My9s

“What a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in the Mama’s living on”: Unpublished letters of Mrs. Gaskell and unpublished Gaskell family letters.

William Baker, Northern Illinois University

Four letters of Mrs. Elizabeth Gaskell, four letters from her daughter Margaret Emily (“Meta”) Gaskell (1837-1913), two letters from Henry Crompton (1836-1904), whose brother Charles (1836-1890) married Florence Gaskell (1836-1884), and a letter from Charles Gaskell Higginson to Mrs Henry Crompton (Lucy Henrietta Romilly), have recently come to light. The eleven unpublished holograph letters are found amongst the papers of the Crompton family now in the Department of Manuscripts at the British Library (Add Mss. 71, 701, ff. 44-65). @  The letters illuminate our knowledge of Mrs. Gaskell’s family relationships, friendships, fascination with detail, gossip, attitude to North Wales, and epistolary qualities. Those letters written after her death demonstrate the emotional impact her memory and death had upon her daughter Margaret Emily (“Meta”). They also exhibit a late Victorian affirmation of faith and belief when faced with the fact of mortality.


The letters written by Mrs. Gaskell are addressed to Henry Crompton, political activist, barrister and Clerk of Assize, Chester and North Wales Circuit. He became a leading Positivist and Attorney General to the Trade Union Congress. He was the son of a distinguished judge Sir Charles John Crompton (1797-1865) @, a distant relative of Elizabeth Gaskell, who died a fortnight before her (see Letter 8). The relationship between Henry Crompton’s elder brother Charles and her daughter Florence was something of a surprise to Mrs. Gaskell. Charles, a barrister, was ten years older that Florence. On hearing of their engagement, Mrs. Gaskell, in a letter to Charles Eliot Norton, written on 13 July 1863, commented “Mr. Crompton is not exactly a Unitarian, nor exactly broad Church.” Further “he has almost perfect health, and perfect temper; I should have said not clever. . . I suppose he has those solid intellectual qualities which tell in action, though not in conversation.”@ No lack of affection or reservation is revealed in the letters published now for the first time from Mrs. Gaskell to Charles’ younger brother Henry. In a letter written by “Meta” to Henry a few days following her mother’s death, she refers to him as being “one who loved my own Mother so dearly” and of whom her Mother spoke “as ‘my very dear Harry’” (Letter 7).
These eleven letters supplement letters available in published form. There are only three references to Henry Crompton in the “General Biographical Index” in J.A.V. Chapple and Arthur Pollard’s The Letters of Mrs Gaskell, and no letters addressed to him. In a letter to [?] Marianne Gaskell [ ? December 1863] Mrs. Gaskell tells her daughter that “Henry C. comes tomorrow” (Letters: 719). In a letter probably written to her publisher George Smith, dated [Late 1863], Mrs. Gaskell writes “I did not write at once because I wanted to hear Harry Crompton’s opinion – he, being aware of all the precious transactions & letters” (719). In another letter to her daughter Marianne written from Dieppe, Friday, 6 October [1865], Mrs. Gaskell comments “our letter to Harry from Crewe, on first hearing the Judge’s illness [Harry’s father] have never reached!” (777). There is a mention of “the lost Crewe letter” in the letter “Meta” writes to Henry Crompton shortly after her Mother’s death (see Letter 7).

