29 JULY 1893, Page 16


[To Tan EDITOR OP THE "SPECTATOR."] SIR, I have been fairly successful up to date in resisting the- temptation of attempting to put a critic right where it seemed to me he was wrong. If I am unable to remain silent in the case of the Spectator, it is because I am more than usually shocked at the charge you bring against me of writing what you term "an almost scandalous lampoon" about a well- known novelist. I have no feeling against any novelist, well- known or unknown; and I deny emphatically that either of the writers in the story you refer to are novelists under " very slight disguise," or that I had any particular person in view when I wrote the story.

It is difficult to rebut a charge such as you have made, but I think I can dispose at least of the " slight-disguise " theory. I asked six well-known authors who had read the story to name the "lampooned " novelist. No two of them named the same man. However, proof should be furnished by the person who makes a charge ; and if you are not prepared to prove your statement, you will doubtless be quite willing to with- [We are quite ready to accept Mr. Barr's assurance that we were wrong in thinking that he intended any particular person by Mr. " J. Lawless Hodden," but the coincidence of a name so like that of one novelist, being coupled with " Kenan Buel," which is so near that of another, misled us,—for which we sincerely apologise.—En. Spectator.]