HARTE Bret - Autograph Letter Signed 1881 about a lecture
Bret HARTE (1836-1902)
Autograph Letter Signed (“B.H.”) to “My dear Duchess” regarding arrangements for a lecture.
3 pages 8vo on paper headed “Consulate of the United States of America”, Glasgow, 13 January 1881.
“I’ve just got back from a dismal journey to keep a lecturing engagement to find your note of the 12th. Unless you have already announced me for the 18th could you . . . put me down for the 19th? I have much to do here in the way of making up my yearly reports . . . I don’t want to risk the chance of failing to be in time at my little performance.
Now, as to the recitation. I have never read from my own works or indeed anybody’s works in public. I very gravely doubt my ability! But I can give a ten or twenty minutes extract from my lecture, which I do know I can do. The other thing is risky, and I shouldn’t like to try my “practice hand” upon your company – and you.
. . . Forgive this hurried scrawl. I hope you are better than I am. This climate is slowly killing me.”
Hart was appointed U.S. Consul in Glasgow in 1880, during which time he combined his duties as Consul with writing and lecturing. Best known for his tales of the Far West and the California Gold Rush, he is, perhaps incongruously, buried in Frimley, in Surrey.
The letter is slightly dusty and crumpled at the edges, with a minor tear at the central fold, but is in clear, legible condition. A previous collector has written “Autograph of Bret Harte on the verso of the blank leaf.
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