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

 | 
William Sharp
, 
Fiona Macleod

Chapter Nine

Texte intégral

Life: July–December, 1892

1On July 8, Sharp apologized to Julia Ward Howe’s daughter, Maud Howe Elliott, for being unable to entertain her since he had no residence in London. His wife, moreover, was leaving in a few days for the Wagner festival in Bayreuth, and he was “going into Sussex to superintend the arrival of our furniture at a country place I have taken there.” Elizabeth left for Germany on July 11, and Sharp went down to Buck’s Green on the fourteenth where he stayed with Stanley Little pending the furniture’s arrival. It arrived while Elizabeth was abroad, and when she returned in the third week of July, the Sharps settled into the old stone house that would be their home for two years.

2On July 10 Sharp wrote a letter that includes his response to Little’s request that he give the main address at an early August celebration of the centennial of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s birth. The letter contains details about the state of his health and his opinions about several contemporary writers.

And now about the Shelley address. For several reasons it would be a pleasure as well as an honour – but the truth is that I dare not venture just now on anything of the kind, for physiological reasons. My doctor has just warned me of this vein-trouble that I have not yet satisfactorily got under. The least thing may bring it back – and this must not be, as it might easily become dangerous (‘clotting’). One requisite is – not to stand. Walking does not now hurt me if in moderation: but even a short stand involves pain and discomfiture. And though I may be all right again by the end of the month I really must not risk the danger involved in the fatigue of standing to address.

3This passage demonstrates that as early as 1892, when he was only thirty-seven, Sharp had developed symptoms of diabetes. He went on to say he could write an address for Little or someone else to read, but it would be far better to have a more prominent Shelleyan give the address. He thought the best choice would be Stopford Brooke, next Edward Dowden (two Irishmen), next Roden Noel, next John Nichol (two Scotsmen), next Sir George Douglas, or why not Little himself who was organizing the event. Richard Garnett, Sharp warned, was “not a good speaker and has not the right manner,” and surely not H. Buxton Forman who was “a jellyfish” and “a Philistine of the Philistines in manner and address.”

4Shelley was born in Horsham, Sussex on August 4, 1792, and the commemoratory event took place there on August 4, 1892 at the stately home of Mr. Hurst of Horsham Park “with its beautiful gardens laughing in the sunlight of a lovely summer day” and affording “to visitors no untrue glimpse of the surroundings amid which Shelley as the son of an English squire was brought up.” Many literary luminaries attended; and according to the August 11 issue of the West Sussex Gazette “The hall was crowded; all classes were represented, and Horsham, the county, and London, divided the audience fairly amongst them.” As it happened, Little followed Sharp’s advice in engaging as the principal speaker Professor John Nichol with whom Sharp studied at Glasgow University. The September issue of The Artist reported “What Nichol said about Shelley, at Horsham, was the very thing that needs to be said.” He “completely carried his audience.” The organizers, principally Stanley Little, were “brilliantly successful in their arrangements” With Sharp as his adviser, Little gathered together a committee and many illustrious sponsors to raise money for a Shelley Museum in Horsham, and their efforts survive today as substantial collection of books, manuscripts, portraits and sculptures in the Shelley Gallery of the Horsham Museum.

5The main purpose of Sharp’s July 7 letter was to ask Little, who was in Buck’s Green, to tell the local postman the house formerly called the Laurels is now Phenice Croft. All mail addressed to the Sharps and all mail addressed to Mr. W. H. Brooks at Bucks Green, Rudgwick was to be placed in a post bag to be picked up by a boy in the forenoons. Sharp had settled on a name for the quarterly he would produce at Phenice Croft – The Pagan Review – and the pseudonym he would use for its editor – W. H. Brooks. The pseudonym would disguise the review’s editorship, and the real editor – Sharp – would produce the entire content of the first issue under various pseudonyms. Sharp began working on the content of the review when he and Elizabeth were staying with the Cairds at Northbrook, Micheldever in early June. His diary entry for June 2 begins: “In the early forenoon, after some pleasant dawdling, began to write the Italian story, “The Rape of the Sabines,” which I shall print in the first instance in my projected White Review as by James Marazion.” The color white also figured prominently in the poems of Sospiri di Roma, white marble statues, white flowers, white statues, and white human bodies, but as the content of the review evolved “pagan” supplemented “white” in the magazine’s title. In a letter from Paris dated April 23, Sharp had addressed Thomas Janvier and his wife as “fellow Pagans.” He told Janvier he was deeply involved in the “feverish Bohemianism of literary and artistic Paris” and described one of those involvements:

I went round to Leon Vanier’s, where there were many of les Jeunes – Jean Moréas, Maurice Barrés, Cazalis, Renard, Eugène Holland, and others (including your namesake, Janvier). To-night I ought to go to the weekly gathering of a large number of les Jeunes at the Café du Soleil d’Or, that favourite meeting place now of les decadents, les symbolistes, and les everything else.

6It may have been in Paris that Sharp settled on the term Paganism to define his loss of Christian faith, his encounter with the remnants of the Roman past in Italy, and his desire to join the decadents in breaching the restraints of high Victorianism.

7Dennis Denisoff and Loraine Kooistra in “The Yellow Nineties Online,” describe the “Foreward” to The Pagan Review as having “the urgency of a manifesto… declaring on behalf of the ‘younger generation’ that the magazine’s contributors challenged both the religion and the ideals of their forefathers.”

The editor’s apparent preference for authors with French names, the foreward’s discussion of art for art’s sake, and the publication’s references to Charles Baudelaire, Theophile Gautier, Oscar Wilde… signal Sharp’s wish to have his readers associate the magazine with aestheticism. By 1892, the Aesthetic Movement had already had a lengthy run of popularity and was shifting into its final, decadent phase…. To this phase of the Aesthetic Movement, The Pagan Review offers a notable contribution.

8“Its emphasis,” they continue, is “on the dissident, mythic, and obscure. Its tendency toward overwrought descriptions and archaic dialogue are reminiscent of decadent authors and artists,… and its mystical depictions of alternative gods and spiritualities aligns it with paganism in a more earnest and disconcerting way than many other British contributions to the decadent movement.” (https://www.ryerson.ca/​cdh/​projects/​yellow-nineties-online)

9Having announced in the preface to Romantic Ballads in 1888 the advent of a new Romanticism, Sharp added to that initiative in 1891 the sensuality and escape from rhyme in Sospiri di Roma. By the summer of 1892, he had settled on New Paganism as the name of the movement he was trying to launch and for which The Pagan Review served as a manifesto. Its “first number,” dated August 15, 1892, contained:

10A lengthy unsigned “Foreward.”

11Two poems (“The Coming of Love” by W. S. Fanshaw and “An Untold Story” by Lionel Wingrave).

12Three stories (“The Pagans: A Memory” by Willand Dreeme, “The Rape of the Sabines” by James Marazion, and “The Oread: A Fragment,” by Charles Verlaine).

13The “Opening Fragment of a Lyrical Drama” called “Dionysos in India” by Wm. Windover and a “dramatic interlude” called “The Black Madonna” by W. S. Fanshaw. The latter reappeared in Vistas by William Sharp in 1894.

14A review by “S” of Stuart Merrill’s Pastels in Prose (Harper & Brothers, New York, 1890).

15A “Contemporary Record, Me Judice” a series of comments signed W. H. B., the supposed editor, on recently published works of literature by well-known writers, many Sharp’s friends, including Swinburn, Hardy, Meredith, and Hall Caine.

16A final section announced the next issue of the Review, to include an article titled “The New Paganism” by H. P. Siwaarmill, the anagram of William Sharp he had invented the previous fall in Germany for the author of the “Dramatic Interludes.” These “Interludes” eventually became Vistas by William Sharp.

17On the back cover, an advertisement for a book soon to be printed privately as Vistas: Dramatic Interludes by W. S. Fanshawe (no longer H. P. Siwaarmill), the supposed author of one of those interludes included in the first and only number of The Pagan Review.

18Each of these items merits discussion for what they reveal about Sharp’s state of mind, what he hoped to accomplish as a writer, and his method of composition. Two stand out because they are directly traceable to his recent experience in Paris.

19First, the review of Stuart Merrill’s Pastels in Prose which contains Merrill’s translations of “prose poems” by contemporary French writers. Sharp’s decision to attribute the review to “S” is as close as he came to acknowledging his responsibility for the new periodical. The review associates The Pagan Review with the symbolist poets and the decadence infusing literature in Paris and London. It also reflects Sharp’s genuine interest in alternatives to rhymed and cadenced poetry. The prose poem differs, he wrote in the review, from a “quoted specimen of poetic prose.” It must be brief and complete in itself, the equivalent of a pastel in the art of painting. The pastel artist must be “what is somewhat too vaguely called an impressionist” whose aim is “suggestion, not imitation.” The prose poem is “a consciously-conceived and definitely-executed poetic form.” Sharp concluded the review by quoting from William Dean Howell’s description of the form in his introduction to Merrill’s book: “The very life of the form is its aerial delicacy: its soul is that perfume of thought, of emotion, which these masters here have never suffered to become an argument. They must be appreciated with sympathy by whoever would get all their lovely grace, their charm that comes and goes like the light in beautiful eyes.” Sharp experimented with this form in the writings of Fiona Macleod.

20Second, “The Pagans: A Memory” by Willand Dreeme. Which is identified as “Book One” at the start and “To be Continued” at the end. As with the poems of Sospiri di Roma, the story recounts his personal experience overlaid by dreams and imaginings. Unlike the sospiri, a pseudonym removes the possibility of identifying the true source of the experiences. The appendage to the title (“A Memory”) and the name of the author (“Willand Dreeme”) invite the reader to wonder if the content is Willand’s memory or his dream. The narrator of the story and its main character is Wilfred Traquair, who is called Will. Sharp was known to his relatives and close friends as Will. The title signals the story as the most pagan of the contributions to The Pagan Review, and the three quotations that preface it – from George Eeckhoud’s Kermesses, from “The Song of Solomon,” and from Oscar Wilde – associate it with the French and English decadence.

21Sharp wrote the story on June 3 and 4, less than a month after returning from France. The story’s narrator recalls walking with his beloved in an unidentified warm landscape among the trees ‘under the deep blue wind-swept sky” where they “first realized each had won from the other a lifetime of joy.” His recollection is Sharp’s romanticized recollection of his walks with Edith Rinder on the Roman Campagna fifteen months earlier.

The snow lay deep by the hedges, and we had to slip through many a drift before we reached the lonely woodland height whither we were bound. But was there ever snow so livingly white, so lit with golden glow? Was ever summer sky more gloriously blue? Was ever spring music sweeter than that exquisite midwinter hush, than that deep suspension of breath before the flood of our joy?

22Soon Clair had to return to Paris, and the narrator returned to the London he “hated so much, there to write concerning things about which I cared not a straw, while my heart was full of you, and my eyes saw you everywhere, and my ears were haunted day and night by echoes of your voice.” When he accumulated enough money to be independent of London, he went to Paris, and he recalls his joy in meeting Clair again and finding “that we loved each other more than ever.” Shifting effortlessly between third-person narration and directly addressing his beloved, he recalls “that bygone Spring,”

Those hours at twilight, in the Luxembourg Gardens, when the thrush would sing as, we were sure, never nightingale sang in forest-glade, or Wood of Broceliande: those hours in the galleries, above all before our beloved Venus in the Louvre; ah, beautiful hours, gone forever, and yet immortal, because of the joy that they knew and whereby they live and are even now fresh and young and sweet with their exquisite romance.

23He wonders “if ever two people were happier?” Yes, they were happier when they left Paris behind and went away together, “as light-hearted as the April birds, as free as the wind itself.”

