'Do you know that letter to be genuine?'
It was the first suspicion that had ever been voiced; but it had that
sickening effect which first-uttered suspicions against one's idol
always have. Some talk followed -
'Why - what should make you suspect that it isn't genuine?'
'Nothing that I know of, except that it is too neat, and compact, and
fluent, and nicely put together for an ignorant person, an unpractised
hand. I think it was done by an educated man.'
The literary artist had detected the literary machinery. If you will
look at the letter now, you will detect it yourself - it is observable in
Straightway the clergyman went off, with this seed of suspicion
sprouting in him, and wrote to a minister residing in that town where
Williams had been jailed and converted; asked for light; and also asked
if a person in the literary line (meaning me) might be allowed to print
the letter and tell its history. He presently received this answer -
Rev. - - - -
MY DEAR FRIEND, - In regard to that 'convict's letter' there can be no
doubt as to its genuineness. 'Williams,' to whom it was written, lay in
our jail and professed to have been converted, and Rev. Mr. - - , the
chaplain, had great faith in the genuineness of the change - as much as
one can have in any such case.