chapter  17
CHARLES ASTOR BRISTED, from ‘Vanity Fair’, American Review, October 1848
Pages 9

Pathos I hold should be very occasional indeed in humorous works and indicated rather than expressed or expressed very rarely. In the passage where Amelia is represented as trying to separate herself from the boy-She goes upstairs and leaves him with his aunt ‘as that poor Lady Jane Grey tried the axe that was to separate her slender life’ [Ch. 1], I say that is a fine image whoever wrote it (& I came on it quite by surprize in a review the other day) that is greatly pathetic I think: it leaves you to make your own sad pictures-We shouldn’t do much more than that I think in comic books-In a story written in the pathetic key it would be different & then the comedy perhaps should be occasional. Some day-but a truce to egotistical twaddle. It seems to me such a time ago that V F was written that one may talk of it as of some body elses performance. My dear Bell I am very thankful for your friendliness & pleased to have your good opinion.