24Letters Sharp wrote from Paris in April to E. C. Stedman, Thomas Janvier, and J. Stanley Little, implied the woman he loved was with him in Paris for the last two weeks of April after which he intended to “reform.” Though details differ, this story about the two Pagans parallels the experiences of Sharp and Edith: their meeting in Rome in January 1891, their parting when she returned to London, and Sharp’s recent escape from London to Paris where the April birds were singing. It is, of course, possible that Sharp was recounting only what he imagined it would have been like to have Edith with him in Paris, but the innuendos are so telling, the parallels so obvious, and the writing so impassioned it is hard to avoid concluding she was there. As in the Sospiri poems after Edith left Rome in January 1891, so in this story, Sharp’s intense feelings begged for release. If there is an adolescent tinge to the writing and the insinuations, it may be explained, if not excused, by the likelihood that this was Sharp’s first experience of falling in love. William and Elizabeth were first cousins who became engaged as teenagers. Their relationship, while very close, was from the start intellectual, a meeting of minds, and a matter of convenience. It developed over time into a deep friendship in which Elizabeth functioned as a protector, nurse, and enabler overseeing the well-being of her “poet.” Throughout the 1890s the wealthy Mona Caird, imposing and forceful, figured prominently in the lives of the Sharps and the Rinders. Their ideas and actions were inevitably influenced by her campaign to loosen the restraints imposed by marriage.

25The body of “The Pagans” contains a long and detailed description of the beautiful Clair. She is a painter living with her brother, also a painter, who is hyper-concerned about his reputation and status. Clair’s skin was “pale as ivory, but “touched with a delicious brown, the kiss of sunshine and fresh air.” It was “in keeping with the rich dark of her hair and sweeping eyebrows and long lashes.” As it continues, the elaborate description mirrors a surviving portrait of Edith Rinder, which was known to her family as “the Lady Green Sleeves.” The picture is not colored, but her velvet dress was green. Clair’s brother disapproves of her relationship with Wilfred and threatens to take away her inheritance, as is his right, if she persists, but persist she does. She leaves her brother and goes off with Will, unmarried, flouting her brother’s standards of acceptable behavior and his beliefs about the subservience of women to men. As they leave, the brother gives Wilfred a letter addressed to a “Vagrant, of God-knows where” which reads:

That my sister has chosen to unite herself with a beggarly Scot is her pitiable misfortune: that she has done so without the decent veil of marriage is her enormity and my disgrace. … neither you nor the young woman need ever expect the slightest tolerance, much less practical countenance from me. You are both at liberty to hold, and carry out, the atrocious opinions (for I will not flatter you by calling them convictions) upon marriage which you entertain or profess to entertain. I, equally, am at liberty to abstain from contagion of such unpleasant company, and to insist henceforth upon an unsurmountable barrier between it and myself.

26Here the brother espouses the traditional views of marriage opposed by Mona Caird and her friends. The story ends: “Outcasts we were, but two more joyous pagans never laughed in the sunlight, two happier waifs never more fearlessly and blithely went forth into the green world.” Though the story was “To be continued” it was not, but it would be told over and over again with different characters – mostly “beggarly Scots” – in the stories Sharp would tell as Fiona Macleod. The beginning sentences of “The Pagans” speaks of Clair Auriol in the past tense. The relationship that was so wonderful has ended for some unexplained reason. Sharp focused on the beginning of passionate relationships while recognizing the likelihood of their sad endings. This story is the first of many renditions of the impossibility of permanence in his relationship with Edith since neither could or would sever their marital ties, she to Frank Rinder and he to Elizabeth Sharp.

27Sharp sent copies of his Pagan Review to friends and editors of periodicals where it might warrant notice. He sought subscribers at twelve shillings a year, and he welcomed contributions of short stories and poems that conformed to the purposes described in the first number’s Foreword. On August 13 Sharp wrote to E. C. Stedman from Selsey Bill on the Sussex Coast, where he and Elizabeth had gone to escape the extreme heat of Buck’s Green. He was sending a copy of The Pagan Review, and he confessed he was responsible for all of its contents. It was to be the voice of “Neo-Paganism,” a “new movement in letters… unlike any that has taken place in England before, in the Victorian Age at any rate: though indeed it is a movement that is at hand rather than really forward.” Sharp was initiating yet another “movement.”

28E. C. Stedman subscribed, but must have expressed reservations since Sharp’s letter to him on September 28 contained the following passage:

I thank you for your lovely & friendly letter. I feel there is a good leaven of truth, to say the least, in what you say about the “Pagan Review.” But set your mind at rest: the poor thing is dead. There is a possible resurrection for it next year as a quarterly, but this is still in nubibus. It has, however, so far accomplished its aim of stimulus among the younger people, and that is good. I return herewith your subscription, with sincerest thanks. Have mislaid it. No time to hunt for it now. Hope to send it by next post. By the way, keep your P/R. It is already being sought by collectors. I can send you another if you wish.

29Elizabeth said the review was born of Sharp’s “mental attitude at that moment,… a sheer reveling in the beauty of objective life and nature, while he rode the crest of the wave of health and exuberant spirits that had come to him in Italy after his long illness and convalescence” (Memoir 204–07). He soon realized he could not continue the Review as it would be hard to repeat the tour de force, and he would have to write most of the material under various pseudonyms. The one number had served its purpose “for by means of it he had exhausted a transition phase that had passed to give way to the expression of his more permanent self.” For Elizabeth, the Review was a step toward the writings of Fiona Macleod. Sharp returned all the subscriptions and submissions with the following memorial card:

30On the 15th of September, still-born The Pagan Review.

Regretted by none, save the affectionate parents and a few forlorn friends, The Pagan Review has returned to the void whence it came. The progenitors, more hopeful than reasonable, look for an unglorious but robust resurrection at some more fortunate date. “For of such is the Kingdom of Paganism.”

31In a “solemn ceremony,” with Sharp’s sister Mary and Stanley Little as “mourners,” they buried the Review in the corner of the garden at Phenice Croft and marked the spot with a framed inscription.

32R[obert] Murray Gilchrist, a writer Sharp corresponded with when he edited the “Literary Chair” of Young Folk’s Papers, submitted a story for The Pagan Review called “The Noble Courtesan,” which Sharp read with interest. Writing first as W. H. Brooks, Sharp said he thought it would be much improved “by less – or more hidden – emphasis on the mysterious aspect of the woman’s nature. She is too much the ‘principle of Evil,’ the ‘modern Lilith.’” Then on October 22, he wrote again, this time as William Sharp, to thank Gilchrist for his “friendly and cordial article” about The Pagan Review in The Library. When the Review is revived next year as a quarterly, Sharp wrote, he would look to Gilchrist “as one of the younger men of notable talent to give a helping hand.” Born in Sheffield in 1867, Gilchrist was apprenticed to a manufacturer of cutlery after attending grammar school. In 1888 he decided to become a writer, left the apprenticeship, and moved to Highcliffe Farm, near the village of Eyam several miles southwest of Sheffield in Derbyshire. He was soon joined there by George Alfred Garfitt, who was also born and educated in Sheffield. Five years older than Gilchrist, Garfitt may have been a fellow apprentice. In any case, he became a manufacturer of cutlery, an amateur historian, and Gilchrist’s life-long partner. Sharp concluded his letter to Gilchrist by asking him to visit Phenice Croft when he next came south. “I can offer you a lovely country fare, a bed, and a cordial welcome.” As it happened, Gilchrist and Garfitt did not visit Phenice Croft until 1894, but Sharp visited them in Eyam in September 1893. At this first meeting, the three men formed a close friendship that lasted many years and impacted the course of Sharp’s publications.

33It is a matter of some interest that when John Lauritsen established his Pagan Press in 1982 to publish “books of interest to the intelligent gay man” the first book he published was Edward Carpenter’s Ioläus, An Anthology of Friendship which had been out of print for many years. In 1891, when Carpenter was teaching in Sheffield, he met and formed a relationship with George Merrill, a working-class man 22 years his junior. In 1898 they began living together in rural Millthrope, Derbyshire only a few miles from Holmesfield, Derbyshire where Gilchrist and Garfitt had moved into a large manor house they shared with Gilchrist’s mother and sisters. The two couples became close friends. Both chose, quite sensibly, to live quiet lives miles away from the uproar caused by the Oscar Wilde trial in London. Paganism, a fascination with pre-Christian Roman and Greek civilizations, has a long history preceding and following Sharp’s “New Paganism.” By necessity if not by choice, Sharp’s paganism was heterosexual, but he had many homosexual friends during his life, and he was perfectly comfortable with love and desire no matter its form. He would be amused by the coincidental linkage a century later of his “New Paganism” with the first product of Lauritsen’s Pagan Press by two couples living quietly as near neighbors in remote Derbyshire.

34In Sharp’s August letter to Stedman, he objected to Stedman classifying him as “an Australian poet” in the latest edition of his study of Victorian poets and asked him to remedy that error in the volume’s next edition. After describing The Pagan Review and asking Stedman what he thought of it, Sharp continued:

By the time you get this – no, a week later – I shall be in Scotland, I hope. My wife cannot go north this year. If all goes well – this ought to be one of the happiest experiences of a happy life. I cannot be more explicit: but perhaps you will understand. But even to be in the Western Highlands alone is a joy. Then I am going to reform and work hard all winter. I rather doubt if we’ll get away to Greece after all: funds are villainously low for such exploits.

35Again he implies that he and Edith Rinder would be together in the Western Highlands where the Rinders rented a house every September. The implication is strengthened by a passage in a letter to Bliss Carman, also in August: “Think of me early in September (from August 30th) in the loveliest of the West Highlands – & in one of the happiest experiences of my life. I can’t be more explicit – but you will understand! Thereafter I am going to reform – definitely.”

36When Alfred, Lord Tennyson died in early October, some began to question the need to appoint a successor Poet Laureate. Sharp considered joining those who opposed another appointment, but on October 9 he told Stanley Little he had decided not to take any initiative in the “abolishment scheme.” After attending Tennyson’s funeral in Westminster Abbey on the twelfth, Sharp sent a letter to the poet Alfred Austin saying he was pleased to have seen him at the funeral. After describing his removal to “a small house in a remote part of Sussex” where the rent was cheaper than in London, he turned to the Laureateship. “If you, as many think, are to be the heritor, the laurel will go to one who will sustain the high honor with dignity and beauty.” Austin did inherit the title, and he may have recalled this letter in 1902 when Sharp was desperately in need of money. A Civil List Pension was out of the question because Sharp refused to reveal to members of Parliament his authorship of Fiona Macleod’s popular writings. His friend Alexander Nelson Hood, who was the Duke of Bronte, and Alfred Austin, the Poet Laureate, were the principals in the effort to obtain the pension, and they were supported by George Meredith, Thomas Hardy, and Theodore Watts-Dunton. Finally, Sharp agreed to allow Austin and Hood to tell the recently-elected Prime Minister, Arthur Balfour, in strict confidence that Sharp was the author of the writings of Fiona Macleod, whereupon Balfour found the money for a grant that provided needed relief.

