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Letter to B.R. HaydonBenjamin Robert Haydon | Born: 1786-01-26 in Plymouth, England. Died: 1846-06-22 in London.
Benjamin Robert Haydon was a painter educated at the Royal Academy, who was famous for contemporary, historical, classical, biblical, and mythological scenes, though tormented by financial difficulties. He painted William Wordsworth’s portrait in 1842. MRM was introduced to him at his London studio in the spring of 1817, and Sir William Elford was a mutual friend. He committed suicide in 1846. English painter and author (1786-1846) Published Autobiography in 3 vols. (1853) John Keats named him in several poems. --#ebb #lmw
, October 2, 1820.

Edited by Eric S. Hood.

Sponsored by:

First digital edition in TEI, date: June 2, 2014. P5. . .

Published by: Digital Mitford: The Mary Russell Mitford Archive, Greensburg, PA, USA: .

Reproduced by courtesy of the Reading Central Library.

Digital Mitford Letters: The Mary Russell Mitford Archive

Repository: Reading Central Library. Shelf mark: qB/TU/MIT Vol. 4 Horizon No.: 1361550 ff. 420

Folio sheet of paper folded in half to form four quarto pages, with correspondence on 1-4 with address leaf also on page 4, then folded in thirds twice more and sealed for posting.Address leaf bearing the following postmarks: 1) black circular mileage stamp reading READING
[Gap: 1 chars, reason: illegible.]. 2)Red double circle Evening Duty stamp reading B
1 OC 7
1820
. 3) Sepia-inked oval Delivery stamp reading 10 o'Clock
* OC * 7 *
1820 F.Nn Red wax seal, only partially visible

Hands other than Mitford's noted on this manuscript:

Mitford’s spelling and punctuation are retained, except where a word is split at the end of a line and the beginning of the next in the manuscript. To facilitate searching, where Mitford’s spelling and hyphenation of words deviates from the standard, we use the TEI elements “choice," “sic," and “reg" to encode both Mitford’s spelling and the regular international standard of Oxford English spelling, following the first listed spelling in the Oxford English Dictionary. The long s and ligatured forms are not encoded.
October 2nd 1820.Three Mile CrossMy dear Sir

