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

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William Sharp
, 
Fiona Macleod

Chapter Ten

Texte intégral

Life: 1893

1The Sharps boarded a ship bound for North Africa on January 7, 1893 and arrived a week later in Algiers. “Everything is charming to the eyes after London fogs,” he wrote to Arthur Stedman on January 16, “the greenness, the palms, the orange and lemon trees, the roses and brilliant creepers, the blue of the sea and the deeper blue of the sky.” After spending some time in Algiers, they traveled west, mostly by train, and on January 22 they were in Blidah at the base of the Atlas Mountains. They told Stanley Little in a letter of that date they were headed to Tlemcen and planned to push on “across the frontier of Morocco to the city of Oudjda… if the tribes are not up.” The landscape was “strange & beautiful: miles of orange and tangerine trees in full fruit à terre, and on high the grand heights and fantastic peaks of the Atlas range.” After crossing into Morocco for a few days, they returned to Algiers and then went south across the mountains and out into the desert. On February 2, they were in a Moorish Hotel in Biskra, “El Biskra-ed-Nokkel, to give it its full name (the City of Palms).” From there he wrote to “a friend,” probably Edith Rinder who made some of the letters she received from Sharp available to Elizabeth for the Memoir: “Here we are in the Sahara at last! I find it quite hopeless to attempt to give you any adequate idea of the beauty and strangeness and the extraordinary fascination of it all.” He proceeded, nonetheless, to describe vividly their arrival the previous night. The sun was setting, and the hills became a deep purple:

For the rest, all was orange-gold, yellow-gold, green-gold, with high over the desert a vast effulgence of a marvelous roseate flush, Then came the moment of scarlet and rose, saffron, and deepening gold, and purple. In the distance, underneath the dropping sparkle of the Evening Star, we could discern the first palms of the oasis of Biskra. There was nothing more to experience till arrival, we thought: but just then we saw the full moon rise out of the eastern gloom. And what a moon it was! Never did I see such a splendor of living gold. It seemed incredibly large, and whatever it illumined became strange and beautiful beyond words (Memoir 211).

2From Biskra they pressed further into the desert to the oasis of Sidi-Okba “with its 5,000 swarming Arab population” before heading back north to Constantine.

3On February 12, he wrote again to “a friend” to say he had plunged into the “Barbaric East.” Like so many nineteenth-century travelers from northern Europe, Sharp was captivated and liberated by the availability of drugs and sex on the streets of North African cities. On the night of February 11, he wandered through the narrow, crowded streets of Constantine observing

the strange haunts of the dancing girls: the terrible street of the caged women – like wild beasts exposed for sale: and the crowded dens of the hashish-eaters, with the smoke and din of barbaric lutes, tam-tams, and nameless instruments, and the strange wild haunting chanting of the ecstatics and fanatics.
I went at last where I saw not a single European: and though at some risk, I met with no active unpleasantness, save in one Haschisch place where, by a sudden impulse, some forty or fifty Moors suddenly swung round, as the shriek of an Arab fanatic, and with outstretched hands and arms cursed the Gaiour-kelb (dog of an infidel!): and here I had to act quickly and resolutely.
Thereafter one of my reckless fits came on, and I plunged right into the midst of the whole extraordinary vision – for a kind of visionary Inferno it seemed. From Haschisch-den to Haschisch-den I wandered, from strange vaulted rooms of the gorgeously jewelled and splendidly dressed prostitutes to the alcoves where lay or sat or moved to and fro, behind iron bars, the caged beauties whom none could reach save by gold, and even then at risk; from there to the dark low rooms or open pillared places where semi-nude dancing girls moved to and fro to a wild barbaric music….
I wandered to and fro in that bewildering Moorish maze, till at last, I could stand no more impressions. So I found my way to the western ramparts, and looked out upon the marvelous nocturnal landscape of mountain and valley – and thought of all that Constantine had been (Memoir 213).

4So a late-nineteenth-century Scot experienced and described the exotic world of Arabia. The passage implies Sharp sampled the hashish. It may have been his first use of the drug, which, despite his wife’s disapproval, he used later to invoke visions at Phenice Croft and later when he joined Yeats in the effort to obtain through visions the rituals for a Celtic Mystical Order.

5From Constantine, the Sharps went north and east to Tunis where William visited the ruins of ancient Carthage, the “London of 2000 years ago:”

The sea breaks at my feet, blue as a turquoise here, but, beyond, a sheet of marvelous pale green, exquisite beyond words. To the right are the inland waters where the Carthaginian galleys found haven: above, to the right, was the temple of Baal: right above, the temple of Tanit, the famous Astarte, otherwise “The Abomination of the Sidonians”. Where the Carthaginians lived in magnificent luxury, a little out the city itself, is now the Arab town of Sidi-ban-Said – like a huge magnolia-bloom on the sun swept hill-side. There is nothing of the life of to-day visible, save a white-robed Bedouin herding goats and camels, and, on the sea, a few felucca-rigged fisher boats making for distant Tunis by the Strait of Goleta. But there is life and movement in the play of the wind among the grasses and lentisks, in the hum of insects, in the whisper of the warm earth, in the glow of the burning sunshine that floods downward from a sky of glorious blue. Carthage – I can hardly believe it (Memoir 214).

6After a few days in and around Tunis, the Sharps crossed to Sicily where they stayed in Taormina, the beautiful old town set high above the Bay of Naxos with grand views of Mt Etna. This visit was the first of many to Taormina.

7There exists an unpublished manuscript poem in Sharp’s handwriting (blue ink on a folded piece of onion skin paper) that he must have written during or just after his North African trip. It is quite a good poem and another reflection of his “plunge into the Barbaric East.”

The Sheik
(A Portrait from Life)

With heavy Turban o’er his brows
And white robe folded close to him,
Ismail, the Sheik, with aspect grim
Looks towards the desert’s burning rim.

Before his tent the camels drowse
In the fierce heat: within, a shade
Is cast by curtains, rich with braid
Of gold, with jewels inlaid.

All round the sloping canvas walls
Bright cloths are placed; gay Syrian hues
Of crimson, green, and purple-blues
With which stray sunbeams interfuse.

Adown their midst a striped skin falls,
Against whose fur sharp weapons lean
Ablaze with steely light, and keen
As any deadly Damascene.

Beside the Sheik a table stands
With fragrant coffee, spices rare,
Dates that have known the desert-air
The wild fig and the prickly pear.

Beyond him stretch the burning sands:
Behind him pale Iskandra lies,
Nude, and with drowsy half-closed eyes
Still dreaming of Circassian skies.

A lithe brown boy close to his feet
Upon a reed a soft low tune
Doth make, and sings an Arab rune
Of love beneath the Desert-moon.

Still grows the blazing, burning heat:
Yet ever toward the sand-wastes rim
Looks forth, with gaze no glare makes dim,
Ismail, the Sheik, with aspect grim.

El Ah’br’ a.
Morocco
William Sharp

8If this poem was, in fact, written “from life,” the Sharps must have succeeded in entering Morocco. There is no record of Sharp in North Africa apart from this trip, and he told Richard Watson Gilder in a letter dated June 3 he had traveled “from the frontiers of Morocco across the Sahara and the African Highlands to Carthage and the Tunisian littoral and desert.”

9The poem is highly suggestive. The Sheik’s name is a variant of Ishmael, Abraham’s and Hagar’s son in the Book of Genesis. Shah Ismail I (1487–1524) ruled a vast Persian Empire from 1501 until his death. Iskandra, the nude boy in the background dreaming of his Circassian home, is a variant of Alexander and invokes Alexander the Great (356–323 BC), the Macedonian who conquered and ruled another vast empire. The allusion invokes the commonly-supposed homosexual relationship of Alexander the Great and his life-long friend Hephaestion. Sheik Ismail is pleased to have the “lithe brown boy close to his feet” singing “an Arab rune of love beneath the Desert-moon.” The poem asks if the Sheik captured or lured for his pleasure the drowsy nude Iskandra lying half asleep behind him dreaming of his homeland on the eastern bank of the Black Sea, another allusion to Alexander. The poem’s sensual and suggestive overtones probably account for it not being published. That Sharp wrote and carefully copied it, perhaps for one of his many gay friends, reveals again the association of the Arab world with what he might have called pagan sexual practices. It also signals his sexual fluidity, his growing sense of being both a man and a woman.

10At the end of February, the Sharps returned to England. When he wrote to Charles Webster, the American publisher, on March 23 proposing that he publish Vistas, he was just back from North Africa and had not yet returned to his house in the country. By the twenty-ninth both Sharps were in Phenice Croft wondering why Stanley Little was staying in Kensington. “It is glorious weather, & the Rudgwickian country, Buck’s Green, and Phenice Croft are all looking their best.” According to Elizabeth, it was “the finest English Spring in a quarter century.” She listed some of the guests who visited them: Richard Whiteing, Mona Caird, Alice Corkran, George Cotterell, Richard and Edith Le Gallienne, Roden Noel, Percy White, Dr. Byres Moir, the Frank and Edith Rinder, R. A. Streatfield, Laurence Binyon, Agnes Farquharson Sharp (Elizabeth’s mother), Robert Farquharson Sharp (Elizabeth’s brother), and Mary Sharp (William’s sister), who would soon begin to serve the essential function of copying Fiona Macleod’s letters so that her handwriting became that of Fiona Macleod.

11Sharp began working on a series of articles about his experience in North Africa: “French African Health Resorts” appeared in the December 1893 Nineteenth Century; “The New Winterland of French Africa” in the January 1894 Nineteenth Century; “Tclemcen and Its Vicinage” in the February 1894 Art Journal”; “Cardinal Lavigerie’s Work in North Africa” in the August 1894 Atlantic Monthly; and “Rome in Africa” in the June 1895 Harper’s Monthly. He also began a new life of Rossetti, which was commissioned by Swan Sonnenschein and Company. According to Elizabeth, Sharp became “very dissatisfied” with his 1882 Rossetti book; he “considered his judgment to have been immature.” He wrote only a few sentences of the new biography and a “Dedicatory Chapter” to Walter Pater. The paragraphs Elizabeth reproduced in the Memoir 69–72 are all the dedication that survives. They praise Rossetti and Pater and Pater’s essay on Rossetti. “Of all that has been written of Rossetti’s genius and achievement in poetry nothing shows more essential insight, is of more striking and enduring worth, than the essay by yourself included in your stimulating and always delightful Appreciations.

12In an April 19 letter to Henry Mills Alden, editor of Harper’s Magazine, Sharp said he was busy “more maturely, more serenely, more hopefully, if with more mental & spiritual stress than heretofore. I shall write sometime & tell you more.” What, we may wonder, caused his mental and spiritual stress? Elizabeth said her husband “was happy once more to be resident in the country, although the surroundings were not a type of scenery that appealed to him.” She then touched on the stress:

At Phenice Croft his imagination was in a perpetual ferment.… Once again he saw visions and dreamed dreams; the psychic subjective side of his dual nature predominated. He was in an acutely creative condition; and, moreover, he was passing from one phase of literary work to another, deeper, more intimate, more permanent. So far, he had found no adequate method for the expression of his ‘second self’ though the way was led thereto by Sospiri di Roma, The Pagan Review, and Vistas (Memoir 221–22).

13His stress was due in part to what Elizabeth called his “psychic experiments,” his efforts, some no doubt aided by drugs, to contact spirits and invoke visions.

14In early May Elizabeth went to Paris to review the salons for the Glasgow Herald. On May 7 Sharp wrote a card to Stanley Little while waiting in Horsham station for the train that would take him to the coast for a ferry to the Isle of Wight. He had expected Little to drop in the previous night. He had stayed up waiting until two in the morning and finally went to the house where Little was staying, found it dark, and returned to Phenice Croft. He could forgive Little only because he was leaving to spend a week leading a “virtuous life” on the Isle of Wight. On the tenth, he responded from “somewhere or other near Freshwater” to Little’s letter of apology. He understood, of course, that Little was preoccupied with his guests, one of whom must have been a young woman. Sharp would not have gone looking for Little at two in the morning if a “young charmer” had been sitting up with him discussing “debatable subjects.” He expanded, “It is glorious here. By Jove, Life is well worth living!” He and Little will “have a chat over sins and sinners” when he returns to Rudgwick. It sounds as though Sharp, with Elizabeth in France, arranged the week on the Isle of Wight so he and Edith Rinder could be alone together.

15In late June Sharp told Louise Chandler Moulton, who had come to London from the United States, that he was working very hard, “making the wherewithal for ‘daily bread’ but not omitting dreaming and the weaving of dreams.” He was also enjoying life in rural Sussex during an “unparalleled Spring & Summer! Here, in Sussex, we have had no rain (save 3 brief showers, 2 nocturnal) for 3 ½ months, & an almost unbroken succession of blue skies.” He wrote again to Moulton in mid-July to apologize for not arranging to see her before she returned to America.

Alas, I have been so overwhelmed with work requiring the closest continuous attention that I have postponed and postponed and postponed. Besides this, I have purposely withdrawn from everything this year – having realized that my paramount need at present is isolation – or as much as can be had even at this distance from town. Each finds at last what he needs in order to do his best work. I do not know if I have found it yet: I doubt if I shall ever find it in England: but I am nearer to what I want than I have yet been.

16He hoped to be able to call on her before the end of the month, when he and Elizabeth were going to Scotland for two months.

