February 18th, 1904
Dear Mr. Stephens,
Sincere thanks for all the contents of your letter. ATHENAEUM man is a heart of oak—no reed shaken by a cat’s paw. And when a critic of such displacement gives me a bit of his mind, something tells me I am scoring heavily off him. I feel as Torquemada used to do whenever some friggling heretic told him he (Tork) was no gentleman.
When criticised by an ass, I am conscious of nothing but a great, silent pity, shading off into saintly benevolence. Owing, I suppose, to the “inordinate egotism,” the “intellectual arrogance,” the “serene cocksureness” noted by self in Bulletin advert of same book.
Editor’s note: This interesting letter was made available to Meanjin Papers through the courtesy of Miss Kate Baker, O.B.E.
The image of Joseph Furphy above is from the collection of the State Library of NSW.