37Sharp concluded his August 13 letter to Stedman by saying he doubted he and Elizabeth would be able to carry through on plans to go to Greece during the winter as funds were “villainously low for such exploits.” He hoped to continue with his creative work in the fall, but Elizabeth’s health intervened. She had not fully recovered from the malaria she contacted in Italy in the spring of 1891. In her words (Memoir 208), “The prolonged rains in the hot autumn, the dampness of the clay soil on which lay the hamlet of Buck’s Green, made me very ill again with intermittent low fever.” It was imperative, her doctor said, that she spend at least part of the winter in a dry climate. Since they lacked the funds for traveling south, Sharp put aside his “dream work” and wrote between October and December two boys’ adventure stories. “The Red Rider: A Romance of the Garibaldean Campaign in the Two Sicilies,” appeared serially in the Weekly Budget in late 1892, and “The Last of the Vikings: Being the Adventures in the East and West of Sigurd, the Boy King of Norway” was accepted by Old and Young and published in 1893. Both appeared subsequently in book form from James Henderson and Sons, Ltd. These efforts and other writings by both Sharps provided money for them to go south for the first two months of 1893. By mid-November, they had given up Greece and planned to go to Italy. In early December Sharp told Stanley Little they were planning to go to Florence via Switzerland and the Gothard Pass and then on to Sicily and North Africa. He urged Little to accompany them as far as Florence or Rome as he needed a break from work and would find wonderful paintings to view and assess. By mid-December, they had decided to go to the Mediterranean by ship “as it is at once considerably less expensive, & more restorative for E.”

38In mid-November, Sharp became involved in a controversy following the publication of the reminiscences of the Pre-Raphaelite poet and painter William Bell Scott, who had died in 1890. Autobiographical Notes of the Life of William Bell Scott appeared in two volumes edited by William Minto, a Scottish critic and novelist. In a letter to Arthur Stedman at the end of November, Sharp said he had just “finished reviewing for the Academy the book of the season in literary circles here – the late Wm. Bell Scott’s Autobiography.” Though “full of misstatements and ill-intentioned half-statements,” it was a fascinating book because of its letters and anecdotes. Swinburne was going “to slate it unmercifully (and very foolishly) in the December Fortnightly.” He had been dining at Swinburne’s house in Putney a few days previously and found him “very excited over ‘The Monster’ [Scott] to whom he has paid so many affectionate tributes in verse!” Swinburne’s review entitled “The New Terror” appeared in the December issue of The Fortnightly Review, and Sharp’s in the December issue of The Academy.

39Scott had emphasized his close friendship with Rossetti while diminishing the roles of Swinburne, Theodore Watts [Dunton], Sharp, and others in Rossetti’s life. Sharp’s opinion of the book had evolved as he read more of it. Initially, he told Watts that Scott had “persistently pooh-poohed your good & gracious service to him” and portrayed himself as Rossetti’s only true “nurse & friend.” He claimed D. G. R. had made use of Watts. Sharp continued,

As to the lies current that you, and others including myself, assisted rather than deplored D. G. R.’s chloral habit, & made out that he was much worse than he was, will gain some colour by the implication in the second allusion to yourself. I think you know how I love and reverence Gabriel Rossetti’s memory. I am not blind, of course, & I know his faults & weaknesses – but he was a great genius, & as man he won my love, & shall have it till I die. I have glanced thro’ the D. G. R. passages since I wrote to you last, & with deepest pain.

40Sharp then complained about Scott’s “insultingly cruel epithet to Ruskin” and expressed his amazement that Minto, the editor, had “let pass uncorrected (if he could not suppress, as he ought to have done) so much that ought not to have seen the light.” He was outraged by

the remarks about Swinburne – one of the greatest poets of our century. The more one knows & rereads his work, & critically & comparatively, the more one admires it & his high attitude throughout. He was my idol in old days, & now again I realise how great a poet he is. And just as the public mind is slowly veering towards that high acceptation of him which is his due – out comes this foolish & spiteful nonsense, which will spread abroad to his detriment! Well, W. B. S. can’t hurt A. C. Swinburne, nor a thousand W. B. S.’s.

41Sharp said he would send his review for Watts and Swinburne to read and suggest revisions.

42Several days later, he told Watts he was having trouble writing the review and had decided to start over from scratch.

Now that I have finished the book & gone carefully into it, I not only more than ever regret Swinburne’s article but think we have all underestimated the good in the book. There is a great deal of interesting matter, particularly in the letters introduced: and I do not see how the book is to be killed, or that it should be killed. Frankly, the book has far more chance of life than Hake’s far more genial & generous as the latter is. Once pruned of its misstatements and otherwise carefully revised, it would be extremely entertaining and to future students of the period profoundly interesting & even valuable. One must be fair all round. It is a damnably difficult thing to do in this instance: but I’ll have one more shot anyway!

43Sharp decided that Swinburne’s attack, which he read or heard about at dinner, was regrettable since, apart from the passages diminishing the role of others, the work contained much of interest and value. After starting work on the review during the night, he sent Watts the next morning “the Article, as written up to the point where I turn to indicate what is “worthy and of good report” in Scott’s Memoirs. Again he remarked in a postscript: “It has been an infernally difficult review to write. I began, after a third trial, in this more moderate & advisable fashion. I found I could not omit mention of Minto, but have done so pleasantly. Please do not cut out or alter in any way my MS. but jot any suggestions in pencil on a separate slip.”

44After the review appeared Sharp thanked Watts for his

generous appreciation, though I’m bound to say I don’t see anything particular in the review, except tact – for it was infernally difficult to be just to what is good in the book and yet to blow the counterblast. From what I hear, it has been a good deal noted in the very quarters I wanted it to be – namely among those who bear neither you nor me any good will: and it is admitted that my frank outspokenness knocks the ground from under “Scotts’s” feet as regards D. G. R., your relations to him and so forth.

45He knows there will be one or two American critics “who will hold up W. B. S. as a trustworthy authority to show how poor a fellow D. G. R. was, how deserted by his worthiest friends, and how you were only “a minor newcomer,” & so forth.” He planned to go out of his way to have his review reproduced in one or two influential American journals to set the record straight. Despite the difficulty of writing the review during the last two weeks of November, he thought he had reached the right balance, and the review appears to have been well-received.

46On November 18 Sharp wrote to Kineton Parkes to propose a review of a” remarkable book” by E. C. Stedman – The Nature and Elements of Poetry – which was a revised reprint of his “much-noted essays on Imagination, Truth, Beauty, Melancholia, etc. which have been appearing in The Century.” He would try to write it for the December issue of the Library Review, but the very next day he wrote again to Parkes to say he was too busy to write an adequate review as he wanted to do more than a mere notice. He could, though, send Parkes an article on Scott’s “‘Reminiscences’ with its wealth of addenda concerning the poet-painters and painter-poets of the Pre-Raphaelites. On November 28 he wrote to the editor of Blackwood’s Magazine in Edinburgh to say he would be able to submit an article about William Bell Scott’s relations with other painters and poets in the Rossetti circle by the end of the week. Writing again on December 5, he said he was too busy with commissioned articles and other literary work to finish the Scott article for the January number. The promises and retractions indicate the extent to which he was overextending himself trying to acquire funds for the impending trip.

47He did, however, accomplish a good deal of writing in 1892, and there were a sizeable number of publications. His Life and Letters of Joseph Severn appeared in February, and A Fellowe and His Wife appeared in the spring in England, America, and Germany. He published articles on Philip Marston and Maeterlinck in The Academy and on Thomas Hardy in The Forum. Flower o’the Vine, poems from Romantic Ballads and Sospiri di Roma, was published in the United States. The excessively-titled “Second Shadow: Being the narrative of Jose Maria Santos y Bazan, Spanish Physician in Rome” was published in the Independent in New York, and an article titled, “Severn’s Roman Journals” appeared in Boston’s Atlantic Monthly. He completed and submitted Vistas, the Maeterlinckean short dramas or interludes he started writing in Germany in the fall of 1891, to Elkin Mathews in England and Charles Webster in America. They decided not to publish it, but the volume would see the light of day in 1894. In mid-1892 the Sharps had settled into Phenice Croft where they hoped to experience a Phoenix-like rebirth, but the need to generate money forced a delay in their plans for creative work.

Letters: July–December, 1892

To Maud Howe Elliott, 11 [July 8 or 9? 1892]2

  • 1 Maud Howe Elliot (1854–1948,) a daughter of Julia Ward Howe and Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, wrote fic (...)
  • 2 Sharp’s reference to his trip to America in January 1892 and to settling into Phenice Croft establ (...)

4816 Winchester Road | Swiss Cottage | N.W.

49Address after July 15th | Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex

50Dear Mrs. Elliott

51I received so much courtesy and friendliness when I was in New York and Boston (Cambridge) last winter, that – even apart from the exceptional pleasure of seeing you again – it would have given my wife and myself much pleasure if we could have seen you and your husband here. But at present we are only in apartments, having given up our house in town as we have been so much abroad during the last two years: and there, moreover we leave in a few days – my wife going over to Germany to see “Parsifal” etc. at Bayreuth, and I going into Sussex to superintend the arrival of our furniture, etc. at a country place I have taken there.

  • 3 Louise Chandler Moulton.
  • 4 Unable to identify.

52I had just ventured to express to Mrs. Moulton3 how much pleasure it had given me to meet you, when my friend Charles Graham4 told me that he was to call on you some evening soon, and that you had kindly invited him to let me be his companion on the occasion.

53I told him that next Wednesday was my first free night, and we agreed to go then, and to take our chance of finding you at home.

54But I have just recollected hearing you say something to Mrs. Moulton about your going out of town next week: and though I think you specified Thursday, you may be going earlier, or you might not want to be interrupted on Wedny evening.

55Otherwise, pray do not trouble to reply to this note, as I am sure you must be glad to lay aside the pen altogether for a while – a luxury which we writing people are seldom allowed to enjoy. I shall regard silence as equivalent to approval of Mr. Graham’s and my joint proposal.

  • 5 The San Rosario Ranch (1884) and Atlanta in the South: A Romance (1886.)

56I did not realize till after we parted that you were Maud Howe, the author of the “San Rosario Ranch’” and “Atlanta in the South.”5 Forgive me if I have not remembered the names exactly, but it must be two years or more since I had the pleasure of reading them, during my first visit to America.

57Believe me | Yours very truly | William Sharp

58ALS Brown University Library

To J. Stanley Little, July 10, 1892

59Sunday 10 July 92

60My dear Little,

61Thanks for your letters. I do not expect to get to Rudgwick till early on Friday morning, but if I can manage it will be down by the evening of Thursday. I’ll take advantage of your hospitable kindness at the set-off: but I want to come to some arrangement with you.

62Meantime will you please oblige me (1) by keeping in your charge any letters or books etc. that come for either of us.

63(2) by going at your convenience to the Post-office and telling the Post-official that the quondam “Laurels” is now Phenice Croft. Further, you might inform the Station Master of the same, in the case of parcels or enquiries. We are giving as address simply ‘Phenice Croft, Rudgwick,’ and omitting Bucks Green.

  • 6 W. H. Brooks is the pseudonym Sharp adopted as editor of The Pagan Review, a periodical he planned (...)

64(3) Will you at the same time draw particular attention to the fact that all letters, packets, etc., addressed to Mr. W. H. Brooks,6 Bucks Green, Rudgwick are to be delivered at Phenice Croft (or kept till called for by me). I enclose a note of authorisation if necessary. Entre nous, “W. H. Brooks” is an editorial pseudonym. For obvious reasons, I do not wish to give ‘Phenice Croft’ as Mr. Brooks’ address, but simply “Bucks Green, Rudgwick” or “Rudgwick.”

65The best plan would be for me to have a post-bag: in which all letters for Mr. and Mrs. W. S. and Mr. W. H. B. could be put. I think I’d send a boy up in the forenoons.

66More about this when we meet.

67Elizabeth leaves here tomorrow: I on Wednesday: (for 72 Inverness Terrace W). I’ll write or wire as soon as I know my definite movements.

68And now about the Shelley address. For several reasons it would be a pleasure as well as an honour – but the truth is that I dare not venture just now on anything of the kind, for physiological reasons. My doctor has just warned me of this vein-trouble that I have not yet satisfactorily got under. The least thing may bring it back – and this must not be, as it might easily become dangerous (‘clotting’). One requisite is – not to stand. Walking does not now hurt me if in moderation: but even a short stand involves pain and discomfiture. And though I may be all right again by the end of the month I really must not risk the danger involved in the fatigue of standing to address.

