It is unlikely you would ever happen to read “The Valiants of Virginia” by Hallie Ermine Rives, although in 1913 it was a bestseller. Here's how it begins:
“'Failed!' ejaculated John Valiant blankly, and the hat he held dropped to the claret-colored rug like a huge white splotch of sudden fright. 'The Corporation – failed!'”
Seriously. And the hilarity continues. So here's a note to anyone who thinks writing is getting worse: Literature is like houses. It might seem they built them better 100 years ago. But, see, after a century only the best ones are still standing.