Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
I write to thank you for "Julie." It is long since I have read anything so delightful and true. Every bit of Julie and Fantine and Guineagold is such charming human nature that it gave me positive joy to read it.
But now I am going to complain. Why did you bring in the succession of misfortunes--four grievous ones--one on the top of the other? To me they are like bitter aloes coming in the latter part of a feast. They all have some amount of improbability in them; but that is nothing if they improved the story, or helped in the development of character. But to me they seem quite unnecessary, and the effect of them is simply painful. Your power of delineating character, and your delight in depicting the good side of human nature are not exceeded by any living writer. O! That you would use those powers in the composition of a good big story--a three-decker, as Kipling calls it--as beautiful as "Julie"--with the variety of class and character and incident you can so well develop, but worked out to natural healthy and happy results, such as do often occur, and which leave no regrets in the reader's mind.
Excuse this perhaps crude criticism from your friend and admirer,
Alfred Russel Wallace.