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The Life and Letters of William Sharp and “Fiona Macleod”. Volume 1

 | 
William Sharp
, 
Fiona Macleod

Chapter Six

Texte intégral

Life: 1890

1After spending a pleasant Christmas with friends – the painter Keeley Halswelle and his wife Helena – near Petersfield in Hampshire, the Sharps entertained friends for dinner at their South Hampstead home on New Year’s Day. A good deal of alcohol was consumed, or so he told Ford Madox Brown in a letter thanking him for his New Year’s card, a proof of his Samson and Delilah etching. In the first two months of 1890, Sharp recorded his activities in a diary, parts of which his wife preserved in the Memoir. In early January, he was working on the Browning monograph and beginning a novel, “The Ordeal of Basil Hope,” which never saw the light of day. He was also writing articles for the Scottish Leader and “London Letters” for the Glasgow Herald. In mid-January, to escape the distractions of London, he went to Hastings where he worked steadily on the Browning biography and enjoyed long walks with the poet Coventry Patmore who was living there. After his return to London in February, he continued to work on the Browning manuscript and “Basil Hope.” In mid-March, he wrote to congratulate Bliss Carman, the poet he had met the previous summer in Canada, on his appointment as an editorial writer for the New York Independent. The letter was written in Edinburgh where he had gone for a few days to visit his mother and rest his eyes and head after intense work on the Browning book. In an April 7 letter to Frank Marzials, general editor of Walter Scott’s Great Writers Series, he said he had nearly finished reviewing and revising proofs of the Browning book and would return them in the morning. The half-dozen advanced copies which were printed several days later must not have contained Sharp’s corrections as he felt obliged to send an “Errata and Addenda” slip to at least two potential reviewers. On April 16, he told J. Stanley Little that his Life of Browning was “going splendidly – already about 10,000 copies disposed of.”

2While working on the Browning biography and “Basil Hope,” Sharp also wrote the Browningesque prose piece “Fragments from the Lost Journal of Piero di Cosimo” which appeared in two parts in the January and April issues of The Art Review, the short-lived successor to The Scottish Art Review that James Mavor edited and Walter Scott published from January to June 1890. He also selected the poems and wrote the introduction for Great Odes: English and American, a Canterbury volume that appeared in April. He wrote a play, “The Northern Night,” that see the light of day in 1894 in a collection of short dramas called Vistas. He wrote an article on D’Annunzio for The Fortnightly Review and an article on American literature for The National Review. In early May, he went to Paris to review the Salons and returned to London nine or ten days later to write the review for the Glasgow Herald. He was reading extensively in contemporary French, Belgian, and Italian literature, and he wrote a “Critical Memoir” for an English translation of Sainte-Beuve’s Essays on Men and Women which appeared in September in David Stott’s Masterpieces of Foreign Authors series. Sharp’s interests ranged widely, and he worked especially hard in 1889 and the first half of 1890 on projects that produced income and are only of passing interest.

3There are exceptions, and one is a poem that stands out for its stark imagery and what it portends. In mid-May, he sent an essay and a poem to Bliss Carman for possible publication in the New York Independent. The essay was not accepted, but the poem, “The Coves of Crail,” appeared in the July 3 issue. Sharp had included the poem in the second (1889) edition of his third book of poems, Romantic Ballads and Poems of Phantasy. Since that volume was not published in the United States, the poem had not appeared there.

“The Coves of Crail”

The moon-white waters wash and leap,
The dark tide floods the Coves of Crail;
Sound, sound he lies in dreamless sleep
Nor hears the sea-wind wail.

The pale gold of his ozzy locks,
Doth hither drift and wave;
His thin hands plash against the rocks,
His white lips nothing crave.

Afar away she laughs and sings –
A song he loved, a wild sea-strain –
Of how the mermen weave their rings
Upon the reef-set main.

Sound, sound he lies in dreamless sleep,
Nor hears the sea-wind wail,
Tho’ with the tide his white hands creep
Amid the Coves of Crail.

4Crail is both a small village on the rocky east coast of Scotland and the name of the harbor the village overlooks. The handsome man in the poem who now moves only with the waves was lured to the sea by the song of a mermaid and drowned in his attempt to reach her in a realm inhabited only by mermaids and mermen. The poem’s subject, tone, and form anticipate the poetry Sharp would write later and attribute to Fiona Macleod. He had heard its story many times from the men and women of the Inner Hebrides. It reflects the dangers of life on the sea for fishermen and all sailors as well as the danger of efforts to cross the boundary between the world we know and the spirit world we would like to know. A common theme in fairy tales of all languages, it became a frequent motif in the writings Sharp published as Fiona Macleod.

5Sharp’s burst of writing and editing in the winter and spring of 1890, enabled by a period of good health, finally produced enough money for a break from editing, reviewing, and the fast pace of life in London. As early as January 23, 1889 he told Hall Caine he hoped to be settled in Rome the next winter: “I am tired of living in this abominable climate, and of so much pot-boiling. I want to retire for a year and devote myself to original work.” On February 22 he wrote to Richard Watson Gilder: “Next October I am going to leave England for six months at any rate, and perhaps for 18, and return to my well-loved Italy. I am sick of pot-boiling and wish to get on with purely original work. The Drawback is – heavy pecuniary loss. However, I feel I must do it, now or never.” Finally, in a long letter to Stedman on June 17, he announced his decision to “begin literary life anew:”

As for us, we are both at heart Bohemians – and are well-content if we can have good shelter, enough to eat, books, music, friends, sunshine, and free nature – all of which we can have with the scantiest of purses. Perhaps I shd be less light-hearted in the matter if I thought that our coming Bohemian life might involve my wife in hard poverty when my hour comes – but fortunately her ‘future’ is well assured.

6The Sharps divested themselves of some writing and editing obligations, stored their furniture, and on June 24 left the South Hampstead house they called Wescam. They would travel while Sharp devoted himself to serious literary work, but their financial circumstances precluded a complete break. Sharp transferred to Elizabeth the post of London art critic for the Glasgow Herald and resigned his lucrative though time-consuming position with The Young Folks’ Paper, but he retained his Canterbury Poets editorship. After leaving Wescam, the Sharps spent a week in the Caird’s Northbrook House in Micheldever, which he described in a June 17 letter to Stedman as “a friend’s place 7 miles across the downs north of Winchester.” When they returned to London, they stayed awhile with the Cairds in their large South Hampstead house and decamped to Scotland at the end of the month.

7Before leaving London, Sharp wrote a letter to William Wetmore Story that requires some explanation. During a weekend in Surrey in the summer of 1887 or 1888 with Sir Walter and Lady Hughes, friends of Elizabeth’s mother, Sharp met Walter Severn, a well-known painter who was familiar with Sharp’s book on Rossetti. He asked Sharp if he would like to undertake a biography of his father, Joseph Severn, also a painter, who had accompanied the poet John Keats to Rome and cared for him there as tuberculosis took his life. When Sharp agreed to undertake the project, Severn gave him a large quantity of unpublished manuscripts written by and related to his father. He began working intermittently on this project in the Spring of 1890, and on July 15, he wrote to ask Story, whom he had met in Rome in 1883, if he had known Severn, who spent many winter months in Rome and eventually served as British Ambassador to Italy. Elizabeth reproduced a portion of Story’s reply:

I knew Mr. Severn in Rome and frequently met and saw him but I can recall nothing which would be of value to you. He was, as you may know, a most pleasant man – and in the minds of all is associated with the memory of Keats by whose side he lies in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. When the bodies were removed, as they were several years ago, and laid side by side, there was a little funeral ceremony, and I made an address on the occasion in honor and commemoration of the two friends (Memoir 169).

8An American lawyer, sculptor, poet, and novelist, Story (1819–1895) moved permanently to Rome in 1850. His apartment became a gathering place for British and American artists and writers, among them Elizabeth and Robert Browning, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry James (who wrote his biography). His monumental sculptures, mostly of Biblical and Classical figures, are displayed in museums in the United States and Britain, as are some of the paintings of both Joseph Severn and his son Walter. Sharp’s letter to Story probably had the secondary purpose of reestablishing contact so that he might be welcomed into Story’s social network when he reached Rome in December.

9When Eric Sutherland Robertson left London in 1887 to fill a chair in literature and logic at the University of Lahore, Sharp succeeded him as editor of the “Literary Chair” in The Young Folk’s Paper. That position provided a regular income for the next three years and increased Sharp’s visibility and influence in the London literary scene. When they were in Scotland in early August of 1890, the Sharps learned Robertson had returned briefly to London. On August 15, Sharp told Robertson he was anxious to see him: “I have often missed you for, as you know, I was strongly drawn to you from the first, and look upon you as one of my very few “deep” friends. My most intimate friend since you left is Theodore Roussel, the French painter, who now lives in London.” He gave Robertson their Scotland itinerary in case he could meet them there. On the next day, August 16, they were going to the West Highlands – Tarbert on Loch Fyne in Argyll – for three weeks. Sharp believed it would be best if Robertson could join them there, but if not perhaps elsewhere in Scotland. From September 8 to 12, he was in Glasgow, and Elizabeth was visiting a friend in South Bantaskine. From the 12th to the 17th both Sharps were in North Queensferry, a village across the Firth from Queensferry just northwest of Edinburgh. On the 17th they went north to Aberdeen, and on the 22nd they were back in Edinburgh staying with Sharp’s mother. At the end of September or the beginning of October, they returned to London to Elizabeth’s mother’s home, 72 Inverness Terrace in Bayswater. Robertson did not meet them in Scotland, but he did see them after they returned to London. In a letter of October first or second, having just returned from Scotland, Sharp told Theodore Watts he thought Elizabeth intended to invite him for afternoon tea on Saturday, October 4 with Eric Robertson and George Meredith.

10The main purpose of the letter to Watts was to convey Dr. Donald Macleod’s willingness to speak with him about the possible serial publication of Watts’ novel – Alwyn – in Good Words. While Sharp was in Tarbert in late August and early September, he spent a good deal of time with Macleod, an eminent Presbyterian clergyman, a respected theologian, and a talented and prominent minister who served in Park Church, Glasgow from 1869 until 1901. He also edited from 1872 until 1907 the evangelical journal Good Words. Under his editorship, the journal had begun to branch out from it purely religious base to include non-religious essays and works of fiction. Thus his interest in Watts’ Alwyn. Macleod was also a repository of Celtic myth and the source of many of the tales Sharp would write as Fiona Macleod. Sharp indirectly acknowledged his debt by adopting Macleod’s surname to provide a measure of authenticity and prestige for Fiona. During this visit, Elizabeth recalled, Macleod sang to Sharp “with joyous abandonment a Neapolitan song” and asked him to send him from Italy an article for Good Words. Sharp’s “Reminiscences of the Marble Quarries of Carrara,” which appeared in Good Words late in 1890, must have derived from a visit to the quarries during Sharp’s first trip to Italy in 1883 since the Sharps did not reach Tuscany on their way to Rome until December 1890, too late for that month’s Good Words.

