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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 Eleven

Texte intégral

Life: 1894

1In the fall of 1893 Elizabeth Sharp became increasingly uncomfortable at Phenice Croft: “The damp, autumnal days in the little cottage on its clay soil, and the fatigue of constantly going up and down to town in order to do the work of the Art Critic for the Glasgow Herald – which I for some time had undertaken – proved too severe a strain on me. And I found that in the winter months I could not remain at Phenice Croft without being seriously ill (Memoir 233).” The Sharps rented a flat in January 1894 – number seven in Kensington Court Gardens, a new mansion block south of the Kensington High Street – where Elizabeth would live throughout the winter while her husband traveled back and forth from Phenice Croft. At the end of the month, the Sharps tried to revive the “Sunday evening informal gatherings” they held in the late eighties in South Hampstead. Sharp invited Grant Richards for dinner on Sunday, February 4. Edith and Frank Rinder would be there, and others – including the publisher John Lane – would drop by later for a cup of coffee and to smoke a cigarette. Back in Phenice Croft on the ninth and hoping for a positive review, he sent Richard Le Gallienne an advance copy of Vistas, which would be published by Frank Murray on the fifteenth. On Saturday the tenth he was back in London writing to Stanley Little. Elizabeth was “better on the whole.” He would be back in Phenice Croft the next day and in London again at the Grosvenor Club the following Saturday. He hoped Little would drop by to see him. Before the month was out, traveling back and forth in the mid-winter gloom affected his health.

2In early December Sharp told Murray Gilchrist he could not visit him in Derbyshire in January, but hoped Gilchrist would visit him in Buck’s Green. In his Christmas greeting to Gilchrist, he wrote, “You are to come here in the early Spring, remember!” Though it was not early Spring, correspondence and the pattern of events indicate Gilchrist accepted Sharp’s invitation in mid-February. In a letter dated only “Wendy” which was probably February 14 or 21, he told Gilchrist he would be happy to welcome him and Garfitt at Phenice Croft the following Friday. This visit was important for what it reveals about the atmosphere Sharp had created in Buck’s Green and the state of his mental and physical health.

3In a letter to Murray Gilchrist more than a year later, on September 26, 1895, Sharp drew his attention to a section of Fiona Macleod’s The Sin Eater called “Tragic Landscapes.” By that time Sharp had told Gilchrist, exacting a pledge of secrecy, that he was Fiona Macleod. In The Pagan Review, Sharp reviewed favorably a volume of prose poems and asserted they are not simply “quoted specimens of poetic prose.” They must be brief and complete in themselves, the equivalent of pastels in painting. The pastel artist, he wrote, must be “what is somewhat too vaguely called an impressionist” whose aim is “suggestion, not imitation.” The prose poem is “a consciously-conceived and definitely-executed poetic form.” The three “Tragic Landscapes” in The Sin Eater are “prose poems.”

4The first, called “The Tempest,” is a detailed word painting of a natural setting in which a storm is approaching. “The human element is wholly insignificant and accidental,” he told Gilchrist, but humans appear near the close to emphasize the magnitude of the storm. It threatens to sweep away the natural world and all living inhabitants. The second “Tragic Landscape,” called simply “Mist,” portrays the post-apocalyptic natural world: “A dense white mist lay upon the hills, clothing them from summit to base in a dripping shroud. The damp, spongy peat everywhere sweated forth its over-welling ooze.… There was neither day nor night, but only the lifeless gloom of the endless weary rain: thin soaking, full of the chill and silence of the grave.” Eventually, a shadow appears in the gloom, and a slow-moving man “stood beside a tarn. And was looking into it, as the damned in hell look into their souls.” A stag appears on an overhanging rock and vanquishes his rival whereupon: “Night crept up from the glen and strath – the veil of mist grew more and more obscure, more dark.… there was a uniform pall of blackness. In the chill, soaking silence not a thing stirred, not a sound was audible.”

5The third “Tragic Landscape,” called “Summer-sleep” portrays a hot, dry vista that is peaceful and drowsy with some signs of life:

The high-road sinuated like a snake along the steeper slope of the valley.… The gloom of July was on the trees. The oaks dreamed of green water. The limes were already displaying fugitive yellow banners. A red flush dusked the green-gloom of the sycamores.… The sky was of a vivid blue, up whose invisible azure ledges a few rounded clouds, dazzling white or grey as swans-down, climbed imperceptibly.… In the air was a pleasant murmur of the green world. The wild-bee and the wasp, the dragon-fly and the gnat, wrought everywhere a humming undertone.

6The landscape is descending into a dreamy sleep with but a murmur of the “green life:” “Peace was upon the land and beauty. The languor of dream gave the late summer a loveliness that was all its own, as of a fair woman asleep, dreaming of the lover who has not long left her, and the touch of whose lips is still upon her mouth and hair.” Through this personified natural world, which differs markedly from that of “The Tempest” and “Mist,” three men are walking: “Two of the men were tall and fair; one dark, loosely built, and of a smaller and slighter build.”

7In his September 1895 letter to Gilchrist, Sharp wrote: “You will read the third piece, “Summersleep,” with mingled feelings, when you know it is an exact transcript of – Phenice Croft at Rudgwick, and that the three men are – you, Garfitt, and myself.” Although the visit of Gilchrist and Garfitt to Phenice Croft must have occurred in February 1894, Sharp transposed it to late summer. The two tall, fair men are Sharp and Gilchrist, and the smaller Garfitt. They approach “a small hamlet of thatched, white-walled cottages” which is Buck’s Green. Sharp, the tallest wayfarer, points “to a small square house set among orchard-trees, a stone’s throw from the hamlet,” which is Phenice Croft,” and says: “There is my home.” His “comrade,” Gilchrist, replies slowly, “It is a beautiful place, and I envy you.” Garfitt agrees, and the owner replies “I am glad you think so.” At that, the shadows of the three men “leapt to one side, moved with fantastic steps, and seemed convulsed with laughter.” Perhaps the grass on the side of the road understood the speech of the shadows. If so, it would know Gilchrist said in his heart: “There is something of awe, of terror, about that house; nay, the whole land here is under a tragic gloom. I should die here, stifled. I am glad I go on the morrow.” Then Garfitt said in his heart “It may all be beautiful and peaceful, but something tragic hides behind this flooding sunlight, behind these dark woodlands, down by the water-course there, past the water-mill, up by that house among the orchard-trees.” If the grass understood the shadows, “It would know that the tallest man [Sharp] who lived in that square cottage by the pleasant hamlet, said in his heart: ‘It may be that the gate of hell is hidden there among the grass, or beneath the foundations of my house. Would God I were free! O my God, madness and death!’” The three men know the placid landscape overlays a natural world that is “red in tooth and claw.” They also know what only their shadows express: the placidity of human life overlays a chaotic darkness of tragic impulses and the fear of obliteration.

8Following that shadowy experience of fear and horror, the final paragraph restores the peacefulness of the land and of everyday life:

After another long silence, as the three wayfarers drew near, the dark man murmured his pleasure at the comely hamlet, at the quiet land lying warm in the afternoon glow. And his companion said that rest and coolness would be welcome, and doubly so in so fair and peaceful a home. And the tallest of the three, he who owned the house in the orchard, laughed blithely. And all three moved onward with quickened steps, through the hot, sweet, dusty afternoon, golden now with the waning sun-glow.

9After drawing Gilchrist’s attention to the third “Tragic Landscape,” Sharp wrote, “I cannot explain aright: you must read into what you read.” We recall that Elizabeth Sharp wrote of their residence in Buck’s Green:

The quiet and leisure at Phenice Croft, the peace, the “green life” around were unspeakably welcome to my husband. 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. (Memoir 221)

10The transition was from the work of William Sharp to that of Fiona Macleod, which Elizabeth, reflecting no doubt the opinion of her husband, thought “deeper, more intimate, more permanent.” At Phenice Croft, she continued,

he was testing his new powers, living his new life, and delighting in the opportunity for psychic experimentation And for such experimentation, the place seemed to him to be peculiarly suited. To me it seemed “uncanny”, and to have a haunted atmosphere – created unquestionably by him – that I found difficult to live in unless the sun was shining. This uncanny effect was felt by more than one friend; by Mr. Murray Gilchrist, for instance, whose impressions were described by his host in one of the short “Tragic Landscapes”. (Memoir 223)

11In his September 1895 letter to Gilchrist, Sharp wrote ominously, “The most tragic & momentous epoch of my life followed that visit of yours to Phenice Croft, & is, so far, indissolubly linked with that day I met you, and that time.” What, we must wonder, happened following the Gilchrist visit that so affected Sharp? His letters, beginning in late February, suggest the probable answer.

12Sending a copy of Vistas to Edward Dowden on February 26, he asked him to “excuse so brief a note as I have been ill & am still debarred from much use of the pen.” On March 1, in a letter thanking Stanley Little for his positive notices of Vistas, Sharp wrote: “I should have written to you before this, but I have not been well: & yesterday had to telegraph to a friend. I am now, however, pulling round all right. Please say nothing of this to Elizabeth. Tomorrow [Friday, March 2] I shall go up to town, & come down with her on Saty, till Monday [March 3–5]. On that weekend [March 9–11] some friends are coming for a fortnight, of which I am glad.” On March 5 he wrote again to Little:

Did I tell you how unwell I have been? I have had to ‘cave in’ completely. I am now nearly better – but for some time to come must write only for 2 or 3 hours daily at most: and, moreover, am not to be alone at all. Elizabeth (who is steadily gaining ground) returns to town in a couple of days: & then Mr. and Mrs. Rinder come here on ‘a working visit’ to keep me company for a fortnight.… I must not write more.

13Elizabeth, herself unwell, but improving, was with him until at least Wednesday March 7, and the friends, now identified as Edith and Frank Rinder, came on that weekend to stay for two weeks.

14The psychic experimentations that gave Phenice Croft an “uncanny” and “haunted atmosphere” had led Sharp to the “gate of hell… hidden there among the grass, or beneath the foundations” of his house and to exclaiming “Would God I were free! O my God, madness and death!” Shortly after Gilchrist and Garfitt visited Phenice Croft, Sharp suffered a nervous collapse that produced a state of depression so serious that his wife and Edith Rinder decided he should not be left alone. He should also stop his psychic experimentations, drastically reduce his imaginative work, and not write at all more than two or three hours a day. It was almost certainly this collapse Sharp described in his September 1895 letter to Gilchrist as “the most tragic & momentous epoch” of his life. It recalls a letter he wrote to Hall Caine ten years earlier – on June 15, 1884 – in which he described a “sharp and sudden attack” and a narrow escape from rheumatic fever that left his hands so chilled and pained he could hardly hold a pen. The mental collapse at Phenice Croft may well have been accompanied by a physical collapse that endangered his weakened heart. He concluded his March 5 letter to Little as follows: “This is an unusual break-down for me. But, for one thing, I have been living the life of Imagination too fiercely of late. I think you will be surprised when you learn what I have done.” These sentences connect his breakdown with his writing as Fiona Macleod and suggest that work, as yet unknown to Little, was initiating a splitting of self – masculine versus feminine – that contributed to his collapse.

15In a March 27 letter to Gilchrist, Sharp apologized for being too unwell to write sooner and announced he was leaving Buck’s Green:

My wife’s health… has long been troubling me: and we have just decided that (greatly to my disappointment) we must return to Hampstead to live. Personally, I regret the return to town (or half town) more than I can say: but the matter is one of paramount importance, so there is nothing else to be done. We leave at midsummer.

16Elizabeth’s illness in the fall, continuing into the winter, her dislike of the atmosphere Sharp had created in Buck’s Green, and her work as art reviewer for the Glasgow Herald had forced her to let a flat in London. Her husband’s mental and physical breakdown was the last straw. He could not be left alone. They were fortunate to find someone to sublet the house, which they vacated on June 21. Sharp described his actions of the previous night:

I took up a handful of grassy turf and kissed it three times, and then threw it to the four quarters–so that the Beauty of the Earth might be seen by me wherever I went and that no beauty I had seen or known there should be forgotten. Then I kissed the chestnut tree on the side lawn where I have seen or heard so much: from the springing of the dream flowers to the surge of the sea in Pharais (Memoir 236).

17Elizabeth understood his reluctance to leave: “Phenice Croft had seen the birth of Fiona Macleod; he had lived there with an intensity of inner life beyond anything he had ever experienced” (Memoir 233).

18After describing their decision to give up rural living in his letter to Gilchrist, Sharp demonstrated what many of his close friends found remarkable, his ability to quickly recover from any problems no matter how debilitating:

As for me, one of my wander-fits has come upon me: the Spring-madness has got into the blood: the sight of green hedgerows and budding leaves and the blue smoke rising here and there in the woodlands has wrought some chemic furor in my brain. Before the week is out, I hope to be in Normandy – and after a day or two by the sea at Dieppe, and then at beautiful and romantic Rouen, to get to the green lanes and open places, and tramp ‘towards the sun’. I’ll send you a line from somewhere if you care to hear.

19He turned in the letter to Gilchrist’s relative isolation in Derbyshire:

I think you should see more of actual life: and not dwell so continually in an atmosphere charged with your own imaginings.… part of the year should be spent otherwise – say in a town like London, or Paris, or in tramping through alien lands, France or Belgium, Scandinavia, or Germany or Italy, or Spain: if not, in Scotland, or Ireland, or upon our Isles, or remote counties.… Take your pen and paper, a satchel, and go forth with a light heart. The gods will guide you to strange things, and strange things to you. You ought to see more, to feel more, to know more, at first hand. Be not afraid of excess. “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”, says Blake.

20Gilchrist must have told Sharp he too suffered from depression:

To be alive and young and in health is a boon so inestimable that you ought to fall on your knees among your moorland heather and thank the gods. Dejection is a demon to be ruled. We cannot always resist his tyranny, but we can always refuse to become bondagers to his usurpation. Look upon him as an Afreet to be exorcised with a cross of red-hot iron. He is a coward weakling, after all: take him by the tail and swing him across the moor or down the valley. Swing up into your best. Be brave, strong, self-reliant. Then you live.

21Gilchrist was ten years younger than Sharp; it should have been easier for him to take the demon of dejection “by the tail and swing him across the moor or down the valley.” Yet Sharp was sharing his own experience as a guide for Gilchrist.

22Sharp did not escape to France before the week was out. On April 3 he wrote a long letter to Herbert Stone, a Harvard undergraduate who, with his friend and classmate Hannibal Ingalls Kimball, had established a publishing firm, Stone and Kimball, which would “accept only manuscripts of literary merit and publish them in an artistic form.” In August 1894 the firm relocated from Cambridge to Chicago where Stone’s wealthy father, Melville Elijah Stone, had founded and edited the Chicago Daily News. When Louise Chandler Moulton drew Sharp’s attention to the enterprise and informed him that Stone had liked his Vistas, Sharp saw an opening. He proposed to Stone a volume of seven short stories titled The Rape of the Sabines, after one of its stories he had included in The Pagan Review. As it turned out, Stone and Kimball published an American edition of Vistas late in 1894, and the volume of short stories in 1895 under the less provocative title The Gypsy Christ and Other Tales. Stone and Kimball also published the early works of Fiona Macleod, which began to establish her reputation among America’s literati. At the suggestion of Arthur Stedman, Sharp asked Stone to negotiate for the plates and stock of his Flower o’ the Vine from Charles Webster and Company as the firm was being liquidated. If Stone took up that suggestion, the negotiations failed since that volume disappeared from view.

23On April 8 Sharp told Arthur Stedman in a letter from Phenice Croft, “I am better, though not right yet.” When he went to France is uncertain, but on April 22 he sent a card to Murray Gilchrist from Paris that promised a letter and declared “Here summer is come,” and concluded “Some strange things happen in this world! Well – no more just now.” Elizabeth joined him in Paris on April 30, and they both returned to London on May 3. Recalling that Elizabeth and Edith Rinder had decided Sharp should not be left alone, Edith may have accompanied Sharp to Normandy in mid-April and their time together in Dieppe and Rouen may have been the “strange thing” Sharp would share with Gilchrist when they next met.

24The public aspect of the Fiona Macleod phase of Sharp’s literary career began in May when Frank Murray published Pharais, a Romance of the Isles from his Moray Press in Derby. In a footnote to the dedication of Pharais to E. W. R. (Edith Wingate Rinder), Sharp said the word pharais is a “slightly anglicized lection of the Gaelic word Pàras = Paradise, Heaven. ‘Pharais’ properly is the genitive and dative case of Pàras, as in the line from Muireadhach Albannach, quoted after the title page, ‘Mithich domh triall gu tigh Pharais’ – ‘It is time for me to go up unto the House of Paradise.’” Muireadhach Albannach, spelled variously, was a Gaelic poet later known as Murdoch of Scotland. A portion of the poem from which Sharp quoted a line is found in the Dean of Lismore’s Book.

25In a May 4 letter, Sharp told Stanley Little he had asked Murray to send him a pre-publication copy of a Celtic romance written by a friend, a Miss Fiona Macleod. It was a successor to his Vistas in Murray’s Regent’s Library Series, and he was “specially interested not only in its author but in the book,” which dealt with “the almost unknown life of the remoter isles of the Atlantic seaboard.” No copies had been issued except one to him and two to Miss Macleod. He hoped Little would like the book and write a notice or review for The Academy or the Literary World. Prior to the formal publication of Pharais, Sharp had decided to create a separate identity for the supposed author and present her to the world as a real person.

26As stated in the previous chapter, almost a year earlier, in a letter dated August 1893, Sharp told Catherine Ann Janvier he was writing “a strange Celtic tale” he planned to call Pharais, a Celtic word for paradise. In the tale, not yet book-length, he continued:

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.