Your most welcome parcel containing Mr. Keats’sJohn Keats | Born: 1795-10-31 in Moorgate, London. Died: 1821-02-23 in Rome. charming poems & your own charming letter arrived here only yesterday. I hope before that time that you received a [post] from me [informing] you of the safe arrival of your dogs & begging you to come and see them [soon]. I shall not send off this letter till you have answered our petition with a yes—for I will not anticipate the possibility of a refusal, but I must thank you immediately for the great pleasure I have derived from your packet. Mr. Keats’sJohn Keats | Born: 1795-10-31 in Moorgate, London. Died: 1821-02-23 in Rome. poetry is exquisite—so fresh & [racy] & full of fine juices. If anything can make the Quarterly ReviewerQuarterly Review. 1809-1967.
Tory periodical founded by George Canning in 1809, published by John Murray. William Gifford edited the Quarterly Review from its founding in 1809 until 1824, was succeeded briefly by John Taylor Coleridge in 1825, until John Gibson Lockhart took over as editor from 1826 through 1853. Archived at Romantic Circles, Quarterly Review Archive --#lmw
s & Blackwood’sBlackwood’s Magazine. 1817-04-1980.
Founded as a Tory magazine in opposition to the Whiggish Edinburgh Review.--#ebb
people blush this volume will, but they have probably lost that sign of grace. The notice of the fate of EndymionEndymion. John Keats. in [the] advertisement was a fine rebuke. I hope Mr. KeatsJohn Keats | Born: 1795-10-31 in Moorgate, London. Died: 1821-02-23 in Rome. is better. Is he in good hands? Has he any near female relation, sister, wife [or] mother to take care of him? Don’t fancy that I under value the kindness of manly friendship but where there is kindness there should be a woman. Nursing & taking care are the most precious of our privileges. —Now for your very able article on the Scottish novels. It was really a pity to waste such excellent writing on a letter. I wish you would take the affair in hand. Mr. HaslittWilliam Hazlitt | Born: 1778-04-10 in Maidstone, Kent, England. Died: 1830-09-18 in Soho, London, England.
Essayist and critic, acquaintance of Mary Russell Mitford. Author of Table Talk (1821) and The Spirit of the Age (1825). Also authored collections of critical essays such as Characters of Shakespeare (1817), A View of the English Stage (1818), and English Comic Writers (1819). In a letter of 2 October 1820 , Mary Russell Mitford writes of Hazlitt to their mutual friend Haydon, He is the most delightful critic in the [world]-- puts all his taste, his wit, his deep thinking, his matchless acuteness into his subject, but he does not put his whole heart & soul into it [. . . ] What charms me most in Mr. Haslitt is the beautiful candour which he bursts forth sometimes from his own prejudices [ . . . ] I admire him so ardently that when I begin to talk of him I never know how to stop. I could talk on for an hour in a see saw of praise and blame as he himself does of Beaumont & Fletcher & some of his old [favourites]. --#lmw #cmm
, delightful writer as he is, does not produce so much effect as you do, partly because he is by profession a “setter up & puller down of kings”. We are accustomed to see him tossing great names into a topsy turvy confusion, & partly that he has a trick of escaping occasionally from some serious and earnest page 2
criticism by a piece of sudden pleasantry which gives an air of Persiflage to all that he has said. He is the most delightful critic in the wor[l]d-- puts all his [taste], his wit, his deep thinking, his matchless acuteness into his subject, but he does not put his whole heart & soul into it & [you] do & there is the difference. What charms me most in Mr. HaslittWilliam Hazlitt | Born: 1778-04-10 in Maidstone, Kent, England. Died: 1830-09-18 in Soho, London, England.
Essayist and critic, acquaintance of Mary Russell Mitford. Author of Table Talk (1821) and The Spirit of the Age (1825). Also authored collections of critical essays such as Characters of Shakespeare (1817), A View of the English Stage (1818), and English Comic Writers (1819). In a letter of 2 October 1820 , Mary Russell Mitford writes of Hazlitt to their mutual friend Haydon, He is the most delightful critic in the [world]-- puts all his taste, his wit, his deep thinking, his matchless acuteness into his subject, but he does not put his whole heart & soul into it [. . . ] What charms me most in Mr. Haslitt is the beautiful candour which he bursts forth sometimes from his own prejudices [ . . . ] I admire him so ardently that when I begin to talk of him I never know how to stop. I could talk on for an hour in a see saw of praise and blame as he himself does of Beaumont & Fletcher & some of his old [favourites]. --#lmw #cmm
is the beautiful candour which he bursts forth [sometimes] from his own prejudices—much as the  [charms] of Dr. JohnsonSamuel Johnson | Born: 1709-08-18. Died: 1784-12-13.
English writer and "man of letters." His many well-known works include best A Dictionary of the English Language (1755), Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets (1781), and A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (1775).--#esh
