[ 'Hesba Stretton' (Sarah Smith), Victorian children's author. ] Autograph Letter Signed ('Hesba Stretton') to 'Mrs. Picton', regarding her disabled nephew.

'Hesba Stretton', pen name of Sarah Smith (1832-1911), Victorian children's author
Publication details: 
70 Lansdowne Road, W. [ London ] 4 October 1881.
SKU: 19717

3pp., 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged. Forty-five lines, closely written. Her recent affairs have been so 'unsettled' that she has not been able to make arrangements to see Mrs Picton. 'I have been making arrangements for our poor little nephew to enter the Royal Albert Asylum at Lancaster, & next week I go down into Shropshire to accompany my sister, whe she takes the little fellow to his school, for in his case it will be more like going to school than anything else.' She describes the boy as 'a lovely child, full of life & affection, but the development of his brain was arrested just as he began to speak, & though he is over seven he does not utter one articulate word, & is in many ways like a baby.' She will not be able to visit Finchley, as she hopes to bring the mother 'Annie' back from Lancashire 'for change & diversion, for it is a great trial to her to part with Harold'. She particularly regrets not being able to visit, as she wished to have 'Mr Picton's advice about my eldest nephew, for as you have boys growing or grown up into young men, you could help me, perhaps, about Gilbert'. In any case, as far as she can judge, 'everybody goes his own way, or <?> his own weird, advice or no advice'. After a reference to 'Mr. Waugh' (i.e. Rev. Benjamin Waugh, founder of the NSPCC) at Southgate (from which Smith's family hailed) she writes: 'I suppose Mr. Picton is not yet at the point of Cromwell having the title of King offered to him. I shall not forgive him, if he makes out that Oliver wished to be King.' In a postscript she refers to a 'German half-lunatic philanthropic friend', and states that, having lost the Pictons' address, she will be writing 'to the City office'.