11On Saturday, October 11, Sharp told Stedman he and Elizabeth were leaving the next day for Germany where they planned to stay until the end of November. In the letter he asked Stedman for a “line of introduction” to Blanche Willis Howard, an American novelist who had recently married Dr. Julius von Teuffel, the court physician of Württemberg. The Sharps went first to Antwerp, stopped in Bonn, and went on to Heidelberg where, he told his friend James Mavor, they were “very comfortably settled in a romantic old house adjoining the Castle grounds – and with interesting literary associations. Goethe himself wrote one of his poems in the balcony of the quaint, picturesque room I occupy.” According to Elizabeth, her husband was disappointed with the Rhine, and he expressed some surprising anti-German, pro-French sentiments to an unknown friend: “The real charm of the Rhine, beyond the fascination that all rivers and riverine scenery have for most people, is that of literary and historical romance. The Rhine is in this respect the Nile of Europe.” He thought it should be the boundary between Germany and France.

Germany has much to gain from a true communion with its more charming neighbor. The world would jog on just the same if Germany were annihilated by France, Russia and Italy: but the disappearance of brilliant, vivacious, intellectual France would be almost as serious a loss to intellectual Europe, as would be to the people at large the disappearance of the Moon.

12Sharp wrote again to Stedman on November 4 to thank him for the introduction to Blanch Willis Howard. He had forwarded it and asked to see her late in the following week. In sending the introduction, Stedman asked Sharp if he had a hidden motive in wishing to meet her, and thus began the repartee between Sharp and Stedman regarding possible extramarital affairs that continued for many years. Sharp replied that indeed he was going to Stuttgart alone, but only because Elizabeth was otherwise occupied in Heidelberg. He did plan “to cut about a bit” on his own, visiting “Karlsruhe, Mannheim, the Neckar, and so forth” and he was going alone to Frankfurt at the end of the week to hear Wagner’s ‘Rienzi’.” Then another complaint about Germany: “Mon Ami, it is only too easy to be virtuous here. The women – ah, “let us proceed!” He and Elizabeth planned to leave Heidelberg on November 25 and stay for a time with her aunt in her villa near Florence before going on to Rome.

13When they reached Rome in December, Sharp conveyed a somewhat more balanced opinion of Germany in a letter to Catherine Janvier in New York:

Well, we were glad to leave Germany. Broadly, it is a joyless place for Bohemians. It is all beer, coarse jokes, coarse living, and domestic tyranny on the man’s part, subjection on the woman’s – on the one side: pedantic learning, scientific pedagogism, and mental ennui; on the other: with, of course, a fine leavening somewhere of the salt of life.

14He went on to describe their six weeks in Heidelberg as “wet,” but to admit it was “only fair to say we were not there at the best season.” Stuttgart was his favorite German city. “Wonderfully animated and pleasing for a German town,” it had a charming double attraction both as a medieval city and as a modern capital.” He now had a friend there in Blanche Willis Howard, who was rejoicing in the title “Frau Hof-Arzt von Teuffel.” Her husband, Doctor von Teuffel, was “one of the few Germans who seems to regard women as equals.” Sharp’s visit to the von Teuffels had a curious result: an epistolary novel called A Fellow and his Wife in which Howard wrote the letters of a male aristocrat who stayed home in Germany while Sharp, while in Italy, wrote the letters of his wife who had taken off for an extended stay in Rome. This tour de force became the first instance of Sharp adopting and sustaining with remarkable consistency the persona of a woman.

15The Sharps left Heidelberg on November 23 and reached Tuscany, “flooded in sunshine and glowing colour,” in the second week of December. After a few days with Elizabeth’s aunt in Florence, they went on to Rome and settled in rooms on Via delle Quattro Fontane, near the summit of the Quirinal Hill. He described for Catherine Janvier the literary works he planned to write, but Rome soon eclipsed them. The many “schemes he planned mentally,” Elizabeth wrote, “were never realized.… A new impulse came, new work grew out of the impressions of that Roman winter which swept out of his mind all other cartooned work.” Under the spell of the warmth and beauty of Rome and its surroundings, Sharp in his mid-thirties fell in love with a beautiful woman ten years his junior, a woman he knew in London who took on a compelling new radiance in Rome where she changed the course of Sharp’s life and the trajectory of his work.

Letters: 1890

To Ford Madox Brown, January 1, 1890

1617a Goldhurst Terrace | So Hampstead | NW | New Year’s Night

17My dear Mr. Brown,

18I cannot tell you how touched and gratified I was, as well as pleased, by your most kind present. It is very beautiful, and, I need hardly say, will now and always be among the most treasured possessions of my wife and myself. How earnestly we both wish you and yours all prosperity and happiness in 1890. I have written so often about, and felt such an artistic delight in, your work that I am pleased beyond measure to have something from you – although I already have one or two things by you; among others, one of our most valued ornaments in our drawing room (and always admired by visitors) being the framed etching of your “Entombment” – the same that, despite its shamefully stupid hanging, impressed me so much as anything in all the Exhibition at Manchester. We had a pleasant Xmas down in South Hampshire with the Keeley Halswelles.

19This evening several friends looked in upon us, with the result that not only my two remaining bottles of champagne but (several of them being Scotch) our store of whisky have gone the way of all flesh. One French gentleman, whose English was very shaky, departed with extreme difficulty, and not till he had said impressively to my wife, “Godam, my dear madame, your visk is superbe, magnifique”. In fact, his “Godams” became rather excited. But we had a jolly evening, and the only little cloud since was my dear wife’s catching me kissing our handsome housemaid Kate under the mistletoe. I explained that I felt full of fatherly love, but somehow Mrs. S. did not see it. As somebody says in Dickens, “women is rum’s devils”. Mrs. Caird also looked in earlier, and the Americans, the Harlands. By Jove, how Mrs. Caird did, so to say, jump upon Harland, who tried to “do” her with witticisms. And now I must be off to bed. I’m in a repentant mood, for last night, I much regret to say I threw back my arm in my sleep and not only gave my sposa an unpleasantly impressive salute on the nose, but woke her from her dreams of meeting me as an angel in heaven by calling out (as she declares) “Ireland forever! Hell and Blazes!”.

20Our love to Mathilde – and best greetings to Mrs. Brown and yourself. And again accept my warmest thanks. Hoping to see you soon, & to find you in your old visions.

21Ever sincerely yours, | William Sharp

22You are not meant to trouble about readjusting the stretching of the etching. I’ll see to that.

23ALS Private

To Thomas A. Janvier, January 4, 1890

24London. | January 4, 1890

25Many thanks for the Aztec Treasure House, which opens delightfully and should prove a thrilling tale. I don’t know how you feel, but for myself I shall never again publish serially till I have completed the story aforehand. You will have seen that I have been asked and have agreed to write the critical monograph on Browning for the Great Writer’s Series. This involves a harassing postponement of other work, and considerable financial loss, but still I am glad to do it.

26The Harlands spent New Year’s Day with us, and the Champagne was not finished without some of it being quaffed in memory of the dear and valued friends oversea. You, both of you, must come over this spring.

27Ever yours, | William Sharp

28Memoir 159–60

To Arthur Stedman, January 4, 1890

294th January 1890

30My dear Stedman

31I hope the New Year has opened well for you and yours. May it bring prosperity and happiness to each of you.

32I am immersed in work, and would that the days were thrice as long and that eyes and brain could stand the strain. The Harlands have got quit of their colds, and are becoming acclimatized. They spent New Year’s Day with us.

33I am uncertain whether anything of my small fund remains, or even if I am not in your debt: but in any case, please let me know, after you have added to your many kindnesses by sending me a book recently published at a dollar by Harper’s, “The Odd Number’,” by Guy de Maupassant, with an Introduction by Henry James.

34You will have seen that I have undertaken to write the critical monograph on Browning, for the Great Writers series.

35Ever yours, | William Sharp

36ACS Yale University

To Hall Caine, January 6, 1890

37Monday

38My dear Caine

39I was delighted to hear from you and most heartily reciprocate all your good wishes for 1890. I envy you at Keswick. Very glad to hear about your book, and about your play. What a far-reaching audience you now have! Well, I am sure no man deserves success better.

40I can send you only a brief line today as I am not only very busy, but have neuralgia in my eyes.

41I was with George Meredith at Browning’s funeral, and there I met and shook hands cordially with Watts.

42Still – what a poseur he is! His article (interview) in the Globe, à propos of Browning, has several misleading assertions and even inveracities. However, it doesn’t matter. He is a good fellow below it all – and we have, each of us, our own weaknesses and shortcomings.

43I am deep, deep, deep in a multiplicity of things – magazine-articles etc., etc., etc. The two or three big undertakings I have on hand have to stand over meanwhile, as I have been asked and have agreed to write the critical monograph on Browning for the Great Writers series. I have a curious kind of article (one of several appearing in various quarters) on the Lost Mural of Piero di Cosimo in “The Art Review” for Jany. By the way, I should particularly like you to read the long stanzaic elegiac poem on Browning which I have written for the February issue of “The Art Review”. Poor old Dr. Westland Marston died last night; of Bright’s disease.

44Again with all good wishes for you and yours

45Ever yrs affectly | William Sharp

46P.S. I was out of town, staying with Keeley Halswelle, or should have looked you up before you left Victoria St.

47P.S. 2. [On back of envelope] I suppose you know that Buchanan has been & still is very seedy, and has been ordered away for some time to a milder climate.

48ALS Manx Museum, Isle of Man

To Louise Chandler Moulton [mid-January, 1890]

49My dear Louise,

50I have been from home – hence my delay in acknowledging your most kind and welcome present of “In a Garden of Dreams”: and now I find myself enforced to a brief note, having (in addition to great pressure of work) an oncoming cold which I fear is at least a first cousin to the Influenza from which Lillie and my sister-secretary are already prostrated.

51But all the more reason for acknowledging at once and however briefly your kind present. The book is beautiful indeed, externally. But what is of more importance is that its contents are more beautiful still. The beauty and poetic power of these lovely poems must win you a host of new friends and admirers, here as well as in America. Some of the lyrics are simply exquisite, particularly those with something of the vague Elizabethan charm in them. I think that “Eros” and “If There Were Dreams to Sell” are my favourites – but then, I immediately remember others of like haunting grace and beauty.

52The Sonnets make a very remarkable sequence. Every one without exception is good, and some have a weightiness of poetic message and poignancy of poetic emotion combined with exquisite art that place them in the front rank of recent Sonnet-literature. I envy your having written many of these lovely and noble poems.

53For the last section of the book I care less: partly, I may add, because of the outworn media themselves. All the same you have written the only triolet which I think worth remembrance among the myriads of these objectionable trifles which have been perpetrated – the altogether delightful little “Thistle Down”.