27So we know Sharp began writing passages in 1893 or even earlier for what became Fiona Macleod’s Pharais, and he had no intention at the time of publishing it pseudonymously. Shortly after the release of creativity he experienced in Rome in 1891, he had begun looking for a means of capitalizing on his knowledge of the Hebridean landscape and Celtic lore. Finally, he was able to tell Murray Gilchrist, in a letter of December 20, 1893, his “long dreamed of Celtic Romance” was finished. A week later he wrote to Frank Murray, the Derby publisher,

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.

28He also told Murray he wished “to adhere rigidly to the ‘Fiona Macleod’ authorship.” It had occurred to him the romance might be dismissed as inauthentic coming from the London editor and critic William Sharp. His contribution to the Celtic Renaissance would appear under a female pseudonym. As the name, he chose Fiona, unknown at the time in Scotland, which he thought a diminutive of Fionnaghal, and Macleod, the surname of Seamus Macleod, who filled his youthful mind with Gaelic lore.

29Sometime between December 1893 and May 1894, he realized he would have to find a means for the fictitious author to communicate with her publishers and readers. So he enlisted his sister Mary, who lived with their mother in Edinburgh, to copy his Fiona letters and mail them in Scotland. Mary’s distinctive handwriting became an essential feature of the deception. It was frequently cited as proof the writings were not the product of William Sharp, and it was principally through the letters that he conveyed Fiona’s distinctive personality and established the fiction of her separate identity. Discreet, efficient, and available, Mary was a vital link in the two-step transmissions that contributed to the remarkable success of Sharp’s second, subterranean literary career.

30Sharp bolstered the deception by sharing with friends, critics, and publishers details about the reclusive writer. She was his cousin and married to a peripatetic Scottish laird who owned a yacht that whisked her away to avoid detection. Sharp regarded her highly, provided advice and assistance as needed, and respected her desire for privacy. He sometimes floated the impression that he and Fiona were more than close friends as they would go to remote locations together. In those instances, he seems to have conflated Fiona and Edith Rinder since they did go away together periodically. He often claimed he was unaware of her location in order to decline requests to meet her. When avid readers did turn up at her Edinburgh return address, she had just left to sail among the Hebrides. It was on those islands, after all, where she heard the tales and absorbed the atmosphere of her stories and poems.

Fig. 14 Portrait of Mary Beatrice Sharp, William Sharp’s youngest sister taken in the Davis Studios in Edinburgh in 1906. Mary provided the handwriting for Fiona Macleod’s extensive correspondence. Courtesy of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Dulles Reading Room, Firestone Library, Princeton University.

Fig. 15a. Verso of Fig. 4 in Mary Sharp’s handwriting which was the Fiona Macleod handwriting. Inscribed to “To the Reverend R. Wilkins Rees. Yours Sincerely, Mary B. Sharp. Fiona Macleod’s sister, who did all the writing of the Fiona Macleod work and carried on the correspondence connected with it.”

Fig. 15b. Letter to Grant Richards from William Sharp in his handwriting. Courtesy of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin.

31The first known letter from Fiona was written in mid-May to Grant Allen, a well-known writer and Sharp’s good friend:

32C/o Mrs. B. etc.

33Dear Sir,

34I have only now ascertained that you are in England. I was informed you were in the South of France. Some short time ago I asked Mr. Frank Murray of Derby to forward to you a copy of my just published romance Pharais. I now write to ask if you will accept it as a slight token of homage from the youngest and latest of Celtic writers to the most brilliant champion of the Celtic genius now living. I do not, however, send it by way of inveigling you to write about it, much as any word of yours would mean to me both in service and honour: but primarily because of your deep and vivid sympathy not only with nature but with the Celtic vision of nature – and, also, let me add, because of the many delightful hours I have enjoyed with your writings.

35Believe me, | Faithfully yours,

36Fiona Macleod

37This letter, preserved in New York’s Pierpont Morgan Library, is in William Sharp’s handwriting. He sent it to Mary Sharp in Edinburgh for her to copy and send to Allen.

Fig. 16. Photograph of Grant Allen (1848–1899) by Elliott & Fry (c. 1899), Wikimedia, https://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File:Portrait_of_Grant_Allen.jpg, Public Domain.

38This letter elicited a positive reply from Allen: Pharais, he wrote to Fiona “strikes me as a beautiful and poetical piece of work.” He tempered his praise with a few words of criticism from an experienced and well-regarded writer to a novice. Interlarding English with Gaelic words was a trifle distracting. She should strive for a little more story and less pure poetry. “Perfection in literature lies in avoiding excess in any direction.” He asked for some details about Fiona’s life and expressed hope she would visit him and his wife who was much taken by Pharais (Memoir 228–29). Allen accepted the fiction Sharp was creating, but according to Elizabeth “Questions as to the identity of the author were already ‘in the air’” (Memoir 230). In a Fiona letter to the publisher John Lane in June Sharp had her raise the issue directly: “You asked me in your note who told me to apply to you with The Mountain Lovers. It was my cousin, Mr. William Sharp. I hear that some paper says he wrote Pharais: and I sent a disclaimer at once to the Westminster Gazette.” Something in that periodical, perhaps a review of Pharais, must have touched on the possibility that Sharp was the author. Even Grant Allen was suspicious as he said in a July 12 letter to Sharp:

As to Pharais, I will confess I read it with some doubt as to whether it was not your own production; and after I had written my letter to Miss Macleod, I took it to my wife and said “Now, if this is William Sharp, what a laugh and a crow he will have over me! Le Gallienne, who is stopping with us, was sure it was yours; but on second thoughts, I felt certain, in spite of great likeness of style, there was a feminine touch in it and sent my letter.

39He continued:

All the same, however, I was not quite satisfied you were not taking us in, especially as your book with Blanche Willis Howard had shown one how womanly a tone you could adopt when it suited you; and I shan’t feel absolutely at rest on the subject till I have seen the “beautiful lassie’ in person. If she turns out to be W. S. in disguise, I shall owe you a bad one for it: for I felt my letter had just that nameless twinge of emotion one uses towards a woman, and a beginner.

40Allen would be glad to meet Sharp’s cousin in October, “supposing her to exist,” when he hoped the Sharps would bring her to visit him and his wife in Hindhead, their village in Surrey. It is interesting to note in the context of this correspondence that Grant Allen wrote and published in 1897 a novel – The Type-writer Girl – under the female pseudonym Olive Pratt Rayner. Presumably like Sharp, he thought a work so titled would be taken more seriously if by a woman.

41These letters illustrate the problems Sharp encountered from the start maintaining the fiction of a real Fiona Macleod. A year later he was still trying to assure Allen of Fiona’s existence. By that time their mutual friend Richard Le Gallienne, who saw from the start the linkage between Sharp’s writings and Fiona’s, was sure of the deception and said so in print. That so alarmed Sharp he sent Le Gallienne a letter telling him to “shut up.” When next they met face to face, he told Le Gallienne the truth after obtaining a firm promise of confidentiality.

42In early June Sharp sent from Fiona a copy of Pharais and positive quotes from several reviews to the publisher John Lane. He hoped to entice Lane into publishing the second Fiona romance, The Mountain Lovers. Sharp, as the lady, wrote:

Possibly you may care to make me an offer in advance for “The Mountain Lovers”. It will be a book of about the same length as “Pharais”, probably a little longer. The note that is dominant is the Return to Joy. The story deals with the love of two young mountaineers, Alan Gilchrist and Soreha Cameron: but there is an interweaving of dramatic and tragic episodes in the lives of those directly connected with the Mountain Lovers. For the rest, there is, in a more marked degree than in “Pharais”, a constant recurrence to the intimate relationship we have, or may have, with Nature. It is here, I know, that I have “something to say”: but I will not trouble you with details which, after all, in embryo, can be of no interest to anyone until duly and finally set forth.

43He sent Lane the opening chapter of the new romance and promised the completed manuscript “by the end of August, or, possibly, a little earlier.” He knew full well that Lane was the principal in the firm, but Fiona, unfamiliar with the London publishing scene, was not sure: “If I have been misinformed as to your being the literary representative or chief partner in your firm, I beg you to excuse the informality of my addressing myself to you direct.” If Lane was unwilling to accept the book without seeing it, Fiona asks him to return the opening pages so she could find “a publisher on my own terms elsewhere.” She would soon be going abroad for two or three months, so she hoped Lane would reply at his very earliest convenience. Though remote and a novice, Fiona could demonstrate some of Sharp’s backbone in her dealings with Lane. The favorable reception of Pharais suggested there was money to be made by the Fiona deception, and Sharp set about acquiring it.

44In a letter of July 7, writing as Sharp, he admonished John Lane for not responding to the early June Fiona Macleod letter offering him the “opportunity” to publish The Mountain Lovers. He was too pressed with his own work “to attend properly to other people’s affairs.” He had “quite enough trouble” arranging with Murray the publication of Pharais. He even had to read the proofs since “Miss [sic] Macleod when not on one of her visits to Edinburgh or Glasgow lives in a very remote spot.” He had promised to see The Mountain Lovers through the press, but he could not “undertake all the preliminary ‘skirmishing’ as well.” He is critical of both Miss Macleod and Mr. Lane: “What with an exasperatingly vagrant – if dear and lovely – cousin on the one hand, and an exasperatingly dilatory publisher on the other, the fate of a kindly intermediary who happens to be frantically busy is not a pleasant one!” The distinction between Sharp and his cousin is clearly drawn, and Lane is put on notice. Sharp further baited the hook by saying he thought he would arrange with Miss Macleod the publication of her next book, a volume of “fantasies, short stories, and poems called ‘A Celtic Wreath’,” with Macmillan in London and a Boston firm in America. The letter had its desired effect. Sharp was able to write again to Lane within a couple of weeks, this time as Fiona, to say she was glad Lane entertained her proposal favorably and set forth the terms she would require if Lane went on to publish the book. Whether or not Lane met all the terms, he did publish The Mountain Lovers in 1895.

45At the beginning of August, Sharp went to the west of Scotland to stay with his mother and sisters who were on holiday in Kilcreggan on the Firth of Clyde. In a letter to Elizabeth he said he was learning legends and customs from “a Celtic Islesman from Iona” who gave him “a copy of an ancient MS. map of Iona with all its fields, divisions, bays, capes, isles, etc.” He described a storm he seems to have enjoyed while out with the Islesman in his “two-sailed Wherry.”

We flew before the squalls like a wild horse, and it was glorious with the shriek of the wind, the heave and plunge of the boat, and the washing of the water over the gunwales. Twice ‘the black wind’ came down upon us out of the hills, and we were nearly driven under water. He kept chanting and calling a wild sea-rune, about a water-demon of the isles, till I thought I saw it leaping from wave to wave after us.

46He learned that rune and the rune of “the reading of the spirit” and the rune of the “Knitting of the Knots.” On August 15, he returned to Edinburgh where Elizabeth joined him from London.

47While there he wrote a long letter to Herbert Stone regarding the American edition of Vistas, which Stone and Kimball was publishing. The firm had initiated a small trade magazine called The Chap-Book to advertise its publications. The September 15 number would be devoted to William Sharp and Vistas. It would contain a poem by Sharp (“To E. C. Stedman”), an “appreciation” of Sharp’s poetry by his friend, the Canadian poet Bliss Carman, and “The Birth of a Soul,” a new “dramatic interlude,” which would be included in the American edition of Vistas. He enclosed a photograph for The Chap-Book that had been taken in the spring by Frederick Hollyer. Sharp remained a very handsome man, only slightly greying at the age of thirty-nine. His frequent illnesses, physical and mental, had not yet taken their toll.

48Sharp also included with his August 15 letter a dedication to H. M. Alden for the American edition of Vistas in which he described the contents of the book as “vistas into the inner life of the human soul, psychic episodes,” and acknowledged their debt to Maeterlinck, “the Belgian poet-dramatist” who had “introduced a new and vital literary form.” Sharp and Alden had become good friends, and the dedication was “a tribute of affection and admiration” to one “I honor and esteem so highly.” He had read one or two of the vistas to Alden, who was the editor of Harper’s Magazine, during his visit to New York in the fall of 1891. While in Kilcreggan he sent Alden two articles for possible publication in Harper’s. He hoped for the best because money was short. He described his condition to Alden: “What with illness & consequent 3 or 4 months’ idleness or next to idleness, my wife’s long illness, & serious financial distress, we have gone thro,’ & are still suffering from, a rather bad time lately.” Alden responded positively as both appeared in Harper’s in 1895: “Rome in Africa” in December and “The Hebrid Isles” in June. The editors he met during his two trips to New York had opened a new outlet for his writing and a welcome source of income. As 1894 progressed, Fiona Macleod opened another source, and that became a major factor in the effort to maintain the fiction of her separate identity. Were it to become generally known that Sharp was Fiona, the authenticity of the writings would be questioned. Moreover, questions might be raised about his sexual predilections as rumors circulated about Oscar Wilde that would result in his conviction for “gross indecency with men” in 1895. And such exposure, Sharp feared, would cause him to stop writing the Celtic romances thereby turning off the monetary spigot.

49Shortly after Elizabeth joined her husband in Edinburgh, they left for the western isles and spent the next six weeks exploring and collecting materials. They went first to Oban, sailed to the Isle of Mull, and crossed to the west of Mull where for the first time Elizabeth experienced Iona. That small island’s beauty, its ruins, and the restorations then in progress made a deep impression on her. Sharp frequently turned in the Fiona writings to the story of St. Columba who brought Christianity from Ireland to Scotland in the sixth century when he established a religious colony and built an abbey on Iona. Sharp succumbed to the romanticism Iona induces in visitors in a September response by Fiona to a letter from the Irish poet and novelist, Katharine Tynan-Hinkson.

I read your letter last night, at sunset, while I was lying on the Cruac-an-Angeal, the hillock on the west where the angel appeared to St Columba.… It was a very beautiful sight to see the day wane across the ocean, and then to move slowly homeward through the gloaming, and linger awhile by the Street of the Dead near the ruined abbey of Columba. But these Isles are so dear to me that I think everyone must feel alike!

50Sharp wanted to establish a close friendship between the two ladies as he hoped Fiona would become the foremost female writer in a Scottish Celtic Renaissance as Mrs. Hinkson had become for the Irish Celtic Renaissance. Iona was an ideal place to achieve that objective as it linked Scottish and Irish history. The impressions Sharp gained during this and subsequent visits provided the material for the Fiona Macleod essay “Iona” that formed part of The Divine Adventure in 1900. Fiona would become part of the lore of Iona where her books are available even today for purchase by tourists who descend on the island each year. After several more weeks exploring the islands south of Oban and hearing more stories, the Sharps returned at the end of September to their new residence in Hampstead.

51During the fall, Sharp worked on the stories and sketches that were published by Stone and Kimball in 1895 as William Sharp’s The Gypsy Christ and Other Tales. In order to establish the separate identity of Fiona and maintain the welcome stream of income, he continued to publish under both names. The strain of dual authorship led to frequent illnesses, physical and mental. In October and November he wrote several William Sharp articles while also working on The Mountain Lovers, the Fiona short stories he had begun in August, and the poems that would appear in Fiona’s From the Hills of Dream in 1896. In mid-October, he wrote to Theodore Watts in an attempt to repair a breach that had developed in their friendship. It included a poignant passage: “This has been a sad year, in the loss of friends: J. Addington Symonds, John M. Gray, Mrs. Augusta Webster, Roden Noel, Walter Pater. The death of the last named is a deep loss to everyone who loves what is beautiful and dignified and nobly helpful, in literature.” First Symonds and then Pater befriended Sharp in the early 1880s and helped pave the way for his acceptance as an editor and writer.

52In late October he informed Herbert Stone The Gypsy Christ was complete. In mid-November he told Murray Gilchrist he was busy writing articles “for Harpers, The Atlantic Monthly, Nineteenth Century, and three or four other monthlies, and weekly art-articles, etc.” Of the titular story of The Gypsy Christ he wrote to Gilchrist: “The locale of this story is the moorland country where my dear friend & comrade, Murray Gilchrist lives. I wonder what you will think of the tragic atmosphere I seem to have gained from your remote moorlands. There are descriptions and episodes which you will be able to read between the lines.” It is unclear what Gilchrist might read between the lines of that story, and it is also unclear what Sharp meant by telling him he was “steadily gaining ground. The prolonged mental strain I was under being gone, the chief cause is removed.” The “chief cause” may have been financial as the articles he was writing and the popularity of Fiona promised a more secure future. It may have been his removal from the environment of Phenice Croft and the psychic experiments he conducted there. It may have been that arrangements had been worked out between the two Sharps and the two Rinders that would enable Sharp and Edith to their relationship. In any event, they continued for several years to meet in remote places where Edith’s presence made it easier for Sharp to assume the female persona and continue writing as Fiona.

53In mid-December, he had Mary send a copy of Pharais to Catherine Janvier in New York with a letter saying the book had made “a deep impression here.” He knew the author and asked Janvier to tell him what she thought of it. She recalled the August 1893 in which Sharp said he was working on “a strange Celtic tale called Pharais.” When she recalled the letter and told Sharp he was certainly Fiona Macleod, he had no choice but to tell the truth in a letter of January 5, 1895 and extract from Catherine and her husband a pledge of secrecy. Sharp went to Scotland – St. Andrews and Edinburgh – for the three weeks preceding Christmas. Edith Rinder may have joined him for all or part of this escape from the fogs of London. After Christmas, his health was such that his doctor advised a rest near the sea so he and Elizabeth spent a week on the Isle of Wight in mid-January.

Letters: 1894

To Grant Richards, January 30, 1894

547, Kensington Court Gardens, | W.

