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GERALD MASSEY - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED CIRCA 1856 - HFSID 73513

GERALD MASSEY Thanking a benefactor, the poet writes candidly about the plight of his family. Autograph Letter signed: "Gerald Massey", 3p (integral leaf), 4½x7½. 12 Henderson Road [Edinburgh, Scotland], "Thursday", no date, but probably 1856.

Sale Price $432.00

Reg. $480.00

Condition: lightly creased, slightly soiled
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GERALD MASSEY
Thanking a benefactor, the poet writes candidly about the plight of his family.
Autograph Letter signed: "Gerald Massey", 3p (integral leaf), 4½x7½. 12 Henderson Road [Edinburgh, Scotland], "Thursday", no date, but probably 1856. On black-bordered mourning paper to "Dear Mrs Stirling". In full: I send you one Pound, out of the first money I have received, toward repaying the two Pounds you were good enough to lend me for my Rent. The other I hope to send in a day or two. I would have called on you but for some time past have scarcely left the house for various reasons. One has been that I and Mrs. Massey have done the housework between us for the last two months and Mrs. Massey has been quite laid up in bed during the last week, so that I have had all the work to do.If it was you, as we suspect it was, who sent us half a Ton of Coal recently, we do not know how to thank you sufficiently, for we had none in the house and had not had any for two days. So you may guess they were welcome. Mrs. Massey called to try and thank you, but you were engaged. We are indebted also to some anonymous providence for a handsome new dress for Christabel, but do not know whether it be you or not. If so, and if not, God bless you for all your kindnesses. And believe me yours affectionately". Gerald Massey (1828-1907), an English poet, also wrote extensively on Shakespeare's sonnets, on spiritualism, and on the early history of Egypt. In Ancient Egypt: Light of the World, published shortly before his death, Massey argued that Egypt was the fountainhead of Western thought. Massey's poetry was of two general types: romantic nature poetry, and polemical political poetry espousing the rights of workers. He was a Chartist, advocating electoral and industrial workplace reform. In 1855 Gerald Massey moved to this address in Edinburgh to accept a position with the Edinburgh News. However, he remained desperately short of money, as this letter indicates. His first wife Rosina, a spiritualist whom he had married in 1850, was depressed by the death of two infants shortly after the move to Edinburgh, and was succumbing to alcoholism as well as physical ailments. She was an invalid for most of the remaining years until her death in 1866. Mrs. Stirling, the addressee, was the wife of William Stirling, a Member of Parliament, who with his wife befriended the Massey's with loans and gifts. (A future gift from the Stirling's would be a much-needed housekeeper.) A volume of poems by Massey, Craigcrook Castle (1856), was named for the Stirling estate near Edinburgh. Christabel, also mentioned in this letter, was another Massey child fated to die young, and the subject of one of Massey's most admired poems, "The Ballad of Babe Christabel." (The main sources for this information are David Shaw's 1995 biography of Massey, and a website dedicated to Gerald Massey and maintained by Ian Pettigrew.) Lightly creased; slightly soiled. Five-inch paper separation at center fold. One-inch paper separation at horizontal fold. Mounting adhesive on p3 verso shows through faintly. Final "y" of Massey's signature slightly smudged. Otherwise, fine condition.

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