54I have written a review of the book for “The Scottish Leader” – the most literary of the big dailies – and when it appears, which may not be till next week (Thursday is Review Day) or possibly even the week after, I shall send you a copy.

55So the poor old Doctor is gone. I did not see him, at the last, or at all for nearly a ½ year past. I got no word from anyone of his funeral – but in any case, my cold would have prevented my going. None can lament his death – which must have been a release.

56I hope we may calculate on seeing you here with May or June. It is wretched weather just now: you are well out of London. Next winter we hope to be settled in Rome. I am tired of living in this abominable climate, and of so much pot-boiling. I want to retire for a year and devote myself to original work.

57You will have seen in the Papers that I have been asked and have agreed to write the “Life of Browning” for the Great Writers series. The book should be out either in April or at latest in May.

58Again, heartily thanking you & Sincerely Congratulating You I am,

59Always Admiringly and Affectionately Yours

60William Sharp

61ALS Louise Chandler Moulton Collection, Library of Congress

To Hall Caine, January 23, 1890

6210 Caroline Place | Hastings

63My dear Caine

64Will you oblige [me] and my friend Mr. J. Dykes Campbell by some information respecting Coleridge. In the letter you printed in the Athenaeum you alluded to some interesting marginalia in the copy of the Biographia Literaria in your possession: but did not give it, then or later?

65Did you incorporate it in your Coleridge book in the Great Writers series? Or has it been printed elsewhere? If not, have you the book in your possession? If so, would you care to part with it, and what wd. you expect for it?

66Please let me have a line by return – as my stay here is uncertain.

67I came here a short time ago, and am getting on well with my “Life of Browning”. It will have more novel biographical detail than I anticipated. It will be published in the late Spring. My “Life of Heine” is having a big sale in America and abroad, by the way.

68Hope you like your new quarters.

69Best remembrances to you & yours Affectly | William Sharp

70P.S. Just going off to dine with Coventry Patmore.

71ALS Manx Museum, Isle of Man.

To John Lane, [February 14, 1890]

72My dear Sir

73I have just come back, and am under extreme pressure finishing my “Life of Robert Browning” for the Great Writers Series. In a couple of days – perhaps ten – I shall send you the information you want.

74In haste, | Very truly yours, | William Sharp

75ACS Princeton

To Richard Watson Gilder, February 22, 1890

7617a Goldhurst Terrace | So. Hampstead | London N.W. | 22:2:90

77Dear Mr. Gilder,

78Herewith Receipt, with thanks. I am pleased you care for “Remembrance”

79Next October I am going to leave England for six months at any rate, and perhaps for 18, and return to my well-loved Italy. I am sick of pot-boiling, and wish to get on with purely original work. The Drawback is – heavy pecuniary loss. However, I feel I must do it, now or never.

80Is there anything you would care to commission me to do for the Century in Italy: article say on Contemporary Italian Literature (Salvatore Farina, etc) or Art, or National Ideals & the present outcome, or descriptive of any kind? It would be of material service to me, if practicable for you to do so.

81Sincerely Yours | William Sharp

82ALS University of Delaware Library

To [John Lane], February 22, 1890

8317a Goldhurst Terrace | South Hampstead | N.W. | 22:2:90

84My dear Sir

85I can now snatch a spare moment to reply to your note of the 13th last.

86Yes – you are right in believing me to be a (profound) admirer of George Meredith – whom I also know well personally. I have written about him two or three times, but with one important exception I cannot remember when or where. But last year I wrote an article on him as a poet, which was a good deal commented on. It appeared in “The Art Review” (then called “The Scottish Art Review”) just a year ago, that is, in Feby 1889.

87I remember that I was asked by the Editor of the Athenaeum – no, the Academy, to review his “Poems and Ballads of Tragic Life”. For some reason, it was impracticable, and it was done by a friend of mine, Mr. John M. Gray, Edinburgh. This would be in “The Academy” for the autumn of 1888, I suppose, or perhaps in May or June. It was not very appreciative, if I remember rightly.

88I do not know if your bibliography is to be so complete in method as, say, the Browning Socy’s. If so, you will insert particular allusions as well as articles, I presume. In my shortly forthcoming “Life of Browning” (Great Writers Series) – the following occurs in Chapter VI.

89“Only two writers of our age have depicted women with that imaginative insight which is at once more comprehensive and more illuminative than women’s own invision of themselves – Robert Browning and George Meredith. But not even the latter, most subtle and delicate of all analysts of the tragi-comedy of human life, has surpassed “Pompilia”. The meeting and the swift uprising of love between Lucy and Richard, in the “Ordeal of Richard Feverel”, is, it is true, on the topmost peak of the highest altitude of prose romance”, but (then about the distinction between the prose method and the poetic).

90Again, in the 9th Chapter, in alluding to Browning’s funeral in Westminster Abbey, I say: “All of his peers, all who would be of his Brotherhood, who could be present, were there, somewhere in the ancient abbey. One of them, one of the greatest, loved and admired by the dead poet, had already put the mourning of many into the lofty dignity of his verse”: (and then I quote G. M’.s sonnet, which appeared in The Pall Mall Gazette).

91If I remember rightly, R. L. Stevenson has one or more allusions to G. M. in his article on “Romance”, in the first number of Longman’s Magazine.

92No doubt you know the now rare stories entitled “A Tale of Chloe” and “The House on the Beach”? And of course you know the American Memoir and the vol. of Selections from his prose and verse? The latter I brought over with me from New York recently.

93By the way, if you do not know of it, I could transcribe for you a very interesting “essayette”, or “opinion” upon the essentials for authorship, which G. M. has contributed to a forthcoming book by (I forget whom at the moment – but I have had advance sheets sent me to look at).

94I also forgot to say that I included his fine sonnet on “Lucifer in Starlight” in my “Sonnets of This Century” (with a note upon G. M. as poet and novelist, in the Appendix, where I also include five of his “Modern Love” ‘undated sonnets’, Nos. 16, 29, 43, 49, 50). I think this was in the 1st Edn, certainly in all which have followed, 10 or 11. In a forthcoming edition (May) of Great English Odes I shall include his “France”.

95I don’t suppose any other subject than G. M. would have drawn so long a note from me – which must also be my excuse to you.

96Wishing all success to what should be a most interesting book, I am, dear Sir,

97Yours faithfully | William Sharp

98P.S. I quite forgot to add that I have dedicated my forthcoming volume of Essays from the French of Sainte-Beuve with a study of S. B. – to G. M. in the following terms: “These Few Essays | By The | Most Brilliant and Profound Critic of France | Are Inscribed To | George Meredith | The Most Profound and Brilliant of | The Novelists of England”

99ALS New York Public Library, Berg Collection

To James Mavor, March 18, 1890

100My dear Mavor

101Very sorry that the extreme pressure I am under (with, too, Scott’s printers waiting for me, & cursing deeply) that I cannot manage the Glasgow trip. It is very doubtful if I can run thro’ for an hour or so even: if I can it will be tomorrow afternoon – but it is very doubtful. You might leave word at yr. office as to yr. movements, if you have to be out: in case I can manage. Wedmore, I understand from him, is anxious, as a Browning specialist, to review my R. B. somewhere. Wd. you have any objections to letting him do it for the A. R. An unsigned notice wd. hardly do there, on account of the connection. What say you?

102I’ll try tomorrow.

103W. S.

104P.S. No, I find I shall not get into Glasgow at all. I shall be here till Monday.

105ACS University of Toronto Library

To [Bliss Carman?], [March 21, 1890]

106Friday

107My dear old fellow

108I am in Edinburgh for a few days – having somewhat hurt eyes & head with extreme literary work over Browning etc.

109I shall write you shortly – but cannot delay to send on my heartfelt congratulations on your appointment. I am as glad as if some good fortune had befallen myself. Don’t overwork yourself – & take in all the fresh air and exercise you can – live out of New York if possible – and above all don’t let the poet disappear in the editor, & remember too that another overwrought poet and editor has always a loving remembrance of you.

110In great haste, | Always yours, | William Sharp

111You shall have one of the earliest copies of my “Browning”.

112ALS Pattee Library, Pennsylvania State University

To John Lane, [March 21, 1890]

113Edinburgh | Friday, 20th

114Dear Mr. Lane,

115Please come on Sunday after next, that is, on Sunday evening the 30th, as I cannot be South this week after all.

116In haste, Yours sincerely, | William Sharp

117ACS Princeton

To Frank Marzials, April 7, 1890

118The Canterbury Poets | 24 Warwick Lane | London

119I can, at the moment, do no more than put Anderson on a possible due[?].… I’ll try and let you have not only the early parts but the whole of Browning by the morning.… I cannot send any in advance of that – for some recasting will be necessary.

120Location unknown

To Frederick Wedmore, [mid-April, 1890]

121Saty

122Hope this will catch you. I find that some of my corrections were not given effect to, owing to the “rush” with the proofs at the last.

123I enclose the “Errata and Addenda” Slip which is to be sent out with each copy issued.

124Glad to find that the Browning ‘circle’ themselves are so pleased with the book – indeed, I am more than gratified by the letters I have received already.

125Hope you will have a pleasant time in Paris.

126Sincerely Yours | William Sharp

127ALS University of British Columbia

To John M. Gray [mid-April, 1890]

128Saty

129My dear Gray,

130Yours being one of the first half dozen copies printed off, for ‘advance copies’, it had not the “Errata and Addenda” slip which accompanies each copy sent out. I enclose it herewith.

131I am delighted to find that the Browning ‘circle’ is so pleased with the book – indeed, I am more than gratified by the letters I have already received.

132In haste, | Sincerely yours, | William Sharp

133The book is too near me yet for me to feel if I have impressed the man and the poet upon the reader’s mind – but to judge from letters I am hoping I have succeeded.

134ALS Stanford University Library

To J. Stanley Little, April 16, 1890

135Wednesday | 16 April 1890

136My dear Little

137Many thanks for your kind invitation. Later on (after my return from Paris, abt 12th or 15th, whither I go about the 3rd or 4th) it will give us both much pleasure to pay you and your brother a brief visit.

138Please remember that we are always (which means ‘always’ except, as it happens, either May 4th or 11th) at home on Sunday evenings, and delighted to see any friends who will look in informally.

139You know – or I fancy you do – what a sincere admirer I am of your brother’s work. It is hard that good work should find so many things in its way. You may be sure that whenever it is practicable for me to put in a spoke anywhere “will” shall not lag behind “can”.

140What you tell me about his “Lap of Winter” interests me much. I shd. be much obliged if you wd. send me a P | C saying when the 19th Century Art Socy has its Press View. Why does not your brother try Glasgow – now the most ‘selling places’ & rapidly becoming an art-centre. I’ll do what I can for him in the Glasgow Herald, the chief paper there & in Scotland – of which I am art-critic and correspondent.

141I have been frantically busy – as usual: but am now slacking off a bit. My “Life of Browning” for the Great Writers series was a stiff pull. It is going splendidly – already abt 10,000 copies disposed of.

