November 12th., [1899]

Tiny fantasy of the projected 2 vols. of posthumous letters of 2 men who have had their course and career more or less side by side, but been rivals and unequal successes (one a failure) – watched, recorded by the wife (widow – or attached woman) of one of them (the failure), who has also known intimately of old (been loved and misused by) the success. Both die – and the bitter and sore wife (about their husband’s – the failure’s – overshadowing) has ever felt how really more brilliant (for the expert, the knowing) he was than the other. Then she hears the Letters of the other are to be published – and this excites, moves her: if it comes to that, why not publish the letters of her husband (the success’s wife – an idiot, quoi! – publishes his) which must have been so far superior and which will so ineffably score. She appeals – right and left – to his friends: and lo! no one has kept any. There are none to publish. Beneath this last humiliation – no one keeping them – she feels quite crushed: and has only to wait, pale and still more embittered, the issue of the rival’s. They appear – and lo, they are an anti-climax, for mediocrity and platitude, a grotesqueness (for his reputation – turning it inside out), that makes it almost seem as if it were as grotesques and exposures that they were, by his correspondents, cynically and cunningly preserved. They fall with a flatness – they blast his hollow frame! She feels with a great swing round of her spirit – avenged! Then (I am thinking) she publishes the letters of her OWN (her husband’s to her) that she has kept, Those SHE has kept! (rather!!) but delicacy, etc., the qu’en dira-t-on? has prevailed. Now it goes, She doesn’t care. She wants to score. She publishes – and does. – Or is there anything ELSE in it? – in connection with the letters she eventually publishes????–???–???