MARTINEAU Harriet - Autograph Letter Signed
Harriet MARTINEAU (1802-1876)
Autograph Letter Signed (“H. Martineau”) to “Dear Lady Walsham”, thanking her for some grapes and discussing various personal matters.
4 pages 12mo on pink paper, n.p., n.d.
“Mrs. Bell’s grapes are almost too pretty to be eaten. I had some thoughts of exhibiting them to the Tynemouth folk, at 1d. a head, for the benefit of the drainage, before eating them. But it is too late now. I was tempted, like Eve, & ate. . . . Mr. Headlam Greenhow [Martineau’s doctor and brother-in-law] says I may have a sight of Mr. Scott’s book on China when you have done with it. Perhaps you will be so kind as to let it be left at my door . . . For the chance of your not having seen the very beautiful Nina Sforza, I send it . . . Are not your thoughts in St. Stephen’s today? I long to know whether Sir Robert will be, in the end, helped or damaged by the secession of the Plantagenet. It seems to me, he must grant every thing. By all the reliable accounts that reach me, it is too late now for any Minister to have any choice. . .”
Nina Sforza, a tragedy by Richard Zouch Troughton, was first performed at the Haymarket Theatre in 1841. “Sir Robert” is possibly a reference to the Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, but the meaning of the phrase “the secession of the Plantagenet” eludes us.
Harriet Martineau suffered from ill-health for most of her life. In her early forties, she moved to Tynemouth in the north-east, and retired to her rooms as an invalid, but one still capable of writing and receiving her many friends. It seems entirely possible that her debility was of psychosomatic origin, for when she attempted a cure by mesmerism – then new and fashionable – she found remarkable results.
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