No letters to Harry Crompton are found either in John Chapple and Alan Shelston’s Further Letters of Mrs Gaskell (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2000; subsequently cited as Further Letters). In the letters published here for the first time the lengthiest Mrs. Gaskell letter to emerge (Letter 3), is addressed to Henry Crompton. Dated 30 September [1863] Mrs. Gaskell relates a sudden trip to North Wales. The visit, the places seen, the emphasis upon the light, recalls in descriptive emphasis the account of her honeymoon spent in North Wales in the late summer of 1832. She and William Gaskell spent three weeks at Aber, five miles from Bangor. They subsequently went to Conway, Caernavon, Llanberis, Beddgelert, and then Portmadoc to stay at Plas Penrhyn. Leaving Aber, William Gaskell relates, “they took the coach to Conway, ‘as beautiful a ride as heart could desire.’” In his letter to his sister Eliza Gaskell [(1812-1892), Mrs. Charles Holland] dated 16 September 1832, William writes “On the left we had Beaumaris and the sea shining and sparkling in the morning light, and on our right the hills covered with the richest and warmest tints, and the air so fresh and pure . . . . We went through the fine old castle at Conway.” At Llanryst “William remembered they had brought some cake.” There is even in the honeymoon account a “boa”@ echoing the snake found towards the close of Mrs. Gaskell’s 30 September [1863] letter to Henry Crompton.
The last letter in this series to be written (Letter 11) is from Charles Gaskell Higginson to the widow of Henry Crompton, and is dated 13 November 1904. “Charles Gaskell Higginson was [a] teacher who abandoned the profession in order to devote himself to Positivist study and propaganda before succumbing to the Positivist disease, neurasthenia or depression” (Wright: 123). Details of “the Bennetts” and “Dr. Walters”—both presumedly known to his recipient Mrs Henry Crompton, to whom he refers in his letter—I have been unable to identify.
The texts of the letters are arranged in chronological order. [ ] represents matter supplied by the editor. A “Biographical Appendix” listing persons mentioned in the letters is included to facilitate an understanding of the correspondence. It identifies individuals at the point of their first appearance in the letters. Excluded are persons mentioned in the introduction to these letters or in notation to them.

“What a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in the Mama’s living on”: Unpublished letters of Mrs. Gaskell and unpublished Gaskell family letters.

William Baker, Northern Illinois University

Letter 1

ELIZABETH GASKELL TO HENRY CROMPTON [26 | 27 NOVEMBER 1863] @

[46, Plymouth Grove, Manchester]

My dear Harry, or if you like it better, my dear Mr Harry Crompton, do you know what very great pleasure you would give us if you would come and pay us a visit here. I know you have not been well; and I am half afraid you will think that Manchester is not the most healthy place in the world; but “barring” that I do think a quiet visit here might do you good. Your bedroom would be large & airy & has sofa writing table &c; so that you might go & sit in it, if these girls of mine were too noisy, — and when you were with us you might be sure you were giving us great pleasure. I myself are up to nursing — I never could bear teaching. I have always hated Schools, but Marianne always says the surest way to my heart is to fall ill on my needs, & give me the pleasure of nursing. So you see if you will but come here, and fall ill you are very sure of pleasing me. But really, please do come to us, & make it, as I hope Charlie does @  a second home. Bring your books & papers, &c and settle down here. We have no society to offer—no dancing, shooting &c — but a hearty welcome.

Yours very truly Elizabeth Gaskell

“What a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in the Mama’s living on”: Unpublished letters of Mrs. Gaskell and unpublished Gaskell family letters.

William Baker, Northern Illinois University

Letter 2

ELIZABETH GASKELL TO HENRY CROMPTON 2 FEBRUARY [18??]

46 Plymouth Grove | Manchester | February 2nd
My dear Harry,

Will you do a little bit of law for me, please.

Will you get me a copy of the will of Hannah Lamb, widow, of Knutsford;@ who died in May (May 1st | 1837 — leaving property both in the dioceses of York, & Canterbury. I know this can be done, but I dont know exactly how; & I want it soon, & will gladly pay all expenses. I dont ask Charlie because I think he is so busy, & I know you’ll do it for your affect friend ECGaskell

“What a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in the Mama’s living on”: Unpublished letters of Mrs. Gaskell and unpublished Gaskell family letters.

William Baker, Northern Illinois University

Letter 3

ELIZABETH GASKELL TO HENRY CROMPTON 30 SEPTEMBER [1863?]

Church House | Knutsford | September 30

My dear Harry, If any of your most unreliable-for-information, — or-answers-to-questions family had ever told me near what town [Mapsplecock] was I should have written to you long ago. For don’t you know after any member of a family goes away, one always wants to carry on the habit of trivial communication, and the first week after you left hardly an hour passed without some reference to you, — “What would Harry say?” “I wish Harry were here!” “Remember to tell Harry that!” “What a success of Cook’s, What a pity Harry is not here to criticize, or to enjoy.

