21 JUNE 1975, Page 4

Gilbert and Sullivan

Sir: With regard to Benny Green's review of my novel A Victorian Masque (June 7) I do not feel that his obvious hero-worship of Gilbert justifies him in suggesting that Sullivan was a combination of Casanova and the proverbial snake in the grass. Also, he must surely be aware that "Ruddigore" was spelt "Ruddygore" to start with and was then altered to the present title because people objected that the original was a swear-word. This transition is observed in the novel.

Secondly, it is made clear in the novel' that Sullivan could be an awkward customer and it's stated at one point that Mrs Ronalds seeing her lover's failings so clearly understood Gilbert's irritable attitude. Also, I feel sure that a psychologist would find in Gilbert's fierce denigration of Knighthoods the resentment of a man who felt he had been unjustly ignored in favour of his partner. (And, indeed, who would blame him?)

As for my supposed "hereditary claims" mentioned by Mr Green I was merely satisfying the curiosity of the reader faced with an author bearing the same name as a character in her novel. Mary Teresa Ronalds 205 Grangehill Road, Eltham, London SE9