142Hoping to see you soon (send me the P | C!) & with best regards, congratulations, and, if he will allow me to say so, encouragement to your brother,

143Always Sincerely Yrs, | William Sharp

144ALS Princeton

To The Reverend John Stuart Verschoyle, [mid-May, 1890]

14517a Goldhurst Terrace | So: Hampstead | NW

146My dear Verschoyle,

147Do, like a good fellow, give me an answer (I hope a favorable one!) about “The Future of Canada” article by the Hon. W. Longley, Attorney General of Nova Scotia, which I sent you some time ago.

148We are soon going to give up our house, & go and live in Italy. I wish you could look in tomorrow (Wedny) afternoon. Watts & a good many others will be here. I promised my wife that I wd give you your invitation orally. Heaven knows how long ago, but I had to go to Paris, & since then I have been in a maelstrom of work. (By the way I wrote to you from Paris). And now if I tell her that I have put off asking you till the last moment almost, she’ll pitch into me!

149Come if you possibly can.

150Sincerely yours | William Sharp

151ALS UCLA, Clark Library

To Bliss Carman, [mid-May, 1890]

15217a Goldhurst Terrace | So. Hampstead | London N.W.

153My dear Carman

154I have just returned from Paris. I send you (in my amanuensis’ very legible handwriting) a brief article which I think your readers will find entertaining – that is if you care for it and are able to find room for it.

155I should have posted it to you a day or two ago but I delayed till I could get a copy of a poem which I thought you would care for: and this, “The Coves of Crail”, I enclose also.

156I hope you are flourishing, in health and otherwise. We give up our London house a few weeks hence – and I shall be very far from sorry to leave London. It is far too big a town, and life in it is a weariness to the spirit and an unhealthy toil for the body. We will go to Scotland for the early autumn – then to the Rhineland (headquarters, Wiesbaden) for two months – and then south to Rome, where we are going to settle for a time.

157The above, however, will remain as my address till the end of July. After that my letter-address will be 2 Coltbridge Terrace | Murrayfield | Edinburgh.

158By following mail I shall send you a copy of some “Odes: English and American” I have edited. In the preface I allude to your fine Matthew Arnold Threnody.

159Always, my dear fellow, cordially yours, | William Sharp

160ALS Fales Collection New York University

To [Bliss Carman], [mid-May, 1890]

161Cher Ami,

162I forgot to enclose for you, if you care for it, one of a series of unrhymed lyrics I am writing. I think you at any rate will like this ‘Paris Nocturne’. Of course I shd. expect more for it than the nominal £ 1 or 30s – which seems to be the Independent’s payment for short poems. My terms to any magazine here for anything save a very short poem are 5 £. However, I am content to take what you can fairly allow.

163Yrs in haste | William Sharp

164P.S. I had to send off my letter and article without enclosing this. Perhaps, indeed, this may miss the mail.

165ALS, Private

To W. Kineton Parkes, [May 29, 1890]

166Grosvenor Club | Bond Street W.

167Dear Mr. Parkes

168I am sorry to have missed you. I am afraid I am not ‘findable’ again till Monday afternoon next, probably: except Saturday (see overleaf).

169Tomorrow afternoon I have to go to a Matinee (Mrs. Augusta Webster’s play), and have promised to look in at an ‘afternoon’ elsewhere – so I can’t well be at the Brit. Museum. It was today I half expected to be there – but I could not manage it.

170I have only rapidly glanced thro’ your MSS (for the very neat and workmanlike condition of which allow a worried editor to thank you) but am well satisfied so far. I hope, and think, it will be a taking book.

171As I think you know, the series is now issued every alternate month. The next vol is just finishing at the printers and binders: i. e. the July volume “Owen Meredith”. Yours I have arranged to come next, to be published on August 25th as the September vol (one of the best months to issue in – for our purposes the best).

172Personally, I am quite in favour of the large paper edn. It has been done only twice before: once the experiment was a disastrous failure, once a reasonable success. I’ll see what the publisher has to say to it.

173Yours very truly | William Sharp

174The publisher will want to see the Rossetti and other copyright letters of publishers. So far as I can tell, I shall be at home on Saturday, between two and three o’clock, if you particularly wish to see me:

175W. S.

176ALS Pierpont Morgan

To James Mavor, June 12, 1890

177Wescam | Goldhurst Terrace | So. Hampstead | Thursday, 12 June, 1890, A. D.

178My dear Mavor,

179Firstly, let me draw your attention to the fact that this note is fully dated:

180Secondly, I send herewith a letter from Mrs. Emily Hockey, the poet etc. Kindly answer it direct.

181Thirdly, please note that we leave our house “for good and all” on Monday the 23rd of this month. Thereafter, till 15th July (when we go to Scotland, then or thereabouts) we shall be staying with Mrs. Mona Caird. My address will therefore be | C | o J. A. Caird Esq | 3 Lyndhurst Gardens | Hampstead | London N.W.

182Fourthly, are we to have the pleasure of seeing your Phiz. in London this summer? If not we must meet in Glasgow or Edinburgh. We shall certainly be in Glasgow for a visit at some point (probably in September). I fancy that when we go north it will be, first, for two or three weeks somewhere on the East Coast.

183Fifthly, I wish you could be with us this coming Sunday. Stepinak, F. Bate, and others are coming to tea, and a good many later on. ‘T will be the last of our ‘Sunday evenings’ here.

184We both hope you are flourishing and send you our affectionate regard,

185À vous, cordialement | William Sharp

186ALS University of Toronto Library

To Edmund C. Stedman, June 14, 1890

18714 June| 90

188My dear Stedman

189Your long letter most welcome. I hope to write to you next mail. We are breaking up our home in London, and are at present in great confusion. Meanwhile I send you a copy of a little book I edited: a vol. of great odes. As you will see, I have included your “Pastoral Romance”. It has been widely noticed & praised (I mean your ode). I hope it is all right in text: it had to be “read” in proof by someone during my absence in Paris. If not, let me know, as next edition will be out in Autumn. Love to you all.

190Affectly yours, | William Sharp

191ACS Columbia

To Edmund Clarence Stedman, June 17, 1890

192London: 17th June’: 90

193My dear Stedman

194You will ere this have received the copy of the little book of “Great Odes: English and American” which I sent to you. It was really a “loop” vo1ume, having to be done swiftly in default of something that fell through on the part of an editor: yet it has been unexpectedly well received. I think I told you that your own beautiful “Ode to Pastoral Romance” has appealed to many people, and will, I hope and believe, send new readers to you, among the new generation, as a poet. Please do not lend it to any one for reviewing, as the latter half is copyright in the States.

195I have time for only the briefest letter – as we are in all the discomfort of leaving our house, and I have enough to do and look after within the next few days to drive one half frantic.

196Well, we are breaking up our home, and are going to leave London for a long time – probably forever as a fixt “residentz platz”. Most of my acquaintances think I am very foolish thus to withdraw from the ‘thick of the fight’ just when things are going so well with me, and when I am making a good and rapidly increasing income – for I am giving up nearly every appointment I hold, and am going abroad having burned my ships behind me, and determined to begin literary life afresh. But truly enough wisdom does not lie in money-making – not for the artist who cares for his work at any rate. I am tired of so much pot-boiling, such unceasing bartering of literary merchandise: and wish to devote myself entirely – or as closely as the fates will permit – to work in which my heart is. I am buoyant with the belief that it is in me to do something both in prose and verse far beyond any hitherto accomplishment of mine: but to stay here longer, and let the net close more and more round me, would be fatal. Of course I go away at a heavy loss. My income will at once drop to zero, and even after six months or so will scarce have risen a few degrees above that awkward limit – though ultimately things may readjust themselves. Yet I would rather – I am ready – I should say we are ready, to live in the utmost economy if need be. We shall be none the less happy: for my wife, with her usual loving unselfishness and belief in me, is as eager as I am for the change, despite all the risks.

197There are too many examples of the ruin that comes from yielding to a cheap vogue: Andrew Lang, for instance, brilliant and able fellow though he is, has quite run to seed, and will never do anything now. Among the younger writers few have the surely not very high courage necessary to give up something of material welfare for the sake of art. As for us, we are both at heart Bohemians – and are well-content if we can have good shelter, enough to eat, books, music, friends, sunshine, and free nature – all of which we can have with the scantiest of purses. Perhaps I shd. be less light-hearted in the matter if I thought that our coming Bohemian life might involve my wife in hard poverty when my hour comes – but fortunately her ‘future’ is well assured. So henceforth, in a word, I am going to take down the board:

WILLIAM SHARP
LITERARY MANUFACTURER
(all kinds of jobs undertaken)

198and substitute:

WILLIAM SHARP
GIVEN UP BUSINESS. MOVED TO BOHEMIA.
PUBLISHERS AND EDITORS NEED | NOT APPLY. FRIENDS CAN WRITE TO
W. S. c | o “DRAMA” “FICTION”, OR “POETRY”.
LIVE-AS-YOU-WILL QUARTER, BOHEMIA

199This day week we leave our house for good. My wife and I then go into Hampshire to breathe the hay and the roses for a week at a friend’s place 7 miles across the downs north of Winchester: then back to London to stay with our friend Mrs. Mona Caird | 3 Lyndhurst Gardens | Hampstead | N.W. | till about the 20th of July. About that date we go to Scotland, to my joy: and will be by the sea or among the hills, and in Edinburgh, till close on the end of September. Thereafter we return to London for a week or so, and then go abroad. We are bound first for the lower Rhineland, and intend to stay at Carlsrühe (being cheap, pretty, thoroughly German, with good music and a good theatre) for about two months. Then, about the beginning of December, we go to Rome, where we intend to settle: climatic, financial, and other considerations will decide whether we remain there longer than six months, but six ideal months at least we hope for –

  • 1 “Six months of life are enough for me; the seventh month I solemnly promise to the underworld [or (...)

“Mihi sex menses satis sunt vitae: Septimum Orco spondeo”.1

200Neither the sex nor the septimum to be taken too literally, you know.

  • 2 A Library of American Literature from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, ed. Edmund Clar (...)
  • 3 E. C. Stedman’s son.

201It was such a pleasure to hear from you again. Often I think of you and yours: my wife, indeed, declares she knows you all intimately. The Harlands are flourishing: the Janviers are having a good time of it down by Aries and Nimes and old Roman France. We are hoping that they will join us in Rome for the winter. I am so glad that the “Dictionary” is at last off your hands.2 If a copy can be conveniently sent, it wd. need to reach London before the 25th of September at latest. Address: C | o J. A. Caird Esq, 3 Lyndhurst Gardens, Hampstead, N.W. You are to give us more of yourself yet – though your gift is already so extensive and so treasurable. My love to Arthur,3 and I am sure Mrs. Stedman will let me send my love to her also, since my wife joins in it, and as it includes you. The memory of you all is as fragrant as hawthorn-blooms.

