Page:The Yellow Book - 02.djvu/325

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A Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir, When The Yellow Book appeared I was in Oxford. So literary a little town is Oxford that its undergraduates see a newspaper nearly as seldom as the Venetians see a horse, and until yesterday, when coming to London, I found in the album of a friend certain newspaper cuttings, I had not known how great was the wrath of the pressmen.

What in the whole volume seems to have provoked the most ungovernable fury is, I am sorry to say, an essay about Cosmetics that I myself wrote. Of this it was impossible for any one to speak calmly. The mob lost its head, and, so far as any one in literature can be lynched, I was. In speaking of me, one paper dropped the usual prefix of "Mr." as though I were a well-known criminal, and referred to me shortly as "Beerbohm "; a second allowed me the "Mr." but urged that "a short Act of Parliament should be passed to make this kind of thing illegal"; a third suggested, rather tamely, that I should read one of Mr. William Watson's sonnets. More than one comic paper had a very serious poem about me, and a known adherent to the humour which, forest-like, is called new, declared my essay to be "the rankest and most nauseous thing in all literature." It was a bomb thrown by a cowardly decadent, another outrage by one of that desperate and