we do the worst we can for the money

echoing a sentiment James had used nearly thirty years before in writing (1876-08-30) to Whitelaw Reid, editor of the New York Tribune in response to criticism (1876-08-10) of travel pieces sent back from Europe that ‘the difficulty has sometimes been not that it was too good, but that it was magazine rather than newspaper work,’; James replied: ‘If my letters have been “too good” I am honestly afraid that they are the poorest I can do, especially for the money!’