We implored for the name of Mapplearde’s post town,— all of no use. Till Florence sent us word you you were going off with the [Aibrins] to some mysterious place. Yes! and we located your address for our own private purposes last Thursday! After deep quiet & much rain at home, Marianne in Yorkshire, Julia at school,@ Mr Gaskell almost invisible, either in his study or out of the house, Meta & I, at his suggestion made a sudden start at 1/2 an hour’s notice into Wales last Thursday; and we did so want to know Mr Llewellyn Turner!@ We dashed (2nd class return) to Conway; had tea at the Castle, and went off to Pendyffryn@ for a second ‘genteel’ tea — (I always think it highly genteel to give one nothing to eat,) with her & many smart people who were staying in the house; I heard of Arthur Darbyshire’s@ engagement to Miss Ellen Taylor of Sharston; do you know her for I don’t. The next morning we saw all on the Castle Plas [Mawr] &c &c, I went to Llanrwst by rail, — Betwys.- y-Coed — on by outside of coach in beautiful drifting rain, and slanting sun shine & a triple rainbow against a purple-black cloud to Llanberis , — where we studied “Mr & Mrs. Crompton 89 Oxford Terrace London” in the book, with increasing wonder, admiration, and surprise, — scrambled about there on Saturday morning — went again thro the pass of Llanberis to Beddgelert, & just caught the coach to Caernavon,— coming down on the town & Straights in a silvery haze. There we longed for “Lleweleyn,@ — & went on the Castle, — & so to Bangor & across to the Brodies@ at Min-y-Gartle, & walked to Beaumaris, — & so here where we found a letter from Mr Gaskell, asking for your address that he might write & thank you for the rabbits & hares; which we hope to enjoy, if he has not been very greedy, in a day or two. — He says “I had one of the hares for dinner today which was very good.” And so are you, in your way for thinking so kindly of us; but why are you weak, and don’t you think you had better come to P.G.@ again? It strikes me that unless you are feeling strong enough to be out-of-doors (without over-fatigue), a great deal, you had much better be in worse air, [indecipherable word] agreeable Society” — and where will you find such agreeable Society as in that from which modesty forbids me to mention more plainly? Now do you think of this, dear Harry? and just come off straight away if you really feel that it would do you good. The “young couple” are at Llanstwan, as I dare say you know; got there 3 hours too soon, which was a mistake, & found all the preparations half-made ready. I will send you your mother’s note, & Florence’s too, — (you may burn both,) tho I dare say you will have heard all about them. W.d you like a little more gossip about the Townley affair? The Miss Goodwin who was murdered was brought up with a young man, & the two fell in love & were engaged. Then he took orders, & had no money, & her friends made her break it off, — & forced her (on dit [they say] ) to engage herself to a young Townley. & I hear the clergyman had living given him & sent to renew the old engagement — so she threw off Mr Townley, & re-engaged herself to the clergyman. But her family are disagreeable, — her father can’t be found. She was handsome. By the way I was nearly forgetting to tell you that Sophy Holland (Fred’s sister) came to us Thursday after you left, — & on Sunday night or Saturday morning (10 minutes past 1 am], the two set off from our house to go to the North of Scotland to a place the name of which can neither be pronounced nor spelt. And Fred left his snake to Meta, — who kept it in her bedroom, & is half afraid half-fond of it. It can’t be said that at present she has made much way into its affections for it sends out the bad smell which is its sign of dislike whenever she reverently strokes it. We have not seen Julia yet; but we hear she “is devoted to her labours.”

Mary (ci devant[former cook]@ is to be married tomorrow by Mr Gaskell, in Brook St Chapel.

Meta’s love to you.
Yours affectionately
ECGaskell

“What a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in the Mama’s living on”: Unpublished letters of Mrs. Gaskell and unpublished Gaskell family letters.