69What I can do, if no suitable person can be had, and if otherwise advisable, would be to write an address, for you or someone to read.

  • 7 Stopford Augustus Brooke (1832–1916), an Anglo-Irish clergyman, essayist, critic, and biographer, (...)

70But I do think that special effort should be made to get some prominent Shelleyan. Of the names you suggest, I think much the best to be Stopford Brook.7

  • 8 Edward Dowden. See note to Sharp’s letter to Dowden on May 22, 1882.

71Thereafter, Dowden:8

  • 9 Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel (1834–1894), son of Charles Noel, Lord Barham and Earl of Gainsbor (...)
  • 10 Richard Garnett. See note to letter from Sharp to Garnett of early January 1891.
  • 11 Henry Buxton Forman (1842–1917) was a bibliographer and antiquarian bookseller whose literary repu (...)

72Thereafter, I should say the Hon. Roden Noel9 rather than Garnett10 or B. Forman.11 Garnett is the better man for the purpose of course, but he is not a good speaker and has not the right manner: and B. F. is a Philistine of the Philistines in manner and address.

  • 12 John Nichol (1833–1894), a Scottish poet and biographer, was Professor of English Language and Lit (...)

73Thereafter I can think only of Prof. Nichol12 as a possibility: or, among young men, of Sir George Douglas.

74Why not yourself?

75Still, Garnett might do. He is sympathetic in his bad manner, and that is much. B. Forman is a jelly-fish.

76The date is an unfortunate one for getting hold of people.

77In great haste, | Ever affectly Yours, | William Sharp

78ALS Princeton

To Edmund Clarence Stedman, August 13th, [1892]

  • 13 Selsea Bill is a headland on the Selsea Peninsula, West Sussex.
  • 14 The letter of the 10th may not have survived.

79Somewhere on Selsea Bill13 | Sussex Coast | 13th August Continuation of letter of 10th14

80Amico Mio,

  • 15 Sharp wrote a similar letter in 1887 objecting to being classified as a colonial poet in Stedman’s (...)
  • 16 Sir Edmund Gosse (1849–1928) was a poet, novelist, and literary commentator who wrote with special (...)

81I had to send off my letter so hurriedly by the last mail that I did not write so fully as I intended. As the August heat became trying we left our Phenice Croft and came off to the remotest part of the sea-coast in this region. I am rather apprehensive lest a remark near the end of my letter wd. be misread by you: for, of course, far from being resentful of your kind mention of me in Victorian Poets,15 I was and am grateful. Only, as I said, that unfortunate classification of me among the Australian poets has been taken ample advantage of by those who honour me by their enmity: to the end that I should always be ranked as a colorist, with all that pertains to such classification. Of course I am now so much better known that in a sense I need mind it no more – yet the very small worry dies hard. Only last week Gosse16 (who has known of me as a writer, for at least 10 years, and has written me voluntarily more than one flattering letter) protested to a friend that he knew next to nothing of me, and assured him (vide V. P.) that I was only one of many an insignificant band of Australian colonists.

82All this is such a small matter that I am half ashamed to trouble you with it. Petty literary malice and jealousy are known to all lands – and I daresay you know Gosse’s and others’ reputation. Certainly now that the tide has turned I need not bother: and yet dear E.C.S., if in your power in any “definite edition” later on, please either transfer your kind mention of me to another part, or simply strike the passage out.

83You will, I am confident, not misunderstand me? I put the small matter before you as a younger man before an elder, for his friendly consideration.

84But pray do not dream of writing to me, directly or indirectly, on this point. As I say, I merely draw your attention to a small rectification.

85I sincerely hope that the fierce heats you have been experiencing in America have not too severely tried Mrs. Stedman or yourself. Needless to say, I often think of you both, and often wish to see you again.

  • 17 The Pagan Review.
  • 18 The eight papers Stedman published in The Century Magazine (see note to June 9, 1892 letter to Lau (...)

86I have sent to you by this post the first number of a new magazine of a new kind in this country – for which I am responsible: though this is sub rosa.17 The new movement in letters here is unlike any that has taken place in England before, in the Victorian Age at any rate: though indeed it is a movement that is at hand rather than really forward. “The Pagan Review” is to be the voice of this Neo-Paganism. A hint of our drift is given in my “Foreword,” and it will be more fully expressed in a paper on “The New Paganism” in the October number. I hope your volume on Poetics18 will have a special article there: for you, certainly, are of those who do not need to count years, but are young always. It would greatly interest me if you would tell me sometime – by a message thro’ Arthur, or your secretary, for I do not expect you to write – what you think of the “Pagan Review” and its contents and aims. I may add, again sub rosa, that I am responsible for a good deal more than the “Foreword”! It is entirely my venture, and though I naturally do not expect to make it pay (and it was not undertaken to this end) I hope its subscription-sale may pay actual expenses. A minimum of 500 copies monthly must be sold: otherwise the “Pagan Review” must join the congested Limbo of premature births. So if you know any one athirst for “Paganism” tell him, her, or them to subscribe (to “W. H. Brooks,” as per editorial note).

  • 19 The implication here is that Edith Rinder will be with him for at least part of his stay in the Hi (...)

87By the time you get this – no, a week later – I shall be in Scotland, I hope. My wife cannot go north this year. If all goes well – this ought to be one of the happiest experiences of a happy life.19 I cannot be more explicit: but perhaps you will understand. But even to be in the Western Highlands alone is a joy.

88Then I am going to reform, and work hard all winter. I rather doubt if we’ll get away to Greece after all: funds are villainously low for such exploits.

  • 20 Sharp must have suggested Stedman donate an autograph copy of “Ariel,” his poem about Shelley, to (...)

89Don’t forget what I said in my last note about your autograph “Ariel” for the Shelley Library.20

90Ever, dear friend,

91Admiringly and Affectionately Yours, | William Sharp

92ALS Columbia

To Bliss Carman, [August 13?, 1892]

93Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex

94My dear old fellow

95I wonder where you are just now: anyway, not in New York I hope, where the heat must be intolerable. I am writing this on Selsea Bill, a lonely promontory on the southwest Sussex coast, where we have come for a few days from the above address, to escape the August heats. I hope you like your new post, though I was sorry to hear of your having left the Independent.

  • 21 The Pagan Review was published on August 15, 1892.

96I sent to you by this post the first number of a new magazine21 for which I am directly responsible – though this at present is sub rosa. It appeals to a new sentiment that is arising. I shall be curious to know what you think of “The Pagan Review,” its contents and aims. Please write to me as fully as you can spare time: with any suggestions. And will you contribute later on, when the exchequer provides payment (if it ever does!) It is a pure labour of enthusiasm at present – and though I do not expect to make the venture pay (& it was never undertaken to this end) I hope it may repay its expenses – though to this result there must be a minimum subscription list of 500 copies. If you can help in any way, officially or privately, I frankly ask you to do what you can.

97This and the next number will create a good deal of interest I expect. I may confide to you, again sub rosa, that I am responsible for a good deal more than the “Foreword” and editorial notes & Record! Indeed, you would probably recognise one piece at any rate, “The Black Madonna,” though I forget if this is one of the “Vistas” I read to you in New York. But remember that at present I do not wish “William Sharp” to be read into “W. S. Fanshawe”.

  • 22 Joseph Edmund Collins (1855–92) was born in Newfoundland, migrated to New Brunswick in 1875, and b (...)
  • 23 Unable to identify.

98I shall be very curious to hear from you. By the way, I have posted two copies: one to you privately, and one for “Current Literature,” where I hope you may be able to do something to draw attention to it. And as I do not know the addresses, will you further oblige me by sending on the copies I send to your care to Edmund Collins22 and Mr. Bower23 respectively – with a request to do what they can.

  • 24 Charles G. D. Roberts.
  • 25 Here Sharp implies more explicitly that Edith Rinder would be with him in the Highlands after Augu (...)

99What about your Poems? When is that longed for volume to come out? I have been reading a lot of your privately printed verse lately with renewed and even greater pleasure. I wonder how dear old Roberts24 is. Think of me early in September (from August 30th) in the loveliest of the West Highlands – & in one of the happiest experiences of my life. I can’t be more explicit – but you will understand! Thereafter I am going to reform – definitely.25

100Ever, dear Carman,

101Affectionately Your Friend & Comrade (& Fellow Pagan)

102William Sharp

103ALS Fales Library, New York University

To Edward Dowden, September?, 189226

  • 26 Edward Dowden (1843–1913). See note to Sharp’s May 22, 1882 letter to Dowden.

104Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex

105My dear Dowden

106Just a line of most cordial congratulation on your appointment as Clark Lecturer at Cambridge–a deserved honour for you and a reputable honour for the University.

107Selfishly, too, I am glad: for the chances of meeting you in person are now enhanced.

108Cordially Yours | William Sharp

109ALS Trinity College Dublin

To Subscribers of The Pagan Review, [September 15, 1892]

  • 27 E. A. S. added “And at the little cottage a solemn ceremony took place. The Review was buried in a (...)

110On the 15th September, still-born The Pagan Review. Regretted by none, save the affectionate parents and a few forlorn friends, The Pagan Review has returned to the void whence it came. The progenitors, more hopeful than reasonable, look for an unglorious but robust resurrection at some more fortunate date. “For of such is the Kingdom of Paganism.”27

111W. H. Brooks.

112Memoir 207

To Edmund Clarence Stedman, September 28, 1892

113Phenice Croft | Rudgwick, | Sussex | 28th September 1892

114My dear Poet,

115I have just remembered that if I do not send you a birthday greeting today, there will be no chance of its reaching you by the 8th. It must, perforce, be a brief one – for not only am I overwhelmed in work just now (though the extreme and too severe pressure will be over in a day or two), but our sole day-post goes out immediately.

116But it does not require many words to send you my love and homage, and to wish for you prosperity and happiness in the coming year. If affectionate goodwill and loyal friendship could secure for you all that makes life best worth living, you would be well “set up.” And I am so glad that towards the end of the year that has gone you have broken into such sweet and high song. It is a good augury. I am hopeful that we shall have much of “Stedman the poet” in your new year. You have had a brilliant and worthy career, and won a high name and place: but there are many who, as myself, believe that you have some “high utterance” to give us yet.

117You have had a fortunate life, amico mio: and that is much: to me, I admit, the supreme thing. I would rather have lived, as I have done, intensely, and as you have done, than win any mere repute at the expense of the bitter-sweet of varied & keen life.

118Well – all happiness and good be yours.

119I thank you for your lovely & friendly letter. I feel there is a good leaven of truth, to say the least, in what you say about the “Pagan Review.” But set your mind at rest: the poor thing is dead. There is a possible resurrection for it next year as a quarterly, but this is still in nubibus. It has, however, so far accomplished its aim of stimulus among the younger people, and that is good. I return herewith your subscription, with sincerest thanks. Have mislaid it. No time to hunt for it now. Hope to send it by next post.

120By the way, keep your P/R. It is already being sought by collectors. I can send you another if you wish.

  • 28 The Nature and Elements of Poetry (1892).

121I am looking forward greatly to your book of Poetics:28 the essays ought to have a wide and deep effect.

122My love to you and yours – with cordialest greetings from my wife. I hope to write erelong and more fully (but with nothing calling for any reply – for you must conserve your energies) –

123Now and always affectionately,

124Your friend, | William Sharp

125P.S. In the “Shelley Centenary” record – for “popular” distribution throughout the country – published today, with brief biographical notes on the leading signatories – you are entered thus: – “Ed – C – S – : An American biographer, essayist, & poet of the highest distinction. Mr. Stedman’s poem ‘Ariel’ was conspicuously successful among the centenary odes in honour of Shelley.”

