" MARIAN ROOKE."
[TO THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR."]
New York, January 9, 1866. SIR,—Your New York Correspondent has done me the honour to make my novel of Marian Rooke the leading topic of his letter printed December 16.
Your correspondent's allegations, if well founded, would be hypercritical enough ; as it is, they are more. With your per- mission I will deal with them summarily as follows, premising that the tone in which they are couched must excuse the explicitness of my denials:— First, I have heard Americans repeatedly use the word " Bri- tisher" in a way which justifies its employment in illustrative fiction. Second, I have heard Americans pronounce " nothing " as if the " g " were followed by a " k," and have known more than one to write it so. I allow that such a pronunciation is unusual, but the two instances quoted by my censor are repre- sented unequivocally by the text to be written ones. In either case my experience renders the employment of the vulgarism to the extent that I have introduced it admissible. Third, I have seen and known persons in America of whom Mr. Dyce Parapet is a fair, and therefore by no means exaggerated, picture. Surely the complexion of our legislative bodies—which he who runs may see or read—together with the great wealth possessed for genera- tions by certain families, affords at least constructive evidence of the accuracy of my portrait. Your correspondent's criticism reminds one—to compare great things with small—of the Spanish grandee who swore by every saint in the calendar that in all Castile and Arragon no such being had ever existed as Don Quixote. His experience should have taught him the difficulties which ever attend the proving of negatives, and have suggested that in so large and diversely peopled a country as the United States it is next to impossible for any individual, let him be never so clever and observant, to be positively infallible touching the endless varieties of its people or the countless corruptions of their speech.
Your correspondent's remaining implication—referring to my not being an American—you have been kind enough to resolve,, probably to his satisfaction.—Your obedient servant,