17In a letter written the previous October, Sharp asked Robert Murray Gilchrist to visit him in Buck’s Green when he next came to London from his home in Derbyshire. Gilchrist did not accept Sharp’s invitation until the Spring of 1894, but he invited Sharp to visit him in Derbyshire when he was traveling back or forth to Scotland. He also mentioned Frank Murray, a bookseller in Derby, who had agreed to publish his novel, Frangipani, as the first in a projected Regent’s Library series. Perhaps Murray would consider a book by Sharp for the series. So, in early summer Sharp asked Murray if he would like to publish a romance he had in mind. Murray responded favorably but said he could offer Sharp only ten pounds. In a July letter to Murray, Sharp said the terms for the projected romance were insufficient, but he would accept ten pounds for another book he had on hand. It was his “most individual imaginative work – a series of psychological problems or reveries wrought in a new form, nominally dramatic,… a series of seven studies collectively entitled ‘Vistas’.” Having offered that volume unsuccessfully to Elkin Mathews in London and Charles Webster in America, he was anxious for someone to issue it.

18At the end of July, the Sharps went to Scotland where they spent three weeks in St. Andrews, stayed for a time with Marian Glassford Bell at Tirinie, near Aberfeldy in Perthshire, and then went to Corrie on the Island of Arran for a fortnight. In mid-September, Elizabeth left to visit friends, and William went to Arrochar and other places in the West. An early-August letter to Little from St. Andrews described his writing: “my ‘Rossetti’, my new one-vol. novel, my vol. of short stories, & my French studies, fully occupy my mind here – when I am not swimming or walking, eating or sleeping or ‘dreaming’.” The new “onevol. Novel” that became Pharais was the most “consequential” work he had in progress. He planned to call the “vol. of short stories” Comedy of Woman. It became the volume of short stories published in 1895 by Stone and Kimball in Chicago as The Gipsy Christ and Other Tales and in 1896 by Archibald Constable in London as Madge o’the Pool: The Gipsy Christ and Other Tales.

19On August 18 he asked Murray Gilchrist if it would be convenient to spend a night with him in Derbyshire on his way back to London, probably on September 24. He wanted to meet Gilchrist, but he also wanted to visit Frank Murray, the Derby bookseller, to discuss arrangements for the publication of Vistas. On September 30, after two months in Scotland, the Sharps left Edinburgh; Elizabeth went straight to London, and Sharp – by a complicated series of branch trains – to Eyam, the village in Derbyshire, where Gilchrist lived. After spending two nights with Gilchrist, he stopped in Derby on his way to London. On October 7 he was back in Phenice Croft where he thanked Gilchrist for the “lovely day we had last Sunday,” walking on the moors. He was sending Gilchrist a copy of the etched portrait Charles Holroyd made of him in Rome and, for George Garfitt, Gilchrist’s partner, a copy of The Pagan Review. The first meeting between Sharp and Gilchrist and Garfitt went very well, and Sharp told Gilchrist he found Frank Murray “a decent sort of chap.” He added, betraying his class consciousness: “He dropped his “h’s” occasionally, and in certain small matters was oblivious of what some of us consider to be good breeding.” Nonetheless, he thought Murray had “a genuine love of literature.”

20After mentioning his “one-vol. Novel” to Little in early August, he wrote on the twelfth to Catherine Janvier describing “a scene in a strange Celtic tale I am writing called Pharais, wherein the weird charm and terror of a night of tragic significance is brought home to the reader… by a stretch of dew-wet moonflowers glimmering through the murk of a dusk laden with sea mists” (Memoir 225). He went on to say “I was writing in pencil in Pharais of death by the sea – and almost at my feet a drowned corpse was washed in by the tide and the slackening urgency of the previous night’s gale.” This is the first recorded use of “Pharais,” or Paradise, as the title of the novel that became the first publication by Fiona Macleod. It was the “romance” he had in mind when he told Frank Murray in mid-July that the terms he offered for it were unacceptable. Elizabeth said he wrote sometime in November to Richard Stoddart proposing for serial publication in Lippincott’s Magazine a romance he called Nostalgia, which never materialized, and “another story, Pharais,” which he described as “written deeply in the Celtic spirit and from the Celtic standpoint” (Memoir 225). That letter has not surfaced, and neither proposal was accepted. In December he stated in his diary that he had done “the first part of a Celtic romance called Pharais;” it was one of the things he needed to finish (Memoir 216). In his December 20 Christmas greetings to Murray Gilchrist, he wrote: “Today I write ‘finis’ to my Celtic Romance – long dreamed of – I wish I could read some of it to you. It is out of my inmost heart and brain.” The Celtic Romance was Pharais.

21Sharp had described Pharais by name to at least three correspondents – Catherine Janvier in August, Richard Stoddart in November, and Murray Gilchrist in December – without saying he planned to publish it pseudonymously. The first recorded indication of his intention to publish it not only pseudonymously but as written by a woman occurs in a late December letter to Frank Murray. When he visited Murray in his Derby bookshop in September and saw the high quality of the paper, boards, and designs he was using for his Regent’s Library series, Sharp decided Murray should publish Pharais as well as Vistas despite the fact that he could pay very little. He may have discussed pseudonymity in that meeting or raised the matter in subsequent correspondence, as his December letter implies the issue was not new to Murray:

You will be interested to hear that last week I wrote “finis” to Pharais: and have not only finished it but think it the strongest & most individual thing I have done. For several reasons, however, I wish to adhere rigidly to the ‘Fiona Macleod’ authorship. I think the book will attract a good deal of notice, on account of the remarkable Celtic renaissance which has set in & will inevitably gather weight: it touches, too, new ground – and, I think, in a new way. What is perhaps best of all is that it is written literally out of my heart – and indeed, though the central incident has nothing to do with me, most else is reminiscent.
It is, in fact, your agreement to accept my two most paramount conditions – pseudonymity and publication by the end of March – that weighed with me against a letter from the Editor of one of the leading magazines in America, offering me high terms for a romance written not ‘to order’ but really con amore. However, for reasons into which I need not enter at present, I prefer to lose at the moment so as to gain in every way later.

22Sharp enclosed with this letter the “opening section” of Pharais; his copyist, presumably his sister Mary in Edinburgh, had the rest and was more than halfway through the book. There is no evidence of an offer from an American publisher.

23Sharp had sent as a possible frontispiece for Vistas a rare etching by William Bell Scott of a William Blake design for Milton’s Paradise Lost that portrays Adam and Eve in an embrace and Satan, entwined as a serpent, hovering above them. If Murray objected (presumably to the nudity) perhaps he would ask the artist who produced the design for Gilchrist’s Frangipani, another Murray book, to “do something satisfactory.” If neither alternative met with Murray’s approval and he would pay, Sharp could ask his “friend Theôdore Roussel to do something.” Murray used the Bell Scott etching, which is quite beautiful. Presumably Sharp thought the depiction of Adam and Eve in each other’s arms with the snake about to strike would foreshadow the joy undercut by sorrow depicted in the book’s “vistas.” As for Pharais, Sharp could ask his friend William Strang to do an etching for the frontispiece. As always, Sharp was interested in the book as an artistic object. Murray produced for Pharais an edition of only seventy-five numbered copies on beautiful paper with handsome type, each numbered and signed, though not by Sharp or his sister Mary. Its frontispiece is not an etching but a photograph of a cold and vacant northern sea with its waves breaching the shore, a scene that reflected the book’s atmosphere and content.

24Sharp’s decision to publish Pharais pseudonymously is not surprising. He had experimented with pseudonyms during the past two years. He liked the mystery of disguise, and he believed creative work published under his name would generate skepticism or disdain due to the reputation he had developed and the enemies he had made as an editor and reviewer. His decision to publish under a woman’s name was new and unusual. In 1881 he wrote a poem called “Motherhood” that described a tigress, a primitive woman, and a contemporary woman giving birth. Though an unusual subject for poetry, it demonstrated his empathy with women. In 1891, he enthusiastically wrote the letters of the wife in the epistolary novel, A Fellowe and His Wife. These are only a few of many instances of Sharp’s demonstration of his dual nature. “During the writing of Pharais,” Elizabeth wrote in the Memoir 227, “the author began to realize how much the feminine element dominated in the book, that it grew out of the subjective, or feminine side of his nature. He, therefore, decided to issue the book under the name Fiona Macleod.” She went on to say the name “flashed ready-made” into his mind, but the suddenness of the flash is questionable. The name “was born naturally”, Sharp wrote, “(of course I had associations with the name Macleod). It, Fiona, is very rare now. Most Highlanders would tell you it was extinct – even as a diminutive of Fionaghal (Flora). But it is not. It is an old Celtic name (meaning ‘a fair maid’) still occasionally to be found” (Memoir 226–27). Now, because of Sharp, though few know it, many women in Scotland and beyond are Fiona. As for the family name, it was Seumas Macleod from whom Sharp learned Celtic lore when he was a young boy during summer holidays in the Hebrides.

25More than a recognition of his feminine qualities descended on Sharp at Phenice Croft in the summer of 1893. Elizabeth wrote:

The quiet and leisure at Phenice Croft, the peace, the “green life” round were unspeakably welcome.… Once again, he saw visions and dreamed dreams; the psychic subjective side of his dual nature predominated. He was in an acutely creative condition; and, moreover, he was passing from one phase of literary work to another, deeper, more intimate, more permanent. So far he had found no adequate method for the expression of his “second self” though the way was led thereto by Sospiri di Roma and Vistas (Memoir 221–22).

26In 1877, when he was only twenty-one, Sharp confided in a letter to Elizabeth: “I feel another self within me now more than ever; it is as if I were possessed by a spirit who must speak out” (Memoir 25). At Phenice Croft, he began to entertain seriously the possibility not only that he had both masculine and feminine qualities, but that he was two people in one, both a man and a woman.

27The emergence of her husband’s “second self” began, Elizabeth said, in Rome in the winter/spring of 1890–91. “There, at last, he had found the desired incentive towards a true expression of himself, in the stimulus and sympathetic understanding of the friend to whom he dedicated the first of the books published under his pseudonym. This friendship began in Rome and lasted for the remainder of his life.” This friend was “E. W. R.” to whom he dedicated Pharais, and the initials are those of Edith Wingate Rinder. To be clear, in that dedication he was writing as a woman to another woman, and the disguise released him to speak with sincerity about their relationship, which was one of deep affection and commonality. Although Edith Rinder grew up in the north of England, her family had deep roots in Scotland and usually spent the month of September in the Inner Hebrides.

28In the first sentences of the dedication, we hear the voice that Sharp adopted for Fiona Macleod: “In the Domham-Toir there are resting places where all barriers of race, training, and circumstance fall away in the dust. At one of those places of peace we met, a long while ago, and found that we loved the same things, and in the same way.” Most love the West of Scotland only “in the magic of sunshine and cloud,” but Edith loves the land “when the rain and the black wind make a gloom upon every loch and fill with the dusk of storm every strath, and glen, and corrie. Not otherwise can one love it aright.” Edith and Fiona worship at the fane of Keithoir, the Celtic god of the earth: “It is because you and I are of the children of Keithoir that I wished to grace my book with your name.” We believe “the Celtic Dream” is not doomed to become “a memory merely.” A few writers, Fiona among them, will revive Anima Celtica and lead readers to “that Land of Promise whose borders shine with the loveliness of all forfeited, or lost, or banished dreams and realities of Beauty,” lead readers to “Pharais.” In concluding, Sharp has Fiona associate her objectives with those of William Butler Yeats and the Irish Renaissance: “The sweetest-voiced of the younger Irish singers of to-day has spoken of the Celtic Twilight. A twilight it is; but, if night follow gloaming, so also does dawn succeed night. Meanwhile, twilight voices are sweet, if faint and far, and linger lovingly in the ear.” The final paragraph returns to Edith by asserting a Paradise of Friendship wherein “we both have seen beautiful visions and dreamed dreams. Take, then, out of my heart, this book of vision and dream.” By identifying with the beautiful Edith Wingate Rinder, Sharp had found a model for the feminine side of his nature and a voice for his “second self.”

29In a letter of instructions to Elizabeth in the event of his death, written before a trip to the United States in 1896, Sharp said “to her [Edith Rinder] I owe my development as ‘Fiona Macleod’” and “without her there would have been no ‘Fiona Macleod.’” After reproducing this statement in the Memoir 222 and without identifying Edith, Elizabeth commented with remarkable candor and generosity:

Because of her beauty, her strong sense of life and the joy of life; because of her keen intuitions and mental alertness, her personality stood for him as a symbol of the heroic women of Greek and Celtic days, a symbol that, as he expressed it, unlocked new doors in his mind and put him ‘in touch with ancestral memories’ of his race. So, for a time, he stilled the critical, intellectual mood of William Sharp to give play to the development of this new found expression of subtler emotions, towards which he had been moving with all the ardor of his nature.

30Her husband’s two natures were frequently at odds. They required different conditions, different environments, and different stimuli. As this internal conflict developed, it “produced a tremendous strain on his physical and mental resources; and at one time between 1897–98 threatened him with a complete nervous collapse.” As time passed the two sides of his nature developed into two distinct personalities “which were equally imperative in their demands on him.” He preferred the dreaming creative feminine existence, facilitated by the presence of Edith, in which he could produce the writings of Fiona Macleod. “The exigencies of life, his dependence on his pen for his livelihood… required of him a great amount of applied study and work.” He came to associate Elizabeth – his first cousin, ever-supportive wife, and breadwinning critic and editor – with the mundane, practical side of his nature.