202Always gratefully and affectionately yours, | William Sharp

203ALS Huntington

To [John Lane], [June 20,? 1890]4

  • 4 The Sharps vacated their house on Tuesday, June 24. This letter was written several days earlier.

204l7a Goldhurst Tce | S. H.

  • 5 George Meredith.
  • 6 Sharp’s edition of C. A. Sainte Beuve’s Essays on Men and Women (London: David Stott, 1890). On Fe (...)

205I forget if I told you that I had decided to dedicate another & later (original) book to G. M.5 instead of the St. Beuve,6 which is to be dedicated to Paul Bourget.

206We leave this house “for good & all” next Tuesday. My letter-address thereafter

207The Grosvenor Club | New Bond St.

208Best regards | William Sharp

209ACS New York Public Library, Berg Collection

To James Mavor, July 7, 18907

  • 7 Date from postmark on card.

2103 Lyndhurst Gardens| Hampstead | N.W.

211My dear Mavor

  • 8 Sharp’s “Fragments from the Lost Journals of Piero di Cosimo” appeared in the January and June num (...)

212I shd. be much obliged if you wd. direct Constables (“or others”) to send me the two numbers of the Art Review containing my “Piero di Cosimo”..8 All my books etc. are stored – and I particularly want these. I suppose the A. R. doors are now closed.

213We shall be here till the 29th – & then off to north Berwick or elsewhere.

214À vous toujours, | Wiliam Sharp

  • 9 Robert Allan Mowbray Stevenson (1847–1900), a first cousin and close friend of Robert Louis Steven (...)

215You sent Mr. Stevenson9 to 17a Goldhurst Terrace & we missed. However, I hope to see him on his way back from France.

216ACS University of Toronto Library

To J. Stanley Little, July 10, 1890

2173 Lyndhurst Gardens | Hampstead N.W. | 10: July: 90

218My dear Little,

219The stars in their courses fight against us in regard to our looked-forward-to visit. The moving from our late residence, and the infernal weather we have [been] enduring, have played the mischief with my wife. If practicable we should leave London at once for a quiet haven in Scotland (whither we go about the 25th or shortly after) but this I cannot do. So my wife is going to friends in Hampshire, to rest and recruit: though I am so busy that I cannot even run down to join her for a day or two. I am afraid, therefore, that I must postpone our visit, even my single visit, to a more favourable opportunity (not, I trust, Ad Er. Kal)..

  • 10 Sharp’s The Life and Letters of Joseph Severn was published in London by Sampson Lowe, Marston & C (...)

220On the other hand, I may have to go on business of a literary kind in connection with my “Severn Memoirs”10 to Surrey, for a day, somewhere between the 17th and 24th. If so, I shall try to spend the evening with you: but I cannot promise. I have a great deal to do within the next week or two: far more than I at present see my way to accomplishing. Yet I am anxious to see you and your brother. If I can see my way I shall write or telegraph.

221Meanwhile all good wishes for you both.

222Cordially yours, | William Sharp

223ALS Princeton

To Kineton Parkes, July 13, 189011

  • 11 The date, written in pencil on the first page of the manuscript, may have been taken from the post (...)

2243 Lyndhurst Gardens | Hampstead N.W.

225Dear Mr. Parkes,

  • 12 The Painter Poets Parkes was editing for Walter Scott’s Canterbury Poetry Series. Sharp was genera (...)

226Herewith I send you editorial revise of your Introduction.12 I regret to have to trouble you, but it will require great recasting – perhaps, indeed, it would be easier to rewrite it and reduce it considerably. To be candid, it might be better to omit the Introduction altogether: particularly if the notes are voluminous.

227You no doubt wrote it under pressure and so allowed many things to pass which your better judgment would rectify.

228Please return the proofs of the Text direct to the printers – Mr. Walter Scott, {Publisher, Felling (R. S. O). Co Durham: but the Proofs of Preface & Introduction to me, at above address.

229Please revise the Proofs of Text with all due care. In glancing hurriedly here and there, out of curiosity, I noticed e. g. “Lake Berva” for Lake Bewa” on p. 68 & ‘melts’ for ‘melt’ on p. 69; ‘Song’ for ‘Songs’ on p. 91; lack of a comma in last line of first stanza on p. 93; ‘Compo’ for ‘Campo’ on p. 96; semicolon after second word in Louise Jopling’s very poor stuff on p. 112, & ‘yearnings’ for ‘yearning’ on same; ‘slip’ for ‘step’ at p. 114; defective last line p. 117; ‘thought’ for ‘though’ at p. 132; check 2nd line of 3rd tercet on p. 134; “South land” instead of “southland” p. 142; ‘as’ for ‘are’ in sestet of Rossetti’s sonnet p. 156; & ‘waves’ for ‘wave’ in R’s [?] on p. 157. In Index. A. Easts’s poem shd be Bewa (not Berva), & “Selwin Image” shd be “Selwyn”.

  • 13 Mary Sharp was Sharp’s unmarried sister who lived with their mother in Edinburgh. She occasionally (...)

230I shall be at above address for the next fortnight (my old address is cancelled) – thereafter my letter address for a long time will be c | o Miss M. B. Sharp13 | 2 Coltbridge Terrace | Murrayfield | Edinburgh.

231Yours very truly | William Sharp

232P.S. The long & short of your essay shd be that a painter shd be a painter and a poet shd be a poet – and that the only interconnection is the fundamental one of authentic (rhythmic) emotion. Rossetti himself would have laughed at the idea of a poetic ‘motif’ saving an inferiorly painted picture.

233ALS, UWM Library

To William Wetmore Story, July 15, 189014

  • 14 Date from postmark. A note in a different hand at the top right of this postcard reads “Ansd Au 26 (...)

2342 Coltbridge Terrace | Murrayfield | Edinburgh

  • 15 William Wetmore Story (1819–1895) was an American sculptor, poet, and novelist who moved permanent (...)

235Dear Mr. Story15

  • 16 The Life and Letters of Joseph Severn (1892).

236Did you know Joseph Severn in Rome: and if so have you ever written about him anywhere? I am anxious to get all information I can, as I wish to finish the “Severn Memoirs”16 before we go abroad for the Autumn and Winter (the late winter we shall spend in Rome).

237The family put the papers in my hands 2 or 3 years ago, but various things have hitherto delayed me. If you can give me any hints or reminiscences or direct me in any way I shall be indebted.

238Excuse a p | c in haste. The above is my letter-address, as I have given up my house in London.

239Sincerely Yours, | William Sharp

240ACS Harvard Houghton

To E. C. Stedman, July 21, 1890

241c/o Miss M. B. Sharp | 2 Coltbridge Terrace | Murrayfield | Edinburgh

242My dear Stedman

243The enclosed letter has evidently been sent to me by mistake: and perhaps the “Notes” on Great Odes also. I read the latter with much interest, thinking they were meant for me: but it struck me that perhaps they were not.

244I am too unwell with lumbago to do more than say how very sorry I am that you are so seriously indisposed. My consolation is that you are at Kelp Rock and in good hands.

245Don’t dream of writing to me about Great Odes or anything else for months to come, as you love me. Perhaps Arthur will kindly send me a P/C about you.

246Affectionately yours | William Sharp

247I leave town in a week for Scotland, I am unutterably thankful to say. The above will be my letter address for a year.

248ALS UC-Berkeley

To Bliss Carman, July 25, 1890

24925| 7 | 90

250Dear old Boy

251Herewith my latest – which I hope you will like.

252I hope you are going to have a good holiday.

253I say – I think you shd. now bring out a vol. of poetry. Publish simultaneously if possible here and States. A small edn. here, say even only 150, wd. serve your purposes that is, if no one wd. take it up – a rare thing even with well-known writers. I could arrange, I think, for it to cost you a small sum – say £ 10 or £ 12.

254Love to you – and may the muse be with you.

  • 17 “The Coves of Crail” and “Paris Nocturne” were published in the July 3rd issue of The New York Ind (...)

255In two or three days now I’m off to the Scottish Coast – after a bit to the neighborhood of the Coves of Crail! Thanks for the slips. Will you kindly send me a few of the same when my Paris Nocturne17 comes out?

256Yours ever | W. S.

257ALS Smith College Library

To James Mavor, [mid-July, 1890]

258My dear Mavor,

  • 18 Mavor, who is leaving for a holiday in Ireland, must have been staying in Broadhurst Gardens, a st (...)

259Good-bye – take care of yourself – & come back soon: & if you come to Broadhurst Gdns18 again so much the more pleased we shall be.

  • 19 On March 18, 1890, Sharp asked Mavor if Wedmore could review his Browning book in The Art Review. (...)

260Wedmore’s notice is very kind.19

261Yours ever, | William Sharp

  • 20 Sharp’s “Piero di Cosimo” appeared in the January and June numbers of The Art Review.

262P.S. When you are writing next on A. R. matters, you might remind them that I have not yet recd. cheque for Piero di Cosimo.20

263ALS University of Toronto Library

To James Mavor, [early August, 1890]

2641 Lorne Square | North Berwick

265Glad you had such a good time of it in Ireland, & hope you are much the better for it. I think my wife has already written to your mother telling her of our plans & thanking her for her very kind invitation. We shall be here till the 14th & somewhere else on the East Coast till Sept. 6th or 7th – then I, at any rate, shall be west for a day or two. By the way I never recd. the two nos. of the A. R. (containing “Piero di Cosimo”) which you kindly said you wd. direct to be sent. Could I have them here?

266Yrs ever | W. S.

267ACS University of Toronto Library

To [Eric Sutherland Robertson],21 August 15, [1890]

  • 21 See Sharp’s letter to Eric Robertson on his birthday (February 18) in 1886 and the Introduction to (...)

2682 Coltbridge Terrace | Murrayfield | Edinburgh | Friday 15th Augt.

269Dear Old Fellow,

270Most heartily do I welcome you back again, and hope that you will have a delightful visit. I should say “we” but I understand that Elizabeth is writing you on her own account. We are both looking forward to seeing as much of you as practicable, which I trust will be a good deal. What a lot we have to talk about! I have often missed you, for, as you know, I was strongly drawn to you from the first, and look upon you as one of my very few “deep” friends. My most intimate friend since you left is Theodore Roussel, the French painter, who now lives in London.

271We go off today to the West Highlands, (Mrs. Wm. Murray’s | Otterburn|, Tarbert-on-Lochfyne, | Argyll) and if we find the accommodation etc. to our liking we shall remain there till the 6th or 8th of September. How delightful it would be if you could look us up there: it could be done easily per the “Iona” or “Columba”, either from Oban or from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

272On the 8th till the morning of the 12th we go to some friends Mrs. Wilson | South Bantaskine | nr. Falkirk (or rather Lillie will be there that time, as I shall be in Glasgow from the 8th till the afternoon of the 10th & then together–staying probably at 4 Elmbank Crescent). From the 12th till the 16th we shall be at Mrs. Elder’s | St. Margaret’s | North Queensferry | [Fife] about half an hour’s journey from Edinbro’ via Forth Bridge (with lots of trains) & so within easy reach if you are in Edinburgh on the 13th or 14th.

