7 JULY 1894, Page 25


[TO THE EDITOR OP TEE " SPECTATOR."] SIR,—In the review of " The Green Bay-Tree," which appeared in the Spectator of June 23rd, you say that the authors "are at pains to point out the chapters, and even the paragraphs, for which each collaborator is responsible, as if the public were feverishly anxious to distinguish between the work of Mr. Wilkins and Mr. Vivian." As one of the authors concerned, I trust you will allow me to say that this "new departure " was none of my doing, and that I decline to accept the responsibility of it. The ordinary rules of collaboration, which were sufficient for such masters of fiction as Erckmann and Chatrian, Besant and Rice, and many others, are good enough for me. The specification of chapters and paragraphs was not my idea, and both the publishers and I considered it ill-advised. But I was careful not to oppose the suggestion lest my opposition might have been misrepresented or mis- understood. Under the circumstances (and they are exceptional ones), I have come to think that it is just as well that the plan was adopted in this case, as it certainly limits the indi- vidual responsibility of the authors, and reduces the literary partnership to a minimum.

I may add that my object in writing this letter is merely to take an opportunity of explaining my position, and not in any way to abet the "puff oblique," or to shuffle out of my respond sibilities. I am quite willing to take the fullest responsibility for every word which I have written, and I am more than content to leave my work to the judgment of the public, and to stand or to fall according to its merits or demerits..—I am,