MARY GLADSTONE Autograph LETTER Signed
Together with an integral ALS of W. E. Gladstone.
Mary Gladstone (later Mary Drew) was the daughter of Prime Minister W. E. Gladstone and acted as his secretary at Downing Street.
ALS. 2pp. Together with a 1p ALS of W.E. Gladstone. Hawarden Castle, Chester. January 7th 18[8?]6. To Canon [?] Rowsell.
"I do not know how to be sorry enough, but the beautiful . . . [?] was discovered today amongst the number of parcels the servants hid under the string and paper and brought it up-stairs and apparently forgotten its existence - I am so sorry, for you will have had such trouble I fear - however then it's safe and sound in the Temple of Peace. Many thanks for all your kind wishes. Yours very truly, Mary Gladstone."
To which her father, W.E. Gladstone, has appended on the next leaf "Dear Mr. Rowsell, It is too kind of you and the work is beautiful: but I shall really be distressed if you repeat your bounty on any future occasion. With all good wishes, W.E. Gladstone."
8vo. Approx 7 x 4.5 inches. Slight damage to head of last leaf (not touching any part of the text) and with mounting traces on blank verso. All else very good.
Mary Gladstone was an enigmatic and somewhat eccentric figure who gained some power and influence as Gladstone's advisor, confidante and private secretary in his later years and, to some extent, controlled access to him. She is said to have been plain and studious, although with little formal education. Mary was, however, Gladstone's favourite daughter. She surprised everyone by suddenly marrying the Rev. Harry Drew, the curate of Hawarden. She was 38 and he 10 years younger. The marriage took place on 2nd February 1886 and, assuming the date of this letter to be 7th January 1886, the lost item referred to in her letter was possibly a wedding gift. The identity of Mr. Rowsell's troublesome present has, however, defeated us. The handwriting of Mary Gladstone is fairly clear and easy to read but we have been unable to decipher that particular word. The recipient of the letter is possibly Thomas James Rowsell (1816-1894) who was Canon of Westminster from 1881 to 1894. He was also Queen Victoria's Deputy Clerk to the Closet.