William Baker, Northern Illinois University

Letter 4

ELIZABETH GASKELL TO HENRY CROMPTON [1866]

46 Plymouth Grove | Sunday

My dear Harry,

Come by all means; it will be a great pleasure to us. I hope I may be decently strong by that time (Thursday: —) I was so sorry to miss dear Lady Crompton; but I was taking [Coldieteeeee] & Dover’s powders (I know you like prescriptions) 3 times a day for gout in foot & hand; and I was really unfit to see any one, but I did not know she was here till after she had gone. Thurstan is here, & will be till Friday morning; & most likely we may some of us be going to the concert on Thursday night, - that is to say I am afraid I shan’t be able, but I talk of going, because it sounds more respectable for the “Young people.”

My love to Ned.

And to the Judge.

My best love to your mother, & to Cassy & Emily.

Cook is going.

Yours affectionately

E.C. Gaskell

That's to say not Marianne

“What a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in the Mama’s living on”: Unpublished letters of Mrs. Gaskell and unpublished Gaskell family letters.

William Baker, Northern Illinois University

Letter 5

CHARLES CROMPTON TO HENRY CROMPTON 12 NOVEMBER 1865

Dear Harry,

I write to tell you the most terrible piece of news. Dearest Mrs Gaskell died quite suddenly this evening (Sunday) at 6 oclock whilst she was talking to us all. Either I or Thurstun are going down to Manchester & shall be well on our way before you get this. Send word of this to Mary. It is not a fortnight since my father died.@ The three girls are I think are as well as could be expected. Ever your loving C. Crompton.

“What a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in the Mama’s living on”: Unpublished letters of Mrs. Gaskell and unpublished Gaskell family letters.

William Baker, Northern Illinois University

Letter 6

CHARLES CROMPTON TO HENRY CROMPTON [13 NOVEMBER 1865]

Monday
[Temple ?]@

I go to Manchester at 11. Please send over to Oxford Terrace colchicum will call there to night for a bag full of linen for me & Florence.

We have had a terrible time of it, & I dread having to tell them at Plymouth Grove.

Dear love to mother & all

“What a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in the Mama’s living on”: Unpublished letters of Mrs. Gaskell and unpublished Gaskell family letters.

William Baker, Northern Illinois University

Letter 7

MARGARET EMILY (“META”) GASKELL TO HENRY CROMPTON 17 NOVEMBER 1865

Plymouth Grove. | Friday morning@

Dear Harry

I cannot possibly say to you what my remembrance of your most tender kindness is, — and will be for ever. I am so glad, too, to think that the kindness was given by one who loved my own Mother so dearly, and of whom she spoke [indecipherable word] in the lost Crewe letter as “my very dear Harry,” if I remember rightly. I want to tell you, though I think you will think it strange for me to tell you of it, what a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in Mama’s living on, amongst those whom we call dead, but whom I feel now alone have the true Life. Sometimes when people have died, I have had all sorts of horrible wonders & doubts, about where and how the soul was: but with this utter sorrow comes so clear an instinct of immortality that I want to tell you of it; for if one person knows a thing, it proves it — though a hundred doubt it, and I want to share with you, who have suffered the same grief, this only comfort.

Forgive my having written so to you; and may God bless you for what you have@ been to us this last week.

Your most truly grateful and affectionate

Meta Gaskell

“What a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in the Mama’s living on”: Unpublished letters of Mrs. Gaskell and unpublished Gaskell family letters.

William Baker, Northern Illinois University

Letter 8

MARGARET EMILY (“META”) GASKELL TO HENRY CROMPTON [30 OCTOBER 1866]

Oct 30, | 1866@

Linc. Coll. | Tuesday

Dear Harry — I must thank you for your most interesting letter. It was really very good of you to answer my question so fully. I shall keep what you say, as it seems to me conclusive. That is on every point but one; and “infinitely complex” as the whole subject is, that one point is most so — Whether men may take away from a man the life which means in such a case time to repent and retrieve the past. One believes in the perfect justice of God, and that He wd not punish any one for not having retrieved his sin, when all opportunities were cut off from him; but yet the one limit to God’s infinite knowledge must be with regard to what human free-will may or may not do — and to Him even can it be possible to know what a man would had done had he lived? I hope and trust that this is not wrongly said. What I mean is not wrong; and you have the power of “taking the right side of one’s meaning”.

