A newly-discovered correspondence of Marie Corelli
(1855-1924). Pseudonym of Mary Mackay, novelist.
Extensive series of Autograph Letters Signed to Lady Anna Chandos Pole, comprising ca eighty-six letters, mostly with envelopes, 1894-1913 where dated. Together with two Autograph Letters Signed of her half-brother Eric Mackay.
A fine correspondence covering a wide range of subjects and a considerable period of time, although with gaps. The sequence is as follows: 1894 (2 letters), 1895 (13), 1896 (17), 1897 (1), 1898 (1), 1905 (1), 1906 (26), 1907 (11), 1908 (2), 1913 (1) and undated (11).
Although there is inevitably a certain amount of social business, Marie Corelli occasionally mentions her own writings as well as her day to day activities, travels and visits etc. Eric, and particularly Bertha Vyver figure largely, as she ranges from her health, the weather, balls and dinners to theatre and foreign visits. Throughout the correspondence her self-confidence and snobbery are constant companions.
'In case you have not seen the Westminster Gazette of last night I send it to you, as I think you are sure to like "The Return of the Prince." One paper to-day says - "If Mr Eric Mackay is not to have the vacant Laureateship, he well deserves the compliment of a Knighthood ..."' [7 December 1894]
'I have asked Eric to call on you this morning and see if you would kindly spare your copy of "Barabbas" for half-an-hour, as I am anxious to compare the type with that the proofs of my new book ...' [8 September 1894]
[From Devon with an engraving of the hotel pasted to the third page] 'We ... started for Ilfracombe instead, determining to see the scenery of Charles Kingsley's books, as we were quite ignorant of all its beauties. ... One delightful trip we took by sea to Clovelly - such an ideal little village - a perfect poem set to the music of the sea. I have never seen anything quite so lovely. ...' [6 October 1895]
[From Exeter]'... we find this a very dull town, despite all its historical recollections of Edward II - Henry VI and Richard III and Henry VIII! ... I see the Prince of Wales has gone down to Easton where Eric and I had such a pleasant time before we went to Homburg. I can't help thinking what a contrast there is between the gracious and intelligent beauty of Lady Warwick, and the aspect of Mrs Roche!!! But Lady Warwick has become a violent Radical now, while the Earl remains Conservative! ...' [12 October 1895]
[From Folkestone] '... Last night we went to see poor old Toole act here at the Town Hall in "Paul Pry". It was more sad than funny - for the veteran actor has had so many troubles and so much illness that he is but the ghost of his former self. I saw him about four years ago, and he was really droll then - but now! seeing him on that wretched little stage of the Folkestone "Town Hall" made me much more inclined to cry than laugh ...' [27 December 1895]
'The Prince of and Princess of Wales are going to present the Prizes at the "Show" of the Ladies Kennel Association in the grounds of Holland Park on Friday afternoon. As I am one of the Founders of the Association, I enclose three Tickets ...' [10 June 1896]
'... the death of kind Sir Joseph Barnby was a great shock to me - and my sorrow for poor Muriel who adored her fatehr is very deep and sincere. ... I was delighted to see Margie again looking so well and in such high spirits. It is a relief to think Vienna has not done her any harm, though it has such a wretch climate. ...' [3 February 1896]
'The Roman village (and once the Sarachs stronghold) you ask about is called Gourdon. It is best reached from Grasse. You take the train from Cannes to Grasse, - thence by carriage a short drive to the Pont de Loup then you have to walk up a zig-zag path 500 feet ...' [5 March 1896]
'... What a terrible adventure has chanced to our mutual friend Mr Savage Landor! Have you read all the accounts of his being tortured? It is most horrible! Poor man! He has been most brave under his fearful perils - and is now quite a hero. I hope he will not die of all his cruel wounds - but that he will live to be welcomed back ...' [6 October 1897]
'... Many thanks for so kindly sending me "The World". The reporter must have taken Bertha for me, as she wore black and white. I was in cream cloth trimmed with gold braid, and wore a cream hat to match. ...' [14 February 1906]
'I came up to London for the opening of Parliament yesterday as I had a seat in the Royal Gallery. ... The function ... gave a very fine impression of Majesty! Afterwards I had a delightful time in the "Lobby" and was introduced to many of the notable M.Ps and new Ministers. ...' [20 February 1906]
'... I cannot leave my work now this month, I must postpone all my pleasures till the first few days of June are past, as I have to "finish up" my book for the press. ...' [15 May 1906]
'... [Richmond, Yorkshire] is very quaint and old-fashioned - but the view from Richmond Castle is very fine, only spoilt by the gas-works; corporations have no sense of beauty. ...' [7 September 1906]
'... I was the guest of the Severns at Brantwood, so long the home of Ruskin, that was a most memorable and enjoyable time. ...' [27 September 1906]
'... May I trouble you to tell me whether you know of any engraving or photograph in existence of Lord Byron's sword? - the one you have in Harrington House? ...' [6 November 1906]
'...I can quite understand your not having it photographed - I would'nt [sic], if it were mine! ... Poor Abello! I am very sorry for him - for I know how hard it is to make way in England, even with such a superb voice as he has ... the sorrows of musical people seem always endless, don't they!' [9 November 1906]
'... We are ... very busy preparing for the Shakespeare Festival. We are to have "Costume Ball" this year which is creating a great sensation! ...' [16 April 1907]
[From Grantown-on Spey] '... The Prince of Wales is staying at Moy Hall, not very far off - and we lunched with "The Mackintosh of Mackintosh" up there just a day or two before he came. It is a lovely place, full of recollections of the Charles Stuart time. ...' [4 September 1907]
'... It will be a great pleasure for us to meet Miss Braddon and the Maxwells on the 19th. ...' [22 November 1907]
'... [We] made a very pleasant friendship with the Countess of Seafield, who was so very kind and hospitable. We have been at home [Mason Croft] now about three weeks, and are very busy with the decoration of a new music-room which I have added to this house. ...' [20 November 1908]
[From Homburg v. d. Höhe] 'I write just a line to tell you the fact that Mr Depew did not call here or leave cards as he informed you he did! ... I am at a loss to image why he took so much trouble to tell you what was not true! As far as I am concerned, it really does not matter, because I am quite indifferent as to the manners and modes of Americans. ...' [Undated]
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