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Letter to Mary WebbMary Elizabeth Webb | Born: 1796-04-15 in Wokingham, Berkshire, England. Died: .
Close friend and frequent correspondent of Mary Russell Mitford. Mary Webb was born about 1796, the daughter of James Webb, Esq., and Jane Elizabeth Ogbourn. Baptized on April 15, 1796 in Wokingham, Berkshire. Sister of Elizabeth (called Eliza) and Jane Eleanor Webb and niece of the elder Mary Webb, "Aunt Mary". In Needham’s papers, he notes from the Berkshire Directorythat she lived on Broad street, presumably in Wokingham, Berkshire. She was the wife of Thomas Hawkins, Esq., as she is referred to thus in probate papers of 1858 regarding the wills of her sister Eliza Webb Walter and her husband Henry Walter. Date of death unknown. More research needed.--#scw #lmw
, December 8, 1820

Edited by Samantha Webb .

Sponsored by:

First digital edition in TEI, date: February 8, 2017. P5.Edition made with help from photos taken by Digital Mitford editors. Digital Mitford photo files: .

Published by: Digital Mitford: The Mary Russell Mitford Archive, Greensburg, PA, USA: 2013.

Reproduced by courtesy of the Reading Central LibraryReading Central Library
The principal archive of Mary Russell Mitford’s personal papers and related documents, holding approximately 1,000 manuscripts and a nearly comprehensive collection of her publications.--#ghb
.

Digital Mitford Letters: The Mary Russell Mitford Archive

Repository: Reading Central Library. Shelf mark: qB/TU/MIT

Two sheets of paper, three surfaces paper, 10 page surfaces photographed, 19 centimeters by 22 centimeters, folded twice into thirds width-wise and length wise. Sheet (pages three and four) torn on right edge of page three where wax seal was removed. Left hand side of page three is removed and partial right hand side is torn from seal. seal seemed to be red wax seal but was torn off. There are small remnants of the seal scattered across the folds.

Hands other than Mitford's noted on this manuscript:

30 Great Queen Street Decemberr8th1820.

Prepare[1] We have not completed transcription and encoding of this letter, which is extremely long. However, due to its interesting details on theater history, we present it in incomplete state, to be finished and updated here.—ebb for an astounding Compliment my own dear Mary WebbMary Elizabeth Webb | Born: 1796-04-15 in Wokingham, Berkshire, England. Died: .
Close friend and frequent correspondent of Mary Russell Mitford. Mary Webb was born about 1796, the daughter of James Webb, Esq., and Jane Elizabeth Ogbourn. Baptized on April 15, 1796 in Wokingham, Berkshire. Sister of Elizabeth (called Eliza) and Jane Eleanor Webb and niece of the elder Mary Webb, "Aunt Mary". In Needham’s papers, he notes from the Berkshire Directorythat she lived on Broad street, presumably in Wokingham, Berkshire. She was the wife of Thomas Hawkins, Esq., as she is referred to thus in probate papers of 1858 regarding the wills of her sister Eliza Webb Walter and her husband Henry Walter. Date of death unknown. More research needed.--#scw #lmw
—I am going to write to you because I have nothing else to do. Are you content to read on after such a confession? "Yes" say—"yes"—very well then I shall proceed.—Miss ElizaElizabeth Eliza Webb | Born: 1797-03-03 in . Died: .
Elizabeth Webb, called Eliza, was a neighbor and friend of Mary Russell Mitford. Eliza Webb was born about 1797, the youngest daughter of James Webb, Esq., and Jane Elizabeth Ogbourn. She was baptized privately on March 3, 1797, and publicly on June 8, 1797 in Wokingham, Berkshire. She is the sister of Mary Elizabeth and Jane Eleanor Webb. In 1837 she married Henry Walters, Esq., in Wokingham, Berkshire. In Needham’s papers, he notes from the Berkshire Directorythat she lived on Broad street, presumably in Wokingham. Her date of death is unknown. She died after 1822, at which date she is mentioned in papers relating to her father’s will and estate. Source: See Needham’s letter to Roberts on November 27, 1953 . More research needed.--#scw #lmw
may have told you that she saw me as far on my ^road to 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 last Tuesday (by the way I hope she found your French tutor & that he is sound mind & limb)—as the famous town of ReadingReading, Berkshire, England | Reading | Berkshire | England | 51.4542645 -0.9781302999999753 | County town in Berkshire, in the Thames valley at the confluence of the Thames and the River Kennet. The town developed as a river port and in Mitford’s time served as a staging point on the Bath Road and was developing into a center of manufacturing. Mitford lived here with her parents from 1791 to 1795, on Coley Avenue in the parish of St. Mary’s and attended the Abbey School. The family returned to Reading from 1797 to about 1804, after which they relocated to Bertram House. They frequently visited Reading thereafter from their homes at nearby Bertram House, Three Mile Cross and Swallowfield. Mitford later used scenes from Reading as the basis for Belford Regis; or Sketches of a Country Town.--#lmw51.4542645 -0.9781302999999753.—I got here Tuesday night—here—the house of a friend who is out of town where I am for the first time in my life the perfect mistress of myself & my time 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—not obliged to truckle to fine ways or submit my sight seeing desires to five hours.[2] Checking the Oxford English Dictionary, "truckle" is a verb defining the process of yielding/submitting/cowering to something or someone. The references displayed for this usage are dated around Mitford’s time.—#jmh—So being close to the Theaters showing always [orders] for either house at no greater expense than that of listening to a good deal of flattery & paying it by some half dozen smiling words I determined to try what I could do in the way of liking plays by going every night & giving them a fair chance—Certain in the last resort that if I had no other pleasure I was quite sure of the  great comfort of finding fault.—Well on Wednesday I went to see WallaceWallace: an historical tragedy in five acts. Charles E. Walker . London: John Miller. 1820.
Performed at Covent Garden in November 1820; William Macready performed the title role. Mitford’s 1821 October 22 letter to Talfourd suggests that Macready’s performance guaranteed the success of the play.--#lmw
the new tragedy & The WarlockThe Warlock of the Glen: A Melo-drama in Two Acts. Charles E. Walker. 1820.
MRM saw this play in December 1820 at Covent Garden Theatre.--#ebb
the new melo drama (one is quite as much a melodrama as t'other by the bye) both by the same author, & that author a lad of nineteen, son of Peter WalkerPeter Walker
Father of the playwright Charles E. Walker. It is noted that he was a Westminster Patriot.--#jmh
the Westminster Patriot. WallaceWallace: an historical tragedy in five acts. Charles E. Walker . London: John Miller. 1820.
Performed at Covent Garden in November 1820; William Macready performed the title role. Mitford’s 1821 October 22 letter to Talfourd suggests that Macready’s performance guaranteed the success of the play.--#lmw
is very well— considering—a good deal of stage effect—& some fine situations — there is no promise in it—no luxuriance to prune away — no glorious faults—the author will never write better—but as he never means to write again that does not much signify—he got up these two things merely to earn money enough to pay his expenses at OxfordUniversity of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England | Oxford University | Oxford | Oxfordshire | England | 51.7566341 -1.2547036999999364 | Research university made up of constituent colleges; the oldest university in the English-speaking world.--#lmw51.7566341 -1.2547036999999364 for a year or two—& is I hear a modest meritorious youth. WallaceWallace: an historical tragedy in five acts. Charles E. Walker . London: John Miller. 1820.
Performed at Covent Garden in November 1820; William Macready performed the title role. Mitford’s 1821 October 22 letter to Talfourd suggests that Macready’s performance guaranteed the success of the play.--#lmw
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a Miss Porterish person — as little like the real WallaceWallace: an historical tragedy in five acts. Charles E. Walker . London: John Miller. 1820.
Performed at Covent Garden in November 1820; William Macready performed the title role. Mitford’s 1821 October 22 letter to Talfourd suggests that Macready’s performance guaranteed the success of the play.--#lmw