  • 1 Grant Richards, (1872–1948) was a British publisher and writer. Recognizing his interest in publis (...)

55My dear Grant Richards,1

56Can you drop in and have supper with us next Sunday evening at 7 o’clock? It will give my wife as well as myself much pleasure if you can. (Informally, of course).

57We expect one or two literary friends later to coffee and cigarettes.

58Next day, thank God, I return at last to the country: tho’ my wife will remain here two or three weeks. You are to come there too, you know – sometime soon.

59Hope you are not overworking yourself. You looked fagged when I saw you the other week.

60Yours cordially | William Sharp

61ALS University of Texas at Austin

To __________Osborne, early 1894

627, Kensington Court Gardens, W.

63My dear Osborne,

64Thanks for your note. Could you & Mrs. Osborne look in for coffee & cigarettes, here, on this Sunday evening, anytime about or shortly after 8.

65You could then meet Mr. & Mrs. Rinder as well as give my wife & myself great pleasure.

66In great haste | Cordially yours | William Sharp

67ALS Princeton

To John Lane, February 2, 1894

687 Kensington Court Gardens | W | 2/2/94

69Dear Mr. Lane

70If you are at home and disengaged, and could look in upon us on Sunday evening (informally) any time about or after 8 o’clock, it would give my wife and myself great pleasure. We expect a friend or two to take coffee, smoke a cigarette, & have a chat.

71Yours sincerely, | William Sharp

72ACS Princeton

To Richard Le Gallienne, February 9, 1894

73Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex

74My dear Le Gallienne

  • 2 Henry Blake Fuller’s The Chevalier of Pensieri-Vani (1890).
  • 3 (London: Longman’s and Company, 1888).
  • 4 William Holman Hunt (1827–1910) was a Pre-Raphaelite painter who contributed designs to The Germ i (...)

75Herewith I send to you (1) “Pensieri Vani”: by Fuller2 | (2) “The Island” by Richard Whiteing3 | (3) The Promised photo of Holman Hunt’s drawing of Rossetti at 274 | (4) Advance copy of Vistas

76Please let me have “Pensiori Vani” and “The Island” when you have read them.

77I hope you will like Vistas. I will not at present tell you what I like best myself. The book is to be issued, I understand, on the 14th – i.e. nominally the 15th.

78I hope that your wife is much better of her stay in the south – & that she, you, and the pretling are all flourishing.

799th Feby/94

80ALS University of Texas at Austin

81Affectly your friend | William Sharp

To J. Stanley Little, February 10, 1894

  • 5 Kensington Court Gardens.

827 K. Ct. Gdns.5 | 10.2.94

83My dear Boy

84Thanks for your kind & friendly letter.

85I have just come here, & find Elizabeth distinctly better on the whole. I wish we could have met before your long departure. Will you still be in London on Saty forenoon next? I return to Rudgwick tomorrow but expect to be at the Club early on Saty.

86In wild haste! | Ever yours affectly, | Will

87ALS Princeton

To Robert Murray Gilchrist, [? February 14, 1894]6

  • 6 The date of this letter is uncertain, but Wednesday, February 14, 1894 seems most likely. In a Dec (...)

88Rudgwick | Wedny

89My dear Gilchrist,

90I am glad you & Garfitt can come. You will both be welcome.

91I have to be away tomorrow, but I return on Friday.

92Will you consult your own convenience as to the time of your coming – only please let me know if you decide upon the last train – tho’, by the way, now that I think of it, I would rather, if suitable for you, that you come earlier than that.

93I shall be coming from the south, & shall be going to Rudgwick by the 3:25 branch-line from Horsham. We could travel together, if you like. In this case you would require to leave Victoria at 1:45 (or, if you prefer, London Bridge at 1:50): & change at Horsham, where you would arrive about 3 o’clock.

94If you would rather come later, there is a quicker train with a through division (ask in Guildford for the Cranleigh section of the train) which leaves Victoria at 3:55. If you get into the right carriage you need not get out at Horsham, & would reach Rudgwick about 5:36. (This is the only train that has a through carriage).

95There is another, the last, train which leaves at 4:55, & gets to Rudgwick (via Horsham) about 7 o’clock.

  • 7 In a letter of September 26, 1895, Sharp wrote to Gilchrist, “The most tragic & momentous epoch of (...)

96I look forward to seeing you again, amico mio.7

97Cordially yours | William Sharp

98Remember me kindly to Garfitt, please.

99ALS Sheffield City Archives

To Edward Dowden. February 26, 1894

100Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | 26/2/94

101My dear Dowden

102Pray accept the accompanying copy of my new book – a book truly of la vie intime – with my cordial greetings: & at the same time excuse so brief a note as I have been ill & am still debarred from much use of the pen. I hope you may find something to like in my “livre d’ame et de rive”.

103Ever yours sincerely | William Sharp

104ALS TCD

To J. Stanley Little, [March 1, 1894]

105Thursday Night

106My dear Stanley

  • 8 These friends were the Rinders who must have come on the weekend of March 10/11 to stay with Sharp (...)

107I should have written to you before this, but I have not been well: & yesterday had to telegraph to a friend. I am now, however, pulling round all right. Please say nothing of this to Elizabeth. Tomorrow I shall go up to town, & come down with her on Saty, till Monday. On that week-end some friends are coming for a fortnight, of which I am glad.8

  • 9 This review appeared in Literary World on Saturday, May 5, 1894.
  • 10 Public Opinion, see letter dated February 26, 1894 to Little.

108Many thanks, my dear boy, for all your friendly and generous help with Vistas. It is most good of you. I have not seen the L/W9 or any save the P/O10 as yet.

109My dear fellow, you mistook me about your P/O review – or, more likely, I wrote in such a way as to give you a wrong impression. I never dreamt of interfering with your admirable & critical article. However, I must add that I have not been at all well lately – greatly overwrought – and if I have seemingly given way to any ungenerous or foolish irritation pray overlook it and forgive me.

  • 11 This review appeared on Saturday, March 3, 1894.

110I understand that there is to be a review in the Academy11 this Friday, if possible.

111I enclose the MS. with renewed thanks.

112Ever affectly Yours, | Will

113ALS Princeton

To J. Stanley Little, [March 5, 1894]

114Monday Night | Rudgwick

115My dear Stanley

  • 12 Sharp’s Vistas (1894.)
  • 13 Little’s notice of Vistas appeared in Public Opinion on February 16, 1894.
  • 14 Sir Frederick Wedmore (1844–1921) wrote essays on literature and art and contributed to The Guardi (...)

116I have recd. the gratifying notices from the West Sussex, the Belfast paper, & the Colonies & India. What a good fellow you are, to take so much heed for the welfare of a friend’s book.12 You are a generous chap, and I thank you most cordially. The P/O13 notice came in most usefully for an early quotation. The other reviews I have seen are all respectful, & one or two very gratifying: though most critics, public and private, seem a bit mystified by some things. Truly, as you recognise, it is a book of the heart: written con amore: & out of the inner life. I am glad that the most unlike critics, from Wedmore14 to Le Gallienne, use the same epithets for the book, ‘remarkable’, ‘intensely original’, ‘intensely individual’.

  • 15 The first edition of Vistas, printed on large paper [L/P], was limited to 400 copies.

117It seems to be attracting a good deal of attention – & a good deal of comment, adverse & favourable. The L/P edn.15 is disposed of. ‘Finis’, I fancy, is the chief stumbling-block: then ‘Lilith’.

  • 16 This laudatory review by George Cotterell dates the letter. It appeared in the number dated Saturd (...)

118There is to be a review of it in this coming Friday’s Academy I understand.16

119Did I tell you how unwell I have been? I have had to ‘cave in’ completely.

120I am now nearly better – but for some time to come must write only for 2 or 3 hours daily at most: and, moreover, am not to be alone at all. Elizabeth (who is steadily gaining ground) returns to town in a couple of days: & then Mr. and Mrs. Rinder come here on ‘a working visit’ to keep me company for a fortnight.

121This is an unusual break-down for me. But, for one thing, I have been living the life of Imagination too fiercely of late. I think you will be surprised when you learn what I have done. I must not write more.

122Your affectionate friend, | Will

123ALS Princeton

To [Richard Garnett], [mid-March, 1894]

124Phenice Croft | Rudgwick

125My dear Poet,

  • 17 Sharp’s review of Garnett’s Poems appeared in The Academy no. 1141.

126I understand that at last my short review of your Poems is to appear in this week’s “Academy”.17 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. You know how one is tied down in these matters.

127The book gains upon me more and more. It is full of fine work, though, if you will permit me to say so, there seems to me some small portion of it that might have been omitted, not because that portion is not good of its kind but because it is not at your high level reach. Quite likely I am wrong: I give you simply my impression.

128I have given my Review Copy of it to Mrs. Wingate Rinder, who, like myself, finds it full of a distinctive and individual charm. She is staying here just now, & in sending you her kind regards adds that she hopes to quote (if you have no objection) your noble “Age” sonnet in her Introduction in the Poetic Interpretation of Nature.

129I hope you have found something in Vistas to like.

130Yours cordially | William Sharp

  • 18 Frank Murray, the Derby bookseller who printed Sharp’s Vistas, edited and published Derbyshire Not (...)

131I find that that confounded Murray18 has sent out some of (& possibly all) the few copies I directed him to dispatch – as if from himself. Of course, the copy you recd. is meant as from myself. I was too unwell at the time to undertake any extra work.

132ALS University of Texas at Austin

To Robert Murray Gilchrist, March 16, 1894

133Rudgwick | 16 March

134Your letter just reached me owing to a mischance.

135It is impossible for me to write today: but I hope to be able to do so tomorrow.

136W. S.

137ACS Sheffield City Archives

To Robert Murray Gilchrist, March 27, 1894

138Phenice Croft, | 27th March, 1894.

139My dear Gilchrist,

140You would have heard from me before this – but I have been too unwell. Besides, I have had extreme pressure of matters requiring every possible moment I could give. My wife’s health, too, has long been troubling me: and we have just decided that (greatly to my disappointment) we must return to Hampstead to live. Personally, I regret the return to town (or half town) more than I can say: but the matter is one of paramount importance, so there is nothing else to be done. We leave at midsummer. As for me, one of my wander-fits has come upon me: the Spring-madness has got into the blood: the sight of green hedgerows and budding leaves and the blue smoke rising here and there in the woodlands has wrought some chemic furor in my brain. Before the week is out I hope to be in Normandy – and after a day or two by the sea at Dieppe, and then at beautiful and romantic Rouen, to get to the green lanes and open places, and tramp ‘towards the sun’. I’ll send you a line from somewhere if you care to hear.

  • 19 The Stone Dragon and Other Tragic Romances (1894).

141And now, enough about myself. I have often meant to write to you in detail about your Stone-Dragon19….

  • 20 The Labyrinth: A Romance (1902).

142I believe in you, camerado mio, but you must take a firm grip of the reins; in a word, be the driver, not the driven. I think you ought to be able to write a really romantic romance. I hope The Labyrinth20 may be this book: if not, then it will pave the way. But I think you should see more of actual life: and not dwell so continually in an atmosphere charged with your own imaginings – the glamour through which you see life in the main at present.

143Probably you are wise to spend the greater part of each year as you do: but part of the year should be spent otherwise – say in a town like London, or Paris, or in tramping through alien lands, France or Belgium, Scandinavia, or Germany or Italy, or Spain: if not, in Scotland, or Ireland, or upon our Isles, or remote counties.

  • 21 An evil demon.

144It is because I believe in you that I urge you to beware of your own conventions. Take your pen and paper, a satchel, and go forth with a light heart. The gods will guide you to strange things, and strange things to you. You ought to see more, to feel more, to know more, at first hand. Be not afraid of excess. “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”, says Blake, and truly… Meanwhile let me send you a word of sunshine. To be alive and young and in health, is a boon so inestimable that you ought to fall on your knees among your moorland heather and thank the gods. Dejection is a demon to be ruled. We cannot always resist his tyranny, but we can always refuse to become bondagers to his usurpation. Look upon him as an Afreet21 to be exorcised with a cross of red-hot iron. He is a coward weakling, after all: take him by the tail and swing him across the moor or down the valley. Swing up into your best.

145Be brave, strong, self-reliant. Then you live.

146Your friend, | William Sharp

147Memoir 234–35

To Edmund Clarence Stedman, March 31, 189422

  • 22 Date from postmark.

148Rudgwick: Sussex

  • 23 A mistake or private reference.

149Have been ill, or should have written long ere this. Since Xmas I have done next to nothing alas – & even now am restricted to very little pen work. But in a week or so Richard23 will be himself again. Then the first long letter will be to you.

150Meanwhile this, a copy of Vistas, which I hope you may like, & my love and homage.

151W. S.

152ACS Columbia

To Herbert Stuart Stone,24 April 3, 1894

  • 24 Herbert Stuart Stone (1871–1915) was the son of Melville Elijah Stone, a distinguished journalist, (...)

153Phenice Croft | Rudgwick | Sussex | 3: April: 94

154My dear Sir

  • 25 George Herman Ellwanger (1848–1906) was an American writer whose works included The Garden Story ( (...)

155I hear from my friend, Mrs. Louise Chandler Moulton, that you were struck with my recent book “Vistas”. I am glad that you like it, as I have heard of you not only from Mrs. Moulton but from my friend Geo. H. Ellwanger,25 and others.

  • 26 Stone and Kimball published an American edition of Vistas late in 1894 in their Greentree Library (...)

156As there is at present no American edition of Vistas,26 will you accept the accompanying copy which I have pleasure in sending to you.

157With it, I send a review of the book, from one of our leading literary periodicals (The Academy) – which may interest you.

158When Mr. Ellwanger was in England some time ago, he read something of mine (“The Rape of the Sabines”) which interested him extremely: & I remember his urging me to send the series to which it belonged to you, if I wanted to publish in America. The name and address escaped my memory, however: and besides, I have been too busy.

159But it occurred to me that you might care to publish a volume of mine in America: I mean as a first publication. If you took it up you could either arrange yourselves as to an English edition, or act in concert with some English firm – though possibly you would find the other better for your own interests.

160The book in question is a volume of short stories, all of them “études barbares” and, I think, unlike anything of the kind now before the literary public.

161I thought of calling it, from the first story in the short series, “A King in Exile” but of course it is all the same to me if called after one of the others, say preferably “The Rape of the Sabines” or “A Village Leander” or “The Paranymph”: but preferably “The Rape of the Sabines”.

Here are the names of the stories: –
I. The Rape of the Sabines (Italy)
II. A King in Exile (London)
III. A Village Leander (Italy)
IV. The Paranymph (Greece)
V. The Judas Tree (Greece)
VI. The Ambitions of Zora* (Algeria)
VII. Pantherâ.* (Syria).

  • 27 “The Rape of the Sabines” was included in the Pagan Review in 1892. Sharp wrote under various pseu (...)

162(*Instead of one of these, possibly a story to be called “The Gypsy Christ”). Herewith (with “Vistas”) I send the only one of the series which has been printed.27It came out under a pseudonym in the now-defunct and much discussed “Pagan Review”: and was, even among the innumerable papers that “went” for that “organ of the new movement”, awarded singularly high praise.

163Among those who know of its authorship there are several well-known critics & authors who urge me to bring it out along with the others.

164Naturally, I prefer to have the book out first as an English publication – but after all it does not much matter, so long as it gets on both markets ultimately.

165I take the utmost trouble with these stories, and write and rewrite till I am nearly satisfied as I am ever likely to be. Indeed, four at least of those I have named must be scrupulously rewritten before I let them leave my hands.

166From these data, therefore, do you feel inclined to undertake the book? If so, it will save time if I tell you my stipulations, which are

  1. that (unless a sum were offered which I should care to accept as a final settlement) I reserve copyright in both Countries, and publish on a royalty to be agreed upon.
  2. that on receipt of “copy” complete the sum of £50 (Fifty Pounds) to be sent to me as an advance on Royalties.
  3. that some satisfactory arrangement to come to as regards publication in England (preferably through an English firm as nominal publishers of the book here).
  4. that I receive proofs in page-form (in duplicate) – i.e. final revises for me to examine and pass.
  5. that, on publication, 12 copies be sent to me gratis.
  • 28 Les Rois En Exile (1879)

167If you care to entertain the idea of “The Rape of the Sabines” (the best name on the whole both on account of the mark the story made, and because the other conflicts with Alphonse Daudet’s “Kings in Exile”)28 will you kindly communicate with me at your earliest convenience – as I want to arrange definitely about this book within the next few weeks.

168Yours faithfully | William Sharp

169 – Stone Esq

170Messrs Stone & Kimball

171ALS NYPL, Berg Collection

To Frank Murray, [early April, 1894]

172Grosvenor Club, | Bond St. W. | London | Monday

173Dear Mr. Murray

174Herewith a dft note concerning “Pharais” & “Fiona Macleod”, which you can use either in extenso or adapt as you see fit.

175I should like if practicable to see it in proof. If I received it on Wedny morning at Rudgwick (post early from Derby on Tuesday) I would telegraph if quite right – or anything requiring to be omitted or inserted. This wd give you time to issue with outgoing copies on Thursday, would it not?

176Of course if it means further delay there is no actual need of my seeing the proof. (The printer must be careful with the Gaelic words)

  • 29 Probably some other material to be included in Pharais.

177I go back to Rudgwick tonight – & tomorrow shall post to you the other promised matter29 from there, which is again my letter-address & now uninterruptedly probably.

178In haste, | Sincerely Yours, | William Sharp

179ALS Huntington

To Arthur Stedman, April 8, 1894

180Phenice Croft: Rudgwick: Sussex | 8/4/94

181My dear Arthur

182You will have recd. with my recent P/C a copy of Vistas which I sent you.