126ALS Columbia

To Elbert F. Baldwin, September 28, 1892

127Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | 28th Sept/92

  • 29 Baldwin was an Editor of The New York Independent and later of The Outlook.

128Dear Mr. Baldwin29

129In response to your last kind letter I send you a story of a ‘bogie’ kind, “Dr. Aylmer’s Ordeal,” which may suit you. It is perhaps a little longer than you want – but is, if I am not mistaken, a good deal shorter than “The Second Shadow.”

130I hope it will please you.

131Cordially yours | William Sharp

132Elbert F. Baldwin Esq., Editor, “The N. Y. Independent”

133ALS Private

To Thomas A. Janvier, [October, 1892]

134Rudgwick, Sussex.

135Dear Mr. Janvier,

136For though we are strangers in a sense I seem to know you well through our friend in common, Mr. William Sharp!

137I write to let you know that The Pagan Review breathed its last a short time ago. Its end was singularly tranquil, but was not unexpected. Your friend Mr. Sharp consoles me by talking of a certain resurrection for what he rudely calls “this corruptible”: if so the P/R will speak a new and wiser tongue, appear in a worthier guise, and put on immortality as a Quarterly.

  • 30 “The Passing of Thomas,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 85 (Aug. 1892), 439–454; and “The Efferati (...)
  • 31 Catherine Janvier.

138In the circumstances, I return, with sincerest thanks, the subscription you are so good as to send. Also the memorial card of our late lamented friend – I mean the P/R, not W. S. Talking of W. S., what an admirable fellow he is! I take the greatest possible interest in his career. I read your kind and generous estimate of him in Flower o’the Vine with much pleasure – and though I cannot say that I hold quite so high a view of his poetic powers as you do, I may say that perusal of your remarks gave me as much pleasure as, I have good reason for knowing, they gave to him. He and I have been “delighting” over your admirable artistic and charming stories in Harper’s.30 By the way, he’s settling down to a serious “tussle.” He has been “a bad boy” of late: but about a week previous to the death of The Pagan Review he definitively reformed – on Sept. 11th in the early forenoon, I believe. I hope earnestly he may be able to live on the straight henceforth: but I regret to say that I see signs of backsliding. Still, he may triumph; the spirit is (occasionally) willing. But, apart from this, he is now becoming jealous of such repute as he has won, and is going to deserve it, and the hopes of friends like yourself. Mrs. Brooks’ love to Catherine31 and yourself: Mine, Tommaso Mio,

139You know you have…

140W. H. Brooks.

141P.S. Elizabeth A. Brooks was so pleased to receive your letter.

142Memoir 204–05

To Robert Murray Gilchrist,32 October, 1892

  • 32 Robert Murray Gilchrist (1868–1917) was a prolific writer of fiction and travel books. He was born (...)

143Rudgwick, Sussex, 10:92

144My dear Sir,

  • 33 Only one issue was published.

145As it is almost certain that for unforseen private reasons serial publication of The Pagan Review will be held over till sometime in 1893,33 I regret to have to return your MS. to you. I have read “The Noble Courtesan” with much interest. It has a quality of suggestiveness that is rare, and I hope that it will be included in the forthcoming volume to which you allude…. It seems to me that the story would be improved by less – or more hidden – emphasis on the mysterious aspect of the woman’s nature. She is too much the “principle of Evil”, the “modern Lilith.” If you do not use it, I might be able – with some alterations of a minor kind – to use it in the P/R when next Spring it reappears – if such is its dubious fate.

146Yours very truly, | W. H. Brooks

147P.S. It is possible that you may surmise – or that a common friend may tell you – who the editor of the P/R is: if so, may I ask you to be reticent on the matter.

148Memoir 206

To Richard Le Gallienne, October 7, 1892

149Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | 7th Oct:’92

150Dear Mr. Le Gallienne,

  • 34 Le Gallienne’s English Poems (London: Elkin Mathews & John Lane, [1892]). An edition of twenty-fiv (...)

151I am at present from home – but expect to return tomorrow. As soon thereafter as practicable, I mean to write to you about your “English Poems,”34 which I received today.

152Meanwhile I send this brief word of acknowledgment – and to thank you heartily for the gift of your book: a large-paper copy, to boot!

  • 35 A reference to Philip Bourke Marston’s For a Song’s Sake.

153You may be sure that it is welcome, and will be valued aright “For the sake of the song that is sung and the singer that sings the song.”35

154Tonight, I am too busy to write more.

155By a coincidence, I was on the point of writing to you today about your promised visit: but I found that both next week-end and that succeeding are impracticable.

156But soon thereafter my wife and I hope that Mrs. Le Gallienne and yourself will come to us from a Friday till Monday. I’ll let you know possible dates a little later. We can promise you a pleasant country with innumerable walks – honey and cream and other country fare – books galore, and a writing-room if you wish it, and a hearty welcome.

157Our cordial remembrances to you both,

158Sincerely Yours, | William Sharp

159ALS University of Texas at Austin

To J. Stanley Little, October 8, 1892

160Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick, | Sussex | Saty Night, Oct. 8.92

161My dear Stanley

162We have just returned here.

163On reconsideration I have decided not to take any initiative in the Poet Laureate abolishment scheme. In any case, the idea is so much in nubíbus at present that I wouldn’t refer to it as a movement already actually started but simply vaguely entertained. So go in for it yourself by all means if you wish – I thank you all the same for considering my possible wishes and determination in the matter. I am actually quite willing that you, instead of W. S., should take up the matter.

164If there is any chance of your being here on Sunday, we shall no doubt see you: but I shall send this on in case you do not come.

165In haste,

166Ever Affectly Yours, | William Sharp

167ALS Princeton

To J. Stanley Little, October 9, 1892

168Sunday Morning | Oct-9-92

169Dear Stanley

  • 36 Thomas Woolner (1825–1892) was a sculptor and poet, a friend of Rossetti, and one of the original (...)

170You will, I know, be very sorry to hear of Woolner’s sudden death on Friday night.36 It is strange, coming so abruptly on Tennyson’s.

171I add this to say – let the Biography affair stand over till you return.

172My pen is driven too hard at the moment for aught that can be avoided.

173Ever yrs. | W. S.

174ALS University of British Columbia

To Alfred Austin, [October 14?, 1892]

175Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick, | Sussex.

176My dear Austin

  • 37 Sharp saw Austin at Tennyson’s funeral. Tennyson died on October 6, 1892, and the funeral was on O (...)

177It was with quick pleasure that I saw you at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday, and noticed, too, how well you were looking.37

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

178It seems a very long time since we met; but what with my absences abroad and in America, and my ever busy life here my opportunities have after all been very few. Still, I should have made a more direct effort to see you.38

179We have taken a small house in a remote part of Sussex – at first as much with the idea of its being a good pied-à-terre as of its becoming a permanent residence – the rent does not come to much more than what we had to pay for storage etc.: and we thought, too, it would be easier for us financially than to be in London – which I find to be a delusion.

180Still, it is quieter: and for some things we deem it more fortunate – though it remains to be seen how the climate will suit my wife – at present, I fear, it does not.

181You will, I know, be glad to hear of the success of my novel, à deux, “A Fellowe and His Wife”, and of the literary success of my long delayed “Severn Memoirs.”

182As for yourself, you are I hope not only well but doing that which is so dear to you, “making a sweet song out of the things that be.”

  • 39 Austin became poet laureate in 1895.

183I, in common with everyone, wonder how the Laureateship is to be settled.39 If you, as many think, are to be the heritor, the laurel will go to one who will sustain the high honour with dignity and beauty.

184If Mrs. Austin remembers me, pray give her my best regards.

185My wife is from home today, or would join with me in remembrances to you both.

186Always Cordially Yours | William Sharp

187P.S. Is there any chance of your being in London between the 22nd and 28th?

188ALS Yale

To R. Murray Gilchrist, October 22, 1892

189Phenice Croft, Rudgwick, | 22:10:92

190Dear Mr. Gilchrist,

191Although I do not wish the matter to go further, I do not mind so sympathetic and kindly a critic knowing that “W. S.” and “W. H. Brooks” are synonymous.

192I read with pleasure your very friendly and cordial article in The Library. By the way, it may interest you to know that the “Rape of the Sabines” and – well, I’ll not say what else! – is also by W. H. Brooks. But this, no outsider knows…. The Pagan Review will be revived next year, but probably as a Quarterly: and I look to you as one of the younger men of notable talent to give a helping hand with your pen.

193I suppose you come to London occasionally. I hope when you are next south, you will come and give me the pleasure of your personal acquaintance. I can offer you a lovely country, country fare, a bed, and a cordial welcome.

194Yours sincerely, | William Sharp.

195Memoir 206–07

To Edmund Clarence Stedman, October 28, 1892

196Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex

197Just a hurried line, amico mio, to say that all other addresses may be canceled for the above, which is my “permanent” one. Either that or 72 Inverness Terrace, Bayswater, London. (if you don’t remember the first) will always find me.

198William Sharp

199ACS Columbia University Library

To Alfred H. Miles, October 31, 1892

200Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick, | Sussex.| 31: Oct: 92

  • 40 Alfred Henry Miles (1848–1929) was a prolific author, editor, anthologist, journalist, composer an (...)

201My dear Sir,40

202I have just received and glanced through with great interest the latest two additions to your admirable series.

203It has occurred to me that you might care to have the notice of Philip Marston from myself – partly for the obvious reason of our intimacy, partly because I could give some interesting particulars (unknown to anyone else) concerning the posthumous fame he has further achieved. I am glad to know that I have been instrumental in doing such service to that well-loved friend by my critical selection of his best poems in my Canterbury volume.

204I have written to Messrs. Hutchinson & Co. with a proposal – but on second thoughts do not send it till I have first communicated with you, lest I should be encroaching on what you may regard as your own province. I enclose the letter for you to see: if you consider it beyond your scope, and a matter only for Messrs. Hutchinson’s decision, will you kindly forward it to them – or to me, as may be most convenient.

205Yours very truly | William Sharp

206Alfred H. Miles Esq

207ALS University of British Columbia

To Alfred H. Miles, November 4, 1892

208Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | 4th Nov. '92

209My dear Sir,

210I am obliged to you for your frankly explicit letter.

  • 41 Hutchinson & Co. was an English book publisher, founded in 1887 by Sir George Hutchinson.
  • 42 Sharp had written to the publisher of Miles’ Poets and Poetry of the Century Series (Hutchinson & (...)

211It seems to me that the most courteous thing for me to do is to refrain from sending the letter to Messrs. Hutchinson & Co.41 and this I shall do whether I come to a definite arrangement with Mr. Walter Scott or do not.42

212You have frankly let me infer your plans with regard to the extension of your series: let me be equally frank (and speak equally sub rosa) and tell you that I have for years been engaged on a volume of the ‘Romantic’ and contemporary French poets, and that I hope to issue this early in 1893.

213I have arranged to write a long and important article in one of the leading monthlies – you will excuse me, I know, from saying which at present – on “The Poets and the Poetry of the century,” apropos of your admirable series, as soon as it is complete. I shall then bear in mind what you say about the whole publication being of your own planning and arrangement.

214Yours very truly | William Sharp

215ALS Princeton

To J. Stanley Little, [November, 1892]

216Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick, | Sussex. | Monday

217My dear Stanley,

  • 43 Theodore Watts, later Watts-Dunton, was poetry editor of The Atheneum.

218I have no time to answer your letter in detail. It must suffice at present to say that the idea you have a black mark against you at the Athenaeum office is, to put it plainly, sheer nonsense. As for Watts43 himself, he quite understands – & you need not have a moments thought further on that score.

219I do not see that there is the slightest call for you to alter towards your friend. He is no doubt an excellent fellow – though personally I am prejudiced enough not to wish a further acquaintanceship.