273On the 17th we go to Aberdeen or Banchory for a few days–and then again at my mother’s here in Murrayfield on or about the 22nd for a few days.

274We shall be about a week in London at the end of Sept or beginning of October, probably, before going to Heidelberg: at| 72 Inverness Terrace | Bayswater | W.

  • 22 See mid-May letter to Bliss Carman.

275There, now, I have given you all my movements. It would, of course, be most delightful if you could join us while we are at the West Coast, as we should see more of you: but, at any rate, let us see as much of you as possible. I enclose a few verses of mine which appeared in an American weekly:22 also, a line from a Young Folk’s Paper correspondent, with something pleasant about yourself–which please destroy afterwards (at least so says Panting!)

276With love from us both | Affectionately Yours | William Sharp

277ALS, private

To John Stuart Verschoyle, August 20, 1890

278Letter–address in Scotland

2792 Coltbridge Terrace | Murrayfield | Edinburgh

280My dear Verschoyle,

281I am sending this from a remote place in the Highlands, but put my definite letter-address during my stay in Scotland at the head.

282I have asked you so often for a definite reply about the Hon. W. Longley’s (Attorney Gen. of Nova Scotia) on “The Future of Canada” that I am beginning to resent what seems an altogether inexplicable silence. It is months ago now since the matter was first broached.

283I wish, also, you would kindly drop me a line or a P/C about another, and personal matter.

284I hear from Mr. E. C. Stedman that Messrs. Webster & Co. are, at his request, sending me a set of the now complete (just completed this month) set of the “Library of American Literature” in 11 vols: an invaluable and most suggestive work.

285Will you allow me to write just a short article apropos? It would deal with the drift of Amer. Literature up to the present, and the outlook. As perhaps you know, I am, at any rate, a Specialist in American literature. The article could be sent in early October, for use when wished.

286I should much like to do this, and would write an interesting, suggestive, and discussable article, though brief.

287Please let me hear from you at your very earliest convenience.

288Sincerely yours | William Sharp

289I shall be at the address noted on margin till the end of August: – [in margin] c/o Mrs. William Murray, Otterburn | Tarbert on Loch Fynne | Argyllshire.

290ALS UCLA, Clark Library

To Louise Chandler Moulton, August 23, 189023

  • 23 Date from postmark on envelope. The Sharps were in the west of Scotland from mid-August until mid- (...)

291Mrs. Wm. Murray | Otterburn | Tarbert | Loch Fyne | Argyll | Saty

292My dear Louise,

  • 24 Philip Bourke Marston, whose desk Sharp inherited after Marston’s death in January 1887.

293Just time for a hurried line, though even this may be too late for the post, and there is none now for a day or two. No, I know nothing of Philip’s24 Swinburne letters, or of any others. There was nothing in the Secrétaire: Dr. Marston went through it with me before it was dispatched, secret-drawers and all: and I had occasion afterwards to have it thoroughly cleaned and done up, and all the drawers were taken out in my study.

294Surely such valuable letters cannot have gone astray? I have a vague idea that they and o [the] rs from Rossetti etc. etc. were in a scrap book. Was this so? Were there not several things missed during the last year of Philip’s life? I fancy Dr. M. told me so. Perhaps the same individual has taken the Swinburne letters who walked off with the copy of “Villon” which Philip destined for me but which I have never seen to this day!

295A loss of this kind is most annoying: though I still hope you may find them. I suppose all Dr. M’.s receptacles have been carefully overlooked?

296We shall be here and elsewhere in Scotland for some time yet: but though we go abroad at the beginning of October (first to Heidelberg) there is, I am sorry to say, no chance of our being in Paris.

297Love from us both (we are going off in a fishing smack across Loch Fyne in half an hour, when the tide-rush permits)

298Yours affectly ever | William Sharp

299ALS Louise Chandler Moulton Collection, Library of Congress

To Edmund Clarence Stedman, September 22, 1890

3002 Coltbridge Terrace | Murrayfield Edinburgh | 22nd Sept. 90

301My dear Stedman,

  • 25 October 8th.

302The above address is only my letter address, for I am writing this at a lovely place above the Firth of Forth. I hope that it will reach you on the morning of your birthday,25 but of course it may arrive a little earlier or later: but in any case, you must know that you have my most affectionate good wishes for your coming year – which I hope will be a golden time of rest, intellectual enjoyment, and poetic vigor. How I wish I could look in upon you to give you my good wishes in person – though selfishly I don’t like to think of you in a house I do not know! You are one of the few men who need not deeply regret the advent of birthdays: for though we all deplore the ominous milestones on the highway of life, you are of the happy company who are essentially young and will be young even into old age. It was my own birthday a few days ago (Sept. 12th) and I can sympathise with you in the feeling of lost opportunities and shortening time which a birthday inevitably brings with it: but otherwise it is so well to be alive, and to have a life so full of interests – as is the good fortune of each of us – that these annual visitants should really be high festivals.

  • 26 A Library of American Literature from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time (1889–1890).

303I shall not be in a position to judge aright of the immensity and value of your undertaking in the “Lib: Amer: Lit”26 till I return to London a fortnight or less hence. Meanwhile I have gone through the last volume with extreme interest and pleasure: and find in it much of great significance and importance. The keen critical taste, and exquisite literary flair, displayed by you and your collaborator, have triumphed over difficulties that hitherto proved insurmountable. More about this – in MS and print – later on.

  • 27 E. C. Stedman’s son.

304I want you to give my love to Mrs. Stedman, whom I often think of with affectionate remembrance. I kiss her hand from afar – tho’ I would rather kiss her lips – in the words of the old Scots song, “her bonnie lips, her bonnie eyes, her bonnie face and a’!” And to Arthur,27 too, remember me fraternally. I hope he’ll come over some summer soon and enjoy London even half as much as I enjoyed my stay in New York.

305I append a little birthday-lyric for you – and remain now as ever, my dear Stedman,

306Affectionately and Cordially, | Your friend, | William Sharp.

307Erelong you will have the Janviers in New York again. They sail from Naples shortly, and will probably be in N. Y. about the beginning of November.

308P.S. In three weeks now we leave for the continent. From Oct. 13th till end of November, our address will be c/o Frau Rath Nebel, Karl Strasse 16, Heidelberg, Germany. Thereafter, via Florence and Siena, we go to Rome. But my Edinburgh address is always sure to reach me: or that of my wife’s mother, 72 Inverness Terrace, Bayswater, London W.

309ALS Columbia

To Theodore Watts, [October 1 or 2, 1890]28

  • 28 This letter was written on the day the Sharps returned from Scotland to London where they were sta (...)

31072 Inverness Terrace | Bayswater | London | W. | Monday Evening

311My dear Watts

  • 29 E. A. S. (Memoir 168) said they went to Clynder on the Gareloch, Argyll, in July, 1890, “to be nea (...)

312Have just arrived in London. Among my letters one of Friday last (in answer to my latest, with your message) from Dr. Macleod.29 As the quickest way to explain I enclose a note. Will you kindly answer him direct at Messrs. Isbister, 15 Tavistock St., W. C.–or call, as may be most convenient. I hope to see him tomorrow, but cannot dine with him as he proposes.

313I have no time now to thank you for your most friendly and encouraging letter: but believe me I value it. I think it is my wife’s intention to ask you and Eric Robertson & Mr. Meredith and one or two others, to afternoon tea on Saty: if so, she will write tomorrow as it is too late, & she is tired tonight. And I hope you will come.

314Meanwhile, in great haste | Ever Sincerely yours | William Sharp

315P.S. You will see that Macleod wd. not want the story till winter of next year.

316ALS Brotherton Library, University of Leeds

To: [Percy] Macquoid, [October 10, 1890]30

  • 30 Percy Macquoid (1852–1925) was a theatrical designer and a collector and connoisseur of English fu (...)

31772 Inverness Terrace | Kensington Gardens W. | Friday Evening

318Dear Macquoid

319My aunt – Mrs. Sharp – with whom my wife and I are at present staying, is having some friends in to dinner tomorrow (Saturday) evening at 7 o’clock.

320If you care to come over (& you can get a train almost to the door, by coming to Queen’s Road, Bayswater) she as well as my wife and I would be glad to see you – and I shd be able to talk over a Canterbury volume with you. I don’t know if you are acquainted with Miss Mathilde Blind: she, I fancy, will be the only one of the four or five guests whom you are likely to know.

321With kind regards to your father & mother

322Yours very truly | William Sharp

323ALS private

To Edmund Clarence Stedman, October 11, 1890

324bei Frau Rath Nebel | Karl Strasse, 16 | Heidelberg | 11| 10| 90

325My dear Stedman,

  • 31 “American Literature,” National Review, 17 (March 1891), 56–7l. This is a review of Stedman’s Libr (...)

326We go to Germany (till the end of November) tomorrow, and I send you this P/C to say that besides one or two primalistic ‘expatiations’ on it I have written an article on the L. A. L. for the National Review.31 I arranged at first with the Fortnightly, but several months wd. have to elapse ere appearance of the article, so it is to appear in the National Review, probably in the December number, though possibly the Editor may not be able to squeeze it in till a little later. I think it will please, and interest, American readers.

  • 32 Blanche Willis Howard (1847–1898), an American novelist who married Dr. Julius von Teuffel, the co (...)

327By the way, can you send me a line of introduction to Blanche Willis Howard,32 saying something as to my being a fellow-scribbler. She lives in Stuttgart, I understand, and I have to be there at any rate and would like to meet her. I shall write a little later, from Germany.

328Love to all, | W. S.

329P.S. I wrote you for your birthday, & hope you got my letter. It requires no answer, however.

330ACS Columbia

To Theodore Watts [-Dunton], [October 11, 1890]

331bei Frau Rath Nebel | Karl Strasse, 16, | Heidelberg | Germany

332My dear Watts

333By the time you receive this we shall be en route for Heidelberg, where we shall remain till the end of November at any rate: going to Rome, via Florence and Orvieto, sometime in December. I send this brief note partly to say how sorry I am not to have seen you before our departure, as I had hoped and so far arranged: and partly to give you a word of friendliest greeting from us on your birthday, which, if I remember aright, is on Sunday. We shall drink your health in Rhine-wine at Bonn, if there in time: and we shall wish all good things for you – health, and weal, and new friends and admirers.

334I am wondering if anything came of the interview with Dr. Macleod. In any case I hope Aylwin won’t now be long delayed.

335Again thanking you for the welcome and friendly letter which you sent me some time ago.

336In haste | with love in which my wife joins | Affectionately yours | William Sharp

337ALS Brotherton Library, University of Leeds

To James Mavor, October 18, 1890

338Frau Rath Nebel | Karl Strasse, 16, | Heidelberg | 18| 10| 90

339My dear Mavor,

340We are very comfortably settled here in a romantic old house adjoining the Castle grounds – and with interesting literary associations. Goethe himself wrote one of his poems in the balcony of the quaint picturesque room I occupy.