  • 30 W. T. Price’s Technique of the Drama (1892).

183This is a P.S. to what I forgot to say then: to ask if you wd. kindly get from Brentano’s, & send to me, W. T. Price’s “Technique of the Drama.30 It is priced at $1.50 I think. I don’t know if you have any small reserve of mine lying over: in any case let me know my indebtedness.

184Ever yours, | W. S.

185I am better, though not right yet.

186ACS Columbia

To Robert Murray Gilchrist, April 22, 1894

  • 31 Sharp must have left for Normandy shortly after writing his April 8 card to Arthur Stedman, (in ac (...)

187H. St. Romain | 5 Rue St. Roch | Paris | 22/4/9431

188Just received your letter. Hope to be able to send you a line soon. Here Summer is come. You would love it, if you were here – even in turbulent & crowded Paris!

189Some strange things happen in this world! Well – no more just now.

190Yours in friendship | W. S.

191ACS Sheffield City Archives

To J. Stanley Little, [May 4, 1894]32

  • 32 This letter was written on May 4, the Friday of the week before Whitsunday. Easter was on March 25 (...)

192Phenice Croft

193My dear Stanley

  • 33 Sharp’s Pharais: A Romance of the Isles was published under the pseudonym Fiona Macleod by Frank M (...)

194I have asked Murray to send to you the book of a friend of mine, Miss Fiona Macleod, which he has just published or is just about to publish, as successor to my “Vistas”. It is called “Pharais”,33 & I am specially interested not only in its author but in the book as a Celtic romance – particularly as it deals with the almost unknown life of the remoter isles of the Atlantic seaboard. If you can do anything for Pharais either in the Academy or elsewhere you will not only gratify me as well as Miss Macleod but place me under a particular obligation. I am sure you will do what you can. Meanwhile I mustn’t prejudice you in favour of the book – so will reserve what I think of it for another time. I arranged the publication with Murray. Today he sent me the accompanying notice – which must have been from an advance unbound copy. It is from “The Newsagent” – a trade-periodical I believe. So far as I know no copies have been issued yet – except a couple to Miss Macleod and one to me. I particularly hope you will like the book.

195By the way, the book will probably be sent to you from Derby, at your Rudgwick address.

196When do you think of coming here? Cotterell comes here for a few days, from Wednesday next – probably from Wedny till Monday. I have to be in town on Tuesday night next. Probably we shall meet at the Grafton on Wednesday next. I shall be there during the forenoon. I have a big commission in relation thereto.

197The country is so lovely just now: blossoms, lark songs, the cuckoo, nightingales – everything suggestive of summer. Only, the summer warmth has not yet come: & there has been a little too much rain.

  • 34 Literary World.

198Kindly let me have “The Newsagent” notice back. I send this note at once so that, if you are inclined, you may write to the L/W34 or elsewhere for Pharais. Again, let me say how greatly I will be obliged if you can help the book at all.

199What a long time it is since we had a walk & chat together. I wish you were coming down this Whitsuntide. Could you perhaps this Sunday & Monday. If you like to wire me tomorrow (Saty) to that effect: & come down same evg.

200Yours Ever, | Will

201ALS University of British Columbia

To Grant Allen, [mid-May, 1894]35

  • 35 This letter is not in the Fiona Macleod handwriting, which was that of Mary Sharp, the writer’s si (...)

202C/o Mrs. B. etc.

203Dear Sir,

204I have only now ascertained that you are in England. I was informed you were in the South of France. Some short time ago I asked Mr. Frank Murray of Derby to forward to you a copy of my just published romance Pharais. I now write to ask if you will accept it as a slight token of homage from the youngest and latest of Celtic writers to the most brilliant champion of the Celtic genius now living. I do not, however, send it by way of inveigling you to write about it, much as any word of yours would mean to me both in service and honour: but primarily because of your deep and vivid sympathy not only with nature but with the Celtic vision of nature – and, also, let me add, because of the many delightful hours I have enjoyed with your writings.

205Believe me, | Faithfully yours, | Fiona Macleod

206ALS Pierpont Morgan

To Arthur Stedman, May 22, 1894

207Rudgwick: 22nd May

  • 36 Price’s Technique of the Drama. See note to Stedman dated April 8, 1894.

208Many thanks, my dear A., for the book just to hand:36 but you do not say if I am in your debt or not. I hope you have recd. the “Vistas” I sent to you all right.

  • 37 Stone & Kimball Publishing Company.
  • 38 The reference here is to Flower o’ the Vine, a volume of Sharp’s poetry published by C. L. Webster (...)

209Thanks for the suggestion abt Stone & K:37 taking the plates & stock from W. & Co.38 I shall write by this mail.

210I am still “off the straight (of health)” but am steadily getting better. Love to you & yours. Please note that after midsummer (25th June) my address will be as in margin.

211W. S.

212Rutland House, Greencroft Gardens | So. Hampstead, London.

213ACS Columbia

To Herbert Stuart Stone, May 22, 1894

214Phenice Croft: | Rudgwick: | Sussex | 22nd May: ‘94

215My dear Sir:

216I thank you for your letter of the 4th inst, which I have just received on my return here from Paris.

217I daresay you are right about “The Gipsy Christ” being a better title for the proposed volume than that of the story I sent you: though, on appearance in the defunct & much discussed Pagan Review, the “Rape of the Sabines” was noted in almost every criticism in very laudatory terms.

218However, as I say, I daresay you are right about “The Gipsy Christ” – particularly as the story is, if I may say so, one of the most striking in the series. I think I explained to you that in each of the stories I wished to strike the barbaric note.

219Later, I hope to act on your suggestion: & send the vol. to you complete. But it will be impossible for me to do so just now: as not only are two of the stories unfinished (or rather not reworked as yet), & others have to be transcribed or copied – but I have urgent commissioned literary work on hand which, combined with my imminent removal from this remote Sussex house to London, will more than occupy every moment I can spare.

220But before the end of July – and of course earlier, if I find it practicable, as I may – I hope to forward the book to you.

221Meanwhile may I suggest that you negotiate with the liquidation of Messr. Chas. Webster & Co. who publish[ed] my “Flower o’ the Vine” volume, which was so well received in America. I understand the plates & stock could be got for a very moderate sum. They published on a royalty. I would much like if you could take over the book. It consists of my “Sospiri di Roma” & my “Romantic Ballads & Poems of Phantasy” with a Memoir by Thos. A. Janvier and a portrait.

222Believe me | Yours very truly | William Sharp

223Herbert Stuart Stone Esq

224ALS Newberry Library

To Herbert Stuart Stone, May 23, 1894

225Wednesday morning | 23rd May/94

226Dear Sir,

227In writing to you last night I forgot to say that from midsummer (24th June) my permanent letter-address will be | Rutland House | Greencroft Gardens | So. Hampstead | London

228As you are going to issue “Vistas” in America, you may care to consult the long article upon it by Mr. George Cotterell in the Academy for March 3rd (No. 1139). I have just received a review of it today from the Yorkshire Herald, an important daily published in York, from which I extract the following closing sentence lest it should be of any use to you for quotation, though no doubt it would be better to draw upon the Public Opinion, Pall Mall Gazette, & other better known papers, and the literary weeklies. “On this Vista (‘The Passing of Lilith’) Mr. Sharp has lavished a wealth of colouring and a profusion of imagery that make it singularly rich, but every one of the ten compositions in this volume has received as bold an imaginative treatment. There is in each of them the unmistakable mark of genius”.

229If you are reissuing Vistas will you kindly let me have a copy of the American edn.

230Yours very truly | William Sharp

231P.S. Please send me a catalogue of your publications & forthcoming books.

232ALS NYPL, Berg Collection

To John Lane, [early June, 1894]

233c/o Mrs. Balfour | 3. East Savile Road. | Newington | Edinburgh.

234Dear Sir.

  • 39 Pharais: A Romance of the Isles was published in May 1894.

235Herewith I send for your perusal (with stamped and addressed envelope for its return in due course) a Proof copy of a Celtic romance which has just been published through Mr. Frank Murray of Derby.39

236You can judge so far from Pharais and the Preface whether you would care to publish a book by me. You will note that two works in preparation are announced on the page fronting the title. Darthûla is a romance of the time of Ossian, but I cannot rewrite it at present, and probably not for a year to come. It has been a dream with me for many years to write this book: but now I do not see my way to its accomplishment, unless I can obtain a commission that would justify me in devoting myself to it.

  • 40 The Mountain Lovers was published by John Lane (London) in the summer of 1895.

237But possibly you may care to make me an offer in advance for “The Mountain Lovers”.40 It will be a book of about the same length as “Pharais”, probably a little longer. The note that is dominant is the Return to Joy. The story deals with the love of two young mountaineers, Alan Gilchrist and Soreha Cameron: but there is an interweaving of dramatic and tragic episodes in the lives of those directly connected with the Mountain Lovers. For the rest, there is, in a more marked degree than in “Pharais”, a constant recurrence to the intimate relationship we have, or may have, with Nature.

238It is here, I know, that I have “something to say”: but I will not trouble you with details which, after all, in embryo, can be of no interest to anyone until duly and finally set forth.

  • 41 Transformation was the title of the original 1860 British edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Mar (...)

239I send you the prologue or opening chapter. The strange figure I introduce is really that shadowy half-human creature, of Scandinavian origin and Celtic adoption, Niokr (Nicker, Neckor, Nicor) the Soulless. He is, in “The Mountain Lovers”, what the faun is in “Transformation”,41 a humanized link between our world and that of the brutes. The child Oona is also in the romance for a special and significant cause.

240She and Niall come into it constantly, chiefly as background figures: save at the end, where once again Niall and she and the forest and the wind are alone.

241It is a book into which I have put much of what I have held most dear and intimate in life.

242Possibly, you may not care to commission a book without seeing it. If this be so, and you cannot depart from your rule, I will ask you courteously to return the opening pages of “The Mountain Lovers” along with “Pharais”) – so that I may endeavor to find a publisher on my own terms elsewhere. I may add that I was persuaded by a friend to publish “Pharais” through Mr. Murray, but that it does not suit me, or the end I have in view, to offer him “The Mountain Lovers”.

243If I have been misinformed as to your being the literary representative or chief partner in your firm, I beg you to excuse the informality of my addressing myself to you direct.

244As I may be going abroad before long for two or three months, may I ask you to let me hear from you at your very earliest convenience. If favourably [disposed] to my proposal, please state what terms you can offer. (I should add that I could place the book in your hands, complete, by the end of August, or, possibly, a little earlier.

245Yours very truly | Fiona Macleod

246John Lane. Esq.

247P.S. Pharais has been out only for two or three weeks – therefore few notices have appeared as yet. Those I have seen are in The Literary World, the Glasgow Herald, the Scotsman, Public Opinion, and The Newsagent: all most favourable, and each hails the book as something quite new and distinctive.

248The Glasgow Herald: “It unfolds a beautiful and pathetic prose-poem of the Outer Isles of the West Highlands…. In the sense of Celtic character and the power and truth of the local colouring lies one great merit of the book. But the central figures of the story have a charm and a pathos rarely met with in modern fiction…. Miss Macleod has touched an extremely difficult subject with a delicate and artistic hand, and given us a powerful idyll that will linger in the memory of every sympathetic reader. The book is absolutely unconventional in treatment, and draws a fine capability in its author”.

249The Scotsman: “The book makes a strong appeal to all who profess a special admiration of the Celtic genius in literature”.

250Public Opinion: “It is suffused with tragedy: no Greek dramatist conceived a more fateful narrative…. The book stirs one to the very depths of one’s nature”.

251The Newsagent: “The work breaks new and almost untrodden ground, and is an acquisition to our latterday literature”.

252ALS University of Toronto Library

To J. Stanley Little, [mid-June, 1894]

253Rudgwick | Wednesday

254My dear boy,

255It distresses me to learn that you are in deep trouble of some kind. I wish I could help you. Meanwhile I can give you only my deep sympathy. You know well that below all faults of manner I am genuine: and that you may trust me in all respects, as one gentleman another. Discount a lot of my “aggeravatin’ ways” – they mean nothing but momentary devilry.

256I have to be in town on Friday. I shall be at the Grosvenor Club in the forenoon (between 11 & 12) and again probably from 4 to 6. Look in if you can.

  • 42 Little has written a favorable review of Pharais, perhaps for the journal Public Opinion. W. R. ma (...)

257It is a great pleasure to me that Pharais appeals to you so much. I felt sure it would have a certain appeal to an imaginative & sensitive nature like yours. It will be a gratification to my friend to know how much you like it – & to read what you have generously written about it. It is a book written right out of the inner life of the author – & so ought to reach some people at least. I have just had a letter from Murray Gilchrist who had seen an early copy at Derby, where he was staying en route for his home on the moorlands. He writes of Pharais with rare enthusiasm: says “it is not a pregnant but a living book”: & wants to know all about its author & what else she has done and is doing. Perhaps you will kindly send me the WR when it appears, as I don’t know where to get it.42 Let me again thank you most heartily for what you have done.

258We have found a tenant for Phenice Croft, from midsummer, on advantageous terms – you will be glad to hear.

259Mrs. Barker died two nights ago, in great agony, dear soul. She is to be buried today, at Rudgwick.

260Do not let certain things take too overwhelming a hold upon you.

261Ever Yrs Affectly, | Will

262Very glad to hear about S/O cheque. It was unexpected was it not – at least, so soon?

263ALS Princeton

To Robert Murray Gilchrist, June 14, 1894

264Rudgwick | 14/6/94

265My dear Gilchrist

266There is just a chance – only, as yet, a chance – that I may be able to spend 3 days or so at Eyam with you, if you can conveniently have me – from (or about) Saturday of next week, the 23rd.

267Meanwhile please send me a line by return, to say if you can absolutely conveniently put me up, if I do manage to get away.

268In great haste | Your friend | William Sharp ALS Sheffield City Archives

To Robert Murray Gilchrist, [June 19?, 1894]

269Rudgwick

270My dear Gilchrist

271Thanks. It must be Saturday, I find: also, it will, after all be most convenient for me to go [indecipherable] line. So I did have a Bradshaw, but some brute has gone off with it!

  • 43 Sharp left Phenice Croft permanently on June 21 and moved to South Hampstead. Two days later, on S (...)

272Shall send you exact word on Thursday night if I get to town Thurs: [portion of MS missing here] to see you – and the moorlands – again.43

273Cordial regards to Garfitt.

274Ever yours | William Sharp

275ALS Sheffield City Archives

To Horace Scudder, June 20, [1894]44

  • 44 Horace Elisha Scudder (1838–1902) edited The Atlantic Monthly from 1890 until 1898.

276Rutland House | Greencroft Gardens | So. Hampstead | London | Wedny/20: June

277Dear Mr. Scudder

  • 45 Sharp’s “Cardinal Lavigerie’s Work in North Africa,” Atlantic Monthly, 74 (August, 1894), 214.

278I sent by Tuesday’s mail via Southampton the Revised Proofs with note etc.45

279I forgot to enclose a photo which I thought you might care to have. I got it at Biskra in the Sahara. It is of one of the White Fathers in the Desert Costume – a militant priest, certainly.

  • 46 Sharp’s Fair Women in Painting and Poetry (London: Seeley and Company, 1894). The book was publish (...)

280In 10 days or so I’ll send you a copy of a monograph on “Fair Women46 (delightful subject!) I was asked some time ago to write. The publishers seem to be delighted with it – so I hope it will ‘go’ well. It is in great part what might be called A Fantasy of Fair Women.

  • 47 Lady Colin Campbell [Gertrude Elizabeth Blood] (1857–1911) was the youngest daughter of Edmund Mag (...)

281As I am writing, let me suggest a novel idea for a magazine article. First, I must tell you, privately, that I am writing a novel in collaboration with Lady Colin Campbell:47 – broadly speaking, something in the nature of “A Fellowe and His Wife”.

  • 48 Sharp’s idea of collaborating on an article on copartnery came to nothing.
  • 49 Paul Lacroix (1806–1884) was a French novelist, historian, and miscellaneous writer. Among his num (...)
  • 50 Edmund Louis Antoine Huot de Goncourt (1822–1896) and Jules Alfred Huot de Goncourt (1830–1870) we (...)
  • 51 Erckmann-Chatrian is the joint pseudonym of Emile Erckmann (1822–1899) and Alexandre Chatrian (182 (...)
  • 52 Walter Besant (1836–1901) and James Rice (1843–1882) were British novelists whose joint publicatio (...)

282The widespread interest on the part of the public in the methods of literary work, and in collaboration in particular, suggests to me that an article on “Copartnery”, by Lady Campbell and myself,48 would be sure to attract attention. We have already discussed it, and intend to do it. We wd. treat of famous instances in Copartnery – e.g. Le Croix & Berny49 etc. etc. etc., and of literary partnership, e.g. those of the Goncourts,50 Erckmann-Chatrian,51 Besant & Rice,52 etc. etc.

283I do not think any article has been ‘a collaboration affair’ before. And an article on Copartnery by two collaborators would ‘take’, I am sure.

284If you like the idea will you communicate with me at your early convenience: & also, if you commission it, what maximum length, and what rate of remuneration. I shd. add, it cd. not be despatched till near the end of October, or early in October at best: i.e. if not done before end of July.

  • 53 This letter establishes the date Sharp moved from Phenice Croft to Rutland House.

285This is my last day at Phenice Croft. Tomorrow we move.53 In many ways, I am very sorry to leave: but it does not at all suit my wife. Hampstead, fortunately, suits us both.

