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Wednesday 21 February 2024

Harriette Wilson to John Adolphus 1825

These images show the extortion letter which I write about in the Times Literary Supplement 23 February 2024 under the title "Sly Intrigues". I have provided a transcription below the images.







Transcription, underlining in the original

 

Paris                No 91 Grande Rue de Chaillot Champs Elysées

Sir

Your Family are very low better not have them shewn up to ridicule in Harriette Wilson’s memoirs with your neices [sic] affecting love letters to the handsome young man she seduced and then applied to him for means to destroy the infant in her bosom useless to deny this or cry “fie” for I have the letters in my possession – as well be quiet and oblige a lady you are growing rich  I have spent all my money in furnishing my home and paying my debts will you do an act of Gallantry and send me 100 £? If you do I shall not be ungrateful – or you may publish this letter like Edward Ellice but verily  friend Adolphus we are none of us perfect have all our little sly intrigues either in the neighbourhood of the new Road or elsewhere and I might say to you in the words of Don Quixote to Sancho – “verily friend Sancho the more thou  stireth it the more it will stink ---- once more will you be my favourite and a noble man[?] of Gallantry – if so forward me 100 £ trust to my gratitude – Brougham I am sure would say you might do so safely,, - & sign yourself The Dauphin for fun – but you must be quick about it Yours truly [?]-  because you are witty  Henriette Rochfort



Saturday 20 January 2024

CHARLOTTE REYNOLDS Circle of John Keats WRITES TO JOHN DOVASTON IN 1808

 








This recently discovered letter is not included in the volume Letters from Lambeth, edited by Joanna Richardson and published for the Royal Society of Literature in 1981.and which includes twenty-two letters from Charlotte Reynolds (1761-1848) to  John Dovaston (1782 - 1854)  It predates by three months the letters published in that book. 

In  rhyming couplets over two sides the writer appears to thank John [Freeman Milward] Dovaston both for the gift of a poem and of a live goose which is going to be eaten. There was indeed a poem which Dovaston published in 1811 with the title, “TO MRS. REYNOLDS, OF LAMBETH, with a Goose.” It can be found online.

 

TRANSCRIPTION

Charlotte Reynolds to John Dovaston Esqr Junr Jan/y 13th 1808

 

To yourself my good friend, as well as your Muse

I beg my best thanks for her verse, & your Goose

With both I am pleas’d, as they fully express

Strong motives of kindness to say nothing less

And proves, “out of sight, out of mind” not quite true

An adage, of old, but not strengthnd in you.

Well, this friend whom so pleasingly you introduce

Is an uncommon pleasant agreeable Goose,

For as soon as she enterd, the intelligent Bird

Began   xxx [?] stling & cackling, in strains yet unheard,

Her master she said, in remembrance held dear

The hours he had spent in much cheerfulness here

Of Friendship she prated, but seemd rather hoarse

But that might arise from her journey of course.

Then good manners in every sense she expressd

And no doubt she will charm, when once she is dress’d

Oh so warmly, so wily, she chanted your praise

And with such pride & pleasure, deliverd your lays,

That George [Reynolds, her husband], & myself, at once felt the charm,

Of Friendship express’d, in language so warm.

But the best thing of all that we could discern

From her notes, were, that quickly you meant to return.

For this welcome news – respect also to you,

I entreated her stay, t’was the least I could do

She graciously bow’d to my kind invitation

And next Thursday at Table will fill up her station.

When to give her the meeting I mean to engage

The serious, the witty, the young & the Sage.

With mirth, song, & reason, to temper the jest

To which good Madame Goose will no doubt give zest.

When your health shall be drunk at this little carouse

But one thing will be wanting – oh – sweet Pinky [??] House

For what more can please than such music as thine

Admir’d & enjoy’d, by a family circle like mine.

Our girls are all charm’d, our Boy is delighted

Whenever they hear that friend Dov [aston] is invited

But I think it high time, I should make some excuse

For say’g so little, in regard to your muse

Who tho, I acknowledge, must needs be admir’d,

Yet, her praises on me are too high – too much fir’d.

In my life, I was never so finely bespather’d

Tho a theme t’was, in which, I can bear to be flatterd

But allow me to smile, that so late in the day

My name should be sung as tho it were May

So good Lady Muse, let me, ere I adjourne

Present my regards as a grateful return

And that you may remain is my ardent Petition

Clear [Chear?] as ye are – not in hobbling condition

As my humble Muse  - who in rhyming or prose

Cannot even earn Glasses to wear on her nose.

This premis’d I don’t find I have further to say

Than our kindest remembrance to self, & to xx xxx

In which Jane, John [Hamilton Reynolds], & Mary, Eliza & Lot [Charlotte Reynolds junior]

Most earnestly beg, they may not be forgot

 

Charlotte Reynolds

 

All arriv’d safe and well & were excellent