31So Phenice Croft was linked by both Sharp and his wife with his dreaming, creative side, with the birth of Fiona Macleod, and with Edith Rinder. Sharp “always looked back with deep thankfulness” to the two years at Phenice Croft. Initially, Elizabeth shared her husband’s enthusiasm. “The summer of 1893,” she wrote, “was hot and sunny; and we delighted in our little garden with its miniature lawns, its espalier fruit trees framing the vegetable garden, and its juvenile but to me fascinating flowers beds.” Things began to change in the fall. She became ill again with the lingering effects of malaria. She attributed her continuing health problems to the moist air and clay soil of Rudgwick. She began to spend more time with her mother in London. During those periods of absence, Edith Rinder was often a guest at Phenice Croft, and her presence may have been a factor in Elizabeth’s change of heart. Her comments about Phenice Croft and Rudgwick in the Memoir were as close as she came to suggesting her relationship with her husband was strained.

32There was another reason for her feelings about Phenice Croft. There, she said, Sharp was “testing his new powers, living his new life, and delighting in the opportunity for psychic experimentation.” The last seemingly innocuous “psychic experimentation” reveals Sharp was attempting to communicate with the spirit world. For such experimentation, Elizabeth wrote, “the place seemed to him to be peculiarly suited.” To her, it seemed “uncanny” and “to have a haunted atmosphere – created unquestionably by my husband that I found difficult to live in unless the sun was shining” (Memoir 223). Edith may have been cooperating in the experiments, which were widespread at the time. Indeed, Elizabeth went to mediums after her husband died in 1905 and left a record of her communications with his spirit. In 1893, however, she recognized the disturbing impact of the psychic experiments on her husband’s mental balance. As we shall see, a crisis befell Sharp in the summer of 1894 which, coupled with Elizabeth’s ill health and growing distaste for the place, caused them to leave Phenice Croft and return to London.

Letters: 1893

To Dr. ________ Ward, early 1893

33Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex

34Dear Dr. Ward

  • 1 Dr. Ward to be identified. Anne Jean Marie René Savary, 1st Duke of Rovigo (1774–1833,) was a Fren (...)

35This time I am writing to you about someone other than myself: & to ask you if you can use any of the accompanying publ, or commission any other of the kind. They are by a well-known physician and scientific man, a friend of my own who I esteem & admire–Prof. E. Savare d’Odiardi – (the Duc de Rovigo, though he prefers to be known by his family name, & that by which he has made his repute.1 If wished, however, he is quite willing that his contributions shld. be set forth as by the Duke of Rivigo. He was an intimate friend of Napoleon III: knew the late Czar: Heine: & all sorts of conditions of man. His Memoirs would, I should say, be very interesting.

36He is now living in London, where for some years he has devoted himself to his hospital & other work, including the medical chemistry for which he has been gold-medaled by the French Government.

37For some time past he has been in poor health, & is anxious to put his once busy pen into frequent use again: either as contributor of papers such as the enclosed, or as a regular Scientific Correspondent. I send the 3 papers under separate cover.

38With cordial regards | Yours sincerely | William Sharp

39ALS, Princeton

To Alfred Austin, January 1, 1893

40Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | January 1, 1893

41My dear Austin

  • 2 Fortunatus the Pessimist (1892.)

42One thing after another has prevented my writing to you as I had often intended and wished to do, to thank you again most heartily for your new book,2 and to say how heartily I have enjoyed it. It gave me keen pleasure to see, the other day, the announcement of its having gone into a second edition.

  • 3 Prince Lucifer (1887.)

43“Fortunatus” is full of charm and beauty with all your wonted lyric grace. To me it appeals more, on the whole, than “Prince Lucifer”,3 though that dramatic poem has always been a great favorite with me. I wonder how often I have repeated those splendid lines, in the speech of Franklin

There was a time I had a feud with Death”,

44 – – the superb passage beginning

“For us the spacious bounty of the air,
The impregnable pavilion of heaven,
And silent muster of the disciplined stars”.

45down to the end.

46It is a magnificent passage throughout, with many haunting lines – e.g.

Freshness of dawn and frankincense of eve,
And vestal hush of meditative night.

47and the Homeric

Helm-plumes unhorsed, and women wailing round
The wind-blown smoke of crackling funeral pyres.

48Naturally, there is much else I delighted in and would like to indicate: but my old enemy is upon me, neuralgia in the eyes, from the cold (and late writing) and I must perforce stop. My wife and I leave here tomorrow to go to Tunis. When we return some weeks hence (end of February or early in March) I will give myself the pleasure of calling on you, & telling you more of what I think about your most able & poetic work.

49Best wishes for 1893 to Mrs. Austin & yourself, & kindest remembrances from us both –

50Cordially yours | William Sharp

51ALS Yale

To J. Stanley Little, January 7, 1893

527 Jany 1893

53My dear Stanley

  • 4 The Leon MS may have been an article by George Leon Little, a painter, or an article written about (...)

54I return the Leon MS meanwhile, as D. C. T.4 does not want the article for some months. Please hold it over for me.

55I have written to Scott & sent him the “Current Fiction” paper etc. He will communicate with you at Woodville F. H. I have been writing & working till 2, 3, & 4 a. m. for the last 10 days: & am about tired of it. Just off to N. Africa. In about a week hence we hope to reach the oasis of El Biskra, some 200 miles inland, & on the verge of the Northern Sahara.

56Take care of yourself. I am going to write no letters when I am away, but I’ll send a postcard now & again when in civilised parts.

57Addio, old chap

58Yours ever | William Sharp

59My letter-address will be | chez MM. Thos Cook & Son | 6, Rue de la République, | Algiers | Algerie. They will take care of & forward everything to me.

60ALS University of British Columbia

To Arthur Stedman, January 16, 18935

  • 5 Date from postmark.

61Mustapha Sn. – Algiers.

62We have enjoyed our first week in North Africa immensely. Even apart from the Moorish and oriental life, everything is charming to the eyes after London fogs – the greenness, the palms, the orange and lemon trees, the roses and brilliant creepers, the blue of the sea and the deeper blue of the sky.

63We leave tomorrow for the inland and little visited city of Tlemcen in the S. W. of the Province of Oran, near the frontiers of Morocco. Thereafter we shall return to Algiers for some days of rest and idleness ere we start on our many wayfarings thro’ Kabylia (the African Highlands), the Province of Constantine, El Biskra and the Oases of the Sahara, the Holy City of Sidi-Okbar (in the desert), Tbessa, Lambessa, etc., and thence if practicable to Kairouan (the Mecca of N. Africa) and thence thro’the kingdom of Tunisia to Tunis & Carthage.

  • 6 Edmund Clarence Stedman and Thomas and Catherine Janvier.

64Kindly hand on this P/C to E. C. S., to whom I shall write later. I have sent one by same post to the Janviers.6

65Hope you are flourishing, cher ami,

66W. S.

67ACS Columbia

To J. Stanley Little, January 22, 18937

  • 7 Date from postmark.

68Blidah. | At the base of the Atlas Mtns, | North Africa

  • 8 L. L. was George Leon Little, Stanley Little’s brother. See note to Sharp’s letter to Little dated (...)
  • 9 Robert Farquharson Sharp, Elizabeth Sharp’s brother.
  • 10 The Walter Scott publishing company. Sharp’s January 7 letter implies that D. C. T. of that firm a (...)

69I forgot to say in my last that I sent back the L. L. MS.8 to you before I left (or rather left it with R. F. S.9 to post) & also wrote to Scott.10

70I have had no home letters since we left, except one with enclosures from America: so I am behindhand with all news.

71We are here en route for Tlemcen. It is very strange & beautiful: miles of orange and tangerine trees in full fruit à terre, and on high the grand heights and fantastic peeks of the Atlas range. As I write, I hear the Imam in the Mosque close by chanting the evening prayer of the Muslim: & below me a constant coming and going of stately shrouded Moors and Arabs.

72After Tlemcen, if the tribes are not ‘up’, or are not unduly fanatical, we may push on across the frontier of Morocco to the city of Oudjda.

73W. S.

74ACS Princeton

To ____________, February 2, 189311

  • 11 E. A. S. included three letters Sharp wrote “to a friend” from Africa (Memoir 208–14). This is the (...)

75Biskra, 2nd Feb., 1893.

76… Here we are in the Sahara at last! I find it quite hopeless to attempt to give you any adequate idea of the beauty and strangeness and the extraordinary fascination of it all. The two days’ journey here was alone worth coming to Africa for! We left Mustapha shortly before dawn on Tuesday, and witnessed a lovely day-break as we descended the slopes to Agdz: and there we saw a superb sunrise streaming across the peaks and ranges of the Djurdjura of Kabylia (the African Highlands) and athwart the magnificent bay. The sea was dead calm, and in parts still mirrored the moon and a few stars: then suddenly one part of it became molten gold, and that nearest to us was muffled into purple-blue wavelets by the down-wind. The sound of it washing in, almost at the feet of the palms and aloes and Barbary-figtrees was delicious. We had a long and delightful day’s journey till sunset. Our route was through Grande Kabylie, and the mountain scenery in particular was very impressive. At many places we had a long stop: but everywhere here railway-traveling is more like journeying in a carriage, the rate of speed not being much more, with ample facilities for seeing everything en route. The Kabyles are the original inhabitants of Mauritanian Africa – and both in language and appearance these Berbers differ markedly from the Moors and the nomadic Arabs. They are the hardiest and most industrious though also the most untamable, of the native races. They live in innumerable little villages scattered among the mountains and valleys and plains of the Djurdjura country.

77The sun sank over the uplands of Kabylia as we mounted towards the ancient Roman outpost city, Setif. Setif stands about 3,500 ft. high: and crossing the plateaux beyond it was like making an excursion through Scotland in midwinter. Still, despite the snow on the hills, and even along the roads of Setif itself, the cold was not so severe as we expected.

78At four next morning we steamed slowly out of Setif in full moonlight. An hour or so later dawn broke as we passed a series of Arab encampments, and then came another sunrise over a wild and desolate country. We were now entirely in Mahommedan lands, for there are comparatively few Europeans south of the city of Constantine.

79At a place called Guerrara we stopped for half an hour for déjeuner. Soon thereafter we passed the Salt Lakes, covered with wild-fowl, flamingoes, and other birds. It was hereabouts that we first saw some camels. Once more we mounted, and soon were high among the Aurès mountains, perhaps the most delightful hill-region of North Africa, with certainly the finest population, Berbers like the Kabyles, but Berber “aristocrats” – Berbers refined by potent inherited strains from the Romans of old. From Batna onwards the journey was an endless delight. We came more and more into the East, and soon grew wholly accustomed to Arab encampments, herds of camels, Moors and Negroes coming in with herds of bouricoes (little donkeys) wild black goats and gaunt sheep, Nomads travelling southward or eastward, picturesque Saharians or Spahis dashing past on grey Arab horses, and semi-nude agriculturous Berbers. At last the desert (the hill-desert) was entered. Here one can realise the full significance of the French epithet tourmenté: and, as one fares further, of the Biblical phrase, the abomination of desolation. The whole country seemed under the curse of barrenness: nothing but gaunt ribbed mountains, gaunt ribbed hills, gaunt ribbed sand-plains – this, or stony wastes of an arid desolation beyond words. But though the country did not become less awful in this respect, it grew wilder and stranger as we neared El Kantara. I never saw scenery so terrific. The entrance to the last Gorge was very exciting, for beyond the narrow outlet lay the Sahara and all torrid Africa! North of this last outpost of the colder zone the date-palm refuses to flourish: and here, too, the Saharan Arab will not linger: but in a quarter of a mile one passes from this arid waste into African heat and a superb oasis of date-palms. It is an indescribable sensation – that of suddenly swinging through a narrow and fantastic mountain-gorge, where all is gloom and terror, and coming abruptly upon the full splendour of the sun-swept Sahara, with, in the immediate foreground, an immense oasis of date-palms, all green and gold! The vistas – the vast perspectives – the glory of the sunflood! From that moment, one can hardly restrain one’s excitement. Very soon, however, we had fresh and unexpected cause for excitement. The train slowly came to a stop, and crowds of Arabs came up. The line had been destroyed for more than half a mile – and we were told we must walk across the intervening bit of desert, and ford the Oued-Merjarla, till we reached the train sent to meet us. We could see it in the distance – a black blotch in the golden sunlight. One account was that some revolted Arabs (and some of the outlying tribes are said to be in a chronic state of sullen ill will) had done the mischief: another, and more probable, that the hill-courses had swollen the torrent of the Oued-Biskra, which had rent asunder the desert and displaced the lines. The Arabs carried our baggage, and we set forth across our first Sahara-stretch. Despite the heat, the air was so light and delicious that we enjoyed the experience immensely. The river (or rather barren river-bed with a pale-green torrent rushing through a deep cleft in the sandy grit) was crossed on a kind of pontoon-bridge. Soon after this the sun sank. We were in the middle of a vast plain, almost surrounded by a series of low, pointed hills, which became a deep purple. Far to the right was a chott (or salt lake) of lucent silver. For the rest, all was orange-gold, yellow-gold, green-gold, with, high over the desert, a vast effulgence of a marvellous roseate flush. Then came the moment of scarlet and rose, saffron, and deepening gold, and purple. In the distance, underneath the drooping sparkle of the Evening Star, we could discern the first palms of the oasis of Biskra. There was nothing more to experience till arrival, we thought: but just then we saw the full moon rise out of the Eastern gloom. And what a moon it was! Never did I see such a splendour of living gold. It seemed incredibly large, and whatever it illumed became strange and beautiful beyond words.

