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WSG to The Era, Dec. 22, 1888 (issue 2622), p. 8


To the Editor of The Era.

Sir, – In your issue of Saturday last you remark upon my "impertinence," in having appealed from Mr. Clement Scott’s opinion of Brantinghame Hall to that of Mr. Lawson.  Upon the still-unsettled question of the official infallibility of dramatic critics you are, of course, entitled to your own opinion, and I to mine.  It is a significant fact, however, that your leading article in the same number is devoted to proving that an objection entertained by some critics (Mr. Scott, I believe, among the number) to the situation at the end of Act Three, is based upon an entirely mistaken assumption.

  Your obedient servant,
    W. S. GILBERT.
London, 19th Dec., 1888

[Mr. Gilbert’s letter is a little misleading.  It is not the question whether all critics are infallible, but whether any dramatic author is entitled to write to the editor of a newspaper and find fault with his critic’s notice of his (the dramatist’s) play in terms which imply censure of that critic’s motives.  We are always glad to receive and insert a correction by any playwright of any error of mere technical detail in our notice of his piece; but we confess that, had we received from Mr. Gilbert a letter containing passages such as those which have been made public by Mr Clement Scott, we should have simply put Mr. Gilbert’s epistle into the fire.  This is not the first time that Mr. Gilbert has objected to an unfavourable verdict upon his work, and we feel sure that when the natural irritation resulting from the failure of Brantinghame Hall has passed away he will regret as deeply as we do that he should have been stung into committing what we must continue to consider an epistolary impertinence. – ED. OF THE ERA.]

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