In a letter to his sister Ellen who, like Margaret and their mother, disapproved of the audacities of Denzil Quarrier, Gissing quoted maliciously the reviewer's assertion 'A bolder theme may possibly suit this author better' (Letters ofGeorge Gissing to Members ofHis Family, p. 326). When writing to Eduard Bertz three days later on 17 March he added: 'They tell me that not a single paper has objected to the theme. Indeed, after Hardy's "Tess," one can scarcely see the limits of artistic freedom' (The Letters of George Gissing to Eduard Bertz, p. 149).