220I shall leave here tomorrow afternoon and be back by Thursday evening. At the end of the week I suppose you will be back: there are one or two things then I want to talk over with you.

  • 44 A village in West Sussex.

221I trust you will find Bosham44 as entertaining as other parts of the Selsea Peninsula.

222We are both enjoying the rheumatic damp of happy Budgwick [sic].

223A rividerla, Camerado egregio, | W. S.

224ALS Princeton

To Theodore Watts [-Dunton], [November? 14, 1892]

225Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick, | Sussex.

  • 45 The first and last portions of this letter are missing.
  • 46 William Bell Scott (1811–1890) was a Scottish poet and painter. The publication of his posthumous (...)

226… of you:45 & who have persistently pooh-poohed your good & gracious service to him. For then, naturally, there is ‘proof’ here that Scott46 was almost the only true ‘nurse’ & friend, – & that D. G. R. simply made use of you. As to the lies current that you, and others including myself, assisted rather than deplored D. G. R.’s chloral habit, & made out that he was much worse than he was, will gain some colour by the implication in the second allusion to yourself.

227I think you know how I love and reverence Gabriel Rossetti’s memory. I am not blind, of course, & I know his faults & weaknesses – but he was a great genius, & as a man he won my love, & shall have it till I die. I have glanced thro’ the D. G. R. passages since I wrote to you last, & with deepest pain.

  • 47 William Minto (1845–1893), a Scottish critic and novelist, edited the Autobiographical Notes of th (...)

228That insultingly cruel epithet to Ruskin suits much of the book only too well. I am amazed Minto47 should let pass uncorrected (if he could not suppress, as he ought to have done) so much that ought not to have seen the light.

229I feel the outrage of the remarks about Swinburne – one of the greatest poets of our century. The more one knows & rereads his work, & critically & comparatively, the more one admires it & his high attitude throughout. He was my idol in old days, & now again I realise how great a poet he is. And just as the public mind is slowly veering towards that high acceptation of him which is his due – out comes this foolish & spiteful nonsense, which will spread abroad to his detriment! Well, W. B. S. can’t hurt A. C. Swinburne, nor a thousand W. B. S.’s.

  • 48 Sharp’s review of Autobiographical Notes of the Life of William Bell Scot was printed in The Acade (...)

230My article48 – which I must make a long one – will be out on Friday week: that is the Friday after next.

231I will send it to you on Thursday night, if, as I hope I may, I cannot call that…

232ALS University of Leeds, Brotherton Library

To J. Stanley Little, [November? 15, 1892]

233Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick, | Sussex. | Tuesday Night

234My dear Stanley

235I left via Guildford but not feeling up to the mark, & thinking that E. was feeling very dull owing to the infernal weather, I came back. I’ll leave tomorrow at 8:14 & be back probably on Thursday. I shall probably be here on Saty night and Sunday – but it is possible I may be at George Meredith’s. If you are here on Friday please look in. Almost certain to be here from Friday onwards – I want to tell you about our “final revised plans” for Jany-Feby: and to see how far you can adapt your plans to suit. [We shall leave London on the 2nd Jany. The more I think of it, the more I am sure you shd. have a change too – even if only for a few weeks. You ought to do it every way. Let us talk it over on Friday]. I find they [plans] must be on a more moderate financial scale, and not so far afield – so Italy now takes the place of Greece, etc.

  • 49 Little was planning an article on Rossetti.
  • 50 Bognor is a locality in West Sussex where D. G. Rossetti leased Aldwick Lodge in 1875. He lived th (...)

236Take care of yourself, my dear fellow, in this cursed damp. Put me in mind, and I’ll give you some Rossetti memoranda for the Selsea paper49 – i.e., if, as I suppose you will, you intend to include Bognor.50 Do not eat too many Selsea lobsters – stand neither yourself nor others too many gins and bitters – smoke not at all – avoid the siren that bewitcheth – and come back whole and flourishing to Kensettian and Phenice-Croftian Budgwick.

237Ever yours, | Will S.

238Your letter came just as I’m leaving. There’s nothing come between us, you silly but dear old chap. As for K. G. M’s sin it’s not heinous! It is only that it discredits, for me, his testimony in other matters. It wd be absurd to make too much of a little ‘gas’ otherwise. Be assured I think no more of the matter.

239ALS Princeton

To Theodore Watts-Dunton, [November 18, 1892]

240Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick, | Sussex. | Friday

241My dear Watts

  • 51 Swinburne had attacked Autobiographical Notes of the Life of William Bell Scott for its inaccurate (...)

242I find that the lab[?] bràve I had calculated on is off for the winter season – so you cannot receive MS.51 till sometime tomorrow forenoon.

243It is just possible I may bring it in person.

  • 52 James Cotton, editor of The Academy.
  • 53 Thomas Gordon Hake (1809–1895) was a physician, a poet, and a friend of Rossetti. Sharp refers to (...)

244I simply cannot do this review. I must start afresh. About 9 o’clock I’ll sit down to it & write all night if necessary. If at all possible, let me have it again as arranged. If not, I daresay Cotton52 will manage if he receives it from me first thing on Tuesday morning: for if you don’t post before 5, I can’t receive on Sunday. Now that I have finished the book & gone carefully into it, I not only more than ever regret Swinburne’s article, but think we have all underestimated the good in the book. There is a great deal of interesting matter, particularly in the letters introduced: and I do not see how the book is to be killed, or that it should be killed. Frankly, the book has far more chance of life than Hake’s,53 far more genial & generous as the latter is. Once pruned of its misstatements and otherwise carefully revised, it would be extremely entertaining and to future students of the period profoundly interesting & even valuable.

245One must be fair all round. It is a damnably difficult thing to do in this instance: but I’ll have one more shot anyway!

246In haste | Sincerely Yours | William Sharp

247ALS British Library

To Kineton Parkes, November 18, 1892,54

  • 54 W. Kineton Parkes (1865–1938), novelist and art critic, was on the staff of the Nicholson Institut (...)

248Phenice Croft, Rudgwick, Sussex

249Dear Mr. Kineton Parkes,

250I am constrained to break my rule of never writing except on payment, and payment at my own terms, in order to review a remarkable book which I understand will not be sent out to the press in this country, or, at most, not to more than three leading weeklies: although, I expect, it will have a large sale.

251I allude to E. C. Stedman’s “The Nature and Elements of Poetry.” It is a revised reprint of the much-noted essays on Imagination, Truth, Beauty, Melancholia, etc. which have been appearing in The Century.

252I fear that I am too busy to promise the article in time for your December issue – particularly as it may be a somewhat long one.

253But, if you would care for it, let me know what is your last sending-in day.

254I hope the Library Review is going well. It deserves to succeed.

255With kind regards | Yours very truly | William Sharp

256ALS Private

To Kineton Parkes, November 19, 1892

257Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick, | Sussex

258Dear Mr. Kineton Parkes,

259Since I wrote to you I find that it will be impossible for me to write a really adequate review of Stedman’s “Nature & Elements of Poetry” at present – as I do not care to “notice” the book merely, and to do anything more involves closer thought and work than I can afford to add to my other engagements.

260But, instead, if you like, I will send you an article on W. Bell Scott’s fascinating “Reminiscences” (2 vols. Osgood & co., 36ƒ) – with its wealth of addenda concerning the poet-painters and painter-poets of that group.

261In haste | With best wishes | Sincerely yours | William Sharp

262ALS UWM Library

To Theodore Watts [-Dunton], [November 19, 1892]

263Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick, | Sussex. | Saturday.

264My dear Watts,

265I send the Article, as written up to the point where I turn to indicate what is “worthy and of good report” in Scott’s Memoirs. Rectify me if necessary anywhere.

266What a much more charming book, in spirit, Hake’s is: but it has not the same inherent interest. W. B. S. certainly gives some memorable pictures, and not a few noteworthy data.

  • 55 George Meredith.

267If you can manage to post it tonight – before 12 – I will receive MS. again first thing on Monday morning. Sunday, I fear, would run me too close – as the second post does not come till too late for me, as I am going to G. M.55 then, as I could not manage it last Thursday.

268In haste | (Hoping your cold is better) | Yours ever, | William Sharp.

269P.S. It has been an infernally difficult review to write. I began, after a third trial, in this more moderate & advisable fashion. I found I could not omit mention of Minto, but have done so pleasantly. Please do not cut out or alter in any way my MS. but jot any suggestions in pencil on a separate slip.

  • 56 Sharp’s article of Maeterlinck appeared in the March 1892 issue of The Academy.

270P.S. I enclose a notice on Maeterlinck56 which I think one of my best critical articles. It was widely noted in Belgium, France, & America – & indeed here. Please let me have it again.

271W. S.

272ALS Brotherton Library, University of Leeds

To Edmund Clarence Stedman, November 19, 189257

  • 57 Date from postmark.

273Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex

274Just a line of acknowledgment (with sincerest thanks) of books.

  • 58 Stedman’s The Nature and Elements of Poetry (1892).

275I will read the book58 carefully before I write, which will be in about a week I expect.

276William Sharp

277ACS Columbia University Library

To Editor of Blackwood’s Magazine, November 28, 1892

278Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick, | Sussex. | 28 Nov: 92

279Dear Sir

280In reply to your note, I hope to be able to submit the Scott etc. Reminiscences article to you by the end of the week at latest: possibly by Wedny or Thursday.

281Yours faithfully | William Sharp

282The Editor of “Blackwood’s Magazine”

283ALS National Library of Scotland

To Arthur Stedman, November 29, 1892

284Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | 29th Nov: 92

285My dear Arthur,

  • 59 John Charles Van Dyke (1856–1932) was an American art historian and critic. The two books mentione (...)

286Thanks for your note. My wife has already obtained “How to Judge a Picture etc.”’ otherwise: but she would like to have the “Principles.”59 In the unlikely event of there being any cash to the good, will you kindly send her a box of Stubb’s long-pointed medium J pens. She cannot get them here, and likes them better than any other. Failing these, there is a maker Esterbrook or some such name, of whose somewhat similar pens I got some in New York.

287Please note that until next March our best letter address will be 72 Inverness Terrace, Bayswater, London. On 1st January we leave for two months in Capri and Sicily. Work and financial reasons make it advisable that we do not go abroad this year, but on the other hand we both long terribly for the south, and my wife’s health makes it almost imperative that we go.

288Is there any good in my looking forward to anything in the way of cash from Flower o’ the Vine: and if so is there any chance of its being remitted soon? If so, please let the draft be crossed “Union Bank of London, Regent St. Branch, a/c William Sharp.” I have had painful experiences in losing cheques.

  • 60 Edmund Clarence Stedman, The Nature and Elements of Poetry (1892).

289I must postpone a proper letter for a little while yet. I am in the midst of a great mass of work – and for a fortnight or more will have little “breathing-space.” Please tell E. C. S.60 that I am daily reading a little of his winsome and altogether delightful book on Poetry, and, hope to write to him erelong.

  • 61 A. C. Swinburne, “The New Terror,” The Fortnightly Review, 52 (Dec. 1, 1892), 830–833.
  • 62 William Bell Scott.

290Just finished reviewing for The Academy the book of the season in literary circles here – the late Wm. Bell Scott’s Autobiography. It is full of misstatements and ill-intentioned half-statements but yet by virtue of its letters etc. is a fascinating book. Swinburne is going to slate it unmercifully (and very foolishly) in the December Fortnightly.61 I was dining at his house in Putney the other day: he was very excited over “The Monster”62 to whom he has paid so many affectionate tributes in verse!

291Most cordial regards, Arturo Mio,| Yours ever, | W. S.