80Then a swift run past some ruined outlying mud-walls and Arab tents, some groups of date-palms, a flashing of many lights and clamour of Eastern tongues – and we were in Biskra: El Biskra-ed-Nokkel, to give it its full name (the City of the Palms)! We found pleasant quarters in the semi-Moorish Hotel on Sahara. It has cool corridors, with arched alcoves, on both sides, so that at any time of day one may have coolness somewhere. In the courtyard are seats where we can have coffee and cigarettes under the palms, beside two dear little tame gazelles….

81This morning we had many novel and delightful glimpses of oriental life. In one narrow street the way was blocked by camels lying or squatting right across the road. As they are laden, they open their mouths, snarlingly, and give vent to an extraordinary sound – part roar, part grunt of expostulation….

82We came across a group of newly arrived camels from the distant Oasis of Touggourt, laden with enormous melons and pumpkins: and, hopping and running about, two baby camels! They were extraordinary creatures, and justified the Arab saying that the first camel was the offspring of an ostrich and some now extinct kind of monster…. Oh, this splendid flood of the sun!

83Memoir 208–12

To J. Stanley Little, [early February, 1893]

84El Oasis Sidi Okba | (The Sahara)

  • 12 The editor at Walter Scott Publishing Co has turned down the George Leon Little manuscript. See Sh (...)

85Your postcard reached me just as I left Biskra. Sorry abt. Scott.12 I did my utmost.

86I write this from under the palms belonging to the Sheikh of Sidi Okba, right in the Sahara. The heat outside is very great, but there is shade under the date-palms here, and the cool sound of water – always a delight in the Desert.

87Yesterday I was at the Oasis of Chetma, guest of the old Sheikh Lagdan. The journey thither was a marvelous ride across the desert, with a fine Mirage thrown in. But at Chetma the Arabs were pleasanter. Here (perhaps because it is a ‘Holy City’) they are fanatical, and one has constantly to be on one’s guard, even when going about with an escort. Today I heard Kelb (dog) and Djifa (Infidel dirt) again and again.

88But a wise insouciance carries one through all right. It is all very barbaric, very fantastic, in many ways very savage and even repellent: but then, the desert – the daily sunflood – the vast perspectives – the brilliant and picturesque, or alternately austere but not less fascinating Sahara-life!!

89À vous, | W. S.

90ACS Princeton

To ___________, February 12, 1893

91Constantine, 12th Feb., 1893.

92It would be useless to attempt to give you any idea of all we have seen since I last wrote. The impressions are so numerous and so vivid until one attempts to seize them: and then they merge in a labyrinth of memories. I sent you a P/C from Sidi Okba – the memory of which with its 5,000 swarming Arab population has been something of a nightmare-recollection ever since. I can well believe how the City of Constantine was considered one of the seven wonders of the world. It is impossible to conceive anything grander. Imagine a city hanging down the side of gorges nearly 1,000 feet in depth – and of the most fantastic and imposing aspect. In these terrible gorges, which have been fed with blood often, the storks and ravens seem like tiny sparrows as they fly to and fro, and the blue rock-doves are simply wisps of azure….

93Last night I had such a plunge into the Barbaric East as I have never had, and may never have again. I cannot describe, but will erelong tell you of those narrow thronged streets, inexplicably intricate, fantastic, barbaric: the Moorish cafés filled with motley Orientals – the turban’d Turk, the fez’d Jew, the wizard-like Moor, to the Kabyl, the Soudanese, the desert Arab: the strange haunts of the dancing girls: the terrible street of the caged women – like wild beasts exposed for sale: and the crowded dens of the Haschisch-eaters with the smoke and din of barbaric lutes, tam-tams, and nameless instruments, and the strange wild haunting chanting of the ecstatics and fanatics. I went at last where I saw not a single European: and though at some risk, I met with no active unpleasantness, save in one Haschisch place, where by a sudden impulse some forty or fifty Moors suddenly swung round, as the shriek of an Arab fanatic, and with outstretched hands and arms cursed the Gaiour-kelb (dog of an infidel!): and here I had to act quickly and resolutely. Thereafter one of my reckless fits came on, and I plunged right into the midst of the whole extraordinary vision – for a kind of visionary Inferno it seemed. From Haschisch-den to Haschisch-den I wandered, from strange vaulted rooms of the gorgeously jewelled and splendidly dressed prostitutes to the alcoves where lay or sat or moved to and fro, behind iron bars, the caged beauties whom none could reach save by gold, and even then at risk; from there to the dark low rooms or open pillared places where semi-nude dancing girls moved to and fro to a wild barbaric music…. I wandered to and fro in that bewildering Moorish maze, till at last I could stand no more impressions. So I found my way to the western ramparts, and looked out upon the marvellous nocturnal landscape of mountain arid valley – and thought of all that Constantine had been –

94212–13

To ____________, February 19, [1893]

95Carthage, | Sunday, 19th Feb.

96How strange it seems to write a line to London from this London of 2,000 years ago! The sea breaks at my feet, blue as a turquoise here, but, beyond, a sheet of marvellous pale green, exquisite beyond words. To the right are the inland waters where the Carthaginian galleys found haven: above, to the right, was the temple of Baal: right above, the temple of Tanit, the famous Astarte, otherwise “The Abomination of the Sidonians”. Where the Carthaginians lived in magnificent luxury, a little out the city itself, is now the Arab town of Sidi-ban-Said – like a huge magnolia-bloom on the sunswept hill-side. There is nothing of the life of to-day visible, save a white-robed Bedouin herding goats and camels, and, on the sea, a few felucca-rigged fisherboats making for distant Tunis by the Strait of Goletta. But there is life and movement in the play of the wind among the grasses and lentisks, in the hum of insects, in the whisper of the warm earth, in the glow of the burning sunshine that floods downward from a sky of glorious blue. Carthage – I can hardly believe it. What largesse of the mind the word creates!…

97Memoir 214

To Charles Webster, March 23, 1893

98Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | 23/March/93

99Dear Sirs,

100Herewith I submit for your consideration an unpublished book by myself, entitled “Vistas”, about which I think Mr. Arthur Stedman once spoke to you, and at whose standing suggestion I now send the MSS.

101You will see that it is at least out of the ordinary groove in so far as subject-matter and method are concerned. It has been written for more than two years, but I have purposely held it over. It has occurred to me that, following upon Flower o’the Vine you might be able to do better with it than I could do myself – for at one time I thought of issuing a limited edition privately somewhat in the same way as I did my Sospiri di Roma.

102If you take it up (needless to say, in that case I must myself see the proof revision) I would like, if you could, to arrange with someone here to sell copies in England – possibly you have regular agents – or else for myself to take a certain number of copies for a numbered limited sale here, through myself.

103Mr. H. M. Alden, Mr. Bliss Carman, and other friends in New York have seen one or more of the pieces in Vistas – and spoke and wrote to me in exceptional terms of praise concerning them – and on their “novel and striking originality”.

104I have just returned from North Africa and have not yet gone to my house in Sussex: and I fancy that I have a more thoroughly revised MS of Vistas there. This, however, is a minor detail. What I now send is practically the book as it wd. appear, save for a few textual alterations.

105Will you please let me hear from you at your early convenience: and if you are willing to undertake the book, with the terms you feel able to propose.

106With kind regards

107Yours very truly | William Sharp

108P.S. Vistas is the name I arrived at after long deliberation. It not only goes for the contents collectively, but is meant to indicate the new method in imaginative composition to which I have endeavored to give expression. All the pieces are unpublished save that which is entitled “The Black Madonna”.

109ALS Wake Forest University

To J. Stanley Little, March 29, 189313

  • 13 Date from postmark.

110Phenice Croft | Wedny.

111My dear Stanley,

112Yours just recd. What an erratic fellow you have become!

113When are you to be here again? Both Elizabeth and I shall be very glad to see you once more, and have the pleasant sense of your neighbourhood and neighbourlyness.

  • 14 Robert Farquharson Sharp is E. A. S.’s brother. Madge was one of William Sharp’s sisters.

114In your last note or P/C you said “certainly you thought” you wd. be here during Easter-tide. Farquharson14 and my sister Madge come tomorrow. Are we to see you?

115It is glorious weather, & the Rudgwickian country, Buck’s Green, and Phenice Croft are all looking their best.

116Yours Ever, | W. S.

  • 15 Sharp had agreed to contact Robert Farquharson Sharp – his first cousin, Elizabeth’s brother, and (...)

117What is Dalmon’s15 present address?

118ACS Princeton

To J. Stanley Little, April 3, 189316

  • 16 This letter-card is postmarked April 4, 1893, which was a Tuesday.

119Monday

120My dear Boy

121“Keep your mind easy and etc. etc”.

  • 17 Possibly Alice Mangold Diehl (1846–1912), a prolific writer of popular novels.

122No: the individual to whom you allude is not my friend – indeed, I have never even heard of Mrs. Louis Diehl.17

  • 18 Frank Frankfort Moore, I Forbid the Banns, The Story of a Comedy which was played seriously, 4th e (...)

123There’s one of your recent review books I shd. like to see when you return to your forsaken Kensettian nest – F. Moore’s “I Forbid the Banns”.18

124I’m doing what I can at the B/M for Dalmon.

125In haste, | Yours Ever, | W. S.

126ACS Princeton

To [Henry Mills Alden], April 19, 1893

127Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick, | Sussex. | 19: April: 93

128My Dear Friend,

  • 19 Sharp’s business letter to Alden proposed a poem for publication that Alden accepted (“kind and co (...)

129I was glad indeed to receive your welcome private letter – as well as so much indebted for your kind & considerate editorial one, which I have already affirmatively acknowledged.19

  • 20 God in His World (1890), Alden’s most recent book. For more about Alden, see note to Sharp’s Janua (...)

130I should be sorry not to hear from you occasionally. There are few men for whom I have so affectionate a regard, & this though we have met a few times only. But I feel as if I know you well, and had known you for long. Some of this, of course, is due to your beautiful book,20 which I have been reading to my wife lately – finding in it fresh and lovely things, with a rare & beautiful breath of spiritual life. More & more I find it something deep, germinal, quintessential: and to be quintessential voilá le motif de tout artist sérieux.

  • 21 François de Malherbe (1555–1628), French poet and critic. “But she bloomed on earth, where the mos (...)

131For this, or with this & other complex reasons, I am grieved more than I can say about what you write me concerning Mrs. Alden. She has suffered so much – is of so brave a temperament, so sunshine-like in her naivité, it seems too hard that she should suffer as she does. I am haunted by that lovely verse of Malherbe,21 when I think of her, and the Rose on Perrin

Mais elle était du monde vis les plus belles choses ont le pire destin; It rose, elle a vécu ce que vivent les roses L’espace d’un matin

132More than once – strange as it may seem – I have almost felt the pain she endures, as it were vicariously. And yet – it may yet be well.

133I hope the letter I send herewith to her (for her and you) may come with something of that freshening air which alien sight & sound sometimes have. And you, amico mio – I am glad you are writing again. I too am busy: more maturely, more serenely, more hopefully, if with more mental & spiritual stress, than heretofore. I shall write sometime & tell you more.

134Ever affectionately your friend, | William Sharp

135ALS University of Delaware Library

To Nina F. Layard, May 1, 1893

136Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex

137I have read your MS. with interest. I find it difficult to know what to say, for I do not know what kind of opinion you want – I mean, if as a critic, as a publisher’s reader, or merely a lover of poetry.

138I have certainly no hesitation in thinking your book distinctly above the average. Technically, it is unequal: but there are a few poems which are of exceptional merit in all respects – notably the unambitious “A Penalty” and “Sweet Peas”. In the first named it seems to me that you touch your high water mark – for it has the great quality of being artistically complete while reserved in expression.

139Your longest poem has many poetic passages in it: but I admit that it seems to me overlong, and to be occasionally crude in conception as well as in execution. This, however, is an opinion rather than a criticism. I may be quite wrong: and the fault lie with me.

  • 22 Nina Francis Layard was an American poet whose lyrics appeared in Harper’s Magazine and other Amer (...)

140Well, to come to the point: I do not think any publisher will undertake the book on his own risk, not because the collection is not good enough to sell, but because there is so much that is good daily going a begging for the buyer that cometh not: because there are very few purchasers for verse by writers who have not won a wide repute: and because the possibilities of return of outlay are so limited. These are hard facts, but, alas, facts they are.22

141If you publish in your own account you must be prepared to find little return financially for your outlay. My advice would be: if you can afford it, print at your own expense, through some local printer (not a publisher), say 300 copies, bound simply, in thick paper or cloth. This should not cost beyond 25 shillings at the outside. You could then send say 50 copies to the leading papers & periodicals, and either place the remainder with some publisher or bookseller to dispose of for you at a commission of 10%, or such portion of the remainder as you cannot dispose of privately.

142I would gladly send you a more encouraging letter – but I cannot honestly do so. With equal candour I may add that I shall be genuinely pleased if on all points I am disproved, and you are enabled to throw out more stone at the Great Cairn of the Folly of Critics!

143I send back your MS. by registered post: kindly send a line or P/C acknowledging its receipt.