286Cordial regards to you & yours, | William Sharp

287P.S. I forgot to say that Stone & Kimball of Boston are, I understand, bringing out an American edn. of a recent book of mine, Vistas, of which I’ll ask them to send you a copy: tho’ at the moment I don’t know when they are going to publish it.

288ALS Harvard Houghton

To Elizabeth A. Sharp, [June 22(?), 1894]

THE WHITE PEACE

  • 54 According to E. A. S. (Memoir 235–36), her husband wrote this poem the night before he left Phenic (...)

It lies not on the sunlit hill
Nor in the sunlit gleam
Nor ever in any falling wave
Nor ever in running stream –
But sometimes in the soul of man
Slow moving through his pain
The moonlight of a perfect peace
Floods heart and brain.54

289… Before I left I took up a handful of grassy turf, and kissed it three times, and then threw it to the four quarters – so that the Beauty of the Earth might be seen by me wherever I went and that no beauty I had seen or known there should be forgotten. Then I kissed the chestnut tree on the side lawn where I have seen and heard so much: from the springing of the dream flowers, to the surge of the sea in Pharais.

290Memoir 236

To W. A. Dalt [late June, 1894]

291C/o Mrs. B. Etc.

292Dear Sir

293Mr. Frank Murray has forwarded your letter to me. It gratifies me to learn that you care for Pharais as you do. It is so much a book of vision and dream that I doubt if its appeal can be a wide one.

  • 55 “Darthool and the Sons of Usna” appeared in Fiona Macleod’s The Laughter of Peterkin (London: Arch (...)

294The other two books are only “in preparation”. There is certainly no chance of “Darthula”55 being ready this year: and “The Mountain Lovers” will not be out till the late autumn at earliest.

295Thanking you for your kind interest,

296Yours faithfully | Fiona Macleod

297ALS NLS

To [John Lane], [June 22, 1894]

298C/o Mrs. Balfour| 3. East Savile Road | Newington | Edinburgh

299My dear Sir

300I wrote to you at the address you gave me, but have had no reply. I hope my letter has not miscarried.

  • 56 Sharp left London on June 23 for Derbyshire where he spent three days with Gilchrist and Garfitt i (...)

301I am probably going to Derbyshire tomorrow: but my letter address as above holds good.56

302You asked me in your note who told me to apply to you with “The Mountain Lovers”. It was my cousin, Mr. William Sharp. I hear that some paper says he wrote “Pharais”: and I sent a disclaimer at once to the “Westminster Gazette” (where Mr. Grant Allen wrote about my book so favourably), tho’ I do not know if it has appeared.

303Please let me hear from you soon, as I want to make a definite arrangement.

304Yours faithfully, | Fiona Macleod

305ALS University of Toronto Library

To James Mavor, July 2, 1894

306Rutland House | Greencroft Gardens | So. Hampstead | 2/7/94

307My dear Mavor

308Your undated card has just been forwarded to me at our new home (a flat in So. Hampshire) which please register as my permanent address.

309I would be very glad to see you again but you give no address! So, perforce I can only throw myself upon your mother’s courtesy. Please remember me to her kindly.

310If this reach you in time, I hope to be at the Grosvenor Club (Bond St). at 4:15 on Friday of this week.

311William Sharp

312We have just moved in: still in great confusion.

313ACS University of Toronto Library

To Robert Murray Gilchrist, [early July, 1894]

314Rutland House | Greencroft Gardens | So. Hampstead

315My dear Gilchrist

316Thank your stars you are not in town this hot weather. I long for the country – for the Eyam moors – for the northern seas.

  • 57 As the previous card to Mavor indicates, Sharp was back in London by July 2. He may have gone on t (...)

317I look back with singular pleasure to my stay with you – and thank you again for all your hospitality and friendly heed.57

318The moors of your neighborhood have the large and abiding charm of the sea. I envy you & Garfitt enjoying them this glorious weather.

319I am not feeling quite up to the mark. For one thing I am still in deep anxiety – and shall be glad when the next week or two are over.

320Then there is still such an infinite amount to do in the house before we are ‘to rights’, & I can’t settle to any work – and that alone is a most nervously perturbing thing particularly as both long overdue commissioned work & imaginative work lying ready for birth in my brain are ever with me.

321Once more, this is full season and many scores of acquaintances (not only Londoners but others, & Americans, & and foreigners) who make maddening claims upon one’s time. Finally, there is this most trying heat.

322I hope you will soon be able to revise “The Labyrinth” – & having done so get on with a “today” romance at your highest tidal rise – the Spring tide of both brain and soul in one irresistible flood.

323I hope you will keep me in affectionate remembrance – & you may be sure that now & always I am

324Your friend | William Sharp

325I will not forget the book for Hancock–but cannot attend to it for some days to come.

326My cordial greetings to Garfitt.

327ALS Sheffield City Archives

To Edmund Clarence Stedman, July 3, 1894

328Rutland House | Greencroft Gardens | So. Hampstead | 3/7/94

329My dear Stedman

330I have received Miss Coleman’s note about J. C. Woods. I hasten to answer it at once – in the midst of dire confusion, as we have just ‘moved’ from Sussex to our new home as above.

331I have long been wishing to write to you – but my prolonged illness, & then accumulated work & correspondence, absence, & ‘moving’ – to say nothing of engagements & the great heat – have stood in the way. But you know my deep and sincere affection, & and will forgive.

332I know little of Mr. Woods. I have never met him, & know no one who has his acquaintance. In the later editions of my Sonnets of This Century I printed two striking sonnets of his, which are admired by many people. So far as I know, he has published no volumes since his Child of the People. It seems to me the quickest & and most satisfactory way is to send you his volume, & a letter from him enclosed, so that you can judge for yourself. When you have done with it, perhaps Miss Coleman will kindly send it back to me.

333Do let me be of any assistance to you I can. Any service I can give will be rendered lovingly & freely. I am within easy enough reach of the Museum, & the London Library. (I must except August & September when I shall be in Scotland). Send me a P/C when you want anything.

334You shd look into the new men in the new Canterbury vol. – Nature Poems, Edited by Mrs. Wingate Rinder. I have sent a P/C today to Scott to ask them to send you a copy.

335Love to you and yours | Ever affectionately | William Sharp

  • 58 Roden Noel, an accomplished and well-known poet, died on May 16, 1894 at the age of 60 in a train (...)

336Poor Roden Noel’s death very sudden & tragic. You will have heard of it.58

337ALS Princeton

To John Lane, [July] 7, [1894]59

  • 59 The letter can be fully dated because it was certainly written in 1894 and July was the only month (...)

338Rutland House | Greencroft Gardens | So. Hampstead | Saturday 7th

339My dear Lane

340I take the opportunity of sending you my new house-address to say that I wish you would answer my cousin, Miss M. F. [sic] Macleod, about the book she has proposed to you.

341I am too pressed with my own work & direfully accumulated correspondence – on the head of all this ‘moving’ to attend properly to other people’s affairs. I had quite enough trouble over Pharais (which I arranged for with Murray, & of which I revised the proofs for Miss Macleod, who when not on one of her visits to Edinburgh or Glasgow lives in a very remote spot).

342By my advice she wrote to you about her new book. I heard a good deal of it, in its first draft, last autumn, & like it in some respects better than Pharais. She had either one or two letters from you – and thereafter has had no reply to the letter she wrote to you about terms.

343Meanwhile I had written to her that if her negotiations with you fell through I know of two firms who would take up her book on advantageous terms – so if you do not wish to publish it I wish you would kindly say so at once.

344She sends me today a delightful letter from George Meredith, full of high praise. I had a note from him myself about her book, in which after sending my cousin his greetings he says “Pharais is most admirable: pure Celtic salt. The book is one to fly sure to the mark”.

345When such good judges as George Meredith, Grant Allen, and Theodore Watts, are enthusiastic I think a young writer like Miss Macleod may well be elated.

346I have promised to see “The Mountain Lovers” through the press – but I really can’t undertake all the preliminary ‘skirmishing’ as well. What with an exasperatingly vagrant – if dear and lovely – cousin on the one hand, and an exasperatingly dilatory publisher on the other, the fate of a kindly intermediary who happens to be frantically busy is not a pleasant one!

347Miss Macleod tells me she hopes to have the new MS. completed & revised by the end of August. She wanted to send you for your next “Yellow Book” a remarkable short story called “The Sin-Eater”: but I have advised her to hold this over in the meantime.

348In the winter she wants to issue a small volume of fantasies, short stories, and poems, called “A Celtic Wreath”: and I have advised her to keep “The Sin-Eater” for that book – or whatever it is to be called.

349I think I will arrange for her with Macmillan here, & with a Boston firm in America for “A Celtic Wreath” – but have been too busy as yet to do anything.

350Meanwhile please say ‘Yea’ or ‘nay’ about The Mountain Lovers.

351You can write about it either to me, or Miss Macleod. Her letter address in general is | C/o Mrs. Balfour | 3 East Savile Road | Newington | Edinburgh | but for this coming week she will be with my sister | C/o Miss Mary B. Sharp | 9 Up. Coltbridge Terrace | Murrayfield | Edinburgh

352In haste

353Yours sincerely | William Sharp

354Please if possible send me a line for my receipt today, as I want to write to Edinburgh tomorrow.

355I called yesterday on receipt of Miss Macleod’s letter – but you were out: so I have had to write this long note after all – damn!

356ALS University of Toronto

To Horace Scudder, July 7, 1894

357Rutland House | Greencroft Gardens | So. Hampstead | 7: July: 94

358Dear Mr. Scudder

  • 60 For ultimo: of the preceding month.
  • 61 “Cardinal Lavigerie’s Work in North Africa” appeared in the August Atlantic Monthly.

359Your note of the 29th ulto60 about proofs to hand today. I am sorry that the proofs I revised could not reach you in time – for every reason. The article61 was written – and, later, revised, amidst severe pain and illness: and so I am afraid was not so satisfactory as it ought to be. However, I hope there is nothing seriously faulty as it now stands. I regret much the trouble it must have involved you in.

360I am now much better – in fact almost quite well again: though the moving from Sussex to London was a fatiguing & embarrassing [sic] business, particularly in this great heat.

  • 62 Philip Gilbert Hamerton (1834–1894) was an editor, writer on art, landscape painter, and etcher. H (...)

361You will receive either with this post or a few days later a copy of a monograph on the subject of “Fair Women” in painting and poetry which Mr. Philip Gilbert Hamerton62 asked me to write for him and his firm. Please accept it with my friendliest regard and remembrances to you & yours.

362I am now living close to our friend Frederick Shields, who, you will be glad to hear, is now more fortunate in his worldly affairs.

363Hoping you and yours are well,

364Yours cordially | William Sharp

365Horace Scudder Esq

366ALS Harvard Houghton

To Mrs. Henry Mills Alden, July 9, 1894

367Rutland House | Greencroft Gardens | So. Hampstead | London | 9/7/94

368Dear Mrs. Alden,

  • 63 Probably the British edition of Vistas.

369I send you a hurried line from our new home (into which we have just entered) to say that I hope you are well, & enjoying the Summertime – & to tell you that I have directed the publishers to send to you a copy of a monograph of mine on the delightful subject of “Fair Women” which Mr. Hamerton commissioned me to write. It is to be published today, I believe. I hope it may at once interest & amuse you. My cordial & affectionate greetings to you and your husband, & kind remembrances to your daughters. I have been seriously unwell, but am now better. I hope H. M. is not overworking. Tell him I have a book of mine (mislaid for the moment) to send him soon.63

370Ever sincerely yours, | dear Mrs. Alden, | William Sharp

371ACS University of Delaware Library

To Mrs. Allhusen,64 July 9, 1894

  • 64 Probably Adelaide Louisa Allison (c. 1855–1936) who married Christian Wilton Allhusen (1840–1924) (...)

372Rutland House | Greencroft Gardens | So. Hampstead | Monday

373Dear Mrs. Allhusen

374I am so sorry at the cause of your having to postpone my visit. I wired to you at once, stating that Friday will suit me quite as well: but pray do not hesitate to say if you would rather I did not come then. If you do not feel “up to the mark” on Thursday, or Friday morning, telegraph to me.

375If I cannot come myself will you let a part of me come & chat with you – in other words will you accept the copy of “Fair Women”, a monograph by me which is to be published today I believe, & which I have asked Messrs. Seeley & Co. to send to you.

376It may interest & amuse you. When restricted to your sofa, & unable to occupy yourself more satisfactorily than with the “thoughts on women” of

377Yours most sincerely | William Sharp

378ALS Bodleian Library

John Lane, [mid-July, 1894]

379c/o Mrs. Balfour | 3 East Savile Road | Newington

380Dear Sir,

381On my return here from a flying visit to St. Andrews I found your letter awaiting me – along with four most gratifying reviews of “Pharais” (among them that of Mr. Grant Allen, which I read with keen pleasure), and three most kind and generous letters of interest and encouragement from authors and critics of high repute.

382I thank you for yours. I am glad that you entertain my proposal favourably. I believe there is always a risk in books of this kind, of a relatively limited appeal: so I am willing to put myself in your hands as to the amount of royalty etc.; feeling confident that I am secure in so doing, if you will agree to the following stipulations on my part – i.e. I will leave the matter of ultimate remuneration with you, if

  1. You will pay me the sum of £25 on my delivery to you of the M.S. complete of “The Mountain Lovers”.
  2. That my copyright be acknowledged by the payment of a royalty, to be fixed by you, upon all copies sold, either in this or in any other edition, after the advance of £25 has been worked off: the Royalty to be on an ascending scale, according to sales. (American edition under a royalty also: or else to be left to me to arrange for myself).
  3. That my copyright becomes absolute after, say, your disposal of a second limited edition.
  4. That the book be published before Christmastide.

383I hope this will be agreeable to you, as I would rather publish “The Mountain Lovers” through you than through any other firm.

384I can promise you the MS. by the end of August at latest.

385My movements are very uncertain at present. It is just possible I may be in London before the end of July, but it is much more likely I shall be in my remote island in the far north-west. Meanwhile, I am visiting friends in Edinburgh and the neighborhood: but at all times I prefer my correspondence to go to the house of my relative, Mrs. Balfour, where I am staying for a few days longer.

386Thanking you for your prompt courtesy

387Believe me | Yours very truly | Fiona Macleod

388ALS Princeton

To Stone & Kimball, July 30, 189465

  • 65 This letter is marked with a large initial (“G”) extending over its major contents.

389Rutland House, | Greencroft Gardens, | So. Hampstead. | London | 30/7/94

390Dear Sirs

391Herewith I enclose P/O for $1 (4 1/2?) – for which please send me “The Chap-Book” from the beginning, & for a year thereafter.

392Yours truly | William Sharp

393Just off to Western Highlands for 2 months – but above address is my permanent address.

394ALS NYPL, Berg Collection

To Henry Mills Alden, [early August, 1894]66

  • 66 The first portion of this letter is missing.

395[Kilcreggan, Argyll]

396.. deal on hand to finish or revise within the next month – chiefly a vol. of the “Fellow & His Wife” kind, a commissioned vol. of short stories, and a long article for The Nineteenth Century.

397Thursday

398Today’s post has brought me a letter from a friend who encloses a cutting about Pharais which he saw a few days ago in some paper, though he does not give its name. As you may like to see it, I send it on to you. If you chance to remember, you might return it to me when you write next: but it doesn’t matter if you forget.

399The Steamer, which is very irregular, may come up the Sound at any moment now: so I must be ready with my letters. I enclose, separately, two letters [sic] for your editorial consideration. For every reason, financial and otherwise, I hope the Editorial Autocrat may be agreeable! What with illness & consequent 3 or 4 months’ idleness or next to idleness, my wife’s long illness, & serious financial distress, we have gone thro’, & are still suffering from, a rather bad time lately. But we are hopeful, & look to the best.

400My love to you and Mrs. Alden. I do hope her trouble is not now affecting her. Some months ago I felt as though she were very ill, but I hope I was mistaken. And how goes the successor to “The Following Love” (as I always think of your book)?

401Ever affectionately Your Friend | William Sharp

402P.S. If you receive, and answer, the enclosed any time before the 15th Sept please direct to me at | 9 Upper Coltbridge Terrace | Murrayfield | Edinburgh | Otherwise to my London address.

403ALS University of Delaware Library

To Elizabeth A. Sharp, [early August, 1894]

404Kilcreggan, Argyll

405… I told you about Whistlefield? how it, and all the moorland parts about here just now, is simply a boggy sop, to say nothing of the railway works. I hope we’ll have fine weather in Iona: it will be lovely there if we go…

406I have made friends here with a Celtic Islesman from Iona who is settled here: and have learned some more legends and customs etc. from him – also got a copy of an ancient MS. map of Iona with all its fields, divisions, bays, capes, isles, etc. He says my pronunciation of Gaelic is not only surprisingly good, but is distinctively that of the Isles.

407I have learned the rune also of the reading of the spirit. The ‘influence’ itself seems to me purely hypnotic. I was out with this man McC________ on Saty. night last in a gale, in a small two-sailed wherry. We flew before the squalls like a wild horse, and it was glorious with the shriek of the wind, the heave and plunge of the boat, and the washing of the water over the gunwales. Twice ‘the black wind’ came down upon us out of the hills, and we were nearly driven under water. He kept chanting and calling a wild sea-rune, about a water-demon of the isles, till I thought I saw it leaping from wave to wave after us. Strangely, he is a different man the moment others are present. He won’t speak a word of Gaelic, nor be ‘Celtic’ in any way, nor even give the word as to what will be doing in the isles at this time or any other. This, however, I have noticed often: and all I have ever learned has been in intimacy and privily and more or less casually. On Sunday and Monday he avoided me, and would scarce speak: having given himself away and shown his Celtic side – a thing now more than ever foreign to the Celtic nature, which has become passionately reticent. But a few words in Gaelic, and a private talk, put all right again. Last night I got the rune of the ‘Knitting of the Knots’ and some information about the Dalt and the Cho-Alt about which I was not clear. He has seen the Light of the Dead, and his mother saw (before her marriage, and before she even saw the man himself) her husband crossing a dark stream followed by his four unborn children, and two in his arms who afterwards she bore still-born.