as her hero—always praising & puffing himself & talking sentimentally to the woods & mountains & dropping his sword at the sound of treachery (the real Wallace would have cloven men into the earth first & been shocked at this treachery afterwards) & leaving his fate to this wife's decision & so forth. To redeem these faults he had two great merits—he was born before the invention of gunpowder, & he is acted by W. MacreadyWilliam Charles Macready | Born: 1793-03-03 in London, England. Died: 1873-04-27 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England.
English actor, one of the most prominent tragedians of his era. He appeared at Covent Garden and Drury Lane Theatres in London and also toured the United States. He appeared in Sheridan Knowles's William Tell, Byron's Sardanapolus, and Bulwer-Lytton's Money (1840), as well as in many Shakespearean roles. He also managed both Covent Garden and Drury Lane Theatres. In his role as actor-manager, Macready was a correspondent and collaborator with Mary Russell Mitford. The first play on which they worked was Mitford's Julian. Mitford dedicated to Macready the print edition of Julian: To William Charles Macready, Esq., with high esteem for those endowments which have cast new lustre on his art; with warm admiration for those powers which have inspired, and that taste which has fostered the tragic dramatists of his age; with heartfelt gratitude for the zeal with which he befriended the production of a stranger, for the judicious alterations which he suggested, and for the energy, the pathos, and the skill with which he more than emhodied its principal character; this tragedy is most respectfully dedicated by the author. Macready retired from the stage in 1851. --#lmw
—who to say nothing of his being really a very fine & enthusiastic actor has a voice which is as delicious to hear as the finest music, & gives like that a pleasure totally unconnected with the words which he has to offer.—By the way W. MccreadyWilliam Charles Macready | Born: 1793-03-03 in London, England. Died: 1873-04-27 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England.
English actor, one of the most prominent tragedians of his era. He appeared at Covent Garden and Drury Lane Theatres in London and also toured the United States. He appeared in Sheridan Knowles's William Tell, Byron's Sardanapolus, and Bulwer-Lytton's Money (1840), as well as in many Shakespearean roles. He also managed both Covent Garden and Drury Lane Theatres. In his role as actor-manager, Macready was a correspondent and collaborator with Mary Russell Mitford. The first play on which they worked was Mitford's Julian. Mitford dedicated to Macready the print edition of Julian: To William Charles Macready, Esq., with high esteem for those endowments which have cast new lustre on his art; with warm admiration for those powers which have inspired, and that taste which has fostered the tragic dramatists of his age; with heartfelt gratitude for the zeal with which he befriended the production of a stranger, for the judicious alterations which he suggested, and for the energy, the pathos, and the skill with which he more than emhodied its principal character; this tragedy is most respectfully dedicated by the author. Macready retired from the stage in 1851. --#lmw
is likewise an accomplished man full of taste & literature—he is confident general of all authors—Barry CornwallBryan Waller Procter, or: Barry Cornwall | Born: 1787-11-21 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. Died: 1874-10-05 in London, England.
A friend of Charles Lamb, Procter contributed poetry to the Naturalist's Calendar owned by Mitford and later contributed to the 1838 Finden's Tableaux edited by Mitford. He wrote a biography of Edmund Kean in 1835 and a biography of Lamb in 1866. --#lmw
's new Tragedy which is to come out after Xmas & is a fine thing on the same [del: .] with Lord ByronGeorge Gordon Noel Byron, sixth Baron Byron | Born: 1788-01-22 in Holles Street, London, England. Died: 1824-04-19 in Missolonghi, Greece.
Romantic-era poet, playwright, and celebrity. English peer after he inherited the Barony of Byron of Rochdale in 1798. He died fighting for independence for Greece. Friend of William Harness. --#lmw
's ParisinaParisina. Lord Byron. 1816. , though without the objections to which that was liable—has been written scene by scene under his supervision to use my informant's own word.—The melodrama is like all other melodramas neither better nor worse—except that it has one laudable peculiarity—there is no ruffian stalking about with pistols in his girdle to frighten one out of one's own wits—the assassins kill people with swords as Christians ought to do.— — Yes Yesterday  morning I went to Drury LaneTheatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, England | Drury Lane Theatre | Covent Garden | Westminster | London | England | 51.5128536 -0.12037150000003294 | A West End theater located in Covent Garden in the London borough of Westminster. One of the royal "patent theatres." Between 1674 and 1791, a building designed by Christopher Wren and commissioned by manager Thomas Killgrew. The Wren building was torn down by R. B. Sheridan and rebuilt. It reopened in 1791 and was destroyed by fire in 1809. The theater reopened in 1812 and still stands today. --#lmw51.5128536 -0.12037150000003294 to see Julius CaesarJulius Caesar. William Shakespeare. 1599.
Shakespeare's play about the assassination of Julius Caesar.--#ebb
—three new people in it —CooperMr. Cooper Cooper Mr.
Actor who appeared in Rienzi at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1828. Mitford critiqued his performance as Mark Antony. Forename unknown. More research needed.--#lmw #jmh
in AntonyMark Antony, or: Marcus Antonius | Born: -0083 in Rome. Died: -0030 in Alexandria, Ptolemaic Egypt.
Historic figure rendered as the famous persuasive speaker in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, in which the character gives the speech beginning, Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. --#jap
, stock taught!— Wallack Mr. Wallack Wallack Mr.
An actor whom Mitford critiqued for his performance as Brutus.--#jmh
in BrutusMarcus Junius Brutus | Born: -0085-06 in Rome, Roman republic. Died: 0042-10-23 in Philippi, Macedonia.
Marcus Junius Brutus minor or the younger was the son of Marcus Junius Brutus major or the elder and is usually referred to as Brutus. He was a senator in the late Roman republic and played a leading role in the assassination of Julius Caesar. --#lmw #rnes
