G A HENTY Autograph Letter Signed.
British (English) war correspondent and author of boys' adventure stories.
ALS. 3pp. 33 Lavender Gardens, Clapham Common, SW. September 11th, no year. To [William] Woodall.
"I should have written directly I obtained your address from your letter to our last Committee, but I went away cruising the following morning, and having friends on board, had no quiet opportunity for writing there. I returned yesterday having finished my season's sailing. My wife and I have talked about you scores of times and have regretted much the ignorance of your whereabouts and my consequent inability to learn how you were getting on. I did in the early days of your illness write to you at Llandudno, but of course you were not then able to read still less to answer the letter, which was written in ignorance that your illness was a serious one. We are glad indeed to hear by your letter to the Committee that you are on your way to recovery, though we regret that it will still be some time before you are yourself again. Things go on as usual with us. I have had three attacks of gouty diabetes, and am thinner than when you last saw me, but I could spare a good deal more weight without hurting myself, and am generally in excellent health. Charlie is at the front. He went out in command of the Company of the London Irish to fill the gaps in the Royal Irish Rifles. So far he has not been engaged but as he is at present with two companies of his regiment, two troops of yeomanry and some guns in the Zand River, in order to cut off the retreat of the Boers who have been attacking Ladybrand, I may hear that he has been at work any day. He will be very disgusted if he comes back without having taken part in a fight, especially as, besides the National question, he has a wholesale hatred of the Boers, acquired during his two year residence at the Cape. We shall be very glad to hear from you, but if it troubles you to write pray do not do so, we shall understand why you are silent. Lizzie joins me in kindest regards, and in good wishes for your speedy and complete recovery. Yours always," etc.
12mo. Approx 6 x 4 inches. Mounting traces to blank verso of last leaf, else fine.
Provenance: From a 19th century collection made by the radical Liberal MP, William Woodall. G A Henty worked as a war correspondent for the London Standard and had first met William Woodall when both were present in Paris during the siege and bloody fall of the Paris Commune. The two remained firm friends thereafter, despite Woodall's radical Liberalism and the vigorous opposition to this from the right-wing conservatism of G A Henty. Woodall had retired from parliament in 1900 and did not recover from this final illness. He died in Llandudno in 1901. G A Henty did not survive him for very long and died aboard his yacht in Weymouth Harbour in 1902.