Your criticism of my Nation letters was welcome and just: their tendency is certainly to over-refinement. Howells wrote to me to the same effect and you are both right. But I am not afraid of not being able on the whole, and in so far as this is deeply desirable, to work it off with practice. Beyond a certain point, this would not be desirable I think-for me at least, who must give up the ambition of ever being a free-going and light-paced enough writer to please the multitude. The multitude, I am more and more convinced, has absolutely no tastenone at least that a thinking man is bound to defer to. To write for the few who have is doubtless to lose money-but I am not afraid of starving. , .. All writing not really leavened with thought of some sort or other is terribly unprofitable, and to try and work one's material closely is the only way to form a manner on which one can keep afloat -without intellectual bankruptcy at least. I have a mortal horror of seeming to write thin-and if I ever feel my pen beginning to scratch, shall consider that my death-knell has rung.