Miss Stephanie Wines, whose book Mark Symons was recently reviewed in the Catholic Herald by James Gilbert, sends the following lines addressed to the reviewer, who accused her of " occasional silliness": Dear Mr. Gilbert, would like to know Just why you dealt me that horrible blow That suffuses zny cheeks with deep blushes of shame And deprives me of even the wish to complain. Did you find an infinitive split through the middle? Is it over the capital letters you quibble?
Or were my poor wandering commas to blame? Was it absence of verbs, which disgraces my name? Did I end with an " of " or an "in" or a "to," Or ;middle my tenses? Or what did I do? ■ Did I mix up my pronouns, or fail to distinguish The subject from object, that you say it's " poor English."
Was I pompous, pretentious, flamboyant or frilly That sublimely you labelled me merely as " SILLY "!
Were my adjectives gaudy, my adverbs too bright?
Now I know what it feels like whenever I write: Poor: Weak: and Nonsense: and Do it again: And kindly trouble next time to make use of your brain: As with these cutting comments I scratch with my pen The shattering symbol of nought out of ten.
Or perhaps you used silly" as simple and blessed— The old Catholic meaning—it must be confessed That's a virtue of mine that I never suspected, But the critic so often finds faults unexpected And, equally startling, will firmly declare You've virtues of which you were quite unaware!
Please don't think I'm grumbling, just out of pique, 'Cos you didn't describe my style as unique, On a par with Virginia Woolf—Susan Erre Or others. Believe me, it's not that that hurts.
I don't claim the clearness of Gill, A.R.A., Or other illustrious scribes of today; But (perhaps it's my vanity)-1'd not thought to be Called "SILLY "—like Shaw, or poor T. S. E.!
It's all out of proportion, I know, it's absurd, The crushing effect of that one little word, But, now I'm resolved, at all future times, To write all my books with alternative lines!
I am, yours forgivingly,
The victim of Miss Wines' verse, Mr. James Gilbert, has Sent us the follow'' ing explanation
na sorry.: he last paragraph of my review of lkliss Wines' Mark Symons sounds arorn: i contemptuous; I didn't intend it. Hitt I still maintain that occasionally she is sing/. and that her English is often difficult. Random example of her silliness (Which is only a trifling fault in a very good book) i8 in the deseription of a picture; she writes: "As usual, the limbs are beautifully done, though of CMII'Se thry are much too solid to be supported by a cloud!" And what is a remark like that but " silly "?
Then she has a strange idea of the use of exclamation marks. They seem like Simpers at the end of sentences. But it is my own fault that I allowed them to irritate Die. I would re-write the last sentence, for I forgot to say something important: " There are passages of simple charm and beauty in this book, but it is a pity that the author's English is occasionally hard to understand and that sometimes she is just silly."