not much better—a cold copy of John KembleJohn Philip Kemble | Born: 1757-02-01 in Prescot, Lancashire, England. Died: 1823-02-26 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Member of Kemble acting clan, brother of Sarah Siddons. One of the best-known actors of his generation, perhaps second only in reputation to his sister, until the advent of Edmund Kean. Corialanus and Cato were two of his best-known roles. Served as manager of both Covent Garden and Drury Lane Theatres. --#lmw
—softer & younger but still a copy in every tone & movement—& with that indescribable difference which one feels in painting between the copy and the original—cold & dead & the shadow of a shade—no hopes of him—BoothMr. Booth Booth Mr.
An actor whom Mitford critiqued for his performance as Cassius.--#jmh
's CassiusGaius Cassius Longius | Born: -0085. Died: -0042.
Brother-in-law of Brutus and the leader of the assassination plot to kill Julius Caesar. --#jap #jmh
was [del: .] a much more hopeful effort—he has all KeanEdmund Kean | Born: 1787-11-04 in Westminster, London, England. Died: 1833-05-15 in Richmond, Surrey, England.
Considered one of the greatest actors of Mitford's era; known for performing tragedy, including original interpretations of Shakespearean roles such as Shylock. Performed in London at Drury Lane. Kean also toured the United States and Canada. --#lmw #rnes
's faults & plenty of his own—a bad voice, an ugly face, a mean person, a constant awkwardness—[del: .] & a good deal of rant—but there is soul in the man with all these defects—spirit & vigour—he rushed into the famous quarrel with  Jul Brutus slapdash & really is to my fancy as good as KeanEdmund Kean | Born: 1787-11-04 in Westminster, London, England. Died: 1833-05-15 in Richmond, Surrey, England.
Considered one of the greatest actors of Mitford's era; known for performing tragedy, including original interpretations of Shakespearean roles such as Shylock. Performed in London at Drury Lane. Kean also toured the United States and Canada. --#lmw #rnes
—which is not saying much for him. The farce was the spoilt child—in which that disagreeable person Madame VestrisLucia Elizabeth Vestris | Born: 1797-03-03 in London, United Kingdom. Died: 1856-08-08 in London, United Kingdom.
A famous English actor and opera singer who amassed a large fortune over her performance career. Using both her wealth and status, she became a theater-oriented businesswoman who managed many different venues and produced numerous plays with her associates. --#jap #jmh
acted very ill & that pleasant person EllistonRobert William Elliston, or: Mr. Elliston | Born: 1774 in London, England. Died: 1831.
English actor and theater manager. Managed Drury Lane and and other theaters. Mentioned in the writings of Leigh Hunt, Byron, and Macready. --#lmw
very well—I am going to nighttonight to see him in RoverJack Rover
A character from the play Wild Oats.--#jap
in Wild OatsWild Oats. John O'Keefe. 1791.
Play featuring naval characters, a complex marriage plot, and a fictional theatre troupe, first performed at Covent Garden Theatre in 1791. See for a detailed summary.--#ebb
which is his best character & a capital play. I hope the audience will be a little less raggamuffin for really the dress circle last night looked as if tilled from the stalls—I hear that they don't take to a night at either house—Talfourd whopage 3
breakfasted a good deal of the morning with us, was there with GodwinWilliam Godwin | Born: 1756-03-03 in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England. Died: 1836-04-07 in London, England.
Political philosopher and novelist, married to Mary Wollstonecraft and biographer of her after her death in childbirth to their daughter Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (who would later elope with Percy Bysshe Shelley and author Frankenstein). William Godwin's 32-volume diary is digitally archived here: . See also the Shelley-Godwin Archive. --#ebb
, & added much to the pleasure of my evening.—This philosopher (GodwinWilliam Godwin | Born: 1756-03-03 in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England. Died: 1836-04-07 in London, England.
Political philosopher and novelist, married to Mary Wollstonecraft and biographer of her after her death in childbirth to their daughter Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (who would later elope with Percy Bysshe Shelley and author Frankenstein). William Godwin's 32-volume diary is digitally archived here: . See also the Shelley-Godwin Archive. --#ebb
I mean) has just gained a great triumph having tripped up Mr. Malthus's heels completely.—I suppose my dear you don't know more of the subject than I do.—but Godwin's work is on population & goes to prove very comfortably that there is no danger of the worlds being over peopled & therefore no need of war to kill us down[3] The book being referenced here is Godwin's book. It is called "On Population" (1820). It refutes Malthus' Principle of Population. It covers many populations in Europe.—#jap—Talfourd is gone today to meet the new Editor of the New Monthly MagazineNew Monthly Magazine.
Periodical edited by Thomas Campbell from 1821 to 1830. Talfourd was a contributor.--#ebb
—no less a man Mr. Thomas Campbell, a pretty fellow he for an editor! Did I ever talk to you about him—the delicate little mincing ladylike man—with a face that would look so pretty in a mob cap—He's an absolute ? & more of a ? in writing them even in his person. Never was such a delayer, such a doubter, such a hummer & hawer—Lord Eldon is a decided man to him—a pretty editor he! He to supervise & manage Talfourd—Lord how we laughed at the [gap: reason: torn.] Talfourd will turn him round his little finger. He caught [gap: reason: torn.] town & was laid up six days on the road so he will [gap: reason: torn.] one few days this month & never overtake the [gap: 1 words, reason: wax smudge.] again [gap: reason: torn.] is after his time to a tea party—think what [gap: reason: wax smudge.] will be to a magazine. Talfourd had never seen him. So I had [gap: reason: wax smudge.] pleasure of drawing his portrait mind & body.—I have been to Lisson Grove & seen Haydon's exquisite new picture—not the great picture of the raising of Lazarus—but the Agony in the garden—all is got in but nothing finished but the figure & head of Christ—such a head!—never was such an union of beauty & expression![4] The letter continues, but we have not finished transcription beyond this point.—ebb