408Memoir 236–37

To Herbert Stuart Stone, August 15, 1894

409Rutland House, 5 Greencroft Gardens, So. Hampstead | London | 15: August: 94

410Dear Mr. Stone

411Tho’ I write as from my home address I send this note to you from Edinburgh, where I chanced to come yesterday from the West Highlands – whither I return in a few days. Fortunately, your kind letter, forwarded from London, arrived almost simultaneously. Had it been a few days later, I fear that I could not have met your wishes on any point – as I will have nothing with me in the Isles save what is needful.

  1. First, then, here is my portrait67 – a recent photograph taken this Spring. By a lucky chance, my sister here had duplicates, and has let me have the enclosed. It is considered a good likeness, and characteristic. Certainly, for reproduction, I prefer it to any other (that in The Idler two or three months ago was after the etching made of me in Rome in 1891, but not very good). You are cordially welcome to retain it, after you have reproduced it for The Chap-Book. It is taken of me sitting forward. Some people prefer its companion: but I have not one at hand, or at all now indeed.
  2. I have no unpublished poem of mine with me, and my memory for my own verses is worse than poor, being almost non-existent. To be more exact, I have one set of quatrains, but they were intended for an American periodical. However, I daresay something else will do as well, and so I send these “Lines to E. C. Stedman”.68 If I can recall them, I will also add the unpublished dedicatory poem (in Italian) to my Sospiri di Roma.69 (I have written to a friend who has them, & will send them on by following mail)
  3. Though I send it, I am a little less easy in my mind about handing over the new ‘Vista’ which I enclose for the American Edn. of Vistas; for it was to go this Autumn to a leading English monthly. True, it, “The Whisperer”, was not settled upon, but only a ‘Vista’ to be chosen from the two or three unpublished pieces of this kind, written since Vistas was completed: but as it happens, I have no other at hand, and (apart from having my hands full with commissioned work) do not feel in the mood to write anything of the kind just now. By sending you ‘The Whisperer’, I may lose my other commission: for I do not return to London till the end of September. However, I’ll chance it. Please let it be the last of the ‘Vistas’ in the new edition: unless you think this inadvisable, in which case let it immediately precede “The Lute Player”: though I prefer that it should come last.
  4. This, and the (Dedicatory) Introduction to Alden70 of Harper’s Mag: which I send herewith at your request, will enable you to have a copyright edition.
  5. I will think over your suggestion as to “Flower o’ the Vine”.

412So far so good. What about the reprinting of Vistas? Can I see page-proofs before the book is struck off? I do not insist on this, but I hope it is feasible. There are a few minor alterations I would like to make – a word here and there, particularly in “The Père Hilarion” & “The Northern Night”: and, naturally, I would like to see proofs of the hitherto unpublished “The Whisperer” and the Introduction. I suppose my friend Bliss Carman (whose words about me in The Chap-Book I shall read with full appreciation) or some equally capable reader will overlook my text scrupulously if proofs cannot be sent to me.

413In the circumstances, seeing that I benefit in no monetary way at all by the American edn., that I have given up a valuable evening (under great pressure of other work) to the Introduction you want, and that I give you “The Whisperer” instead of sending it where it would be well paid for, I do not think you will consider me unduly exigent when I stipulate that, on publication, you send me gratuitously Fifty (50) copies of Vistas. Please let me have a line from you as to this.

  • 71 “A Northern Night,” The Chap-Book, 1 (June 15, 1894), 60

414Somewhere among my papers here I think is a copy of The Chap-Book containing “A Northern Night”.71 If so, it has my corrigenda, for there were some misprints in it. I’ll send it, if I have it. (No: I find I have not got it with me. Do not print from The Chap-Book copy. If I can get a copy of Vistas soon I’ll send one or two textual alterations).

  • 72 The Gipsy Christ and Other Tales (Chicago: Stone & Kimball, 1895).

415Finally, as to “The Gipsy Christ” I must ask you to wait a little longer. Frankly, I cannot afford to do uncommissioned work at present: and I have important things to finish and revise. If you think you will be able to issue “The Gipsy Christ” (and other stories, as indicated to you) before Christmas,72 I will make a point of letting you have MS. complete by the end of October, or beginning of November at latest: as early as practicable. But please let me know about this by return.

416It will save time if I give you my letter-address till the close (about 27th or so) of September: – | 9 Upper Coltbridge Terrace | Murrayfield | Edinburgh | After that date my home address as usual.

  • 73 “Low Tide on Grand Pré: A Book of Lyrics,” The Academy, 45 (January 6, 1894), 7–8.

417Pray give my most cordial greetings to Bliss Carman (who, I hope, received the article I wrote upon his book in The Academy)73 and believe me, my dear Sir,

418Most Sincerely Yours, | William Sharp

  • 74 Anagram of Elizabeth Sharp.

419P.S. I forgot to say that of course the present dedicatory page to ‘Elspeth H. Barzia’74must now come out, as replaced by the Introduction herewith.

420ALS Huntington

To John Lane, August 16, 1894

4219 Up. Coltbridge Terrace | Murrayfield | Edinburgh | 16:8:94

422My dear Lane,

423On reaching the above address yesterday from the West Highlands (whither I return – to Iona first – at the end of next week) I found your letter, forwarded from London – after some delay there on account of your having addressed it to ‘Crescent Gardens’ instead of to Greencroft Gardens.

424If it had reached me a few days earlier I could have given you a direct answer from Miss Macleod – as she was with my people on Loch Goil. However, I am able to answer your question for her. She has not been well, and all writing was stopped for some weeks: but she is now better again. From what she told me, and from what I saw of “The Mountain Lovers” (nearly done, but unrevised), I know it will now be impossible for her to let you have the book before the middle of September – at earliest. I will write at once (I will see her end of next week) & urge that she should undertake to let you have it by mid-September, if possible.

  • 75 The Graphic was a British weekly illustrated newspaper first published on December 4, 1869 by Will (...)

425I think you will like it even better than Pharais. (Mr. Traill, by the way, followed up his notice of Pharais in the Graphic75 by a letter of high praise & encouragement to Miss Macleod).

  • 76 The identity of this projected book by William Sharp is uncertain. The only book of Sharp’s publis (...)

426As for my own work – it is, alack, impossible that I can hand over the book until the end or near the end of October.76 All my MS & material is in my London abode (now shut up) & I will not be there again till the end of September – & there is still a good deal of final work to do to the book.

427Hoping you are not overworking, & that affairs continue to go well with you,

428Cordially Yours | William Sharp

429ALS University of Toronto

To Herbert Stuart Stone, August 19, 1894

4309 Up. Coltbridge Terrace | Murrayfield, Midlothian | Scotland | 19/8/94

431Dear Mr. Stone,

  • 77 Sharp’s poem entitled “Dedica.” See letter to Herbert Stone dated August 15, 1894.

432Herewith the promised unpublished short autograph Italian poem,77 if you care for it for reproduction, tho’ not to replace that to E. C. Stedman.

433I have been advising my cousin, Miss Fiona Macleod (Author of the much talked of Celtic romance Pharais) – whose town-address near Edinburgh I am now staying at, with her and her people – to write to you about something she has on hand. At present, she does not appear inclined to do so – but I think she will do so later.

434In haste, | Sincerely yours, | William Sharp

435ALS Huntington

To [John Lane], [late August, 1894]

436Isle of Iona | Inner Hebrides.

437My dear Sir

438Mr. William Sharp wrote to me from Edinburgh with your message. I am to meet him and his wife shortly in Oban, and go to Perthshire with them: but meanwhile I must answer your message.

439I have not been well, and all writing or headwork of any kind has been out of the question for more than a month past. I am now better; but, wandering (or rather sailing about) from island to island, as where I am at present, is not conducive to regular work: and besides, I am busy collecting from the Gaelic-speaking islesmen many notes, legends, and so forth, for a volume which I think of calling “A Celtic Wreath”.

440In the circumstances, I cannot promise you “The Mountain Lovers” till, say, the 15th of October. I trust this will not inconvenience you. Kindly note my change of address. I want all my correspondence addressed to me at my cousin’s (Miss Mary Sharp Macleod) – but simply | Miss Fiona Macleod | 9. Upper Coltbridge | Murrayfield. | Midlothian. | I may have to go abroad in the late autumn, but if so Mr. William Sharp will see to my proofs etc. for me.

441Yours very truly | F. M.

442ALS University of Toronto

To Stone & Kimball, September 18, 1894

443The Postal order is made to “Stone& Kimball” from William Sharp at my London address as below.

444Rutland House: Greencroft Gardens: So. Hampstead | London | 18/9/94

445Dear Sirs

446Kindly send me by return 3 dozen (36) copies of “The Chap-Book” for September 15th (No. 9) for which I enclose Postal Remittance for 7s/6 (36 copies @5e)

447Yours faithfully | William Sharp

448P.S. (I have not received the two preceding numbers, due on my subscription).

449Location of MS uncertain

To Katharine Tynan Hinkson,78 September, 1894

  • 78 Katharine Tynan-Hinkson (1861–1931) was an Irish poet and novelist. Among her numerous works are N (...)

450Isle of Iona | September, 1894

451Dear Mrs. Hinkson,

452I am, in summer and autumn, so much of a wanderer through the Isles and Western Highlands that letters sometimes are long in reaching me. But your kind note (and enclosure) has duly followed me from Edinburgh to Loch Goil in eastern Argyll and thence deviously here. It will be a great pleasure to me to read what you have to say in the Illus. London News or elsewhere, and I thank you.

453I wish you could be here. Familiar with your poetry as I am, I know how you would rejoice not only in the Iona that is the holy Icolmkill but also in the Iona that is Ithona, the ancient Celtic isle of the Waves, and the Iona that is I-na-Dhruidhheachna, the Isle of the Druids. There is a beauty here that no other place has, so unique is it. Of course it does not appeal to all. The Sound of Iona divides the island from the wild Ross of Mull, by no more than a mile of water; and it is on this eastern side that the village and the ancient Cathedral and ruined Nunnery, etc., stand. Here it is as peaceful as on the West side it is wild and grand. I read your letter last night, at sunset, while I was lying on the Cruac-an-Angeal, the hillock on the west where the angel appeared to St Columba. To the north lay the dim features of the Outer Hebrides: to the west an unbroken wilderness of waves till they fell against Labrador: to the south, though invisible, the coastline of Ireland. There was no sound save the deep hollow voice of the sea, and a strange reverberation in a hollow cave underground. It was a very beautiful sight to see the day wane across the ocean, and then to move slowly homeward through the gloaming, and linger awhile by the Street of the Dead near the ruined abbey of Columba. But these Isles are so dear to me that I think everyone must feel alike!

454I add my permanent letter-address, and remain

455Sincerely yours | Fiona Macleod

456P.S. I enclose a gilliflower from close to St. Columba’s tomb.

457ALS NLS

To Edmund Clarence Stedman, September 28, 1894

458Rutland House. | Greencroft Gardens. | So. Hampstead.

459Dear Poet and Friend

460It is my hope that this will reach you on your birthday, but whether before or after you will know that on the 8th my thoughts are with you. I will send some white-winged messengers to carry loving greetings and all manner of good wishes for your happiness, health, and general weal: so if you hear a flutter of wings about no. 137 on the 8th at dawn you will know the cause! I know no truer poet and no younger man: – in other words, you are one of the true heirs-male to Apollo. But one of my wishes, a humble one in a sense, is as important as any other: may you have leisure – happy leisure, serene leisure. We want more of you at your best, both as poet and prosaist. And, then, too may the bright Spirit of Youth, whom, being the poet you are, you love, send many radiant smiles upon you yet.

461We are just back from Scotland. Among my recent acquisitions are some Chap-Books. One, you have doubtless seen, for it contains my Birthday Lines to your dear self. By a happy coincidence I found the original pencil draft when I was in Scotland – & so was able to send them to Stone & Kimball. I was desirous of their appearance nearer your Birthday – but of course could not stipulate. My friend, George Cotterell (editor of the Yorkshire Herald) with whom I stopped a night in York on my way South said a pleasing thing to me when he remarked that his appreciation of the verses was enhanced by his admiration of the dedicatee. He was one of the influential people to whom I gave your beautiful “The Nature of Poetry”. By the way, he is a poet you should represent. His Poems: Old and New is to be published by D. Nutt at end of October. I suggested to him to send you a copy, but he informed me that he had already noted that a copy was to be sent to you. Your “Bohemia” is one of his most treasured favourites.

462Talking of Poems, I would like the “Coves of Crail” lyric quoted by Carman in aforesaid Chap-Book to be in your anthology. You will have received ere this my letter in reply to your editorial communication.

463I hope the Stone & Kimball edn. of Vistas will attract some favourable attention. I have added a ‘Vista’ (“The Whisperer”) and a dedicatory introduction to H. M. Alden in which you will find an allusion to yourself which I hope will please you. I have seen no proofs – & I believe the book is to be pubd. immediately!

464I am busy with work of many kinds – but all imaginative work of mine now undergoes a far more exigent control than hitherto, both in process and in revision. When I write again I will tell you something of my doings.

465If you will send me an advance copy (i. e. say a week or so, for me to prepare an article) of your anthology, in due course, I’ll do my best for it here.

466My love to Mrs. Stedman: also to Arthur: & kind remembrances to your fair & diligent Secretary. My wife has just come in, & sends her love too. She longs to see you both. And now Addio! – no, à rivedèrla!

467Ever Your Friend | William Sharp

468ALS Pennsylvania State University

To Horace Scudder, October 3, 1894

469Rutland House | Greencroft Gardens | So. Hampstead | 3/Oct/94

470My dear Horace Scudder

471I find that the mail goes in half an hour – so I must write only a brief note, & to the point.

  • 79 The Atlantic Monthly, 74 (December 1894), 801–14.

472Herewith I send the promised article, which I have entitled “Some Personal Reminiscences of Walter Pater”.79 In accordance with your wish, I have made it more ‘reminiscent’ than ‘critical’. I hope it will please you, and all the many American & English admirers of Pater who will read it.

473I found that most of Pater’s letters to me were of too personal an interest (generally about my own writings, or doings, or mere private details about his own life and occupations) – but I have quoted one or two that have also interest of another kind.

474It is, perhaps, longer than you wanted. If so, you can cut out the printed cols on page 22a. This printed matter is my own, of course: but appeared in a Scottish daily newspaper so far back as 1889 – a paper now defunct (“The Scottish Leader”) – and so to all intents is “fresh matter”.

475I suppose you saw a copy of the Chap-Book (Stone and Kimball) of Sept. 15th. I am assured that the separate photo there given of myself is a good one.

476Excuse, meanwhile, this hurried note, and believe me always (with best regards to you and yours)

477Yours most cordially | William Sharp

478ALS Harvard Houghton

To Theodore Watts [-Dunton], October 11, 1894

479Rutland House, | Greencroft Gardens, | So. Hampstead. | 11/Oct./94

480My dear Watts

481If my memory is not at fault in reminding me that tomorrow is your birthday – will you let me send you my friendliest greeting & good wishes: in both of which my wife joins cordially. May your new year be a very happy one – with health, and general weal, and blithe content.

482In the old days, before your feelings towards me changed somewhat, you were not ill-pleased that (more Scoticè, looking upon the remembrance of a friend’s birthday as a scrupulous, almost a religious observance) I used to drop you a line on each 12th Oct. Nor, I hope, will you be ill-pleased now: for the remembrance & the good wish arise from an affectionate regard, and, I need hardly say, high esteem.

483No doubt I have given you cause of irritation: as, in turn, I was resentful because of things repeated to me, said of me by you. Right or wrong, I don’t think anything is to be gained now by going over the ground of complaint either may have, or may imagine against the other. For myself, I bear you nothing but good will: and hope you entertain something of the same feeling towards myself. It is a pity that between friends of material difference in age, differences and divergences are so apt to occur: but I like to believe that in most instances these are not fundamental, but only, as it were, the surface currents.

484It is with singular pleasure I see, from an advt., that you are about to issue a volume of poetry. That it will be welcomed goes without saying: that it will be a success, I hope, and believe. It is, I suppose, to be issued soon?

485This has been a sad year, in the loss of friends: J. Addington Symonds, John M. Gray, Mrs. Augusta Webster, Roden Noel, Walter Pater. The death of the last named is a deep loss to every one who loves what is beautiful and dignified and nobly helpful, in literature.

486My wife and I have been in Scotland for two months – but are now back. I am much preoccupied with literary work of all kinds – my commissioned work alone much exceeding my present ability to cope with it in anything like the due time.

  • 80 A novel by Hall Caine. “Heinemann published the Manxman on 3 August, 1894. It was an immediate and (...)

487Caine seems to be winning golden opinions and golden sovereigns and golden dollars by The Manxman.80

488After October I shall be more settled in London – & thus, perhaps, we may meet sometimes, here or there. Next week, I hope, or soon after, I intend to run down to see Geo. Meredith. He is very busy.

489Again with all friendly greeting and good wishes, ever, my dear Watts,

490Cordially yours, | William Sharp

491P.S. I enclose a copy of some verses I wrote recently: – as a birthday card!

492It may interest you to know that a new American edn. of my Vistas, with a Preface and some added matter, is to come out immediately (or, by this time is out) through that enterprising young firm, Stone & Kimball, the Matthews & Lane of the U. S. A.

