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TO THE EDITOR. Sir,—l do not for one moment wish to call in question the talent which is displayed in your very interesting column of' Feminine Fancies,' but at the same time I must very seriously question whether the writer of that column is justified in declaring offhand—and so influencing your wide circle of readers—that Fergus Hume's last novel is "rubbish." I have not read the book—as yet, at least; Ido not know Mr Hume; I have no mercenary motive in what I am sajiDg. That 'The Girl from Malta' is rubbish is simply "Martha's" opinion, which she is at perfect liberty to hold, but which she certainly is not justified in publishing broadcast to the detriment of the reputation of a young and rising author, unless she is absolutely certain it is a true and irrefragable criticism. I am aware that thiß is a complaint which may be urged against tho world of critics at large. I know that there is no universal standard of appeal, and that nearly all criticism is not philosophic, passionless, and impartial, but merely the expression of the opinion of the individual, and varies with the taßte and idiosyncrasies of the individual, and is therefore practically worthless. I must say I do not think much of critics. They are a pragmatical and irresponsible brotherhood, and their pronouncements, instead of being based upon principles of, if not universal, at least general application, are merely hasty, worthless, haphazard assertions. New Zealand has not produced so many writers that we can afford to condemn the one or two who represent us at Home, Mr Hume has already produced good work, but he will produce better in the future if he only has a fair field and no favor, and I am decidedly of opinion that what he has written will bear investigation if that investigation be only just and considerate.—l am, etc, J.A. Dunedin, May 21.

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"MARTHA" AND COLONIAL LITERATURE., Issue 7913, 22 May 1889

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