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Beadle's Half-Dime Novelettes

Elsewhere in this book, under the "History of the Firm" for the year 1860, there is given the probable reason for the issue of this proposed series of Half-Dime Novelettes, of which only one number actually appeared.

Outwardly, the Half-Dime Novelette (Fig. 26) resembles the original yellow-backs before the pictorial wrappers were used, and it is of exactly the same size and color. On the front wrapper there are cuts in each corner of the obverse of a half dime, with the date 1860, and a reverse half dime between the words "Half" and "Dime" of the title. The latter cut, erroneously, was made the size of a dime. There is no advertisement of any succeeding number in the booklet, and the only hint that it is the first number of a contemplated series is in the top line of the front wrapper, which reads "Published semi-monthly," and in the newspaper advertisements.

Fig 26.  Beadle's Half-Dime Novelettes.  Only a signle number appeared in December 5, 1860

Fig 26. Beadle's Half-Dime Novelettes
Only a single number appeared in December 5, 1860

The sudden decision to issue this series, the only number of which appeared December 5, 1860, gave no time to prepare a special novel to fit the 64 pages of this booklet, consequently a manuscript already on hand for the Dime Novel series was cut down to fit. Fortunately, the manuscript of "Myrtle" lent itself perfectly to this revision. The first 30 pages of the Half-Dime Novelette are identical, page for page, with the first 32 pages of the unabridged edition which later appeared as Dime Novel No. 54, the difference of two pages being accounted for by the difference in numbering the first page of the text. The next seven pages of the Novelette and five pages of the Novel differ somewhat, but with the beginning of Chapter VI on page 38 of both Novelette and Novel, the text is identical to the bottom of page 59. The Novelette concludes with pages 60 to 64 which are identical with pages 92 to 96 of the Novel. In the latter, in order to bring it to the length of the usual dime novel, there were inserted on pages 60 to 91 two long digressions containing stories of Myrtle's mother and of why Hugh Fielding was a bachelor.

The abbreviated "Myrtle" reappeared as part of Dime Novel No. 23, which also contained an early abbreviated form of "Winifred Winthrop." When the latter was reprinted with pictorial wrappers, it was expanded to one hundred pages and "Myrtle" was omitted, itself to reappear in expanded form in Dime Novel No. 54, as mentioned above.

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