144If you will forgive the commonplace phrase for the sake of the essential truth that underlies it, let me say that, in any hazard, poetry is its own exceeding great reward. And I often think that the more we love it, the more intimate with it we become, the less exigent are we as to such matters as vogue, popularity, uncritical acclaim.

145With good wishes | Sincerely yours | William Sharp

146ALS private

To [Swan Sonnenschein and Company], May 4, 189323

  • 23 The letter was sent to officials at Swan Sonnenschein & Co. who had agreed to publish a new biogra (...)

147Phenice Croft, | Rudgwick | Sussex

148Dear Sirs

149My attention has been drawn to the fact that your agreement and mine, re “Rossetti”, are both unstamped, and therefore both invalid in point of law.

150How can this now be rectified? Would not the simplest way be a fresh Agreement Form similar to that existent between us, stamped in duplicate? The date can be altered to the present time.

151Yours faithfully, | William Sharp

152ALS Dartmouth College Library

To Kineton Parkes, [May 6, 1893]24

  • 24 Kinneton Parkes edited the Library Review from 1892 to 1898.

153Phenice Croft, Rudgwick, Sussex

154Dear Mr. Parkes

155If you can send me John Davidson’s “Fleet St Eclogues” (just pubd by E Mathews & Lane) I will do you an article on Recent Poetry apropos of Davidson’s “Eclogues”, Mathilde Blind’s “Songs & Sonnets”, and W. Renton’s “Poems”. (I have the two last named).

156Yours in haste | William Sharp

157Let me know the latest convenient date for the June number. Address to me at Alum Bay Hotel, Isle of Wight.

158ALS private

To J. Stanley Little, May 7, 189325

  • 25 Date from postmark on letter card. Sharp had tried to see Little in the middle of the night to dis (...)

159Sunday Morning | Horsham Station | 7. May 93

  • 26 See note to Sharp’s May 4, 1893 letter to this firm.

160Well, you are a fraud, J. S. L! I suppose you got screwed and forgot all about your promise to come in? I worked till about 1 a. m., & then fiddled about and waited doing odds and ends till 2:15. I then went out, but the ancestral mansion of the Kensetts was buried in a gloom as profound as its greatest ornament’s pessimism. I particularly wanted to see you abt. one or two points in my Art-article, abt a letter from Sonnenscheins,26 & about a small matter I wanted you to do for me. (By the way, did you pay Horsham Bookstall a/c & tell them to discontinue D/Chronicles?)

161It is only the prospect of the virtuous life I am going to live during the coming week that makes me forgive you. The sense of well spent time makes one kindly to sinners like you.

162W. S.

163I’ll send you a line in a day or so.

164ACS Princeton

To Kineton Parkes, May 10, 1893

165Freshwater Bay Hotel | Isle of Wight

166Dear Mr. Parkes

167All right – only give me your latest convenient date. I could not send any MS before the 19th or 20th. Would it do if you received it on the 22nd?

168Send me a P/C here.

  • 27 Library Review.

169Sorry you are in financial troubles with the L. R.27 It is too good a periodical to come to grief.

170In greatest haste | Yrs sincerely | William Sharp

171I shall leave here in a few days – & be back in Rudgwick by the 17th – but send me the P/C here.

172PS Of course if there is real urgency, I might be able to send it by this week-end. But I would rather not. If so, you had better wire to me (Lambert’s, Freshwater).

173ALCS UWM Library

To J. Stanley Little, May 10, 189328

  • 28 Postmark on letter card.

174Somewhere or other near Freshwater

175My dear Boy

176Of course I understand. I am quite certain I should omit an after-midnight call on you, if a “young charmer” would sit up with me till 2 a. m. and discuss debatable subjects!

177I hope you had a really pleasant time of it with your guests altogether. It is glorious here. By Jove, Life is well worth living!

178Well, if you are in Rudgwick on Monday next we’ll have a chat over sins and sinners – always a fascinating subject. But perhaps you’ll go to Paris: perhaps I’ll be dead, or won’t get away from here so easily.

179Ever, old man, Affectionately Yours,

180Will

181K. P. seems in a bad way with the Library Review.

182ACS Princeton

To Richard Garnett, [June?, 1893]29

  • 29 The book for which Sharp thanks Garnettis probably Poems, which was published in 1893. In the spri (...)

183Rudgwick

184Have been away from home: hence delay in receipt of book, for which I am most grateful. Shall write in a day or two: meanwhile, cordial thanks.

185W. S.

186ACS University of Texas at Austin

To Richard Watson Gilder, June 3, 1893

187Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | iii: vi: xciii

188Dear Mr. Gilder

189I have recently returned from a long journey across French Africa, from the frontiers of Morocco across the Sahara and the African Highlands to Carthage and the Tunisian littoral and desert.

190Naturally I want to turn my experiences to literary account, with further intent to issue ultimately in book-form.

191I obtained, often with difficulty, a great number of interesting photographs: and from these I think good illustrations could be made.

192Here is a list of suggested papers, for which I took material, memoranda, etc. on the spot.

193**l) Tlemcen the Magnificent: A Note on Moorish Civilisation.

194*2) A Winter in the Sahel: Algeria.

195**3) The Algerian Sahara (with description of the oases of El Kantara, Biskra, Chetma, the Holy city of Sidi Okba etc. etc).

196*4) The City in the Air Descrip: & Historic Romance of Constantine

1975) The Country of St. Augustine & Apuleius (from Bonâ on the Coast to M’daourouch near the Tunisian frontier – the latter almost unvisited)

198*6) Fleurs D’Orient (Tunis) with special note of the changed condition & probable future now that the Sea Canal has been cut from Goletta through the lake El Bahira.

199*7) The Country of Salammbô.

2008) Carthage Today and Tomorrow (Descriptive, briefly retrospective, and with a forecast of what it may become)

2019) The French in North Africa

20210) Winter HealthResorts in French Africa.

203I hope you may see your way to commission one of these. I have put an asterisk against those with which I could send photos for illustrative purposes.

204With kind remembrances, | Yours very sincerely, | William Sharp

  • 30 The word “no” written in the upper left-hand corner of the letter indicates that Gilder accepted n (...)

205Richard Watson Gilder Esq.30

206ALS Huntington

To Louise Chandler Moulton, June 20, 1893

207Phenice Croft | Rudgewick | Sussex | 20: vi: xciii

208My dear Louise

209I am glad to learn that you are again in England. Naturally, it would have given me great pleasure to be with you today, but, apart from the fact that I never go to town in the middle of the week (& rarely even on Fridays in this glorious summer when I grudge every hour from work and the country) – apart from this, we have a guest with us whom I cannot leave. I will try to see you some day soon, of course: &, failing success, will be with you on next or the following Tuesday.

210What an unparalleled Spring & Summer! Here, in Sussex, we have had no rain (save 3 brief showers, 2 nocturnal) for 3 ½ months, & an almost unbroken succession of blue skies. As we spent the winter in the Sahara & elsewhere in North Africa, we have had one continuous flow of sunshine since Xmas.

211I wish we could have a long talk “by ourselves”. But this literary life of ours is so exigent. The pressure becomes greater: and, I find, more & more imperative: the need to isolate oneself from many distractions, and to concentrate one’s energies if a definite good is to be reached even approximately near.

212I am working very hard: making the wherewithal for ‘daily bread’ but not omitting dreaming and the weaving of dreams. You, I hope, are well: the poet I know so well and admire so much, is she also doing well? Let her give us some more beautiful breaths from her charmed Garden of Dreams.

213Ever, dear Louise

214Affectionately your friend | William Sharp

215ALS Library of Congress, Louise Chandler Moulton Collection

To Will Foster, June 21, 1893

216Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | xxi:vi:xciii

217My dear Sir,

  • 31 The Fallen City and Other Poems, Will Foster (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 18 (...)

218I have been from home, or would have answered your letter and kind present of your book sooner.31 I found it among several others awaiting me, and took it up, I admit, with indifference. But I soon recognized with genuine pleasure that the author of The Fallen City etc. is a poet. Your book seems to me very good indeed in parts: and by this I mean not the conventional significance but what the words actually convey. You are, I take it, a young man: so I infer from the markedly derivative notes in certain poem – e. g. the Wordsworthian in the Ode on Spring, the Rossettian in the Ode on Remorse, the Shelleyan in “Sleep”. Here, and particularly in “Sleep”, the atmosphere of other poetic minds than your own is too obtrusive. But, after all, this mainly proves that you have a natively keen & true love for the best, and that you have a sensitive ear. Elsewhere I find a fine and alert poetic sense, a worthy investiture of the thought or idea, and the welcome note of native music. Your sonnets are now and again excellent: excellent, too, from a general as well as from the particular present standpoint. Of the several fine lyrical pieces I think I like best the fine Ode on the Mystery of Life: as, of the shorter pieces, I note particularly the highly poetic Songeuse.

219With such a real talent as yours, you should do well. Nothing is beautiful but Beauty. So, at least, all poets should hold. This belief will make a true poet more and more exigent, more and more austerely ill-content of anything mediocre in thought, emotion, or expression, more & more relentless in wise renunciations.

220With cordial good wishes | Yours very truly | William Sharp

221ALS University of Leeds, Brotherton Library

To ______________, June 22, 1893

222Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | xxii: vi: xciii

223My Dear Sir

224I thank you for your note & suggestion. The latter has been made to me scores of times – but copyright and other reasons have said ‘nay’ where ‘yea’ would gladly be said by

225Yours very truly | William Sharp

  • 32 The following note appears on the reverse of the letter in a hand that is not Sharp’s: “Houghton M (...)

226P.S. If you have reason to believe that you could get (or if you already have) Dr. Holmes and/or his publisher’s consent to a vol. of selected poems, I should be glad to hear from you again. But I fancy the sole British rights are in the firm which has issued Holmes’ poems in this Country.32

227ALS Private

To Alfred H. Miles, June 30, 1893

228Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | 30:vi:xciii

229Dear Mr. Miles,

  • 33 These must be proofs of Sharp’s notice of Philip Bourke Marston’s Poets and Poetry of the Century.(...)

230Thanks for sending me your duplicate-set.33 There are several misreadings, but I suppose these will appear correctly in the book.

231I shall write to you shortly for some information for my article on Victorian Poetry. At the moment, I am finishing a long commissioned article which must go off this week-end.

232In great haste

233Yrs. very truly, | William Sharp

234ALS University of British Columbia

To Robert Underwood Johnson, July 15, 189334

  • 34 The word “Decline” is written in the upper lefthand corner of the letter’s first page. In the uppe (...)

235Phenice Croft | Rudgwick, Sussex | xv:vii:xciii

236Dear Mr. Johnson,

237On my return from abroad, I find your letter awaiting me – for which, thanks.

  • 35 Richard Watson Gilder.
  • 36 Andrew Lang.
  • 37 Robert William Buchanan (1841–1901), a Scottish poet, novelist, and playwright, is known for his a (...)
  • 38 Thomas Miles Richardson, Jr. (1813–1890), a painter who worked primarily in watercolors, became an (...)

238I do not wish to bother you or Mr. Gilder35 with unsought suggestions – but as you say you do not at present wish descriptive articles (such as the North African paper I proposed) it has occurred to me that you might care to have one of the over noted articles upon which I am now intermittently engaged or for which I have accumulated material. No. I would deal with Meredith’s keenest delineations from life: and with his extraordinary insight, understanding of, and power of depicting woman’s nature. No. II with the personality & varied literary achievement of Lang.36 No. III with R. Buchanan, Lang, R. L. Stevenson, Barrie, Traill, Sir. Geo. Douglas, Walter C. Smith, John Davidson,37 etc. etc. among the writers – Richardson,38 the younger men of the Nature School, the new Glasgow School, etc. among the artists. If you care for No. IV, I would need to stipulate for its appearance by February next at latest – as it will probably serve as Introduction to a book next Spring or early Summer. No. V will deal with the questions at issue in contemporary fiction – in particular with the ideals and methods of the English & American, where they meet, where they differ, & the outlook.

239I append the list overleaf.

240With kind regards to you and to Mr Gilder.

241Sincerely Yours | William Sharp

242Suggested Articles

243I. George Meredith as Student of Life

244II. Andrew Lang

245III. The Scottish Contingent to Contemporary Art & Literature

246IV. Contemporary Celtic Poetry

247V. Contemporary Fiction: a Dialogue between Mr. Smith of London and Mr. Browne of New York.

248VI. A. C. Swinburne as Dramatist.

249ALS Huntington

To Louise Chandler Moulton, July 15, 1893

250Rudgwick | xv:vii:xciii

251My dear Louise,

252Your kind card has added to my self-reproach. Had the ability concurred with the will, I would long ere this have called: but, alas, I have been so overwhelmed with work requiring the closest continuous attention that I have postponed and postponed and postponed. Besides this, I have purposely withdrawn from everything this year – having realized that my paramount need at present is isolation – or as much as can be had even at this distance from town. Each finds at last what he needs in order to do his best work. I do not know if I have found it yet: I doubt if I shall ever find it in England: but I am nearer to what I want than I have yet been.

  • 39 Henry Arthur Jones (1851–1929) was a playwright who wrote and produced more than sixty plays durin (...)
  • 40 Perhaps the wife of Sir James Knowles (1831–1908) the English architect and editor who designed am (...)
  • 41 Elizabeth Robins Pennell (1855–1936) was an American writer who lived in London most of her adult (...)

