MARY RUSSELL MITFORD Autograph letter Signed.
English author and dramatist. Author of 'Our Village'.
ALS. 5pp. Three Mile Cross. Not dated but postmarked February 28th, 1832. To Mrs Merry at Mr Mason's, Beale House, Amersham.
"My dearest friend - no, my dearest friends! First of all, everything is well at the High Roads. Papa was there today and heard an excellent account of their goings on. The [pets?] quite well. No letters (which expecting a post, we asked for) and the man to whom you gave permission gone to Hartley, so that as he is the only one who thoroughly knew your address which I with my usual [gaucheness?] remember only imperfectly, you must excuse if the name of Mr Mason's place be mis-spelt. I could not help writing if it were only to tell you how very, very much we want you back again - how much every day we have missed you and what a difference it makes to know you are only a mile off even if we were to happen not to meet - which however never must happen - for a whole fortnight. This evening we have been particularly wanting both of you, for Mr Talfourd and Charles Packer have been dining here, and as you may well imagine, we all talked of the dear friendship of the Mile. His worship was engaged to have dined at Bear Wood (Mr Walker, by the way, intended to ask Mr Merry if I had not told him he was out - he would not have had him though, I would have forestalled him) His worship was to have dined there and to meet the High Sheriff and the collective wisdom of the Grand Jury, but he still has a very bad cold. I did not go - better at home all ways. Mr Merry was called on the Grand Jury, so early that he would have been one of them if he had been at Reading and my father bemoans his absence most on that account. Only think of Mr C. Hunter, whose son was buried at Mortimer on Thursday last being their governor, and in as good spirits as normal! Papa is of them, of course - but he is really very poorly, of which I can hardly give a stronger sign than his not dining with them yesterday - indeed not dining at all - for Charles and I being passing the day at Farley Hill, he only had tea when he came home, which was very wrong, for eating always does him good. I don't think it's anything serious but when he is not well it always makes me very anxious and fidgety. Charles says that Mr Philips is much delighted by the Opera. He returns to Town tonight and is to pass all Wednesday morning with him, and is to be at George Robins's in the evening so I expect everything will be settled then. Between ourselves, I suspect dear Charles of being a little behind hand with his work, and therefore of having hitherto rather avoided than sought the constituted authorities of Drury Lane - nothing however can be going on better - Mr Philips is enthusiastic, and as Charles is to go over all the music of the first act and a great deal of the second with him on Wednesday, and says that after that he shall be ready to meet Captain Polhill. I have great hopes of having [ . . .?] news for you by your return. The Miss [C. . .?] and Mrs Dickinson and Mrs Rapell and Mr Jeffries were much delighted by his music yesterday and Mr Talfourd is greatly pleased with my words. Miss Anderson has been very poorly but is better. They are making great alterations at Bear Wood - a new approach etc and Mr Hodgkinson is most [. . .?] recovering. Dear Emma Vines is very poorly, so poorly that she could not dine with us today as she had promised. Edward also has not come - out somewhere or other - one can survive his absence - but dear Emma we sorely missed. It is only a bilious attack and I trust to find her much better tomorrow when I drive to see her. We had a most amusing time here tonight. Mr Wheatley, the carpenter (you remember the law case between him and Mrs Dickinson in which Mr Merry played the part of the winged Mercury) sent me the enclosed letter this morning and came after dinner to consult Mr Talfourd on the question. The dear friend treated the thing half seriously and half with exquisite humour and Wheatley's delightful obtuseness and non-perception of the [law?] formed a most dramatic contrast - better by half than Captain Few. Keep the letter for me, for it's a curiosity, especially to one who heard the scene to which it serves as an indication. Well, I know no more news. Dash has been twice hovering around your water but not for the last four days, so I hope he'll grow wiser. God bless you both - His worship's best love. Ever most faithfully yours, M.R. Mitford. Please come back soon and write to me any orders you wish to have transmitted to the High Lands. I shall be so glad and proud to be of any use to you".
On 4 folded 8vo sheets and one 4to sheet with address panel on verso. VG.
An exceptionally good Mary Russell Mitford letter in which she gives news of Three Mile Cross, the village upon which her famous work 'Our Village' was based. Mr Talfourd is Thomas Noon Talfourd, the judge and poet, who was a mentor to Mary Russell Mitford, as was her close friend, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Mary Russell Mitford lived most of her life in some poverty, due to the extravagance of her father, who spent her money as soon as it was earned but to whom she was, nevertheless, devoted. The opera which she refers to in this letter is probably 'Sadak and Kalascado' for which she wrote the libretto and was eventually produced on the London stage in 1835.
Provenance: From the 19th century album of Emma Marshall of Penwortham Lodge, Preston. Emma was the daughter of William Marshall, landowner and cotton manufacturer and was related by marriage to the Miller family of Baronets, M.P.s and landowners.