for which the contributor (no fee having been fixed in advance) asked fifteen guineas. It came out in evidence that Mr. J. C. Squire, as editor of the London Mercury, received as salary first £1,200 a year, then 1750, then £500 and finally nothing, because there were no funds available. As to-payment of contributors, rates on the London Mercury were said to have been suceessively 11 10s., 11, and more recently 15s. per page of 500 words. The judge based his verdict on his assumption that for an article like the one that formed the subject of the litigation, The Times would pay three guineas a thousand words. From all of which it is clear enough that journalism of the better type may bring satisfaction to those engaging in it, but that it certainly dws not bring them wealth.