How sad the Blue Book is, as you say. It seems even darker reading it in such a lovely happy house as this — like looking down on a battle from some safe, sunny height. Everything is so beautiful here. Each time I look up I see the old crumbling grey college walls all hung with golden vine-leaves — and the rooms are as lovely as the views through the windows.

We shall now think of “inviting” you to Plymouth Grove. When you are on one of your progresses, send a “command” to us to receive you, as a sovereign does, and you need never doubt a welcome, as you perfectly well know.

I keep remembering what today is to you, Harry. It seems to me oh so sad that you — who deserve it so much, much more than I — should not have the comfort that I have; but in Mama’s words “it is sometimes the very best that God purifies in the furnace of doubt” — With her your goodness to us last year is, & ever will be, most vividly associated.

Ever your afftc

M.E. Gaskell.

“What a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in the Mama’s living on”: Unpublished letters of Mrs. Gaskell and unpublished Gaskell family letters.

William Baker, Northern Illinois University

Letter 9

MARGARET EMILY (“META”) GASKELL TO HENRY CROMPTON 26 JULY [1870]

(Cranford) Knutsford | July 26. [1870]@

My dear Harry,

You must not think my congratulations@ are any the less hearty, because they are of necessity short — But pray believe that I am quite delighted at this great piece of good news, & wish you joy from the bottom of my heart.

How I should like to know every detail!

But you will be too busy, with other correspondence, to wish for claims on your writing time. So do not even acknowledge this, but only believe me, your very glad,

very affect

M.E. Gaskell

“What a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in the Mama’s living on”: Unpublished letters of Mrs. Gaskell and unpublished Gaskell family letters.

William Baker, Northern Illinois University

Letter 10

MARGARET EMILY (“META”) GASKELL TO LUCY HENRIETTA CROMPTON 31 MAY [1905]

84 Plymouth Grove, | Manchester | May 31

My dear Mrs. Crompton,

It was exceedingly kind of you to write to me, and to send us dear Harry’s “Criminal Justice.”@ I should have certainly written before now to thank you, had I not had to deal with a great mass of rather anxious business —correspondence, which made it quite necessary for me to take on no extra-writing, as my right-arm is so weak that often for months together I have been unable to use a pen.

Please forgive this long explanation! It is only to account for the delay in my writing – which, at the same time, I am sure that you would never have attributed to ingratitude —

The delay has been enabled me to read the pamphlet and I cannot tell you how deeply it has impressed me. It gives one such an insight into the underlying principles of Law – It is so philosophical and logical, and yet put in such terse, pithy sentences that there can be no one incapable of understanding it.

Reading it has so carried me back to the days when Harry and my Mother had such long talks together; and when his friendship was such a pleasure in her life.

It would have given us such great happiness to have seen Paul once more.

London is a most tantalizing place – holding within it so many people and things that one wants to see; but so many out of reach at the right moment.

I could hardly believe in Paul’s four babies! Do please give him our love when you next write to him, and with the same to yourself believe me to be,

Ever very sincerely yours,

M.E. Gaskell

“What a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in the Mama’s living on”: Unpublished letters of Mrs. Gaskell and unpublished Gaskell family letters.

William Baker, Northern Illinois University

Letter 11

CHARLES GASKELL HIGGINSON TO MRS HENRY CROMPTON 13 NOVEMBER 1904

372 Gillott Road, | Edgbaston, | Birmingham. | Nov. 1904. | 10 Frederick 110.@

Dear Mrs. Crompton,

Many thanks for the photograph of Mr. Crompton, which I much value. I was sorry not to find you when I called to pay my respects; and I would have written before hand if I could. But I was on duty at Crooksbury, & it was impossible to say beforehand when or whether I should be free for 4 hours.

I have since met the Bennetts at Chapel Street, where a fortnight ago much to my surprise, I was called upon to preach. So I expounded a little bit of Comte’s Abstract Calendar.

From time to time I am fairly likely to be doing a turn for Dr. Walters. On those occasions I expect always to manage to get off to see the Morleys@
(who are now at the “Dial House” close to Frensham Post Office) & you.