in the Comic Writers & the account of the [Reformation] in the Age of Elizabeth. I admire him so ardently that when I begin to talk of him I never know how to stop. I could talk on for an hour in a see saw of praise and blame as he himself does of BeaumontFrancis Beaumont | Born: 1584 in Grace-Dieu, Leicestershire, England. Died: 1616-03-06 in London, England.
--
& FletcherJohn Fletcher | Born: 1579 in Rye, Sussex. Died: 1625 in London, England.
Playwright following Shakespeare and contemporary of Ben Jonson in the early 17th century, and collaborator with Francis Beaumont. --#ebb
& some of his old favo[u]rites. I remember his article in Baldwin’s MagazineThe London Magazine. 1820-1829.
An 18th-century periodical of this title (The London Magazine, or Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer) ran from 1732 to 1785 . In 1820, John Scott launched a new series of The London Magazine emulating the style of Blackwood’s Magazine, though the two magazines soon came into heated contention. This series ran until 1829, and this is the series to which Mitford and her correspondents frequently refer in their letters. Scott’s editorship lasted until his death by duel on 27 February 1821 resulting form bitter personal conflict with the editors of Blackwood’s Magazine connected with their insulting characterization of a London Cockney School. After Scott’s death, William Hazlitt took up editing the magazine with the April 1821 issue.--#ebb #lmw
. It was excellent—only not quite so good as your letter. Certainly those novels are over-rated. One cannot help suspecting that the Scotchmen who compare them so gravely to our great Authors are better acquainted with the works of Walter ScottWalter Scott | Born: 1771-08-15 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Died: 1832-09-21 in Abbotsford, Scotland.
Scottish antiquarian, poet, and novelist. Also worked as clerk of the Court of Session in Edinburgh. He assembled a collection of Scottish ballads, many of which had never before been printed, in Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, first published in 1802, but continually expanded in revised editions through 1812 . Author of the long romance poems, The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), Marmion (1808), and The Lady of the Lake (1810). From 1814-1831, Scott published 23 novels, and over the course of his literary career, he wrote review articles for the Edinburgh Review, The Quarterly Review, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, and the Foreign Quarterly Review.--#ebb #esh
than with those of MiltonJohn Milton | Born: 1608-12-09. Died: 1674-11-08.
English poet and essayist, best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost (1667).--#esh
or ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare | Born: 1564-04 in Stratford upon Avon. Died: 1616-04-23 in Stratford upon Avon.
English author and actor (1564-1616) --#lmw
. You have exposed the absurdity of such comparisons admirably. One consequence of the exaggerated praise will be a violent reaction in public opinion. They will sink as much below their merit in the next generation as they have risen above it in this—like the [Dramatists] I have mentioned, BeaumontFrancis Beaumont | Born: 1584 in Grace-Dieu, Leicestershire, England. Died: 1616-03-06 in London, England.
--
& FletcherJohn Fletcher | Born: 1579 in Rye, Sussex. Died: 1625 in London, England.
Playwright following Shakespeare and contemporary of Ben Jonson in the early 17th century, and collaborator with Francis Beaumont. --#ebb
who were at one time preferred to ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare | Born: 1564-04 in Stratford upon Avon. Died: 1616-04-23 in Stratford upon Avon.
English author and actor (1564-1616) --#lmw
& at another scarcely heard of, & whom by the way much more than ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare | Born: 1564-04 in Stratford upon Avon. Died: 1616-04-23 in Stratford upon Avon.
English author and actor (1564-1616) --#lmw
Walter ScottWalter Scott | Born: 1771-08-15 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Died: 1832-09-21 in Abbotsford, Scotland.
Scottish antiquarian, poet, and novelist. Also worked as clerk of the Court of Session in Edinburgh. He assembled a collection of Scottish ballads, many of which had never before been printed, in Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, first published in 1802, but continually expanded in revised editions through 1812 . Author of the long romance poems, The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), Marmion (1808), and The Lady of the Lake (1810). From 1814-1831, Scott published 23 novels, and over the course of his literary career, he wrote review articles for the Edinburgh Review, The Quarterly Review, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, and the Foreign Quarterly Review.--#ebb #esh
resembles. RebeccaRebecca
character in Ivanhoe.--#esh
in IvanhoeIvanhoe. Walter Scott. is exactly one of Fletcher'sJohn Fletcher | Born: 1579 in Rye, Sussex. Died: 1625 in London, England.
Playwright following Shakespeare and contemporary of Ben Jonson in the early 17th century, and collaborator with Francis Beaumont. --#ebb
women—another AspatiaAspatia
character in The Maid’s Tale.--#esh
or [Bellario]Bellario (Euphrasia)
character in Philaster.--#esh
