THACKERAY William Makepeace - Autograph Letter Signed 1851 explaining his absence
William Makepeace THACKERAY (1811-1863)Autograph Letter Signed (“W M Thackeray”) to “My dear Mrs Hawes” sending his apologies, and an explanation, for his absence from her dinner.
1 page 8vo with integral blank leaf, Kensington, 7 July n.y. [annotated on the blank leaf “1851”].
“I must beg you once more to bear with equanimity my absence from your kind table, but I want to go away for a month’s holyday with my girls – and we propose to set off to Antwerp on Thursday & so to the Rhine and ever so far. And as my time is short & days of importance to me, I hope considering the case you will let me have the advantage of these 3.”
At the time of writing, Thackeray was living as a single father to his two daughters, who would have been about 11 and 14 years old. His wife, Isabella, had been struck by what would appear to be a very severe case of post-natal depression after the birth of her youngest daughter, attempted suicide and finally spent the rest of her long life in institutional care.
Thackeray’s correspondent was the wife of Sir Benjamin Hawes, a Whig politician and Member of Parliament who espoused a number of progressive causes. She was also the daughter of Marc Isambard Brunel, and therefore the sister of the great engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
The letter is somewhat browned with a lighter border, indicating that it was, at some time, framed. Another hand has written “Mr. Thackeray” at the top of the letter and there are remains of mounting to the verso of the blank leaf, but the letter is nevertheless in clear, clean condition.
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