341The Vintage is not yet over, and all is movement & excitement among the vineclad hills above the Neckar. The Student life is this week in full swing for the winter: and Heidelberg is almost without English or other foreigners, the season being over, & the early So. German winter at hand.

342Hope you are flourishing. Remember me kindly to your mother & sisters when you see them next.

343Yours ever, | W. S.

344ACS University of Toronto Library

To ______,33 [October 1890]

  • 33 This fragment of a letter to a friend appears in the Memoir (169–70) where it is introduced by Mrs (...)

345… The real charm of the Rhine, beyond the fascination that all rivers and riverine scenery have for most people, is that of literary and historical romance. The Rhine is in this respect the Nile of Europe: though probably none but Germans feel thus strongly. For myself I cannot but think it ought not to be a wholly German river, but from every point of view be the Franco-German boundary.… Germany has much to gain from a true communion with its more charming neighbor. The world would jog on just the same if Germany were annihilated by France, Russia and Italy: but the disappearance of brilliant, vivacious, intellectual France would be almost as serious a loss to intellectual Europe, as would be to the people at large the disappearance of the Moon.…

346Memoir 169–70

To Edmund Clarence Stedman, October 22, 1890

347Karl Strasse 16 | Heidelberg | 22 October 1890

348Just a hurried p | c to acknowledge safe receipt of your welcome letter. Shall write in a day or two. The above is our best address till the end of November.

349W. S.

350ACS Columbia

To Mrs. Oliphant,34 October 30, 1890

  • 34 Margaret Wilson Oliphant (1828–1897) was a well-known and prolific writer of fiction and essays ab (...)

351Heidelberg | bei Frau-Rath Nebel | Karl Strasse, 16

352Dear Madam

353(Or I may be mistaken in thinking that Mrs. Oliphant is still Editor of the “Foreign Classics”) would you care to have, from my pen, in your series a volume upon Sainte-Beuve, the most influential and the ablest of critics of literature. I have for years made a special study of Sainte-Beuve, as critic, novelist, poet, & historian; of his predecessors and his circle; and of his direct and indirect influences. More and more attention has been paid to him in Great Britain of late years, particularly since the emphatic eulogies of Matthew Arnold and John Morley.

  • 35 Sainte-Beuve’s Essays on Men and Women was published by David Stott in London in 1890. The essays (...)

354When Mr. D. Stott recently prepared to undertake a volume of selected essays from Sainte Beuve, he commissioned me to write a short critical study of the man and his work – but of course I could but skim the subject in the space at my command, and had to leave much unsaid. The book (“Essays upon Men & Women, by Sainte-Beuve”) was published a few weeks ago by Mr. Stott, in his Masterpieces of Foreign Literature Series – and, if you would like to see it, I could direct him to send a copy to you. Unfortunately, I have no copy here, save an early mutilated one.35

355I could not set about the book at once, as I have important literary work on hand, but I could begin it shortly, and would probably finish it in Rome (where I spend the winter and spring). In Rome, I should have everything to hand, though, as a matter of fact, my voluminous notes already cover the whole of Sainte-Beuve’s career. If you should be inclined to entertain the idea kindly let me know from you as to terms and as to the approximate date when you would wish to receive completed ‘copy’.

356Believe me, | Yours very truly | William Sharp

357ALS National Library of Scotland

To Edmund Clarence Stedman, November 4, 1890

358Heidelberg | 4th November| 90

359My dear Stedman,

  • 36 Blanche Willis Howard.

360I send this P | C at once to acknowledge with thanks the receipt of your introductory letter to the “Frau Hof-Arzt von Teuffel”.36 I have sent it on to her, and asked if I might have the pleasure of seeing her someday in the latter part of next week. But, you wicked sinner, I go alone. My wife is too much occupied here to care to leave Heidelberg meanwhile, though I am cutting about a bit, to Carlsruhe, Mannheim, up the Neckar, and so forth: and am going to Frankfurt at the end of the week to hear Wagner’s “Rienzi”. Mon ami, it is only too easy to be virtuous here. The women – ah, “let us proceed!”

  • 37 Elizabeth Sharp’s aunt.

361Please note that we have decided to leave here on the 25th inst. Our Italian address till I send you a definite Roman one will be | i. c. Mrs. Smillie,37 Villino Ellera, | 5, Via Michele di Lando, | Florence.

  • 38 “The Coves of Crail,” which appeared in July, 1890.

362Hug the Janviers for me. Love to you all; and, by the way, I am of course most pleased about the poem in the Independent.38

363Yours ever, | W. S.

364ACS Columbia

To Frederick Langbridge, November 13, [1890]39

  • 39 The Reverend Frederick Langbridge (1849–1922) was a Church of Ireland clergyman in Limerick, and a (...)

365Heidelberg (Germany) | Karls Strasse, 16, | 6 Frau-Rath Nebel | 13th November

366My Dear Langbridge,

367Your letter of the 27th Oct must have wandered about after me, as I received it only today.

368I write at once to tell you with what extreme regret I hear of your heavy pecuniary loss. So true a poet and charming a writer deserves better hazard from circumstances – but I do trust things will be so wrought for you that the disaster will not be so overwhelming as it must now seem.

369I do not learn from your note or the prospectus where your book is to appear: and anything I might be able to say about it may now be too late. Yet I’ll think it over, and try one good quarter at any rate. And when it appears – though I shall be abroad – in Rome – I will do what I can in reviewing. Meanwhile I can give a small lift (alas, that I can do no more, now especially that I and my wife are wandering Bohemians again – for I have left London to gain greater freedom for literary work of a congenial kind, with naturally unsatisfactory pecuniary, if otherwise pleasant, results) by begging you to reserve for me five copies at the subscription price. One of these please send to me c/o Messrs. Maguay Hooker & Co., 20 Piazza di Spagna, Rome. If, however, published before the end of the first week of December, then to me c/o Mrs. Smillie, Villino Ellera | 5, Via Michele Di Lando, | Florence | (in this case do not post till the 1st. Dec). As for the other four, they must be sent to quarters where special attention will be paid to them. In each you might insert a slip, with written thereon “Sent for favour of a review, at special suggestion of Mr. William Sharp”).

370(1) Bliss Carman Esq | “The New York Independent” | 251 Broadway | New York

371(2) John Reade Esq | “The Dommian Illustrated” | St. James St. | Montreal | Canada

372(3) A. B. Symington, Esq | Editor “the Sun” | c/o Mr. A. Gardner: Publisher | Paisley | N. B.

373(4) Rev. W. W. Tulloch | c/o Editor “The Weekly Citizen” | St. Enoch Square | Glasgow

374I shall be here for about a week yet: then to Munich for a few days, & then southward by Verona to Florence. We have been staying in Heidelberg for some time past, but it is now becoming too cold and damp.

375Again with sincerest sympathy and all good wishes

376Your friend | William Sharp

377ALS Northwestern

To Horace Scudder, November 15, 189040

  • 40 Horace Elisha Scudder (1838–1902), editor, biographer, and juvenile writer, was a general editoria (...)

378Heidelberg | Germany | 15 Nov: 90

379Dear Mr. Scudder,

380Thanks for your letter. I have to leave an unfinished reply till the next mail, or at any rate till this evening – as I have an important engagement today. Briefly, however, I may say at the moment that I shall send you some valuable new material of some kind.

381In case of any miscarriage of my evening letter (and I am under great annoyance at present from loss of a dozen or more valuable letters, through Post Office Stupidity and Red Tapism here, for tho’ the authorities know of me well by this time a whole week of last month’s & some of this week’s correspondence has gone to Berlin, and thence been returned to “a’ the airts”). I send you a definite address for the winter and Spring, from 1st Decr.: – c/o Messrs. Maquay Hooker & Co|. 20, Piazza di Spagna, | Rome | Italy.

382With kind regards | Yours faithfully, | William Sharp

383Permanent London Letter-address | c/o Mrs. Sharp | 72 Inverness Terrace | Kensington Gardens | London W.

384ALS Harvard Houghton

To Catharine Janvier, [late] December, 1890

385Dec. 1890

386… Well, we were glad to leave Germany. Broadly, it is a joyless place

387for Bohemians. It is all beer, coarse jokes, coarse living, and domestic tyranny on the man’s part, subjection on the woman’s – on the one side: pedantic learning, scientific pedagogism, and mental ennui; on the other: with, of course, a fine leavening somewhere of the salt of life. However, it is only fair to say that we were not there at the best season in which to see the blither side of Germans and German life. I saw a good deal of the southern principalities and kingdoms – the Rhine provinces, Baden, Würtemberg, and Bavaria. Of course Heidelberg, where we stayed six wet weeks, is the most picturesque of the residential places (towns like Frankfort-am-Main and Mannheim are only for merchants and traders, though they have music “galore”), but I would rather stay at Stuttgart than any I saw. It is wonderfully animated and pleasing for a German town, and has a charming double attraction both as a mediaeval city and as a modern capital. There, too, I have a friend: the American novelist, Blanche Willis Howard (author of Guenn, The Open Door, etc)., who is now the wife of the Court-Physician to the King of Würtemberg and rejoices in the title “Frau Hof-Arzt von Teuffel”. Dr. von Teuffel himself is one of the few Germans who seem to regard women as equals.

388But what a relief it was to be in Italy again, though not just at first, for the weather at Verona was atrocious, and snow lay thick past Mantua to Bologna. But once the summit of the Apennines was reached, and the magnificent and unique prospect of Florentine Tuscany lay below, flooded in sunshine and glowing colour (though it was in the second week of December) we realised that at last we were in Italy…. When we came to Rome we had at first some difficulty in getting rooms which at once suited our tastes and our pockets. But now we are settled in an “apartment” of 3½ rooms, within a yard or so of the summit of the Quirinal Hill. The ½ is a small furnished corridor or ante-room: the comfortable salotto, is at once our study, drawing-room, and parlour.

389We have our coffee and our fruit in the morning: and when we are in for lunch our old landlady gives us delightful colazioni of maccaroni and tomatoes, or spinach and lentils, or eggs and something else, with roasted chestnuts and light wine and bread. We have our dinner sent in from a trattoria.

  • 41 “Dionysos in India” was published under the pseudonym William Windover in August 1892, in the firs (...)

390In a sense, I have been indolent of late: but I have been thinking much, and am now, directly or indirectly, occupied with several ambitious undertakings. Fiction, other imaginative prose, and the drama (poetic and prose), besides a lyrical drama, and poetry generally, would fain claim my pen all day long. As for my lyrical drama – which is the only poetic work not immediately modern in theme – which is called ‘Bacchus in India’;41 my idea is to deal in a new and I hope poetic way with Dionysos as the Joy-Bringer, the God of Joyousness. In the first part there is the union of all the links between Man and the World he inhabits: Bacchus goes forth in joy, to give his serene message to all the world. The second part, ‘The Return’, is wild disaster, and the bitterness of shame: though even there, and in the Epilogue, will sound the clarion of a fresh Return to Joy. I transcribe and enclose the opening scene for you – as it at present stands, unrevised. The ‘lost God’ referred to in the latter part is really that deep corrosive Melancholy whom so many poets and artists – from Dante and Durer to our own time – have dimly descried as a terrible Power.