I am sorry to say that our old friend Mr. Oliver@ is far from well; from time to time he gets ill enough to take to his bed; & now & then we have reason to be anxious. Just now, I believe there is no cause for extreme anxiety.

Remember me kindly, please to Miss Crompton; & believe me, with best thanks.

Very truly yours,

Charles Gaskell Higginson

Mrs. Henry Crompton

“What a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in the Mama’s living on”: Unpublished letters of Mrs. Gaskell and unpublished Gaskell family letters.

William Baker, Northern Illinois University

Biographical Appendix
Crompton, Lady Carry, wife of Judge Sir Charles Crompton, mother of Henry (“Harry”) and Charles, Casey, Emily and Ned Crompton. L 4.

Crompton, Paul; (d.1915). Eldest son of Henry and Lucy Henrietta Romilly. Drowned with his wife and six children in the Lusitania, 1915. L 10.

Gaskell, William (1805-1884). Unitarian clergyman. Married Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson in 1832. L 2.

Gaskell, Marianne (1834-1920). Elizabeth Gaskell’s eldest surviving daughter. She married Edward Thurston Holland (1836-1884) in 1866. L 1,4.

Gaskell, Julia Bradford (1846-1908). Youngest surviving daughter of Mrs Gaskell. She and “Meta” remained unmarried. L 3.

Holland, Frederick Whitmore (1838-1881). Son of Elizabeth Gaskell’s cousin, brother of Sophy Holland. L 3.

Lumb, Hannah, Mrs Samuel, née Holland (1767-1837). Elizabeth Gaskell’s beloved maternal aunt who brought her up from the time she was a baby. L 2.

“What a certainty of instinctive faith I have in heaven, and in the Mama’s living on”: Unpublished letters of Mrs. Gaskell and unpublished Gaskell family letters.

William Baker, Northern Illinois University

Endnotes

1 I wish to thank the Department of Manuscripts and the British Library for permission to consult and quote from manuscripts in their holdings. Special thanks are due to Professor Donald Hawes for his assistance with the far from easy task of deciphering these holograph letters. Thanks are also due to Professors Peter Kitson and Nancy Henry for help with the Welsh references in Letter 3.

2 For Henry Crompton see The Dictionary of National Biography (DNB), Supplement (London: Oxford University Press, 1966 reprint), I, 445-446. See also T. R. Wright, The Religion of Humanity: The Impact of Comtean Positivism on Victorian Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986): 118-119, and passim (subsequently cited as Wright). For Sir Charles John Crompton, see DNB., 5: 146-147.

3 The Letters of Mrs Gaskell, ed., J.A.V. Chapple and Arthur Pollard (Manchester: Mandolin [Manchester UP], 1997), 706, 505: subsequently cited as Letters, followed by page numbers.

4 William Gaskell to Eliza Gaskell, 16 September 1832, cited Jenny Uglow, Elizabeth Gaskell ‘A Habit of Stories’ (London: Faber and Faber, 1993): 80-81: subsequently cited as Uglow). See also J.A.V. Chapple, “The Gaskell Honeymoon,” Gaskell Society Newsletter, 9 (March 1990): 5-7 and Jo Pryke “Wales and the Welsh in Gaskell’s fiction,” Gaskell Society Journal, 13 (1999): 69-84.

5 Envelope addressed to “H. Crompton Esq | 27 Hyde Park Sq | London” and postmarked “No 27 | MANCHESTER 18 | [63].”

6 The rest of the letter is written in heavier brown ink on its first leaf over the opening sentences of the letter.

7 Proved in London, 17 August 1837 and 30 December 1837 (Uglow 634, n.1). Hannah Lamb in her will left Elizabeth Stevenson Gaskell “an annuity of £80, with the reversion at the death of Abigail Holland [d.1848] of the further half of her estate. The legacy marked the beginning of Elizabeth Gaskell’s financial independence” (Winifred Gerin, Elizabeth Gaskell: A Biography [Oxford: Oxford UP, 1976]: 58).