253Indeed, my going-out this season has literally been confined to three occasions: a lunch at Henry Arthur Jones39 in May, a lunch at Mrs. Knowles’s40 in June, and an afternoon-tea at Mrs. Pennell’s41 (when I chanced to be in town at any rate on literary business). Still, I should be regretful indeed if I did not see you. I shall try to call on Tuesday: failing this on the ensuing Tuesday. About the end of that week (28th or 29th) we go to Scotland for two months.

254I know there is no chance of my wife being able to call on Tuesday next (she returns today with a guest) but I hope she may be able to do so on the 25th.

255I, too, much regret that we see so little of each other now. But now & always I am proud & glad to sign myself

256Affectionately Your Friend | William Sharp

  • 42 Charles W. Dalman.

257I wonder if Dalmon42 has called yet, or forwarded my letter to you.

258ALS Library of Congress, Louise Chandler Moulton Collection

To Frank Murray, July 19, 1993

259Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | 19: July: 93

260My dear Sir,

  • 43 Vistas was published by Frank Murray in Derby in 1894 and in the United States by Stone and Kimbal (...)

261While it is not feasible for me to publish a romance on the terms indicated by you in your reply to my first suggestion, on account of the conditions specified by yourself, I have decided, if you are willing, to entrust to you the MS. of my most individual imaginative work – a series of seven studies collectively entitled “Vistas”.43 I thought of publishing them myself, privately, – as I did (from Rome) in the instance of my Sospiri di Roma – but do not now feel free to undertake the trouble etc. necessarily involved during and after publication.

262Vistas” is a series of psychological problems or reveries wrought in a new form, nominally dramatic. I had them with me – or some of them – when I was in New York a year ago: and Mr. W. D. Howells, Mr. Stedman, Mr. W. H. Alden, & Mr. Bliss Carman were among the friends whose names will be known to you, who spoke with emphatic praise of their originality & appeal.

263Here I have shown them to very few – but in each case I have found the same thing: that their novelty of form & substance has an exceptional appeal. One of them only has been printed: “The Black Madonna” – which attracted a great deal of attention, favorable and adverse, a year ago.

264I should be quite willing to accept your aforementioned terms for “Vistas” – as my chief object is to have the book issued by a publisher more or less identified with work of a new & noteworthy kind.

265Please let me hear from you at early convenience – as I leave here for Scotland by the middle of next week.

266Yours faithfully | William Sharp

267ALS National Library of Scotland

To J. Stanley Little, [July 27, 1893]

268Thursday Morning

269My dear Stanley

270Herewith I send you, with many thanks old chap for your considerate & timely aid, a cheque for £5, in repayment of your loan to me.

271I have asked that all letters for us be sent to you till Sunday inclusive. If anything come[s] for us, will you kindly redirect to us at 72 Inverness Terrace Bayswater: Sunday only if you catch the 10 post.

272Thereafter I have directed the post people to send everything to Scotland.

273Take care of yourself old fellow. You have my deepest sympathy & esteem in your struggle with adverse circumstances.

274Nevertheless I believe the turning of the tide is nearer than you think.

275If you do not come north, do not mind if I am a bad correspondent as is my wont: I feel the need of as much cessation from writing (for eyes as well as for head) as is practicable.

276Adieu. Begin the new romance soon: there is your line of least resistance: go along that, alertly, determinedly, expeditiously. You will be at the goal while you think it is still below the horizon.

277Yours affectionately, | Will

278ALS Princeton

To J. Stanley Little, [early August, 1893]

2796 Albany Place | St. Andrews

280My dear Stanley

281I have asked Annie, our servant, to take you the key of our house (or to let you in) – & I wd. be much obliged if you wd. go to my study and obtain & send to me what I want.

  1. In the lower shelves at the desk near the door is a bundle of The Pagan Review. I want 3 copies.
  2. On the brown wickerstand near the lounge is a little red-clothbound book: “Flashes of French Wit and Wisdom”. If not there (where I left it), it will be in the swing-case or on the table behind the lounge. It belongs to a friend who wants it back.
  3. In my dressing-room book-case – in (I think) a lower shelf of the section next the window – among translations – is a book by Pierre Loti, called either Pecheur d’Islande, or “An Iceland Fisherman”.44 This I want also.

282Will you take this trouble for me?

283My Belgian article will be out in the September Nineteenth Century, I understand it comes to 20 full pages in print.

  • 45 Sharp’s new biography of Rossetti was not completed. Sharp’s new “one-vol. Novel” would become Pha (...)

284My ‘Rossetti’, my new one-vol. novel, my vol. of short stories, & my French studies,45 fully occupy my mind here – when I am not swimming or walking, eating or sleeping or ‘dreaming’.

285Thanks for your letter, old man. I knew you wd. understand. All the same, both E. & I hold to our opinion.

286[Unsigned]

287ALS Princeton

To Catherine Janvier, August 12, 1893

288St. Andrews | 12th August 1893

289Your letter from Narragansett has just reached me…. The white flowers you speak of are the moon-daisies, are they not? – what we call moon-flowers in the west of Scotland and ox-eye daisies in England, and marguerites in France?… Your description of them as seen in that nocturnal glamour is worthy of any Celtic poet from Muireadach Albannach down to Duncanban MacIntyre – a seven centuries compliment!

  • 46 Pharais: A Romance of the Isles (The Regent’s Library, Derby: F. Murray, 1894) was the first of Sh (...)

290It is very strange that you should write about them to me just as I was working out a scene in a strange Celtic tale I am writing (called “Pharais”) wherein the weird charm and terror of a night of tragic significance is brought home to the reader (or I hope so) by a stretch of dew-wet moon-flowers glimmering white through the mirk of a dusk laden with sea mist. Though this actual scene was written a year or two ago – and one or two others of the first part of “Pharais” – I am going to re-write it, your letter having brought some subtle inspiration with it.46

  • 47 This story became Wives in Exile: A Comedy in Romance (London: Grant Richards, 1898).

291“Pharais” is a foil to the other long story I am working at.47 While it

292is full of Celtic romance and dream and the glamour of the mysterious, the other is a comedy of errors – somewhat in the nature, so far, of “A Fellowe and His Wife” (I mean as to style). In both, at least the plot, the central action, the germinal motif, is original: though I for one lay little stress on extraneous originality in comparison with that inner originality of individual life…. I have other work on the many occupied easels in the studio of my mind: but of nothing of this need I speak at present. Of minor things, the only one of any importance is a long article on a subject wherein I am (I suppose) the only specialist among English men of letters – the Belgian literary Renaissance since 1880. It is entitled “La Jeune Belgique” and will appear in (I understand) the September number of the Nineteenth Century.

293We must each ‘gang our ain gait’. I’m singularly indifferent to what other people think in any matter where I feel strongly myself. Perhaps it is for this reason that I am rarely ‘put out’ by adverse criticism or opinion – except on technical shortcomings. I do a lot of my own work here lying out on the sand-dunes by the sea. Yesterday I had a strange experience. I was writing in pencil in “Pharais” of death by the sea – and almost at my feet a drowned corpse was washed in by the tide and the slackening urgency of the previous night’s gale. The body proves to be that of a man from the opposite Forfar coast. It had been five days in the water, and death had played havoc with his dignity of lifeless manhood. I learned later that his companion had been found three days ago, tide-drifted in the estuary of the Tay. It was only a bit of flotsam, in a sense, but that poor derelict so sullenly surrendered of the sea changed for me, for a time, the aspect of those blithe waters I love so well. In the evening I walked along the same sands. The sea purred like a gigantic tigress, with a whisper of peace and rest and an infinite sweet melancholy. What a sepulchral fraud….

294Life seems to move, now high and serene and incredibly swift as an albatross cleaving the upper air, now as a flood hurled across rocks and chasms and quicksands. But it is all life – even the strangely still and quiet back-waters, even, indeed, the same healthful commonplace lagoons where one havens so gladly often….

295Memoir 224–25

To Robert Murray Gilchrist, August 18, 189348

  • 48 See the Introduction to Chapter Nine for more information about Gilchrist.

296c/o Mrs. Glasford Bell | Tirinie | Aberfeldy | (Perthshire) | 18: Aug: 93

297Dear Mr. Gilchrist,

298Have you forgotten your kind invitation to me to stay a night with you at Eyam?

299If not, and if you are to be at home, and if the visit would be in no way inconvenient for you, it would give me much pleasure to join you on or about the 24th of September.

300It is difficult for me to fix an exact date at this time – but I think the 23rd or 24th or 25th the likeliest – & particularly so the 24th.

301I leave here on Aug. 28th, & go to my mother’s in Edinburgh (Murrayfield) for 3 or 4 days, & on the 1st to the Isle of Arran for a fortnight. After that my movements are somewhat uncertain: but Murrayfield, Edinburgh, will always find me.

302If by good hap I am to have the pleasure of seeing you I hope that pleasure may be enhanced by meeting your mother also, of whom I have heard – both privily & of course in a literary sense.

303With kind regards | Cordially yours | William Sharp

  • 49 Murray had told Sharp he could afford to offer only ten pounds for the projected romance. Sharp re (...)

304It may interest you to know that I am bringing out something through Mr. Frank Murray of Derby.49

305ALS Sheffield City Archives

To Robert Murray Gilchrist, August 18, 189350

  • 50 Date from postmark.

306Just a supplementary card to say that – granting the proposed visit be convenient at all – it will probably have to be a day or two later than the date suggested by me.

307W. S.

308ACS Sheffield City Archives

To Robert Murray Gilchrist, September [10?], 1893

309Corrie Hotel | Isle of Arran | Scotland

310Dear Mr. Gilchrist

311At last I am able to fix my travel-dates. I leave here on Friday the 15th, & shall be moving about for a little & then be in Edinburgh till the 29th inclusive.

312On Saty the 30th my wife & I leave Edinburgh by the King’s Cross morning express. Mrs. Sharp will go straight on to London – and I (if still quite convenient for you) will branch off, so as to spend Saty evening & Sunday with you. I must leave again early on Monday.

313As there is no Bradshaw here – & I cannot find Eyam in my other timetables – will you kindly let me know where I shd. diverge from the L. & N. W. Ry main line (by which we have return tourist tickets) – presumably, I take it, at either Preston or Crewe? – and how thence I am to reach Eyam.

314My letter address is 9 Up. Coltbridge Terrace, Murrayfield, Edinbro’ – But I shall be here, at Corrie, in Arran till Friday of this week.

315I hope you are enjoying as glorious weather in Derbyshire as we are in Arran.

316Cordially yours | William Sharp

317ALS Sheffield City Archives

To Robert Murray Gilchrist, September 23, 1893

3189 Up. Coltbridge Terrace | Murrayfield | Edinbro’; | 23:9:93

319Dear Mr. Gilchrist,

320Thanks for your kind note. With your suggestions and a Bradshaw which I have at last been able to obtain, I can now write definitely.

321I find that I can leave Manchester (i.e. on Saty 30th) by the Victoria Station after all. I’ll reach Manchester, from Preston, at 3:10: I leave Manchester for Derbyshire at 3:28, by the train due at Hassop at 5.0 o’clock – where you kindly say you will meet me.

322Of course this arrangement is dependent on the punctuality of the Edinburgh-London express. It is due at Preston at 2.5: and the Manchester train goes at 2:15 – &, if the trains are not in connection, there is the obvious hazard of catching the 2:15. (If I miss this train I find that I can reach Hassop at 6:38).

  • 51 Sharp meant to say he wanted to stop in Derby on his return to London to talk with Frank Murray wi (...)

323However, I fancy there will be a connection with Manchester. I regret that I cannot avail myself of your cordial invitation to prolong my visit, but I must be in London on Monday night & wish to talk [sic] Derby en route:51 so that I must leave Miller’s Dale at 10:34 (or at latest Hassop at 11) on the 2nd.

324It will be a pleasure to me to meet you.

325Till then | à rivederta | William Sharp

326ALS Sheffield City Archives

To J. Stanley Little, [September 23, 1893]52

  • 52 The date is written in another hand.

327Murrayfield: Edinburgh

328My Dear Stanley

329I have dropped here unexpectedly from the West Highlands. Elizabeth is in Dumbartonshire – no, today by the by she’ll be in Fifeshire: and comes here on Monday. We leave for London on the 30th. (I breaking the journey till the 3rd) and go back to Phenice Croft on the 6th.

330I am sorry I overlooked replying to your questions about apples. Let old Ticknor (or any one else you wish) have all the fallen apples. Those on the trees to remain. Thanks for what you have ordered or recommended Ticknor to do. Whatever is seasonable shd. be done.

  • 53 Perhaps a work by Little never published.

331I am selfishly sorry you are to be away when we arrive: but hope you will have a good time in Ireland – tho’ not in point of weather, I fear, for a cold autumn has set in apparently. Very glad to hear about the Wealden Tragedy,53 though sorry at the financial deadlock.

332Impecuniously and Affectionately Yours, old Chap, | Will

333ALS Princeton

To Robert Murray Gilchrist, October 7, 1893

334Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | Saturday 7th Oct/93

335My Dear Murray Gilchrist

336I have been so busy since I left Eyam that I find it difficult to realize I was with you so recently as this day last week. Tomorrow I will think of you on the moors. What a lovely day we had last Sunday. I envy you your isolation in so beautiful and inspiring a locality. You should do good work there. I hope you will make immediate and steady progress with your romantic novel. There’s a clear perspective for you there: other paths may, meanwhile at any rate, prove each a cul-de-sac or at least a bewildering byway. Possibly you may be able later to vary with advantage your line of advance,

  • 54 This must have been the etching Charles Holroyd made of Sharp in Rome in February 1891.
  • 55 Shortly after Gilchrist moved to Highcliffe in Eyam in 1888, Garfitt joined him there, and the two (...)