391At the moment, I am most of all interested in my blank verse tragedy. It deals with a most terrible modern instance of the scriptural warning as to the sins of the father being visited upon his children: an instance where the father himself shares the doom and the agony. Then I have also schemed out, and hope soon to get on with, a prose play, dealing with the deep wrong done to women by certain existing laws. Among other prose books (fiction) which I have “on the stocks” nothing possesses me more than a philosophical work which I shall probably publish either anonymously or under a pseudonym, and, I hope, before next winter. How splendid it is to be alive! O if one could only crush into a few vivid years the scattered fruit of wasted seasons. There is such a host of things to do: such a bitter sparsity of time, after bread-and-butter making, to do them in – even to dream of them!

392Memoir 170–72

To [Bliss Carman [late] December, 1890]

39319 Via delle Quattro Fontane | (piano, 2) | Rome, Italy

  • 42 In a letter dated July 25, 1890, Sharp encouraged Carman to publish a volume of his poems first in (...)

394My Dear Old Man,42

395This is but a brief word to send you from Italy – but more is impossible for me at the moment.

396But this carries with it my love and heartiest greetings, and friendliest belief in and earnest wishes for your success as a poet. May the high Gods have you in charge, Dear Son of Apollo!

397Here we are anchored for a time, perhaps for some months.

398Your affectionate, | William Sharp.

399Letter-address had best remain c | o Messrs. Maquay Hooker and Co., 20 Piazza di Spagna, Rome.

400ACS Nicholas Salerno

Notes

1 “Six months of life are enough for me; the seventh month I solemnly promise to the underworld [or the god of the underworld, or death].” This is a line of poetry quoted by Cicero in De Finibus, 2.7.22.

2 A Library of American Literature from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, ed. Edmund Clarence Stedman and Ellen Mackay Hutchinson, 11 vols. (1889–1890.)

3 E. C. Stedman’s son.

4 The Sharps vacated their house on Tuesday, June 24. This letter was written several days earlier.

5 George Meredith.

6 Sharp’s edition of C. A. Sainte Beuve’s Essays on Men and Women (London: David Stott, 1890). On February 22, 1890, Sharp had told Lane the Sainte Beuve volume would be dedicated to Meredith.

7 Date from postmark on card.

8 Sharp’s “Fragments from the Lost Journals of Piero di Cosimo” appeared in the January and June numbers of The Art Review in 1890.

9 Robert Allan Mowbray Stevenson (1847–1900), a first cousin and close friend of Robert Louis Stevenson and a painter, was well known in the art world of Paris and London in the 1870s. After his marriage in 1881, he found his inheritance nearly exhausted and turned to teaching and writing about art. He last exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1885. He spent his later years as the art critic for The Pall Mall Gazette. He wrote The Art of Velasquez (1895), Peter Paul Rubens (1898), and Velasquez (1898). See note to Sharp’s April 1889 letter to Mavor.

10 Sharp’s The Life and Letters of Joseph Severn was published in London by Sampson Lowe, Marston & Co. in March 1892.

11 The date, written in pencil on the first page of the manuscript, may have been taken from the postmark of the envelope which is missing. The content confirms the date approximately.

12 The Painter Poets Parkes was editing for Walter Scott’s Canterbury Poetry Series. Sharp was general editor of the series. See letter dated May 29, 1890.

13 Mary Sharp was Sharp’s unmarried sister who lived with their mother in Edinburgh. She occasionally did secretarial work for Sharp, and later she provided the handwriting for Fiona Macleod, a service essential for maintaining the fiction of her separate identity.

14 Date from postmark. A note in a different hand at the top right of this postcard reads “Ansd Au 2690”.

15 William Wetmore Story (1819–1895) was an American sculptor, poet, and novelist who moved permanently to Rome in 1850. The Story’s apartment became a gathering place for American and British artists and writers, among them the Brownings, Hawthorne, Thackeray, Lytton, and Henry James who wrote his biography. Roba di Roma (1862), according to Peter Gunn, is the novel in which Story’s “humanity, humor and erudition are most clearly seen.” Violet Paget, 1856–1935 (London: Oxford University Press, 1964), p. 45.

16 The Life and Letters of Joseph Severn (1892).

17 “The Coves of Crail” and “Paris Nocturne” were published in the July 3rd issue of The New York Independent, for which Bliss Carman was an editorial writer. See note to letter to Carman dated mid-May, 1890.

18 Mavor, who is leaving for a holiday in Ireland, must have been staying in Broadhurst Gardens, a street in north London not far from where the Sharps were staying with the Cairds in Hampstead.

19 On March 18, 1890, Sharp asked Mavor if Wedmore could review his Browning book in The Art Review. The review appeared in early July.

20 Sharp’s “Piero di Cosimo” appeared in the January and June numbers of The Art Review.

21 See Sharp’s letter to Eric Robertson on his birthday (February 18) in 1886 and the Introduction to the 1886 letters for more on the relationship between Sharp and Robertson. Sharp and Robertson were close friends in the mid-eighties, before Robertson left in the Spring of 1887 to fill a chair in literature and logic at the University of Lahore.

22 See mid-May letter to Bliss Carman.

23 Date from postmark on envelope. The Sharps were in the west of Scotland from mid-August until mid-September. See itinerary in Sharp’s 15 August letter to Robertson.

24 Philip Bourke Marston, whose desk Sharp inherited after Marston’s death in January 1887.

25 October 8th.

26 A Library of American Literature from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time (1889–1890).

27 E. C. Stedman’s son.

28 This letter was written on the day the Sharps returned from Scotland to London where they were staying briefly with Elizabeth’s mother before leaving for Germany. It was written two or three days before the proposed afternoon tea with Eric Robertson and George Meredith on Saturday which was October 4 in 1890. On Saturday, the 11th, the Sharps were in Heidelberg.

29 E. A. S. (Memoir 168) said they went to Clynder on the Gareloch, Argyll, in July, 1890, “to be near my husband’s old friend, Dr. Donald Macleod, who, as he records in his diary, ‘sang to me with joyous abandonment a Neapolitan song, and asked me to send him a MS. from Italy for Good Words,’” a Scottish magazine directed at evangelicals and nonconformists, particularly of the lower middle class. Donald Macleod (1857–1916), the Rector of Park Church in Glasgow and a repository of Gaelic lore, became Editor in 1872 and began to include more illustrations and fiction and fewer sermons. Sharp had spoken with Macleod about the possibility of his publishing, perhaps serially, Watts’s novel Aylwin, and he now forwards Macleod’s positive response to Watts.

30 Percy Macquoid (1852–1925) was a theatrical designer and a collector and connoisseur of English furniture. He wrote articles, largely for Country Life, and four books on the history of English furniture. He was the son of Thomas Robert Macquoid (1820–1912) a painter and editor who worked for several periodicals, among them Graphic and The Illustrated London News, and of Katharine Sarah Macquiod (1824–1917), who was also a painter, and an author of fiction and poetry. Sharp was a friend of Percy’s parents, and Percy must have contacted Sharp about writing a book for Walter Scott. Elizabeth’s mother was having a dinner party on Saturday, October 11 as send-off for Elizabeth and William who left for Germany on Sunday, October 12.

31 “American Literature,” National Review, 17 (March 1891), 56–7l. This is a review of Stedman’s Library of American Literature.

32 Blanche Willis Howard (1847–1898), an American novelist who married Dr. Julius von Teuffel, the court physician of Württemberg, in 1890. She continued to write under her maiden name and collaborated with William Sharp on A Fellowe and His Wife (London: Osgood & McIlvain, 1892). Her other works inc1ude One Summer (1875), Aunt Serena (1881), Guenn: A Wave on the Breton Coast (1883), The Open Door (1889), No Heroes (1893), Dionysius the Weaver’s Heart’s Dearest (1899), and The Garden of Eden (1900).

33 This fragment of a letter to a friend appears in the Memoir (169–70) where it is introduced by Mrs. Sharp as follows: “Early in October my husband and I crossed to Antwerp and stopped at Bonn. The Rhine disappointed William’s expectations.”

34 Margaret Wilson Oliphant (1828–1897) was a well-known and prolific writer of fiction and essays about literature. She was born in Scotland, but lived most of her life in England, near Wimbledon. Much of her work was published by Blackwood & Sons, in Edinburgh. She is best known for her seven-novel series under the general title Chronicles of Carlingford. For a time, she was editor of Foreign Classics for English Readers, a series of books about foreign writers published by Blackwood & Sons. This letter proposing a book on Sainte-Beuve for this series was probably addressed to Blackwood’s, where his proposal would be reviewed by someone else if Mrs. Oliphant were no longer editor of the series. Sharp’s proposal was not accepted by Blackwood’s. See Elisabeth Jay, Mrs. Oliphant: A Fiction to Herself (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990).

35 Sainte-Beuve’s Essays on Men and Women was published by David Stott in London in 1890. The essays were translated by William Matthews and Harriet W. Preston, and Sharp wrote a brief introduction.

36 Blanche Willis Howard.

37 Elizabeth Sharp’s aunt.

38 “The Coves of Crail,” which appeared in July, 1890.

39 The Reverend Frederick Langbridge (1849–1922) was a Church of Ireland clergyman in Limerick, and also a poet, novelist, and playwright. The author of many novels, among them The Dreams of Dania (1897), he was also a successful dramatizer of novels. His adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities (The Only Way) had a long run in London in 1899. Sharp is attempting to gain notice among reviewers and readers for one of Langbridge’s publications.

40 Horace Elisha Scudder (1838–1902), editor, biographer, and juvenile writer, was a general editorial assistant for the publishers Hurd & Houghton (later Houghton, Mifflin) and edited The Atlantic Monthly from 1890 to 1898. His works include Seven Little People and Their Friends (1862), Dream Children (1864), Stories and Romances (1880), Noah Webster (1882), Men and Letters (1887), George Washington: An Historical Biography (1890), Childhood in Literature and Art (1894), and James Russell Lowell: A Biography (1901).

41 “Dionysos in India” was published under the pseudonym William Windover in August 1892, in the first and only number of The Pagan Review, a periodical Sharp edited under the pseudonym W. H. Brooks. He wrote everything in the volume under various other pseudonyms.

42 In a letter dated July 25, 1890, Sharp encouraged Carman to publish a volume of his poems first in England, but that did not happen. Carman’s first volume of poems, Low Tide on Grand Pré, was published in New York in 1893. The reference here must be to the appearance of one of Carman’s poems in a periodical.

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