8 Elizabeth Gaskell wrote to Charles Eliot Norton, 4 July 1864: “Julia …left school ‘for good’ a fortnight ago” (Letters 733)

9 There are several possibilities. “Llewellyn Turner” could be a relative of the distinguished Unitarian minister William Turner (1761-1859), who retired to Manchester, and with whom Mrs. Gaskell spent part of her childhood. Or, it is possibly a reference to some of JMW Turner’s many drawings, watercolors and oils made as a result of his 1797-1798 tours in North Wales.

10 Probably Pendyffryn Hall near Conway, where Elizabeth Gaskell stayed in late November 1856: “The lovely and romantic residents of Mr. R., Duckinfield Darbishire.” He “used to invite Unitarian minister of Lancashire and Cheshire to take Sunday services in his drawing room” (Further Letters 163, n.1).

11 Son of Samuel Dunkinfield Darbyshire, old family friends from Manchester.

12 A reference to Beddgelert’s famous historical feature “Gelert’s grave.” According to legend, the stone monument in the fields marks the resting place of “Gelert” the faithful hound of the medieval Welsh Prince Llywellyn the Great. In the 7th chapter of Ruth “gelert does not howl for nothing” (Ruth, ed., Nancy Henry [London: J.M. Dent, 2001]: 70).

13 The family of Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie (1817-1880), who became Professor of chemistry at Oxford, in 1865. They were old friends of the Gaskells.

14 Plymouth Grove, where Mrs. Gaskell lived from midsummer 1850 until her death in 1865.

15 Mrs. Gaskell wrote to Mary Holland [c. late May 1860] “Cooks are dearer to me than cousins |, Of cousins I’ll get many an one | Of cooks perhaps ne’er anither” and a cook is coming to see me on Friday afternoon. (Further Letters of Mrs. Gaskell 209): cf. Mrs. Gaskell to Marianne Gaskell [? 26 May 1860], and to Mrs. Fielden, 28th of May [1860] regarding servants and cooks (Letters, 617, 619).

16 Elizabeth Gaskell wrote to her daughter Marianne “I am so sorry to think that we shall never see the dear, kind judge again.” ([? 31 October 1865] Letters 781). In their “Introduction,” Chapple and Pollard comment that “the lament assumes an ironic tinge as we contemplate the fact” of Elizabeth Gaskell’s own imminent death (Letters xxiii).

17 This note is found with the previous letter and an envelope addressed to “The Lawn (?) | Holy bourne | nr Alton.” On the envelope, in another hand, is written “Telling of the | death of | Mrs. Gaskell.”

18 Letter written on black edged mourning paper. Envelope postmarked “E | NO 17 | MANCHESTER | 1865 | 30.” Addressed: “Henry Crompton | 22. Hyde Park Square | W. | London.” On back of envelope: “I went down to them at Alton on receipt of this HC.”

19 Written on the first leaf of the letter.

20 In an unknown hand on the letter which is written on black-edged mourning paper.

21 “Cranford” and “1870” written in a different hand from that of the letter.

22 Probably a reference to the engagement of Henry Crompton to Lucy Henrietta, daughter of John Romilly, first Lord Romilly. They married on the 8 November 1870. See The Letters of George Henry Lewes Volume III with New George Eliot Letters, ed., William Baker (Victoria, B. C., : English Literary Studies, 1999), 59.

23 “Crompton’s ‘Letters on Social and Political Subjects,’ reprinted from the ‘Sheffield Independent,’ were published in book form in 1870, and after his death some papers by him were collected under the title ‘Our Criminal Justice,’ with an introduction by Sir Kenelm Digby (1905)” (DNB [Supplement], I, 446).

24 Positivist dates.

25 John Morley (1838-1923), journalist, politician, biographer, and exponent of the ideas of the Positivist Auguste Comte: see Wright: 137-142.

26 Possibly the Birmingham Positivist John Oliver (see Wright: 255).

Links

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"Letter 7" http://www.nines.org/exhibits/vij_baker?page=8

"Letter 7" http://www.nines.org/exhibits/vij_baker?page=8

"Letter 3" http://www.nines.org/exhibits/vij_baker?page=4

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