Letter from Edmund Gosse to Thomas Hardy, 1 April 1897

[Page 1]

29, Delamere Terrace

Westbourne Square.W.

My dear Hardy

It was the "World" which maddened me into taking up the cudgels in "the St. J.G." Tell me whether the letter, which I sent you last night, has cheered you up at all? Sheer unjust de­traction does lower one's vitality for the moment; it is an actual poison. My impression is that that review was written by some smart [Page 2] feather-headed woman, grinding some axe of her own. If one only knew who wrote these things, very often the whole sting of them would fade away. For instance, the review of "Tess" which annoyed us all so much, as soon as one found out that Mrs Andrew Lang had written it, - what did it matter? I dread more than any other [Page 3] "sign of the times" the prominence which women are getting in journalism, because women who scribble are always ignorant, generally malevolent, and entirely unscrupulous. That responsibility to keep high the standard of the Best, for its own sake, which is the very spirit & blood of an artist-man, seems to [Page 4] be incomprehensible to a woman.

Ever yours sincerely

Edmund Gosse

When, at the end of my second article, I spoke of "the Amelias & the Marcias," I meant Fielding's & your ^Mrs^ Humphry Ward's, not yours.