& is an ampersand

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Mary Russell Mitford | Born: 1787-12-16 in New Alresford, Hampshire, England. Died: 1855-01-10 in Swallowfield, Berkshire, England.
Poet, playwright, writer of prose fiction sketches, Mary Russell Mitford is, of course, the subject of our archive. Mary Russell Mitford was born on December 16, 1787 at New Alresford, Hampshire, the only child of George Mitford (or Midford) and Mary Russell. She was baptized on February 29, 1788. Much of her writing was devoted to supporting herself and her parents. She received a civil list pension in 1837. Census records from 1841 indicate that she is living with her father George, three female servants: Kerenhappuch Taylor (Mary’s ladies maid), two maids of all work, Mary Bramley and Mary Allaway, and a manservant (probably serving also as gardener), Benjamin Embury. The 1851 census lists her occupation as "authoress," and lists her as living at Three Mile Cross with Kerenhappuch Taylor (lady’s maid), Sarah Chernk (maid-of-all-work), and Samuel Swetman (gardener), after the death of her father. Mitford’s long life and prolific career ended after injuries from a carriage accident. She is buried in Swallowfield churchyard. The executor of her will and her literary executor was the Rev. William Harness and her lady’s maid, Kerenhappuch Taylor Sweetman, was residuary legatee of her estate. --#lmw #ebb
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