It was my good fortune to have the courage to write to Du Maurier when Trilby was only half printed, and to tell him how much I liked the gay, sad story. In every way it was well that I did not wait for the end, for the last third of it seemed to me so altogether forced in its conclusions that I could not have offered my praises with a whole heart, nor he accepted them with any, if the disgust with its preposterous popularity, which he so frankly, so humorously expressed, had then begun in him. But the liking which its readers felt had not yet become loathsome to the author, and he wrote me back a charming note, promising me the mystery, and enough of it, which I had hoped for, because of my pleasure in the true-dreaming in Peter Ibbetson; and speaking briefly, most modestly and fitly, of his commencing novelist at sixty, and his relative misgivings and surprises.
It was indeed one of the most extraordinary things in the history of literature, and without a parallel, at least to my ignorance. He might have commenced and failed; that would have been infinitely less amazing than his most amazing success; but it was very amazing that he should have commenced at all. It is useless to say that he had commenced long before, and in the literary property of his work he had always been an author.