292ALS Columbia

To Editor of Blackwood’s Magazine, December 5, 1892

293Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | 5/12/92

294Dear Sir,

295I find, after all, that it is impracticable for me to send the Scott, etc. Reminiscences paper to you in time for your January number. My wife’s health involves my going abroad with her soon after Christmas, and the pressure of commissioned articles and other literary work is too great to enable me to undertake an article on chance of acceptance, even for a later number than your next.

  • 63 Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

296If you should wish the article, I think I could do it soon after the 20th inst – from that to the 26th. It would be on different lines (anecdotal, and illustrative of the “P. R. B.”63 period) than that taken up in my long review of W. B. Scott’s Memoirs in the current number of The Academy.

297In any case I can do no more than promise to write it if I possibly can – but possibly you may now prefer that the matter be dropped.

298In haste | Yours very brief | William Sharp

299The Editor, “Blackwood’s Magazine”

300ALS National Library of Scotland

To Theodore Watts [-Dunton], [December 7, 1892]

301Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick | Sussex.

302My dear Watts

  • 64 Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
  • 65 William Bell Scott.

303Thanks for your generous appreciation, though I’m bound to say I don’t see anything particular in the review, except tact – for it was infernally difficult to be just to what is good in the book and yet to blow the counterblast. From what I hear, it has been a good deal noted in the very quarters I wanted it to be – namely among those who bear neither you nor me any good will: and it is admitted that my frank outspokenness knocks the ground from under “Scotts’s” feet as regards D. G. R.,64 your relations to him and so forth. Old W. B. S.’s65 book proved quite a windfall to some small fry who, from combined envy and malice, delight in detraction. As I know that there are one or two among them who “do the literary stuff” for certain American papers, and who will hold up W. B. S. as a trustworthy authority to show how poor a fellow D. G. R. was, how deserted by his worthiest friends, and how you were only “a minor newcomer,” & so forth, I’ll go out of my way – for I am not given to ‘nobbling’ in any form – to have my article reproduced in America in one or two influential places. As you probably know, there have been some most ungenerous things written about you in America, but in one or two cases I know them to have gone thence from London. Some individual has gone out of his way to send me the “Republican” with some silly nonsense about you and your Athenaeum work. But I allude to this – not in the spirit of the too kind friend who “thinks you would like to know, you know” – only to show that I do not speak at random.

304I was to have written a more detailed article on “Recent Reminiscences” for Blackwood’s – but two days ago I sent word to “beg off.” I am so busy, and have so much more urgent & remunerative work to do before we go abroad. Still, if I can manage it, I may even yet do it for B’s or elsewhere. The only chance with a book like this as to deal with it promptly: otherwise the harm is done, and it takes years for the much-adulterated decoction to clarify.

  • 66 The manuscript ends, and the remainder of the letter is lost.

305Herewith I return the A. C. S. paper, and, as you wish it, your own letter. I was, however, going to destroy the letter, for obvious reasons.66

306ALS University of Leeds, Brotherton Library

To W. Kineton Parkes, December 7, 189267

  • 67 This is an autograph letter card postmarked December 7, 1892 from Horsham and addressed to Kineton (...)

307Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex

308Dear Mr. Kineton Parkes

309Thro’ not having heard from you I concluded that either you did not care abt the Scott article or were in no hurry for it. It is now too late for me to undertake it, as I am overwhelmed with commissioned work that must be done before I go abroad abt Xmastide. Blackwood’s suggested my sending an article on the subject, but I have had to write & “beg off,” as it is impossible to do it for a Jany number. I’ll send you a line later on, à propos.

310In haste, | Sincerely yours | William Sharp

311ALS, UWM Library

To J. Stanley Little, [December 8, 1892]

312Thursday Night

313My dear Stanley

314We leave on the 2nd, for Sicily and North Africa. This, from what you tell me, will be beyond your means I know, but why not come with us as far as Florence? We go straight there via Switzerland and the St. Gotthard Pass, stopping one night on the way (Milan): and shall be there a few days. We could give you introductions to friends in Florence, & also in Rome, if you went on there. I think you cd. manage this trip, with say 3 weeks stay abroad, for an inclusive sum of £30. I think you ought to try it – for your art-work’s sake as well as for health, & the impulse it wd. probably give you everywhere.

315Our trip, alas, requires £50 planted down before we leave London!

316Please let me know if you think you will come.

317I suppose you are having a pleasant time at Bosham?

  • 68 Sharp’s review of William Bell Scott’s autobiography.

318My Scott article68 seems to have attracted a great deal of attention.

319On the other hand, I hear that Minto is going to take up the cudgels.

  • 69 George Meredith.

320I had a very pleasant visit to G. M.69 the other day.

321Elizabeth is a good deal better, partly from slacking off a bit in work, I think.

322When are we going to see you again? Can you dine with us on Saturday? Next week I shall be away Tuesday, Wedny, & Thursday.

323Love from us both

324Yours ever | William Sharp

325ALS Princeton

To Messrs. Williams & Norgate, December 10, 189270

  • 70 Address on lettercard: 14 Henrietta Street | Covent Garden W. C. | London. Date from postmark on c (...)

326Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick, | Sussex

327Dear Sirs

  • 71 The novel Sharp wrote jointly with Blanche Willis Howard was published in London by James R. Osgoo (...)

328Baron Tauchnitz writes to me that he will forward me 4 copies of my joint-novel “A Fellowe & His Wife” on my authorization to the Customs.71 Will this note suffice?

329Yours very truly | William Sharp

330Messrs. Williams & Norgate

331ALCS, UWM Library

To Elkin Mathews, 7272 December 11, 189273

  • 72 Elkin Mathews (b. 1851), a publisher and bookseller, founded The Bodley Head Publishing Co. in 188 (...)
  • 73 Date from postmark.

332Phenice Croft | Rudgwick

333Dear Sir,

334Thanks – “Vistas” is safely to hand. I am sorry you did not find it in your particular way. With kind regards, Yours very truly,

335William Sharp

336Elkin Mathews Esq.

337ACS Princeton

To J. Stanley Little, December 11, 189274

  • 74 Date from postmark.

338December

339My dear Boy

340If you should be coming back by tomorrow at any rate look in and see Elizabeth, as she will be alone and rather dull I fear. We are both missing you very much.

341In haste, | Affectly Yours | Will

342ACS Princeton

To J. Stanley Little, [December 13, 1892]

343Grosvenor Club

344Dear S.

  • 75 J. J. Robinson was an editor of the West Sussex Gazette and a friend of Stanley Little who wrote f (...)

345I got your letter this morning just as I left. Do you mean that Robinson75 is to be with you Saty-Sunday at Rudgwick? If so I hope to see him.

346My dear fellow, I look upon a radical change as imperative for you. Art-work alone would repay you. Do all you can to come to Florence. The keen sweet air there, the lovely place, the congenial surroundings, etc. will work like a charm. You can easily do it for £30, going and coming and stay there for say 3 weeks. Beg, borrow, or steal the money!

  • 76 Perhaps a notice of The Pagan Review in the West Sussex Gazette written by Little, who wrote frequ (...)

347No time to write abt the excellent W. S. G.76 notice.

348Yours ever | W. S.

349E. is in town, and I understand is going to write you also.

350ALS Princeton

To Edmund Clarence Stedman, December 14, 189277

  • 77 Date from postmark.

351So overwhelmed with work and things to see to that I must write to you from Sicily, a fortnight or so hence (i. e., after your receipt of this). We go there to lie in the sunshine and dream dreams, for Jany & Feby.

  • 78 Sharp had arranged with Joseph Cotton, editor of The Academy, to write an article about Stedman’s (...)

352I take your book with me: and when at Taormina or Syracuse shall write the article upon it for the Academy,78 as by arrangement just made with the editor. Even if I wrote it sooner he could not use it for several weeks, owing to press of matter.

353Letter-address till middle of March | C/o Frank Rinder Esq | 32 Goldhurst Terrace | So. Hampstead | London | N.W.

354Ever Yours, with best Xmas greetings & affectionate remembrances to you & yours,

355William Sharp

356ACS Columbia

To J. Stanley Little, [December 17, 1892]

357Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick, | Sussex. | Saty.

358My dear Stanley

359Are you trying for the post of ‘oldest inhabitant’ of Bosham? When are we to see you again? In your last note you said to me you would be home early in the week. I came down from town yesterday, as much to see you as for any other reason, for E. had work in London, & I have to go up for today.

360Will you be here during the coming week? E. will be here till Wednesday inclusive, and I till Friday night or possibly Saty morning.

361If we don’t meet this week I’m afraid we can’t see you till the Spring. Every afternoon & evening during our short stay in London I, at any rate, am pre-engaged.

362As it is at once considerably less expensive, & more restorative for E., we are now going to the Mediterranean by sea. Is your coming also really out of the question? You ought to make every effort.

363In haste | Ever yrs. Affectionately | William Sharp

364ALS Princeton

To Edward Dowden, [December 20?, 1892]

  • 79 The Phenice Croft address on the stationery is crossed through and “Permanent address after March” (...)

36572 Inverness Terrace | Bayswater | London | W.79

366My dear Dowden

367Except on the printed page I don’t often hear of or from you now – but now as ever I look for all manner of ‘high things’ from you.

  • 80 The Sharps originally planned to travel to Sicily overland via the Gotherd Pass, Milan, and Floren (...)

368Is there any chance of your being in London between the 28th inst and Jany 6th? I wish there were. On the 7th my wife and I go away again for a time.80 We are born wanderers, and I in particular have fared far and wide within the last 12 years. We work like slaves for a time, & then go off rejoicingly. This time we are set upon seeing what is left of ancient Carthage and of sojourning at Tunis and Tripoli and elsewhere along Moorish Africa – & then to Sicily (the Greek past).

369Will you accept from me with my most cordial good wishes for Xmas and 1893 the accompanying vol. An American firm recently volunteered to bring out an Amer. Edn. of my two last vols of verse in one vol. So I revised & added to them naturally, gave the double vol a new name, Flower o’ the Vine: and they added a photograph, which I don’t think much of (must have been borrowed, for they never got it from me) & a Memoir-introduction by Thos. Janvier – the ablest of the new men oversea. The book I am glad to hear has gone (to me) surprisingly well.

370You like ourselves are always busy – so I need not say anything about work.

371Cordially yours | William Sharp

372ALS Trinity College Dublin

To Arthur Stedman, [December 23, 1892]

373Many thanks for letter. By the time this reaches you I shall be at the village of Sidi-Boda-Said (ancient Carthage) or at any rate in the Tunis part of North Africa.

374The only book I take with me is “Nature and Elements of Poetry” which please tell E. C. S. I shall review there for “The Academy.”

375Please note that my letter address till after mid-March is | C/o Frank Rinder Esq | 32 Goldhurst Terrace | So. Hampstead | N.W. | which I dare say I have already told you. Shall write to you from Africa or Sicily.

376All happiness be yours in 1893.

377W. S.

378I have cause for nothing but gratitude for everything to do with “Flower o’ The Vine.”

379ACS Columbia

Notes

1 Maud Howe Elliot (1854–1948,) a daughter of Julia Ward Howe and Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, wrote fiction, art criticism, travel narratives, and biography. Her best known book is Julia Ward Howe 1819–1910, published in 1915, for which she and her sisters, Laura E. Richards and Florence M. H. Hall with whom she collaborated, won the Pulitzer prize.

2 Sharp’s reference to his trip to America in January 1892 and to settling into Phenice Croft establish the date of the letter as early July, 1892.

3 Louise Chandler Moulton.

4 Unable to identify.

5 The San Rosario Ranch (1884) and Atlanta in the South: A Romance (1886.)

6 W. H. Brooks is the pseudonym Sharp adopted as editor of The Pagan Review, a periodical he planned to issue from his new home in Rudgwick. For the first and only number of this venture, he wrote all the pieces under different pseudonyms, as well as editing it pseudonymously.