337I send you the Etching of myself I promised:54 also to Mr. Garfitt,55 a copy of The Pagan Review. Let me know if it reaches you without soilure.

338I much enjoyed my brief visit to Eyam. Here, in the passive South, I would give much for such moorland & upland as we walked over last Sunday.

339Greetings to you both | Cordially yours | William Sharp

340We came here last night – I am thankful to get out of London.

  • 56 Henry Austin Dobson (1840–1921) was a well-known English poet and essayist.

341P.S. I found Murray a decent sort of chap. He dropped his “h’s” occasionally, and in certain small matters was oblivious of what some of us consider to be good breeding. I did not know he was a cousin of Austin Dobson56 – did you? I think he has a genuine love of literature.

  • 57 Gilchrist’s novel Frangipanni (1893) was the first volume published by Frank Murray, the Derby boo (...)

342He showed me a charming (though, in drawing, not immaculate) design for the frontispiece of Frangipanni, which he hopes to publish before the end of October.57

343ALS Sheffield City Archives

To Louise Chandler Moulton, [October 9, 1893]58

  • 58 Internal evidence and the return address establish the date.

344Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | Monday

345My dear Louise

346Thanks for your card. We have just returned to Sussex, & there is far too much to attend to after our long absence to permit of either of us getting to London tomorrow, or indeed any day this week. But both of us – and I, so far as I can see, for certain – will be with you the following Tuesday afternoon (17th). I hope Coulson Kernahan may come that day also – so that we may meet.

347Hoping you are flourishing – & begging you to excuse a short & hurried note

348Affectionately yours | Will

349ALS Princeton

To: Horace Scudder, [October 10, 1893]

350Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | 10:10:93

351Dear Mr. Scudder,

352It is a long time since we have had communication: but I for my part have often thought of you and yours in your Cambridge home, and of my pleasant visit there. I have not been much in England since I last wrote to you – that is, dissociating Scotland and England, for I have been for some time past in the West Highlands.

353As you may have heard from the Stedmans or the Aldens, my wife and I went across French Africa and the Northern Sahara last winter & spring. We had a delightful time of it, & passed from the frontiers of Morocco right to the Tunisian eastern littoral, by the way of the Sahara, the African Highland of the Province of Constantine, and Northern Tunisia to Carthage.

354And now as to business. I send herewith by Book Post for your consideration a typed copy of a story by myself, mostly written during an autumn I spent at Heidelberg in the very house etc. described in the tale – a house once occupied by Goethe, and where he wrote part of his Ohinbalische Divan. I hope it may suit you.

355In connection with my North African experiences, is there anything you would care to have from me? I am specially interested in historical subjects, particularly when they illustrate the great law of flow and ebb, and among those for which I accumulated special material are the following:

356(1) The Vandal March (dealing with the extraordinary & eventful descent of the Vandals upon North Africa: the extent of their March: the duration of their power: and the Outcome).

357(2) In the Steps of Jugurtha ‘The Country of Cista & its neighbourhood: now the Province of Constantine)

358(3) Tlemcen: A Note on the Moorish Civilisation: (Tlemcen is to Mauritania what Florence was to Medieval Italy – & more: the head and fount of all its learning and art, African & MauroHispanish).

359I would prefer No. 3 & No. 1.

360Of descriptive travelarticles, I would suggest

3614. “Through the Liban” (Northern Sahara)

3625. “The African Highland” (Prov. of Constantine)

  • 59 Scudder commissioned none of the articles proposed here, but he did publish in the Atlantic Monthl (...)

3636. “Through Tunisia”59

364Are there any of these that you would care to commission?

365I shall be at home all winter. Family matters have involved me in considerable financial strain, and any going away is, alas, impossible at present. However, I can’t complain – having had more than my share of gadding about.

366Kind remembrances to you and yours, | William Sharp

  • 60 The painter Frederic Shields (1833–1911).
  • 61 Born in 1821, Ford Madox Brown was a distinguished painter, teacher, and close friend of D. G. Ros (...)

367I hope to be with our common friend Shields60 tomorrow, at the funeral of poor old Ford Madox Brown.61

368Horce Scudder, Esq

369ALS Harvard Houghton

To J. Stanley Little, November 28, 189362

  • 62 Date from postmark.

370Rudgwick

371My dear Stanley,

372Thanks for your letter. I hope you are enjoying yourself in London and not knocking yourself up with doing too many things.

373Will you, if you are coming back tomorrow, dine with us? We’ll expect you if we do not hear to the contrary. (We’ll be away on Thursday and Friday).

374In haste, | Affectly Yours, | Will

375ACS Princeton

To Nina F. Layard,63 November 29, 1893

  • 63 See Sharp’s May 1, 1893 letter to Layard in which he comments on the manuscript she sent him. In t (...)

376Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | 29:11:93

377Dear Miss Layard,

378I thank you for the volume you have so kindly sent to me – and for which I wish good fortune in all respects, as it certainly deserves:

379I have read the poems with much interest and appreciation. Some of them seem to me very good indeed – by which I mean something more than so hackneyed a commendation may seem to convey. But my own taste inclines me to the shorter lyrics – there it seems to me you are at your best: Let me tell you what I like best in your book – though the telling may disappoint you – first (and by a long way) “The Scot of Hollnodine” – then “Sweet Peas” and “Virgin Lily”. But these are preferences, not criticisms –

380With cordial good wishes | Yours sincerely | William Sharp

381ALS University of Kentucky, W. Hugh Peal Collection

To ________ Ingram,64 December 14, 1893

  • 64 Perhaps William Clavell Ingram (1834–1901) Dean of Peterborough Cathedral. Ingram has proposed a v (...)

382Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | 14:12:93

383Dear Mr. Ingram,

384Excuse my delay in replying to your letter. I have been (and still am) from home and my correspondence is in arrears accordingly.

385Naturally, I sympathise with your wish. This, however, is one of the instances (having reference, as it does, to a living writer) where I cannot act without the full consent of the publisher.

386I will write to him tomorrow as an advocate, I need hardly say – and let you hear from me at an early date.

387Yours faithfully, | William Sharp

388ACS Princeton

To [Laura Hyde Stedman], [mid-December, 1893]65

  • 65 This note accompanied a Christmas gift to the Stedmans.

389Phenice Croft: Rudgwick

390With affectionate greetings (in which my wife says she must be allowed to take part) to you and yours, for Christmastide and the Coming Year | William Sharp

391Thank E. C. S. for his welcome letter which I hope to answer early in January.

392ACS Pennsylvania State University

To Robert Murray Gilchrist, December 20?, 1893

393Amico Mio,

394May Christmas give you happiness, and the New Year add weal to it and health and good work. Skoal to “The Labyrinth”.

395Today I write finis to my Celtic Romance – long dreamed of – I wish I could read some of it to you. It is out of my inmost heart and brain.

396Vistas, I hope, will be out by the end of Jany. The final revises went back a few days ago.

397Greetings & good wishes to Garfitt. If you are with your mother, or she with you, my homage to her.

398Cordially your friend | William Sharp

399P.S. You are to come here in the early Spring, remember! Come as soon as The Labyrinth is finished. I am glad we have become friends. Something drew me to you from the first.

400ALS Sheffield City Archives

To Frank Murray, December 27, 1893

40172 Inverness Terrace | Bayswater | W. | 27:12:93

402Dear Mr. Murray

  • 66 This etching by Scott appeared as the frontispiece of the first edition of Sharp’s Vistas. It is a (...)

403I have sent to you yesterday my (unframed) etching of the late W. Bell Scott after Blake’s design.66 It was given to me by himself many years ago – & I do not know who published it, or in what form it was published – though I think it was in book form (privately published probably).

404If you like the design for [the] frontispiece to Vistas, I do not know to whom application for consent (if it be necessary at all) should be made: but presumably to Mrs. Scott who, I believe, is still living, and could be addressed | c/o Miss Boyd | Penkill Castle | [Girvan?] | Ayrshire | or, if you think it better, I could write to her.

405If you do not care for the Blake design – perhaps the artist who worked for you for Frangipanni could do something satisfactory – or, if you will let me know what you can pay for a drawing, I could ask my friend Theôdore Roussel to do something. I think it is likely I shall be able to get an etched frontispiece for “Pharais” from Mr. Strang.

406Please take all care of this Blake Etching: as it is rare, & I have never seen any other copy.

407You will be interested to hear that last week I wrote “finis” to Pharais: and have not only finished it but think it the strongest & most individual thing I have done. For several reasons, however, I wish to adhere rigidly to the ‘Fiona Macleod’ authorship. I think the book will attract a good deal of notice, on account of the remarkable Celtic renaissance which has set in & will inevitably gather weight: it touches, too, new ground – and, I think, in a new way. What is perhaps best of all is that it is written literally out of my heart – and indeed, though the central incident has nothing to do with me, most else is reminiscent.

408It is, in fact, your agreement to accept my two most paramount conditions – pseudonymity and publication by the end of March – that weighed with me against a letter from the Editor of one of the leading magazines in America, offering me high terms for a romance written not ‘to order’ but really con amore. However, for reasons into which I need not enter at present, I prefer to lose at the moment so as to gain in every way later. Herewith I send you the opening section. My copyist is now busy with the remainder, & I daresay is more than halfway through with the book. I would be glad if you would direct the printer not to place blank pages between the several chapters. The book is in sections, rather than in ‘Chapters’: & it will look much better to have each begin halfway down a page & simply with “V” or “VI”.

409As to length: I suggest that a slightly smaller type than that of “Frangipanni” be used. Pharais is somewhat longer. Taking the average full Frangipanni page, I estimate it to contain, say, 200 words. At this estimate, “Frangipanni” is about 32,600 words in length.

410I have estimated Pharais twice, & in two ways. Estimating at full pages, it is as follows: Minimum: 35,000 | Max: 39,000. Estimated Length after both tests: From 37,500 to 38,500. You can judge from this as to the type to be used. I will send you the following sections (VII in all) as I receive & revise them: You will probably have all by the 11th or 12th of January.

411I presume that, as you have undertaken to have the book out by the end of March, you will put it in hand immediately. Personally, I may add, this will be very much more convenient for me – as I shall be in town throughout January, now, I expect: and in March may possibly have to go abroad for a few weeks.

412That is why I send the first installment to you without delay – now that the book is finished, revised, & sent to be copied.

413I don’t know if you are yourself interested in Celtic matters. If so, you will find a good deal in Pharais that will interest you – particularly the strange chants & weird superstitious women in the romance.

414Of course the proofs should come to me under my own name. I shall be at above address until I communicate with you again.

415When is Vistas likely to be published? I am asked often about it, & can say nothing definite.

416With all greetings of the Season | Yours sincerely | William Sharp

417ALS National Library of Scotland

Fig. 12. Portrait of Edith Wingate Rinder (c. 1894). Photographer unknown. Courtesy of the family of Edith Rinder.

Fig. 13. Photograph of William Sharp in 1894 by Frederick Hollyer. Reproduced from Poems by William Sharp. Selected and arranged by Mrs. William Sharp (London: William Heinemann, 1912).

Notes

1 Dr. Ward to be identified. Anne Jean Marie René Savary, 1st Duke of Rovigo (1774–1833,) was a French general and diplomat. In 1812, Napoleon awarded him the duché grand-fief (a rare, nominal but hereditary honor extinguished in 1872) of Rovigo in Italy. He was among the last to desert the emperor at the time of his abdication in April 1814 and among the first to welcome his abortive return from Elba in 1815, when he became inspector-general of gendarmerie and a peer of France. Sharp’s friend, Prof. E. Savare d’Odiardi, must have been his grandson and a physician who had settled in London. He continued to identify himself as the Duc de Rovigo, though the title seems to have been abolished in 1872. In the September 29, 1886 issue of The Lancet he published an article entitled “New Pneumo-dynamometer and Spirometer.” There he is identified as President of the General Society for the Welfare of the Blind.

2 Fortunatus the Pessimist (1892.)

3 Prince Lucifer (1887.)

4 The Leon MS may have been an article by George Leon Little, a painter, or an article written about him by Stanley Little, his brother. In a letter to Stanley Little on April 16, 1890, Sharp said he admired Leon’s work and added: “You may be sure that whenever it is practicable for me to put in a spoke anywhere ‘will’ shall not lag behind ‘can.’” He then suggested Little encourage his brother to try placing his work in a Glasgow gallery where Sharp could do more for him in his capacity as art critic for the Glasgow Herald. D. C. T. may have been an editor at the Walter Scott publishing firm to whom Sharp had sent the manuscript. See Sharp’s letter to Little dated 22 January 1893.

5 Date from postmark.

6 Edmund Clarence Stedman and Thomas and Catherine Janvier.

7 Date from postmark.

8 L. L. was George Leon Little, Stanley Little’s brother. See note to Sharp’s letter to Little dated January 7, 1893.

9 Robert Farquharson Sharp, Elizabeth Sharp’s brother.

10 The Walter Scott publishing company. Sharp’s January 7 letter implies that D. C. T. of that firm agreed to publish the manuscript, but not immediately.