493Typescript from ALS at Brotherton Library, University of Leeds

To Herbert Stuart Stone, [October] 20, [1894]

494Saty 20th.

495Dear Mr. Stone

496The promised volume of short stories “The Gypsy Christ” is now complete – and will be sent to you, with a letter, by next mail: i.e. on Wedny. the 24th., if none earlier.

497I suppose Vistas is out before this?

498In great haste, Sincerely Yrs, | William Sharp

499ACS Huntington

To Robert Murray Gilchrist, November 12, 1894

50015, Greencroft Gardens, South Hampstead | 12/11.94

501My dear Gilchrist

  • 81 A collection of Gilchrist’s stories entitled The Stone Dragon and Other Tragic Romances (London: M (...)

502I thank you sincerely for your friendly remembrance: and for the pleasure you have given me by your delicately wrought and in every sense charming book.81 “Hercules” is a delightful story, for old or young. It is a vein you might work further with advantage: particularly by a combination of actuality and phantasy.

503Since I last wrote to you I have been ‘down’ a good deal – but am now steadily gaining ground. The prolonged mental strain I was under being gone, the chief cause is removed. I have had trouble with my eyes, though: and must use glasses now when I write or read.

  • 82 The stories intended for that volume, which was not published, may have appeared in Ecce Puella: A (...)
  • 83 The Gipsy Christ and Other Tales (Stone and Kimball: Chicago, 1895). It appeared in Britain as Mad (...)

504I have been and am very busy: more busy than I can tell. My immediate work – besides articles for Harpers, the Atlantic Monthly, the Nineteenth Century, and three or four other monthlies, and weekly art-articles etc. etc. – has been the completion of a volume called “The Merchant of Dreams” (fantasies and other imaginative pieces),82 and of the volume of short tales of a striking & dramatic nature, collectively entitled (from the first & largest story) “The Gypsy Christ”.83

505The locale of this story is the moorland country where my dear friend & comrade, Murray Gilchrist, lives. I wonder what you will think of the tragic atmosphere I seem to have gained from your remote moorlands. There are descriptions and episodes which you will be able to read between the lines.

506Is there any chance of your coming south this winter? I am going to Scotland for 2 or 3 weeks from the 1st of December: so don’t come between 1st and Xmas! Before I go, I must fulfill my promise about your gamekeeper friend – but I am ever so overwrought by things to remember & exigent daily matters to attend to.

507My most cordial regards to your Mother & sisters – and to Garfitt – & my true affection to yourself.

508Write to me about your work and yourself. Your letters are as scanty as a maid’s baths. How goes the Labyrinth? Are you happy, & have you the furor for work?

509Your Friend | William Sharp

510ALS Sheffield City Archives

To Horace Scudder, November 17, 1894

511Rutland House | Greencroft Gardens | So. Hampstead | 17/11/94

512My dear Horace Scudder

513This is just a hurried line to catch the mail – to tell you (1) with what interest I read your admirable article on “Marius the Epicurean”, scholarly, thoughtful, and justly appreciative: and (2) what pleasure I have had in your very welcome “Childhood in Literature and Art”. The book is one that will afford keen pleasure to many, and open many avenues of memory and perspectives of speculation.

514It is not unlikely, in two or three months hence, that I shall be asked to write a monograph on The Children of Art, as a companion to my Fair Women: à propos of an important exhibition of “The Child in Painting” which is to be opened here next Spring. If so, I’ll have occasion both to draw upon and to draw special attention to your delightful book.

515No time for more just now.

516Cordially yours | William Sharp

517ALS Harvard Houghton

To J. Stanley Little, [December 1, 1894]84

  • 84 “Dec 4 94” is written at the top of the letter in a hand that is not Sharp’s. That was probably wr (...)

518En route for Scotland | (address – Mary’s)

519My dear Stanley

520My sincerest good wishes for you & your happiness. I am sure you are right. May good luck be with you in all respects, dear old Chap.

521I am afraid there is little chance at the Realm. Still, there may be. I think you might do well to write at once to C. N. Williamson, late (or present) ed. of Black and White who is going to bring out a new illustrated paper called The Hour. There is also their new magazine The Windsor (Ward Lock[?]). Perhaps The Hour would put you on its staff. I have no influence there though – & can do nothing, in fact I only know of the project indirectly. Apropos of the African articles – I wd if I were you write to C. P. Scott, (or the present ed). of the Manchester Guardian, to the Liverpool Mercury, the Leeds Mercury, & the Sheffield Times, & Newcastle Chronicle (both daily & weekly). Business matters etc. take me to Edinburgh for 2 or 3 weeks.

522If possible, I think you wd. be wise to be married soon. But you know your own affairs. I am sorry about your father.

523Again, with affectionate good wishes & hopes for you dear Stanley – & my respectful greetings to Miss Labluche.

524Yours ever | Will

525ALS Princeton

To Catherine Ann Janvier, mid-December 1894

526South Hampstead | December 1894

  • 85 Catherine Janvier quoted this passage from a William Sharp letter in her article entitled “Fiona M (...)

527… Herewith I am sending to you, through my sister in Edinburgh with whom I left it the other day, a copy of a book which has made a deep impression here. I know the author: and wish you would tell me just what you think of “Pharais”.85

528William Sharp

529See note.

To Herbert S. Stone, December 22, [1894]

530Rutland House | 15 Greencroft Gardens | South Hampstead: London |

531Saturday 22nd Decr.

532Dear Mr. Stone,

533Your letter of the 10th and the two copies of Vistas came to hand this morning.

534Let me congratulate you (and myself!) on the format of the initial issue of your Green Tree Library. The originality, distinctiveness, and charm of this format should win wide appreciation. The type is excellent, the paper good, and the titular sections of the cover at once explicit and simple. The only thing I don’t care for is the asterisk on the back & front cover. The volume, externally, is like an April lime-leaf. Altogether, the book seems to me to reflect great credit upon your firm.

535I hope the series will be a great success, and that Vistas will ‘lead off’ in a way to satisfy you. There is certainly an eager public for books on the lines of the Green Tree Library, if that public can be reached.

536I am afraid the other copies cannot reach me before Christmas, but perhaps they will come in good time for New Year’s Day. As all save 3 or 4 private-circle copies will go to men of note, friends & confrères, Vistas should help to win further recognition here for your firm.

537Herewith I enclose my cheque for fifteen shillings (the G. T. vols. are published at 5/- nett, are they not?) for which please send me the Maeterlinck volume and the Verlaine volume as soon as published, and also (by return if practicable) Hamlin Garland’s vol. of essays “Crumbling Idols”.

538I have received the Chap-Book for Dec. 1st – but none of the others for which I subscribed in advance last summer (as detailed in a previous letter). Can I not have these missing parts, as I was a subscriber, namely, all after August 1st, except Septr. 15th till Nov. 15th inclusive.

539I am sorry not to hear from you about “The Gypsy Christ”. Some time ago I had an offer from an American firm anxious to publish some stories by me – but had to answer that I would let them know before Christmas, though I doubted being able to send anything this year. So now, as time is up, I must write & decline definitely.

540I forget if I wrote to you that, when I sent the G.C. MS. I was uncertain as to the length of book you wanted. Let me add now that I do not say “take it or leave it as it stands’: for if you find it overlong for your purposes, I would suggest that the volume consist of, say, seven instead of ten stories: in which case the three to be set aside might be “The Burden of a Song”, “Primavera di Capri”, and any other you choose except the first three (The G.Christ, Madge o’the Pool, and The Rape of the Sabines).

541If, however, you think of the book for the G. T. series – which, I take it, you do not purpose – I suppose that 3, or at most 4, stories would suffice: in which case I would suggest simply The Gipsy Christ, Madge o’ the Pool and The Rape of the Sabines under the collective title “The G.C”. (“The King” could be included or not as you prefer). For sake of dramatic contrast, a vol. consisting only of three such diverse pieces as “The G.C”., “Madge”, and “The Rape of the Sabines” might be most effective. What do you think?

542Having glanced again at Vistas, it has occurred to me that you might care to have for it a strange ‘Drama of Destiny’, called “The Tower of Silence”. The same acute critic who wrote the long étude on Vistas from which you quote, said of it (in MS) that “it is the most remarkable and significant production the co-called Décadent or Fin-de-Siécle school”: and added, that it involves such a tremendous dramatic situation, “that some may at first fail to see the vital spiritual possibilities suggested in the last act”.

543This may or may not be. I can send you no more than the first act: all that is typed, & that not finally revised. It will show you the method: an extended use of that in Vistas, more actual, and with a poetic background of nature. (A strange problem of reversion in heredity, and a stranger psychological development, are the motive factors).

544I had intended to publish this myself, semi-privately. I did this before, with my Sospiri di Roma, which I had printed for me in Italy, and ‘published’ through two paras. in the Athenaeum & Academy, and with some privately issued order-slips. Without other advt. the whole edn. (a limited one of course) was taken up. Recently, six copies were sent to me from a relative to whom I had entrusted them: of which I was glad, for the book is now very rare, and almost impossible to get. It has an added interest (besides being the first volume in English of nothing but unrhymed irregular verse) in the fact that it was set up by Italian printers in a small printing-place in the ancient Temple of Hercules at Tivoli in the Sabine Hills, & was printed under my supervision. I recollect, some months ago, intending to send you one of these copies: but don’t think I did so. I now send it, for your acceptance, the last I shall ever have to give away: and please take with it my cordial greetings for Christmastide and 1895.

545Please let me hear in due course what you think of this proposal: and kindly do not fail to return the type-copy herewith. I shall expect to hear from you at an early date about The Gypsy Christ, either as a 3-story volume or otherwise.

546In haste, | Cordially Yours, | William Sharp

547ALS Huntington

To Herbert Stuart Stone, December 31, 1894

548Rutland House | Greencroft Gardens | South Hampstead | 31: Dec’: 94

549Dear Mr. Stone,

550Thanks for your letter of the 17th, to hand this morning.

551I am glad you like the “Gypsy Christ” volume so well, and that you are willing to take it for publication.

552A letter from me, à propos, will have crossed yours. I am still inclined to the belief that the volume would be more artistic in point of unity if it were shortened by one or two stories. For my own liking, I should say, let it comprise (1) The Gypsy Christ (2) Madge o’ the Pool (3) The Rape of the Sabines

553If this is too small a volume, then, say, “Fröken Bergliot” and either “The Coward” or “The Burden of Song”.

  • 86 “The Second Shadow,” The New York Independent, 44 (August 25, 1892,) 1205 ff.

554There is an Italian story of mine, which I think is forceful, which Mr. Bliss Carman will remember – as it appeared in The New York Independent while he was editorially occupied there. I regret that I have no copy of “The Second Shadow” as it is called: & cannot remember when it appeared.86 I wrote it in Rome in either January or February of 1891 – and I think it appeared either in the Spring or Summer of the same year. I take it to be a much stronger story than “A Venetian Idyl” or “Primavera di Capri” – though too somber perhaps. If Mr. Carman happens to remember it, and should think sufficiently well of it to advise its inclusion, it could doubtless be obtained from the Independent office. If it be included, I should prefer the volume to be composed as follows: –

5551. The Gypsy Christ | 2. Madge o’ the Pool | 3. Fröken Bergliot | 4. The Second Shadow | 5. A Venetian Idyl | 6. The Coward | 7. The Rape of the Sabines

556If it is not included, the best arrangement, I think, would be

5571. The Gypsy Christ | 2. Madge o’ the Pool | 3. The Coward | 4. A Venetian Idyl | 5. Fröken Bergliot | 6. The Rape of the Sabines

  • 87 The stories in The Gypsy Christ (Chicago: Stone & Kimball, 1895) appeared in the following order: (...)

558I think now, that there is rather too pronounced affinity between “A Venetian Idyl” and “Primavera di Capri” – and of the two I fancy the first-named more. In any case, perhaps both “The Burden of Song” and “The King” might be omitted. I am quite willing, however, to be guided by your wishers in these matters. Finally, if you prefer it, I would not object to this arrangement: – 87

559I. Madge o’ the Pool | II. The Rape of the Sabines | III. The Coward | IV. A Venetian Idyl | V. Fröken Bergliot | VI. The Gypsy Christ

560I am glad you think so highly of “Madge o’ the Pool”. Your opinion as to its force and artistic unity concur with that of one of our ablest critics, who did me the honour (when he read it in M.S). of calling it a masterpiece.

561As to what you say about “The Gypsy Christ”, I daresay you are right: indeed, I am sure of it, and realized this some time ago. The plot is novel and remarkable, as you are good enough to imply in a generous incidental remark: and the story should be more concentrated and thus actualized. I thank you for your friendly criticism and suggestions. I will, therefore, give the story that kind of “revision for strength” which is practically a re-writing. Unfortunately, the only copy in existence is that in your possession. Both to avoid loss in transmission and to save time (a few months ago an important article was lost thus) are you willing to go to the expense of having the G.C. story set up in type, in “galley” say, and let me revise it in that form?

562If not, I suggest that (if you are ready to go on with the book at once) you send me all or part of the remainder of the vol. in print for my revision – and at the same time let me have my copy of “The G.C.”.: which I could rework, and send back with the proofs of the rest of the vol. (The G.C. could be type-written, and revised by me – so that no proofs of it need be sent). This arrangement would save time, and be advisable in every way. Of course, I prefer, if practicable, that the G.C. come to me in print. Otherwise, kindly see that it be registered.

563As to terms, I am uncertain as to what you propose to do in the matter of English publication. Naturally, I would like the book to be issued here as well as in America. I am quite willing to leave the whole control in your hands. I will accept whatever royalty you suggest, as I am confident in your good intent and good faith: and know that you will make the best arrangement compatible with our joint interests. The last two or three books of mine published on the royalty system have been on a 15% royalty: though Osgood McIlvain and Co. allowed a 20% royalty on “A Fellow and His Wife”.

564Against this frank acceptance of whatever royalty you can honestly allow, however, I set my request that, on publication, the sum of £50 (Fifty Pounds) be advanced to me on account of royalties.

565Finally, may I stipulate that, on publication, 25 copies be sent to me gratis.

566In the circumstances, I do not think you will find these suggestions unduly exigent?

567The looked-for copies of Vistas are not yet to hand. I hope to have them in time for New Year’s Day. The two early copies you so kindly sent to me have been much admired by those who have seen them. The title page, too, is very taking. I thank you again for all your heed and courtesy in this republication of Vistas.

568Cordially yours, with sincerest good wishes for 1895.

569William Sharp

570When the time comes near, do not forget to let me know beforehand about your visit to London.

  • 88 “Some Personal Reminiscences of Walter Pater,” The Atlantic Monthly, 74 (December 1894), 801–14.

571P.S. I am pleased that you like my article on Walter Pater in the Atlantic Monthly.88

  • 89 “Rome in Africa,” Harper’s, 91 (June, 1895), 95–116.

572I may add that I am today revising the proof of a long & rather important article for (I believe) either the March or April issue of Harper’s Monthly.89

573And that reminds me: if you have not already done so, will you kindly send a copy of Vistas to the dedicatee, Mr. H. M. Alden, Editorial Offices, Harper’s Magazine?

574W. S.

575ALS NYPL, Berg Collection

Notes

1 Grant Richards, (1872–1948) was a British publisher and writer. Recognizing his interest in publishing, Sharp’s good friend Grant Allen, his uncle, found a job for him with the wholesale booksellers Hamilton, Adams & Co when he was only sixteen in 1888. Two years later, he secured a position with W. T. Stead’s Review of Reviews as an editor and reviewer. In 1897, he opened his own publishing house under the imprint Grant Richards and published, among other works, Grant Allen’s The Evolution of the Idea of God: An Inquiry into the Origins of Religion. In 1898, he issued works by two major authors: George Bernard Shaw (Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant) and A. E. Housman (A Shropshire Lad). Years later, he wrote and published eight novels under his own imprint and two Memoirs: Memories of a Misspent Youth, 1872–1896 (London: Heinemann, 1932,) Author Hunting by an Old Literary Sportsman: Memories of Years Spent Mainly in Publishing, 1897–1925 (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1934). [Dunbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection: https://www.doaks.org/resources/bliss-tylercorrespondence/annotations/grant-richards]

2 Henry Blake Fuller’s The Chevalier of Pensieri-Vani (1890).

3 (London: Longman’s and Company, 1888).

4 William Holman Hunt (1827–1910) was a Pre-Raphaelite painter who contributed designs to The Germ in 1850. He published his Memoirs, Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, in 1903. A drawing of Rossetti at twenty-five, executed by Hunt in 1853, is reproduced in Volume I of Hunt’s Memoirs.

5 Kensington Court Gardens.

6 The date of this letter is uncertain, but Wednesday, February 14, 1894 seems most likely. In a December 2 1893 letter to Gilchrist, Sharp said he would not be able to go north to visit Gilchrist in December or January and asked if there was a chance of Gilchrist coming south. Later in December [around the 20th] he wrote to Gilchrist: “You are to come here in the early Spring, remember!” Mid-February is not early Spring, but the sequence of events as evidenced in subsequent correspondence argues for this February date and Friday/Saturday, February 16/17 for the Gilchrist/Garfitt visit to Phenice Croft.