7 Stopford Augustus Brooke (1832–1916), an Anglo-Irish clergyman, essayist, critic, and biographer, was influenced by Ruskin. His works include: Primer of English Literature (1876), Poems (1888), History of Early English Literature (1894), and Studies in Poetry (1907).

8 Edward Dowden. See note to Sharp’s letter to Dowden on May 22, 1882.

9 Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel (1834–1894), son of Charles Noel, Lord Barham and Earl of Gainsborough, was a poet whose work reflected his leaning towards socialism, his concern with the oppressed, his love of nature, and his philosophical mysticism. His works include Behind the Veil (1863), A Little Child’s Monument (1881), Essays Upon Poetry and Poets (1886), The People’s Christmas (1890), and Collected Poems (1902).

10 Richard Garnett. See note to letter from Sharp to Garnett of early January 1891.

11 Henry Buxton Forman (1842–1917) was a bibliographer and antiquarian bookseller whose literary reputation is based on his bibliographies of Shelley and Keats. In 1934 he was revealed to have been in a conspiracy with Thomas James Wise (1859–1937) to purvey large quantities of forged first editions of Georgian and Victorian authors.

12 John Nichol (1833–1894), a Scottish poet and biographer, was Professor of English Language and Literature at Glasgow University from 1862 to 1889. During his brief period of study at Glasgow University, Sharp was deeply influenced by Nichol, and they became good friends. Nichol’s works include Fragments of Criticism (1860,) Byron (1880), The Death of Themistocles and Other Poems (1881), Robert Burns (1881), and Carlyle (1892).

13 Selsea Bill is a headland on the Selsea Peninsula, West Sussex.

14 The letter of the 10th may not have survived.

15 Sharp wrote a similar letter in 1887 objecting to being classified as a colonial poet in Stedman’s Victorian Poets. In a new edition, he was placed with the Australian poets.

16 Sir Edmund Gosse (1849–1928) was a poet, novelist, and literary commentator who wrote with special insight on Restoration comedy and Ibsenite drama. His works include On Viol and Flute (1873), New Poems (1879), Firdausi in Exile (1885), and In Russet and Silver (1894).

17 The Pagan Review.

18 The eight papers Stedman published in The Century Magazine (see note to June 9, 1892 letter to Laura Stedman) were collected in a single volume titled The Nature and Elements of Poetry (1892).

19 The implication here is that Edith Rinder will be with him for at least part of his stay in the Highlands.

20 Sharp must have suggested Stedman donate an autograph copy of “Ariel,” his poem about Shelley, to the Shelley Museum in Horsham if Stanley Little and others succeed in their campaign to establish it.

21 The Pagan Review was published on August 15, 1892.

22 Joseph Edmund Collins (1855–92) was born in Newfoundland, migrated to New Brunswick in 1875, and began to exercise a strong influence on Charles G. D. Roberts in 1880, when the two men were working in Chatham, Collins as the editor of a local newspaper (The Star) and Roberts as a teacher at the local Grammar School. Collins moved to Toronto in 1880 to take up an editorial position on The Globe and to New York in 1886 to become editor of a new periodical, The Epoch, where he continued to promote Roberts’s poetry. He became a close friend of Bliss Carman after he too moved to the city in 1890. By that time, Collins had left The Epoch and his health had begun to deteriorate. In writing this letter to Carman, Sharp did not know that Collins had died in a New York hospital on February 23, 1892. After his death, Collins was recognized as the literary father of Roberts, Carman, and their generation of young poets.

23 Unable to identify.

24 Charles G. D. Roberts.

25 Here Sharp implies more explicitly that Edith Rinder would be with him in the Highlands after August 30.

26 Edward Dowden (1843–1913). See note to Sharp’s May 22, 1882 letter to Dowden.

27 E. A. S. added “And at the little cottage a solemn ceremony took place. The Review was buried in a corner of the garden, with ourselves, my sister-in-law Mary and Mr. Stanley Little as mourners; a framed inscription was put to mark the spot, and remained there until we left Rudgwick” (Memoir 207).

28 The Nature and Elements of Poetry (1892).

29 Baldwin was an Editor of The New York Independent and later of The Outlook.

30 “The Passing of Thomas,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 85 (Aug. 1892), 439–454; and “The Efferati Family,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 85 (Oct. 1892), 763–780.

31 Catherine Janvier.

32 Robert Murray Gilchrist (1868–1917) was a prolific writer of fiction and travel books. He was born in Sheffield and educated at Sheffield Grammar School. At twenty-one, he gave up his apprenticeship in the manufacture of cutlery, decided to become a full-time writer, and moved to a house called Highcliffe in Eyam, a village near Sheffield in Derbyshire. He became a popular writer of stories and novels many of which featured ghosts and supernatural phenomena. His works include Frangipanni (1893), Willowbrake (1898), The Labyrinth (1902), Natives of Milton (1902), Beggar’s Manor (1902), The Dukeries (1910), The Peak District (1910), Scarborough and Neighborhood (1910), and The Chase (1921). See the Introduction to this chapter for more information.

33 Only one issue was published.

34 Le Gallienne’s English Poems (London: Elkin Mathews & John Lane, [1892]). An edition of twenty-five copies was privately printed in Edinburgh.

35 A reference to Philip Bourke Marston’s For a Song’s Sake.

36 Thomas Woolner (1825–1892) was a sculptor and poet, a friend of Rossetti, and one of the original Pre-Raphaelite brethren. Sharp’s comment refers to Woolner having made two busts of Tennyson.

37 Sharp saw Austin at Tennyson’s funeral. Tennyson died on October 6, 1892, and the funeral was on October 12.

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

39 Austin became poet laureate in 1895.

40 Alfred Henry Miles (1848–1929) was a prolific author, editor, anthologist, journalist, composer and lecturer who published hundreds of works on a wide range of topics, among them The Poets and Poetry of the Century, 10 vols. (London: Hutchinson, 1891–97) and The Universal Natural History, with Anecdotes Illustrating the Nature, Habits, Manners and Customs of Animals, Birds, Fishes, Reptiles, Insects, etc., etc. (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1895, en. wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Henry_Miles

41 Hutchinson & Co. was an English book publisher, founded in 1887 by Sir George Hutchinson.

42 Sharp had written to the publisher of Miles’ Poets and Poetry of the Century Series (Hutchinson & Co.) proposing that he prepare a volume on Phillip Bourke Marston for the series. Before sending it he decided he had better check with the editor of the series and sent him (Miles) a copy of the letter he intended to send to Hutchinson (see October 31 letter above). Miles asked Sharp not to send the letter since he was doing all the selecting, editing, and writing for the series.

43 Theodore Watts, later Watts-Dunton, was poetry editor of The Atheneum.

44 A village in West Sussex.

45 The first and last portions of this letter are missing.

46 William Bell Scott (1811–1890) was a Scottish poet and painter. The publication of his posthumous Memoirs, Autobiographical Notes of the Life of William Bell Scott, in 1892 created a sensation with his comments on the leading literary men and artists of his time.

47 William Minto (1845–1893), a Scottish critic and novelist, edited the Autobiographical Notes of the Life of William Bell Scott. Edmund Gosse and Theodore Watts [-Dunton] were among his protégés. His works include A Manual of English Prose Literature (1872), Daniel Defoe (1879), The Crack of Doom (1886), and Was She Good or Bad? (1889).

48 Sharp’s review of Autobiographical Notes of the Life of William Bell Scot was printed in The Academy, 42 (Dec. 3, 1892), 499–500.

49 Little was planning an article on Rossetti.

50 Bognor is a locality in West Sussex where D. G. Rossetti leased Aldwick Lodge in 1875. He lived there from October 1875, to July 1876.

51 Swinburne had attacked Autobiographical Notes of the Life of William Bell Scott for its inaccurate and unfair treatment of his and Watts-Dunton’s relations with Rossetti in his later years. Sharp is giving Watts-Dunton, and perhaps through him Swinburne, a chance to review the manuscript of his review of the book and note inaccuracies or suggest additions before he submits it to The Academy.

52 James Cotton, editor of The Academy.

53 Thomas Gordon Hake (1809–1895) was a physician, a poet, and a friend of Rossetti. Sharp refers to Hake’s Memoir of Eighty Years, which was published by Bentley in 1892.

54 W. Kineton Parkes (1865–1938), novelist and art critic, was on the staff of the Nicholson Institute at Leek. An expert on the silk industry of Leek, he and his wife were heavily involved in the social and artistic life of the town. From November 1888 to October 1889, he edited Comus, and in 1893–94 the Library Review. Parkes’s works include Shelley’s Faith: Its Development and Relativity (1888), The Pre-Raphaelite Movement (1889), The Painter Poets, ed. for the Canterbury Poets Series (1890) (Sharp was the editor of this series), Love a la Mode: A Study in Episodes (1907), Potiphar’s Wife (1908), The Altar of Moloch (1911), The Money Hunt: A Comedy of Country Houses (1914), Hardware (1914), and, most significantly, The Art of Carved Sculpture (1931).

55 George Meredith.

56 Sharp’s article of Maeterlinck appeared in the March 1892 issue of The Academy.

57 Date from postmark.

58 Stedman’s The Nature and Elements of Poetry (1892).

59 John Charles Van Dyke (1856–1932) was an American art historian and critic. The two books mentioned are How to Judge a Picture (New York: Chautauqua Press, 1889) and Principles of Art: Pt. 1. Art in History; Pt. 2. Art in Theory (New York, Fords, Howard, & Hulbert, 1887).

60 Edmund Clarence Stedman, The Nature and Elements of Poetry (1892).

61 A. C. Swinburne, “The New Terror,” The Fortnightly Review, 52 (Dec. 1, 1892), 830–833.

62 William Bell Scott.

63 Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

64 Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

65 William Bell Scott.

66 The manuscript ends, and the remainder of the letter is lost.

67 This is an autograph letter card postmarked December 7, 1892 from Horsham and addressed to Kineton Parkes Esq, The Library, Nicholson Institute, Leek, Staffordshire.

68 Sharp’s review of William Bell Scott’s autobiography.

69 George Meredith.

70 Address on lettercard: 14 Henrietta Street | Covent Garden W. C. | London. Date from postmark on card.

71 The novel Sharp wrote jointly with Blanche Willis Howard was published in London by James R. Osgood, McIlvain & Co. in 1892 and in Germany in the Tauchnitz Collection of British Authors, vol 2813.

72 Elkin Mathews (b. 1851), a publisher and bookseller, founded The Bodley Head Publishing Co. in 1887 with John Lane. The partnership was dissolved in 1894.

73 Date from postmark.

74 Date from postmark.

75 J. J. Robinson was an editor of the West Sussex Gazette and a friend of Stanley Little who wrote frequently for the Gazette. Robinson and Little were the two Honorary Secretaries of the Committee to organize a Centenary Celebration to mark the 100th anniversary on August 4, 1892 of the birth of Percy Bysshe Shelley in Horsham, Sussex and to solicit funds to establish in Horsham a Shelley Library and Museum, which survives as the Shelley Gallery in the Horsham Museum.

76 Perhaps a notice of The Pagan Review in the West Sussex Gazette written by Little, who wrote frequently for the paper.

77 Date from postmark.

78 Sharp had arranged with Joseph Cotton, editor of The Academy, to write an article about Stedman’s Nature and Elements of Poetry, but he did not follow through.

79 The Phenice Croft address on the stationery is crossed through and “Permanent address after March” is written next to it. The Sharps would be away from England until March, and they would use the address of E. A. S.’s mother to receive mail while away.

80 The Sharps originally planned to travel to Sicily overland via the Gotherd Pass, Milan, and Florence, leaving on January 2. Their decision to travel by ship delayed their departure.

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