His book has received bad reviews; therefore CD’s letter cheers him up.
11 St. Mary Abbot’s Terrace | Kensington
My dear Sir
I do not know how to thank you for your very kind letter; as you willsee by the enclosed reviews I have not had much encouragement inprint, & though I was prepared for any amount of abuse on the religiousbusiness, & any amount of ignorance on my exposition of your theory inch iv, I did think they wd. say the 1st. chapter was well written.f1The Athenæum contains 14 distinct terms of abuse & three allusions toa book written in my teens—f2 But I rather like the Scotsman, &I think he is more a friend of ours than he chooses to say.f3
Well as I was going to say your letter has really cheered me up forthough I know how kindly is your nature & that you are one of those whoappreciate something in everything you read, and therefore that youare a more friendly critic than the general reader wd. be, yet as youcondemn nothing in the book wh. I have not already myself condemned, andhave selected for your praise those passages in which I put my trust—I amaccordingly emboldened to place faith in the book at least to a moderateextent. Its chief defect—& it cannot get over it—is that of form.I began it as a chapter to be inserted in my travels: then it became a Hist.of Africa: then what it is I shall in the course of 2 years orso, perhaps less, recast it—cut out & transplant Africa & thepolemics, make it a Universal Hist. breaking it up into smallerchapters—putting in dates—maps—& authorities as you suggest.f4
Savages breaking out into verse is personal knowledge.f5 I cangive you a description of a case whenever you wish. I found Blyth(of India) at the Geographicalf6 reading that part in the Library—We were introduced but my name was not mentioned & he pointed out that passageto me saying “There is a good deal of truth in that you know”— healso read me several other passages with approval—e.g. the preceding passageson p 441— But I said who is this man? Does he know anything abt.savages. Whereupon he gave me a short account of myself. He did not seemto like the anti-Jesus part regarding it as premature & such seems to be thegeneral opinion. However I mean to devote my life to war on Christianity.
I know the passage you allude to about the tendrils & had it in factnoted down to be used. But the extreme brevity required in c. iv. hasprevented me as you observe from giving facts.f7 However I am notaware that I say anything about moral & intellectual evolution whichhas not been said by yourself or which may not be fairly deduced fromwhat you say— I dont think I can teach you anything on that point. I amglad the passage on Mind & Matter in p 410 did not strike you as absurd. I wasrather nervous about it.f8
As to the prospects of the book I am dubious & were it not that Ishd. be sorry for Trübnerf9 to lose money I shd. not muchcare. It cannot become a classic in its present form but 〈l〉ookingupon it as a rude block I believe I can carve it into a permanent work,adding new facts—& what is of more importance new ideas—
My travels will be out in the autumn—f10 It will be a book writtenfor women—in a kind of prose poem if I can manage it—& willtherefore not contain much ethnological detail I shall supplement itwith miscellaneous essays on Africa— I suppose you do not agreewith the passage abt. Caffres identity with negroes (273): anaval surgeon who has been on both coasts & also at the Cape told mehowever that he was never of any other opinion.f11 I merely go byportraits of Caffres that I have seen, not having been at the Cape.
Erewhon seems likely to have a run— Author did not put his name to itbecause his father is a clergyman—f12
Burton who tells me he had a delightful lunch with you, is just offto Iceland.f13
As I said before I do not know how to thank you. I will merelysay that I went to my work this morning in a happier frame ofmind than I have been for many a day.
I remain | yours very truly | Winwood Reade