7 In a letter of September 26, 1895, Sharp wrote to Gilchrist, “The most tragic & momentous epoch of my life followed that visit of yours to Phenice Croft, & is, so far, indissolubly linked with that day I met you, and that time.” He also said he had described a walk he and Gilchrist and Garfitt took during their visit to Phenice Croft in one of the “Tragic Landscapes” he published in The Sin-Eaters as the work of Fiona Macleod. That brief sketch and its implications are described in some detail in the “Life” section of this chapter. Here it can be noted that Sharp became very ill in the latter half of February 1894 and this illness, which lasted for several months, appears to have resulted from his psychic experiments and the conflict between what Elizabeth Sharp described as “the two forces in him, or the two sides of his nature.” That conflict, which was brought strikingly to the surface as he began to write as Fiona Macleod, “produced a tremendous strain on his physical and mental resources; and at one time between 1897–98 threatened him with a complete nervous collapse.” (Memoir 223). The first such collapse seems to have occurred following the visit of Gilchrist and Garfitt, and that must have been what he had in mind when in 1895 he told Gilchrist that his visit was followed by “the most tragic & momentous epoch of my life”.

8 These friends were the Rinders who must have come on the weekend of March 10/11 to stay with Sharp at Phenice Croft for two weeks. See letter dated March 5, 1894.

9 This review appeared in Literary World on Saturday, May 5, 1894.

10 Public Opinion, see letter dated February 26, 1894 to Little.

11 This review appeared on Saturday, March 3, 1894.

12 Sharp’s Vistas (1894.)

13 Little’s notice of Vistas appeared in Public Opinion on February 16, 1894.

14 Sir Frederick Wedmore (1844–1921) wrote essays on literature and art and contributed to The Guardian and The Times Literary Supplement edited by his wife, Millicent Wedmore. Among his works are Studies in English Art (1876); Etching in England (1895); Fine Prints (1897); and Life of Honore de Balzac (1890).

15 The first edition of Vistas, printed on large paper [L/P], was limited to 400 copies.

16 This laudatory review by George Cotterell dates the letter. It appeared in the number dated Saturday, March 3, 1894, 182–83. After brief summaries of each vista, the concluding sentence: “It is a book of rare excellence and real charm: a book to read and re-read until the vistas beyond vistas which it contains have revealed their full beauty and significance.”

17 Sharp’s review of Garnett’s Poems appeared in The Academy no. 1141.

18 Frank Murray, the Derby bookseller who printed Sharp’s Vistas, edited and published Derbyshire Notes and Queries between October 1892 and December 1898 and compiled and published A Bibliography of Austin Dobson in 1900. In his October 7, 1893 letter to Gilchrist, Sharp said he learned from Frank Murray that Austin Dobson was his cousin.

19 The Stone Dragon and Other Tragic Romances (1894).

20 The Labyrinth: A Romance (1902).

21 An evil demon.

22 Date from postmark.

23 A mistake or private reference.

24 Herbert Stuart Stone (1871–1915) was the son of Melville Elijah Stone, a distinguished journalist, book collector, and patron of authors, who founded the Chicago Daily News and was its editor until 1888. In 1893, while still at Harvard, Stone and his fellow undergraduate Hannibal Ingalls Kimball (1874–1933) founded a publishing firm, Stone and Kimball. A bibliography of American first editions was their first jointly-issued book. Their policy was to accept only manuscripts of literary merit and to publish them in an artistic form. After earning their bachelor’s degrees, they moved the firm to Chicago in August 1894 where Stone’s father could help them financially. In May 1894 they began publishing The Chap-Book to publicize their books. Aubrey Beardsley and Max Beerbohm contributed to the periodical, and Toulouse-Lautrec designed posters for their publications. Among authors on the Stone and Kimball list were Hamlin Garland, George Santayana, Gilbert Parker, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Ingalls Kimball bought out Stone in 1896 after Melville Stone withdrew his financial support. Stone entered publishing again in Chicago as Herbert Stone and Company with the assistance of his younger brother Melville E. Stone, Jr. George Bernard Shaw’s authorized editions were published by the Herbert Stone firm, which continued publishing until 1905.

25 George Herman Ellwanger (1848–1906) was an American writer whose works included The Garden Story (1890); In Gold and Silver (1892); Love’s Demesne, A Garland of Contemporary Love Poems (1896); Idyllists of the Country Side; (1896) and Pleasures of the Table, An Account of Gastronomy (1902).

26 Stone and Kimball published an American edition of Vistas late in 1894 in their Greentree Library Series.

27 “The Rape of the Sabines” was included in the Pagan Review in 1892. Sharp wrote under various pseudonyms all the material in the single issue of that periodical.

28 Les Rois En Exile (1879)

29 Probably some other material to be included in Pharais.

30 W. T. Price’s Technique of the Drama (1892).

31 Sharp must have left for Normandy shortly after writing his April 8 card to Arthur Stedman, (in accord with the plans he sent Gilchrist on March 27). He had reached Paris by April 22. Several references suggest that Edith Rinder accompanied Sharp on this holiday in France.

32 This letter was written on May 4, the Friday of the week before Whitsunday. Easter was on March 25 in 1894, and Whitsunday was seven weeks later on May 13. Since Little could not come to Rudgwick on Whitsunday, Sharp wonders if he can come the weekend before Whitsunday. In a letter to Stanley Little on May 3 Elizabeth Sharp said she and her husband had just returned from Paris where she spent only three days. Sharp was in France for at least the last two weeks of April. On March 17 he told Gilchrist he hoped to be in Normandy before the week was out “and after a day or two by the sea at Dieppe, and then at beautiful and romantic Rouen, to get to the green lanes and open places, and tramp ‘towards the sun.’” The trip was delayed for almost a month.

33 Sharp’s Pharais: A Romance of the Isles was published under the pseudonym Fiona Macleod by Frank Murray in Derby in May 1894.

34 Literary World.

35 This letter is not in the Fiona Macleod handwriting, which was that of Mary Sharp, the writer’s sister, but in Sharp’s own. It is, therefore, the original, which Sharp forwarded to Mary for her to copy into the Fiona Macleod hand. The return address – “C/o Mrs. B. etc” – is incomplete, and there is a note in the Fiona Macleod hand above the address to the effect that the letter was copied and sent to Allen. Preserved by Mary, E. A. S. used it in the Memoir and returned it to the Allen family along with other letters from her husband to Grant Allen. For information about Grant Allen, see the note to Sharp’s letter to Richard Le Gallienne of May 22, 1888. It is interesting to note Grant Allen wrote a novel, The Type-writer Girl (1897), and published it under the feminine pseudonym, Olive Pratt Rayner.

36 Price’s Technique of the Drama. See note to Stedman dated April 8, 1894.

37 Stone & Kimball Publishing Company.

38 The reference here is to Flower o’ the Vine, a volume of Sharp’s poetry published by C. L. Webster and Company in 1892. Since that firm was in liquidation, Stedman had raised with Sharp the possibility that Stone and Kimball might purchase the plates at a good price and issue a second edition.

39 Pharais: A Romance of the Isles was published in May 1894.

40 The Mountain Lovers was published by John Lane (London) in the summer of 1895.

41 Transformation was the title of the original 1860 British edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun.

42 Little has written a favorable review of Pharais, perhaps for the journal Public Opinion. W. R. may have been the June issue of the Westminster Review, which contained a review of Mona Caird’s Daughters of Danae.

43 Sharp left Phenice Croft permanently on June 21 and moved to South Hampstead. Two days later, on Saturday 23, he went to Derbyshire to visit Gilchrist and Garfitt in Eyam. He may have gone on to Scotland for a few days, but that is uncertain.

44 Horace Elisha Scudder (1838–1902) edited The Atlantic Monthly from 1890 until 1898.

45 Sharp’s “Cardinal Lavigerie’s Work in North Africa,” Atlantic Monthly, 74 (August, 1894), 214.

46 Sharp’s Fair Women in Painting and Poetry (London: Seeley and Company, 1894). The book was published in July.

47 Lady Colin Campbell [Gertrude Elizabeth Blood] (1857–1911) was the youngest daughter of Edmund Maghlin Blood of Brickhill, County Clare, Ireland. She married Lord Colin Campbell, who was the youngest son of the eighth Duke of Argyll. Her publications include Darell Blake (1889); Etiquette of Good Society (1893); Ninety-second Thousand (1911); A Woman Walks in the World (1903). Sharp’s plan to write a novel with her came to nothing.

48 Sharp’s idea of collaborating on an article on copartnery came to nothing.

49 Paul Lacroix (1806–1884) was a French novelist, historian, and miscellaneous writer. Among his numerous works are Contes du Bibliophile Jacob (1831); La Dance macabre (1832); Convalescence du vieux conteur (1832–38); Romans relatifs a l’histoire de France aux XV et XV siecles (1838); and Curiosites de l’histoire des arts (1858); Berny was the pseudonym used by Louis Bergeron (1811–1890) who was the author Entre femmes, causerie intime (1892).

50 Edmund Louis Antoine Huot de Goncourt (1822–1896) and Jules Alfred Huot de Goncourt (1830–1870) were novelists, historians, and art critics. Among their joint works are La Lorette (1853); Histoire de La Societe Francaise pendant la Revolution (1854); Portraits Intimes du XVIII Siecle (1857–58); Les Hommes de Lettres (1860); Germinie Lacerteux (1869).

51 Erckmann-Chatrian is the joint pseudonym of Emile Erckmann (1822–1899) and Alexandre Chatrian (1826–1890), French novelists whose works include L’Ami Fritz(1873); Le Brigadier Frederic (1874); Les Vieux de la Vieille (1881).

52 Walter Besant (1836–1901) and James Rice (1843–1882) were British novelists whose joint publications include The Golden Butterfly (1871); Ready-Money Moritboy (1872); ‘Twas in Trafalgar’ s Bay (1897); The Chaplain of the Fleet (1881).

53 This letter establishes the date Sharp moved from Phenice Croft to Rutland House.

54 According to E. A. S. (Memoir 235–36), her husband wrote this poem the night before he left Phenice Croft. The poem was later included in Sharp’s volume of poetry entitled From the Hills of Dream which was published as the work of Fiona Macleod. in 1896.

55 “Darthool and the Sons of Usna” appeared in Fiona Macleod’s The Laughter of Peterkin (London: Archibald, Constable and Company, 1897). No separate book on the Darthula story was published.

56 Sharp left London on June 23 for Derbyshire where he spent three days with Gilchrist and Garfitt in Eyam. At this early point he was conflating Fiona’s movements with his own. The trip establishes the probable date of the letter, which is in the Fiona handwriting.

57 As the previous card to Mavor indicates, Sharp was back in London by July 2. He may have gone on to Scotland for a few days (June 17 to July 2).

58 Roden Noel, an accomplished and well-known poet, died on May 16, 1894 at the age of 60 in a train station in Mainz, Germany.

59 The letter can be fully dated because it was certainly written in 1894 and July was the only month in which the seventh fell on Saturday.

60 For ultimo: of the preceding month.

61 “Cardinal Lavigerie’s Work in North Africa” appeared in the August Atlantic Monthly.

62 Philip Gilbert Hamerton (1834–1894) was an editor, writer on art, landscape painter, and etcher. His books include Thoughts About Art (1862); Etching and Etchers (1866); Contemporary French Painters (1867); The Intellectual Life (1873). He also wrote several romances, and reprinted (1888) articles he had written for The Portfolio: Artistic Monographs, a periodical he began editing in 1869. Sharp’s Fair Women in Painting and Poetry constituted the July 1894 number of The Portfolio. Later in the year it was published in book form by Seeley & Co. in London and Macmillan & Co. in New York.

63 Probably the British edition of Vistas.

64 Probably Adelaide Louisa Allison (c. 1855–1936) who married Christian Wilton Allhusen (1840–1924) in 1874.

65 This letter is marked with a large initial (“G”) extending over its major contents.

66 The first portion of this letter is missing.

67 Sharp’s portrait appears in The Chap-Book, 1 (September 15, 1895), 218. The photograph was taken by Frederick Hollyer.

68 “Lines to E. C. Stedman,” The Chap-Book, 1 (September 15, 1894), 212.

69 Probably Sharp’s “Dedica,” The Chap-Book, 2 (January 15, 1895), 216.

70 Henry Mills Alden.

71 “A Northern Night,” The Chap-Book, 1 (June 15, 1894), 60

72 The Gipsy Christ and Other Tales (Chicago: Stone & Kimball, 1895).

73 “Low Tide on Grand Pré: A Book of Lyrics,” The Academy, 45 (January 6, 1894), 7–8.

74 Anagram of Elizabeth Sharp.

75 The Graphic was a British weekly illustrated newspaper first published on December 4, 1869 by William Luson Thomas’s company Illustrated Newspapers Limited. The influence of The Graphic within the art world was immense. It continued as a weekly under this title until July 1932 when it ceased publication after 3,266 issues, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Graphic

76 The identity of this projected book by William Sharp is uncertain. The only book of Sharp’s published by John Lane was Fiona Macleod’s The Mountain Lovers.

77 Sharp’s poem entitled “Dedica.” See letter to Herbert Stone dated August 15, 1894.

78 Katharine Tynan-Hinkson (1861–1931) was an Irish poet and novelist. Among her numerous works are New Poems (1911); The Cure of Castle Eagle (1915); The Middle Years (1916); The Golden Rose (1924); A Fine Gentleman (1929); Twenty-five Years: Reminiscences (1913). The manuscript of the letter used here, in William Sharp’s hand, is in the National Library of Scotland. Katharine Tynan-Hinkson printed in her Memoir, volume II, The Middle Years (127), the version she received, which is Mary’s copy in the Fiona Macleod hand. A comparison of the two versions indicates that Mary made some minor changes when she copied Sharp’s letter. E. A. S. printed this letter in the Memoir (238).

79 The Atlantic Monthly, 74 (December 1894), 801–14.

80 A novel by Hall Caine. “Heinemann published the Manxman on 3 August, 1894. It was an immediate and huge success, already reprinting on the 17th. By mid-September it had sold 34,000 copies. Caine wrote in awe to Heinemann, stunned by the way the money was rolling in, far more than his previous books had earned. By 1913 the book had sold half a million copies and been translated into 12 languages. It was published simultaneously in New York by Appleton’s and had an enormous success in the States, making Caine a household name there.” (Vivien Allen, Hall Caine: Portrait of a Victorian Romancer, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997.)

81 A collection of Gilchrist’s stories entitled The Stone Dragon and Other Tragic Romances (London: Methuen, 1894). “Hercules” is one of the stories in the volume. In their introduction to Gilchrist’s The Basilisk and Other Tales of Dread (Ash-Tree Press: Ashcroft, British Columbia, 2003), John Pelan and Christopher Roden praise The Stone Dragon: “Among the great works of this period is a collection of the fantastic by one contributor to The Yellow Book, Robert Murray Gilchrist (1868–1917). Gilchrist is an author little-known today, but his collection is revered by aficionados of the genre as one of the most desirable, both for its literary merits and its near-legendary rarity…. Such is the rarity of the volume [The Stone Dragon] that even facsimile reprints vanished in short order following their publication, and a first edition of the book heads the wants-list of many world class collectors.”

82 The stories intended for that volume, which was not published, may have appeared in Ecce Puella: And Other Prose Imaginings (Elkin Mathews: London, 1896).

83 The Gipsy Christ and Other Tales (Stone and Kimball: Chicago, 1895). It appeared in Britain as Madge o’ the Pool: The Gipsy Christ and Other Tales (Archibald Constable: Westminster, 1897). Whereas the American publication contained seven tales, the British publication contained only four.

84 “Dec 4 94” is written at the top of the letter in a hand that is not Sharp’s. That was probably written by Little as the day he received the letter. Sharp told Gilchrist (letter of 12 Nov 94) that he was going to Scotland “for 2 or 3 weeks from the 1st of December.”

85 Catherine Janvier quoted this passage from a William Sharp letter in her article entitled “Fiona Macleod and her Creator William Sharp” that appeared in the North American Review (184.612 (April 5), 1907). The passage followed Christmas greetings to the Janviers. She went on to quote from a letter she received from Sharp dated August 12, 1893 in which he said he was working on “a strange Celtic tale” called Pharais. She did not recall this letter when she read the copy of Pharais, but she did recall describing in a letter to Sharp a field of “mist-veiled daisies,” and there they were in Pharais. When she reminded Sharp of this image and declared he was certainly Fiona Macleod, he had no choice but to tell the truth and pledge the Janviers to secrecy, which he did in a letter dated January 5, 1895.

86 “The Second Shadow,” The New York Independent, 44 (August 25, 1892,) 1205 ff.

87 The stories in The Gypsy Christ (Chicago: Stone & Kimball, 1895) appeared in the following order: “The Gypsy Christ,” “Madge o’ the Pool,” “The Coward,” A Venetian Idyl,” “The Graven Image,” “The Lady in Hosea,” “Fröken Bergliot.”

88 “Some Personal Reminiscences of Walter Pater,” The Atlantic Monthly, 74 (December 1894), 801–14.

89 “Rome in Africa,” Harper’s, 91 (June, 1895), 95–116.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 14 Portrait of Mary Beatrice Sharp, William Sharp’s youngest sister taken in the Davis Studios in Edinburgh in 1906. Mary provided the handwriting for Fiona Macleod’s extensive correspondence. Courtesy of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Dulles Reading Room, Firestone Library, Princeton University.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7856/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 237k
Légende Fig. 15a. Verso of Fig. 4 in Mary Sharp’s handwriting which was the Fiona Macleod handwriting. Inscribed to “To the Reverend R. Wilkins Rees. Yours Sincerely, Mary B. Sharp. Fiona Macleod’s sister, who did all the writing of the Fiona Macleod work and carried on the correspondence connected with it.”
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7856/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 144k
Légende Fig. 15b. Letter to Grant Richards from William Sharp in his handwriting. Courtesy of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7856/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 137k
Légende Fig. 16. Photograph of Grant Allen (1848–1899) by Elliott & Fry (c. 1899), Wikimedia, https://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File:Portrait_of_Grant_Allen.jpg, Public Domain.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7856/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 230k

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