11 E. A. S. included three letters Sharp wrote “to a friend” from Africa (Memoir 208–14). This is the first of the three. Had that friend been anyone other than Edith Rinder, E. A. S. would have given the name. And only for Edith would Sharp have taken time to write in such detail about the scenery and atmosphere of North Africa.

12 The editor at Walter Scott Publishing Co has turned down the George Leon Little manuscript. See Sharp to Little, January 7 and 22, 1893.

13 Date from postmark.

14 Robert Farquharson Sharp is E. A. S.’s brother. Madge was one of William Sharp’s sisters.

15 Sharp had agreed to contact Robert Farquharson Sharp – his first cousin, Elizabeth’s brother, and on the staff of the British Museum’s Department of Printed Books – regarding a job for Charles William Dalmon. Dalmon (1862–1938) was a minor Sussex poet and a friend of Stanley Little. He became a film designer in the 1920s and joined the British Union of Fascists in 1934.

16 This letter-card is postmarked April 4, 1893, which was a Tuesday.

17 Possibly Alice Mangold Diehl (1846–1912), a prolific writer of popular novels.

18 Frank Frankfort Moore, I Forbid the Banns, The Story of a Comedy which was played seriously, 4th ed., 3 vols. (1893).

19 Sharp’s business letter to Alden proposed a poem for publication that Alden accepted (“kind and considerate editorial” response). A poem by Sharp entitled “The Weaver of Snow” appeared in Harper’s in March 1894.

20 God in His World (1890), Alden’s most recent book. For more about Alden, see note to Sharp’s January 21, 1892 letter to Horace Scudder.

21 François de Malherbe (1555–1628), French poet and critic. “But she bloomed on earth, where the most beautiful things have the saddest destiny; and Rose, she lived as live the roses, for the space of a morning”.

22 Nina Francis Layard was an American poet whose lyrics appeared in Harper’s Magazine and other American periodicals. Longman’s had published her volume entitled Poems in 1890. She has sent Sharp a manuscript of a second volume of poems. The letter suggests Sharp was unaware of her published volume of poems.

23 The letter was sent to officials at Swan Sonnenschein & Co. who had agreed to publish a new biography of D. G. Rossetti, a work Sharp began but never finished.

24 Kinneton Parkes edited the Library Review from 1892 to 1898.

25 Date from postmark on letter card. Sharp had tried to see Little in the middle of the night to discuss several matters, but his house was dark. This card was written the next morning in Horsham station, where Sharp was about to board a train to spend a week on the Isle of Wight while E. A. S. was in Paris for the Salons.

26 See note to Sharp’s May 4, 1893 letter to this firm.

27 Library Review.

28 Postmark on letter card.

29 The book for which Sharp thanks Garnettis probably Poems, which was published in 1893. In the spring of 1894 Sharp wrote as follows to Garnett: “I understand that at last my short review of your Poems is to appear in this week’s “Academy”. If perforce shorter than I would so much more willingly have made it, I have tried to say in it something adequate to your book’s high & rare merit, & that may, moreover, send some new readers to it. … The book gains upon me more and more. It is full of fine work.”

30 The word “no” written in the upper left-hand corner of the letter indicates that Gilder accepted none of Sharp’s suggested articles for the Century Magazine. Articles by Sharp on North Africa were published elsewhere: “French African Health Resorts” appeared in the December 1893 issue of Nineteenth Century; “The New Winterland of French Africa” in the January 1894 Nineteenth Century; “Tclemcen and Its Vicinage” in the February 1894 Art Journal; “Cardinal Lavigerie’s Work in North Africa” in the August 1894 Atlantic Monthly; and “Rome in Africa” in the June 1895 Harper’s Monthly.

31 The Fallen City and Other Poems, Will Foster (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1892).

32 The following note appears on the reverse of the letter in a hand that is not Sharp’s: “Houghton Mifflin say no. Write Sharp to that effect: 20: Oct: 93:” The individual to whom Sharp’s letter is addressed must have proposed an edition of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poetry in Walter Scott’s Canterbury Poets series, of which Sharp was General Editor. As Sharp suggested in the postscript, that individual pursued the matter with Houghton Mifflin, publisher of Oliver Wendell Homes, and received a negative response.

33 These must be proofs of Sharp’s notice of Philip Bourke Marston’s Poets and Poetry of the Century. See Sharp’s letter to Alfred H. Miles dated 31 October 1892.

34 The word “Decline” is written in the upper lefthand corner of the letter’s first page. In the upper right-hand corner is a note in Johnson’s hand: “I do not see anything for us in these suggestions. R. U. J. We have articles on Lang, Coleridge, & others for which we have been long in finding room.” See Sharp’s letter of June 3, 1893 to Richard Watson Gilder proposing articles on North Africa, which Gilder declined. Gilder was editor and Johnson assistant editor of the Century Magazine in New York.

35 Richard Watson Gilder.

36 Andrew Lang.

37 Robert William Buchanan (1841–1901), a Scottish poet, novelist, and playwright, is known for his attack on Rossetti and the PreRaphaelites, “The Fleshly School of Poetry,” in the 1871 Contemporary Review. After a controversy, he withdrew his charges and dedicated his novel, God and Man, to Rossetti. Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894). Sir James Matthew Barrie (1860–1937), the Scottish journalist, novelist, and playwright, noted for his use of whimsy and best known as the author of Peter Pan (1904). His works include Quality Street (1901), The Admirable Crichton (1902), What Every Woman Knows (1908), and The TwelvePound Look (1910). Henry Duff Traill (1842 1900), a poet and journalist, was on the staffs of The Pall Mall Gazette, St. James’s Gazette, and the Daily Telegraph; and edited The Observer and Literature. His best work was done as a critic and literary biographer. Among his works are Central Government (1881), Recaptured Rhymes (1882), Coleridge (1884), Sterne (1889), Saturday Songs (1890), and The New Fiction and Other Essays on Literary Subjects (1897). With J. S. Mann he edited The Building of Britain and the Empire (London: The Waverley Book Company, Ltd., 1909). Walter Chalmers Smith (1824–1908), a Scottish poet and clergyman of the Free Church, wrote narrative, colloquial works under the pseudonyms, “Orwell” and “Hermann Knott.” His works include The Bishop’s Walk (1861), Borland Hall (1871), Hilda Among the Broken Gods (1878), and A Heretic (1890). John Davidson (1857–1909), a Scottish poet, playwright, and novelist, wrote melancholy “tragedies and testaments,” and poems and plays espousing his “gospel of philosophic science.” His works include The North Wall (1885), The Wonderful Mission of Earl Lavender (1891), Fleet Street Eclogues (1893), The Last Ballad (1899), and Testaments, 5 vols. (1901–1908).

38 Thomas Miles Richardson, Jr. (1813–1890), a painter who worked primarily in watercolors, became an Associate of the Old Water Colour Society in 1843 and a Member in 1851. He was also a member of the Royal Academy in Scotland. From 1843 until his death, he exhibited his work over 800 times.

39 Henry Arthur Jones (1851–1929) was a playwright who wrote and produced more than sixty plays during his lifetime. His best-known works include The Silver King (1882), Judah (1890), Saints and Sinners (1894), Michael and His Lost Angel (1896), The Liars (1897), Mrs. Dane’s Defence (1900), and Whitewashing Julia (1903).

40 Perhaps the wife of Sir James Knowles (1831–1908) the English architect and editor who designed among other buildings Lord Tennyson’s house at Aldworth. In 1860 he published The Story of King Arthur. In 1870 he became editor of the Contemporary Review, and in 1877 he founded and edited the Nineteenth Century.

41 Elizabeth Robins Pennell (1855–1936) was an American writer who lived in London most of her adult life. She was “an adventurous, accomplished, self-assured, well-known columnist, biographer, cookbook collector, and art critic.” Her Life of Mary Wollstonecraft was published in 1884 and the biography she wrote with her husband, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, was published in 1911. Many well-known writers and painters frequented her London salon. Her husband was Joseph Pennell (1857–1926), an American artist who, like his friend James McNeill Whistler, went to Europe and made his home in London. He produced numerous books, but was best known as a lithographer and as an illustrator of others’ books.

42 Charles W. Dalman.

43 Vistas was published by Frank Murray in Derby in 1894 and in the United States by Stone and Kimball in the same year.

44 Pierre Loti’s (pseudonym for Louis Marie Julien Viaud) Pêcheur d’Islande was published in Paris in 1886. The first British edition, edited by R. J. March, was published in London in 1891.

45 Sharp’s new biography of Rossetti was not completed. Sharp’s new “one-vol. Novel” would become Pharais, and his “vol. of short stories” was probably Comedy of Woman, also never published. His “French studies” was possibly Chansons d’Amour. See Sharp’s diary for December 1893 (Memoir 215–17). The article in the September 1892 Nineteenth Century was “La Jeune Belgique.”

46 Pharais: A Romance of the Isles (The Regent’s Library, Derby: F. Murray, 1894) was the first of Sharp’s works published under the name Fiona Macleod. Catherine Janvier included portions of this letter in “Fiona Macleod and her Creator William Sharp” which appeared in the North American Review in 1907 (Vol. 184, No. 612, pp. 718–732). She loaned many of her letters from Sharp to Elizabeth for her to use in the Memoir, and portions of this letter are printed there (224–25). I have not located the manuscript letter, but I have included in this transcription passages omitted by both writers. Mrs. Janvier used the letter to demonstrate that Sharp claimed authorship of Pharais many months before he decided to publish it as the work of Fiona Macleod. When Sharp had a copy of Pharais sent to Catherine Janvier in December 1894, claiming it was the work of a woman friend, she recalled the moon-flower exchange in this letter and elicited the truth from Sharp (see Sharp letter to Catherine Janvier dated January 5, 1895).

47 This story became Wives in Exile: A Comedy in Romance (London: Grant Richards, 1898).

48 See the Introduction to Chapter Nine for more information about Gilchrist.

49 Murray had told Sharp he could afford to offer only ten pounds for the projected romance. Sharp rejected that offer, but told Murray he would accept that amount for Vistas, which Murray published in the spring of 1894 (Memoir 216–17).

50 Date from postmark.

51 Sharp meant to say he wanted to stop in Derby on his return to London to talk with Frank Murray with whom he was arranging the publication of his Vistas.

52 The date is written in another hand.

53 Perhaps a work by Little never published.

54 This must have been the etching Charles Holroyd made of Sharp in Rome in February 1891.

55 Shortly after Gilchrist moved to Highcliffe in Eyam in 1888, Garfitt joined him there, and the two men continued to live together until Gilchrist’s death from a sudden bout of pneumonia in the spring of 1917. The two men were close friends of Edward Carpenter, the socialist poet and advocate of Uranianism, who lived with his companion, George Merrill, nearby at Millthorpe. Gilchrist and Garfitt were ardent cyclists and began driving a motor car in 1909. (See a pamphlet by Clarence Daniel entitled “Eyam – The Milton of Robert Murray Gilchrist: Portrait of a Victorian Village.” Of unknown date, a copy of the pamphlet was kindly provided by the staff of the Sheffield City Archives. Eyam was the model for the village Gilchrist called Milton in his works of fiction.) There is more about Garfitt and Gilchrist in the Introduction to Chapter Nine.

56 Henry Austin Dobson (1840–1921) was a well-known English poet and essayist.

57 Gilchrist’s novel Frangipanni (1893) was the first volume published by Frank Murray, the Derby bookstore owner, in his Regent’s Library series. Sharp stopped to see Murray on his way to London after visiting Gilchrist. Fiona Macleod’s Pharais (1894) was the second, and William Sharp’s Vistas (1894) was the third. These volumes were finely printed on excellent paper.

58 Internal evidence and the return address establish the date.

59 Scudder commissioned none of the articles proposed here, but he did publish in the Atlantic Monthly in August 1894 an article by Sharp entitled “Cardinal Lavigerie’s Work in North Africa.” Sharp’s friend Henry Mills Alden published in Harper’s Magazine his “Rome in Africa” in June 1895 (91:95–116).

60 The painter Frederic Shields (1833–1911).

61 Born in 1821, Ford Madox Brown was a distinguished painter, teacher, and close friend of D. G. Rossetti. Through his own work and his influence on Millais and Holman Hunt as well as Rossetti, he was a central figure in the Pre-Raphaelite movement in British art.

62 Date from postmark.

63 See Sharp’s May 1, 1893 letter to Layard in which he comments on the manuscript she sent him. In that letter he told Layard he doubted anyone would publish the book. He was clearly wrong, as she has sent him the published volume. He may have forgotten his earlier response, but he expresses in both letters his admiration for the poem entitled “Sweet Peas.”

64 Perhaps William Clavell Ingram (1834–1901) Dean of Peterborough Cathedral. Ingram has proposed a volume for one of Walter Scott’s series.

65 This note accompanied a Christmas gift to the Stedmans.

66 This etching by Scott appeared as the frontispiece of the first edition of Sharp’s Vistas. It is an etching of one of Blake’s designs for Milton’s Paradise Lost and portrays Adam and Eve in an embrace and Satan, entwined as a serpent, hovering above them.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 12. Portrait of Edith Wingate Rinder (c. 1894). Photographer unknown. Courtesy of the family of Edith Rinder.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7853/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 217k
Légende Fig. 13. Photograph of William Sharp in 1894 by Frederick Hollyer. Reproduced from Poems by William Sharp. Selected and arranged by Mrs. William Sharp (London: William Heinemann, 1912).
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7853/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 391k

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