. Besides the faults you have pointed out a very great one in my mind is the tendency of these books to foster a melodramatic has he a want of strong excitement which is the besetting sin page 3
of the age—a sin much cherished by our great theatres by Lord Byron’sGeorge Gordon Noel Byron, sixth Baron Byron | Born: 1788-01-22 in Holles Street, London. Died: 1824-04-19 in Missolonghi, Greece.
--
poetry & by these novels.—After all I have a feeling of remorse about me for saying a word against them. It seems ungrateful even to nourish a detracting thought of such [sources] of innocent   & attainable amusement. I am so grateful too for one [circumstance] that you mention.   Every body can talk of them. What a comfort that is—what a [resource] to a person who has no great variety of conversation to have something to say to a stranger when we have settled the weather. How thankful we ought to be for an Author who has provided us all with a spell to set talk a flowing, to unclose the shyest lips by such a simple “open [Sesame]” as Have you read The AbbotThe Abbot. Walter Scott. London Edinburgh: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown Archibald Constable and Company, and John Ballantyne. 1820.
Historical novel: One of Scott’s series of Tales from Benedictine Sources, The Abbot introduces the character Roland Graeme, and renders the experiences of Mary, Queen of Scots during her imprisonment and escape from Loch Leven Castle in 1567 .--#ebb
or Do you like The MonasteryThe Monastery. Walter Scott. .—The part of these works that please me the most are those that approach nearest to common life [Oldbuck]John Oldbuck
character in The Antiquary.--#esh
& Edie Olchiltree Edie Ochiltree
character in The Antiquary.--#esh
PleydellPleydell
character in Guy Mannering.--#esh
and Dandie DinmontDandie Dinmont
character in Guy Mannering.--#esh
—Give me such as these—& take who will Elspeth Elspeth
Steenie’s grandmother in Walter Scott’s The Antiquary .--#esh #lmw
Balfour John Balfour
character in Old Mortality.--#esh
Dirk Hatteraick Dirk Hatteraick
character in Guy Mannering.--#esh
Meg MerriliesMeg Merrilies
character in Guy Mannering.--#esh
& all such [questionable] compounds of [witch and gipsey]. This is a sad ignominious confession and goes near to prove that “the gods have [not made me] poetical”—but such is the melancholy [sort]. My dear Mr. HaydonBenjamin Robert Haydon | Born: 1786-01-26 in Plymouth, England. Died: 1846-06-22 in London.
Benjamin Robert Haydon was a painter educated at the Royal Academy, who was famous for contemporary, historical, classical, biblical, and mythological scenes, though tormented by financial difficulties. He painted William Wordsworth’s portrait in 1842. MRM was introduced to him at his London studio in the spring of 1817, and Sir William Elford was a mutual friend. He committed suicide in 1846. English painter and author (1786-1846) Published Autobiography in 3 vols. (1853) John Keats named him in several poems. --#ebb #lmw
how ashamed I ought to be to send such impertinence to you—but you are so indulgent that one is not half so afraid of you as is proper—& my pleasure at hearing from you an opinion I had long entertained setting pen a going irresistibly. Ah you little guessed what a shower bath would fall about your ears when you pulled the string. Well I will not say another word about Walter ScottWalter Scott | Born: 1771-08-15 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Died: 1832-09-21 in Abbotsford, Scotland.
Scottish antiquarian, poet, and novelist. Also worked as clerk of the Court of Session in Edinburgh. He assembled a collection of Scottish ballads, many of which had never before been printed, in Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, first published in 1802, but continually expanded in revised editions through 1812 . Author of the long romance poems, The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), Marmion (1808), and The Lady of the Lake (1810). From 1814-1831, Scott published 23 novels, and over the course of his literary career, he wrote review articles for the Edinburgh Review, The Quarterly Review, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, and the Foreign Quarterly Review.--#ebb #esh
I am determined. —How are you off for Summer in LondonLondon, England | London | England | 51.5073509 -0.12775829999998223 | Capital city of England and the United Kingdom; one the oldest cities in Western Europe. Major seaport and global trading center at the mouth of the Thames. From 1831 to 1925, the largest city in the world.--#lmw51.5073509 -0.12775829999998223? These few days have brought it back to us in all its splendor. I am writing out of doors in our little arbour--with my attention a good deal distracted by a superb butterfly which page 4
is hovering about a large tuft of China Asters close by—now fluttering round & round in the sun & now swinging in the rich blossoms. The butterflies love China Asters—so do I. They come when flowers begin to be so rare & precious—their colours are so rich—& they are so hardy. They lift up their gay heads and will live let the weather be what it may. Now goodbye for today I shall not finish till I hear from you. Oh I hope you will come. We shall be more disappointed than words can tell is you do not.


Good bye dear Sir.

Friday 6th—Having the opportunity of a [frank] I   shall send this off to beg to know if you can come to us next Sunday fortnight the 22nd--or the Monday—PapaGeorge Mitford, Esq., or: George Midford | Born: . Died: .
George Mitford was born on November 15, 1760 in Hexham, Northumberland, the son of Francis Midford, surgeon, and Jane Graham. He was related to the Mitfords of Mitford Castle, Northumberland. In 1784, he was living in Alresford and is listed in a Hampshire directory as "surgeon (medicine)." Although later sources would claim that he was a graduate of the University of Edinburgh medical school, there is no evidence that he obtained a medical degree; his father and grandfather worked as surgeon-apothecaries and it seems likely that he served a medical apprenticeship with family members. He married Mary Russell on October 17, 1785 at New Alresford, Hampshire. On the marriage allegation papers, both gave their addresses as Old Alresford; they later came to live at Broad Street in New Alresford. Their only child to live to adulthood, Mary Russell Mitford, was born two years later on December 16, 1787 at New Alresford, Hampshire. George Mitford died on December 11, 1842 at Three Mile Cross in the parish of Shinfield, Berkshire. --#lmw
and MamaMary Russell Mitford, or: Mrs. Mitford | Born: 1750 in Ashe, Hampshire, England. Died: 1830-01-02 in Three Mile Cross, parish of Shinfield, Berkshire, England.
Mary Russell was the youngest child of the Rev. Dr. Richard Russell and his second wife, Mary Dicker; she was born about 1750 in Ashe, Hampshire. (Her birth date is as yet unverified; period sources indicate that she was ten years older than her husband George, born in 1760.) Through the Russells, she was a distant relation of the Dukes of Bedford (sixth creation, 1694). She had two siblings, Charles William and Frances; both predeceased her and their parents, which resulted in Mary Russell inheriting her family’s entire estate upon her mother’s death in 1785. Her father’s rectory in Ashe was only a short distance from Steventon, and so she was acquainted with the young Jane Austen. She married George Mitford or Midford on October 17, 1785 at New Alresford, Hampshire. On the marriage allegation papers, both gave their addresses as Old Alresford. Their only daughter, Mary Russell Mitford, was born two years later on December 16, 1787 at New Alresford, Hampshire. Mary Russell died on January 2, 1830 at Three Mile Cross in the parish of Shinfield, Berkshire. Her obituary in the 1830 New Monthly Magazine gives the "New Year’s day" as the date of her death. --#ajc #lmw
go into Hampshire  will but shall be returned by that time and most happy & [proud] to see you & to shew you better the week after in Oxfordshire.—My FatherGeorge Mitford, Esq., or: George Midford | Born: . Died: .
George Mitford was born on November 15, 1760 in Hexham, Northumberland, the son of Francis Midford, surgeon, and Jane Graham. He was related to the Mitfords of Mitford Castle, Northumberland. In 1784, he was living in Alresford and is listed in a Hampshire directory as "surgeon (medicine)." Although later sources would claim that he was a graduate of the University of Edinburgh medical school, there is no evidence that he obtained a medical degree; his father and grandfather worked as surgeon-apothecaries and it seems likely that he served a medical apprenticeship with family members. He married Mary Russell on October 17, 1785 at New Alresford, Hampshire. On the marriage allegation papers, both gave their addresses as Old Alresford; they later came to live at Broad Street in New Alresford. Their only child to live to adulthood, Mary Russell Mitford, was born two years later on December 16, 1787 at New Alresford, Hampshire. George Mitford died on December 11, 1842 at Three Mile Cross in the parish of Shinfield, Berkshire. --#lmw
desires me to say that if you should prefer to see a coursing meeting for a Cup there will be one at [Gap: 3 words, reason: illegible.] engaged on the 22nd, do come then—the weather will be better & the days longer & the [earliest] time is always the best. Adieu my dear Sir & ever yours

M. R. Mitford.
B. R. Haydon Esqre
St. John's Place
Lisson Grove North
Regent's Park
LondonLondon, England | London | England | 51.5073509 -0.12775829999998223 | Capital city of England and the United Kingdom; one the oldest cities in Western Europe. Major seaport and global trading center at the mouth of the Thames. From 1831 to 1925, the largest city in the world.--#lmw51.5073509 -0.12775829999998223